Permaculture Internship Unfolds

Hammock welcoming the first permaculture intern to Tanglewood Farm
Introduction to the Inaugural Tanglewood Permaculture Intern, Autumn 2024. In March 2024, the Tanglewood Permaculture Internship was announced with great fanfare and advertised with boundless optimism. And now we are announcing the inaugural Tanglewood Permaculture Intern. Its official. Congratulations to Rachael Massey.

Welcoming Rachael Massey: Inaugural Tanglewood Permaculture Intern 2024

Rachael Massey, SEO Strategist and first intern at Tanglewood Permaculture Farm

Rachael is joining us from Anaheim, California. 

She plans to be at Tanglewood for the winter/spring months in 2024. 

We are delighted to be welcoming Rachael as the:

  • inaugural intern.
  • first occupant of the beautiful ecofriendly Woodland Cottage


and welcoming her:

  •  to our part of the world
  • and to life at Tanglewood.
Welcome Rachael

Where is Tanglewood Permaculture Farm?

Tanglewood is located on the outskirts of a small town in rural NSW, Australia. 

Who are we?

We are David and Ruth. David is a country boy, who worked for many years for government agencies in Australia and PNG as a geologist, specialising in near surface earth materials (including soil, subsoil and groundwater) and their relationships to landforms. He also ran a handyman/gardener/music teacher business for 9 years during a period of professional “time out”. He has owner-built three houses and an array of studios/cabins/sheds, and is always on the lookout for useful recycled building materials for garden structures.

Ruth Family, community, and hospitability are important to me and have provided me with connections I need to learn and grow, love and serve. Read More

For the past twenty years we have been co-creating space together at Tanglewood for the healing and regeneration of soil, soul and society, so that all can flourish. Over this time, we have enjoyed the reciprocal richness and mutual benefits of holding space with people who have visited and worked alongside us. 

Learning Growing Caring Sharing:

The Tanglewood motto is ‘learning-growing-caring- sharing’ which is the lens through which we make our decisions and live our lives. It is also what prompted us to develop the Permaculture Internship program. Learning, growing, caring and sharing’ take place daily, seasonally, all year round.  In big and small ways. Individually, in relationship and within community.

Seasonal Learning

The seasonal work at Tanglewood during winter and early spring months, when Rachael will be with us, include:

  • preparation of vegetable beds for spring planting
  • spring planting
  • fuel reduction around the property in preparation for bushfire hazard season
  • ongoing maintenance (amongst other things – weed management; checking hoses, tanks; clearing path-ways from tripping hazards; deep mulching)
  • re-planting self-sown seedlings in the coppicing woodland
  • pruning, pruning and more pruning in orchard and throughout the property ( a total of 50 fruit trees) 
  • organising seed bank- checking seeds for currant viability and choosing seeds for spring summer planting

Addressing the Bucket List

Rachael’s bucket list of things to learn is extensive. Her list is in alignment with our skills expertise and with our interests. We are therefore really excited about the synergistic opportunities her internship presents. Here is a preview of her bucket list and what we can offer her:

