Mottainai is a Japanese term conveying a sense of regret concerning waste. The expression "Mottainai!" can be uttered alone as an exclamation when something useful, such as food or time, is wasted. Long term readers will know by now that if there is one thing that I hate, it is waste. Very few things are wasted here, and that my dear readers, is a lifestyle choice. Rarely will you hear me utter "
Away from this farm, our society conducts itself very differently. Recently a visitor attempted to leave a heavy duty plastic bag here. It was a very nice plastic bag after all, but neither the editor or I wanted it, so we firmly asked the visitor to take it back with them. The visitor looked confused and perplexed by the request, but they did take the plastic bag with them.
Waste has been on my mind of late, because one of Australia's major trading partners - China - no longer accepts our recycling waste. We used to send huge volumes of waste (600,000 tonnes every year) to China to be apparently recycled. That act made us all feel really good and it was cheap. However, now that the recycling waste is no longer accepted there, we appear to be at a complete loss as to what to do about it. Some states of Australia have come up with what appear to be ingenious strategies to dump waste interstate, which could have been treated locally. I read about one such scheme the other day: Duped at the dump: Recycling rort as the truth is buried. This is probably not a good use of technology. I hope the people involved are exclaiming "Mottainai!" as they pull that trick? Perhaps not...
The story gets more exciting, because I happen to live in one of two shires that has had their recycling collections suspended: Waste collection suspended in two Victorian shires as recycling crisis deepens. How exciting is that! To be honest, because I do not use those services I haven't really noticed any difference, but I do feel that it is only a matter of time before people in the surrounding townships decide to dump their rubbish up here in the forest. That is not a good thing, and I doubt very much whether those cheeky scamps will be uttering "Mottainai!" as an apology to the forest as they dump their rubbish from a moving vehicle in the dark of the night.
As it stands, the recycling system as we knew it is now over. As the band Crowded House sang in a break up song: "Don't dream, it's over". Brutal words, but so true. I tend to feel that a more appropriate song may be: Alex Lahey's genius song, 'I haven't been taking care of myself'. The word in the newspapers is that the local council rates will have to be substantially increased in order to cover the additional costs for doing something (although I have no idea what that is) with all of this recycling waste material. At the moment, I believe they are storing the stuff and just hoping for the best. Such strategies are sure to work! Maybe.
In all of the newspaper reports about this subject there was only the vaguest reference as to why the Chinese have stopped accepting our 600,000 tonnes of recycling waste materials every year. I'd have to suggest that they probably don't want all that rubbish in their backyards, but the one minor mention in the newspaper reports was that our waste streams are not particularly pure. In less technical terms that means that we mix up rubbish types together in our recycling streams, so that it becomes very difficult to make any practical use of the waste materials. And so now we are going to pay a lot of mad cash just to feel good about recycling.
Everyone needs an ancient and long dead military genius to focus their minds on strategy. I happen to be a fan of Sun Tzu who wrote the treatise 'The Art of War'. It is a good book, and I thoroughly recommend it. Sun Tzu was tough as nails, sharp as a tack, and utterly ruthless. With the recycling debacle, I can't help but hear his words whispering in my mind from down the millennia. And those words implore the reader to:
"If the enemy be at rest in comfortable quarters, harass him; if he be living in plenty, cut of his supplies; if sitting composedly awaiting attack, cause him to move."
From my perspective, it looks as if we are soon to be paying for the full costs (and then some) for handling our waste materials. Of course, I'd be more hopeful about the situation if I heard anyone at all suggesting that we have to change our ways utterly so that we do not produce, or do not accept this waste in the first place. That won't happen, but it sounds good doesn't it?
When I was a kid, I remember clearly that milk was delivered in glass bottles. Those glass bottles were returned, cleaned, refilled with milk, and then delivered again. My mind is telling me that the only way to move forward with this waste situation is to look backwards and see what worked in the past. Until then, I only hope that locals from nearby townships don't dump too much rubbish up here in the forest. At least they may proclaim "Mottainai!" as they do so. Maybe...
