Sunday, August 15, 2010

Do any of us really miss the passenger pigeon?

Saw something on television last night about a bloke with a grizzly bear whom he had rescued as a cub. The whole program was about grizzlies and it focused on the problems with grizzlies that are being experienced in Yellowstone National park, where they are apparently hunting humans. One of the reasons being that a beetle is destroying the pine trees whose cones are the bulk food source of the bears, when other food, like spawning salmon, is not available. The time the film crew chose to be in America, just outside Yellowstone, several campers had been attacked, one killed and partly eaten, and others injured in bear attacks. In this instance the attackers were a mother bear and her cubs, which meant the mother had to be destroyed and the cubs placed into zoos. The babies had learned something that night, which would put them and people in jeopardy.

So humans are most probably responsible for global warming and therefore the beetle is not dying as it would usually in the severe cold of winter, because the winters are warmer and allowing them to breed and feed rather than have the cold temperatures which would keep their numbers under control. It's not their fault, taking the opportunity to expand their species. That's what human beings and all other species do as well. Human beings also kill bears whenever they were capable of or allowed to do so. However, bears must not kill humans? Double standards that humans live by. Naturally the bear hunting lobby is all ajoy with the news of bear attacks, demanding that more bears be allowed to be hunted and killed. Not with spears and bows and arrows of the American Indian, but with rifles that are of a calibre and size that ensures even hitting a bear in a limb will almost tear that part of it off.

So much destruction from our previous and continuing stupid actions as human beings. Progress without thinking things through. Every new thing being touted as marvellous with myopic vision; accolades from flawed science, which is always flawed at any rate. Comfort without consideration of how it encroaches on or, removes comfort from other species that don't demand anywhere near as much as the human species. It's sad, but what generation will be born that sees the problems their species has caused and start to look at ways to pull back from the damage being done? Can we really enjoy the world as much without other species? Do any of us really miss the passenger pigeon?

Friday, August 6, 2010

This is annabelle...........

This is Annabelle and we hope to get her to release stage in a couple of years.

They just keep coming these small orphaned wombats. Careless drivers make a mess that's hard to clean up.

I suppose humans as a species have a god complex. But because we think we're god, we should think like god, and try to maintain what there is, show how clever we are by living in harmony. It's just to easy to destroy things, to bulldoze everything flat and start again, building something we like and we think it should be. Without taking into consideration the larger picture, the whole landscape. So we have these little out of place enclaves that impact on everything around it and yet we go on, cities polluting it's own atmosphere and waterways and all those round it as well. Sad, but we don't need good leaders, we need clever people. Leaders come and go but people and what they believe and practice endures.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Keeping kids occupied......

Because, apparently, there has been a lot of vandalism in our and other isolated areas of the shire, there is going to be a meeting to see what can be done to create entertainment for the kids of these areas. This seems to presuppose that kids need the entertainment that kids in the cities also require often take for granted and even abuse in many instances, though even they vandalise various things in various ways in their communities. People consider graffiti vandalising, and maybe that's true of just tagging, because tagging is rather brainless and shows neither skill nor talent but just that someone can wield a spray can in a certain movements to create a line form that could possibly, but most likely not, be considered clever? Real artwork with spray cans should be considered art and facilities made available where these could be created and displayed. Even have a yearly prize for the best creation?

If we presuppose that kids of today are not happy building cubby house and playing in trees and using their imagination to create physical forms of entertainment on their own, what do these children of the modern day want or need? To “hang” out with their peers to do what? Vandalise things, smoke cigarettes, experiment with drugs, bully weaker members of their group, try out sex in various forms - or what are they looking for? There are swimming pools, but swimming and learning to use water as an entertainment medium and as a way of being cool in the real physical sense and at the same time challenging the ability to swim on top or underwater is not enough. many of these facilities are just another meeting point where kids can get ideas to do something else, like smoking taking drugs or just vandalising the facilities to obtain the buzz of doing forbidden things. Kids in areas like our own could gather to tag or graffiti train carriages or steal fruit, but there being no fruit and less trains in this isolated area, kids must find something else that gives them the buzz, the rite of passage that confirms to their peers that they should be taken seriously.

