Diego Footer on Permaculture Based Homesteads - from the Eat Your Dirt Summit
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My permaculture story.

Posts: 60
Location: Australia
home care building woodworking
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Hi this is my story.

I was born deaf and struggling to breath,
My parents where told I would not go to university I would not have love,
Well I did not hear it.
in me I alway knew that nothing can stop me, At 2.5 years old I figured out how to hear, at 6 My breathing became better than most.
My senses were in the 97 percentile, I was strong for my age and several years advanced in speed.

at age 7, I was number 1 in my age group at Christian scouts in NSW.
then at age 10, After being bullied by both teacher and student and emotionally/verbally unable parents, And being missunderstood by the school.
I had the physical ability of a 14 year old. when Nobody would listen I ended up push back at groups of kids who would steal from me and cheat in sports, and break my stuff, and undermine my every achievement.
I was given sedatives and SSRI. for 15 years. I was drugged and learned that what I want does not matter, I learned to serve everyone else and that expressing my own needs was wrong, I learned that I had to follow everyone else and it was to be expected to be hurt and used.

I may have been using a hammer before I could speak, But it was not until 2019 I started permaculture.
I had spent many months, helping My grandfather, fix up his farm, Restoring tools, killing pests. having my 25th birthday as a family working bee.
Spending time with him, and His vast and stress fill problems, From boundary to cancer, Osteoporosis gout, One eye. Diabetes, UTI, Scammer, People after inheritance. I just loved my Grandad, and I hated anyone who cared about his money or wanted anything from him. Helping him sell his farm and move to a penthouse to be close to each other.

I had a call from work, we need you to learn to use drones and take photos for the company and Setout a shed on a farm.
So I did it, but for some reason the first time in my life these two crows swooped me and we screeching at me. When My eyes hit the ground two four leaf clovers appeared in sight.
Then I went to Uni, and I got this call during a Lab, from dad to go to the hospital.
My grandfather was in intensive care, My Uncle (you know that uncle who you do not invite to weddings!) was staying at my house so when I was forced to go home. I got out of the car and looked to the sky and the biggest shooting star Appeared, It came to me to go to a bible study with men whom I am the youngest who are mostly doctors, and military, and one painter and one district Judge. I went there and got some relief.
I got up Bought cakes, and things to comfort family at the hospital as well as something for the nurses.
and when I got at the hospital he was gone.
Everyone In my family was hollow, like the world lost part of its existence. that life was 3/4 filled. except those who cared about money and inheritance, they did not care if he was buried or yet.

So in the week after I sat in the backyard sad, and Looked at where the grass did not grow, the straggly trees, the weeds, the misplaces rocks.
and It just came to me to transform the garden, which since the neighbour on all sides sold. all the neighbours trees where cut down and the birds where gone. Birds were important to grandad. He had hundreds of birds come to the farm at any given moment by his windows.
I wanted to bring them back.

So I with zero experience in gardening let alone permaculture!
immediately, cut back all the trees all the shrubs. racked up all the leaves.
Went to the front court yard dug into the clay garden with only weeds and building waste an a 4 aggapanthus. mixing and covering it with leaves.
and hosing it in.

then I pulled up the agapanthus. and intuitively pulled them apart propagating them and letting them callus, yet not letting the roots get dry.
I looked at the stones and not knowing how to do stone masonry, Made them into blocks, And then used made gravel from the leftovers, I dug a trench and then placed the gravel and then for some reason though hose it. So I did, then I built the wall and put in wedges from other stones. Each stone felt right in each place. I gabbed the prunings and placed them behind the stone wall I built and put dirt on top and then made that into a compost. this was a compost rock wall under a date palm that For some reason in my head was a dog that needed to be scratched. this date palm was tipping over so much dad though it would fall over and die. no grass grew under it. the bits from it went into the compost.
these big branches and these stones I for some reason just put on this slope Because I though Its a ungrowable clay slope, ? dam of something!
then I grabbed a post hold picker and put potatoes in this clay? it just felt right!
I grabbed a dead palm tree and grabbed sticks and leaves and food waste and filled a wheelie bin and later it rained to fill up the wheelie bin.
I then grabbed pitchfork and went stuck it into the grass I am like yeah aeration those lawn people in movies be all about that so I aerated. I though I am getting air into it!
My dad came home and was so angry at me he made me sleep on the deck.
a couple weeks later Dad told me to get rid of the mess in the bin, I aerated the lawn again and poured out this stinky black sludge over the lawn and hosed it into the lawn to try and get rid of it.
the world around me Became like both canvas and brush.
I saw results so I started learning. I spent hour after hour and it all made sense, I could learn what people spent 20 years on in a matter of days.
I spent 1000s of hours learning, and stumbling upon Geoff lawton, Christina jones, Elaine ingham.  I learnt about permaculture.
Soon I could take apart a tree like it was a jigsaw puzzle,
I could see how plants like each other or did not.
A forest became a collection of fibres,
stones became a bunch of grains,
The world became bigger better richer,
by 2020 the agapanthus propagated and propagated ... 122 flowers.
Native birds and torny frogmouths nested in the back yard,
Blue tongue lizards became friendly,
Listening to bird sounds, Became like learning foreign words from foreign music.

