My garden in October

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Harvesting Jerusalem artichokes, cooking apples, one solitary cob of sweetcorn, chilis, a little kale and lots of seed saving

Planting I am just about to plant out some daffodil and tulip bulbs lining the path to my front door. My front garden is totally neglected and needs a Permaculture design project in its own right. I have scattered the last of the green manures seeds too. A little late I know so i don’t hold out much hope really, especially with free-ranging hens around. I am abandoning the garden to the hens now really. I like them to be able to free-range over the autumn and winter, so any further planting is just pointless as it ends up as chicken treats!

Thinking I am thinking about Halloween and fireworks night-yay! Two of my fave seasonal celebrations. We often have a little party, but are feeling so pushed for time this year we probably will not manage to organise it. My girls are off to a school Halloween disco later this week and we will all dress up for a spot of trick or treating. We like to make our own costumes or re-purpose item rather than splashing out on new costumes each year. I will post pics of the kids in all their splendor!

Feeling I am feeling like lots of cycles in my life are coming to an end currently. It’s a good thing as it frees up my time and head space lots. I intend to do a post on this subject asap.I am enjoying the autumn so far, the weather has been very mild, I am sat with the backdoor flung open at the mo, its been like summer again today! The clocks have just changed and I do not enjoy that. But I shall focus on the positives of dark evenings, snuggling up with the kids, hot chocolate, fires and dvd movie nights.

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One of the chicks we hatched out back in the spring has now turned into a magnificent cockerel. He is friendly and protective of his flock of ladies. He had yet to crow, we are hoping, as we hope every year, to have found a non-cockerdoodling cockerel. We so want to keep him! Our neighbours also hatched out a boyo this year, he was happily crowing away in their garden for about a month, I really liked the sound. But after complaints from other neighbours, he was sent off to live on a farm- no, really he was. – He was! I am not sure our boy will be so lucky when his time comes.

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The Jerusalem artichokes were beautiful, I love this shot from this morning of the yellowing leaves framed against a bonfire grey sky.

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The greenhouse is still providing us with salads and chilis.

Weather stats

Tuesday 28th october 2014

High 19 Low 10

Warm, still and sunny. A beautiful autumnal day.

Sunrise 06:53 Sunset 16:43

 

Diploma design for Muddy Boots – Patterns

“What are the current patterns of thinking, behaving and interacting? What spirals of erosion can I identify? What would a spiral of abundance look like? What patterns from nature, other people or different activities could help with my design? What patterns of success from other areas of my life could I translate into my design? ” L. Macnamara People and Permaculture 2012

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Looby says that the Patterns phase represents the edge between what was and what we would like to be. It is where we reflect on the good and the bad from previous learning and begin looking to the future. So I shall start by briefly outlining how the group worked in previous years and the patterns of workload, attendance and session structure that I have noticed.

* Vicky had around one paid day every two weeks to dedicate to the planning and running of Muddy Boots. I helped out as a volunteer, running some of the sessions and helping advertise but I left the paperwork, budgeting and most of the site maintenance to Vicky. Lots of planning happened in April and May, prior to the group starting to meet. Week by week session planned tended to take around half a day for each session.

* For the first year we ran all the sessions, the second year we asked participants to get involved in running sessions but people did not seem keen to do this and only two sessions were run by people other than ourselves. I don’t think people had the confidence to volunteer to run sessions and it was a hassle for people so they found it easier to leave it up to Vicky and myself, we didn’t really push this but did feel rather disappointed.

* We advertised mainly through word of mouth, friends and friends of friends came along. This meant some sessions were rather quiet but we did have a core group of participants who attended regularly. Our largest ever group was 37 people, 20 was about average.

* The sessions generally ran along these lines. Arrive, introductions, story, activity, snack, songs, tidy up, go home.

I looked back to the 4 G’s group brainstorms to see what participants want to see kept/changes/improved for the group. https://nurturegreen.wordpress.com/2014/05/26/diploma-design-for-muddy-boots-helps/

I have thought hard about patterns in nature and decided that Muddy Boots should follow the patterns of the changing seasons. I intend to reflect this in two ways. Firstly in the session structure as shown in the photo below. With a few tweaks the structure of the sessions can reflect the ebbs and flows of the seasons and give a pleasing natural flow to our activity.

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So our new session structure will run as follows; (SPRING) arrivals, exploring materials in free play, coming together, welcome, introduction to the theme and activity, (SUMMER) story, songs, activities, (AUTUMN) snack, chat (WINTER) forward planning and tidy up.

Secondly, what we focus on during the sessions should be related to the current season, spring, summer and autumn (no meetings during winter)

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I am pondering the idea of keeping on meeting up over the winter too, maybe in other locations as well as at the allotment? That would solve the problems of having to draw together a new group every spring, but it would cause other issue too – more thought needed on this one!

Another pattern that I have implemented is the use of a theme to each session. The story, songs, activity and sometimes even food will reflect a theme. A welcome board showing the theme will be placed in a flowerbed to be seen by all participants as they enter the site.

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