in my garden

Permaculture . . . why me?

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Even studying online, students get to answer the usual get-to-know-you classroom questions.

Q. What you want to achieve by doing this course?

Initially, from this course I want to achieve: greater familiarity and understanding about permaculture; how to observe; some proficiency in permaculture design; how to promote and apply permaculture ethics and principles personally, locally and globally.

One of the first of Bill Mollison’s key insights I read was:

“Permaculture is a philosophy of working with rather than against nature; of protracted and thoughtful observation rather than protracted and thoughtless action…”

Which speaks to a bothersome personal consideration… pragmatic motivation behind our move from city working life to a simple, creative rural village lifestyle: health. Aged in our mid 50’s and mid 60’s respectively both myself and G.O. husband have orthopaedic issues which limit the type & duration of physical activities we comfortably manage. We do what we want to do but we need to work smarter not harder.

Practically, from this course I would like achieve an improvement to our property’s water strategy, accomplish more productive use of the property, and ultimately realise a permaculture design across the entire property.

In my garden… needs a plan

Since 2011 I’ve been utilising various social media platforms; a member of online, blogging, Instagram and Facebook communities, sharing thoughts, dreams, ideas, information, inspiration and our journey. The manifesto of my personal blog @daleleelife101 is Live Simple Home Made Grown Local Creative Better.

A long-time supporter of local and farmers markets, after considerable deliberation whether to participate in a selling capacity while despairing of hyper-consumerism, I’ve recently decided to take @daleleelife101 into the real world in the form of a much needed stallholder at our local village markets, primarily to support the community but also as a tangible means to walk my talk… I would like to achieve from this course a productive permaculture garden that contributes useful and inspirational garden produce and seeds excess to our household needs.

Personally, from this course I would like to expand my scope, to become a permaculture advocate.

Foremost, by studying and adopting permaculture practices I aim to follow Mahatma Gandhi’s advice: “Be the change you wish to see in the world.”

“If you give up on trying to change larger structures and just go off on what some would say is a personal indulgence or being a survivalist, it can be seen as incredibly negative or pessimistic. But the other way to think of it is this: through manifesting the way we live and acting as if it’s normal, you’re defending yourself against depression and dysfunction, but you’re also providing a model that others can copy. And that is absolutely about bringing large-scale change…” is reassuring testimony from David Holmgren.

From The Sketchbook Project: How we spend our days is how we spend our lives

from my #witchskitchen . . .

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I’m preparing to launch @daleleelife101 -and myself- as a stallholder into the world of local markets. A long-term patron of local markets… and not so local… we visited our fair share of markets when we travelled around Australia in 2016… for years I have bored the G.O. witless with my to-ing and fro-ing on the possibility of realising my dream of having my own stall. On the one hand there is -I believe- too much gratuitous consumer stuff being thrust at us these days. On the other hand, I derive great satisfaction from creating simple inexpensive household and personal products. Finally it came down to monkey see monkey do: I hope to inspire others ​with my manifesto… ​#LiveSimpleHomeMadeGrownLocalCreativeBetter​.​

#inmykitchen … despite being a fan of recycling, I detest cleaning jars… fortunately I find filling them with a witch’s kitchen of contents irresistible…

​​As soon as we tree-changed from city to country three and a half years ago I began working on our mission statement to… “follow our dream of living simply and creatively” ​by making as many food, household and personal items as my time and talents allow… simple seasonal condiments and preserves, flavoured salts, dried herbs, tea, cleaning products, deodorant, fragrance… some of which as well as plants and seeds will translate to a market stall, and hopefully -time and talent allowing- I’ll be inspired to try my hand at some new creative projects.

After realising another dream -studying Horticulture at Tafe NSW which involved me driving 160 km roundtrip to and from Coffs Harbour twice a week for two and a half years during semester time- I’ve turned my focus to home, studying Certificate IV Permaculture via Tafe NSW Digital… a commitment of additional course hours but no commute, hopefully scope for further creativity.

#inmygarden … I now have my own shed

A multitude of ideas and options crisscross my mind but I keep returning to the intention… keep it real. Other than investing in a small selection of beautiful and reusable amber glass bottles all other bottles and jars are recycled as well as reusable, keeping plastic as much as possible to a minimum.

After I complete a Food Safety Supervision training course in early August, my plan is to begin with the next local Taylors Arm markets, held our lovely old village hall. I’ve persuaded -I hope- a couple of neighbours -a baker and a maker- and maybe the G.O. to have a go as well. Part of the motivation that finally prompted me to act is my wish for a successful & regular village market. More stallholders are needed… be the change you want to see in your community.

“Don’t underestimate the power of your vision to change the world. Whether that world is your office, your community, an industry or a global movement, you need to have a core belief that what you contribute can fundamentally change the paradigm or way of thinking about problems.” Leroy Hood

Taylors Arm village markets in the old hall

“Village life gently swirled around them, with the perpetual ebb and flow of people, scurrying in every direction. The village was a living, organic entity, with blood flowing through its veins, and with a definite pulse and heartbeat. It had its own distinct personality and its own dark caustic humour, and was constantly processing and regurgitating information through its winding, meandering streets.” Leonardo Donofrio, Old Country

small pleasures

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Hello from mid-semester holidays.

