Dec 9, 2009

NEW PERMACULTURE COURSE COMING SOON...


Next SPRING we'll be running another PERMACULTURE COURSE here at the MOUNT OF OAKS... As last year, it will be taught by Lesley Martin who is a fantastic person and teacher in my opinion, and I’m sure all the ones who did the last year course can say the same...
It ‘s gonna take place from the 20th to the 28th of MARCH 2010, and it’s gonna cost 180E

(if by any chance you’d like to offer more, know that all the money will revert to pay the teacher, the food expenses of the course and all the extras will be for our future building projects...this land is still in a pioneering stage and we buy all things we need mainly with charitable donations)...
this course will be given in english, unless we have a volunteer to do a simultaneous translation into portuguese or other language...

Now, WHAT SHOULD YOU EXPECT OF THE COURSE :

It includes lectures, field trips, hands-on projects, camping and meals. The course will be conducted in the internationally accepted manner, so all graduates earn a Permaculture Design Certificate for completing the 72-hour course which includes : Intro, Fundamentals, Field Trips, Design Workshop (the attendants will be put into groups and each presents their own design project in the final day)... All students are required to be present for the full 9 days if they wish to receive the certificate.

The course will consist of a broad range of topics applicable to life anywhere on this planet, yet will be tailored to the needs of the students present as well as the location at hand. Participants will help to co-create the design of food forests, permaculture-style gardens, natural buildings, water catchment and irrigation systems, work with swales and dams, etc...

Permaculture courses are fairly standardized as far as content. We will cover every major topic . So quickly what that includes is the following:

1. Philosophies and Ethics underlying permaculture.

2. Basic permaculture principals and help shape things in general

3. Patterns in Nature, and how to use that in design

4. Methods of design. How to go from a damaged piece of land to having and idea for how to move forward with it.

5. Climactic factors. We will cover all the major climates and how to work with them.

6. Trees, forests, and why we want to mimic their systems.

7. Water: catchment, usage, importance, and conservation

8. Soil, minerals, microorganisms, building new soil, and preventing erosion

9. Earthworks: How to shape the land to help it acheive the goals we are aiming for.

10. Aquaculture

11. Natural Building

12. Alternative systems: community living, and other ways of choosing to live differently that works well for people and the planet.

Each of these categories has subcategories and the teacher also has their own additions and certain topics that are stressed over others.

You can also check here for the last year’s report...


WHAT ARE YOU EXPECTED TO BRING ?

-tent or if you have, your own mobile home :-)
-your daily care personal stuff
-a flash light (the moon will be growing as it will be full on the 29th, but still, it’s always handy)
-a cup/mug (we might not have enough here for everyone)
-we do have plates, forks and knifes, but if you prefer to bring your own that’s up to you...
-sleeping bag and mat or whatever you wanna sleep with...
-some hard surface for you to write on... We don’t have a conventional class room...Fiiiiuuu!!!
-if you have your favourite kind of chair or stool, do bring it...the ones we’ve got might not be the most comfortable ones :-/
-Some warm clothes...the nights can be chilly...but the days, are usually warm and sunny (I do hope so)...
-If you play any instruments and would like to bring it for the fire circle in the evenings, do bring them along...
-Joy, Love , open heart, laughter, your own knowledge, etc...all the good in you!!! The not so good stuff comes along too, but we all have it anyway, so hopefully we’ll all be gracious :-)
-you can pay the 180E as you arrive, but if you have the chance to give it in advance one week before (all of it or a part), that would help on the shopping we need to do before everyone comes...

WHAT DOES THE LAND PROVIDE ?

-A camping area
-A shit pit and or a dry compost toilet (if we get it ready for that time) :-)... With toilet paper or water as you prefer...
-Drinking spring water and food (mainly vegetarian)...LET ME KNOW IF YOU HAVE ANY RESTRICTIONS ON YOUR DIET...
-I do hope to have a better shower system then :-)...but we do have a way to shower or bath :-)

Hmmm...I guess that’s all the information I’ve got... If you have any questions, do ask ...
O.K, DON’T FORGET TO PASS IT ON TO YOUR CONTACTS OF PEOPLE WHO MIGHT BE INTERESTED...

