All posts by Estwing

Signs of Spring

Despite a very wet winter the farm is looking fabulous and the animals are very healthy. These pregnant goats were shifted into this paddock for a good spring feed.

We’ve had a dozen kids born this season with one doe left to go. Sophie had twins on Sunday afternoon.

Mindy had a Mini-Me

The red shaver chicks we bought in the autumn have grown into hens and laying eggs with the longer days. Eight hens are laying 5 to 6 eggs per day.

The 100+ poplar poles we planted this winter are starting to leaf out.

The piglets are looking plump and healthy, while the sows and boars are keeping on top of the fast growing grass.

The garlic is up and going – almost ready to be mulched.

Plum and peach blossoms have been plentiful and we are hoping for good fruit set.

Avos are ready to be picked.

And tomatoes are ready to go into the ground.

So much more to report but also so much work to be done!

Kia kaha, Estwing

Permaculture Farm Internship

Earn a Permaculture Design Certificate on one of New Zealand’s best permaculture farms.

Our programme is unique in the world of permaculture in that it combines best practice teaching and learning along with best practice regenerative land management.

The programme balances content, process and reflection, while nurturing systems thinking skills. It’s about developing a way of thinking that recognizes the connections between diverse elements on the farm and how they interact, along with the hands-on skills required to work effectively with cultivated ecologies.

3RD JANUARY, 2023 – 8 WEEKS WITH A WEEK OFF IN THE MIDDLE. $850
CLIMATE RESILIENCE PDC
IMMERSE YOURSELF IN ECO-DESIGN FOR CLIMATE RESILIENCE – WORKING WITH NATURE INSTEAD OF AGAINST IT. THIS PDC FOCUSES ON ECOLOGICAL LAND MANAGEMENT, REGENERATIVE FARMING, WATER MANAGEMENT, ECO HOUSING, APPROPRIATE TECHNOLOGY, HUMAN-SCALE APPROACHES,AND TRANSPORT ALONG WITH THE FULL PDC CURRICULUM. 

7TH MARCH, 2023 – 8 WEEKS WITH A WEEK OFF IN THE MIDDLE. $850 
ABUNDANCE PDC
AUTUMN IS A GREAT TIME TO BE ON THE FARM WITH HEAPS OF FRESH KAI FROM THE ORCHARD, GARDENS AND ANIMALS. THIS PDC FOCUSES ON GROWING, PROCESSING AND PRESERVING KAI ALONG WITH ANIMAL CARE, BUSH RESTORATION, AND SOME ECO-BUILDING PROJECTS. 

Free Programmes 2022 – 2023

We’re excited to be working with Horizons Regional Council and the Whanganui Learning Centre to develop a programme based around community climate resilience in the areas of whare, whenua, and whanau.

2022-2023 Schedule

These events are free for residents of the Horizons region.
Partial funding comes from Horizons Regional Council.
Spaces limited. Register: theecoschool@gmail.com

Stormwater without the Mansplaining
24th August, 5:30-7:30 pm
Whanganui Learning Centre, 232 Wicksteed St. Masks Required.
Do you have a damp home? Occasional flooding on your section? Pooling under your home?
This programme explains the ins and outs of stormwater and the various factors effecting it, as well as how it impacts on individual households and how residents can address it affordably and effectively.

Managing Marginal Land in/for Winter
August 28, 2-4 pm. Registration essential.
We’ve spent the last 8 years managing our land for too much and too little water. It’s in great shape and we’re opening the farm gate for a tour.

Holistic Land Management– Tour
October 16th, 9:30 – 12:30 am. Registration essential.
Farm Tour of Paddocks and Hillsides, Non-Intensive Orchards, Stream Restoration, Bush Restoration, and Browse Block (Permaculture Zones 3-5). Includes water management, preventing slips, managing gorse, silvopasture, integrating poplar and willow, managing goats and kunekune pigs.

Climate Camp for Teens
29-30 October
Kaitiaki Farm, Okoia, Whanganui
Open to teens from the entire Horizons Region. 
Supporting and empowering teens in the face of increasing extreme weather events caused by human-induced climate change. 

Family Climate Fair
13 November, 1-3 pm.
Whanganui Intermediate School Hall
Empowering families to support one another to embrace more sustainable and resilient lifestyles. 
Activities, information tables, kai, speakers, group discussions, bike repair, games, toy & clothing swap, creating a bulk buying network & more

Family meet-up: Kowhai Park Fun & Games
December 10th, 12 – 3 pm
A relaxed family-friendly alternative to the “silly season.” Bring an example of a low-waste lunch. Bike repair tools will be on site. 

Keeping Cool During a Heat Wave
January 18th, 5:30-7:30
Whanganui Learning Centre, 232 Wicksteed St.
Too hot to sleep? We’ll share some ideas on how to keep your home as cool as possible without breaking the bank. 

Family meet-up: Bike to the Beach
January TBD
Two-wheeled hikoi from the city bridge to Castlecliff Beach supporting families embracing bicycling as a form of transportation. Then a big play day in the sand!

