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A selection of our writings from 2009 to the present. If you'd like to keep up to date with our latest posts, please subscribe below.

Hulled up in Darwin – thrift, theft and fish in the top end

When we walked through the gates of the Dinah Beach Cruising Yacht Association (DBCYA), we soon arrived at this little encampment,

and met Ray and his mate Ben. Ray is the brother of a friend back home in Djaara Country, and he kindly invited us to stay on his boat, which is ‘on the hard’.

Named after his sister who died from breast cancer, Crissy Anne is Ray’s steel hull boat, which he is working on in preparation to sail around the world next year. After we arrived, he invited us to join his local sailing cohort at the bar at DBCYA ,

where we spoke to many of the folk there of our desire to crew a boat over the drink to Timor Leste or Indonesia. We were advised to post our wish on the various yachting websites, and to put up a poster on the association’s notice board, which we did the next day,

coupled with doing some much needed washing.

The following days were spent adjusting to ‘Darwin time.’ We were a bit restless to explore this little city none of us had visited before. “Go slow and calm the farm,” Ray told us, and “drink a load of water first thing in the mornings.” We were still somewhat in our get-shit-done southerner harvest-season bodies, and we’d arrived to 32 degree celsius days with overnight lows of just 18. On our first day we walked a 6 km round trip to Mindil Beach Sunset Market, hoping for fresh produce. We got instead over-priced tourist food, though they didn’t skip on the sunset.

For we adults, while Woody sleeps, our morning tea ritual is a sacred time. Between Crissy Anne and the laundry, a large patch of Tulsi grows. A powerful herb of the subtropical regions of the world, Tulsi is a perennial basil and an adaptogen,

and a dear friend of the nervous system, especially in times of change and turbulence.

When Woody gets up, and has had his oat breakfast,

it’s time to get going. Our project on the third day was to go out to Ray’s other boat, Orfeo, which is moored in the harbour. Ray said we’d be welcome to stay on this old yacht, and help get our sea legs in preparation for crewing a boat. He suggested we travel back and forth to Orfeo by the canoe he was recently given. So we loaded up, and pulled and strained the old gal a few hundred metres,

down to the wharf, dropped the canoe into the water and left Meg on the landing, as we were concerned the load was already too heavy.

Patrick and Woody rowed over our packs, food bags and instruments, then came back for Meg. We all approached our new home with excitement.

While Woody fished, his parents cleaned up the galley and were settling in when it became evident that Orfeo was an ill-fated operation.

There were problems with the solar power system, so there was no electricity, meaning our perishable food was being cooked by the day’s heat collecting inside the boat. We tried to problem-solve with Ben by phone, but the multimeter was back on shore, and there was no way we could locate the problem. Then we discovered that the canoe was taking in water. Patrick used a cup to empty it and we repacked the little boat and rowed back to shore with our sea tails between our legs. We moved back into Crissy Anne and in the work area beneath her we lived, cooked, communed with Ray and his many friends, and in the quieter times Meg got some office work done for our dear friends and permaculture elders, David Holmgren and Su Dennett.

Patrick worked on Ray’s collection of bikes. We may not be sea savvy folk, but we are bike savvy.

Only one of Ray’s four bikes was in working order, so Patrick stepped into his mechanic body until they were all functional.

As soon as we hit the road on these cruisy contraptions, we began to feel more at home in Darwin. “You don’t get done for not wearing a helmet,” said Ben, “if you stick on the bike paths you’ll be fine. The cops have plenty of other things to deal with.” The cult of safetyism in Australia’s southern states was just not apparent here. Instead of KeepCups and lattés as the dominant cultural drug-milieu by day, it is stubby holders and beer up here, which creates a continual boozy social environment. For a family on bikes, we had to be vigilant.

The bike paths are numerous and the little city is mostly flat.

There were shouts of joy as we rode Larrakia (saltwater) people’s Country, and the warm wind whooshed over the stickiness of our skin. We explored fishing spots,

caught some lovely things such as Blue swimmer crabs,

and introduced ourselves to a shell fish we’d never seen before, and strangely couldn’t ID it.

