Today the moon is full, and with its fullness comes change, abundance and completion. I'm spending some time focusing on connecting with its energy to do some visioning and reflecting this afternoon. There's little chance of seeing the moon here, as the cloud is all around us in the hills today, but in any rain breaks i'll be planting some ground cover seeds and seedlings. (salad leaves, nasturtium, calendula) amongst the winter veggies.
Beautiful artwork by Hannah Willow
Over the last week I've started creating some growing areas as part of the design for our new Edible Garden . Using small and slow solutions, the first part of the implementation of the design is to create a series of small beds in one area of the garden which flows with some of the beautiful curved lines of the land and the existing paths already in place. This draws on the designing from patterns to details principle. Ive been using some roof tiles, left in a heap on the land when we bought the house, and stone, also already in the garden, to create the edges Once the beds are finished we'll be adding layers of horse manure/straw, growing green manures and adding some further top soil (taken from else where in the garden as part of plans to create new paths and capture water - the subject of a different post!). We hope to then start using the beds in the early spring
One of the designs I did for the International Permaculture Convergence (IPCUK) this year was about creating a Memories Space - a Space which aimed to provide ways that we can remember and honour those that have died within the permaculture community, in a creative and respectful way. The Space was designed to be as accessible to as many people as possible, whatever their age, background, culture, experience of death, or spiritual beliefs. People were encouraged to use art and craft provisions and /or bring photos, poems etc from home to add and connect with the Space. Part of the design also included facilitating a Memories 'Event', one evening at the IPC too. You can read more details about the design in my Diploma portfolio.
I had no idea how either the Space or Event would be used, so was really pleased when at the end of the IPC I discovered lots of different forms of creative expression in the small woodland I chose for the Space, even though the area around it had become a popular area for people to camp, so not so peaceful as I had hoped.(Though maybe those camping nearby had chosen or were inspired by the close proximity to the Space?). As included in my design, as we, the Crew, took the structures of the IPCUK down, I carefully burnt the words and pictures left at the Space, and will be planting an avocado tree this winter, over the ash generated.
About 20 people attended the Memories Event which grew to be a beautiful hour of sharing stories, poetry, experiences, gratitude, tears ...and lighting lanterns in the memory of people who had inspired our permaculture work.
The informal feedback given to me by those who had connected with either element of the design was really positive. People expressed they had found it very useful in their grief journey, particularly as attending an emotive and in-depth gathering such as the IPCUK is very likely to be a time where those who have died are very much in our minds. And certainly this mirrored my experience of being able to participate, (as well as facilitate) in the 2 elements
Based on my observations of the design throughout the IPCUK, combined with the positive feedback I think adaptations based on the Memories Space design could be easily facilitated at future permaculture (or other) events.
People reading this post may also be interested in another design within my Diploma portfolio, Designing Dying
The following are some of my favourite resources relating to death, dying and grief
Today I've been planting out some polyculture beds in our 'plant amongst whats already there' temporary edible garden while we create the new beds of our more permanent Edible Garden design .....the beautiful aubergine plants, thought to have been long gone in the dry heat of August, have literally sprung back to life in the rain of the last couple of weeks...they are now accompanied by globe artichokes, 2 varieties of organic peas, chard, garlic and kale......hoping the support system of cane (grown elsewhere in the garden) and trimmings from my neighbours almond tree pruning will be enough against the winter winds here
Earth based spirituality is central to my life and permaculture work and I often use the energies and patterns it guides me with as core tools within my designing.
This week I've had some lovely creative time, designing a space in our new garden where we can have celebratory or reflective times around representations of the 5 elements , Earth, Air, Fire, Water and Spirit.
Ive also been learning more about luna patterns and cycles recently, so today, with the moon in the Earth sign Capricorn, Id like to present my 'Earth' area of the garden.
Facing North and amongst our current herb pot zone, Earth has lots of different stones and seeds within its creation. Earth is very much about fertility, healing, growth, support, wisdom and manifestation, and it was really great to focus on these aspects as I chose what I wanted the it's space to look like.
