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Back on the road

We’ve been busy getting ready to leave, packing panniers, cleaning the house, planting out the garden for our tenants and for our return in three months’ time. The two panniers that go on the front of Patrick’s bike are our food and kitchen supplies. This is what’s inside:

We’ve also been putting up little signs around the garden to aid the permaculture tour that is coming while we’re away and also to help our tenants navigate the garden. Here’s a selection:

It’s a bit difficult to see how the swale works in the above picture so here’s one from 2009 when it first went in. Water travels from our bath/shower along a spoon drain that has been plumbed level across the contour of the land. Water is distributed through 30 metres of food growing garden beds and ‘passively’ harvested deep into the ground. This is one way to help climate-change proof your garden. The whole system is gravity-fed.

We’ve also been harvesting our (unprecedentedly early) garlic,

bottling the last of our plum wine,

and much bike tuning.

Then we were off without the anxieties we felt on our first trip, heading east a gentle 22 kms with plenty of stops,

to our first hidey-hole camp in the wonderful Wombat Forest on the edge of Trentham.

We are not going to be blogging here as much over the next three months. We’re going to be rather busy getting to 20 book events in 90 days. We will be micro-blogging however on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, so please join us there @artistasfamily.

Wherever you are Dear Reader, we hope you’ll check in with us along the way and share your thoughts, reflections, advice and even botanical knowledge. Which reminds us, does anyone recognise this plant? We came across it on the road between Daylesford and Lyonville.

Winter forest

The Wombat Forest called us recently, so we dropped our human-centricity and went bush. We walked out from home,

crossed the Wombat Creek,

and came across these little Green skin-heads (Cortinarius austrovenetus).

A little further on we came across the ghost fungus (Omphalotus nidiformis), a mushroom that illuminates the forest at night when we diurnal mammals sleep. For ring-tailed possums, high up in a eucalypt or protected from powerful owls in a newcomer hawthorn tree, they cast a magical light show.

Earthballs (Scleroderma sp.), a type of puffball, were out in great numbers.

None of the day’s autonomous finds was edible, so we stuck with spelt stick damper (Zeph’s specialty) and gum leaf tea for lunch.

The bush and knowing our small place in it — the joy of insignificance —

restored our housebound senses.