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Upcoming Events

On-Farm Permaculture Design Certificate Course, Aug-Nov 2016, Caroola Farm

On-Farm Permaculture Design Certificate

Your pathway to securing a sustainable lifestyle

Part-time Modular course

27 August to 13 November, 2016 (weekends)

Caroola Farm, Mulloon NSW (between Bungendore and Braidwood)

Are you…

  • Wanting to learn more about sustainable land practices?
  • Seeking a lifestyle change?
  • Looking to move to the country?
  • Have land but now what?

 

This course is for you!

Graduates leave this course ready to design and implement permaculture principles into a wide range of scenarios, including their own property. The course is taught both within the classroom (theory) and on-farm environments (practicals) including field trips to working properties.

This course is an accredited by the Permaculture Institute. You’ll receive a certificate which is recognised by all major permaculture certifying bodies and many world-wide universities.

Permaculture is a set of principles guiding sustainable and productive systems for living, architecture, food production, land management and community. No chemicals and no excuses! Just good, thoughtful, innovative and effective design.

Students are invited to bring details of their own sites or potential sites to consider during the course of the program.

Our on-farm permaculture design certificate course enables you to extend your learning by being on a working farm complete with animal systems, working gardens, dams, food forests and more…

Your instructors**: John Champagne, Penny Kothe, Bruce Davidson, Aaren Sorenson, Dan Deighton (more information on your instructors can be found online)                                            ** Subject to change

 

Course topics:

  • Property Design including Patterns and Climate Factors
  • Water and Trees
  • Animal systems
  • Designing for Climate
  • Soil and Earthworks
  • Property Planning

 

Inclusions:

Course notes

Lunch, morning and afternoon tea

 

Course Prices:

Full price: $1890

Early Bird/Member discounts: $1595 (approx. $130 per day) for current PCX members and the first 10 students to book and pay.

Modular: $315 per individual weekend course

Payment options: We recognise that this is a significant investment in your future, please enquire about payment plans if required.

*minimum 12 students required

Bookings essential

Our booking system has moved – please book online here

Part-time Modular Permaculture Design Certificate

This format provides ample time to reflect, digest and apply with six individual weekends over the course of three months.

Dates and details

 August 27 and 28 – Water and trees including planning, capture, water flow and sustainable usage techniques

September 10 and 11 – Soil and Earthworks including soil analysis, composting and earthmoving

September 24 and 25 – Animal systems (large and small) including aquaculture, animal behaviour, needs and requirements

October 8 and 9 – Property Design including Methods of Design, Patterns and Climate Factors

 October 22 and 23 – Designing for Climate with a focus on the temperate climate. Includes all climate zones, property and structural design for climate

November 12 and 13 – Permaculture and Community, including Design Presentations

Students will leave this course confident of designing their own permaculture system. You’ll be supported by a network of professional and like-minded individuals that make up the Permaculture eXchange community.

Prerequisite for this course is a basic understanding of permaculture design, having completed an Introduction to Permaculture Course with Permaculture eXchange or another course provider.

Don’t have time to complete it all in one year? Book in for individual weekends or continue your course in subsequent years with our modular, flexible design. You must complete all modules to receive your Permaculture Design Certificate (PDC).

This is also a great way for those who have earned their PDC to attend specific modules as a ‘refresher’.

All Permaculture eXchange teachers live and work on the land and have a passion for engaging others in what they do. Don’t miss out on this powerful teaching combination.

Want to stay on-farm? Affordable on-farm accommodation is available, including camping and self-contained share and private rooms. Ask us for more info when you book.

Introduction to Permaculture, 13 and 14 August, Caroola Farm, Mulloon

Introduction to Permaculture

With John Champagne

13 and 14 August 2016

Caroola Farm, Mulloon NSW (between Bungendore and Braidwood)

Course inclusions:IMG_0992

  • Origins of Permaculture
  • Definitions
  • Why the need?
  • Ethics of Permaculture
  • Permaculture Principles
  • Natural energy
    • Basics of Ecology
    • Energy Laws
    • Law of Return
    • Terminology
  • Climate and MicroclimateIMG_1275
  • Interactivity
  • Design considerations

Course Price: $300 full price, or be quick for $250 early bird’ price for first 10 students.

Catering: The course will be fully catered with a light lunch, morning and afternoon tea as well as tea and coffee.

IMG_1235What to bring:

  • Yourself
  • A notepad
  • Sunscreen and a hat
  • Closed in shoes

You will learn how permaculture principles can enable you to create a renewable, regenerative growing systems and production methods without the use of synthetic chemicals.

Located on a working permaculture farm, this introductory course will expose you to the principles and systems used in permaculture and will also provide you with the insight into the possibilities of transitioning to a small holding, farm or rural community. It is also the first weekend of a modular series of weekend courses being run by Permaculture eXchange in 2016 that will lead to the completion of your Permaculture Design Certificate (PDC).

You are welcome to attend whether or not you wish to do your PDC, and in fact, it’s a great way to find out if a PDC is for you.

IMG_0462Is permaculture for me?

There are so many aspects to permaculture it can benefit everyone – whether you are starting with 5 square metres or 500 acres!

Connecting with John Champagne and the Permaculture eXchange crew for 2 days of permaculture basics will leave you full of enthusiasm, knowledge and skills ready to roll up your sleeves and get stuck into sustainability projects.

You’ll also be in a prime position to explore and research aspects of sustainable design that may interest you from land regeneration, efficient healthy gardening for yourself or profit, or ultimately building more sustainable community networks like food co-operatives or community garden groups in your local area.

This course focuses on practical implementation as well as the theory behind permaculture, its history, principles and design skills.

Bookings

Our booking system has moved – please book online here

Your instructors

John Champagne

In Australian and regional permaculture circles, John Champagne is one of the principle Permaculture teachers and has been lead teacher on permaculture courses for over 10 years. John’s teaching career has taken him all over Australia and in recent years to South East  Asia where he has taught Permaculture Courses (PDC’s) and workshops in Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia and Cambodia.

John brings to any event the experience of over 20 years of active involvement in the permaculture movement. From private property design and establishment, consultancies, school gardens and eco-village designs, his  activities are well documented.

John is also a Bioregional Strategist and community leader….. weaving permaculture principles into the social domain. John has been the  President of SCPA-South East Producers for 12 years and the co-originator of the South Coast Field Days in 1995. This was Australia’s first showcase event focusing on sustainable landuse and living.

John has been an active member of the national permaculture network, spending 3 years on the Board of Permaculture Australia and is the convener of Permafund, which raises funds for worthy permaculture aid projects in Australia and overseas.

Penny Kothe

Farm Girl (herb and vegetable grower, cook, marketing, research, observation and assisting with larger projects) at Caroola Farm.

