Photo ‘survey’ of the Field

A kind friend has suggested I show some photos and drawings as I proceed here. I was in the field briefly over the weekend and I took loads of photos, so I’ve loaded some of these to give you a feel for where I’m at. It really is frustrating only getting into it for 20 minutes or an hour on the occasions when I get up to Donegal. This time we were moving furniture to Donegal and taking some bits home to Dublin and we had to leave early the next day too. So much to do; so little time!

This casts shadow above the rock as it stands on south edge

This neighbour’s casts shadow above the rock … it stands on south edge.

In order to get the most out of my opportunity and thinking similarly to my friend, I took about 30 photos up and down and across from different angles. I took photos of some of the features: some of the willows, old wall, ‘the rock’, trying to capture as much as I could for me … and for you. I will be starting to draw what is called a ‘base map’ shortly and I will use the photos as references. The base map is a simple map of the site omitting anything you’re going to remove and showing the existing features in position. then you can copy this multiple times and record specific things on different copies and, if you use tracing paper or clear acetate to draw on, you can overlay the different elements. Aranya, in Permaculture Design (see my book review) deals with this process in detail.

The rock/bank stands about 7 feet tall.

The rock/bank stands about 7 feet tall.

I thought it only fair to show my hardworking staff at work. I can’t do this on my own! Here, one of Shaun’s sheep keeps the grass down and the field manured … believe me there’s plenty manure. I’m amazed how tight they get it and even eat weeds down to the root and can tackle young bramble too. Worth their weight in … manure! 🙂



This hole in the bottom of the north wall is where the drain enters the field. it measures about 18 inches (450 mm) across and about a foot (300 mm) high. I love these little gems of old field-craft; things a city-boy would never see. This is the sort of detail you uncover when you do a deliberate ‘survey’ of a property. So often we miss the detail while looking at the field, or the view, or the neighbour’s place. I own the field for years, but only when I look with the eyes of a permaculture design survey did I see many small details I’d never seen before.

I was planning a trip to Donegal and the field for this St Patrick’s weekend (2014), but my wife had a fall last week and we’ve had to cancel that. I had hoped to draw a Base Map of the site. More on that next time.


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