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posted : 2008.Mar.07 @ 1.12am
well... this week most unfortunately
i was struck by a TERRIBLE cold
which has been cleansing my body in a most unpleasant way

but we had already cancelled permaculture one week
so rather than completely cancelling
we decided to take the time to do some work on our permaculture tools

i spent a good 12 hours working on these throughout the course of the 2 days
the first day delvin spent in the city with poxin and hte second day he spent with me at our house Smile
delvin took very good care of me and helped me get better from being sick.



these will each be a card that illustrates a permaculture principle
and on the back will be text that delvin worked on
to explain the principle and ask a question to help evolve the process



they could be used as memory cards (flash cards)
or as inspiration cards to inform a permaculture design process
or just as a tome (though delvin composed some other games too)



they can also be used with the famous "chits" that poxin is making : renewed versions of the ones from previous posts
which are illustrations of different things you might have on your property
like a house, a pond, a garden, a windmill... you can move them around on a map of the property



some of these designs are quite simple and others quite complex
next week i will finish the last four of 32 cards, and do a wash over everything
making them all a little more similar to each other and laying them out on cards for print with delvin's text







posted : 2008.Mar.07 @ 1.52am
awesome icons lunayabirch, some of these are great...
shading treatment of the apple and the fractal could be more cohesive with the rest of them...

do you want to give them away open source, or are they property of a particular project?
I encourage open sourcing them if possible!







posted : 2008.Mar.07 @ 2.00am
aha!

phong you're absolutely right : thanks for the shading tag

haha : you might recognize that fractal from somewhere, yes?
i was thinking of you there
and how that pattern is so deep for me
then after making it i went to see copper chris
and he gave me the game to play with, with the ball and stick magnets
that make those things and then you turn it into a grid and make that into a sphere!

but i digress...

yes that's a good idea phong
i think i will make these open source
once they are finished
in some way shape or form... hmm....







posted : 2008.Mar.07 @ 3.37am
I was thinking the same thing, Phong.
These are great. I would rather see more of this everywhere!







posted : 2008.Mar.07 @ 1.10pm
so it shall be!

haha : honoured that you guys like this work Smile

yay!







posted : 2008.Mar.15 @ 3.02pm

« MODULES 6 & 7 : TREES AND WATER »

horay! 

yet another truly incredible chapter in this journey of permaculture 

this time we went to vangroover to do our course at poxin's lovely abode (east van of course) 
we rocked out TWO MODULES this week, which was a major accomplishment 
and still had time to do a wonderful field trip 

vangroover is SOOOOO beautiful in the spring : 

 
image by poxin 

 
image by poxin 

as always, we began with our readings... 


image by poxin 

our first module's readings were about the poly-functionality of plants 
in a permaculture system (in gaia's garden) 
and WATER, this time in the mollison handbook (which is always way more complex) 

 

"The key here is that plants don't merely supply products, such as fruit and flowers. More importantly, plants are busily performing processes, such as soil biulding and water harvesting. Viewing plants as dynamic, not static, requires a subtle shift in thinking - after all, plants just seem to sit there most of the time. But with experience, we can learn to see plants as active participatns in the garden ecology." 

*** 

"Through creative choice of plants, a simple hedge, for example, becomes not merely a screen but a deer-blocking, wind-reducing, wildlife and people feeding, mulch-producing, insect-attracting, source of medicineal plants and craft materials... plants can play a wide range of ecological parts, as mulch makers, nutrient accumulators, nitrogen fixers, insect attractors, pest repellants, fortress plants, spike roots, wildlife nurturers, and shelterbelters. Any functioning ecosystem - or ecological garden - almost certainly needs plants that play each of these roles." 

