Tag Archives | Household economy

Out to lunch

su-and-david-reading

Apologies if our phones and emails go unanswered. Apologies if we miss appointments, lunch dates and birthday parties. We are too busy reading the latest addition to the Melliodora Publishing family:

The Art of Frugal Hedonism: A guide to spending less while enjoying everything more

By Annie Raser-Rowland with Adam Grubb, authors of the hugely popular Weed Forager’s Handbook

The Art of Frugal Hedonism

About the book

A lot of stuff we spend money on actually makes life less enjoyable in the long run. And a lot of cheap and free stuff is very enjoyable indeed. So why choose the stuff that requires us to work all the time and get stressed about bank balances? The stuff that leads to looking in the mirror and seeing your dear face grown all puffy from too many pad Thai takeaways eaten mid-commute, because finding the energy to cook at the end of the day often feels impossible. To gazing at your house full of random possessions that seemed wonderful when you bought them but now seem to demand more care, organising, and storage space than you have the capacity for. To finding yourself at the gym, or maybe on the therapist’s couch, suspecting that you wouldn’t need to be there if you just had the time to sleep in more, or to go out dancing, like you’d love to.

“This is not a good scene!” declares the Frugal Hedonist, and opts for ditching some pricier habits and lifestyle expectations in favour of less stress. They focus their spending where it provides maximum bang per buck, and become connoisseurs of free pleasures. Then they kick back and reap the rewards.

What the heck are we talking about already? Let’s get example-y.

A Frugal Hedonist might often catch up with friends by taking a long walk together and raving about the week’s thoughts, rather than by buying drinks at a bar. They’ve noticed that the passing scenery adds just as much to the conversation as assessing the merits of the latest craft beer. They probably also go to bars now and again, but the simple act of frequently choosing the walk, means that over time layers of saved money and improved butt-tone add up to make the Frugal Hedonist enjoy other aspects of life more. Like being able to afford an extra week of unpaid holiday time over the summer, or wearing tight pants. And their friends associate them as much with the sound of birdsong or having seen a cloud in the shape of a gorilla doing push-ups, as with waking up with a blurry head and an empty wallet.

We could go on. But there’s a book that does that. It’s called… The Art of Frugal Hedonism.

“The freest and most contented people pretty much follow the advice in The Art of Frugal Hedonism.” ~ Clive Hamilton, author of Growth Fetish and co-author of Affluenza.

The Art of Frugal Hedonism is an absolute joy. It is good-natured not pious, humane not self-righteous and a guide to ethical living that makes the impossible possible. I am happy to make this my bible.” ~ Christos Tsiolkas, author of The Slap

“An invaluable harvest of tips oozing with hedonistic wit and wonder. Packed with ideas about why and how we are to live with less to ensure we have a hell of a lot more.” ~ Meg Ulman, co-author of The Art of Free Travel

“In an age that is obsessed with consumer trinkets and oblivious to waste, the philosophy of frugal hedonism provides a welcome and necessary antidote. The simplicity of this message is profound. Be frugal and be free.” ~ Samuel Alexander, co-director of the Simplicity Institute

Who is it for?

  • For people who want to reshape their spending for maximum pleasure and minimum pain.
  • For people who are already challenging cultural consumption assumptions, but would love a little backup now and again.
  • For anyone who gets a kick out of reading humorous writing (laced with a lot of nifty science) that inspires thoughts about the braver and better things in life.

You can read sample chapters and buy your copy here.

1

Putting the cult in permaculture

We have been implementing some big changes around here. So tired are we of the dominant culture, we have decided to build a giant, beautiful stone wall to separate us from the outside world. Yup, we’ve decided to put the cult into permaculture once and for all.

DSC00668

We have hired a gang of young thugs to help protect our perma-paradise.

IMG_5287

We have bribed a team of experts from the land of milk(wood) and honey to come and help grow food that will sustain us and nurture our soils.

IMG_5284
And to ensure diversity we have friends from afar growing food from our seed stock. Here is Cyrano with a prolific Syrian cucumber. Look closely and you will see that apparently it only needs itself to continue growing!

cuc seedlings in
We have spent thousands of hours hosting focus groups so we could come up with the perfect design for our new range of summer hats. We call it perma-couture.

IMG_5279

IMG_5233

Here is a photo taken with a spy camera of our top secret lab as we grow more prototypes of even weirder and more human-like hats that will eventually be grafted onto the wearers’ foreheads, for this ever-warming climate.

IMG_5236

We have invested thousands of dollars constructing technically complex and elaborate towers to help us protect our boundaries.

IMG_5256
We have taken advantage of the most advanced technology known to humanity to develop a fierce beast that will gobble all intruders, and their foliage.

