Green Temple

Discussion in 'Members' Systems' started by Grahame, Oct 28, 2010.

  1. Grahame

    Grahame Senior Member

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    Hi Folks, I do like the idea of this sub-forum but I reckon it would be much more betterer if we could put stacks of photos in. I guess this is sort of a primitive version of the proposed Permaculture Network thingy Craig is working on.

    So I'll have a go at it...

    We are calling our place Green Temple, based on the idea that it is a fusion of Permaculture principles and spiritual practices aimed at caring for ourselves through caring for the Earth to bring about peace and wholeness of mind, body and spirit. Or, Just as my body is my temple so too is my Earth.

    We bought this 3 acre property with an existing weatherboard 3 bedroom house in a small rural Victorian town. The area is mostly irrigated dairy and cropping land, with little indication of anything other than conventional farming and the thought that GM cropping is an idea worth exploring. ;)

    The house has a basic East-West orientation, albeit with a few too windows on the North and too many on the south ;)

    We inherited a fine (although mistreated) Lemon tree and a heavy-bearing Apricot.

    More later...
     
  2. purplepear

    purplepear Junior Member

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    Occupation:
    Farm manager/ educator
    Location:
    Hunter Valley New South Wales
    Home Page:
    Climate:
    warm temperate - some frost - changing every year
    I await - baited
     
  3. Grahame

    Grahame Senior Member

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    So...

    We've been here for 3 years now and sometimes I wonder what I was doing for the first 2. I made a lot of 'mistakes' in the first year or so in my hurry to get trees started. I reckon I have moved almost all of the original 40 odd fruit and nut trees since then. I've built semi-temporary fences that have now moved as the plans changed. But all of those mistakes were ones I have learnt a lot from.

    But now I feel like I have settled on a rough plan I like. Now, I don't know if you can really call what we do Permaculture, but the principles and pathways are our guiding light.

    The paddocks are basically clay with a thin layer of top soil held together by a variety of paddock weeds (more on those later).

    The intensive garden (to the East of the house) is in the mould of Linda Woodrow's Mandala type gardens. I've had these going for just over a year now and I'm starting to see real improvement in the soil. I suspect I might even get a couple of good harvests this year. What was once heavy clay is now host to many worms and can actually hold a bit of water, rather than cracking at the first sign of the summer sun.

    I think there are 24 fruit trees in the Mandala 'Complex' with others and vines on and planned for the surrounding 'trellis/fencing' (3 of 6 sides completed).

    Apart from some conventionally grown and cheaply sourced straw of various types used for mulch and some supplementary grain for the chickens we basically have no inputs. We don't use machinery if we can avoid it, although the judicious use of someone to do some earthworks seems worthwhile. I do also use a mower for the time being to collect compost materials and chook fodder. But hopefully, eventually we can phase this out.

    We still plan to make some money buy growing garlics for sale or trade.

    In addition to the intensive garden we have the beginnings of a food forest to the north of the house.

    The rest of the property is basically weeds at the moment.

    I'm still battling with some ideas on Water, but I can talk about that as we come up with some plans, solutions, innovations in the future.

    Best get back to the little one now.

    Peace

    Grahame
     
  4. pebble

    pebble Junior Member

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    Location:
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    Inland maritime/hot/dry/frosty
    Lovely to hear all that Grahame :)
     
  5. sun burn

    sun burn Junior Member

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    Yes very interesting. I'd like to see pictures of a fully established and flourishing mandala garden.

    Put your stacks of pictures on photoblog.com. Its so much easier to show them and view them. You can blow them up big or leave them small which is still a lot bigger than a thumbnail. You can have it private to public (only friends can view) or leave it open. You can puts little notes all over your pictures. You can add text easily. Its a great site. I don't understand why some people here are resisting it. It is after all made for photography but they are almost all amateurs. I just post a link ot my own thread when ever I've got something new to show. But if people wanted they can always flick back through hte blog to see it. There are many ways to navigate through your own photos - date, title of post, category, thumbnail, month etc.

    I also like facebook albums. You can set up an album on facebook then just post the link to a post here.
     
  6. purplepear

    purplepear Junior Member

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    Occupation:
    Farm manager/ educator
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    Hunter Valley New South Wales
    Home Page:
    Climate:
    warm temperate - some frost - changing every year
    Is the apricot ready to bear? Mine are slow this year for some reason but I do love it when they come. Keep it coming Grahame more more more
     
  7. Grahame

    Grahame Senior Member

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    Thanks guys.