In 2018 I met this girl, My first impression of her was her laughing at me saying at least its not 100 families killed.
then the next time I met her I she became drunk at a function and put chocolates from the hosts home into her purse.
I Both liked this girl and was annoyed by her,
Unfortunately she kept on asking me out me telling her no and she crying, And I was Unable to express how I felt. For 2 years waited an entire week for the chance to explain that I liked her But the logically direction of the relationship would not make her happy because of the dynamic of our personalities would lead into a co-dependent relationship. But I do like you and enjoy your company. I want you to find the right person.
She was also extremely popular, wealthy, and the front of stage girl.

Her father was a leader of an environment sustainability Group something I had become extremely passionate about in 2019. I joined. and Left. Mainly because the daughter dynamic made things hard. but also because he fed me fermented vegetarian food, with curds and whey, came up behind me and put his hands on my shoulders without permission, and also refused to give me unfermented drink.
I had to drink water from a tap.
Also I was really annoyed by the lack of well anything happening to do anything.

After 2 years of waiting and trying to tell her my explain to her my feeling and reasons.
I spoke to her and told her How I felt, and Told her that I just want her to be comfortable. And to tell me if she wants me to do anything so she is comfortable Name it and it will be done.
She told me she had a boyfriend, Man I was relieved and happy for her, and then she told me she never wants me to look at her again.
and for 9 months bar a couple uncontrollable accidents I kept my word.

In November 2019. I fell asleep and could not get out of bed for a week, I had this terrible dream, I was stuck between two trucks, then another where I was looking for my sister in a world of glass where everything became inaccessible I could see but not go, I was all alone always in doors. Everything was empty no shop owners. Nothing I kept searching for my sister but it was a world were outside was darkness and inside was empty and always enclosed. then I had a dream where I worked at my church for 6 months. then I had a dream I went to UNI and was destroyed but from my destruction, People finally listened and this brought about goodness that flowed on and that the people who hurt me and attacked me would suffer, and stab each other and fight with each other and the lies and recklessness and negligence be exposed. and My belt buckle and that of my father and bother would break.

Every dream happened. I did amazing things from those dreams.
The church started at cutting paper and grew bigger and bigger constantly, nothing to big or small. Nothing was hard I had renovated a farm and it was not hard because I was fuelled with love for my grandfather.

The most interesting thing was when the church asked me to remove 400 shrubs(hedge bushes), And I pulled them out of the ground and shredded them with my bare hand and feet and ripped them up so small that in 4-6 months they broke up into the soil.
they asked me to organise storage rooms, and renovate a bakery into a charity,
they asked me to deliver meals to people in need the half dozen people involved 5k of meals.
they asked me to fix electronic equipment, I had no idea but as soon as I touched it I knew how to fix it.
they asked me restore furniture and stack and move 700 chairs in perfect alignment weighing 2 tons multiple times, they had me do landscaping, kill spiders, snakes, remove tree stumps, build compost systems, fix toys in kids rooms, make 138 Fluro lights into LEDs, patch and paint walls, Clean everything, organise props from musicals, pain stages. then the church became about controlling me, and who could use me and knowing where I was I became property to be used and exploited. when an executive minister felt insecure because of me because I could do what they could not and was this magical creature to them that could do more work better and faster than 17 people. They tried to control me in horrible ways.

And each dream that I has was lived out much the same,

each experience was worse than the last, and the growth in myself harder each time.

the most important thing I learnt in my life has been that I am worthy of being loved. I
People bring me plants for be to heal.