...a comment from one of the last year attendants :
“What an absolutely brilliant course it was.. I am still digesting everything Lesley taught us. And thank you so much for hosting us all, and for this write-up!
I look forward to seeing the fruits of her teaching in the years to come - when we are all working on established permaculture projects of our own!” Hannah xx


PEACE FOR ALL

P.S- I'm thinking of not having more then 15 attendants, so if you're interested get in touch as soon as you can...I have already 4 people interested and I only mailed the invitation a couple of days ago...

Nov 29, 2009

MORE VIDEOS ON THE OLIVE HARVEST...

video
here's a little tour to see what we've been doing...

video
Sieglinde cleaning the olives from the leaves...
video
How to know how much salt goes in the olives after they are sweeten in water...
video
Emma and Sieglinde packing the olives to take to the press...

at the press...

This press in Sobral do Campo is working 24 hours a day...yep, there's literally tons of olives to press at this time...

And finally...our olive oil in the land...click here to watch so I don't need to upload it again, and also find out how you can get some of this amazing 100% organic olive oil and support us at the same time...

Nov 28, 2009

OLIVE HARVEST FINALLY DONE...


Finally we end up picking up all the olives to take it to the press... we got 120L out of 910Kg...good deal !!!
I'll just post some pictures and videos for you to watch as there's not more to say...
...and excuse the poor quality of my wee camera :-) ...
You can also check here for more on the olive harvest...





Sieglinde defeating her fear of heights picking some olives on the ladder...even on a rainy day...

And here enjoying her stuffed bread...Hmmm, it was delicious...she has been our cook since she came, more than a month ago...this day it was rainy, so she spent the whole day making all sorts of bread... I'm gonna miss her...not only for the amazing food she makes, but because she's a wonderful person to be around...she hopes to live here one day...but she had to leave today :-(
And take a look on the amazing and beautiful work that Sieglinde and Elena did on the prayer shelter... I was simply amazed with such love...they did it on the week I was away for my birthday...what a lovely gesture from both of them...thank you "abuelitas"... :-)

Now some videos...some are a bit long, but it's cool cuz it explains all the process both for olive oil making and also what to make to actually eat the olives...
If you wanna have a detailed explanation on how the olives are pressed, you can also go here t5o this post I wrote 2 years ago on the same press in Sobral do Campo...
o.k,here we go with the videos...my last tree to harvest...
video

O.k, I guess this can't hold any more videos, so I might need to post them in separate posts...but not today as it's getting dark already, and I'm freezing here outside the village Hall...(the reason is that here I have a plug and wireless , eh, eh...handy!!)
I hope you enjoyed !!! I actually like this video stuff...I guess I got it from the winter ´s :-)...

well, soon more...I hope...

Oct 7, 2009

OLIVE HARVEST IS ON THE WAY...


the land has been blessed with lots of rain these days:-)
And the olives are getting ready...
I still don't know when the press is going to open to take the olives, but people are saying the harvest will be sooner than later this year...
So, we'll appreciate help for the harvest...MAYBE FROM THE 19TH TILL 26TH OF OCTOBER...in few weeks... but I'll confirm it as soon as I find out about the press...
I might start next week to harvest some to mature...

LET ME KNOW IF YOU'RE WILLING TO COME AND HELP...AND SHARE WITH OTHERS WHO MIGHT ENJOY IT TOO !!!

BE PEACEFUL...

Sep 6, 2009

working hard this week...but satisfying :-)


I've been enjoying lots, building a roof for the washing dishes station... something I'd like to be done almost a year ago...Tim and his group came from Scotland to build the floor and we were supposed to finish it...but it never happened till now :-)
...mainly because people wanted to do many other things, and the one who said he could take charge of it, never really did... anyway... that's how things went... I really wanna focus this winter to finish all the things we have started since I move here...making things nice and a bit more stable... by the way, I'm really thankful for a donation I already got to buy building materials... that's gonna help!!!
Not going far from our main center of activity, I really wanna work on the basics : the kitchen, the bath-house, compost toilet and prayer shelter...

So, I started to put the 2 back posts that were missing (the Scottish group forgot about that :-)...it happens!!!)...they should have been inside the concrete floor, so I had to make a stone pile around it to hold it well (I hope so :-)... )...That was hard!!! lots of carrying stone and making cement (not that I like the material, but fo r the purpose I guess it was the best option, and also what I already had (no need to buy)...

Then the wood structure that needed to be strong to hold the roof... I used some eucalyptus and Mimosa that we had already dried and was the straightest I found...

