Whole Larder Love » Grow. Gather. Hunt. Cook.

 

There comes a time when you realise that your life has real purpose. I took me sometime to get there. All those years I was starving my soul, my spirit or what ever you want to call the subconscious of emotions. I spend much time thinking about life, and equally thinking of death. I don’t know why I do, I just do. I’m surrounded by evidence of both. I guess I could have my eyes closed, I could dismiss the things I see, but I cannot. Observing all the details of nature’s system is just a part of me.

Some mornings I walk the dog up and over the hill. We steam up the mountain, I pant, pushing myself in an effort to improve my fitness. With my clumsy arms waving in a hurried motion, I pass evidence of both life and death. Ahead plump rabbits will scurry for cover, ravens and magpies craw and squawk in their ugly manner, eagles and hawks graceful in glide, wings and feathers stretched out like fingers. At my feet animals lay dead, hit by speeding cars. The remains of their once magnificent bodies gorged open often lying in horrid pose, disfigured by the event of their death. Grasses dry from the harshness of summer, display a pale tan hue, whilst neighbouring paddocks glow green from constant irrigation. There is no escaping all these signs of both life and death.

I follow the track home. Most mornings in summer I head straight to the patch to water the plants. Again it’s there, signs of life, of nature. Green aromatic leaves on healthy tomato bushes, bright yellow zucchinis in flower, climbing beans twist and tangling their way up towards the heavens. It’s a world that makes sense to me.

When I see my daughters in that world I feel very happy. When we pick some food to cook, I make sure I take some time to give thanks to what I have. Where I am. I don’t say it out loud, I mumble away in my head.

When I leave that natural world, when I head to a city or a large town, I’m witness to an amazing contrast. I am not going to explain what that contrast is. But it’s obvious. I know we can’t all live in happy land, where nature abounds, fluffy happy rabbits sing songs of  joy and birds rest on our shoulders to whisper sweet nothings in our ears. I’m aware that cites are cities, and that not everyone in them has access to nature. I do however believe that little elements of that stunning natural world can be identified, nurtured and cherished. Those little elements of nature that have powers to mesmerise us, to enchant us, to make us ponder.

I am not a man that is backwards in being forward. Often I lack the patience for politeness, and I’ll say what’s on my mind. Lately I’ve been displaying signs of anger and frustration. I make no apologies for that. There is the potential for a beautiful world out there. Tear away that curtain of bullshit, wash off the stains of fruadulant living, celebrate that real world that has been providing for us since we’ve existed.  This is why I’m angry. Because I can see that beautiful world being treated like a 2 bit whore. I see the unnecessary, the extravagant. I’m sure you can too. Do we ignore it or look away? Or do we examine it, be intrigued by it? Question it? Do we simply accept it as it is, a reality as harsh as that gruesomely twisted carcass by the roadside? I choose to make change. For the sake of that child of mine, that innocent child rummaging in the leaves of that natural world, that real world, where she searches for her dinner.

 

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  • February 13, 2014 - 3:35 am

    Robbie - I, too, Rohan hint of anger. (I won’t say it under my breath) The Lord has been good to me; he’s made it so we can keep our kids home with us and we all get an education. I can’t fathom the selfish nature of most Americans, nee Texans.

    I like your posts and wish I could leave the “civilization” I’m in right now to a more rural setting – to become less reliant on where to we’ve progressed, and more on community. Thanks for sharing, RobbieReplyCancel

  • February 13, 2014 - 3:43 am

    Margaret | Destination Here&Now - Leave your money on the bed. Use her, abuse her and walk away without looking over your shoulder. It’s a really powerful metaphor Rohan. And it’s so fucking true.ReplyCancel

    • February 13, 2014 - 3:50 am

      Margaret | Destination Here&Now - And PS. For what it’s worth I like that you ask the hard questions and get angry at times. It can be confronting but it shines a light on our behaviours, particularly with regard to food. You sow the seeds of change Rohan. Where they fall you can’t control but some are taking root and slowly taking hold. In our house anyway.ReplyCancel

  • February 13, 2014 - 3:44 am

    James - YES. Cant wait to start the cold frames here. 10eReplyCancel

  • February 13, 2014 - 4:06 am

    Rich - It’s such an art to live in this culture and show passion for real living without being seen as judgemental or disconnected from someone else’s reality.
    Your writing comes across without the harsh judgement and seeks to answer the why behind the actions and the questions below the questions.
    Love it.ReplyCancel

  • February 13, 2014 - 4:08 am

    G Morgan - Amen, brother! We fight together.ReplyCancel

  • February 13, 2014 - 7:24 am

    Gaz - Western civilization is a loaded gun pointed at the head of this planet.

