Bookmarks for august 19th through august 28th

These are my links for August 19th through August 28th:

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Permaculture Online Course Update

In a previous post I wrote about the positive experience we were having taking part in Geoff Lawton's Online Permaculture course. Having completed all the online lessons and the quiz we are now working on the practical assignment which is due by the end of August.

The course continues to stimulate us and our enthusiasm for the material remains strong. Even on evenings when we were tired from a busy day the prospect of some "Geoff time" was appealing and we had little trouble keeping up the momentum and staying more or less in line with the proposed course outline.

The course is well structured and its clear that Geoff has given it many times. His great depth of experience serves to ground the potentially abstract materials and to "keep it real"1. For me the only time this focus was lost was in the final section "Creating an Alternative Society". Geoff still had plenty of relevant experience to relate however the videos for this section felt looser and had a more rambling character than the bulk of the course. For students at the end of an intense two weeks this is probably a relief as Geoff kicks back and the amount of material being relayed eases off.

Random notes

  • As we start on the practical exercise, studying maps and design options on paper and then taking that onto a plot of land has been revealing and exciting

  • We didn't make extensive use of the forums however whenever we had a question we could usually find someone else had already asked it. My wife and I watched all the video's together and effectively formed a small team, this was very valuable as we continued to discuss the course content beyond the time spent "in lectures".

  • The regular uploads of videos with answers to participants questions are excellent and provided an opportunity for him to reinforce core concepts

  • The course included a DVD set with all of the lectures plus the full set of DVD's previously created by Geoff. So far we have watched a few of these and I can see they will be a very valuable resource

  • While being very positive about the online course, I can see that the regular on the ground practical work integrated into the learning experience of an onsite course along with a gifted teacher and located at a well developed demonstration site would have many benefits. The quality of the teacher, the depth of their experience and their ability to communicate this would be a key factor in deciding which course to take

  • Key learning - the mainframe design. The course has transformed the way we view landscape and has us spotting dam sites and swale opportunities everywhere. Walking around the site we are using for our practical assignment, a place we had visited many times before, revealed a completely new landscape potential to us. Geoff says the course will permanently change the way you view the world and I believe he is right.


  1. Another great benefit is that the course text, Bill Mollisons' Permaculture Designers Guide which I had previously found heavy going, has undergone a sort of decoding and now reveals itself as and incredible useful manual which supports the course content with additional depth and paths to study. ↩︎

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Bookmarks for august 6th through august 7th

These are my links for August 6th through August 7th:

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Bookmarks for august 1st through august 5th

These are my links for August 1st through August 5th:

  • Cover Crops Solutions Chart - Explains why an "untidy" looking garden is less work and will have healthier soil.

  • Resurrection Men - Usual great writing from Monbiot as he brings some common sense to the de-extinction conversation while also making a plea for the much more urgent cause of preserving and nurturing the environments of species that are endangered today.

  • Famous Writers' Small Writing Sheds and Off-the-Grid Huts - Its time I made some progress on building something like this.

  • You Call That a Roof? - I enjoy pictures of peoples home made houses. The Shelter books by Lloyd Kahn provide one of my favourite browsing experiences

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Bookmarks for july 17th through july 18th

These are my links for July 17th through July 18th: - Go Plastic Free: Find your Strength - Go Plastic Free, great mind map outlining the challenge of eliminating plastics from your life.

  • Entropy Crushers - Rands shows why teams over a certain size will benefit from a project manager.

  • Not a geek - Matt Gemmell - A personal look at techie labels and tribal branding, Matt seeks to define himself based on what he does.

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Bookmarks for july 3rd through july 11th

These are my links for July 3rd through July 11th:

  • Peak Water: What Happens When the Wells Go Dry? - All over the world irrigators are pumping water from deep acquifiers that will not be replenished through rainfall. When these finally dry up a crisis of water shortage will occur.

  • None the Wiser by Chris Wood - Here is an album review really works for me, by relating a personal account of her experience of seeing the musician and then exploring his new album. Sold.

  • Storm in an iPhone - An incredible review of a new iPhone app and a fascinating introduction into the world of recording natural soundscapes. Full of interesting links and side tracks. The type of post that makes RSS so valuable.

  • Peak Timber - Interesting reflection on the investment properties of wood

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We should build mandolins

Here is another beautiful video celebrating craftsmanship.

It features Tom Ellis who started building mandolins from his rural workshop in late 1970's. Tom has recently relaunched his instrument line in collaboration with Pava one his co-workers.

The video was produced by the Fretboard Journal a very high quality magazine that features stories and photo's about guitars, players and makers.

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Permaculture and online learning

After years of exposure to Permaculture and having spent several years a decade ago implementing a disparate set of its common patterns at our previous property in Northern NSW, I am now taking a much deeper dive into it after enrolling in Geoff Lawton's Online Permaculture Design Course. Its been running a few weeks now and my partner and I are both finding it a revelation. So many concepts and themes that we had previously read about but not really understood are suddenly making sense. Geoff's an excellent teacher and the online format works perfectly for a couple of introverted types. We can take our time and review material as we go.

There were elements of classic internet marketing1 wrapped around the promotion of the course that had me a little worried, those concerns have proven groundless and I can understand that using the marketing approaches that work makes sense when your goal is to get this material out to the widest audience and in a sustainable way.

As a taster, check out this video Absolute in Abundance, they will want your email address however if you are at all interested in this stuff you will get a steady stream of really good links and content as a result.

I would highly recommend that anyone who has been interested in doing a PDC but not found the time or the right teacher consider taking one of Geoff's courses.

Meanwhile, check out the many videos and resources that are freely available at the Permaculture Research Institute. The links to several excellent related documentaries can also be found here. The site is an aggregator of several of my favourite authors including George Monbiot who has a new book - Feral - A manifesto for rewilding the world.

Surfers interested in Permaculture should enjoy this chat with Geoff about the links between surfing and permaculture.

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Jean Nicholas Gerard, a potters potter

Goldmark have produced another fascinating "day in the life" video, this time featuring French potter Jean-Nicholas Gerard who makes beautiful slipware pots.

Although these videos are obviously produced to promote the artists ahead of upcoming exhibitions at Goldmark, they are in themselves a tremendous service to the ceramics community. The gentle pace and broad scope allow the viewer to be transported into the rhythm of these artists lives.

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