Thursday, February 28, 2008

Ahoy there!

Time for some lifeboat building...

It's a term Richard Heinberg uses to describe part of the solution for peak oil. People preparing their own homes, gardens and communities for peak oil.

The main gist of the idea is a) to reduce consumption and b) to produce locally.

Producing locally doesn't mean just food production either, it also includes; energy, electricity, water, firewood, mulch, seeds, animal fodder... your list depends on what you have going on in your own backyard.

There is a lot we can all do in our own realms to help relieve the pressure on the bigger systems that are affecting and being affected by energy use and related climate change.

It's about moving from being a dependant consumer to a responsible producer. Moving away from big centralised systems to more local decentralised systems that are more robust and resilient to impact.

It's also a time to head out into the garden

So, machete in hand, we've started reclaiming the garden from the weeds, the summer growth and the pests... and it's time to start getting ready for our peak growing season.

Here in the subtropics winter is the best time to grow food, sunny days, not too much rain, minimal pest problems, and it's more pleasant being out in the garden - less humidity.

We will grow pumpkins, potatoes, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, zucchini, eggplant, tomatoes, herbs and salad stuff over winter.

We'll also get ready for our coffee harvest in the middle of the year and we'll plant out lots of kale, spinach etc and enough for the chooks too.

It's important to remember to include all the mouths you have to feed, chooks, worms, goats etc in your planting planning.

Coming up to Autumn it's a real time of transition in the garden. It's cooler, egg production has slowed, some of the older chooks probably won't make it through winter, weed growth has slowed, leaves are changing colour, more shade in the garden...

It's also time for compost making and compost harvesting from last spring. We have so much good quality compost now and with the huge in ground worm farm working at maximum capacity, we've got humus coming out of our ears.

May/June is the best time here in this garden - it looks a treat. We've organised some tours of permaculture groups then.

Like most of Queensland, we've had a lot of rain this year already and the garden looks lush and green.

Plans for winter also include;
organising our solar hot water service
exploring PV panel options and prices
getting louvres and fly screens installed on the southern side of the house to allow more ventilation
building a propogation area
drying and preserving more food.

Last night we had pumpkin curry (pretty much all from the garden) and tonight we have spaghetti bolognaise - damn fine!

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Our plans....

Firstly I guess my plans for this blog - this blog is about poweringdown and lifeboat building.

Poweringdown refers to using less power, less energy - most commonly applied to a whole region, or town or even a household I guess. Making all the changes necessary to cut back on energy use... and that doesn't just apply to electricity. It has to do with pretty much everything in our lives; food production, transportation and mobility, infrastructure, planning, land use, food supply networks, goods and services, education, health, communication, land stewardship, finances, economics, employment... everything. And it's all these things that form the framework for our lifeboat building...

Lifeboat has to do with an individual building their own lifeboat - their rescue package, their life saver. Preparing your home - looking at water, energy, waste management, what you buy, what you bring into your home. And I must say I still want comfort, quality and a good life! It's not about living in a cave, in the dark and eating raw meat.

Lifeboat building is also about preparing your garden - food production, permaculture, creating a food forest in your backyard, learning new skills, relearning old skills, sharing, knowing who your neighbours are, be part of your community, building resilience in your community. Knowing what to do and who to contact when you need them.

So, in a very small nutshell, that's powerdown and life boat building.

This blog will focus mainly on my home, my family, my garden and my community and the actions I'm taking to prepare for a future in which we not only survive, but thrive.

So our current situation is;
we have a small timber home on 2.25 acres in the hinterland of Queensland's Sunshine Coast. We have a composting toilet, we only use rainwater, my husband works part-time and I'm developing my own part-time work from home job.

We grow a lot of our own food; we have vegie patches, food forests, coffee plantation (arabica variety), chooks, worm farms, compost systems, etc etc etc.

We try to have one car between us - bit hard and my husband's had to buy a motorbike to commute to work. We buy only organic food and products.

Our plans include;
building a second dwelling on the property - a studio - I hope it will be able to be strawbale because I just love them, but at least hopefully some adobe feature walls internally.
converting our organic garden (we bought it as an established organic garden) into a permaculture garden (making it much more user-friendly, practical and LESS WORK!)
we have a solar hot water service on order
we plan to have a solar PV system in place by the end of the year
growing more and more food each year for ourselves
learning about dehydrating and preserving food
learning a lot more skills that will improve the quality of our lives

So, that's where we are at and a few dot points of ideas we have for the future. There are so many people doing the same type of thing - it's great.


Welcome to my blog...

well, more an online diary of what I'm up to and how we are personally preparing to live more sustainably, like so many other bloggers around the world.

I hope this becomes a record of what we're doing so I can look back on it and hopefully marvel at how far I come and how much we've achieved...

One of the main influences in my recent years has been Richard Heinberg's book - Powerdown, hence the name of this blog.

See you soon,