At the beach a few weekends ago, where a tiny side river flows into the ocean at low tide. Its all there in micro scale. Desert patterns of brading rivers into a plane. Eroding gullies and wadis. Valleys and ridge lines. Micro mountains and branching of rivers. What rich observations we can make with permaculture knowledge… The foto could also have been taken from a plane flight over a wide desert landscape.
There was a little earthbag building workshop at Quinta dos 7 Nomes, our favourite organic, everyday shopping permaculture farm in the surrounding. I would have loved to take part, yet I had my whole family visiting exactly on these days. Having whitnessed the whole preparation and a lot of the building process anyhow, I am taking this bilding technique highly into consideration for our far future home building plans.
Aquarell by Antonio Pisanello (1430–1440).
After hours of noisey work with the new motor scythe cleaning first parts of the perimeter of our land to finally fence off the motorized thrill seekers I took a break and as I sat down, two slow flying birds, kind of small, but with big, round, black and white stripped wings came slow flying towards me from the other side of our little valley. They sat down right on the first branch above me and made relly strange, to me unknown noises, while their head feathers where pointing upwards in bright orange. Their beaks where long and skinny and I felt reminded of woodpeckers but their exotic Gestalt and sounds where almost surreal. Suspended in this intense moment of hypnotic wildlife right in front of my eyes, I remained paralysed, gazing at these two creature right above me.
Sorry spoiler: Jacaranda may look like a nitrogen fixer, but it’s not. Nevertheless it is one of my all time favourite ornamental flowering trees.
The jacaranda mimosifolia is an evergreen, lush tree, that cascades purple flowers in spring and grows one of the hardest and most beautifuly shaped seed pods I know. It seems to be grown easily from seeds.
Even though this is not really Permaculture related, I had to post this stunning image I took from my first gooseneck barnacle appetizer of my life (no, there where not just three barnicles on that plate 😉 ). Living in Portugal already for about a year I am quite late for this encounter, I must admit. It is a very typical Portuguese seafood.
Mid December 2016 our miniature 12,5cm / 4.9inch CSA (cross sectional area) Rocket Mass Heater got finally finished and we could switch off the stinking gas heater, that was bridging us through November, waiting for our RMH construction to begin. It must be said, that this is our first experience with heating with wood, as we come from a life with central (gas) heating including a digital appliance on the wall to input the desired temperature. Yet, ever since the RMH is completed, our dragon is the only heat source in the house, except a radiator for the bathroom. It gets fired roughly twice a day (morning / night) and keeps us warm even through the exceptional days around freezing temperature, that we had in our usually mild mediterranean, warm temperate climate.
As pretty, as this fellow is, as painful is its touch. (Ulex) gorse is part of the fabaceae family and nitrogen fixing. It is covered with countless spikes, as every leaf ends in a painful tip. Defenitely use tough gloves when handling this plant. For me simple welding gloves provide a very good protection. Gorse is an excellent pioneer plant in heavily degraded soils. Its one of the fast and first plants to flourish after wild fires. It even loves so much to grow after fire, that it likes to burn itself and is highly flammable, so unconditionally ceep it out of your fire sector!