Today is our third day of being flooded in.
I’m lucky to live in a great community where people look out for and after each other.
The hill top I live on lies between two towns, one 20km to the east and one 16km to the west. Both roads are cut. There are perhaps 200 people who live up here on the mountain.
Neighbours are checking up on each other, having spontaneous working bees to help shore up each others dams, to help fill holes in driveways, dig trenches to divert water around homes, marking deep crevasses in the roads so others are aware of them, offers of food and gas. Although I think it is not just my local community where this happens - in times of need whether it’s a flood or some other event, people rise to the challenge. It brightens my heart, knowing that people are essentially good, there is always so much bad news in the media it can skew your thinking and make you think otherwise.
Today the creeks are still flooded; the roads are in a sorry state with big chunks missing, potholes a metre deep making the roads impassable for ordinary cars. Most people in 4WD’s were turning back when they saw the state of things but a few intrepid people made it to town for supplies, with shopping list of neighbours in hand. Funny how many of us are ruled by our addictions, I think the most common things people requested were beer, tobacco, coffee, chocolate… and of course food.
As well as the intrepid 4WD’ers Peace went into town today, on his mountain bike, carrying it through some of the deeper flooded creeks. He arranged one of the neighbours with a 4WD to deliver some groceries and then later turned up with a bottle of wine and a packet of cigarettes for me. (He knows me so well!)
Being isolated from “the rest of the world”, even just for a few days gets you thinking about stuff. I’ve been thinking about disasters and wastage and self-sufficiency and the future among other things.
Some of my thoughts…
All I need to survive are my family around me, some friends and community and good food.
How much I waste.
Like many people on a low income I live week to week, I usually shop on a Wednesday. The day before shopping day is a bit of a Mother Hubbard day. But we haven’t left the house since Monday and although I was initially worried, when I looked in the pantry there actually was food in there. Not the stuff we generally eat but with a bit of creative cookery and a few fresh herbs good food all the same.
Most of the vegetables I’ve used in the last couple of days would usually been chucked out when I brought more. The beetroots were a bit soft, the greens a lot wilted but the beetroot and black lentil Dahl I made was yum! Really got me thinking how much I throw in the bin at the end of the week, how conditioned I am to shopping for ‘more’. Right now I’m blessing the half-stale pack of weetbixs and the millet I hardly ever use.
It has also brought back many temporarily shelved thoughts on self sufficiency. By self sufficiency I don’t necessarily mean the ability to exist without society at all, in fact I’d rather not. I quiet enjoy modern technology and convenience but it made me realise how wonderful our farm was in South East Queensland.
I often think about that though, every week when I go vegetable shopping I sigh.
On our farm we were flooded in many times. And it didn’t matter how bare the cupboard was. We could rely on the chickens for eggs everyday. Even when it was a bit neglected the garden (depending on the time of year) always had pumpkins or sweet potatoes, cherry tomatoes, zucchinis, egg plants, basil, coriander, lettuce, broccoli, kale, cauliflower, onions, leeks, garlic, chives, rosemary, thyme.
We always had one variety of fruit in season; oranges, mandarins, lemonade fruit, passion fruit, kiwi fruit, strawberries, mulberries, tamarillo’s or watermelons.
Not to mention the bush tucker like Lillipillies, Midgims and Davidson’s plums or the weeds, dandelion, nodding top, wood sorrel, sorrel, sow thistle etc, and the pecan nuts, Macadamia nuts and Bunya nuts… No wonder I sigh at the fruit and veggie shop!
And there were the other things we’d planted that were yet to fruit; avocados, mangoes, lychees, bananas, pawpaws, blueberries, tangelos, coffee, olives, apples and pears.
Right now if there was a crisis situation, I think I’d survive a couple of weeks, maybe a month; and that would include catching and cooking up the wildlife!!!
But back on our farm we could have survived months, maybe even indefinitely. Sure, we’d have to live without coffee until our bush grew bigger but hey, all those shop brought convieniences like coffee, bread, packaged food are things we’d probably be better off without.
And it’s made me think about my future. In my future there will be a garden. For me there is nothing so relaxing, so centering and peaceful than having my hands in the dirt. I get off on picking veggies five minutes before I am going to cook them. I thrive on looking after chickens and making herbal concoctions from fresh herbs.
I don’t know yet how all this is going to happen but it will be a bigger and better garden than I ever created before. A wild, tangled permaculture food forest, neat, tidy beds of annuals, fruit trees, bush tucker, flowers and herbs, tree houses and shrubs and paths to follow and chickens and ducks and beauty…just beauty.