Wednesday, May 24, 2017

The New Petit Paradis

The time has come to freshen things up a little. After using Blogger to capture my garden notes and experiences I have decided to shift gears. If you've read the last couple of posts on this current site you will know that change is afoot.

The latest incarnation of Petit Paradis can be found here. As you will see there has been a bit happening over the last little while and we welcome you to join us on the new blog where we will continue to post on what is happening with our garden and the journey of setting up the new garden and our renovations. Plus some of the experiences leading up to this transition.

So, come on, lets go there together. Leave your bags there, we'll travel lite. This is easy, hold on and JUST CLICK HERE!

Monday, May 15, 2017

Getting the House in Order - A departure from Chaos

We are riding on a wave that has been carrying us for some years now. I am ready to get off it. In large part it has been in dealing with my in-laws multi-generation accumulation of physical, material possessions. To say the least it has had a huge impact on me.

I will call this Stuff. Not just any Stuff, but old Stuff, cheap Stuff, important Stuff, sentimental Stuff and what has probably become one of my favourites to deal with, stuffed Stuff.

Stuffed Stuff is easy. You chuck it or recycle it. Or in extreme cases dispose of it in the responsible manner required as in dealing with chemicals, poisons or medication.

Old Stuff and Cheap Stuff are happy companions. We dealt with some of these through garage sales, private sales, collectors sales and trailor loads of charity shop visits or their collection points.

Scattered throughout all the Stuff we would find Important Stuff. Paperwork, photos and official documents. I will also include in this hand written letters describing defining moments in the families history and other such items. This we have documented and stored appropriately in acid free paper or filed for easy reference.

Sentimental Stuff is challenging. Especially when it is linked to emotions that are probably best dissolved and moved on from. But it is hard for some people to do this and I know it has been extremely difficult for my mother-in-law. Some of this Stuff defines her. Some of it gives her reason and justification for being how she is. Some of it has claimed and consumed so much of her time that even in a state of Stuffed Stuff it is still somehow deemed worthy of holding onto.

I may not hold any professional qualifications but after years of dealing with this issue firsthand I will stand by a very resolute opinion that much of my in-laws ill-health and mental well-being is directly as a result of hoarding so much Stuff. Two houses worth of it. There was no escape from it except the odd stay with friends, family or in a hotel room.

The underlying chaos of having too much stuff.

Much of it was dealt with by myself. Mostly for the reason that I was the only able-bodied male in the family to be able to shift all this Stuff around and there came an inevitable point some years ago - which my in-laws did not heed my warning about - that my wife and I would soon be expecting our first child and neither of us would have the time or the inclination to deal with sorting out Stuff.

What has this got to do with Permaculture?

Everything. I will start with two major points.

How can you live any form of a sustainable life if you can't sustain yourself? That is your physical, psychological and spiritual well-being.

The second point is that in all my dealings with this Stuff I have seen so much time and money and opportunities wasted that I shudder to think of what possibilities might have existed for my in-laws and for us had none of us had to deal with this sort of Stuff in the first place. The extra time there would have been. The extra money to see to health issues and to enjoy holidays or to even renovate the family holiday home. Instead, the insidious disease of hoarding possessions held its firm grip over them.

I will chronicle some of my experience with this issue to share what I have learnt and to act as a warning. Not just to those that can benefit from this sharing, but also for my family to look back on so as not to repeat any of it. This is the story of how we got our house in order ...

Why Free Range Guinea Pigs? Part II

This is the second part of the Why Free Range Guinea Pigs? post.

