Friday 26 February 2016

Firing up the (mostly moneyless) home economies

Our last post ended with the butchering of a large car-killed male kangaroo on the morning we rode into our home town on the last day of our three month book tour. This sad and angry moment, which became an opportunity to store a large amount of meat for Zero and us, has triggered a month of joyous local resource gathering, starting with dandelion coffee making.

We have harvested carrots, potatoes and beetroots that we planted before we left.

Revived our sourdough starter and made bread for home and friends. Friends and neighbours have also bestowed upon us many foody gifts, understanding our home production is at a low ebb courtesy of being on the road so long, coupled with an extremely dry year. They know, as do we, that what goes around comes around. Thanks Bob and Beth, Pete, Alison, Su, Maria, Nick and Larch, Lena, Beverly, Kate and Bren, Bee and Ra, and Andrew. 

Planted out new beds and put our permie love shack on Airbnb — proudly the cheapest, most primitive tourist accommodation in Daylesford.

And for money (and love) Meg is back at Melliodora writing, editing, answering emails and phones.

Back on the non-monetary home front, we've been walking daily for our fuel,

hand cutting and wheelbarrowing, readying for the winter.

We've been preserving fruit and vegetables, using the free service of the sun.

We've brewed up weed teas as bio-intensive soil foods for our winter crops of leek, kale, coriander, garlic, cabbage, carrot and spinach.

We've harvested apples.

We've pulled wild radish seedlings from the newly sown beds and used these autonomous greens in our salads and roo stews.

We've both admired and salivated over the kiwi fruits that are slowly readying themselves for our bellies.

We've been propagating tenacious spores of the edible King Stropharia (Stropharia rugosoannulata) mycelium,

to add to woody material (currently fermenting) in the attempt to get them naturalised in the perennial food forest parts of the garden. Hopefully soon we will be eating the delicious wine cap mushrooms they produce.

We've been setting snares for occasional rabbit nourishment,

and poaching unwanted fence-line grapes on our by-foot travels through our locasphere food commons.

And, over the past month since we've been home, we've also had several book events that in a way has extended our book tour. We have travelled by bus, train, bike and on foot to Geelong, Bright, Warburton and this weekend we're in Woodend for the Macedon Ranges Sustainable Living Festival where Patrick will be appearing on two panels discussing sustainable food with local food friends Tammi Jonas, John Reid and Justin Walsh, and where Artist as Family will be performative exhibitors. We hope to see you there.

Monday 1 February 2016

The last drenched leg (of our mostly pedal-fuelled book tour – Genoa to Daylesford)

At Genoa, we said goodbye to Maya and James and rode 50 kms to Cann River, where we got a complete soaking.

The next day we rode 40 kms to Bellbird, where we found a free camp to dry out,

before riding on towards Orbost, coming across a novel road sign mirage, conjuring the future.

At about this time (actually, it went to print on Survival Day) Patrick had his first commentary piece published in a major newspaper. Unsurprisingly, the well-shared SMH article was about bicycles and the lack of access they are given on roads and with public transport hook-ups in NSW.

But, alas, we were finding the same thing in Victoria, at least in regard to suitable shoulders to ride on. We got off the near-death A1 Princes Highway and quietly meandered down to Cape Conran, where for a rare moment or two we acknowledged the 'dog on a lead' directive, until the local hounds told us otherwise.

We rode the flat dairy floodplain lands of the Gunaikurnai people to Marlo, and riding on we were suddenly impressed with the peasant architecture along the lower reaches of the Snowy River.

After another wet night in Orbost we stopped in at the Nowa Nowa Caravan Park to rest with friends Yael and Matt, who strum more than an interesting tune or two.

We cooked communally and played with their kids Esse, Dante and the great stick gatherer Akira.

We made slingshots,

and went fishing,

learned to ride bikes,

and fall off them,

we played on sharp things,

and performed many more timely lessons not taught in school before we got onto another quiet C road to Bairnsdale, treated to a generous shoulder almost the whole way. What relief!

In Bairnsdale we once more dried out our wet gear,

and waited for the evening train to Melbourne as our Gippsland book event never materialised. We hopped on a train, were treated to a night's stay with Matt's kind mum Linda in the city, and caught another train to Woodend, from where we began our last 40 kms.

In Lyonville, where our book begins, Woody took his last roadside wee for a while.

We pedalled to Bullarto, just shy of our town Daylesford, and fell into the arms of Zeph and Mel, who were awaiting our return.

Woody's and Zeph's reunion was a pleasure to behold,

and Mel cooked us a beautiful dinner of her homemade gnocchi.

We all bunkered down for the night, AaF excitedly inhabiting Zeph's room at Mel's like a slumber party. Zeph's first day of Year 8 saw to an early start the next day, and as we pedalled into Daylesford we were greeted by this handsome young guy, who's full creaturely life was cut short by the imperatives of human-centric industry — AKA fast mobility.

After a quick call to our our special vegetarian mate Pete, he arrived to help us transport the largest roadkill animal we've ever processed, and he kindly offered his place to do the butchering.

Thankful of not becoming roadkill ourselves during our 90 day, 20 event book tour, we honoured this car-killed beast, spending our first day home preparing his interrupted life into little packages of energy that will be part of our homecoming fuel to fire back up our household economy.

A big meaty Thank You! to everyone we met and/or stayed with on the road during our book tour, to everyone who joins us on social media and to those of you who have contacted us to let you know you've read our book and of the actions of positive change you've implemented. Keep them coming.

Farewell for now. We look forward to your company on the webs next time.

Love, AaF xx