Saturday, March 16, 2013

Productive And Cuddly

When I started studying permaculture and began setting about optimising the productivity of my home through permaculture design, I took the fifth principle 'Using Biological Resources' as an exciting adventure into keeping more animals that serve a purpose (besides being cute little bath buddies). I already had chickens and frogs and knew how much good they brought to my space here but I knew there was more I could be doing.

Like all of us I have big dreams. I dream daily about one day owning a property that will hold some cows, sheep, pigs, chickens and every beautiful type of poultry I can imagine and that is only touching on what I will put there (LOL). I keep a clear picture in my head of how and what I would like to put into the property and what I would like to get out of it.
However instead of dreaming of another day and what I can do there, I learn and do all I can here at this home, in this space. No matter this size the basic permaculture principles can be applied.
If we begin today and this moment we put things in place that not only serve a current purpose but will create future productivity for the area it has been placed in.
For example, not wanting to put plants into the current garden in case you vacate. One thought is to put it in pots around the home or better still put it in and add value and wealth to the home that will serve other families in the future once you have moved on. If we see it as one fruit tree or native plant we put in the earth to provide food or shelter to the future inhabitants than it is a success. It means one less family traveling to buy their lemons, or shelter and food for a bird species that is limited by it's native fauna in the area. It is an investment don't you think?

So these cute boys munch endlessly. They eat weeds, veggie scraps, over grown grassy areas and most things in their path. So if they are placed and contained in an area that needs work, they munch helpfully all day. Ah but with this munching comes the magic manure. I add it to my garden, my compost and use the guinea pig poo concentrate when I see a plant or area is not thriving as it could. It is great stuff! Read here about household animals uses.

But also after all the practical reasons look at the joy these little guys bring to my children. They love being bathed and relish in getting scratched while they soak. After being bathed in warm water we wrap them up and they lay and rest in my little ones arms. We love them.

Do you use animals to help in your home?


  1. Magic Manure is the coolest phrase I have heard in a long time!!! How fantastic and wonderful that you get double duty out of these cute little guys!!! This summer we will be making a bat house for the garden..we will see how it shakes out!!! And yes, living in this moment and being productive with the land and space you are in now is the way to be!

  2. my Mum thought she had married an electrician but really my dad was a frustrated farmer. He started with a calf, rented a vacant block, later moved us all out further to a 1 acre block and rented pigstys up the road and bred Berkshire pigs(the calf was now joined by 2 milking cows and had become a young bull). We had chooks. He grew food for us and the animals all the while working a full time job as an electrician. Finally found a run-down dairy farm and built it up. Took him close to 20 years but got to his farm in the end.

  3. As usual a beautiful and thoughtful post, we don't harbour dreams of acres of land and animals, we harbour a dream of showing how much can be produced with a town sized block using permaculture design. A rich and edible garden with no pesky lawn, we are thinking chickens, obviously but haven't really branched out into other animals. Currently we are enjoying warm and fresh milk, warm and fresh eggs and many other benefits of living so close to a strong farming community. love your beautiful work.
    Anna, i love your story about your dad, i love his determination and that one day he got his dream.

  4. I was updating my gfc and transferring all my accounts to blogluvin. I didn't know if you had an account thru them or not?