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Natural farm la scoscesa Italy
Ok, I've finished my PDC, online with Geoff Lawton, so I guess here is where i'll start to post some photos. explain what I'm doing and share my views.
First things first. I'll share the design I submitted for the PDC project

I'll start from sharing the design to post some stuff I've been doing in the past year, and what I'll start now. A friend, Justin Rhodes, aka big brother, once wrote that after taking a PDC you have to decide what you want to do, but it's clear it all takes to jumping the line. I'm going to jump the line
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Description: permaculture project design natural farm la Scoscesa
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Ciao Lorenzo, congratulations and thank you very much for sharing your project and your enthusiasm. Grande, cazzo!

I live and farm in Central Italy as you do, in a slightly higher location (580 MSL) with a similar mediterranean climate zone (we are almost in the same bioregion!), and I have to say that it has been a real pleasure to read your project also because of our geographical closeness.

I can offer you more than my best wishes: I offer you Prunus domestica ssp. Insititia trees. It is a plum cultivar, close relative to the “Ramassin della val Bronda” registered in the Slow food's Ark of taste. My family has always had these kind of tree in the yard in the last 60 years, and they are one of the most suitable fruit plants for permaculture. I don't want to hijack your post, so I will skip any other information and I will go straight to the point: I have some 40 or 50 young trees in my nursery (1, 2 and 3 years old), if you want them they are yours to take, NO MONEY INVOLVED. If you are interested in those trees you can contact me via email at raoulvandenberg@yahoo.it for any information.

Congratulations again

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Great work on your project.
You are in beautiful country and I look forward to following your progress.

Thanks Raoul and James, for your kind words, and offering to share plants and knowledge. I would like you to feel free and write on this thread suggestions, impressions, feedback. I'll put up some new posts as things start to move on. The next months will be crucial for some decisions and hopefully we'll get to it in the fall.
thank you THANK YOU
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An update from the farm La Scoscesa, some notes on dry walls and the way we've worked till now

what is better than passing sometime reflecting on stones

While having finished my PDC I've had to slow down a bit, waiting for a few things to roll in place to start actual design, lets say it's a bit a lack of money that has taken me to a halt. But I haven't despaired and done what I can, with, its the case to say, my own bare hands.

So this last weekend I went to La Scoscesa and decided to take action, in my way.

I've a huge part of the boundary of the farm which is made up of dry stone retaining walls.

Photo 1 this is an example

First thing we learn is to favor access to our land so thats where I started from. Last year I was waiting to enroll for the Online PDC with Geoff Lawton, as I have explained in other posts, so I started working on some small sections of wall, just to get the hands on the rocks.

One thing that I have learned from repairing or building dry stone walls, is that when I was a kid I used to build constantly small dwellings, towers or walls with flat stones, they were big enough for a mouse, and today this helps me so much. I guess many of us, or at least thats what I like to think don't want to feel lonely on this one, when youngsters passed hours building stuff it was a form of free Lego that gave more liberty and enhanced more creativity.

This is the first section I worked on last year, right side of the access point to the upper section of the farm. The big issue in some cases is just to clean up the site, as can be seen in the first photo.

Photo 2 there is a wall here

The next photo's show how I intervened. Cleaning out the overgorwn trees, collecting fallen stones, and preparing the base for reconstruction

Satisfied by the first results, I moved on, concentrating on other small chores, cutting and collecting wood. And this spring I concentrated on the reapir of the access road.

The road has been abandoned for years, and after cleaning the overgrown trees and brambles, I had to enlarge the fallen track so I could pass with a small truck. Two types of interventions were undertaken. The first raking away the fallen soil from above the wall, the next photo shows this:

by hand the work was very long but it can be viewed well in this small section.

The second type of work was to rebuild a retaning wall under the fallen road filled with the soil I dug from the first type of work.

above view, at the end resulting in nearly a metre of width on the road

Finished work

View from under the road

The wall in the photo above has passed the the trial with the weight of a mini excavator that I had to call in for the following work. After having seen that digginng up by hand the fallen soil from the top the wall was extremely energy wasting I had the following work done by an excavator. In the next two photos nearly from the same angle one can see the before and after.

