Tag Archives: water

Zuni bowl, one year on…

It’s a whole year since we made our first Zuni Bowl at Milkwood Farm to combat an erosive gully headcut, and time has proved the benefits of this simple yet powerful handmade technique nicely. One year on, the zuni bowl has 10cm of silt covering its paved floor, the vegetation around it is stable and thriving, and the headcut has halted.

Big thanks to Tamara Gadzia for leading us through this restoration process last year, and also to Craig Sponholtz for furthering our knowledge in it since…

Watershed Restoration: Constructing a Media Luna

Recently at Milkwood Farm, Craig Sponholtz led a course in Applied Watershed Restoration, and taught us all a bit about how to tackle on-farm erosion control with human-scale solutions.

One of the things we constructed as part of the workshop was a media luna, a simple but effective rockwork structure that can be used to subtly manipulate sheet flow in a number of ways to prevent erosion… Continue reading

Applied Watershed Restoration: choosing some sites

So it’s only 2 weeks until Australia’s first EVER Applied Watershed Restoration course, which is happening at Milkwood Farm (and is FarmReady approved. And will be incredible. Ok, end pitch… but you really would be crazy not to join us).

Like many farms with fragile soils, Milkwood Farm has many examples of small-scale erosion – in our case, a legacy from previous landholders. I went looking for typical examples that we could use as part of the course. I have never been so excited about photographing erosion. Continue reading

DIY Mulch Pit Greywater System

Greywater is a resource that can be awesome if capitalized upon, especially on a farm with unpredictable rainfall. We’ve just finished a simple greywater system that we’re pretty darn happy with.

Up at the woolshed we have two greywater sources: the washing machine, and the outside sink. Both these water sources provide pulses of water that could be helping grow a gorgeous living environment if used properly, so after a good deal of talking about it we finally did something… Continue reading

Craig Sponholtz talks watershed restoration (video)

Here’s a great video of Craig Sponholtz explaining his guidelines for watershed restoration. As with much of permaculture design, it’s all about expanding the edges of fertility, and starting with what you have. Which, is the case of re-hydrating a landscape, is the wet spots!

It’s important to have options for fixing erosion and repairing your landscape’s hydrology that can be achieved at human scale, with the available labor that you have. And as you can see from this video, restoring moisture to the landscape is all about small slow solutions… Continue reading

Advanced Watershed Restoration, here we come…

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It is with great excitement that we’re announcing an upcoming Advanced Watershed Restoration course at Milkwood Farm, with Craig Sponholtz. Huzzah!

As part of RegenAG, we’ve managed to haul Craig out to Australia for a couple of weeks to skill us up on some ground-breaking, doable techniques in erosion control and passive water harvesting, as first brought to prominence in ‘Let the Water do the Work’ by Bill Zeedyk. Continue reading

In which the House Dam fills but does not fail – Huzzah!

So just over a year ago, our house dam filled for the first time. And then went into scary nearly-melt-down. So we pumped the water out, fixed it, and then waited for it to fill again. And waited. For a year.

Do excuse multiple soggy shots of muddy pools, but this is big news at Milkwood Farm. Last weekend, for the first time, our swale and dam system filled, thanks to a big downpour on the tail of a very wet spring. And nothing went wrong. Yay! Continue reading

Zuni bowls full of water, and farewelling interns

Six weeks after constructing some zuni bowls as part of our watershed restoration, our structures are full of water for the first time! Exciting to see. Continue reading

Hydrology and sandpits: Cam Wilson at Milkwood

Recently we had Cam Wilson up at Milkwood Farm doing some guest teaching on our Spring Permaculture Design Certificate. And he brought his lovely family along too! All the kids gave the sandpit a goodly workout while Cam worked his magic in the classroom.

We became friends with Cam when he was up north managing Zaytuna Farm back in 2007, and it’s been awesome to watch his trajectory as a thoughtful and fantastic permaculture practitioner, teacher and designer since that time. Continue reading

Making a Zuni Bowl: Let the Water do the Work

A zuni bowl is a riparian restoration technique involving rocks, water, biology and time. It’s a great way of dealing with a small headcut (or erosion which is about to become a headcut) in order to prevent that headcut continuing up your catchment.

Headcuts are not an uncommon sight in our valley’s many gullies. Many decades of clearing the land and grazing pressure have made the soils very fragile. For a long time, we’ve been scouting around for the best way to deal with them using simple, accessible materials and knowledge. And now we’re starting to find answers. Continue reading

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