Designing swales

Shortly I shall be designing a continuation of water storage and implementing swales to the mix. When we make touchdown to our property next year, the first thing we will be ‘installing’ is a well. πŸ™‚ Soon you shall see a few drawings in this blog post. πŸ˜€ ❀

See you soon! ❀ πŸ˜€ πŸ˜‰
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Visual update on the Oyster mushrooms: 10/13/2017
(Started the spawns nine days ago)

 

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Thoughts of koi ponds.. <3

This afternoon Daniel and I attended one of his Bach-B-Q socials. The host of the party had a lovely established garden, which was very much permaculture like. πŸ™‚ He had a large patio with hardy kiwi and three-type seedless grape arbor. Behind it, laid a beautiful koi pond with waterfall. I asked the host of the party if it had an air pump, and he acknowledged it indeed does. πŸ™‚

When Daniel and I create the Butterfly Forests Homestead, we are going to have a three pond system for filtering grey water; with adjacent waterfalls to connect the three. Edible aquatic plants shall be on the third pond, along with koi fish to help with fertilizer. πŸ™‚

Creating Traditional Raised Beds

On the last day working as an intern at Cricket’s Cove, I learned the super-easy way to create raised beds in a pre-weeded garden plot. The day before, a fellow intern and I weeded the four raised beds on the farm. It only took a bit of muscle and a prior day of flooding each bed with water to soften the soil around the roots. πŸ™‚

We only used a few tools – wheeled hoe, basic hoe and a few shovels. It took roughly a total of twenty minutes to complete. πŸ™‚ ❀

Last week, I helped harvest bamboo for the first time and worked with a few other interns to construct a bamboo fence. We have troubles with deer in the area, so this will help deter them from walking in at night. πŸ™‚ Thank goodness, we do not have to worry about deer entering our future homestead in New Zealand. πŸ˜€ haha The hunting areas where deer flock (as far as I know) do not roam around Mangonui. ❀

The future plan is to use bamboo for various projects around the Butterfly Forests Homestead. There shall be a possible idea of creating a ground barrier that will be deigned for bamboo to grow, without the plant taking over.. we shall see what route we take in order to have a supply of bamboo. . πŸ™‚ πŸ˜‰

*Of course, one can also plant a two tier effect hedge of plants deer do not like to eat around the property. . Or nasty bushes and plants that will cause them to pause or stop. I do not think that shall be an issue in all-honesty .. or something we will have to consider later on. πŸ™‚

Rustic Carpentry..

While looking around the large main cabin, in the social quarters – I found books of vast information on professional smithing, and a small book called: “Rustic Carpentry: An Illustrated Handbook” by: Allgrove Publishing, Classic Reprint Series.

In my middle school, high school days – I did a bit of fiddling with carpentry (I was the only girl in wood-shop class with the guys) *shrugs* which didn’t matter to me. I have always been one who likes to remain busy with something, preferably creating something fun and interesting (“How does it work? Let’s see if I can make it too, but in a different way” -kind of thing). I like creating ‘conversation pieces’ – art works which cause you to stop in pause and think. πŸ™‚

It would be fun to try some of these projects shown in the book. πŸ™‚ There are plenty of sticks here to create whatever your little-imagination desires. We are planning as a group in the fall, to thin out the forest behind the pond -so then the forest can get proper air flow (it’s a bit over crowded right now). The book mentions the flesh of hazel, cherry, yew (I do not think I will find any of that here), birch, larch, fir and the pruning of many varieties of shrubs may be used. πŸ™‚

You should not harvest your wood in the spring or summer (it will cause the bark to peel off) -unless you want this effect or ease for the rind to do so. Harvesting in the mid-winter is best, due of when the sap is at rest. You certainly want to make sure the wood has completely dried before working with it.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
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Also to mention, learning the simplistic joints one can make with the wood is important for designing our roof and connecting rafters, etc. We are planning to make our own wooden nails as well. πŸ™‚