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small pleasures: foraged blooms and backyard eggs

My year of studying Horticulture at Tafe is hurtling along. One more term -8 weeks- until I complete Certificate 3, during which time I need to decide what to study next year… Too much of a good thing is wonderful! Despite more than a few aaarrrghhh I’m never going to meet this study-assignment deadline  moments, I love being a face-to-face student, fortunate to find myself in the company of interesting & interested adult learners and talented teachers in an environment encompassing pleasant campus grounds, greenhouses and classrooms.

Day-to-day life continues to be a work in progress. The G.O. and I regularly marvel that we are still refining -but at least improving- the approach to and execution of our #lessismorelife. Although reconciled that many of my pastimes remain in limbo currently usurped by study and [often somewhat pared back] real life, as well as studying I continue to work at crafting a lifestyle which gives more attention to daleleelife101’s social media presence as well as recreational reading, writing and better than ad hoc visits across the blogging community. I have much to show & tell but coalescing it into shareable form remains an elusive art.

On the home-front we have been mostly focussed on the garden, necessarily. We’re two days into October and rain is falling for the first time since our early winter drenching courtesy of Cyclone Debbie in mid-June. When your household relies solely on rainwater tanks, almost 4 months with no rain feels like a very looooong time.

Some time ago when it became apparent record dry & hot temperatures and the forecast lack of precipitation was ongoing we implemented further water conservation measures, including harvesting kitchen sink water to keep the garden alive. In the midst of a dry winter and beginning to spring it has rewarded us with small pleasures.

“… real happiness isn’t something large and looming on the horizon ahead, but something small, numerous and already here. The smile of someone you love. A decent breakfast. The warm sunset. Your little everyday joys all lined up in a row.” ~ Buried Light, Beau Taplin

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small pleasures: shallot blooms
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small pleasures: coriander blooms
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small pleasures: basil blooms
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small pleasures: rocket blooms
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small pleasures: strawberry blooms
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small pleasures: sage blooms
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small pleasures: violet blooms
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small pleasures: wisteria blooms
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small pleasures: early tomatoes
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small pleasures: wasabi lettuce blooms

 

 

on the other side is a rainbow

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My favourite colour is rainbow. It’s also apparently in favour with our home at Taylors Arm, the house of many colours. That the G.O. selected the hues, and painted the walls before I ever thought of setting foot in it gives me a wonderful sense of meant to be. Indeed walking into that house for the first time felt like coming home. I wonder if other people’s homes have favourite colours?

It’s also evident in the garden, which began its existence back in the 1930’s with Ollie & Vin, tended by ensuing caretakers, evolving into hardy but colourful surrounds. At night if I can’t sleep instead of counting sheep, I wander its circuit in my mind.

A walk through the garden last weekend…

our house of many colours

Being absentee householders & gardeners can be challenging but we’re approaching our goal and ticking off projects. Over our summer break as well as the G.O. gifting me & the house for Christmas the set of wall ducks he’d been wanting! we hung yet another retro flower picture and Sheila’s calendar on the kitchen walls, did the usual maintenance and gardening, erected awnings over the west side windows, signed the contract for the shed & carport to be built, and installed a gas stove.

We’re not looking at our house and future full-time life in the country through rose-tinted glasses, we’re fully aware of the realities of our polychromatic plans.

from the air: looking from the coast out to Taylors Arm
from the air: looking from the coast out to Taylors Arm

“Somewhere over the rainbow
Way up high,
There’s a land that I heard of
Once in a lullaby.

Somewhere over the rainbow
Skies are blue,
And the dreams that you dare to dream
Really do come true…” The Wizard of Oz

sweet retreat

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Spider Alert! Arachnophobes before you look too closely at the photos, the mosaic below includes a pic of our kitchen spider… it’s lovely – doesn’t jump, bite or wander about at night – just keeps to itself in the corner. For the brave there are also pics of a wallaby and joey, birds and flowers…

As we do, the G.O. and I escaped Sydney, early this year on a full moon lit Wednesday night and headed to our house in the rural village of Taylors Arm for an Easter break. We knew from experience there’d be cleaning and gardening courtesy of the earlier few months of hot rainy summer. After we attended to business we relaxed and enjoyed a few days of fine Autumn weather.

On Easter Sunday rather than going to church, I listened to the singing from the congregation waft down the hill as I pottered in the garden and wandered around with a camera. The G.O. went off on his motor bike into town and had a cup of tea with his mum while she had a good yarn. Later I relaxed in my usual manner on the verandah futon reading Vohktah by A.C. Flory of Meeka’s Mind on my phone, and hoped to read Dianne Gray’s The Everything Theory but there’s never enough time so I now have a date with it and the futon on our ANZAC long weekend.

Even though the laptop stayed in the city because I couldn’t be bothered dealing with dodgy internet coverage – the aerial connected to new phones finally gives us mobile coverage and 3G data – the WordPress blogging community so much inspires me to know one day I will be able to embrace the “retreat” lifestyle permanently, and invisibly accompanies me… in my: kitchen; garden; weather; insects; wildlife; nature; ideas, food; thoughts; wordsgoals and walks .

Easter is my favourite time of year… and as well as 5 tiny Lindt bunnies for the chocolate loving G.O., ok, 4 tiny bunnies if you count the one I ate, there was an abundance of non-chocolate Easter treats.

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*Wildlife photo credits: the G.O.