Hibernation – a necessary ‘people care’ period and a system-design appraisal

What happens to our pastured chickens when we’re stuck in bed with the flu, there’s a phenomenal rain storm outside and their shelter is flooding..?

We enter into our fourth Winter here at Valley’s End and our family will soon slide into Hibernation Mode, time during which we go quiet, we introspect, we reflect, we give feedback, we brainstorm, we dream, we design, we refine, and we plan further.

This is a time when we give thanks too.

  • Thanks to the Universe for being so kind to us.
  • Thanks to each others at Valley’s End for being such a respectful, lovable, care-giving  family.
  • Thanks to our families for their unconditional love, their understanding of our busy farm/family lives, for their generosity and acceptance.
  • Thanks to our friends for being who they are… kind, generous, understanding, loving.
  • Thanks to our peers for listening, nodding or challenging us.
  • Thanks to our customers and students for trusting us, our knowledge, our methods, our produce, and our care ethics.
  • Thanks to the bullies who crossed our journey for teasing us and helping craft our inner-resiliency.
  • Thanks to our wwoofers for their help, questions, advice, sense of humour and company.
  • And last but not least, thanks to Mother Nature for her unrelenting forgiveness and generosity.

This hibernation of a few weeks is a vital phase in our permaculture life.

I admit – we worked too much this year again.

We finished a book translation and wrote many articles, we planted an orchard, regenerated pastures, enlarged our veggie patch, raised, cared for and dispatched many animals, planted, watered and harvested, built, repaired and weeded a lot, taught, hosted and volunteered a lot, cooked, preserved and enjoyed many produce, and tinkered, oh yes, we tinkered… We did all that while raising a small family and living more simply.

But we are exhausted now!! Exhausted but alive and happy and full of gratefulness.

Still, it is not a sustainable or resilient pattern.
So this hibernation period is a timely reminder for self-regulation. For self care. For honest feedback. For healing. For system-design appraisals. For new patterns or simply improved ones!

Happy Winter folks. Go well and stay warm. And see you soon!


PS: So what did I do with the chooks? Well, I did what people with care ethics at heart do: I moved the portable coop, fence and energiser to higher, drier ground, emptied, dried and lined their nesting box with dry hay, sprinkled sulfur flower in their feed, a squirt of ACV in their water and lined an extra crate with dry straw where they all piled up to dry and keep warm…

Because that is what we do, us, permies… we have ethics and we go the whole way to live and work by them… sometimes at a price (in this case, a fantastic opportunity to appraise our current systems, rethink some patterns, and design incremental changes).

Tools are scrubbed, oiled and ready to hibernate too!

Tools are scrubbed, oiled and ready to hibernate too!













See you at one of our courses to learn more about designing your permaculture animals systems or simply to hang out in our beautiful little valley!

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