CREATE

CREATE

Mother phase – days 14-21

Design tools that are playful, fun, collaborative and social.

In these weeks of my cycle I focussed on the following design tools, client interviews, boundaries and resources and random assembly

I actually found it really difficult to work on this design in this stage of my cycle. At this point I wanted to be out there in the world making things happen and being active. As most design tools are about planning and reflecting, I found they didn’t suit me well in this stage. So not a lot of planning happened in this stage but lots of action occurred, I followed up on my plans, visited sites, talked to people and put ideas into action.

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This whole design was one big client interview. It seeks to identify and clarify what I want from my career and how I can get it. With this in mind I looked at my boundaries and resources in terms of; time, money, skills and my wishes.

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I’d previously thought about other career options for me to add to my working week. I decided to use the permaculture design tool of ‘random assembly’ to play around with possible ideas for what I could type of work I could add to my career. I picked my top 12 ‘other job’ ideas and pitted them each against a permaculture principle at random. I’d written the 12 work ideas and 12 principles onto sticky notes, paired them up randomly and reflected upon the connections that the pairings suggested to me.

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This activity was fun and quick to do. It worked relatively well and quickly helped me to disregard some possible job choices, I don’t really want to go back to child-minding, waitressing or shop work. Although these jobs would likely be able to fit in well with my other commitments and be low-stress, they’d also be low pay and without the career advancing opportunities that I am seeking.

I decided I really wanted to utilise my existing skills in arts teaching and workshop/event leading. I’d love to gain further qualification at some point, however my current focus is on Muddy Boots, so really what I am seeking is a job option that fits with this and enhances my transferable skill set. So these activities clarified for me that I am probably looking at taking on a short-term event management job, or an arts teaching role.

 

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PLAN

PLAN

Maiden phase – days 7-13

Design tools that are active, physical and creative

The PLAN stage of my design comes in on days 7-13 of my cycle. This is the point in the month where I have lots of energy, drive and enthusiasm. It’s a great time for putting plans into action, engaging in physical work and being actively creative.

Permaculture tools that suit this stage include; input/output analysis, wild design, zone and sectors, paste, designing and putting ideas into action.

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I did some wild designing. I find this really hard and most of my ideas are very much based in reality? I’m not sure how ‘Wild’ they really are? I guess most ideas are achievable over time. This shows me that I’ve created the right career for myself! I’m not yearning for something else entirely, so this puts me into a really privileged position actually.

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I looked briefly at zones, both in terms of where I worked and how frequently I held activity. I struggled to get my head around this tool for this purpose, but it did lead me to consider what I’d like to shift around the zones. Ie what I’d like to more of and what i’d like to do less of and how that could possibly be achieved. This fed into the table at the bottom of this blog post.

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I looked at spirals of erosion that were at work in my life currently.

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I looked at spirals of abundance that were happening for me.

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I considered how I could intervene in my spirals of erosion to create positive change. I’ve added these thoughts into my less of/more table at the bottom of this page and will use these in my future planning.

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I looked at my business needs (inputs) and yields, both positive and negative (outputs)

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I looked more specifially at some of my business inputs and outputs; time, money, energy, space, creativity and kit.

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I thought about the needs that my business fulfils for me

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I thought about my needs that my business does not currently fulfil for me

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I considered possible solutions that would help me with my unfulfilled needs

The tools that I’ve used in this stage clarified for me that I needed to maximise what worked and what I enjoyed and minimise what I didn’t.  Running my own business gives me the autonomy to do this, which is a really valuable point that I needed to exploit. I did some further thinking around this as detailed in the photos above and came up with various possible solutions.

 

DO MORE

 

HOW?
Spend more time outdoors in the woods and on the allotment. Run more sessions

Arrive early for a leisurely set up and breakfast alone outdoors

Stay late and enjoy the outdoors after each session.

Work with women Run more retreat days

Mother and daughter days

Set up a red tent or moon circle group

Forging and cooking in the woodland Make this a regular part of my sessions

Set up foraging and feasting days

Do specific campfire cooking skills days

Attend some further training in these areas

Make my final Permaculture design on this subject?