We sat, reflected, listened and relaxed in saltwater Country,

and gleaned old line and tackle on the low tide, salvaging the useful parts and binning the potentially hazardous.

We caught a bunch of fish in the first part of the week we were in Darwin, but many of them were inedible (puffer and bat fish), or they were undersize (bream and trevally). The blue bike Patrick fixed, the best of Ray’s treadlies, was stolen from underneath Crissy Anne the night after it was back on the road. Alongside feeling relaxed here in Darwin, we have also felt an uneasiness; a discomfort.

After many conversations with locals it was becoming increasingly apparent that crewing a boat for a family of three with no sailing experience was a bit of a pipe dream. We were generously offered a passage to Indonesia with Sleepy Dave, but he isn’t going until August. India is calling.

Ray is a yacht race referee in Darwin. He presides over the organisation of a number of races and he told us many sailors stay in Darwin over the dry season to join these events or repair their boats.

Ray has been so generous, going out of his way to help us while in we’ve been in Darwin. But, having inhabited the belly of Crissy Anne for several days,

we don’t want to overstay our welcome. With a fair amount of reluctance we booked a short flight to Dili in Timor Leste, 720 kms away. For a little more we could go all the way to India, but that’s not the point of this trip, to travel so fast. Meg and Patrick haven’t been overseas for twenty years, and Woody never has. We were really hoping we could do it without flying. From Dili we intend to continue northward, island-hopping towards India. Now we’ve made that decision we have work to do. Foremost, biking our winter gear and sleeping bags up to the post office to send home,

op-shopping for summer wear,

by thrift and by chance,

and obtaining some US dollars for Timor.

It’s been a strange time in Darwin. It’s almost a segregated town, at least from an outsider’s view. There’s mob here that are not Larrakia people, who have come to Darwin from remote communities, or other parts of the country. Then there’s mob here that have big grief stories, who have turned to substances that bedevil them, which in turn keeps them exiled from their respective communities. These troubled street folk are treated sternly, sometimes viciously by settler shopkeepers, security guards and managers of supermarkets across all ethnicities. Visitors are warned by locals not to engage with blackfellas looking for coin, smokes or grog, so they are often ignored or avoided. Ben told us, “It takes about two weeks for newcomers to Darwin to become racist.” On the street you have drug and alcohol affliction, and then in the board rooms, shrewd tactics of corporate power use Aboriginal people and culture to both aggregate and make-look-civil the destructive extraction of Aboriginal resources, for empire. This reckless corporate mining company, for example, dons Aboriginal art in its foyer as false flags of progressiveness and care.

It’s easy for blow-ins to jump to conclusions about a place. We understand the problems here are complex because they are generational and because western civilisation is a sophisticated propaganda machine. Drugs and alcohol have different impacts in differing cultures, depending on peoples’ approaches. Clearer for us now, is how industrial grog and industrial mining come from the same mythos of greed and subjugation, and no good culture can come from these things. These activities done in an indigenous way would require ceremony and ritual, where over-extraction or over-consumption are not present because of the gratitude and connection these cultural expressions elicit. Indigenous activities done at a scale of bioregional accountability can never be systematically or globally harmful, can never produce man-made mass suffering. Suffering is an ordinary and sometimes necessary part of life, it is a great teacher, but not on the scale industrialisation causes. This, we’ve found, is a critical difference between industrial and indigenous ways.

Towards the end of our time in Darwin, we returned to the Fishermen’s Wharf and were reminded to speak to Saltwater Mother Country, a quiet ritual we often do down south. Before we fish at a place, we speak our intention for coming. “We’ve come to catch food for our family tonight, and we will only take a little of your abundance.”

Fairly shortly after we arrived and acknowledged Mother Country in this way, Woody’s rod started bending,

and the youngtimer began pulling them in.

Four beautiful bream (from $1.50 worth of chicken) made our dinner on the second last night.

Patrick’s attempt to add to the bag saw him bring in several little critters and this Moon fish, which is apparently good eating though, due to its size, he released it.

