ある家族のパーマカルチャー的自然調和への冒険


by guibi

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<   2010年 06月 ( 3 )   > この月の画像一覧

Game on!

So, money has changed hands and documents have been duly stamped. The land is well and truly ours now.
I think I mentioned before that we're trying to get at least some of the woodland to the north of our plot. Here's an image to help you follow what I'm about to say:

The plot to the right, No.3 in the pic, is up for sale and at not too bad a price, to be honest. It's only 300 or so square meters though, and it's somewhat 'separate' from us, if you see what I mean.
The plot to the left, No. 1 in the pic, might be for sale. Trouble is, the owner is currently bed ridden and, unfortunately, non compos mentis. The family that stand to inherit this plot are inclined to realize it before gramps pops it, and thereby add cash to the inheritance rather than keep the land. Or so we've been led to believe. I'd like this bit of land for a couple of reasons. Firstly, it's three and a half thousand square meters of not too steeply inclined san-rin which we could use to build on rather than the small genya down at the bottom of our plot.
Another reason is that while we were exploring at the weekend, we found a small pond (tame ike) that would be really useful if we wanted to or were forced to stop using the mains supply that we have.
The third reason is that it adjoins what I've called 'Plot 2' in the picture. This plot appears to be ownerless, or we've been unable to trace them in the usual manner (city office, real estate searches etc.). Seems like he's just dropped of the face of the earth... which means that if we put up signs stating out intents to claim the land as our own, and if no-one challenges us for 20 years, it becomes ours
Yes, I'm serious. Here's a link to an article by another non-Japanese homesteader in Japan, Ken Elwood, titled "Adverse Possession of Abandoned Land in Japan: A Primer". It tells you all that you need to know
So if I can buy plot No. 1 and claim plot No. 2, I reckon that will do us just about right and we'll be set up for the rest of our time on this good ol' planet of ours.
[PR]
by guibi | 2010-06-22 14:29 | Early days:初めは

Thinking about the land...

I've been thinking about how we'll use the land we've bought as time goes on. The permaculture course I've just finished reminded me of the importance of zones. Zones can refer to many things, but a useful set to start with can be zones defined by expected usage, or frequency of visit. I've knocked up a couple of zone maps, only preliminary but reflective of my thoughts as they currently stand, and will put them up here so I can come back to them in the future to see how far off the mark I was

There're three maps. The first with no zones, but a rough idea of what I'm trying to do. The second showing with Zone 0 (the yurt). And the third one showing how the zones might change once the real house has been built. I should add that I've forgotten to include the yurt as a secondary residence in this map:



As I said earlier, these are just rough ideas that we're still thinking through (I don't like the look of the beds, for example, and I'm not sure I want the pond so close to the yurt...).

Oh, and comments are open to folk who want to register now.

More as it comes
[PR]
by guibi | 2010-06-16 14:18 | Early days:初めは

Eleven go mad in Dorset and other great stories...


Well, it's taken me a week to get myself sat down in front of the computer to type this, so here goes.
I got back from the UK last Wednesday, and what a time I had!

The first few days were at home in Farnham with sis and the folks. It was great to see them all again and everyone was looking relaxed and well. It was reassuring to see that the dining room table is still the place for heated political debate and putting the world to rights, just like it always was. The volume seems to rise at about the same rate as I remember too. No wonder Dad's starting to lose his hearing! I managed to catch up with Rog & family too which was great.

The other reason I was in the UK was to do a fortnight's Permaculture design course down in lovely Dorset.
The course was hosted at Pat Bowcock's "Ourganics", a debt free and self sustaining business that is a venue for permaculture courses and grows produce to sell to the local community. Our principal instructor was Aranya of Designed Visions. The residential (they provided a field and food, we brought tents) course spanned 14 days and covered all the usual stuff that a Permaculture Design course covers.

If you've read Bill Mollison's Permaculture a designers Manual, there won't be too many surprises, what the course does provide though is an intense and distraction free 2 weeks in which you can reinforce all the stuff that you've read about and studied by yourself. Further, you get to meet a bunch of highly motivated fellow travelers some of whom may well become life long friends or correspondents. Other things that stood out on the Designed Visions course I attended were the location, the field trips and the food. Yes, there was I expecting to lose kilos by the day (on reflection, I've no idea why I expected that. Guess I had this wrong image of scrappy veggie dishes and camp cooking in mind. Couldn't have been further from the truth!). Needless to say lose weight is precisely the opposite of what I did, and if you've seen the pics on my facebook page of late, you'll know what I'm talking about!

Anyway, suffice to say that I had an excellent two weeks, and ended up with a bunch more confidence that what I kind of thought I understood before, I really do now.

I mentioned the field trips. We visited four permaculture-ish projects in the vicinity.


The first was to The Treewise Co-operative, a terrace of thatched cottages run as a coop which aimed to provide a place of peace and learning for children and adults alike. They began their project by buying the cottages and an abandoned apple orchard behind it. Since then, they have restored the orchard, built a permaculture garden, and gradually expanded up the hill as land became available. Now the site covers 7 acres and goes right up to the ridge above the terrace.


The second was FivePenny Farm. This working farm is where the Peasant Evolution Producers Cooperative keep their shared resources, namely their kitchens, fruit presses, stores, dairy and processing rooms. These shared resources are all to be found in the beautiful timber frame barn (right) that the coop members built using local craftsmen and materials.
I was particularly inspired by the fact that this coop now has well over a dozen participating groups on board. When you think that some of the groups involved have a dozen or more members, think how many people that represents. It's fantastic that there's so much actually going on down there, and if it's happening there, it's probably going on all over the country and if that's the case, it's probably going on all over Europe and so on and so on...
Bloody excellent! The post capitalist society has really made a start.


The third place we visited was the Bridport TLC, a community resource & recycling project. There we saw how Bio-Diesel is produced, and learnt how this volunteer-led group is offering solutions to improve the local environment & contributing to a sustainable local economy by supporting all those working towards a more sustainable, climate-friendly environment. The project was started by two street performers and soon grew to offer community workshops, a small business recycling scheme, an arts & crafts scrapstore, rickshaws and other community based projects.



The fourth and, as far as I was concerned, most inspiring visit took us to Blackthorn Farm, a 28 acre, self described "Energy Farm" permaculture project. Yet another member of the Peasant Evolution Producers' Co-Operative, the farm is home to the Rainbow family (how appropriate is that!) who made us feel so incredibly at home that I was ready to doze off in the shade had I not been totally engrossed in talking to Mark Rainbow about all aspects of their project and especially their fantastic house. I'm sure Mark was understating it, but he made the whole self build thing sound like a doddle. What I found particularly cool, other than the design of the place itself, was how they'd managed to get everything ready for a crew of 30 or so friends and volunteers to put the whole building up in a mere 4 day weekend! Amazing.

All in all, it was a great two weeks made all the more special by the others there to teach and study. My special thanks go to Pat for hosting us all, Aranya for putting up with us, Tim, Trish, Izzy, Bokudan, Jo and all the others there who made it such a unique and special time. Thanks guys! See you next time you get out to Japan!
[PR]
by guibi | 2010-06-15 13:52 | Permaculture

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