This is an ongoing problem which cannot be solved for the main body of young people, much less the individual that could be considered the most difficult to amuse. Even with organised activities like bike rides or trekking, there will be the need for some of doing something daring, a bit scary, like hiding in the bushes as everyone passes by, to smoke or take a chance at showing each other their genitalia and such things.

Is it that we cannot identify with our children any more. That we are lost to the way things were when we were young, the things that we felt and had to try out, that are now old hat and out of fashion or appears tame by comparison to the expectation of young people of this generation and what they think they want or need to do in this day and age. Is there a need to bring back boxing gyms so that boys and girls can learn something that might tire them physically and challenge them mentally, but has the problem of pitting one against the other? Do we really want something like this to be part of our children's growing up, or should there be again something like the sea cadets, and is the YMCA still relevant, and if so why aren't children flocking to these? Scouts, cubs, brownies and guides and venturers and such have gone by the board, though they do exist in some places still. These could be reincarnated here possibly and then these groups could do work for the community? Have these activities and groups vanished not because there are no children interested, but rather because there are no adults willing to take on the supervision of children or the activities and if the lack of adult participation is to blame, why has this happened? Is there the element of adults being afraid to take on that kind of responsibility, the fear that children might be physically hurt and all the problems associated with that?

Do our kids still go to picture theatres to see the movie or to do something elicit, because we were much that way inclined ourselves, depending on the movie being screened, the opportunity and participants in anything that was going to give us the excitement we craved; if we had such a facility close at hand. We have to ask if building facilities like pools and picture theatres and such, if the money were available, is the answer to even a small part of this problem. Trying to find a way round this dilemma is well overdue, not only here but everywhere in the country.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Safety and Security or Prison?

The walnut tree as shown in the picture, is growing in what was once the hollow stump of a white box [eucalyptus albens] which was in earlier times sacrificed to produce fence posts. The walnut seed would, by most, be viewed as fortunate. Dropped by a Chough or some other bird down through the hollow centre of this stump to land atop the fertile soil created over the years by the rotting centre of its guardian. With the occasional rainfall and sunshine which travelled the same way it did itself, the walnut would have germinated and grown, cossetted and secure by thick walls of hard wood into a healthy seedling enjoying sanctuary delivered by the remnants of this once powerful tree. It would have been above the reach of most hungry and exploring mouths looking for green in a surrounding landscape of brown, even when it finally burst out over the top of its refuge.

Through the years the young tree grew vigorously and healthily and faster now it's leaves were all exposed to longer periods of sunshine. But as it did so, it would have found the hollow which protected it somewhat restrictive, a bit too close, and the tree trunk now became a prison which the young tree had to break open or it would be at least stifled, and at worst strangled to death.

So when does security become a prison? When does it stifle us and become a burden which we can't endure without shrinking back and becoming smaller to save ourselves from being strangled, can we break open that which holds us in thrall? In most cases what is at first security becomes something which will make life difficult for us, even if it lulls us into what we think is wellbeing for a short time, eventually it will let us down and it does that because it doesn't exist, it was always a prison.

Helen Keller wrote:

Life is either a daring adventure or nothing. Security does not exist in nature, nor do children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than exposure.

So though something might appear to be secure at first, may not continue to give us this feeling as time passes, and when needed is finally seen to be just what it in fact is; a mirage disappearing when we actually need it, leaving us disillusioned and unprepared.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Involuntary Exercise

The sheep wait at the gate ready to be let out onto the common. The dogs are watching them, laying on the ground, their heads moving in every direction where there is movement in the small flock. They are accustomed to this routine as are the sheep, and I walk down through them and prop open the gate with a stick that is always there for the purpose. Then I walk out the drive, onto the road and ensure that there are no other sheep on the common with which ours might be boxed. I hear the wind in the trees along the main road this morning while watching the woollies come through the gate, counting them after confirming that the ground where they will graze for 9 hours of the day is empty, except for an odd kangaroo.

