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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.

Home on the road (goodly relations from Taree to Coffs Harbour)

We stayed in Taree for a night at a fairly forgettable caravan park (our first in months), legged it to Queens Lake and free camped by the water’s edge for a brief dusk-to-dawn stay.

Zeph did the maths and calculated the sum we would pay if we stayed in caravan parks every night for our year on the road. It was $14,600, averaging $40 a night, just for a patch of ground to pitch our tents. Australia really is one continuous rip off if you follow the rules. We faced an 80 km ride to Kempsey to visit our dear friend Brett – our longest day in the saddle so far. Brett is temporarily back from doing volunteer work in Lebanon with Médecins Sans Frontières Australia, and as luck would have it, our timing aligned.

When Brett lived in Daylesford we did loads of great stuff together, including getting Daylesford Community Food Gardens and Critical Mass Daylesford up and cycling.

Brett’s family home sits just above the Macleay River,

and we were able to go out fishing for bass,

or just for pleasure.

While staying with Brett and his brother Kurt, we borrowed their scales to weigh our bikes, gear and ourselves.

One of the many common questions we get asked on the road is how heavy are the bikes?, so using Brett and Kurt’s scales we thought we’d find out.

We had three gentle, restorative days with Brett and Kurt before reloading the bikes for more northerly drifting. Thanks so much brothers love!

We meandered back to the coast through beautiful country following the Macleay River. Where we stopped to buy some farm gate produce we caught on camera Zeph losing control of Meg’s bike, which with Woody (12 kg) and without Meg (50 kg) weighs nearly 80 kg, demonstrating that our so-called drift requires quite some effort.

We rode into South West Rocks and arrived on dusk,

foraged dinner at the local fish and chippery, munched on our fresh farm gate goodies to top us up, set up camp down a bush track by torchlight and woke up early to move on before being discovered by the local ranger.

We had a morning’s scratch around the town and along the coast before following the Macleay River on its north bank back towards the Pacific highway. Along this road we stopped for a break and got talking to Peter, a local man-of-many-useful-trades. Peter and his partner Sonya, with whom we swapped notes about the political agency of growing your own food, later met us up the road with some of their home grown produce. Thanks sweet couple!

With our food pannier full to the brim we were back on the Pacific and soon cursing the way the shoulders kept disappearing, sighing with relief when they would reappear. It was along this section of road that we bumped into southbound American David, only the fifth cycle tourist we’ve seen in four and a half months.

Remarkably (and unrelated to David) a few minutes later came Phil, our sixth. We held a brief cycle touring conference. Phil was travelling with his suitcase and a folding bike, a novel approach to touring although, he said, it was a bit limiting because of the drag.

We parted ways with these solo southbounders and a little further on stopped for lunch, hard boiling Peter and Sonya’s organic duck eggs and devouring their delicious cucumbers.

It was only after lunch that we noticed the tandem had what was to be our first puncture, over 2100 kms into the trip.

We fitted the spare tube and headed to Nambucca heads, only to get another puncture in the same tyre on arrival. With our late entrance into the town and with threatening storm clouds brewing we booked into our first budget-breaking motel, for the sake of a bath.

The heavens opened overnight, while we attended to fixing the tubes, making dinner, washing clothes and bodies and indulging in a spot of bedroom TV. But after this brief sojourn into civility we were keen to get back to what we love doing best,

riding to the beautiful Valla Beach,

where we were again treated to some very heavy rain overnight and were thankful for the community shelter, in yet another non-camping reserve, to dry out our drenched tents the next morning.

After all these months of thinking about where we might land on this trip, Bellingen was always going to be a place of special interest. We let our bikes glide us into the town and guide us intuitively to a little public place where we could make lunch. Meg went into nearby Kombu, a wholefoods shop that would be included in anyone’s vision of an ecoutopia, to get a few more supplies. Meg soon came back with the proprietor, Kevin Doye, who to our pleasant surprise is one half of the awesome Bike 2 Oz couple, who Artist as Family had been inspired by years before.

Kevin and Lowanna (the over half of this wonderful duo) invited us to meet their family, shouting us an early dinner at one of the local cafés that supports local growers. It was fantastic to meet this family and share our cycle touring stories.

There is something very unique about Bellingen. Whereas there are similarities with our hometown Daylesford, things are less touristy in this mid north NSW town. Even though we have our share of wonderful things going on, Bello seems far less a tourist-pleasing spectacle, on its trajectory to environmental sustainability. Check out the town’s main vegie shop, for example. Notice the absence of packaging. Local people here don’t mind the inconvenience of lean logic, whereas at home the linage of twentieth century ‘indulgence tourism’ still poisons our community.

And then there is the twice-monthly farmers’ market, where again the emphasis is on bringing your own containers and eating locally.

