{mining on the Liverpool Plains = sacrilege}

Locking us out - we should lock them up!

The guts of the earth ripped out...

and left spilling all over the place
to leave a big, empty hole...
literally across the other side of the road, what it would
have once looked like - rich, productive, alluvial soils
- will these paddocks be next?
Perhaps from my post yesterday you could get a glimpse into why I love the country so much. It is my home and my escape. There are so many things I love about the country and reasons why I'm passionate about sustainable agriculture - so it was with great sadness and lots of anger that I saw the beautiful countryside being ripped open at it's very heart. I never thought I would see the day that this atrocity would occur on this beautiful, productive land I once called home.

The above photos were taken just a few km's outside the town of Quirindi. It was a property once owned by a friend of my father and had been in his family for generations. The land had provided many families with a livelihood and a place to call home. When they owned this land they abided strict rules and regulations, for example they were not even allowed to chop down a tree without prior permission - now look at what is being done to it. Thousands of trees have been cut down, the house that sat atop the hill was bulldozed and the guts of the earth have been ripped out and spilling over. It is not an individual case - this is only one instance that I saw, but there are many more across the countryside and they are increasing in number as large mining companies buy up more and more land. It is not land that should become mines - it is land that provides us with food to feed our families. It is such a short-term gain that will have long-term effects. Once all this land is ripped apart it will be left barren, no longer able to support crops or sheep and cattle - where will we produce our food then?

While I feel it is a David and Goliath effort to stop this progressing further, I feel somewhat comforted by the fact that I'm not alone. It is a sentiment shared by many others, and was one recently featured in the March issue of Country Style magazine. The story of the Andrews family was one which touched my heartstrings - a family fighting to save their property 'Tarwyn Park' from coal mining explorations. The property, like so many, has been in the family for generations and they have put their heart and soul into developing sustainable agricultural methods to care for the land and the many generations of the family to come. I strongly urge you to read more about their plight and do what you can to spread their story. Read more here: 'Save Tarwyn Park'

My father's property is not safe either, he's chased mining company helicopters off his land and we even saw a 'Spy-in-the-Sky' plane overhead one afternoon when we were out checking on the cattle. They'll be back with their big, fat cheque books but they can whistle. They may be big and they may throw their weight around with their big, fat cheque books - but I HATE bullies and that's what they are. We need to stand up to them and put our foot down, stamp both of them down loud and firm on the earth that belongs to us and the generations of our families to come. 

I strongly encourage you to read more here:
The Greens: Liverpool Plains 'No New Coal'
Caroona Coal Action Group
Landcare NSW

{for clearer images, please click on the picture or right click and open in new window}

{an escape to the country}

nothing but the buzz of bees.....
...the trill of birds
...& big, wide open space!
Every now and again everyone needs to escape to the country. For me it's been much too long so last week I took a much needed trip back to my grass roots to fill my lungs with fresh air and rest my mind and senses. I escaped the claustrophobia of the city for wide open spaces, noise of traffic and neighbours for the trill of birds and the bright neon lights for the milky way. 

The country holds a special place in my heart - it is where I was born and bred. Whilst not all memories of it are perfect - floods and drought, to me it is my home and place where I go back to recharge my batteries and remember who I am and where I came from.I love being able to run around the paddocks - sing, scream or be totally quiet and have no-one to care. 

I spent a couple of days on my father's property in Northern NSW, just a little south of Tamworth, on the Liverpool Plains. It is rich, fertile grazing country where he runs a couple of hundred head of breeding cattle. Ohhh and I absolutely adore cows!! I think it was the experience of being brought up around them, to have a respect for, but not fear them. And of course, being a surrogate mum to the poddy calves who you just couldn't help but falling in love with. Quite often I find myself wishing I could turn back the clock to that 'simpler' more fulfilling life.

'The fencing truck' is as old as me, bought the year I was born: 1980,
and still going strong. So many memories rest in this vehicle....
Mummies-to-be, due to calf in the next few months.
Can't wait to see their beautiful babies!
Nothing but the big blue sky and wide
open space as far as the eye can see!
As the saying goes, "you can take the girl out of the country but you can't take the country out of the girl" and it couldn't be more true for me - I'm a bit of a country gal stuck in the city and dream of the day I can call it home again.

{back soon!}

Apologies for the lack of communication lately. I haven't had much of a chance to sit in my office chair for very long of late - life has been extremely busy with work committments and a recent trip away to the country to visit family.

I have so many posts that I want to write my mind is buzzing - especially a couple of issues close to my heart from my recent visit to my father's property.

I'll be working on these over the next few days and hope to be back with you toot-sweet.

Check back for posts including some of the below: 

* Hort Couture vs. Haute Couture
* Cottage Garden Club Meeting take 2
* Mining the Liverpool Plains
* Our new pets - 1001 wriggly worms

Image: 'dones1' here

{compost: it's the law!}

It's International Composting Awareness Week - which I think ties in quite nicely after National Permaculture Day on Sunday, both going hand-in- hand with each other.

Hopefully with a little shameless self-promotion people will be encouraged to partake in both.
Or is it more a case of being heavy handed rather than the softly-softly approach? Did you know in San Francisco it is law to compost your waste? Since October 2009 San Fran residences and businesses have been required to separate their rubbish: blue for recycling, black for trash AND green for compost! It's all part of an ambitious goal to reduce waste and have the city sending nothing to landfills or incinerators by 2020. And don't think they're not serious either, fines range from $100 to $1,000 depending on warnings! For some this is the incentive they need to consider this not a 'hippy' or 'greenie' habit, but an everyday one which we all need to adopt. Read media coverage here

Each week on 'bin-night' I'm quietly proud of our little bin (odd thing to be proud of I know!). The reason being though, ours is generally the only one with its lid properly closed while others are brimming with bags and their lids ajar. We are quite strict with what goes into our rubbish bin - all plastic, glass, paper and cardboard are separately recycled, and all food waste (except meat and dairy) is composted in our two Aero Bins. It's not difficult and when you consider that it is estimated that almost half of all municipal waste is comprised of organic material, the decomposition of which is the main source of greenhouse gas emissions from landfill, it should be compulsory!

No space excuses either - a snazzy apartment composter here

Pretty compost here

Arty-farty compost bins here

{a matter of principle - ethical principles of permaculture}

I like to think we all live by a few basic ethics - be kind and courteous to one another, do not steal from others, do not hurt or injure others etc. Rules are generally set to  allow us to live in a fair and equitable manner and should we choose to disobey we will be made to repent in whatever way the law deems adequate.

Nature is much the same - the difference being she does not issue tickets for disobeying her rules. Instead she has her own way of showing her displeasure with our actions - this year in Australia we have bared the brunt of her unhappiness with us BIG TIME! Floods, Fires, Cyclones - you name it, she dished it out to us!

Through careful observation of nature, traditional indigenous and tribal communities, Permaculture developed its own ethics which act as foundations to this system of design and way of thinking. They are three simple, broad stroke statements intended to guide everyday thinking and actions which I believe can be applied not only to gardening but life in general - if we all lived by these simple statements a little more the world would be a much more lovely place.

:: Care for the earth (husband soil, forests and water)
:: Care for people (look after self, kin and community)
:: Fair share (set limits to consumption and reproduction, and redistribute surplus)