Permaculture Adventures in Molyullah
We are about to enter our ninth week of our new life in Molyullah! Finally we are living in our own home on a couple of acres and can begin working to make our dream of a sustainable, permaculture lifestyle a reality! Now we can dig holes and plant trees, or hammer nails, get extra power points, paint walls and put in skylights all without asking the landlord for permission. It’s a wonderful feeling!
While still unpacking boxes and customising our new house our first major step is to measure up the property and everything on it giving us an accurate plan to work off. Tim’s in charge of this bit – he’s good at systems, mapping and stuff. I’m his assistant as we systematically work our way around the property with measuring tape, graph pad and pencil, marking in every tree, rock, tap, building… Once we’ve done that he’ll put it all on the computer and we’ll have our property plan to build our permaculture dream.
‘What is permaculture?’ I hear some of you ask. Very simply put, it is a blend of the two words, ‘permanent’ and ‘agriculture’. It was coined by a couple of Aussies – Bill Mollison and David Holmgren – to describe a system that mimics nature, a system where everything works together, and all things in the system have more than one purpose. For example, the chooks not only provide eggs, meat and feathers, but their henhouse can be positioned next to the greenhouse thus providing extra warmth for greenhouse plants, their manure is fertiliser and the chooks themselves are ploughs digging up the ground and scratching it over removing all those bad bugs, preparing the ground for planting.
Before spring we hope to have planted the twenty plus fruit trees we brought with us and have at least one circle garden started, so we need to finish all our measuring and plotting first! So while we’re doing that we’ll also be making compost, pruning all the winter pruning plants (I’ve got a basic idea now after trying to read a book on pruning – too technical for me!) and getting some chooks of our own.
The compost is easy! We’ve got piles of autumn leaves everywhere, and that alone is a magnificent source of compost. Combine that with the bunny bedding, kitchen scraps and bull manure from out the back and we’re well on the way. Should have some good stuff by spring.
We don’t have a chook shed as yet, but our neighbour’s do, and it’s empty, so we’re embarking on a joint venture – their chook shed, our chooks and we share the eggs. So now I’m researching chooks. We’re not going to have Isa Browns. I’d already decided that before reading White Gate Woof in the last Tattler. Isa Browns are boring and ‘everybody’ has them.
I met a farmer at the Tavern recently and when I asked him why he had shorthorns while everyone else has Angus and Herefords, he said, ‘because everyone else has them.’ It made me laugh. That is us in a nutshell. So no Isa Browns for us! I’m looking into rare breeds that are decent layers. But maybe we’ll start with Wyandottes and Australorps and expand into rare breeds later. I started the same way with growing our own food.