The rest, as I needed flat wood, I used some nice pine boards and beams that a guy left here...he made a "5 star" floor under an almost rotting yurt...what happened was that the guy left, the yurt end up rotting and almost falling apart, till the guys who stayed here last winter nicely took it away and piled the wood to prevent more damage... But still, it was a bit left under the rain and sun, so I thought the best would be to use it... (not everything that people leave behind is useless :-)...)
I took the nails away, chose the best ones, carry them down,
measured them and

cut them all the size I needed... (thank God for the Japanese technology...as Ricardo told me, they are years ahead of us...he left this saw here when he came for the prayer week...thanks Ricardo...it's really great !!! )


The hardest work was done... now the fun to lay board by board...
I haven't finished and I'm taking a day off today...
On monday I'll have to buy some straight thin boards (must have a name in english) to support the clay tiles...

So, I'll let you know next time how it end up...I hope nice and secure :-)... It's the first time I've done something like this... but hey, we can learn so much just by trying and doing it :-)... And I do love carpentry !!!

Aug 28, 2009

Winter's projects


Summer is almost over...even though it's still sooooo hot...
you can read some of the last events here on my blog ...
I have to apologize for being so rubbish writing on this blog, but summertime is just not the most encouraging time to seat with a computer, specially when I don't have electricity :-)...
Anyway, I just wanted to let you know of some ideas I have for winter projects, in case you'd like to come and put your hands on the work or contribute to its expenses...
Speaking about that, I'm trying to get some donators for the Land's projects, so, if you have some extra money in the end of the month, or if you want to consider separating some to help the land, get in touch with me (Barbara)... or maybe you don't have that spare money, but know some people who might want to contribute for projects like this one...
The ideal in the future is for this piece of land be the most self sustainable as possible, but we need to realize it does require some investment in the beginning...
It is step by step , I know, and that's why I took the time to think about what could be the next step...

As you can see by this picture, the roof of the kitchen (our central common place) needs an improvement (actually we don't have a single permanent roof so far, what makes it a bit hard when strong winds and rain comes)...
well, actually, I'd rather just make the whole adjustments to the kitchen... I'd like to build a room attached where we can have a bread oven, wood storage and a place for the dairies...It would be also nice to have a storage for food (whatever we harvest or transform)...so, I came up with this ...don't mind the technical design :-)...

Can you get an idea?!! So, the attached room will be also a terrace, the roofs will be green roofs as it's the best solution I thought of considering the very strong winds we have here... The front roof of the patio as well... And I'd like to make a cement/stone floor for the patio too...
The terrace will have an external stairs, and from the kitchen there will be another stairs for the 2nd floor (connected to the terrace with a door...
On this drawing I also put on top the terrace a solar water heater...
And this will lead us to another project, which is a water tank on the above layer, so we can have pressure for the kitchen, garden and bath-house...
Speaking about the Bath-house, another one that needs improvements...

And if we have time, I'd like to build below the bath-house a shower house with 4 shower places...
I'd also like to replace the shit-pit for a proper compost toilet house...or at least make a better roofing on this one...

So, these are all nice dreams and ideas, which would improve this place for those who want to come by...
But as I mentioned before, it would be nice to have some money to invest in materials to build all these... Just the water tank would be around 1.500 E...the house maybe 2000 E, as I might use clay bricks, for walls and terrace...and we'll probably need to buy some straight wood boards and water proof sheet material for the roofs... I'm just shooting up in the air, but I already asked some budgets for material and shouldn't be far from that...
So,let me know if you want to contribute to any of this...either by coming to help, or by sending us some donations... (I'll not be able to say when we're gonna go for it unless we have the money for the materials)...
I've been here for almost 3 years now, and I feel it's time to start building more lasting structures, so we don't need to replace and fix things every year...

O.K, I'll let you know more about it as I plan it...

be peaceful :-) Joyful :-) Loving :-)
Share your Light

Barbara

Apr 16, 2009

How did the course go?!!


We just had an amazing time during the Permaculture course, as it was expected... so, let me share with you some of the things we experienced...
Just before we started, Simone (who was at the land in the early beginnings) came with 7 other friends from Berlin, and they all helped us to set up the last things we needed for the course to start...It was a time for them to rest as well, so it was great how it all worked out...they could rest, and we could rest... We knew it would be a very intensive time, so we didn't want to do all things at the last minute... it all went smoothly...shantii, shantii, as we like...


The "class room" was ready... and we could enjoy the chilled times around the table during our meals as well...

