community, explore food

The art of manifestation

IMG_2092.jpgSo lately I’ve been refocusing what our vision is for Popes Produce. What we came up with was –‘crafting locally grown abundance’ and what we’re encouraging with our education program is ‘inspiring home grown food adventures’. We want to have fun, empower people, get them curious about their food and playing outside.

So what bliss – planting out the last seedlings before lunch and a lovely friend surprised me with the offer of a trade – hand caught (by him) lobster for Veggie Wraps. Hmmmm…..edible awesomeness hand caught for hand grown in our backyard….paired with a home made garlic aioli (garlic generously gifted by a beautiful local grower) for dinner – hard to go past.

And the icing on the happy garden cake – a drop in (we’re talking under 5 minutes) by a dear friend who visits only very sporadically with a big pile of horse manure to keep our fruit trees happy.

So our systems are well fed and our heart is filled by random acts of kindness.

Spread it around – random gifts of generosity fill the soul and keep our communities knitted together.

autumn, community, explore growing

Learning from the curious

The opportunity to learn should be a right, but quite often I like to think of it as a gift. What a treat to meet someone that spark’s curiosity (or to be the one inspiring others) so much they want to find out more, give you their time and energy to grow.

This is exactly what happened to me last week, but time moving as it does, it went by in a blur. We had a gorgeous group of permaculture students through, seeing how we’ve implemented and overlaid permaculture design principles to our home. Could have happily chatted all day long, as it was – we only had 1 1/2 hours to engage, inspire and faciliate the site visit. I heard we got a tick in the inspiration department, so yay.

 

I LOVE questions. Sometimes it’s tricky to hear everything when we’re all spread out (hot tip 47 – bring people in closer for an outdoor discussion), maybe not everyone heard (hot tip 48 – repeat question so whole group benefits), slowing down to really embrace the minutes together (hot tip 1 – have a plan of the way you’d like to share).

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So why the mulch ??

We had a question about managing our grass. (Not galahs) Grass fields are great for games, not so good in the market garden. Our answer – manage by mulching – sheet mulch the area.

For this you need a few things – newspaper (our neighbour drops hers over the fence once read – her contribution to our garden), mulch (free woodchip from a local arbourist), moisture (if you’re lucky) and time. Start at the highest point  you wish to eradicate grass from with a pad of around 10 sheets of damp newspaper. Lay the next batch of 10 sheets down, overlapping the 1st set by a good 10 cm. And on you go – ’tiling’ the grass underneath. Cover all with a good 10 cm layer of woodchip and you’re done. The main aim is to deprive the grass of light, making it extraordinarily difficult to grow. Tile from the top so the water can still penetrate to the soil, but keeping the light off the grass. Beware of trying to do this job on a breezy day.

Over time, these layers eventually return to their original material – soil.

Job done – no grass and more soil and a few more people inspired to try stuff out.

Big shout out to Milkwood Permaculture for the really fabulous work they do.

collaboration, everyday, explore growing, homegrown, observe

Why we do what we do….

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Thanks you so much beautiful Kelly for your patience !

….I’ve been struggling to write a decent business plan of late, so whilst watering this morning, I came up with a brain dump of why all this important to me….

WHY WE DO WHAT WE DO……

Short answer – because I’m curious.

I want to see how seeds grow, what happens in the light, I love the play of water on the garden.

I don’t want to create more waste to be a problem and I like to know how (at least part) of my meal is grown.

I want to be outdoors and not too far from home.

I love seeing how soil comes to life when you feed it properly, when you get the layers of mulching right and the garden helps do your job. When opening a bed, there are so many worms partying and their little bodies glisten metallic shades in the sunlight.

I love it when it’s quiet enough to actually hear the bees and the winged life early in the morning.

I love being able to harvest something I’ve helped to grow, sharing with people in our local area & knowing that local businesses love supporting our adventure.

Having food in your lunch box knowing that it’s come from only meters away is pretty cool.

