No Blisters!

A shy wave to you all – I’ve been absent for some time.  Having had grand ideas about marketing and branding ZoneZeroZero and all that, I realised I really like Blisters, Bunions & Blarney.  It’s going to stay that way.

So I thought I’d check in with an update or two.  The sun is out and I’ve settled into small scale permaculture as we’re going to be here until the end of the year.  But the good news is, my partner has finally given his notice, although that isn’t until later this year.  He’s now busy creating a list of properties for sale in northern Spain and watching touring bikes on eBay etc.  It’s great to see the vision coming to life at last, although we are awaiting the outcome of the EU referendum, so the destination could change yet again.

What does small scale permaculture look like?

“There is no such thing as away”

When you throw things ‘away’, where do they go?  Our small planet is overloaded, there is no such thing as away.  It stays right here, on the planet and causes a lot of problems, particularly the awaying of plastic.  In a permaculture design system, you try to minimise these kinds of outputs and reuse them on site instead.  You also try to minimise the inputs (e.g. consumer goods, fuel, water usage…)

These were some of my small practice steps:

  1. Start knitting:  sweaters reduce fuel inputs:

    Or maybe not – when you’ve learned that you’ve made your partner look like a teddy bear
  2. Reduce shopping at supermarkets – buy local.
  3. Rebuild the soil:
    1. In autumn, an area of the garden was designated for next year’s plantings.
    2. Collect and flatten cardboard – food cartons, boxes, etc.  Place over the designated area.  This creates a sheet mulch that prevents sunlight from damaging the soil and discourages invasive weeds.  In my case, ivy was running wild – everywhere.
    3. Have a clear out and use old clothes as a sheet mulch.  There are items you really can’t give to charity!
    4. Cover sheet mulch in shredded junk mail.
    5. Compost all non-cooked food and place over the cardboard, along with other organic matter – grass cuttings, scythed weeds, leaf mould etc.
    6. A couple of branches fell from the higher trees during the stormy winds of the winter.  These have been dragged into another area of the garden and now form a ‘hugel’ bed.  Lots of organic matter is placed over them, and root vegetable plants placed in them, aiding decomposition and less vegetable buying next winter.
  4. No such thing as single use plastic!
    1. Plastic water bottles, although best to avoid buying at all, make great propagators (we have lead pipes in our rented house, so unfortunately unavoidable).  Seeds were planted in these and condensation saved any fancy irrigation techniques or work in watering them regularly.  When the seedlings were ready to go into the mulched beds (no digging needed), the tops of the bottle propagators were reused to cover each plant.  These provided continued irrigation and protection from late frosts (hailstones and snow as it happened) and from slugs.  You can push them into the mulch to stop them blowing away in the wind, although, better if your beds are in a place that is protected from the winds.  Can’t believe how well this has worked, compared to a control group.
    2. Deal with forgetfulness:Untitled-1
    3. Carrier bags reused as proofing bags for the now successfully edible, non-crumbly, egg-free, dairy-free, gluten and yeast-free sourdough bread.
    4. Plastic cartons, which hold things like mushrooms, can be used to collect food waste, and as they aren’t too large, they never get smelly and encourage a visit into the garden more regularly.
  5. Check hands – no blisters!!  It’s all surprisingly suitable for the idle.
  6. Make friends with the resident birdsOn robins
  7. Join them for lunch, with your successfully edible, non-crumbly, egg-free, dairy-free, gluten and yeast-free sourdough bread.  Off to do that now!

2 thoughts on “No Blisters!

    1. That is a pity, the Netherlands seems to be at the forefront of ecological activism at the moment – e.g. anti-Monsanto demonstrations and similar. I haven’t actually searched for any permaculture projects in Holland, but there is a growing movement of community gardens in urban centres worldwide. Hold on – going to see what I can find……

      I’ve just ordered some sprouting seeds – a mix that is meant to be good for a detox and menopausal symptoms. Red clover is one of the seeds, forget the rest – but you can grow them indoors, as well as herbs in the windows.


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