What is going on up there in the Northern hemisphere? The Arctic recorded its warmest winter on record. There have been tragedies in Greece and California due to fire and even wild fires in Sweden and Norway! Record temperatures in Portugal and floods in France! Meanwhile, down here in the Southern hemisphere, the state of New South Wales has been declared 100% in drought and Queensland 60% in drought......and it's winter!
I don't mean to be an alarmist but......Holy Sh*t!
I recall back in 2008 watching my friend Dan build our little deck at the unit we lived in. His craftsmanship and accuracy was outstanding and I stood and observed with jealousy. I stated to him that I'd love to posses his skills, to which he replied, 'Anyone can do it, you just have to have a go. Pick something and just try'. So I did. I built a garden bed, simple but effective. Then when we moved onto the bigger block next door, I built three more, then another three, and then I plumbed in a water tank off the shed to water them. Each time I did something I got better at it. Earlier this year we built a deck at our farm, only this time, I did it myself.
So what does a deck in suburban Blackburn have to do with crazy weather in the Northern Hemisphere? Whether you believe in the science or not, something in our world just doesn't seem right. We cannot continue to consume resources at the rate that we do and not expect some kind of feedback. Is the planet going to attempt to shrug us off like a tick? Each step I have taken is one more step to self reliance. One more step from consumer to producer. I'll never be 100% self reliant and I could be wrong about the planet? But I just feel that this is a good outcome for both me and the planet. Acquiring the skills to run our little farm has been very enjoyable, very rewarding, and great for my self esteem.
Originally built by an older German couple in the 80's, our property featured extensive vegetable gardens, grape vines, orchards, fernery, and more. They left the property on 2009. When we first arrived here, the previous owners had essentially obliterated the gardens. All of them. Ornamentals, gone. Vegie gardens, gone. Vines, suffocated by blackberry. The orchard, overgrown and 4 foot high in grass.
The first cab off the rank was a vegetable garden. I found an old steel water tank hidden amongst some gum trees behind the dam. With my recently acquired self confidence with the tools, I threw (well two man lifted) a generator onto the trailer, grabbed an angle grinder and got busy cutting it in half. I then proceeded to roll each half 150 metres up to the house, a good workout in itself, and dug them into place. I was able to use the tractor to fill them with soil from one of the paddocks. These have now been there for 3 years and have happily produced for us tomatoes, basil, kale, spinach, dill, potato, sweet potato, cucumber, beetroot, leek, coriander, beans, thai basil, eggplant, and chard. At the time of writing, one of them accommodates some wheat!
These are now just two of many vegie gardens. We now prepare the soil, sow and plant directly into the ground. Raised beds are great but they require additional inputs that we have discovered aren't necessary for our current setup. We are gaining new knowledge and skills every season and in doing so we put back into the natural world rather than just take from it. So whatever it is you want to do to move from consumer to producer, just have a go, just try. You'll be rewarded and so will the earth.
The two empty water tanks.
After a few months the two water tanks with full grown produce.