seachange

Permaculture . . . can we fix it yes we can

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“Starting a garden without a design will end in tears as surely as starting a renovation project without a plan. The design should answer questions about sun and shade, wildlife, proximity and access, water, organic matter and nutrient cycling, local seasons, crops, and weather. The answers will be different in every situation but the principles are the same.” Linda Woodrow

By the end of my year of studying Certificate IV Permaculture study via Tafe NSW Digital online I will have created a permaculture design, thus the final get-to-know-you assignment question…

Q. Describe the property you are planning on doing your permaculture design. Are you doing doing a rural or an urban design?

Our 1930’s house

I’m planning on doing an urban permaculture design; applying it to our 822 sqm residential block in the hinterland village of Taylors Arm located in the Nambucca Valley on the Mid North/Coffs Coast of NSW.

We have water storage but we need rain

Our three-bedroom house was constructed in the 1930’s of asbestos fibro, corrugated iron roof, with wide verandahs oriented north-east, 1980’s HardiPlank weatherboard addition, and recent garage and two carports.

Bee and butterfly friendly Velvet Groundsel and some potted plants

The yard is planted with several existing gardens and a variety of trees and shrubs: a mixture of inherited planting; our own, low maintenance bird-bee-butterfly habitat intended to survive our absence and passively cool the house; the remainder is mowed grass.

Out the back

The property has a north east aspect and the block slopes gently down to the north west.

Bureau of Meteorology Climate Zone: Subtropical, distinctly dry winter.

Australia Building Codes Board Climate Zone: 2, warm humid summer, mild winter.

Köppen Climate Classification: Cfa – humid subtropical.

The native soil profile of the block comprises a significant C horizon predominantly ridge gravel, B horizon of clay, with a thin A horizon and a bare O horizon

Our water supply comes via the sky and all roof areas into 4 rainwater tanks holding approximately 36000 litres/8000 gallons, although in a water emergency we have infrastructure to pump from the adjacent river via a neighbour’s line.

Caged vegetable garden

Our water use is conservative and we reuse as much water as we practically can: toilet, bathroom sink and shower waste water is directed into a septic tank; an occasionally-used bathtub runs into the front garden, washing machine water is hooked up to a hose and sprinkler in the front yard; kitchen sink water is diverted into two 20 litre containers used daily to hand water the vegetable and herb garden.

Hand watering

When we returned after our 2016 travels to live here permanently, we built a 28 sqm vegetable garden cage in the backyard -because dog, possums, bandicoots, birds- with inground planting areas and raised beds which were filled with media we created by combining soil from the neighbouring vacant field, straw, newspaper, Dinofert Organic Fertiliser and composted organic material.

Common area

In 2017 we began sharing a flock of chickens with our neighbour. Their coop is in the back corner of her yard, which we access via a common area at the rear of the properties where we have also built a compost pile, maintain an intentionally biodiverse weedy-scrubby bird-bee-butterfly belt as well as mowed grass area which gives us access to the nearby churchyard where I collect straw for the chicken coop after its grass has been slashed.

Gathering straw

Recently we constructed from recycled materials a compact glass house/potting shed so I have a place to start seedlings, propagate and grow year-round.

Glasshouse-potting shed

“Permaculture is that art of the possible.”
~Graham Bell, ‘The Permaculture Garden”

What do you think? Thoughts and suggestions welcome.

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

What have you achieved, or do you hope to achieve through permaculture?

Permaculture . . . a selection of freely shared resources

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Before I committed to my year of online Certificate IV Permaculture study via Tafe NSW Digital, permaculture and I had a getting-to-know-you period thanks to a wide selection of freely shared online resources.

