This morning the rain came. It’s been a time since we’ve had a drop like this. I’ve missed it. Rain has a remarkable way of rewinding things. Of washing away the dust, leaving everything clean and refreshed.

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Obstacles or challenges, what ever you wish to call them, they’ve been haunting me in recent times. Niggling there in the back of my mind, eating away at my resolve until there is no more. I don’t know how words can explain, what words would do justice to describe what the mind attempts to calculate, what it attempts to figure out and deal with. Sometimes it’s all light and fluffy and sometimes it’s as dark as the heart of a storm.

 

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A dear friend reminded me today that if I am to put my thoughts and opinions out for someone else to read, then I should expect to hear the loud roar of response, be it a somewhat unpleasant sound. It’s a double edged sword, for that I will not argue. But if no voice was heard, if no hand waved, no fist clenched in anger, then would anything change?

I speak over and over again about rampant consumerism. You know it exists. It’s everywhere around us. On trains, buses, trams and taxis our eyes fix on what marketing and advertising tells us what we need to spend our money on. Our society is based on behaviour that defines us as individuals, or so we like to think. These things do not define us in the way we would like, instead the define us as fools. I know this because I was a fool. I admit to my shallow past. I am ashamed but also very relieved to woken up from my slumber.

 

What we do as individuals in our lifetime, that is what defines us. What difference we make, how lightly or heavily we tread, these are the things of which we will be remembered by, not what we wore, who we hung with or how much we ‘owned’. We have a chance to be enlightened. To think past the barriers of society, only there will we find sense, maybe even peace.

We sure have some problems in the western world, be it with food production or consumerism. If you can see the problems you surely must be able to see some solutions for your own little world. No one else will have those answers for you, I sure as hell don’t have the answers for you. I have some answers for me, they may not be right, but their mine and I’m happy to accept that I often get it wrong. The greatest thing we can do is allow each other to get through it in our way. To find the solutions for a better way of living. We have the chance, right now to make a difference. I can no longer say what is good or bad. All I can do is live the way I believe to be right for me. I’ll continue to live in a manner that I see has a reduced impact, a lighter print. It’s not perfect, but it’s my way.

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That rain is always welcome here. I can hear it drop this very second. On my roof and down the gutters. It’s reaching my soil, wetting my plants and preparing the garden for the next round of plants that will feed us. It’s a very obvious cycle. It’s a train we all ride, whether we want to or not.

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Eventually the rain will reach us as we return to the earth, finished as beings, reborn in soil.

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  • April 29, 2014 - 6:06 am

    Geoff - So some one told ya if you threaten to bash people on social media it might not be a good look for the whole “wow aren’t I so rad, in my hipster truck” lifestyle your trying to portray to the world…ReplyCancel

    • April 29, 2014 - 8:03 am

      rohan - Unfortunately Geoff, some douche bags had got the better of me with similar taunting that you’ve done here. I let my anger get the better of me. No one wins from that. Don’t you think?ReplyCancel

  • April 29, 2014 - 7:00 am

    Alice - There’s something so beautiful & soothing about these words Rohan. Without a doubt the cycle of land, earth and beast existed without us humans for so many years. It’s humbling to think that if we all disappeared (they’d continue on) just fine without us. Though if it were the other way round, we’d be done within moments!ReplyCancel

  • April 29, 2014 - 7:05 am

    Martyna @ WholesomeCook - Your timing could not have been better. I opened your post (yes, on my mobile) while I was admiring a fruiting olive tree on a suburban street, a mere 7km from the big smoke. I picked up a couple to dry and preserve. This morning while walking the dog I discovered a community veg patch abundant with eggplant. As far as buying in stores and supermarkets, we do sometimes, but I always check and read labels for GMO and unnecessary additives.
    We live in the city so I while admit that the allure of convenience seems much greater on many, we try to stay out of its way and encourage others to find the best balance of realness for them.ReplyCancel

  • April 29, 2014 - 8:46 am

    Alina - I heard someone say recently about engaging with online trolls, ‘when you argue with a fool, pretty soon it’s hard to tell the difference…’.ReplyCancel

    • April 29, 2014 - 9:16 am

      rohan - That’s pretty well much how I feel about it now. I have to stop letting them get to me. It’s taking the focus away from the very topic of which I’m so passionate about. I’ve been the fool.ReplyCancel

  • April 29, 2014 - 9:52 am

    Alacoque - I read a wonderful quote this week “Work to become, not to acquire”. It’s so easy to work for money to buy more things we don’t really need to try and fill that hole because something is lacking in our lives. It’s much harder to sit down and look yourself and your lifestyle in the eye and decide who you are/who you want to be.

    To this day there is no more comforting sound than rain on a tin roof, especially when I’m warm in bed with a good book and a cup of tea. Rain is cleansing and full of promise- promise of green grass, healthy crops, sprouting mushrooms, fertile animals, so many good things!ReplyCancel

    • April 29, 2014 - 10:16 am

      Aina - Such a beautiful comment.
      Rain has a healing effect.ReplyCancel

  • April 29, 2014 - 10:06 am

    Aina - You always speak to my heart, your voice is clear.

