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Rufaro Makamure

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since Dec 07, 2016
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Recent posts by Rufaro Makamure

We were storing peanut shells we use as mulch, in sacks and drums.As we work on improving the care for the chickens, we realised we can lay the shells, for the chickens to scratch, that way we can get even more out of the shells.

Some changes are occuring, a garden just after our house was mulched yesterday and the family who gave me some of the rubble, covered part of their place with rubble, it seems they are also working on their outside yard. Small individual efforts could actually lead to a great space with protected and covered soil, we will have reduced washing away of soil in the long run.

My sister sent her story and how she decided to consider exploring more on sustainable living

2018 September I decided to move out of a bachelor's flat that I was renting, and move into a tiny house.
Mostly it was inspired by my sister's stories of sustainable living, which led to my increased interest in alternative lifestyles. Watching amazing videos for example living big in a tiny house by Bryce Langston, opened my mind up and I decided to make some changes, starting with a realistic look at my financial position and taking charge, this is the reason why I had to move out of a bachelor’s flat.
Having done my small design (that suited my budget and schedule of materials), it was time to look for the items in the market. For a moment it looked like an impossible task and the temptation of reversing my decision seemed to be the only logical thing.
I had planned to use some reclaimed materials and I would get them from the nearest auctioneers.
That month prices of goods started to go up, they tripled and they kept going up at a shocking pace. So I had to rethink my design and find much more affordable solutions. The best solution ended up being a wooden cabin I bought from a friend. I moved in, during the rainy season, so water to use was readily available.

I was lucky that I had family to support me during my relocation, my mother and twin sister for financial support and encouragement and my young sister for moral support. I started my journey to a minimalist lifestyle. I had to get rid of most of my furniture  , the comforting thing was that the money was really useful in my transition period. Other things I had to give up, included a convenient location, where I could get everything I needed at a walk-able distance from my home, including walking to work. It meant I had to change a lot of things.

I view my position as a chance to be innovative and to discover if I am able to create a comfortable and convenient home for myself, as I make positive steps towards financial stability.

4 days ago
I managed to get three different vegetables from the garden. The target is to maintain a variety coming from a small space and having a steady supply throughout the whole year, since we can grow things for the whole year. In the past two months, I have been picking pepper only, now there are carrots and beets, meaning from this month going onward I have to strive to collect at least 3 vegetables once every month, and then increase on frequency as time passes.
I might have found a second plant from the wild that we can domesticate.  I discovered the use of amaranth as feed for chicken and it grows uncontrolled on some patches. The leaves seem smaller though, than the ones I have been seeing on the internet, even the seeds are so tiny and they are black.  
Is there anyone who knows if it is okay to feed any type of amaranth to chickens?
6 days ago
I had a look at the gigantic carrot in the garden... and I doubt if I will wait for a seedling to be ready as replacement for the carrot after removing it. I am itching to see how big the whole carrot is.

Tomorrow is the first day I am officially combining house maintenance, kitchen garden and duties at the plot. The number of eggs being produced by our chickens has decreased to less than half, so I have decided to look into this, the food and everything else that might be causing this reduction.  
1 week ago
It is interesting to watch how wicks suck water, the tomato holes are soaked with the watering. The first bottle is finished and I guess I put the hole to allow the thread through into the bottle, a little too low.

There is progress in the kitchen garden. There is an area, which is directly under a tree, that has plants with retarded growth as compared to others. It could be too much shade or the roots from the tree are affecting the plants' roots. I put the remainder of the compost from last time on all the plants and part of the lawn, so I will see if there will be any difference. I also just turned the compost I am making, so there will be a constant supply for the kitchen garden.

I have included pepper planted on the same day, but has differing growth rates
1 week ago
We managed to get a sack of pearl millet (mhunga), a bucket of sunflower and a bucket of soya beans. The more these grains become a part of our daily lives the more real and closer we will be to having them as part of our field products.
1 week ago
Got a chance to sample wick irrigation with one of the tomato seedlings. I will see how wet the soil will be tomorrow, before I use the method on all the tomato seedlings.