We are leaving Darwin with much gratitude for what Country and the people have taught us here. To slow down. To accept the stickiness. To acknowledge it takes time to adjust to new places and ways. To be with the disappointment of flying and not crewing on a boat. To better understand the life-wreckingness of industrial substances and extractions. To not reduce complexity to a facile judgement. To further behold the propaganda and hubris of this nation and its subservience to empire. What can a family do in the face of all this? Eat meals together, ask questions, meet people and find out our commonalities with them, and bring more love into the world.

We didn’t come to Darwin to catch trophy fish or take in the club life. We didn’t come for the burnouts of Supercars and military jets. We didn’t come to consume Aboriginal art or Aussie-ised Asian food. We came as pilgrims on an adventure seeking nothing famous or big, rather for the accumulations of everyday magic, provided by the goddesses of small things.

Thank you, Dear Reader, for continuing to follow our journey. We feel tremendously supported by our community back home, the community of subscribers here, and the community we’re meeting on the road.

Hitch hiking to India (Daylesford to Darwin, the first 10 days)

A few months back we hatched a cheeky desire to hitch hike to India. After a long list of to-do’s before we could set off, including moving the flerd 5 kms across town,

 

 

and hosting Jordan’s 30th and our farewell gathering,

 

 

we walked with our backpacks to the A300 and stuck out our thumbs. Ballarat was our first destination as we needed to head west before we could go north. Can you even hitch to India? Dunno, let’s find out.

 

 

Hitch hikers should be added to the list of rare breeds in Australia. As news cycles have merged into fear cycles, we get many worried looks when we hitch. Nonetheless, on this first morning we got a ride within 10 mins with a lovely lady named Cath, who dropped us off at Ballarat Station where we boiled the billy. Thanks for starting us off Cath!

 

 

We enquired about the cost of a train to Adelaide, and were sold tickets for a train and two buses, costing just $52.50 in total,

 

 

grateful for such affordability, and for the homemade, light-weight, high nutrition food we brought such as rabbit and roo jerky.

 

 

While this is a hitch hiking trip, we’ll take affordable transport should it come up. We were a little startled we got so far in just one day, and arriving on dusk in Adelaide, we were taken in by Nicole Brammy and her permie family. After a good night’s sleep in the backyard, we helped out with the household productions.

 

 

While Meg helped Nicole and Olivia sort walnuts, Patrick defrosted unwanted fish heads clogging up Nicole’s family freezer and converted them into a miso broth for the workers.

 

 

In the afternoon we packed up our tent from the backyard,

 

 

and headed a few hours south to spend the second night with old friends from Daylesford, Chris and Vanessa and their boys Willem and Alejandro, at their home in Willunga.

 

 

It was wonderful to connect with these families. In all we spent three nights in Adelaide and on our fourth day we caught a bus and a train north to the Salisbury Interchange from where we walked for about an hour out to the A1 to resume our thumbing adventure.

 

 

The only bus to Alice Springs from Adelaide would have cost us over a $1000, though more importantly, would have ruined our dance with chance. After two hours of waving in a friendly fashion at concerned motorists, Ali picked us up.

 

 

Ali is originally Afghani and he spent 6 months on Christmas Island before arriving in Australia. He said it was destiny that we met and he hoped he’d see us again. We felt the same. He dropped us off at Port Wakefield,

 

 

where we worked our thumbs hard for another two hours until Marie picked us up. Marie Warren, is a grandmother, artist and screen printer whose ancestral mob are the Arabana people. As we journeyed, she shared stories of the Mother Country we were travelling in, including the Seven Sisters story.

 

 

We talked about our ancestry, and Marie and Patrick (and therefore Woody) found they share Scottish roots. Marie’s grandfather is Francis Warren, formally a Scot before becoming a fully initiated Arabana man who, as Marie stated proudly, was a fierce fighter in the Frontier Wars in Central Australia. As we travelled and spoke about our shared lineage, a giant serpent appeared in a salt lake to our right, looking much like Uilebheist Loch Nis (the Loch Ness Monster). We pulled over for a gander.