Watch

Permaculture Masterclass: A Four-Part Series, Geoff Lawton

The Pocket-Sized Patch, Gardening Australia

My Garden Path – Hannah Maloney, Gardening Australia

Permablitz on Gardening Australia

More Than A Garden, Gardening Australia

Listen

Formidable Vegetable (check out their music clips on YouTube)

Wiki Who’s Who

David Holmgren

Sepp Holzer

Robyn Francis

Masanobu Fukuoka

Toby Hemenway

Geoff Lawton

Bill Mollison

Other resources in no particular order…

Permaculture Principles, David Holmgren – Free downloads

Retrosuburbia, preview and resources, David Holmgren

Permaculture Research Institute

Permaculture, Self Sufficiency and Sustainable Living Books

Permaculture Fundamentals, Permaculture Mindmaps

Geoff Lawton Online

Soil and Health Library, free downloadable books

Milkwood

Permaculture College Australia, Djanbung Gardens

Tagari Publications, permaculture resources

Holmgren Design, permaculture resources

Toby Hemenway, Permaculture Resources and References

Toby Hemenway, Reading List

Candlelight Farm Permaculture, Ross Mars

Permaculture Association, Top Ten Permaculture Books

Graham Bell, Changing the world one day at a time

The Witches Kitchen, Linda Woodrow

Permaculture Ideas – One Straw Revolution, Masanobu Fukuoka

“Sitting at our back doorsteps, all we need to live a good life lies about us. Sun, wind, people, buildings, stones, sea, birds and plants surround us. Cooperation with all these things brings harmony, opposition to them brings disaster and chaos.” ― Bill Mollison, Introduction to Permaculture

Hold the world
From The Sketchbook Project: Hold the world you know carefully cradled in your hands

Disclaimer: daleleelife101.blog is a personal blog. Where I share resources and links I’m doing so subjectively, rather than as endorsement, and I receive no cash or kind benefits from doing so. Any material contained in this blog has been prepared without taking into account the reader’s objectives, situation or needs but with the best of intentions to entertain. Before acting on any material in this blog I recommend the reader consider whether it is appropriate for the reader’s particular circumstances. I do not accept liability for any errors, omissions or inclusions in the contents. If this blog contains reference to anything at all, I recommend the reader take into account their own thoughts, feelings & all possible outcomes before making any decisions or taking any actions, deliberate or unintentional, as a result of reading this blog.

What are some great permaculture resources you’ve found?

Permaculture . . . what’s the attraction?

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Permaculture Flower

What is permaculture, you ask, as I did and found out it wasn’t what I thought it was, but more.

Permaculture is a word originally coined by Bill Mollison and David Holmgren in the mid 1970’s to describe an “integrated, evolving system of perennial or self-perpetuating plant and animal species useful to man.”  ~ holmgren.com.au

However, befittingly, permaculture and therefore the definition of what it is, is ever evolving.

A fortnight ago I began my year of online Certificate IV Permaculture study via Tafe NSW Digital. Studying online, I discovered, involves a lot of writing. Fortunately, I like writing, and it’s one of the things I missed having time to do over the past couple of years while I commuted to and attended face-to-face horticulture classes at Tafe NSW. During that time I shared snippets of my horticulture studies experience pictorially via daily Instagram posts.

This year of study, I think, might lend itself to some blog posts… if you would like to follow my permaculture journey.

My classroom at home… Certificate IV Permaculture online study via Tafe NSW Digital, 2019

The first get-to-know-you assignment question…

Q. What attracts you to permaculture? You can also mention how you found out about permaculture and what permaculture experience you have had if you like.

A. After living and working fulltime in Sydney for the decade it took us -husband and me- to be financially prepared, living as sustainably as you can in a rented one bedroom apartment in a concrete neighbourhood immediately adjacent to a train line in the inner-west outskirts of the inner-city 2.5 kms from the CBD… keeping the faith by diligently supporting farmers markets and practising living lightly, connecting with and being informed and inspired by many like-minded people, travelling back and forth -1000 km roundtrip- on public holiday long weekends and summer vacations to our small residential property in a rural village on the Mid North/Coffs Coast… three and a half years ago we tree-changed to live there fulltime with the intention of being as self-reliant as possible.

After taking a holiday break when we travelled around Australia in 2016, I began studying fulltime in 2017 while looking for a new direction; following a dream to live simply, creatively, have a garden, and study horticulture but unsure where the direction would lead me.

I completed Certificate II Horticulture in June 2019, Certificate III Production Horticulture in 2018 and Certificate III Horticulture in 2017 at Tafe NSW, Coffs Harbour Education Campus.

