Winter vs the Yurt – Round 4

new house april 2015

Boodaville is looking great! We made our first visit of the year this weekend with family and friends and the high rainfall has definitely not done any (permanent) harm to the site. The building site at the new house has been completely overgrown and resembles the house of my dreams (but let’s remember that the roof, floor and doors are not finished yet).

The yurt and the old house suffered the same fate as last winter with bits of the roof being ripped off, but at least this year we weren’t robbed.

The permaculture design has been taken forward brilliantly by Oceanne and Yoann during their stay in February. There are new, beautiful steps down to the terrace with the shower “cave” and it is now possible to walk directly up to the house from the lower terraces – the idea is to create a circular route around the site. This path needs more work, and steps, but it’s on the way.

On Saturday we met Mike, who moved to the area 7 months ago and is constructing a raw food restaurant. He introduced us to the idea of “Superfood” and made us all a detoxifying energising smoothie while explaining the different ingredients and their health benefits. Mike actually lives on these shakes – he provides his body with exactly what it needs, and nothing more. Afterwards talking about it we made comparisons between the way you try to run a machine on the most efficient full possible, and this idea of putting only the very best nutrients into your body (and no poison like sugar, alcohol and pretty much all food). Is this permacultural? I’m not really sure.

Most people use these shakes to supplement their diet and keep a range of health problems at bay. Look out for Mike at the festival, he will be around all weekend making shakes and offering health consultations.

A most depressing meditation.. 

Meditation is a much broader habit than the chanting, eyes closed version we often imagine. Many of the things we do; a walk, colouring in for adults (this is the new London craze right?) even “having a sit down” are important moments of calm in our days, with many of the benefits of meditation. At the festival we are running a workshop on Mandala, which is another of these techniques, combining creativity and patterns to guide our thoughts away and to switch off for a while.

Sadly, on Sunday sitting behind the yurt, I found myself doing an activity which could be considered meditative, but that actually only serves to guide your thoughts to the depressing reality of plastic pollution. Did you know that plastic never biodegrades, it just breaks down into smaller and smaller pieces? So when you leave a tarpaulin over a sand pile, in an attempt to “save your sand” from the wind and 6 months later find that half of the cover has gone, you know that the tiny plastic ribbons it has disintegrated into are now littered around an otherwise unpolluted valley.

The task I quietly undertook while chastising myself for allowing this to happen, was picking the tiny blue ribbons out of the grass bit by bit. On one hand knowing that every piece I pick out means less traces of plastic in the soil, and on the other hand wondering how many people in the world have left tarpaulins to completely disintegrate. The plastic which I saw as a solution to what was essentially a financial problem (I paid for the sand and didn’t want to lose it) has caused pollution, wasted my time in trying to clear that pollution up, and didn’t even really work as for most of the last six months since the sand was mostly open to the air.

In the future I will think more, everyone needs to think more, about whether the solution is really a solution…

Does it make the situation any better to see a photo of birds recycling this plastic waste and using it to make their nests? Not really. Mike took that exact picture in the Matarranya, a place cited as being less densely populated than the Sahara desert. Here’s one I found on the internet

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