    I once read : “I would rather be hated for who I am than loved for who I’m not. ” I do agree, there`s not a question about that it is harder to stand out from the crowd.ReplyCancel

  • April 29, 2014 - 11:10 am

    Lucy - I’ve been following your blog for a while, and been meaning to comment but I’ve been too shy!

    We really admire what you’re doing, and are inspired by your resolve to whole heartedly live according to what you believe. We’re always astounded by people who think they have some kind of right to tell you what they think, without bothering to take time to consider your perspective (or your feelings for that matter!). I’m not sure where this arrogance comes from, perhaps it has something to do with being anonymous and hidden behind a computer screen, but we’re learning to put unhelpful and ignorant comments in the metaphorical “fuck it bucket” and carry on doing what we believe is right for us and our lives.

    For the handful of morons who troll you, I’m sure there are a hundred people like me who are silently admiring you and what you do! Be encouraged to stick to your guns (!) and don’t let the haters get to you.ReplyCancel

    • April 29, 2014 - 11:15 am

      rohan - I have to make the decision, do I continue to document what I’m doing in this online format or do I cease. My other option is to be more of an asker of questions than just offering opinions and observational comments.

      It breaks my heart when people say things about me that are so far from the truth, and just based on what they see online. It has made me very angry, which doesn’t get anyone anywhere.ReplyCancel

  • April 29, 2014 - 12:32 pm

    Wendy Adams - No Rohan don’t stop, don’t change, just continue to be you. I love reading your words to the point where you have inspired me to make a little vege garden at home. I have followed your travels from the glasshouse to the paddock and have admired every step. People who are critical of you will have anonymous identities and would never say these words to your face, for one critic there will be 100′s of admirers. Just continue to believe in yourself.ReplyCancel

  • April 29, 2014 - 2:09 pm

    Monica - I genuinely hope you don’t cease chronicling your journey. It has continued to inspire me – even halfway across the globe – to live a more mindful life. As Alice Walker said, “Activism is my rent for living on the planet.” Any good activism gets a message across, even if it makes some obstinate folks uncomfortable or angry, and you’re accomplishing that very well. Don’t let the trolls get you down. They’re pure bullies, nothing else, and like the bullies of childhood yore (certainly mine, in any case), they’re the same insecure, mean-spirited people who thrive on cutting others down because they don’t know how to be productive, loving human beings. You may not change them in any way, and it’s likely you won’t, but your job – your activism, your mission – is to sow the seed, not fret about its growth.ReplyCancel

  • April 29, 2014 - 3:30 pm

    Ashley Thompson - Keep on keeping on! Your thoughts and insight are a breath of fresh air from this world we have created. I’ve said it before that your pictures and words motivate others to do positive things. Don’t change a damn thing, Fuck em’
    Positive vibes from Canada
    AshleyReplyCancel

  • April 29, 2014 - 6:09 pm

    Monique - Yours is a damn noble road. Waking up to truth is tough. Admitting our part in a gargantuan mess is sorrow to the soul. Changing even small erroneous ways is inconvenient and often riddled with obstacles tricky to understand before surmounting is even possible. Persevering exhausts. And if that isn’t one helluva package, you do it all with transparency, laying the trek (be it grand or grueling) out there for us.

    Without meaning to sound kooky or overly sentimental, know that I’m deeply encouraged by your revealing expressions which have cheered through the daily onslaught of mainstream filth. You’re brave beyond my comprehension to take on such a task, leaving your sensitive heart open to possibly devastating attack. Sending much heartfelt good-mojo stuff your way as a crap-buffer.ReplyCancel

  • April 30, 2014 - 1:31 am

    lemmiwinks - I know you probably require it for promotional purposes (to sell your books) but personally I would dump both facebook and twitter (actually I did many years ago ;-) )ReplyCancel

  • April 30, 2014 - 2:08 am

    Simon - When you make your thoughts public there are always going to be differing viewpoints (constructive or otherwise). I’ll add my own comment: “he who shouts loudest hears only his own voice”.

    Totally up to you on what to do though. If the trolls get to you and you quit, they have won. I suspect you’d be better off not dealing with that crap anyway. Although you lose a voice to influence people outside your immediate sphere.

    But i’d also add that the positive comments you get on this blog and other media should outweigh the negative. Dismiss the goons but listen to the constructive ones. As someone mentioned, you could always ditch those social media outlets and disable comments in the blog! (but then how do you know anyone is listening?)ReplyCancel

  • April 30, 2014 - 3:57 am

    Helen - I hope you keep writing. I find it reassuring to hear from people like yourself who are treading their own path, connecting with nature & taking ownership of the day to day. It is purely jealousy that would make someone troll you, they may be suffocating in an office job somewhere & you represent something they see as unattainable, so they judge & attack. No matter how cutting or witty their posts may seem, they are really only worthy of pity at the end of the day.ReplyCancel

  • April 30, 2014 - 9:34 am

    Andy - Don’t stop Rohan, there are always wankers in every facet of life. Do give them oxygen and they shrivel and die.

    There are so many of us that love what you write and the way you live your life. I hope you keep doing so I can show my boys as they grow.

    I look forward to each one.

