The story so far

Tamara left Bunyip in April 2009 seeking what she needed to know for her permaculture future. She spent 9 months at her Aunt Catherine's farm in Arid South Australia, then 9 months at Bill and Lisa Mollison's farm in Tasmania. Now she's off on more adventures starting Moonrise School of Permaculture and teaching Permaculture Design Courses in the beautiful Dandenong Ranges near Melbourne. Ducky is there for the journey...

Sunday, November 27, 2011

planetary Permaculture Pilgrimage - Rosemary Morrow!!!

Planetary Permaculture Pilgrimage - Rosemary Morrow!!!

Hello beautiful people! We have now had 3 days of Rowe Morrow's amazing teacher training course and we are brimming with total excitement for the future and desire to run PDCs as soon as possible. Teachers who were at Robin Clayfield's course last week have quickly picked up Rowe's sage advice and the women are planning Women's PDCs! We are thinking Whyalla, Pt Augusta, Northern Victoria, Crystal Waters and Uki.

Here is a pic of us all with our hero - and I never use that word lightly having studied WW1 so much (I never use it for sports players and the like - but in the last year Rowe has taught in Afghanistan, Uganda and Ethiopia and over 27 years she has taught in so many war zones, refugee camps and crippled countries. It is what i plan to spend my life doing - and as Rowe had said - it hasn't been an easy life and very lonely at times. But this has so fortified my commitment to the world that as soon I have a good lot of PDCs under my belt I'll be in prisons in Oz and overseas wherever permaculture is needed.

I have long said that Rowe is one of the two most beauiful people on the planet. One was a wonderful old lady that I was in Halls Creek with and the other is Rowe.  

Rowe is being incredibly encouraging and I feel empowered to go out and teach. Hearing from Rowe that I appear to know the content of a PDC and have some good teaching methodologies has been inspiring. 

We have been doing so many things - lots on adult learners, good and bad teachers, Nonviolent Communication, questioning as a teaching technique and we've all been doing a long curriculum sheet of butchers paper with all the topics and the must-teach information. 

Rowe is teaching teacher training at Milkwood soon - I recommend anyone who wants to move to the next level with their teaching make a bee-live.

Much love to all,
Tamara xxxxxxx

Friday, November 25, 2011

planetary Permaculture Pilgrimage - Robin Clayfield Dynamic groups Day 6

Robin Clayfield Dynamic groups Saturday Day 6

Our final day of dynamic groups with Robin was fantastic. We had grown to enjoy each other and were having a lot of fun, with spontaneous percussion collaborations erupting at dinner and in the breaks. This was possible because Robin had 2 big baskets full of different percussion instruments. She also had a biggish drum which we took turns at to hold the rhythm. I found these awesome pods attached by string to a band that went round the ankle, making noise as I stepped and stamped in time.

As the week progressed people felt more and more comfortable in the group and we had built up a lot of trust. After 3 days of presenting on topics we all chose to learn about we had become fluid in creative processes and Robin said we were all flying. On day 6 we all did our final presentations, and by this stage we were enjoying the creative process of coming up with ways to get core information across in a marvellously engaging way.

Our class began with a beautifully facilitated 'milling' process from the Deep Ecology toolkit facilitated by Ali Ma. We met eye to eye and connected with each other from a place of love, respect and support. It was an incredibly bonding experience to do on the last day of the course.

In between the presentations Robin led an activity on brainstorming, giving us tips on how to get them really cranking and how to use mindmaps to record the info. This was really useful as brainstorms are used in mainstream teaching environments and can be a good way to gently lead people to more creative processes.

It is worthwhile going through all the presentations that day – Kathleen and Olga led a session on working in small groups using a PMI/ That stands for “Plus, Minus and Interesting – a method invented by Edward De Bono. This is my least favourite method but I am getting used to it. (I’m not sure I would use it, I dislike it so much).

Tonia and Bruce did a HILARIOUS speed dating session called “Permie Match”. Tonia is so funny to work with and I loved it. It had people being principles who were moving around dating different aspects of teaching – I was the teaching environment. It got a lot of information across very quickly and was so much fun with everyone getting into role play easily. I’ve often said we should have permie speed dating at permaculture convergences.

