Post #3 – Going Bananas

July 5, 2011 – This morning is a beautiful sunny day with clear blue skies, the sun is already high in the sky, approximately at two o’clock and its only 9:00am. Being that we are now only two weeks past the Summer Solstice, which occurred on June 21st the longest day of the year,  the days are still very long for the reason that the Sun does not rise exactly in the East, but rises to the North of east and sets to the North of west allowing it to be higher in the sky and for a longer period of time. 

Today’s focus was to “Chop & Drop” the dead leaves off the remaining banana stocks on the property…I think they are all happier because of it. Their are so many banana stocks growing on this land, put it’s good to see that many of the banana clumps are growing families with large grandmothers, thriving mothers, and new sprouting daughters. some having already fruited and other in the process of developing clumps of bananas.

While doing the Chop & Drop of some of the large banana clumps by the eastern canal, I came across two more large clumps of “Galangal”, it seems to grow easily on this land, as I have now identified growing plants of galangal in fourdifferent areas.

I was also able to see a 18″ soil profile near the house. The top 3-4″ was dark black moist soil, with the remaining being somewhat light brown soil with a lot of rocks. I get a sense that the soil has a lot of rocks in it as I’ve observed rocks throughout the property on the surface. I’ll be interested to dig some holes in various spots on the land to see if the same soil profile appears as that which I am able to see near the house. Regardless, many things seem to be growing very well, including lots of banana, mango and frangipani trees, as well as many other plants.

Along the access road into the property is a row of eight trees which have been recently planted, I’m not certain as to what this tree may be…put I’m very curious to find out. It has a leaf canopy somewhat similar to a papaya tree and has a trunk similar looking to some kind of palm…very curious looking!

On the wildlife front, 6-7 large birds seem to have a nest in the large tree in back of the house. They have long tails maybe 23 cm long, they are a darkish grey and black colour…and very loud…I’m assuming that maybe they have some babies in the nest and they particularly didn’t enjoy having me so close. I also saw a very small yellow and black bird who seemed to enjoy eating the berries off the tree beside the house.

Well it lunch time and it’s beginning to get very hot…plus I’m getting very hungry, so that’s all to share on this day…until next time!

Quote: “Certain things catch your eye, but pursue only those that capture your heart.” – An old Indian saying

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Post #2 – Caring for Planet and Plants

July 3, 2011 – Among today’s focus was to take action on the intention to begin the inventory of the trees and plant presently growing on the property. To facilitate this task, I decided to divide the property into seven grid areas, focusing on grid #1 and #2 for starters.

The amount of food and productive trees in these two areas simply amazed me, I was completely overwhelmed and enthusiastic as to the number of fruit trees thriving. In these two areas alone, which may represent a quarter of the entire property, I was able to identify 75 banana stocks, 20 mango trees,  2 papaya trees, 2 bamboo clumps, and 18 frangipani trees adding a wonderful aromatic scent to the property.

After having waked around and taken the inventory in grid #1 and #2, I then proceeded to focus my attention on plant care and health, by doing a “Chop and Drop” of all the dead leaves on the banana stocks in these two grids. So other than looking a lot better without all those dead hanging banana leaves, the banana stocks have all been mulched and given the opportunity to grow healthier and stronger and to bare an abundance of food to enjoy, as the plants energy can now go to the top of the banana stock and most importantly the banana clump. The pictures below are the “Before & After” doing the Chop & Drop.

Continuing onward on the “Plant Care and Health” theme, I then proceeded to pick up all the rotten mangos around the mango trees in order to avoid attracting pest that may eat away at the fruit still on the trees or harm the tree itself…a little preventive tree health you could say. I also observed that the trucks of the mango trees where planted in mounds with a sunken middle. This is a great planting technique for dry season in particular, as it allows the little amount of rain that does fall during this dry period to be caught in the bold and provide valuable water to the trees’ root system.

I also took time to walk around the land, gazing at all the abundance that Mother Nature has provided with such perfection and ease. On my walk, I was very pleased to come across three clumps of “Galangal”, at this point I simply had to laugh, as I’ve been wanting to plant Galangal in a pot at the house for a week now, the Universe provides again…along with the opportunity to have this plant to cook so many wonderful tasty Thai dishes.

I then proceeded to do a little cleaning, picking up plastic bags as well as plastic and glass bottles. It felt really great to be doing this, it felt to me as the land was not only cleaner, but for me, this symbolized the land being a much more healthier place because of having rid the land of this destructive toxic plastic. One thing I absolutely hate…is PLASTIC.