Foraging for Food

We found the guinea pigs are also intuitive enough to only eat what they know is ok for them. They will try many things and will consume only what they enjoy or need. Their favourite foods from what we have observed are:

  • milk thistle
  • parsley
  • tomatoes
  • any kind of grass - bamboo leaves, sugar-cane leaves, grasses self-sown in the garden from 'weed' seed.
  • cape gooseberry - young leaves, bark, berries both ripe and un-ripe.
 They have been seen eating -
  • blackberry leaves
  • broad bean leaves
  • carrots and tops,
  • small weeds
  • un-ripe tomatoes within reach!,
  • exotic grasses like mondo grass and the like
  • celery leaves and some stalk
  • citrus leaves - lime and lemon (usually leaves removed by myself that have leaf curl or disease)
  • dragon fruit (not the fruit but the fleshy pitaya plant itself!)
  • succulents
  • fresh and dried nectarine and apricot leaves
  • fresh and dried corn leaves, corn on the cob raw and cooked

Keeping the Savages Out

So there doesn't really seem to be much that they won't eat. At times I have had to barricade the GP's out of particular areas of the garden. This didn't occur as much of a problem initially because Maiki and Jazz kept to a very regular path of investigation and movement. It wasn't until one particular winter when they were really craving a higher food input that I looked out to the garden from our kitchen window to see a strange bobbing of some of my broad bean plants. Immediately I had my suspicions and to my amazement there was Maiki and Jazz gorging on broad bean leaves in the further territories of the garden.

Despite my disagreement and their quick retreat they soon returned to their new found source of sustenance and when they had become bored with what leaves they could choose from they soon became very good at clear felling my broad beans to get access to the lovely new leaves higher up! After a few weeks I had this crop of grazed broad beans built into a raised garden bed and left a few strays on the outside of  'the wall' to the mercy of Maiki and Jazz. Over time they grazed on them and even worked as a team to hold bean stalks down with their weight while the other ate their share of the bounty from the newly accessible top leaves of the stalks.

Extremes of Temperature

I am of the opinion now that GP's are pretty switched on creatures. They are quite capable of managing their own affairs when given the resources and do so with very natural instinct.

In cases of extreme heat the answer is actually simple for us as we are usually including melons in our own diet by that time of the year so all our melon scraps are taken to the garden for the GP's to feast on and keep their hydration up. Carrots were also thrown to them occasionally and were happily dragged off into a secluded spot to be gnawed away. Basically any fruit scraps from our kitchen are taken to the garden for either the GP's or the chooks. Usually by summer they also have cape gooseberry bushes that they like to keep cool under and feed on any berries within reach (they even began to climb part of the bush to raise up on their hind legs and reach higher berries) as well as tidy up any that fall to the ground. Gradually they acquired a taste for the leaves also and stripped much of the lower bush of leaves which also kept it rather tidy as well and stopped a build up of rotting berries while giving the bush a good source of manure.

In times of extreme cooler temperatures, which for us in Albany is the lower Celsius single digits and rarely 0 or minus degrees, the GP's wander under the house and find a cosy place to sleep. This has been on anything from scraps of carpet left for them to utilise to black plastic scrunched up so they can explore all the creases and folds and make a cosy spot. As long as they are given choices they will use what they require. Most of our GP's are short haired with Maiki being the exception. She had a medium coat with longer hair at the back end. I prefer the short-haired GP's as they are easily managed and keep themselves groomed and from observations they can move quickly and I feel moderate their temperature better during the warmer weather. During colder nights they are quite capable of cuddling up for warmth together.

Advantages for keeping guinea pigs free-range in a back-yard.

  • Improved health and fitness. See this more recent update.
  • Ability for them to forage and obtain their own food when required
  • A wider range of foods can become available to them
  • Ultimately nails and teeth will be kept maintained naturally
  • Reduces inputs such as feed and limits it to supplementation with pelleted food
  • Given their ability to obtain food at the rate required they do not require a water source unless in extreme heat - see above for example of melons.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Woolworths, Consumers and a bit of a Rant

Bare with me. Mr Petit Paradis is ticked off and I'm not happy.

WARNING! This post is littered with links so that you can fill out the big picture in your own time and get a sense of where I'm coming from.

I had a pretty good childhood. I was fortunate to have lived in a wealthy country (Australia), in a great part of the world (Perth, Western Australia). I enjoyed a wide-ranging plethora of activities. Particularly outdoor activities, though I wasn't your average aussie minor, I also enjoyed regular bushwalking and birdwatching. In my teens I lived on my mountain bike and my mate and I would traverse rather lengthy distances along the coast. Much of this area was sand dunes and scrubland heath. Today, from the view on Google Maps it is roof tops and bitumen. Such is change.

