Successional planting planning tools

posted 5 Jul 2017, 04:38 by D Graves   [ updated 6 Jul 2017, 03:34 ]

I wanted for some time to do a couple of videos showing how to use the two tools described and available in a previous post:

These are the detailed How To videos - one for the Google Sheet and one for the Excel spreadsheet. They show HOW to use the tool in each environment.. perfect for beginners: (Excel):

Winter solstice update

posted 21 Jun 2017, 19:06 by D Graves   [ updated 21 Jun 2017, 19:07 ]

Well, the past 3 months have cruised by. We have had a surprising lack of helpers, so getting a lot less done than normal - more of the maintenance type things and ongoing projects such as trying to dog proof the fence along the neighbour's. There has been a lot of time taken in preserving the harvest - bottling tomatoes, pickling and fermenting vegetables, and so on. Despite low rainfall, there is much greenery around and alot of the weeds seem to grow pretty well now. There is a good amount of moisture around because of the heavy due we get each evening. Hopefully more of the citrus trees will produce next season, as this lemon is doing:
lemon tree with lemons on it

A day trip to 'underground creek' in Girraween gives us a break:
Evita at underground creek

and here is a video update:

SPG - Seedy Saturday

posted 3 Jun 2017, 04:57 by D Graves   [ updated 3 Jun 2017, 21:09 ]

Stanthorpe Permaculture Group had a great turn out this morning with around 22 people coming together to exchange seeds. The variety of seeds available was incredible. We put all the contributions on the table and then people helped themselves to what they wanted to grow. 

explaining how the seed exchange works

Some chokos to keep somewhere dry and dark until the Spring:

Let's go:

Great meeting and chatting to new and old friends:
seed exchanging

Those who came without seeds or envelopes/packets to put them into donated money to Permafund. We collected $61.15!

The joy of sharing nature's gift:
lots of seeds

SPG - Repair Cafe 2

posted 26 May 2017, 22:42 by D Graves   [ updated 26 May 2017, 22:42 ]

The second Repair Cafe organised by Stanthorpe Permaculture Group happened today. Many articles of clothing were repaired or improved - several work trousers with holely knees, trousers shortened, and buttons put onto clothes from an Op Shop. While that was happening a general repairer tightened screws on a chair, glued the armrest of another, and fixed the switch on a Swiss made blender! Never seen something (besides chocolate) 'Made in Switzerland'! Now it works again :) 

Advice for repairing children's clothes was given so that the owner could go home to fix them instead of throwing them away... away... away to where??

repair in progress

One pair of trousers converted to shorts and the happy blender owner!
repaired items

Unfortunately, due to very poor design - a portable speaker set for i-products whose battery was no longer holding a charge could not even be opened! Destined to be used only when plugged in to power.


posted 24 May 2017, 04:41 by D Graves

We've had 'problems' with one or more quolls. First getting into the pigeon cage perhaps 2 years ago. And this year into the duck cage around New Year and then again on Friday night. Horrible. Not going to describe it on here. After improving their cage yet again to make it more impenetrable, I decided to set a trap. I put it on top of the duck house. The next morning it was lying on the floor. So, I turned it the right way up and set it again, leaving it on the ground alongside the cage. Next morning it was empty but the door was closed. Not sure if it was a possum bumping it or what (something is able to open the food buckets some days??!). So, I set it yet again. Next morning I went to open the duck house door and looked over to the cage - a quoll ! Got it. Incredible. Somehow, I wasn't angry with it.. I moved it away from the ducks and went to call Evita and get a camera:

After calling a nearby National Park, we drove to the edge of the park and let it go. It is a beautiful and rare animal.

Winter on it's way

posted 21 May 2017, 03:19 by D Graves   [ updated 21 May 2017, 03:22 ]

After some help from John, with a 'border' around the door, when he was visiting earlier this month, the dome is completed. This will keep more of the rain and wind out. Plantings doing well and looking forward to them thriving in Spring!dome completed

Also, John and I built this wood feeder for the heater in the greenhouse:
rocket mass heater wood feeder

Here is a short video of it in action:
It is working well and means the fire will burn for several hours without us having to check on it (as long as the pieces of wood are nice and long!).

The mushrooms are loving the wet March and bits of rain in Autumn. Here is a dense flush on the dam wall:

Another helper made a video of Dylan's answers to some general permaculture questions:

Off-grid Living talk

posted 20 May 2017, 06:24 by D Graves   [ updated 21 May 2017, 01:13 ]

I offered to do a talk at the Permaculture Australia Gathering in early May on Off-grid Living. Here are the info sheets I prepared before and had available for people to photograph afterwards if they wanted to (open in full screen presentation please):

Permaculture Australia Gathering

posted 20 May 2017, 04:18 by D Graves   [ updated 20 May 2017, 04:21 ]

Almost a year ago I became a member of Permaculture Australia (PA). The primary reason was so we could advertise our superadobe building event. The bonus was to get the PIP magazine subscription (2 issues) which I have enjoyed reading. Anyhow, with the annual Gathering of PA last week being held fairly locally at Djanbung Gardens in Nimbim, I went along. Also, they were holding the AGM, so I decided to nominate myself to become a board member. Here is a poster summarising what PA is trying to do (and why I want to get involved):
Permaculture Australia poster

The main gathering was the Saturday and consisted of various talks and tours. I volunteered and did a 1 hour talk on Off-grid living (resource sheets here). This was after listening to one on bamboo:
bamboo talk

bamboo tools

Bamboo is a useful alternative to the painted metal commonplace nowadays:
bamboo gazebo

Another presenter talking later about promoting food localisation by holding food trail events:

30 year anniversary dinner celebrating 30 years of PA being in operation. Guests through skype - Rowe Morrow and Costa !

Lovely dinner in mud brick building with great food produced by Robyn's daughter and her cafe staff:
lovely dinner

Great example of localising 'proper' food:
abundance cafe

Great to see that the Repair Cafe is happening in Nimbin too:
nimbin repair cafe

The new-ish compost toilets at Djunbung Gardens:
compost toilets

And I got accepted to join the board of PA on Sunday at the AGM !

SPG - gleaning - olives

posted 11 May 2017, 04:47 by D Graves

A member let us know about a friend with olive trees who doesn't like olives!? The friend gave us permission to pick as many as we needed. We put this out to the permaculture group and had several people come and pick on today's gorgeous morning:

olive picking

many trees to choose from:
many trees to choose from

lots of different varieties:

Ready for washing and curing:
olive haul

We'll wash them several times in water over several days. We remove any debris and damaged olives. Then we put them into clean buckets with good quality salt - the ratio is 1kg to 10 litres of water to make the brine. This is changed after 2 weeks. After another 2 weeks they are bottled with culinary herbs and olive oil - we use rosemary, garlic, tarragon, chilli, thyme, oregano. Eat after 2 months. If you want to eat them sooner, then cut eat olives with a knife and they'll marinate in as little as 2 weeks - depends on your taste preference.

IPD - 2017

posted 7 May 2017, 04:28 by D Graves   [ updated 7 May 2017, 04:29 ]

In support of International Permaculture Day on May the 7th every year, we invited the permaculture group to come to our place for a Gathering on the day before. We had a tour, discussion about the future of the group, a talk about papercrete, afternoon tea, live music, and a fire circle. I recorded John's talk about papercrete. If you want more information, especially images, do a google search for 大茉莉 (this is pronounced Da Mor Lee) and is the name of their recreational farm in Southern Taiwan where he uses papercrete for the walls of the buildings:

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