So on the first day of this blog I challenged myself to do one blog each day for the month of March 2012. In many ways the month has gone by very quickly but when I look at what I have blogged I realise I have done some things in this time.
As luck, chance or fate would have it I have headed back to my home town today to help my parents out with a local event they are involved with. I would like to say that it was planned out and that it was some sort of natural progression to my rambling. Sorry but no it just happened to turn out that way as some things in life do.
I grew up in the flat plains of the central highlands of Victoria. Bitterly cold and wet in winter, baking hot and dry in summer but heaven when the weather was in between. The earth here is a rich red volcanic variety here. Full of life and the land is farmed heavily. The people I grew up with where the salt of the earth, and as unfashionable as it is to say they are rednecks.
Life revolved around work on the land, family and community and this lead me to many of the ideas and modalities that I live by today. My parents had little but they had their little piece of land and there was always food, good food to be had. Raw milk and cream from Jersey or Friesian cows, lamb from their flock, ducks and chickens. Lots of vegetables, and huge abundance of fruit from their orchard. Sometimes even wild game.
The house was warmed, water heated and food cooked on a wood stove. This entailed us spending our Saturday or Sunday morning’s cutting wood in the bush and made my daily chore of cutting a barrow load of wood a little more meaningful if you didn’t want cold food, cold house and cold showers.
Many hark back to days like this and many people who read this blog would take the opportunity for this life if they could and at times so do I.
But unlike many who look for this sort of life I know that while it has its joys and was in many ways a great way to grow up it was DAMN hard work at the same time.
Added to that was I was only half redneck. My mother’s family is German. Refuges from the old East Germany. My grandparents came out to this country with 2 small children and suitcase. Their courage and hard work, their culture and European way of looking at the world was what built the other half of my mind.
The mindset and ideas I grew with on both sides of my family have followed me in my travels all around the world. It has shaped the cooking I do and how I look at food. How I look at my family now I am a father. And it has shaped what I believe is a particularly practical type of environmentalism and cynical if realistic view of things
You will no doubt hear more about my past in other blog postings as it has shaped my mind and as such will shape parts of what I write.
So here I am on day 31 and back in my home town. In many ways not much has changed. My father and the other men of the town primarily drive ute’s (pickups to my American friends). Community is still strong and when we where setting up for the event at the old Mill that is the only thing that makes this old town worth mentioning in the Australian Lonely Planet Guide people just help. My father uses his ute to move things around woma bake cakes. Children like me return from where ever they might be to help out.
My father’s land though a little smaller as he has sold an acre here and there to pay for trips to Europe is still productive. No cows any more but an abundance of vegetables, fruit, chickens and still a small flock of sheep. They cook with gas and use electric for hot water but the house is still heated with wood. They live well and very gently on the earth.
Community is still strong as emphasised when a neighbour dropped by this evening after I had arrived with a 20 litre bucket of green tomatoes as they had an excess and they know my mother makes awesome chutneys and preserves. Even now nothing much is wasted here.
My daughter loves this place and so do I, we will always come back.
So this is my 31st blog. I am surprised I go this far. I said at my first blog I was not sure how this would go.
I was not sure if I would have the discipline to write every day or have something to write about. I never intended for there to be many readers to start with but I invited a couple of people whose opinions I really valued and read my posts and said keep going. In time I have attracted a few people who seem to like what I write or at least some of it.
So where to from here? I have finished the goal I originally set myself but I am finding that I enjoy writing this blog. I have found some amazing blogs that I follow and the community here has some amazing people doing some amazing stuff. Basically I still want in!
So yes you will see another post tomorrow. You will probably not see a blog every day but I intend to keep blogging.
To keep myself motivated and to show I am committed have just signed up for www.iamnotanurbanhippie.com
Hopefully I can keep writing something that is meaningful to you all and I look forward to seeing hat you all have to say.