Make more of the season celebrations in my work Read more about Pagan festivals

Schedule in sessions marking the major festivals

Start using the moon phases in my work

Natural crafting Attend more day courses and learn new skills to pass on

Have a natural craft at every session for people to do

Lead some adult crafting sessions

 

DO LESS

 

HOW?
Chasing payments Set up a PayPal option on the website to take payments?

Pay for an online booking system?

Time in front of the computer and admin time Set up effective admin systems in Jan and fib so that admin and computer time is minimized once sessions start running.

Consider paying someone to help me with admin? Maybe as a one-off to help me find more efficient systems or on going as an admin worker.

Kit moving and managing Minimise the kit I take to each session

Always run double sessions so that each day I work is a full day and I am only setting up once for two sessions.

Time spent on marketing Have longer blocks that people book for

Give a financial incentive for booking multiple blocks in one go so that marketing and admin time is minimised.

Consider what marketing is more effective and only do those.

Take some marketing advise

Pay someone to help me set up a marketing strategy

Do I need more marketing? Can I fill all my sessions anyway from my mailing list and great word of mouth?

 

REFLECT

As detailed in my previous blog post about this design here am aiming for this design to help me to re-access where I am with my career and find ways to move positively forward.

I am using my own design process rather than a traditional Permaculture design process to push the boundaries of my understanding and link in with other areas of planning that interest me.

I will be using the design I am calling ‘natural cycles’ which uses the four stages; REFLECT- PLAN – CREATE – REFINE

I thought that a logical way to break up the design write up would be to take each stage of my design process in turn, explain the tools I have used and how this moves my thinking on.

The design process is cyclical, with no start or finish so its been hard to know where to begin the write up. But I’ve chosen to start at the REFLECT stage.


REFLECT

Crone phase – Days 1-6
Design tools that require quiet reflection and deep thought. 

For the last three months, while I’ve been on days 1-6 of my cycle, I’ve undertaken some reflective work for this design. I’ve been reflecting on my Muddy Boots business, my career to date and considering my aspirations for the future. In this stage I used the following Permaculture design tools; observations, reflections, 6 thinking hats, evaluations and tweaks to a design.

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My career background

My background is in arts education, I’ve worked in this field since leaving University 18 years ago where I did a degree in Fine Art. I’ve worked for arts centres, cinemas, art galleries, primary and secondary schools and arts organisations.

I’ve worked in environmental education for the past 8 years, mainly on a self employed basis. I started my business, Muddy Boots in 2010, this was the subject for design number 3 for my diploma. Muddy Boots is involved in environmental education, I run an allotment playgroup and a Forest school. You can read more about the beginnings and evolution of Muddy Boots here 

I have a PTLLS teaching qualification and a level 3 Forest school leader qualification. I have been teaching photography for the past 10 years on and off, mainly to teenage girls, specialising in traditional SLR cameras, film photography and creative dark room skills. I’ve taught NCFE, GSCE and Arts award sylabusses. I’ve taught class groups, small groups and 1-1. I’ve worked with teenagers on the autistic spectrum, both high achieving academic students and children no-longer attending school.

You can read more about my career history by viewing my CV here.


What are the aims of this design?

  1. To reflect on my current career situation
  2. To consider how to move my career forwards positively
  3. To act as a practical planning tool for my 2018 business planning for Muddy Boots.

 

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I thought about my current career situation and posed lots of questions to myself about what I wanted and needed to change. I used these initial questions to trigger more brainstorms and reflective work

I felt really aware that to move forward I needed to spend time pondering and answering these questions. I decided to look at lots of possible career options and pit them against Permaculture ethics to see what came up for me. I used random assembly to help me with this. This activity is posted in the CREATE blog post.


I thought I should check in with the ethics of Permaculture and consider how does my career and specifically my Muddy Boots business fulfil the ethics of Permaculture currently and how can I make this even better?