    Sunburn, I'm generally suspicious of the Internet, and more so things that are 'free'. Perhaps it's paranoia :think:, Facebook in particular is something I am pretty sceptical about. Having said that I might just start a photoblog - if it's good enough for Purplepear its good enough for me ;). Having seen Marks photos though I can't believe how neat and tidy his mandala is! Photos of mine will show a distinct contrast.

    The apricot is doing OK this year Mark, but I suspect this is its 'off' year - some apricots tend to have alternating heavy and lighter years. The crop we had last year was massive. We've finished off all the bottled fruit and the jam we made but we still have some puree left that I might turn into jam for Christmas presents.

    Every night at dinner we play a game called "What was your favourite thing about today". Usually there is something that really stands about about my day. Yesterday's for me was when we all (Me, wifey and the two little girls) went out into the garden on a 'Strawberry' hunt. We ended up having a travelling post breakfast feast of strawberries, fresh peas, broad beans and mulberries (unripe but that never stops my girls) right there in the garden. We also collected a big bucket full of passionfruit. I just love watching the girls devouring the things fresh from the garden.

    To the girls milk thistles are know as 'chicken lollies', collecting snails for the chooks is fun (especially when you let one 'trail' across your hand). Kids are just so observant and I love watching them as they explore, because they see so many things that I might have walked right by. This is the sort of thing that sustains me when I seem to be falling behind. This is what it is all about. I guess you could say this is all part of my 'system'
     
  8. ecodharmamark

    ecodharmamark Junior Member

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    Damn, Brother. Tears of joy, here. Big love for the GT.
     
  9. eco4560

    eco4560 New Member

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    How do you bottle the apricots? The birds are hitting my nectarines hard so I want to harvest a whole heap and preserve them.
     
  10. eco4560

    eco4560 New Member

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  11. sun burn

    sun burn Junior Member

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    Grahame, what exactly is it you are worried about - identity theft? or photo theft? or that someone will find your home? or something else. Anyway i can do my best to reassure you.

    First about photoblog, i've been on it for a few years now. Initially i was bothered anyone having access to my email address. When I made a fuss about it, they site owners changed it. So that problem is solved. Of course I could have used a special address but that sort of thing annoys me. Its not convenient.

    When i started putting up certain pictures, i was bothered that someone might steal them. I no longer worry about that. It does happen and sometimes on the site, you see people spot pictures on a wrong place. But really this is only a concern for professional photographers who are having their livelihoods compromised. Most of them have learned to live with the threat of this too.

    Indentity theft? I don't know how that's possible on this site. You don't give your birthday, your name, your address or your credit card details. What you put out is entirely up to you. Even on facebook, i think its only a problem if you use your credit card through the site which i don't. Even on facebook, i don't allow friends that i have never met in person. That's my rule and I stick to it. I know its not what most people do but it enables me to put up what i want without wondering what any stranger is making of it. I can be me and trust those who see my page.

    Discover your location and come and rob you? Well i think its highly unlikely. Mostly people won't even know where you are from looking at your pictures.

    I used to be anxious about my name and image being on the internet but i got over it.

    On pblog, you can make it private to friends only but then all the members here would have to become members on pblog in order to see your pictures. The thing is, if you are showing pictures here, anyone can see them so its not more private than it is on pblog.

    pblog is run by two young american guys. They seem pretty straight up. They try to run a fair model of a site and keep us all happy. Unlike say yahoo, you can actually communicate direclty with them.

    If you don't like free, you can pay and get more gizmos. But the free version is pretty good value. It was free as a means of getting off the ground. These guys have no ulterior motive. They are photography amateurs and just saw a need. They hope to make money from the site but i would say still as yet, they are not making a lot even though the site is very very popular around the world. I have no idea how many members but it certainly is global.
     
  12. Grahame

    Grahame Senior Member

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    Thanks sunburn, I'm not worried about any of that. I mostly have stuff other people have already discarded, if they are desperate enough to take it they are welcome to it.
     
  13. Grahame

    Grahame Senior Member

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    Eco, we use a Fowlers preserving kit. It serves the purpose for now, although the one-use rubber rings cause me a bit of angst. There is an american system of 'canning' into different bottles with lids that can be re-used. Compared to old fowlers systems that pop up in op shops regularly these things are hard to come by unless you order them from the USA (which of course poses other questions).

    As for nectarines, well you can do it but they tend to discolour to an unappetising grey. They are only OK in terms of taste quality too I reckon, but it is better than nothing.

    All the best

    Permaculture Man! :)
     
  14. Grahame

    Grahame Senior Member

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  15. Grahame

    Grahame Senior Member

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    We have just completed a major 're-arrangement of Chickens'. Our domes sort of started to thin out over time...