Raised in Tumbaruma in the NSW Snowies, then Sydney and later Mudgee and the north coast of NSW. Penny has always wanted to get back to the farm. Coming from a farming family with a great interest in gardening, Penny feels right at home on the open spaces of the farm. Shebecame interested in studying horticulture, then permaculture and holistic management and is continuing to learn and apply these principles each and every day.

Penny completed her PDC with Bill Mollison and Geoff Lawton in 2012 as well as various courses including Forest Gardens, Natural Bee Keeping, Urban Permaculture and Holistic Management. She has recently finished studying a Diploma in Organic Farming and has taught numerous parts of Introduction to Permaculture and Permaculture Design Certificate courses at Caroola Farm.

Penny is involved in many aspects of permaculture and sustainable food related activities in the region, being involved in Permaculture eXchange, on the executive team for SCPA-South East Producers, SCPA Organics, the Vice President of Southern Harvest Association and one of the founding committee members for the Southern Harvest Farmers Market in Bungendore.

On-Farm Permaculture Design Course in Modular format

Part-time Modular Permaculture Design Certificate

This format provides ample time to reflect, digest and apply with six individual weekends over the course of three months.

Dates and details

August 27 and 28 – Water and trees including planning, capture, water flow and sustainable usage techniques

September 10 and 11 – Soil and Earthworks including soil analysis, composting and earthmoving

September 24 and 25 – Animal systems (large and small) including aquaculture, animal behaviour, needs and requirements

October 8 and 9 – Property Design including Methods of Design, Patterns and Climate Factors

October 22 and 23 – Designing for Climate with a focus on the temperate climate. Includes all climate zones, property and structural design for climate

November 12 and 13 – Permaculture and Community, including Design Presentations

Full course information and bookings

Crowdfunding success a clear sign of support for Australian Farmers

Individuals, organisations and communities across Australia have donated over $11,000 to support food producers fined facing stifling regulations on food standards.

Led by the Australian Food Sovereignty Alliance (AFSA) a crowdfunding campaign to raise $100,000 for a Legal Defence Fund will support farmers such as Helen and Mark Tyler of Willunga, SA, fined $17,500 last month for providing raw milk.

The unjust penalty triggered a strong reaction from members of AFSA who claim that government failure to keep up with innovation in small-scale local food production is damaging livelihoods and restricting consumer choice.

The Legal Defence Fund campaign has struck a chord with producers and consumers alike.

“This fund will be great help for all of us in the industry,” commented one donor.

“I feel so frustrated for these farmers and producers and will do all I can to help them get back to producing excellent food,” said another donor.

“It makes me angry that these regulators make it so difficult when they should be there to support and assist.”

The Legal Defence Fund will establish a legal advice hotline to support farmers caught up in a trial by media and fund casework to lobby for legal reform.

“It’s a shame when farmers have to fight their own governments for the right to feed their communities, but that time has come,” said AFSA President and free-range pig farmer Tammi Jonas.

‘’On-farm processing is copping unfair and inconsistent regulation of facilities, and outdated and illogical definitions in local planning schemes.

“Regulation is preventing us from supplying ethical, ecologically-sound, nutritious and delicious food to our communities. “

Recent cases include the enforced closures of Elgaar Organic Farm in Tasmania, and Happy Valley Free Range pig farm in Victoria.

Along with emergency support, the Legal Defence Fund will also provide advice on public and product liability for farms and food producers who sell direct to the public and offer examples of best-practice planning for farmers and local councils.

All funds received will go directly to support farmers and eaters in their efforts to produce and have access to ethically and ecologically grown food.

Donate now

Contact: Tammi Jonas, AFSA President, 0422 429 362

AFSA LAUNCHES $100,000 CROWDFUNDING CAMPAIGN FOR A LEGAL DEFENCE FUND

The Australian Food Sovereignty Alliance (AFSA) is launching a crowdfunding campaign to raise $100,000 to support farmers facing stifling regulation on food standards.

This month the prosecution of Willunga SA dairy farmer Mark Tyler for providing raw milk triggered a strong reaction from members of AFSA who claim that government failure to keep up with innovation in small-scale local food production is damaging livelihoods and restricting consumer choice.

‘It’s a shame when farmers have to fight their own governments for the right to feed their communities, but that time has come,’ said AFSA President and free-range pig farmer Tammi Jonas.

‘On-farm processing is copping unfair and inconsistent regulation of facilities, and outdated and illogical definitions in local planning schemes.

‘Regulation is preventing us from supplying ethical, ecologically-sound, nutritious and delicious food to our communities. ‘

Other recent cases include the enforced closure of Elgaar Organic Farm in Tasmania and Happy Valley Free Range pig farm in Victoria.

The Legal Defence Fund will establish a legal advice hotline to support farmers caught up in a trial by media, and fund casework to lobby for legal reform.

It will also provide advice on public and product liability for farms and food producers who sell direct to the public, and offer examples of best-practice planning for farmers and local councils.

All funds received will go directly to support farmers and eaters in their efforts to produce and have access to ethically and ecologically grown food.

Contact:

Tammi Jonas, President

0422 429 362

 
The Australian Food Sovereignty Alliance 

The Australian Food Sovereignty Alliance (AFSA) is a collaboration of farmers, academics, chefs, organisations, and individuals working together towards a food system in which people have the opportunity to create, manage, and choose their food and agriculture systems from paddock to plate. Our members include peak bodies and local government agencies such as the Melbourne Farmers Markets Association, the Victorian Local Governance Association, and Southern Harvest; leading ecological organisations such as Regrarians, Food Connect, MADGE, Feather & Bone, and Milkwood; and regenerative direct-to-consumer farms such as Buena Vista, Jonai Farms, Milking Yard, Old Mill Bio, Sage, Savannah, and Southampton Homestead.

AFSA recently attended the Asia Pacific Regional Conference of the Food & Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the UN, where support for smallholders to control their value chains, and for agroecological farming systems are priority workstreams.

Our vision is to enable regenerative farming businesses to thrive, free from restrictive outdated regulations that work to protect industrialised farming and food producers. Australians increasingly care about the way their food is produced including its social and environmental impacts, and food produced on small regenerative farms is in unprecedented demand.

With the support of the Australian public, AFSA aims to take back control of the food system from corporate interests and educate our government about what a fair food system looks (and tastes) like.

 

Raising Animals Organically, Wynlen House Braidwood, Sunday 10 July

animalsRaising Animals Organically

(Poultry, Pigs and Sheep)
Sunday, July 10th, 10am to 3pm

Wynlen House, Braidwood, NSW

Ever wanted to know how to raise poultry, sheep or pigs humanely and according to organic principles?

The workshop is designed to introduce you to basic animal husbandry practices particularly humane handling, animal welfare and feeding.

