12 August 2008

Permaculture in France

In the 80s I read my first Permaculture magazine and I was impressed by how relevant and practical its articles were to my way of thinking so I went on an introductory course and what I learned has influenced me ever since. A few years later, Permaculture magazine was released in the UK and I treated myself to a subscription, became an avid reader and began meeting more and more people who were developing Permaculture ideas.

In France I've met very few people who have heard of Permaculture. The way we plan our resource consumption, landscape around our house and tend our gardens is just common sense but it's a multi-faceted combination of ideas about everything to do with energy management and difficult to explain quickly to our hundreds of casual visitors without giving them a "label" which they can use to find out more.

"Permaculture" is the best label that I can think of, so I'd like to help spread the concept of Permaculture in France and I've been making contacts (mostly through the French site Brin de Paille run by Pascal Depienne) and finding out more about the Permaculture network here. So far, the movement is in its infancy and there's still a lot of work to be done encouraging people to join the forums, (48 members so far!) exchanging ideas and experience and translating manuals and other documents into French.

Anyone who would like to find out more about Permaculture in France can find more information in THIS link

The Permaculture movement has done a great job of presenting good ideas into courses which are standardised and can be taught all over the world and I need a review of my existing skills, a chance to meet a few new Permaculture people and a bit of time away from the farm.

So, later this week I shall be leaving my garden, goats, sheep, building work and Fabrice behind and indulging myself by doing the 10 day residential, certified Permaculture Design Course led by Steve Read at The Dharma house.

See you when I get back !

Digging the holes for the erection of the new 2kw wind generator

Fabrice digging the holes for the new 2kw wind generator

We've made a start to getting the new wind turbine up, but it will be a while before it's generating electricity.

Doing this now while the ground is dry will ensure that the cement in five holes we made - one for the mast and four for the guy ropes - has a chance to dry out before we put up the mast.

Each one of these three sections of the tower is too heavy for one person to lift. When you see them laid out like this it's a bit scary.

This is us working out where to put the holes for the 8 guy ropes and have a clear passage for the tractor so that we can erect the mast and let it down again for maintenance.

The 9 metre mast will sit on this base and the steel ropes

will keep the mast absolutely straight.The bolt goes through the bottom of the mast which will be pulled upright gently by our tractor and secured in place.

We still have a lot of building work to do including installing our hot water system (which we'll use as a dump load for excess electricity) before we put the generator up but the cement bases should be dry and completely solid by then.

7 August 2008

A hot August day in the shady woods with the goats...

It's very hot here and we give three of our kids a bottle of milk every afternoon so we have a good excuse to take the dogs down into the cool woods and have a good look at the goats, play with them and generally sit around appreciating the peacefulness around us.

I took my camera, a little Sony Cybershot, to take a few snaps. I erased most of them because they were too dark and the ones taken with flash were harsh and boring but I could almost see a little goat in this photo and decided to keep it.

When I put it into my computer I lightened it with Picasa and hey presto, this is a shot which I'm pleased with and think really captures the sweet Angora kid expression and the beauty of the sunlight in the woods.