So much has changed in the world since I grew up too.

Home computers were just coming out. Commodore 64

Video was making it into the mainstream, albeit Beta then VHS.

There were 'mobile' phones the size of a house brick but this was fine when you look back at the size of the television sets in comparison to today.

My point, though probably poorly made, is that change has been rampant. So I look at some of the stuff my own children have and I'm partly filled with awe (there are some fantastic wooden toys on the market and the new Lego stuff is both amazing and unsettling to me). But I'm also saddened.

Some of the stuff is so cheap and nasty and so seemingly futile that it fries my mind to think of how much energy has gone into something made in China - and what it's going to be doing in landfill after the week it has been used and destroyed. This is a generous time frame by the way, some toys last only a day as I'm sure other parents can testify to.

It’s probably just me. Alone here with my thoughts on the subject. But, the recent offering of superheroes tokens for kids from Woolworths supermarket disturbs me. Immensely.

I was really taken by the offer of free fruit for the kids. Nice work Mr Woolworths and Jamie Oliver. There was something tangible and real, and kind of half nourishing about the thing.

But this tokens thing irks me. What is the message? “Here sweet child, take these tokens as a reward of your parents consumption levels.”

I look at a lot of stuff these days and think, “If they dug this up in some post-landfill era in the distant future (which, lets face it –they might, after-all it’s made of plastic), would they really care?”

I may remain a little bit isolated by my opinion on this subject and I’m not even offering up any solutions or alternatives in a nice, friendly pro-active way. Which leads me to speculate on what might happen if Woolworths didn’t even offer the nicely packaged tokens in the first place. The silence may continue forever, would anyone really care aside from Woolies executives?

For me it makes the lyrics from Peter Garrett's song It Still Matters To Me, rather more poignant.

We all take an escalator to that Woolies in the sky
To reprise Dante’s inferno no longer in disguise

Haunting. Sometimes it is as though we are already in a living hell. But that's getting a bit deep.
Here is what we don't see in our consumer society - and I suspect we don't think about it either.
  • The pollution created to manufacture and distribute these plastic tokens.
  • And what of the manufacturing of the individual packaging? How much more environmentally un-friendly do they want to be?
  • What is the intrinsic, real worth of such tokens? I'm sure there are other more worthwhile things that parents and grandparents can give their adoring young-folk.
  • Is it not encouraging a collecting and consuming culture in our kids? Like they need it!
For me the kick in the teeth is the utterly and completely pretentious 'worth' placed on each token. Woolworths gives out ONE token for every $20 spent in the store. You can look at this in two ways. Twenty bucks for a token might seem rather expensive when you come to think of it.

I don't know about you, but to me, one of those tokens should cost way more than $20 when you stop to take into account the real cost of bringing it to your local store and the cost to the environment, both now and into the future.

* 17th May 2017 - Even plastic in the shape of farm animals would be better than a token, surely?

Saturday, May 13, 2017

The Rabbit Tractor Update

There was quite a bit of satisfaction to the day. It's dark now and there is a dog barking in the distance. There is a swelling of frog chorus coming up from the valley amidst the relative quiet otherwise. It’s been a productive day, though I only ever seem to scrape the surface of what I would like to achieve. However, the sun was out today and it got quite warm around lunch time. As has been the pattern for most of autumn which has been really nice.

I tended to garden duties with the aid of my 5 year old who has the task of feeding the quails, rabbits and guinea pigs.

Given the great weather I decided to continue with the rabbit tractor construction. It is becoming more of a priority as the young kits are growing so fast and although I moved them last week they don't appear to be far off needing a bigger space again.

So far I have managed to build it with materials that were readily available. The base is a mattress ensemble frame of pine. that was going to get thrown out. The slats are just wide enough to make a great bottom and allow some support to the structure whilst allowing grass to grow through. I have reinforced this with strong wire to prevent the rabbits from digging through and burrowing out.

The trusty old Black & Decker power drill has seen a few decades of home DIY.

Reticulation pipe added in for wire support.

