“Don’t forget the one and only (No) Talent Show”. Richard reminds the students that they are expected to share some type of skit or performance this coming Friday evening as part of our final night celebrations. These are always a treat and as Richard explains, also a way of demonstrating community. “The idea is how do we entertain ourselves here in the middle of a field without having to go and buy stuff or go to events, we just make an event.”
“C’mon let’s play a game”. One of the best ways to incite spontaneous reaction and get the blood flowing in the morning is to surprise people and this is one of the best games I know of getting some very, very strange sounds out of people. The Super Hero game begins. Basically there are three super hero powers that come with specific actions or moves and an accompanying sound, which is not so important and usually ends up being invented the split second before the action anyway.
[i] Kate Stark, http://www.theland.com.au/news/agriculture/livestock/general-news/graziers-prepare-to-heal-the-earth/
We look at Ridgedale Farm’s grazing plan and working with their goals, resources and the quality of life they are looking for; what is known as the Holistic Context, helping to clearly define what it is they value and what they want to achieve in their Statement of Purpose.
This is what is different, about the courses here at Ridgedale. We are being educated in simple, scalable solutions, from a backyard or balcony to a 300 hectare farm. The interns will be learning more about Holistic Design come Monday as part of the intensive introductory course that will carry on straight after the PDC.
Next up for Sunday is Dryland Water management. “Everything in dryland design is about making water do the work, because that is the limiting factor in a massive way”. Adopting anti-evaporation measures to assist with the retention of water in a dry climate, and finding useful leverage points for effective water design, like placing mounted tin sheeting on the top of hills in the landscape to catch water up high and provide gravity fed systems. Some other key elements to consider when planning for a dryland climate:
- Long thoughtful observation
- Observe unusual events
- Look for starting points
- Points of erosion (river baffling)
- Start at the top of the watershed
- What can you do to store water up high? How can you use gravity?
- Water has the least kinetic energy up high
- Small and Simple
- low risk (won’t break the bank)
- managed with observation and simple interaction
- Slow, Spread and Sink
- Make water work for you
- Move water through the landscape slowly, walking not running, through your site, along the longest edge passively, to effect the most life
- Planning Overflows
- How much work can we make water do?
- Stack functions
- Dam walls + roads
- Roads catching and moving water
- Reassess continually
In a flash back to Ben Falk’s presentation we look at the slow, spread and sink principle, making water work for us to effect the most life forms as possible and moving along the longest edge, not eroding. One of Richard’s inspirations, Darren Doherty advises “You need to be blue (water), before Green (vegetation) before you are Black (soil, Carbon, profitable!)”.
We see an example from a project Richard worked on in Mexico where a major return from the visit was the treatment of the trees in the project’s orange grove. Using the catchment calculations we can quickly work out that each 5 x 5m tree, in a 550ml p/a rainfall area, is capable of collecting somewhere near 16’000 litres. The digging of a basin around the tree and it’s drip line, which is then filled with compost and covered with thick mulch, all on top of the newly installed drip irrigation to (replace the spray system) allows the team there to start “driving a set of exponential reactions”. Establishing groundcovers that will help heal and protect the soil and also provide a form of nutrition to the residents, shaded by understorey, nitrogen fixing trees like Eleagnus, that are providing the fruit trees with all their needs as well as dropping mulch to add to the organic matter being broken down by the new micro-organisms that are moving in. Such enormous benefits all actioned by “very simple stuff, none of it breaks the bank, with no major earthworks.”
“Water is life. Life is mostly water. Just by slowing water down, walking it around, life can happen. It water’s not under control, life will suffer” – R.P.
Such a wealth of information from this man and he is once again bombarded with interesting question from the students about Apricot kernels, perennials we can expect to see becoming more prevalent as planting, particularly Mesquite of which certain cultivars make very good human food. Keep an eye out for that one.
Another massive day down, time for the sauna. See you at sunrise.
Last PDC at Ridgedale for 2014 Runs in Sept
We're here to support you getting the best education possible, details of the upcoming (& final Ridgedale PDC for 2014) can be found here.