Djanbung Solstice News

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Mon Dec 17 18:57:43 EST 2001

Solstice Greetings

Coming up...
Summer Solstice is only a few days way and at Djanbung we¹re busy preparing for our 8th Annual Solstice Open Day and Celebration on Midsummer¹s Eve, December 21. Starting at 3pm there¹ll be garden tours, workshops and delicious organic treats available from the canteen. Workshops will include Bushfoods with Peter Hardwick, Edible Landscaping with Janelle Penklis, The Joys of Keeping Worms with Anna Kowalczyck and insights into Celtic Wisdoms with Duroyan Fertl. From 6pm the music begins and the Midsummers Feast will feature Balinese specialities. At sunset the solstice ceremony will be conducted in the Celtic Grove with seasonal ritual, poetry, storytelling, dance, music and ending with floating candles on the dam in keeping with the solstice symbol ŒFire over Water¹.

After Christmas I¹m (Robyn) off to Woodford Folk Festival to give workshops and some special performances at the ŒSitting Duck¹ late night cabarets. Then back to Djanbung after the New Year for one of our busiest holiday seasons in terms of visitors to the gardens and to prepare for the January PDC starting on the 11th. We are looking forward to Miles Durand from Western Australia joining us for the month and contributing as a special guest tutor in the PDC. Miles did his PDC back in 1983 and founded the Permaculture Institute of WA. In recent years he¹s been teaching horticulture for TAFE to Aboriginal communities in remote areas of the Kimberleys.

Late January we¹ll be hosting Margrit and Declan Kennedy from Germany for a few days on their world lecture tour. You¹ll find details of their presentations and workshops in the Summer Programme of Events at the end of this newsletter.

In the Gardens
The rampancy of summer has arrived and the gardens are transforming into tropical mode as the winter and spring crops finish and taro¹s, cassavas, yams and other tropical tubers come back to life with the pending wet season.

Spring was particularly abundant this year and we acquired some new chickens to restock Red¹s flock. Sadly we lost one of our geese nesting on an island in the dam - dogs must have swum out there for an illicit meal and all we found was her beak. Bongo (our Œwatch¹ gander) and the other 2 geese are in fine form and have settled down again with the breeding season over - I¹ve included a humorous bit written by Russ Grayson who had some altercations with Bongo during the PC Teachers Forum in October.

Recent Events
The Pc Teachers Forum and Gathering in October was a very productive event and detailed reports are in the new issue of ŒThe Planet¹ - Permaculture International¹s Newsletter. What was most encouraging was the atmosphere of cooperation and commitment to find working solutions to take education into the future and to creatively address issues and concerns of the wider Pc community.

Early December we had a week¹s visit from Albert Bates and Liora Adler who were in Australia for the Global Ecovillage Network board¹s annual meeting. The slide evening on ŒThe Farm¹ in Tennessee and the Rainbow Peace Caravan was a great success as were the workshops: Liora¹s workshop on Consensus and Albert¹s Strawbale workshop. Djanbung now has it¹s first strawbale structure - a beautiful lime-rendered park bench overlooking the lily ponds, flow forms and Nimbin Rocks.

Djanbung Gardens was approached to host monthly Nimbin LETS trading days. Held the first Saturday of the month starting at noon, the first 4 trading days have been great community gatherings with an amazing diversity of goods and produce for sale. We¹ve been doing brisk trade with canteen refreshments and accumulating quite a few LETS to trade for future help at Djanbung.

Interns & Volunteers
We were sorry to say goodbye to Sebastian (from England) who spent 6 months here keeping the gardens growing, conducting tours and supervising Wwoofers. Sebastian is making the most of his last few months in Australia to travel south before heading off to Zambia to put his permaculture skills to use working with poor communities there. Internship placements for 2002 are rapidly filling up with applications from Germany, USA, UK and various parts of Australia. 
A big thanks to all the volunteers who¹ve helped at Djanbung throughout the year,  and a special thanks to Anna Kowalczyk, Jan Penklis, Janelle Schafer and Nigel Slater for their help and support. 

The Earthwise website has been updated with 2002 course dates and we¹re looking forward to overhauling the website in the new year with new photos and information.

All the best for the festive season and may 2002 bring you abundance and peace.
Robyn Francis

at Djanbung Gardens

5th    Nimbin LETS Trading Day from Noon onwards

11-25th  PDC - Permaculture Design Course 
       tutors: Robyn Francis, Janelle Schafer, Miles Durand & Peter Hardwick

Friday 26th: Ecovillages in Europe with Declan Kennedy
Dinner Evening Presentation & Slides
$20 includes delicious organic dinner & desserts (25%LETS accepted)
Venue: Djanbung Gardens 74 Cecil Street Nimbin
Bookings essential

Saturday 27th January: 
11am-1pm Ecology, Economy & Local Currency workshop with Margrit Kennedy $20/$15 conc
2pm-4pm Mediation from the Heart & Circle Dance with Margrit & Declan $20/$15 conc.
Refreshments & lunch available from the Djanbung organic canteen


Geese have  teeth. That fact was discovered by a number of  participants at
the 2001 Permaculture Gathering in Nimbin when the manic, attack-trained
Bongo-the-goose struck.

Clearly a goose with pathological problems, it is untrue that Djanbung
Gardens proprieter, Robyn Francis, releases the animal at permaculture
gatherings as a form of entertainment.

No form of defence devised to ward off goose attacks works with Bongo - the
beast cannot be intimidated and attacks targets several times its size,
emitting threatening and high-volume noises as it lowers its head, spreads
its wings in a threatening manner and charges innocent bystanders and
baiters alike. The sight of people running across the paddock with this
noisy and ferocious bird in angry pursuit is not uncommon.

Although the large, white, fanged animal has a definite attitude problem and
a mental set against humanity, Robyn says that she is happy that it
recovered from an earlier dog attack. The fate of the dog remains unknown.

Birds, according to paleontologists, are descended from the dinosaurs. Apart
from Bongo-the-Bezerker, however, few have retained the predatory,
carniverous mentality of their reptilian forebears.

So, when you next visit Djanbung, keep an eye out for movement in the
bush... for sounds in the undergrowth... for a flurry of white fathers,
sharp teeth and a honking war cry. And... if you hear it before it
strikes...  run far, run fast!

- Russ Grayson, Oct. 2001   

Djanbung Gardens Permaculture Education Centre
home to: 
Permaculture Education
ERDA Institute Trust
Nimbin Eco-Village Project Office
Robyn Francis - permaculture designer & educator
PO Box 379, Nimbin NSW 2480 Australia
Ph 02-6689 1755 Fax 02-6689 1225
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