Influences Nov 2014- May 2015

Today sees me finally getting around to posting the third installment of my ‘Influences’ posts. This post covers what I have been up to over the past 7 months. During this time the Diploma designs that I have been working on are, My health and well-being and South Leicester food group. I have also been busy with running Muddy Boots allotment playgroup and training as a Forest School Leader. 

COURSES AND WORKSHOPS

The six month health and nutrition programme that I started last summer called ‘Eat smile live’ came to an end in December. I also did a 30 day Spring cleanse with the same company during April and May. I learnt loads and made lots of new meals and have sustainably changed my diet for the better.

I took part in the Vegan January challenge, attending various events locally and being part of the FB forum. I managed the transition from Veggie to Vegan pretty easily and I am still eating a diet that is around 90% vegan to date.

I am still involved in helping to facilitate the PDC in Leicester. I did some of the publicity for the event and designed this poster. perm flyer with logos jpeg

 

I attended the first three PDC sessions but have pulled back a little from helping out over the next few months due to being rather overwhelmed with other work and short on time. I hope to get more involved again after the summer holidays.

I began my Level 3 Forest School Leader training in March and am loving it. The course takes around a year to complete and involves practical taught sessions, practical assessments, lots of written assignments and the facilitation of 6 sessions of Forest school. It is taking up a lot of my time and head space, I plan on using Permaculture to help me to plan my 6 sessions and a taster session I have planned for June. I have wanted to do this course for many years so am thrilled to have made a start. The photo shows us all looking exhausted at the end of our tools, knots and den making assessment day.

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I attended a two day Outdoor first aid course in April. It was a requirement of my Forest School training course, but was actually very interesting and useful for lots of areas of my life. I spend a night away from home, staying in a tiny room in a youth hostel, which was a real change for me, I have hardly spent a night away from my children or husband in 9 years!

EVENTS

This week I went on a wild food walk in a local Arboretum organised as part of National Vegetarian week. It was a lovely day and I saw lots of familiar faces there including some people who I’d studied Permaculture with over the years. The event re-inspired me to make the most of wild greens and I discovered some new uses for edibles in my garden, some of which I had previously considered to be weeds.

I attended the Permaculture Diploma accreditation of Reevsie. I was on his peer accreditation panel. After watching his presentation we had to discuss his designs and provide him with feedback. It was an interesting experience and great to see Reevsie complete his Diploma.

I am meeting regularly with six other families as part of the South Leicester food group  (I really need to come up with a more catchy name for this!) We have a shared meal, the kids play together, we share recipes and we order from Suma. The ordering process needs more work as it is rather long-winded currently. I am working on a diploma write-up about this group. Its been lovely connecting with a group of people, some of who are new friends for me and my children. We had a lovely day together recently enjoying good food, good company, and good weather! IMG_6668

I have taken part in three muddy runs, The Wolf Run in November, The Reaper in March and The Iron Run in May. Each of these invlved a 10KM run, lake swims, obsticles, mud pits and loads of fun. It is like being a kid again and I would recommend it to anyone wanting to find motivation for inproving their health and fitness. I have another run scheduled in for two weeks time, this time taking along my sister, I can’t wait! 11206608_10152818719262045_7253652698380650693_o

GUILDS

I set up a guild group at then end of 2014, especially for people who wanted to guild on weekday daytimes. Lots of the other local guilds are evenings and weekends and these times are not possible for me. We met up three times and chatted and ran through the four questions. The group seems to have rather fizzled out currently. I was a little fed up of being the person pushing for it to happen, so decided to sit back and see if anyone else made the effort. They haven’t! I am so busy at the moment that I can’t take on the leadership of the group so will let it do dormant for a while and see what happens in the autumn when people typically have more time for reflection.

JOBS

I taught two three day Photography workshops in December and January to year 8 and year 7 students. That was good fun as always. I have recently started one-to-one teaching a teenager on the Autistic spectrum. I see her every monday and we take photographs, use the darkroom,visit the museum and galleries and are planning a photography exhibition together. She is fantastic and I really enjoying the calm pace and responsive way that I need to interact with her.

