Highway Hell

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As it is my last day of Easter leave, I have been chilling out and doing a lot of reading. This one article in the Melbourne newspaper The Age got me thinking. It is titled "Stuck in our cars on the highway to hell". It describes the nightmare that is the transportation headache around Melbourne. Building new freeway tunnels and bypasses are not going to solve the problem. Our public transport   [Continue Reading …]

Flower Beds and Beer Philosophy

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I have been promising to plant out the fallow garden bed for a while, so today I put up a 2 metre trellis for the Sweet pea. I found the trellis behind our little shed, which was still in good condition, and hammered in two garden stakes for support then fixed the trellis with cable ties. It fits nicely at the end of the bed against the brick wall. I sowed about 15 seeds, and they should   [Continue Reading …]

Our Earth Hour

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We have just finished our Earth Hour in Melton, and we had a ball. We lit up every candle we could find, and wound up the dynamo torch about 15 minutes before 8pm and shuffled the UNO cards. At 8pm we dealt our first hand, and played UNO by candle light. Quite an experience, because you can't tell the blue cards from the green in candle light, so there was a lot of cheating going on. Ben (our   [Continue Reading …]

Planting Peas, Salad, and Pickling

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I have been a busy boy in the garden over the last few days. Friday I made some trellis out of some bamboo sticks I had previously used as tomato stakes. The trellis is for the Purple Podded peas (I saved the seeds from last season) and Snowpeas to grow up. They are a very simple construction, with four sticks in a pyramid shape and fastened at the top with a cable tie that I had spare. Then   [Continue Reading …]

Wilkins Ice Shelf and Denial

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What an extraordinary day for Planet Earth. Why, do you ask? Well a 415 square kilometre slab of the Wilkins ice shelf in Antarctica just broke off and is in the process degrading further. For those of you in the US, that is a piece 7 times larger than Manhattan Island! For those of us in Australia, it is larger than the size of Queensland's Gold Coast! Scientists have linked this phenomena   [Continue Reading …]

Presentation Night

Last night, I gave a presentation about Sustainable Living to the members of the Melton Rotary Club. I arrived at 6.10pm as the meeting started at 6.30pm. Thank goodness I arrived a little early, as the set-up of the projector, laptop and screen took about 10 minutes, and then I discovered that there was no power extension cord to connect the projector and the laptop to a very distant power   [Continue Reading …]

Winter planting and rain at last

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Yesterday, Adam, Ben and I started the plantings for this winter. But before we begun, I had a few things to do. Firstly a haircut and a beard trim! I was starting to look scruffy, and as I have a presentation to give at our local Rotary International Club about Sustainable Living. After my very nice self serve haircut with my 12 watt clippers, it was into the compost bin with the hair!Next, I   [Continue Reading …]

The Story of Stuff

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I just watched a 20 minute movie about consumerism, and how we use stuff.It was produced by a U.S. lady called Annie Leonard, and describes the way in which we use resources for our consumerist needs.The funny thing that struck me whilst watching the movie, was that it was all true, and explains in a simple way, what I have been going on about ad nauseum for what seems like ages in this blog.If   [Continue Reading …]

Preparing for Winter planting

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On Good Friday, it was all hands on deck to prepare the garden beds for planting. Adam, Ben and I got stuck into a good morning of hard work before planting on Monday, whilst Kim gave Butch a haircut. I had to pull Adam away from a riveting game of World of Warcraft so he could help me out. He was complaining about not being able to fight wizards in Azeroth, and about winning lots of epics or   [Continue Reading …]

Democracy in action

Last night, I was inspired to write a few letters to my local councillor about the lack of action regarding climate change in our shire, and to our state politicians about renewable energy feed-in tariffs.Here is the content of the local letter, and it was addressed from all 6 members of our household; Dear Councillor Rowan, As our local ward representative, we feel the need to write to you   [Continue Reading …]

Organic Pest and Weed Control

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As I attempt to grow my vegetables in line with organic farming principles, without artificial fertilisers and petrochemical pesticides or herbicides, sometimes after a really hot day my broccoli and other brassica get attached by cabbage moth caterpillars. You see, the heat makes the usually strong plants wilt and I don't know if they have an immune system like up, but I do know that this is when   [Continue Reading …]

Earth Hour

Earth Hour is taking place on a global scale this year and is being held on the 29th March 2008. After last years success in Sydney, the event has expanded to many more cities in Australia and across the planet. The event is a simple and symbolic one. The idea is to turn all of your lights, including the television and PC screens (after all they are lights too) for one hour starting at 8pm as a   [Continue Reading …]

Inspiration at last!

Before I start today, I must apologise if my last few posts have been a bit down in the dumps. Being in pain for most of the day doesn't help, neither does reading about the end of civilisation as we know it. I have promised Kim that from today onward, I will be more positive in my posts, as a depressed blogger is not a happy blogger. I am truly sorry.I started the day in a little pain and   [Continue Reading …]

Junk Mail

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What a blight on modern society! Junk mail in this country magically appears in your letterbox every day, and the volume seems to be getting larger every month. I now apologise to all distributors of unaddressed catelogues.Sorry, I don't want to buy your imported food special of the week. I don't care about the latest High Definition TV receiver. I don't want a bra that make my breasts look   [Continue Reading …]

An Excellent Visit

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On Labor Day afternoon we had the pleasure of being visited by our local Environment Education Officer, Linda Bradburn and Alan Pears. Alan holds the position of Senior Lecturer in Environment and Planning at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology University (RMIT). He teaches such things as;Energy Policy and Management (including links to urban development, transport, buildings, demand   [Continue Reading …]

Clean coal is a pipe dream

I am not very well today. My back has been playing up for the last few days so I won't be writing a long post.Those of you who live in Victoria will know that we use Brown Coal to generate most of our electricity needs. There are those in the coal industry who are trying to bamboozle the general public with the promise of clean coal. What a crock and a diversion. Lets spend more money on   [Continue Reading …]

Unplugged Day

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In early February I read about a movement starting in the U.S. called Unplug day. From what I understand the movement encourages others to turn off lights and appliances on a nominated day each month. The premise was not to save power but to bring people together! I thought that this was a wonderful idea, as the kids spend far too much time watching television and playing computer games. Sure,   [Continue Reading …]

Gav’s Eco Beer

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Everyone now knows that I love jam, however only a few people know that I also make my own beer. Beer consists of Malt derived from barley, Hops, Sugar, water and yeast. Homebrew beer is simple to make, is easy to store, and drink, and does not attract a tax excise in this country. I started making beer in 1992, but stopped producing when I moved to Melton West in 2000 for about seven years. I   [Continue Reading …]