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david spicer
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tumut, nsw, Australia
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Recent trip to Permaculture Sydney Institute

Posted by david spicer about 11 years ago

I was invited up to the permaculture sydney institute for International permaculture day and stay on for a few days working on site + look at the sites potenial for some of PermacultureWorks workshop, so below is a update on IPD on the work I got up


A recent trip to the Permaculture Sydney Institute Rural demonstration site Bandusia eco retreat

I was invited up to Bandusia by Penny Pyett to take part in International Permaculture Day and do some work on the site mainly on infrastructure which is one of my strongest skills having spent some years working in the building and construction game, I developed a varied skillset and can turn my hand to most things and also to check out the site for some future workshops and courses we are planning there.

International Permaculture Day was a great success with a turnout of 40 plus people to come look and hear us talk about the little steps we can take to make a change.

We had Robyn Willamson a volunteer seed- saver teacher and activist from Sydney come up to do a workshop on seed saving, myself talking about forestry and portable sawmills and a Lucas mill on site demonstrating how easy it is to mill our own timber on site keeping with the theme grow it local.

I also talked on skills and how we are at a stage where we need to reskill to get out of the specialist mindset and reconnect to our past where our forefathers were multi skilled and developing a permaculture site we need to have that diversity in skills or we risk having to call in a specialist for lots of relatively simple jobs once we have the know-how, the talk I did was mainly on hand tools and how from my experience technique is very important making the job at hand easier and more enjoyable, in true permaculture fashion saving energy where we can.

Penny and myself did a walk and talk tour of Bandusia, classically starting at the back door talking about zones and why we place different elements of a design in different zones, we also talked about the many workshop built structures e.g. dry stone walls, cob ovens, bamboo bridges and trellising frames, straw bale chicken house, we then ventured down to the food forest and firstly talked about the water harvesting features and function of swales, terraces and the importance of level sill spillways and pacifying the flow of water allowing it to do its duties.

Then on to food forests and its function and the difference between orchards and forest in there resilience to change, also food forests are part of our design for catastrophe strategies , succession and using succession in design, micro climate, pioneers etc.

Then my working week started which was mainly focusing on water , setting up guttering on the straw bale chicken house then installing the water tank but first we need to set up our base for the tank to sit on, which in this case we used some old bessa brick/breeze block so I chip of the old mortar to get the brick bedded into the level pad I dug and screeded off [screeding is to drag and push a straight edge across the surface to level it, the same as when someone does concreting or paving] to create a level pad for the bricks and back filled with left over sand from the rendering of the straw bale chicken house tamped down the sand and screeded the sand , rolled the tank into place and stood it up and plumbed the gutter to the tank

Also plumbing another water tank up for drinking water, making gutter ends up from old ridge capping by using the gutter as a template and marking then cutting with tin snipes leaving about 15mm to fold the ends to 90 degrees giving something to fix to and a gain using the old ridge capping to direct the water into the tank instead of having to buy pipe and joiners elbows etc.

Making seating for the outdoor classroom / fire circle, using the left over flitches from the sawmill [a flitch is the bottom of the log after you have milled the 80 odd percentage of the log you are left with the flitch] and using smaller logs cut into 600mm lengths as the base for the seats, I squared off the ends of the flitches and checked out the bases to bed the flitches into the logs, making two straight surfaces to stop the seat from rocking as we started from two roundish surfaces

[Apologies no finished photo of that one]

And last but not least a we moved into place an eco-friendly hot tub based on a Japanese design, made from cedar much like a wine barrel needing to have moisture to keep sealed, and a fire box in the water surprisingly it only took about an hour to reach 40 degrees Celsius and much more efficient then the exciting hot tube heat by electricity

So that about rounds up my trip to Bandusia, I will be going back in June for another 2 weeks where Penny is making a long list of project to get sorted I also will be helping out with David Holmgren forestry workshop basically being the brawn for the practical session of the course demonstrating tree falling, pruning, de-barking, thinning, milling on site with Lucas mill etc. but for me it’s a great opportunity to finally meet David, so I don’t mind. He can be the brains and I will be the brawn [just joking about the brawn] it’s a skill in its self, falling a tree safely

I will be doing another post of the next trip and hope this helps people get an idea how important diversifying our skillsets is, but remember never be afraid to make mistakes and learn from them, we just need to be empowered to have a go! Which gets us on the road to be more self-reliant in a changing world?

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Consultant Aid worker PRI PDC Teacher
My Permaculture Qualifications
PRI Unverified
Type: Permaculture Design Certificate (PDC) course
Teacher: Bill Mollison
Location: sisters creek tassmaina
Date: Oct 1999
Pri verified
Type: Permaculture Design Certificate (PDC) course
Teacher: Geoff Lawton
Location: tagari farm
Date: Jul 2000
Other course verified
keyline course
Type: Other
Teacher: Darren J. Doherty
Location: milkwood
Date: May 2009
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teacher training
Type: Teacher Training
Teacher: Geoff Lawton
Location: zaytuna farm
Date: Mar 2010
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