Sunday, 26 August 2012

Second Generation Permies

A 'permie' is a permaculturalist.  Permaculture is fantastic!  It is a well thought out and methodical method of living in a truly sustainable manner.  It is flexible and workable.  It is not prescriptive, but informative so that you can develop systems that suit you.  If you don't know much about it, do yourself a huge life changing favour and investigate permaculture.  I found the easiest way to do this was by attending a Permaculture Design Course.   I learn much better this way than by reading.  If this is not for you then at least look at, and learn, the twelve principles.  If you follow these principles you can't go far wrong!  Still too hard?  Then follow the three ethics - Care of the earth, care of people and fair share.

I wanted to live sustainably because it was what I knew to be right.  I want to care for our earth and feed my children healthy food.  I didn't think about the side benefit of my children being raised in an environment slightly different to many children.  I am seeing resilient behaviours in my kids of which I am very proud.

Belle, at the age of nine, embraces the principle of 'Produce No Waste'.  She loves buying second hand clothes at op-shops.  In fact recently when I bought her new clothing for an upcoming camp, she told me she needed one more jumper, "But it doesn't need to be new."  Her appreciation of second hand items is wonderful to see.  My children rarely ask me to buy things because they are used to our way of living.

Belle wastes nothing and often thinks outside the square.  The other day I was hanging clothes on the line and I saw a modification she had made to a favourite pair of pyjama pants.  Obviously the elastic had gone in them but she didn't bring them to me for repair.  Without even mentioning her problem, she solved it herself.  She tightened them with a hair tie!!!  I love it.


We have a television but don't use it unless there is something special on TV.  Recently I told Belle there would be another child coming to our school who didn't watch telly and that would make it feel more 'normal' for her, she answered with a smile, "We are normal, it's the others that aren't!"  I love her attitude.

Many people would call me a helicopter parent (always hovering) and to a degree they would be right.  I always know where my children are and what they are doing.  But I don't want to stop them becoming capable.  I don't do everything for them, I just make sure they are supervised while learning things that could lead to harm.  Belle received a pocket knife at the age of eight and is proud that she can light a fire without even using newspaper.  She gathers the right sort of tinder and gets the fire going.

This knife is a Opinel.  It is sharp but has a child safe rounded end.  Much safer if they trip while using it!
Belle and Pumpkin  can cook a cake unsupervised.  I hand them the recipe and they do the rest.  All I need to do is be there if they choose to use the mix master (they often beat by hand) and I put the cake into the oven.

Pumpkin is my garden girl.  She is five years old and is fascinated by how things work.  She asks more questions than I have answers for.  She begins school next year and I hope the teacher is prepared!  A few months ago she came to me with a seed from the apple she was eating and asked to plant it.  We did and she is delighted with the result.


At lunch with a friend of mine she was discussing, in her own unique way, things that make you feel sad .  "If somebody stole all your money you would be sad.  But if you had some fruit seeds it would be okay because you would still have fruit!"  Yay!  She thinks in terms of seeds, not supermarkets.

She also begged me to allow her to knead our bread.  I let her, and discovered that she is more than capable!  She listened well and can now knead the sour dough to completion.


Pumpkin loves to shop at the farmer's markets with me.  At the last market we fell in love with this homespun beanie.  I explained to her that, because it was not chemically treated, if she was not wearing it, she needed to keep it in a plastic bag or the moths would eat it.  Whenever she takes it off she searches for a bag but twice now I have found her in bed wearing her beanie.  The little sweetie couldn't find a bag so she kept it on her head to protect it!  LOL


Buddy Boy prefers to emulate his father.  He collects wood and, at the moment, is right into raking.  He wants to rake in the morning before school and as soon as he gets home again.  He rakes the leaves, puts them in his barrow and tells me they are for my garden.  At six he knows the importance of mulching.


These little jars are his favourite thing to play with at the moment.  He counts with them, stacks them and pretends they are characters and chatters away while playing with them.  I love it when kids can use their imaginations and play with things other than bought toys!



I love the understanding which my children have learned as a matter of course, about the connection with nature and life.  They expect to be capable and self reliant, they learn by observation and want to do 'real tasks', adult tasks connected with day to day living.

I am impressed by my little second generation permies because while we think of it as the way we are trying to live life, to them it just IS life!

Do you have or know kids that impress you?  What skills or attitudes do you think we should teach our kids?

11 comments:

LyndaD said...

That's funny, just returned from a two day introduction to permaculture. Fascinating and so many wonderful ideas to include in my garden design and choice of plantings. Didnt quite get into the edible weeds but it was interesting. Congrats on raising good little humans that will continue to contribute rather than take from our beautiful planet.

Kathryn Ray said...

What a proud momma you should be. :-)

Kim said...

Oh I know exactly how you feel. For a start our kids at 12 and 14 already know how to cook well.Last night we were treated to a lovely tea of bacon and eggs after a hard day working in the yard. Those kids had a look of pride on their faces that would knock you over.
I love that they built their own pizza oven and when kids come over , they cook food in it in the camp oven all by themselves.
Our kids would not be the amazing individuals they are without this wonderful life style we are living.

Busy mum of 3 said...

Linda you are such an inspiration to me.

I love your philosophies, and the way your children are is a credit to you and your husband.

There is so much more I should be teaching my children, but all to often I fall into the "It's quicker/easier to do it myself" mentality. Your post today has pulled me up a bit and reminded me never to be to busy to teach.

THANKYOU, you are wondeful.

Linda said...

Hi Lynda,I'm so excited for you! Looking into permaculture, and I read on your profile that you'd like to transform your lawn to garden! I can't wait to hear how you go.

Kathryn I am very proud of my kids!

Its a good way to live isn't it Kim. My kids love being country kids. I hope their enthusiasm lasts through the teenage years.

Busy Mum, I'm blushing! Please know I'm far from perfect. I rant and rave at the kids with the best of them and our house is disorganised but kids love to learn and like responsibility. I take advantage of opportunities to build on that. I try always to remember that I'm not just raising good kids, I'm actually trying to raise good adults!

Energiser Bunny said...

What a beautiful post Linda! Our 16 year old thinks what we're doing is so uncool, though I do hope he'll come around in future. Having said that, he did buy me a fruit tree for my birthday on the weekend - and helped me plant it

Linda said...

Hi Energiser Bunny, I think that's funny! And I think you're right, he's already coming around with that gift. When Rosie was sixteen she would earnestly try to explain to me that we were being 'too extreme'. I can't really remember what it related to, but it was probably when I bought cloth menstrual pads. LOL Anyway she's nineteen now and occasionally I see pride in her eyes re. her green Mum (not that she'd let on, of course!)

Linn said...

What a great post Linda. You are such a great inspiration!

purplepear said...

Obviously you and your husband have set a very good example. You should be so very proud of yourselves and your children. I just loved reading this post. Brought tears to my eyes. There is hope for the next generation after all. Well done. I am so impressed with what your family are doing. and the fact that your children don't feel that they are missing out but in fact completely the opposite is music to my ears.

Linda said...

Thanks Linn, And so are you!

Oh thank you Kate, what a lovely comment. I know that I am blessed that they embrace our lifestyle. I think maybe it's because we talk to them a lot about our choices and the reasons for our decisions. But I think also that they were born fantastic people. We are very lucky.

Fiona from Arbordale Farm said...

Linda you are very clearly doing a fantastic job with your kids if only there were more adults as wise as your kids. Remember it is not at all important to have all your washing folded and a house that looks like a show home because when they are adults none of your kids will look back and think "I am glad mum spent all that time tidying up" but they will remember all the time you spent with them teaching the how to be good little permies.