This is a morning routine but not the last we will see of the sheep, for they cannot be left alone on the unfenced common, there are many dangers, man created and those that nature presents even as they graze. The cars that travel the main road adjoining the common are of the mainstream, they race everywhere, even if they reach their destination and then only have a cup of coffee and a gossip, or just wander round wondering what they might do now; they are always in a rush. While we of the alternative lifestyle walk the 3 kilometres round trip to ensure the sheep don't go onto the flat that will invariably lead them onto the road. The sweet briar without any foliage grabs at our clothes as we walk, as if asking us to top a moment and view the scenery round us. It holds us only a moment. Long enough for us to realise that we might have missed something on the walk and we take stock, glance around again over the path we have travelled and the path we have yet to tread. The dogs quarter the ground as we venture out, we can smell the musky scent where the fox has marked his stops on the nightly journey. Even though we will make this trip at least twice, sometimes up to 4 times a day, the dogs will find new scents and sights to investigate every time, new things, as we do ourselves.

Some of society would say that walking 3 or 4 kilometres every day to check sheep is a waste of time, the tasks that shepherds perform have never been valued highly. In the corporate world there is too much to do to waste time like this, hence the great haste to drive everywhere quickly, and yet - in the corporate world people need to jog or join a gym or do some other often unnatural and gratuitous action for exercise. Much in the corporate world has been said to be high pressure, and that suits some people, but even those it suits need to wind down and are finding life not as fulfilling as they had imagined. In the world of living simply there is no time wasted, because the walk is exercise and suitable because every minute is interesting and quite often new. Places reached, things seen, observed and noted for future reference. There is the company of others, dogs, partner, that walk as well and the discussion regarding grass length, paddock suitability or tree growth are the subject of conversation, or if there is no conversation, it matters not at all. Because the mind is presented with something to think about at every step. New and fresh wombat diggings, rabbit scratchings and squats, the fox track, the places where the deer have been grazing on the last of the blackberry leaves during the night hours. The strange weather conditions which have left the blackberries with leaves this late in the season and made the daffodil bulbs shoot months too early and the unusual behaviour by trees, flowers and have caused people to suddenly, probably too late, worry about the way they have degraded the atmosphere.

The mainstream people are really in trouble and look forward to holidays and weekends or when they are trying to enjoy themselves on these days find they cannot and are actually looking forward to get back to the routines and environment where they think they feel comfortable and in control. The Alternative lifestyle people never feel the need to be in control, just to be awake.

The dogs move down the slope onto the flat and bring the sheep slowly up from where they might just trespass onto an area that could mean their death and we watch as they are again moving in a direction that will take them to graze on other grasses, possibly not as good as the ones from which they have been slowly guided, but good enough for their needs and growing in a much safer place. Then we start for home again, and we can get other things done before we once again engage ourselves in this valuable but involuntary exercise and learning.

Thursday, June 26, 2008


Many years ago, at the Bright autumn market, I saw a stall selling ratchet type incremental cutting secateurs and loppers, and was amazed how good they looked their sturdy build, and the possibility of replacing each part as well. These pruning tools were obviously made to a standard and purpose rather than a price. I liked them very much, but they cost a considerable amount of money to buy, and as ever, money is a problem when it's not in the pocket so I passed by and looked at this stall and it's tools each year.

Being a lifestyle farmer in an area with unreliable and unpredictable rainfall, it is necessary to cut large quantities of Tagasaste and loppers and secateurs have always been used for this purpose, sometimes using these tools everyday for hours at a time to ensure our small flock of sheep have sufficient food for their needs. It was always the cheap loppers that we bought, loppers that were as low as $20.oo a pair on special from the large hardware chains stores, though usually much more expensive than this. So the years passed and cheap loppers after cheap loppers were bought and wore out, or broke after a very little time. Some were better than others, but none would last more than a year with the work that we had for them, and they failed in various ways and through various parts wearing away.

