We've been living out on our land at Kauroa for ten years now, but I became interested in permaculture a couple of years before that. After a talk about it at the Meteor during an eco-festival, a number of us signed a piece of paper with our names and contact details, and for once, something actually came of it! A few enthusiasts organised field trips here and there to permaculture properties, adobe brick building sites, the Taitua Arboretum which, at that stage, was still owned by John and Bunny Mortimer, and many other inspiring places.
However, we moved west of Hamilton, first renting, then onto Secret Waters at Kauroa, and the Hamilton people formed the Hamilton Permaculture Trust and became involved in establishing community gardens, and then the Sustainable Backyard at the Hamilton Gardens, and our involvement gradually dropped away as we spent our weekends building our garage, our house (still incomplete today) and working our land.
I got Bill Mollison's permaculture books out of the library, but not having an academic bent, found them difficult to read - in fact I spent more time sleeping on the books than reading them. I would hear about Permaculture Design Certificate courses and wished I could attend one, but they were always 12 - 14 day intensive live-in courses and quite apart from the fact that I was homeschooling my sons, I just couldn't even begin to think of being away from home and family for that long. Nor did I think I could cope with such intensive learning. So I drifted along, reading bits and pieces, trying to take permaculture ideas into account when we worked on our land, but not having a design or real plan.
Now I have been made redundant from my work as an unschooling mother, and wanted to work more on our land. My first step was to work our vegetable garden more, to learn more about growing food. next, I did a night class on beekeeping with a woman who turned out to be a long lost friend. Marcia inspired me and gave me the confidence to actually go out and get a hive and a swarm.
Then I heard that the Hamilton Permaculture Trust was going run a PDC on a modular basis in 2010 - a couple of days a month sounded a lot less tiring and a lot more convenient, especially as a number of the modules were to held in the Raglan area. I enrolled as soon as I had ascertained that none of the modules fell on WOMAD weekend - I wouldn't miss that for anything! I'm half way through now - should have started writing about it sooner, but decided I wanted to record this journey anyway, and this seems as good a place as any!