Category Archives: Ephemera

Milkwood Internship, Week 3&4: Every day, Permablitz

The first 2 weeks at Milkwood passed by as quickly as a South-Easterly winter wind. Looking back, it was more eventful than we could wish for, keeping our feet on the ground and our fingers warm.

By week 3, we were more settled into our new home for the coming months and ready to learn with a focused mind and steady hands. And what a busy time it was going to be, waking the land to the rising spring, blitzing area after area as we went by.

The week kick-started with Nick teaching us the ins and outs of rocket stoves, followed by repairing and cobbing the rocket stove to keep our showers warm and ourselves clean.

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The rest of the week brought us from the showers into the rains, to our first group design project: Planning and implementing a planting scheme for our woolshed, blocking the cold winter winds and providing shade for the hot summer sun, while encouraging maximum water infiltration for the rain that was to follow in the coming days.

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Just as the rains kicked in we raced uphill to the overflow of the new watertanks and blitzed the ground where the water fell  and channelled it into a multiple swale infiltration area with pioneer-plantings to take up the stored water in the ground and to provide future windshelter and fuelwood for the intern campsite.

Check out http://www.milkwood.net/2011/10/24/intern-project-top-tank-overflow-design-implementation/ for more details and pics.

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After two well-earned days of rest, the Milkwood-team went out to do some service for the permaculture community in Mudgee. It was time for a Permablitz at Anthea’s place!

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In the next days we continued the rendering of the earthbag-house that was built by the last group of interns, while sealing our group into a solid team.

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Halfway through the week, bee-whisperer Tim Malfroy gave us a 2 day visit, infecting us with an even deeper fascination for these remarkable insects, which have been taken for granted much too often.

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Our first month at Milkwood ended with us following Nick to a consultancy for the Hadaways at their future home and permaculture project Budgee Budgee in Mudgee.

One of the great things about the Milkwood internship programme is the fact that it is not set in stone. It changes with every batch of fired-up permaculturists, and steadily evolves out of everyone’s expectations and experience. And so, this two weeks proved to be a great learning curve for all of us as we were introduced to the internship process of Milkwood, refining it as we went along. We improved on the ways in which all of us worked together as a group, and clarified our personal goals for the coming weeks, enabling us to harmonise and complement our learning paths through a structered, wholesome and organic approach.

Many thanks to Nick and Kirsten for their tireless effort to make it all happen and especially to Trevor for giving his full time to each and everyone, tying together all the loose strings into a clear process and fruitful learning experience.

(thanks to Adam Shand for supplying some of the photos)

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A peek into our days at Milkwood, week 1 & week 2

It’s been a month since we (Juergen and myself) showed up at Milkwood on a full moon’s night.  It had taken us a day’s journey to arrive from Sydney airport via train and then a coach which dropped us at Ilford, a bus stop in the middle of no where, about 30 km away from Milkwood. Nick was there to pick us up, and as we drove through the vast expanse of moonlit bush and pastureland, kangaroos and wallabies bobbed in and out of our sight.  I saw a  few houses along the way, but it was scarce and miles apart. Surrounded by wilderness, and a comfortable distance away from the bustle of people and buildings, I was already feeling very fortunate…

We were introduced to the rest of the Milkwood  interns, huddled up in the woolshed, covered from head to toe. They looked like a friendly lot but my brain was too frozen to register their names. It was -5 °C , the coldest night I’ve had at Milkwood by far, and I was thankful for the heater in the caravan that Kirsten put us up in temporarily before we got our tents.

Heaps of amazing stuff has happened since, and I feel like a kangaroo, jumping from one great project to another with a bunch of other hip hop happening Roos, which makes the learning and doing twice as much and twice  as fun!

Here’s an attempt to show you snapshots of our lives at Milkwood week by week, over the past month. I’m starting off with week 1 & week 2 and Juergen will continue with week 3 & week 4.

WEEK 1

The caravan where we spent our first 3 nights in

Campsite for interns. One of the highest points in the property

Milkwood is neighbours to Nick's dad's property, which is mostly bushland,sheep pastures, and olive groves

Day 1 site tour. This is where Nick told us about the resident red belly black snake which is pretty harmless if not provoked

Forest Garden sessions and forest garden planting with Dan Harris Pascal

3 day Organic Market Gardening (OMG) Workshop with veteran market gardeners, Joyce & Michael from Allsun. Click on picture for workshop details

WEEK 2

More Food Forest sessions with Harris, and more plantings. Newly planted tress are protected from frost, wind and sun with tree guards

Food forest plant identification, labelling, and getting everything checkered on our species list

We took turns working on mud render/ construction work for Nick & Kirsten's tiny house

Juergen and Oliver had a natural flair for rendering, and an insatiable appetite for mud. Glorious mud!

Juergen and Frank Thomas having a lot to exchange in German. An expert in strawbale building and rendering, Frank is very generous with his knowledge and passionate about what he does

Oli, the chef roasting bush deer for dinner around the campfire.

Sheep shearing demonstration at the weekend Windeyer Town fair.Can you spot the sheep's face?

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All About The Rain

Adam

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.

Adam.

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Brrrrrrrrrrrr & Birthdays

Today was Christian’s birthday so we gave him a flanny shirt to make him feel like a real farmer – wrapped delicately in newspaper and bailing twine. In the evening we gathered in all our finery to eat pumpkin soup, organic meat pie and roasted vegetables cooked in goose fat. Delicious! F its cold in this here old woolshed.

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Milkwood Blackboard

Sometimes we work. Sometimes we just say silly things…

thanks for the clarification.

oh Amelie/so true Kade, so true.

...we hope not?

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Swales and amazing sky


Just wanted to share this after a massive rain storm we had this afternoon.

swale

n. 

1. A low tract of land, especially when moist or marshy.
2. A long, narrow, usually shallow trough between ridges on a beach, running parallel to the coastline.
3. A shallow troughlike depression that carries water mainly during rainstorms or snow melts.

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