Nick_Chia_xl
To help spread word of our cult’s principles and ethics, we have collected a team of co-conspirators to work on David’s forthcoming book.

IMG_5263

We have joined forces with undercover agent Mgee and his formidable task-force as they help spread our message through the means of subterfugal music, to help convert the young and the illiterate.

Grow Do It - Formidable Vegetable Sound SystemThey are launching their exciting new album Grow Do It this coming Friday at 7pm at the Daylesford Town Hall, if you’d like to come along. You can buy tickets here (or on the door), and the new album here.

 

FormidableVegDaylesfordAUG16

If you like what we are about and would like to be part of our collective, please come along on Friday night and join us. If you pass the dance initiation, you’re in. We’re fussy, but not that fussy.

3

Winter solstice update

Hello freezing cold weather. It’s 7˚C at the moment but the sun is shining and we’re happy to be busy outside.

Today Mitch pruned the feijoas, while also contemplating pruning his bushman’s beard.

IMG_5173

Looks like he’s decided to keep it, to keep his face warm while he works outside. Good idea!

IMG_5175

He then chipped his prunings and fed them back to the feijoas for arvo tea.

IMG_5185

We were visited last week by Daniel BeeShepherd who cycled over from Castlemaine. (Did you notice that he even has a jar of honey in his drink-bottle holder?)

IMG_5183

Here is another great photo of Daniel. As he says: “I’m very keen on human-powered transport and don’t own a car. I usually get around using a pushbike and trailer, including when I service the bees. Permaculture has been a big influencing factor for me and I try to incorporate its principles into every aspect of my life.”

me-with-bike-trailer
We have been falling in love with fungi, as we do every year at this time. Here is a spore print of a field blewit (Lepista spp.) we found down towards the gully.

IMG_5193

We have been preparing for Kirsten, Nick and Ashar to come and live here.

IMG_5200

And we have been taking advantage of the colder weather to go through old things and unearthed this photo of Su from the late 80s. What a glamorous permie babe!

IMG_5204

We are helping organise a course at Fryers Forest. If you’d like to learn more about natural building and low impact construction, please come along. Bookings essential.

Hamishcourse

Richard Telford took the following photo of David, Terry White, Ian Lillington and Carol McDonough at the Permaculture Australia AGM in Castlemaine over the weekend.

The award is not for the best hat, but the United Nations Association of Australia World Environment Day Award given to Castlemaine for being the Community of the Year in 2008. Carol accepted it on behalf of the town in 2008 and has been looking after it ever since. On the weekend she handed it on and presented it to Terry as the most worthy person to be custodian of it. As part of his acceptance speech, Terry gave a talk about the origins of the permaculture journal and permaculture association that he started in Maryborough in 1978, that were the precursor of Permaculture Australia, the only national permaculture body in Australia.

DSCF5296_l
That’s it from us for now. Just a reminder that there are just over three weeks before submissions close for the Venie Holmgren Environmental Poetry Prize.

Happy Hibernal Solstice to you all!

1

Persimmons, pumpkins and permie dancing

With the corn we harvested and shucked in March, we cooked up a delicious feast of tortillas.

IMG_5044We dug up potatoes to store for winter,

IMG_5049

and relocated naughty runaway artichokes.

IMG_5088

We exhaled deep sighs of relief with the coming of the rain,

IMG_5093

and we farewelled Lori, who returned to the US. Lori, pictured here with this season’s latest fashion, the scarf biologique, is our last MIAOW (Melliodora Interns and Other Workers) for a while. Ordinarily we don’t take MIAOWs over the winter, though we do start booking people in to come and stay from September onward. This year we are taking an extended break from our usual MIAOW scheduling as we look forward to settling the Milkwood crew in to their new digs in early July.

Lori_Maola

We heartily welcomed these gorgeous visitors with their generous box of shroomy delights. Thanks Tess and Oliver!

IMG_5055

Last month, the R/1 students from the Yorketown Area School in South Australia created a book of drawings for Charlie Mgee after listening to his music during their Science, Literacy and Music lessons. Charlie received this book at the Food Forest in SA where David was teaching at this year’s PDC.

Charlie and David

As we hung up the last of our tomato vines to ripen

IMG_5106

we welcomed the onset of citrus season and look forward to rereading Morag Gamble’s great post on Ways to Use Abundant Mandarins (fruit & peel).