Workshop activities:

Raising Animals Organically

Hands-on workshop will involved:

  • Housing and hygiene
  • Feeding and nutrition
  • Basic healthcare
  • Handling and welfare
  • Manure management
  • Legislative requirements for keeping, transporting and slaughtering

You’ll go away from this workshop with the confidence to care for and manage poultry, sheep, pigs and other livestock so that they provide you and your family with the most delicious meat, eggs, milk and fibre.

What you’ll need to bring:

  • Wear warm clothing for the outdoors
  • Light weight gloves
  • Notebook and pen

 animals 2

Course Price: $175 for the day with a light lunch and tea and coffee provided. Early bird price is $160 ‘early bird’ price for first 3 students.

Course price includes printed notes and a reference list and reference materials

Catering: The course will be fully catered with a wholesome lunch, morning snacks as well as tea and coffee.

 

Bookings:

Our booking system has moved – book online now

Bronwyn 2Your instructor: Bronwyn Richards from Wynlen House Slow Food Farm. Since moving to Braidwood in 2002 she has established an organic four season, slow food farm (cool climate) selling produce and raising farm animals (vegetables and meat) all year to consumers and local restaurants. She has a  also have a strong interest in, organic, sustainable and local food using agricultural systems that have environmental, economic and social outcomes.

Wynlen House  produce is grown using organic and permaculture principles plus lots of loving care, in a small market garden.  The focus is on growing food to be consumed locally, caring where your food comes from; how and where it is grown; and how it is processed, prepared and shared.   This is simple honest food of the highest quality.  It is food with soul and we believe you can taste the difference.

All Season Cool Climate Vegetable Growing, Wynlen House Braidwood, Sun 3 July

veggies 2All Season Cool Climate

Vegetable Growing
Sunday, July 3rd

Wynlen House, Braidwood, NSW

Ever wanted to know how to grow vegies all year around in areas where overnight winter temperatures are often below zero, with regular frosts?

The workshop is designed to help you produce food all year around in challenging climates from your kitchen or homestead garden.

Workshop activities:

All Season Cool Climate Vegetable Growing

veggieHands-on workshop will involve:

  • understanding your climate zone
  • growing in all season
  • bed preparation
  • when and what to plan
  • frost protection
  • weeding and weeding tools
  • intensive planting and other garden practices

You’ll go away from this workshop with some knowledge of the various organic approaches: permaculture, bio-dynamic, biological and gain a basic understanding of these different philosophies. The course aims to provide you with the practical knowledge and skills to produce food all year, from a small backyard plot to a large market garden.

What you’ll need to bring:

  • Wear warm clothing for the outdoors
  • Light weight gloves
  • Notebook and pen

Course Price: $175 for the day with a light lunch and tea and coffee provided. Early bird price is $160 ‘early bird’ price for first 3 students.

Course price includes printed notes and a reference list and reference materials

Catering: The course will be fully catered with a wholesome lunch, morning snacks as well as tea and coffee.

Bookings:

Our booking system has moved – book online now

Bronwyn 2Your instructor: Bronwyn Richards from Wynlen House Slow Food Farm. Since moving to Braidwood in 2002 she has established an organic four season, slow food farm (cool climate) selling produce and raising farm animals (vegetables and meat) all year to consumers and local restaurants. She has a  also have a strong interest in, organic, sustainable and local food using agricultural systems that have environmental, economic and social outcomes.

Wynlen House  produce is grown using organic and permaculture principles plus lots of loving care, in a small market garden.  The focus is on growing food to be consumed locally, caring where your food comes from; how and where it is grown; and how it is processed, prepared and shared.   This is simple honest food of the highest quality.  It is food with soul and we believe you can taste the difference.

Permaculture eXchange transition to Southern Harvest Education

Things are changing here at Permaculture eXchange. After our AGM in February we voted to transition Permaculture eXchange activities into the Southern Harvest Association under the banner of Southern Harvest Education with its own subcommittee.

Permaculture eXchange itself was an Association Member of Southern Harvest and all members were automatically provided benefits. What this means now is that the membership benefits you enjoyed under Permaculture eXchange will be transferred to Southern Harvest.

If you don’t know much about Southern Harvest you can find out more at www.southernharvest.net.au. The Southern Harvest Association is an educational and marketing non-profit incorporated association that covers the Australian Capital Region. It also runs the Southern Harvest Farmers Market in Bungendore.

The courses run by Permaculture eXchange will still be run under Southern Harvest Education, and will in fact be expanded with a focus on growing food producers and backyard self-sufficiency.

Memberships for Permaculture eXchange were due in November, but given these changes we have held off on membership renewals, you will now receive a membership renewal for Southern Harvest which runs until 30 June 2017 (effectively you get 7 months free membership), unless you have paid for your membership between November 2015 and now, in which case your membership will automatically run until 30 June 2017.

It will take us a while to transition websites, facebook and newsletters over, but this note it really so that you are aware of the changes.

If you have any questions about this please email us on education@southernharvest.net.au

Small scale, polycultural farming is the go!

From Regional Voices

In this episode we talk to a truly inspirational woman who shares her story about what it means to roll with the punches and build a thriving farm business from nothing.

Penny Kothe from Caroola Farm on the NSW Southern Tablelands was born on the western side of the Snowy Mountains.  She finished off her schooling in Sydney before working in corporate roles both in Sydney and in Singapore. But the land kept calling and she returned to run a conventional beef farm in 2007.

Life was coasting along nicely for Penny before a devastating and life-changing event drove her to reassess every aspect of her life including her farm business.

Penny took an ailing pony stud and has now created a thriving poly-cultural permaculture farm.

She talks here to Kendi Burness-Cowan about making the change to permaculture and her broader empowering philosophies on life.

 

Listen to the interview here

Local food resilience – why is it important? by Merran Laver

Local food resilience – why is it important?

Southern Harvest Farmers Market – meet the local farmers who grow your food

As interest grows among consumers in sourcing their food from local producers, it is worth looking at resilience in the local food system as one of the many benefits.

The term resilience has roots in the Latin word resilio, which means to ‘jump back’1; and broadly it is defined as a return to an original state. In a food context, resilience is the ability of a community to maintain a certain level of wellbeing by withstanding shocks or stressors to its food security.1 Such impacts might be natural disasters, transportation problems, water shortages and other disturbances that can disrupt the supply of food being brought long distances from other regions or countries. To have at least some level of self-sufficiency in food production provides the local community with security if its broader food supply is disrupted.

A resilient local food system is one that promotes self-reliance and empowerment to provide for a community’s own food needs.2 Food production, processing, distribution and consumption are integrated to benefit the overall health of a particular place – socially, economically, nutritionally and environmentally. Inclusion of the word ‘community’ places an emphasis on strengthening existing, or developing new, relationships between all components of the food system.2

We can look to countries such as the United States for models of local food resilience, and where the literature on this topic is quite extensive. Again, often there is an emphasis on the community’s involvement in their food system. For example, an article from the US Community Food Security Coalition on what a ‘secure and resilient food system’ looks like refers to ‘a condition in which all community residents obtain a safe, culturally acceptable, nutritionally adequate diet through a sustainable food system that maximizes community self-reliance and social justice’.3

Another US source4 refers to community food systems, the key features of which include equity, sustainability, self-reliance, empowerment, and individual and communal wellness. The authors provide a long list of what can be found in a ‘secure and resilient’ community food system, covering issues such as health promotion, business support and employment, consumption of seasonally available foods and strengthening of farm to community connections.