Bamboo stakes secured with wire to add some framework for the wire covering.

I cut out some large holes in each corner and in the middle of the sides to put in some old reticulation pipe that I had from the dismantled aquaponics system from a few year back. I’d had to pack the system up for moving. I like aquaponics very much and I plan to employ a slightly different, more natural slant to the concept in the new garden.

I had a little bit of small person help for a while before it got a bit ‘boring’ and the Lego beckoned. Our boys are very comfortable in the garden, but they do get up to mischief and need to be watched, so it's always nice to be able to keep them entertained and close by.

Hammering in some nails.

Notes From Ground Level

An incredible diversity of 'weeds' covers the disturbed sand.

Here is a journal entry from 2012.

Today is Friday the 13th of April 2012.

One of the most significant changes over the last few months has been my natural leaning towards 'raw foods and wild edibles'. In retrospect it is something that has been coming for some time and for a multitude of reasons. It seems that now it is appropriate to give it a go. It is early days yet, but I feel like it is the most natural thing.

How it has affected things is interesting and I do hope to record them as I notice them because otherwise they will pass quickly and become second nature and I won't properly recall the transition that was made.

As I was watering the garden this afternoon I noticed to my delight all the weeds popping up with the autumn showers and the ample sun we have been having. I say with delight because I have been using many of them for green smoothies and in salads. Nasturtiums have been coming out everywhere after I left them to roam over summer and drop their seeds. Many of the new seedlings have been attractive to the cabbage moths and have the green caterpillars on them which I usually lift from the garden whole and throw in to the chook pen. The fresh, new autumn nasturtium leaves I have also been using in salads.

I don't use any chemical sprays in the garden so I know that the weeds and plants that come up are fair game. Now it is a race between me and the guinea pigs as to who gets to them first. I've had my eyes on a lovely little dandelion seedling forming under the choko and noticed instantly the other morning that something had eaten half of the leaves off it. The little pigs had beaten me to it. It seems absurd in our society to be gleefully watching a weed evolve so you can eat it, let alone being in competition with a couple of free range guinea pigs over it. With that said, can you even consider the paradigm shift that would have to occur for your average person to make that leap?

This new dietary shift will have it's implications on the garden for sure. For a start weeds will be allowed and encouraged to grow where they appear. If the situation is good they may be encouraged by picking leaves only, otherwise the whole plant will come out.

It makes for an interesting retrospection for me. My current practice has been to sieve garden soil from the chook pen to replenish the containers used to grow salad greens. I usually sow my vegetable seeds straight in and before they come up there is a diverse range of 'weed' seedlings growing. These get thinned out and either used for our salad with dinner or given to any number of animals for feed from guinea pigs to quail to rabbits or fish.

We have been harvesting abundant quantities of purslane from the other block. Following the initial earthworks, thistles and purslane popped up all over the sand which we harvested in late summer and chopped up for salads.

Why Free-Range Guinea Pigs? Part I

This is Jazz. One of our original Petit Paradis guinea pigs, sunning herself happily in our garden. People are often surprised and curious that we have guinea pigs running free in our edible garden so I thought I should do a post about it. I've kept guinea pigs free in the yard for over 5 years now and it now strikes me as odd to keep them in cages.

I originally began to keep free-range guinea pigs over ten years ago when I had a small group that I kept in a large chicken cage. Central to the garden was a wooden slat shade house and I had some GP's get out and set up house in there. I soon realised that this was an ideal home for them because they could shelter in the shade house and come out through the slats to feed on the slopes of buffalo lawn that I had growing, as well as other bits and pieces close to the shade house.

Stray dogs, cats and hawks were frequent 'visitors' to the garden and at the slightest presence of these the GP's would run quickly to the shelter of the shade house and through the slats to the inside. A couple of things happened almost straight away. I realised that they would be able to forage their own food this way and that I could still supplement with scraps I bought home from working at a cafe. Their health also improved considerably or should I say their level of fitness, and then their health. The level of care required dropped quickly as there was plenty of feed from the lawn and garden and only the odd sweeping out of the shade house to collect droppings for the garden. 

