Influences March – Oct 2014

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I intend to do a 6 monthly ‘Influences’ post, in October and April. Since my last post in April, I have been mainly focussing on two Diploma design, Muddy Boots Allotment Playgroup and my health and nutrition diploma design probably to be called The Wolf Run Challenge. So a lot of my influences have been to do with working with community groups  or health and nutrition.

COURSES, WORKSHOPS AND EVENTS

I continue to attend the Leicester PDC every month. I have been participating in the reflection and planning meetings for these sessions too. I have led aspects of the morning circle most months. I have tried to make my contributions fun, informative and enjoyable. I have certainly enjoyed being involved in this way and I feel quite confident talking in-front of the group.

I had a phone tutorial with my tutor Hannah Thorogood in May and attended a one day course with her in April about developing a poly-income. I am due to see Hannah again before Christmas for a design support tutorial.

I attended a ‘Forest Gardens for Forest Schools practitioners’ one day course in September as detailed in my previous blog post. sarah house

I attended numerous workshops over two days at the Permaculture Convergence in September. I especially enjoyed ‘Vegan permaculture?’ led by Graham Burnett, ‘Mindfulness in permaculture’ and I watched Jan Martin’s diploma accreditation event which was very useful as it was the first accreditation I had seen. IMG_4223

GUILDS 

I still have not settled into a permanent guild which is an ongoing challenge. I have however been guilding at the PDC sessions with Ann, Dani and Sam. This has been great. We have tried to set other dates independent of the PDC along with Reevsie and Ellen too, but so far we are failing miserably to find suitable times and dates to get together.

I have been using the 4 questions with my husband and in my own reflections.

PLACES VISITED 

I visited The Eden Project while on holiday in Cornwall in August, actually we enjoyed it so much, we went twice in a week! I took lots of photographs so will do a post about this visit soon. It was very heartwarming to see so many people there, all learning about gardening and sustainability while enjoying a family day out!

I visited The Lost gardens of Heligan. I have read a few books about the re-discovering and restoration of Heligan, so it was lovely to see this special place for myself. I was very impressed with the outdoor education facilities. There was a den making activity laid on. Poles, ropes, groundsheets and tarpaulins were provided and families were encouraged to build their own shelter. My children loved this. It was made especially magical due to a freak rainstorm that lashed down just as we completed our den. We took shelter and ate our packed lunch in the den. The kids were in heaven!

I have paid numerous visits to my local botanical gardens. They were the venue for a few of the PDC sessions and I have returned throughout the summer to stroll around, play with the kids and make use of the tea rooms. It is interesting to visit with my brother, he has recently done a RHS Horticulture course and has learnt lots of latin names of plants and trees, so he loves to educate me as we wander around!

ONLINE LEARNING

I continue to use the Permaculture Diploma Facebook group. I have posted various questions and problems there and been astounded by the time and love shown by people in their thoughtful responses.

I have created a Facebook page for Muddy Boots which I update with text and images after each session. I also use this to communicate with group members and promote each session.

Probably my biggest influence from June onwards has been through my participation in the Eat Smile Live community coaching health and nutrition six month plan. I receive frequent emails and you-tube videos teaching me about different aspects of healthy lifestyles focussing on eating a balanced whole foods diet. There is a lively online community attached to the course too via Facebook which is a fantastic resource. I have been signposts to lots of other blogs and websites for inspiration too.

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BOOKS AND MAGAZINES

IMG_4688 People and permaculture has been my bible while working on my Muddy Boots design.

IMG_4689I brought Looby’s new book at the Convergence and read it all quickly the following week!

IMG_2654I am always looking for ways to simplify my life and the clutter that rules my household. This book is one I return to time and again for guidance and inspiration.

IMG_2653I try to protect my children from the negative influences of the modern world as much as possible while they are so young. It is not an easy task.

IMG_2652I really want to train as a forest schools teacher. Please universe, show me how this would be possible!

