Sunday, August 26, 2007
This photo is of the centre of a protea when it has finished flowering and has died off- isn't nature amazing.
During the week I went to Melbourne and one thing that struck me was the amount of construction that was going on- the largeness of the houses being constructed, and the largeness of the cars on the road- so many fourwheeldrives in the city, cars so large that you have no idea of traffic conditions ahead.
It started me thinking about consumption and energy- the earth is a finite resource- when it is gone there is no more- why do some people so obviously consume so much more than others? You might say user pays, but on the other hand why should I try to be careful with energy ( and I am aware that I consume also) when others are so reckless with it? For example we have been told by our water supply company- that exciting exploration is going on , drilling natural springs in this region- which have fed this region from the beginning of time in order to supply resource thirsty Greater Geelong.All I see happening in Geelong is construction of ever larger houses with at least two if not three bathrooms that churn all this water.
It started me thinking about our foot print where we live and the things we try to do to conserve and recycle and even return to the earth;
We bought land in a high rainfall region because I have lived in drought and with very little water- in drought that combination is very difficult
We bought land that had been cleared at the turn of the nineteenth century because we did not want to cut down any bush and we also wanted to plant some non-native fruit trees plus a few ornamentals. We did however plant native indigenous corridors along our boundaries for wildlife and birds- and they are very attractive as well. We bought the seeds from a local nursery specialising in raising native seed stock employing people with disabilities.
We have a dam and a rainwater tank to water the garden and the vegetables and the fruit trees.Later this year a rainwater tank will go onto the shed
We have a large vegetable garden - almost big enough to feed the neighbourhood and we share a lot of what we grow with neighbours and friends. There is five months of the year where we do not have to buy fruit or vegetables- and even in winter we still have a good assortment of vegetables - if we can stop the bower birds eating everything. We also have a lot of fruit trees- many varieties of apple ( who love this region) citrus, nut trees and grape vines.We also use non-hybridized seeds ( from Eden Seeds in Queensland)and old varieties for vegetables, we companion plant to control pests and use no chemicals. We compost heavily and mulch heavily and everything is watered from the dam ( often by hand) We grow green manure crops rich in nitrogen to help build the soil. We are not quite permaculture but do employ a lot of permnaculture techniques. I also preserve a lot of what we grow.
We recycled an old house built in 1948 which was going to be demolished and moved it onto our land- it is not big and it is not a palace, but it is sturdy and is a roof over our heads.
We do not use a lot of heating, wearing jumpers and socks instead.
My children shower every second day ( to conserve water and so the hot water system can run on energy saving)- humans don't need to shower every day- and there is always a basin and wash cloth. Planning needs to be used if you want a shower if going out somewhere.
We rarely use a clothes dryer- all clothes are hung out to dry on the Hills hoist- we only dry school uniforms if needed ( and it is a high rainfall region so a lot of rainy days)
In warmer months we have an enormous outdoor room as big as a palace that requires no heating, cooling or lighting and that is big enough to share and watch the celing of stars.
We have enough dead wood from our plantings to have an occasional camp fire outside.
We use the washing machine gray water for the garden.
We do have two cars but the car we use most if a Nissan Micra which tiny and is very fuel efficient, and is suitable for most of the running around we need to do- unfortunately you only get to look at fourwheeldrive bumper bars. The station wagon we use if we need to haul anything or when we go away as a whole family.
I feel that many people pay lip service to energy conservation and recycling and treading lightly and I am getting angry about it- because from what I saw from my little car the other day , the kind of consumption that is going on cannot be sustained and will interfere greatly with the future of my children.