This is a blog of the 31 things we will be doing in the month of January 2010 as part of our sustainable communities group. This post explains it all.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Oh what a lovely tea party.

draw back the curtain.

The teabag is a little well-brewed.

The weeds have been decomposing anaerobically for a good month and a half now (just a few weeks longer than was recommended by Gardening Australia). The basic process of anaerobic decomposition is that the microorganisms break down biodegradable material in the absence of oxygen. This releases the energy into the water rather than the air. It's used a lot to treat waste water and reduce the release of gases and such from landfill. On an industrial scale anaerobic digestion can be a renewable energy source. Methane and carbon dioxide rich biogas can be harvested and burnt to drive a turbine. What we did was a little more lo-fi, not in an air tight vessel or set up to siphon off the gas, but none the less the same process. We are more interested in breaking down the nutrients in the biomass (the weeds) into a form that the plants can use easily. Unfortunately this works too well so the final mix needs to be mixed with more water to dilute it or it will burn the plants.

Black with one.

Anaerobic decomposition happens naturally in mangroves; their leaves break down in the oxygen starved mud; however in that instance the mud is high is salts and so they smell like sulphur (rotten eggs). The "beautiful, brown, sludge" that formed in our weed tea smells like death. The water is releasing many of the gases that have dissolved into it over the weeks.
There was also an abundance of invertebrate life gathered in the pot. Many small compost flies and about six spiders had taken up residence. To these bugs the rotting smells means food or food for their young.

We haven't put it onto the garden just yet. We are making some seeds for Autumn planting and I hope they like tea. The tea bag on the other hand had can go on the compost heap.

Lars comes in for a whiff...

... and feels a little overwhelmed.

Monday, March 15, 2010

All bound for Mumu land

There is no rational explanation for this photo.

We all arrived safely in Mumu land with our friend Lisa Dempster and are having lots of fun. She's in town for the *award winning* Format Festival's academy of words and the zine fair, where we acquired our nice green Mumu.

An amazing find in the bag of free stuff at Format.

Lisa has been staying with us and is now our second ever guest blogger. Take it away Lisa!

Ten things I love about Adelaide
  1. Format Festival - the reason I came to Adelaide in the first place and one of the reasons I keep returning.
  2. Amazing and plentiful vegan food - my favourite spot is Bliss Cafe.
  3. Fantastic people, in particular the clever, creative and welcoming people who are involved with Format. I don't want to generalise about Adelaideans but my experience of people who live here is that they are down to earth, laid back and very friendly.
  4. Wonderful wide streets and lots of green space near the centre of town, plus the fact that it doesn't have that big city feel.
  5. Central Markets - so much wonderful fresh produce and so cheap! But my favourite stall is dough... their fruit and walnuts rolls are divine.
  6. It doesn't feel like a 'car city' the way Melbourne does. Lots of people seem to ride bikes and it's highly accessible for two-wheeled transport.
  7. Broad availability and cheapness of all kinds of Coopers beer! Also love the fantastic local wine.
  8. Heaps of free wifi spots - fantastic!
  9. Free transport in the city.
  10. Staying at Cassie and John's house! Not sure if Larshy and Nissa love having me but I think the four of them are tops.

"#11 - the mumu"

Yes, I have a lot of love for this city.

The #adelaide tag on my blog will bring up a lot of love for this small city, including my escapades at Format and my experiences of eating here.

Thanks to Cassie and John for having me, in their home and on their blog!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Liquid bread

I was given a beer making starter kit for my birthday a few weeks ago so it seems as good a time as any to start planning. We have some recycled bottles, the kit and now all we need is a bit of cooler weather or my father's cellar. Beer needs to be kept at a constant temperature and it's easier to keep it warm in cool weather than cool on a hot day. It can easily be wrapped in a blanket to keep in the heat that the fermentation produces. Another tip is to use long neck bottles or short stubby bottles as they provide less surface area for the secondary fermentation of the yeast. I've been told that oil in additives such as chilli is the key to enhancing those flavors. Also water purity and general cleanliness is paramount, as the less other junk there is in there the nicer the beer is at the end.
We're looking forward to the experimental side of brewing. I have had some experience with preparing wine for bottling, on my uncle's vineyard, and in that situation too, cleanliness in all things is paramount. One year everyone forgot the metabisulphite, used to stabilize the fermentation in the bottles, and corks popped all over the place. The next year too much was added and the wine was undrinkable.
Here's some link love

