Thursday, May 25, 2006

And here is the finnished bed. The spuds ahve been covered over with a thick layer of old braken, gatherd from the wetland, and topped off with a layer of comfrey. This will rot down nicely as the spuds grow up through it, and exclue any weeds from getting a look in. When we harvest the spuds later, all the goodness will get dug into the soil. In Mike's scheme of things you would follow on from this with onions and garlic next, which we can plant in the autumn.  Posted by Picasa

The sprouting spuds are planted in the blobs of muck and coverered over with another dollop of the good sftuff Posted by Picasa

blobs a fairly fresh muck and straw are place at intervals. And I forgot, a sprinkling of muck goes below the card, to attract the worms Posted by Picasa

Planting spuds with Mike F. Choose a weedy patch of groud and cover with at least three layers of cardboard to exclude all the light and kill all the weeds. Posted by Picasa

Day five, organic horticultural techniques

Gardening lecture in the sunshine... ahh this is what we had hoped for, i don't think it will last but a bit of sunshine is greatly appreciated by all Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

compost practical

Mike Feingold in flow... another cold and blustery day, but everyone got stuck into the practical - excellent and chickenshack got a new compost heap! Posted by Picasa

Rwestacking the compst heap as part of the practical session this afternoon Posted by Picasa

PDC day 3 ctd.

the day finished with a visit to this house. A new build eco house and planned retirement home. Key features being the solar pv roof and heat pump/ underfloor heating system. The houe has had to conform to standard building conventions in terms of materials and outline design, but even with this limitiation the owners have been able to include a great many really energy efficent features.  Posted by Picasa

this monkey puzzle tree seems to like the welsh sea air. a very healthy specimin. of course you have to have a male and femail tree to get the apparelty delicious edible nuts they can produce. Posted by Picasa

Margaret gaves us wonderful of the veg gardens and here in the forest garden. 2 different old chickenshack members had in a hand in starting this garden 8 or so years ago, so it was great to see it how good it is looking now Posted by Picasa

Pentre Bach forest garden

woodruff, welsh poppies and a carpet of herbs in the Pentre Bach forest garden Posted by Picasa

PDC day 4 ctd. Trip to Pentre Bach

sign at Pentre Bach, the award winning organic B+B in Llwyngwril.  Posted by Picasa

in goes the beeswax to make the ointment out of the plaintains we picked from the field Posted by Picasa

Day 3 Herbs, health and healing

Well the course is in full swing now, fourth day and noone can believe its only been that long, so much seems to have happened. Extreme weather conditions, having to abandon the marrquee in the high drama of gales and the poor old witches hat turning into a sail. We were only suggesting the night before that we should maybe do some co-operative games and stuff maybe to help build a group dynamic. But with extreme weather and high drama we all suddenly fell like we know each other pretty well. Anyway the pic is Mandy of the herbalist www.herbalist.machynleth.biz, a special friend of mine who does a fantiastic workshop on herbs and health and immunity. It all links into nutrition and those issues too. We made plaintain ointment for cuts, bruises and stings and a daisy, or bruiswort compress for poor Dawn's bruised knee.  Posted by Picasa

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Here it is up and the sun actually came out as well! Posted by Picasa

putting the Witches hat marquee up ready for the course starting tomorrow. Lots of head scratching going on as it is a whole year since we last put up the tent, Jack is busy taking pictures so we can have a little how to do it manual for next time Posted by Picasa

Saturday, May 20, 2006

All set but - Rain Rain Rain

The 2-week permaculture design course starts tomorrow and with a couple of last minute bookings numbers are looking good! I think we are at 14 people now... of course we knew it would work out all along...(not) but there is a feeling of excitement here with the first two people here already, helping set up, Cecile and Ben, and several more arriving today.

We have not been blessed with the weather so far, with the met office talking about unseasonally cold wet and windy weather... so bring your wellies folks! Hopefully it will make us appreciate a bit of sunshine if and when we finally get some. Its certainly making the welsh countryside a verdant almost flourescent green.

Lots more preparing to do today, finish putting up the marquee teaching space being the main one. Thanks to Dave Roberts who is helping us out with electrics fo lights in the field.

Another last minute addition to the team is Mike who is coming to help on the cooking front, ahd he also happens to be an excellent musician, guitar player, so we shall look forward to that, but only when he's finished the washing up of course!

I will post some pics in the next couple of days, so keep tuned in folks!

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Permaculture design course latest

After having a mini panic last week over numbers and having so many things still to do I can report that everything is now feeling much more in place, We have a very interesting group of students lined up and now we have passed our minimum amount we can really concentrate on getting the place ready.

We have lined up some excellent site visits and speakers and are just comfirming the details for the timetable, including;
*an intro talk from a leading renewable energy technolgy company, and a chance to find out some details about the potentials of solar power in the UK
*a full tour and an insiders view of the famous centre for alternative technology and a chance to ask question sto some of the staff there
*visits to established permaculture plots and smallholdings
* a chance to find out about herbs health and nutrition and find out how to begin to make your own preparations for common complaints, with a practicing medical herbalist
* A lecture and questions session from one the UK's leading renewable heating engineers, practical, informed and latest information

May blossom, Blackthorn in flower - of course its a member of the prunus species, like damson and cherry, its easiest to spot similarites like that when plants are in flower Posted by Picasa

Tom's floor, made from Sycamore and Ash he felled and seasoned himself, this beautiful floor was made by hand from wood from his own land Posted by Picasa

Rocks at Tonfannau beach. Taken on the beach about a mile or so from house, this is a great place for exploring rock pools and finding sea creatures. Climbers come here to practice regularly Posted by Picasa

The new pond at Y Felin. Taken at Tom and Lisa's Brown's smallholding. This one of the places we will be visiting on the permaculutre course in two weeks time Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Course latest

Well it has been a rather nerve racking few days trying to finalise the numbers for the permaculture design course. Basically we've had a lot of interest from various quarters but with just under 3 weeks to go have only got 6 confirmed participants with about a dozen or so more on the short list. So although this isn't enough for us to be able to go ahead and run a full course as yet, its certainly enough that we can do something.... I am determined to go ahead and make the best of what we can. We always knew it would be hard for people to get two whole weeks away at this time of year, however, this is the best time of year really for this kind of thing in Wales and being a remote location means we can't really offer anything other than the intensive two week design course. So we are trying to make the best from the situation. Feedback suggests we could make it more accessible to people by making the core of the course componenet shorter, although this is late in the day to be restructuring it, I shall run the idea past Sarah P. and Mike, the other teachers and see what they think.

So far: Sam U. Gabriel, Cecile, Rob S, Ben H, Dawn are signed up, with Sarah K also expected. Alice T. is expressing interest in at least the introduction to component.

If I can get a few more confirmations in the next few days then we will be on for the whole thing, but if not, I can assure all people they will still have a fulfilling and interesting time, and for those wishing to complete the whole syllabus then we can discuss putting on a second half to this course (all within the same price), later in the year and perhaps at a more central location. More soon....

Thanks to everyone for their interest I am really looking forward to meeting those of you who are coming here in three weeks time. Any questions, use the blog and I will answer them publicly so others can follow the discussion. Spread the word, its going to be a great little course and a few more people will make all the difference!

Steve