Friday, 11 March 2011

Homesteading and home schooling

Top. The Ulbrich Orchestra

2. The Homestead

3. Bottled fruit

4. Willoma weaving

5. The axeman at work

6. The control centre

7. Tara spinning home dyed wool

8. Wood fired sourdough bread

My intention had been to tour a large part of Tasmania, but I got no further than Deloraine in the central north area. It is my sort of ideal town: small; 3,000, beautiful, a really strong community spirit, with the largest craft fair in the Southern Hemisphere, 2 music festivals for this year, a co-op., local shops (not clone), very matey, red neck, hippie and retirees from the mainland, all of this surrounded by the Great Western Tiers, an area of great natural beauty. I stayed in the area for nearly three months, with the above as my last home stay for the 2010-2011 Wwoofing season (Willing Workers on Organic Farms), a scheme with some work in return for board and friendship.

I had never stayed with home schooling hosts before in my eleven years of doing this sort of thing, and was most pleasantly surprised at the parents and family. Amazing what can be achieved by dedicated parents in all aspects of child development: social, academic and creative. The children were all very articulate, as well as quisical on everything. Skillfully taking part in all areas of running the household, but no slouching on the academic, either. They participate in local sports, clubs and adventure. None of the usual mobile phones, computer games, junk food, fashions, or being bored. A model for others to follow.

I learned how to make and bake sourdough bread in a wood fired oven, to bottle fruit, (which I had done centuries ago when helping my mother in those make do, honest post-war days), also my wood splitting skills and stacking were honed. Also I learned how to weave. To drink rain water at all my recent stays makes me loath to drink English tap water on my return. To live a more simple life with wonderful people in a pristine environment was so memorable.

I expect to be back in the UK for the spring of 2011 and the forwarding of its clocks, thus having two springs and two summers in twelve months!

Monday, 7 March 2011

Bridge building

The recent tirrential rains and flooding washed out the
bridge to John's house. It is on private land, the cost of rebuilding professionally would be prohibitive. So. the oly answer was diy. Being a real community costs were minimised, mainly the cost of feeding the woofers. Max and Greg, his son, felled the trees (niton eucylaptus), and used their tractor to put them onto a trailer for the two km journey. It took just over a week of hard work and clever inginuity from John to complete the task. Men and women joined in, with never more than four at any one one time working. There are three concrete piers with two logs

spanning the length of the bridge. Screws bolted old railway sleepers to the log base.

Top. Trees for felling
2. Max trimming logs
3. First half of the bridge
4. John, Veronika and Marina, on 2nd span.
5. Almost complete