    Peace man, AndyReplyCancel

  • April 30, 2014 - 9:36 am

    Andy - That should have read DON’T give them oxygen :0)ReplyCancel

  • May 1, 2014 - 11:44 pm

    Rachel - Beautifully told.ReplyCancel

  • May 4, 2014 - 12:50 pm

    Brian - Hey Ro, someone once told me something a long time ago about times we all face when you just wonder WTF! that was “When you feel like giving up, remember why you held on for so long in the first place” There will always be morons in this world, maybe it helps to appreciate the nice folk more. The same person who taught me about hanging in there also had a fantastic one liner that I give to you to use at any time with my blessing and that is “to refuse to have a battle of wits with such a hopelessly unarmed opponent”
    Maintain the rage Ro. Cheers, Brian.ReplyCancel

My hands and shirt, bloodied and dirty. My heart racing like a rampant stop watch. At my feet sits a buck, shaking the final electricity remaining in its nervous system. I knelt beside it, my hand on its hide. It was already dead. The moment was so surreal that I’d reached out to touch it, to see how real it was. My 308 had found its target, the large animal had dropped in a flat second. Before I was joined by my spotter, I uttered a thank you to the beast, alone. We’d spent the morning following a myriad of deer prints on muddy tracks. We stalked our way to a pair of fighting stags, their antlers crashing as they pounded each other. They were too far from our position and I couldn’t take a clean shot, so they lived to see another day. The stag however had not been so fortunate. Our meat freezer would now be well stocked for the oncoming winter. Filled with deer meat from an animal that lived wild and free. The only human interaction this animal probably had was the sound of distant 4WD’s and finally the crack of my rifle. I’m omnivorous, I eat a balance of vegetables and meat. Sometime ago I decided to acquire most of my meat from the wild. I have my reasons. Most of which I think are obvious now. I’m not happy with how most meat is produced for human consumption. So I took matters into my own hands in the knowledge that parts of it would be plain ugly. A fact I had to accept. Or become vegetarian. And for me, that is not an option I believe is right. For me.IMG_6368Many years in transition, and I’m finally at a point where a deer sits at my feet. I started small with rabbits, ducks, quail and hare. Now a large deer is dead by my hand. I truly no longer outsource my killing. I know that under that hide lies valuable rich meat, that when butchered will feed us many meals through winter into spring. I know how this animal died. I’m comforted in the knowledge that it lived free and wild. It may sound like an oxymoron as I’ve just killed the beast. It’s difficult to verbalise effectively the feeling and knowledge that I’m no longer cheating myself as a meat eater. I don’t care what any other meat eater does or how they choose to acquire their meat. This is my journey. Right or wrong it’s my choice. I’m doing what I believe to make the most sense to me. I’m doing what feels the most natural.qqqqqaI can say that I’ve seen the brutal reality of being a meat eater. I have seen it for years now. I accept that I am a meat eating animal. A meat eating mammal beast. We all are. I know many people choose to be vegetarian, and I wish there where more of these people. Although there are some farms doing it right, doing it ethically, the majority of the meat ‘industry’ is flawed. It’s 2014, if you haven’t heard about factory farming, if you haven’t heard about the chemicals and antibiotics applied to stock then you must be living under a rock of ignorant bliss. Last night on the radio was a feature story about the correlation of human diseases and the introduction of agricultural chemicals and antibiotics over the last 50-70 years. What impacts will this nature tampering have on us humans and our future generations? We don’t know. We may never know. But I’m prepared to do what I need to do to remove myself and my family from that system. Where food has been tampered with, where no definitive science exists to assure us of the potential health impacts. Where the industry is regulated by the very companies that produce the food. I’m more comfortable eating wild beasts than tampered meat.IMG_6385Consider this. Could any one person walk into a shop, look at a slab of meat and honestly state what is in that meat. Could they state how the animal was treated? What conditions it lived in? How far the animal was transported in its lifetime? The method in which the animal was killed?What chemicals or antibiotics where given to the animal? What health impacts may result from the tampering of natures way? No one can answer that. I surely can’t. Frustrated, I simply walked out of that shop and started hunting for meat.IMG_6406It’s difficult to explain this feeling of truly providing for my family. I don’t provide like I did in the past. When I once earned tonnes of cash, where I used to buy lots of ‘stuff’. I’ve transformed like Optimus Prime. I looked to the past, to a time when people survived with nature, when people had a true understanding of seasonality. Not in a wanky foodie gour-met way, but a real surviving, by using your brain, your muscles, your determination and a strong work ethic. Like I’ve said, I don’t care for what any other man chooses to do. I’m not sharing my story to shame anyone, nor to make anyone feel guilt for buying a farmed chicken, far from it. I’m sharing it because it’s one hell of a journey. One I think some people may benefit from hearing. I understand that I’m, in many ways considered backwards in what I do. I know in some circles I’m considered barbaric because I hunt. That holds no water with me. What frustrates me is when people express a distaste for hunting wild beasts, yet happily eat a chicken sub made with from intensively farmed animals. How can one value an opinion shadowed by contradiction. We have a plentiful supply of contradiction in this world. Yet out here, where nature gives and takes, contradiction is absent. We live in a time of senselessness. Where so much does not make any sense. Living this way though, I’m comforted by the realness of what is around me, and how I choose to live. No matter how much it may at times, offend me. I accept the reality, and that allows me to see past the bullshit. I’ll forever be cynical of it, criticise it and discuss how it’s toxic of us. This age will not be known as one of enlightenment, one of inner reflection. Instead, it will be known as a time of extreme inequality, rampant consumerism and an unquenchable thirst for natural resources.IMG_6428Lets face it. Sometimes you just have to say, fuck everyone else. Fuck what anyone else thinks. Just do what feels right for you. You know you’ve said it to yourself. Thanks for the photos: Kate Berry 

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  • April 21, 2014 - 6:42 am

    Declan - Great piece beautifully writtenReplyCancel

  • April 21, 2014 - 7:08 am

    Bec - I really admire what you’re doing, Rohan. I wish more people cared, or even knew where their food comes from.