Most of my flowers dried up and I am going to try out wick irrigation as soon as I manage to grow some roots on some 'stem' I decided to cover with soil while it is still on the parent plant, that way it will not die on me.
1 week ago
Oh my god!!! A woman who stays nearby just brought tomato seedlings... she says she has seen me in the garden...! It is a very good day, I am dancing to this song because it really feels like we have had a bumper harvest this year, not necessarily in the field

In the shona culture the song "Mawere kongonya" was sang and it's meaning as given by some scholar is shown below

The people are sharing with the rain spirits the image of crops ripening and baboons coming down the mountains to feed on them. When the baboons have fed well they walk in style (kongonya, i.e. how the baboons walk) up the cliffs at the end of the day. Thus the people are looking beyond the provision of rain to the kind of harvest that should enable them to feed both their livestock and wild animals.  

and the above song is a modification of the song and I like it because it is a happy song
1 week ago
I am believing in miracles more and more everyday.

We have not been able to stock feed for the chickens for a number of reasons and I was getting worried that we will fail to prepare properly for a worst case situation (the most recent one was at the beginning of the year when all shops were closed for some days). It is safe for us to have some reserve feed for 'rainy' days, not that we wish for anything bad to happen. Just when I had run out of ideas, a guy who had some money of mine ( should be from 2013 or 2014), send it. I have been reading on how cow peas can be used as feed for chickens and I will buy a sack of this. If it works it is going to strengthen the reason for growing cow peas together with maize (we have been talking about replacing sugar beans with cow peas, since we have not managed to get the pole beans, my mum says they used to grow cow peas successfully in their fields back then). With time we will find use for other crops and then we can have stronger reasons for crop rotation, then soil fertility and disease suppression, will hopefully prove it is a worthy move if we do manage to crop rotate.

The man who is staying at the plot has started clearing the field. On Sunday when we got to the plot, we saw that he had started burning some of the dry weeds from the field. I cannot even begin to explain how it felt, I quickly calmed down when I looked at my mum, and I saw she felt the exact same feeling and she commented that we had overlooked telling Solomon that we do not burn anything from the field. With soil care and minimum or no burning, I am now positive we now have the same values with my mum. I remember the first years it was difficult for my mum to think of not adding a little artificial fertilizer to  the compost but last year she gave away a sack which she had kept for two years in case our method fell short somewhere.

The second miracle, my uncle from Hurungwe called last Friday, saying he was expecting the barbed wire for putting around his garden, sometime during the past weekend. I had gotten some money (in February), from a friend to buy some barbed wire. For free transport we decided to use my cousin's truck that goes to my uncle's place periodically, as they have business in that area and that way we could use all the money to buy the barbed wire. They are finally making that trip, crazy things were now crossing my mind. I am yet to hear feed back on whether they managed to make it.

Thirdly, my sister called me and said I could share on my thread some developments, in her life, which I partially link to the exposure my family has had to sustainability and regenerative agriculture and lifestyle. I had asked her before, so as to prove that small things can have ripple effects and can make positive life changing decisions starting from individuals going into families and can spread even to bigger groups. So she will share in her own words. Speaking about that, I watched one of our neighbours' sprinklers in his field and how most of his discussions and my mother's are leaning more to what they are growing. These fields used to be green mostly in the rainy seasons, now there is more and more life even afterwards. It might be different farming approaches, but the fact that there is more growth of food spread throughout the year at a small holder farmer level is so good for food availability. It will be a matter of time until they start sharing different farming practices, and I guess the most successful and affordable one is what will be borrowed. I think I am watched a new culture being formed.

Lastly I had a great time with a 7 year old on Sunday. We were feeding the chickens and the little boy, Wayne, was so full of energy and he was chasing the birds from the moment he got into the chicken run. My fear was he was going to be attacked by a cock and it would get us all running. My fear came into reality and I pointed to him one cock which was preparing to charge and I was telling him it is time for us to move out of the chicken run. He just looked at me and turned towards the cock and chased it. It vanished within seconds. I know it will take me time to have that much courage, but I just thought maybe this is the courage life needs, just being fearless. It seemed like he did not even notice the cock was about to charge!
1 week ago
Second sucessful non sadza/rice meal
2 weeks ago
Our second harvest this year, of green matter from our banana plant. I made compost for the flowers as well as for the kitchen garden.
We have set a day with my mother on preparing sorghum meal, we will see how that goes.
2 weeks ago