Annette Jones

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since Nov 28, 2013
Schofields, NSW. Australia. Zone 9-11 Temperate to Sub Tropical
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Recent posts by Annette Jones

Hi Ryan, Greetings from Oz

There are so many great replies and great suggestions here, you have started an amazing conversation, thank you.

Currently in Australia we are burning up with the bushfires, interspersed with gale force winds, cyclones and flooding all in the same season. Every one has been affected, even city people away from the fires have suffered 84 straight days of heavy particulate pollution from the fires, and an area the size of the whole of Belgium and part of Germany has already burnt with more expected. The flooding has brought massive new growth in some areas meaning a potential new burn load is on the forest floor waiting to dry out and this will start all over.

I hope the rest of the world is watching because they will learn from watching - what they can do to weatherproof in different ways through permaculture methods. My farm suffered some ember attacks, not the devastation further down our NSW south coast, but I am in an areas that will be extremely vulnerable to the next round of fires because we now have extra ground growth from some rain which means a new burn load is ready on the ground for more fires and as a person with mobility problems this has added to the stress.

All this has left me feeling anxious and depressed to a degree I've not experienced like before. I've been helping friends and others who have been affected way worse for a while now, and have hit the point where I've had to stop pushing so hard, step back and try to find peaceful things to do, like walking around the farm or spending time watching animals and birds come in to the dams for water and just not lifting a finger. First off I felt very guilty, now I realize I needed to re-evaluate how I cope with these stresses.

Taking those bite size steps, slowing down and nurturing ourselves is critical for health. I surround myself with friends who are positive, practical, gentle and helpful. Sometimes when I crave solitude I retreat for a dose of me time, and do what I can, then climb back in when it passes.

After reading everyone's suggestions, obvious things stand out about all of us - we have found working close up with nature very grounding and healing, plain good old commonsense - so we're ahead of many who still suffer from modern day demands on our time, our health and our reason for being. We are a permie family, we look after our Zone 1 issues - People Care.

My very best wishes Ryan, and Mr Grape, LOL on continuing moving forward
1 month ago

Cécile Stelzer Johnson wrote:

Annette Jones wrote:I'm a 6th generation seed farmer and seedsaver/seller from Australia. So I'm loving this thread.
It is a great idea, especially if you use organic seed. Starting from scratch with a clean surface is sustainable and commonsense. I use a saucer or plate depending on the amount of seed and simply push the seeds around until they dry.
Many paper towel manufacturers ...

It makes sense. I was wondering why I keep using the Scott's blue paper towels after I read your post. These towels are so absorbent and so cheap that I use them all the time: They are softer on my nose than anything else. I thought about it and it is so silly you will laugh: You see, I have trained my hubby to put all kitchen scraps  in a pail that I take religiously to the chickens every day. When he sees a bunch of seeds on a paper towel, he knows I am saving them and he does not put them in the pail. When they are on a plate, they go the way of most kitchen scraps.
It goes to show you that sometimes, bad, wasteful habits have some totally insane reasons and can be easily corrected.
Since these seeds need to be labeled anyway, next time I save some, I will put them on a plate of a small saucer and put a Post it on the plate next to the seeds. Thank you. Sometimes, a little introspection can correct bad habits.

I loved reading everyone's ideas and had to smile as I read how well trained you have your husband regarding "keep" or "throw". You sound just such an awesome team, putting a label on the plate is a great answer.
I'm a 6th generation seed farmer and seedsaver/seller from Australia. So I'm loving this thread.
It is a great idea, especially if you use organic seed. Starting from scratch with a clean surface is sustainable and commonsense. I use a saucer or plate depending on the amount of seed and simply push the seeds around until they dry.
Many paper towel manufacturers use chemicals to bleach paper so wet seeds exposed to these are no longer organic and you've wasted money buying them unless they are from home grown clean plants; the seeds also stick to the paper and small amounts of fungi, often invisible to the eye, attach to the seeds which can cause a weaker germination rate.
I have found some fabrics can leave lint on the seed so using a smooth surface is my preferred method, as you can just wash and dry plates between batches. Reusing paper can often carry disease that transfers to the young seedlings, especially tomatoes.
It is also commonsense and sustainable to use what you already have. Metal strainers from the kitchen work well for most seeds. You can find smaller gauge wire for smaller seed cleaning from a lot of recycling places that have old window flyscreens.
Some of the suggestions show people who already adapt to something they already have at hand a very "permie way" to reuse or repurpose.
Welcome to Joe. I've been experimenting with this over the last 8 months, after finally realizing my grandfather hadn't be talking sh*t when he used to tell us that he had always done this for our orchard. As a teen I thought he was too gross to listen to. Oh, how the worm has turned - literally and figuratively I have wholeheartedly subscribed to this use as well as other types of poop (except cats! after all poo is poo and is eventually designed to breaks down into soil. I hadn't realized you had another book out - bring it on!!! and thank you for making the process easier.
3 months ago
Like Timothy Markus above I would love an update as I have been following along with my own construction of his pooramid. As an Aussie in his zone it was particularly practical and helpful. This is an amazing thread and deserves a promotion!

I have added Black Soldier larvae to my brew and finds it helps with the speed of breakdown.
3 months ago
For some inspiration check out They show buttons made from horn or bone. I think it would be nice to have buttons that weren't so precise in shape to add more character.

eric fisher wrote:

My dad once told me that he'd heard that plants like tea and he started watering the houseplants with left-over Orange Pekoe!

Dear Jay,

Thanks for your welcome. I am thinking that your dad might have had something there. I know that Orange Pekoe is supposed to be very high grade tea from the Camellia sinensis plant. I also know that it contains a heady mix of bioactive compounds. It is not unreasonable to think that it may have given your plants a boost and I expect it definitely gave your Dad a boost too.

Hi Eric,
I notice that the picture labelled camellia sinensis shown in this answer is actually Crocosmia 'Orange Pekoe' a totally different bulb type plant, this wouldn't make a good tea :-) Thanks for the great info, this is a great topic. Cheers, Annette

7 months ago
Thank you Sergio for a helpful video I've saved it to play back when I need to check any of the plants out.

I too would like to know how you solved the microphone problem, I'd love to get it right for when I am out - I talk as I walk to remind me which area I am finding my plant - then I can return again later, often I can't hear properly what I have said.

Thanks again for a great video
9 months ago

Cécile Stelzer Johnson wrote:We know that "Nature abhors a void" so I'm through trying to keep the area surrounding a tree "clean". If and when I get a volunteer, why not transplant it there? Last year I had a yellow flower about 3 ft tall growing about 1 ft away from the trunk of an apple tree. I never knew what it was but I noticed that my bees liked it, so I didn't remove it.

I didn't know what it was and I may never know, but how about flipping the paradigm, and instead of removing everything that messes the looks of the garden we forced ourselves to keep it and destroy it only after we identify it and determine that it is bad for the goals we have? A kind of "First do no harm" approach.

I bet we'd have more pollinators if we were no so obsessed with having a clean garden.

I was a student of Bill Mollison Father of Permaculture in Australia. One of the things that always stuck with me was his trying to get through to people to not obsess over "neat" when practicing permaculture, rather try working with nature, and nature at it's most productive is messy. We certainly do get more pollinators and less pest problems if we 'mix' rather than 'match' our plantings. I also find that the best, strongest plants are the self-seeders, - the ones I want to save and swap seed from.

Thanks Cécile, a great post.
1 year ago