We came together with community this week for the annual Terra Nullius breakfast, held outside the Daylesford Town Hall each January 26. The Terra Nullius breakfast is a public ceremony, open to all, that examines the historical legal fiction used to establish the nation-state of Australia; reflects on the grief and suffering of First People as a result of this legal tactic of colonisation; and celebrates both the survival and renewal of Indigenous cultures in the face of systemic violence, segregation and discrimination.
Warm and special thanks to storytellers Rebecca Phillips (Pangerang and Djaara woman) and Dale McDonald (Papal-kil tharat Tjinang-Muddy featherfoot Mukjarrawaint tribal lands Garweid), and didgeridoo player Mitchell Boney (Kamilaroi and Kooma Merri Wurri man, known as Warrabaa, meaning Saw-neck turtle in Gamilaraay). This year’s gathering was documented by Miles at Ideas Agency. Thank you so much Miles and your assistant, Briega, for your thoughtful work.
We hope this video captures some of the nourishment we experienced at this event, and it gives you some thinking and feeling for starting your own event in the country that sings forth life for you.
Signing off from beautiful, unceded Djaara mother country.
We saw out the year with greenkin friends, once again walking and pedalling the main drag of our home town for the 2018 Daylesford New Year’s Eve Parade.
(photo by David Jablonka)
It was quite a challenge to pull around 100kg of future community food on our e-bike. We community food gardeners were awarded money to dress our annual NYE float. By purchasing fruit trees and perennial veggies we once again steered arts funding into something deep-rooting.
This lil video will give you a feel for the parade and our contribution to it, for which we won the sustainability award. (Please note: videos won’t appear in your inbox subscription.)
Yes, it’s a strange time of year to plant dozens of trees, herbs and perennial veggies, but with our $100 prize money (Thanks Hepburn Wind!) we bought a new hose and established a watering roster so we can nurture these generous gifts through the coming hot weeks. A big thanks to the permie crew from Deans Marsh who strengthened our numbers and dug right in, joining the local permablitz working bee mob.
In late December we had a number of friends come and stay for the Melliodora solstice party, which eventuated in another form of spontaneous permablitz, this time a music video. Charlie (from Formidable Vegetable) came for dinner and he spoke of the possibility of a new video clip. We hooked him up with our mate Jordan (from Happen Films), added in a whole bunch of Artist as Family creative direction, garden and community peeps, and voilà, this was hatched:
It was another moment of spontaneous creation at Tree Elbow. Thanks to all the neopeasant solstice revellers who showed up and ensouled the morning; all we singulars numbering a collective effort with not a single dollar mentioned, spent or sought. An example of permaculture media-making at its best – and an antidote to typical white-people careerism, profit motives and meaningless content.
photo by Vasko Drogriski
In other news, the violet and rhubarb leaves at Tree Elbow are being frequented by these lovely Southern brown tree frogs (Litoria ewingi),
as well as common garden snails (Helix aspersa). While allcomer frogs, toads and froglets are more than encouraged to make their life in, through and around the garden, snails are gathered up in large numbers and fed to the chooks and ducklings, or we prepare them this way for dinner. Yum!
The ducklings certainly think so. Snails and comfrey leaves are their faves.
Photo by Amy Wagner
For Blackwood (much like the froglets, baby snails and ducklins), home schooling and home economics have become the same thing. Like us, most things he requires are non-monetised, but each of us have occasion to save up for things. A new guitar has been the motivator for this little market store.
But generally we try to make what we need, such as this fishing spear. Every occasion, every visitation, project and ecology
is another school for Woody. It is in these places where play, exploration and experimentation are given true homes. His education isn’t evaluated or assessed. He is free to learn without anxiety or comparison. He is free to collate all his learnings and build upon them in his own time and way,
and with others, such as the children he is bonded to at the Make & Play bush school we hold. Here’s Charlie again at the M&P end of year celebration. (Jumpers in late December? Yikes!)
And because of the expansive time given to him to learn, time to be, time to thoroughly explore what NAPLAN could never allow for a child, the rewards come, which only aid more learning,
where play making and knowledge building are all part of the same flow.