PERMACULTURE ETHIC

 

CURRENTLY FULFILLED BY….. EVEN BETTER IF….
EARTH CARE My work is based outdoors, connecting people to nature

Teaching about the changing seasons

Teaching about food growing, wild harvesting etc

I only use organic methods of growing

I teach a respect and a love for the earth

I mention various Pagan holidays

MB is a vegetarian business, promoting this as a healthy and earth centred diet.

I used more recycled materials in my arts activities

I encouraged recycling and composting not just 1 bag of general rubbish

If we could plant some tree or do more tree work in the woods, passing on practical skills.

 

PEOPLE CARE Caring, sharing, kindness etc mentioned in each morning circle

People’s individual preferences and learning styles are taken into account.

There is never any pressure to join in with activities. People can participate at a level that suits themselves, with no pressure or judgement.

I aim to make everyone feel comfortable and welcomed regardless of their age, background etc.

I care well for my volunteers and assistants. Ensuring they are thanked and paid for their time.

Could I thank people more for their contributions? Maybe offer them the chance to share their skills with the group – i.e. music, arts, practical skills etc.

I’d love to be able to employ another person to help me run sessions, either as a volunteer post or to pay Jodie to work with me more often.

How can I improve people care for myself so that I don’t get so depleted?

FAIR SHARES Morning circle gives everyone a chance to speak

Regular feedback is requested, giving all participants an opportunity to air their views and influence the session planning

I offer reduced rates for families with multiple siblings to make it more affordable for them to come

I have a pot of money each year to be able to offer reduced rates or free sessions to families who otherwise would not be able to afford to join us.

I have various price points of the forest parties careering for a variety of needs.

We have a shared meal at almost every session

I offered more chances for the participants to influence my planning? More reflective circles at the end of sessions?

More options for people with non-dairy, gluten free diets.

 

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I thought it would be interesting to look at the path of least resistance – i.e don’t change anything and plan another year just like the last one. I used the six thinking hats activity to really consider how that would make me feel.

 

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This led me onto looking at what I actively needed to change and what would be changing naturally anyway. This really helped to underline lots of thoughts that had been floating around my head. It helped me to make key decisions about what events to continue, what to lose, scheduling in dates and helped me to feel less anxious about marketing and filling spaces.

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Before I got too bogged down in the details of running my Muddy Boots business, I thought it would be good to step back and look at the bigger picture. I brainstormed more general ideas about what I wanted my 2018 to look like.

I like to give myself  five words to reflect my ‘core desired feelings’ each year. Last year’s words and links to their Pinterest boards are towards the end of this post

For 2018 I’ve chosen; Abundance, Goddess, Connection, Wild and Clarity. 

 

 

Reflections on my diploma journey

I have decided to finish off with a post reflecting on my diploma journey, just ahead of my final assessment later this week. I am using the 4 questions to structure my thoughts.

WHAT HAS GONE WELL?

 

  • I’ve enjoyed learning about a range of different subjects, from forest gardens, to organisational design, to working with groups of people and herbal medicine.
  • My time on the diploma has been a diverse experience for me and I’ve learnt so many new practical skills, tried out new ideas and increased my knowledge.
  • I’ve loved being able to tailor the diploma around my specific interests and needs.
  • Through the work I’ve done for my diploma, I’ve developed my environmental education business and trained as a forest school leader.
  • The diploma has directly benefitted my career path, taking me towards a really fulfilling and worthwhile career that allows me to work regularly outdoors and educating people about arts and the environment.
  • I’ve improved my health, learning more about how to eat, exercise and relax in ways that work well for my lifestyle and body type.
  • My garden is abundant and manageable with lots of interesting features and plants growing. It’s a great place in which to rest and play and educate my children.
  • I’ve learnt more about my local area
  • I’ve developed many of my personal interests and found ways to include them in my career path, ie photography, foraging, organic gardening and natural crafts.
  • I’ve found ways to structure and manage my business, helping me to overcome some of the difficulties in running a 1 person business.
  • The diploma has allowed me to devote time to myself and my own learning and development. Time which otherwise would probably have been swallowed up with the day-to-day tasks of family life.