Lesley Martin was our teacher, who, with a very sincere and humble heart, told us she had come to learn as well... We could all say that she is an amazing teacher... I loved the way she wouldn't simply download all her knowledge, but she would lead us to get there for ourselves... besides, we had the privilege to hear the many stories of her personal life...again, with a very humble heart...another kind of knowledge, one that is only gained by experience...

All together, we were 13 students...Emma, Maren and Steffi were coming in and out, as they were helping Ton in the kitchen... Amelie was also helping everywhere, and also taking care of baby Shiloh (who requires lots of attention, eh, eh)... The food was amazing by the way...Thanks to these ones... It was a blessing for me too, cuz I was already willing to not attend the course in order to help in the kitchen...but all went well, and I'm so thankful for all who helped...

As I said, we were 13 students...me, Chris (Amelie's husband... who came from California,USA), Dane and Jillie (also California...Hmmm,kinda...they were actually living here, and they invited Chris and Amelie), Josh and Rosie (who were living here but moved out to another piece of land in the south), Daniel (who was also living here before, and he's Ton's nephew), Nuno Raposo (who came from the surroundings of Lisbon), Miriam (Emma's friend from Belfast), Hanna (From London, who is about to move nearby here), David Juan (a Canadian who lives in Spain with his wife for many years), and Ishmael (from Sudan, who is living with David and Sharon in their community)...
what a diverse group hey?!! in age, we had Dane with 19 and we had David with 66... what a good mix...

As diversity is so important in Permaculture, I guess we had a good example with our group...
As you can see in these pictures, we didn't seat in "class" all day...we also had some nice "exercises" and fun experiences where we also learned...like this one, showing us how in all creation, everything is interconnected, everything plays an important role to create the original balance of it all... unfortunately we've been messing up a big deal, but hey, I don't like pessimism nor fatalism...There's Hope !!!

And this is something we also received from this course... We can all make a big difference, in our "littleness"...As Margaret Mead said : " Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it is the only thing that ever has."
Here's Shiloh in this picture also making a point... we should all walk in our own shoes (even though it's fun to try big shoes sometimes, but not really if we want to walk, eh, eh)... We are to BE who we are, and not trying to be someone else...not comparing ourselves with others... we were created for COOperation, not competition...

" If we are being less than who we are, we're stealing the world a great treasure" (a quote from myself, eh, eh)... We're all so precious !!!
Anyway, I'm drifting away here...sorry about that !!!
Here are some other practical things we did...like here on the side, Miriam, David and Ishmael, making an easy and useful tool to measure contours...







The same tool, if we have other materials, like a hoze and tape...

And practicing...Off we went to the woods...


How to make a sheet mulch...

easy and fast...


ready to plant...

During the evenings we also watched different interesting Dvd's

And finally, the interesting part came...we had 3 groups presenting a design for the land... it was really interesting to see the different points of view of each group...

While a group was presenting their proposal, the others would listen...in the end we would all have to say something we really like about the design, and also something we would change...

I was glad with all the designs... and I'll definitely take some good ideas from each one...

Hanna and her beautiful presentation...

Nuno...a bit shy, but he did well...

Jared, in his rap style presentation :-)... I loved his veggie garden design, and the thought his group had about the amount of land we'd need with food to feed the average of people who live here...

Emma and Maren would participate while chopping veggies...I liked that !!! Thank you so much girls...

Amelie and Shiloh, picking some cabbage for dinner...aren't they sweet ?!!

The design the group I was with made (me, Rosie, David and Chris) end up not being much different than what I had in mind before...
even though I tried to interfere as least as possible... that was cool too...



It was nice to have some tips and opinions from Lesley, specially about the irrigation system...
Well, now it's time to move on...
To define priorities and establish the different stages to implement this design in this land... Of course, being always flexible... if something doesn't seem to work along the way, lets see other options :-)

WE NEED SKILLED PEOPLE NOW TO IMPLEMENT ALL THESE GREAT IDEAS... AND SOME MONEY AS WELL, SO, FEEL FREE TO PARTICIPATE :-)

We were all satisfied in the end, and this made me think about more possibilities for more workshops and courses...not only permaculture (maybe next year translated in Portuguese), but also natural building, like straw bale houses, cob, etc...
we'll see...
step by step...

In the evenings we'd often had dinner around the fire place, and we had such a lovely time in the last night...
It was so nice to get to know those who came , and get to spend some more time with those I knew already... it felt like family !!!
And I'm sure we'll all be connected somehow...