Tag Archives: Peak Oil

Buffalo Bird Woman’s Garden. Book Review

A while ago I reviewed The Resilient Gardener by Carol Deppe. It’s probably one of the most important books that I’ve read so far. In the book, Carol frequently refers to another book, Buffalo Bird Woman’s garden, particularly when discussing food preservation. Buffalo Bird Woman’s garden is an account of Hidatsa American Indian gardening techniques, as told by a Hidatsa woman, born about 1839. The techniques were told to the author of the book, Gilbert L. Wilson, in the early 1900’s. I found another reference to the book recently, so ordered it, and what a gem of a book it is.

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The Sustainable Smallholding End of Year Roundup

2009 was another busy year at the Sustainable Smallholding, with changes to the management of my bees, an increase in the number of chickens, and hives, the addition of ducks, the creation of swales, and lots of experimental growing. This included growing tobacco, manuka, eucalyptus, acacia, small scale wheat growing etc. So I thought that I’d do a short summary, and a look forward to my plans for next year.

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Positive Images – Part One

It would be easy to become disillusioned about our future, when there is so much bad news about, so I wanted to put together some links to positive video from around the world, and then sort of link them together. Most of them show what happens when you combine Permaculture, or Agroforestry, with people who need help. When I realised that watching all of the clips would take hours, I thought that I would split the article into three parts, and give you a chance to watch them all in your own time.

The first clip is a remarkable piece about the creation of a reserve for Orang Utangs. Not quite what you might expect here, but really inspirational, and it shows what can be done, in a relatively short space of time.

Whilst there is no mention of Permaculture in the clip, it’s there running through it all. Earth Care, People Care, Fair Shares, stacking, succession, diversity, the reliance on perennial crops. It may not be mentioned, it’s right there at the heart of what they have done.

I make no apologies for putting this link in again. it’s the Update to Greening the Desert, with Geoff and Nadia Lawton. It shows how Permaculture can help solve the sort of problems, that we have created for ourselves.

The link to Part One of Four is below, and I hope that you watch them all.

Part Two

Part Three

Part Four

Alternatively, you can watch the whole sequence, by following the link from the PRI Australia site, which is


Have fun watching the clips, and look out for part two of the article, which will include clips of rehabilitation work in China, and part Three, which will show some of the other work going on, and talk about the things that are common to all of them, and what we might do ourselves.


Sustainable Transport

Well, I’ve finally got rid of my van. I figured that whilst there were many good reasons to keep it, the reasons for letting it go were more compelling.

Most of my traveling is fairly local, and we have a decent bus service, roughly one an hour. So many of my journeys could be done using public transport. I have a bicycle, but it’s pretty hilly here, and I’m not as fit as I used to be. Nevertheless, I gave my van away to the Doris Banham Charity, who rescue dogs. They have a shop in Horncastle, and I was moved by the work that they do.

Their website is here


The home page shows my van, which has been sign written.

The site shows a number of dogs looking for homes, and as our greyhounds pass on, I’m tempted to rehome a Staffie. I’m not sure that my wife will approve, but that’s something to look at later.

I’m Fifty later this year, so my mother, when she discovered that I was giving my van away, offered to buy me an electric bicycle for my birthday. I accepted, and here it is.

bElectric BicycleThe battery is where the water bottle would be. So far I’ve been reasonably pleased with it. The motor needs some pedaling assistance whilst climbing the steepest hills, but it’s easier than pedal power alone. I’ve been using it quite regularly. It’s very cheap to operate. I charge it at night, when we get a cheaper tariff, and we use 100% renewable electricity, from Good Energy. My rough calculation reckons that I’m saving £50 per month, without taking into account what I would have spent on diesel. As I get a bit fitter, I may start to use my normal bike more frequently. My wife has just bought a normal bicycle, so I’m probably going to have to keep her company on some riding from now on.

Where will I find the time?

All of the best