Saturday, 30 November 2013

The Thank You Post!

56% of the way! I wonder if miracles do happen :-)

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

15 days to Go - The Final Countdown!

Are you sick of hearing about my Peak Challenge project?  Probably, I've been banging on about it for 45 days now. It's a subject very close to my heart.  I believe we've come as far as we can with science and information, there's a glut of it. Sometimes it contradicts itself, sometimes it scares the pants off you, sometimes it focuses on elements, like economics, rather than the real issue at stake... a dying planet.

But generally it all points in the same direction. We need to act now and the actions need to be as big as the impacts of our chosen lifestyles in order to offset them.  Governments are privy to the same information, but they drag their heels. If science and governments can't save us, then we will have to.

But over the past 100 or so years we've gradually had our responsibilities taken from us, no longer do we take care of our power or water supply, they're delivered to us and are of consequence only viewed in $ values. Our waste, both human and domestic is taken 'away' for us. Mostly we don't even know where 'away' is.  If a tree falls over a road, there's a number to call, if there's a fire, if there's an accident, if our car breaks down...  it reminds me of the story of a woman whose electronic key for her car ran out of battery and she waited for the equivalent of RACT  to turn up to help her get in her car. When they did, they showed her how to use the pointy end of a real key to open her door because she'd forgotten there are other ways to open one.  It's called learnt helplessness. We've learnt it well.

Our ingenuity, resourcefulness, our ability to cope and cater for the essentials of life on our own has been undermined. I don't think it's a conspiracy, or a deliberate ploy but an unfortunate outcome of civilisations push to constantly specialise and compartmentalise. But we can change that.

But it does me we feel helpless now and all we can do is petition others to do something.But it's not going to happen. We have to all stand up and  against those who would convert our environment into cash until both 'economies' collapse.

That's what Peak Challenge is. The learning to stand up again business. It's not just about resilience, the learning to grow carrots and change your light bulbs, while that's essential, it's not enough. It's also about direct action, (and I don't mean violence), withdrawal and spirituality, and by the last I mean a re-connection to what it is we're losing.

It also means finding a path to what it is we want, and even knowing what that is. Knowing that what we have currently is wrong, does not provide us with a better direction.

That's what I believe Peak Challenge does. It doesn't just say, hey things are really, really bad, let's do something. Creating the imperative, but without pointing the way.  It provides a comprehensive list of things that can be done under the four types of action. You can tick off those already achieved, see how you're going, but then address what else you could be doing and decide what to work on next.

One of the things I've learnt in my life is that I'm not crash hot on asking for help. I prefer to struggle on until I'm exhausted before I do. Usually I've done the damage by then. But I'm learning. Which is why I'm asking for help in getting Peak Challenge up and happening. I can't do it on my own. Please help out, and yes, I'm asking for small donations. Enough small, wouldn't-even-miss-it, donations will enable me to work on it concertedly and to be able to ask (and pay) for technical assistance with codecs and conversions etc.  you can check out the first four minutes of the movie, either through Youtube (which is a bigger file download) or the swfcabin link which is a 4MB flash file (oddly it takes a while to load though). Both have been recently updated.

The Pozible quest is 15 days from closing. It's over 50% funded, but it has to be 100% funded or it fails and no pledges will be processed. If you think the project has merit please feel free to share it with others.

Thanks for putting up with my long prattle.


Sunday, 24 November 2013

A great Infographic .... how big is your backyard?

What a fantastic infographic. A bit hard for us metric minded, but in the end we still use and understand acres. It's from  -(go there for the full version, the one you can read). We managed 3 people on 2081 sq metres (with a goat and chooks) in our 2005 experiment, on 3 acres.  I hope to feed more than just us this year.

What do you need? Adequate water,  a suitable climate, good soil, preparedness to start again when the first, second and third times don't work, arms of steel and a husband/wife who's happy to come along for the ride :)

Thursday, 21 November 2013

Daisy, Daisy, how does your garden grow?

No cockleshells all planted in a row, that's for sure. but it was always a bother to work out where I'm planting things, what was in there last and the last before this last.

Jotting it down in a diary was fine, but I'd be scrabbling through pages trying to figure it all out and I really needed something pictorial. I've never been able to find any software that works to the extent I want it to.  So instead I visited Google maps and zoomed in on our block, I printed it out, stuck it to a window and traced around it, turning it into a line drawing with all the fences etc showing on a sheet of plastic.. Then I borrowed an old style overhead projector and projected it onto a wall and an A2 sheet of card.

I made multiple copies, I figure I can get three years of garden history onto each, but cutting out different coloured pieces of paper the same size as each garden bed and sticking them over top of the previous years crops. As per the image. So I can instantly see numerous years of garden planting with date of planting and harvest in seconds and make better decisions around what to plant next.

It's just a pity my writing looks like a line up of drunk spiders holding hands.

Another blank copy now records when I whippersnipped, rotary hoed, spread compost or other gardening chores and provides a secondary instant history. I don't want to rotary hoe anywhere in successive years.

I don't mind my garden plans, they're pinned up on the laundry wall for easy reference. I've even stuck charts of when to sow what up too. But I'm sure someone out there has created an easier system... have you devised your own or adopted someone else's method of keeping track of your succession planting?

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Make your Own Wheelhoe

Trev is not a gardener. He looks like one, but all that grubbiness originates from making things in the tool shed, not down on his hands and knees in the garden. Sigh. The upside is while he's in the tool shed he's making tools. This is his latest foray into making my life easier. He's assembled it out of a dead wheelbarrow wheel, scavenged steel and a couple of handles of a useless tool they had for sale for $5 at Mitre10. 
It's a very simple concept. The steel rectangle is driven back and forward through the top inch of soil and drags up all the weeds. It's for continued low-weed maintenance, not trying to deal with them once they're mature. You can buy a professionally made one for about $500. Scoffs loudly. You can also buy other attachments to create furrows prior to planting etc. The likelihood of us finding a spare $500  (more once you add postage) for an item that cost us $10 and a couple of hours of Trev tinkering in the shed is extremely low. 

It certainly is a time saver and is easier on my shoulders than using other gardening tools.
He may not be seen in the garden very often (apart from nabbing something for dinner) but he does come in handy does my Trev.