My Muddy Boots Outdoor playgroup is going from strength to strength. I put the price up this year and I finally take home a little money! This feels great after doing it totally voluntarily for 3 years. I am fully booked with a long waiting list so am exploring the idea of running a second weekly session. IMG_6620

BOOKS

My obsession with healthy cook books continues. I get a lot of enjoyment from a shiny new cookbook! I am cooking lots from the books below and feel I am finally beginning to master the art of meal planning! IMG_6678 IMG_6679 IMG_6680 IMG_6681 IMG_6682

I have not been able to continue helping out with the gardening club at my children’s school this year. I am too busy and I also felt rather under valued there. I have so many skills to offer the school but I am not willing to give these away for free forever! I enjoyed spending time there but have realised that if I spread myself too thinly, then all aspects of my life suffer. I can’t do everything all the time, so sadly I declined to help out this year. Maybe another year I can resume my work at school, hopefully in a respected and paid role next time around. I enjoyed reading this book below and would love to design a school garden one day. Maybe I will do this as a fantasy design?  IMG_6677

This book was on my Christmas list and I really enjoyed it. I loved the way the chapters were divided up like zones and the recipes look interesting. IMG_6676

I have had a quick flick through this but not read it cover to cover yet. I have pretty much decided that I don’t want to teach PDC’s, at least not to adults. I don’t feel I have the depth of knowledge. I am very interested in the idea of doing a PDC for teenagers, children or family groups, so will keep this idea bubbling away on the back-burner and see what comes of it in the future. IMG_6674

I have been going through a bit of a desert island phase lately. I re-read all three of Lucy Irvine’s books. Castaway is one of my all time favourites. I am learning about den making, knot tying, firelighting etc at FS training, so it was interesting to read about these skills in real life or death situations! I also watched The Island with Bear Grilles and enjoyed that a lot. I think I would cope on a desert island as long as I had a good supply of water, plenty of coconut trees and somewhere comfortable to sleep! IMG_6673

Twelve Principles for twelve months – April – Accelerate succession and evolution

Throughout 2015 I will be looking at Bill Mollison’s Permaculture Principles.           I have allocated one principle per month at random. I will aim to find a relevant image, some quotations around the subject, some possible applications and a challenge for myself that relates to the Principle and the Permaculture activity I am involved in at that time. April – Accelerate succession and evolution 

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This image show wild garlic appearing this month in my garden. I have tried to use ideas I have learnt about Forest gardens and use edible plants that have similar traits to ‘pioneer plants’ or weeds. These plants are happy to grow in poor soil or neglected areas of my garden, they look after themselves and still provide me with a yield. Weeds are often the first plants to appear in the evolution of a garden. They enrich the soil and eventually make it more inhabitable for other more desirable plants.

This Principle is quite a difficult one, and one that does not really appear in any form in the 12 Holmgren principles. So I thought I would begin by defining the terms and under the ‘application’ heading I will considering what they could mean for my Permaculture journey.

Accelerate – To speed up

Succession –  The act or process of following in order or sequence.

Evolution – The gradual development of something.

So basically this principle is saying that we should seek to find ways in which to speed up the changes which naturally occur in a system and ensure that these changes are positive.

QUOTATIONS

Accelerate Succession and Evolution: direct plants, animals, and soil life towards complexity and diversity to build our own climax species in a shorter time, forward your agriculture systems to more permanence, whether it is a grassland or a food forest. Utilize invasive species to your advantage; substitute your own pioneers and climax species that have multiple functions.                             Bill Mollison ‘Introduction to Permaculture’

Bill Mollison offered four objectives for fulfilling this principles in our design and management work

  • Using what is already growing
  • Introduce plants that will easily survive
  • Raising organic levels artificially
  • Substituting our own herb, pioneer, and climax species

APPLICATION

I use this principle in my garden by observing which weeds grow well in which areas, then substituting them for similar plants that I have a use for. This speeds up the process of experimentation by ensuring the right plant ends up in the right place by following natures blueprint.

