Will you join us this summer? We’re pleased to be offering two opportunities to join us for a PDC here at Casalinho this year. Both courses are taught by Josh Gomez, and fully certified by the UK Permaculture Association.
For all the details, click here.
We’ve currently got nine dogs. Nine dogs produce a lot of poo, and some of it needs to be collected up and disposing of. We’ve tried various ways of composting it in the past, none of which were entirely satisfactory.
This time we’re asking our composting worms to lend a hand, putting together a vermicomposting system to deal specifically with dog poo.
The system is in an old bath. The plug hole has been removed and the hole covered with fine grade mesh, so that liquids can run through but not the compost. The bath is supported on block, on a very slight angle to allow it to drain in heavy rain.
I used a layer of material from one of our existing wormeries to start it off in the bottom of the bath. Then a layer of dog poo mixed with sawdust as I collected it. Then a layer of organic material, in this case autumn leaves as there were loads lying around, another layer of dog poo, and so on. I’ll be adding another layer of organic material each time I add a bucket of dog poo. On top is a layer of old jeans or cardboard to add a little insulation in winter and a little shade in summer, then a couple of tyres to hold it all down. Eventually the card or fabric will decompose to the stage were it can get combined into the wormery and just replaced.
Left: A handful of worms plus some material from another wormery, topped with a bucket of dog poo mixed with sawdust. Right: Abby covering this with a layer of organic material, in this case leaves.
Rain will run through the material, out of the plug hole and be collected in a bucket. In a standard wormery we’d collect this liquid and use as a fertiliser, but in this case it will be disposed of well away from edibles. In the sun I find that wormeries dry out quickly, so pouring the liquid back over the top may solve two problems simultaneously, leaving me only the issue of what to do with it in particularly wet weather to worry about.
Previous experience tells me that the worms will reduce the volume of this fairly fast, but there will come a time when the bath fills up. I won’t be able to use it straight away as the top layers will still be fairly fresh, so at that point we’ll empty it out for further composting. My guess is about 6 months, but certainly time greatly reduced thanks to the worms. A handful of worms and matter from the oldest layers can be used to restart the system. If I were in a situation where I had an endless quantity of bathtubs, I’d leave it in situ to complete composting but sadly they’re hard to come by.
The finished compost will be used, as our composted humanure from the compost toilets is, on non edible areas of the site.
It didn’t take long for life to appear! Amazing what some dog poo coupled with leaves and grass can support
Tenho observado que a maioria das viagens de fim de ano letivos das escolas, em geral, e as viagens que fazemos são pobres do ponto de vista pedagógico e que passam a mensagem às crianças de que não faz mal gastarmos vários recursos naturais e o nosso dinheiro para puro lazer, apesar de metade dos seres humanos do planeta estarem a morrer de fome.
Na zona de Lisboa
Consulte a lista atualizada, na seguinte página:
|Sunday January 10, 2016, Quinta das Moitas|
Now, with all the rain, it's started overflowing, along the levada that I've been building slowly over the time here. Check the action! ...
It gives me flashbacks of when my friend Gertjan and I dug out that small pond after having come back from the Water Symposium in Tamera (April 2012). I had an inspired impulse to create some of my own water retention spaces on the land (little did I know how much work it was to do by hand). I know it hardly compares to a Tamera sized project but for those who only have hands and shovels it's a good way to make a start and try things out ...
|Gertjan and our inspired attempt after attending the Water Symposium in Tamera 2012.|
All this flowing water comes as a good sign. It reflects back to me the desire and the need that I have to be doing more - and writing more! Admittedly though I've had to acknowledge that I've been experiencing frustration at feeling held back by the obstacles I've encountered on this journey so far. Anyhow, it's time to stay focused, and my focus, since I returned from Oz in June has been on creating income streams for the purpose of getting this project kicking. For this reason I want to start on purpose by writing about some of the services that I'm going to be providing as of new year 2016, in order to take a more serious approach to funding the development of this project.
How has my experience led me to this role ...
Since the initiation of the Earth Neighbours project, I've found myself meeting more and more people searching for land and trying to help them through that process in whatever way I can. Also, due to the ease I have with the Portuguese language (living in Spain almost 10 years helped) I've been in a position of being able to help friends and acquaintances interface with all manner of locals for various purposes, such as sourcing building materials, negotiating with land owners, liaising with lawyers, arguing with bureaucrats etc. It seems quite fitting then (especially since I feel that it works in alignment with the Earth Neighbours project) to be working in the role of mediator/facilitator to help connect inspired folk back to the land and use this as a means by which I can raise funds for my own project.
So these are some of the services that I've started offering ...
Land Hand Holder
This involves hand holding buyers through the process of finding and buying land.
My first role as a professional in what I guess could be called 'land mediation'. I recently carried out some work for an English couple, going out with them to view land that was on sale, translating for them and helping them by giving unbiased views and guidance on things. I was able to share what I know (including permaculture design ideas) to help them in finding what they wanted/needed and in return I got paid for it. Win/Win!