Ali Ma and myself led a labyrinth walk. We walked to the centre with a prayer for the earth. We staying in the centre to ground before winding our way out on the new path we had forged for ourselves over this transformational week.

We said goodbye to Bruce before lunch, wishing him well on his Vegie Village project. I must remember to post his You tube video of his adventure creating a community garden.

After another fantastic lunch, Emma and Kirsty hosted a session on delivering to the mainstream – having us sit in a boardroom configuration and introduce ourselves – Julie and I pretended we were on the local council and pro-development. I’ve had plenty of contact with people like this and we played it up for the group. They used a big jigsaw to present the content and a word hunt on words for the mainstream designed by Emma.

The finale of the day was a design session with Delvin and Zoe, with each group using a small collection of animals Delvin had brought from Canada. I had the poultry set with Olga and we put in a circular lake with a poultry island and had different zones coming off with different gangplanks and gates. I’ve worked with poultry a dozen times before but never come up with anything so creative!

This is my way cool poultry island!

To finish we had a feedback and evaluation session for Robin, followed by certificate giving, where we presented them to each other. Interestingly I had Delvin’s certificate to present and Ali Ma had my certificate!

We followed that with a series of closing activities – where I got a little teary – the group was disbanding the following morning and we had become very close knit.


Crystal waters is a great place to learn about permaculture- for both visible and invisible structures. Crystal waters was set up in the late 80’s as a permaculture village and has approximately 300 of people living there. We’ve been staying in the bunkhouse, learning in the purpose built eco room and eating at the community building. We’ve sung in Robin’s rammed earth office and had sourdough bread straight from the bakery.

The animals here are incredible, we’ve spent a week being surrounded and supported by them - including kangaroos and wallabies, black and white butcherbirds, crows, swallows and all manner of birds. There is a nest of baby swallows on the short corridor to the loos – and in true animal loving style there has been some bark placed below the nest to catch the droppings rather than remove the nest.

On my walks I’ve also seen a huge goanna, a pink tongue lizard, bandicoots, and a sugar glider. The women’s shower block has a resident green tree frog – who turns up in lots of different spots over the week. Tonight it was in one of the hand basins but a few days ago it was lurking in the loo – and I feel terrible peeing on them!

The food has been amazing – we’ve had 3 cooks – Kira, Yii and Len the pizza man who makes them in the wood fired stove in the bakery. The food has come mostly from a local coop farm and from the gardens of Robin and Yii. Spectacular!! The eggs have come from the coop on Crystal waters and all our kitchen scraps have gone back to them.

Although this was the third time I have done similar courses with Robin, I found most of what we covered extremely useful. It was a good revision for me and it included much more permaculture than the previous two courses. That this one was 6 days gave us heaps more time to experience more of Robin’s processes and 3 days of throwing ourselves in to creating facilitation.

Robin’s style is about as far from “Chalk and Talk” as you can get. The planetary Permaculture Pilgrimage was put together to get as many different styles of teaching and jumping into Robin’s course after Geoff’s was pretty interesting. I loved Geoff’s course but really wanted to show the other students that creative processes can be used to teach permaculture and that it was worthwhile. I think it all comes down to using lots of different teaching methods to get permaculture across.

Robin’s method is full of activities and small group work – which can be tiring if like me you are half introvert and half extrovert. I found if I spent the odd lunch or morning tea alone I was fine. But I loved the class sessions, our percussion meal breaks and the fantastic friendships I have formed.

I would have loved to have more from Robin on how she used to teach specific subjects in the PDC – she did mention a few and it whet my appetite - although these have been recorded in the back of her book: “You can have your permaculture and eat it too” and also in her manual “Teaching Permaculture creatively”.

Robin did a huge job pulling everything together to convene the course as well as teach it. I recommend her course, especially if you are already teaching permaculture and would like a few more methods in your toolbox. People learn in many ways and chalk and talk often doesn’t work for people who learn kinesthetically – or by doing – and there are lots of those in permaculture.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Planetary Permaculture Pilgrimage! Robin Clayfield Day 3 and 4

Second blog from Crystal Waters!!

