It took three attempts, but July's Permi8 gathering saw the group finally make it to Anna and Mark's new place.
They have moved from a surburban block with an older home, to which they made some impressive sustainability improvements, to six acres backing on to a reserve with a larger, more recently built home. Yet it's surprisingly just three or so kilometres from the CBD of Albury as the crow flies.
Anna was itching to have the collective permi8 'brains trust' check their place out and provide any ideas as to how they might proceed with what could be an enormous project. Or series of projects!
Despite the wintery weather (it was July afterall), we had a lovely time wandering around and checking it all out. Their land includes a small orchard, cleared and grazed areas as well as some less impacted and remnant vegetation nearest the reserve. Anna told us what they'd been thinking so far and asked for other people's opinions and ideas. The resulting conversations reminded me (again!) how lucky we are to share in the knowledge, interests and experience of such a wonderful group of people.
We looked at the established orchard and Anna's new fruit tree plantings and discussed pruning, training, collar rot and fruit flies. I suspect that the day we don't discuss fruit flies at a permi8 gathering is the day no one turns up! They are a real challenge around here.
As I admitted that yet again the time for preventing peach leaf curl had come and gone at our place, Julie kindly came up with a way for me to remember. I should think that whenever I am struggling with the nocturnal lifestyle that my Tour de France viewing creates each July, I should take it as a reminder that's also the time to be active in preventing peach leaf curl. Extremely good suggestion ... let's see if I stick to it next year!
Some members identified some seedling eucalypts, grevilleas and native grasses in the farther paddock, while the kids were entertained playing with sticks, the dogs and by the dam. Oh, and wishing they were allowed to climb into the abandoned tree house, which admittedly did look like it would collapse under the weight of even children, but was rather tantalising, even to some of the 'big kids'.
Anna was keen to workshop ideas about Dexter cattle, possibly sheep and/or chooks as part of the mix as well as ways to encourage further native revegetation.
We moved on to admire their recently built raised, wicking vegetable beds. Having had a good squiz, and acknowledging the weather really wasn't all that great, we continued the conversations inside over a cuppa and the usual, but always impressive, homemade delights everyone had brought along.
Thanks to Anna, Mark and their girls for having us visit, finally. We look forward to seeing (and perhaps contributing to) all your plans as they develop.