Autumn is here and with it a whole new season of work in the garden. I think the weed tea is about done and it's going to rain this weekend. I'm hoping to bust open a bail of pea straw and get mulching.
Speaking of mulching I've been tearing up the cooch grass and turning it in on itself. It seems to be keeping it down to some extent but it's so dry and thirsty under it that it's like sawing through wooden skewers.
I've been trying to get my head around a philosophy that Cass found about weeds. They improve the soil and get it ready for the plants you want. Weeds are part of biodiversity and soil health. All monocultures are doomed to collapse. In short weeds are a good thing if managed properly.
I'm going to put up a "no spray zone" sign on the footpath and start encouraging some of the purslane growing in the cracks.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Keep your rosaries off my ovaries!

Hey there,
It's state election time in March and the posters are going up. The conservative Liberal party, smelling a topical issue, have added a block of green colour to their posters. Nice try. The real Greens are out in force. In an interesting cultural aside, Labor (the centre-right party), have mainly Italian names in our neighbourhood.
What's prompted me to comment on the posters though is that there is a new independent candidate running on an anti-abortion platform. He's - at least I assume from his name he's a man (and will therefore never actually experience being a woman with an unplanned pregnancy) - got money enough behind him that he can afford to plaster the main arterial roads with posters. While his slogan is "Save the Unborn", the main, misleading poster is a picture of an obviously full-term baby. The other, just plain weird one, features someone holding the hand of a baby old enough to wear clothes! Just one of these nasty posters gives you a cold shiver, but to be beaten over the head with them 10 or 15 times in a row is distressing (not that I'm saying it would be preferable for him to use pictures of embryos or foetuses. No WAY. But at least it wouldn't suggest that abortions are performed on women carrying full-term babies.)
This here is a shout-out to the statistical 1/3 of all ladies who have made or are currently faced with the possibility of making, the deeply personal and always traumatic decision to have an abortion, especially those in Adelaide who have to see this stuff every time they leave the house. Not to mention the actual kids being driven past this shit every day on their way to and from school. Here is a link to a wonderful Facebook group for anyone who is experiencing grief or outrage about these posters (and there seem to be a lot of people who are).
I'm wondering if this visual assault has anything to do with my desire today to sit myself down under a tree, take some deep breaths and post this to you from a green hillside at the Mt Lofty Botanic Gardens? Maybe - it's also just great to go out and have a little adventure. This weekend, and the last two gone, John is doing some filming. It's been strange being by myself with a relatively relaxed schedule after the intensity of the 31 Things month. John's continued on being super-busy into February, but now that the Ferris Wheels & Fairyfloss show is up and the 31 Things have wound down, I seem to have more time on my hands. I've been feeling a little housebound and housewifely, which no one wants to happen unless it's entirely voluntary. (Check out THIS amazing post on how to avoid heteronormative role playing in girl-guy cohabiting relationships). Anyway, we've borrowed John's parents' car this weekend and he pointed out that it was free today. He was right. I knew I wanted to do three things this Sunday - continue with a tidying mission I've started (in my mind), write a blog post, and bake a blackberry and apple pie from the fresh juicy blackberries and apples-off-the tree we picked last evening with our friends Rachael and Andrew in Basket Range.
I love gleaning and harvesting fruits and veggies, but they (and variables like the weather) decide when they're ready, and if you don't want to play down the freshness by freezing them, you have to be prepared to drop everything and cook (a viable alternative would simply be to cram handfuls of them into our mouths the way Andrew showed us last night - mmm - mmm!)
But back to breaking out of stereotypes - we're not going gently into those heteronormative roles/rules/routines around the 31 Things headquarters, so you can guess how we worked out today's plans. We're going to make the pie together tonight, I've taken myself off to the hills to blog and no one is going to tidy anything again today.
Meanwhile, I'm in the favourite picnic spot at Mt Lofty Botanic Gardens, in a little parrot, butterfly, dragonfly, duck and frog populated glade. There's even a trickling water course/stream coming down through the lawn to the artificial lake, and its waters are GREEN. I haven't seen this much lushness in a long time. There's a blossoming tree, which is weird (but pretty) for this time of year, and enough humans around to make it not creepy.
I'm thinking that after this, I might climb up to the top level through the forest that's a mixture of native bush and Japanese and European trees. It really works in Autumn. I know it will be hideously gruelling, and it's quite warm today, but I want and need to honour the plan to get fit that the gym challenge of the 31 Things was attempting to kick start. (We have not been going to the gym 2-3 times a week!)
What have we been up to?
Our soil testing kit arrived in the mail (but we haven't used it yet).
We took dinner to Kelly from Sustainable Communities who punctured her artery in a nasty bike accident a few weeks ago.
We went to the FoE Food Convergence and came away inspired. Highlights were learning about Adelaide Food Connect (which I would provide a link to but which unfortunately seems to be suffering from having been hacked just now - next time), realising the importance and value of farmers, insights about community in our particular society (I'm planning to write an essay about this one and incorporate it into my Masters), learning about Venezuela and the government of Chavez and buying a compost screw from Chris Day (actually not yet delivered - Hey Chris!). A further insight was the importance of participating in government and planning if you want things done, and with this in mind I've started thinking about maybe working for one of the local councils in some capacity. A job has actually come up at our Council down the street on the Parade that I'm going to apply for, though it would mean deferring the Masters for a bit.
Speaking of jobs - John has got one at the Science Exchange! They'll be paying him to come in two days a week and continue doing what he began for his internship. The Science Exchange is excellent, such a fun place to work. It's really exciting.
Another big insight has been reading posts like this. Of course this further leads into ideas about community, which more and more seems to be the conclusion to various discussions about enviro topics and sustainability. It's exciting for me to think about ways community can manifest, and I love looking to other countries for examples of what works and what doesn't.
My Peak Oil freakout is settling as well. I think I'll soon be ready to write the post!
I'll stop soon, as I'm starting to feel as if I'm writing one of those Christmas letters.
But just a couple more newsworthy items.
John had a birthday and was given a beer brewing kit! We discovered last night that as well as Alison's partner Mike, we also know some other brewers. Rachael and Andrew brew not only beer but apple cider. They also have several bee hives. CAN we fit a beehive into the local sociology and ecology of our tiny Norwood backyard? Stay tuned.
Our exhibitions are going really well and we've sold a lot of work. Selling work - to anyone - is a first for me, and I made my first sale to someone I didn't know the other day. I also received a phone call at midnight last night from a drunk guy at the pub where our work is showing saying how much he loved my photos! (He didn't offer to buy one, but who cares!)
Lastly, my camera continues unfixed and while I've been loaned another, I can't quite get into it in the same way.
Tomorrow night we're going to another forum about our local community garden.
And on March 1st, we're hosting our next Sustainable Communities meeting, where we'll have about a 50% increase in members. Then my Melbourne pal Lisa Dempster is staying with us, so she can attend the Format Fest. Did I mention it's Fringe Time? The ferris wheel is back and we will continue to give it a workout every few days.
Til next time.
PS Ignorant hate campaigns like Trevor Grace's can have triggering effects for people who are experiencing trauma about the issues of unwanted pregnancy and abortion. Lifeline's (as in nonjudgemental support, not pro-lifeline!) 24 Hour Counselling Service is 13 11 14 if you need someone to talk to. Remember, no insensitive loony should be allowed to make you feel bad for doing what's best for you.
Fuck off, Trevor Grace. Leave me and my sisters alone!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Welcome Jessica