Hello beautiful people!!

I know I should have been blogging more but I am having way too much fun with the group - we've just been playing music using kitchen utensils and got onto singing and dancing to Salt n pepa. There are some awesomely musical and creative people in this group. I have to go and mop the kitchen - we are all chipping in after dinner and then I'll be back to tell you all about accelerated learning and the mammalian brain! Fun is actually very conducive to learning. It allows information to travel from the triune brain through to the neocortex and form solid memories.

Today had heaps of fun teaching the multiple intelligences - once through of a the 7 intelligences - Robin added 2 more - nature and spiritual - and we added animal intelligence - to have 10 intelligences!

We are having awesome food almost exclusively grown here or just up the road and mostly organic!

End of day 3 we had covered a lot of stuff. There is a great sticky carpet of Content: Site: Process with loads of processes for all sorts of situations.

We also did a needs based learning process where people used slips of paper to write out what we wanted to learn more on. This is a very inclusive brainstorm as everyone gets to have a go. We put similar ones together and then did a process with dots to decide which ones we would do – we picked 10 topics. They covered lots of awesome stuff like the 6 hats, teaching 2 or 3 three students, how to creatively teach parts of the PDC, pitching to the mainstream and delivering boring content!

That evening Tonia and I formed our partnership to present on the “Multiple intelligences”. Robin had evoked an extra two and we evoked an extra one – animal intelligence. Some people connect deeply with animals – we think we’re onto something here! We were pretty tired as we’d had 3 days of hot weather and our brains were full. Knowing that one wy our brains process information is to sleep on it we decided to leave it for the evening after some brainstorming.

I awoke early but still hours after sunrise. It is at 4.40 or something crazy like that up here! We were getting together at 6.30 to finish our planning – we were on at 9.30! Anyway we came up with a hugely fun 20 minutes including singing about the intelligences with Tonia pretending we were doing some fitness. We did some stuff on self care for the facilitator and had people pair off and come up with an activity that uses both people’s strengths to improve their weaknesses – the thing is that we can always work on our intelligences and improve them! xxx

There were lots of presentation that day – all really good but boy was I buggered! Above is Delvin's and Ali Ma's presentation - ROCK ROCK ROCK!!!!!!!!!!!

Awesome evening of table percussion followed by you tubing salt and pepa and MC hammer and singing and dancing to the moves. Awesome night.


Delvin and I presented on what you can do post PDC – I presented on APT, and Delvin presented on the diploma and MA from the permaculture institute, we used some pretty mainstream methods like brainstorming onto s mind map and taking notes on butchers paper for each other. Then we got everyone to write an intention on what they will do after the course. People read their out in the circle and then we released the energy to the universe. I will be mailing everyone these intentions in 1 months time (also a revision time). It went really well and del and I flowed naturally from one to another. I just love teaching with him!

I needed some alone time at lunchtime, I do get worn out from group work and I even had a snooze. I didn’t think I could do the next exercise but robin started the session with music. Always works as an energiser!

Planned for presentation with Ali Ma tomorrow. As we were sitting next to the labyrinth I looked in her eyes and they were just like my grandmother’s, hazel with coloured spots.

Peaceful closing – facilitated by moi – a bird one. Birds have been hanging around all day and all week cheering us on and I thought it would be nice to give thanks to the birds – so we acted our favourite bird and walked out to the lawn and released our birds to the sky. We stayed out there talking as a group in our circle and soon there were so many birds flying through our airspace – white herons, white cockies, parrots, a crow and a whole flock of swallows, perhaps 60 of them swooping around each other as though getting insects in the air. It was so beautiful and we all felt it. When I went back outside after packing up all the birds had gone. Lovely.

Pasta and pesto for dinner with salad from the nearby organic vegie grower.

