The Drylands foundation is a permaculture project in semi-arid climate, in Geraldton, 400 km north from Perth in Western Australia and it is run by Julie, the creator of the project, and John .
As first thing, I wanted to ask Julie if she could teach me something about bees. I haven’t even had time to ask: one of the first things she said to me, just when I arrived, was – the hives are full, do you wanna give me a hand to empty them ? –
And so I’ve discovered the secret life of bees and I’ve fallen in love with them, their society, the way they reproduce, the uselessness of the male who sits there all day doing nothing, waiting for a queen to be fertilized.
I’ve learned how to collect honey, remove the layer of wax and let it drip nectar, or eat it like chewing gum, sucking the honey and chewing the wax.
I have learned to separate the honey from the cells, I learned that if a bee stings you must immediately put honey on the sting. And it works, despite the pain my two bites didn’t even swollen.
On the field there are a lot of animals, chickens, some roosters to sacrifice, geese, two emus (one of them really cuddly), a cat and many bobtail lizards, my new favorite lizard.
In the middle of my staying two new volunteers arrived: Alex , australian and Fleur, belgian, together we harvested tomatoes, learned to save seeds. We cooked. A lot. We grounded wheat to make flour, used our own vegetables, used the solar oven, prepared the dough with the eggs of the ducks. We learned to dry the leaves of henna and I taught them the absurd mix that I usually use in my head (henna, olive oil-or coconut oil or almond oil-, yogurt, black tea), we spent our Friday night with a head full of mud and female chitchat.
We learned how to prepare orders for the sale of seeds, that is the main activities of the project .
We’ve learned to dig under the sun, to change some pipes, we swam in the ocean, we have prepared a banquet for the market and sold honey, eggs, seeds and stevia plants and drumstick trees .
We have learned to recognize the different ways wild plants germinate and produce seeds, and how to collect them.
We have helped to prepare the ground for a workshop on seedsaving and walked into the wild to see the plants in their natural environment.
So three fantastic weeks where I felt at home, in an environment that, I know, is what I would like to have around me one day. A truly inspirational project that made me understand a little better what my goal is.
I leave a little bit sad thinking that I have to leave this little oasis of paradise, but happy for what I have experienced and with the desire to get back on the road .