  • Reading the land:
    • David’s lifelong personal and professional experience is invaluable on this one. 
  • Garden design/planning, companion planting, seasonal crops, sorting seeds/seed collection, bed rotation, etc
    • This happens throughout the year at Tanglewood so we can demonstrate these practices in action.
  • Bed/soil preparation: Building and maintaining any above-ground beds, trellises, etc
    • Your muscles will get a great work out here Rachael!
  • Propagating:
    • We have a potting shed, Rachael, so there will be lots of propagating and potting up fun. In addition to our own knowledge, we regularly work with expert propagators in our network. 
  • Planting/maintenance from seed to harvest: tending the garden, pruning, how to know what the plant need, weeding, watering, dealing with pests, when to harvest:
    • This is an ongoing biggie, so lots to share and do here, Rachael. Particularly pruning. You will get a lot of first-hand learning from our Pruning Master, Mark Peters. There are innumerable hands-on opportunities to apply your learning on apple, quince, pear, plum, apricot, peach, fig, persimmon, mulberry and pomegranate trees. 
  • Composting: how to begin, maintain, use:
    • Once again, get the shovel out Rachael and we will dig and spread the golden-grower around the farm with your help
  • Worm farming:
    • You are in luck. Our worm farm is defunct so we will start another from scratch and you can get first hand experience of what-when-where-how of worms. 
  • Caring for farm animals:
    • We have chickens and ducks, lots to love and lots to learn.
  • Planning for the hunger gap: Canning/preserves, storing, etc.
    • We will be in the hunger gap!! The preserving will have already happened in summer/autumn but there is always more to learn and share. We will delve into fermentation and activation methods for grains, seeds and nuts) to maximise bioavailability. We can also have fun tasting the results of the preserves from the previous season.
  • Chopping wood 🙂
    • Oh Rachael, you will be chopping wood to keep you warm. What a way to learn. Chop or freeze.
  • Beekeeping, if there is someone nearby who is willing to let me visit and learn anything? Or at least, interact with the bees!
    • Both of these possibilities will be a reality for you, Rachael. One of the important things about bees, even if you are not tending hives yourself, is to create bee friendly environments. For us that means intentionally growing plants which are bee friendly and in the dry seasons ensuring there are safe places for bees to have a drink (shallow dishes). In addition, we have several friends and contacts in our network who are bee keeping at present so we can organise some on-site visits for you.
  • Greywater systems:
    • Yes, we have an extensive double cycle system and experience with other systems in the past.
  • Rainwater gathering systems:
    • We live on rain water alone- we have tanks for garden use, specific tanks for drinking and separate supply for use in case of fire.
  • Building/planning for passive/net-zero homes:
    • David has vast experience, expertise and ongoing interest in this, including ‘your’ cottage and Tanglewood homestead.
  • Caring for and enriching the land:
    • This is what permaculture is all about. Lots to share, lots to learn.

What is happening seasonally at Tanglewood right now

We are in Autumn (Fall) in Australia. In our cool temperate climate at Tanglewood we are moving into cold nights (and flannelette sheets- divinely snug), stunning sunny days and frosty mornings. Autumn at Tanglewood is particularly spectacular. 

Organic persimmons in bloom at the Tanglewood Permaculture Farm

The deciduous trees are ablaze with their autumnal colour palate: burgundy of the grape vine over the pergola; russet of the Manchurian pear, gold of the ash, chimonesis (winter sweet) and birch and so many russet shades in between captured in oak, elderberry, crab apples and ornamental plums.

Persimmon, pomegranate and fig are swollen with goodness which we share with the birds. We do save some for ourselves. Persimmon ripen well inside. We regularly play dodgem-currawong and get a few before the crop is decimated.

Rose hops abound. This year I am trying rose hip tea. I will get back to you on how that goes. Rich in vitamin C it is a ‘must’ to use what is provided from natures generous pantry.

 The great pumpkin harvest of 2024 is taking also place right now. The picture of David with a barrow full is an indication of what our diet will be rich with throughout the coming months.

David Acland harvesting organic pumpkins on the permaculture farm, Tanglewood

Now the advertising and admin for the program is done and dusted , the intern appointed and the real work begins for everyone. 

For Rachael it is organising her life so that she can up stakes and cross the Pacific for her internship adventure. For us, a big part of the internship program is nurturing relationships so that the learning- growing- caring -sharing can happen and all involved flourish. And that involves understanding and preparing to deliver on Rachael’s bucket list in addition to completing the cottage…which drags on interminably (mainly due to tardy tradies).

Our daily responsibilities keeping the farm going are seasonally adjusted. The joy of living in partnership with the land and environment is a daily reality, often requiring quick responses. Always needing patience and commitment to place.  Nurturing and building up relationships. Co-creating space for co-regeneration. All these contribute to the richness of experience which is Tanglewood. 

And that is what permaculture is about-earth care, people care, fare share, so that we all flourish: people and planet together.

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