The rest of the guinea pigs were released. A notable observation was the fact that the GP's seldom ventured any further than a few metres radius of the shade house - with one exception being a younger one that took to fancying the neighbours lawn better than my own and would venture through the wire fence and feed there, much to the delight and amusement of the neighbours.

I have noticed this with our current GP's also. We originally received two females and housed them in a hutch on our deck. It wasn't long before they too were released into the garden, but with different intentions as I will mention later. I gave them the same necessities as the previous family I had kept. They had a 'base' that they could run to and shelter in, quite central to the garden and other little spots were set up around the garden such as half concrete slabs leaning against pots or propped up with bricks. Many of these were camouflaged within the garden themselves making a convenient escape from stray cats and hawks passing over-head.

We were not altogether aware of the impact that this would have on our new pair of female guinea pigs. Both Maiki and Jazz looked like they were much older females when we received them from their previous owners. After a short while it was clear that they had a bad case of mange. We tried various treatments and got it under control. It was then that we released them into the garden. And they changed. They started to look younger and more youthful. Their over-grown claws which we had to trim regularly began to take care of themselves with all the work of running and moving about on limestone rubble and earth. They ate a wider variety of foods and their coats started to shine and look younger and finer. They began moving quicker and faster and were more alert and appeared to be more appreciative when we caught them to give them the odd combing and cuddle.

Initially it was a small challenge to keep green feed readily available in the quantity that they were consuming. It didn't take too long and I now have a small forest of sugar cane as a stand-by. In the meantime they set to work which is the intention I had for them from the beginning. As the garden grew and I had 'green waste' to deal with this became a staple for the GP's. We still supplemented with pellets and the odd amount of straw and have since cut this down to pellets only. The rest of their diet they get from the garden and our kitchen scraps. The majority of it being sourced by themselves directly from the garden. In the picture above you can see a gathering of females feeding on grape vine cuttings. When I prune areas of the garden I generally lay the cuttings out on the ground for the GP's to feast on. Any left overs are either composted or added to the chook pen.

Since my initial family of GP's I have tried to keep only females. Late last year we brought in a new couple and one soon proved to be a male. As it turned out we lost him during a particularly hot day this summer - he was the only guinea pig in a hutch as we were keeping him segregated from the females. During hot days such as we experience in summer we have noticed that the GP's take shelter either under our house or in areas of the garden where they can find a shady, cool spot. Our little male did not have this luxury. Previous times in summer it would be a trip home by my wife to make sure the GP's had an ice block and plenty of water in their hutch. Another advantage of having free-range guinea pigs. They will find places during summer and winter that are adequate shelters. They are smart animals I think and perfectly capable of managing themselves.

The New Transition to Paradise

The image above was taken just after moving into our house. I always knew the grass was going to go, and in time it did. Rather quickly in fact.  With the increased bio-diversity I noticed that birds didn't just move through our garden, they moved into our garden.

This is the garden around 2013/14. A magical playground for our two small boys who didn't miss the grass one bit. It was sometimes frustrating having unripe fruit picked, but it was a unique learning experience each and every time they ventured into the backyard.

This image above was from an early post titled Grass is for Parks. It is one of my favourite pictures of our garden taken in summer 2012 when our first son was only weeks young. It was a humid summer and the garden was just an oasis. Water chestnuts, bananas, squash, beans tomatoes, corn, berries, sweet potatoes.... fresh eggs....

This is the kind of little paradise I am hoping to transfer to the block in the image below. It is much larger in comparison, but still a modest size to manage the elements I wish to include, so as to provide for a growing family and continue my efforts at natural seed saving practices.

The underlying process that we initially used to set up the first garden will be adopted to set up  the next garden. The scale will be different, but there are more of us in the house now (increased food scraps) and we also have the addition of extra assistance in the form of chooks, rabbits, guinea pigs and quail. We only had guinea pigs early on when we set up the first garden. The chickens came much later. We will have the advantage of having them right from the start to get things going. My goal is to build soil rapidly and to document the process in more detail. As you may be able to see the basic structure is coastal sand.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Red October - A Community Minded, Free-Range Chicken

The little red hen pictured in the banner photo was only with us for a week or so. She eventually took off over the fence before I could clip her wing. She took shelter a couple of houses up in a building site over the winter. We crept in one afternoon to find a pile of chicken shit on a stack of bricks and figured she'd been roosting there during the night.