WHAT HAVE YOU FOUND DIFFICULT?

 

  • I’ve found the diploma quite an isolating experience.
  • I didn’t really get anywhere with creating a local guild, so it was a shame not to have peers to discuss my diploma with.
  • I felt a bit ‘out of the loop’ at diploma gatherings and didn’t find them an especially positive experience. I think being a relatively shy person, its tough for me to deal with that type of enforced togetherness once a year.
  • It was difficult that I chose a tutor who lives so far away from me. It meant that contact with her was only once or twice per year and involved a 4 hour round trip.
  • I found it hard to maintain my momentum throughout the drawn out timescale.
  • I got stuck in the ironic situation of creating designs that became so successful that they left me with no time to work on my diploma!
  • I found the 5 year timescale difficult, it’s a long time to  devote to something, I wish I could have done it faster. However, my breaks in diploma work were very productive in other ways.

WHAT ARE YOUR LONG TERM GOALS AND VISIONS?

 

  • I want to continue working with my business and developing it further
  • I’ve been considering multiple possibilities for the future of MB, possibly buying or renting some land of my own.
  • I want to strive to keep a good work-life balance and not let my work life take over family life.
  • I want to feel valued in all the jobs and projects that I undertake and to make a sustainable income from my work.
  • Moving out of the city is still a possibility that we as a family return to time and again. We have family who farm in Wales, so often consider relocating to support them as they get older and less able to manage the land.
  • I want to continue developing my skills and creativity.
  • I want to work more with women and develop my retreat days
  • I want to keep spending time on my own personal development, pursuing my long-term and emerging interests in earth based spirituality, herbal medicine, yoga and meditation.

WHAT ARE YOUR NEXT ACHIEVABLE STEPS?

 

  • The very next step is to hand this in to my tutor, run through the last 5 designs with her and then address any changes that need making.
  • I’m just about to start my spring programme of Muddy Boots, so from next week onwards I’ll be working outdoors 3 days most weeks. So that is going to be keeping me busy.
  • I’ve already got ideas for additional designs I’d like to pursue buzzing around in my head, so i need to start getting these down into a notebook and working on them once time is available.
  • I need to plan my accreditation event once I know I’ve passed my assessment!
  • I want to keep tweaking existing designs and remembering to refer to them.
  • I want to begin implementating my wild and healthy design.
  • I want to keep using permaculture to guide and design my life.

Conclusions

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My design process states that I need to return to the REFLECT stage once I’ve been once around the design process circle. I will look at the activities in this stage through the lens of EVALUATION AND REFLECTION activities and consider my learning and what my next steps will be. I am also going to use the questions I used to reflect on my ‘Natural cycles’ design, as I found them useful prompts for reflection.


EVAUATION

Define –  What decisions has this design led me to? 

  • I decided which plants to add to my garden and where they should be located.
  • I decided which plants to forage for locally.
  • I decided on a few remedies I’d like to make.

Observe – List your observations about what you have learnt and need to do next. 

  • I have managed to complete the initial designing with my 6 week timescale. This was challenging and too quick really be able to go deep with my learning. It felt rushed and I’d of rather had longer to work on this design. 
  • I have a rough plan for which plants I am going to add to my garden and where they will be located. A rough plan suits me at this stage because I really want my children’s input into this design about how to plant out their raised beds.
  • I have a plan for what to forage from my local area month by month. This feels realistic and achievable. I’m excited to get started next month.
  • I have some ideas for remedies I’d like to make. This feels like a good place to start. I’ve been on a course and done lots of book learning. The next step is to experiment with my own recipes and test them out on myself and record the results. 
  • I have made and tested some remedies already. This was fun and effective. I’ll continue using these remedies and will definitely repeat some of them in the future.
  • I have learnt lots more about using herbal remedies. I’ve enjoyed the learning element of this design but feel that I am just at the start of gaining knowledge.
  • I have learnt lots more about foraging in the UK. The course was excellent, I’ve incorporated foraging into lots of my FS sessions. I defiantly want to do more of this in the future and use more foraged foods at home, medicinally and to eat.

