Welcome everyone

This Blog will serve as a medium for me to share some of my experiences and give a general overview of what being the Apprentice at Melliodora is like while documenting the property as the seasons change.

I hope that this blog will help to keep my current family and friends updated on my endeavors while providing information on what we are doing here to anyone interested in Permaculture and all things related.

I’ve done a bit of procrastinating in getting my blog started (and also have had limited time to write until now) so my first post will be a brief overview of the last couple of months since returning to Melliodora. I plan to do regular updates with photos once or twice a week or as time allows.

Have a look at the Apprentice page on the Holmgren Design Services (HDS) website for a write up with lots of detailed info on what my role is in the household. A good look around the rest of the HDS website is also highly recommended, there’s lots of good info on there including a number of free articles published by David.

It should be known that I spent 5 months in total here last year (2 months the first time, then I returned for 3 more) while I was travelling around Australia and New Zealand WWOOFing on a handful of different Permaculture farms and homesteads. So I was already familiar with the property when I returned .

I arrived here in late October, Excited to see everyone and to see the vibrant green of spring leaving fall in Virginia. It was also confusing to the internal calender to to jump the equator again and go from fall to spring.

I also came back to the Garden in springtime, the big rush of spring, where there is a small timeframe to get as many seeds and plants into the ground as soon as possible and it feels like everything should have been planted yesterday.

I started off on my own in the garden, prepping and planting out as much as I could as quickly as I could. After a week or two the infamous Rick Tanaka arrived from Japan and gave me some much needed help in the garden.

Some early pictures of the gardens shortly after my arrival.

We continued to work hard in the garden and eventually moved on to Orchard work, Doing a huge cutback of all the nitrogen fixing inter-plantings (Acacia species and Tagasaste) in the orchard. We took between 60 and 75 percent off of each tree leaning more towards 75 on most. The question for each tree was “Greek or Italian haircut?”

During the spring we had some new animals born, twin kids from our goat Flame who are growing up so fast and two hens had chicks.

In December we had 3 more WOOFers arrive (or MIOWers, Melliodora interns and other workers, as we now call them) within a week. Matteo, from Italy, and then David and Julianne from the US.  The first week of managing 4 people in the garden while running around tying up all the little loose end jobs that there are so many of but are to small to hand out to people proved to be very overwhelming. After a week or so though things cooled down, everyone was familiar with the place and things where easy going.

We all had a good time, I learned a lot from all the WWOOFers who are all very knowledgable on different things and we all got heaps of stuff done.

Everyone has slowly gone off to different places and now we start with a new group of WWOOFers arriving.

Some more recent photos of the same gardens from a few weeks ago, everythings already grown so much since I’ve taken these.

We recently picked 20 Kilos of green walnuts to make pickled walnuts. We have to net our walnuts to keep the birds off of them so we pick the biggest biggest tree early for pickled walnuts and we no longer have to worry about the cockatoos getting that tree.

The whole nut is poked with the high tech device pictured and then placed in a salt brine which is later changed and than moved on to a vinegar solution.

Thanks for looking

Lots more to come soon

Gabriel Engle