The Anderson-Howard Household

This has a been a great journey for us. We recently arrived in the neighbourhood and joining the Kakariki Street group has been a lovely way to strengthen those neighbourhood connections.

This end of our village has already got a great community vibe with kids regularly jumping the fence to play with the other kids in the street, neighbours borrowing a cup of flour, or a jug of milk, rather than driving down to the shops, and various meetings with shared meals, advice and help with school runs etc.

At Kirsty's gardening bee we almost doubled her vege plot

At here's a classic scene from one of our numerous pot-luck dinners

So the Kakariki St project has just built on that ethos and extended it to those larger green projects, making big tasks achievable and breaking down the barriers that might have previously made us feel ok about borrowing a cup of flour but not about asking a friend to come and spend 3 hours digging in your garden!

It has been a good opportunity to get more informed, think about and make decisions about larger projects on our house and property. Things that we had to deal with anyway at some point as we’ve only been in this house just over a year, but it has given us a focus, even if we have not managed to finish all the jobs in time for the end of the competition we now have a plan!

Some of the things we have done:

More car pooling
Making less journeys – saving up jobs until i have a whole list of things to do in one trip.
Keeping the car in good shape to make it run more efficiently and cleanly.
Having a visit from the council’s eco adviser
Getting a secondhand range hood to be installed in kitchen to reduce steam and moisture in the house making it drier and more healthy.
Gathering curtaining materials to improve our current curtains.
Making a new vegetable garden – needing to buy less produce.
Working bees with neighbours.
Tool sharing, instead of buying more tools.
Recently clearing a 5 – 6 square metre berry patch.
Planting more fruit trees

Kirsty & Paul built these compost bins from recycled pallets

Applying to the council for fruit trees to be planted on our neighbourhood berms as a “community orchard”
Harvesting mulch and seaweed locally from the beach and manure from the farm nearby.
Planting about 50 more native plants in our garden – trying to build up a bird friendly green space.
Using locally sourced plants, native as much as possible, suited to coastal conditions, drought hardy so they won’t require watering in summer. Planting to the conditions.
Developing the sandy soil with organic matter
Building a compost bin with recycled pallets
Making a worm farm
Setting up a soaking container to process pernicious weeds etc
The above 3 are all set up as a garden waste processing area within the chicken run, and the chickens are usually the first step in processing all our garden waste.
Built a wood store out of recycled pallets.

They built a very cool woodshed entirely out of recycled materials -go the pallets!

Hosting a permaculture workshop
Attending workshops on greywater, rainbarrels etc.
We have gathered the materials for our greywater system  (just haven’t made the hole in the wall yet!)
We have ordered our rain water collection barrels.
Rapidly replacing our light bulbs with energy saving ones.
Helping expand the membership of our organic produce co-op.

Kirsty explains the plan! Permaculture 101 was well attended and we all went home from it with some excellent ideas

And some of our future plans:
Finish off the grey water and rain barrel projects!
More planting and vegetable garden improvements to grow more food.
Lagging hot water cylinder and pipes
Top-up insulation blanket in our ceiling.
Building a chicken tractor to use the chickens as “green” gardening machinery!
Enclosing front and back porches to reduce draughts in house.

The best part of the project has been seeing the kids following us to workshops, morning teas and pot luch dinners after working bees, playing while we share, work and dig. Taking it all in and by seeing our actions and intentions, learning for the future.

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