Permaculture in Action

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Family Affairs

I went to visit my mum today.She is 88 and lives in a nursing home. I try to visit her every Sunday but can't always make it. I haven't seen mum for 2 weeks and I noticed a big difference in her - she is becoming increasingly fragile, very quickly.

Mum grew up between the two world wars as did my dad. They came from an age where houses were small and backyards were big -most housing blocks in those days were 1/4 acres. And families grew most of their food- my mum's family actually had a poultry "farm" in their backyard. They had large sheds where the hens could scratch around on the ground and choose to nest in laying boxes from which they could return to the ground once their egg was laid. Eggs were taken to the market daily to be sold. They also sold roosters for meat.
Vegetables were grown in this backyard and mum often told us how it was her job every morning to take the milking cow to the common each day to be tethered.Then brought home each evening to be milked. All on 1/4 acres. My father's story was very similar but without the large poultry concern -they just had a handful of chooks for their own use.
When my parents were married they started a business together and worked 7 days a week working as well as raising 5 children. There was no time for vegie gardens or home making activities. So although we were well cared for and ate really well we were not brought up growing food,preserving the harvest etc. These skills I've had to learn as I've married and had children of my own. I know that I am not the only one, and that there is a whole lot of skills to be relearned by following generations.
As I move more and more towards an earth friendly lifestyle I have had to learn many skills.
We cook all our meals and snacks from scratch and create them around what we having growing, we make our own cheese, yoghurt and bread.We make our own laundry liquid.Our gifts are homemade from some craft or other.
All these things my parents and grandparents did out of necessity. We do it for the sake of the planet and because it is so rewarding and fulfilling; so much fun and we feel very content at the end of a long day!
We need to consume less and produce more of what we need and not be dependant on others. We need to take back our responsibility
.Mark here with one of my "gems" as Kate will call them. I have spent a great day with my brother who has called in from Queensland with his partner Bernie and we have been fitting a gas heater to their caravan. They are travelling around to see Australia since they retired and find the lower part of the country a little chilly after living in Queensland. It has been a great day of problem solving and tradesmanship, which neither of us get much chance for since I now farm and he is retired. Bernie has cooked the dinner with Kate's guidance as they are not vegetarian and were keen to prepare the meal. It was a great enchilada made with tofu and flat-breads but I don't think we have a photo so it might have to be a rain-check on the pictorial till Kate makes it again in the future.
Families are a precious thing and we need to foster their continuance as best we can. We are blessed with a family surrounding us and the benefits and trials they bring.

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