While doing this, I was also very happy to come across several clay pots scattered all over the property, this was once again a great gift, as the week prior I was out in Chiang Mai “Kam Tiang Tree Market” shopping for clay pots to buy and here they are on the land already…empty and ready to use to grow some new plants.

Oh yeah, talking about new plants, as I was cleaning the rotten mangos under one of the mango trees, I came across a dozen or more little seedlings of various kinds of plant or trees…another illustration of how if you simply trust in your self and the Universe and stop resisting was IS, you can co-create your world in your vision, and live out your destiny. And to add to my story of the appearance of new plants on this day, just beside the steps up to the house was a little Papaya Tree seedling just waiting to be planted …so I guess this week we will need to find this Papaya tree a new home to take root and grow.

Thanks to the neighbours beside the property, they have gotten a machine to level the access road into the property in the last few days. The road is now a little wider and flatter.

Finally, throughout the day a variety of colourfully decorated butterflies flew around the land, I guess they like it here too, what great guest they are to have. It was also a joy to see the bird life flying around and perching about on the trees eating away at the small berries on the trees.

What another amazing day!

Quote: ” It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.” – Henry David Thoreau

Ricky

Post #1 – Discovering the Abundance with Gratitude

June 30, 2011 – Today is day one at the Baan Thai property, as I begin to apply what I have learned over the last 9 months about natural organic gardening as well as about Permaculture. I am very excited to move from my learning through books, DVD’s, the internet, and the sharing of knowledge of my new found friends in Australia, to taking action on the land, here in Amazing Thailand.

It feels so great to arrive on the land, as a sense of tranquility and peace prevails, as I overlook the property and beyond to the majestic mountains in the background. The air is so refreshing in this vibrant natural environment, and being the wet season in tropical Thailand, everything is growing with such vigour. I’m amazed how tall the grass has grown, and how the young trees have reach a height beyond my reach in only three months, as March was the last time I saw them. The picture above is of today, the picture below was taken from the same place, but three months ago, what a difference in such a short time.

It was very pleasing to see that a few of the young Papaya trees had taken root and are now on their way to growing strong and producing wonderful fruit in the near future. However, the most striking observation and discovery on this day was the identification of a dozen  or more Mango trees. This all happened as a very nice surprise, as I was observing the landscape, I came across these large brownish fruit on the ground, upon which I quickly determined that they were a brownish colour for the reason that they had completely rotted.

As I continued to look near by, I saw several others, including a yellow one, that’s when I asked myself, could these be mangos, and as I looked up into the tree, their they were, hanging beautifully from the tree’s branches…Mangos. As I looked around me, to my astonishment I was now surrounded by several mango trees, that are at the present moment baring wonderful, juicy and delicious fruit…and so healthy and organic too. I couldn’t contain my excitement, I found another mango on the ground that was in good condition and I peeled away the skin and took a great big bite…aaaah, how good is that…Mother Nature provides in abundance…and effortlessly!

On this day, I also took some measurements of the property’s boundries, and while doing so I met the neighbours, which included a mother and daughter, the daughters husband or boyfriend I’m not sure, and another gentlemen who seemed to be a friend. The Mother spoke sufficient English for us to communicate. At one point she grabbed my wrist and brought me up the hill to show me her house across the valley up on the hill near by. She offered access to a machine to cut the tall grass and she then started to talk about drilling a well for water, which is of course a crucial element, permanent access to a source of water. She shared that they needed to drill 30 meters to reach water when they drilled for her water well at her house.

A great day it has been as I reflect leaving the property, I feel very excited and enthusiastic of something special unfolding here, the beginning of a great Journey has taken root and is to blossom into a beautiful lotus of creation. I feel so privileged to be able to do this together with Prin, his Father, and Lori Ann…the FUN and sharing we are having now and are going to continue having together is a true blessing…aaaah how I LOVE this Amazing Thailand.

Ricky

Hello Permaculture World!

March 27, 2011 – Post #1

Welcome everyone to “Go Permaculture Now“! This is the home of my own personal journey and journal into learning and practicing Permaculture. So come along and see how empowering, fulfilling and FUN growing your own food, producing your own energy, or even building your own eco-home can really be!

For those of  you who may  have never  heard of  Permaculture,  it basically  means  “Permanent  Agriculture”,  which as  described by Bill Mollison, who coined the phrase, represents the conscious design and maintenance of agriculturally productive ecosystems which have the diversity, stability and resilience of natural ecosystems.

Permaculture is guided by a “Prime Directive”, where the only ethical decision is to take responsibility for our own existence and that of our children – Bill Mollison.

