Monthly Archives: September 2013

I just had a ‘moment’.

Well, actually it was a few days ago that I had the moment but i’m only now putting the post up.

Anyway, the ‘moment’ happened as i was eating a particularly delicious smoko* and i became mindful of the work that I had put into creating that meal. Not just cooking or preparing it but growing and nurturing it. It was a happy moment as I ate and looked out over the ever expanding vegie garden.

What I ate:
Fried eggs,
Sauteed, lemony, silverbeet,
sourdough bread.

Both the hummus and sourdough were homemade and the silverbeet, lemon and eggs home grown.
In terms of weight i guess only 50% of that meal was produced at home. The wheat for the bread and chickpeas for the hummus were store bought. But both were made at home from ingredients that we buy in bulk and had significant time invested in their creation.** You could probably say that I did, in part, grow the bread because I grow and care for the sourdough culture feeding it every 12 hours – but that is a whole other story.

As you can see this moment is not hugely significant – one of those that I hope becomes increasingly more mundane (and thus insignificant) as we come to have meals that are 80-100% produced from home. So what exactly does this moment mean then? Why is it worth a blog post? Why, in fact, was it even a ‘moment’?

This moment was a realisation – an affirmation that we are moving in the right direction. A direction that we have intended to be moving in for a very long time now. A moment that showed me that we have stopped talking about and started working towards a goal that has always coloured our relationship – a moment in which the intended becomes attended to – and man, it was delicious.

*smoko, for those not familiar with the term, is an Australian expression that originally meant having a smoke break (hence J’s posts are always titled ‘smoko’ because he writes them during a smoke break). Smoko has also come to mean a tea break – particularly a mid-morning tea break. To confuse matters even more my mum and I refer to the ‘breakfast’ we tend to have at about 10-11am as smoko. This meal usually happens after we’ve done a few hours of work and really built up an appetite for the truly delicious smoko concoctions we knock up (generally heavy on the leftovers and smothered in fresh tomato, tahini and other goodness). For mum its the main meal of the day.
**off topic, but, for an understanding of how much waste you save by making your own bread see this interesting post.

Smoko #4

That little red head chick finally became a ‘woman’ today.  She’s younger than the other girls and has always copped a fair bit of flak from them, plus the odd minor beating. Nothing serious – a kick or scratch now and again and a tongue lashing – but more concerning to us was that she was always being left out or chased off into a corner somewhere, or they’d all be playing nicely and then as soon as Red turned her back they’d all leg it somewhere else and leave her on her own.

But today Red became one of them, and you should have heard the fuss.  Red screeching about it like she wanted the world to know and all the girls fussing around her, showing her the ropes and whatever else it is they show each other in such times.  And then they spent the day together, very nicely, no fighting or arguing, just 3 girls together showing the fellas what’s what.

It was really very nice, and quite exciting for all concerned, but I don’t really get what all the commotion was about.  It’s not as if a chicken never laid an egg before. Anyway, good on ya Red, welcome to the family and thanks for breakfast.

Community living (and a fire…)

I haven’t yet written about the pros and cons of living on a multiple occupancy block and all that that entails. So here goes…

For starters we never, ever, thought we would buy land on an already existing community. J has talked for years about starting up a community from scratch and therefore being instrumental in the governance and the ‘vibe’ of the place. When we got serious about buying this block we tried to imagine what it would be like being inserted into a group of people who all knew each other and had particular views about how things should be done. We took heart in the other resident’s descriptions of the community as ‘live and let live’ and ‘hands off’. We also took heart in the immediate offers of advice, phone numbers and welcome. We wanted to believe that we could have all the benefits of living with other share holders that have an invested interest in our happiness without them dictating our lives.

Our experience so far has been in line with these assumptions. We live in a community of generous people who care about us rather than micro manage us. We have not felt restricted in our actions on our own block due to community regulations (except maybe the rule about not having a dog) and have benefited hugely from community member’s generosity and local knowledge. We have had cups of tea, garden cuttings, pot belly stoves and sound advice given to us freely and have never had to partake in a mandatory hug or any other onerous community practice.

The last few days have really highlighted the benefits of living communally and especially the collective knowledge and manpower that exists on our doorstep. We were away when we received an email from a shareholder about a fire that was heading (slowly) towards our place. The email was addressed to all the shareholders and was detailed, informative and not panicky. We decided to come home to ready our place just in case. It is very early in the fire season here and the nights are still cool and damp which is a good thing when it comes to fires. The fire started on a neighbour’s property (burning off that got out of control) and has taken a few days to get onto our communal property.

We got back here and were up dated on the situation – the fire brigade had been out to assess the situation including the state of our fire trails. The fireys then returned to the property on which the fire started to fight it on that side. This was 3 days ago. In the meantime it has been action stations here. The fire trails around our place have been cleared and pushed with the communal tractor. We’ve been busy with the brush cutter and up on the roof with the leaf blower. One of the shareholders acted as the central control – receiving and passing on all updates about the fire and about works in progress. The fire seems to have burnt itself out when it reached one of the property’s fire trails. It probably got within about 1.8km from our house and closer to another share. It got a little smoky at home but that’s about it.

During all this I felt, simultaneously, out of my depths and in very good hands. Fires come through here every second year or so and the community understand how they behave and are familiar with the topography and the fire trails and watering points. This collective knowledge is worth more than gold to us. Without it we would be novices sitting on a fire prone property trying to get up to speed. And these events have forced me to think about certain questions.  Had we not been living on a community would we have even known about the threat? Would we even know our neighbours at this stage of the game? Would they have been so informative and helpful cutting fire trails and communicating changes in events with us? I for one believe that we won finding this group of people to share land with and that we are far safer with them around.

So the threat from this fire seems to have passed but it is just the beginning of fire season in this part of the world and apparently September and October are the worst because of strong winds. We will busy ourselves over the next few weeks clearing undergrowth and weeds. Living on a community is great for many reasons but living on a community does not mean you can always rope people into clearing lantana for you!

The fire was stopped at one of the fire trails on the property