I am also using this principle in my career. I am trying to speed up the evolution of my career by a number of related processes;

1. Linking disparate areas that I am working on and stacking their functions. For example, my Forest schools training course requires me to plan, run and reflect on six practical sessions. This process can be written up as part of my Permaculture diploma as well for my FS training. These six sessions may be used as my Muddy Boots autumn season.

2. Seeking volunteering opportunities for Permaculture teaching and Forest school leadership. This helps me to network effectively, furthers my knowledge and practical experiences as well as being worthwhile activity that counts towards my courses.

3. Using Permaculture principles and techniques in the planning of Muddy Boots allotment playgroup. Also using new skills and ideas learnt in FS training in these session. This improves my environmental education practice and gives me a chance to test out idea for my FS assessment.

CHALLENGE

I can see this principle at work in the way my tutor Hannah Thorogood manages the PDC that I help out on. Year 1- people attend the PDC. Year 2 -people are encouraged to attend the course for a second time and help out around the edges, making tea, talking with participants etc. Year 3 – people are encouraged to take a more active role n the publicity and facilitation of the course and lead some aspects of the morning circle. Year 4- people are encouraged to facilitate the course or take a Permaculture teacher training course and lead some sessions. Year 5 – Hannah steps away to lead PDC’s elsewhere and the local course is self-sustainable and led by previous participants. We are in year 4 here and this example of evolution seems to be working quite well. We have a planning meeting next month to discuss how the PDC will work in years to come and to decide who wants to teach which areas of the course.

So my challenge this month is to really think about what I want my involvement in the local PDC to be. Do I want to do the TOT and train to teach PDC’s in the future? Do I want to write my own PDC aimed at children/teenagers/family groups? Do I want to investigate accreditation for PDC courses with a view to including them in school curriculums? Lots to think about here.

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And finally this image shows how I ‘Accelerate succession and evolution’ in my flock of chickens, by buying in fertile eggs from breeds I am interested in and choosing the best broody hens to sit on the eggs and care for the chicks. This is one of last years chicks, in another 10 days we should be hearing the ‘Peep’ of new little chicks hatching out!

Happy Easter!  

 

Diploma design for Muddy Boots- Evaluation and further thoughts on Appreciation and Reflection

The 2014 Muddy Boots season has now finished. We ended with a celebration session during which we planted bulbs to see flower next year and ate a shared lunch. We also carried out some feedback and appreciation activities. I created a photo book using images taken throughout the year to show the group. This was handed round and participants were invited to add their comments on the back-cover. IMG_4973IMG_4972IMG_4971IMG_4970

I was so touched by the wonderful comments. This is one of my favourites;

“ Muddy Boots is a huge ray of sunshine in our lives. We look forward to every session. There is so much to learn, so much to share and a lovely sense of community and sharing. I don’t know what we would do without this group”

I also asked people to add their thoughts to a group evaluation in the form of a picture. See below. This worked quite well and was more fun than yet another evaluation form. IMG_4974  

If participants had not completed the mid-point evaluation form, then I did ask them to complete one at the last session. I collected 17 forms in total and have collated the findings.

Where did you hear about the group? Emily, a friend, the FB page or the LNM FB page

Why did the group appeal to you?  location, time, ethos, values, natural outdoor play, to learn about gardening, to spend time outdoors and healthy shared snack time.

What do you/your child get out of the group? spending time together, learning about growing food, meeting like-minded parents, being outdoors, a sense of community, a relaxed atmosphere, seeing friends, learning through play, having new experiences, freedom to get dirty, space to explore, learning skills and pride in food growing, being creative, learning to care for nature. ( It was great to see so many of my key function for the group echoed in people’s experiences of attending the group)

Have you been able to help out and if so, how did you feel about being asked to do so? 8 No, 7 tea duty/ washing up, 5 pack/set up, 7 session leading. 7 happy to help out, 6 willing to help in future, 4 unable to help due to children.