IMG_2651Fantastic cookbook used as the main reference book for my Eat Smile Live course.

IMG_2650IMG_2649IMG_2647More inspiration from the local library

IMG_2655This book was interesting as it talked about the importance of HOW you eat rather than WHAT you eat. Lots in here about slowing down and mindfulness, which currently interests me a lot.

IMG_4687IMG_4686My backcopies of Permaculture magazine, along with Country living and the Green Parent continue to be a source of inspiration. My husband would love me to get rid of them, but I say no! They are a useful resource and I genuinely do refer back to the quite often for ideas for planting, cooking, natural parenting and seasonal celebrations.

Influences

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As part of my Diploma in applied Permaculture design, I am required to keep a record of influences. This needs to include books I have read, films I have watched, people I have met with and courses I have attended. I have neglected to do this since I began the course in October, so this post shall be an attempt to catch up! I intend to do a quarterly post to keep up to date in the future.

Films and videos watched.

Project wild thing – A film about the importance of outdoor learning for children.

Vegucated – A documentary film challenging three meat eaters to go vegan for 6 weeks.

Geoff Lawtons’s regular video postings about Permaculture and food growing.

Charles Dowding’s video on you tube about no dig gardening

Various posts on you tube from Permaculture gardeners.

The Power of the community – A film about how Cuba survived their oil crisis.

Courses, workshops and events attended

I had an induction session with my tutor Hannah Thorogood in November ’13 and a design support tutorial in March ’14.

I went to the Grand designs live show in October ’13. I spoke with tutors from CAT (Centre for alternative technology) in Wales and watched talks by Mark Diacono and James Wong.

Forest schools pre-school with my two youngest children from Oct ’13 – March ’14

I volunteer on the Leicester PDC that began in January ’14 and is ongoing

I attended a course ran by Hannah Thorogood about developing a poly-income March ’14

I have been attending yoga classes regularly (one or two per week) from June ’13 but the tutor has recently stopped teaching and I am looking for an alternative class.

I did a 30 day trial at Bikram yoga in October Nov ’13. I enjoyed the experience but it was too expensive for me to carry on in the long-term.

Guild

I have chatted informally and done the 4 questions activity as part of the PDC I am attending. I have a guild session booked in with other Leicester based Permaculture diploma apprentices for late April.

Books readIMG_1105Gaia’s garden was the first Permaculture book that I read after finishing my PDC. I have refered back to it many times and find it a great source of inspiration.IMG_1103I really enjoyed this book and am planning on structuring my next design around Looby’s design web. IMG_1108This was useful in helping me with the implementation and maintainance plans for my garden design. IMG_1104You can’t beat a bit of River Cottage for inspiration in the garden and the kitchen.IMG_1098

I saw Mark’s talk at Grand designs live. I enjoyed this book and felt inspired to try growing  Lovage, Kai lan and Egyptian walking onions.

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I have another of Dan Pearson’s books and I love the photography in it. My brother brought me this book for my birthday. It is a real plantsman’s book. The plants are identified only by their Latin names, and not always pictured, so I found this slightly difficult. However Dan’s writing is lovely and the images are great.

IMG_1100IMG_1109I borrowed the two books above from my local library. I wanted to see how non-permaculture gardeners went about planning their gardens and contrast this with the approaches I have been taught to take. Permaculture is obviously better! I also love reading books about gardens, so any excuse really.

IMG_1101This was another birthday gift. My children and I eat a vegetarian diet and I am interested in Veganism too. This book covers a lot of the basics about what our bodies need at different times of our lives.

IMG_1102More inspiration for interesting plants to add into my garden. IMG_1106I am using a no-dig approach in my garden now so wanted to read up more about this.

Also, books not photographed but read recently include; Aranya’s book Permaculture design a step by step guide and Graham Burnet’s booklet Permaculture a beginners guide. And of course Patrick Whitefield’s The earth care manual.

IMG_1107This is next on my bedside table along with Edible perennial gardening by Anni Kelsey.