    It’s clearly a crisis of two things: of consciousness and conditioning. We have the technological power, the engineering skills to save our planet, to cure disease, to feed the hungry, to end war; But we lack the intellectual vision, the ability to change our minds. We must decondition ourselves from 10,000 years of bad behavior. And, it’s not easy.
    Terence MckennaReplyCancel

    • February 13, 2014 - 7:31 am

      rohan - Beautifully said.ReplyCancel

    • February 13, 2014 - 11:06 am

      Russell - I’m a bit more pessimistic than Terence. (OK, a lot.) “It’s not easy” is the understatement of all time. The bullet left the muzzle 10,000 years ago, its trajectory finalised there and then. It’s now inches away from the target and I doubt anyone can blow hard enough to deflect it.

      People have been trying for half a century but the unfolding of the crisis has simply accelerated.ReplyCancel

  • February 13, 2014 - 9:53 am

    Kate - This is beautifully written Rohan… In the way you can see, smell, breath in everything you’re experiencing in the country. Makes the final moments all the more real too. I miss living in the country… Thanks for your posts/ emails/ instagrams ! Am fwd this partic one on.
    KateReplyCancel

  • February 13, 2014 - 11:24 am

    Leisa - Well said
    You are so right…ReplyCancel

  • February 13, 2014 - 12:49 pm

    lisa | renovating italy - It’s voices like yours Rohan that shine a light on the good life, your little girl in the veggie patch, the walks with arms swinging, noticing your world and sharing it here. I have no doubt at all that the life we are creating for our children (and ourselves) is the right move, out of the suburbs of Queensland to the wild mountains of Italy.

    We now live on so much less and get so much more, and I especially see this for our son Luca who has high functioning autism. All of a sudden he is blossoming, he is in a tiny village school which is high on hugs and praise, previously he was always going to be ‘not good enough’ and unable to ‘keep up with his peers’…at last he is learning to read (aged nine). We only need a small amount to live well here, our kids are learning in the school of life xx

    I have never seen life and death the way I do here, it’s right in your face, we were invited to make the salami, butcher the pig, see the feathers of the chickens killed for that nights dinner, get eggs fresh from our chickens, growing rabbits for the pot, eating veggies from our own garden, it’s wonderful, not a hardship at all in fact the reverse. If I’d have known this I would have done it years ago, and as you say even in the city it’s possible to grow something, join a community garden, buy food from local markets, buy less and live more. Sorry you always get me enthused with life….what a gift you have!!

    ciao from lisa and family xReplyCancel

  • February 13, 2014 - 9:34 pm

    Luke - Go for holiday in the urewera mountains in nz itll be great for you to meet likemindednessReplyCancel

  • February 14, 2014 - 1:50 am

    A greengrocer’s granddaughter | destinationhereandnow.com - […] I saw this quote from the beautiful Lisa Chiodo at Renovating Italy this morning in the comment section on Whole Larder Love. […]ReplyCancel

  • February 14, 2014 - 4:15 am

    kate - I couldn’t agree more. Cheers to you for finding your purpose! I’m in the midst of finding mine right now. (=ReplyCancel

  • February 14, 2014 - 8:43 am

    Ally - Thanks for your posts Rohan. I usually read them and then pass the computer over to my husband and he re-reads it and then we comment on how refreshing it is to be challenged and to think more deeply about the way we do things and why. So, thank you! There are not many people around who say things as they see it without being worried too much about upsetting others and this is a very brave and courageous quality you have and we appreciate it very much … so, thank you! And enjoy those morning walks, they sounds like a perfect way to start the day.ReplyCancel

  • February 14, 2014 - 10:21 pm

    Rustic Italian Living Room – Inspirations - […] Within the blogging world I find many voices I resonate with, another of these is Rohan from Whole Larder Love. I left a comment on his blog and it in turn inspired Margaret to write something extending this […]ReplyCancel

  • February 18, 2014 - 2:21 am

    Mountain :: Found - Never uninspired here: never!
    Thank you, KerryReplyCancel

For most people in Australia there are two places where the majority of food are purchased. Coles and Woolworths. Sure there are a few other places but even blind Freddy can see this powerful duopoly has the food market well and truly cornered.

