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Household gift economies, Blue Mountains style

This jaunt, this adventure, this research trip, this AaF-for-president-national-tour, this blessed extreme year on bikes in this new era of extreme weather, collapsing economies and peaking crude oil supply is the best bloody thing we’ve ever done. Predicated on chance encounters, uncertain destinations, biophysical challenges, autonomous foods and unpredictable weathers we approach each day as it so generously comes.

After a week in Katoomba the weather turned fairly wet and cold. We’d earlier met a particularly sweet family in a local park and they messaged us to come over and stay with them to see the bad weather out.

“Yes, we’d love to but only if we could do some sort of exchange, like a garden design…”

Our two babies, Woody and Lily, were born on the very same day, only two hours apart. But we had more in common than this remarkable fact. Food, what we consume and where it comes from, was a significant topic of discussion and so was the subject of permaculture. We took it in turns to cook and we showed off again the gentle delight of daylily buds by tossing them through a pasta dish.

Thanks Lily, Guy and Kirsten! So great to have met you and spent a few days in your home. After leaving Katoomba our new destination was just a short ride away to the town of Leura, passing through beautiful country to get there.

It was in Leura we stayed with another family, old friends through poetry networks: Ruby, Kate, Pete and Felix.

Despite being old friends we were keen to continue the communitarian gift economy exchange, sharing the kitchen work,

the gardening work (which included summer pruning, tomato bed preparation and compost setting),

and, on our last night together, some gentle foraging to make a Blue Mountains salad.

After adding olive oil, lemon and salt we had a classic bitter bowl of goodness to finish the meal.

We said farewell to our sweet friends of the mountains on a cool sunny morning,

and legged it downhill at thrilling speed. Our destination was to be somewhere along a river near Richmond, and so inevitably we passed both the regeneration and rebuilding that was occurring after the recent bushfires.

We arrived at Yarramundi in the heat of the afternoon and hopped straight in to the cool waters where the Nepean and Grose Rivers empty in to the upper reaches of the Hawkesbury River,

where we remained until dusk and prepared dinner,

fished for mullet and bass and aired out our bedding under the river she-oaks.

Much love and gratitude to the beautiful Blue Mountains and the people we met and stayed with. If you’re in South Australia, our thoughts are with you. More Catastrophic fire weather there right now, moving across to our loved ones in Victoria. With love and pedalspeed, AaF.


  1. claudia says:

    Love it all, except for the killing, a life is a life and I don't believe that is sustainable. Keep up the good blog it's a great read. I guess this is something most of us would love to do, for me it will be our Pilgrim to Santiago de Compostela, have to get those Vibrams on. Our friends are back from their successful run around Australia. Everyone is doing something.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Everything looks so lush and green. Hard to believe they had those bushfires. Lovely to share your journey from my armchair! Much love, Dora

  3. Hi Claudia, thanks for your comments. Animal lives are taken every day because people transport their food, drive cars, fly in planes, drink wine, eat walnuts etc. The list is endless. Harm caused from fossil fuel pollution and oil wars through to farmers protecting their vegan-friendly crops by shooting wild birds are normal occurrences. We believe the most sustainable and least harming society is one that is involved in local food production, not one that requires huge volumes of violent and destructive fossil fuels to produce and transport their meats, nuts, fruits, grains and vegetables. Single-prey killing is part of a sustainable and accountable local food supply making us knowledgeable creatures of place, doing what most critters do best, even cows when munching grass insects for their protein, operating ecologically NOT industrially. Thanks for reading, love AaF.

  4. Oh, great to hear from you Dora. We hear more hot weather is coming to the Hepburn Shire. Keep cool, much love from us. AaF

  5. Anonymous says:

    My journey is done and I'm already back in Germany. I was traveling for 35 days and was cycling 28 of them. In the end I got more than 2800km.
    Enjoy your trip, Chris!

  6. hi there chris, congratulations! you must have seen some lovely country covering that distance, and you must be very fit too. keep in touch and if you come back to oz we'll look out for you on the road. happy cycling.

  7. Anonymous says:

    How lovely to hear "more, more more more more" on the video of the wild harvest salad. Made me smile.
    Loving following your journey.

  8. yes, woody is such a happy forager, points at all the fruit trees as we pass saying, so optimistically, "more, more more". thanks for following rlh.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Thanks For sharing post and nice information for Blue Mountains Tours.

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