We have a very musical group – we are singing to powderfinger as I type :) We just did some wonderful processes called windows of the world. I had card of a grandmother and child, Zoe had a card that represents her mother, Kathleen had a card of the earth mother and Robin had a sunflower – mother of all who is. The sunflower is also my grandmother’s favourite flower, I made her a leadlight of one 18 years ago and which was returned to me not long ago. A message of hello came through from my grandmother who died. It was really sweet as I hadn't heard from her since she passed away a few months ago. I told the group this story and felt held in love by them all,

more when I get a chance!!!!! Love from Tamara, Ali Ma and Delvin!!!!!!!!

Join the Planetary Permaculture Pilgrimage!

Delvin, Ali Ma, Kathleen and I are having an awesome time on the PPP!!

We've just been served an organic, homegrown Thai meal - gotta go and get some of that goodness!

We invite you to join us - we are having an amazing time and would love to fill the two classes with Robin and Rosemary and support them in their amazing journey of bringing permaculture teaching methodologies to the world!!!

Delvin, Ali Ma, Tamara and Robin loving the creative processes

Planetary Permaculture Pilgrimage

A once in a lifetime opportunity to do advanced study with many of the greatest teachers of permaculture. 

Australian Learning Adventure Information

Delvin and Tamara have finished Geoff Lawton’s teacher training and are enjoying Robin’s 6 day creative facilitation dynamic groups training.

We invite those dedicated to the path of teaching permaculture to join us on the next two courses being run at Crystal Waters Permaculture Village near Maleney in QLD.

Robin Clayfield - Creative Community Governance and Decision Making Workshop
Monday 21st November 2011
Crystal Waters Permaculture Village, Queensland

This one day intensive is for people involved in Community organizations and groups who would like more skills, ideas, tools and processes for making decisions and having discussions as a group. It brings in creativity, fun, team building and successful, interactive processes in a ‘Dynamic Group’ context.

Full Price $125 (Gov't/Corp/Business), Regular Price $110 (Workers), Low Income $95 (Students, Unemployed)

Robin Clayfield has taught over 30 PDC’s through the late eighties and nineties, created and taught Advanced Permaculture Creative Teachers Facilitation courses with Skye, and now co-trains the Cert IV in Training and Assessment course for Permaculture teachers and others in creative and sustainability industries. She co-wrote the book 'Teaching Permaculture Creatively'.
Contact Robin for registration and accommodation information on all Crystal Waters Courses:

Rosemary Morrow - Permaculture Design Certificate Teacher Training
Thursday 24th to Monday 28th November 2011
Crystal Waters Permaculture Village, Queensland

A five day course in teaching permaculture with strong emphasis on walking the talk - and the Ethics of permaculture.   It is important that participants have some idea of the scope of a PDC and what outcomes are important for their students.   After the first day it is very practical.

Course cost: $1300 full price, $650 for scholarship position.
Bunkhouse and camping options under $20.

Rosemary Morrow is a permaculture teacher now orienting herself to supporting younger permaculturists and especially in teacher training. She is convinced of everyone's right to know how to manage water and grow food when faced with climate change, and to buffer the more extreme effects.  She wrote Earth Users Guide to Permaculture as well as the companion book for Permaculture Teachers. 
Contact Robin for registration and accommodation information on all Crystal Waters Courses:   

Planetary Permaculture Pilgrimage organized in collaboration with Tamara Griffiths and Delvin Solkinson

A letter from Ducky

I've had a letter from Ducky :>

Dear Mummy,

I'm just writing to let you know how I'm going.

Mrs T took us all up to Melbourne for a few days. It worked out OK because we'd had enough time to get to know each other really well before we left.

Douglas will be turning 91 on New Year’s Day and his arthritis is pretty bad. He has to use his wings to haul himself up but I found out that he can still bite like the dinosaur he looks like. He’s got this amazing tail which I find irresistible.  

So I sneak up behind him when he’s lying down and poke into his tail.  This makes him really mad, but by the time he’s realized what’s happening and has hauled himself up on his wings and tried to turn around to get me – I’ve learnt it is expedient to make a lightening exit. 

His missus Muscovy, Donna, kind of sticks up for him!  She sometimes just stands and stares daggers at me – which is really scary.  