Toby Hemenway in his book "Gaia's Garden" 

 

i was really tired from the journey to the city 
so as the guys went off to do a mini fieldtrip and grocery shop 
i volunteered to stay home and have a nap instead. 

thankfully we went to the same field trip the next day, only for longer 
so that still gets to be documented here! 

after discussing the readings and having dinner, we did our written work 
and got into the continuing creation of our permaculture tools : 

1. Write a 3-5 minute talk about swales, how they are made and what 
their functions are.
 

swales basically these dips that you dig out of the ground... like little small ditches : you take dirt out of the ground in a curved line and put that dirt at the downhill side of the area you just dug, then fill the area with something like straw that absorbs water. then when the water runs downhill from rain, it's actually caught and absorbed into the swale and sinks deep into the straw and then the earth, so that there's way more water in that area and things can grow so much more easily there... especially if it also gets a fair amount of sun. 

life springs beautifully up wherever you dig swales and it's a great way to deal with drought in dry climates too. even tiny swales can create life in barren deserts... it's very effective at what it does. only problem is that it's a bit of work and might not really be necessary in super wet lush places. 

you can kinda just dig a swale by eyeing it up, but the proper way if you can is to get a full pendulum inside of an A-frame, and lay it on 
your slope area that you're thinking you want to use to make the swale, and then you basically just set it down, and wherever the pendulum points to is the perfect base of your concave swale area and then where the lower sloped part of the A-frame sits is where you put the dirt that you dig out.... so that would be the upper lip of the dirt pile which is laid all along the dug out part, essentially. 

2. Describe 4 ways to catch and store, or channel, water? 

- swales 
- rain barrels for roof run-off 
- greywater pump from hand washing sink to toilet for flushing 
- ponds 

3. How could we set up a complex multi-layered water purfication system at dreamberry farms with resources aiming to address all different types of pollutants (specifically greywater, as opposed to blackwater)? 

we could set up a system where everyone in the house agrees to use only biodegradable earth friendly soaps and shampoos, and we could proffessionally have an alternative piping system coming from the baths and dishes sink and hand basins, that we can turn on and off, which all runs out of the same place in the house, just freely into a flowform system. 

the flowform would probably need to start at the edge of the lawn and go diagonally along that steep hill there... so there would need to be some level of piping extending to that part. at the house, possibly the greywater could fall first into a big bucket, raised to increase 
  • flow, which could then release water through a pipe at the base of the bucket, and travel across the lawn to the slope. that same bucket could be integrated with a roof water catching system... if it could be engineered so that the gutters were emptying right at that part. 
  • then the flowformed, oxygenated water could go out into a series of five ponds. the first one would be a marsh style, where lots of cool water loving plants could absorb all that yummy soap and organic matter in the water and turn it into more living plants... then it 
  • could filter through 3 consecutive ponds and finally out to a cleansed pond where fish and certain other plants could thrive. overflow could extend out into some interconnected swales to nourish the nearby gardens. 

i am starting to lay the cards out for print 
and sort out the backs with delvin's text which he has been generating : 





the next day was truly wonderful... 
especially because of the awesome field trip that we went on 
to a place, which hosts a project which poxin has been working very deeply with 
called MOBY 

 

poxin gave us a really awesome download about what this project called moby is all about 

 

essentially it's an area in the city that used to be crazy dumpsters and nasty 
where people would go all the time to shoot up and there was a high crime rate 
so the person who lived right next to it decided to do something 
and put a lot of energy into convincing the city to let him band together with a bunch of local folks 
and turn the place into a totally incredible community garden space 

 

it was a lot of work to integrate with the city and get permission 
but now the place is a wonderful source of food and medicine for the community 
and the crime rate has gone WAY down in that area 
(everyone is stoked) 

here is a plot kept by a particularly creative gardener : 

 

this whole community garden area is right by the skytrain 
so they have been able to piggy back on some of the funding 
that has been allocated for the repair of the areas 
around where the skytrains have been built 

 

check it out : a ton of raised plots for people with bad backs or wheelchairs! 

 

we decided to do a permaculture mulching workshop on josef's plot of garden... 

he started us off with last year's weeds covered in cardboard from a local cardboard dumpster. 

 

check how the cardboard is suppressing all those weeds and making habitat for snails and worms too 

 

first we got a biodynamically infused compost tea made from dandelions, clover and worm juice : 

 

we also added some INCREDIBLE liquid worm castings from a local store on the drive : 

 

then poured it all over the cardboard to make it really wet 
that will help the cardboard break down 
and encourage worms and slugs 
as well as nourish the soil under and above it 

 

then we went to the compost to take the rocky debris filled compost soil and sift it out 

pre sift : 

 

sift : 

 

post sift : 

 

CHECK how light and fluffy that perfect soil is : 

 

so we added it as the next layer to our masterpiece ::: 

 

and then added some hey! 