 

 

Travelling with Marie was akin to entering a mythological adventure. We laughed and cried and shared story. After dusk Marie dropped us off at the caravan park on the west side of Port Augusta. “You’ll be safe there, “ she told us,

 

 

and we shared some more tears and words. “We need you white fellas,” she said with big feeling. “The dealers use Aboriginal street kids here as guinea pigs when they bring a new drug into the country,” she said with gravity. “I want to come see your bush school, see how you do it. That’s what our babies need here.”

 

 

We white fellas need you too, Marie, though many of us have lost connection to a land- and story-bonded life so we no longer know why we do.

After our emotional farewell we found the caravan and camping park was full, even for a small hiking tent, so heeding Marie’s warning about the town we avoided seeking out a sneaky camp, and headed instead for the Flinders Hotel and booked the cheapest room in town.

Early that morning we began our day’s labour, switching our ‘Alice’ sign for something more modest. We were finding out just what huge distances we needed to travel,

 

 

and we were in for the long game. It took us four hours before we got a ride, a perfect opportunity for catching practice.

 

 

While we waited to fill up a car already committed for a northern transit, an Indian taxi driver pulled over and asked us if we needed a ride. We got talking about our attempt to travel to India overland, hitch hiking and crewing on a boat from Darwin to visit our friend, Jashan’s family farm in Punjab and stay with his parents in his childhood village, visit Vandana Shiva’s farm Navdanya and other permaculture farms in the north, and to cut our teeth on the streets of India playing cricket.

 

Yes, we’ve become a cricket family since Blackwood fell in love with the game. Here’s Woody practicing his batting with a round bat he carved from hazel wood just before we left,

 

 

and here he is, just 11 years old, belting his dad around in the Hepburn cricket nets a few weeks back.

 

 

The taxi driver was so moved by the story of our attempt to get to his ancestral lands he returned an hour later to check on us and to give us a wad of cash. Our initial refusal caused some awkwardness, and we realised the gift dearly wanted to be given so we accepted with grace and much gratitude. This generous soul left before we shared names, and he said on parting, “I’m not wealthy, but it’s in my religion. Go well.”

 

Not long after this immense act of kindness, and about four hours in total out on the road, a young fella called Adrian (or A-train to his mates), stopped, picked us up, and drove us into what is called The Outback.

 

 

Adrian was heading to his mother’s engagement party near Roxby Downs and said he’d be happy for the company. We travelled for about an hour together before he needed to turn off, so he dropped us at Spuds Roadhouse on the Stuart Highway,

 

 

where we once again got out our hitching sign.

 

 

We were pretty buggered. None of us had slept well so far on the trip. Roxby Downs, Woomera, these are big names we adults know through news stories only.

 

 

But, we’re not really here to drift, it’s become apparent.

 

We were going to spend the winter curled up by the fire, working on our book, which the growing, harvesting and teaching seasons helped to put on the back burner. But a few months ago India called us and we had to pay attention to that.

 

While labouring with our thumbs out on this long road, we also paid attention to the changing colours of Mother Country.

 

 

Nearing dark, two Frenchies, Loren and Enzo, pulled over.

 

 

They were on a 300km round trip to do their food shopping, and told us there was a free camp site where they worked at Glendambo. So they dropped us there, on that red earth,

 

 

and with their joie de vivre spirit we set up camp, got a fire going,

 

 

cooked dinner, played some songs, and passed out under a magnificent desert sky.

 

By the next morning our tent was drenched in dew. It was the first time damp had permeated our family house on the road. We cooked a seedy oaty porridge for breakfast while waiting for the sun to dry our gear,

 

 

utilising the shrubbery as a makeshift dryer.

 

 

Our night in Glendambo was an initiation into the desert, at least from a settler’s point of view.

 

 

We decided we’d pack up the tent wet and get going early. We hoped to get to Coober Pedy and stood out on the Stuart Highway again to roll the hitch dice.

 

 

To the west of our frugality was this land and this sky.

