Thursday, 24 February 2011

Permaculture - you know it makes sense

I started the Permaculture Design Course on Saturday morning. We had to introduce ourselves at the beginning of the course.  To be honest, I sort of dread group activities and talking to new people.   Don't get me wrong, I don't dislike people, it's just sometimes (not always, mind) I find it hard to get to know people, it's a slow process for me, and I can't relax in front of people straight away.  It was hard for me to be with so many new people and I felt awkward at break times and lunch times, not knowing who to speak to, and it was made worse as a few people already knew each other.  I think my plan for the next session is to keep myself to myself and not worry about trying to make friends with everyone.

Putting that aside, and getting to the important bit, and the reason why I attended the course - the actual learning!  In the morning we learnt about systems, we looked at chickens, what their needs and outputs are, and how eggs are produced in a small scale farm vs. a factory farm.  We covered how unused outputs become pollution.  After lunch we went for a walk to the canal and surveyed the local area then came back and discussed what we'd seen.  Following this we looked at the ethics of permaculture. 

I was relieved when the first day was over.  It will keep getting easier as I get to know people better and feel more comfortable in front of them. I do have really bad social anxiety when it comes to groups, but if you met me individually you would never guess.  It's not like I'm a shy, unconfident person, because I'm not.  I just can't help the way I react in front of groups, no matter how much I want to feel confident I can't, it's just the way I'm programmed.  It's really, really annoying for me and I feel it holds me back in my career.  Course organisers never appear to make allowances for people like me, they just assume everyone likes to speak in front of the group.  Honestly, I've tried to get over it but I can't change how I am.

Our tutor gave us 2 DVDs to watch at home.  The first one was a permaculture video from the 90s (pretty bad quality), but it was about Bill Mollison and I really enjoyed it.  Bill seems a real character and a likeable guy.  The other's called 'A Farm for the Future' but I haven't got round to watching it yet.

I bought the most expensive pizza ever from Pizza Hut on my way home from the permaculture course.  I thought I'd treat us to a posh pizza for tea.  It cost £11.49 for a takeaway large margherita and it tasted rubbish.  

On Sunday morning we went to a local stables to collect some free horse manure.  There was a huge, huge pile of the stuff (I should have taken a photo but forgot), and the manure at the bottom was really well rotted.  We could only fit 4 bags in the back of the car, so I think we'll go back for some more this week.  My car's exhaust pipe was rattling on the way home under the weight of it all.  The manure we had delivered the other week isn't well rotted so we can't spread it on the soil yet.  Chris built a manure bin to store it in until next spring, by which time it should be ready to use.

After this we went to the flea market and I bought some books and a large owl picture for the new allotment shed.

I got a book on shell designs and one on the most amazing places to visit in Britain.

Some woodwork books for Chris.

And a book on warriors, gods and spirits from central and South American mythology.

Which came with some free feathers inside.

On Sunday afternoon I stayed home and watched a Catherine Cookson drama and knitted.  Then I went to my Mum's and she made my favourite tea - rockin' Moroccan stew, it was delicious.  I came home and fell asleep at 9pm which is unusual for me.  I felt tired and hot, so it might have been my hormones playing up.

My radio's back and repaired.  They sent me a brand new one, they said the fault occurs very rarely so my new unit should last for years - I hope they're right!  I'd been missing 'Sailing By' at bedtime, so I'm glad they sent a replacement so quickly.

I went to the dentist for a check up followed by an appointment with the hygienist.  Everything was OK and my teeth look sparkly and clean now.

I sent through some ideas for an 'Awards for All' funding application for ideas for artists to promote the shop.  My ideas were: wildflower gardens, mosaics, murals, mini mosaics and gardens and murals in a guerrila gardening style, wildflower planters, pressed wildflower workshop, recycled art competition, upcycling craft workshop. 

I've also caught up with the last three episodes of Channel 4's 'People's Supermarket', which is about a guy who's set up a community owned supermarket in London.  It's inspirational and very relevant to what we're doing with our co-op shop. 

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