Living Systems Create Abundance

Below are images of the swales that were first dug and planted out at Octoberfest 2011.

Pete has been converting them into living systems, meaning filling the swale part up with matter, including but not limited to:

  • Cardboard bales – thank you Bunnings Armidale
  • Windfall branches and pruned and dead tree matter
  • Biodegradable household waste, including old clothing, paper, green waste etc
  • Newspapers/paper
  • Sheep manure
  • A couple of dead animals
  • Woodchips
  • Hay

We noticed during the drought a huge difference in this area to other areas of the property. The grass was greener on the swale banks, it was longer and more lush.There is a heap of fungi growing and breaking down matter within the systems, indicating that moisture is being retained in these systems. Insect life is increasing. Animal life is increasing in this area also. Trees are growing and healthier.

We have noticed that each type of matter breaks down at different rates, attracts different insects and grows different fungi and plants.

Living Systems are awesome. They create abundance when made with love and given to generously when initially set up. We cannot stress enough the importance of Love and giving generously when setting up living systems. If there is no desire to love and no intention to give generously and abundantly to the project you are engaging in with the earth, the results will reflect that, our soul’s are powerful creators.

We feel that Living Systems are a really great way to begin to ‘drought proof’* a property as they hold and retain moisture under the ground and are a food source for the intelligent life that creates soil and keeps the earth healthy at the same time.

The images below hopefully give an idea of what can be achieved in your back yard as well as on a larger scale.

*More on ‘drought proofing’ to come

 

 

Swales

Foreground: Swale with tree matter, cardboard, wood chips, notice how green the grass on the top edge is. Background: Swale with hay

Living Systems

Swales being filled with Cardboard – we fill up the swales as we collect the raw materials and as our time is available. We would not recommend digging a heap of holes that you cannot fill. Leaving bare, exposed earth creates a lot of problems and potential for erosion. Make as many holes as you can fill, fill them and then create more. Do one at a time if needs be.

Living Systems

Cardboard bales

Living Systems

Sheep manure covering cardboard bales

Living Systems

Living Systems: Hay covering cardboard bales

Living Systems

Living Systems: A living system with cardboard bales, tree branches covered in wood chip

Living Systems

Living Systems: we noticed this awesome fungi growing in the swales that had newspaper and wood chips. The fungi actually grew out from between the sheets of newspaper as can be seen in the next image

Living Systems

Living Systems: we noticed this awesome fungi growing in the swales that had newspaper and wood chips. The fungi is growing out from between the sheets of newspaper. Noticed this happened after the newspaper had absorbed some moisture. Amazing how fungi breaks down matter!!

 

Photos taken by Eloisa, 20140611

Regular Events: A Day in the Waterless Garden

New Growth in the waterless garden - self seeded

New Growth in the waterless garden – self seeded

A Day in the Waterless Garden is an event (usually a morning) generally facilitated by Lincon Trelor and Philippa Gray. (Check the Events Page for the next one)

It is an open invitation to come and learn the principles behind the waterless garden concept and to gift and contribute your time to various parts of this on-going project.
Lincon and Philippa hold days periodically and will do so until the project is completed. Check out the Events page for dates you can volunteer your time and efforts if you so desire.
For more information please contact Philippa and Lincon via email.
General things to Bring each time, check Events Page for specifics before you come as items may vary depending on the activity:
  • Water
  • Snacks if you want them
  • Sun protection
  • Gloves
  • Anything you feel you need for a day in the garden outdoors
Parking: Please park cars/vehicles up near the big green shed (Jumbuck) on the roadway and walk to the garden, behind the cottage on the grass oval, Thank you.
waterless garden

Living Fertility Systems

If you haven’t read the blog ‘Creating Loving Eco-Systems -An Introduction’ yet we suggest that you do so especially if you have the intention to actually create a living system yourself.

We began these systems in 2012 and it is an on going project.

It is really important to understand that you need to have a feeling of love and put love into this project. Without love it is not going to flourish and be abundant. If you don’t desire to give love to what you are doing we suggest not to begin the project (better to look at why you don’t want to first, and do the project at another time).

Living Systems are about creating, food, habitat, moisture (water) for Bacteria, fungus, microbes, soil-based creatures (worms, ants, white ants etc)Plants that prepare the environment (weeds, trees seemingly without “purpose”) Above ground and airborne creatures (insects, spiders, etc)

They very basically consist of putting a lot of dead matter in one place and creating a decomposing (not composting) mound or hole to give all the little life creating creatures/primary recovery organisms food and a place to flourish. 