A potential and worthwhile aim of our own region’s food policy and planning is to create a resilient food system. The recent Discussion paper – Towards an ACT Region Food Policy and Food Plan – states that a ‘roadmap’ for all ACT food system stakeholders will be provided to ‘ensure that a resilient food system is achieved’.5 As well as setting a target for 30% of food consumption to be sourced from the ACT Region by 2030, the plan aims to create a resilient ACT food system by:

  • strengthening, and ensuring diversity within, the local food economy to protect the community against potential shocks to the system (eg oil or water shortages); and
  • ensuring food supplies are adequate, accessible, affordable and nutritionally balanced.5

Diversity in the food supply is important in the creation of a resilient local food system. The authors of the Discussion paper believe that: ‘By supporting this local food economy, the food cycle becomes increasingly more multifaceted and less reliant on one sole means of food supply, making the overall system much more resilient’.

In coming issues of The Southern Harvest newsletter, we will look more closely at resilience in our food system, and the roles played by producers, consumers, farmers markets and organisations such as Southern Harvest.

References

  1. Klein, Nicholls, and Thomalla 2003; Understanding Resilience for Food and Nutrition Security. http://www.ifpri.org/ghi/2013/understanding-resilience
  2. E. Mane, L. Alinovi, D. Melvin 2010 Measuring resilience – A concept note. www.fao.org/docrep/013/al920e/al920e00.pHamm and Bellow; What Is Community Food Security? Community Food Security Coalition;  Found at http://www.foodsecurity.org/views_cfs_faq.html
  3. Hamm and Bellow; What Is Community Food Security? Community Food Security Coalition;  Found at http://www.foodsecurity.org/views_cfs_faq.html
  4. Eames-Sheavly, M., J. Wilkins.  A Primer on Community Food Systems: Linking Food, Nutrition and Agriculture, In Discovering the Food System: an experiential learning program for young and inquiring minds. Cornell University, Department of Nutritional Sciences and Department of Horticulture.  Found at http://www.discoverfoodsys.cornell.edu/primer.html
  5. Discussion Paper: Towards an ACT Region Food Policy and Food Plan March 2015

Merran Laver is a freelance writer / editor with an interest in food, nutrition and health. 

merran_laver@fastmail.fm

Introduction to Backyard Chicken Keeping, Canberra, 6 Nov 2016

Eggs

 

Introduction to Backyard Chicken Keeping

Sunday 6 November 2016 8.30am to 4 pm

Growing Vegies with Chooks in the City

36 Pandanus St, Fisher ACT 2611

Dreaming of collecting freshly laid eggs every morning but not sure where to start? This workshop will set you up with all you need to know to feel confident to keep healthy and happy back yard chooks.

mamma chickenDuring this workshop, you will learn how to handle a chicken and to conduct a basic health check. You will see and learn about the different approaches to keeping backyard chickens, considering the design that works best for you and your yard. You will review some commercially made feeding and watering options and learn effective ways for making your own.

This workshop will take place at the home of Leisa and James, where they use chickens to work and fertilize their urban homestead.

Workshop activities:

Backyard Chicken Keeping

Hands-on workshop will equip you with the basics of:

  • Anatomy and life cycle of a chook
  • Monitoring and assess health issues
  • Understanding egg production
  • Feed and water
  • Identify the right housing for your situation
  • Predator protection
  • Starting with chicks or older birds?
  • Different breeds of chickens
  • Roosters

You’ll go away from this workshop confident in your ability to keep chickens safe and healthy

What you’ll need to bring:

  • Comfortable clothing and closed shoes
  • Sun hat, Sunscreen
  • Water bottle

A map of your block, with house orientation will be useful for reflections through the day.

Course Price: $150 for the day. $130 member price plus ‘early bird’ price for first 10 students.

Course price includes Note booklet.

Catering: The course will be fully catered with a wholesome lunch and morning snacks as well as tea and coffee.

Bookings:

There are no products in this group.

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Your instructor:
Leisa Porter is and ecologist and an urban homesteader living on a 700m2 block in Weston Creek, Canberra. Leisa spent her childhood and early adult life in the commercial poultry industry. Since then, she has been keeping a home flock through permaculture principles for close to 20 years. Leisa set up a Mandala system when she lived in Queensland and has experimented with a variety of urban rotation designs in Canberra.

Wicking Beds, by Robyn Diamond, Yass

Making a leftover wicking bed (or two)

Words and photos by Robyn Diamond, Yass

I’m intrigued by wicking beds, and I thought I’d share my first effort at making some. Although I made them on my own, digging compacted soil and shovelling gravel is hard work…find a friend to help you if you can.

wicking1More about how wicking beds work

Step 1: I dug a reservoir, although that’s not necessary if you have enough material to create raised beds that will be deep enough. I wasn’t sure mine would be, so down I went. Boy was it hot work! Dimensions were 2.5m x 1m and about 150mm (6 inches) deep. The bed runs north/south (long sides face east/west), with a screen of red-stemmed wattle on the west to protect from our year-round shocking westerlies and blazing afternoon sun.wicking2

Step 2: I then used some sand left over from a drainage project to level the bottom of the reservoir and create a soft base for the plastic.

Step 3: I created a waterproof reservoir by laying leftover builders’ plastic in the hole (see, it was worth keeping for six years!). I used double thickness just in case, and because it came off the roll like that. I then cut a piece of (you guessed it) leftover slotted ag pipe—bendy plastic pipe with wicking3holes—to size.

Step 4: To create a water inlet pipe, I wrapped a piece of ag pipe with plastic and taped it all up. I found a (leftover) 90 degree downpipe fitting in the garage, and joined the vertical and horizontal pipes together. Then it was time to fill the reservoir with gravel, which (incredibly, I know) was left over from the same drainage project as the sand (but not the ag pipe).

 

Step 5: After doing this all this, my supposedly busy husband wicking4appears and says ‘Why not use this downpipe for the inlet?’ which, of course, had been lying around the garage for six years. So I moved the gravel from around the joined pipes and replaced the black vertical with the white. Voila! Next, I screwed hardwood edging from another bed (which I had replaced with straw bales) to pine posts leftover from something or other. I left the posts tall as I thought they would come in handy one day to support a trellis for climbers or make a mini greenhouse. I then laid some soft woven weedmat over the gravel and half way up the sides (not the shiny indestructible weedmat that lasts for a million years even in full sun) and hoped that the fabric wouldn’t be too closely woven to let water move between the reservoir and the soil. I filled the reservoir with water via the inlet and checked that the water was able to weep out under the timber when the reservoir was full.

wicking5Step 6: I shovelled all the soil back into the bed, trying to put the best topsoil on top. I then emptied several bags of cow manure and spread some straw as a mulch. I fixed the inlet pipe to the timber so it couldn’t be bumped (I didn’t want it separating from the ag pipe below).