For those people in Melbourne that are fed up but want to be well fed, I offer you our veg boxes as an alternative. They’re full of fresh picked organic produce. Its an alternative option if you wish not to support major corporations. You instead are supporting Farmer Rod who is close to retirement. You’re supporting my family by providing as with income. Your supporting your body by fuelling it with real food. And you’re supporting the ideals of a better world, where we eat food grown close to our city, food thats grown organically and naturally. The veg box system is very simple. You order online, it gets picked and delivered to four drop off points in Melbourne, you then take it home, wash it and eat it.

I know you’re out there.

I know you give a shit about good food. I appreciate your love but we need your support. Please tell your mum, your dad, your brothers and sisters, your friends and enemies and your local school crossing lady. Use the most powerful tool you have, social media. Spread the word. Tell them about this food option.

We can only continue to deliver this alternative of non duopoly food with your support. Two weeks ago I delivered the boxes to just over 20 families. I’ can’t continue to operate on such low numbers, it will barley cover van hire and fuel to the city. Please help us.

Much Love.

 

Ro

 

The veg boxes contain food grown in the rich red volcanic soil of the central highlands. Its the beginning of the high growing season so even though there is good variety on the boxes now, it will improve as the season continues. You will currently find our boxes will contain a mix of, zucchini, broccoli, carrot, cucumber, cabbage, cauliflower, potato, kale, chard, lettuce, turnip, parsnip, beetroot, and soon to be included corn, tomato, pumpkin and fruit such as apples, pears and plums (pending availability). The retail price is $55 which covers delivery and overheads and staff payment.  Its good value for a box of certified organic vegetables. 

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  • February 11, 2014 - 12:52 am

    Andrew - Hi Rohan,

    Thanks for the prompt, I’ve just placed an order for this weekend coming.

    I dont’ know if there is any demand out there for a smaller box -say enough fruit and veg for a couple for the week? It could be half the size perhaps? This would definitely be an attractive option for me and my partner and would see me coming back more regularly.

    In any case, what you’re doing is great and I hope you can keep it up.

    Cheers

    AndrewReplyCancel

    • February 11, 2014 - 1:29 am

      rohan - Thanks Andrew. We’ve had a few people say they thought there wasn’t enough in the box for the money! Unfortunately we’re just too small an operation to offer different size boxes. One size fits all mate! Some people last year either just got a box fortnightly or they shared excess with friends and neighbours. Or do like we do and eat veg three times a day! ;-)

      Thanks for supporting us Andrew.ReplyCancel

      • February 11, 2014 - 8:58 am

        AJ - Hi,
        I wonder if your small operation might become bigger if you did the smaller boxes … ?

        I’ve ordered from you, it was great produce, I definitely thought that I was getting value for money but even eating a mostly veggie diet I wasn’t getting through it and I dont have people close enough who want to share it with me.

        Maybe the different options will help your business grow.

        Good luckReplyCancel

        • February 12, 2014 - 12:13 am

          rohan - We’d like to but the farmer we get them off has advised us he has no economical way to package them smaller. SorryReplyCancel

  • February 11, 2014 - 1:00 am

    Jo Deacon - Hi R,
    Sharing on FB now and will get something out this week on blog for you. This has to work, the people are there they just need to know you are!
    JoReplyCancel

  • February 11, 2014 - 1:24 am

    carly - I WISH I LIVED IN MELBOURNE!!!! I absolutely DO give a shit about good food, and I would love to support you!

    Here’s hoping that the troops rally!
    Good Luck.
    xxxReplyCancel

  • February 11, 2014 - 2:02 am

    spryn - I wish we had someone like you in Brisbane. Good luck!ReplyCancel

  • February 11, 2014 - 2:16 am

    Kathryn - Shared on facebook! I grow my own veg, fruit etc and try to buy local near Bendigo, but have shouted out to Melbourne friends to take advantage of your goodies. Cheers KReplyCancel

  • February 11, 2014 - 2:20 am

    Lucy - Can we pick them up on the Sunday?! Or does it have to be sat?ReplyCancel

    • February 11, 2014 - 3:36 am

      rohan - We come down from the country, we can stay over night as we need to return the hire vehicle.ReplyCancel