 

 

Little rituals of acknowledgement and connection are playing out through the waiting. When Woody needs a little encouragement on these long waits, we remind him that if we travelled fast and assuredly we’d need a lot of money, therefore he’d be sent to school so his parents could earn it, and he’d miss out on all the chance encounters that were already making this trip so rich.

 

After a few hours of courting the wild twin on the Stuart Highway, Steve and Sue, caravaners from WA, picked us up. Covid dissidents like us, we had plenty to talk about, and politics filled our journey akin to this graffiti we discovered in a public toilet on the Stuart.

 

 

We adults in the car were all Greens voters back in the day – environmental lefties. While we travelled, we collectively lamented how few now are reading this aggregating era of regulatory capture and the systemic corruption in the state-corporate nexus. Needless to say neither Green, Blue, or Red are parties any of us trust and are repulsed by their complicity.

 

Sue and Steve, salts of the earth, rolled us into Coober Pedy,

 

 

a dusty old mined-to-hell-and-back town,

 

 

where we set up the tent and dried out our wet things before the sun lost its sting. Each day is getting warmer as we progress north.

 

 

The temperatures drop at night but we’re toasty with all our winter gear. Once set up we explored the town

 

 

that has been turned over and

 

 

mongreled in both crude and novel ways.

 

 

You know what they say when you travel, As in Rome… so we donned the digger’s spirit,

 

 

for a very brief moment, and got the hell outta that strange lil town,

 

 

passing Waa on our way,

 

 

and walking 45mins back to the highway to begin our morning’s labour.

 

 

We smiled and waved to motorists, and received a goodly assortment of friendliness back in return. Being three of us plus our gear, not many people have the space. What we gain in being friendly, we lose by being numerous and bulky. It took two hours before a car pulled over. “I can give you a lift. You’re not psycho-killers are you?” asked Shannon, “No, are you?” Meg asked back, with a grin.

 

 

“We’re going to Alice,” said Patrick. “Yeah, I can take you there, I’m heading to Darwin,” said Shannon. Did someone say Darwin?! We piled in, so immensely grateful for the ride and for the dog named Rocky.

 

 

Over the next four days we lived on the road with Shannon and Rocky,

 

 

visiting Alice only briefly,

 

 

and camping at roadside free camps.

 

 

Shannon didn’t turn out to be a psycho-killer. He’s a kind and generous man, and we got to do a lot of yarning,

 

 

and as our shared stories deepened and grew, so too the termite mounds the more we travelled north.

 

 

On our last morning together we stopped in to Bitter Springs

 

 

for a refreshing swim, the water almost the same as our body temperature.

 

 

We travelled far with Shannon and Rocky, over four beautiful days. On our last leg-stretch before Darwin we stopped and took a family snap.

 

 

Shannon and Rocky are about to embark on a new life up here. Shannon will be driving trucks out to remote communities for an Aboriginal transport company, and Rocky will travel with him.

 

 

We farewelled this awesome man and his dog outside the Dinah Beach Yacht Association, in Darwin

 

 

and walked through the gates into the next stage of our adventure.

 

 

Thank you to everyone who waved and smiled at us on the road, who gave us rides and took us in. And thank you Dear Reader, for accompanying us on this first leg of our adventure.

And thanks to Jordan for the first and third images, and to Kim for the second.

Recovering birth from the industrial biomedical complex (with permaculturist-midwife, Eleanor Young)

This week Patrick spoke with researcher, permaculturist and midwife Eleanor Young. Here at the School of Applied Neopeasantry, we are still brimming from sharing virtual space with this sensitive, thinking and wise scholar-practitioner advocating for women-centric birthing.

Make yourself a cuppa, turn off notifications, and settle in for a beautiful, generative and unfolding hour of yarning. We guarantee nourishment for those on a path back into the cosmology of Mother Country and Grandmother Gaia. Here is the audio only version:

 

You can watch the conversation here (and please let us know if you’re having troubles accessing our CommonsTube page, fingers crossed it streams for you):

The related reading/listening mentioned by Eleanor in this podcast is her mentor and friend, Dr Rachel Reed’s work and especially her book, ‘Reclaiming Childbirth as a Rite of Passage: Weaving ancient wisdom with modern knowledge.’