So this is one of the the services that I am now providing - helping good people who want to move back to the land and live sustainably to find their own peace of land. I can assist with communication between the local land owners and the potential buyer. I can help out with the buying process and assist with any legal / bureaucratic stuff such as getting your NIF (which you need prior to purchasing the land) and I will also do my best to communicate to you quite honestly my observations and views.
I've already carried out some of this work and here is what one my wonderful clients had to say ...
I was fortunate enough to have Millo recommended to me by Sophie from Pure Portugal when I was looking to buy some land with a ruin. Millo accompanied me for several days and was invaluable with translation, providing advice on various aspects of building legislation and asking very direct questions to the estate agents and vendors. He was also able to provide me with a long list of English speaking Lawyers and can assist with opening bank accounts and getting Fiscal Numbers etc. Apart from Millo's knowledge of Portugal and buying rustic property, he is a warm and generous man with an excellent sense of humour and I thoroughly enjoyed my time with Millo. As a result of his help and advice, we have been successful in purchasing one of the properties we viewed together. I can thoroughly recommend Millo as a guide if you are considering purchasing property in Portugal.
I will be charging 20 euros per hour for this service. Daily rates can be negotiated.
If there is an abandoned piece of land in need of love, and you'd like to know who the owner is then perhaps I can lend my hand at being your land sleuth.
In the short time that I've started this I've become aware of many plots of land that are available around here that could potentially be of interest to good people wanting to start a new project in life. Some of them are quite well priced, and the owners seem to be very honest and straightforward people (which obviously is very important). I've teamed up with my good friend Frantastic Fran and we are now getting organised with respect to facilitating this kind of service for those new to this area. We want to start by focusing our attention primarily on this area around here and especially in 'The Valley', where there is already a small earth neighbourhood naturally forming (as is also happening in many other places around Portugal). There are some beautiful things happening in that valley and Fran, who is part of the community around Cherry Pond Quinta, would like to see more young families with kids moving to the area.
We've talked about what is a fair price for such a service and we've agreed that maybe we could start by charging by the hour for taking people out and showing them land (and potentially connecting them with the owner etc and helping them through the whole purchase process if they decide to buy etc). We would charge same as above, 20 euros an hour (as a package service - for the two of us) plus a finders fee (agreed upon prior to commencement of service).
2016 = Year of Action
There is still this one up for sale. It's got some legal issues but I've been trying to work through them with someone who is potentially interested in buying. There is also the potential that a social enterprise may fund this operation via a trust fund. An organisation that is interested in taking land out of the corporate land grab scenario and putting it into the hands of land stewards for land and community regeneration. I'm still speaking with them and getting to know them better but from what I'm hearing it all sounds genuine. It's largely a matter of time and gaining trust and then finding a solution with respect finding a 'fair exchange' between them and someone willing to take it on as their own project.
Then there is this sale going ahead. I won't go naming names yet, until it's done. But the interested party is wanting to create a place that can be used as a permaculture demonstration site. I will share more details once the sale has gone through, but looks like it should all go quite smoothly, perhaps within the next couple of months.
So perhaps soon I will have 3 new neighbours. The beginnings of an earth neighbourhood.
I've been getting to know a lot more owners of land around my project here, with buildings on them and some with good water sources, so once these three are settled then I can continue on with those investigations. I will go one step at a time. I will also be sharing more news soon on how I can be of service to people coming into the area looking for land and community ... Stay tuned!
Bom Ano Novo!
A Quinta do Alecrim procura um interno para trabalhar e desenvolver a nossa horta que está a ser desenhada para mercados e cabazes. Oferecemos um quarto partilhado, refeições durante a semana e um contrato de estágio com possibilidade de contrato de trabalho com termos a combinar.
Antes de enviar sua proposta, por favor considere que a Quinta do Alecrim é uma propriedade familiar em agroecologia e que amamos o que fazemos, mas também temos nossas visões e prioridades que devem ser respeitadas. Dependemos do nosso trabalho com a terra para a sobreviver, aprender mais e ainda satisfazer outras necessidades materiais e espirituais.
Precisamos de alguém com muita responsabilidade, iniciativa e capacidade de trabalhar duro, com autonomia e coordenar trabalho em equipa (recebemos voluntários eventuais). Deve ainda possuir uma enorme vontade de aprender e partilhar novos conhecimentos e acima de tudo, deverá amar fazer horticultura.
Deverá ter experiência com horticultura e daremos preferência para quem for familiar com a agroecologia, seja via Permacultura, agricultura Biológica, Biodinâmica, etecetera. Deverá ainda ser desenrascado e ter capacidade de lidar responsavelmente com ferramentas e equipamentos e estar disposto a ajudar com outras tarefa que são inerentes ao trabalho numa quinta.
Se achar que tem as características e a vontade para trabalhar neste projeto, por favor envie uma bio com a sua experiência e um pequeno texto explicando por que quer trabalhar connosco para firstname.lastname@example.org
As imagens abaixo foram colhidas em Setembro de 2015.