Do you think the group is good value for money? All 17 said yes

Would you be wiling to pay more, how much seems fair? 1 person said £2.50, 5 said £3.00 6 said £4.00 4 said £5.00 and 1 said £5.00+

Would you be willing to travel to a different site? Is so, how far? 1 person said don’t move, 1 person said I have no transport, 1 person said yes, less than 5 miles, 7 people said around 5 miles, 1 person said more than 5 miles and 6 people were happy to follow us where ever we moved to.

Should I put a cap on numbers of families attending? 5 said no cap, 4 said cap at 10, 5 said cap at 15, 1 said cap at 20.

What have been your favourite things about Muddy Boots? Activities, planting. being outdoors, watching children play, the sandpit, growing food, meeting people, the relaxed atmosphere, the good vibes, exploring the site, learning about Permaculture.

What haven’t you liked/ what changes can you suggest? It has been too busy on occasion, need a bigger space, have a longer session, have proper mugs for tea rather than the plastic glasses, continue all year round.

What activities should I run in the future? Natural crafting, digging, nature art, mini gardens, treasure hunts, planting, songs, water/ mud play, plant identification, longer sessions, more time for free play, harvesting, stories, exploring, keeping chickens, making fires, making shelters Caterpillar/butterfly keeping, nature lanterns, nature bracelets, leaf rubbings, pumpkin carving, seasonal celebrations, mud kitchen, cooking and eating.

SO IN CONCLUSION…. people enjoy the ethos of the group, the activities and ideas behind it. They want a longer session, they are happy to move but not too far, they are happy to pay more- maybe £4-5 each session. 

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I have looked back at the 8 key functions I identified for Muddy Boots in the planning stages and reflected on how successfully they were achieved.

KEY FUNCTION WAS THIS FUNCTION ACHIEVED? EVIDENCE NOTES
To teach children about food growing I think I started to introduce ideas around this subject We planted the following; runner beans, strawberries, sunflowers, peas, courgettes, beetroot, radishes, tomatoes, peppers and herbs plus flowers and bulbs.

We harvested; much of the above list plus, cucumbers, grapes, blackberries and lettuces

The key function needed to be more specific – too general.
To inspire a love of nature and art Yes – but I do think that only parents and children who already have these interests were the people who were likely to attend this group. Art– we tried willow weaving, potato printing, hand printing, colouring in sheets, we made a beanstalk sculpture, we created food faces, we sang songs and played with instruments.

Nature – we planted seeds and bulbs, we made bird-feeders, we went on a bug hunt, we celebrated finds from the natural world each week, we played with pinecones, sand, mud and water, we learnt about animals and insects.

“Playing outdoors, getting muddy, being creative, freedom to get dirty” – we quoted as being things the attending child enjoyed most in the feedback forms.

This is really two key functions not one.
To be a safe and welcoming environment for parents and their pre-school age children Yes Safe– No accidents or injuries reported other than the normal slips and falls. One child fell off a chair once.

Welcoming– I had lots of written and verbal comments about how welcoming and friendly the group felt.

Again this is 2 key functions really.
To be a place for like-minded parents to meet and forge new friendships and networks Yes I have looked at the register and noted the following;

16 people came to only 1 session – This is a big drop off but some of these people were grandparents attending with regulars, friends from out-of-town, but also some people who just decided it was not for them.

On average we had 27 people per session – 12 adults and 16 kids.

The best attendee came 11 times out of 14

Of the top 10 attenders, the average number of sessions attended was 6 times out of 14. There was a core of 12 families who attended regularly and lots of others who dropped in and out throughout the season.

Some new friendships were forged and others re-inforced by the group. The link to LNM FB group was important, as was the formation of the MBAP FB group.

