Sunday, October 4, 2009


Went to Brisbane Organic Fair today. It was held at Albion Peace hall, under the albion overpass.
There were heaps of great stalls, loads of plants and seeds and books. Absolute heaven for me.
I came away with some seeds, $1 dollar a packet, who can pass that up?
I got Rosella, European dandelion, Purple Tomatillo, True Chamomile, and grain Amaranth.
My son spent most of the time in the "Livestock" section/petting zoo... It took a glass of real lemonade, made with sugar cane juice and real lemons, to tear him away.
Who could blame him?
delicate sweet bambi"Is this my good side?"

Naptime...Tamworth pig:

Baa Ram Ewwe....

Oh awww, can we get one mum??? pleease I'll be good , I promise.......

A gorgeous Dame... French Houdan

Saturday, October 3, 2009

grey days

This is my response to Towards Sustainability she seems to be having a grey day, which happens to me all too often :) (I also have a lot of red days- where i'm angry and snappy all day, *sheepish grin*)

Working the jobs i do, I am privy to a lot of different people's lifestyles and I get frustrated when I see some of the things people do. Some of the things, I have been guilty of myself, so i try not to be judgemental, but the simple fact is there really is no excuse for not knowing better, anymore. Even mainstream media has newspaper articles and tv shows on simple, green living, so most people are aware of the issues...

Some of the things I have seen, (perpetrators shall remain nameless)...

  • 4 (!) airconditioners on at once, with windows and doors open... the mind boggles.
  • Televisions left on all night, with no one even sleeping in the room.
  • Manicured, monoculture lawns, that are as productive and useful as a carpark, and use more resources; petrochemical fertilisers, precious drinking quality water, etc.
  • Driving less than 1 kilometre round trip, just to pick up "dinner" through a drive thru.
  • Dozens of cars waiting in a line for over half an hour, engines running, to pick up children from school.
Digression (rant alert):
This annoys me, a fair bit. It takes me 1 hour total, to catch the bus from 2 kilometres away, get son and other hangers on, and catch bus home again. Sometimes we walk home, because we enjoy the walk! Some days, I hate the walk, and the chunk it takes out of my day, I will admit. However, it has cost me $2 for the bus fare, the bus goes that way whether i'm on it or not, so I'm not adding to emissions and I get a bit of exercise.

Also I can:
  • chat to my son, who isn't really a talker, (when we are walking, there's no chores/tv/homework to get in the way of chatter),
  • collect flowers for my cockatiel to nibble,
  • drop off letters at the post box,
  • collect seeds and leaves from street trees for craft,
  • chat on the phone without worrying about causing an accident,
  • read a magazine/book at the bus stop, (guilt free 5 minutes of sitting down, oh yeah)
  • listen to my mp3 player,
  • or just "be" in silence (it's truly amazing how quiet the suburbs can be, especially between 8am and 6pm, when no one is home!).

Some, not all, of the people in the pick up line have thier reasons, like not wanting to disturb a sleeping baby, that's fine. Seriously, though people, if you can, - walk, or turn your darn car off!

Anyways, back on topic...
How to feel less frustrated/angry/depressed/worried about the world ending in a human wrought environmental disaster...

Truthfully, it's hard. It's enough to make you want to take up goat farming in woop woop.

The only thing you can control are your own actions, which is pretty sucky.

Wouldn't it be cool to be the government for a day, or a week?

To just blanket declare pesticides illegal, or to ration car use, or to give away water tanks and alternative energy systems?
We could make it compulsory for every school to be a permaculture site. How great to go to a school that is passive solar designed, shady, airy, non toxic and has chickens roaming around?
We could ban MDF, chip board and air fresheners... sigh.

(Actually, the first thing I would do, as President of the world, would be to ban the use of perfumes/body spray/cologne and cigarettes if you plan on using public transport... this is purely selfish, i find the cocktail of smells mixed with stale cigarette smoke makes me feel ill when i'm on the bus. Why do teenage girls think they can cover the fact they have been smoking with half a can of impulse?)

To combat the hopeless feeling, the "why do i bother being vegetarian and using bicarb soda to clean the bathroom, when next door is flushing scented bleach down the loo, and eating preservative laced factory farmed chicken nuggets" feeling, I remind myself that I am not alone.

There are people just discovering how to have less of an impact on the planet, and there are people who have been living frugal simple lives forever, before 'eco' was a buzz word, or before even hippies for that matter. And there are plenty of people who also feel that the world is going to hell in a plastic shopping bag.

You could bang your head on a brick wall, or you can slowly chisel at its foundations.
Simply by sharing fragrant bunches of fresh basil, and sunripened homegrown tomatoes with friends, I motivate them to grow their own herbs and some vegies. When a client needs plants, I use local organic nurseries and substitute productive/native plants for ornamentals and exotics. When I give a friend a handmade gift, they feel special, the extra effort on my part is worth more to them than if i spent more money. When I turn up to a friend's house with some fresh baked breadrolls, or a bowl of home made dip, they are blown away, it's much more impressive than a bottle of wine you bought on the way there.