We came back that evening with a torch and a towel and quietly crept down the back of the house to find her there perched on the top of the bricks somewhat bemused by our presence on such a cool night. I gave her a good eye-full of torch light before turning it off, hoping that it would give her some temporary blindness. I moved up next to her and prepared the towel for capture. With samurai sense she took off blindly into the night and over the neighbour's fence. We approached our neighbour's house in hot pursuit.

Our neighbour's at the time were a newly immigrated English couple who were quite well accustomed to our regularly adventurous pets. We tracked down the little red hen and she took off into a tree  at the edge of our garden. With the neighbour's permission I scaled the fence and found the hen in the top of the tree. I prepared for capture. Like a bat out of hell she took off again into the dark night and flew about 20 metres into the next street over a house roof, navigated around a street light in a sweeping curve and carried on another 10 or so metres to a group of trees situated in the next block.

This, to me, was all at once:

  1. Impressive: for such a small hen to have flown that distance at night and with some accuracy.
  2. Annoying: for now we had to widen our search and risk disrupting other neighbouring folk.
  3. Perplexing: that such a new hen could not have settled in our lovely yard like all the other chooks we've bought in.
We immediately aborted the mission and went inside. Thanking the neighbours for their assistance.

Some time passed and we could both hear our hen and had sightings of her in our street a couple of houses down. We have been identified as the people responsible for releasing this savvy, worldly-wise hen onto the neighbourhood where she now struts her stuff and supplies eggs to a lady down the road whenever she is able to locate the current nesting area.

Clearly, Red October, as she came to be known has out-witted both cats and dogs, kids and cars, and has been adopted as a feral pet by numerous neighbours who sometimes courteously share with us some of the antics of this hen that could not be tamed, nor hunted down.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

9 Aussie Gardening & Landscaping Blogs to Inspire You

This website page was discovered recently and much to my surprise and amusement Petit Paradis scrapes in at No. 9. I'm very honored to be in the company of the other blogs listed, they inspire me too. There are some great landscaping pics. Thank you Armstone.

While the posts on this gardening blog have been a little sparse of late, this blog is still an awesome source of information on permaculture. Based in WA, this anonymous blogger provides informative posts about how to set up a permaculture garden in suburbia. Petit Paradis has information on growing permaculture produce as well as gorgeous Western Australian blooms.

Armstone's Website links of 9 Aussie Gardening & Landscaping Blogs to Inspire You.

I did a post a couple of years back of other backyard gardening blogs that I thought were worthy of checking out. Sadly some of these are either retired, have sporadic postings or have completely disappeared altogether. I can relate to this. Having had kids and being involved in various community ventures, plus working and being a Dad - it is not surprising that sitting at a computer falls at the bottom end of life's priorities.

Guinea Pigs Update

Shortly after this photo was taken of our beloved Weet-Weets I decided to turn them Free-Range again. Most everything was growing in pots or containers and was away from those little nashing teeth. So I set up several little Safe Houses for them and let them go in the chook pen. This did not last very long. Soon they were out and about in the garden. Exploring and following us around as we tended to the garden. Missy Miss is particularly friendly and we had to nurse her at one point due to a rather nasty wound on her rump.

She came to say hello as I was tending to the garden the other afternoon and I picked her up. To my amazement the wound could not be found. Not even the hard callous on the skin where the wound was. Again my wife and I could only speculate that, as before, with previous guinea pigs, they find it advantageous to roam the garden as they get much more exercise and can eat when and what they like in the quantities they need. It makes for happier Weet-Weets we think.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Book Of Kin

The slope of rampant grass and stacked wood is soon to become our new Petit Paradis (or Kin's Domain).

About 4 years ago my wife and I were introduced to The Ringing Cedars of Russia series of books. We read the ones that appealed the most, at the time. I don’t recall the names, but I bought two books from the series for my wife to read while she was in hospital with our second child.