A long-time follower of online media: websites; e-newsletters; social media; any sort of information and communication, I had gleaned a perception of commodified – buy this book, pay to attend that course- permaculture… somewhat misconstrued as it turns out.

The actuality of permaculture as a philosophy and available every-person liveable culture became apparent after not too much research when a deeper interest was piqued upon serendipitous discovery of its offering as a Tafe NSW online course; the list of course units hinting there was more to permaculture than I had believed… beginning with design.

What I discovered was both broader and more nuanced than I had understood before my further reading revealed permaculture’s concertina-like scope confers it traction in every context of day-to-day life, and the personal revelation that permaculture is holistic and inclusive of what I had considered were my assorted interests – environmental sustainability & stewardship, resource and land conservation, regenerative horticulture & agriculture, organics, biodynamics, gardening, living sustainably, local community- but offers much more: not a counterculture but an egalitarian toolkit.

“One of the most important things about permaculture is that it is founded on a series of principles that can be applied to any circumstance—agriculture, urban design, or the art of living. The core of the principles is the working relationships and connections between all things.”
― Juliana Birnbaum Fox, Sustainable Revolution: Permaculture in Ecovillages, Urban Farms, and Communities Worldwide

Certificate II Horticulture at Tafe NSW Coffs Harbour Education Campus, Feb – June 2019
Certificate III Production Horticulture at Tafe NSW Coffs Harbour Education Campus, 2018
Certificate III Horticulture at Tafe NSW Coffs Harbour Education Campus, 2017

What attracts you to permaculture?

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

thoughts from the wee small hours . . .

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Time moves on, things change… this I have always known but several years into living the reality of my long-dreamed aspirations it’s apparent there are certain matters I need to take stock of. Thoughtfulness around such things takes the opportunity of early morning serenity. My contemplations in the early hours of this morning included…

Sleep vs creativity. Today’s writing is a comfortable and familiar muscle memory exercise of fingers on keyboard beginning at about 4.30 am to exorcise thoughts which had been eddying since 2.30 am. Perhaps finally an opportunity after several years of catching up on and enjoying more sleep than our city-working lives allowed to persuade my body on an ongoing basis that the wee small hours are a propitious time for peaceful creative endeavours.

Wee small hours
Collecting my thoughts from the wee small hours

Pickles. It’s almost show time: back in the day of my city office job and long hours communing with my own thoughts, one of my cherished dreams was firstly, learn to make; secondly, enter a jar of pickles in our local country show; and ultimately win first prize… of course. Several Macksville Shows have come and gone since I began pickle making, circumstances conspiring to delay the dream’s fruition: the pickles were all eaten; we were out of town; the pickles were made outside the cut off date. I have a cupboard full of Choko pickles I made last week. However, I admit to myself, the dream has died… it is enough that I enjoy the process of making something out of almost nothing and that my family and friends enjoy eating them.

Choko pickles
Homemade Choko pickles, I declare you a winner in my household

Wellbeing. While I manage my blood sugar issues well enough, yet again my body is struggling with old foes psoriasis and candida. After recent flareups I stumbled upon research that suggests there may be a connection between all three. The resultant tumbleweeds of investigations via a plethora of online sources roll around in my head*. I am long familiar with their respective natures. Environmental and dietary mould, fungi and their host conditions are not my friends. I’m loathe to exorcise too much of anything from my life… everything in moderation is my motto. However, accomplishing an effective balance isn’t easy. Certain things I’m very fond of such as sourdough, pickling, baking, mushrooms, cheese, wine are moot. More research. Sigh.

Sauerkraut kit
Dabbling in sauerkraut… moot

Dad. My seventy-six-year-old Dad’s health challenges of the past few years continue. A week on from his recent Easter long weekend visit with us he looms large in my contemplations. In my head, I know most likely it is what it is but in my heart I wish there were magic words I could say to kindle the lifestyle changes he needs to and could make if the incentive was preferable to the status quo. Sometimes I feel too far away, other times not far enough.

