Eco's Lodge

Discussion in 'Members' Systems' started by eco4560, Sep 8, 2010.

  1. eco4560

    eco4560 New Member

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    Geez pet! I've only just got back through the front door of the house. It was everything I had hoped it would be and more. I'll post the details in another day or two. I was up - literally - with the first rooster crow this morning and it's been a big day so I'm off to bed now.
     
  2. eco4560

    eco4560 New Member

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    Zaytuna Farm Tour

    Thirteen excited Noosa Permaculture Members headed off early on Sunday morning in a rented bus. After lunching at the Kirra Hotel, we headed inland to The Channon. Most of the group stayed at the pub, with one couple opting for a local B&B and four brave souls including myself continued on to Zaytuna Farm to camp. It had rained all day, and was still overcast with the sound of thunder in the distance so camping seemed like a bit of an adventure.
    The plus side to camping was that we got to wander around the farm and have a bit of an explore before the official tour the following day. It looks like the United Nations! People of every nationality, all looking comfortably daggy in their farming clothes, busy doing stuff.
    For dinner we all met back at the pub for a good country feed. We campers were tucked up in our tents by about 8:30, and God smiled on us sufficiently that it didn't actually rain overnight. I heard the first rooster about 5:30 am and was up soon after, and wandered over to where a group of people were chopping wood and starting a fire in the rocket water heater for the shower. Once a decent blaze was going, I hopped in for quick shower to try it out. And yes - the water was pleasantly hot.
    When I got out the others had gone back into town to collect the rest of our group, so I wandered up to the kitchen. Everyone was busy with a job - feeding ducks, collecting eggs, milking cows... I felt a bit left out! I tried to volunteer in the kitchen but the delightful young chap said that I wasn't allowed to help, so I just chatted to him while he cooked the biggest bowl of porridge I have ever seen. There were 39 of us for breakfast! As well as the porridge, tea and coffee there was a bucket of freshly picked mandarins from a tree about 10 metres away.
    After breakfast plates where washed and stacked, the group formed up and Geoff took us for a wander through the property. Pictures are here....
    It is obvious that a great deal of thought and planning has gone into how things are placed and work together. Like feeding the chooks underneath whichever fruit tree is in flower so that the chooks spend more time poo-ing under that tree. There were some criticisms from people in the group - you should have a biodigester and make methane, you should grow all your own wheat not buy it off site, that sort of thing. Geoff responded by pointing out that he has no more hours in his day than we do, and the place isn't finished yet. He also made the point that his farm isn't designed to grow food - it's to grow people who know how to grow food. So demonstration sized systems that are easily managed so that students enjoy their time rather than feeling like slaves, and allow them the time to learn theory as well, are better than trying to scale up to the maximum production that the property allows for.
    We looked at the solar system, and water collection and storage systems, and talked about compost and liquid biofertilizer making, swales and dams, rotational grazing... You name it we touched on it! I was like a PDC in a half a day.
    And yes - I can confirm that Singapore Daisy is deliberately planted as a ground cover. But only in the food forest - never near the vege gardens.

    We headed for lunch with heads buzzing with new ideas. Pasta with pesto, sweet potato and capsicum soup and a number of different salads. Yum! I got to sit with Geoff and ask more questions over lunch. He must get tired of having people try to get inside his head at every meal, but he was extremely gracious.

    AND I got to finally meet our wonderful techno-guru Craig. If you don't know he's the editor of the PRI website. And I can vouch for the fact that he has a really big camera!

    Tired and muddy (and just a bit smelly) we all piled back on the bus and made it safely home to Cooroy by 7 pm.

    PS there's an open day on for International Permaculture Day (May 6). Work out a way to get yourself there and you won't regret it!
     
  3. annette

    annette Junior Member

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    Wow the camping ground looks a lot different to 3 years ago. It was just a field back then. It's a great place isn't it? Geoff is such a calming intelligent person to speak to. He has done such a great job there. Glad you enjoyed it echo.
     
  4. eco4560

    eco4560 New Member

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    He sure is. Though I put my foot (err hand) in it when I tried to shake his hand... I should have known better, because I know he's Muslim and I know Muslim men can't touch women that aren't family. But when you are in Australia and you are both Aussies it kinda slips your mind.... He politely declined.

