Monday, February 19, 2007

Return to scheduled programming

Calendula Officinalis

The reliable activity that predicts rain

Banksia ?

Rasp Fern (Doodia aspera)

Line drying- the minutiae of life.

In the Venetian way

My dear husband was strolling around our back garden/yard when he overheard a conversation between two of our neighbours. Neighbour 1 was hanging her clothes out, using a drying rack (to catch the wind and sun) on her deck to dry her clothes. Neighbour 2 seeing her doing this called out, "If you need to dry things, just bring them over, we have a dryer." Neighbourly + friendly? Neighbour 1 graciously thanked her but the tone of her voice suggested to my husband, that she found the notion as absurd as he did - summer, why the hell are you using a dryer?

Now, there was alot of "it's summer, it's warm, there's a light breeze - it doesn't put CO2 into the atmosphere" style ranting from my bloke when he came inside. I agreed but then voiced that some people (and in some instances, local by-laws and the like) don't like seeing the mechanics of living (or their neighbours' underwear) flapping in the breeze, obscuring views and so on. The response to that was "Yeah, but those same people go to Venice and take pictures of clothes drying across canals, thinking it's picturesque." Good point.

Line drying is good for you, your clothes and the environment* and in the Blue Mountains it's especially good- you dry your clothes amongst eucalyptus, acacias and pines etc. (I'm not a fan of the radiata pine but in their defence they do smell good). The scent of your laundry dried in such a way is to be appreciated and can't be replicated by any manufactured thing. It's up there with home grown carrots....we pulled one out yesterday. Sorry, no pictures. It was eaten in a flash.

*Every small bit counts and more importantly, helps prevent that terrible hopelessness.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Rain. Rain. Rain.

It has been raining off and on for a couple of days even small amounts are truly appreciated - it is so dry. Today it's falling constantly and heavily - solid falls the weather people would say. I'd like to say it feels like it's the rain has set in, I hope I haven't jinxed it.

Although the rain is great, I'm worried if the weather turns too cool, too soon the tomatoes will not ripen. They need heat and I'm growing them in a marginal pocket that doesn't have the advantage of full sun. The ferns however are loving this weather. I'd swear that they throw up new growth overnight! Divided loyalties.

After the rain clears, I can feel some weeding coming on. The moist ground makes it so much easier to do.... and of course, weeding is preferable to studying for my law exams.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

A some potatoes!

Finally, someone bloody said it, we mine it here - coal that is- use it to produce cheap electricity in Australia but we also sell it around the globe. Then, our federal government (who amongst other laudable achievements refuses to ratify the Kyoto protocol) has the audacity to blame China and India, for burning the coal which we sold to them, that they use to process the other raw materials we sold them, to produce the crap that we buy and don' t need for being big time polluters. Ummm......? (entire Tim Flannery interview on Lateline )

What is further galling, is how the commodities boom that has buoyed the Australian economy and funded an untold amount of government largess (especially at election time) is spun as some sort of government achievement - they take the credit but assume none of the responsibility for their actions. The spending decisions of this federal government are a topic for another time!

Recently, in the NSW Land & Environment Court a ruling was made that as part of the assessment process for new mines, the greenhouse emissions that will be generated from extraction to final use need to be included in the environmental impact statement. It has to be accounted for. It goes somewhere and yes, the atmosphere is common to the whole planet - interconnected no less. The state government hasn't challenged the ruling yet but instead amended legislation to get around it - very quietly in the weeks before Xmas. They want to be seen to be green especially with an state election coming up - the environment is a hot topic!

Did I mention that I love potatoes? They are such glorious tubers and when you grow them yourself, you understand why the French call them "pomme de terre". They are crispy like apples. I found this great book about potatoes and now want to try out different varieties.

I harvested the crop two days ago and we got about 40- 60 kgs of spuds. My hopes for a more bountiful harvest were dashed when we go some 'unseasonal' heavy rain and hot weather in November and the plants started to produce lots of leaf. Heavy application of straw followed - don't know if it helped increase tuber production.

The nice thing, whilst digging out the potatoes, was noticing how the soil had improved, mainly due to the increase in earthworms (and some double digging / manure/ compost application) They are truly marvellous creatures.