If your intention is to get from the mound or hole, to take for yourself e.g. plant a fruit tree right away in it so you can eat rather than purely just wanting to create fertility in the soil you may find there are issues (this does not mean that eventually there wont be a fruit tree there that you can eat, but we need to be very honest with ourselves about why we are engaging in the projects in the first place, expectation and demands on plants and creatures causes negative results in our experience (this is a process). 


Living systems are about properly preparing the soil and environment so that eventually it will be wholly self sustainable and will support all life (flora and fauna). The intention of living systems is to provide abundance to the living intelligence that knows best how to repair what is damaged – in this case the soil. Soil based living intelligence knows best how to heal, balance soil, water based living intelligence know best how to heal, balance water systems, if we create places where these primary recovery organisms have all they need to live and flourish abundantly close by then they will feel loved, not attacked and will abundantly be able to procreate and multiply which is exactly what the land needs.


These creatures are all your friends. It is only when organisms feel attacked that they can get out of balance and ‘attack’ back (for them they are only ensuring their survival). Example: when white ants eat your house they are not purposely attacking you out of spite, they are just doing their job of recycling dead matter. If you loved the white ants and had a whole heap of dead matter and gave the white ants an opportunity to create a home that they loved with abundant food and water nearby they could well leave your house alone. If we love these organisms as much as we love other creatures e.g. your cat or dog, and give them as much love, food, shelter, water as we can then they wont have reason to attack and can get on with having lots of sex multiply at a rate that is sustainable for where they live (totally in balance and harmony) and doing what they do best – recovery jobs. That will cut down your work and effort and make everyone and everything in the environment around you much happier and more plentiful. They don’t need us, we do need them and in our arrogance we often think that we don’t. 


primary soil recovery creature! These guys are truly intelligent
and completely amazing in many ways!!

Living System example, Below Ground Variety (Hole):

 
Living System Example, Above Ground Variety (Mound):
 
 
Basic Construction of a Living System:
Give Abundantly to your living fertility systems, both love and matter!!
 
note: you do not need specific ingredients to construct a living system. you can use what you have on hand and you can do it over a period of time. For example you could have a hole in your back yard and put all your organic food waste, old clothing, some tin and metal (avoid aluminium where possible), your own manure – if you are vegan and want to, (meat eaters excrement has toxins and different bacteria in it), all paper (ripped up, or scrunched to create air pockets for worms), cardboard, newspapers etc (put it in vertically so worms and organisms have somewhere to go if it gets wet), old broken furniture, bits of wood, grass clippings, what ever you have in it, cover it with a board until you fill it up (so you don’t fall down it) and when a few inches from the top cover it with a thick layer of wood chip, put an optional decorative stump, log or rock on top of it and let the primary recovery organisms do their wonderful thing. You could also have little holes all over the place and put your household waste in it.
 
If you do have access to fallen branches, dead trees (these need to be covered and have as much surface area contact with the ground as possible to encourage decomposition and so that the organisms can eat them without being open to attack, hay, debosia, manure, etc etc, use that!
 
Below Ground Variety:
Dig a hole:
 
This can be very large to small depending on the scale of your project and how much matter you have to put in it.
or Find a bit of erosion:
Collect a whole heap of matter (be Generous): 
Newspaper, cardboard, paper, shredded paper,

Hay, debosia, damaged hay, mouldy hay, etc etc

Manure, horse, cow, sheep, any animal (note that bat and chicken are extremely strong, might need to mix these with less astringent manures), human – if vegan

windfall trees/branches etc

seeded dead weed/grass matter, lawn mowings etc

Add what you have got, what you can find, what you have on hand.
Encouraging what is already there & using what you have at hand:

We suggest if you have a pile of wood as above to begin that as the basis of your mound, stuff the other matter, cardboard, paper, hay, woodchip, smaller sticks, manure, manure slurry – for the worms etc, what ever you have in all the holes, stuff it up tight and then cover it with manure, and finish it with hay so you have a lovely big mound of dead matter that is covered as much as possible. This can be done with tree stumps also, create the mound around them where they already exist.

encouraging what is already there – feeding a white ants nest,
adding cardboard and wood chips to encourage the
life and support it where it is.
Add minerals (be generous):
 