    I’m a vegetarian because I can’t bring myself to kill animals (and have huge problems with industrialised meat production). I figure that it’s only fair that if I can’t take the shot, or pull the knife myself then I shouldn’t be eating it.

    I also don’t get why supermarket-meat eaters get all up in arms about hunting, or eating horses, or kangaroo, or whatever. Horse, cow, deer, chook, it’s all the same to me. Living creatures who we should treat with respect.

    Anyway. Love your blog. Thanks for sharing your journey. Very inspiring :) ReplyCancel

    • April 21, 2014 - 7:44 am

      rohan - Living creatures who we should treat with respect.

      Exactly! I’d rather know the meat I eat has lived free than in horrid conditions. Thanks for coming over for a visit.ReplyCancel

  • April 21, 2014 - 7:12 am

    Kerry Adams - Another great post. Many thanks.

    Tonight I had my first feed of an animal I had shot, skinned and cleaned myself.

    I didn’t totally butcher the animal, I used a local butcher for that, because I still live inner-city, turning up with a whole animal to process would have been a bit of a no-no.

    With me for this meal, was my extended family, and it’s hard to describe the deep sense of satisfaction of feeding my (meat eating) family with my own handiwork.

    I have been taught by some of the best, now I just need to put what I have learn’t into practise.

    http://thebloke.co.nz/balnagown-hunting-block-experiencing-roar-learning-process-deer/ReplyCancel

    • April 21, 2014 - 7:43 am

      rohan - It’s a good way to go about it eh? Cheers mate!ReplyCancel

      • April 21, 2014 - 8:44 am

        Kerry Adams - Yeah.

        I head away for a week into the bush shortly – hunting Sika. The Ghosts of the Forest.

        It’s been interesting getting into hunting, as you find yourself faced with two types of people – those hunting for food and those hunting for tropheys. Personally, I find hunting for the sake of bragging rights a little ego driven, but each to their own.

        What I am thankful for, is that I generally find myself surrounded by guys who have a profound respect for the animals they are hunting. Guys who love the land, the creatures on it, and the sustenance it provides through them.

        Fallow I am picking (from the dots?) – same as what I just put in the freezer.ReplyCancel

  • April 21, 2014 - 7:13 am

    Julie - Just wanted to say how much of an inspiration your blog & way of life is. I choose to be vegetarian at the point when i realised I wouldn’t (personally) be able stomach doing what you do & therefore could no longer justify the hypocrisy of eating meat, just because it came prepared on a neat cling wrapped slab of polystyrene. I utterly respect any meat eater who lives as you do, who makes themselves a part of the journey from live beast to plate . Enjoy your full freezer over the winterReplyCancel

    • April 21, 2014 - 7:41 am

      rohan - Thanks Julie. I feel like it’s the right way to go about it. And I get recharged when I read thoughts like yours. Thanks.ReplyCancel

  • April 21, 2014 - 7:16 am

    Alacoque - “… you must be living under a rock of ignorant bliss.” This. When I was a teacher I was amazed at how so many of my students chose to be ignorant because it was easier. They didn’t want to face hard questions or look inward. So many people are like this with their food. They just want maximum product for minimum cost and turn a blind eye to the people and animals that are hurt in the process, even when it’s their own health on the line.

    As an aside I spent the weekend on my parents acreage and dragged my hubby and daughter to the back paddock where I knew a chestnut tree stood by the billabong. When we finally got there with our baskets at the ready the tree was nowhere to be seen. I questioned my memory, I was sure it was this spot, maybe I got it wrong? Turns out it had come down in a storm. I was devastated. My favourite macadamia tree had also met its demise. Luckily one macadamia tree remained so we stocked up on those but my heart broke a little for those trees that I perhaps had not fully appreciated before.ReplyCancel

  • April 21, 2014 - 8:27 am

    Brigette - I love this so much, a few days ago I was told by my daughters kindergarten teacher that the children had been discussing where meat comes from. One child said that it came from the supermarket, and my daughter corrected him with ‘it shouldn’t! It should be outside eating grass and then we pick it up from the farm to eat! Or the market!’ While we don’t kill our meat ourselves we are good friends with local farmers and frequently visit to see how our future meat is doing, this involvement should be crucial. I feel for so many people that cannot feel a connection to their food, and live in ignorance. As a child, my grandfather (a butcher) made a point of taking every child to an abattoir to see what really happens to meat, a firm believer that if you can’t feel comfortable with the life of the animal, you shouldn’t eat it.ReplyCancel

  • April 21, 2014 - 8:41 am

    Mark - I admire your way of life and respect what you do to provide food for your family. On a larger scale all humans hunting their own meat is probably not sustainable. I imagine the vast majority of your audience lives and works in cities – what do you consider the best alternative for us meat eating city folk?ReplyCancel

    • April 21, 2014 - 9:26 am

      rohan - Excellent question Mark, and one I get asked a lot. It’s a valid point you make, the hypothetical that if everyone embraced this way of living, that our natural assets would be greatly diminished.