 

this will serve many functions including keeping weeds from immediately capitalizing on all that open soil 

 

now THIS is going to be one super activated plot of garden space 
delvin says, plant is really really densely to avoid any weeds getting in 

we were really happy about all our wonderful work and we went home to do another module's reading : 

 

this module was incredibly interesting and talked about the energy exchanges of trees. 

"It is a clever person indeed who can separate the total body of the tree into mineral, plant, animal, detritus, and life! This separation is for simple, minds; the tree can be understood only as its total entity which, like ours, reaches out into all things. Animals are the messengers of the tree, and trees are the gardens of the animals. Life depends upon loife. All forces, all elements, all life forms are the biomass of the tree." 

Bill Mollison
 

i never really understood how super super KEY trees are to human existence until reading that 
i knew that they were responsible for our air and rain, but now i really get the picture... 
check my written answer to learn more about that : 

1. Write a free form tree poem listing as many different tree functions of the tree as you can. 

tree form : thousand armed deity of the whole system 
rain makers : oxygen exhalers 
cycling water and nutrients into accessable areas 
habitat for a host of little beings, who create habitat for the trees 
and so much other life, which creates habitat for humans 

temperature moderators : hosting friendly microclimates 
protector plants : blocking harmful winds : preventing erosion 
healer plants : rebuilding the soil : restoring prosperous climates 
medicine plants : providing a thousand healing foods 
culture creators : bestowing renewable materials for our worlds 

translators : intermediaries for whole systems 

2. Describe 4 different important roles that plants play in a permaculture system 

- protection from the climactic extremes 
- food and medicine 
- cycling of nutrients and resources 
- microclimates 


3. Talk about how plants can have symbiotic relationships with each other. 

if you check it out, every plant has a whole long list of ways that it interacts with its environment... processes that it engages in which can have positive or negative effects on the other plants around it throughout its cycles, depending on what that plant likes and doesn't like. this connection can be direct or inderect through other life forms and processes in the immediate vicinity, like for example microscopic soil life. 

in some cases, two plants can end up growing together, or we can specifically plant them side by side, whose processes both benefit their neighbour, and assist them in doing their thing. this way there is more life energy and abundance happening than there would be if the two plants were separate, so that the simbiotic team are so closely linked that they become more than the sum of their parts : a new life form in a way which is really just based on a mutually beneficial relationship. 

 

we discussed the chapter in detail 

and then hurriedly darted out for some food and a ride back home to the sunshine coast 

starting to feel just so deeply thankful for the way this course is advancing us all

 








posted : 2008.Mar.16 @ 12.08am
those vector designs above are truly awesome. they give off a very good feeling. your art has progressed so much in such a short span. really nice work lunaya.







posted : 2008.Mar.18 @ 10.43pm
thank you !!!







posted : 2008.Mar.19 @ 5.52am
Wicked thread... and the photos....they are improving....hmmmm.

Perhaps it's do to the Poximity Theory!







posted : 2008.Mar.20 @ 11.41am
wow what an epic thread this is becomming

this elvish lore is a reflection of a practical journey for us as individuals and as a culture
to begin healing our planet

this permaculture design certification is being created as a template
for an online certification course you will be able to do on your own property on your own time
it will be in many different languages and help spread permaculture to the four directions

deepest of thanks to lunaya and poxin
for all their empowering ness
in this process

may this reflection inspire others to get certified in permaculture







posted : 2008.Mar.20 @ 8.21pm

« MODULE 8 : SOILS »

we had a truly wonderful module 8 (and a little of module 9) 
even though i was still feeling worn out from having been sick and to the city 
i was still very happy and excited to fully activate this week 

we experimented with breaking the mollison and hemmenway readings up between the two days 
so the first night we read 2 chapters of gaia's garden... 

