Thursday, May 8, 2008

Perm Your Culture

A couple of weekends ago we acted on an invitation to visit a working permaculture food forest just north of Brisbane, and it was enlightening to say the least! Luke's friends Baz and Bec were our wonderful hosts and guides for the two day visit. Not only was it a lovely, relaxing, gastronomically rewarding venture, but our eyes were opened to the permie way of life and the necessity of swales! I'll let the pictures (and my clumsy captioning) do the talking.

Shakespeare's Macbeth taunting sister-witches had nothing on this brew stirrer!

What is the opposite of the Socratic method of teaching? Well this was it! As we wandered Baz peppered us with information and we tagged along trying to absorb, collect or store each nugget. Luckily Dom had a lot of pockets, great for storing knowledge.

An engine room, but no di-lithium crystals! These are the cool worm farms, beautifully constructed.

And busy reconstituting household and garden leftovers into beautiful, healthy, sweet smelling soily goodness.

And on to the hot worm farm for the Ibiza worms.

Really the image says it all in the remaining 986 words. Produce, being produced. Wonderful!

- They call this the Popcorn plant.
- Why do they call it that?
- Why, because it smells like popcorn.
- Gaaaarn!
- Come and have a sniff.
- Gad! That smells just like popcorn!

Even in the most practical of spaces is beauty, launching herself unashamedly into the sky. Oh, and it reminds me of a fern, which reminds me of New Zealand, which reminds me of pineapple lumps... now where are you growing the pineapple lumps?

I grew up in a town where sugar cane meant occasional fantastical fires that seared the eyelashes off a seven year old, followed by a day of black snow and stinging eyes after a morning bike ride to school, the occasional super-mother-load of a passing cane train sporadically dropping juicy, chewy sticks of joy, and of course the gut-wrenchingly putrid smell of whatever it is they do with the molasses... but not here. Here it is beautiful, a wind break, doing something fantastic with...umm nitrogen (next time I shall take notes, next time I shall take notes) and providing mulch a go-go.

Likewise, the lady finger banana, a cruel joke to any true banana lover, here provides a beautiful vista as the sun glints through the draping leaves, but also acts as a windbreak, is undergoing some sort of scientific process under its toes and to top it all off provides a tasty treat to the big dogs (horses...).

And now we are on to the good stuff! A group of lovely ladies jut itching to provide their owners with eggs benedict, scrambled eggs, omelettes, and maybe even a pavlova or two. And of course, Mr Rooster, ensuring that all that we take is the eggs.

And, the most important element of all. The water. This beautiful dam, fed by a pride-of-place swale is the source of all secure life. And the observant of you will notice the two Baz's. Perhaps this is my homage to the man who didn't seem able to stand still, who had his choppers out of his pocket every chance he got to mulch away and who disappeared around a magical corner in the food forest before you could finish asking, where is the diet coke plant to go with my popcorn plant? Or is it just that he moved in the middle of my panorama construction? Or is that, really, in essence the same thing?

Thanks Baz, thanks Bec, thanks lovely little dogs, and no thanks big dogs, please stay on your side of the fence!



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