But maybe it is because when I first arrived I had the time of my life jumping on top of her.  She wasn’t expecting that but now she knows how attractive I find her and so she menaces me with her dark stares.  Really Mummy – she might be beautiful but she is quite scary.

After a while and a few instances of Mrs T having to come racing over to save me from Douglas Dinosaur Duck, we all kind of got used to each other and so long as I can resist Douglas’ tail – everything runs smoothly.

Anyway, as I said before, Mrs T took us all up to her 10th floor apartment in South Melbourne.  Douglas and Donna travelled in their big plastic tray on the back seat of Mrs T’s car, and I was in my box beside them.  Once we arrived Douglas went into a sulk because he thinks he might get carted off to a vet or something frightening like that and even Donna couldn’t cheer him up.   

I remembered being there several years ago and found my reflection in the oven door glass window very fetching.  Mrs T put papers all over the place and barricades to keep me in, but I could see Douglas and Donna through the glass sliding door between us and it was great fun when they came over and we’d have a conversation about the weather. At least that’s what I was talking about.  Douglas might have been telling me what he thought about me.

When Mrs T tried to step into my papered barricaded area so she could get things out of her fridge, I would hurl myself at her feet and try to rip strips of flesh off. It was all in good fun really, but it meant that she didn’t hang around very long.

When Mrs T wasn’t out I was allowed to join the others on the balcony and I was able to go exploring behind the pot plants and in the kennel that Donna and Douglas’ sleep in at night.  It was awesome in there.  I also had a good look at the views across Albert Park Lake – stunning!

Then the King of the Ducks, Mr Laurie Levy came for a visit and played a little game with me.  He’d try to poke at me, but I was always too quick and would peck his hand.  He chuckled and I quacked and Donna and Douglas came over to watch and together with Mrs T we all had a good laugh.

After 3 days in town it was getting to be a bit boring, so we were all very pleased to return to Somers last night.  Mrs T. shone a torch around and I knew where I was immediately. 

Today I’ve been hanging out with the yellow plastic duckling in the pond and sitting with Donna and Douglas under the Cootamundra tree. They are also very pleased to be back at Somers.

Don’t tell Mrs T. but I am actually light years ahead of Donna and Douglas.  They really aren’t that smart.  Hanging out with them is a piece of cake now I know how to handle them.

Next week Mrs T has to go up to Morwell to sit in on a court case where two duck rescuers are being charged with dumb things like taking rubbish away from wetlands and swearing and other stuff.  

A nice duck rescuer will be here to look after me for a couple of days and then another lady will do it.  Mrs T. will be back on the 25th.  She says to send you her love and she hopes you’re learning lots and having a great time.

I have to go and check out that plastic duckling again now.

Love and endless quacks from


Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Planetary Permaculture Pilgrimage! Robin Clayfield at Crystal Waters

Hello beautiful people! I am on day 2 at Robin Clayfield's Creative facilitation permaculture teacher training.

I am writing from the community space at crystal waters, a lovely big verandah where we have been eating our means. The mozzies are being kept away by Delvins dub step music :) We have been having classes up at the eco centre - a purpose built building initiated and paid for by Max Lindeger, one of the grandfathers of the permaculture community village.

We have been cooked for by a wonderful Thai resident of Crystal Waters, tonight we had Pad Thai - his mother's recipe from southern Thailand.

The classes have been awesome with the group settling in and getting to know each other through a variety of "glue processes" led by Robin. Last night we had an evening of trust games - and had a great laugh learning techniques and modeling a group of people learning with each other.

This is the third time I've done one of Robin Clayfield's courses - I felt very strongly that Delvin, myself and the pilgrims would get an enormous amount from the course - especially since Geoff Lawton's course was predominately chalk and talk, small group work and presentations to the class.

The processes we've been doing is wonderfully familiar to me - and - when we touched on revision today - at 1 hour, 1 day, 1 week, 1 month and 1 year - I realised this is my one year revision from the last two courses. 