Permaculture has been a way for me to learn skills,
And when I sit and look at plans things come to me, I can understand and Invent things in extreme speed, I look at something and its like I am absorbing information and understand!
I have all these skills that just come to me and people can not understand how I can do it or how its possible but they know because they see me do it and they see the results.

This is the brief story.
But in short permaculture has been a tool for me to transform not just the environment but myself also!

Posts: 349
Location: Japan, roughly zone 9b - wet and warm climate
hugelkultur kids forest garden trees cooking woodworking
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It sounds like you have walked a long and arduous road to get to this place. Here you are now, and I hope you find solace and inspiration in this community if not others!
Alex Moffitt
Posts: 60
Location: Australia
home care building woodworking
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L. Johnson wrote:It sounds like you have walked a long and arduous road to get to this place. Here you are now, and I hope you find solace and inspiration in this community if not others!

This forum is a source of community!
Which is a very important thing for me!

The story of gardening was my first attempt in 1 afternoon and the reasoning described was my thinking at the time, I know the reasons now.

I know
that I was able to see the rock cleavages, and that I had seen people build walls before in the history books I read so many of when I was a child.

I had seen before people putting mulch into gardens before.
I had watch a video in school on plant propagation 10 years prior.
I had walked in nature an seen sticks and leaves decompose in ponds.
I had seen slopes without sticks and rocks be dead and eroded away, yet plants grow where sticks and rocks were present,
I had know potatoes how potatoes grew.
I could see the dead weight on the date palm hold it back,

I can explain that what I did was even more significant, because the rock wall acts to hydrate, and cool down the garden, with the tree above it and the black locust that volunteered it self, it became a way to cool down hydrate, at nitrogen, and have better airflow and allow for birds to use the black locust for there benefit,

me putting the rocks, sticks and potatoes, meant that organic matter started to become captured, and the potatoes added beneficial bacteria and fungi to the clay then they grew died and were worm food, each life cycle improving the ground. then because of birds 3 acacias started to grow in the location,
because I cut back all the trees the grew back better and stronger, the organic matter improved the soil.
aerating the lawn and adding organic matter meant that the roots could penetrate, and the grass increased hydration of the ground. a callistemon appeared in the front courtyard from birds, and Chinese silver grass from neighbours, was able to take seed,
the rock wall also added benefit of lizards whom ate slugs.
Because of the huge improvement to my father backyard he started mulching his lawn and also began composting in a vermiculture system.

I grew excited myself from the experience,
I started
hunting in the bush for Plants to add to my own garden, Lucene, leucaena, various fungis, moringa,
Obtaining valerian and comfrey from networks I had to develop to get resources,
I used large areas of  public bushland to  practice and train and as my own personal laboratory .  

growing various  legumes on bushes and trees,  moving branches and rocks to  enhance soil.
cutting back lantana,  and making brush piles and hugel mounds,
making  living trellises,  
practicing grafting on invasive species,
Recycling waste people illegally dumped into  the ecosystem to help the ecosystem.

Applying years of physics, engineering, chemistry, bush craft, scouts,
the 20 years I spent working renovating houses with my Dad,

All the skills I spent my life learning were able to be applied and merged to form better skills,
I became addicted and I spent 1000s of hours learning and studying, sometimes going to work without sleep because I spent the whole night studying, any learning resource I could get access to, and often this was online university courses on agronomy, Plant biology,
At work Surveying became a chance to learn, Every plant, every tree, every garden, every dug out trench a source to learn,
Digging a hole looking for a survey mark a chance to learn to read soil,
Cutting lines in the bush in 40 degree heat for 8 hours straight, A chance to learn,

To recover from the negative experiences from prior,
In 2021 I went to go work on Kilcowera cattle station. Where the station manager was not used to someone working 16 hours a day and I not used to someone who would take a full 30 minutes for lunch.

after this experience,
I went back to work, started at a better university, Got promoted, And given multiple new areas of responsibility, got a training plan for future advancement.  

Used to tools I restored from my grandfather farm, to Build an incredibly over engineered master piece of a garden for myself.

Got a neighbour who is the lab manager for a soil engineering/ecology/testing company.

the company I worked at branched out into ecology and solar panel farms,

I started making extra money landscaping on weekends,

But I also started making money designing and building passive systems to solve problems and remove work .

He repaced his skull with glass. So you can see his brain. Kinda like this tiny ad:
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