Durable Beauty

Cordwood construction exercises patience. When we don’t wait for the timbers to fully dry before the installation they crack and let breezes through.  The binding materials also needs to dry very slowly to be strong and durable.  It even starts with an exercise in patience with the planning, sourcing of matching bottles, cutting the tops of pieces to fit and taping them top-to-top.

Patient planning, selection and preparation can create spectacular durable constructions.  Here is an excellent example from Kinstone Permaculture USA

cordwood-usa

Alley Cropping

Alley cropping along the contour lines and working with a keyline system is a highly productive, sustainable way to farm. Here is a shot from Mark Shephard’s co-operative farm, New Forest Farm in the Driftless region Southwestern Wisconsin, USA. The secret is the prune the roots regularly by running a deep blade-shaped plough in the pathway between the trees and perennial vegetable rows. This forces the roots to dive deep and not compete with the next row of crops.

alley-cropping
Alley cropping as demonstrated on New Forest Farm USA with Mark Shephard

 

 

Seek Not To Feed Your Plants, Feed Their Soil

feed-the-soil

The understanding of soils is valuable for all permaculture designers. We can design a permaculture system that works with and not against the nature of that particular soil-type. We can plan a succession of plants, reintroduce micro-organisms and cleansing plants and ultimately achieve higher productivity for the site using nature as our guide rather than importing mined resources (ie. phosphate, lime or minerals) to change the soil-type.

Understanding Our Web Of Life

In permaculture we seek to understand the web of life in our unique climate and bioregion.

web of life - diverse from the source to the sink.
A painting of a brook in New England 1863 web of life – diverse from the source to the sink.

From the initial source (sun, rain, wind, and animals) energy is diverted, used, released again and transferred from one element to another. Energy connects these elements. Their common use of energy forms a web of relationships. From the source to the sink (the place where the energy leaves the system):

  • Diversity increases
  • Energy stores increase
  • Organisational complexity increases

Design Hiding Places For Your Chickens

channel_billed_cuckoo

The chickens were SCREAMING. The Channel Billed Cuckoo was hovering with menace and so all the chickens run to hide under the bushes. In the permaculture garden there are lots of layers of vegetation, the smaller plants that enjoy living under fruit trees include Monstera Deliciosa, pineapple sage, hazelnut, native raspberry, orchids, begonia.

Chickens love hiding places.  You can see this Cuckoo has been feasting on our Mulberries. He was so fat and heavy that the branches of the trees were waving goodbye as he moved from tree to tree.

The Super Tree: The Mulberry

What Is There Not To Love
About Mulberries?

The dark colour advertises their high nutritional value, mulberriesthey make wonderful juice and food for us and the poultry, they resist most pests including fruit-fly. They also feed a multitude of native animals and reptiles.  Mulberry trees are hardy, able to  be shaped and easy to propagate.  The timber is suitable as fuel for heating the home, they make excellent shade in summer. In cooler climates, they drop their leaves to allow light into the picnic areas, home and garden.

mulberry-cheesecake
Mulberry Cheesecake. Gluten free base of sunflower seeds and dates, cheesecake layer, mulberry and agar gel on upper layer. Flower petals, lime leaves and coffee bean fruits on top for edible decoration. Permaculture Visions demonstration site. Cake by Shane Moon

Here is a scrumptious Mulberry Pancake by Ella Whyman:

mulberry-pancake
Mulberry Pancake, coconut cream and roasted shredded coconut by Ella Whyman

harriet

 

Unusual foods

Some of this weeks harvest contains unusual and beautiful foods. unusual-foods

There is an abundance of Mulberry (black and white varieties), flowers (begonia, sage, roses, bottlebrush, nasturtiums), choko sprouts, sweet potato (Kumara) leaves, banana leaves, watercress, grape leaves, peruvian ground apple, curry leaf, Kaffir lime, Jerusalem artichokes and much more.

 

Nutrient Dense Salads at Your Back Door

nutrient_rich_salad

Nutrient rich salad greens include bitter lettuce, and herbs.
The fresher the food, the higher the nutritional value.
Romaine Lettuce is one of the highest nutritional foods, it even contains high levels of protein. If we take these salads greens and fresh egg from happy hens, we can have a enriching lunch, and you get a few minutes outside in the fresh air reconnecting with nature instead of pushing a trolley in a supermarket or standing in a queue with hurried people!

Online Mentoring Triumphs Again

With very little support we were able to pioneer teaching online by putting the student needs first.

we found our niche and we are filling it!
we love our niche!

“One-on-one mentorship was long ago found to be dramatically more effective than group instruction. Having the full attention of an instructor accelerates an individual’s learning by focusing them on the right problems at the right times, and having a real relationship with one person provides students with accountability.”http://techcrunch.com/2014/09/11/the-mooc-revolution-that-wasnt/

When we began in 1993, we had a vision to help people in physically and socially remote situations. We aimed to focus on mentoring people in remote locations as much as helping working mothers. We have slowly built a student base in 60 countries and are very proud of our graduates.

“We’re all still searching for the right formula, but the ingredients will be the same as they’ve always been: Learning through exploration, thoughtfully designed for the right behaviors, with great teachers providing support.” http://techcrunch.com/2014/09/11/the-mooc-revolution-that-wasnt/

Permaculture Visions offers Learning through exploration by connecting participants with their broader community socially, physically and online. It constantly re-evaluates their Permaculture Course program and material for relevance and encouragement of beneficial behaviours that build a rewarding lifestyle and a cleaner planet. And it constantly aims to provide experience and personable teaching support through it’s basic goal of student-focused learning. We believe that there is never a wrong answer, perhaps just an answer that needs a bit more research.