The past six weeks here have been sunny and dry. Despite the lack of rain, we still have plenty of water stored (60% full) and the vegetables still get their daily ten minutes of watering. Those sorts of weather conditions are perfect for tomatoes and we are now almost finished dehydrating a years supply of tomatoes in olive oil. Yum!
|We are almost finished dehydrating the years supply of tomatoes which we store in olive oil|
We began excavating out a site to place yet another rock gabion. The rock gabions are used to retain the soil on the terrace used to grow potatoes in steel round raised garden beds. You can see a steel rock gabion cage in the next photo (behind Mr Toothy).
|Before the excavations. That tree is huge compared to Mr Toothy!|
|About half of the space required for a new rock gabion cage was excavated|
We also used some of the soil to correct the slope on the path in front of the wood shed. As we were loading firewood into the wood shed it became obvious that the slope was too severe and it would have to be corrected.
|The path in front of the wood shed was corrected with soil relocated from the rock gabion excavation site|
Speaking of correcting things, we added an additional concrete step to one of the existing staircases in the garden. This staircase finished next to the 'Poopy-quat' fruit tree. Long term readers will know what I mean by that!
|An additional concrete step was added to the staircase which finishes next to the Poopy-quat|
Other produce is also bottled (canned) and we have a good supply of pickles and onions in white vinegar. We have grown so many cucumbers that the chickens have been enjoying two every day for the past few weeks. Chickens love cucumber!
|The last of the cucumbers.|
The bright yellow trailer is being used to bring up mushroom compost (horse manure and stable straw) which is used to refill the many raised vegetable beds.
|The bright yellow trailer brings up a cubic metre (1.3 cubic yards) of mushroom compost|
The cucumber bed was cleared this week, and it now sports broccoli seedlings.
|The cucumber bed was cleared this week, and it now sports broccoli seedlings|
Mottainai! No, seriously. Long term readers will recall that I replaced the very dodgy 'leather' (that was not quite leather as you know it) couch with a bright red serviceable and locally made couch which we picked up on eBay because someone else no longer wanted it. Well, the original leather couch was a manufacturing abomination. It might even be possible to suggest that the thing was broken from the factory because the 'leather' cracked and then continued to crack further, and then to add insult to injury, underneath the leather was not leather, but a synthetic backing. The leather in this instance was made from scraps of leather which are somehow joined and attached to a synthetic backing.
The reason I exclaimed: Mottainai! is because you cannot give these things away once the cracking has begun in earnest. We sought quotes to reupholster the couch, but that process costs more than a new replacement couch. What to do with the couch? Well, we have been dismantling it and reusing parts of it. It looks a bit worse for wear:
|The manufacturing abomination is now being dismantled|
The foam has been very useful for Ollie the cattle dog who seems to want to destroy his bedding. We insert the foam into hessian sacks which are a waste product from a business that I know. When combined, they make great dog beds, and I can get enough hessian sacks for free, that surely Ollie cannot destroy all of them? Maybe?
|Ollie's new recycled bedding|
I discovered the other day that it is a very unwise decision to have an afternoon nap, after a hot mornings work, on the floor in the living room. As I was asleep, the editor sneakily took these photos of the dogs activity:
|Mr Toothy the interceptor adds yet another Fluffy!|
|Scritchy the boss dog checks out what all the fuss is about!|
The continuing dry weather is bringing a huge diversity of wildlife onto the farm for a feed and a drink of water. The other day I spotted this young kangaroo:
|A young kangaroo drops by for a feed and a drink of water|
It is getting late! Onto the flowers:
|Caryopteris 'Worcester Gold' - I had to look that one up!|
|A Gaillardia I planted a week or two ago (despite the heat and dry weather)|
|Salvia + Lavender + Geranium - all flowering without water|
|This cactus was attacked by a wallaby a long time ago, but the cactus is fighting on|
|Check out the honey eater in this silver banksia|
The temperature outside now at about 10.00pm is 12’C (54’F). So far this year there has been 109.8mm (4.3 inches) which is the same as last week's total of 109.8mm (4.3 inches).