permaculture adventures

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We have embarked on a wonderful permaculture adventure, with the notion that we will be able to sustain ourselves with organically grown fruit and vegetables. This exciting process, has the whole family involved. The food forest is well on the way, temporarily looking much the same as large vegetable patches at the moment, but will eventually grow out and beyond the boxes that contain them, into an expansive incredible food forest to rummage ourselves through. We have planted out an orchard, with apple varieties, pears, nectarines, oranges, lemons, olives, cherries and plums and will grow a field of white clover, radish, and Lucerne to support and nurture our young fruit trees. The children are taking it all very seriously, eagerly watching for growth and new life as it appears, and learning the names of fruit that we have never seen before like pepino melon, which is apparently wonderful to eat with ice cream. Apart from the obvious advantages of home-grown food and knowing exactly where and how what we are eating consists of exactly, its providing us with this wonderful learning platform of engagement. We discuss processes and seed selections, paying attention to the added benefits of the foods themselves supporting the growth of each other, much like a family. William asks what each plant does, he wants to know, who it is protecting and what from, and most of all what food it will produce for us. The discussion is always so much more important than just the planting of a seed. There is an excited eagerness, to watching things transform. The children can’t possibly wait until spring for their sunflowers to begin, so they have improvised and have begun growing them indoors, by the window in the small amounts of sun that we are still being graced with. Children are drawn to life, in all forms, they are naturally intrigued. It’s really humbling to find a platform that can naturally nurture this innate curiosity in them.  We are all are learning so much,  the fine art of patience, the importance of nurturing, and how to make wonderful worm juice concoctions. We are problem solving how to combat the white cabbage moth empathetically, and the life cycle of the hungry caterpillar. There is a world of science at our fingertips. We are spending endless amounts of hours pondering here, imagining how our food forest will be flourishing in a few years, how wonderful it will be if we could provide food for the ‘food is free project’, envisioning the possibility that everyone should have food available to them this way.

barefoot gardening

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This space is where we spend most of our days now, so much so that no amounts of endless scrubbing in warm afternoon baths can remove the dirt now ingrained onto the soles of our feet. It’s how we like it, we have become apart of our land, preferring not to wear shoes most of the time. The soil is sandy here, easy for digging, perfect for sandy wet mud play. The children are always wearing it somewhere on their bodies, we are not fussed anymore by messy hair and grotty faces, rather opting for happy free-spirited kids now. We are in the beginnings of embarking on creating a permaculture garden. We are learning about the intricate details of how our land moves, where naturally slopping surfaces are perfect for an orchard of fruit and olive trees,  where the rains fall and naturally flows down towards the abundant vegetable forests we plan to have at the bottom of the orchard. We are watching where the sun rises and sets on the land, paying particular attention to the naturally occurring elements, we will gather, collect and reuse organic mulch from fallen leaves and cuttings, we are composting everything and have adopted worm farms. We will waste little, give back what we take out and  learn the art of soil ecology.    We have planted, apple and pear trees, plum and peach, passionfruit and blue berries with raspberries around the open compost. All hands are helping,  are learning, are apart of the process. We have begun a notebook, documenting our creative envisions, drawing, taking pictures, keeping track, writing notes and keep sake stories for remembering. The children are learning so much more than simply where their food comes from. We envision no longer needing to buy in mass from supermarkets, understanding deeply the difference between fresh produce and produce that has been harvested prematurely to sustain the traveling process that so often exceeds months before reaching the table. We will let go of the idea and need to eat foods that arn’t naturally in season, we will unlearn all we have learned about the act of food consumption, and mass production and endeavor to show the children the difference, letting go of anything that is working against the natural flow of our world and in turn ourselves. We will learn that food is sacred and not to take what we grow, eat and share for granted understanding deeply the many who are ironically and unnecessarily are still without this simple human right. And we pray that our small turning can be of some impact in the greater turning around of all that needs be.

 

free range kids, free range eggs

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There is nothing simpler and nicer than wandering outside and collecting the eggs to then cook them up immediately  for breakfast. If you have ever had eggs like this you will understand what I’m taking about..