IMG_5099

Autumn really is the season of giving thanks. Here is Su with the gorgeous Kat Lavers exchanging persimmons for pumpkins. Thanks Kat! You made Su sooooooo happy.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

We had another visitor join us here in Hepburn. Woody from Artist as Family came and spent the day being the apprentice’s apprentice. Your care and gentleness was much appreciated, Mitch,

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAas were your awesome dance moves.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Thanks too for taking this photo of this morning’s frost, the first big one for the season.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Thanks to Hamish and Christian, too, for their work building the stone wall on the east side of the house. It’s looking so good!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OK. That’s enough chit chat. It’s been fun and all but we’d better get back to work. Hope you are working hard and dreaming big, filling your barrows with pleasures accumulated and shared.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

If you are considering writing a poem for the Venie Holmgren Environmental Poetry Prize, our inbox still has plenty of room. Entries close July 15 so there’s still lots of time.

0

Build it, chop it, grow it, pick it, preserve it

It’s not much to look at, we know, but we wanted to start this post with a blank canvas: the exciting possibility of the empty page, a timely reminder to observe

blankcanvas

and interact:

wall

There has been much observing these last few weeks, looking around to see what we could use for a retaining wall. Hello willow. Thanks so much to Mitch, the current Melliodora apprentice, for this fantastic series of photos:

woodchop2

woodchop3

woodchop4

woodchop5

woodchop6

woodchop7

woodchop8

woodchop9

woodchop10

This week we welcomed Lori who will be MIAOWing with us for three weeks. Lori did her PDC at Bullock’s Permaculture Homestead in Orcas Island, Washington and has been an active member of the Seattle Permaculture Guild. Lori says that her vision for the future is to infiltrate the mainstream education system and inject it with permaculture. “My goal is to bring this message to young people in a way that inspires them to perpetuate it.” We hope you reach your goal Lori!

Lori

With Lori’s help we picked olives

olive1

olive2

olive3

olive4

cut and dehydrated feijoas, and scooped out their sherbety flesh to freeze them.

feijoafreeze

We made kraut,

krautspelt sourdough

speltbread

and fresh goats cheese.

cheesethreeweeks

And we looked up. We gave thanks for the rain, the falling leaf mulch, and the kiwi chandeliers.

kiwis

0

Singing our autumn song

We are happy to report that feijoa season is officially open here in central Victoria. Hooray! A special big thanks to the rosellas for leaving us some on the ground to harvest. If you live nearby come on down on Wednesday afternoon. We’ll have some to purchase for $4 a kilo.

feijoas

We’d love to say that we have excess quinoa and cherry guavas to share too, but this season we just have enough for home use.

mitch and james quinoa

cherry guavas

While we thank the rosellas, the white-winged choughs stand by awaiting their praise for doing such a neat job digging up the garden and everything we’ve just planted.

choughs

As a guard against beak and wind, and to later use as stakes, we left half the corn stalks in place and planted the broadbeans alongside them.

planting broadbeans

We received a copy of a new book just released in Chile – a permaculure book for children.

IMG_4829

We spent some time off-site, helping to build a house in the community of Fryers Forest.

strawbale building“Yep, let’s put the swimming pool over here.”

gully abyss

We also undertook some earthworks of our own, removing a crumbling stone wall so we can reconstruct another sturdier one.

wall1

wall2

We also had some larger earthworks done, to dig out the nutrient-rich silt from the goose pond while it’s empty.

earthworks1

earthworks2

We shovelled the thick mud to use for various projects

earthworks3including to help repair a leaky dam in the gully

earthworks4and beautify our persons.

earthworks5Exhausted and satisfied, we sat down to share a meal together.

colourful lunchSome of us snoozed peacefully in the hot house,

asleep in hot house

while some of us embraced one another out of comfort and a deep need to express our abundant love.

orgy of pumpkins

0

Milkwood to Melliodora

Photo by Artist as Family

It is with much anticipation and excitement that we share with you the news that Kirsten, Nick and Ashar from Milkwood Permaculture in Kiama will be coming to live here at Melliodora.

In mid-Winter this year, they will be farewelling their friends, family and networks and will be heading our way to do a 12-month residency in permaculture living and homesteading. We reckon we all have a lot to share and learn from each other.

As they write so beautifully on their website:

We’ve found that there’s nothing stronger than a collaborative force, whatever the challenge. Our planet is at tipping point and our role is to help in whatever way we can, and to create momentum by helping other organizations do the same.

We look forward to welcoming you, Nick, Kirsten and Ashar – don’t forget to bring your woollies! xx

milk plus wood

Milk plus wood

4

Melliodora meanderings

We woke to the possibilities of a brand new day.

IMG_0938

We repaired the small jetty to inspire the rain gods.

IMG_0918

We shared food with loved ones.

IMG_0940

We cleaned windows.

IMG_0954

We harvested amaranth.

IMG_0944

We marvelled at the colour and tenacity of self-sown seeds.