There are the forageable public fruit trees, such as the avenue of orange trees planted very intentionally at the soccer fields as half time sweeteners, as well as autonomous fruit trees such as guavas, which have naturalised in the district.

Like home there are town notice boards demonstrating a rich social life.

And like home there is much needed environmental experimentation, such as the trial crop of a post crude oil fiber, fodder, fuel, food, medicine and building material plant.

We met the grower, Steve Henderson, who has close family ties with Daylesford and Hepburn, and we met the gorgeous Jay who just a few weeks before had photographed the joyous community harvest of Steve’s first crop. By chance we were lucky enough to capture Steve’s passion for industrial hemp on our little vid camera. (It’s not quite ready yet, we’ll let you know when this inspiring little snapshot becomes available).

Like home there are excellent community gardens in Bellingen,

and experienced volunteers, like these two chaps, Steve and Mark.

And like home there are many generous people, who engaged with our story. For three days we stayed with the delightful Gull, his boys Sol and Reuben, and his partner Linda, sharing food, parenting and narratives of transition.

When we left proto-utopian Bellingen we rode the back roads near promised land country,

and pitched our tents at Coffs Harbour airport

with a friend of Gull’s, Steve Hill, who runs Coffs City Skydivers and an awesome communal living environment.

With this destination we sadly farewelled Zeph, who after three months of being on the road headed home to be with his mum and his friends. We made family wrist bands using the fibre from Steve Henderson’s hemp, the method was taught to us back in Tumut by Wiradjuri ranger Shane Herrington,

and shedded tears for this growing boy’s independent departure into the skies that we older ones no longer travel.

Farewell Zeph! We’ll see you for the last three months of the trip. Thanks for everything you have brought to this adventure. We love you so sososososososososo much. And miss you already.

Our home on the road won’t be quite the same without you…

Good Wood

We found some wood, you see. A whole stack of old hardwood batons that were holding up the tiles of a roof that was being retiled in time for the winter rains. The tiler was thrilled when we asked if we could take it, saving him a trip to the tip to dispose of it.

Off we went.

‘But it’s my billy cart, Dad. If you’d like to use it, you have to pull me up the hills.’
‘Let’s stack the longer bits first and then the small bits.’
Toot toot go the cars as we wobble down the footpath towards home.
A few days later we decided to take the billy cart on another adventure: to our newly opened local community op-shop. In no time at all we had completed our autumn clean-out and had filled five big bags of goodies to recycle.

The Daylesford Community Op-Shop is based on a Swedish thrift store model: to provide local community members with what they need including electrical items, so they don’t have to shop outside of town or buy new items, and all profits are then put back into the community.

Local not-for-profit organisations can apply to receive the profits for a month. The month of May for example is for Hepburn Wildlife Shelter, which means that they promote that month as theirs. They can bring in their saved-up goods to be sold and their members volunteer at the op-shop.

Based on the size of our town the op-shop is forecast to inject $100,000 a year back into the community.

There’s also a community space where mothers can nurse their babies, a book nook, a seed bank and a chai lounge. Pretty amazing, huh?

A brief stop at one of our community food gardens to turn over the compost, and then on we go.

Back home and our day was not quite done. Inside our chicken coop, our birds have been flying over the low fence and have been digging up one of our vegie patches. We have been setting up more substantial fencing over the last few weeks. And after our recent score we finally had enough timber to make some gates.

We harvested the last of the potatoes and Jerusalem artichokes, dug the beds over, added compost and planted them out with heirloom vegies.

We planted broad beans, three varieties of carrots, kohlrabi, two varieties of beetroot, celeriac, leek and plenty of cabbage.
We are a bit obsessed with cabbage in our household. We love to eat it raw in salads but even more so, we love to lacto-ferment it into sauerkraut. Here is a jar of our latest batch.

And here is the final fruit of our labours: a stack of kindling wood ready for the winter.

From field to forest

When you get right down to it, there are few agricultural practices that are really necessary – Masanobu Fukuoka

While Meg and Zephyr were digging up more potatoes and tickling the first garlic shoots up out of the frosty Djadjawurrung soil in the home garden, Anna Davis (MCA) and Patrick met with the St Michael’s church wardens late last week to finalise the agreement to allow the Food Forest to go ahead on this ancient Cadigal site in Surry Hills, Sydney. Here are the set of working drawings Patrick presented to the group on behalf of the Artist as Family. (click for bigger)





Some members from the local community, including both church and non-church groups, have now been asked to choose from this plant list their more desired fruit, herbs and nuts. If you wish to participate in the development of this Food Forest please comment below your desired food plants and we’ll see how we can include your suggestions as we begin to source plants. But be quick as we aim to start planting in the first week of July, pending approval from the traditional owners.
Anyone wishing to help us with the planting in July please follow this blog and we’ll keep you informed as to the when and how. Indigenous locals and non-indigenous residents who can help build information relating to Cadigal plants and medicines, your input is highly sought after.