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permaculture advocate in Zimbabwe - too little/too much rain

 
pollinator
Posts: 585
Location: Zimbabwe
459
greening the desert
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The raised bed area is trapping a good quantity of water. The bottom is not level yet, so most water is flowing to one end of the area, it's still work in progress. All of that water would have flown out of our yard. So in total the water we have intentionally managed to slow down and allow to sink is water in the
1) zai pits in the maize field

2) water harvesting pit

3) raised bed area

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pollinator
Posts: 116
Location: Illinois
24
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Wow! A monsoon! Glad you are finally getting some real water.
 
Rufaro Makamure
pollinator
Posts: 585
Location: Zimbabwe
459
greening the desert
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It's the beginning of a new year. The past year has brought beautiful connections with people and it has shown that a macro environment can go really wrong, but we do have control over our micro environments. There really is so much beauty and joy to celebrate, sometimes we just have to choose. I am mostly greatful for the people I shared memories with. I danced with my sister on the last day of 2023, this time it didn't take too much for me to learn the moves and for that I am happy.

It is easier to create a better place when we are connected.

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Rufaro Makamure
pollinator
Posts: 585
Location: Zimbabwe
459
greening the desert
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I went to the plot today, I like it when it's green. There is one tree that I successfully planted some years back it looks really nice this time around.
The trees that we planted are alive, except for the snot apple tree. The vertiver grass is also still there, so I will have plenty of slips to work with later on.
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one victory in tree planting
one victory in tree planting
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master gardener
Posts: 2560
Location: Upstate NY, Zone 5, 43 inch Avg. Rainfall
943
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I was excitedly telling my fiancé about your time without the rain until now. She is thoroughly impressed and so am I. Things look like they are doing well! Have you have more frequent rain lately?
 
Rufaro Makamure
pollinator
Posts: 585
Location: Zimbabwe
459
greening the desert
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We received really good rains up to the end of last week and more rain is being predicted after the 11th.

Again I am getting proof that what you constantly think about, is what the universe gives you. It's not really earth or people care related, but the post above Timothy, when you talked about you and your fiance, aligned so very much with my current thoughts and I was so surprised l felt I had to share.

Lately, my dominating thoughts are around relationships and this came about, when an old schoolmate I had a serious crush on reached out to me and we met last week. We had'nt spoken for over 10 years but reconnecting was so easy and I was so surprised that he had liked me also then though he never said anything.  There I was thinking I am not good enough to be liked by anyone and the one guy I had liked so much in my life liked me back. He is married now and we both respect this institution so we can only be friends. I was so lucky because I got the chance to tell him what he meant to me, a chance I had thought I missed.

When the above thread was sent, it was just a few hours after  I had been deep in thought trying to figure out what partners talk about to keep liking each other and whether a person goes out looking for stories so as to not become boring. Imagine how much I laughed when I opened my thread to get my answer, that anything can be a conversation for partners. A simple someone like me can be a conversation for a couple.
 
Rufaro Makamure
pollinator
Posts: 585
Location: Zimbabwe
459
greening the desert
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I visited my sister and saw her garden, she is doing quite well. She has had her first harvest of rape leaves and now she is harvesting for the second time. She has so much of it, she is sharing with her neighbors at the homestead, which is helping her strengthen a relationship with them. She is new and almost always away,  her neighbors are her eyes and ears other than the boys who stay at her homestead.
 
Rufaro Makamure
pollinator
Posts: 585
Location: Zimbabwe
459
greening the desert
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The boys at my sister's plot are using the rocket stove. She went yesterday and went round the kitchen area to see if there are signs of any other fire being made anywhere else and there is none.  The boys seem to be prefering the rocket stove. No other villager has inquired about it, so we will see if we can thank one of the neighbors for being a good neighbor by making a rocket stove for them. The husband sees the rocket stove being used by the boys nearly every day, but he hasn't commented. We can take advantage of the fact that he has seen the stove in use, it will be a little easier to convince him it works because he has been seeing it working.

I am including my sister's vegetable garden pictures in this post I am no longer getting an edit option on my phone.
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Rufaro Makamure
pollinator
Posts: 585
Location: Zimbabwe
459
greening the desert
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The cowpeas in the field is taking time to spread and it's being shredded to pieces by some insect, there aren't any leaves left to harvest. We will see if the next rains will help the plant spread. Otherwise cowpeas is proving a very difficult plant for me to add into the field as an edible drought resistant ground cover.

We have a demand for dried kale, and both Mai Kumbi and ourselves would use either electricity or gas, but things are becoming expensive it will not make sense to boil the kale with anything other than fire. So I will take the chance to make rocket stoves for the both of us.
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Rufaro Makamure
pollinator
Posts: 585
Location: Zimbabwe
459
greening the desert
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I managed to get material for a rocket stove for the plot.  This time around I got new bricks well, except for the halves and I got proper sits for the pots to sit on from a local scrap yard. It looks nice and I think it will help make it an attractive piece to use. This period for drying vegetables is going to be a great opportunity for the use of the stove and hopefully Mai Kumbi will like it.