After Robin welcomed us to Crystal Waters and acknowledged the traditional custodians of this land we went into learning about our own learning styles - empowering us to take charge of our learning. There were a couple of questionaires - one on how we learned - being a visual, auditory or kinesthetic learner - I was equal between the three - apparently the best way to be - yipeeeee. Then we did 7 intelligences - I am very high on the spacial and inter and intrapersonal and low on the logic - or perhaps I didn't feel very logical when I was doing the questionaire - I do put myself down as a logical person - but I can't be that bad - I've helped organise the Pilgrimage!!!!!!

 I am really interested in the multiple intelligences I have a quote by Albert Einstein I love:

 Everybody is a genius. But, if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will spend its whole life believing that it is stupid. 

Robin used a special card game we reviewed teaching techniques that relate to each of the 7 intelligences:

nature (added by Robin)
- nature journal
-- natural collage
- outdoor activities
- pick your own lunch

spiritual (added by Robin)
- meditation
- ritual
- sacred space
- symbols

- lineage diagrams
- research
- make lists
- key word cards
- cross words

- write a story
- write a letter
- read
- rewrite notes
- diary
- journal
- write and give a speech

- discussion
- field trip
- study groups
- tea breaks
- small group work
- personal stories

- private study
- individual research
- ask yourself
- questionaires
- meditation

- flow charts
- diagrams
- models
- mind maps
- video adventures
- plans
- art sculpture

- hands on
- models
- games
- visualize acting out
- field trip
- role play
- cush ball

Its incredible how many different teaching techniques, strategies and methods Robin as already used in the course. Incredible!

Introduced to concepts in course design we explore target groups, training objectives and competency needs, as well as program design and details. Delvin, Ali Ma and I got into a group and selected three
teaching techniques to guide our process : " Ritual, Sandbox and Treasure Hunt".

I've settled in well here, though I did skin my knee last night on the walk back to the bunkhouses. I also had a wonderful swim with friends in the creek tonight and I feel really anchored in to this beautiful place.

More news and pics soon! xxxxxxxxxx

Planetary Permaculture Pilgrimage - Day 5


Talks to the class were planned for the day - it was much cooler and I had slept really well after a beautiful bath at a B & B near the Terania Creek. I took a moment in the bath to think about the last few years, the difficulties around leaving Bunyip, the sadness that stayed with me for so long and thought about whether my reason for leaving - to devote myself more fully to Permaculture education had come to pass. With some tears in the warm water I was clear that my journey was the one I had anticipated - I had learned so much in many situations, climates and with a huge variety of animals and people.

The link between my past and the future - in my 10 minute presentation to the class was me talking about the 2009 Black Saturday bushfires being a trigger for me leaving my wonderful life with Andrew and the animals. I spoke about the horror of nearly 200 people dying in bushfires across Victoria inspiring me to learn more about fire sector design and really drum it home to the class when doing cool humid climates. For a spot of humour I told a story about my family and sheep in iceland - sheep in tundra are in the designers manual - I'm not naming names but it includes a green pair of undies and a sheep thinking that the green was a tasty bit of grass :)

I'd like to say thanks to everyone who took part in the class, to all the teachers, cooks, assistants, workers and WOOFers at PRI (including the real woofers Blue Dog and Jackie).

What an amazing week and place to jump of onto the rest of the PILGRIMAGE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

So here's some pics from my time at PRI:

Delvin enjoying the day

Carol gave an AMAZING talk on patterns. You rock Carol!

Sam and Alex firing up the rocket stove that heats our showers!

more pics coming soon!!!!!!!!

Monday, November 14, 2011

planetary Permaculture Pilgrimage - Day 3 to 4

Planetary Permaculture Pilgrimage - Day 3 to 4

Hello beautiful people!

My camera is on the blink so this blog is mainly words... but Delvin has been taking pics - and day 5 will be almost entirely pics!