Part of what captivated Mrs Petit Paradis with this book series are the concepts of a Kin's Domain and a Book of Kin. Both are notions I have mused over previously, but in the series these concepts are written about through the context of a typically young, Russian couple who consciously set about creating a space of love for themselves and future generations. This space becomes the Kin’s Domain. They use their skills of observation and intuition to plant out trees and organise vegetable gardens, site and build a house and basically set things up to be happy, healthy and to their best ability, self-sustaining within a community setting.

I resonate with this idea. After all, it is basically what we are doing with our current house. The impact of such a thing is really starting to sink in though, as I refelct on what is occurring with our new build and the planning for the new garden. The house we are having renovated has been in my wifes family for a long time and we are the ones giving it an overhaul and bringing in a new and positive energy to it.

The garden is going to be started from the bottom up, so I am excited to teach my family the real process of building soil. I plan to document this process on this blog.

So, enter The Book Of Kin.

In the Ringing Cedars series they discuss a Book of Kin as being a journal that the family uses to record their experiences in building and growing their Kin’s Domain. My wife and I have used a garden journal to record the birth dates of pets, planting times of vegetables and extreme weather events and such things. Part of this is documented in this blog and I plan to continue this recording with renewed vigor. As I posted recently - this blog Petit Paradis, is virtually a Book of Kin for my own family, who will also be able to look back over the building process and the setting up of the garden. They will of course be helping alongside, but as our kids grow they will be able to look over posts like a family photo album and use it as a reference for future planning in the garden.

So, with these concepts in mind, this is the context for which the posts that follow exists.

Monday, May 8, 2017

The New Petit Paradis - "A line in the sand."

As posted earlier, to make posting to this blog easier I have limited the post labels to a dozen. These are the permaculture principles and to this point I have not added them to previous posts. The reason for this is to create a kind of demarcation point between the 'old blog' and the new. A leap from the original Petit Paradis blog that I started back in 2010 to a simpler assembly of notes and experiences, thoughts and opinions.

Future posts will have labels, older posts will not. If you wish to find articles on a specific topic then simply type keywords into the search area at the side of the page.

I will add these labels as soon as I post appropriate content relating to each label. This will create some incentive for me to mix things up a little in the very near future!

So, for the purpose of this exercise and to bring my wife up to speed with things, what are the Permaculture Design Principles?

These principles are to be applied to an overall permaculture design and I intend to share the many and varied ways that we apply them to our lifestyle in future posts.

In the meantime if you wish to see some of the earlier posts from 2010 you can take the trip to them from HERE. It's like time travel - hold on tight ...

    A Permit of Absence

    I'd like to say that I've had a somewhat notable absence from this 'blog' - but in reality, I'm probably the only one to have noticed this. After all, up to this point it has been largely a personal journal of garden experiences and record keeping. This I can see changing. So in preparation for this I have decided to simplify the process and to limit the labels to 12. As it happens, David Holmgren's permaculture principles fits nicely into this whole of life living so I am confident that a dozen categories will suffice.

    I am feeling a necessity to go a little deeper and capture my thoughts and reasoning's behind much of what I am applying to my lifestyle. This swirls in and out of the garden-scape, though the garden is pivotal to our way of life so I will be focusing even further on this in the near future. Another reason to pick-up the pace of recording what we do. But there are other areas of life I wish to detail which although they may not pertain directly to 'garden' - are a part of the Big Picture Design of Life. They are the strategies and tools used to create our Little Paradise.

    I also have an underlying impetus in that I am realizing that this blogging is also a very convenient way to capture in reasonable detail and accuracy a way of life that our young boys are a part of. I see a day when they can look back over these posts as a journal and read as adults some the events and projects that they contributed to in their childhood. Some of the decisions that were made, and why, that may have changed the course we ended up taking as a family. Much like a Book Of Kin, only digital.

    The lack of priority in doing posts for the blog has now started its ascending swing of the pendulum again. The permit of absence has closed. There is a new paradise awaiting, but this time I welcome others to be inspired by the journey also.

    The back garden in early autumn/fall.