I've also decided to include planting the dried bean I had saved from the Earth Activist Training I attended in California in 2013. We were all given beans to take from the temporary community we had formed there, back to plant wherever home was. At the time, I knew that 'Home' would be changing, though now this garden is starting to feel very much like it may well be Home x
As part of my ongoing responsibility for my own holistic health and well being, a couple of months ago I designed a time each day where I could use some of the tools I know really benefit my health. I had heard a lot from various friends and social media about a book called The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod, and so decided to listen to it on an audio book one day. I didn't connect with all of it, but I did really like the concept of undertaking positive self development and health activities in the first hour of the day, (getting up and hour earlier than usual to do this if necessary), and making it a daily routine.
So my adapted version (Which I've renamed 'Magical Morning' routine) looks a bit like this
(make a pot of tea...obviously!!)
Grounding/mediation (working with 5 senses to be totally present)
Choosing a wisdom/affirmation card ( Im currently using Louise Hays 'Wisdom Cards' ) to focus on for the day.
Journalling gratitude in my Earth Pathways Diary, plus connecting with the written information for the day/week the diary provides
Planning my day using the Reflection and Planning tool I designed as part of my Diploma portfolio
Reading a chapter of a book
I aim to take an hour for the above routine, but it can be done in more, or less time if needed. If for some reason I have to miss the morning routine, I do it all in the evening ('Magical Evening' - ME time!) instead.
I'm really loving the new routine....it gets me doing so many things I know benefit me at the start of the day, which in turn gives me a really fab beginning to the day in terms of mood and energy. I'm also feeling physically fitter through getting an extra 15-20 mins of moderate exercise into my day. In addition I've found that I spend far less time in the day thinking that I should be doing these activities because they are good for me, but then not doing them because other more 'essential' things come up. So I automatically feeling less stressed and more in control of how I choose to use my time throughout the rest of the day.
There is also a super active motivating Facebook Group for folk around the world who are using a similar routine to benefit their lives.
How amazing to have some of our own almond trees in our new Andalucian garden...I harvested a few about a month ago, as a lot of the expert Spanish farmers were harvesting their trees with vigour, but many of the nut husks were still closed. Commercially that wouldn't be a problem, as the nuts are removed mechanically, but for us trying to get each one out by hand would have been near on impossible. A few weeks later though, many more have split husks, so over the last few days I've had my first major attempt at a proper 'harvest'. And many lessons learnt! The nets are slippy! The trees high (the tree pole not quite long enough!), and almonds, though small, hurt when they rain down on your head! They are delicious though, and I'm so excited that we can grow our own plant protein. So lots of almonds to shell now (while listening to a good book!), then recipes to create...but thats another post.
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I love sprouting a diverse mix of seeds, pulses, nuts...its the easiest edible windowsill garden ever...here, i've got puy lentils plus radish, alfalfa and red clover seeds...super healthy, ready in 4-5 days, and really delicious in salads or adding at the last minute to stir fries.
You can find out more information about sprouting here at sproutpeople.org
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I love new moon time of each month, its such a great motivation to get plans and projects started, (and then their progress reviewed with the energy of the full moon two weeks later). So exactly one month after I accredited my Diploma in Applied Permaculture Design at the International Permaculture Convergence, here is the first post of my new blog, created especially for my next chapter of permaculture learning.
Embracing the permaculture principle of 'each element performs many functions', my blog aims to -
Provide a way of sharing my permaculture knowledge and experience with others both in the permaculture community, and hopefully beyond ('hi Dad x')
Give me a space to document my experiences and learning in a format where I can easily locate prior posts
Encourage my development as a 'writer'. Throughout the 4 years of my Diploma journey, writing is something I've discovered I really enjoy and benefit from.
Inspired by the amazing blog The Snail of Happiness written by my friend Jan Martin, I'm going to attempt to write a post each day, for the next month.
The kinds of things you can expect to see here are
News about my permaculture designs and projects
Reviews of books, films, music, websites, blogs, events
Celebratory writing relating to Earth festivals
I'm really exited about this blog hopefully becoming an integral part of my life and permaculture work. Feedback is very much appreciated.
Creating an abundant edible garden has been one of Holly and my main visions for our new life in Spain. We planted a few annual veggies in and amongst existing ornamental plant beds, when we arrived in April, but now our garden designing starts with a determined motivation. We've no idea what will grow here over the winter, so its all a bit of an experiment and we are pretty excited to see what happens!
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regular updates and reflections about the permaculture designs in my life