Energy Systems — by Zaia Kendall April 12, 2013
On the 18th of March we started our biogas project. This project involves making a bio-digester which will turn manure into methane gas for cooking and other energy needs.
Outline of the bio-digester
Tom had to re-do some fencing and clear the site for the bio-digester. He calculated that with the amount of manure we are getting (around 30kg per day), we need a 5 cubic metre bio-digester, which will give us around 1 1/2 cubic metres of gas per day.
Lead up time to get the gas going will be around 60 days once we start filling the bio-digester. But we are not there yet, and here I have documented the start of the project.Comments (1)
Courses/Workshops, Energy Systems — by Zaia Kendall March 1, 2013
For some years now we have been looking at minimising our energy consumption, and at alternative forms of energy creation in order to produce the energy we need. As we have animal systems in place here at PRI Sunshine Coast, we have a fair bit of manure on the property. As well as animal manure, we also have waterless (composting) toilets, so humanure is another resource on our property waiting to be used more efficiently than we currently are. After a lot of research over the past few years, Tom decided that a Biogas system would be the best way to go for us.Comments (8)
Food Shortages, Global Warming/Climate Change — by Zaia Kendall February 1, 2013
Editor’s Note: The PRI Sunshine Coast starts their next Internship on February 11, 2013. Get in quick!
After being flooded in again recently (an at least once a year occurrence), this time with PDC students and volunteers on the property, we are very happy we are somewhat prepared….
by PRI Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia
Our road floods on both sides of our property
Disaster is a word that strikes fear into most people. We usually believe disaster is out of our control. The actual happening of the disaster may be out of our control, but how we deal with it and how we come out the other end, is fully in our control. Last weekend we had a major rain event here, from an ex-tropical cyclone swooping through the region. Wind pushed trees over and there was major flooding in this and other areas. We were flooded in for two days.Comments (3)
Bird Life, Plant Systems — by Zaia Kendall November 15, 2012
Using a safe deterrent for bush turkeys…
A good friend of mine had a problem with a bush turkey (also called scrub turkeys, bush chooks and I am sure a number of other names not suitable for publication…). The bush turkey had decided to make a nest very close to his home, and he was not happy about that at all. After shooing the turkey away numerous times, whereupon it, of course, returned every time, he pondered the problem….Comments (4)
Consumerism, Global Warming/Climate Change, Nuclear — by Zaia Kendall November 6, 2012
Pondering whether this type of weather will be the new normal, and how we can prepare ourselves.
by Zaia Kendall
A freak storm, never before seen. After the end of the normal hurricane season, this ’superstorm’ developed and severely affected the Caribbean and northern US, killing people and causing devastation everywhere. But are we really that surprised? Is nature trying to point out the error in our ways?
How can New Yorkers possibly think that they are innocent in creating this storm? How is it possible that we are so far removed from our environment, that we cannot comprehend that large cities, made from concrete, steel and glass (all highly reflective surfaces), create their own micro climate and subsequently affect the world around them? The amount of heat that is created in a city the size of New York must be astronomical. Start taking responsibility for your actions people – we are all guilty in creating this damage!Comments (14)
Courses/Workshops — by Zaia Kendall October 31, 2012
Special rate for our last PDC for 2012!! Book for the PDC running from 11 – 23 November 2012 and only pay the early bird rate of $1450! And we have capped our student numbers!
The Vegetable Garden
For our last PDC of 2012 we have decided to offer the places left at the early bird rate of $1450. We have also capped our PDC courses to 15 students to ensure a quality course for each student. Capping the course at 15 students will make it ideal for people who enjoy one on one learning or learning in small groups. We have also found that small groups create a really nice community feel during the course.Comments (0)
Courses/Workshops, Urban Projects — by Zaia Kendall October 22, 2012
Challenges and ideas for gardening in an urban environment….
Maximising space on a balcony
Most people in the world today live in an urban environment. Although this comes with advantages such as closeness to facilities, community, markets etc., it also comes with challenges for those who would like to live more sustainably and are keen to become more self reliant and grow some of their own food.
Practising permaculture, or even just gardening in an urban setting, is challenging for a number of reasons — like space limitations, rules and regulations, micro climates and contamination, to name just a few. And yet, permaculture can be practised very successfully in urban environments, as seen in Cuba for example. There are of course examples of urban houses that have all the latest technology to make it "sustainable", but this costs a lot of money (and let’s not even go into the discussion about what some of these technologies cost the environment…). Most people however, do not have the funds or the resources to refit their house. So, what to do if you are on a budget but still want to do something about growing some (healthy) food at home in your small apartment, unit, townhouse or other urban dwelling.Comments (0)
Insects, Rehabilitation, Soil Conservation, Soil Erosion & Contamination — by Zaia Kendall September 26, 2012
It came to my attention recently that a lot of people do not understand the importance of healthy soil. This article attempts to explain the importance of soil health for plants and people.
People are very concerned about pests and disease in their garden — slugs, caterpillars, moths and numerous other critters that seem to make a scrumptious meal out of the fruits and vegetables so lovingly tended in back yards; molds and fungus that inexplicably appear on otherwise healthy looking plants.