    What is currently the camping area is set to become the new house site, and the interns will move into the house. Eventually.
     
  5. Grahame

    Grahame Senior Member

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    It's like we are in this post apocalyptic movie and you are describing to us some mythical place where people go and find the beginnings of a new society; a Utopia, where the survivors are all heading...

    Wait....

    Oh!
     
  6. eco4560

    eco4560 New Member

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    Yup. It was kinda hard to leave. I would imagine there are a pile of tears by the front gate shed by departing interns.
    Coming back down to the coast to take a toilet stop at a row of chemical toilets was like a smack in the face. Most people emerged gagging from the horrible smell. Raw poo and wood shavings were much nicer!
     
  7. eco4560

    eco4560 New Member

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    One more interesting thing that got mentioned - Lismore council is quite happy for home owners to use compost toilets. Their info is here. Might come in handy for anyone who is trying to convince their own council.
     
  8. annette

    annette Junior Member

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    Oh Yes the compost toilets were amazing!!! And so simple in design too. Ahhhhhhhh the memories.
     
  9. Tezza

    Tezza Junior Member

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    :handshake:Id never stop you from holding my hand Eco....
     
  10. eco4560

    eco4560 New Member

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    G'day Tezza! Don't worry I always wash them after the deed. Not always after mucking about in the compost heap though!

    I got to give a presentation last night in Brisbane on Peak Oil and Permaculture to a group of doctors and scientists. There were about 30 people there. It went over really well. The person who asked me to speak said I was probably the best speaker they had ever had! (Maybe she says that to everyone....) Lots of good questions.

    Watch out world!
     
  11. Grahame

    Grahame Senior Member

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    Great stuff Eco! Keep up the good work
     
  12. Tezza

    Tezza Junior Member

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    Welcome to our First "Female Emperor"... Arise EMPEROR "ECO" 1st...

    Burn your bras and lead your "Permies" out of the Wilderness....Lets bring the Wilderness back HOME again

    Tezza
     
  13. eco4560

    eco4560 New Member

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    I can be an emperor. So long as you don't expect me to fall for that old trick about making me clothes that aren't actually there!
     
  14. eco4560

    eco4560 New Member

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    I met a lovely chap at the talk that I gave. His name is Peter and he is 94. He is the living embodiment of optimism - because he's worried about what will happen once peak oil and climate change make their presence felt.... At 94 I think that is optimism!
     
  15. Tezza

    Tezza Junior Member

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    "Emperess Eco" arise...a permie Emperess will recieve the finest organic silk,"one straw method" Hemp products....No Invisable materials for Us...

    I think Fresh blood is required in our permie world thats forever changing. AND WHY NOT A WOMAN................. Me thinks that males have let the planet down,BIG TIME....

    :mad:::mad:::mad:::mad:::mad:::mad:::mad:::mad:::mad:::mad:::mad:::mad:::mad:::mad:::mad:::mad:::mad:::mad:::mad:::mad:::mad:::mad:::mad:::mad:::mad:::punch::punch::punch::punch::punch::punch::punch::punch::punch::punch::punch::punch:

    Tezza:party::party:
     
  16. Tezza

    Tezza Junior Member

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    Wow Optimism at 94.... Thats a wonder, good on him,surely this bloke must'nt listen to the media much..... hard to be optimist in a lotta cases out there in the big old world...

    Glad he can still work on removing the negativity in his own way,like myself and most permies,but "DOING" instead of "DOING NOTHING"..

    when we stop, that's when we give up/in..

    Tezza8)
     
  17. eco4560

    eco4560 New Member

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    All good things must come to an end.

    My PDC is officially over, which is bittersweet. I'm looking forward to having one extra day a week to do stuff in, but having a day a week sitting still and talking to others about a better way to live was very nice (I guess church fulfils that spot for some).

    We had two consecutive days of teaching - our usual Sunday, and today Monday - which is a public holiday up here in Qld. Yesterday we covered aquaculture, which was interesting. Tom introduced us to (amongst other books) the Power of Duck book - using ducks, plus azolla plus fish on rice paddies, which has lots of scientific data about the experiments the Japanese author did to prove that it increased rice yield, and you get to eat the duck and the fish as well.