This is my new niece Jessica, born last Monday at 11:15 pm.
Congratulations to Anne and Andy.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Last January post

Last night at 1am when we were setting the alarm for 5am, so we could get to the Torrens Island Market by 6am, we couldn't remember if there was a reason we'd planned to be there so early or if we'd just thought it sounded like fun when things were less crazy.

Four hours later we almost didn't get up, but we did because we wanted the adventure for the last day of the 31 Things. It was beautiful and surreil. The dawn was coming up behind us and the full moon was still glowing ahead of us. After a brief detour involving Garden Island and then the Torrens Island power plant, we found out (from the power plant security guard) that the market is actually opposite rather than on Torrens Island.

The moon was still up, but it was light by this stage. We sleepily wandered around admiring all the fruit and veg that seemed particularly large, uniform and sort of glowing with colour (in a healthy, dawn-lit, rather than the radioactive way that I've made them sound) and quickly spent our allotted $15 on: two pieces of pizza bread, onions, tomatoes, banana peppers, potatoes, plums, nectarines and eggs. The seller assured us they were free range, but in fact they turned out to be caged. Here's a link about caged hens. The compost bin will eat well tonight.
We took a lot of pretty photos, but I dropped my camera the other day and it seems to have developed a serious malfunction. I'm hoping to get them off the camera somehow later.

