PERMACULTURE

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Articles by Nicola Chatham

Published by Permaculture Research Institute

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City Kids Move to the Country – Part I

Pit-falls, projects and laughs from our Permaculture journey

“How does a tree make a mango? I’ve never thought about it like that before, but isn’t that crazy? A tree can make a mango!”
“Yes, dear,” says Chris.
We’re driving around the back streets of Cooroy, getting to know our new extended neighbourhood, and we just passed a grove of mango trees.
“No one’s mangos have fruited this season. I’ve heard it’s due to too much rain,” I say.
“So we could get some on our tree next year?”
“Isn’t that amazing? A tree can make a mango…” I’m aware my realisation sounds like someone who’s just tried smoking pot for the first time.

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City Kids Move to the Country – Part II

“Andrew, I need to talk to you about something,” I’ve sought out the new president of the Community Garden at Peregian Beach, Andrew Maitland, to ask an important yet delicate question.
“Yes?”
“It’s about slugs,”
“Slugs?”
“Yes, I have a lovely, bumper crop of slugs.”
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City Kids Move to the Country – Part III

When Chris and I first got together, he used to wake up to his socks, t-shirts and towels carefully draped over his DJ equipment, where I’d laid them during the night to cover any glowing or flashing lights. A somewhat sensitive sleeper, trying to sleep in a discotech wasn’t my idea of a restful night’s sleep. So when we mention we’ve built a frog pond outside our bedroom window, more savvy and experienced Permaculturists respond with anything from a raised eyebrow to declaring we’re ‘very game.’ A polite way of saying ‘you guys have no idea what you’re doing, do you?’

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City Kids Move to the Country – Part IV

Chris woke up the other day and declared, “I think I can dig those swales by hand.”
“Super,” I said, “go for it!”
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Like most of Queensland, we’ve been inundated with rain, so the ground is soft and pliable, but thankfully, not flooded. Chris is strong and energetic… it’s a perfect mix. As a bonus, I can put off phoning excavators for quotes indefinitely.
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What I hadn’t planned on was my involvement in the project; apparently I’m quite good at shoveling dirt. And when Chris was ready to dig the second swale, I woke up feeling like I’d been hit by a bus. Conveniently, our dog Jordie was overdue for a walk…. But, I returned home in time to help transplant more citrus from isolated mounds into the second swale’s banks.
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City Kids Move to the Country – Part V

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“What’s that smell?” asks Chris.

“I don’t know. It’s really familiar. It smells like… cat food,” I reply.

“It smells like shit,” he says.

It’s 2:30am. We’ve propped ourselves up in bed. It’s dark. The foul smell mingled with my dreams but now we’re both awake. The windows are open and behind the bedroom is our zone one with veggie gardens, worm farm, shade house, frog pond and septic system. It’s pouring rain. Chris asks the fateful question.

“Has the septic overflowed?”

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