Wednesday, May 30, 2018

The land we live on

As it is NAIDOC week, I want to start by acknowledging the traditional owners of the land on which I am writing: the Wadjuk Noongar people, and pay my respects to their elders past, present and emerging.

NAIDOC stands for National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee. Its origins can be traced to the emergence of Aboriginal groups in the 1920′s which sought to increase awareness in the wider community of the status and treatment of Indigenous Australians.
Predominately, NAIDOC Week is held in the first week (a Sunday to Sunday) of July that incorporates the second Friday - which historically was celebrated as 'National Aboriginal Day'. It is a time to celebrate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander history, culture and achievements and is an opportunity to recognise the contributions that Indigenous Australians make to our country and society.
I went along to Sorry Day in Yagan Square, here in Perth on Saturday. It is always part of my concept of my own little suburban block, that this land is the traditional home of the Wadjuk Noongar people.

This is our block -just 700s metres. In this precious space, we can fit a lot of fruit and vegetable gardens, a slim line water tank, and a three bedroom two bathroom home.
I have had a lovely couple of weeks, with lots of activities both in the garden and the kitchen, and also outside it. 

We found some cheap pears at the market, so DH did some preserving. 

It was great to be able to harvest our first decent mandarin crop...this tree is about 7 years old. It struggled for years, but seems to have found its way at last.

Pretty Mother's Day flowers. I had a great couple of days -and am now the proud owner of a copy of David Holmgren's book Retrosuburbia.   This is a fantastic resource. I have read it all the way through, and am now going back to read more slowly. David explains more completely than I can, what I am hoping to do here on our little block and why we are doing it. 

RetroSuburbia is part manual and part manifesto. The book shows how Australian suburbs can be transformed to become productive and resilient in an energy decent future. It focuses on what can be done by an individual at the household level (rather than community or government levels).
RetroSuburbia is a source of inspiration, introducing concepts and outlining patterns and practical solutions. It empowers people to make positive changes in their lives. As with David’s previous work, it is thought provoking and provocative.
If you are already on the path of downshifting and living simply, exploring RetroSuburbia will be a confirmation and celebration that you are on the right track and guide you on the next steps forward. If you are just beginning this journey, it provides a guide to the diversity of options and helps work out priorities for action.  For people concerned about making ends meet in more challenging times, RetroSuburbia provides a new lens for creatively sidestepping the obstacles.

We had an extended autumn with mild temperatures, so we were able to enjoy some more beach walks. How wonderful it is to have this just a few minutes away from home! The weather all changed last weekend though, and at last the rain has arrived. The garden is really enjoying it. I am taking advantage of the softened moist soil to get some weeding done, and have also done a light prune and tidy up. The council had a green rubbish clean up and I am proud to say, my pile was the highest in the street! We just took out some tall branches, because we want the fruit trees to be easy to reach, and I also removed some self-seeded daisy bushes.

I had a very special find in an op shop -two lovely cornucopia vases for my collection. 

Autumn always means banksia flowers in this part of the world.

Our smart new shadecloth blinds are installed, and helping to make our patio useful for more months of the year. They keep out insects and some wind and rain, although I pull them up in stormy situations.  I am doing a lot of thinking about how we can maximise the use of this valuable real estate- for example, it could be a food preparation area for harvest time. 

Speaking of harvest time, the citrus season is truly here. DH and I are enjoying grapefruit and orange juice freshly squeezed for breakfast, and he has made some tangelo and some lemon marmalade. The picture above is of some lemon chutney I am making. This bowl smells amazing! Tomorrow I will cook it up whilst making some lemon cordial. I think if I make a recipe a day for the next fortnight, we might just get through the lemons! I have already given lots away, but there are lots more still on the tree. 

Some people will look at our lives and only see the 'work' we do What they can't see are the feelings of achievement and quiet satisfaction in a job well done. They can't smell the lemons when picked warm from the tree. They can't know what it is like to take the lemon marmalade your DH has made, and spread it on the fresh sourdough you have baked. 

Monday, May 7, 2018

Out and about in autumn in Perth

From the beach to the bush, there have been some great outings this week. Autumn mild weather has been perfect for walking. We are so lucky to be 15 minutes from the beach and 30 minutes from Walyunga National Park. 

On the Slow Home podcast, Brooke recently encouraged us all to go outside for an hour a day -and you know, we all should! It is so good for our mental and physical health. 

In between these two visits, I have done a LOT of work in the garden -most mornings about 2 hours has been spent tidying and light pruning in anticipation of winter -if it ever gets here.  There is a huge pile of prunings and weeds ready to take to the tranfer station, where they shred it and turn it into mulch, which we can then bring home for the garden.

Only problem -our trailer is in Albany -300k south of here. DH and I cannot find two days in a row when we could go down and pick it up. In a way it would be a real shame to hurry that trip anyway -we love Albany and it has been too long since we were there.

We have also done some preserving of pears -which a shop was selling at $2 per kilo near us. That is the price signal for DH to start bottling. 

 I made pomegranate molasses.

I finished the charity quilt top I was working on, made from donated blocks and parts of blocks. Now working on the back and binding, but in between doing some voluntary work...wait...this quilt is voluntary work too.....

Anyway, we have had a full week indeed.

DGD turned 6 this week -and we have started earnestly planning our next trip to see them in Victoria at the end of July.

Much happiness.  

I hope your days are full and happy too -at least some of the time!