  • February 11, 2014 - 2:37 am

    Laura - I’m a Perthian so I buy from similar operations to yours based over on the West side (I avoid Coles and Woolies at all costs, unless I am absolutely stuck for aluminium foil or the like) but I do wish that I could somehow support your fantastic business in Melbs, Rohan! People need to know the cost and effort that goes into growing real food that’s not doused in chemical sprays and preservatives. They need to know that fruit and veg is seasonal… and that buying apples all year round at Coles is absolutely, positively wrong. Keep up the good work. So many of us give a shit about our society, about real food, about the farmers and growers who are trying to make a difference. I will share this on fb as soon as I get home.ReplyCancel

  • February 11, 2014 - 2:49 am

    Mei - May I ask where is your delivery area? I have check a few organic farmers and was disappointed that there are some places they don’t deliver to
    ThanksReplyCancel

  • February 11, 2014 - 2:56 am

    Lady Lunchalot - Rohan, consider it shared. I only wish you delivered to my area until I can get my own veg patch established! Fingers crossed you build up a bigger clientele soon.ReplyCancel

  • February 11, 2014 - 3:11 am

    Jennifer - Hi,
    I live in north central vic. and we grow all we need, love following your blog, I have a lot of friends on facebook do you have a page on there? I also have a lot of vegie/vegan friends that may be interested in Melbourne. If you don’t have a page on f/b I could cut and copy your details to my page and you may get some extra business. Email me if your would like me to do this.
    Regards JenniferReplyCancel

  • February 11, 2014 - 3:30 am

    Jason - Hi Rohan,

    Am I being to nieve about this but surely there must be enough people out there that care about there food and enough people locally to everyone that grow great fresh produce but just can’t find each other? I live on the Central Coast of NSW and there has to be growers out there locally that could offer the same kind of service with there great produce? With easy access to social media and the web we must be able to get connected? Why is there never a 14 year kid around to design a great app when you need one!!

    Keep up the great work,
    cheers
    JasonReplyCancel

  • February 11, 2014 - 4:09 am

    lemmiwinks - Worst part? The feral gumbymint actively advocates this situation as a good thing.ReplyCancel

  • February 11, 2014 - 5:21 am

    Natasha - Hi Rohan, I ordered my first vegie box 3 weeks ago … just finishing off the last of it now and have placed a new order.
    The freshness and quality was so amazing and it’s been great to have some different things to work with that I wouldn’t normally use, white radish for example. Really made me put my thinking cap on and come up with some new recipes. Thanks … telling all my friend now. NatashaReplyCancel

    • February 11, 2014 - 7:56 pm

      rohan - That’s what I like to hear. It’s a good box of certified organic veg that can really be appreciated.ReplyCancel

  • February 11, 2014 - 8:04 am

    Madana - Hi Rohan,

    I am interested in the veggie boxes, is local pickup an option?

    Thanks,

    MadanaReplyCancel

  • February 11, 2014 - 8:41 am

    Prue Cowley - I shared on my FB (I’m in Perth) and one of my friends in Melbourne has already put in an order and shared on her page. Go social media go!ReplyCancel

  • February 11, 2014 - 10:18 am

    leaf (the indolent cook) - I’ve shared this on Facebook. Hoping to get a friend to go halves with me as 15kg is a bit too much for me all by myself!ReplyCancel

  • February 11, 2014 - 10:23 am

    Elise - Sooooo excited to have found you! Ordering 2 veg boxes now for the weekend and a meat box – amazing can’t wait to try – thank you….ReplyCancel

  • February 11, 2014 - 12:52 pm

    Sam - I’ll be surprised if this doesn’t come off as a seething rant (it’s not) but lets go through the motions anyway.

    Rohan, I can understand what your trying to do and I genuinely admire you for trying to do it. The world needs more people fighting for a cause, and this is absolutely a good one to fight for… but holy fuck if I’m not growing tired of your bullshit.

    I found your blog quite some time ago. I read it, loved it and as a result bought your Whole Larder Love book, which is one of my favourites cook books in existence. I kept reading your blog and slowly became so depressed by the negativity you feel for the modern world (the only one we have) that I’ve since stopped reading twice, only to come back in the hope that whatever personally insecurities or demons you seem incapable of suppressing have gone (hopefully overcome).