All learning leads to a discovery of the truth. All learning invites us to look beyond ourselves and our own needs and connects us with the greater world.

Permaculture In A Big White Box

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Bigger Is Rarely Better

Permaculture Principle: Set limits and redistribute surplus
Permaculture Principle: Set limits and redistribute surplus

Setting limits to growth is essential to many systems that desire to be sustainable.
Rather than trying to rule the world, aim to rule your life. This is actually much trickier than we think.
Rather than governing a large organisation, step back.  Design and start a structure where the people who value the work can help build the network.  Then, participants can replicate this model on a smaller scale and feed directly into the system you wish envision.

Ageless Design

This permaculture design was created by April 15 years ago and has travelled the world extensively. It has been used to promote courses and workshops in many countries.
This permaculture design was created by April 15 years ago and has travelled the world extensively. It has been used to promote courses and workshops in many countries.

In about 1998 this design was made by our head tutor April Sampson-Kelly for an elderly couple in Callala bay NSW Australia. They had giant mounds of felled timber and didn’t know what to do with the mounds, so the design incorporated the mounds into hugelkulture, wind protection and these were used to build diversity of micro-climates. The mounds form dry beds in contrast to the swampy flats. Another unusual feature of this design is the removable dance floor built over the large cement tank and a mound rising beside it for seating and privacy. We often design to have ponds reflect light into the home and intensive keyhole beds on the sunny side of the home.

Ode to the Lemon

lemons you are beautiful,lemons
with little flaws each one of you is unique,
You shine brightly and long into the night your fragrance persists.
Your flowers look as good as they smell.
With leaves that are glossy and pert,
and a trunk that is strong, resilient and compact.
Lemon tree, you are the best friend any cook has ever had.
And yet, lemon, you are not phased by fame and good fortune,
Lemon you endured a long history, travelled the seas to far flung countries, pickled and preserved many other foods
You have saved sailors from death and disease and brought smiles to children.
Sadly, out of sweet’s spite, you were sometimes associated with bad things such as unfunctionable design and useless cars.
Lemon you will live as long as man remembers how to cook
and will always be remembered for your nutrition and aid in digestion.

 

Do What Truly Matters

reachEverybody does things.  Some have plans. A few sit and think about how they would like the future to be. Occasionally someone may design something new or talk of having a vision.

We all have feelings and passions and we all have ethics and values. Yet, very few of us put the feelings, passions, ethics and values first as a way to determine what to do next.

When we put our ethics and values first and work from this desire, when we listen to our passion and let ourselves be creative exploring ideas, dreaming of possibilities, then it is easy to make plans. We are empowered and every action that follows has purpose, brings us joy and peace to many others.

This is based on the teachings of Professor Stuart Hill and John Herron.

Apply To Work On Our Current Project

Permaculture Visions is offering a Diploma document and assessment  package for free in picture of cockatoo in our permaculture garden eating our macadamias - caught by surpriseexchange for someone working on their portal. You would need experience and skills in Word-press and a PDC.

The work that you spend on the portal will be free for the wider community, help many permaculture projects get recognition. It will help permaculture students around the world find online resources that are specific to a PDC and your work can be documented toward one of your units in your Diploma in Permaculture.

New Ideas Grow From Old Intentions

Permaculture is centered on the development of a rich and harmonious culture, building a resilient society and nurturing sustainable lifestyles. When we watch how nature turns loss and tragedy into new beginnings we can be inspired to the same. Nature is programmed to adapt, to adjust and to respond to change. By observing our impact, adapting to climate change and adjusting our methods, we can thrive.

old-intentions

The Giant Free Oxygen Pumps

Trees-resigned-to-life

Trees are like natural air conditioners, pollution absorbers, wind and dust buffers and great water pumps. They cool the earth by providing shade and recycling water. The seed clouds by letting shaking off dust and fungi. “By cooling the air and ground around them, the shade from trees helps cool the earth’s temperature overall. Trees also help moderate the earth’s rainfall, which also helps keep the temperature cooler. Forests help to make sure we get rain. Trees absorb a lot of water from the soil for nourishment. Later, when the sun shines on the trees, water is released from the leaves and absorbed back into the atmosphere – just like the water is absorbed from our bathing suits. When the sun’s energy removes water from the earth’s surface, the water collects into clouds, and when the clouds are heavy with water they release rain back to the earth.” www.ecokids.ca/pub/eco_info/topics/forests/benefits_of_trees.cfm

Trees serve many functions. They serve the forest, the wider region and the animals. Trees are Giagantic oxygen pumps that are fuelled by free solar energy. They serve much more than just themselves.

Healthiest Way To Gamble

The Healthiest Way to Gamble Is With A Package of Seedshealthiest_way_to_gamble – Don Barrett

Building soil, gathering plants, making connections with other gardeners, harvesting and sharing the bounty, learning to combine seasonal foods are all skills that we can acquire for free.

We can get free food, entertainment and enjoyment every step along the way. There is rarely a day that you will loose your invested time and if something goes wrong, you can bounce back and develop resilience.