Dad on our verandah
Dad enjoying the sun on our verandah with the G.O.

Blog. My writing-blogging crisis of confidence -exacerbated by innumerable demands on my time- continues. Does the world need my thoughts in long form… does our oversubscribed culture need more of anything? Many of my longstanding blogging community are absent, sporadic and/or moved on to other creative projects and/or migrated to the immediacy and brevity of alternative social media offerings.

Page from Sketchbook Project
Other creative endeavours… a page from my Sketchbook Project

Big. Corporate, Food, Pharma, Chemical, Agriculture, Government… Have you watched Stink? Have you listened to this ABC Conversations podcast interview with Beth Macy author of Dopesick: Dealers, Doctors, and the Drug Company that Addicted America? Do you worry about pesticides in food? Despite being as diligent as our time and means allow, the G.O. and I are increasingly chemical sensitive, and disheartened about the welfare of our environment.

Sourdough
I worry about Glysophate and wheat…

Cupboard. My latest project which goes some way to explaining the aforementioned innumerable demands on my time.

Cupboard
The cupboard project… rescued from the neighbour’s wood shed, stored under our house, ready for a clean up today

And, ever-present… will the photography course I enrolled in last semester then cancelled by Tafe be offered for the later part of this year… will I be able to continue with my studies… if not, what will I do with my time… life… in the vege garden, if the Elephant Garlic doesn’t shoot should I plant beetroot?

Garden
In my garden…

“Morning is wonderful. Its only drawback is that it comes at such an inconvenient time of day.” ― Glen Cook, Sweet Silver Blues

*Links re Candida, Psoriasis, Diabetes, Metabolic Syndrome:
https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/323744.php
https://www.physiciansweekly.com/psoriasis-metabolic-syndrome/
https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/323561.php
https://www.healthline.com/health/psoriasis-and-candida
https://commonsensehome.com/candida/
https://www.inspire.com/groups/talk-psoriasis/discussion/its-candida-if-you-have-psoriasis-stop-and-read-this/
https://www.organiclifestylemagazine.com/cure-psoriasis-by-killing-candida
https://www.amymyersmd.com/2018/01/eczema-skin-issues-dandruff-may-bigger-problem-think/

wabi-sabi

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While my daleleelife101.blog has been somnolent I have been gently expunging from my self any disquiet lingering from a bout of self-imposed obligation that in order to be part of the blog-world I must write something… anything… on a regular basis. Although possibly blog-worthy thoughts -and some words- came, they never fell into place at the quite the right time.

kitchen window
Thoughts come… and go, at the kitchen sink.

However, remaining an interested blog follower, reader and commenter; perceiving winds of change I wonder might I have been an early adopter in a drift -at least among some of us who have personal rather than commercial blogs- away from obligatory posting and commenting to a kinder life-centred approach. And so, feeling absolved and a lot more relaxed, a few words – enough- have come just in time to write a footnote for 2018.

closing the gate
Closing the gate on horticulture studies, for now.

Similar in many ways to 2017, 2018 has been a productive year. Literally, because I followed my first year of Horticulture study at Tafe with a more hands-on focus year of Production Horticulture study. Don’t ask me why… the best answer I could supply is my brain enjoys absorbing the subject matter and my body appreciates applying it in outdoor environs despite sometimes being a bit worse for wear afterwards; an antidote to many years of clerkish work-life indoors.

Beyond our residential home garden situation I’m unlikely to apply my horticultural knowhow, such as it is -conversational rather than expert- although given the opportunity I’d continue that field of study when the next level course -currently under development- becomes available at Coffs Harbour Tafe where I was studying.

walking up to the block
What gets you out of bed in the morning? This walk up to the production horticulture block.

During 2018 an itch of creativity bade me explore beyond my customary endeavours. In November I completed a six-week MOOC, NHI101x: Drawing Nature, Science and Culture: Natural History Illustration 101 via the University of Newcastle and edX. The same creative urge led me to take up the opportunity to study Photography and Photo Imaging with Leo Meier at my local Macksville Tafe campus in 2019… somewhat befitting as I spent much of the horticulture course time taking and Instagramming photographs.

nhi101x collage
6 weeks of drawing challenges: NHI101x: Drawing Nature, Science and Culture: Natural History Illustration 101.