Family meet-up
February TBD

Love Your Land Day
16 February, 10 – 2:30. Registration essential.
Come along for a farm tour and speakers. BYO Lunch. 
Topics include: holistic land management; regenerative agriculture; riparian corridors; bush restoration; growing browse for stock; carbon credits; more

The Low-Carbon – High Efficiency – Affordable Home
February TBD. Registration essential.
This workshop helps demystify the home-building process for climate resilience and affordability. Topics include passive solar design, super-insulation, high performance windows, and where to claw back cost savings. 

Building Resilience on Your Land
April TBD. Registration essential.

Healthy Homes for Healthcare & Social Workers
April/May TBC
Whanganui Regional Health Network
This programme helps  healthcare and social workers to empower families improve the health and comfort of their homes. 
Register with Angela Weekly at the Whanganui Regional Health Network.

Register: theecoschool@gmail.com
Kia Kaha!

Hedge Against Inflation

We’ve been practicing a form of permaculture we call “Eco-Thrifty” at our two homes in Whanganui for well over a decade. When we started our first blog in 2010 we thought the idea would catch on. It didn’t.

Twelve years later we are still at it and are reaping the harvests of avoiding the inevitable price rises in food and energy. Despite heading into winter and some seriously crazy weather, our farm is thriving and producing plenty of healthy kai while resisting the ravages of climate change.

Here is a visual update from yesterday.

Jerusalem artichoke off just two plants among hundreds.
Guavas tart and full of vitamin C to stay healthy.
Persimmons – my favourite!
Plenty of leafy greens.
These are apples in storage.
More vitamin-C-on-a-tree
Plenty of avocado trees laden with fruit.
Speaking of trees, here are some natives along with tree lucerne in a corner of our nursery.
Planted a few hundred garlic yesterday.
Found this little girl first thing yesterday morning.
Watched this kid being born yesterday afternoon.
And still had time for yoga.

Not bad for a blustery Sunday in June.

Peace, Estwing

Read All About It

Over the last few years I’ve been blogging less and writing for publication more. Below are some of those articles about our holistic approach for farming and home renovation that are available online:

https://www.buildmagazine.org.nz/articles/show/from-tent-to-toasty-home

Peace, Estwing

Kaitiaki Farm Weekend

Kaitiaki Farm Weekend

October 15-16

Saturday afternoon: Farm Tour of Gardens, Intensive Orchards, & Farm Buildings (Permaculture Zones 1-2). Includes integrating farm foul into fruit & veg production and what are the best tools to use for low-input/high performance systems.

Sunday morning: Farm Tour of Paddocks and Hillsides, Non-Intensive Orchards, Stream Restoration, Bush Restoration, and Browse Block (Permaculture Zones 3-5). Includes water management, preventing slips, managing gorse, silvopasture, integrating poplar and willow, managing goats and kunekune pigs.

Sunday afternoon: Eco Design/Build for Sleep Outs, Tiny Homes, Minor Dwellings. Includes passive solar design, ‘super-wall’, retrofit double-glazing, building code changes, wastewater compliance, compost toilets.

Choose any combination: $50 each or $130 for all. (Couples $240)

Meals and accommodation also available – please enquire.

Register: theecoschool@gmail.com

Autumn Abundance!

The farm is thriving with fruit and vegetables at the moment – we can’t even keep up with it all. The gardens have been going great all summer and now the autumn fruits are ripening in the orchards.

The plums and peaches are past us at this point. We’ve been picking lots of apples. These ones – called akane – are naturally disease resistant and have a great taste.

Pears have done well also.

There are too many figs to pick let alone eat. In the foreground are guavas not yet ripe.

And grapes! So many grapes!

Feijoas will be the next crop and it looks like a massive one. Alongside them will be persimmons – YUM!

Olives will be ready in winter along with most of the citrus.

And avos will be ready in spring.

Update: Persimmons nearly ready at the end of April!

Update: Our loquats are flowering for the first time! Loquat is quite unusual in that it flowers in the autumn instead of in the spring. The fruits are usually ready in December.

And these cool purple capsicums.

Peace, Estwing

Life Finds a Way

Practicing regenerative agriculture on the farm for the past seven years we’ve seen remarkable improvement in soil life, plants and animals. Biology is so powerful if we start by doing less harm than good. The key is working with nature instead of against it.

Here is a poplar that got blown over in the wind about two months ago. Instead of cutting the stump with a chainsaw I left it because I knew it would recover. It just started re-sprouting this week.

Re-sprouting poplar

Here is a mushroom growing out of an old snapped limb of this birch tree.

The wetlands and riparian corridor have made huge advances since we fenced out stock and planted 2,000 natives.

Before
After

The culvert is a weak link along our stream so we’ve reinforced it with biology – much stronger than concrete and steel!

Before & After

Every morning it’s so exciting to get up and see what else is growing on the farm!

Peace, Estwing

Permaculture Gifts

We believe in appropriate technology and sound advice. We offer items that help build resilient properties and communities.

The items we sell include the following:

Solar Oven: $100 plus post ($10 North Island or $15 South Island) + $5 rural
Stainless Steel Broad Fork: $190
Hula Hoe (Stirrup Hoe) – Hand-held: $30
Retrosuburbia Book: $89 plus post: $9.80 + $5 if Rural
Muscovy Ducklings: $10
Permaculture Calendar: $18 or $30 for 2 post paid

Email to order: theecoschool@gmail.com