All posts by Estwing

Passive Solar Design: Free Heat in Winter

Six years ago New Zealand experienced the coldest week in recorded history, but our recently finished passive solar villa performed perfectly during the cold snap. Even with single-glazing in much of our home, it stayed warm during the frigid week without using any heat source other than the sun. (Of course the curtains and blinds did their job at night.)

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Here is a blog post I wrote six years ago today that explains the great result:

http://ecothriftydoup.blogspot.co.nz/2011/08/power-of-sun.html

Here is a blog post written a month later that explains how and why the sun can be used to heat a home in winter for free.

http://ecothriftydoup.blogspot.co.nz/2011/10/sunrise-sunset.html

 

Peace, Estwing

5th Annual Permaculture Weekend

“If you build it, they will come.” That’s the story behind the Whanganui Permaculture Weekend – a grass roots, dirt-under-your-fingernails, no nonsense event for anyone serious about realistic solutions for a troubled world. This is one place that Whanganui punches above it’s weight – we have some of the best permaculturists and educators in the nation.

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The 5th annual event features at least four workshops lead by Whanganui locals who are the top of their field in New Zealand. Yet despite this expertise we offer all the programmes at affordable rates so that anyone can participate. This is most likely the best value weekend of learning you’ll find anywhere in the country.

And we’re doing our best to make the event child-friendly this year, with a number of great workshops focused on children, including Rope Making and Rourou Making, Outdoor Classrooms, and an up-close-with-farm-animals BBQ on Saturday night.

Please see the nearly-complete draft schedule below.

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Permaculture Weekend 2017

9th-10th September

Saturday, 9th Sept.

9-12 Tools for a Resilient Household: permaculture calendars, broad forks, solar ovens, rocket stoves, permaculture books, and stirrup hoes. REBS Stall, River Market

9:30-11:00 Tour of wetland and hillsides post slips. Mount St. Joseph. Noelene Landrigan

11-1 Rope Making and Rourou Making, Tracey Young, River Market. Donation

11:30 – 12:30 UCOL courses: Bee Keeping and Organic Gardening. Richard Pedley, Jake Schultz. UCOL Complex, Taupo Quay. Free

1-4 (TBC) “Intro to the Community Game” Laurence Boomert. TBD

1:30-3:30 Suburban Permaculture Property Tour. 106 Matai St. Phil Holden. By Donation.

2-3 Backyard Chickens. Cyd Welsh & Nelson Lebo $10

3-4 DIY Chicken Tractors Kits. Flat packs for sale – $70

4-5 pm Hot Composting for Serious Gardeners. Nelson Lebo. Free

5:30-7:00 pm Shared Meal BBQ. Kaitiaki Farm

 

Overnight accommodation available

 

Sunday, 10th Sept.

9:30 – 12:30 Kaitiaki Farm Tour. Nelson Lebo. $25

1-4 Fruit Tree and Vine Care. Murray Jones. $20

1:30-3:30 Outdoor Classrooms for Children. Dani Lebo. By Donation

2-4 Seed Swap. Whanganui Seed Savers. By Donation

3:30 – 5:00 Tree Planting. Kaitiaki Farm. Free

Three Years on the Land

After three years of good design and hard work, we have transformed a worn out horse property into one of New Zealand’s premier permaculture farms. Significantly, we have done this on a tiny budget and with no heavy equipment or contractors. A massive thanks goes out to our fantastic interns who have come from over a dozen countries to help with the ‘human-scale’ transformation of the land.

Kaitiaki Farm has a bit of everything permaculture: organic market gardens; perennial orchards; swales and ponds; tractored poultry; alternative energy; integrated food systems; wetland restoration; riparian corridors; innovative construction techniques; creative reuse; and community involvement.

Our education programmes are world-leading, most notably the eight-week PDC Work-Study Internship, which is fully enrolled until the middle of 2018. We believe that the highest quality education should be affordable for anyone, not just those who can afford to go to expensive weekend workshops.

We have been privileged and humbled to be educating the next generation of permaculturists who will change the world for the better. Our dedication to people and the planet will continue to guide the development of Kaitiaki Farm and the innovative programmes offered here.

Thanks to all our supporters over the years and we look forward to even greater success in the future!

Peace, Estwing

Permaculture Update: Avocado, Pork, Honey and Olive Block

We’ve reached a major milestone in the development of our perennial food systems on Kaitiaki Farm. The fencing is in and we’ve just built our kune kune pigs a shelter in the top corner of our valley horticulture block. (Note the hives in the background.)

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The pigs were very happy to see the new growth as the days get slightly longer.

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The windy hillside has already been planted with olive trees. The higher slopes and stream have been planted with native trees, including many manuka for honey production.

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We have over-wintered the avocado trees to protect them from frost, so they are still in their tubs. They will be planted further down the valley in the spring.

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These tagasaste (tree lucerne) will act as nurse trees for the avocados next winter and beyond. By then these little seedlings will be over 1.5 metres tall.

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Within a few years this view will be transformed into a textbook perennial polyculture food production system. Can’t wait.

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A huge thanks to our friend and probably NZ’s best permaculture horticulturist, Rob Bartrum. Chu, bro.

 

Peace, Estwing

Permaculture Farm PDC Internship Intensive

Our interns booked in for the August/September internship programme have had last minute conflicts arise. We are in the position to offer a six week intensive (normally eight weeks) programme for the right person(s).

We believe in learning by doing. 

We believe in making education affordable.

Interns earn a Permaculture Design Certificate (PDC) through an experience of living permaculture on the land. During the August/September programme we will focus on animal care, planting trees, solar cooking, rocket stoves, eco-renovation, orchard management and market gardening.

There is a special emphasis on community education during this particular programme, which culminates with Adult Learners Eco-Literacy Week and the Whanganui Permaculture Weekend.

Dates: 30th July – 10th September.

Cost: $350

More details: http://www.theecoschool.net/workstudy-permaculture-design-certificate.html

Contact: theecoschool at gmail dot com

 

Peace, Estwing

Winter Solstice on the Farm

The shortest day of the year came and went but it felt a lot like summer. To mark the day we planted some ake ake trees.

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The kids were down to their undies.

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And easily distracted from the task at hand.

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Mama worked on cutting some firewood.

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The garlic we planted a fortnight ago is up.

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Strawberries looking good.

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A great day for the solar dehydrator.

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There was even time in the afternoon for papa to hit the waves.

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And the cat just slept.

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Peace, Estwing