2018 has been significant for us. This year is our third since treechanging from city working life to a differently natured but equally busy life in a country village. If there was going to be a tipping point, this year was going to be it.

Life isn’t always easy or perfect. Some of our physical considerations we thought would improve when we gave up paid work in the city, persist… turns out age catches up with us too. Accommodating the G.O.’s tinnitus, osteoarthritis and lingering occupational injuries is an ongoing health & lifestyle challenge for us both; my MiL now aged 85 lives independently with our support; and my Dad’s health is not great but, as they say, we are all “above the dirt”.

rainbow
If we were looking for signs we are in the right place… God’s fingers and a rainbow.

Practically -and fortunately- we allowed for wildcards and learning curves in the many years of planning and preparation towards the type of lifestyle we aimed for, realistically matched our aspirations to our finances, and factored in contingencies.

We revel that we backed ourselves, are doing it even if it’s not exactly what we imagined [what ever is?], living the simple life we dreamed of, worked towards, and arrived at. We derive a great deal of satisfaction from shedding our old life and beginning anew we are proceeding successfully, getting better at living well with what we have, do and make of it. We’re still here, loving our life more than ever.

“…in repairing the object you really ended up loving it more, because you now knew its eagerness to be reassembled, and in running a fingertip over its surface you alone could feel its many cracks – a bond stronger than mere possession.” Nicholson Baker, Room Temperature

I’m a devotee of the Japanese term wabi-sabi which according to the Collins Dictionary means “a way of living that focuses on finding beauty within the imperfections of life and accepting peacefully the natural cycle of growth and decay” and has come into common usage, it certainly resonates with us.

In pictures:

Production Horticulture: From irritation irrigation repairs to riding around a blueberry farm in golf carts, to biodynamics, to 150 kilogram garlic harvest and everything in between with a great team.

Dabbling in design: Photo shoot, corflute signs, business cards, website, Facebook and Instagram profiles for TA Timber.

What works for us? Our mantra… live simple home made grown local creative better. Clockwise from top left: Flowers and leaves prevail amongst vegetables in our home garden. Trying it… turmeric tincture might be a wonder cure for osteoarthritis. Diesel is the master of life-life balance. As are the chooks. It all comes together on a plate.

“Get rid of all that is unnecessary. Wabi-sabi means treading lightly on the planet and knowing how to appreciate whatever is encountered, no matter how trifling, whenever it is encountered. […] In other words, wabi-sabi tells us to stop our preoccupation with success–wealth, status, power, and luxury–and enjoy the unencumbered life. Obviously, leading the simple wabi-sabi life requires some effort and will and also some tough decisions. Wabi-sabi acknowledges that just as it is important to know when to make choices, it is also important to know when not to make choices: to let things be. Even at the most austere level of material existence, we still live in a world of things. Wabi-sabi is exactly about the delicate balance between the pleasure we get from things and the pleasure we get from freedom of things.” Leonard Koren, Wabi-Sabi: For Artists, Designers, Poets & Philosophers

For glimpses of our everyday life you can follow me on Instagram @ daleleelife101 and on Facebook @ daleleelife101.blog.

“For last year’s words belong to last year’s language
And next year’s words await another voice.
And to make an end is to make a beginning.”
(Little Gidding)
― T.S. Eliot

Wishing you love and light for 2019.

 

 

an ordinary life

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An ordinary life… but a good life. Albeit -after 2 and a half years- still sans the routine and spare time I anticipated went hand-in-hand with tree-seachange lifestyle.

Our ordinary encompasses variously the housekeeping of life: mundane – the G.O. continues to wrangle osteoarthritis; necessary – assisting my MiL to live independently; and inevitable – ongoing concern around my Dad’s ill-health.

Too much time away from the blogosphere brings with it overthinking and inevitable crisis of confidence… is this ordinary life too simple to translate into a blog post, of little interest to those who already do what I do & know what I am only just learning, of no interest to others who never will, too irregular in its missives to appeal? 