Quote from the end of season evaluation “ Muddy Boots is a huge ray of sunshine in our lives. We look forward to every session. There is so much to learn, so much to share and a lovely sence of community and sharing. I don’t know what we would do without this group”

but will these friendships and networks endure once the group ends? How can I help with that?
To keep the education space of the community allotment looking good. (I designed this space for my PDC design project in 2012) Not really There was not time factored into the sessions for general site maintainance. We did however add some lovely features like the pizza pots, tin can flowerpot and sunflowers. I had to spend extra time at the allotment to keep it looking ok and the com allot people mowed the grass etc. Positive aspect of using the com allot- is there are lots of other people to help with site upkeep. Negative aspect is I don;t feel ownership over the space.
To be a learning opportunity for myself, possibly leading onto an income generation project in future years Yes and maybe It has been a great learning opportunity and running it alongside a P design project has really helped. Yes there is a possibility of generating income from this in future years. Needs lots more thought and planning.
To be a community run group that uses and values the individual skills of the participants Yes I think this key function was met very well. I had lots of help for the more mundane jobs like setting up/ packing up/ tea duty but also six people ran sessions. There skills like music, art, baby signing and guitar playing were used and appreciated. How do I keep this community feeling while exploring the income generation potential?
For families to enjoy playing and learning together outdoors Yes Lots of positive comments along these lines in the feedback and evaluation activities.

 

A further form of feedback I have received is the post-it-note comments I gathered from the other participants on the PDC when I gave my 5 minute presentation about my design for Muddy Boots. IMG_4969

And finally I just want to share my sheet for keeping a record of who is leading each session and the topics covered. This tiny bit of design worked really well, giving flexibility in the planning and in encouraging people to sign up for jobs where they saw gaps. The sheet was A1 size and displayed on the shed during each session. IMG_4992

 

Permaculture Design Certificate

I first heard the word ‘Permaculture’ way back in 2007 when we bumped into some like-minded folk while travelling in our old bus. I had been interested in all things green since childhood but it was wonderful for me to find out about the existence of a movement that pulled together so many areas that I was interested in. We immediately subscribed to Permaculture magazine and set about making our lives more sustainable; growing veg at home, raising chickens, embracing voluntary simplicity and making the choice not to go back into full-time work after the birth of our first daughter and to be economically poor but time rich!

At the end of 2011 I finally signed up to do my Permaculture Design Certificate. The PDC is a 72 hour curriculum, normally split into 14 days of study . My PDC was over 7 weekends in 2012 Jan- July. It was amazing. I laughed, I cried, I learnt so much, I had some weird experiences and a couple of profound ones. I met fantastic people, pushed myself to the edges of my comfort zone and took many more steps along my journey into the wonderful world of Permaculture.

This year (2014) I have been again attending a PDC, this time as an ‘interloper’ helping out around the edges of the course. One of the special things about the PDC is that once you hold the certificate, you are welcome to attend other courses to help, learn and progress the spread of Permaculture in your area. For the Leicester PDC I have led some morning circle activities, guilded, took part in activities, presented one of my designs and enjoyed listening to the ever knowledgeable PDC tutor Hannah Thorogood. Going over old ground was very useful to me. I feel that I have a stronger grip on the design processes and tools this time around the cycle of the PDC.

I was asked to take photographs on the last day of the course to document the group presenting their designs. Each participant, helper or teacher, had five minutes in which to very briefly describe their design and the tools and processes they used. I think we all found it challenging to squeeze our talks into such a tight time-frame. But it really was fascinating to view 14 people’s very diverse takes on Permaculture designs in one hectic morning. It was just lovely to meet with such inspiring people on a regular basis, I will miss these weekends, please do keep in touch everyone. Enjoy the photos. xx

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Anna’s design was for her garden. It included a summerhouse made from recycled windows. IMG_4795 IMG_4798

Marie also created a garden design for her typically sized backyard. IMG_4800 IMG_4801

