I should go ahead and mention that one of my primary goals in beginning my aquaponics venture is to include permaculture into the mix.
My ultimate goal is to take the full-boat permaculture course from www.permaculturevisions.com, in Australia, but in the meantime, one of my local Tampa Permaculture groups recently posted the info that iTunes has a 36-part lecture series on permaculture from North Carolina State University, and all you need to do is to search for HS432 on iTunes. I did, and came up with all 36 lectures, which I promptly downloaded. So I owe a big thank you to North Carolina State University, and since I am leaning toward moving to North Carolina or thereabouts, that isn’t a bad thing.
The thing I love most about permaculture is that it embodies my most cherished belief, which I’ve had since I was seventeen, and that is that everyone, no matter where you live, no matter your circumstance, can provide fresh, naturally grown food for him- or herself, with a little time, ingenuity and effort. I fully believe, and it has now been proven many times over, that the average city dweller can grow more than enough food for a family of four or more, naturally, without potentially harmful chemicals, and do it beautifully, while creating a lovely and meditative space which is conducive and nurturing to the wildlife that frequents it.
Permaculture also lends itself to forest gardening, to which I was first introduced years ago through reading about indigenous cultures in South America and Africa, and more recently through an article in The Mother Earth News. In forest gardening, food-bearing trees, shrubs and ground covers are grown together in a living tapestry, providing not only food for the body but for the spirit as well. It is what I hope to accomplish in my own garden, no matter where it may turn out to be.
Tonight I was enjoying what little fire I could in our back yard, since we are mostly out of wood to burn, while noticing our resident opossum scurrying along the fence line toward the back, and then a bit later, back toward the front, all while Sprinkles was sleeping on the back porch. So, while Sprinkles occasionally may warn us against the neighbors walking in their own yards or a stray squirrel wandering onto our place, the opossum is now an accepted part of the landscape, and a part of our extended family. He was a welcome sight.
I have been missing our raccoons. We used to see raccoons on a regular basis, and Bette next door once remarked that “they” had made a recent sweep, and had rounded up all of the raccoons except for two juveniles, who were still on our block. She and I made it a point to leave all household scraps for the raccoons, well away from the house in my case, and on her front porch.
One evening I had a meeting, and my then-husband Michael, having nothing else he would rather do, came down to the shop to work on some projects. Upon entering through the back door, he bent down to pet our cat, Turbo the Wonder kitty, and she scurried away before he turned on the light. Upon entering the next room, here was Turbo, getting up and stretching from a nap.
So then who did he just try to pet in the next room?
He shined a light under his work bench, spotting two half grown raccoons, about the size and coloration of Turbo.
There were two of them and one of her.
Turbo was a smart cat.
The raccoons had the run of the place.
Michael shooed them out, blocked the kitty door, and that was pretty much the end of it. We saw them around for a couple of years more, but then they too disappeared, and I miss them.
Turbo died in 2005, a year to the day before our Great Flood, and she is buried in the back yard near the giant bamboo. In just over a year we also lost our cats Bonnie and Clydesdale, and in the saddest loss we lost Michael’s 2 1/2-year-old cat, Siesta, who died of kidney disease, and who I got for Michael following Turbo’s death. I miss them all as well.
I still have Siesta’s big brother and littermate, Bear, who is my sweetheart. He and Sprinkles are buddies.