Just over 2 years ago we were at the Bright autumn market again, and found ourselves in front of that loppers secateurs stall that sold these excellent loppers and after a moments arithmetic working out just how much had been spent on the cheap loppers over the years and discovered the money would have bought three of these really good loppers a purchase was made. It hasn't been regretted, the tools work just as they are supposed to and they are both sturdy and very versatile. Being slightly heavier at the mechanical head is not a deterrent to their use, and they work without any problems, and they cut anything that is asked of them. Buying these was one of the very best tool investments ever made, and there is a certain amount of chagrin that it took so long to realise the value of this tool and that knowing now how good they are and how well they work, I would pay twice the price for the same article and know I was still getting value for money. I have no doubt used them on branches that might otherwise be considered too thick to cut and could be described as extreme use or even abuse to some degree. Many branches that these loppers cut should be cut by a pruning saw. They are so versatile and useful that they do the job just the same, cutting anything they can get their jaws round.

These loppers cut easier when using them to cut diagonally across a branch at about 30 degrees rather than straight across, but either way they will do the job, though it takes less arm power to cut diagonally and there is the feeling of slicing the branch.

Having no affiliation with the company that sells these tools and I feel free to note the web address here so any who wish to check out the products can do so:

Saturday, June 21, 2008


Fe is the mother of Wormwood, who is so named because as a lamb, and still now, he eats that plant and we expect that he will never get any intestinal worms, and are surprised he not only likes it but appears to have no ill affects from its consumption. Fe - Floppy ear and pronounced f-ee, was a poddy from a year when we had chosen not to have any more poddies, especially females. Because after all, if their mothers abandon them this could be a hereditary condition which would be removed if the lamb is abandoned and eaten by the fox and the mother sold. But is perpetuated by poddying the ewe lamb and allowing it to have babies of its own, with similar genes possibly. We didn't listen to our own sound reasoning, heard only the small lamb calling its long gone mother. So we picked it up and it obviously wanted to live because it sucked at the rubber teat with that inclination, a strong life force and consequently grew up and got in lamb herself and had Wormwood.

Fe comes for a feed from the scoop we carry to feed the poultry each morning, and loves their seed as much as she loves Tagasaste and the most succulent grasses and just about all grains. The dogs welcome her when she comes to the cottage off her night camp in the hills and shows no fear of them, as she has long been associated with a different environment than the one she would have experienced as a sheep in the paddock. The dogs touch noses with her, they wagging their tails even when she pulls away from their doggy breath and goes about the business of mopping up the triticale left on the ground by the poultry. Triticale being the bulk out grain of the poultry seed which the birds other than the guinea fowl don't eat unless there is nothing else on offer. Fe and Wormwood both utilise these leftovers. Nothing is ever wasted here, though it wouldn't be wasted if left on the ground anyway as nothing is wasted in nature.

Though having no fear of the dogs, Fe will do as they direct if I order them to push her along a bit when she is recalcitrant and doesn't want to leave her feeding ground or is a bit slow in her pace leaving the common or changing paddocks. She knows the tone of my voice, and when the demeanour of the dogs suggests obedience is the best way to avoid conflict, and does so with an attitude that seems to say, "oh all right." Wormwood will stay close to his mother and do as she does in these situations, but on his own will tolerate the dogs less, yet obey them better if their body language indicates they are working, and into the serious business of being sheep dogs, not friends with whom to wile away the time.

The advantage of having a poddy sheep in the flock is that it will come in close to the cottage and keep the grass down, trim any plants that dare put their heads through the fence and generally tidy up. Other benefits are evident as well, like it being easy to check her wool to make certain it's dry, before shearing or crutching is attempted. So Fe is a member of our environment as we are of hers.