A brief comment and heartfelt thanks from Di: Actually, words are pretty useless to describe how the the Permaculture Forest looks right now; we've had rain and there are little ponds and waterways glinting through the irridescent lushness that has sprung up so quickly, enticing one to wander and linger in the soft, verdant green that now covers those bared brown hills of that extraordinarily long, hot, dry, bushfire-devastated summer. We have the West Gippsland of old back again to love and enjoy; lets pray it stays, at least for a while.
After a couple of unexpected weeks away for me, while Dan, Cam and Carey worked so hard, late yesterday afternoon, with the rain pelting down and the swales filling, we wandered down to the dam and found a black mother swan and her three tiny babies swimming in the dusk and the rain. The new swales have significant water collecting in them and soaking into the thirsty soil and the seeds on the mounds are germinating, so one can begin to imagine how lovely it will be once the cover crops and trees have started to grow, and the soil to regenerate.
Although all lovely, my favourite ponds are the two on the North slope near the old willow tree, which flow so surely down into what will soon be a native, restored wetland, thanks to the amazing work, planning and inspiration of Dan and Cam, and help from Carey and Paul and Adam, as well as all the wonderful people who came to the permablitz weekend and before and after, too.
A big, undyingly grateful 'thankyou'!.The permablitz evening round the camp fire and chatting with friends, new and old, was what life is all about. It was great to see friends and fellow students from our PDC in December too - Dan and Cam, of course, Paul, Jodi, Michelle, Cat, Belinda and Andrew, Ray and Bruce from the following PDC.
So many things still to do - fix up a wood heater for Dan and anyone else who can make it down for a bit of peace/beauty (and planting - we still have almost 2,000 landcare trees to go as well as terraces, trial fruit and nut trees). What else? Chooks. Plant some veggies, including the terraces with potatoes and Jerusalem artichokes late winter - a good combo for the summer as the chokes may shade the potatoes from the full heat of that north facing slope. Pumpkins will go well there too in the spring as they'll help to shade the earth.
Compost teas are high on the list, deep ripping and finding some system for stopping the couch grass from invading the wonderful swales and home orchard in the spring. If anyone know of a good source of felt/weedmat/newspapers/cardboard/mulch, we'd love to hear!!
One new thought to explore is to seed acacias/tags when we deep rip, thus providing a living mulch/cover/wind and sun protection over the whole property which can eventually be thinned and planted with main fruit and nut trees.