"We must achieve the character and acquire the skills to live much poorer than we do. We must waste less. We must do more for ourselves and for each other. It is either that or continue merely to think and talk about changes that we are inviting catastrophe to make. The great obstacle is simply this: the conviction that we cannot change because we are dependant on what is wrong. But that is the addict's excuse, and we know that it will not do."
—Wendell Berry

Sunday, 13 October 2013

Rolling into summer

It has grown hot already and the summer is expected to be hotter still. This in turn means we will probably have a high chance of a few cyclones this year. The rain they bring is welcome but we are all still a bit gun shy after the last two direct hits (Cyclone Larry followed by cyclone Yasi) which did enormous damage.
Speaking of rain, we have had none for a long time now. Almost emptied the tanks so I spent three days taking turns with our neighbours pumping water from the creek down in the rainforest. We use an old water line that runs through their property to our tanks. It is a leftover of the days when both properties were the original dairy farm. We use their pump but provide the fuel and share service costs. It is a good arrangement and we are good neighbours in turn.
Years ago we used a Glockemann ram pump to deliver water to the house tank. It was powered by the force of the water alone and delivered about nine hundred litres of water per day with no electricity or fuel required. Unfortunately it was not very flood proof and each time we had a fresh come down (a sudden rush of water due to rain upriver) we would lose all of the drive pipes and the pump would almost be torn free of its anchoring chain.
Someone in Innisfail at the bottom of the mountain sure received a lot of very expensive drive pipe. So after losing it all for the last time I packed the lot up and sold the pump on e-bay. It ended up going to rural England of all places....I miss that ram pump.
A few days ago one morning I noticed Anna had hidden herself off under a tree in the top paddock. Sure enough she was in labour. I checked her to make sure all was fine and left her to get on with it while I fed the other livestock and watered the veggie garden. About twenty minutes later I went to see if she had made any progress yet to find it had not only been born but was already up and walking. Anna is getting very good at dropping nice healthy calves!
The young un turned out to be a strong and healthy heifer. Jersey cross Dexter. She should make someone a fine house cow someday. We have christened her Isobel. Looking forward to beginning milking Anna again soon.
The veggie garden is going at a great pace and we are eating well! The winter veg are still going although I expect the heat will finish them off over the next month and I have begun planting summer veggies.
 We are enjoying eating with the seasons. It gives you a real appreciation for the flavours of the season and the diet feels much more varied. Does that sound strange? You see, we found that when we bought food from the shop we became stuck in a rut of the same type of food each week. When everything is always available to you, you are not forced to try new things. As we are forced to eat what we can grow here we are likewise forced to learn how to cook foods that we would not have usually chosen to buy at the shop. Far from being a disadvantage we have found ourselves enjoying all sorts of new dishes. As our garden and our gardening skill grows so our diet becomes more varied. Life is good!