One can see how much cut was done by the excavator, and how many rocks from the fallen wall had been covered by soil that had fallen from the top of it. The upper slope was cut so that the soil doesn't fall off to easily, I should seed it quickly I know, but the lack of water on the land for now just made me wait for that

So I started to clean up the site and the following photos show the work that was achieved.

The rebuilt wall is higher than the slope of the hill so any soil that comes down will fill the back of the wall thats made up of small rocks and soil.

The end result was great in my view, in two mornings, eight hours of total work on the wall, this is the result. What have I achieved with this work? more experinece in mastering the art of dry stone building. I know my walls are horrible for an experts look but if we don't get our hands on the rocks, there will be little difference in my expertise. The second thing I got from the work was the fun, and that sums up for a good 80% of why I love teaming with nature, its just pure fun. At the end you're tired but satisfied, and no other work can give me that.

It's just a section, still so much has to be done, nearly 300 metres of wall define the boundary, but section after section, maybe one day with the help of some volunteers or expert workers, it will be finished.

I think many of us know the feeling I have when I walk passed those walls and I feel I know every single rock, I've felt it, I know how it was placed, you connect even with rocks when work with them, or at least I do.

Sunday a couple came by for a walk a long the road and the most beautiful thing they told me was: Oh so it's you that has been rebuilding the walls, and cleaning the road, its so nice, thank you.

And that in a way is a first step to my care of people, sharing beauty!

Lorenzo Costa wrote:
I think many of us know the feeling I have when I walk passed those walls and I feel I know every single rock, I've felt it, I know how it was placed, you connect even with rocks when work with them, or at least I do.

I know exactly what you mean by this. I helped my father repair a wall of about 300 meters one winter, when I was a teenager. It feels as though I know where all the rocks were before they were placed and where they exist now.
Here is a photo I took not to long ago.

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projects never have just one face. parallel to the farm project is the ongoing sutf at our house. We live in an old stone house, typical of my region. Two months ago I convinced my landlord to let me use an abandoned canteen and cellar that is exactly under my house. We had a small room at ground floor but it was way to small for my scavenging findings, wood works, scrap collections, plus I'd like to have a place to have friends for meals, and so on.
The space I managed to convince the landlord to give me is made up of three rooms, nearly 80 square metres, and its free for four years if I rehab it!
Well thats what I did. The end result is ok I guess I will organize some social events here too, why not use it an educational space, or other stuff.

here's a few photos, from the beginning ti the end result:

The front door

first room

second room

and the third where I had to just throw all my stuff in, what a mess!!!

Well I had to clean out the second room, and put electricity in, my father in law helped with that

my relatives at work

the floor in the second room

I smoothed all the cracks and connections and now its ok

cleaning out the first room

cleaning the front door

And our social room is finished, now we can have dinner with our neighbors, as usually happens here, we're a close community. We often get together in summer and start chatting and drinking a glass of wine or beer and it just ends up in dining together. This is awesome
The nice thing is while working on this project I searched for information on the past use of the place. From 1915 it was a shoemakers shop, and I have found the son of the last shoemaker that worked here. Wow, I hope he has a photo of the shop, of how it was. I'd love to nail to the wall and recollect the history of this place in some way.
I'v started looking in to the history of the small hamlet where I live with another neighbor and we've found so many informations. Here used to live 134 people in 1951 and there was, a school, a blacksmith, a shoemaker, a carpenter, cooperative grocery store that was founded on the 19 november 1920!
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WOA!!! Just received news that the Natural farm La Scoscesa has been accepted for a european grant for young farmers to start up new farms!! It's getting real!!! it's going to get dirty!!! hands in the soil, trees, chickens, pigs, strawbales!!! I'm so happy
My life starts now!!!
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That is a great way to start off the New Year!
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Sure is James, sure is!! Now the real work starts!

Lorenzo Costa wrote:Sure is James, sure is!! Now the real work starts!

Hi Lorenzo

I'm sure you have started some very epic permaculture projects at la scoscesa. I can't wait to see an update when you have time.
Great pics Stone walling is hard hard work but rewarding. Like jigsaw with no picture some times . Next step double sided walls
Wink, wink, nudge, nudge, say no more ... richsoil.com/wd-gardening.jsp

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