I’m in awe of all the amazing people I been fortunate enough to meet, being so generous with their time and skills and experiences helping me on the journey to growing food.

I love the passion these people have, it’s not just an occupation, it’s a way of being.

I love that I don’t have to dress up to go to work, it’s more about being sun smart and protecting yourself from the elements.

(Sometimes I start work in my pajamas and that’s ok)

It’s really cute hosting morning tea, feeding those volunteering with us, being able to reciprocate a little nourishment.

My respect for the humble salad has grown exponentially – what goes into a mix isn’t just leaves; it’s a whole kaleidoscope of energy and resources and people power. None of this matters if you don’t feed the soil and look after the lifeforce which make this possible.

It’s really awesome when work is pretty much equal parts play and productivity. How awesome when you can encourage people to play with their food, play outside and there’s a little incidental learning along the way.

 

 

 

collaboration, community

The next step

Building is one of those biggies. We may want to extend family space, create additional space, make our backyard more multi functional or all of the above.

But what a lot of us non builders don’t realise is, when you say ‘let’s build an independent turf roof covered studio’ it’s not NEARLY that easy. If only.

Once you’ve committed to a big fat hole in the ground (100t of soil excavated), then the questions really start. What are the most environmentally sensitive materials we can use that fit our location, need, budget, accessibitly, council standards,  minimal impact. So – not easy and far far far away from simple.

You may be in a flood prone area. Or bushfire prone region. Or both at the same time. Maybe there are privacy issues for your neighbours. Maybe to make your structure meet regulations, your shopping list may be limited.

 

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BUT – there is a world of wonder and connectivity. You may end up meeting some of the more remarkable people you wouldn’t normally cross paths with. When you’re genuine and treat people like extended family, they give back. A volunteer does 6 hours of working with hardwood above head height, does the dishes and then another 2 hours because they can see how much of a passion project it is. And they’re still smiling.

The food is good at our house, but not that good! All the professionals we’ve had round have been are absolute treasures. incredible stories being woven into the fabric of this building snugged into a north facing hill.

So captured here is the independent stairs, edged in wax wood (rather than any other toxic compound) back filled with gravel for drainage. That massive concrete wall to the right – a water tank doing double time a retaining wall, being on the southern side of the build will stay lovely and cool. Sandstone retaining wall, predominantly from our backyard. Labour of love is an understatement.

Putting the icing on this cake are our glorious neighbours, because without their blessing and driveway, there is no chance of realising this dream. I think we’ll have to create a tribute wall to every single peep involved with the process, as it just goes to show what collaboration can do.

community, observe, spring

Makes me smile

It’s all the little things.

These are in no particular order…..

When someone doing great work is happy to share their experiences with you (thanks to super mentor market gardeners Cal at Green Connect & Lizzie of Piccolo Farm ), when you go into a volunteer in a school garden with a loose plan – you end up with 48 students instead of the regular 24 and everyone has a great time – including the volunteer. (Also stoked with our newly arrived veg garden mascot – miraculously ‘appreared’ one day)

When your remarkable partner helps solve your irrigation issues because he understands you can’t be good at all the stuff all the time and brings home a second hand tank still smiling himself after a very long day, ’cause he knows how important it is to you. (And hooks it up the following day)

It makes me smile when you receive an email showing interest in your enterprise, to find out someone you admire in business has recommended you. (Thank you Ciara at Earthwalker & Co !)

Having enough time and space to share around with the neighbours. (working out where our neighbour will plant chillis and corn this summer)

Being curious enough and brave enough to ask people questions and their opinions when you don’t have the answers yourself.

Variety outside. Being outside. And being barefoot outside. Simple and effective.

Seeing kids impressed and fascinated by checking out the school garden compost worms without squealing.

Having so many ideas you don’t know which way to look, so you just start and it starts working out.

The generosity of people, wanting to be involved and offering their time. (Spring into Action volutneers – you all rock !)

 

So much goodness – it’s all that interconnectedness, collaboration not competition, that keeps our world spinning. Enjoy.