And yet my fingers yearn to tap a keyboard and my mind constructs narratives, some of which find themselves accompanying my ad hoc day-to-day offerings via the convenience of Instagram.

There, perhaps, lies a possibility of sorts, laid out in snapshots which although intersowed with continuing horticultural studies evidence a focus on food. Allowed the opportunity, kitchen witchery has become an avocation… fulfilment of an urge to apply the fascination of alchemy to the everyday, augmenting our philosophy of live simple home made grown local creative better.

A philosophy which has crafted an extraordinary everyday that bears little resemblance to the retirement for which it is all too often misconstrued. It is, in fact, a full-time endeavour but wondrously rewarding.

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“And while it takes courage to achieve greatness, it takes more courage to find fulfillment in being ordinary. For the joys that last have little relationship to achievement, to standing one step higher on the victory platform. What is the adventure in being ordinary? It is daring to love just for the pleasure of giving it away. It is venturing to give new life and to nurture it to maturity. It is working hard for the pure joy of being tired at the end of the day. It is caring and sharing and giving and loving…” ~ Marilyn Thomsen

 

growing a life

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I’ve arrived at the end of my year of Horticulture study greatly wiser, learning a lot… enough to understand there is so much more I do not know. However, among many useful skills I acquired the aptitude to research and find answers within the horticultural domain.

Business Card
I’m a Horticulturalist!

Professionally, as well as actually obtaining a qualification as a horticulturist and the starting point of a knowledge base, the most rewarding aspect was that I began to think like a horticulturist with confidence to look further, know who to ask or where to obtain more information.

Personally, I had a wonderful year. I enjoyed exercising my brain via processing new data. I met and spent time with a diverse & entertaining group of fellow students, talented teachers with impressive industry expertise, and found new community in the horticultural realm.

Some of the metamorphosis was tangible. For the first half of the year I showed up at class in versions of my everyday attire until mid-year when I knew this was a way of life to which I’d decided to commit, demonstrably in the form of purchasing a pair of steel cap work boots, now my go-to footwear paired with a black t-shirt and blue denim jeans, quite different to my city corporate legal wardrobe pre-2016.

If you’re wondering What Next? I was too. The answer became apparent as the year progressed. More of The Same. The more I learn the more I realise how much more there is to learn. It takes time to create a muscle memory bank, a knowledge reference base that is habitual & reflexive when called upon.

For 2018 I’ve enrolled for another year at Tafe studying Production Horticulture, with a balance of theory and appealing practical aspects growing crops such as garlic and ginger in the Tafe agricultural plot.

“Plant dreams, pull weeds & grow a happy life.” Anais Lee

Wishing you love and light for the festive season. Thank you for your blogging company during 2017. Day-to-day life has been pleasantly busy and not all as I’d envisaged prior to our sea-tree change in late 2015 but at the moment the balance works for me, and I’m happy with the juggling act that it is.

For glimpses of our everyday life you can see my Instagram snapshots on the right (hover cursor over the pics for the captions) or if you’re an Instagrammer you can follow me at daleleelife101.

My Horticulture Certificate 3 year in pictures…

Set out collage
Set out site for construction works
Propagtion collage
Implement a propagation plan
Plant establishment program.jpg
Implement a plant establishment program
Plant Nutrition.JPG
Implement a plant nutrition program
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Contribute to work health and safety processes
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Apply environmentally sustainable work practices
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Construct stone structures and features
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Perform specialist amenity pruning
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Control weeds
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Construct landscape features using concrete
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Implement soil improvements for garden and turf areas
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Maintain nursery plants
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Control plant pests, diseases and disorders
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Install pressurised irrigation systems
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Implement a retaining wall project

In addition to Horticulture Certificate 3, I did a couple of complementary short courses. SafeWork NSW National WHS General Construction Induction Training (White Card) and…

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Agricultural Chemical Skill Set SMARTtrain Chemical Accreditation AQF3 (ChemCert)

It’s amazing how much you can accomplish in a year via subsidised education fees – my fee spend was $340, plus petrol money and my time.

 

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