In the podcast, Eleanor mentions the School of Shamanic Womancraft, and the principles and ethics of permaculture.

If you’d like to get in touch with Eleanor, please let us know and we can hook you up.

Your stories of birth, underworlding or reclaiming your wild health are most welcome here, and all is welcome – the beautiful, the tragic, and the sublime.

Sending this with Mother Countrying love,
Magpie and Blue Wren

Overcoming fear in the New Year (news, views and crews from the neopeasant home front)

You can listen to Meg and Patrick reading this blog post here (9 mins):

 

Hello Dear Reader,

It’s been a while. We hope your social season has been a time of reflection, growth and joy, and if there’s been pain or grief in your world we hope you have both support and inner resources that are aiding you.

We’ve been away visiting friends and family and have returned to an abundant garden with all the rain a Djaara Country summer could hope for. Here is a vista of Tree Elbow University in early January 2024:


We’d like to share a few things with you in this post and ask you some questions about the year ahead.

First up, we’d like to introduce you to our brilliant mate, Catie Payne’s new podcasting project. Here is the second episode in which Catie and Meg have a spirited yarn.

Catie’s podcast, Reskillience, is a weekly dive into the lives of those around the world who are observing civilisational collapse and are acting in a colour wheel of ways that are contiguous with village rebuilding and living a more beautiful world. Or, in Catie’s words, it is for people who are interested in how “…remembering our place in nature’s systems, re-learning traditional skills, and re-claiming our wildness can calm apocalyptic fears and create a healthier culture that produces less emissions/zombies.” We highly recommend you subscribe, share and support her efforts.

We have collaborated with Catie before, and greatly admire what she brings to the world.

We have also been reading useful Substacks such as Why the Great Reset will fail and eloquent and wise stacks such as Deep Resistance: Philosophical Practices of Sanity (Part 1). We’ve been observing the growing threat to dissident thinkers and commentators such as CJ Hopkins and tuning into Bret Weinstein again, one of the most articulate biologists of our time (who thankfully isn’t staying in his lane). Here he is giving his take on the post Covid moment in this interview with a former Fox-News-gone-rogue journalist. While you’re over on Rumble, you might also like to check out Useful Idiots.

Another dissident voice we think worthy of our attention, is Whitney Webb, whose focus is on investigating power and corruption. Like others (including from inside the establishment), Webb is predicting an orchestrated ‘cyber pandemic’ that will likely be blamed (at least by the establishment) on nefarious actors like Iran and co., which may (for some amount of time) bring the internet down, give more cause for governments to re-instate a state of emergency, and thus again the opportunity to erode human rights under the banner of ‘making us all safe’ with ‘safe and effective’ measures.

Here’s a peg of Webb’s most famous book:

Webb, more than us, has felt the brunt of the Censorship Industrial Complex. According to Wikispooks, links to Webb’s domain TheLastAmericanVagabond.com have been “automatically shadowbanned by Reddit at the admin level for some time. In October 2020, YouTube removed the channel of The Last American Vagabond, and in February 2021, the subscription service Patreon banned the site.” She is also a permie and is not just a researcher, but is living the change, in Chile.

If we are not all expecting the next big thing that will attempt to give global power the license to further punish or disappear dissidents and further reward conformists, we are not going to be in a mental state or communitarian position to resist the next stage of totalitarianism as it is likely to unfold in 2024. So it would be wise to organise and collectivise more, whatever the future brings.

What are your strategies for resilience? Do you become immobilised by fear in a crisis, and if so what are you doing now to address this? How reliant are you on money? How much debt are you carrying? Will your employer again coerce you into complying with the global agenda? How will you cope when you’re once again gaslit by friends and family who are following the script? What have you learnt about power during Covid? Where lies the brittleness and dysfunction of totalitarianism, and how can you exploit these, while not breaking laws or exposing yourself to persecution?

