Monday, January 17, 2011

Our first SWAPs harvest chook bedding from self-renewing indigenous grasses

Meg recently worked with Su and Liz in the office at Melliodora and the conversation of WWOOFs (willing workers on organic farms) came up. Melliodora is not a registered wwoofing farm or garden, however regular travelers do come to learn more about permaculture, exchanging their labour for food and board just like ordinary wwoofs. One lunch break the gals got talking about a more appropriate acronym for the working travelers at Melliodora and Meg responded with MIAWs. Pretty soon they had collectively joined the dots – Melliodora Interns and Workers. Simple.

Just last week we were contacted by two lovely Swedish girls, Erikka and Maria, to see whether they could come and work in our garden. Errika had come to visit Melliodora the week before and had stayed with us as a guest. Despite not having our 'wwoofer' shack – the Shed of Interrelation – finished, we heartily agreed, and were so delighted to have them stay that it's got us moving again on setting up our garden exchange program as a wwoofing-type-experience-cum-artist-in-residence, particularly committed to rebuilding the relationship between ethics and aesthetics in a new era of permaculture.

This morning, after we had farewelled Maria and Erikka at the bus stop, I came up with the acronym SWAPs – social warming artists and permaculturalists – and that's exactly what Erikka and Maria were, or rather are, and that's exactly what we, Artist as Family, like to practice. The girls are on a permaculture study trip to Australia, and while they were here demonstrated an inherent understanding of how essential the interrelationships between bodies of knowledge are – especially between the arts and sciences – and especially if we are going to become more resilient to energy descent and climate chaos. Specialisation just isn't going to cut it.

The first job our SWAPs carried out was harvesting indigenous poa tussocks for our chooks' winter bedding. Here's Maria (left) and Erikka on dusk, savaged by mosquitos but tenacious and happy in their hand-scissor cutting work.

The cut grass was then laid out on the driveway (that no longer requires car access) to dry, temporarily becoming a giant dog bed for Zero.

Elsewhere in the garden, after a week of torrential rain (and flooding in the area), the heirloom climbing beans reach for the sky.

As we no longer travel by air, those who are still flying (for the right reasons – for reasons of social warming and exchange, not indulgence and exploitation) bring the world to us. Thank you Erikka and Maria for being our inaugural SWAPs, thank you for the warmth and ease and love that you brought to our town.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Our 12 Months of Garlic

Today I harvested our garlic and bundled them into twelve portions, or monthly rations for the year ahead.

Then strung them up to dry in the 'cellar'.

My first home-brew of beer, a heritage lager, has been cellared for two weeks now. You can just see some of the caps of the 60 stubbies behind the drum of local olive oil.

Here's the cellar from the outside, which is still just one quarter complete.