You will need to identify what minerals the soil needs. A soil test is good for this. We used gypsum for the project in standby paddock as there was a clay base. In other areas of the land we have used different mineral combinations. Each hole may be different.
You can put an optional layer of newspaper (2 sheets thick) over the minerals if you want.
Put compacted matter into the holes:
 
put cardboard bales, hay bales, fallen trees, tree stumps, branches -cut up to fit hole, (compacted items) in the hole.
jostling a bale into place
Pack it in tight – generously:
Pack Cardboard/hay/matter around the compacted matter to fill up the hole tight. When using paper and cardboard put it standing up ways so that worms and other organisms are able to crawl upwards to the top to get out of excess water.
Adding cardboard and newspaper
the more cardboard the better –  food
Adding more food
Add Manure and worms – generously:
 
Worms love manure and will chomp through it. We also created what we called ‘worm slurry’ a water manure brew that was soaked for a few days before putting it into the system. We did this to add moisture and a place for worms to begin feasting and breeding right away. Worms need moisture. (No need to deplete your worm breeding centres too much, take what you can and then wait till the worms breed up more and add more to the living system at a later date, if needed.)
(We put manure all through the systems and then made little worm pockets with slurry at the top of the holes to create a worm feasting/breeding area from which they can multiply and spread through the system).
 
Worm Slurry:
 
This can be a mixture of all sorts of things that worms like, could include food scraps too if you wanted to.
Can be water, manure, decomposed matter, small bits of cardboard soaked, or just manure and water. Make use of what you have or can easily access.
make a worm food slurry/brew water, poo,
decomposed hay, small bits of cardboard
put the slurry/brew under the newspaper in all the
holes and cracks so that there is moisture
Cover with Mulch:
 
to keep it moist and also add more food and places for insects to live.
adding mulch
Cover with mulch to keep moist (what a lovely ‘bug’ palace)
 
Adding dead matter:
 
We were really grateful to our neighbours (the Munsies) for their generous gift of felled trees to put both underground into the living system hole and also on the top of it.
moving dead matter onto the top – creating habitat and
food sources for fauna.
Put as much matter as possible in and on top of the holes.
Cover as much surface area as possible:
Pack matter around the wood to ensure as much surface area of the logs are covered or touching hay, woodchip, etc so that it breaks down faster and so creatures can easily eat and make homes and do not have to endanger themselves or work hard to do so.
cover with woodchips (optional, you could use the wood chips in the living
system or if limited supply keep them to use for mulching around the
 regeneration ‘support’ plants (legumes) rather than putting it
over the top.
Woodchip packed around the tree stumps to enable more
surface area to be available to primary recovery organisms.
(You can use hay, or any other materials you may have
access to).
Living System Above Ground Variety:
 
To construct an above ground living system is pretty much the same as below ground but without a hole. There are heaps of ways you can build it, some examples: on crates, straight on the ground, cut a small cut or swale into the ground before piling matter.
Important to note that the above ground system is about decomposition not composting. You do not want it to be overheating (unless specifically designed to do so for example in the case of cold climate and creating micro climate hot spots.) Composting kills life as it gets too hot. Decomposition encourages life, (decomposition still feels warms just not hot).
above ground (mound) living system
Make a cut, or just lay a crate, hay or any other matter on the ground to build upon.
You could use an old tree stump, piles of wood, windfall branches, logs, trees. You can make living systems around what already exists if it is too hard to move. GIVE ABUNDANTLY to your Living Fertility Systems!
The beginning of the worm ‘mound’
Bale of hay wedged into a bit of open soil
and separated to create decomposition not composting.
Primary Recovery Organisms don’t like too much heat

fill the gaps with cardboard and manure/logs/fallen branches etc

put the slurry/brew under the newspaper in all the
holes and cracks so that there is moisture

Put it all together

cover in manure, mulch it with hay, cover with wood chips and
then put fallen branches  (ones that have not been on the
ground long and that have not begun creating habitat.) To
hold the mound in place and create habitat and encourage other
fauna and flora to come and make their homes!
cut timber for the top and middle of mounds
 
The mound
Creating Living Systems (to improve soil fertility) was a great day learning about the earth, ourselves and how to create abundance through giving love and supporting the intelligent life systems without expectation* that support us. 
I feel that one of the greatest gifts was the fact that if want to take and we want for everything to be given to us from the earth; If we do not desire to give and love the earth, land and all the intelligent life – the fungi, bacteria, microbes, micro-organisms, worms, insects, and all the creating things – then it is really best to not begin in the first place. The whole exercise is an exercise in giving for the pure desire to give to that which creates. To give without gain. 