While his learning is mostly self-directed, he also absorbs his parents’ knowledges, and they share with him what to glean and hunt and make bounties from,
while far away from the high country lakes
and productive gardens of home.
He observes the gifts that can be made from the abundant raw materials of our local terra. This wrist band was made by Patrick for Meg on her birthday. The lake is a special place for Meg, where giant-leaved newcomer NZ flax grow (great for cord making) and moulted breast feathers from oldtimer cockatoos are shed around the foreshores (thanks for the tip Kimshar!).
Woody observes the gifts and skills of other adults too, from musicians like Charlie, filmmakers like Jordan and Antoinette, and all the community gardeners to name just a few. Out of all the adults that generously pass on their trades, it is Jeremy that Woody calls mentor. Jeremy made this insulated oven window cover for us, especially for summertime cooking. It reduces the heat radiating into the house on the coolest day of the week when we bake bread, roast veggies and heat up our hot water.
We traded him a wild ferment brewing lesson, exchanging microbe knowledges for technical know-how. What we’ve found is that gifts flow, if generosity flows. A few years back Edward from nearby Adsum Farm gifted us some garden bed hoops. In spring they support a hothousing re-usuable plastic hood to get the potatoes going early, in summer they support a fine netting to keep the cabbage moths from destroying the brassicas.
which acknowledges, accepts and seeks compassion for the history of this continent – a nation that has crippled symbiotic life by over-playing domestication’s hand.
Terra Nullius stands at the heart of property relations in Australia and aggregating wealth division. When property is turned from a basic need into a predatorial industry, more and more people will suffer. We wrote this song for our friend Eka, a fellow Bentley Blockader, when we visited her on our travels last winter she spoke of the constant insecurity and powerlessness of her housing situation. Eka stood with thousands to stop the Northern Rivers from being fracked by greed’s intransigence to common sense, giving her time and skills over weeks and months as a volunteer. While we dedicate this song to Eka, it is also for all people kept from having secure tenure over a little plot of land that can be loved, held sacred and given back to for the momentary time we dwell with and upon it.
If you feel passionate about this issue, please copy the link of this Youtube video and share it widely. Songs can be fertile seeds for change, even rough-cut home-brewed ones such as this.
Well, thank you Dear Reader, we hope we served up some nourishment and inspiration for you in our more or less monthly instalment. If you’d like come on a house + garden tour we’ve released more forthcoming dates. If you’re interested in applying for one of our Permaculture Living Courses please watch this space, we’ll be opening the applications for the spring 2019 courses shortly.
until the year was done and we gathered with various friends and other community groups to celebrate the new year.
Our little ensemble of community gardeners won best ‘float’, despite our on-foot-ness.
The next day, with our Milkwood mates, we were very floaty when we heard the news of our win ($500 to the community gardens to grow more free food).
This year we’ve been welcoming Connor into our family. Connor was chosen to be our first SWAP-intern. Within days it was like this remarkable young man has been with us for years.
And we’ve been blessed with more wonderful SWAPs coming to live and learn with us. Hello Anna!
And hello Marta!
We went out of town with our mate Pete to collect some locally grown and milled timber. We’re going to build a number of things in the next few months.
With friends Mara, Kirsten and Kat we made a banner,
which will be used each year to mark January 26, terra nullius day at the Daylesford Town Hall.
We’ve been doing little fermenting experiments and loving the results.
Actually, Connor doesn’t need elderflower cider to fool around in the gloaming.
Connor and Marta have been hanging out working together, riding the tandem and generally keeping the home fires burning.
Because it’s a time of storing,
food forestry and many people staying,
pumpkins, citrus and kiwi fruiting,
keeping the mice numbers down,
and more storing.
Collecting materials from building sites, the tip, and having friends who gift large doors and windows (thanks Nicko and Elle), has enabled the planning of the north-facing greenhouse.
Our home is a busy mess of multiple projects, ferments and general productivity. We’re using the excessive affluence of industrial civilisation to transition to low-money, low-carbon lifeways before inevitable decline or collapse.
Prepare now or struggle later is our motto, and what we’ve found in the meantime is a more joyous, meaningful form of life making.