    We had some time in the afternoon to complete our design, and it was hard to decide what to leave out, because we wanted to add a bit of everything we learned about during the course! The chinampas never made it into the final design, nor the guinea pig tractors after much discussion.

    We two ladies were camping over at Tom's place to save on driving time and petrol. Our male student lives close by, so as the sun set we had a tour of his garden before settling in to a fabulous chicken curry made by his wife. We watched the Urban chapter of the Global Gardener DVD after dinner - just can't get enough of this permaculture even after a full day of lectures!

    We girls headed back to camp about 9, and under the gloriously bright full moon and a clear sky set out a circle of candle lanterns and sat in the middle talking until WAY too late... And then hit the sack. My air bed let itself down halfway through the night, and some demented rooster thought that sun rise was about 3 am and all the other roosters started talking back. After tossing and turning a few more times I heard Tom berating an animal soundly and knew that the farm was about to spring into action. (The littlest dog had left a donation on the door step in protest about the cold night - hence the telling off!) We joined Tom on his morning round feeding the cows, geese and chooks, and headed back to the teaching area to cook ourselves breakfast.

    There was still some time to fill in before class so we weeded a section of the kitchen garden and mulched it. The chooks got to share 2 wheelbarrows worth of greens from the garden.

    Today we covered the final chapter of the book - about establishing a permaculture community. When we took stock of it, the Sunny Coast is very well served with a strong permaculture group, several Transition groups, community gardens and so even a good number of intentional communities based on permaculture. We talked about alternative financial systems, and about how we might generate an income give our own individual skill sets.

    Because we were such keen students we didn't need the last few hours of the afternoon to finish off our design, so we cut back the long grass hiding the lovely rock wall around the camping area that had been made by a former intern, and piled the grass up in the mulch bay in the kitchen garden ready for use, and did a bit more weeding.

    Eventually it was time to show off our design. I had been really confident that we nailed it until we started presenting it, because it seemed too easy and I kept thinking that it had to be harder than this! But we got a thumbs up for it and were presented with our certificates. Yay!

    To top the day off Zaia made us afternoon tea. And MA - I'm going to get the recipe just for YOU! It was banana and choko tart, served with bunya nut and coconut cream. It sounds a bit weird but my heavens it was truly splendid! After doing a round of the table to talk about what we got out of the course and giving feedback, the sun started to set and we had to drag ourselves away to return to our 'normal' lives.

    At least until there's a really interesting course on that I can get to at Tom and Zaia's place one weekend....
     
  18. eco4560

    eco4560 New Member

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    Cambodia (again)

    It's almost time to spread my wings and head back to Cambodia. I'm taking my teenage daughter with me this time (which will be a huge challenge for her!). We'll be there for 4 weeks as volunteers with Women's Health Cambodia.

    If you didn't get a chance to look at the story from last years trip it is here - Photoblog.

    You can also follow what is happening at Facebook, or make a donation via the Life Options website.

    If you haven't made a donation yet please, please, please do it. It all goes to on the ground work. $2 will pay a village health care worker to visit a new mum and her baby three times in the first 6 weeks of life. Every little bit helps!

    Will add more photos to photoblog during this years trip - if I can get internet access that is. The village I was at last year didn't have electricity so I can't make any promises!!!
     
  19. eco4560

    eco4560 New Member

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    Wait - you've got it upside down!

    Everyone here in the Southern Hemisphere is gearing up for Easter. Except it's all wrong! Easter is a spring festival (Ostara) of fertility, held around the vernal equinox.

    It's just past the autumnal equinox which means we should be celebrating Mabon instead. The Harvest festival. I'm pretty sure that you can have chocolate at a harvest festival.

    So I'll be celebrating the balance that comes with the equinox (OK I'm late it was the 21st.....) and being grateful for bountiful harvests, and reminding myself that descending into the cold and dark is just part of the cycle and makes us appreciate the sunny and warm times even more when they are here.

    Happy Mabon to all my fellow Antipodeans.
     
  20. Tezza

    Tezza Junior Member

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    Happy Mabon Eco and all the forum members
     

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