    You want to provide a small part of the world with locally grown produce delivered to their door for a reasonable price. An admirable and worthwhile goal, one that might even be achievable, but not if you refuse to realise that what you are attempting here is a business, and no business succeeds without listening its customers.

    You have loyal fans giving you great feedback on how this business could be improved in the comments right here, something which most businesses would kill for, and yet every answer you give shows all you’re interested in is making sure the business you originally envisaged succeeds.

    It seems obvious from your posts that you’d prefer to live on the outskirts of society, but if you want to change that society you need to find a way to do so by its rules. The best way you can service your cause is by servicing your customers needs and to do that you need to buy back into this modern world that you seem to loath so much. So start listening to feedback and then formulate a business plan that actually works for the people who want to buy your product.

    I am not hiding behind anonymity, my name is Sam Gabell, I live in Melbourne and I can be found on Twitter with little effort.ReplyCancel

    • February 12, 2014 - 12:30 am

      rohan - Sam,

      You have some intelligent comments here. Let me address some of the issues.

      1. I’m no business man and I have no intention of growing business.

      2. I started selling Farmer Rods organic veg to provide an alternative to people in Melbourne that had been for years asking me what alternative do they have. I found an alternative and I’m putting my belief into action by setting up this opportunity for people in the city of Melbourne to source organic veg.

      3. We have investigated the smaller box idea and we have not found an economical packaging option. Farmer Rod has also indicated that he will only provide veg in one box size and we at our home do not have the time of facilities to repack orders into smaller boxes.

      4. If you’ve been reading my blog, you would see that I’m deadly serious about providing food for my family in the manner I deem fit. This takes a great deal of my time along with all my other chores living a life almost off the grid. Thus I have no intention of investing my energy into business growth that I clearly do not believe in.

      5. This week alone I have had both emails complaining that their isn’t enough vegetables for the amount of money and I’ve also had emails asking to provide a smaller box. I cannot fucking win either way. I cannot please everyone.

      6. It appears you have a high level of intelligence, especially when it comes to business. But your comment of tiring of my bullshit wants me to come down to Melbourne and give you a damn hiding for being so fucking rude.

      7. Yes I want to live on the outskirts away from people. And I’ll be honest I find most of people (NOT ALL) bloody annoying and clearly stupid. A small percentage of people on this planet have some intelligence the rest are idiots, and most of those idiots are running the country and making decisions on our behalf. You seem to have intelligence but you lack empathy. Your intelligence has developed quite an inflated ego, enough for you to feel the a desire to give me advice I do not need.

      8. I will continue to offer these veg boxes if people continue to buy them. There are many people who collect them each week. They love them. They enjoy the taste and the fact that the food is chemical free. They enjoy the thought of buying local, reducing their food miles and supporting us and our farmer Rod

      9. There maybe a few more years of these veg boxes but once the gentleman farmer Rod retires they will stop. I own no land. I have very little money. I have no financial means to start my own market garden and I have no intention of starting one. Its just not for me. Just like joining the Navy or becoming a politician. I’m just not interested.

      I hope this clears things up for you.

      Next time, emit the line “holy fuck if I’m not growing tired of your bullshit” and you won’t enrage the bull.ReplyCancel

      • February 13, 2014 - 2:28 pm

        Jared - Like Sam, I’ve been reading the blog for quite some time and bought and loved the book.

        However, I haven’t found the “negativity” a problem; its Rohan’s blog, his choice to post what he feels passionate about and attempts to live, and is a valid viewpoint. One of the reasons I read the blog is that it presents viewpoints from outside the mainstream that I agree with to varying extents (though would never have the courage to follow through on).

        At the same time, I’m not a fan of some of the more recent posts, because many are simply musings. For what it’s worth, I love the blog because of posts featuring a straightforward chronicle of attempting to live a more sustainable life. The accounts of building vegie boxes, the smokehouse video, hunting, cooking, etc. There seems to have been less of that recently.