Personal Note on what Eloisa learnt from creating Living Systems: I need to be like a worm hole.

To stop expecting and demanding** from the earth and the land and to trust God’s abundance and her way of creating and see the way she creates and help out the best that I can by providing food, water, shelter to everything that sustains life. To all the insects, fungi, bacteria, microbes, micro-organisms etc these are our friends and our desire to erridicate them reflects how much negative, self serving desire we have and how little we understand about the way that the world operates as God designed it. We create more and more problems that then need fixing. We are exhausting ourselves with meaningless things that could be done so much more easily if we were more humble, more logical and actually understood what God has gifted us in the first place. We humans claim to be intelligent but I am beginning to wonder, smile. What I saw today is that God’s way is best*** and it is beautiful, magical, abundant and can create wonderlands…. We are excited about the experiment and to see ‘who moves in’ and what happens.

* Today I learnt how much expectation I have about things giving to me in order for me to get what i want. I learnt how much demand we have and how much pressure we put on the earth rather than giving to the earth abundantly and without expectation to encourage intelligent living flora and fauna to create it’s own living self creating systems. 

** This is an emotional change not just an intellectual exercise that we can think into existance. It takes us emotionally releasing the demands and expectations that we have on things to sustain us. To grow our desire to love, grow our desire to give and our desire to find out about all the intelligent life that God has created and support it purely because we desire to support it and for no other reason. 

*** In my arrogance I am not always humble to this fact and try to force my way, but when it is logically explained I wonder why I thought there was any other but God’s way. Much to learn and how exciting!

 

‘Summerfest 2012 Project’

We recently held ‘Summerfest’, a week long project that included different projects with the intention that those who came could learn techniques based on love that are logical and beautiful* that are applicable to their backyards or acreage. It was a project with lots of different learning experiences so that those who attended and volunteered their time could leave with skills and knowledge on how to do what they learned at home and teach it to others. Below is a summary and thank you to those who volunteered and contributed their time, expertise and energy to these projects.

The week of the ‘Summerfest 2012 Project’ – 28th November to 3rd of December 2012, held at Kyabra Station (Kyabra Learning Centre, Kentucky, NSW), was a great week full of various fun filled activities. 
 
We began and ended with a focus on large scale soil improvement and water management, demonstrating methods using contours and ponds to redirect and retain water, building living eco systems to provide fertility and regenerate soil, and seeding of grasses and re generation plants to prevent soil erosion. This project took longer than expected with some of the pond walls needing adjustments to hold water properly.

There is still some work to be done in this area to complete the project but a lot of headway was made and we are so grateful for all volunteers time in beginning the project.
 
the site – Standbye Paddock
Alternate View of Standbye Paddock
Bedrock the beginnings of  erosion at the top of the paddock
Alternate view of bedrock erosion
Erosion, contours, ponds


Site for contour planting, ponding and living fertility systems:
Contour
Close up of coutour
You can see where the water held and was slowed down
in a shower we had pre-seeding the contour
Harrowing hand planted seeding on the
contours.
Contours at Site (Standbye Paddock):
Digging the Fertility pits
Living Fertility System hole on a contour

The various materials and ‘food’ for the living fertility systems – use what you
have on hand and have an abundance of. We are wanting to create systems
that are self supporting and that can be done with low cost using what is
available.
Filling up the Fertility pit
Tractor moving ‘dead matter’ into place
An almost finished Living System – needs some more hay and
matter around the logs so they will break down faster and encourage life
to live there feeling protected and ‘safe’.
Fertility pit complete
Volunteers working at a Living System

Standbye paddock Site showing ponds:

Just dug pond
After a rain. The soil here as you can see in the background is prone to heavy
erosion after rain. The soil is light and fly-away- when exposed.
Working on the bank of one of the ponds. Creating a dam wall to prevent
erosion and cover as much bare soil as possible. (Begin from the bottom up
when creating a dam wall).
 Harrowing the dam wall
Adding sticks into erosion cracks and at overflow to manage and
slow down water.
Lomandra grasses planted either side of logs – logs
purpose to slow down water flow.
Dam bank complete
Other projects during the week consisted of tending to the swales planted out last year and filling them with gathered matter to transform them into living systems in order to create fertility and improve soil conditions.
Our many thanks to everyone who was on the ‘food’ team for all the living systems spending your days carrying and carting dead wood matter and treading lightly to place it in an already re-generating area. Thank you for your time and care  to disturb as little as possible the new plants and creatures that have been moving in over the last year. Thanks also to our neighbors and Bunnings for supplying much of the ‘dead’matter used to feed the living systems.

