Breaking Ground – Sandy, Limestone Infested Ground

We broke ground last Friday. Sand. Then limestone. And did it over and over again to the point of exhaustion. Loved every moment of it and still feel sore days later.

My partner and I made a trip up to the block on Anzac Day and soon realised it was, indeed, a special public holiday. We had trees and irrigation supplies to purchase but nothing was open until 12pm. With respect to the fallen soldiers, half a day wasted. Eventually we were back on track and bailed our first shovel full of dirt at 2pm. Hard labour, it was. The ground, whilst sandy and soft, was freckled with limestone. To be expected in that part of the world. This had its pros and cons. Pro: free building materials and a good workout. Con: the sore wrists I am typing this with today, and the sheer time it took. We worked into the night under the beam of the car headlights. The challenge didn’t stop there. There was no water. Turns out there is no mains in. A blockage perhaps? Onto the council, who are responsible for the supply. Thankfully, my friendly neighbour ran a long hose from his bore tap, which made our bucket trips to water in the figs, olives, gojis, and feijoas, a bit shorter.

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We planted the trees in a medium of loam with chook shit, grape marc (the byproduct of wine production), the sandy loam we dug up, and a pinch of rock dust. The irrigation will have to wait for this weekend – thankfully the trees were treated to 19mm of rain this morning – and some swale building and mulching.

An Update

Yikes. I have been a bit neglectful of late, haven’t I? I’ve had a lot on my plate. A health scare – all good, things are now fine. Lots of work – the day job, the business, and Pip Magazine. I have tried to spend a bit more time outdoors on the bike and in the hills. Socialising fits in there somewhere. And, unfortunately, the blog has been the thing to give. No matter, it’s back in mind so I shall try and write more regularly. In fact, I have a lot coming up to write about. I am making a trip out to the block in the next week or two – over one of the long weekends – to do some work and camp a couple of nights. On my list of things to do:

– Build soil;
– Lay some temporary irrigation;
– Plant some fruit and nut trees;
– Perform an inventory on the scrap materials laying around the block; and
– Observe and interact some more.

In other news, I signed up to the Geoff Lawton Online PDC. I know, I know, now is probably not the right time to be taking something else on, but hey, it’s a once a year intake and seemed like good value for money. I have watched a lot of Geoff’s videos in the past and enjoyed them.

I am two weeks into the course and I am looking at pulling out. Thankfully they offer a full refund should you withdraw for any reason within the first 30 days. Reason being, I haven’t really got the time for it, and the course content so far hasn’t been enjoyable. Geoff, standing next to a whiteboard, marker in hand, looking like he is ready to write something on the board. Oh, the anticipation. But he doesn’t. He just drawls on and on, in broad terms, with few examples. Not my style at all. I love a good example, as he has given in many of his free videos; where he has performed case studies on permaculture designs in action. Explaining them thoroughly and in everyday language. I wished for more of that – and it may come later in the course – but I am not hopefully, and don’t want to miss out on the refund.

Anyways, that’s enough from me for now. I am working on a post about running a business following Holmgren’s┬ápermaculture principles that I shall post sometime over the next week. Until then, share the surplus.