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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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)