        Just my view.ReplyCancel

    • February 12, 2014 - 2:52 pm

      Valerie - Really Sam… I wasn’t even going to waste my time commenting on your rant, but then I felt compelled to do so. If you don’t like what Rhoan is doing here then don’t participate. If you don’t like his blog, then don’t read it. Whatever insights you are trying to convey are lost in your negative demeanor. Lighten up dude. Look at the things that push your buttons, maybe then you will find some insight into your own bullshit.ReplyCancel

  • February 11, 2014 - 1:46 pm

    Valerie - I see the same struggle here on the Eastern Shore of Maryland in the U.S. Good farmers are struggling to provide us with real food. Some of them have given up. When are people going to wake up?ReplyCancel

  • February 11, 2014 - 10:10 pm

    Margaret | Destination Here&Now - Point taken. Shared on Facebook. :) ReplyCancel

  • February 12, 2014 - 1:40 am

    Mikaela - I don’t live in Melbourne, but have shared your post on Facebook.
    Sam had some reasonable points of view, but the timing and delivery was probably not the best. Once the weather cools a bit, we get some rain, and plants do their lovely autumn thing, why not go back and have another look at it? Or not – up to you, of course!
    Good luckReplyCancel

    • February 12, 2014 - 1:42 am

      rohan - Thanks Mikaela for sharing the link. I’m very positive about the online support I’ve received with reposts, tweets and Facebook links. Much love. RoReplyCancel

      • February 17, 2014 - 6:56 am

        Mikaela - Thanks Rohan. Keep up the good work. Just read your post about your daughters picking from the vegie patch :) ReplyCancel

  • February 12, 2014 - 3:51 am

    Sam Richards - To Sam, some very valid points mate. Reading the blog I’ve often felt the same.ReplyCancel

    • February 12, 2014 - 4:01 am

      rohan - Sam and Sam, you both have the option to not read this blog. If my words displease you please don’t read it.ReplyCancel

  • February 12, 2014 - 12:17 pm

    Natalie - Hi Rohan,

    My partner Shane and I find the veg boxes the perfect size.
    There is just the two of us, we are Vegetarian, (we eat a lot of veg) , and the box gets us through the week just right. If we bought two boxes, we would probably eat all that too, it’s that good.
    During the Winter when you weren’t doing the boxes we tried 3 different Melbourne suppliers of Organic Veg Boxes and none stood up to the WLL boxes. We always ordered the boxes recommended for 2-3 people for one week from these suppliers. Sure, they delivered to our door, but they were overpriced for a box half full of air.
    We enjoy the pickup point concept, and we are so grateful to have the chock-a-block full of the good stuff WLL veg boxes as an option for us, so thanks for providing us with that option.

    PS. Sam’s not hiding behind anonymity, he’s hiding behind his computer. 
#lamebrainbusinessconsultantReplyCancel

    • February 13, 2014 - 1:47 am

      Valerie - Thank you ;) ReplyCancel

    • February 13, 2014 - 3:32 am

      rohan - I love this. Thanks Natalie for giving some positive feedback about the veg. It keeps me motivated when I hear stuff like this. Big beardy kisses!ReplyCancel

  • February 13, 2014 - 3:55 am

    Catherine - I’d be interested in discussing a regular box. Ate they home delivered? Cost? Which day? Call me on 0416275591ReplyCancel

  • February 13, 2014 - 5:20 am

    Catharine - I’m back in Melbourne in two weeks! I’ll be putting in an order then :) ReplyCancel

What if you depended on a crop for your livelihood, for your very survival. Imagine if it was so important that if it were to fail, the family you work to provide for will face a dire food shortage during the oncoming winter. Its an intimidating thought, but thankfully for most of us it’s not a reality.

Many cultures around the globe exist in this manner or close to it. Us westerners though, we’ve got it well sorted out. The mega food system looks out for us. It caters for us, ensures we have all the food we can stomach. Sure there are a few corners cut, the odd chemical added, a few bursts of carbon emissions, one or two unhappy farm animals, its the system thats helped make the population explode, and thats a good thing right? More people, more workers, stronger economy. Thats whats important for the future…right? Well I disagree. I disagree with every ounce of my body. And I have a few spare ounces.

So I removed myself as much as I practically could from the system. I figured that if one is to lose faith in a religion, then it’s ones duty to disconnect with the church. So I’m out on my own, humming some sort of a new gospel song (no doubt slightly out of key). My church is my garden, the fields where I hunt, the bush I forage, and the waters I fish. My alter is a wobbly kitchen bench that I fashioned from timber I scrounged at the tip, adhering to my approach of living off the crumbs of society. So far the new religion seems to be doing ok. There has been some persecution from the non-believers and one or two comments of disapproval about the choice of religious apparel (cap, dirty drill shirt and dirtier jeans), but all in all it’s doing well. Actually thats not an entirely true statement. There have been a few hiccups. The god of this religion hasn’t been playing fair of late. And this here parishioner has a feeling of discontent!

