Tag Archives: featured

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

 

Early Winter Permaculture Update

We have had a busy autumn here on the farm with our three amazing interns. They left us last weekend after presenting their fabulous design projects.

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After 10 weeks on the farm they have learned a ton about permaculture design.

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Now, for the first time in eight months we do not have interns on the farm. It is a welcome break from continuously having to manage a group of eager helpers. We’ve shifted gears to a slower life with easy chores like drying apples. We had a very large harvest of Monty’s Surprise apples this year and are processing many of them through the solar dehydrator.

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I made this a few months ago out of salvaged timber and an old shower door.

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Before the interns left we made a good push to plant out our strawberries…

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… but we had so many that I’ve had to pot a few dozen up this weekend. Too many strawberries? That’s my kind of problem!

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We also made a good effort of planting garlic, but the process is not quite halfway done so far. I enjoy planting garlic and can take the next fortnight to chip away are the remainder of the 4,000 + cloves that we’re planting.

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Other early winter things happening on the farm: ducklings?!?

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We have cockerels to process once there is enough space in the freezer.

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And the first lot of poplar poles was delivered by the regional council. But those can wait until the August internship begins.

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Peace, Estwing

 

Permaculture Internship: A Day in the Life

Here is a glimpse of what a permaculture internship on Kaitiaki Farm looks like. It includes regular chores like animal care, solar cooking and cutting firewood in the winter, but it can also include unique projects.

One morning this week our interns had the opportunity to meet with land care specialists from our Regional Council who came to the farm to advise us on a planting plan for our stream and hillsides. While we were in the valley we planted some willow poles at the bottom of a recent slip. (We cut and prepared the poles the previous day.)

Later that day they helped out at a pop-up Curtain Bank we started to hand out free curtains to families in need in our community. Once we got home there was still a little sunlight left so we planted another few rows of garlic.

The permaculture ethics can be summarised as: Earth Care; People Care; Fair Share. Our interns immerse themselves in these ethics along with the four-dimensional design strategies we employ on the farm. After two months they leave us with a Permaculture Design Certificate, a large array of practical skills, and a new perspective on the world and how to re-design it to better serve people and the planet. Our current group of three interns graduate tomorrow. We wish them luck!

For more information on the Kaitiaki PDC internship programme:

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

 

Peace, Estwing

RetroSuburbia: What it Looks Like

Permaculture co-founder David Holmgren’s upcoming book, RetroSuburbia, “highlights the ongoing and incremental changes we can make to our built, biological and behavioural landscapes. Focused on his home territory; Melbourne, Victorian regional towns and more generally southern Australia, the suburban retrofit concepts have national and global application. Due for publication in late 2017.”

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More from the website:

“RetroSuburbia explains and illustrates patterns, designs and behavioural strategies applied by those already on the downshifting path to a resilient future, using permaculture ethics and principles. It is organised as a pattern language of interlocking and complementary design solutions to perennial problems faced by those applying a more systematic, whole-of-household approach to retrofitting their houses, gardens and living arrangements. It includes some proven design specifications and pointers, references technical sources and case studies, but is more of a strategic guide than a technical manual.

Rather than reviewing the latest technology for thermally efficient heating, the book has an overview of wood energy options that increase resilience and productivity of the household, some of which can be manufactured in a home workshop. Rather than details on how to grow vegetables or raise chooks, it describes the different systems for doing so, and their pros and cons in various situations. A lot of the technical detail is conveyed with graphics. This book will help you get your hands dirty tackling tricky issues with creative solutions, including those that might be seen as socially or even legally questionable. Harness the tradition of Aussie DIY to reclaim common sense self reliance while ignoring the overregulation, risk management myopic and dependence on centralised authority that afflicts affluent Australia. In the process, help create a broader, more holistic culture of DIO (doing it ourselves) which rebuilds the non-monetary economies of the household and community.”

Our home in Castlecliff, Whanganui, is used as a case study. Independent of Holmgren, we came to many of the same conclusions and design strategies. The success of our suburban retrofit speaks for itself: a warm, cosy, low-energy home and abundant food production on a small section. Regarding the issues brought up by Holmgren, there would be few properties in New Zealand that match this one in terms of the key characteristics of resilience.

In November, 2010 we started renovating the old villa…

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…which is now a high performance passive solar home.

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We started with a section full of weeds and rubbish six years ago.

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It is now full of fruit trees, natives, annual gardens and a pizza oven.

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Side yard before.

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Side yard after.

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Learn more about retrofitting suburbia.

Thursday, 11th May, 6:30-7:30 PM

Central Library, Palmerston North, New Zealand.

Dr. Nelson Lebo, Eco Design Advisor, Palmerston North City Council.

 

Peace, Estwing

Amazing Abundance: 6 Years on 700 Square Metres

Six years ago we moved onto a weed infested rubbish tip. After a month we had planted a vege garden, fruit trees, nurse trees and natives.

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After six years it looks like this.

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In a coastal environment, the keys are wind protection and enhancing sandy soils.

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This was the same corner a year later.

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Wind protection is great for annuals too. This is a different fence line four years ago.

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That fence line now looks like this: apples, plums, grapes, guava, Jerusalem artichoke, and a small annual vegetable garden.

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The opposite corner of the section looked like this four years ago. Note the peach tree in the bottom left corner.

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And now.

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This area needed attention five years ago.

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And today: feijoas, apples, olives

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Reverse angle shot with firewood storage area in lower right corner.

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In front of the house where there was overgrown grass, lupine and pampas lilly of the valley – and a large pile of rubbish – there is a grisselinia hedge for privacy and eventually wind protection.

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This beautiful, super-abundant suburban permaculture property from scratch in six years has been included in David Holmgren’s RetroSuburbia project as the only case study outside of Australia.

A one-off tour/workshop on this property will be offered Sunday 12th February 1-4 PM.

Space is strictly limited.

Register: theecoschool at gmail dot com

 

Peace, Estwing

Kaitiaki Farm Work Study PDC Internship

 

Earn your Permaculture Design Certificate while working on a premier permaculture demonstration farm in New Zealand.

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

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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 in four dimensions (over time), along with the hands-on skills required to work effectively with cultivated ecologies.

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Kaitiaki Farm is an exemplar permaculture property that is blessed with a diverse array of microclimates and growing conditions. The 5.1 hectare (13 acre) property is located 4 km outside of Whanganui with a population of 43,000.

Along with holistic land management we also embrace appropriate technology, renewable energy and human-scale solutions.

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Many of our interns come with low or no rural skills. Motivation, a love of learning, and a strong work ethic are the most important elements for success at Kaitiaki.

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We spend a lot of time teaching and talking. This slows down our work but makes the internship what it is – an endless series of ‘teachable moments’. It is also the best way to earn a PDC. This type of learning experience is extremely rare anywhere in the world and would not come from a book or standard PDC course. That said, we have a huge library of great books and lots of connections locally and nationwide of practicing permaculturists.

Interns work three-ish full-ish days and two half days per week, with two days off.

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

The ECO School

Whanganui, New Zealand

 

Inquiries: theecoschool at gmail dot com

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