I'm still recovering from seeing "The Road" the other night. Researching into Peak Oil simultaneously wasn't the best idea. I honestly do not think the future after oil becomes scarce will be like "The Road", or anything like it. Later we'll be doing a long piece about it, but at the moment I think we've overdosed on unstructured, open-ended peak oil research and it hasn't been constructive. We're going to look at it further though and as the days go by the concept is becoming much more acceptable. Stay tuned.

Meanwhile, we've finished or at least set in motion all of the 31 Things (minus one!) Check the list out below, with some comments.

The 31 things.

1. weed tea DONE
2. get Jules' worm poo
3. make gift for Anne's baby DONE
4. pesto with zucchini and basil DONE
5. work on quilt, cut patches DONE
We're making a quilt! John cut some patches in January for the challenge. We're on the look-out for vintage fabric from op-shops, or if anyone's relatives have an old bag of fabric scraps, let us know! Anything up to '50s is great.
6. investigate home brew DONE
Coopers homebrew kits at the local Foodland, and Alison's partner Mike makes his own.

7. join Sustainable Communities started
We have the details, but no money to join til Thursday!
8. food co-op started
Flinders Food Co-op and Clarence Park Food Co-op are our options.
9. get shower timer and use it DONE
10. soil test started
There's a soil testing lab really close to us who offer a free kit. We've emailed for it.
11. investigate Peter Singer's thing about income started
This challenge was to try to work out what we thought about Peter Singer's book The Life You Can Save, about donating to charity to help end world poverty. I've read it and John's going to. The idea is about the ethics of giving as much as you can to reputable charities. I don't know if we can afford it; this challenge is about trying to work out what being able to afford something means in this context. Would we give up a few beers a week to donate to Oxfam, for example? A meal or two out? What's a luxury and what's a necessity in our situation? And so on.
12. call Rudd etc. DONE
13. call Harry re: rotten wood DONE
14. make a climate change info pack for Maja started
I'm putting together a "pack" of helpful links, not yet complete.
15. smoke alarm DONE

16. book permaculture course started
Bad news on the permaculture course front. Even with the early-bird discount, it's $1427.50 each! We'll do it eventually, but not this year . Meanwhile we'll read our books and maybe go to some short courses and workshops.
17. find a source of eggs DONE
Jules suggested a colleague from the Conservation Council who sells her eggs, so fingers crossed this will work out. After today's free-range egg deception, we're really over trying to find any free range eggs that aren't actual backyard pet hens. (By the way, check out the Con Council's website. I haven't been for a while and it's looking very swanky.)
18. get a compost screw started
We've contacted a permaculturalist guy I know who told us about compost screws ages ago, but have yet to hear back.
19. Torrens island market DONE
20. go for massage DONE
We went for a joint massage down the street in one of the many swanky beauty parlours around Norwood! My "massage epiphany" (the insight you get when you are relaxed and having a massage) is that I need to relax more! Yoga and exercise would be good. And more massage!
21. go for bush walk DONE
22. Tiny Towns pieces and zine and climate change zine DONE
23. go to an escapist movie not done
"The Road" did not cut it! Nor did "Sherlock Holmes". We considered "Fantastic Mr Fox" today but we were working on the last few pieces for the show on Tuesday and didn't have time. We were also knackered after the early market start. Here's what is a complete escapist treat, and it's embarrassing, but we don't care. It started in the heatwave, when we were zonked out, but we're watching it now: "Friends". That's right. "Friends". When I was cool in the 90s I scorned it to the point of not watching it ever. Now it seems to hit the spot - back to back episodes, funny, clever, social and good for John's facial recognition practice. What can I say?
Update - "Fantastic Mr Fox" was also not very fun, (despite the impressive stop-motion animation), with the Americanised woodland creatures being hunted and a horrible orange sky throughout. We'll keep an eye out for our escapist movie. Though we want to see it, "Precious" isn't going to be in the running either.

Coming out about "Friends".

24. free hair cut for John DONE
25. leaflet for Critical Climate DONE
After the massage we walked past a local eatery, Vego to Go, and the guy called to us frantically to stop, then gave us some leftover apple and walnut muffins. We were then approached by another guy advertising a free wine tasting at the Norwood Town Hall, which we attended forthwith. When we were drunk, we still had to leaflet for local climate action group, Critical Climate, so we did, had a lovely evening walk, and discovered an old tram barn that had been turned into apartments. It's fun getting to know the neighbourhood on foot.

"Look at my tongue, it's wearing a purple sock!" At the Town Hall in Norwood. The guy in the background, who seemed to be in charge of the tasting, was, I swear, the same person who was in the pizza delivery to Kylie Minogue ad from the 90s. This must be his new line of business.