REFLECTION

Observe –  Looking back to the initial aims for this design, how successful have I been?

  • I will make some effective home remedies to support my family’s health. YES I have planned some remedies to make and a plan of how to source the ingredient required. I am yet to find out how effective these remedies will be. I have mainly concentrated on using the remedies on myself rather than my family at this stage. Although this is something I plan to do more of in the future.
  • I will design how to add the herbs for my chosen remedies into my home garden. YES. My rough garden plan is done and I have an implementation plan dividing up the work month by month to make things happen in a timely fashion.
  • I will find out where I can collect ingredients locally from the wild. YES I’ve observed what I can forage locally and have planned remedies around what is available. I have a plan of when to forage and create remedies. To take this design further, I’d love to look at other wild areas in which to forage and add other ingredients.

Observe – How was it using my own design process rather than a traditional Permaculture design process?

This was the second time I’ve used a tweaked permaculture design process for my own designing. I’ve liked the freedom to pick and choose just the stages and tools what suit me best. Once I’d spent plenty of time figuring out my design process, then I found it pretty straightforward and quick to use. I feel that one big failing of traditional permaculture design processes is that they don’t have a specific stage for two things. 1. Learning more about your subject. and 2. drawing out your design. By including these two stages in my own design, I’ve ensured that I am constantly gaining more knowledge with each design that I produce. And that I have a visual representation of my plans to share with others.

 Research – What help do you need to make your design even better? Where can you access this knowledge?

  • I need to learn more about producing and using herbal remedies.
  • I need to extend my foraging area to increase the ingredients that are available to me.
  • I need to action my implementation plan over this year.
  • I plan to use books, websites, online courses and people with local knowledge to help me to take my learning through this design even further.

 

 

Wild and healthy – REFINE

PLANNING THE REFINE STAGE

Design – Produce your design. Revisit your boundaries and resources, are your plans realistic? It may be helpful to present your design in a visual format even if it is a non-land based design. How could you share your design with other people?

Practical tasks – How are you going to make your design happen? Make your implementation and maintenance plans. Do the work, make your design a reality and document the process.

Tweaks – Tweak the project as you progress.


ACTIVITY FOR THE REFINE STAGE

Design

The designing has been divided into three sections;

  1. Foraging in the local area
  2.  Adding herbs and medicinal plants to my home garden.
  3. So what will I do with all these plants once I’ve grown or foraged for them?

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As per my planning, I began the design stage by looking back at my boundaries and resourses. I considered what I could use to make my designing quicker and easier. I decided I’d use annotated images taken from google maps for the local and garden mapping. I’d revist my previous garden design and use this as a base map on which to add my updated plans, thus saving me lots of time measuring and drawing another map of my garden.

  1. Foraging in the local area.

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When I was designing my forest school business, it was important to me that the woods were near to my house. I got lucky by gaining permission to use parish council woodland that I can see from my house and walk to within a few minutes. You can see the locations from the map. I decided that this was the area that i’d use for the foraging element of this design.

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This shows the rough area in which I plan to forage. I plan to use the woods, meadow, park and canal side for my foraging because I am already a regular visitor to these places and they are so convenient.

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See the text below for details of what I have observed growing in the 4 areas specified and what I plan to forage for.

  1. In the woods – Wild garlic, garlic mustard, rocket, nettles and elder.
  2. In the park and meadow – Elder, roses, garlic mustard, yarrow and nettles
  3. Along the paths – Elder, roses, nettles and garlic mustard
  4. Along the canal paths – Elder, roses, nettles and garlic mustard

2. Adding herbs and medicinal plants to my home garden.

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This map shows an aerial view of my garden and how it sits with the neighbouring properties. The length of the garden is approximately 125 foot and the width varies from 28-24 foot along the boundary.

To save time and effectively use resources, I have re-used the map of my garden that I created previously in Design 2 Food from my garden. I Have used this as my base map and added overlays for this design.

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This is my original map of my whole garden that I drew up in 2014

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This map shows an enlargement of a section of the garden that I was re-designing in 2014. This map is useful for me again as most of my current designing will again take place in this area.