Emma lives on a boat, so her plan was for her outside growing space, her allotment.IMG_4803 IMG_4805

Chess is another boat dweller, her land is quite extensive and her plan looked at adding to her food forest and annual beds. IMG_4807IMG_4808

Liz is hoping to move to Dorset/ Devon in the near future and build her own home. Her design looked at one possible location for this and designed her home and garden. IMG_4810 IMG_4811

Ben used Permaculture to design his outdoor space at his home. He has a small yard that he wanted to use effectivly for his family to enjoy.IMG_4813 IMG_4814

Laura worked on a fantasy design for her ideal family garden for herself and her two young boys. She is currently house-hunting and amazingly the garden design fits perfectly into the outdoor space of a house she is keen to buy. IMG_4817 IMG_4818

Martin owns two houses one of which he rents out as a communal living space and he runs yoga retreats. His design looked at ways of improving his land and lifesytle possibilities. IMG_4821 IMG_4822

Jessie drew a beautiful tree to illustrate her journey over the past year towards buying her own home. She has decided to buy a boat with her partner Reevesie.IMG_4824IMG_4823

I  designed a system for running Muddy Boots Allotment playgroup. I split tasks into four chunks which followed the seasons, the action learning cycle and Looby’s design web. IMG_4832 IMG_4837

Ann presented a tweak to one of her designs for her gardening business. She has taken on a new worker and discussed how Permaculture has helped her with this change. IMG_4835 IMG_4836

Sarah is the lead designer on an impressive community land-share project called Whistlewood common. She shared a brief overview of setting up the organisation.IMG_4839 IMG_4841

Reevesie looked at his livelihood and choices for furthering his career. He used an interesting technique to ensure he kept to the 5 minute timescale by using slides that moved on automatically every 30 seconds. IMG_4843 IMG_4844

Sam’s design looked at desert Permaculture. Her partner lives in Arizona and together they are re-designing his house and garden to best suit the challenges of the climate. IMG_4846 IMG_4847

And finally our tutor Hannah shared with us her design for a multi-purpose field shelter that she is currently building on her small-holding in Lincolnshire. IMG_4848 IMG_4849

Certificates were handed out at the end of the day. Each participant presented a certificate to another group member after saying a few words about that person. It was very touching

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Diploma design for Muddy Boots – Overview sheet and final design

I have created a overview sheet today listing the stages of the design web that I followed, plus my objectives, activity, timescales and design tools used at each stage. This has been a useful exercise and I think I will use this pattern in future design projects for both planning and reflection.

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I also thought it was worth re-posting my final design for Muddy Boots as it was rather buried way back in my blog in an update for the ‘Action’ anchor point. The image of the tree references both the Action Learning Cycle and the Design Web.

It also uses the cycle of the year to divide up the activity required to run the group. Each season flaps open (see second image) to reveal a list of activity to be completed. I wanted my design to be playful and child-like, connected to nature and deeply rooted in the cycle of the year,  reflecting how I want the whole Muddy Boots experience to feel. The image of a tree with opening flaps like a children’s book sums this up well I feel.

I feel relatively happy with it and very relieved to have finally reached this point! I am presenting my design at the PDC in 10 days time and am looking forward to receiving feedback on the design and the whole design process.

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A close up of each season/ stage in turn

Autumn – Appreciation, Reflection, Pauseimg_5235img_5236

Winter – Vision, Helps, Limitsimg_5237img_5238

Spring – Patterns, Ideas, Principlesimg_5239img_5240

Summer – Integration, Action, Momentumimg_5241img_5242

To make this design work for me on a practical level I then created this table for each stage of planning and activity. It allows me to clearly see each task and work through them and tick off once I’ve completed it. Boring but effective. The sheets go into the front of my planning folder and are worked through.

