Skip to main content

Permaculture - Catch and Store Energy

In January I wrote about the first of the 12 permaculture principles - Observe and Interact.  In that post I discussed the various ways that we can observe and interact with our environment, from keeping your own records to research on the local climate and solar path.  Observing and interacting is a continuous process of improvement.  Of course its very important at the start of a design project, but we can always look for opportunities to improve a system.

This month's principle is Catch and Store Energy.  Energy is defined very broadly in this case, encompassing both the obvious heat and electricity, and less obvious forms of energy, such as water, trees, seeds, food and soil.  This principle is important because we live in a time of energy abundance due to the availability of cheap fossil fuels and it can be very easy to forget to plan for energy catchment and storage.  We have become accustomed to buying what we need when we need it because fossil fuels have made this such an easy option.

Energy is both heat and sun energy
and less obvious things like trees
This is not to say that we should stop using fossil fuels immediately, but we must try to use them in the most efficient way to create systems that will become self-sustaining.  We should design with an expectation that fossil fuels will one day not be available so cheaply (if at all).  This will result in a more stable system that cannot be so easily disrupted by shortages.

For example, during the flood in QLD two years ago, although some people in Brisbane required food drops after two days of isolation, we did not run out of food after nearly a week (I think we would have been ok for at least a month).  This is because we had a well-stocked pantry, freezer and garden to provide for our needs.  This kind of scenario can be helpful in planning for a future without fossil fuels.  We were very lucky not to lose power at that time, and promptly purchased a petrol generator (which we have never needed in an emergency so far!), however that only lasts as long as you have petrol, so we need to think more about food storage options that do not require electricity.  We now have a campervan with solar panels, battery system and fridge, so that will help us as well.  I also try to preserve food using fermentation and drying, which can be stored outside of the fridge.

There is so much to write about on this topic, I'm going to spread it over a few posts this month:
  • Energy for free - Passive solar design
  • Living soil - Biological agriculture
  • Trees, seeds and food - Perennial vs annual plants
  • Water - Keyline Design

Comments

  1. wow wow wow. Love this blog and love what you write about. I will coming here a lot more xxx
    I have a giveaway so come and play along...xxx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Amber, I just visited your blog too and joined. Was very pleased to see that I didn't miss out on your giveaway, I love bamboo fabric!

      Delete

Post a Comment

Thanks, I appreciate all your comments, suggestions and questions, but I don't always get time to reply right away. If you need me to reply personally to a question, please leave your email address in the comment or in your profile, or email me directly on eight.acres.liz at gmail.com

Popular posts from this blog

What to do with eight acres

Behind the scenes of my blog I can see the search terms that led people to find my blog.  It can be quite interesting to look through them occasionally and see what people are looking for.  Most of them involve chicken tractors, but another question that comes up regularly is “what can you do with eight acres?” or “how much land is eight acres?”.  Today I will try to answer this question.

Of course it is a very broad question, there are lots and lots of things you can do with eight acres, but I’m going to assume that you want to live there, feed your family and maybe make a little extra money.  I make that assumption because that’s what I know about, if you want to do something else with your eight acres, you will need to look somewhere else.

If you haven’t chosen your land yet, here a few things to look for.  Focus on the things you can’t change and try to choose the best property you can find in your price range.  Look for clean water in dams, bores or wells, either on the property …

Growing and eating chokos (chayotes)

** Sign up for my weekly email updates here, you will find out more about my garden, soap and our farmlife, straight to your inbox, never miss a post!  New soap website and shop opening soon....

Cooking chokos (not be confused with another post about cooking chooks) has been the subject of a few questions on my blog lately, so here's some more information for you.
Chokos - also known as Chayote, christophene or christophine, cho-cho, mirliton or merleton, chuchu, Cidra, Guatila, Centinarja, Pipinola, pear squash, vegetable pear, chouchoute, güisquil, Labu Siam, Ishkus or Chowchow, Pataste, Tayota, Sayote - is a vine belonging to the Cucurbitaceae family, along with pumpkins, squash and melons, with the botanical name Sechium edule.


The choko contains a large seed, like a mango, but if you pick them small enough it is soft enough to eat.  If you leave the choko for long enough it will sprout from one end and start to grow a vine.  To grow the choko, just plant the sprouted choko a…

How to make coconut yoghurt

Lately I have been cutting back on eating dairy.  I know, I know, we own two house cows!  But I am trying to heal inflammation (bad skin) and dairy is one of the possible triggers, so as a last resort and after much resistance, I decided I had better try to cut back.  Its been hard because I eat a LOT of cheese, and cook with butter, and love to eat yoghurt (and have written extensively about making yoghurt).  I had to just give up cheese completely, switch to macadamia oil and the only yoghurt alternative was coconut yoghurt.  I tried it and I like it, but only a spoonful on some fruit here and there because it is expensive!





The brand I can get here is $3 for 200 mL containers.  I was making yoghurt from powdered milk for about 50c/L.  So I was thinking there must be a way to make coconut yoghurt, but I didn't feel like mucking around and wasting heaps of coconut milk trying to get it right....  and then Biome Eco Store sent me a Mad Millie Coconut Yoghurt Kit to try.  The kit is…