What we have to understand is that pests and disease are symptoms. Just as a sore on your skin is only a symptom of a deeper, underlying issue, pests and disease are signs of unhealthy plants — the plant’s natural ‘immune system’ is unable to fight them off. So if we look at things holistically, as we do when approaching disease in our own bodies with natural medicine, we have to look at the cause. Squashing or spraying bugs is ultimately only a band aid solution.Comments (2)
Presentations/Demonstrations, Social Gatherings — by Zaia Kendall August 25, 2012
Open Garden Day at the Permaculture Research Institute Sunshine Coast, permaculture demonstration site. Come and see what we do here and have some morning tea with us!
The Vegetable Garden
We have had a number of requests for an open garden day recently. We have been able to organise an Open Garden Day with Permaculture Noosa, so that people can come and have a look at the property and what we are doing here.Comments (0)
Courses/Workshops, Demonstration Sites, Education Centres, Food Plants - Annual, Food Plants - Perennial, Insects, Medicinal Plants, Seeds — by Zaia Kendall August 10, 2012
Our abundant garden: pineapple, leeks, spring onions, strawberry beds,
greens, broccoli and numerous other edible plants visible in this picture.
I love this time of year! Here on the Sunshine Coast, the sun shines brightly during the day, creating a wonderful 23 – 25 degrees C and then cooling down at night, which enables us to run the wood stove as well. Best of both worlds really!
The garden loves this time of year as well, green leafy vegetables are abundant, as are citrus and strawberries. Some pineapples are ripening, and the snow peas are ready to be picked.Comments (0)
Consumerism, Courses/Workshops, Demonstration Sites, Education Centres, Energy Systems, Society, Village Development, Waste Systems & Recycling — by Zaia Kendall July 18, 2012
My husband Tom and I live with my 11 year old son in a small Queenslander on Australia’s Sunshine Coast. Our property is 34 acres, which we have converted to a permaculture demonstration site. We now run permaculture and self-reliance courses on the property.
Geese and chickens in the resource paddock, and goats on dam wall
Tom comes from a farming background. When he grew up there was no money or time (or a phone) to call someone when something broke down. So he learned from a very early age to fix things himself with whatever was available. He also learned that everything can become a resource, and knows what to look out for. A lot of people we know call us and ask us whether we would like something they are about to throw away. We hardly ever say no. Everything may have a use sometime.Comments (3)
Courses/Workshops, Demonstration Sites, Education Centres, Land, Swales — by Zaia Kendall June 20, 2012
A swale dry rock wall built by WWOOFers and revamping some garden beds.
To further improve our kitchen garden swales, we have rock-walled a number of them. This stops erosion of the garden beds, since soil falls or is washed down into the swales. It also creates a beautiful frog and lizard habitat, and levels the garden bed, instead of having it on a slope.
By using the combined resources of WWOOFers and our creek rock, and PDC student Andrew’s experience in rock walling (he showed the WWOOFers how to build the dry rock wall), the swale rock wall took only three days to build. This included getting rock from our creek bed, sorting the rock and laying it. It has made the garden bed more functional and more productive, and as we build the soil and raise the garden beds we can add more rocks to the rock wall to keep all the beautiful soil where it belongs — in the garden bed.Comments (0)
Processing & Food Preservation, Recipes — by Zaia Kendall May 17, 2012
Editor’s Note: Besides making a mean Saturday morning breakfast, Tom and Zaia make a formidable team to learn from as well. It’s not too late to jump onto their next PDC, starting in just a few days… (May 20).
Saturday is a special day for us: it is our only day off in the week and we like it being a family day. That is why I like making a nice pancake breakfast on Saturdays. This week our breakfast was made with mainly homegrown or locally grown ingredients.
Bunya nut pancakes, avocado chocolate mousse,
raw cream and a dollop of yakon & passionfruit jam. Mmmm….
Saturday is a special day for us: it is our only day off in the week and we like it being a family day. That is why I like making a nice pancake breakfast on Saturdays.
Last Saturday we had a feast of mainly homegrown yummies on the table: Bunya nut pancakes, Yakon and Passionfruit jam, raw cream, avocado chocolate mousse and bananas.Comments (2)
Biodiversity, Food Shortages, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Water Contaminaton & Loss — by Zaia Kendall May 10, 2012
In our travels to Tom’s old stomping grounds, we were shocked to find WA’s breadbasket degraded, eroded and overtaxed.
Bare Paddock in WA, with some rocks and Pademelons visible
We recently went to Western Australia to see Tom’s family. Tom hasn’t lived in WA for 10 years now, and he was shocked by the severe degradation seen driving South from Perth.
There was evidence of overgrazing (it’s mainly sheep in that area) and excessive chemical use. The overgrazing has compacted the earth — there is no organic material left and when it rains the ground cannot absorb any water. There were some puddles in places on the side of the road. There seemed to have been a reasonable amount of precipitation over the summer. The average rainfall in that area is 500mm per year. A lot of erosion was visible, there are now bigger culverts than 10 years ago, so there must be more runoff which means more topsoil loss. There is evidence of salinity with trees dying in the lower levels.Comments (5)
Permaculture Design Certificate Course at the Permaculture Research Institute Sunshine Coast on 20 May 2012
News on the upcoming PDC course with PRI accredited teacher Tom Kendall. This post reveals some of his background.
18 Day compost
For people who are aware of the need for change in the world, the Permaculture Research Institute Sunshine Coast is an educational facility that encourages change to a sustainable, self reliant and abundant lifestyle to benefit self, others and the earth. PRI-SC’s Permaculture Design Certificate combines Bill Mollison’s and Geoff Lawton’s teachings with Tom Kendall’s lifelong agricultural and self reliance experience.Comments Off