 

Don’t you just love before and after shots? Here’s the first bed (at the back) a few months after planting. I built the second bed in the same way as the first.

wicking7The wicking seems to be working, although it’s a bit hard to tell how well as we’ve had quite a bit of rain this summer. I’ve held off watering the corn from above except where I’ve planted a few lettuce and bean seedlings to fill the gaps, just to get them established. I’m also going to add urine to the reservoir…and why not? It will become diluted and the nutrients should wick up with the water.

I just rescued a timber box around 1200mm square and 400mm deep that the local hardware store was tossing out. I’m going to turn it into a wicking bed, although I might need to paint it as it’s untreated pine. I’m also planning to make some more wicking beds when I’m satisfied my first efforts are actually working. Anything to save water and improve plant resilience in our hot summers!

 

Permaculture eXchange newsletter – JAN 2015- Letter from the Chair

 

Happy 2015!

leaHope you all managed to have a break over the holidays and are now looking forward to 2015 and taking your Permaculture journey even further this year…

We at Permaculture eXchange had an awesome 2014! Mostly due to the powerhouse that is Penny Kothe and the team at Caroola Farm, we expanded our range of courses with 17 courses undertaken by over 170 Permie and burgeoning Permie gardeners and farmers.

We also had the immense pleasure of hosting David Holmgren in Canberra for an evening in which David talked us through “Future Scenarios and Solutions” – his solutions-based discussion about creating the world we want, rather than just accepting the one we don’t want.

Permaculture eXchange also expanded our support to like-minded organisations and for a second year participated in the Permaculture exhibit at Canberra’s Floriade.

Our aim in establishing Permaculture eXchange is to provide education and pathways for those wanting to transition to a more sustainable lifestyle on the land. Thank you to everyone who attended our events and courses and helped us move closer to achieving that goal.

Looking to 2015, I’m delighted to have been elected as the Chair of the Executive Committee at our recent AGM. Nick Huggins, a founding member of Permaculture eXchange and Chair for the past two years, decided to step down and give someone else a go. I’ve got big shoes to fill so I’m really grateful that we have some past students of PCX stepping up to serve on the Exec Committee with me. Kristin (Kiki) Day is now Deputy Chair, Michael Bell is Secretary, Robyn Diamond is Public Officer, Colin McLean added Treasurer to his role as Course Manager and Educator, and our two (not-so) ordinary members are Anna Lyons and Penny Kothe. Penny Kothe (when she’s not coordinating or teaching courses, running field days, and generally being the ‘ideas’ person) continues to look after marketing, the website and advertising.

The Exec Committee would like to thank Nick Huggins for his tremendous contribution over the last few years. Nick will remain involved with PCX as an Educator and we look forward to his knowledge and passion in future courses. We will continue to follow Nick’s ever-expanding career in Permaculture with interest!

For those that don’t know me…my husband Colin McLean and I live in Braidwood on 100 acres that we’re slowly converting from over-grazed and compacted pastures into ‘Nunyara Natural Farm’. We chose the indigenous word ‘Nunyara’ as our farm name since it means ‘to make well again’ and that’s what we’re achieving with our little property. (You can read more about our and other Permaculture eXchange member farms on our website ) Last year we added two beautiful Jersey cows to our farm and we are now totally addicted to raw milk, cheese, and yoghurt. (I’ve written an article for this newsletter on the benefits of raw milk to counter some of the misinformation in the press recently – hope you find it interesting…)

Now that we’ve well and truly said goodbye to 2014 and we’ve all had a break, the Permaculture eXchange Exec Committee is back at it and working hard on our 2015 course schedule. Thank you to our members and past students for your feedback on the types of courses you’d like to see. This year we thought we’d mix it up a bit for you and we’ve introduced a new ‘modular’ PDC. Starting in March and spread over 6 (non-consecutive) weekends, our modular PDC features several well-known Permaculture educators presenting different components of the PDC based on their special interest and areas of expertise. It also gives folks who have done an Intro to Permaculture to drop in for weekends only and do a module at a time if they don’t wish to do the entire PDC course. We will also be offering more On Farm Skills workshops, the always popular Forest Gardening course, various ‘homesteading’ workshops (preserving, keeping a family cow, bee keeping, animal husbandry) and a Teaching Development workshop for those with a PDC but seeking guidance to grow as a PDC educator.   We look forward to seeing some familiar and new faces in our 2015 courses! See the website for more details and to book…

If you want to become more involved in the PCX community, I encourage you to check out our Membership offering (Membership link), jump on our Facebook forum and send us your stories (permacultureexchange@gmail.com) to contribute to the newsletter. We’d love to hear from you…

Wishing you all a healthy, happy, and bountiful year!

Cheers,

Lea

 

 

 

Raw Milk: Friend or Foe, Fact or Fiction? by Lea Barrett

 

The death of a three-year-old boy in December 2014, linked to the consumption of unpasteurised bath milk, prompted changes to dairy licences in Australia.

On January 30 the Australian and New Zealand Ministerial Forum on Food Regulation commissioned the Department of Consumer Affairs to create a nationally relevant approach preventing the consumption of raw milk in Australia. To confuse matters, at this same forum, it was also ruled that raw milk cheese produced in Australia could now be sold in Australia (as long as it meets certain criteria).

Recently the Dairy Food Safety Victoria (DFSV) created a new licence to ensure that all dairy products consumed in the state are treated in a manner approved by the regulator with the licensing covering both milk and cosmetic dairy products and allowing joint regulation of the industry.

Victoria is the first state to force producers selling milk for cosmetic purposes, labelled as bath milk, to add a bittering agent to give the milk a distasteful flavour.

Raw Milk DemonstrationThe outcry on both sides of the debate has been huge with the raw milk contingent claiming that Vic Gov made a knee-jerk decision before the coroner’s report on the child’s death was even out and linked it to raw milk. Raw milk dairies are questioning how the Australian and New Zealand Forum can rule against raw milk consumption in Australia when New Zealand allows the sale of raw milk from farm gate. Those on the other side of the debate who believe raw milk is a serious health hazard applaud the changes.