once we were done the readings we classically went on a walk to talk about our readings 

 
photo by poxin 

our favourite walking companion came along.... MOLLY Smile 

 
photo by poxin 

the first of two chapters was all about "building the ecological garden" 
which means, companion planting, and the beginning of learning about guilds 

 
photo by poxin 

the next chapter was about bringing in the birds, bees and other helpful insects and animals 
ie : how to deal with pests and help the garden by creating healthy little ecologies 
eliminating the need for pesticides. 
as one major revolutionary permaculture tag 

 
photo by poxin 

we took a trail through the property that we hadn't previously taken 
and found an especially lush rainforest area, more beautiful than i have ever seen here : 

 
photo by poxin 

I AM IN PARADISE!!! 

 
photo by poxin 

next, we began our final design project by taking a guided tour through the whole property with copper chris 
chris is so wonderful, and has lived here for quite a few years now, so he really knows the land better than us 


photo by poxin 

we learned about what flora and fauna are present in different areas : 

 
photo by poxin 

also got a real sense of how water is pumped and naturally channels throughout the land : 

 
photo by poxin 

you can really tell where the septic system travels underground... 

 
photo by poxin 

we also got a real sense of where things used to be, like this old fire pit we think? 

 
photo by poxin 

delvin took careful notes throughout the whole, very integrated tour : 

 
photo by poxin 

we also made an awesome stop to the greenhouse, where we'll be growing our salad munchies : 

 
photo by poxin 

and chris fixed our automatic watering system!!! a timer on a hose with holes in it snaking through the whole place : 

 
photo by poxin 

exhausted, we came home and tuckered into some design work 
while poxin worked more on the chits, 
i completed a double sided test for a six card spread, 
in order to proof how i have them laid out : 

 

 

and made this worksheet to hand out in classes, about soil and compost! 

 

and this one about zones and sectors : a VERY important part of permaculture mapping : 

 

 

 

the next day we busily did lots of readings 
and got into an IMMENSE and FULLON chapter on soil in the bill mollison handbook 
including a fullon look at every single element in the periodic table! 
and so many different kinds of soil problems and their solutions 

we didn't have much time after the reading, so we went right into our written work : 

1. List three types of beneficial animals or insects, why they are beneficial to a permaculture system and examples of plants that will attract them. 

- any kind of songbird is beneficial, because they fertilize and seed the soil, and are beautiful in many ways. trees and sometimes tall 
grasses will attract them. 

- ladybugs are very beautiful and they do kill aphids, which kill our plants. so we try to keep them around by planting fennel, dill and 
dandelions. 

- spiders are also a wonderful predatory insect that will kill many different kinds of pests... if we sheet mulch our gardens they can 
make webs right in there. 

2. What are the three main nutrients used by plants and what are they used for? 

N : Nitrogen : good for plant growth and feeding micro-organisms 
K : Potassium : good for plant digestion, resistance to disease, cold 
and pests... also helps develop buds. 
P : Phosphorous : good for root growth, establishing young plants, 
photosynthesis, plant resipiration, and growth in general. 

3. Write a short song about soil remediation 

healing the soil means healing every living thing 
the basis of all life... of all life 

touch the earth and read your soil 
watch the signs around you and send it to the lab 
does it have the nutrients it needs? 
if not just add them, with mulch and the right plants 

healing the soil means healing every living thing 
the basis of all life... of all life 

trees and plants, burrowers and worms 
hold the soil in place and build nutrients 
create small intensive places, where nutrients can build 
and season by season watch it spread across the land 

healing the soil means healing every living thing 
the basis of all life... of all life 

precious equilibrium... do not disturb this process 
raise the beds and do not dig : just add the nutrients it needs 
let water wash away unwanted elements 
just let it flow and drain easily 

healing the soil means healing every living thing 
the basis of all life... of all life 

Module 9 

1. Develop a guild using at least 8 different plants that incorporates layering, succession and companion planting
 

for this guild i will start with a young, nitrogen fixing acacia tree, mulch around it and plant a ground cover of also nitrogen fixing clover to avoid grass and weeds. i could add a shrub layer of blueberries with calendula while the blueberries are young, to protect and help them grow, and a cobaea vine to attract beneficial insects and coil around the tree Smile we can also plant some marigolds and garlic to repel pests, and the garlic is a bioaccumulator which can help the marigolds... and some cucumbers... yummy for salads. 

