Saturday, March 5, 2016


We have said goodbye to the merrie month of February again - a fine month indeed, everything green as can be, light increasing, warm sun, planting trees time, pruning, seeing the life gearing up to the spring energy before the summer sleep. (apologies to those in more northern climes, I really don't mean to rub it in, as February can be pretty grim up north, as my brother in Snowdonia does remind me of wetnesses beyond the dreams of our geese....)

Funny, everything seems in hand this year so far - things moving along in time, all booked up for the March PDC (permaculturedesigncourse) and just a couple of spaces left for the April gardening and food-forest course. And my big two-yearly cut of all the cleared hillsides finished.....(I'll replace this photo today when I take a better one)

.... cutting early this time, mid-winter instead of spring, to let the cut material have time to partially break down before the summer, so minimising a fire, should one come.  Also allows the grasses to grow and seed before summer. Cutting is accompanied by planting, and planting here on the clay hillsides, sun-baked for 4 summer months with no rain, requires swales to allow a protected microclimate.  Then plantings on the swales. Stop me if you've heard this one before...!

Look what Jim's done to the outside-kitchen space....

Here' "another green picture" (my brother's been telling me there are too many green pictures on the blog), which doesn't look like anything logical if I don't point things out, but this is the "badlands" which are getting properly un-badded these last couple of years - they used to be semi-desert, since many years ago a series of floods stripped the top-soil away.

Positive feedback of human intervention has created new soil, which initiates a virtuous cycle of building fertility. People often tend to underestimate nature's creative and regenerative power, especially when guided with action based on.understanding. And of course, trees!

 Many more trees this year, and more variety too.    I'm no longer surprised how each year I can't understand my ignorance of the previous year.  This has been going on for many years now, so that I have little doubt I shall have the same thoughts in another year's time.  Learning, the opening of the mind, is a many-wonderful thing, and without doubt I have learned more in the nine years I have lived here than in the rest of my adult life. More useful stuff anyway.

The work we have done here in the last 9 years is a little dot, a tiny capsule of regeneration, We don't have much in the way of resources at our disposal, but it is something at least.  My friend Esther just today sent me a link the this project,, in Brazil, which is wonderful to see, and great to see the vision connecting to the surrounding area and drought-stricken family land-owners...  It's humbling and inspiring - take a look, if you've time.

(I just found this pic, and feel the need to share it.... Hi Katie!....)

Why is this Blog entitled "Time"?    Recently was announced the detection of Einstein's 100-years-ago- predicted Gravity Waves.  The final untested prediction of Albert's general relativity. He said they would never be detected, because we would never make anything sensitive enough to be able to detect them. Well, he was wrong about that, and they found the waves. I'm no science-freak, and really dislike the mentality that it holds all the answers, but it has its awesome achievements, and this is one.
A century ago, and he somehow connected to the pattern of the universe, to predict the existence of something so esoteric in the make-up of the fabric of reality.     Einstein was a wise man, not corresponding to the usual image of the cold, arrogant image of scientists.   It is revealing how he referred to his creative years as the time he was in touch with "the old one" and how in later years he felt he had lost this connection.

Time, connection...      It's an observation, that when I talk about planting acorns, or even trees in general, for example walnut trees, which will not bear fruit for about 10 years, people get sort-of detached.     I don't know, somewhere most people are not prepared to go...    Is it a symptom of detachment?  In nature, connectedness means the future is intimately linked to the present. I have a contention that nature inhabits the whole of timescape, just as we inhabit the landscape. The future is not a disconnected "maybe" as we see it as we cling on to our immediate or short-term concerns, but part of it's reality.  I am not saying that nature knows what is going to be, but that it is part of the pattern of the timescape, and that its awareness inhabits the future, as it does the past and present.
Here is our little river, the Cerca, this week....

... it's a metaphor..  As for us, if we refuse to look past our noses in this timescape, we are as if in a fog where we can expect to fall off the next cliff.

... I do know lemmings don't really do running over cliffs on purpose...  But, we all know that the future will come to pass. We know, that whether we like it or not, at least, in all probability, we will be around in 5, 10, 20, 40 years' time (ok, I guess I'm an optimist, but in 40 years I hope to be celebrating my 100th), and yet most people I know still think it's a bit weird to plant a tree which you won't really be able to notice for 5 or 10 years.  I do try to point out that time actually passes, things actually come to pass, and 10-years'-time now will actually be the present, in 10 years.  Here is a nice Einstein quote: "There is a way of thinking about reality, in which the distinction between past, present and future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion".

We have had the pleasure of having Matt and Anna and son Oren here for the last month, and I must show Matt's home-made crucible and home-made bellows, in which he made his own bronze forgings out of nothing but a small hole in the ground, lined with clay and filled with charcoal (also home-made), with his own mix of copper and a little tin.containing metal he could find.

First make a shape in wax, then surround with soft clay, dry the clay then melt out the wax, then fill the cavity with the melted metal and let cool!

 Just for fun, and a wonder to us and the children...

Fun.  That is what nature has all the time. Life is fun: it is deep inside and notseparate from what is serious.

Another theme:  Nature is neither competitive or altruistic, it simply does what works. Both involve connection and mutual balance, and participation in the dance of life, the dance of energy. Fun.

Até Jà!


  1. Obrigado pelas palavras! Sendo todos nós eternos nesta dança cósmica, sou um novato no que toca às lides da terra, mas é reconfortante constatar que todos nós aprendemos muito ao simplesmente estarmos na natureza, em nós. :)

  2. Just to let you know that we love the blog and that it is a big inspiration for us here in 'El Paraiso', Andalucia.
    THANK YOU!!!!!!
    UN abrazo de Marc and Ana