As with many news worthy items, it’s hard to know what’s fact and fiction. With all the controversy raging, I decided to look at the facts, do a bit of research and use my common sense to try to come to an understanding of the issue…

Fact:

-Many healthy nomadic and agricultural societies, dating back as far as 9,000 years, depend on raw milk and raw milk products for their animal protein and fat

-All the healthy milk-drinking communities that Dr Weston A Price studied consumed raw milk, raw cultured milk and raw cheese from healthy animals eating fresh grass or fodder

cows in paddock

– The source of most commercial milk is the modern Holstein, bred to produce huge quantities of milk–three times as much as the old-fashioned cow requiring special feed and antibiotics to keep her well and as such her milk contains high levels of growth hormone from her pituitary gland.

– Studies show:

-children fed raw milk have more resistance to TB than children fed pasteurized milk (Lancet, p 1142, 5/8/37)

-raw milk is very effective in preventing scurvy and protecting against flu, diphtheria and pneumonia (Am J Dis Child, Nov 1917)

-raw milk prevents tooth decay, even in children who eat a lot of sugar (Lancet, p 1142, 5/8/37)

-raw milk is better than pasteurized milk in promoting growth and calcium absorption (Ohio Agricultural Experiment Station Bulletin 518, p 8, 1/33)

-a substance present in raw cream (but not in pasteurized cream) prevents joint stiffness and the pain of arthritis (Annual Review of Biochemistry, 18:435, 1944)

-that children who drink raw milk have fewer allergic skin problems and far less asthma than children who drink pasteurized milk (Lancet 2001 358(9288):1129-33)

 

-Pasteurization was instituted in the 1920s to combat TB, infant diarrhoea, undulant fever and other diseases caused by poor animal nutrition and dirty production methods. However, pasteurization destroys enzymes, diminishes vitamin content, denatures fragile milk proteins, destroys vitamins C, B12 and B6, kills beneficial bacteria, and actually promotes pathogens.

-Raw milk sours naturally but pasteurized milk turns putrid.

-Inspection of dairy herds for disease is not required for pasteurized milk.

-Homogenization is a process that breaks down butterfat globules so they do not rise to the top.

– Raw milk contains butterfat. Average butterfat content from old-fashioned cows at the turn of the century was over 4% (or more than 50% of calories). Today butterfat comprises less than 3% (or less than 35% of calories).

-The marketing of low-fat and skim milk as a health food came about to enable the modern dairy industry to get rid of its excess poor-quality, low-fat milk from modern high-production herds.

-Butterfat contains vitamins A and D needed for assimilation of calcium and protein in the water fraction of the milk. Without them protein and calcium are more difficult to utilize and possibly toxic. Butterfat is rich in short and medium chain fatty acids which protect against disease and stimulate the immune system. It contains glyco-spingolipids which prevent intestinal distress and conjugated linoleic acid which has strong anticancer properties.

Fiction:

-Pasteurisation is required to kill pathogens in raw milk. Not true! Pasteurization destroys enzymes, diminishes vitamin content, denatures fragile milk proteins, destroys vitamins C, B12 and B6, kills beneficial bacteria, and it actually promotes pathogens. And…modern pasteurised milk puts an enormous strain on the digestive system as it passes through the system not fully digested and can build up on the tiny villi of the small intestine preventing the absorption of nutrients.

-Fat is bad for you and we should reduce our intake of fats from animal sources. Not true! Fats from animal and vegetable sources provide a concentrated source of energy and the building blocks for cell membranes. Fats also act as carriers of fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K. Dietary fats are also needed for the conversion of carotene to vitamin A and for mineral absorption.

-Adult humans are naturally lactose intolerant and should not drink milk. Not entirely true! Some people are lactose intolerant because they lack intestinal lactase, an enzyme that digests lactose (milk sugar). Others are lactose intolerant due to overuse of anti-biotics and some are actually not lactose intolerant but are allergic to the milk protein casein. The process of fermenting (souring) milk is found in almost all traditional groups that keep herds and this process breaks down lactose and predigests casein making the end product well tolerated and good for you!

-Raw milk is responsible for salmonella outbreaks and e.coli. Not true! All recent outbreaks of salmonella in the USA have occurred in pasteurised milk, not raw milk.

Common Sense:

I’ve been drinking soy milk for years, thinking that I was lactose intolerant because when I drank supermarket (pasteurised) milk, ate processed cheese or supermarket ice cream, after a day or two I felt bloated, lethargic and would get a stuffy nose! Then in 2007 I took a cheese making course. I made a bit of cheese from supermarket milk and felt the same way so I gave up on the cheese-making thinking I was lactose intolerant – so what’s the point, right? A couple of years ago, I met some folks that had Jerseys and raw milk. Sue’s cheese was BEAUTIFUL and didn’t make me feel bloated or lethargic. So I decided to give the cheese-making another go using raw milk. And in the meantime, I started making kefir yoghurt. Both the cheese and yoghurt made me feel GREAT. So I started drinking the raw milk. Now, raw Jersey milk is like a vanilla milkshake to me…creamy, smells ‘fresh’ and absolutely delicious.   And the fetta, ricotta, and camembert cheese from raw milk was WONDERFUL. No bloating, no lethargy – and the soreness in my joints that had been creeping up on me went away.

So last year, I acquired two lovely Jersey cows (Molly and Mel). Molly is a 4 year old full Jersey and Mel is an 18 month old Fresian cross. We’ve been milking Molly since August last year. With my very own raw milk (on tap!) I started consuming more of it – straight from the cow or fermented as kefir yoghurt and I have been making raw milk cheeses. No signs of being lactose intolerant or allergic to casein at all.

Molly and Mel

Molly’s now in calf, due to calve in March and therefore we dried her off in January to rest her rumen and allow her to make colostrum for her calf. Without Molly’s milk, my joints started to feel stiff and sore again so I bought some full cream (pasteurised) Jersey milk from the supermarket. IT’S JUST NOT THE SAME. To me, it tastes slightly ‘off’ compared to Molly’s fresh milk but more importantly, the bloating, lethargy and stiff, sore joints are back.

So what have I learned?

My common sense conclusion from this is that raw Jersey milk is GOOD for ME. And there’s something going on in the pasteurised milk that is NOT.

Treat the cow with respect and she will repay you with beautiful, fresh, healthy milk (whilst mowing and manuring your grass!). Graze her on diverse pasture with mineral supplements to make sure she’s getting all the goodness she needs and the milk will taste wonderful.

The milking process has to be hygienic. Use a milking machine, clean it regularly and decant from stainless steel milking pails to sterilised glass bottles (not plastic). Refrigerate it immediately (unless you want to intentionally sour it for yoghurt or clabber!)

Educate friends! (No, they cannot pick up their milk and drive home with it in the back of the ute on a cool day. Yes, they must clean and sterilise their milk jars.)

Frankly, I would rather go without milk than drink anything other than raw milk. It’s as nature intended.

Plain and simple and full of goodness!

 

Sources:

www.realmilk.com

‘Nourishing Traditions’, Sally Fallon with Mary G Enig, Ph.D.