      The alternative is to know your farmer. If you know your farmer, I mean know them because you made and effort to introduce yourself and be interested in what they do for you. Know them and support them.

      For Melbourne alone I can think of a handful of pork producers that sell pork to Melbournians. I guess the same situation would/could exist for other cities.

      The customers of these farmers tend to be clever food buyers too. They buy in big lots and stock up. This really helps the farmer with some sense of financial security.

      I have seen both lamb, beef and venison farmers that take their produce straight to markets in and around Melbourne, and no doubt we will follow suite and see some free range chooks available at markets just like as I saw in America.

      There is an alternative to poorly produced supermarket meat. You just have to go out and ‘hunt’ for it.

      Does that make sense?ReplyCancel

      • April 21, 2014 - 10:00 am

        Mark - Yes it definitely makes sense. I’m a little time poor and freezer space is at a premium, but I’m the first to admit I need to work harder to find responsible farmers. I think it is difficult to find that balance between buying meat responsibly and convenience.ReplyCancel

        • April 23, 2014 - 3:51 am

          Gem - The internet is our friend, friend. I’m stuck in town as well, and can only raise poultry and fish, so I’m sourcing beef, lamb and pork producers locally (Hunter Valley). Woolworths has quite a few RSPCA approved products, which means that the animals are raised fairly nicely, but slaughter is probably still a frightening (though unlikely to be painful) experience for them. You might also be able to find a friend out of town who is already raising their own meat and could raise animals for you as well (if you paid for the calves or piglets and some of their feed/care).

          Hunting isn’t so great around our area, but at least we can fish!ReplyCancel

    • April 21, 2014 - 10:03 am

      Robin - I believe if everyone had to provide their own meat there would be far fewer who ate meat, and those who did would eat less meat. I don’t think there would be too many hunters. Land used to graze cattle could be allowed to revert to its natural state of wildlife habitat. Or at least I like to think so.ReplyCancel

      • April 21, 2014 - 10:28 am

        rohan - It would be a good outcome for the planet!ReplyCancel

    • April 22, 2014 - 12:42 am

      Toni Fish - Hi Mark,

      Living in Hobart and not quite being up to hunting myself, I did as Rowan suggests and got to know my farmers at the local farmer’s market, to the point of actually going to visit a few of them on-farm to have a look and talk about how they were raising their animals and managing their land and water. It was a very worthwhile experience and I have maximum respect for what these farmers, now friends, do.

      Additionally, I was able to source meat from wallabies that were being culled under licence in agricultural areas. This is clean, wild meat that would otherwise be used as pet food. Although I got mine mostly through a friend, there are a few cull shooters in Tassie who are licenced to butcher and sell wallaby and possum meat and you can find it in local stores and mini-markets. That might not be so possible in Melbourne, but you might be able to find a non-supermarket source of roo meat. Might be worth asking any restaurants that feature it if you can get the details of their supplier?

      Cheers,
      Toni.ReplyCancel

    • April 22, 2014 - 7:38 am

      Lisa - Where do you live Mark? Someone who lives in the same city as you might be able to share some inside knowledge on where they buy quality meat from sustainable producers and farmers.ReplyCancel

  • April 21, 2014 - 9:02 am

    Suzie - Thoughtful piece. I understand your reasons, and I have respect for them. Take responsibility for taking the life or don’t eat meat. I’m vegan, for many years I was a vegetarian. I choose not to eat dairy products either for exactly the reasons you give about the meat industry, the same rules apply only they are more insidious and better glossed over. I live in a part of the world (rural France) where hunting, fishing, foraging and having your own potager are a way of life but sadly the vileness of factory farming are still ever present.ReplyCancel

    • April 21, 2014 - 9:05 am

      rohan - Do you think that way of life in France is in Jeopardy?ReplyCancel

      • April 21, 2014 - 9:15 am

        Suzie - I think sadly it probably is. In the rural areas the youngsters often prefer to go to towns for McDonalds and KFC, perhaps as a rebellion against their parents’ lives? Maybe the pendulum will swing back eventually. Luckily my region is quite a hippie place so there’s plenty of organic, local and quality food. In the nearest city to me (Toulouse) there is still a wide range of eateries, and the emphasis seems to be on better quality food. We have a fantastic vegan/veggie restaurant there and we usually have to queue for a table. In my experience France in general hangs onto it’s traditions strongly and doesn’t care too much for educating people about nutrition or anything that might upset French industry, especially the agricultural one.ReplyCancel

