I’m delighted to report that our first year of an extended Permaculture Design Course via internships was quite successful. Running from mid-March to the first of October, we hosted five interns through late July and three to October, while one stayed into November to help out. It has always been inspiring for me to work with responsible, serious young people ; this group was always ready to learn and do whatever needed doing, and i feel we all learned alot while getting much work done. From planting, tending, and harvesting for market, to hauling logs with the horse, to installing our cob floor, to a very well done design project(just to name a few)–2011 ends with a sense of appreciation by all. If you’re interested, please check out the intern blogs listed under that page to the right
For me personally, the opportunity to be in community here, even though temporary, is perhaps what i appreciate most. Relationships, if we are willing to really listen, and reflect on ourselves honestly, are a crucible for learning and even perhaps transformation. And heaven knows we need transformation–and with that said we can look at the Occupy movement and feel that maybe, just maybe– we can turn the larger collective towards sanity. One description of sanity i heard and find inspiring to remember is that it is a basic allegiance to non-ego. Easier said than done of course, but there it is–and i dare say in complete alignment with permaculture’s prime directive–to take full responsibility for our personal existence, as well as the ethics of care for planet and people. To follow a path that guides us towards non-ego seems essential, and fortunately there is an abundance of guidance in the wisdom traditions . My intention for Motheroak is that we can integrate such guidance into our permaculture curriculum for those who choose to pursue it. Please see the page on internships for more on this.
The weather pattern here this year has definitely been getting cooler and wetter, much wetter–just as climate models have predicted for this region. The impact on farming is huge: forcing later plantings in spring, more difficulty making hay & maturing certain crops, more molds all around, and in the long(and short) run, more soil compaction–just to name a few. And yet, given catastrophic weather events everywhere, the mainstream media seems to have solidified a taboo which prevents it from even uttering the words “climate change.” This does not bode well for us, and adds weight to the imperative of designing for disaster–something we learned quite personally via our collapsed greenhouses(see Spring 2011 post). And then there are those lovely days, when our planet, with all the serious problems we face, seems so beautiful, and each moment a gift.
Functional and beautiful--reflecting light!
The photo above is the north wall of our common room–what you see is a design solution–a way to cover the wall, add thermal mass,increase light by reflection, and have a good time both learning and doing! Abundant yields indeed!
All in all 2011 was a rich year–the people, the plants,the animals, the projects, the food–literally much milk and honey–the designed site feeling natural and good. An abundance of dragon flies and frogs, of blossoms and tree growth, of opportunities for personal growth and learning–blessings all!