Leafleting in Norwood.

The old tram barn in Stepney.

26. go to gym once to twice a week started
We started, but haven't been going, because we're too busy doing the 31 Things. Ha.
27. make Moroccan lentils and send others a recipe DONE
28. bake bread DONE
29. research the depression and peak oil started
This is on the list because it's hard to do. It's started but definitely not finished.
30. go for a meal at Sterling Organic DONE
Yesterday we borrowed John's parents car and went to the Sterling Organic cafe in the hills. Then we spontaneously went to Murray Bridge, where it was boiling hot (we wanted to go to the butterfly farm, but it had closed years ago. Even the mechanical bunyip was broken!) It was nice, though, to visit the Murray. Despite the drought and lack of environmental flows, it felt good to look out over a big body of water where the locals were swimming, paddling, boating and waterskiing. We're so used to dry creeks in town, and thinking about the river as an abstract concept.
The land changes dramatically once you get over the Mt Lofty Ranges (the hills) and onto the plain between Mt Barker and Murray Bridge. It was so hot and dry and yellow it was like driving through a dried out Van Gogh painting. By contrast, the hills felt incredibly lush, weirdly so to some extent, a little micro-climate enabling a European fantasy on the edge of the aridlands. We ended up grabbing a punnet of strawberries from the Beeremberg strawberry farm and then eating tea at Grumpy's microbrewery and pizza joint near Hahndorf. Here are some pics.

Perusing the brochure at Stirling Organic.

Delicious spicy tahini, babaganoush and tabouli sandwich at Stirling Organic.

Hello, Murray!

Cheeseless wood oven pizza, strawberries and a pint of Tomcat at Grumpy's Microbrewery.

31. Make a zine or a blog or both about this DONE

We're done! That's it.

Follow-up posts on the 31 things started but not complete to follow, at a more leisurely pace. Meanwhile thanks so much for everyone whose taken an interest, offered advice or otherwise encouraged us. See you soon!
xx Cass and John.

John became an uncle to Jessica Ellen, two weeks earlier than expected, on the night before the Fairyfloss show!!!
Welcome little niece!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Australia Day/Survival Day - have a nice one and a catchup with us!

The end of the month of January is approaching rapidly! We've scheduled the rest of the 31 Things in our dairies and we probably will finish all of them by the 31st, but we'll have to do some of the posting in February.

Scheduling in the shed.

Meanwhile here's a photo montage/summary of some of the latest and not so latest "Things" we've been doing.

Take it away #3 Make Gift for Anne's Baby!
John's sister Anne is having a baby next month (gender to be a surprise), and my sister Alison is having a girl in early June. So we're both going to have niblings, or nieflings, as we found out the kids of your siblings are also called!

Anne had a baby shower the other week and John and I made baby pants for our gift on my Granny's old Singer. It was the first time I'd used it and I fell in love with the idea of this link to my grandmother, who used to make a lot of our clothes on this same sewing machine when we were kids. John's paternal grandmother was actually a seamstress, and he knew how to work the machine and do the tricky bits. I love this idea of the two grandchildren of these two wonderful women who never met, sewing clothes for their great-grandchildren (our nieflings!). We made a little pair of summer tartan trousers for Anne's baby, and we'll return to the Singer to make something warm for Alison's baby in winter.

We'll also make some other stuff, I hope. I've been dagging around pretty much exclusively in op-shop clothes for the last five or six years because of the sweat shop issue, so the idea of making pretty things that really fit is wonderful. For some reason I really want to do some homemade knickers as well. I figure if you can sew your own underpants you can sew anything.

And so does Lars.

John tracing the pattern with his Nanna's tailor's chalk.

The Singer in action.

Baby pants! (Minus draw-string).

Next up was John's haircut which Maja offered to do back on the walk up Mt Lofty (the first of our 31 Things). On the same day, we also accidentally went to the Wayville Showground farmer's market, because we thought it was on the list, but we'd scrapped it in favour of the Compost Screw.

We thought we might pick one up there, as the guy we know who sells them lives far from town. Instead we came away with a tray of tomatoes, some garlic, the crazy Omega-3, super-weed, purslane (that we had just learned about from Joel on the Little House blog), and some basil from the Food Forest stall. John spoke to Anne-Marie Brookman of the Food Forest and got the ball rolling on the Book Permaculture Course challenge. Unfortunately we've apparently underestimated the cost of the 10 day course by about 50%, but we've started a little savings fund to try to afford it by April.