  • April 21, 2014 - 10:04 am

    brenda - congrats Ro, on your first deer, the hunt must have been exhilarating! I went out with Lou and his friend to sight their rifles the other day. The other bloke had a 308 and that noise it made really was incredible and I knew at that moment that hunting is all about emotion, connecting with that animal and being thankful that as meat eaters there will be a time that we take an animals life to feed our family. Like you we discussed going vegetarian because the alternatives were maddening. At the moment, we buy very selective meat from great local farmers, whilst Lou is getting practise with the small stuff like rabbits. You’ll have your critics Ro, but I think no matter what you do, they’ll always be there. Stay true to yourself….you’re on the right path.
    Cheers, Bren and LouReplyCancel

  • April 21, 2014 - 11:11 am

    annton beate schmidt - a brilliant and thoughtful piece; I would second every single word of it. thank you!ReplyCancel

  • April 21, 2014 - 11:38 am

    Accordion - Curious as to the effect of the shot or bullet on the meat? Do you not eat the area around the bullet and it’s’ trajectory? Is lead still used in bullets? I know nothing about guns or hunting, hence the questions.

    Also curious if you find a use for the hide, other than letting it biologically break down. Can it go in the compost bin?ReplyCancel

    • April 21, 2014 - 10:23 pm

      rohan - The stag I shot was in the neck. This way the meat loss is minimal. I also shot a doe in the head. No valuable meat loss. The projectile is big and fast and it will make mince meat where it hits the animal. So I tend to shoot where the round will give the fastest kill with the least amount of flesh loss.ReplyCancel

      • April 21, 2014 - 10:59 pm

        Kerry Adams - By contrast, I hit mine in the shoulder – which, for bush hunting is ideal because there is no chance it can run. However, it destroys the meat in the shoulder due to impact shock – in my case, I also managed to hit it on the diagonal, so also ruptured the guts, additionally losing some meat. No the best.

        So – as Rohan says – neck or head. Normally neck, because it’s a bit of a bigger target.

        Also depends on distance to animal, what you are shooting and so on.ReplyCancel

        • April 22, 2014 - 12:33 am

          rohan - My deers were both close range. 50-70 meters. So neck and head were a good option.ReplyCancel

  • April 21, 2014 - 12:46 pm

    T - If even a fraction of our bloated population decided to start hunting their own meat we would see a bio-diversity disaster such as they have in Zimbabwe. Probably much worse in more populace countries. What you are doing is a huge luxury.ReplyCancel

    • April 21, 2014 - 10:24 pm

      rohan - Yes it may seem that way. I live in the bush so these animals I hunt live around me. It’s a practical choice for me. Not for someone living miles away in a city.ReplyCancel

  • April 21, 2014 - 12:53 pm

    Dale Morgan - great post rohan.ReplyCancel

  • April 21, 2014 - 1:01 pm

    Kat Goldin - I grew up in a part of America where most everyone hunted. It wasn’t a rich area, so people hunted the deer, pheasants and turkey that roamed wild to supplement their freezer. Beyond any consideration for the ethical or health benefits, it was just something one did (men and women) because it made sense. It was free, it was there and it tasted better. Plus, we all knew how pigs were farmed and no one wanted to eat those.

    Now, I live on a hunting estate in rural Scotland and the difference is shocking. Here, rich English and American visitors come and hunt at great expense. Venison and pheasant is considered food for the rich. I find the backwardness of it, even 17 years on, shocking. But it is the way it is for the majority.

    Enjoy the vension. Venison bacon is my favourite thing.ReplyCancel

    • April 21, 2014 - 10:26 pm

      rohan - What you said in that first few paragraphs rings so true for me. I hunt because it is wild, and most of what I hunt is actually feral introduced species which is just another bonus. But I hunt because it is what is around me.ReplyCancel

    • April 29, 2014 - 2:38 am

      Dan Yates - Venison bacon sounds awesome Kat. Just getting in to bowhunting in Victoria, not because of the sport but it seems like a more of a natural way to stalk and kill for food than with a bullet. Maybe that’s my twisted logic? I live in Melbourne and organic meat costs us a fortune which is the main reason. Your words struck a chord and I hope to respectfully kill and stock my feezer over the next few months.ReplyCancel

  • April 21, 2014 - 10:09 pm

    Danielle White - Great reflective piece Rohan.
    For various reasons, there are all too few people able to make a commitment to the life choices you and your family have – your blog therefore acts as an inspiration, a place of learning, a dose of reality.
    Farmers like us are there for those who want to eat ethically raised, chemical-free beef but can’t do what you do. We hope people seek farmers like us out – and in doing so shoot the ugly cruel, unhealthy mass production food system in the foot.

    Wonderful insights Rohan,

    Danielle, Sam, Benjamin
    Sidonia Hills Natural Beef
    http://www.sidoniahills.com.auReplyCancel

    • April 21, 2014 - 10:27 pm

      rohan - There was a guy that commented about options for city people. You guys are what I’m talking about!!ReplyCancel

    • April 21, 2014 - 11:51 pm

      Mark - Looks like I need to organise a long weekend in Kyneton Danielle!ReplyCancel

  • April 22, 2014 - 12:30 am

    Michelle - I was really looking forward to reading your words after seeing what you were up to on instagram. Beautifully handled as ever Ro.