 

 

A white Christmas: a chance to observe and share by Robyn Diamond

snow-lake

 

A recent ‘white Christmas’ trip to Switzerland with my husband and two older teenage daughters, while giving us a great holiday, also gave me a chance to think about how food is produced in that spectacular country.

Given the time of year and a family in tow I didn’t have the chance to visit farms or catch up with permaculture practitioners. But I was able to observe as we travelled around and, along with some research on returning home, this is what I found.

Water is never far away

Snow, ice, rivers, lakes—you name it, you are never far from water in Switzerland. Although rainfall varies by region, some parts receive up to 2600mm precipitation per year, mostly in the warmer months. But reliable snow in Switzerland is not guaranteed—when we arrived a week before Christmas many of the ski fields were closed due to a lack of snow. Fortunately for us it started snowing heavily on Christmas Day.

Above: Snow at Murten, with lake in background. Switzerland’s lakes were crystal clear and put most of our waterways, with their litter and turbidity, to shame. Photo: Richard Diamond

Growing

The majority of land not taken up for housing or commercial use, or reserved as conservation areas, is farmed. The best land is farmed intensively, often growing tree and vine crops that have been grown for many hundreds of years in the same place. Lines of closely planted fruit trees espaliered on wires were common. The stunning region of terraced vineyards on the northern shore of Lake Geneva has such historic and cultural value, dating from the 11th century, it is listed as a World Heritage Area. Soil protection and water movement (above and below the surface), especially in heavy rain, must be a fine art in such a fragile location and I’m sure we could learn from their designs and practices.

terraced-vineyardsPhoto: The World Heritage Listed terraced vineyards of Lavaux, Lake Geneva, Switzerland. Swiss trains are the best! Photo: Robyn Diamond

Another practice rarely seen in Australia but common in Europe is that of pollarding trees, where upper branches are removed to promote a dense head of foliage and branches. Each stem terminates at its top with a club-like swelling called a pollard head. Pollarded trees tend to live longer because they are maintained in a partially juvenile state and do not have the weight and wind stress of the top part of the tree. The original practice provided stock feed and firewood, but these days it’s generally done to control tree size in urban areas.

It’s possible to pollard eucalypts and other native trees to manage the tree shape and size (a big issue in Australian urban areas), and provide firewood and juvenile foliage for floristry—but most online references to pollarding eucalypts seem to be outside Australia. Perhaps this is something that urban tree managers could consider in preference to removing large eucalypts? And if your permaculture design is restricted by year-round shade, perhaps pollarding (or even coppicing) could be an option.

pollarded-treesPhoto: You can imagine the dense leafy shade these plane trees provide during summer. Seyssel, France. Photo: Robyn Diamond

Chocolate and cheese

Switzerland is famous for its chocolate and cheese, both of which depend on high quality fresh milk. I saw almost no livestock in paddocks on our trip—cattle and other livestock are kept indoors in barns over winter. Each farm seemed to have a barn, most of which looked old but well kept, and many of which were attached to the farmhouse. From late spring to autumn, dairy cows are herded progressively up to higher mountain areas to graze the pastures while the farmers make hay in the valleys for winter fodder. I don’t know what happens to all the manure produced in the barns during winter—but now I’m curious to find out.

barnsPhoto: Every farm seemed to have a barn, like this one in the far right of the photo. There were very few fences even between properties; imagine the time and money that’s saved. Photo: Richard Diamond

We visited a Swiss chocolate factory. Naturally. But I was interested to learn about the milk used to make the chocolate. Chocolate production started in the small village of Broc (near Gruyères, famous for its cheese) in 1898 due to the surrounding area providing some of the highest quality milk in Switzerland. Fifty-six dairy farms within a 30km radius of Broc now supply the factory on long-term contracts, and all the farmers are known personally by the milk buyer. I can say that the chocolate we tasted was sublime.

gruyeresPhoto: The rich countryside around Broc and Gruyères supports dairy farms that provide milk for chocolate and cheese production. Photo: Robyn Diamond

 

Sharing

Our trip was a bit different to the average European holiday. We were fortunate enough to land a house sit in a beautiful renovated farmhouse in not far from Lake Geneva. Our hosts went on holiday while we looked after their two dogs and gerbil for two weeks, walking the dogs in the forest every day and keeping the house clean. In return we were given free accommodation (two guest bedrooms and a bathroom), the use of a car, and three days in our hosts’ apartment in the alps over Christmas. They were very welcoming and we greatly appreciated their generosity.

We found this opportunity through a house sitting website and I can recommend this way of travelling both within Australia and overseas—it’s a wonderful way of sharing. And we found a gem of a house sitter to look after our place while away. Perhaps we could start a permaculture house sit website?

Following the house sit, we hired a car and visited Turin and France, staying in affordable apartments found on a well-known B&B website and in the process meeting some lovely locals. The produce markets in Turin, even in the middle of winter, were astounding. We spent ages ogling the cheeses, salamis, breads, fruit and vegetables at Turin’s Porta Palazzo Market, the largest outdoor market in Europe. Many of the city’s cobbled streets and piazze were also lined with fresh food markets.

Winter in Europe is a different experience from a summer visit, especially for sun-baked Aussies. We wrapped up warm and soaked up the history, culture, architecture and landscape. And of course we made the most of the food and shopping.

Permaculture catches on in Switzerland

 

 

 

 

 

Local Permaculture Earthworks Specialist Available

Garden Gnome, now providing Permaculture specific earthworks to our surrounding communities.

About Gordon the Garden Gnome
I have recently completed my Earthworks ticket through CIT.
I am a permaculture graduate. (I studied with Geoff Lawton.)
I also completed his Permaculture Earthworks Course.

I have driven bob cats and backhoes throughout my 10+ year career in landscaping.

I seek to further myself as a Permaculture Earthworks Specialist. 

If you're looking for a local permie to help you out with earthworks, contact Gordon on thegardengnome42(at)gmail.com

Working with Nature, a bushcraft experience – 22 and 23 Nov 2014

“Working with Nature, a bushcraft experience”
Saturday 22nd and Sunday 23rd of November 2014

Join skilled local makers, Richard Jermyn, Jeff Donne and Di for two jam-packed days of hands-on practical woodcrafts, wood turning, spoon carving and basket weaving.

Discover the deep satisfaction of working with your hands using long forgotten ways, human powered tools, and an unwavering respect for
nature.

Throughout the weekend in the bush skills learning camp we will have several project stations set up where you can try your hand at spoon
and pot making using a foot powered wood lathe, basket weaving using Aboriginal weaving techniques, and greenwood construction with the building of a water tank stand. Participants can stay as long or as little time at each station to satisfy curiosity and experience.

Your home for the weekend will be a bush camp in the beautiful stringybark forest of Gaia Range Farm in Bemboka. The event will be
fully catered with local and delicious food cooked on the open fire by the Spicy Jam team. Saturday night will be a treat with a special bush
dinner under the stars followed by stories and laughs around the campfire.

