Monthly Archives: September 2011

All About The Rain


Yours truly

The last couple of days have been all about rain.  Nick informed us that a big storm was brewing and that we might actually get some serious amount of water falling from the sky.  We kicked into gear doing a quick design for the area around the woolshed (Milkwood’s HQ) so we better control the water and get some plants in before the magical wetting!

A days work later and there were lots of pretty pink triangles dotted about the woolshed, each with a young Acacia, Golden Elm or Kurrajong inside.  We planted along contoured rip lines, but unfortunately we had a bit of an accident with the tractor part way through which meant that we couldn’t complete our plans.

The following morning the normally dry Milkwood landscape was transformed, water was everywhere!  Our baby gabions held up, the rip lines were beautifully soaked and the plants were all looking happily damp.



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From Melbourne to Milkwood

My name is Claire, I may be 890km from home but I have travelled less than that of my fellow interns, and boy is it worth the distance. I arrived at Milkwood just under 3 weeks ago and already I have learnt so much and am relishing in being part of such an amazing community of people. So why am I here?

I’m following my dream!

I have been nursing for the past 15 years and have seen no improvement in peoples health, we were always treating the symptoms, always in crisis management, always pushing pharmaceuticals as the way to better health. It didn’t sit right with me, I wanted a better solution, I wanted a healthier planet, healthier people, a healthier lifestyle for myself and to belong to a community. So my journey begins…

I completed my PDC in Walkamin, Far North Queensland in Sept 2010, after a chance meeting with the course convener and a chat about compost showers. After the course, I was hooked. I flew back to Melbourne, sold my house near the city, and headed off in search my my little piece of land to grow my dream. I found it in November, and at the end of January 2011 I was the proud owner of a 101 acres in Lake Fyans, at the foot of the Grampians National Park, Victoria, and declared, “I’m going to be a farmer!”

Which is why I’m here at Milkwood. To get hands on experiences, learn from the best in the business, improve my design skills, design my farm, add as many skills to my kit bag as I can and meet as many like minded people to share with as I can.

Then it’s off to my farm, Planet Claire, to implement my design and start living the dream. I want to become a leading example of regenerative, self-sustaining, chemical free, non-certified organic farming and share my knowledge with the wider community. Empowering and encouraging my community to be healthy, and ensuring myself, my family, and my friends (and our children’s, children’s, children’s children) have a paradise to enjoy that provides them with all there needs for a long, healthy, peaceful life.

I hope you enjoy the journey with me,


Making clay render for the tiny house, the locals pay us a visit, designing a water overflow management system then implementing that design, getting dirty cleaning and re-cobbing the rocket shower!


Filed under Introductions

Meatloaf madness

Just a quick little group photo of the beautiful people that are the Milkwood Interns. We call this one a meatloaf hug.

Oh and that is me, enjoying my Yerba mate morning ritual.



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A walk in the woods, introducing Olivier

What a glorious day, and a busy one to begin the week. This is my first post on the Milkwood intern blog, exciting!! I will be out here for the next three months so will en-devour to make contact whenever possible.

I arrived out here at the start of the month and so much has happened already. I decided to get here a little early as I was keen to sit in on the Forest garden course run by Dan Harris. There has been much learning and progress made in the forest Garden since then and last week had been particularly productive as it was the week of planting. We put in fig trees, a variety of Acacias, Hazelnuts, and a mix bag of stone fruits only to name a few. I think that there must have been around 150 trees planted in those few days, but more on that another time. One of the things which I was just so inspired by was Dan’s knowledge of flora, species names, geographical origin, characteristics, and properties wether medicinal, edible or otherwise.

This is one of the many things which I would like (or at least begin) to learn while out here and to do so, myself and fellow interns will be starting a little botanical catalog of what we are growing in our Forest Garden and just in general around the farm.

As food and nourishment are also on the agenda, I think that I will share a little news about what comes out of the kitchen here at milkwood. Rose, our resident chef is a wizzardess in the camp kitchen and passionate about paddock to plate ethical cuisine. I think that we will be the first group here to leave fatter then we arrived, thank you Rose!!!

Now to share just a few words about myself. I have been working and living the hospitality lifestyle for the past 15 years. The kitchen has been my domain although I had always understood that food, beverage and community were synonymous so sort the education and training to develop a dynamic skill set. I have been fortunate enough to travel and work with some amazing chefs in Many different cities in Europe and here in Australia.

Earlier this year I returned from Italy after a couple of years away. My main focus during my time there was in natural wine making and holistic land management. Permaculture also slowly revealed itself and on returning I decided that the kitchen needed a rest and diverted my attention to this. It feels like a very natural transition and coming to Milkwood for me is all about new learnings, natural food productions, community and land care, self nourishment and care and new beginnings.

My attraction to the kitchen started with my passion for eating and a fascination with produce. Provenance is extremely important to me and I want to re-learn the traditions of reconnecting food with family with community. Milkwood is a special place and already feels like home, I am excited to be here and am loving the opportunities that are here for me.

Ok, I will leave it here for the night as there are books waiting for me in my tent on the hill.




Filed under Introductions

Views from Milkwood

Hello Everybody!

My name is Adam and I’m one of the six who was selected to be a part of Milkwood’s spring internship program. It’s an exciting time for me as my interest in permaculture came about during a period of fairly major change. Professionally my background is a mixture of management, business and hands on geekery in the high tech world. Personally, well until recently … my personal life has largely been my work. About three years ago I had a major wake up call and realised that it was time to make some changes if I wanted to actually live the way I said I did. So I sold everything I owned (well except for my books, art and laptop!), quit my job and bought a one way ticket to Bali with a deliberately vague plan of making my way overland to India. Along the way I ended up attending a PDC course in Thailand and discovered that there was a word for all of the ideas and dreams which had been jangling around in my head, “permaculture”!

So here I am, two weeks into this internship, at the beginning of gaining the skills and experience I’ll need if I decide to develop my own property once I return home to New Zealand. I don’t really know where this ride will take me, but I’m looking forward to finding out. In the mean time I’ll leave you with some pictures from an early morning walkabout Milkwood.


Filed under Introductions