    I’ve just heard two bullets go off in the paddock next door as our neighbours have the mobile butcher around today to their cows. I jump at every gunshot, and feel a little sad, but know that we’ll have meat in our freezer next week from cows that lived a happy life right beside us.ReplyCancel

    • April 22, 2014 - 12:38 am

      rohan - It’s a sound that can give you a jolt that’s for sure. Killing these deer (I also shot a deer later in the day) didn’t upset me so much. A lot less than I initially assumed. I guess I must be getting used to it. But no matter how many times I take a life I will never not feel thanks to the animal. It’s not so much that I respect the animal it’s more that I appreciate what it will give us. You could argue Michelle that if we truly respected meat animals then we would not kill them. I’m not making much sense here. I might go think about it and come revisit this discussion. Hope you’re well and I’ll see you soon down south. XoReplyCancel

  • April 22, 2014 - 1:27 am

    Bart Sedgwick - Hi Rohan, Interested to know if you hunt using an r-licence on public land or mostly on private? Just curious. R-licence deer and boar hunter here. Cheers.ReplyCancel

    • April 22, 2014 - 1:27 am

      rohan - Public land license for crown land.ReplyCancel

      • April 22, 2014 - 2:54 am

        Bart - Thanks. I forgot you were in Vic, not NSW. Good to see others out there making successful use of public land for hunting, keep up the good work. The blog and instagram feeds are inspirational.ReplyCancel

  • April 22, 2014 - 3:13 am

    carmel - Heyo! Are you planning on tanning the hide? Im about to tan two sheep hides for the first time scary stuff :) if all goes well ill try deer and goat!ReplyCancel

  • April 22, 2014 - 5:39 am

    Kian - Rohan, thanks for what you are doing. I am planning to make a similar transition and your blog keeps me motivated to do so.ReplyCancel

  • April 22, 2014 - 6:02 am

    Alice - It’s always a pleasure to be an observer in this life/journey that both you & Kate Berry are pursuing. There’s no doubt in my mind that the gruesome reality that you face day in and day out, would frighten the pants off us all.

    The knowledge & power you have, in being so close to the food source, is something that the (majority of us) gave up so long ago…I’m encouraged by this journey that you both willingly share, the honesty, the truth and hardships.

    I posted a picture of a fish the other day on Instagram, within moments up to 10-15 people unfollowed because they were so challenged in seeing a whole fish (deceased,) at Sydney Fish Markets no less. It baffled me, but now I know the difference between folks who want to see a picture of a cupcake or real food.

    Thank you for sharing!ReplyCancel

  • April 23, 2014 - 12:05 am

    Frank H - Thank you for your remarks and for sharing your “first deer” story. I experienced my first (and second) successful deer harvest, last Fall, and was both awestruck and humbled by the events. I enjoy viewing your photos (and those of Ms. Berry), and look forward to reading more of your stories and hearing more of your success in the future.

    Here’s hoping you return to Northern California sometime soon so we can show you some good seafood; the salmon season is just opening up.ReplyCancel

  • April 27, 2014 - 11:33 am

    jacques chiomey - This is fantastic. You are doing something that is one of the most natural acts in the history of human existence; killing and eating meat. Compare this to factory farming!

    The world needs to transition into a more sustainable state. Some will see this as barbaric and prehistoric, but its not, its pure, clean and should be the way of the future.

    Good suffReplyCancel

    • April 27, 2014 - 11:35 am

      jacques chiomey - I forgot to ask; how do you know you’re not going to get sick eating wild meat? What if it has worms or something?ReplyCancel

  • April 29, 2014 - 5:03 am

    lemmiwinks - Brave post, especially in antigunstralia. But a cracker of a post.

    I hope you will share a venison recipe or two down the track a bit.ReplyCancel

    • April 29, 2014 - 5:14 am

      rohan - I’m cooking with it and loving it! I’m also penning a second book. Venison is a must!ReplyCancel

  • April 29, 2014 - 5:27 am

    James - Inspirational, thankyou.ReplyCancel

  • June 29, 2014 - 12:59 pm

    Jessie - Not too long ago a friend came and helped us kill the 2 sheep we’d raised on our block. We’ve been killing our own chickens for around 18 months. Recently we had 6 roosters we had to kill due to their cacophany at 3am and I’d sworn that I would do the deed myself instead of asking my husband to do it. With a friend and husband for support I managed a clean kill. 2 days later our remaining rooster made a crow and so he too had to go. This one I managed entirely alone. It was hard. I shed tears. Conversely I was also filled with a strage sense of something hard to understand. Hard to acknowledge. A primal joy perhaps? Pride for sure. I now know that when the SHTF and if my husband was unable to do so, I am capable of putting ethically raised and killed meat on the table to feed my 3 young children.
    Thank you for sharing your post Rohan. I find it comforting to read of others who view hunting the same way I do. (I’ve tried shooting rabbit with bow and arrow – missed by 2 inches).ReplyCancel

  • October 7, 2014 - 9:18 am

    Lisa - This is why I raise and process my own meat chickens and have my own egg laying chickens. I also buy 90% of the other meat I consume direct from farmers who do the right thing! I am so on the same page with you on all of this, I have a plan to move from the burbs of Melbourne to some land but sadly it’s a few years away. I also try to grow as many vegies as possible for myself so I know what I am putting into my body.ReplyCancel

As soon as that break in the weather came, my mind wandered to where mushrooms huddled en masse, patiently waiting for the sharp side of my knife. The excitement builds inside me, just as it did when I was a wee laddie, sporadically searching for field mushrooms all over our farm paddocks. Excitement for that moment when you’re fortunate enough to spot a specimen lurking under grass, weeds or pine needles. They hide so well, and ever vigilant eyes are a mandatory for a successful picker.

