Our Place

November 10, 2010

 

Its one sixth of an acre fenced in by monotonous dull palings. The two-tone, seventies brick-veneer is caged in tightly on its block; an image akin to Howard Arkley’s depictions of suburban Australia. It certainly isn’t a cosy, mudbrick cottage surrounded by green space, in fact, the folks from number 17 next door can get a nice glimpse right into my bedroom anytime the blinds open.

As a child, the little bit of space we had in Healesville seemed endless. The multitude of different trees, the grassy slopes, the red brick path and the small two-story mudbrick all came together as a veritable playground for my overactive imagination. We rode our bikes all about, picked grass to make soup, we climbed trees, made cubby houses, picked fresh fruit to eat and simply played pretend in the back yard for hours on end. It was all home-baked goods and second hand clothes, yet as kids we were clueless as to this intentional way of life our parents had chosen – it was normal.

The Mud-Brick Home I grew up in

 

We moved to this tiny clump of suburbia, Coldstream, when I was nine – it was more practical. If only I had known then how much we lost leaving our old place.

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Since finishing school I have had time to think and learn a great deal about the way Westerners are living. It is now I compare our simple upbringing with the consumer culture we are stuck in and long for those easy days to return. I guess I ought to save my anti-capitalist rant for another day, but may I say the competition that is resultant of this economic system has seen product advertising become so enmeshed with our day to day lives that we have lost much autonomy in our own decision making and even in the maintainance of a healthy identity and perspective of ones self.

My Mum in her Vegie Garden at our old place

Industrialisation and mass production of food stuff has meant that our diets are severely affected, and deviated from what they ought to naturally look like. And this ugly, 21st century diet of convenience can only lead to a great variety of other conditions we find ourselves subjected to. This is beyond affluence, its just damn unhealthy.

I don’t write all this as an outsider looking in criticising the failure of the mindless masses to take action – for this is me too. Yet, I see the way we live as problematic and I long for some simpler, healthier; something a little more fresh and organic.

I know there is no return for me, at least for the moment, to a spacious block of land with a whole lot of native vegetation and no fences. Perhaps I will be fortunate enough to reside in such an environment in the future, but for now its suburbia, and I have understood my mission and chosen to accept. Therefore, I have, over the last little while, worked diligently to try and ‘green-up’ the place as much as possible. It is my parents home, and hence I cannot my self invest in rainwater tanks and renewable energy, nevertheless, I have taken on several projects that appeal to me as important in pursuing a healthier, happier, more natural way to live.

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Allow me to introduce you to our place.

Oscar takes one of many merry jaunts about the back yard

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Composting fruit and vegie scraps is a great way to return organic materials straigt back into the soil on your own block, and avoid shipping more unnecessary waste to landfill sites

Spring is certainly about with the Apple Trees blossoming. Dad establised several fruit trees on our block not long after we moved in.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This Myer Lemon Tree was rescued from my Grandparents house in Blackburn, and it really seems to love the soil out here as it provides us with endless amounts of lemons!

Growing your own vegies is, of course, an excellent way to monitor the journey of your food before it is eaten - and it encourages one to eat healthier foods. These Cos Lettuces are going to be great in our salads this summer.

This is one of several tomato plants in the second vegie patch I just established. Its companions are: sweet corn, pumkins, snow peas, capsicums, zucchinis and eggplants - when we get a bit more sun things will really get growing

This is the front yard vegie patch. Whilst not ideally located during winter in terms of sunlight, it has grown a whole lot since day light savings. In here we have: potatoes, rhubarb, strawberries, snow peas, carrots, onions, lettuces, broccoli, silver beat, spinach, zucchinis, tomato berrys, garlic, parsley, coriander, rosemary, oregano, thyme and sage.

I certainly inherited my Dad's love for antiquated old lanterns. While pretty much irrelevant, these may be seen hanging here and there about our place

These 3 keep us sorted in the egg department daily!

Enjoying a good dust bath - they healthily free range rather than being trapped in a cage or a shed their whole lives for mass production of eggs

Once you're used to fresh home baked bread - the stuff from the supermarket just doesn't cut it anymore!

 

Come round some time!

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September 2, 2010

Ode to the Yarra

Now here beside us river’s voice compounds,

My mind now sees the real; it is absurd,

For many folk your song have never heard.

And it would seem that soothing sights and sounds

Most dismally are ‘ere long now unfound.

Yet nigh to nature youth here have wandered,

Beauteous place where young folk have pondered,

And only here does such freedom abound.

Hidden – night lays on our restful vale,

Safely sister slumbers sailing streams song.

Lamp glows steadily, peace grows verily,

And lo! Western wonts are an ill, I know;

Ample flows, but greedily goes our thirst.