 

ingredients:  sourdough bread , free range fresh eggs, organic butter, organic baby asparagus spears, 1 avocado, juice of a lemon, olive oil, sea salt and cracked pepper,  a couple of free range kids

method: Heat a non stick grill pan on low, put on a small pot of water for the asparagus. With a glass cut holes into the centre of the sourdough, lightly butter on both sides and put aside. Gently snip with fingers the ends off the asparagus and place into the water when it comes to the boil. Blanch for 2-3 minutes, then remove and run under cold water to stop the cooking process. Slice the avocado all the way around and remove the seed. Scoop the flesh out into a bowl and add the juice of half a lemon and season. Mash with a fork and set aside.  Lightly oil the grill pan and turn the heat up to a medium heat  then add the sourdough slices, as many as you can fit onto the pan. While toasting lightly season with salt and cracked pepper. Allow to toast for a minute or so then begin cracking your eggs into the holes of the bread. Allow the bread to cook to a buttery golden brown before flipping over to cook the other side. The second side will take less time than the first. Try not to over cook the eggs. When nicely toasted, take out of the pan and set aside on a board. While the grill pan is still hot add a little more olive oil and add the asparagus, gently sear for a minute,  lightly season with salt. Serve the asparagus spears on the toasts, and add a spoonful of the avocado mixture to the plates.   Give thanks and enjoy!

hitting the ground

 Even though she might.. hit bottom via famine, capture, injured instinct, destructive choices and all of the rest, remember at the bottom is where the living roots of psyche are. It is there that a womans wild underpinnings are. At bottom is the best soil to sow and grow something new again. In that sence, hitting bottom, while extremely painful, is also the sowing ground.

-Clarissa Pinkola Estes, Women Who Run With the Wolves

 

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Instinct is a difficult one to define, for its configurations are invisible and though we sence they have been part of human nature since the begining of time; no one knows quite where they might be housed neurologically or precicly how they act upon us.

 

 

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Without warning, sometimes life just calls for us to hit the ground. To do nothing except be with whatever it is that has called us there. Most of the time for women this fall is unexpected and abruptly interferes with the routines we have created and the taking care of the children.  We are, all at once forced to pay attention to ourselves and see what it is that has sent us suddenly plummeting.  I have always thought myself to be in-touch with this inner knowing, wisdom of my own truth, I know now, that this too can get entangled and in a way lost within our all too busy and full lives. If we allow ourselves to wander too far astray from this unique and mysterious magic within ourselves by being too compliant, too good, too accommodating, too obliging, trying to bend and shape ourselves into something that clearly doesn’t fit, we are in danger of losing touch with our deepest intuition. “Instead of living freely, she begins to live falsely.’  Our intuitive nature  gives us the ability to know our own truth, to see the unseen, to feel the truth of something before it is presented to us. ‘…to strip away her intuitive nature, her natural curiosity..  (which) leads her to discover “what lies underneath” and beyond the obvious,’ is devastating to the soul of the woman. Women have a way of losing themselves so to speak, in the raising of the children, in the taking care of others, the house, their husbands, their jobs, always serving themselves last. She drinks the cold cup of tea, allows all she loves and sometimes doesn’t to walk before her, that’s just what we do, we save ourselves for later.  We do this because we love and care deeply. We see the ones around us so clearly that we make way, allow them to step first in their lives. If women do this without balance, without coming from a place of their soul truth, they are in danger of finding themselves lost within a world that isn’t entirely theirs, one where the windows of life that have a way of opening as we move forward on our paths, suddenly are closed. By not being completely true with ourselves we are out of alignment with this Life force. The Life force that resides within us. As women it is vital that every spoon we feed into the mouths of our babies, we first spoon into ourselves. At times throughout our lives it becomes necessary to dispose of the old clothes, the ones ‘which have become slackened from the wearing. The clothes are like us, worn and worn until our ideas and values are slackened by the passing of time.’ in the doing for others and not paying attention to our own inner desires closely enough. This is when we hit the ground, this is where the renewal, the revivifying, takes place.. in the re-discovering of what we really hold to be true, what we really hold sacred.

For many women, this task requires that they clear a time each day for contemplation, for a space to live in that is clearly their own with paper, pens, paints,tools, conversations, time, freedoms that are for this work only. Each woman has her own preferences, her own way.

 

i dont mind dirt under my nails

 

You are so brave and quiet, I forget you are suffering

-Hemingway

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For a rustic effect wrap your pots in coconut basket liners and tie with brown string. You can buy basket liners from nursery and hardware stores. If you cut them down the middle and open each piece up they will wrap easily around the pots, then secure with the string and trim off any excess. They look really nice when all placed in an area together like on a window sill or book shelf. A little winter indoor garden. For easy watering just place all the pots in the kitchen sink basket liners and all.

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words

if there is a place where i ask the questions, it is here, with dirt under my nails and new life resting in my hands. It is here that I hear the sound of  my own voice, where life speaks volumes in it’s all alluring silence. It is here where my creativity begins and always ends with a pen and notebook in hand.