2. What is a polyculture? 

a polyculture is an agricultural community that includes many different species.








posted : 2008.May.08 @ 4.39pm

« MODULES 9 AND 10 : EARTHWORKS AND THE HUMID TROPICS »

much time has passed since our last time connecting as a team! 
spring emerged in full force, and many of our lives became very very busy 
week after week, we decided to do readings and answer questions independently 
rather than getting together in person 
knowing that we would need to connect for three full days at some point to complete our final design project 

7 weeks have passed now since our last in-person permaculture class 

some weeks, poxin did readings and design work in the city 
while delvin and i worked in a more informal way at home 

one week we did a field trip to robert's creek beach, just down the street from our house 
and checked out the new living fence that has just been put up around someone's property 

 

 

 

 

 

often delvin worked around the dreamberry property, getting paid as a landscaper 
while i would hang out nearby and read in proximity 

 

 

i finished the permaculture cards and the booklet that goes with them too! 
and we decided that we will sell them both in electronic and hard copy format 
and donate the proceeds to the heart gardens society, which we are setting up together 
i will be sure to tag it on here once the whole teaching tool set is ready to be distributed 

though we felt the pressure of our lives making it hard for us to take time for the course 
we remained dedicated, and continued to make considerable progress through the course material. 

here are my short essays from these weeks : 

1. Create a forest guild using all 7 layers. 

for my tall tree layer i'd plant a nitrogen fixing, flowering acacia 
tree, which could attract beneficial insects, enrich the soil and give 
off a beautiful fragrance for the garden : also has some mulch value. 
second layer smaller tree could be a cornelian cherry dogwood, which 
would give fruit, attract beneficial wildlife and insects... then for 
shrub layer i would plant goumi berry!!! yummy! that's also a nitrogen 
fixer and has wildlife value. 

Vine layer would be medicinal hops, which also helps invite good 
insects and wildlife and could lovingly climb around the acacia. For a 
groundcover I would go with some nice insectary strawberry... which 
would help mulching, and speaking of mulching, jerusalum artichoke 
would also be a helper for that at the root layer, and could also 
build soil by turning into soil food if i don't harvest them all. For 
my herbs I would plant a combination of fennel to repel unwanted 
insects, and maybe some flowers and leafy mulch plants. 

2. Understanding that your food forest will grow and evolve in a similar way to a natural forest, describe some of the ways a forest changes as it grows older.

the defining factor really is that the trees become really tall and 
dominant, and if the guild isn't really positioned well for sun, they 
can possibly shade each other out completely and like a real forest, 
the main trees would pretty much take over. however if that doesn't 
happen then the shrub layer i would think can become very mature and 
and strong over the years. for sure the groundcovers, root plantings 
and herbs will be constantly changing over time and probably i will 
slowly have realizations and change the species of annuals that i'm 
using. 

1. How could this information (mollison chapter 10) be seen as relevant to you personally? 

As a template for applying all the information in the other chapters 
of the book to any bioregion I like ::: such as this one!

 

 

2. short essay questions for hemenway chapter 11 

a. Describe how a garden is a living ecosystem of interconnected parts. Use examples from permaculture about how we can make our garden into a more harmonious ecosystem.
 

In a permaculture garden, or a natural ecosystem, every single process 
of every single plant, insect and animal either directly, or through a 
couple of degrees of separation, affects, and usually supports every 
other element in the garden. plants can enrich the soil, help to hold 
moisture, prevent erosion, cycle air, attract beneficial insects and 
animals, provide shade and much more... while animals can fertilize 
the soil, spread seed and more as insects create soil life, polinate 
flowers, keep other insects in check... and this is just scratching 
the surface of how all the life forms in an ecosystem naturally create 
habitat for each other and keep the cycle of life moving forward. 

b. What are the highlights of your learning experience with Gaia's Garden? 

gaia's garden is such an ultimately good book, and it's hard to pick a 
highlight, since the whole thing gave me such an overall sense of what 
it is to garden effectively, lovingly, intelligently and easily. while 
last time reading it i found the soil chapter to be life changing, 
this time I must say I just found the whole thing as a complete body 
to be riveting in general. if i had to pick a highlight, it would be 
toby hemmenway's super funny and insightful writing style that just 
charmed me in a really deep way to absorb as much as i could, yet 
again, from this wonderful book. 