Keep on imagining a better world, living as simply and as greenly (is that a word?) as you can and take your canvas bags to the super market.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

River cottage

I guess i'm making up for lost time, i havent been able to post for awhile, either that, or i'm just procrastinating....

Anyway... I love watching/reading about people who are leading the kind of life i'd like to have...
Living in the country, running a smallholding, and so on...
I really like shows like "River Cottage Spring" if you are in oz you can watch it on Iview
but I have to say that Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall is a little, well, annoying. His heart is definitely in the right place, and his shows are great.

But i can't help feeling jealous of his beautiful cottage, with its pretty vegetable patch and its neat paths. And all his employees..... no wonder the house is neat and tidy, his rows of vege are straight and weed free.... He has a team of gardeners and people to look after his livestock.

He is, if not rich, comfortably well off and a bit out of touch with "poor" people, (like me), who out of necessity, put budget ahead of other considerations. When you are living on $250 aud a week, which is what the single parents pension is, nearly all of that goes to rent. So even a couple of dollars more a kilo for free range, or organic food, is simply impossible. Instead of belittling people for choosing cheaper food, we need to educate people about growing their own, and preparing food from scratch. (Which I admit he is trying to do... in his own way... but still average Jill will be intimidated by the fact he has loads of people to help him.)

I cannot afford organic, free range meat, so we simply do not eat meat. If we could harvest our own meat, and be sure of the animal's quality of life and it being chemical free, i'm sure we would eat it sometimes, well not me but HH definitely. We generally can't afford organic fruit and vege either, so we try to grow as much as we can ourselves, which isn't easy, living in a rental and working/studying/parenting fulltime.

Obviously, I don't have a solution or I would be living it already. I think generally simplifying where you can is the answer. Eat simple food, which is as ethical as possible. Take baby steps, for example, buy free range eggs, before jumping in and setting up your own chicken coop. Eat at home more often, and prepare as much food yourself as you can, before agonising over the environmental costs of rice farming, or soybean production.

Just start where you're at.... Bloom where you're planted... and don't beat yourself up if you can't keep up with the Greenes'...

This quote from Homemaker Ang kind of sums it up:

"Instead of eating the white bread we all grew up on, one of us decides to break the mold and start buying whole wheat bread at the grocery store. We feel so proud of this accomplishment because we are feeding our family more healthy than how we grew up. Then we meet a woman who buys organic whole wheat bread from a posh health food market, and she meets a woman who bakes her own organic whole wheat bread in her bread maker everyday! Then she meets a woman who bakes her own organic whole wheat bread but kneads it by hand everyday rather than using a bread maker…. But she meets a woman who grinds her own organic wheat berries each day and bakes her own organic whole wheat bread and then she meets a woman who GROWS her own whole wheat to bake her own bread but this lady even meets a woman who grows her own whole wheat but hers is actually organic! YIKES! I could keep going on and on couldn't I…?"

She goes on to say "Ps. I don't like the woman who grows her own organic whole wheat…"

Ode to Pepe

"pepes home im very happy
my song /im vary vary hapy my cats home
happy happy happy
my cats home la la la la la la da ha"

-By Jella B. (Number one son), NB: "vary" = very

Our cat went missing on Tuesday 22nd, we didn't think too much of it, he can sometimes stay away for a couple of days.

The dust storm happened on Wednesday, and he didnt come home.... He still wasn't home by Friday and i was very worried. I walked up and down the street, rattled his biscuit box, called his name, a number of times, but still no Pepe. On Sunday, I snuck into my nieghbours yard, who is away, and called out again, not much hope by now, but I still had to try.

And guess what? There lying under some bushes, alive, but skinny, and dirty, was our cat! I picked him up and noticed his back leg was all floppy. I took him home and called the vet, thinking he had a tick, or had brocken his back. Of course being sunday, our vet was closed, I had to take him all the way to Brisbane vet hospital, in Albany Creek. My knight in shining armour (my sister), drove us out there, the gps getting us lost on the way... I love technology....

It turns out that he had smashed his upper back leg and his hip socket, which required massive surgery and a few days in hospital, (and a big chunk of the savings for our house deposit!). He was probably hit by a car, because his claws were shorn down.

It cost a heck of a lot of money. But I know it's worth it, especially when I know my son has cried himself to sleep for the last week, and I shed (more than) a few tears myself, thinking he would have to be put down.

Right now, the patient is sleeping in a make shift bed, with a certain 7 year old lying next to him on the cool bathroom floor. He's looking a bit punk/emo, with a pink arm cuff (painkiller patch) and his leg, thigh and random patches of fur shaved. He is also a bit groggy, but he can limp around and he's alive, so i'm breathing a sigh of relief.

We can always earn more money, but we can never get another Pepe.