The Ethical Basis of Permaculture are as follows:

1. Care of the Planet

2. Care for the People

3. Fair Share – reducing consumption

This being the first post for “Go Permaculture Now“, I would like to take this opportunity to express my gratitude to a few people who shared and exposed me to this whole concept of Permaculture.

Firstly, to  Bruce Zell,  from Cairns,  Australia, the  homeland of  Permaculture,  who was the  very first  individual to  share with me  this whole  concept of  Permaculture while travelling together on the great Mekong River on our way to Luang Prabang in Laos in December 2009. I also want to express my gratitude to Azriel Cohen for so willingly sharing his knowledge of numerous resources, organizations and references to teachers back in March 2010.

Finally, to Rich Barker, who allowed me to see for myself with my own two eyes what this was really all about when applied, at his Tilligerry Permaculture Research and Education Farm in Anna Bay, New South Wales, Australia in May 2010. Rich fuelled me to not only take responsibility for my own existence but even more importantly…to take ACTION…now!

Permaculture is both my own personal connection to Nature and to be living a healthy and purposeful life. Permaculture also provides me with a great sense of freedom and independence, to be creative to the extent of my own imagination. It is also very empowering and fulfilling to work in concert with Mother Nature.

Quote: Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished.
~Lao Tzu

My Permaculture Design Certificate

March 27, 2011 – Post #2

To get a greater understanding and appreciation for what Permaculture is all about and what it all encompasses, I felt the best way to get started was to acquire my Permaculture Design Certificate (PDC). Many people had shared with me that attending a PDC was often a life altering experience, and that was exactly what it turned out to be for me.

This all came amazingly together one evening while having dinner at the local May Kaidee’s Vegetarian Restaurant in Chiang Mai, Thailand, as attached to the wall of our table was a poster announcing the offering of a PDC in Pai in a month, and just three hours from Chiang Mai besides, what were the chances. This was to be offered at the Tacomepai Farm, and the two week course  (October 7-20, 2010) was to cover all the aspect of Permaculture as outlined in the “Permaculture Design Manuel”, written by Bill Mollison himself. The $500 fee included accommodations and all vegetarian meals which was great.

During the two weeks, we covered the ethics and principles of Permaculture, methods of design, pattern understanding, climate factors, trees and their energy transactions, water, soils, earthworks, Permaculture in various climates, aquaculture, strategies of an alternative global nation, and so much more.

The PDC course is an awesome experience to meet, share and exchange with other people from all sorts of backgrounds, cultures, as well as knowledge and experiences. Plus Tacomepai provided a great environment for not only learning theory, put also taking part in practical activities, from making compost, mud earth bricks for building, garden planting, to making Effective Microorganisms (EM), compost, water purification, and so much more.

Tacomepai is the inspiration and creation of Sandot Sukkaew, who served as an inspiration to us all attending the PDC course. He is referred to as the “Bamboo Man”, because he loves bamboo, and builds everything, and I mean everything out of bamboo. From bamboo accommodations, to baskets, water containers, plates, spoons and cups, as well as many other things.

Sandot also took us all out into the jungle for a few days, which was an awesome experience, as we got to work the bamboo ourselves with the mishate, making our very own plate, spoon and cup to be able to eat and drink while in the jungle. It was also a very liberating/freeing experience to sleep under the starts in the “Jungle” among all the critters…hey just me, my blanket and the Earth I laid my body down on.

It was also so very impressive how Sandot and his men found all the food  and water we need for our meals from the jungle itself, they knew the jungle like the back of their hand it seemed. It was also interesting to observe how they enjoyed themselves so much in the jungle, it was if they felt more at home in the jungle.

Being surrounded by all sorts of bamboo, the were constantly working at making something with it, from contraptions to cook the rice, to baskets, to rope for tying rice, and even musical instruments, yeah that’s right, we had our very own bamboo jungle ensemble performance during our lunch to keep us entertained, as if we weren’t already all taken back by this whole jungle experience. Ta cap it all off, they took us to  a waterfall to play around and cool off before heading back to the farm.

My PDC experience I felt served its intended purpose, which was to allow me to gain a basic understanding of Permaculture and to serve as a foundation for me to build upon. I would certainly recommend this to anyone wanting to reconnect with Nature and who wishes to take responsibility for themselves while on this planet we call Earth, and looking to live a more self-sustaining kind of lifestyle.

Quote: Adopt the pace of nature:  her secret is patience.  ~Ralph Waldo Emerson