links for 2007-09-18

links for 2007-09-13

Why we love living in bush

There’s a woman from Lara being interviewed on the radio. She’s being interviewed, at some length, because she’s painted her entire flock of sheep with blue and white stripes. She’s a Geelong supporter, you see, and it’s footy finals time here in Victoria, and Geelong’s colours are blue and white.

She’s a bit worried though as the paint she used isn’t waterproof and has started to fade already. Apparently it’s already more of a Kangaroos (light) blue than a Geelong (dark) blue, so she’s off to give them a second coat.

It’s the little things.

I love ewes all.

links for 2007-09-05

links for 2007-09-04

links for 2007-09-03

Channelling Shiva

I’ve been thinking a lot about Shiva this week. You know, the Indian deity, god of destruction and rejuvenation. I’m not a religious person but I’ve always been intrigued by Shiva — as someone who was brought up within Christianity, the idea of a god of destruction seems perverse. But like so many of the Indian gods, Shiva represents contrasting, but complementary attributes: he is both destroyer and redeemer. With destruction comes rebirth; an acknowledgment of the cycle of birth and death (and rebirth, if you like) as well as the intrinsic psychic link between creation and destruction.

This is a roundabout way of saying that I’ve spent much of the last week destroying stuff, so as to create anew. It has been invigorating, occasionally painful (I have many more small injuries than I can count) and wearing (sorry for the lack of updates). But I have taken possession of this land and have started the long journey towards reshaping it towards our purpose.

The destruction phase (praise Shiva) is the enormous task of clearing up the area around our house — the bushfire season is approaching and the previous owners thoughtfully left several tonnes of highly combustible tree branches, eucalyptus leaves and assorted kindling piled up around our new home. Obviously that has to go before it becomes cause for real concern. So we lit a bonfire on Tuesday and it has been going ever since — we build it up during the day and keep feeding it until evening, when we let it die down. In the morning it’s still smoldering, so we start stacking more fuel on, and on it goes. I reckon if we keep that fire going for a month, by the beginning of October we’ll have cleared most of the combustible material within 20 metres of the house.

This kind of preparation is part of the reality of living in the Australian bush. I’m not a stranger to it (although it’s never before been my house that I was working to save). Every year we are warned and every year people die because they were not adequately prepared for the inferno when it came. I hope not to be one of those statistics.
As well as that, I’ve been clearing the area that will become our vegetable garden. The land has been cleared before (I think they even tried to grow some stuff there) but it’s been let go and I’ve been cutting down bushes, moving logs and trying to wrestle the land back into submission. All of this, I should point out, without mechanical assistance. Yesterday I disassembled the old dunny which was sitting right where I hope to be growing heirloom tomatoes sometime soon. Below the fold, a series of photos documenting that process. If you are in any way interested in dunny demolition, you will want to check these out.

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The dirt campaign begins

Yesterday’s “revelation” that Kevin Rudd once got drunk and went into a strip club have an unmistakable odour about them. Of course we expected this, presumably he expected it too: the worse the polls look for the government, the more desperate they will become and it won’t be long before the dirt file gets opened.

Remains to be seen what effect, if any, this has on public opinion, but I liked Bob Brown’s comments this morning:

“Four years ago Kevin Rudd got drunk and took himself into a strip club,” Senator Brown said.

“Four years ago John Howard, sober, took Australia into the Iraq war.

“I think the electorate can judge which one did the more harm,” Senator Brown told reporters in Melbourne.


Stepping over the edge

Tomorrow’s the big day when we’re moving to our new life in the bush. No more mains power, no more flush toilets, a new paradigm for living gently, intentionally, and treading softly on the Earth. I am excited, of course, but also I’m bored with putting things in boxes and it’s hard to see past the chore of moving all our stuff. As they say, you never know how much stuff you have until you move, and let me tell you we have a lot of stuff.

One of the things that will happen over the next few months is that we will shed a fair bit of that stuff — probably we could have done so pre-move, but I haven’t had the headspace or the time to think about it. We’ll get there.

Posting will be light to non-existent over the next few days as we don’t hey have any internet connection at the new place. What that means is that for the next week or maybe two I’ll be working from this old house, which will be empty except for a desk, chair and computer. I guess we can leave the kettle here so I can make myself a cup of tea. You can imagine how much I’m looking forward to that arrangement, but the alternative is dial-up and I can’t go there again.

Once we get settled I’ll be posting regular updates on our transition to a very different life. There are lots of small changes in the wind which we have discussed as part of an overall big change in lifestyle. I think it’ll go well, although I’m not such a Pollyanna as to think there won’t be moments (or extended periods) of struggle and frustration. In the end we will have created a lifestyle guided by deliberate intention and which is truly sustainable. Watch this space.

Update, Monday: the move went well (thanks, helpers!) but for some reason this post never got uploaded. More soon.

Bear. Force. One.


Thanks, Jason!