Summer is the most important season. Warm sunlight the key to successful photosynthesis, and of course the warming of the soil. It is these precious months that I grow as much storable food as possible. Making the most of the fine weather, I also grow an abundance of summer veg to feed us on those warm days.

But lately the old god of nature has been testing us. You’ve felt a strong hot wind right? Well here on the hill, the hot winds seem to be hotter and harder. They’ve hit so hard that the plants have been drained of moisture and cooked. Leaves burnt by hot wind. The sunlight has been so harsh that it melted candles left outside.

All the work I put into the bean crop has been compromised. Just before the borloti was due to flower the heat wave came in and belted with volcanic fury. Zucchini has been flattened, as has the corn. I’m hoping its all repairable, I have a decent supply of love. I’m hoping it can bring some of these plants back. To add salt to the wound, the warm weather seems to have encouraged holiday season cabbage moths, who on having such a frolicking good time have left eggs all over my broccoli which hatched and baby caterpillars devoured the tasty leaves within days.

Imagine though, really try and imagine if you where in the situation where this crop was part of a future food supply that would keep you and your family feed through winter, and now its in jeopardy. Scary huh.

There are some good outcomes from the heat. The plants that I allowed to go to seed have mostly cured and are ready to be stored or replanted. There seems to me to always be an upside to the downside.

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  • February 5, 2014 - 4:09 am

    Cate Burton - Rohan,

    Just as an aside, nature also provided bees who make beeswax (amongst other extraordinary things) for light. Beeswax has a melting point of 63 degrees celcius – ie wouldn’t be melted by the Australian sun if left outdoors. So, that means that the candles you had weren’t pure beeswax candles and that’s a situation I’d like to rectify as I just happen to have quite a lot of them!

    Pls send address details and I’ll send bee-created light. It will blow your mind with it’s extraordinary beauty.

    CateReplyCancel

    • February 5, 2014 - 4:26 am

      rohan - Huh! Learning a new fact everyday!! I won’t say no to bees wax candles for the coming winter.ReplyCancel

    • February 12, 2014 - 9:29 am

      Cate Burton - Hi Rohan,

      Thanks for your response. I would send them if I could find your address, but not on your website and not in your reply. Please email me your address… you have my email address.

      ThanksReplyCancel

  • February 5, 2014 - 4:13 am

    MontanaCal - Bummer Ro.

    Chin up though bro. I remember you said once that every season is different. And with each season, a new lesson learned.

    So learn the lessons, and crack on…hard yakka and the fresh air…it’s all there is…it still beats being behind a desk…

    CalReplyCancel

    • February 5, 2014 - 4:27 am

      rohan - It’s all good brother! We’ll be ok. I feel for the people that wouldn’t be ok. Thankfully I work on a diversity of food sources for winter. I’ll be cooking many hearty stews don’t you worry. I bet you’re having some nice warm tucker in that cold Montana winter. Lucky bugger. I’d live to visit.ReplyCancel

  • February 5, 2014 - 5:56 am

    Ted - Yep, heatwaves and then a hurricane on Monday night. All my corn flattened but 2 days later it’s popped right up again. The tomatoes and lettuce all took a beating and the gherkins looked like they’d just got back from a 2 day bucks party. Zucchini leaves broken and burnt but hey, give everything a good soak and it’s amazing how resilient they all are. If everything gets through this weekends high temps then hopefully we are over the other side. When you coming around? Got a pile of seeds siting in my shed with your name on it.ReplyCancel

    • February 5, 2014 - 7:36 am

      rohan - Thanks mate. I’m good for seeds right now cheersReplyCancel

  • February 5, 2014 - 6:46 am

    Melissa Bujtor - A very interesting thought to mull over. Food security is a vast and interesting topic, not to mention the skewed distribution of the world’s resources! I hope that you can revive some of the crops. We currently live in Singapore where becoming self sustaining is not really an option in apartment living, but we are going to try and get close! We are currently working on the construction of our apartment farm … stay tuned for more adventures and disasters! I may even need to ask for some tips!ReplyCancel