I have some time to dance today. I loved our little routine with my sister and I am targeting one small dance everyday of this year, starting from today.
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Rufaro Makamure
pollinator
Posts: 585
Location: Zimbabwe
459
greening the desert
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Mai Kumbi called very excited about the stove it was a surprise.  She is not talking about using it for the vegetable drying process, she is talking about really using it for daily cooking, things are getting harder and harder, we have been losing power and for some reason their area is the most affected and buying gas is becoming expensive, so she embraced it instantly. She made a voice call, which is a bit rare, it shows how excited she is. I am happy.
 
Rufaro Makamure
pollinator
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459
greening the desert
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I managed to plant a few vertiver grass slips, we got a little bit of rain yesterday and I am hoping we  have more in the next days, the grass will be okay.

We are also piling up organic matter, from weeds we are removing from the yard. This will form part of the compost.

The ducks are laying eggs well and we keep modifying their places for hatching, with the intention of increasing the probability of hatching.
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Rufaro Makamure
pollinator
Posts: 585
Location: Zimbabwe
459
greening the desert
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We had an interesting discussion today looking into making the plot profitable. We share the same goal with my sister but we differ greatly on how we see  things. The good thing is with our different perspectives we were able to help each other see things in each other's perspectives and it does make one reflect.

One interesting issue was on using the term employer and employee and what it might mean. My sister feels having defined names will help us understand each other's positions and it kind of helps in setting limits and getting work done. Personally I feel that these names will only bring a division with some people feeling they are better and in the end we feel entitled to other people's efforts. What I agree with is things are slower when there is a lack of firmness. Striking the proper balance is what I feel we have to work on.

For the small businesses that I have been working with, I am continuing to work with one small business and they are proving to be trustworthy. The peanut butter guy is confusing me a little and I will tell why.  
When he borrowed money he knew he was getting money entirely based on trust and if he did not bring it back there was nothing I could do to him. He did bring the money but he missed the due date by two months, a period in which for the first part I had to put so much energy to push him to pay back.  One day I just decided to not push too much and accept whatever was going to happened and if it would be a bad debt I would take full responsibility. When I stopped the guy started bringing the money by himself in installments, and I appreciated the fact that he cared enough to make sure he paid back the loan. What is confusing is he was given room to talk about his situation at any given time and he knew the day for returning the money was flexible and all he needed to do was to tell us in advance if ever he was facing any challenges. He never would say in advance when he could not pay back the money and on the day he was supposed to give me the money,  he had come telling me and not asking me, to extend the time he could keep the money. In my mind I felt like he is assuming that the one helping him did not have any problems and having a paying back date was just for formality's sake. This defeats what we are trying to build. If he is able to prove he is a man of his word, we can build a small group of people who can be loaning each other money, without interest, even if we will be working under tight budgets, because we will be having faith that with all things being equal, we will honor our word. Our window of testing each other's trustworthiness is now.

Now that he has paid back the full sum, he wants to borrow money again. It's a full year now since he has been borrowing money and I would have hoped that by now he would be standing on his two feet because his business is already established. I don't see how we are different from the common micro financers who will lend money and not care about the business they claim to be helping. I think money is the peanut butter guy's apparent problem, but there is a cause and we can only solve it if he is open to talk about what is going on. I don't know how to make him trust me enough to say things as they are and though I can see he needs financial help, I do not think it's wise to lend him, because it might be that his business is on the verge of collapsing and I will never know until he opens up.
 
Rufaro Makamure
pollinator
Posts: 585
Location: Zimbabwe
459
greening the desert
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My sister has had a bed of her own at the plot where she has been growing cucumbers. She has had her first harvest and she is very excited. Her excitement over the cucumbers is making it so much easier for her to find motivation for her to want to go to the plot, it makes my work so much easier.

Another one of our first harvests for the year are grapes, we are making juice with them and we are using the skins for making jam.
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Rufaro Makamure
pollinator
Posts: 585
Location: Zimbabwe
459
greening the desert
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It's been raining for the past few days. The rain will be a lot of it, in a very short space of time causing flash floods, the water harvesting pit filled up in a few hours the day we received the first heavy rains, it was almost empty, it's bottom was showing.

In our last meeting with my sister, we agreed that we need to start establishing systems at the plot, this will lessen misunderstandings while at the same time helping with control over our growth productively. So we will be starting on how we want pruning of kale to be like, for us to produce a leaf with a standard size and consistently. We have reserved 2 beds for this and once we agree on  how we want it to be done, we can standardize it for all beds.

We managed to weed an area in the field before it started raining heavily, to open up the space for the cow peas which was not looking too good, to grow freely. We will see if the rain will change things.

From the people side, it turns out my school crush was going through a really rough patch in his marriage, so we were reminding each other about values and I was just being there for him and this meant talking almost daily. I only realised the day before yesterday that though I was helping him to fight for his marriage, my emotions were getting mixed up and I had to cut off our communication. I think I was falling for this man again, especially now when I was seeing him fighting for his family, it was actually proving how good of a man he was. Withdrawing from talking to him has left me in an unexpected mess emotionally and I feel like unblocking him so that I can hear his voice, but I know I cannot and it is painful, but I know I will get over it.
 
when your children are suffering from your punishment, tell them it will help them write good poetry when they are older. Like this tiny ad:
Our perennial nursery has sprouted!
https://permies.com/t/174246
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