 

SEASON

 

AUTUMN
PATTERN

 

OBSERVE
DETAILS

 

APPRECIATION, REFLECTION, PAUSE
ACTIVITIES

 

  Deadline Done Notes?
Run the final few sessions      
Run a seasonal celebration event      
Produce a photobook of the year      
Do final evaluations with the participants      
Professional reflections on venue, sessions, timings, finances, support, participation etc      
Personal reflections on learning for me      
Plan initial tweaks for next season/year – site changes, paperwork changes, price increase, timings etc      
Begin planning for any planned changes for next year      
Show appreciation to venue, helpers, supporters      
Schedule in and carry out pause and reward time for myself.      
 

SEASON

 

WINTER
PATTERN

 

THINK
DETAILS

 

VISION, HELPS, LIMITS
ACTIVITIES

 

  Deadline Done Notes?
Preparation of self, rest, rejuvenate and re-inspire      
Research other similar groups to make links and gather ideas      
Revisit and reflect on last seasons reflections      
Set the intentions, vision and aims for the group      
Begin looking into practical considerations

–       Who are activities aimed at?

–       What will the pattern of sessions be?

–       When will the group meet, dates and times

–       Where will the group meet? Finalise venues and complete any paperwork/insurance/ H&S requirements of the venue

     
Set up all paperwork systems

–       Booking forms

–       Registers

–       Financial record keeping

–       Permissions

     
Make decisions around money, venue fees?, insurance fees? Weekly budget for materials? Equipment purchase costs? Book purchase costs? Costs to participants?      
Do projected yearly takings, set myself targets for income and exenditure      
Set myself an hourly/ weekly/ monthly wage      
How will I take payment from participants? Do I need to set up bank transfers, paypal, etc? Do I need change for a weekly float?      
Check and update email mailing lists      
Can I add an unsubscribe button to mailing list mailouts?      
Make decisions about time – how long will sessions be? How long will I spend planning, prepping etc      
Plan my working week and set working hours, how can I help myself stick to this?    
 

SEASON

 

SPRING
PATTERN

 

DESIGN
DETAILS

 

PATTERNS, IDEAS, PRINCIPLES
ACTIVITIES

 

  Deadline Done Notes?
Finalise all practical considerations      
Do Publicity and promotion – Current list/ waiting list/ then further promo as required

–       Newsletter

–       Emails

–       Fabcebook

–       Website

–       Instagram

–       Posters and flyers locally

–       Local press

–       Local schools/playgroups as relevant

     
Set up all systems required for taking bookings and payments      
Take bookings      
Design from pattern to detail- session planning

– Design term plans

– Sessions plans

     
Check current stock levels for resourses and equipment, what needs replacing, buying, borrowing etc      
Check first aid kit      
Plan what resourses, equipment and materials will be required and make these purchases      
Who will be supporting me? What do I need to do for them? Book them for dates required, brainstorming meetings, insurance? DBS?      
Is insurance in place?, when does it need updating?      
Do all risk assessments and any outstanding policy and procedure work required.      
Ensure all paperwork required is sent to the venues      
Site prep days      
Weekly prep      
Begin running sessions      
Documentation/ reflection/ promotion weekly      
     

 

 

SEASON

 

SUMMER
PATTERN

 

DO
DETAILS

 

INTERGRATION, ACTION, MOMENTUM
ACTIVITIES

 

  Deadline Done Notes?
Plan my weekly and daily tasks carefully keeping clarity      
Run the sessions      
Plan sessions that require further work      
Keep up with all weekly paperwork      
Keep careful financial records      
Purchase required weekly resources and record finances      
Photographic documentation every session, edit and upload to FB, website, instagram regularly      
Keep in touch with all interested parties      
Keep the waiting list updated      
Keep a reflective journal after each session if relevant      
Do mid term evaluations and make any required tweaks      
Support and appreciate people providing help      
Carry out venue maintainance as required      
Keep track of stock levels and purchase as required.      
Pay myself an hourly/ daily or weekly wage      
       
       
       
       

 

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.

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.