Five Principles of Healthy Design Process with John Carruthers

In this episode my friend John Carruthers shares five insights or principles he’s distilled during five years of developing a 70-acre property in Central Victoria, Australia. It was an honour to act for a part of the journey as what John describes as a ‘robust river guide,’ and I am so thrilled to see John and his partner Rosie in full stewardship of their own process and the beautiful forms that are emerging from it.

Here is the video we mention several times in the chat – thanks to John for permission to share it here.

John also sent these further notes:

a) the deep ripping across the southern half of the property begun this year is an “option value” decision because it’s an excellent BNS (Best Next Step) for almost any other activity thereafter, be it cover-crop pre-pasture, shelter belt tree planting, or agroforestry or silvopasture. It’s a valuable precursor step.

b) The widely-spaced keylined beds in one paddock is where we’ve begun planting oaks, silky oaks, cedar and native pines as a long-term (inter-generational) agroforestry / silvopasture trial. We have planted several hundred this year and forecast planting three times that over a few years. The oaks are being planted from acorns we collected and germinated. This first planting is our BNS before switching focus to the house site early next year.

Also the quote I cited “I count him braver who overcomes his desires, than who conquers his enemies – for the hardest victory is over self” is by Aristotle NOT Socrates – as I may have suggested 🙂

If anyone is interested in connecting with John or in the services of drone pilot and film maker Peter Watts send me a message and I can connect you.

I also tracked down this video of my first visit to Limestone road, which we talk about in the chat too.

and I found this one also:

Finally I am excited to announce that today is the first day of our in-house six week crowd funding campaign for the Reading Landscape Documentary Film project. Come get amongst!

1 Comment

  1. Having enjoyed listening to this several times I had always intended to write these out and post them here.

    They seemed to be a living work in progress unfolding through the conversation on the fly, so I have taken a liberty or two with the phrasing myself in this spirit.

    5 principles of a healthy design process:
    — HASTEN SLOWLY (sometimes fast, sometimes slow)
    — HIGH OPTION VALUE (choose the ‘next best step’ wisely)
    — HAVE HUMILITY TO GET EXPERIENCED HELP (bring on a ‘riverguide’.. or two)
    — SHOW GRATITUDE (it pays in dividends!)

    Prescient notions
    “.. feel the stones to cross the river”
    “.. be open to what’s in front of you”
    “.. decision making is not [only] rational”
    “.. its a mindset, not a Gantt chart”
    “.. think hard, but don’t overplan!”

    Thank you for sharing these great insights with us John, and peace to you Dan –may we meet at the forest clearing again someday.

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