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It’s a similar high to what I used to get as a kid, clambering under the supermarket registers looking for small change. I guess I’ve always been looking down at the ground for some kind of treasure. Once it was coins, now it’s wild mushrooms. The buzz equally exhilarating.

The season has definitely started. How long it will stick around for is anyones guess. It’s never dependable, it’s not open for calculation. It just is what it is. Like most everything else in nature. No straight lines. No certainty.

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I don’t know what I’m doing when I cook. I just do it. Here there is also no certainty. The outcomes are never predictable. But I just do it. It’s not like I’m throwing caution to the wind. I just do what feels right at the time. Most times it works, sometimes not so much. I’m no expert. I’m far from being able to say “this is the correct and only way” to do any particular thing. But at least I try. That’s all we can do.

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In culinary terms, if someone tells me I can’t to it, or I’m doing it all wrong, well it just makes me want to do it even more. Not only because I want to prove them wrong, hell I just don’t like being told. Why? Because if you’re told you can’t do something, then chances are you’ll stop having a go. And then, what do we become? All the same. Boring and void of imagination.

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I keep telling myself that I need to retreat. I need to get away from the noise and visual pollution of 2014. I find myself walking forests looking for food, facing my fears and talking to myself…a lot. My time alone in the bush is when I feel most real. With a basket of found mushrooms and a mind of new ideas, I’m a complete man. When I cook a meal, I take pleasure in the possibility of it succeeding. When I consume said meal, I experience what I’ve just worked for. I feel contentment in a job done, done all the way to the end. When I look at my food, I can see truth and beauty, I see no bullshit manufacture, I see real. I cannot communicate well enough, how much this has altered my life. Let me assure you though, it’s totally rad.

Pizza with wild picked saffron milk cap mushroom, home made chorizo, home made passata, home grown garlic, jalapeño, sage and thyme.

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  • April 15, 2014 - 9:59 am

    Alice - Those mushrooms are heavenly Rohan. There’s something to be said for finding such treasures, alive in nature and creating something from scratch. Such love!ReplyCancel

  • April 15, 2014 - 1:34 pm

    Rob Wilmot - Love your pizza Rohan,it looks delicious and real – just like the mushies.ReplyCancel

  • April 15, 2014 - 1:50 pm

    Elyse - Talking to yourself is always a winner- you always get the answers you want!ReplyCancel

  • April 15, 2014 - 7:58 pm

    KC - A heavenly home grown pizza. I’m really curious to know how sage and jalapenos go together.ReplyCancel

  • April 15, 2014 - 10:31 pm

    Cle-ann - Beautiful, just beautiful, and YUM !ReplyCancel

  • April 16, 2014 - 6:47 am

    lisa | renovatingitaly - Ciao Rohan, you sound so like my husband, yesterday we had a BBQ inside on a slab of rock in our massive fireplace, it was great. Slowly pulling away from the constant onslaught of the online world, enjoy your meal, ciao ciao lisa xReplyCancel

  • April 17, 2014 - 6:15 pm

    Ashley Thompson - Wow, your pictures speak so many beautiful words and thoughts. I find it funny that such beautiful pictures of a like-minded individual can inspire me to continue in the same direction regardless of the nay-saying of uneducated people. Thank you.
    Thoughts from Canada…
    AshleyReplyCancel

  • April 19, 2014 - 12:57 am

    Shape of things Toni - Thank you for this. One of the things I find hardest about living in Lima is the total disconnection from my food (I’m in a desert city of 9 million people). I feel the difference in my body and well-being, eating processed, supermarket food, and not things I’ve grown / forage myself or bought from farmers I know and trust.

    Right now I’m really missing Hobart, with the change to Autumn and the abundance the season brings. I should be out foraging! Slippery-jack mushrooms will be hiding in the pine forests and the feral pear and apple trees will be ready for raiding. At least I managed a few days away up in the mountains, where there was a veggie patch I could pick from, real, local, fresh food in the market and edible plants to forage.

    I am so looking forward to getting out of the city when my year here is up.ReplyCancel

  • April 21, 2014 - 7:01 am

    Sarah - This pizza looks so scrummy makes me want to go make mushroom pizza, or go pick mushrooms for pizzaReplyCancel

  • April 27, 2014 - 3:34 am

    Martyna @ Wholesome Cook - Hi Rohan, I am quite envious of your saffron milk cap haul. Having grown up in Poland, mushroom picking is in my blood – I can recall countless fall mornings, driving into the woods before the break of dawn to be the first there. We’d eat cooked eggs, and forage for berries for lunch as our baskets filled up with golden chanterelles, kong boletus, ceps but rarely a saffron milk cap – they have become a rarity. I recently took the kids on a bush walk and found a few slippery jacks. Oh what joy. And memories.
    LOVE.
    PS My Mum makes a delectable stew using mixed mushrooms and keeps batches in the freezer for the winter months. They are so good with wild meat, omelettes or even pasta.ReplyCancel