    • February 5, 2014 - 9:08 am

      rohan - I think it will be ok! I’ve probably over loved them now!!! ;-) ReplyCancel

  • February 5, 2014 - 9:31 am

    Paul - It’s tough when all your hard work goes crunchy and dry. I’m starting to get around that by using wicking beds…and I’ve finally worked out that a bit of bird netting over the broccoli is a really simple way to avoid cabbage moths…hang in there!ReplyCancel

  • February 5, 2014 - 10:14 am

    Bec - Beautifully said. So hard to watch the plants wither in this ferocious heat. And then (for those that can) to wander down to the greengrocer’s and see plump green vegies in abundance. Complex contrasts.

    As an aside, is that your bus in your driveway? Is it fitted out as a campervan? Just curious… we’re in the process of doing the same, and welcome any tips in the process.ReplyCancel

  • February 5, 2014 - 5:54 pm

    Bailey - I think what you do is a beautiful thing. I’d like to be responsible for growing even half of the food I eat. One day I will…ReplyCancel

  • February 5, 2014 - 7:57 pm

    Luke - Hi rohan

    Summer and storage very much a priority in my house too. We live out of gardens, forest and sea aswell. Ive just trialed a wicker bed system out of half a barrel and for keeping plants moist and using way less water its definitely a success if you havent already tried. Im growing watercress in mine. You obviously have different challenges to me as Im in nz in the Bay of PlentyReplyCancel

  • February 5, 2014 - 11:25 pm

    Younglee - My aunt is almost totally sustainable veg wise, but the amount of work she puts in (she’s retired so all her time is spent in the garden) amazes me.
    Her vegetables taste complete different from those brought in supermarkets. Her carrots actually taste like carrots!ReplyCancel

  • February 6, 2014 - 12:01 am

    Linda - I have been trying to keep my garden going over the extra hot summer we’ve had here in Cloncurry but after going away for two weeks and returning to find the person I paid to water my veg didn’t turn up, the last of my veg has given up and died. And I can’t blame them in the 40+ days we were having! And now we have been placed on level six water restrictions, there is a bleak future for my veg plans!
    I have had a total clean out and my whole veg garden is a blank slate, ready for autumn planting, as soon as this heat starts to ease off, and we hopefully get some rain! Luckily for me Autumn and Winter are my main growing seasons! It is very dissapointing though to see your hard work shrivelled and dead on the ground…….ReplyCancel

  • February 6, 2014 - 1:31 am

    Margaret | Destination Here&Now - I had my own “What if..” moment on the blog a couple of weeks ago. This is for you x
    http://destinationhereandnow.com/2014/02/do-not-eat-emus-they-contain-palm-oil/ReplyCancel

  • February 7, 2014 - 2:16 pm

    Christo V - A very simple technique I discovered that works well to prevent heat stress is to imbed some bamboo about an inch apart on the north side of your crop. Because as the sun moves the bamboo periodically shades a different part of the leaf it provides some releaf to each part of the plant.

    Found it works brilliantly and very simple, almost cost neutral if you’ve got a stand of bamboo.ReplyCancel

  • February 8, 2014 - 7:23 am

    Jodie - I am hearing you Rohan- Its something I have been acutely aware of from my tomato growing experiences. Last year rats ate my entire backyard crop. This year I moved my tomato growing to a plot at the local community garden- unfortunately the whole place has been been infested by billions of harlequin bugs that are sucking the life out of everything including my tomatoes.
    The whole experience really made me reflect we are very lucky here we can do our best to grow our own food, but when we fail there is always a back-up! With that in mind for the past 2 years I have been selling off my excess seedlings to work colleagues and neighbours for a gold coin donation with the funds going to support Oxfam small scale food growing programs that aim to improve food security for families in the developing world.ReplyCancel

  • February 9, 2014 - 4:57 pm

    Trish - Good luck! Such an admirable project.ReplyCancel

  • February 10, 2014 - 9:37 pm

    Jeannette - Rohan, what I love about your blog is that it is about hot, dry, difficult reality. The precariousness of crops is a reality that is easy to overlook by anyone surrounded by the obscene, unnecessary abundance of the supermarket.

    Thank you!ReplyCancel

    • February 11, 2014 - 12:07 am

      rohan - Thats a lovely thing to say!! Thank you!ReplyCancel