This the next chapter in my quest for the perfect plan. Last year was in some was in some ways abit of a washout, yet in others it was actually quite successful....just depends on what perspective you are using. Washout cos my head was so far up my arse with dramas, I didnt achieve targets I had set myself. Raving success because when I look at what is growing and what it is growing in- its fantastic. Beautiful black moist soil, rich lush healthy greenery, birds, insects not a spot of disease in sight... except for the sooty mold on the citrus trees; all the vegies we ate were all from the garden as well as our own eggs and we even had rooster for dinner that we grew ourselves. There were alot of things that didnt work out and alot of things that didnt grow as expected...but our neighbours still like us and still talk to us. Yes it looks like a wilderness right now and I am still not used to this look, but it feels wonderful to be in it and strangely people tell me how nice it looks-I look at them to make sure they arent making fun of me, but they are quite serious and they are not looking at the empty bark garden when they say it, which I find even more surprising as that seems to be the normally socially acceptable type of garden to have. So, why am I calling it my folly?( I refuse to admit to mistakes, sorry eco, no way) Seriously! what sane normal female of my age would even contemplate turning their beautifully manicured Flat lawn, much loved by the children, into a f..... forest!, as my brother called it. and then to keep going with a plan that didnt really seem to fit, just in case the problem was me not that particular concept. Four years later- cant believe its been that long, but it has, I start all over again from scratch. Obviously a serious case of nuttiness. "Design from patterns to details". I like this permie principle. I tried to jam in lots of different things willie nillie and it didnt work. I started making note of what we did, how we did it and what we actually wanted. Chooks. I want to keep my chooks but they obviously do not respect my intentions for the garden so they either had to go or they had to go elsewhere. I chose elsewhere. Their new home is a central run with their house at the end of it. On each side are two forage yards-alittle on the empty side at the moment so they are allowed outside to graze each afternoon because I recognise that they need their greens which are not being provided for in their yards at the moment.That will change as things are planted and start to grow. I have dropped the number down to 6 hens and 1 rooster and may drop the hens down another two when a friend finishes fencing their backyard and wants a couple. (Funny story..... I asked my brother if he wanted to have a couple of hens- he said yes, but please make sure this time that they Are hens and not roosters. I chose two of the babies that I knew had started laying.These may well have been Houdini's offspring cos they were feisty and smart... and alittle more aggressive than the others. He let them out of their cage too early and that night when he got home he found that they had got out of his back yard...I did clip a wing on each, so this shouldnt have happened. Since then he found one, spied on her to see where she was roosting and caught her. The other, he was told by a neighbour had been seen flying over the creek.(The creek is at least 10 metres wide!! Definitely one of Houdinis'. He's still thinking about whether or not he wants another one. I think he may ask a friend to get him one of his extra large meatbird type so that he knows it will still be there when he gets home.) Their forage yards are or will be miniature orchards to provide us with most of our fruit as well as theirs. So far there are afew trees planted and a couple of vines-one grape and one hops. This one will shade their central run so they have somewhere to get out of the intense summer sun. Bit by bit things will grow and less and less will I have to buy in their feed. One of the reasons I put up the palings with the wider than normal spacings was so that they could stick their heads through to the pen next door to get to things like kale and silverbeet without destroying them- havent quite worked out what to do to protect these when they are in the same pen with them, but I'm sure I'll think of something. By having four large yards for them to roam around, I do not have to worry about them getting things like worms or mites- they are only in each yard for couple of weeks, so no nasty smells either. Food storage and firewood storage. Currently we dont have anywhere really adequate to store what the garden produces-everywhere seems way to hot. I had eyeballed the current woodshed as a possibility for this as one wall is half underground. This was the old original laundry and quite large-2.6mx 3.6m with a leanto that is 2mx1.8m alongside of it-I think this used to be the original woodshed to supply wood for the copper that used to be in the laundry. Once the ceiling is insulated I think it will work quite well as a cool store. When I looked at how we got our firewood delivered and stored and how we went about bringing it in at night, this presented a solution to our lack of produce storage. I needed a buffer for the neighbour from the chooks, so by designing a woodshed that was situated between the nearest forage yards and the parking area- this will work. Our firewood man will only need to back up as usual, but will now only have to(with our help) walk a couple of steps to put it away rather than walk all that extra distance to the old shed. When we come home, our first stop is the woodshed; so its just a matter of getting out and collect it as we go to the house. So, less work putting it away and no extra time spent bringing it in. This also will give extra rainwater off the roof to the chooks water tank. On top of that, as the roof is going to be quite flat, I can use it as a drying platform if I make alittle set of steps to it. One thing I really liked about Hardworkinghippy's place, was the feeling of a clearing surrounded by trees. It took me quite awhile to see how I could do something like this. I have done away with the idea of having a brambles trellis around the north side and worked out how to put trees around the edges of the garden. Alot of these are going to be espaliered rather than naturally grown, like the two pear trees on the other side of the parking area. In afew years my baby Feijoas should start providing a nice wind break on the norwest side. Another thing I have started working on, is using only New Zealand trees and plants for the flower gardens and weaning us off exotics.