February. Hot. Dry. Gardening is quite challenging in these conditions. But it is Summer and soon it’ll break (fingers crossed) and we’ll be into Autumn and regular readers will know how I feel about Autumn. Love. Autumn.
Our house supply of water-what we cook, drink, wash our veg for market, brush our teeth and shower under is drying up. It happens from time to time. We’ve only bought water twice in the time we’ve been here though. When the tank gets half full we watch our consumption. When it gets to a quarter, where it got to last week, we tighten up. The kids get 1 minute in the shower. And I wash in the dam.
And this might sound like an inconvenience or an impost on a “regular” way of life. But actually it’s lovely and I wonder why I don’t do it all the time. At the end of a stinking day, covered in dust and sweat and grime, to slip into the water leaves the day behind.
The kids are asleep in bed, dinner’s been done, the sun has set and there’s a beautiful tranquility. I can hear the chickens fussing up in the paddock as they sort out their roosting arrangements for the night. I can hear the black cockies calling to each other as they fly back to wherever they sleep at night. The frogs start croaking and calling. Little bats start flitting at the edge of sight, picking up mosquitoes as they twist and turn silently. The first stars appear and soon there is no noise apart from the frogs and the splashing of water as I move my arms and legs to stay afloat. Magical.
I often get asked why we do it. Why we live where we live and do what we do. On a hot summers day in the fields with everything roasting and drying out and baking off and dying, I ask myself the same question. Every day I get a different answer. Today the answer is in the dam.
“The school of thought which believes that farmers should not have holidays may skip this chapter. To them we tender our apologies, and trust they find excellent value for their money in the rest of this book” So begins Chapter 10 in George Henderson’s excellent summary of his farming practice in “The Farming Ladder”
Dear George then goes on to describe how he worked for 5 years, 80 hours a week with only a stroll down the driveway on Sundays to break it up. He eventually takes 8 days a year when he goes climbing mountains and on other adventures. Our man George was an inspired bloke. His success was built entirely upon his effort. The guy was a legend. Read More »
On January 1st this year SAGE started a farmers market which was to be held for a trial period to learn some things. The SE Food Plan ( a discussion paper released at the end of 2011 and with which we were involved- here as a pdf ) also recognised the localisation of food production as an important strategy in realising priorities which were identified as
Producing good quality, good tasting food
Cause less environmental impact in the production of our food
be less dependent on oil and energy
build a stronger local economy from within
create more self reliant and resilient communities