Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Meet our adopted gosling, "Hercules"

This is Hercules.
Hercules was the last born of our 4 goslings. He also arrived a lot later (1 week) and as often happens (so I've read in the last 24 hours) the parents/flock often reject latecomers. And that's unfortunately what happened in this case.
After arriving to let the geese out in the morning and finding him all alone kicked out of the nest, we witnessed the geese lead their other charges out the door and throwing Hercules back in the pen each time he tried to follow. This was followed with a series of sharp pecks and when he was lying on his back struggling to get up, a stomp on the head which left him shaken and dazed. He wasn't being allowed access to food or water and with the beatings to top it off something had to be done. Kids were distraught watching it all and begged me to intervene.
I know some people would say that you should let nature run it's course, but I won't stand by and watch a perfectly healthy baby die when some help could save it.

So Hercules has been adopted by our family. He imprinted on us within 12 hours and thinks humans are great already. He chatters to us, calls out when he can't see us and is reassured by a call back or a pat, is eating and drinking well. He would be dead already if we hadn't intervened, and I'm hopeful he'll live. He seems strong and healthy so far.
In a couple of months we'll try to get him to join the flock - I've been reading that it can be done. Until then, we have a gorgeous gosling to entertain us with his cute antics and tug at our heartstrings. What a sweetie!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Support Species in a Food Forest

It has taken me a while to get my head around the concept of support species and how they work. All the diagrams in every Permie text I've read show cross-sections of a hypothetical Food Forest and I've always thought - "how do the larger support species not compete heavily for nutrients in the early phases when they are outgrowing the productive species (heightwise)?

I stumbled upon this video recently and suddenly it all clicked! I have now gone mad planting Tagasaste babies everywhere around my young fruit trees and filling out my forest.

Huzzah for Geoff Lawton!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Permaculture principles & Notes to myself

This blog was intended as a log of our progress on the permaculture journey. The last couple of months has seen some more changes, and the principles of Permaculture have helped to create some synergy and maximise their impact.

WOOD SHED: The small garden shed near the house has now been deemed 'The Wood Shed'.
1. It make sense to have the shortest distance possible to travel when you're ducking out to get some wood in the cold and wet of winter.
2. There is space immediately in front of it to chop rounds into smaller pieces.
3. The shed heats up quickly even in weak sunlight - drying out the wood inside. (Am considering building a greenhouse on the north side to further maximise this attribute)

KIWI VINE: Instead of building a free standing trellis for this new plant, I've planted them at the corners of the washing line. The plan is to train it up, past the lines, to the top part of the frame where the metal is thicker. The washing line is a great shape for a trellis, will be strong enough to support the vine, and the vine itself will provide shade to the clothes underneath in the hot summer months.

GRAPEVINE: We've had an ongoing problem with debris flying into the carport from the chook pen (and feathers from moulting geese too). The area gets messy, and then traipsed through the house. Needing to blow vac it every week to manage it. In addition the place looks so bare and dry in summer - I really want a green fence/border to cool the area down.
Solution: Grow 2 grapevines along the fence (it's north facing and high enough). These will prevent a lot of the debris flying in for much of the year. The beds they are planted in (about 60cm wide) can hold low crops simultaneously and other crops in winter (climbing beans. snow peas etc) so it will always look good, be productive and serve it's purpose!

All of these solutions have multiple uses - brilliant!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The Permaculture thing is really happening!

A while back I read a wonderful Permaculture book, (can't remember title - have lent it to my cousin) in which, in the opening chapter the author describes her meander from her car to the front door with all the glorious sights and sounds of her permaculture propery and the handful of snacks she grabs all within the 10 metre walk. Ah....bliss!

And reading this I thought 'THAT is the sort of place I want to live in' and I imagined in 20 years or so I might feasibly be doing the same. Well, looking around I'm realising 20 years was unrealisitc. our property is really starting to come along now. And things are happening in a 'permacultural' kind of way, where the progress is exponential because the systems are starting to integrate and weave their magic.

Today I planted another handful of plants, and though these will take a couple of years before they produce, in the interim we have some others which should give us a bit of produce this year. It's so exciting!

Today I bought/planted: A dwarf coffee bush (only grows to 2 metres so perfect as a mid-layer), 2 raspberries, a flame seedless grape, a green variety seedless grape, kiwi vines (pollinating pair), an icecream bean plant, another blueberry, a rose geranium, some fennel, land cress and propagated more pepino. In 3 years - YUMMO!

My compost and worm farms are happening so these plants went into the soil which was properly prepared (that's a big change from a couple of years ago!) from biomass from our own property! Everything got watered with worm tea too.

The food forest (though very young) is growing splendidly and we have no pest problems. The balance is right!

Won't be long before I can take that snack walk from my car to the door! - Reckon I'll be taking the LONG way round!