3. short essay for mollison chapter 11 

a. What are some of the relevant kinds of information to research when exploring a whole climate zone from the perspective of permaculture?
 

i'd say the first thing you have to do is check out the soil in that 
zone on a grand scale. what the problems tend to be and what causes 
them, as well as how to potentially solve them. then, what I see in 
Mollison's strategy, is to go from there and create systems from the 
micro to the macro for channeling, catch and storing the available 
energies in the area in order to treat the soil, prevent any other 
similar damage, and thus build life. Of course, temperature, wheather 
patterns, and other climactic factors play a strong role in informing 
that process. In a more specific sense, it's also useful to look at a 
variety of different styles of landscapes that you get in each area : 
their differences and similarities. This can help the micro settlement 
designs, (depending on what kind of landscape they're in) and can shed 
light on a larger pattern of overall needs and offerings of an entire 
climate zone.








posted : 2008.May.08 @ 6.48pm
After many weeks apart
the fates, and our busy schedules finally allowed us
to be together again to continue our epic permaculture studies

this time we reunited together at the Heart Gardens for the beginning of our class :


photo by poxin

where the elfinhome eco-education centre joyously holds space :



we all came together in this way
after a few hours spent just delvin and i,
planting, looking up, classifying and documenting plants
for the heart gardens living classroom :



careful consideration went into where we would place each of our new plants
that delvin had recently acquired at a spring plant sale.



including this very special carniverous roundleaved sundew :


photo by poxin

we started at the beach with a long check-in about where we have been at
on robert's creek beach



this time we knew we wouldn't have enough time to dedicate ourselves
to making real progress of the final design project
the permaculture mapping project for the dreamberry farms property
so we decided to simply use this time to enjoy being together once again
and catch up on the to-do list of important activities
that would need to be done in person

one of these things involved a series of professional photos from sir poxalot
of the beauiful spring flowering heart gardens
honouring his part in the work trade for this course

white bleeding hearts :


photo by poxin

mainly delvin asked poxin to take photos of the "spirit flowers"
AKA, flowering food and medicine plants
that were intrinsic to the dietary / cultural lifestyles of the coastal first peoples

magnolia :


photo by poxin

we had recently had a dinner of steamed stinging nettles
which are unbelievably nutritious
in order to honour the wise traditions of this area's ancient native cultures


photo by poxin

red wood sorrel :


photo by poxin

red flowering currant :


photo by poxin

stone crop :


photo by poxin

not sure what this one is...


photo by poxin

sacred fawn lily :


photo by poxin

the "forest floor" gateway :


photo by poxin

red elderberry :


photo by poxin

labrador tea :


photo by poxin

stone crop :


photo by poxin

miner's lettuce :


photo by poxin

red elderberry :


photo by poxin

aguga :


photo by poxin

apple tree :



after a wonderful time in the gardens we took the bus and walked home
back to dreamberry to connect in for another session


photo by poxin

this time poxin treated and sized all these photos
and we talked about the future of this course
over a yummy snack of chips and salsa :



we knew that it would be tight, and would surely prove difficult
to even get together for our three solid days still required
over the next 6 weeks that we feel we have
before things become too busy to pick up again until september

i hope that we'll be able to finish the course before the summer!
we all do feel confident that this is very likely.

the next day we talked at length about our experiences while we were working independently
we also dedicated time to writing about those experiences and considering them at length

because this course will soon take form as an online course
we knew that our insights from these 7 independent weeks would be especially significant.

i also designed these this new guilds worksheet that delvin had developed
during our independent work time :





our day went in different directions and we said goodbye
dearly looking forward to our next opportunity to interactivate
with the long awaited, the deeply exciting, the uber excellent
FINAL DESIGN PROJECT!!!






    

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