Twelve Principles for twelve months – March – Catch and store energy


This morning I have been ‘Catching and storing energy’ by sitting in my garden in the sunshine and drinking coffee. That may sound like procrastination, but under my rules I am fulfilling my brief for the month! The weather has been so beautiful over the weekend, we have been very productive, tidying up the garden, stacking and chopping wood, fixing the raised beds and taking advantage of the sunshine to dry our washing outdoors.

So, my Permaculture Principle for March is Catch and store energy. I intend to address this in the following ways.

1. Continue moving, chopping and stacking the wood that we have collected over the last few months. Our front garden had become a dumping ground for timber. All of this has been acquired for free from family and friends or tip-off from our tree-surgeon friends. WE need to move the wood into the wood stores in the back garden. This energy will be stored up and used next winter to warm our house via the log burner.

2. I want to look into ways of using renewable energy to power our cabin in the woods. We are off grid there, which is lovely. We use candles for light and have a gas bottle powered stove. I’d like to get some solar power up there this year to add additional lighting. I was there yesterday, taking the opportunity for some peace and quiet away from the kids. I was working on my diploma designs in preparation for a design tutorial with my lovely tutor later in the week. I spotted that a few cabins have small wind turbines, so I’d like to investigate the cost and usage of these too.

3. I also intend to look at energy use in my life. I am up at least twice most nights, breast-feeding my son and looking after my daughters, so I am pretty exhausted most of the time. I’d like to find ways to give myself more energy and look at where I waste energy in my day-to-day activities. I think it would be interesting to look at energy and activities in terms of zoning.

4. I will be fixing up guttering on the shed where our chickens live. I want the guttering to feed into a water storage tank and overflow into the pond to keep it healthy and topped up. I also hope to fix a drip pipe to the water tank and loop this around the adjacent vegetable bed so this is one less bed to water come high summer.