The afternoon of day 3 saw everybody giving a 5 minute presentation. I chose animals - birds, insects, mammals etc. We broke into small groups shared out the topics. The people who were newer to permaculture chose first and then Alex and I took the rest. I had animal husbandry, animals essential to diversity and I tried really hard to stick to Geoff's suggestion of breaking it down minute by minute to hit a start, a mid point and a close, and to make people laugh once, get serious once, and tell a story. I told a story about Smithy, the boar I looked after last year at Bill and Lisa Mollison's farm, a very friendly large black pig who fathered the piglets I also looked after and who used to push me into the electric fence when wanting a scratch.

Day 4 started with Geoff excitedly telling us that our blog was up on PRI website, Delvin and I were so stoked!

Geoff showed us the World Wide Permaculture Network - connecting permies everywhere. It showed us projects, people, climates. I felt strongly that it was time to put a larger profile up of myself and the places I have done projects after asking the appropriate permissions.

Geoff spoke about the master plan sites – that become a PRI in that area. Two of the people in the course are setting up a site together in Victoria, about an hour from Melbourne. One thing that struck me about this is that I hope they and the local Melbourne permaculture network could get to know each other in a positive way, and a wish that it was possible to build a bridge between all the different styles of people within the movement.

We looked at curriculum in the afternoon. Geoff went through all the different teachers notes he's used over time - he showed us Scott Pitman's notes – who is at PRI USA - which come from the 1983 teacher notes that Bill Mollison wrote. They are wonderfully simplified, a distillation written just beforet the designers manual came out.

Geoff told us he'd mind-mapped the whole manual - these things are on the resources page on the pri website. He also told us about a class he taught with men who in a refugee camp and he needed to write on butchers paper and put them all up on the wall. He also said that when he is teaching an into to Permaculture he uses the chapters from Intro to permaculture. That afternoon we again broke into groups to brainstorm curriculum and put all of that info into a 90 minute timeframe for a class. I didn’t hear what we were supposed to do and Geoff was unavailable for me to ask questions so we slightly buggered up – but we still got to apportion the time for each topic area into percentage. 

It was really really hot that day - a precursor to a storm coming - so Delvin and I stayed in a B & B that night - so we didn't have to pack up in the rain and a treat for us to get through the first week. Thanks Delvin!

Love to all out there - and more soon xxx

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Planetary Permaculture Pilgrimage - Day 3!

Hi Folks!

No watching ourselves on film tonight so I'm able to blog this evening! Its been a great day, lots of good stuff and some bug pics coming later. Some of us are hanging out in the student common room skyping or emailing, Delvin and I blogging the PPP- and doing some collaboration for the PRI web page - and the frogs are croaking right outside the window.

So today - some highlights - Nadia came in to talk to us about teaching in the middle east - cross cultural issues - and gender. In the past Nadia has run women's courses but has also translated when Geoff was teaching - with mixed students. In the muslim culture, the women prefer to sit behind the men - where they can not be stared at or oggled, sometimes they even prefer to be behind a curtain. Some will speak up, others will pass questions forward on paper. I had lots of questions about gender and teaching - being a woman teacher myself and expecting to have mixed classes, though I'd love to teach women only classes too.

The awesome Nadia Lawton - bedouin woman and permaculture teacher extraordinaire

The afternoon was taken up with student presentations - this time a five minute one on topics from the PDC - using Geoff's must hit points. Geoff stressed the beginning, hitting the mid point and getting a good close. We divided up into chosen topics - Soil, Climatic factors, Plants, Animals and Trees and forests. I chose animals and gave my talk on animal husbandry, animal input/output and animals being essential to diversity. I felt much more relaxed today, I even sat down to write on the board - about pigs, oak trees, bugs and guilds. People have improved out of site, and it was like a mini PDC with all the 5 minute presentations covering the topics above.

Delvin with Latifa and Blue Dog, both desperate to get in for a swim.

Dinner was very welcome after the hot afternoon here in the tropics, I enjoyed my food sitting talking with Delvin and others on the decking for the dam. It turns out both our dads are hard core athiests and I shared my stories about my dad inviting Jehova Witnesses in to try and convert them to athiests. A few of my classmates jumped in to the lovely warm water, fully clothed for modesty and had a great time. We stood around enjoying the frivolity and splashing and I found out that Helene had seen Ducky on this blogs last year and did this pose for him :)

This ones for you Ducky!

