I’ve been pondering as to why I want to follow a sustainable, organic and waste free lifestyle. I think it all started with my dearly loved dad who couldn’t let anything that had some value or use go to waste. We even played the theme of Steptoe & Son at his funeral! Dad could always see a way to putting something to good use (much to mum’s disgust!) and loved being a bit quirky with his thinking. Exposure to traditional lifestyles when visiting the old Aunts (chooks honour their namesakes), with wood fire cooking and minimal use of mod cons, camping which instills survival skills, (these days we use the term-resiliance). My husband has battled with allergies his whole life and when I was pregnant I did a lot of research and was committed to providing only organic, unprocessed healthy food to my babies in the hope they would resist the allergy roller coaster. This was back in the time when you couldn’t buy healthy choices at the supermarket, health food stores were the only place you could buy unprocessed organic food, soy products and a good range of legumes. This lead me to growing and making most of our home staples from scratch. When I think back at the huge amount of work with planning menus, preparing and cooking it was a was a major committment! Not sure how I managed it, but I did. We got through it and none of the kids have exhibited any allergies that were anticipated.
I think all of this as well as studying my diploma of sustainability where I learned so much more about the effects that pesticides, over processing and problems with waste management have on the world I was hooked to follow the committment. This week I would also like to add an acknowledgement to a local councillor that recently passed away, Bill Harrington was a valued member of our community who was always available and open minded. He worked tirelessly for his beloved community and family and he will be sadly missed by those who knew him and most likely those who didn’t once they realise how much he did. Bill never had anything other than benefit to the community as his agenda and I for one am sad to hear of his passing. Sincere condolences to his family….
OK, enough reminiscing! This weekend….
With some glorious weather, the main objective was to have a major clean up of the back yard and enjoy the sunshine. This included clearing up the massive amount of oak leaves that have fallen so far and putting them into a composting pile for next years use, moving the chooks to a new spot because we need to edge the garden where they are currently housed, planning where the raspberry bed will go and generally create a sense of control.
With an Old English oak tree and a Pin Oak, we have masses of leaves to contend with. We’ve changed our management from attempting to deal with them weekly to waiting until they have banked up and we do a major clean in one hit. The theory is that this reduces lots of small time slots dedicated to a job that reappears every week until they have all fallen.
Last year I found that the leaves when put into a cage took far too long to decompose because they lost moisture. This year I have lined the cages with black plastic (paint drop sheet cut offs) and layered with more green (nitrogenous) matter, I also added lime and manure to layers. Hopefully this will speed up the process a bit, oak leaves are notorious for being slow to break down! Next, move the chicken coop,
With the aid of some poly pipe we moved the coop to a new area, scraped out the base from where it had been and put that around the blood orange and mandarin tree. One of the first organic gardening tips I got was that chicken poo is great for citrus!
Speaking of the shed (garage) the slab is laid and awaiting wall fill ins.
It was a lovely weekend, left with a feeling that we were in a bit of control, celebrated the magnificent sun shining through the oak tree, the colour is beautiful!
We then finished the weekend by going to a friend’s home where they have ‘home concerts’ in their great shed. Can’t surpass the magnificent voice of Liz Stringer, I have been a fan for ages and it was just heavenly. To hear Liz and partner Van Walker was a reminder that we need to take time to enjoy fruits from all areas of life.