Permaculture Online

Pete in Australia

what on earth..

I live approx 70 kilometres North of Adelaide in South Australia, on 10 acres of what most (everybody except us) would describe as terrible land, it was available and affordable, but more than that it felt like "home" ... we somehow felt an affinity for the place, that probably doesn't make sense to people who have never experienced it ... let's just say we "belonged".

My interest in Permaculture came about after subscribing to Soft Technology Magazine (now called Renew) I had always been a bit of a tinkerer and producing usable energy ie: heat and power from renewable resources held a great fascination for me, I saw an advert for The Permaculture International Journal.. in the pages of Soft tech.... and picked up a copy when I was next "in town".

Although the pc bug did not bite me immediately on reading pc international journal, it certainly made me realise that just producing energy was only a small part of a total system, or way of living, and that there seemed to be a way of incorporating my interests in gardening, energy production,animal keeping and cheaper living into a wholistic and integrated system.... that is not to say that I have totally achieved this aim yet (or ever will) but just getting there is more than half the fun.

I originally grew up in the UK and my parents always had what is called "an allotment" an area of council land which is rented to ratepayers to grow their own vegetables and sometimes keep a few chickens, our house was always filled with the sights and smells of food preparation "from spade to blade" from onions hanging outside on a hook, to a plucked chicken draining in the sink and a rabbit stew on the stove, of course I never realised that 30 or so years later I would be doing the same thing, and more.

We (at the moment) have a range of animals which provide our food needs Goats for milk and kids for sale, sheep raised from lamb stage on goats milk and either sold or killed for the freezer, Chickens for eggs and meat and Pigs for meat and sale of young.

Of course these animals serve more of a purpose than that described above... their manure is used either as composted manure for vegetable growing or as worm food in my two commercial worm beds, which bring in a small income occaisionally, the remaining worm castings are also used as soil a conditioner in the vegetable growing areas, In this way they provide a way in which our surplus or spoilt produce can be used to feed us even when its is inedible, without the animals our ground would be practically barren and infertile, so they, in fact are the mainstay of our lifestyle.

We are not self sufficient and I don't think we ever could be but we are "self reliant" by that I mean we could not enjoy the lifestyle we have now if we didn't produce as much of our own food as possible ... and of course we wouldn't have as much fun living any other way.... the thing I like about permaculture is .... it doesn't hurt anybody .... not even me .... it's a way of living which allows all the elements of our natural environment to work together so that we can enjoy the benefits ... without much of the pain of hard digging etc.

So... that basically is me ... always striving to make my system work better, but without too much change and without too much work either :-)

Plans for the future ......? To try to teach my grandchildren by example that there is a way we can all, no matter where we live, provide a comfortable and happy life using our natural elements without destroying them .. if I can give that gift of insight to one young person.... I reckon I wouldn't have done a bad job after all.

See ya

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