With what Webb is forecasting, we are wondering how we might all stay connected, should the internet really go ‘dark,’ or some other ’emergency’ unfolds, when the only ‘media’ available to us here in Australia is, alas, the government operative known as the ABC, or whatever the equivalent is in your neck of the woods. If you haven’t noticed the gradual slide of the ABC from journalism to propaganda over the past 30 years, you might want to place a bullshit filter over the big stories they present, especially anything regarding the pharma-military industrial complex that rules US congress.

Have those of you in Australia noticed how the ABC logo and the word Emergency have become entwined?

~

For the last several years we have been rebuilding our book library and other offline resources that will be helpful in a post-internet world, and we are curious if this is something you’ve been working on too. What are you doing to build information and critical thinking resilience for either an internet-less or heavily censored future? We would be grateful if you share in the comments some of your thinking here.

Going into this new year, in order to control whatever narrative needs to be controlled, those in power (political, financial or ideological) will attempt to further silence dissident voices, and this is why all around the western world governments are bringing in censorship infrastructure in the forms of misinformation bills, while gaslighting dissidents as being spreaders of mis-, dis- and even malinformation – facts or opinions likely to be true but that hurt a government’s reputation and therefore must be censored.

We believe the dissemination of critical and dissident thought will become a greater challenge in the year ahead, which may well lead to a new golden era of political graffiti. The diversity of Covid dissidents and heterodox thinkers from across the political spectrum has been extremely effective at exposing the failures, cowardice and corruption of the state/Pharma nexus during Covid, but how will this occur should we enter an internet dark period?

We are asking a whole lotta questions, but we are not fearing the future. The present and future are filled with possibilities and this year we will again face up to whatever fear or global ’emergency’ comes our way. We will not fear tyranny, we will mock it, dance with it and eventually compost it. And most importantly, we will receive our most critical information not from experts but from Mother Country – the fruiting, flowering, regenerating flow of wisdoms that will help us overcome the unfolding “neofeudal technocratic biosecurity surveillance state,” which in real terms just signals the collapse of global civilisation.

Life cycles before news cycles. Ecological participation before anthropocentric team sports ideology.

Before we sign off, we’d like to end with a joyous introduction to two newcomers at Tree Elbow.

We first met Jordan and Antoinette from Happen Films when they came to film Creatures of Place with us several years ago. That little film about our life, economy and culture making has reached some 2.4 million views and has brought us many volunteers from across the world to labour and learn with us. We have stayed in touch with Jordan and Antoinette over the years and they made another film about our working with goats and neighbours to reduce bushfire risk a few years later.

Jordan is now back in Australia after living in NZ, and will be living with us here at Tree Elbow. We are so looking forward to sharing our life with this thoughtful, talented, switched on and humourous young man.

Here he is helping us with the post rabbit hunt processing. Welcome Jordan!

The other newcomer we are excited to share our space with is Prunella vulgaris, aka Self Heal, a wondrous and useful herb that has invited herself into the Tree Elbow garden.

We look forward to learning from her and from Jordan, and Catie, as well as a rich cohort of diverse specimens, human and more-than, all labouring to make the world a more beautiful, more abundant place.

We hope 2024 is a year in which you too can work towards composting fear and pitchforking into your gardens, balcony pots, farms or community allotments, the psychopaths of world power, and play your part in the step-by-step renewal of eldership, mentorship and village rebuilding.

Is there a time and place for binary thinking? Or, what mythos do you serve?

 

Do you stand against the abuses of institutional power in all forms and legalisms?

Do you stand against those who try to convince you health is dependent on industrial pharmacy?

Do you stand against politicians who fake democracy and grow corporatism?

Do you stand against industrial pollutants, contaminants and toxins that cause unnecessary disease and thus suffering?

Do you stand against anthropocentric capitalisms and socialisms, and the various city-centric ruinations they bring to life?

Do you stand against media that is permissive to the imperatives of Empire, power and global industrialisms?

Do you stand against the iatrogenocide that is the ‘Covid response’ by the state-Pharma nexus?

Do you stand against safetyism, paternalism and nanny statism, which render people immobile and dependent on institutions and industries that are manipulative and controlling?

