Friday, February 20, 2009


There is so much talk now about the greenhouse effect, peak oil and the economic crisis. They all go together really, as far as I am concerned, and while I don't like to say 'I told you so' (well I do in someways, but that is not the point!) the 'greenies' and 'radicals' have been saying exactly this for a good 15-20 years (probably more - but I have been saying it for about that long).

I bought the latest Organic Gardener mag the other day (great mag if you are into that sort of stuff by the way), and one of my favourite writers Linda Cockburn wrote an article on the ways we need to challenge ourselves (all of us) to reduce our impact on the earth. Her family challenged themselves a few years ago to live for 6 months without spending money. Crazy maybe, but that is what we now being forced to do. Consumerism is such a big part of the whole big problem we now face. We buy so much junk, if you ever go to the rubbish tip your jaw drops. To think how many rubbish tips there are out there.... I think we live too easy - we just put stuff in the bin and its gone, we don't need to think about it. I guess we need to imagine what it would be like if there was no rubbish truck, I think we would all think more carefully about what we bring home, if we had no way of getting rid of it.... hmmm, if the oil goes then there wont be rubbish trucks.... although I guess there wont be supermarkets and shopping centres filled with crap either....

Anyway, I wanted to challenge ourselves a little. We already do some things - not enough as they reckon we ALL need to reduce our carbon footprint by 90% or so, that is to keep the earth roughly as it is, and I don't fancy living in an oven....

This year so far
  • we have been baking our own bread - I hate the plastic bags associated with buying bread.
  • We have only turned the TV on 2-3 times this year (I would love to see it gone for good - I hate how it sucks you in to watch stuff that you don't even want to watch.... and it spoils conversation etc).
  • We already have solar power here, and buy green power too, for what we need to buy.
  • I try not to buy too much stuff, and the kids are pretty much 90% dressed in 2nd stuff from the OP shop (and their clothes go back there once they have outgrown them), I mostly only buy from the OP shop too, but mostly don't buy myself clothes (hey I am a stay at home mum, so don't need nice stuff, it only gets covered in yoghurt or other stuff anyway). I want to make more of our own stuff too.
  • we buy organic and locally grown food, and grow some of our own.
Not sure how else to cut back though. Any ideas? I think its important to communicate what we are all doing to make changes, as I think it helps inspire and give ideas to others. I don't think we do enough. And our renovation is certainly using up the 'good carbon karma' that we have gained on other things - but that is nearly over. I know that when we move to our farm, we will be better positioned to reduce our impact, so we are really working hard at that.

OK, now I will stop! Just call me the raving green lunatic!

I have just started propagating seedlings for the winter crops - peas, broccoli, beetroot, silverbeet etc. I seem to have so much more success with my winter crops. I am sad to report that this gardener is next to useless with the summer vegies.... I have yellow fingers it seems. But I am stubborn, and keep trying. Looking forward to the next Diggers Club catalouge, it has the garlic bulbs, fruit trees and other goodies that I am eagerly waiting for... hmm, come on postie!

Oh, and some other good news - any aussies out there who want to get into scything - Scythes Australia has just started up, and they are selling a limited range of Austrian blades at a reasonable price, we are excited, as we need a few more and the exchange rates have been terrible! And I have communicated with the people there, and they seem really lovely.

Friday, February 13, 2009

The enormity of it all

When I last posted the major fires had just burnt out large areas (including towns), they are still going, but not posing a very direct threat to anyone at the moment. That will all change as the weather warms up etc. When I last posted on the sunday morning there was no idea about how many had died - its 181 now, and rising.... Until laast night I had been very detatched from it all, looking at it from a perspective of how to better plan for fires in the future.

Last night I read what my friend in Hazelwood South went through on the saturday. It brought it home for me. Her comment of them cheering when the wind changed and spared them and their home, and how as they cheered others were dying, without even a chance to do anything. Fire razed her area, and caught so many unaware. Entire settlements like Calligne have been lost - only a few survivors. I went to uni at Churchill, one person there lost her house, but how many people I have met or seen in the halls lost their lives.... I don't yet know if anyone I know has died, I know some have lost their homes.

Its just bizarre, areas I know very well have been completely burnt, where I used to keep my horses, the roads I used to drive everyday to work, my workplace. I am so grateful that we have been spared, but so scared, it only takes one idiot - and there are SO many idiots in this world unfortunately....

On a positive, I am working on squares for a 'friendship blanket' for someone I know who lost her home. Its a small thing, but it feels nice to contribute, and I am sure she will be happy to have a lovely blanket handmade by a group of knitters who care. Knitters are good like that.

I guess what we have to take from this is that we need to enjoy every day for what it is, try our best to plan for disasters, but then get on with helping those that are suffering, in what ever way we can. Please everyone stay safe - these damn fires are still going.

Sunday, February 8, 2009


Around lunchtime yesterday - just before the burnt leaves started dropping.... It was incredible, got so dark, because of the smoke, and there was thunder - caused by the fire!

Yikes, yesterday was one interesting day! Fires basically raged over half the state, and were very close to our place. Our neighbours evacuated their place (a little extreme), but apparently a house in our town burnt down due to ember attack. There certainly were embers in the air, and they did put out an urgent threat warning for us, but thankfully the wind died down over night and it was very still.

I am wondering how people I know fared, some living right where the fires have burnt. My old workplace is likely trashed (I didn't enjoy working there, but still you don't really wish for this...). And its worse in other parts of Victoria. I've read that entire towns have been burnt out... Scary.

On the up side, our farm so far has been safe (fingers crossed), although I have been watching the CFA as there has been a grass fire up there.... Off today to check.

A friend of ours is off today to fight the fire that is burning very close to us. Good luck! Hoping for rain (still).

Thursday, February 5, 2009

The heat is on!

Tomorrow is forcast to be a very hot 43C. Last week fires were burning only a few km'sto the east of the farm, those have been brought under control (after burning about 30 houses). Now to the west new fires are going, and its expected that they will be well and truly out of control, as the weather is just hellish... Its just so dry right now.

We are one of the few households that don't have airconditioning (by choice). Although our house is not well designed (can't get much worse really as far as keeping cool goes) its not too bad, if you keep the curtains closed, and keep the sun out. There is a small window at around 4pm or so when its still hot outside, but the house has heated up. We went to the pool for the first time last week to cool off after the 3rd or 4th 40+C day in a row... There will be a bit of this here tomorrow!

The kids in the kitchen sink, one sink each!

Keeping the kids cool is probably the hardest. That and the dogs, and the garden, arrghhh, come on autumn!

The kids are well. Our not so little boy is starting to say 'mum' and is very good at sitting up and reaching around himself - 9 months old now - but still not crawling! Our girl has proved herself to be an expert little puzzle doer - she is now doing 50 piece puzzles (for age 4)... such a clever thing, but such an insomniac!

This week, I caught up with one of the ladies from the local spinning group. We swapped some fleece. I gave her some alpaca fleece, and she gave me about 600g or so of sheep fleece half merino (the top staple) and some border leicester (the bottom one) - check out the staple length!!! Its around 30cm or so! I am looking forward to spinning some greasy fleece for a change.

Although that will have to wait till I finish some knitting - I have decided that there will be no spinning till I get a few bits knitted up. Just too much yarn here (yeah I know, no such thing!!)... Getting there.