Sunday, April 26, 2015

An introduction

My first post about perfectionism was more just so I replaced the previous test post.
I probably should write an actual introduction type post.
I really consider the main site to be my preferred way to communicate as I have time to be more specific about what I want to say. But here I can rabbit on a bit more.

So maybe a who am I? or what is the blog or even the site even the physical site about?

Well the Wallaby's Rock Garden is a gardens in the South West of Victoria, near Warrnambool at the end of the Great Oceans Road.
It's about 20 acres.
It is my main project, my art, my business and my home.
It is my demonstration site for sustainability, self sufficiency, technology. The self sufficiency is pretty good. I can be self sufficient with electrical power, cooking gas, water, food (even meat). The property is pretty big but it is not a farm as such, it is a garden. The primary focus on the place is to be beautiful, natural and simple. The initial simplicity may not be beautiful in the eyes of all beholders but hopefully over time it will become more functional, more integrated with nature and more artistic and beautiful.

The blog is about permaculture or more direct stuff at the gardens. What is being done, workshops etc.
Also general ramblings that are directly related.
I'm more likely to put refined, useful info, eg how to make a rocket stove, on the site, though I'll probably write an initial version in the blog.

So who am I?
Andrew. Hi :-)
My background is engineering. I am an environmentalist and practitioner of permaculture as it makes the most sense to me from an engineering and scientific viewpoint. It makes the best use of resources to pay attention to all the inputs and outputs of a system.
Making ourselves sick from pollution is not very sensible. Burning up your top soil and water supply is not a good long term investment.

A large part of this life is managing health. From previous work I have migraines and ringing in my ear.
But I've gone from permanent headaches to occasional ones. The ringing is not that annoying when I don't need to filter an office-worth of noise out.
Overall my health is pretty darn good. People usually underestimate my age quite a bit.

To an extent the gardens are a game.
I try to be completely self sufficient.
I know your supposed to be all 'do it together' and work on the 'invisible infrastructure' and I do, but I like doing stuff alone and my medical issues and general way of doing things mean I am comfy alone.
I try to avoid fossil fuel use, pretend the effects of a post peak oil world have hit. I use hand tools, scythes, brace drills, hand saws, pickaxes, pedal power, animals etc preferentially.
I try to use material from on site, reuse as much as possible or use 'found' materials or others castoffs,
Part of the game is to try optimise human health. Try to think about the best diet, exercise, use of the mind, ergonomics.

So where another may use an excavator to dig a swale I'll do it over time with a pickaxe. Instead of natural building using 20 people over a week I'll consider how to make out of earthbags carried by one person and the overall construction able to occur over a longer time.
It might not always be the most sensible or easiest way to do things. but it's part of the game.
I'm not hard and fast with any of it, but it is the ideal.

But there is a lot of 'Do it Together' I want to achieve.

As things progress I want to work with schools.
I want to work with local businesses.
I want to help connect local sustainability groups

The longer term aim for the gardens is an arts retreat.

One description that struck me at a David Holmgren workshop was that institutional memory and culture was one of the main ways culture persists. I want the Wallaby's Rock Garden to be something that persists and passes on a positive and valuable culture for the future. More than just me, more than just a physical location.