Wyrdwood Acres

Follow one families adventure as they build a new life of self-reliance and sustainable living, embrace permaculture and undertake a mammoth task of self-building a straw-bale forever home in the sun.

Monday, 22 August 2016

Initial Layout Plan

When we decided that we had our hearts set on this journey one of the first things we did was book a place on a PDC, a Permaculture Design Course.



I did my course under the tutelage of Graham Burnett through his company Spiralseed. Graham is a fantastic teacher and has become a great friend, I thoroughly recommend booking a course with him.

We thought that learning about permaculture would help us achieve our plans, but instead it was more of a revelation than we could have imagined, and has ultimately shaped our plans more than anything else.

Below is the plan as it stands at the moment:


Our first action whilst we are waiting on building permissions for the house will be to put in the swales around the entire perimeter and to put the pathways in (shown in pink) for access around the plot and to avoid compacting the rest of the soil.

Starting from the road access on the left, we will have:
Farm Market Stall for fresh produce and products with an honesty box
The first box will be parking for residents and visitors
The second blue box will be the kitchen garden which will supply annual crops to the house
Then we will have the tool shed for storage
Next is the geodome for starting seedlings and extending the growing season
The four blue boxes next are the fields that we will eventually rotate our chickens and goats in
Everything after that will be allowed to go somewhat wild as a food forest, with the classroom and yurts for visitors among the trees. We'll be running courses and workshops for visitors so the classroom area is essential for us. Each yurt will have it's own outhouse with compost toilet but the shower block and kitchen areas will be communal.
We've also included a pond although we are not sure that there is enough rainfall in the area to sustain it, we'll have to wait and see.

We hope that over time we'll be able to establish a living fence around the entire perimeter as a shelter belt and another source of edibles. It will be interesting to see how the layout and plan changes as we go forwards, one of the reasons we're going to be posting it all on here is so we can look back on it in the future. Hopefully we won't have too many mistakes to learn from!

If you have any ideas or thoughts we'd love to hear from you in the comments

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Thursday, 11 August 2016

The Land

So this is the land we will likely spend the rest of our lives on, living the good life and getting close to nature.

The land we have our hearts set on is 5 acres in southern Spain that is currently host to nothing but Almond trees. The plot is relatively narrow and long, so we would own as far as the eye can see in this first picture.




Spain's obsession with monoculture and constant weeding/ploughing between the trees leaves the earth bare, scorched and barren. It is our hope that by using Permaculture practices, introducing as much biological matter as we can to the soil and establishing ground cover will regenerate this land in to a green oasis.

The climate in the area is referred to as a local steppe climate. During the year there is little rainfall. This climate is considered to be BSk according to the Köppen-Geiger climate classification. The average annual temperature in el Pinós/Pinoso is 15.2 °C. The rainfall here averages 404 mm. The least amount of rainfall occurs in July. The average in this month is 9 mm. Most of the precipitation here falls in October, averaging 59 mm.

Since the area doesn't receive a very high annual rainfall, our first job will be to put the earthworks in place to help slow the movement of water and sink it in to the land. My plan for this is to dig trenches/swales around the perimeter of the property. since we are on a very slight hill this will allow us to collect the water that runs off our neighbours property and put it to use aswell as catching any water before runs off our own property at the other end. We'll also be utilising as much greywater as possible to help up the moisture available to our plants. With added biological matter in our soil it should hold more water better and for longer to minimise runoff and soil erosion. In the food forest we will also allow the native pioneer plants to pave the way as ground cover and slowly substitute them out for more beneficial or edible plants where appropriate.

We'll be introducing a wide variety of biodiversity as part of our design/plan for Wyrdwood Acres to help heal the land and build up the soil health. Dynamic accumulators like comfrey will be invaluable to us for their ability for to drill nutrients from deep in the soil and when composted re-distribute them through the upper layers of the soil where other plants can benefit from them. Animals will have their role to play in our system too, eventually we plan to keep quail, chickens, goats and possibly rabbits and pigs too, all of which will provide valuable manure to enrich the soil and get that vital microbiology going to create good healthy soil.





It will certainly be a challenge trying to implement our plans and designs but one that we are so excited to undertake. Check back often to see how we get on with achieving our homestead goals!






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Wednesday, 10 August 2016

5 Year Plan?.....not so much

Well it turns out that our 5 year plan has turned in to a 5 month plan!

Since our last post we have put the house up for sale, found a buyer and are set to exchange within the next 4 weeks!

We've been viewing land over in Spain and have our hearts set on a 5 acre plot in southern Spain where we plan to build a eco friendly sustainable homestead using natural materials such as straw bale construction and earth render.

We're so close to leaving the 9-5 world and diving head first in to our "Back to Nature" life, I cannot wait!
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