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Artist as Family’s Book of Neopeasantry (sixth excerpt – between the town and the forest)

If you are just coming to these excerpts now – welcome! We spent a year journalling every day and currently we are spending a year releasing excerpts as we combine our journals into one manuscript. If you would like to read the previous five, please start here, then go to two, three, four and five. If you’d like to give to our labours and writing in one of four ways, please visit our Support page. Your comments and questions are always welcome. We’re open to all forms of generative feedback – critical, loving and all that is.


November 28

Our neighbour Andrew brings around a box of dusty jars. He is cleaning out his shed and thinks we might like them. Blackwood and I are cooking our respective dinners when Andrew drops by. He also offers some insulation bats, so I tell him I’ll message our friend Leif who’s building a tiny house to see if he wants them.

After dinner in the tree house, Blackwood and I put on our hiking packs and head torches and walk up the street to go hunting. We are on the lookout for newspaper; a precious resource in our home economy that we wouldn’t waste our money on buying.

We know which recycling bins always have newspaper, but we inspect them all anyway. I take one side of the road and Blackwood takes the other. We turn our head torches off as we run between the bins, and then on again as we open each lid. It’s like lifting up river stones when we hunt yabbies.

After a successful session of collecting and filling our backpacks with newspapers, and some 2-litre plastic bottles, (which we are going to clean, fill with water and put in our chest freezer for Blackwood and Patrick to take next time they go fishing), we drop some newspapers at Andrew’s as he said he’d like some too. Like us, Andrew heats his home with wood, and like us, he doesn’t read newspapers.

There are some huge eucalypts outside Andrew’s house, and while Blackwood tells him about our night of hunting, I collect an armload of kindling from his nature strip. We farewell Andrew then walk home with our heavy backpacks. My arms are full of kindling, while Blackwood is carrying a box he found in someone’s bin containing an internet modem and a whole bunch of cables that he and his friend Django are going to make something with tomorrow.



The men saw me off last night. I left the warmth of the firecircle and my soft-hearted brothers and walked into the forest without any light except for a fine crescent moon. I didn’t know where I was going or where I was going to sleep. I just headed southwest; everywhere else was town. It was already late.

After some walking towards what I’ve come to call Fear Country, which is mostly country within me, I arrive at a creek but find the water too high over the stepping stones to cross. Without thinking, I’d started on a course to the part of the forest where all my big visions and happenings have occurred over the years. Where a wave of blue wrens had saved me from an abyss of evil and permanent dying, and the place where white serpent revealed himself, writhing elegantly from out of the forest and across the sky, covering me in peace and belonging. All revelations and visions had occurred once I’d gathered up the courage to let go of the fear I held in my body and open to the grace and immensity of Mother Country’s spirit world.

But I turned back. I was spent and did not have the wherewithal or the light to negotiate the creek. My tiredness and growing fear of the dark turned me back towards my goats. To sleep beside them. Something I’ve always wanted to do. I felt shame for turning back and novelty, all mixed up in my fatigue.

Alice, our oldest nanny, was intrigued as I set up a crude bed, and she stayed close to me with her kid Daphne throughout the night. I fell asleep wondering if I’d botched my first challenge on this outing and how that would play its part.


I wake with both the dawn and the goats beside me, pack up my dew-sodden gear, wish the horned ones a goodly day, and walk an alternative route to the creek to explore a part of the forest I’ve never camped in.

At Sutton Spring I take a breakfast of mineral water, cross the creek and head off through the brambles, sweet bursaria and broom and on and up to a woodland hill. I sit for a while before I speak my two intentions for coming: to open to the oneness of the worlds of the world, and to fully accept everything. Acceptance and oneness.

The morning holds just enough sun to dry my gear, and with darkening clouds in the afternoon I set up my hammock tent between two trees, the base touching the ground where I’ll sleep. I crawl in and out for the remainder of the day, with a heavy fatigue.

Occasionally I hear bushwalkers, a truck growling up the A300, or an aeroplane going over, though for much of the day I listen to running water, little gusts of wind stirring dry leaves, and continuous bird song and call.

Falling in and out of sleep I dissolve into the thrum of the forest.


Wise and curious Alice has taught us much about oneness and acceptance.


  1. Chris Coner says:

    Hi guys,

    Do you know when this will be available as a book? Is that your intention?

    Best wishes from a cold, icy and snow covered Scottish Borders


    1. Thanks for your well wishes, Chris. It’s a bit of a slow burn with the manuscript, so we’re not sure when it will be out in book form. We’ve just returned from our town’s highland gathering, and watched numerous pipe bands from various regions here march and play down the main drag. Lovely to have those old ancestral songs thump in our heart this morning, and now we return home to your comment from old and icy northern Mother Country. Blessings into your day.

  2. Lynn Moss says:

    Wow. So timely. I am seeking a buddhist temple in my region of Michigan, USA and thoroughly striking out. I will keep the search. Thank you

    1. Go well with your seeking, Lynn. We’ve found Mother Country (mother Gaia) to be a powerful temple, made so by the presence, deep listening and intentionality we show up with.

  3. Kate Beveridge says:

    I love reading your journalings. A big thankyou to you both

  4. Shane says:

    How lovely to find what you need in others’ bins. I’m guessing the folk in your street put recyclables in their recycling bins. The recycling bins here are usually contaminated w/ food waste & non-recyclable plastic. When I lived in public housing, I thought maybe it was a houso thing, but since I’ve moved, I think it must just be an urban thing.

    Fear Country – love it! Last night my partner & I found ourselves lost in the bush in the dark. That might’ve dropped me into my own Fear Country, as getting lost has in the past, but instead I felt secretly pleased & excited. Out in the bush at night & suddenly not just passing through but engulfed, all my senses were heightened & I felt fully present, intensely alive.

    Blessings & thanks

    1. Yep, you guessed it Shane. Most peeps here in the town dutifully observe the waste bin colours, which makes salvaging things like newspaper possible. A small blessing amid all the fucked up greenwashing. Council are ticking all the ‘sustainability’ boxes by bringing in ‘green’ bins now. We’re refusing the endless onslaught of so-called environmental solutions, such as these, necessitating many barrels of crude oil to make the plastic bins to get the green tick of sustainability local councils are so deludedly proud of. Every scrap of so-called ‘green waste’ is humus-making gold within our subsistence economy, therefore making green bins completely unnecessary.

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