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Preparing the ground for more flowering

It’s been a busy month since birthing The Cumquat and Land Cultures. There has been much late winter, early spring labouring under an occasional sun.

With another family we planted out chestnuts and walnuts on common land for the next generations.

Each of us contributing in our own way.

We planted trees, and we grafted medlar scions onto hawthorns.

We attempted this several years ago in the little forest near home with no success.

With a little more understanding we are trying again, and are willing the sap to flow into these fruiting branches to make more fruit possible.

With food forest work the natural order of things to follow is bee work. The boys have been making new housing for native bees.

Now we’re awaiting the warmer weather for the occupation.

Community gardening has been an ongoing priority for several years now. This winter we hosted two pruning workshops with Ian Clarke, a knowledgeable tree elder.

The pruned cuttings were cycled home and sat in the snow,

before being made into biochar, to feed back the flowering earth.

Each day the boys are involved in what Gertrude Stein once called the processes of circularity.

It has been a great relief for Zeph to be outside the strictures and inflexibilities of institutional life. Removing fences at a community garden working bee is not just a metaphor.

He has begun work on a critical-creative research project of his choice — The history of street art. For two hours every day he reads, writes and explores this world. And we’ve been on excursions to help better understand this world.

For country kids the city offers colour and excitement, as well as an understanding of the context for how urbanisation makes ill the world’s worlds. Such illness, such an interruption to life, is the very medium for graffiti writers and street artists who are not well-adjusted to a profoundly sick society.

On another day the boys take old tip-discarded timber and build a new bridge over one of the swales in the garden. Zeph taught his younger brother to use tools and calibrate his eyes and arms to the task of making the home garden more functional and productive.

Zeph has moved into the Cumquat. Imagine being 14 years old and living in the little home you co-built! Each morning between 7-9am he works on his street art research project and during the day he heads out to work with various skilled friends in our community. On organic and permaculture farms, at light earth building sites, stone retaining wall constructions, selling local produce at a market stall, and learning traditional restoration work on an old church have all been part of his experience over the past two weeks since he left school. 

And we’ve been sharing our skills too. Here Meg teaches the art of fermenting grains: sourdough bread and rejuvelac making.

And for the first time we have been eating our own oranges throughout the winter. Drying the peel to grind up and use to flavour fruit bread or using them as fire lighters to start our wood oven.

Most of the world’s worlds are flowering places, and these places that flower nurture and keep well the communities of the living. That this understanding is absent from the teaching that occurs in schools is why our culture is involved in permanent forms of destruction. To be involved in the sacred realm of buds and bees, seasons and cycles is what we want to pass on to our kids. And to further grow our understanding of what keeps life flowering, fruiting and making more life possible.


  1. db says:

    As always guys, loved your post! So cool to see Woody & Zeph learning and growing up with each other. I can see our Zeph, though only 7, with his creative mind and thirst for actual, tangible & applied, factual knowledge starting to struggle in a conventional system geared solely towards numbers, words and benchmarks. We're tossing up what that will mean for our future as a learning family and your journey is always inspirational!
    With love,

    ps – loving the Land Cultures film – I've just signed up to be a leader at our local Cub Scouts (where Zeph has started) and I'm going look at how we can work that into the broad base of activities that Cubs allows for. Last week as part of their "World Conservation Badge" we looked at Climate Change, fossil fuels, renewables and local regenerative agriculture as one part of a solution. All of the Cubs wrote letters in opposition to a local Coal mine in Wyong (Wallarah 2) that is currently up for public comment. So cool to see the young kids "getting it".

  2. Permapoesis says:

    Thanks David, we so support you in your own Z's "thirst for actual, tangible & applied, factual knowledge," because this is what makes him feel alive. So glad Land Cultures landed in your world. Great to see your home projects coming along. Much love to you all. P

  3. SHON says:

    Nice, lovely and informative. Thank you!

  4. Tony says:

    Wonderful for you to live your life this way. But pkease stop taking the fruit off our Feijoa tree behind Cliffys next the Wombat nursery as we wait all year for them and then yoh come along and take them from our tree. The tree is on private property as are many of the trees you pick fruit from around town

  5. Permapoesis says:

    Dear Tony, Meg and our child Woody were asked not to harvest feijoas (largely fallen and unwanted) in the very publicly used carpark behind Cliffy's last year. We have purchased several feijoas from Jeff's (next door nursery) over the years but none have ever fruited. As a result of Jeff's request, we haven't been and won't be back to harvest fruit there even if they're once again left to rot. Your comment here, almost a year later, is bizarre and aggressive. We are a family who have planted hundreds of fruit producing plants in the shire for public consumption over the past several years and will continue to plant more. Your spying on us has obviously caused you to turn a blind eye to this, while your other eye has fabricated an incredible lie – that we take from private trees. The way we live obviously offends and challenges you. We're very sorry for you on this point.

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