Once I create some decent ‘ish looking projects, I will write about how I made it – and will be drawing out some basic designs on how to construct it (the uploads of completed projects will have to wait for photographs, because we do not have a good internet connection and our bandwidth is limited here).
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Update: 08/01/17′

We are going into phase two for setting up the ‘mushroom gardens’ -next Tuesday. We shall be cutting biodynamic/organic certified trees on the property in an area where it needs thinning out for proper forest air circulation. There shall be plenty of sticks that shall not be good enough for the project. The instant thought came to mind of creating my first project with rustic carpentry. Also, we have an area on the property which has a rich flush of bamboo (I can also use this as a secondary option as building materials for the arbor). πŸ™‚

Knowing me, I always start big and complex designs (so then I can get a good understanding for the mechanics of how to develop a certain skill). I tend to learn more efficiently and better grasps hold of my mind that way. πŸ™‚ I enjoy a good challenge to myself. haha πŸ˜› πŸ˜€

Water conservation: Swells

This morning, I learned how to save water in swells with connecting ponds. πŸ™‚

By using a hillside one can create tiers of land with small ditches. Each ditch has a mound of soil in a rounded ‘step formation’ with water. Each tier has various useful plants and trees nearby to help with stopping erosion and slowing the water loss. Depending how much water you want to store and if you plan to have fish in one of the lower tiers to help make the land more fertile – you could have three to five ponds with various swells between each pond. πŸ™‚

A water pump is used to help with water cycling in the water ponds and lower levels, and/or in times of need when a drought is happening. We are currently having an early drought this season in Virginia. So the water level is dropping in the ponds by inches. We need to have the swells kept at ground level for water. If we do not keep the swells full, it takes more water and trouble with water staying in the area .. and more water is used when the swells are low with how mother nature will automatically try with balancing things.

When it rains, the swells will fill to full capacity and overflow into lower tiers. Once the last tier fills and spills over – the domino effect proceeds in continuing to all ponds. If there is a creek nearby, it will eventually flow into the creek when the last large pond is over filled by rain storm. By having the swells, this stops the rain water from gushing quickly down the slope of the land and taking precious soil, organic nutrients, etc with it. By having the swell-tiers method, this helps collect water sources into pond reserves.

Excellent with improving the water-table’s surface where your plants shall be rooting best. πŸ˜‰ πŸ˜€

Overall, it is a better control approach in regards of water storage/watering plants on a semi hilly to steep landmass. The tier-swell method really helps lands who have been ‘raped’ over many years by over grazing livestock, clear cutting trees and repetitive mono-crops heal faster overtime with new green growth and watering more effectively.

Crickets Cove Adventure!

Since July 9th, I have been in Virginia at a Bio-dynamic, Permaculture and Food Forest Garden. πŸ™‚ What a lovely place! πŸ˜€

Marianne and Cooper are the owners and founders of the one-hundred and thirty acre plot. It was originally clear-cut, and the Earth had been stripped numerous times by agriculture and grazing. What Marianne and Cooper have done in slowly restoring the land is magical. πŸ™‚

I am learning so-much from Crickets Cove. I plan to stay here for eight to nine months.. I might stay longer (it depends on Daniel with employment in web development, timing with visas for New Zealand, what is needed of me here, etc). I am pretty happy overall and flexible. πŸ˜‰Β  πŸ™‚

Cooper is a master blacksmith. There is a strong possibility I could learn how to work with metal. Perfect for making hand rails, hinges, hangers, hooks, pots and pans, to various other useful works of art. πŸ˜€ Probably on Sunday evenings, I shall learn overtime this amazing skill.

Also – Once a week, I will post photos of the gardens, orchards, herb beds and various future projects. πŸ™‚

See you soon! πŸ˜€

Tadelakt Workshop!

