Monday, 8 September 2014

Forest garden lesson - let them self seed

We're learning every corner of our property, whether it's a pile of old wood or a gathering of leaves, play a wonderfully important part in the larger ecosystem. They depend on their surrounding plants and wildlife, and others are also dependant on them.

I'm far more careful now not to tread on mushrooms like this little beauty, as I know now it is working hard underground helping to better our soil health. And depending on which fungi it might be, can help transfer nutrients between plants underground.

And where we used to pull plants when they were nearly (what I thought) was the end of their useful days, I'm now leaving at least one to go to seed.

These broad bean flowers are branching out from the sturdiest thickest stem we've ever grown. This plant along with a few friends, self seeded from last years crop, and will bear just enough succulent broad beans for our family this year, with not an once of work on our part.
Self seeded healthy Broad Beans
Situated next to self seeded coriander, amongst a healthy wad of organic mulch

Monday, 1 September 2014

A sign we're heading in the right direction..

Native Kereru
We had 3 in our tree this morning!
I'm taking this as a sign we're on the right track.

Birds. And lots more of them.

The last few weeks since returning home from the UK has been fabulously hectic. Hectic because we've begun planting our forest garden. Which for us right now means planting food and natives... everywhere.

It started as an idea for our paddock and orchard and has moved onto converting our whole two thirds of an acre section.

I'll be taking you on our journey with us, it's too exciting to miss! As we not only discover wonderful things about nature and the world we live in, but also about us...

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Bursting back into life...

Quince Tree Buds
My camera has arrived! Thank goodness as I've been without one for weeks, hence the lack of posts.

Just in time to begin capturing the supremely wonderful buds in my garden, as they change colour, slowly swell then burst back into life with the warmer weather.

It feels as though Spring is already here...
New Raspberry Leaves
Our new Stella Dwarf Cherry Tree
(Sweet Cherry)

Monday, 4 August 2014

Something magical about coming home...

There's something magical about coming home to New Zealand.

The space. The big blue skies. Friendly faces.

It's so true that sometimes its good to go away for a while to appreciate what you have and where you come from.

Our community really is a special place. I have friends here from all walks of life. Friends who cook dinners for new mums and families in need, friends who deliver freshly cooked meals for the elderly, friends who help raise funds for organisations like the local Kindy, Toy Library or Preschool. Its difficult here to walk down the street without seeing a friendly face.

It's those faces that make this community such an amazing place.

So glad to be home.

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Experts to share future living skills...

While our UK trip begins to draw to a close a new adventure awaits us in New Zealand! Here are some more details about the 8 week night course coming up in Geraldine which I'm co-tutoring with Rhys Taylor.

If you live in the area and are keen then book a place and I'll see you there!

If you're outside the area and are keen to find a course near you then visit

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

A Powerful Message

Ask not what your town can do for you. 
What can 'I DO' for my town.

An unused building in Todmorden, with a massively powerful message!

Of all the awe inspiring places we've been to on our trip where positive change is taking place at a community level, there's one thing that connects them all. The people behind them.

These people are different, they seem to have something in common... 

I think for them joy in life doesn't come from things like the latest car, high powered job, or an ultra modern house. For them life has more meaning and purpose. That's the difference. 

These people have peeled back the layers, the bits and pieces in life which don't really matter (or do more harm than good), and in doing so actually discover their true purpose in life. To make a difference. To create a better world. To achieve great things and bring about positive change. 

The magic thing is... they go for it! They're not afraid of trying something new or being someone different. And like the signs in this photo, they 'Do' stuff for their town, rather than expecting their town to do it for them. 

Along the way, like a sprinkling of fairy dust, they begin to create the community they want their children to live in. 

Now that's inspirational.

Thursday, 10 July 2014

A funky Welsh Beach and 2.5 kilos...

Yesterday we visited this beach in Aberystwyth, a funky Welsh student city. I had no idea that the visit would take me somewhere I'd never been...

In the blustering wind I spotted a huge amount of blue rubbish on the beach. The more I looked the more I saw.

'Rubbish? Who cares about a bit of rubbish. Not my problem...' people may say. Well I've learn't what happens to plastic when it enters the ocean and how toxic it is to all forms of life, including us here's why. So I set to work 'litter picking' as the locals called it.

Now this is the first time I've done this, inspired by Sam Judd and his work. And I was shocked. I picked up 2.5 kilos in an hour. But that's not what shocked me...

Turns out the blue 'rubbish' was peeled off paint from the building I was near. And that paint had been peeled off during work to restore it after massive tidal storms they had here 6 months ago, caused by climate change and rising sea levels.

Don't believe me? Here's a video of the storm. Watch from 1:10 and you'll see the wave blast reaching over 7 stories high.

I picked up everything that morning from jandals, to hair combs and yoghurt wrappers, to hundreds and hundreds of cigarette butts. When I left that morning that small part of the beach was looking much better and I felt good, I had made a small difference. But more importantly my daughter had shared the experience and learn't from it.

A big shout out to the friendly folk who came to say thank you, and lended me and my daughter some litter picking gear. It's quite contagious actually, litter picking. I could do it all day.

Grandad found this.
Made my day.

Friday, 4 July 2014

Treehouses at Alnwick, North England...

The last few weeks of our UK trip have been brilliant. From homemade Yorkshire Puddings and seeings hundreds of oceanic wind turbines, to treehouses and living roofs.

One of the highlights for me was the Treehouse at Alnwick Castle and Gardens, in Northumberland. The treehouse is held up by 83 mature trees and was made using sustainably sourced timber. Aesthetically very beautiful with incredibly creative use of natural timbers.  It was a wonderful experience.

Entrance to Roots & Shoots Garden at Alnwick Castle.
Which includes a childrens garden. Fabulous!

Living Roof by the Poison Garden,
Alnwick Castle