Animals Australia: the voice for animals

Animals Australia: the voice for animals
Love life? Love all of life

Friday, December 19, 2008

Building...stone upon stone

Our own small stone of activism,
which might not seem to measure up
to the rugged boulders of heroism we have so admired
is a paltry offering toward the building of an edifice of hope ...
For we can do nothing substantial toward
changing our course on the planet, a destructive one,
without rousing ourselves, individual by individual,
and bringing our small, imperfect stones to the pile.
The Impossible Will Take a Little While:
A Citizen's Guide to Hope in a Time of Fear.

Water: it's a no-brainer

If you click on the pictures below,
they will be enlarged and
you can read their vital message.
If there is one thing
more important to species on this planet
- and that includes human beings -
than food,
Water is shaping up to be the activism issue of 2009.
In Victoria,
three water focussed groups,
have coalesced into the
people are beavering away
to establish a nationwide organisation,
Ordinary people are looking on in amazement
at how governments are managing water.
They wonder how
their communities and their livelihoods will fare.
Insufficient consultation is a glaring deficiency.
We are left to wonder, in some instances, whether
corporations or individual post-politics careers
are influencing decisions -
not communities.
There is no clear indication that
either the Victorian or Australian governments
recognise WATER as part of The Commons.
There is little indication that
decisions are being made on water as a human right.
In Victoria,
activism on water has been a regional affair -
with visits to Melbourne
to rally outside Parliament in Spring Street.
Melbournians have been
installing water tanks and solar panels,
growing their own veges,
and harvesting grey water.
Their is much good will
which the Victorian government is not building on.
In 2009, the Victorian Government
might awaken one day
to find that
the activism of the bush and the surf has come to town.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Belinda and Andrew came to visit on Sunday afternoon.
They brought gifts - a tomato plant and a tomatillo.
How prescient were they!
Because of the move to Home Beautiful, did not have either of these.
There is little space in the garden at HB. It is almost all spoken for.
But dear B and A,
they have been planted in the furthest corner of The Secret Garden.
They have been watered and Charlie Carp'd.

And they brought this book below.

I had never heard of Transition Towns until recently.

Now with Carol, Belinda, and The Book

just maybe I'll become an armchair expert!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Permaculture in Castlemaine

BubbleShare: Share photos - Easy Photo Sharing

On 28 November, I was in Castlemaine. I was there for a meeting on water organised by Carol McDonough who provided me with the Cook's Tour prior to the meeting.
Part of the tour was to the headquarters of the Mount Alexander Sustainability Group (MASG).  Mount Alexander is the name of the shire of which Castlemaine is part.  The album above is of the marvellous permaculture garden that is part of MASG's historic premises.  Thank you Carol for a marvellous day.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Food - glorious food.

Click to enlarge
In the United States of America, what we call Ministers in government are called Secretaries.  So imagine if, in the Land of Oz, we had a Ministry of Food.  Coz in the good ol' US of A Nicholas Kristof is asking for a Secretary of Food.  
Kristof cheerfully points out that in the USA only 2 per cent of Americans are engaged in farming.  Yet 100% of Americans eat.  So let's change the name from Agriculture to Food.  
In Oz, we would change the name from the Department of Primary Industry to the Department of Food. 
Makes so much sense to me. 

Sunday, December 07, 2008

The Sustainable Renter

This is my galvanised iron washtub full of oregano.
Oregano has been growing in this tub - outdoors in Melbourne - for four years.
Winter sees it die back somewhat but it comes to life in Spring.
This year it went to seed.  I cut it back to the dirt.
And it has come back beautifully to this.
This houshold of next-of-kin independent adults are renters. We have just moved house from one rented property to another. I am into growing my own herbs and vegetables and when moving into an established garden which is all roses and camellias everywhere there are difficulties.
What's the solution? Pots, pots and more pots. We were in situ in our previous property for four years and half-way through that time I decided I would dig up some ground for the stuff that was not best in pots - the broad beans, the silver beet, the cabbages, the caulies and the pumpkin. But we have had to move house in spring and leave much behind - but some has been able to come with me. All the herbs - and some vegies: leeks, schallots, choko, kipfler potatoes - because it was all in pots.
Back in spring I also revitalised my hanging baskets - renewing, replacing and adding pansies, petunias, and alyssum - which was a good idea because the courtyard at the back of the new house as well as the front verandah are just the thing for hanging baskets.
So it is quite clear that thoughtful and determined renters can grow food and flowers - and take them when they go. Water is a major consideration and a lot of the water saving and harvesting methods used by those who own their own homes are not so available to renters. However, help is on the way from the people of Sustainable Gardening Australia. They have published a whole section on water in The Renters Guide to Sustainable Gardening.
Thanks SGA for leading the way.
Now if the Victorian Government made tanks compulsory -
renters could save even more water.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Gardening at Home Beautiful 1

Home Beautiful
(click to enlarge and see more detail)
Here is Home Beautiful. Unlike The Trad Pad, HB comes complete with gardener. At least that is what the real estate agent said. Not untrue - but, when reality arrived, it turned out that the gardener is the mother of the owner who is overseas.
The garden is spoken for - for the most part - except that we are responsible for turning on the watering system. Even signed a clause on the lease owning up to this onerous responsibility. The garden only has a fig tree, a lemon tree, and a nectarine tree in the way of food plants. Not really any space for veges - but, aside from my herbs, I did bring some in pots (kipfler potatoes, leeks, shallots) leaving behind broadbeans, cauliflowers, beetroot, and sugarloaf cabbages.
The back yard is paved and, such garden as there is, is mostly spoken for. There is a small area that is unplanted and I have placed a miscellany of pots there including Herself's succulent collection.
When the plants were unloaded in the removal, the wheelbarrows were placed on the footpath for the time being - but we loved the cottage-y look with the gum tree so left them there. I have added other herbs and plants plus the red toadstool with Aboriginal dot-style frogs and the cute little gnome.
Now Herself thinks I have gone too far and that all this shows that The Mad People live here. She promises to sort it out herself. We shall see what happens.
For me, I hope to get to know the neighbours well enough to ask them to bring their scissors and help themselves - my very own Community Garden on my doorstep!