IMG_1024

We welcomed three new MIAOWs (Melliodora Interns and Other Workers). This is James. James completed a permaculture course at Ceres in Melbourne and says he is passionate about nature, organic/bio-dynamic agriculture and working in harmony with the land.

IMG_1033

This is Thierry. Thierry is a Canadian WWOOFing around Australia. He did his PDC at the Noosa Forest Retreat with Geoff Lawton. ‘Lately,’ he says, ‘I have been very interested in landscape designing, like the keyline system. This has brought an increased interest on my part in permaculture and the practices and methods used in this type of agriculture.’

IMG_1035

And this is Michele. Michele is from Italy and did his PDC with Saviana Parodi in a lovely Italian eco-village.

IMG_1037

We admired the abundance of life and death and how they cohabitate so beautifully this time of year.

IMG_1042

We had a PDC teacher training get together with Dave Jacke.

IMG_1059

We finished rebuilding the little jetty.

IMG_1058

And we cleared our schedule for this Thursday to make room for an exciting day of events:

LandCultures_jpeg_l

0

Busy lil bees

The quinoa is finally ready so Mitch and Sanami spend a morning harvesting. Mitch has spent much time in Japan since 2002 and is happy to be able to practice his Japanese, impressing all of us.

quinoa harvesting

Sanami is one of the MIAOWs (Melliodora Interns and Other Workers) currently working, learning and sharing with us. She has been in Australia for two months. Before Melliodora she was helping out at Birrith Birrith.

sanami
Sanami and Anna have been up to all kinds of wonderful mischief including cutting up the last of the apples to dehydrate in our fancy dehydrator ie. up on the roof.

apple dehydrating

Anna, also a MIAOW, has a PDC and has spent time at the Permaculture Research Institute. Anna used to work in Melbourne as a wind engineer where she designed wind farms and wind monitoring campaigns, but now likes to spend her time immersing herself in the sensuality of soil.

IMG_0908

We have been harvesting the last of our corn this week. Drying some for seed and cooking

corn shucking

and blanching some before freezing it for use over the winter months.

corn blanching

We have successfully experimented cooking in a GoSun stove that was gifted to us.

solar cooking

solar cooker

We netted the fig trees, though sadly we lost kilos and kilos as it rained (hooray!) and the water penetrated them causing them to ferment on the trees. Fig chutney anyone?

fig nets

We encouraged people to boycott shopping at the supermarket by setting up our table of bulk food on the same day as people come by to collect their veggie boxes.

bulk food

And when we needed some quiet we sat down to the meditative task of separating grains, as a bag of flax seeds had been contaminated with wild oats.

quiet work

We had a meeting with Annie Raser-Rowland and Adam Grubb to discuss their exciting new project.

Annie and Meg

We started work on rebuilding a jetty for the dam.

building jetty

And before the cooler months start, we harvested the honey from the hives. 117kg so far from 7 hives.

SuMitchBees

su bees

anna david honey

sanami honey

That’s it from us for now. We hope all is deliciously sticky and sweet in your lives too.

2

The home economy

Ta da! Kamut bread fresh out of the wood oven ready for lunch. We’re all starving today, having built up quite an appetite.

Su bread

We’ve been harvesting pears, nashis and apples and are now removing the nets from all the trees.

net removal

Above left is Taron. Taron’s been spending every Tuesday here at Melliodora since he was 4 years old. Don’t you wish that your parents had arranged such schooling for you when you were growing up? We look forward to watching him continue to mature into a wise, thoughtful, creative and healthful young man.

Taron

We’ve been marvelling at the colours of the quinoa plants, waiting for their leaves to drop so we can harvest the seeds. Did you know that you can eat the young leaves of the quinoa plant, too?

Quinoa

We’ve been tending to the seeds we planted a week ago, as they slowly and miraculously grow into our winter veggies. On this tray Mitch holds leek, cabbage, beetroot, cauliflower and broccoli.

Mitch

We’ve been harvesting corn, which we are now drying to cook and make into tortillas, and to save as seed for next year.

corn

And we’ve been having meetings with our accountant who assures us that our home economy is in great shape. David adds, “This home-based and community way of life with more exchange and less money is healthier and more fun at the same time in that it builds household resilience and community connection. The big surprise for some is that it might be the most effective political action we can take to create the world we want and stop supporting the world we don’t.” If you’re interested in reading more of David’s writings on the issue of the household economy you might be interested in his essay, Household economy counts, originally published in#123 of Arena magazine.

Leunig

OK, let’s eat. Please, come and sit with us a while as we talk and gobble and share stories. There’s a spare plate next to me. Itadakimasu!

lunch

 

6