What a lovely letter you write, and thank you for sharing all your wonderful ideas about gardening and houses! I have to tell you a story about chickens and brown eggs.
I actually get brown eggs from my neighbor a half mile away, who also has Brown Swiss cows. I feel very lucky because, hard as it is to believe, getting local eggs is not easy out in the country. Most local farmers who raise chickens sell the eggs in the city, where they can earn more money for them.
But the brown eggs I get from my neighbor are nothing like the eggs from French Maran chickens. Have you heard of this breed? We first learned of them when we visited Minnesota in October. We stayed at the lovely Deutsche Strasse B & B and one of the other guests was participating in a chicken show at the local fairgrounds. Their French Marans won best of show. And here is a picture of the eggs they lay. Now those are brown eggs! They look like chocolate! You can find more information about this breed here and here, if you are interested.
I loved seeing the plans of the raised bed garden . I have raised beds, too, and I can't imagine being able to grow anything in this hot, dry climate without them. It really makes a big difference in being able to grow food to eat. I had a very good salad garden right outside my back door all summer. Here's an example of how I mixed up the vegetables with the flowers which was very pretty and lush looking!
And here's another picture of a raised bed:
There are four L-shaped raised beds that border the "charmed circle" in the middle (which is just a napping place for the cats).
I'm interested in permaculture, too, and in the new year, I plan to create a sun trap in my middle garden as well as some keyhole beds. Have you heard of those? I have a tremendous amount of brush to process, and this seems like an excellent way to handle that. I just have to find something with which to build the support walls, which is an issue around here, since there isn't a lot of rock. Here's a picture of what I'm talking about:
As to the big binder you left behind in Yemen with all your research and plans... you can create another bigger and better one here, right? Think of the old binder as nothing more than practice for a better set of plans!
Thank you so much for your wonderful letter, little friend!