 

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This map shows the tweaks that I’d planned for my garden when I updated the design in January 2015.

 

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This simple base map was created for this design and shows the major changes that have taken place in this area of my garden since my tweaks in 2015.

In summary, these are the changes that I’ve made to date before this particular design;

1. The two large beds at the bottom of the map have been partially removed and replaced with patios. They are lovely sunny spots where we enjoy resting, relaxing and cooking over the campfire. Boarder beds remain as do the large overhanging fruit trees.

2. The children now each have their own raised bed in which to plan whatever they like. All three beds have some perennial plants that are thriving and the kids plant annual flowers and veg crops around these.

3.  One of the raised beds had been removed and replaced with a chicken house and attached run. We only have three chickens now, so they need less room.

4. The large chicken shed and runs have been removed. This has opened up a large area that I have not yet planned what to do with. it may become a lawned area or maybe an outdoor kitchen or maybe a play area for the kids. This is another design in itself.

5. The soft fruit/ forest garden beds are doing well. We harvest lots of fruit from them now and I plan on continuing to work on making them even more productive over the coming years.

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This more detailed overlay shows where I plan to put the plants I’ve decided to use for this design. I’ve kept my plans quite loose at this stage, especially in the kids beds as I want them to have some input into designing these beds. I will also be adding plants to areas of my garden not included on this map. I will be adding pots of herbs in areas close to my house more wild garlic, garlic mustard, rocket and nettles around the edges of my garden, especially at the north more wild end and I will be adding Echinacea and yarrow to my flower border on the east boundary.

 


3. So what will I do with all these plants once I’ve grown or foraged for them?

Part of my design is to make my own homemade herbal remedies using the plants that I’ve chosen. Last year while I was in the thinking/ researching stages for this design, I made a few remedies. Some were made at home and some on a day course I went on about making herbal oils and balms. I’ve been using them on myself and my family over the winter months and enjoying the process of experimenting and learning.

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I made a lemon balm and bramble oil which is good as a salad dressing or a spoonful added to hot water or herbal tea. It’s good for a sore or irritated throat.

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I made this oil with rosemary, pine needles and mint (Unfortunately the label is blurred now) It’s for a chesty cough.

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My kids and I foraged for rosehips in the autumn and made loads of this rosehip syrup. Its delicious and we’ve been using it all winter when we feel under the weather.

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We made extra rosehip syrup to give away to friends and family , check out the beautiful colour!

 

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When I was ill with the flu last month it was the perfect opportunity to try out some of my planned remedies. As I was early in the design stage, I decided to start by only using remedies that I already had around my home. (using the permaculture principle of small and slow solutions) I used my stash of dried herbs to make herbal teas to help with sleep and immunity. (recipes below) I drank lots of lemon, honey and ginger tea. I’d normally add a shot os whiskey too, but I didn’t on this occasion as i was doing ‘dry-january’. I put a spoonful of pro-biotic and vitamin C powders into my drinks. I used lemon and oregano essential oils and a blend called ‘On-guard’ rubbed into my feet, my chest and added a drop in my drinking water twice a day.

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I made ‘immuni-tea’ herbal blend using elderberries, rosehips, chamomile, elderflowers and echinacea. This recipe is from a book called ‘Witch’ by Lisa Lister.

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I made a ‘sleepy tea’ blend to help with my broken nights. This included lavender, chamomile, rose and Echinacea.

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I drank a spoonful of apple cider vinegar first thing in the morning with a big glass of water. I actually really enjoy the taste and find it helps me to have an appetite wich otherwise can be low during illness.

Other remedies I am planning on trying out;

I am planning on making Elderberry syrup next autumn using this recipe here 

I will also make Rosehip syrup again using a recipe like this one here

I will make lemon honey ginger drinks like this simple recipe here

I will try the flu bomb essential oils remedies as roller balls and capsules like this one here

I will make lots of wild garlic pesto and will add other foraged green in to a recipe similar to this one

I will be experimenting with a new plant in my garden, Yarrow and using it for remedies like the one here


Practical tasks – Implementation and maintenance plans

I found that when I wrote my goal list, it turned into an implementation plan! So you can view that against the end of this post here.

