“Hey do you have your fall garden in yet?” No.
“So what you have you been doing?” Observing. “Observing! You need to get up off your laurels and do something, like put in a fall garden or buy some animals.” Actually, we are doing something, observing.
Observation is key to permaculture. Developing good observation skills is essential if we want to make well-functioning permaculture designs. — Permaculture Association
Through observing the land we are able to develop a design strategy. You can see what is there and how the landscape behaves. What we learn through observation can then be cautiously applied to the design of the micro-farm. Yes, this includes: charting sun-patterns; studying flood irrigation idiosyncrasies and flow patterns; watching wind and storm patterns; and watching predators move through the neighborhood and our property. All those observations will come into play with the design of the micro-farm.
“So how do you observe?” Well, you open your eyes, ears, nose and be still and study the land. You do need a notebook to record your observations unless you have a great memory. The key is to sit still and open your eyes to what is around you. It is like taking time to smell the roses. Yes, in our fast pace world this is hard to do. In fact, you have to train yourself to observe. We started by studying different segments of the micro-farm:
Of course sometimes you just need a different perspective. There is nothing like sitting on the lawn mower to bring all your senses into your observation as you feel every bump in the pasture. Okay, I discovered the ground in some areas was not close to being level and it felt like I was riding a bull and the goal was to just stay in the seat of the lawn mower.
Observation includes studying irrigation flow pattern through the micro-farm. The initial discoveries resulted in some immediate changes to improve the flow pattern.
Sun and moon patterns needed to be observed.
One must also study how the wind and storms travel across the micro farm along with how the rain effects the landscape.
“So, did you make any unusual observations?” Sure did, especially when it came to wildlife and potential predators on either animals or crops.
“Well, what did you find?” Do you want to see some pictures? “Sure!”
There were the friendly birds:
Then there were the predator birds:
Of course there were the wildlife that can cause the garden problems:
Of course you have just the plain unusual:
While we haven’t captured them on film, we have observed bats and an owl. While we haven’t seen them we are aware that coyotes have been spotted in front of our property and have been known to travel down the bridle path on the back side of our property.
In the midst of observing, we have been dreaming, planning, and discussing design options. Even in the midst of planning we are going through withdrawals from gardening and harvesting our own food 🙁 but we will be back to that sooner than later.