Monday, January 26, 2009

a true duck story

a light hearted, heartening story.
This is great! Something really cute happened in downtown San Antonio this week. Michael R. is now an accounting clerk at Frost Bank and works downtown in a second story office building. Several weeks ago, he watched a mother duck choose the concrete awning outside his window as the unlikely place to build a nest above the sidewalk.The mallard laid ten eggs in a nest in the corner of the planter that is perched over 10 feet in the air. She dutifully kept the eggs warm for weeks, and Monday afternoon all of her ten ducklings hatched.Michael worried all night how the momma duck was going to get those babies safely off their perch in a busy, downtown, urban environment to take to water, which typically happens in the first 48 hours of a duck hatching. Tuesday morning, Michael watched the mother duck encourage her babies to the edge of the perch with the intent to show them how to jump off!The mother flew down below and started quacking to her babies above. In his disbelief Michael watched as the first fuzzy newborn toddled to the edge and astonishingly leapt into thin air, crashing onto the cement below. Michael couldn't stand to watch this risky effort. He dashed out of his office and ran down the stairs to the sidewalk where the first obedient ducklingl lay stunned near its mother from the near fatal fall.As the second one took the plunge, Michael jumped forward and caught it with his bare hands before it hit the concrete. safe and sound, he set it by the momma and the other stunned sibling, still recovering from its painful leap.One by one the babies continued to jump. Each time Michael hid under the awning just to reach out in the nick of time as the duckling made its free fall. The downtown sidewalk came to a standstill. Time after time, Michael was able to catch the remaining 8 and set them by their approving mother.At this point Michael realized the duck family had only made part of its dangerous journey. They had 2 full blocks to walk across traffic, crosswalks, curbs, and pedestrians to get to the closest open water, the San Antonio River . The onlooking office secretaries and several San Antonio police officers joined in. They brought an empty copy paper box to collect the babies. They carefully corralled them, with the mother's approval, and loaded them in the container. Michael held the box low enough for the mom to see her brood. He then slowly navigated through the downtown streets toward the San Antonio River . The mother waddled behind and kept her babies in sight.As they reached the river, the mother took over and passed him, jumping into the river and quacking loudly. At the water's edge, he tipped the box and helped shepherd the babies toward the water and to their mother after their adventurous ride.All ten darling ducklings safely made it into the water and paddled up snugly to momma. Michael said the mom swam in circles, looking back toward the beaming bank bookkeeper, and proudly quacking.

Friday, January 16, 2009

here's a great story - for doubters

If you ever doubted the power of one,

or the power of one little seed,

or the amazing power of nature...

Then read this:

Ref SMH 14 Ref SMH 14th 2008
dating has confirmed a Judean date pain
seed found in the ruins of Masada and planted three years ago is 2000 years old.
The seed has grown into a healthy 1.2 metre-tall seedling,
surpassing the previous record for the oldest germinated seed - a
1300-year-old Chinese lotus.

The tree has been named Methuselah after the oldest person in the Bible.
It is the only living judean date palm, the last link to forests that once shaded
and nourished the Middle East.

Sarah Sallon, a director of a natural medicine reseatch centre’
in Jerusalem, became interested in the ancient palm as a possible
source of medicines. She enlisted an expert in indigenuos fruit tree
species, Elaine Solowey, to coax the seeds out of dormancy.
One sprouted.
Scientists estimated its age at 2000 years based on carbon dating of other seeds at the site, but had no way of testing the planted seed without risking its survival.
After it germinated, Dr Solowey found fragments of the seed shell
clinging to the roots, enough for dating.

The seed dates from 6OBC to AD 95
That placed the seed at Masada around the siege in 73, when,-according to the historian
Josephus, neaƱy 1000 Jewish Zealots in the fortress committed
suicide rather than submit to the Romans. They burned their food
except for one cache, to show they did not starve to death.

“These people were eating these dates up on the mountain
and looking down at the Roman camp, knowing that they were
going to die soon, and spitting out the pits,” Dr Salon said.
“Maybe here is one of those pits.”
Archaeologists found the seeds in 1965, but they sat in storage for
four decades before being planted.
Dr Sallon and her
colleagues hope to cultivate more ancient seeds and reintroduce the
Judean date palm to the area.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

growing water plants

People often forget that water plants are so easy to grow. Easier than plants in pots.

All you need is a few ceramic or metal containers. Now is the season to grow KangKong, it is cheap at Asian Grocery stores and all we do is throw it into water with a handful of soil.
Even the snails can't touch it!! it is wonderful in stir-fry dishes.

find a photo at

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

How good a reference is this?

This post was published on forum below. it has over 3500 members.

Re: online course Permaculture visions
by Burra Maluca » Tue Jan 13, 2009 12:25 am

I'm doing this course right now with my homeschooled son, and we are both absolutely loving it!

We are based in Portugal so, probably like you, there isn't much option of attending a full time course. This on-line one is great though, plenty to read, plenty of options on what 'homework' you do, and very very versatile. There are no time-limits or deadlines, which is great for us as it means my son can spend all the time he needs to get his head around something, or if he really fancies tackling something 'big' he can. One of the homework questions was to devise a year round supply of nectar and pollen for bees *in our locality* - for us that would take a year to see *exactly* when the flowers come out, or we could just bluff it and guess I suppose, but the option of taking the whole year is there if we want it. There is a range of questions within each topic to suit different types of learning. Personally, I love to waffle and would write reams and reams, but my son prefers to do computer modeling and goes for stuff that he can answer like that and use as few words as possible. The course is designed to be of use to as wide a range of people as possible. The tutor, April, is also really friendly and helpful and versatile - if you have questions she is always happy to answer them as fully as you want, but she does get busy and you might have to wait a day or two so be prepared for that.

Students and ex grads can join our Permaculturevisions forum

If you are a student with you can join our forum. You need to provide your student number and we will invite you.

Monday, January 12, 2009

here's a letter from a student

Hi April, I am enjoying the course so far and have found your notes informative. You have covered a very broad spectrum of areas within the topics I have read through so far (Module 1). Many of the Ethics topics I hadn’t considered before in regards to permaculture, so this was an eye opener for me. I really enjoy the Natural Systems and Design topics, I love learning about and looking into the webs of life and enjoy investigating wind and solar patterns, weather conditions and soil types for different localities and finding the best design solutions for them.
I am keenly waiting to complete the other topics and learning even more about permaculture. Thanks for the time and effort you have put into this course, it is a truly rewarding and worth while experience.

This is a genuine unsolicitored letter. If you want reassurance write to us and we will ensure your doubts are erased.
goto and contact us

Sunday, January 11, 2009

2009 is here! already!

More students have signed up at and we are celebrating a new start for the year.

Dont forget , you can post any tips you have for a more sustainable life to this blog.

The course notes have grown as a collaborative venture and we share our knowledge with you. that is why there are approximately 60 pages of free information on our webpage.

Happy gardening to all and enjoy watching these little miracles of life, tranform seamlessly from inert seeds to full grown vegies, plants and trees.