Twelve Principles for twelve months – October – Apply self regulation and accept feedback

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I intend to use ‘Apply self regulation and accept feedback’ in the following ways;

1. Go back to the ‘Food from my garden’ design. Check in with the goals I set myself and review progress. Accept feedback from my garden about what grew well and what didn’t and which goals were met and which were not and why. Use this learning to make tweaks to my planting plan for 2015.

2. I have a design support tutorial booked with my tutor Hannah Thorogood in early October. At this I will receive feedback on my Muddy Boots design work (assuming I can get the reminder of it written up in time) I also hope to talk to Hannah about my new design ‘The Wolf Run challenge’

3. My final Muddy Boots session is on October 31st. I will be requesting feedback from participants to review how this season has worked and to help me with making changes to the design for 2015. I am hoping to turn MB into a small business, so I want to compile lots of info about how far people would be willing to travel, how much they would pay, how often they would like to meet etc.

4. I have just had a fabulous day attending a ‘Forest gardens for forest schools practitioners’ workshop led by a friend from my PDC Sarah Spencer (post about this to come asap) My role was multifaceted. As well as being a participant, I also scribed for Sarah, documented the day photographically and provided feedback on each session she ran. Sarah is using the workshop as one of her diploma design, so my feedback was important in helping her to reflect upon the day and make tweaks.

5. The PDC I have been volunteering at in Leicester comes to an end this month. The final session sees all participants and helpers present for five minutes about a design they have been working on. I am going to present too, either my Muddy Boots design or ‘The wolf run challenge’ (more about this coming soon) This will give me the opportunity to both receive feedback from the group about my own design and provide feedback on the designs of others.

Buried treasure

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We have never had much luck growing carrots. Our slightly clay-ish soil does not suit carrots well and the few poor examples that do grow, tend to be misshapen due to all the stones getting in their way. Carrots are pretty cheap in the shops, so why bother growing your own? Well, eldest daughter E was given a packet of ‘Rainbow variety carrots’ by her auntie, so she was keen to give them a try.

To try to overcome our previous carrot difficulties, we had the brain wave of growing carrots in pots! That way they can be raised up enough to avoid the dreaded carrot fly and we can control the soil that they are grown in. So we mixed sand with soil and compost and placed the pot slightly set into one of the garden raised beds.

We sowed the seeds in the spring, watered them and forgot about them. The pot hid in a neglected corner alll summer, all autumn, past Halloween, fireworks night and the first frosts. Until today when we finally spotted it and tipped it out.

Buried treasure! Real carrots, big, straight and multi-coloured! They were tasty, we plan to grow loads more in this way next year. photo 2

Hierachy of intervention – Teething

IMG_6732Baby boy is teething, poor little chap. He is chomping on everything in sight, dribbling loads and is not his usual happy self. Two tiny razor-sharp teeth have poked through now, so hopefully he should be feeling better soon.

One of the first things I learnt when I starting my ‘Introduction to Permaculture’ course was the ‘Hierarchy of intervention’ This grand title basically means a system showing when and how to intervene in a situation when you have noticed a problem. There are 4 levels of intervention;

1. Do nothing

2. Biological resources

3. Mechanical or physical intervention

4. Chemical intervention.

So for example, if you have noticed slugs invading your vegetable patch, you could

1. Do nothing. Observe the slugs and keep an eye on what they are attracted to.

2. Biological resources. Build a pond to attract predators to eat the slugs. Let your chickens onto that area to eat them or plant things that the slugs don’t like.

3. Mechanical or physical intervention. Pick the slugs off and remove them or use a deterrent such as crushed egg shells or copper strips.

4. Chemical intervention. Put down slug pellets (although this would not be in line with organic gardening principles so would be an absolute last resort)

So what has this got to do with a teething baby I hear you wonder? When I first heard about this system and applied it to my parenting, I felt rather comforted. Conventional wisdom tells us to head straight for the chemist as soon as our children have a sniffle. But sometimes I question this approach. A raised temperature is there for a reason, right, to kill off a bug and make our children better. So why do we immediately feel we should react by suppressing this temperature and interfering with the bodies natural processes? Obviously sometimes medicine is the best approach but shouldn’t we sometimes trust in nature a little more? This has been one of my most difficult parenting challenges, of course when your baby is ill you want to make them better. But I think by taking a step back and considering gentler ways of reacting, I have helped my children build their immune systems and recover quickly from minor illnesses and normal childhood ailments such as teething.

Teething

1. Do nothing. Notice signs of teething and see how he is coping.

2. Biological resources. Lots of breast-feeding, cold hard fruit and veg sticks to chew on. Homeopathic Camilila powers rubbed into the gums. These are made from the camomile flower so are a natural product that seems to help a little and certainly are a welcome distraction for a teething baby.

3. Mechanical or physical intervention. Extra cuddles and carrying in the sling to give comfort. Put on the amber teething necklace. The amber has properties that help relieve pain. I have no idea how this works but I do have faith that it does work. We have used this necklace for all three of our children and they have cut their teeth without too many problems.

4. Chemical intervention. Baby paracetamol such as Nurophen or Calpol given only as a last resort. We have managed to avoid this so far and S is eight months old now. I like the fact that I have lots of other ideas to try before reaching for the bottle of chemicals!

Accept feedback

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The chickens have dug up all my onion seedlings for the second time. I hate planting out onions, it is fiddly and time-consuming. Then the blumming chucks escaped from their run and happily dug over the bed, sending seedlings flying and ruining all my hard work.

Rather than shout, stamp around and curse over having to replant the onions, I have decided to ‘Accept feedback’ and ‘be open to modify dysfunctional behaviour’

Planing onions just outside the chicken run is obviously not my best ever idea. If the chicken do escape, this is the first thing they see and they hang out here going wild with delight at their temporary freedom. I will learn not to plant anything tempting here and actually, why do I bother to plant onions anyway? They never grow very big, taste exactly the same as shop brought ones and are cheap as chips to buy. I will concentrate my efforts elsewhere!

Permaculture lesson for the day learnt!