I turned my goals list into an implementation plan by re-formatting it into monthly chunks. This makes it more clear to see what needs to be done and the timescales involved. I have printed out a copy of this table and am ticking off each task as it is achieved.

MONTH TASKS TO DO
FEBRUARY I will draw up a plan of how to add my chosen plants into my home garden.
I will prune my elder
I will walk the local area to look at what is growing and talk with people with local knowledge.
I will look at existing maps of my area and draw my own version showing where to find the plants I want to forage for.
I will look at prices for all items to purchase and decide on the most cost-effective way to make my purchases.
  I will complete the write up for this design
MARCH  I will look in plant and seed catalogues and order my chosen plants and get ready to start them off in the spring once the weather has improved.
I will research herbal remedies and make decisions about what I’d like to try making this year.
I will find out more about using yarrow and see if it is growing locally or add it to my garden.
I will find some good recipes for yarrow remedies
I will make my food purchases and include the food items in our diet
I will use the oils in preventative ways and as treatments when needed
APRIL I will add plants as planned in my design from April onwards
I will leave a patch of nettles at the end of my garden.
I will encourage the wild garlic, garlic mustard and rocket growing wild in my garden.
I will harvest wild greens at the correct time and add them to our diet as fresh greens, pestos and as cooked greens.
MAY I will forage for spring greens, nettles, wild garlic, garlic mustard.
JUNE I will harvest yarrow
SEPTEMBER I will harvest elderberries and process to make syrup
OCTOBER I will harvest rosehips after the first frost and process them to make syrup.

I’m not really at the stage of being ready for a maintenance plan as yet as I still have to do the implementation. So this will be addressed later on in the process.

I thought it would be useful to consider when and how I plan to evaluate this design. All my other designs for the diploma have been implemented, documented, evaluated and reflected upon. So it feels strange to be presenting this one to my tutor at this stage.

I plan to evaluate in four stages as detailed in the table below.

Evaluation stage What will I be evaluating? When will this be?
The learning stage 1.     Have I completed my wild food mentor course?

2.     Did I listen to all the herbal remedies pod-casts that I signed up for?

3.     Did I complete the spring into health course and what did I get out of it?

4.     Have I been reading my books?

Spring 2018 onwards
The planting stage 1.     Have I made all the planned additions to my garden?

2.     How successfully are the plants establishing?

3.     What tweaks did I make to the planting plan?

Summer 2018 onwards
The harvesting/ foraging stage 1.     What have I harvested from my own garden from my planting plan?

2.     What have I harvested from the wild areas near my house?

3.     Have I been using foraging in my forest school sessions?

Summer 2018 onwards
The production of remedies stage 1.     What recipes have I tried out?

2.     What herbal remedies have I produced?

Autumn 2018 onwards
The use of remedies stage 1.     Am I remembering to use these remedies when people are getting ill?

2.     How effective do I consider them to be?

Winter 2018 onwards

 

Tweaks –  I have already made some initial changes to my original plans. As I’ve got further along with the process, I’ve tweaked my ideas more to be more realistic about what time and space I have available to me.

On reflection, I decided maybe not to grow the following;

  • Eucalyptus (this is a non native tree, so not ideally suited to my back garden. I think that using eucalypts essential oils will be a better option)
  • Echinacea and yarrow ( herbal remedies will be a better option but I may add them to my garden anyway for their beauty alone)
  • Leafy greens (My chickens will eat these before I do, adding them to my weekly veg box order will be a better option)
  • I’m still not sure about growing tomatoes either as when I’ve grown these for the last few years, I have found them to be a lot of work and I’ve lot almost the entire harvest to blight at the last-minute. Once blight is in your ground, it’s very hard to grow the same plant type again without succumbing to it again.

As this project is an ongoing project that has not yet been implemented, I expect there will be lots of further tweaks to my design in the future.

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