Wednesday, 17 June 2009

Minutes of the 5th Meeting

Meeting was held on June 17, 2-5pm at Warung Bambu, Pemaron, Bali

Present at the Meeting in Warung Bambu: Beate, Brigitta, Silvia, Burgl, Dominique, Renate, Burkhard, Evelyn

The next meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, July 15, 3-5pm at Warung Bambu, Pemaron, Bali

Although some of us are in the middle of their construction projects and very busy and stressed with their own stuff, we made it to the meeting. What an effort and dedication! As a new guest we welcomed Dominique from Switzerland.
  • Beate let us know what happened with her waste water garden project after we left Villa Manuk on Sunday, May 24. As you remember 2 of the pipes for the leachfield were quite curved because they probably were leaned against a tree in the sun instead of storing them in a plane protected place. So before we drilled the holes, we turned the pipes until they were laying flat on the floor, because we remembered very well how important it is to lay the pipes even into the leachfield. But still it was not possible to install the pipes evenly in the leachfield how hard Beate and her Tukangs tried. So they decided to buy new pipes. They found white pipes instead of the grey ones which were stronger and of good quality. After having sold this problem Beate faced the next one. The leachfield was not filled properly due to a misunderstanding and soil was washed into it with the rain. Probably the top layer of the leachfield has to be replaced. This happened when Beate was not on site. So she came to the conclusion that it is crucial to be on the construction site all the time when you install a waste water garden the first time.
  • Burkhard told us about his problems of getting a kartu keluarga, the indonesian family document, with correct data.
  • And then Brigitta challenged us to help her design the waste water garden (WWG) for her new house at KEV. She brought a plan of her property and wanted to know where we would put the WWG. The specialty on her property is the dive operation with its basins to clean the dive equipment from saltwater.
  • Where to put the saltwater from the basins? Not to the septic tank said our Guru. But why not? The idea came up to make a leachfield with Halophytes, salt-tolerant plants. And we asked ourselves if these plants are just salt-tolerant or if they are also salt-reducing. Another idea was to desalinate the water. How does that work? At the end we came back to the simple solution: just let the water run into the drainage from the rice fields which leads to the sea.
  • Where to put the septic tank? led to further questions such as Where are the paths? Where are private and common areas? How is the slope on the property? We all agreed the septic tank should be as close as possible by the source of the waste that there are less chances of a blockage in the pipes.
  • Where to put the leachfield? The plants in the leachfield can be used as a hedge to give privacy.
  • Brigitta designed a freshwater tank in the earth to keep the water cool. There is enough slope to fill her private tank from the common water tank at KEV without pump. But in her house she depends on a waterpump whenever she opens a tap. Why not put a second watertank under the roof? Then the waterpump is only needed to fill that tank.
  • Where to put a waterpump? As close as possible to the water source, because waterpumps are strong in lifting water but weak in sucking water. The diameter of the lifting pipe should be narrow. Like this the water column who stands above the pump has less weight and the pump can work with less power and survives probably longer. Thank you, Burkhard, for the technical explanations! I hope, I repeated them correctly.
  • Burgl mentions that the height of the watertank is a defining factor for the water pressure. It seems that the longer the pipes are the bigger has to be the slope. She had to install a waterpump to use the water from her water tower in the solarheater on the roof because the water pressure was too low.
  • Why are we trying to find solutions by ourselves instead of hiring an architect or an expert to do it for us? Usually architects and experts do not work on site and do not design permaculturally. Often they make idealistic plans which then have to be realized by a constructor. Lucky who finds a good constructor and experienced plumbers in Bali!
  • Finally Burkhard informed about a cleaning-up festival that Yuli organized with their neighbours.
  • Beate has Neem Oil to sell which can be used to spray plants against pests.
So we just keep on learning by doing.
Belajar sambil praktek!

Tuesday, 16 June 2009

Next Permaculture Meeting on 17th of June 2009

Dear friends,
we will meet on 17th of June at 2.00 pm at Warung Bambu Pemaron.
I am happy to see you tomorrow.

Thursday, 4 June 2009

Greece Report

A bit less than two months in my homeland and I have not stopped missing you since day one, especially since I am following closely your endeavours and successes in Kalisada, Villa Manuk and elsewhere on the island.

But I don't stay idle either! I am joining a Permaculture Design Course in Melbourne in September, where Bill Mollison will teach (hurray!). Anybody wants to join me? There is still time! I have also joined the WWOOF network (thanks to Linda who talked to me about it) and am searching to visit and give a hand to organic farms in Greece in an effort to gain insight into how things are working here. Do you guys know anything about Fukuoka and natural farming? I came across this technique while looking for WWOOF farmers in Greece and it seems quite interesting. Next week I am finally visiting the island of Kythnos, where I could end up if I were to stay in Greece for long and where Fukuoka farming could be applied successfully.

In the meantime I set up my first compost heap, in an old barrel I found in my sister's house in the countryside where I am residing at the moment ("Just do it, said the guru and this is exactly what I did :). And I am mulching and mulching and enjoying every minute of it! I planted my first tomatoes, bell peppers and herbs, I'm fertilising the plants with nettle and seaweed fertilisers I'm making myself and I am surveying the greek society in order to see if I can let it adopt me once more.. Not so bad for an engineer, don't you agree Norm? Any suggestion or comment about arid lands, dry climates and poor soils is more than welcome!

My favourite pastime though is spending time with my nephew, who is taking me with him to the wonderland of childhood while I am introducing him to the wonders of nature. Fantastic journey!