    If a bird goes broody we tend to move her out into 'private quarters' and put a good stock of eggs underneath her. Usually about a dozen eggs for good measure (This then usually becomes the seed for filling another dome). Sometimes chickens die (although, touch wood, not for a long time now). We gave a few good birds to the Steiner Kinder too. We like to keep about 5 or 6 hens and a Roo in each dome and things were getting a little 'thin'. We also have a new hen and a new rooster from a breeder to integrate for breeding so that our flock doesn't become inbred.

    So it's winter, there wasn't much ready to go into the beds and it was time to think about putting unrelated Roos with different hens. It was a bit of a logistical nightmare really and it is amazing how different hens react very differently to integration - Some don't even bat an eye-lid, others seemingly want to fight to the death! So generally we like to have a separated house where they can see each other well, all day separated only by a wire screen. If I have the odd new hen that is still young and didn't come with other 'sisters' we have had some success in just throwing them into the dome with the existing birds. If they are young this seems to work very well. But once the birds get a bit older they aren't so accepting.

    So now we have 3 integrated domes with 5 or 6 birds and a rooster ready for breeding when the time comes. The oldest birds (now 3 or 4 years old) are all together in one dome. They will be moved out of the dome into some form of retirement at the end of this cycle. A fresh dome full will go into their dome in the spring (we already have a broody hen sitting on some eggs!). The idea is that the chooks will like in the domes for about 3 years and then get cycled out.

    The last set of hens are now getting used to each other in the divided coop, complete with a new daddy Roo.

    The worst part of the 'clean-up' was culling the excess roosters, which have just started to crow (i.e. time to eat them if we are going to!). We don't generally eat meat, but we do occasionally eat the Roos. I try to give as many of them away as I can first.

    I'm glad that job is done for now.
     
  16. eco4560

    eco4560 New Member

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    Yoo Hoo Graham! (Waving across the fence...) Amazing how old birds get set in their ways. Might explain why there's no Rooster in my house too. I did end up bottling the nectarines and they kept their colour and were really yummy.
     
  17. mischief

    mischief Senior Member

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    Cool mountain
    Your allowed to have Roosters and dont have to 'hide' them(not that they are all that easy to hide),I',m jealous.
    Can you come visit next time we need to despatch our geriatrics?
     
  18. sweetpea

    sweetpea Junior Member

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    Grahame, very nice insights! And nice that you want to look for the spiritual, too. Sometimes it gets so practical I just can't forcus on anything else.

    I feel your pain about moving trees and fences, and in my case 100 berry bushes. My father taught me, if you're going to do something, do it right. And I started doing things thoroughly and "right", only to have to undo them...ugh....so I now I do a 75% right, and a 25% wait-and-see. I wouldn't make a good lawyer, I'd come up with the proper argument the next day, not when the person's life is at stake. Sometimes I look at the things I've done, having planned, and planned, and planned, and still think, "What was I thinking?" But maybe when Mother Nature has her say 6 months to a year later, it becomes obvious. :)

    Eco, I have had good luck keeping squirrels and birds away from apricots and nectarines by throwing sheets over the tree and over clusters a couple weeks before they are ripe, kind of like ghosts floating on top. They won't go underneath them for a couple of weeks, until they find a "safe" entrance, so wiggle them a bit with a broom or long stick so the entrances change. They are up there a max of 6 weeks, so it's not that long, and it has worked for me for years.

    My favorite book for canning and preserving food is Putting Food By, Hertzberg and Vaughan, used copies are easily gotten. I love the jars with the reusable screw-on part, but the flat part of the lid gets replaced each time, but they aren't expensive, like Kerr or Ball.
     
  19. Grahame

    Grahame Senior Member

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    It's all part of the continuing learning Sweetpea. I wonder if that is why old permies often move on to new gardens and do things a lot differently. I've learnt sooooo much in the last 4 or 5 years. I would probably do things a lot differently if I was to go back in time; if I had a reset button (but still got to keep my experiences).
     
  20. Grahame

    Grahame Senior Member

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    Mounding Potatoes in Mandala Beds

    Hi folks, I've done a Photoblog update to show how I deal with potatoes in the mandala beds here.

    The process has a few beneficial effects especially in the early days of new beds. My soil was particularly heavy clay, sometimes quite shallow, so I used this technique to build some deeper soil. It also feeds the fruit trees by creating compost heaps nearby, where a heap would not 'normally' go with the Linda Woodrow technique.

    Enjoy and ask questions/make comments if you like

    Grahame
     

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