I took the opportunity of my camera working to go for a walk around the zone 1 and 2 gardens and food forest. I headed over to say Hi to the ducks - and a small one came up - to tell me that she and her friend had missed out on being put away for the night - so I let them in and had a chat to the ducks for a while.  I noticed some cool lichen growing on a citrus tree and notice a mother bug laying her eggs. She let me take a few pics, but the light really wasn't good enough for really good pics - you'll have to bear with me - some are a bit fuzzy but they have some awesome info in them.

It was quite an animal day today - lunch I spotted a brown snake in the grass and tonight the yellow tailed black cockies squarked in the trees near the camp ground - and I heard some baby birds among the adults. I also got an email of Ducky enjoying himself down with Lynn, my wonderful ducksitter.

PPP Blog day 2

PPP Day 2 blog

Blogging this morning begins with the yellow tail black cockatoos calling and waiting for the breakfast coffee to come out…

Day two started with Geoff, Nadia, Tim and the interns killing an 8 month old calf. I didn’t attend, I’ve seen sheep killed and I always cry. That was in 2007 in Tassie when Geoff and Nadia did a practical fortnight down at Bill and Lisa Mollison’s farm in Tassie. I felt embarrassed that I was crying, as no one else was, but geoff and bill both pulled me aside privately and told me that whenever indigenous people kill an animal they shed a tear of reverence for its life. That made me feel better.  The interns felt much the same as me – that if we eat meat we have a responsibility to know where that meat comes from and to know that it has had an ethical life and the best death we can give it. It was in stark contrast to what was exposed on the Four Corners program earlier this year – where cattle exported to Indonesia watched while the cow in front of them was slaughtered, without stunning before their throats were cut and other horrific violence. The Live Export trade ceased briefly due to the public outcry but it was resumed with new rules that are designed to supposedly protect the cattle from this. I don’t think it goes far enough and want live export banned – something I continue to work on.

Ethical treatment of animals is one of the reasons I practice and teach permaculture. A chicken deserves to be used for its natural labour – scratching, poo-ing, collecting bugs and basically doing the work of the gardener in a chicken tractor vegie bed system. Ethical eggs and potentially ethical meat is better than a short life in battery cages or a barn full of chickens with no access even to sunlight outside.

So – there are things I am against – but permaculture is about positive action – and so I act in a positive way to stop the cruelty of the factory farming of animals of unthinking consumption. 

The Hex - our classroom, made of strawbale and designed for the sub tropics!

Ok, on to the classes! Geoff took us through teaching techniques in the morning – beginning at the end of the PDC with the final night party – where students do a performance for their classmates. It is a raucous occasion, I’ve been to one and I love it. It is an emotional and transformational night but demonstrates that we can still be self sufficient in fun.

Hooray!! Coffee has just arrived!!!!! With pikelets – Yummy. Blog will be getting better directly!

Geoff has “must touch points” on each topic over a 90 minute lecture. He tells 2 stories, 2 analogies, 2 laughs and 2 almost tears moments. He also ran us through some blackboard diagram and timing techniques – and developing a repotoire of symbols for explaining concepts and designs. He reminded us of mapping and sunside depending which hemisphere we are in, and drawing contours and plans. He explained an interactive game he used to do with students using a zone map, plasticine animals and building a design.  

Then! We found out we had to do a 3 minute presentation from one of the chapters in the Designers Manual. I am pretty good at thinking on my feet but I chose a familiar topic – arid strategies - using my childhood home as an example of sites. I went ok, but I had a big pause in the middle – but picked it up again. People did much better at their presentations than yesterday, I had improved too, getting more eye contact in. In the evening we looked over the film with our classmates again. I have to say I felt very supported after what I had considered a bomb! They liked the hook of my stories but would have preferred just one topic in the 3 minutes. This morning Geoff said I was ok, but wanted me to round out the topic more – rather than being site specific. We have a 5 minute presentation today and I'm hoping to make some improvements using the comments from every one.