A few days ago we headed over to a wonderful Sigi Koko three day workshop, in Fawn Grove, Pennsyvania. We learned how to make a Tadelakt finish over our future sinks, counter-tops, shower walls, cob oven and various other waterproof surfaces. πŸ™‚

It’s not that difficult to make from the start, as one might think. πŸ™‚ You really need to be careful with using slaked lime (calcium hydroxide) though – due of it being able to strip the protein from your skin within roughly … after five minutes (it is not a strict cut-off. You should aim within five minutes so then you do not get into trouble). πŸ™‚ Simply make a nearby station where you are planning to create tadelakt with three buckets of: water, diluted vinegar and water to dip your hands into to neutralize the lime. πŸ™‚

Here are a few pictures I took whilst learning from the amazing-cute-beautiful Sigi Koko! πŸ˜€ *I did not have my Olympus camera with me for this trip; hence the non-high quality camera work. πŸ˜‰ πŸ™‚

Tea Party and Virginia

I come bearing good news! πŸ˜€

I shall be heading out to work for eight to nine months at a lovely permaculture/food forest/organic/bio-dynamic – farm in Western Virginia. The farm is called: “Crickets Cove.” Pretty-much all of the skills which I need to acquire for the Butterfly Forests Homestead can and will be learned at Crickets Cove. I shall be gone, starting on July 9th. πŸ™‚ While I am away from the current home I am living in, I will be uploading photographs and various information I gather about how to run a successful, self-sustainable homestead. ❀

More than likely, I will be posting every now and then (once a week(?) with my adventures here. πŸ™‚

The tea party part, is in regards to celebrating this next very-important step in my journey. Also, to see everyone I care about before I head off for almost an entire year. πŸ™‚
I am not able to invite all those I love and care about to the tea party .. but – nonetheless, it will be great! πŸ˜€ ❀ .. Also, there is something special about a hand written letter, or hand made card.

Below are photos taken of the hand watercolored tea party invitations I finished a couple minutes ago. πŸ™‚ Of course, you are very welcome to use these images for your own tea party, if you would like. *The more tea parties in the world, the merrier! πŸ˜€ haha

 

 

Second Waystation Design <3

Shame on me! πŸ˜› πŸ˜€ I completely forgot to place shallow water patches for the visiting butterflies to drink from; from the previous first Waystation watercolor/sketch. πŸ™‚

Butterflies need to drink water from time-to-time in order to get their much neededΒ  fortified minerals from puddles, creeks, or ponds. πŸ™‚ I’ll place a few mini-ponds.. a winding moat of sorts, which shall flow it’s way downwards towards the main pond -behind the Music Yurt-Hall. πŸ™‚

*Almost done second layout of the Waystation. πŸ™‚

UPDATE: 2:35 pm ❀

Honey-bee Butterfly Oasis..

How cute! πŸ˜€ We plan to have a meadow.. a butterfly oasis and home. In the future, having a learning station to see various native butterflies in their habitat, would be ideal for the help of conservation. I am a lover of stone paths. *^^* hehe So, designing a ‘long eye’ shape stone walking path surrounding the butterfly waystation would make sure children and their parents/guardians knew visually where they could and couldn’t cross.

By having a waystation for the butterflies on the property, helps the new emerging adult butterflies from the indoor butterfly sanctuary -have a food source, place to mate, lay their eggs and help keep the butterflies return to the Butterfly Forests Homestead. πŸ™‚

Also to note, the waystations/meadows help keep the honeybees happy and well fed all year round. Even when the time comes for the four bee boxes to swarm naturally; the likelihood of returning or staying in the area is higher due of the densely populated food sources. It helps lastly for the honeybees and butterflies to continue pollinating (some butterflies do help pollinate) the various fruit bearing trees, bushes, flowering herbs and many others. πŸ™‚

Daniel and I desire strongly to inspire and fascinate any guests and new found friends who stop by the Butterfly Forests Homestead, to learn how anyone can help heal the world.

By having the sign posted in front of the densely flowering butterfly waystation; also in addition – we shall have the certificate mounted right underneath the main sign. I’ll sketch-watercolor the butterfly mini-meadow shortly.

Direct link to: Waystation Certification Application and Sign Bundle

UPDATE: 2/28/17′
First Waystation design. Second design coming soon! πŸ˜€