The all-inclusive cost is $150 per person. For more information and to book a spot, call Massi on 0423 786 488 or email to
cadutamassi00@gmail.com

First steps to healing the land

Kristin Day

Kristin Day

Kristin Day’s property won’t be the easiest permaculture project, but with her first steps she’s already seeing the difference she can make.

Kristin and partner John live on 130 acres east of Tarago in the NSW southern tablelands. Much of the property is covered with native vegetation which they want to protect. But because the house is toward the top of a dry, north-facing, thickly vegetated hill, fire protection is also front of mind for them.

Average annual rainfall – 600-800mls
Maximum temperature: 40°C
Minimim temperature: -10°C

Healing the land

Although Kristin did her first permaculture course just a year ago, she has been a qualified herbalist and holistic healer for26 years. With a permaculture design certificate now under her belt, she feels more confident in making improvements to her property while retaining the essence of the place that attracted them.

Kristin’s is aiming for a green and productive zone around the house. Her vision is for a forest garden supporting both perennials and annuals. She particularly wants chemical-free herbs and other plants to support her growing holistic healing and education enterprise.

First design

Like many students of permaculture, Kristin found her first permaculture design a challenge. And as it was her own place she had difficulty stepping back and taking an objective view. However, once she put pencil to paper to apply what she’d learned, she produced a design borne out of the knowledge one can only get from living there.Her main problem was the slope—almost all rain ran off, often taking soil with it. The cleared area around the house had long since lost its thin topsoil, leaving rock and sand with little organic matter. If she could slow the water down, she could start to rebuild the soil.

Getting started

Mulched raised vegetable bed.

The vegetable beds trap water as it flows down the slope.

Wanting to get started, Kristin dug two swales by hand—one above the house and one below. It took a long time and was back-breaking work in the hard ground. She also dug diversions across the gravel driveway to move the water to the side and slow it down. She wouldn’t dig swales by hand again, it was simply too physically hard. She plans to bring in an earthmoving contractor to do the rest of the earth shaping.

Next came the vegetable garden, which had been in an exposed, dry spot near the house—convenient but not very successful. Based on her permaculture plan she moved things to a more protected location in a natural drainage line. She dug shallow trenches across the hill, heaping the soil on the lower side. This gave rain and irrigation water a chance to soak in.

She then manured and mulched everything she’d dug, and filled the swales and vegetable bed trenches with tree chippings from local contractors who had been clearing under powerlines.

On the swale behind the house she’s planted herbs, and below the swale are a mulberry, loquat and pomegranate under planted with buddleia, lavender and globe artichoke for insect attraction and mineral mining, and inter-planted with tagasaste for nitrogen fixing. Then she spread green manure seeds on the ground, which has formed a bright green ground cover and which she will mulch over or mow before the plants flower in spring.

Kristin is a keen composter and worm farmer. She has plenty of dry carbon-rich organic matter on the property, and collects green leaves and trimmings from a greengrocer in Goulburn to add to the mix.

Polypipe with drippers is laid across the top of the compost bins

Compost is kept moist using a drip system.

With more water, organic matter and nutrients now on site, improvement to the soils on and below the vegetable garden and swales have become obvious after only a few months.

A greenhouse is under construction behind the house.

Plans

For the next stage of her permaculture plan, Kristin is going to move her hens so they are housed upslope of the vegetable garden—at the same time protecting the garden from their scratching. Nutrients from the hens’ manure will move downhill and benefit the vegetables. Her hand-dug swales have been so successful she also plans to extend the existing swales and create new ones—using machinery this time.

Another idea is to use the water pumped up from a lower dam to a tank above the house. She uses it now, but wants to let gravity do the watering by piping it down to the garden and letting it soak in. This wouldn’t work without the water-slowing initiatives she’s undertaking.

Lots of worms wriggling

Worm castings add nutrients and organic matter to the soil.

Work has already started on improving some land below the house for a more extensive food forest. The area lies in a natural drainage line so will also get the swale treatment to slow water flow. The greener forest should have a protective effect in a bushfire.

A pond in the front yard will be constructed at the end of another swale on the north west of the house, providing edible water plants and cooling winds on hot summer days. Nut trees planted in the front of the lower swale at the north east end of the house yard will provide food and shade.

A wind break at the north west of the house yard ( where the prevailing winds come from), again using swales, will help create microclimates and increase humidity near the house, particularly in summer.

House Cow Field Day at Appin Homestay, Appin NSW, July 27th 9am-3.30pm

Appin is just 1 hour and 15 min from Sydney. $150 per person includes morning tea, delicious lunch and all of the below. It’s run by Kevin and Sue Fenton who own Appin Homestay and the prettiest, calmest herd of Jersey cows you will find! I’m buying my beautiful Jersey cow, Molly, from them. They are delightful and really love their cows and Sue is a great cook. Don’t’ miss it! Lovely day out for you Sydney day trippers… plus anyone who is interested in owning their very own house cow. Kevin breeds them calm and quiet from babies so they’re easy to milk.

9.00 – 9.30 ~ Registration
9.30 – 11.00 ~ Session 1 ~ The cow
Selecting the best cow for you
• Feeding & digestive system
• Health & welfare
• Reproduction
11.00 – 11.30 ~ Morning tea
11.30 – 1.00 ~ Session 2 ~ Paddock, yards and bails
• Pasture management
• Fences (including electric), ramps and yards
• Milking bails
• Headlocks, handling & restraint
• Milking machine ~ principles and maintenance
1.0 0– 2.00 ~ Light Lunch
• Home dairy equipment and products
2.00 – 3.30 ~ Session 3 ~ Milking and Animal Husbandry
• Milking frequency and calf management
• Hand and machine milking
• Practical animal husbandry skills

Contact Sue Fenton on:

Working with Nature, part 1. Basics of timber and tools, a bushcraft experience.

Gaia Range Farm

A woodcraft workshop with Richard Jermyn and Jeff Donne on the 3rd and 4th of May, at Gaia Range Farm, Bemboka.

A unique weekend discovering the deep satisfaction of working with your hands using long forgotten ways, human powered tools, the beautiful grain in the wood and a philosophy that has at its heart an unwavering respect for nature.

Fascinating demonstrations, safe instructions, inspiring bush walks recognising different useful plant species, skills competitions and naturally powered green woodturning lathe techniques will all unfold during a weekend of working as a group to build a surprisingly useful pole structure and a piece of communal furniture fit for a king.

bush-man

Times: 9 am. to 5 pm. both days.

Price: $230 earlybirds (until the 18th of April), $250 full price. Be quick only 12 students.

Catering: the course will be fully catered with organic meals. Bring your own camping gear.

For booking or more information, please contact Massi at
cadutamassi00@gmail.com or call 0423786488.

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