Do you stand against the NATO/Azov nazi/US invoked genocide of Ukrainian youth by a reactive and bullish Russia?

Do you stand against the century-long genocide of Palestinians by British, US and Israeli colonists?

Do you stand against the extraction of fossil fuels and rare earth minerals used to power a false flag renewables industry?

Do you stand against cultural or political groups who silence and smear others based on their beliefs and values?

Do you stand against large-scale industries including factory farms, agricultural chemicals, pharmaceuticals and sweat shops that mistreat humans, animals and complex biota?

Do you stand against a King (and others like him dripping in privilege) arrogantly calling for an end to ‘convenience’?

Do you stand with the people of villages, towns, cities and suburbs who in their own power and capacity claim for themselves an end to industrial-scale convenience and consumption?

Do you stand with the flowering, fruiting and singing of Mother Country and Grandmother Gaia and everything else that is sacred and not industrially conformed?

Do you stand with life that enables more delicious life to cross over into necessary death and decay, and back into more abundance?

Do you stand for a future society that doesn’t help raise sociopaths or psychopaths into positions of power and influence?

Do you stand with eldership, mentorship and rites of passage, which mark the accruing of wisdoms, and the witnessing of all in the village, regardless of their stage in life?

Do you stand for the flow of gifts across all species and within all species?

Do you stand for distributed wealth, access to land for all, and subsistence economies that are earth-honouring?

Do you stand for the economic interweaving of community sufficiency and autonomous household productivity?

Do you stand with the rivers and creeks – the veins of the world that take life force to the largest biomes – the oceans?

Do you stand with mountains, caves, hills and rocks, and any undulation within the terrain of any Mother Country that enables the magic of surprise, and the shadow world from where wisdom springs?

Do you stand with the seeds that are our heritages, which have made our cultures of belonging, and will do so again?

Do you stand with the smallest biomes, bodily biomes and microbial communities, as extensions of Mother Country and Grandmother Gaia?

Do you stand with Mother Country and Grandmother Gaia, honour them in the way in which you live, and defend them from machine mind in whatever capacity you have to do so?

Do you stand with both individual freedoms and communitarian care, without one eroding the other?

Do you recognise that true consent is not possible when metered out by top-down authority?

Do you stand with pollinators, in all forms, recognising the monumental gifts they bring to lifemaking?

Do you stand with the fungal webs that rule the worlds of the world, including the unreal worlds of hubristic human Empires that will always collapse and turn back into the mycelial realm?

Do you stand with humus and humility, and recognise they have derived from the same root word?

Do you stand with your herbal and medicinal plant commons, the remnant traces of your indigenous liberty and soul, which continue to bring gifts to your health and to your meaning making?

Do you stand with ecological killing in order to take life that makes more life possible, outside of a ‘man-made mass death’ cosmology, where at arm’s length civilisational violence occurs on your behalf as an industrial-food-dependent vegan, vegetarian or omnivore?

Do you stand with empowering young people to obtain skills for the future, both pragmatic and sacred (such as deep listening and beholding, foraging, gardening, forestry and hunting)?

Do you stand with village rebuilding and grass roots, cultural, ecological and microbial diversity?

 

Here are the Forest & Free children after harvesting 1.5kg of narrow leaf plantain (Plantago lanceolata) seed heads for psyllium. This plantain is a common, ancestral (Eurasia) and abundant plant that brings healing food-medicine to our lives. The kids collected this amount in just twenty minutes. Each week they learn about a new food or medicine that is not under lock and key, so they can build the skills, knowledges and daily rituals to augment their own pathways to freedom, responsibility and wisdom. We run Forest & Free within a gift economy.

So, does binary thinking have a place? In the absence of binaries how do we form our values? Is it possible to live without binaries?

We’d love to hear from you. When is binary thinking problematic? When is it useful? Would you answer yes to any the above questions? All? We hope this post generates some goodly discussion, and serves the contemporary dialectic for what mythos, what world story, we want to serve.

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
Meg

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.

 

Patrick

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.