Monday, October 30, 2006

The Stern review

“When the history of the world's response to climate change is written, the Stern Review will be recognized as a turning point.
Sir Nicholas and his team have provided important intellectual leadership as humanity
engages with its greatest challenge.
While the details will be debated, the main thrust of the report is clear and compelling — the expected benefits of tackling climate change far outweigh the expected costs.”
Cameron Hepburn Oxford University

Well that is a pretty clear endorsement! and there are many more... the time is upon us when we have to concentrate our efforts on taking action and not prevaracating, get out thee and get invovled withthe sustainability agenda in your area. Dont know what or where that is? Contact the permaculture association., stick a notice up in the local library, have a meeting, suggest the local school builds a garden, anything in fact, but just do something.. I think all I have to say really on the issue in a broader context is that actually this is a great opportunity. I think we should be positive about this, there are so many advantages to a more local, seasonal, toxic free and resource efficient economy. Yes a lot fewer imports, yes a lot fewer foreign holidays, but more time to enjoy them perhaps, fewer stresses, and perhaps a few more reasons to want to stay at home.
Grow just a tiny bit of your food, compost your waste, plant a few trees in your neighbourhood, or if not that then make some tea for someone who is, buy fairtrade, go to the farmers market, insulate your house properly, you know the drill we've all heard the messages.. this only works when every one does something.. and as someone clever once said, the biggest fool was the man who did nothing because he could only do a little bit.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

First course booking and date confirmation

Well I am excited, we had the first enquirey for the course today, and also received a Diwali card from Kavita who was on it this year. The dates are confirmed as advertised - 6th - 19th of May, with teaching from Myself, Sarah Pugh, I think Mike Feingold, plus a host of thers, Steve Pickup, Niels Corfield, Mandy Dean. We are concentrating on doing more practicals this time around, hopefully starting an intensive willow coppice plantation with Steve, working with green manures with Niels and also doing some scything and learning some great techniques for getting on top of rough land and creating loads of useful mulch materials.

It has taken me a long time to realise that this is exactly the technique we need here to get on top of the land and to reinforce all the plantings we have done here. Strimmers cant handle bracken and brambles, its all gets tangled up in it, the scythe makes light work of it.

.Have been updating the schools garden blog, so do check that out, me and Dave have been busy down in Reading working on the Aspire schools project in Whitley, bringing elements of forest garden design to a selection of schools there.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Permaculture Design Course 2007

Well I had a chat with Sarah Pugh yesterday and we hare trying to finalise the dates for the next Chickenshack design course. It is looking like it is going to be May 6th - 19th 2007.

I will put up a course outline and notes when I get a minute, but its going to be 2 weeks of camping (or staying in B+B) in Snowdonia nat park, with practical, site visits, slides shows talks and demonstrations.

You will have a chance for a 'behind the scenes' visit at the renown Centre for Alternative Technology. Dulas ltd a leading renewable energy company, the very efficient heating company, a leading solar and biomass installer, plus visits to 3 different permaculture plots, small holdings etc. and chance to meet the people behind the projects. Meet some of the people who are leaders sustainability, in terms of their experience, practical knowledge and insight.

This is a course for anyone who really wants to get to grips with the solutions, not just how ecosystems work, soil, water, but also social economies, personal motivation and health etc.

The graph, is from Vital Signs the Worldwatch institute's bi-annual eco-audit. There's not much good news, it is pretty stark in terms of emissions, numbers of car produced etc.., except for the fact that the number of grass roots groups, charities, eco groups, farmer markets, solar installers etc is exploding, exponential growth in a lot of those areas. So the response to the challenge is really under way. Permaculture is about living within the carrying capacity of an ecosystem, and realising that nature is endlessly abundant, - but only if tapped at a sustainable rate. Beyond that systems break down.

So get on board for the course folks, use this blog to leave comments and questions if you have any, or contact me directly via the chickenshack website
 Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Sorry these are out of order timewise.. this pic is from the August bank holiday weekend, but aftrputting up the pic of Charl. and sprog, i thought it only fair to put this one up, of Tim and Sian and Seren on August BH... what a cutie, and Tim, if you are watching.... how dignified you look in your new role...whose the Daddy now? Posted by Picasa

there is a big fat slow worm in there, honest... just very hard to see, its a silvery/ white lizrd really, but without legs so its very snake like. This beauty was sunninging himself this afternoon, under the oregano bush Posted by Picasa

The Chickenshack permaculture Blog says an official hello to Lila Cosserat - Horner , her parents started their relationship at a chickenshack party i do believe, and here is the resulting pink blob... and a very fine one it is too, lots of love to you three... XXX Posted by Picasa

This is 12 tonnes of very dry wood. Its a mixture of whole tree trunks and some slabwood offcuts. I am hopin that together with the biofuel briquettes that this will be enough wood to heat our place for two years. We will have to hire in a splitting machine and a couple of guys with saws to help, but I still reckon it is going to be a very cheap as well as eco way to heat the place. Albeit quite a lot more work, but it is going to be a great feeling to have two or three year's worth of fuelwood laid down. Posted by Picasa

Here is the wood arriving Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Comfrey the wonder plant

Had an email from a chap in Brittany looking for comfrey bocking 4, as opposed to 14. I had to look it up to remind myself, but bocking 14 is the purple flowered variety - Russian comfrey.. that we use in gardens as plant feed, whereas the 4 was developed as an animal fodder. i found a great little pdf that explains it all, Comfrey the wonder plant

thanks for that Stuart, I have added a link to your blog, and if anyone can help us out with Bocking 4 then we are ready to hear from you! I must ask Niels he is the kind of person who might know about that.