‘Food’ for the Living Systems – Thanks Guys for your help pre – summerfest!
More ‘food’ for the systems
shredding paper for ‘food’ for the living systems and
getting the worms going.
shredded cardboard and paper
Other Projects:

Waterless home Gardening project: demonstrating several techniques including fibonacci system to maximize sun and water usage of any area, designing water flow in your garden, techniques to minimize or completely remove the need for watering, mixed planting incorporating natives both flowering and mulching, fruit trees and vegetables. (More detailed information on the Waterless Garden can be found in the blog post titled the same).

Waterless garden before

fibonacci spiral marked out
volunteers creating various systems in the garden
Nature box project: constructing from flat packed pre made kits, painting and positioning boxes for animals and birds according to their particular needs, providing shelter close to food and water. Scouting for suitable locations and some tree climbing to place boxes.

Pre packaged nature boxes, thank you to everyone who made these for us
in Queesland. We are so grateful for all your time and efforts!
Constructed from pre- packaging
eco painting in process

 

Nature box in place up a tree
‘Reptile Heaven project’: Reptiles are often forgotten or even shunned members of vital ecosystems. This activity focused on providing habitat for reptiles by placing shelter, food and water in close proximity, providing safe transit zones. We utilized above ground living systems to incorporate suitable living shelters and abundant insect life. We also planted various native shrubs, legumes and grasses for protection and mulching. There have already been an increase in numbers of lizards and frogs into the area. 

Reptile Heaven ‘before’ – looking up the hill
Reptile Heaven ‘after’ – looking up hill

 


Reptile Heaven ‘after’ looking down the hill
Reptile Heaven in progress

Some little frogs who have moved in near by

 

Worm nursery and breeding centre: Setting up optimal conditions for worm breeding farms and educating about lovingly caring for worms and soil creating creatures.

worms – we love worms!
Worm Breeding Centre under construction –
For more information see blog post on the same
subject.
Worm slurry in the field to add to the living systems to
get the worms started.
We had a marvelous time in the woolshed each evening learning new things in presentations from Jesus and Mary and reflecting on events during the day, as well as much fun dancing, singing and being entertained by wonderful musicians and singers. Our thanks to Jesus and local singer/song writer Fabio Tolli for the evening entertainment. Thank you so much for all the time and gifts to all who planned, prepared and attended these events! We hope you learned heaps and enjoyed it as much as we did!
 
We want to thank God’s Way of Love Organization (no longer in existence) for all the wonderful contributions they made, Jesus and Mary, the team leaders and supply teams and everyone who participated and volunteered giving their time, resources and efforts to helping us love the land some more. 
 
We would like to acknowledge the amount of time and effort that went into things such as organizing and pre making animal and bird boxes. We are grateful to everyone who came and made this event such fun and worthwhile this year. We look forward to seeing you again sometime in the near future.
 
Thanks again 
 
From the Lytton-Hitchins Family  
 
For more information or if anything in this takes your interest please feel free to contact us at eloisalh@gmail.com or phone 67787458 or check out www.divinetruth.com for more information on creating loving eco-systems.
 
* We found out how illogical some of us were or how we sacrificed logic for beauty or beauty for logic rather than having a beautiful balance of both. 

Living Fertility System Mini Experiments

This is an ongoing project begun in 2012. Below are some experiments we are doing with various things we had lying around we want to see what happens with different materials and how they decompose and what creatures are attracted to what. We are looking to see what ‘moves’ in and what lives here. We suspect that if creatures have a ‘home’ they move in. Also if you haven’t already noticed that usually under wood, stones, rock etc it is generally moister with more fertile soil. We have even noticed plants growing out from under rocks or from the middle of rocks.

Wind Fall branches cut up and piled up
Small living system – sticks, leaves, wood chip mulch
Tin with logs on it
pile of sticks from nearby trees
Hay
old pieces of concrete
below ground Living system – we dug a hole, filled it up with matter and
covered it – see blog post for more detailed information on this particular
project.
Above ground Living System – matter stacked up high, focus on
decomposition rather than composting to encourage living organisms

See blog post of Living Systems for more information. Over time as we document what happens we will add it to this page.