Here are some pics from the market.

We made some oven-dried "sun dried" tomatoes with this tray of beauties (ironically you need three days of consecutive heatwave to dry them properly outside, and it was cool). The recipe was from Barbara Kingsolver's Animal, Vegetable, Miracle.

Maja and John looking a bit cool at the Farmer's Market.

Food Forest garlic, on top of sundried tomato pesto.

This is purslane! ($2 at the Wayville Farmer's Market)

And this is purslane ($10 from Banner Hardware) - but can you eat this kind?

We think this is also purslane, growing in our street as a weed. We wouldn't want to eat this one as it's growing beside the road and might be polluted, but it's nice to know it's there.

And here is John's haircut. We couldn't get hairdressing scissors anywhere, but finally found some at a $2 Shop when we had given up and set off for home.


We went back. If John was nervous you couldn't really tell.

I'm the god'arn Batman!

The "bobbed" stage where Maja admitted she mostly cut girls' hair.

Very suave, Willanski, very suave.

Somewhere among the Rudd calling and visiting, John made pesto. The garden basil has gone from abundant to scarce after the heatwave, so we substituted it for Food Forest basil from the Farmer's Market. John used yeast instead of cheese in the pesto. It was chunky and delicious!

Calling Rudd.

Break for dinner.

Calling Wong.

As a sort of 31 Things spin-off, we helped John's brother Dave and sister-in-law Candice start a potted garden in their courtyard. Dave wrote about it on his blog too. I think the figure of us growing 70-80% of our own food is too generous, but I wonder how much we do grow?

John brought the permaculture book along.(the earth users guide to permaculture)

Parsely, capsicum, lemon grass, chives and cherry tomato for the food plants, and native grasses, native rosemary and something else native with pink flowers for the rest.

Willanski Bros.

Then Dave dropped us in Medindie where we visited Jules and her kids Raphie and Indigo. Jules gave us some worm poo for the garden (and worm wee). We think our fruiting plants might be a bit undernourished, so some of this worm compost might help them fruit if it's not too late in the season.

Worm wee, mmm!

An appropriate doggy-bag gleaned from the supply at our local park for the worm poo.

Our hosts having a story.

We're on a sort of daily schedule at the moment.
Next day we made bread with Anna.

Adding the oil.

Consulting the bread cook book. (The Peter Berley Modern Vegetarian Cookbook).


Several hours later (note sun has set) - bread! We took some to a house party that night.

On the bread-making day we also found some soap made from glycerine, which we've been looking for because it doesn't contain palm oil. We were really pleased as we've been trying to avoid palm oil, because of the issues with deforestation and orangutan populations. This turkish-delight style number came from a shop off the Parade that Rapsodie from our Sustainable Communities group mentioned. I'll note the name next time I go down the street.

Note the shower timer still in use. Have we been using it? John has more than I have, but I tend to start the shower timer and not get out immediately when it runs out. Still, when my showers go overtime, they feel illicit, rather than standard, and they're shorter than before we got it.

Yesterday we got a photo-electric smoke alarm from the post office. Actually we got four, and rejected two of the conventional sort. In a weird coincidence (Emeera, did you tell him you'd had a premonition?!), Harry, our landlord arrived unexpectedly to install some of the regular kind that he had brought with him (thereby fullfilling the Call Harry about rotten wood challenge, as well). He was very understanding about us not wanting the radioactive kind and even gave us some money to buy the sort we wanted, as well as one for Anna and Lily's place.

I took a bus back to the post office I used to go to when I lived in the city, because our local one had run out of smoke alarms, and returned triumphantly with the last two they had. Then John rang up from his parents' place to say his Dad, George, had picked us up a couple from a different post office. So now each house has two photo-electric smoke alarms. George is going to take our old ones, and some batteries that have been sitting on top of the fridge for about five years, to his work's hazardous waste bin.

The new ones. And they only cost ten bucks each!

That's it for now. We're both getting ready for our Fringe shows, I've given away uni for this and last week, due to Rudd and getting my photos ready, and we have been doing various other of the 31 Things that we don't have photos of.

I've predominantly been reading a book called "Choosing Eden" that Dave told us he'd got free with an issue of Gardening Australia. Basically it's a first-person account of a couple in their fifties who have packed up their comfortable Sydney life to start a permaculture farm in the NSW countryside, because of Peak Oil.

We're gearing up to write a big Peak Oil post, and because there's not enough time left in January to do it and some of the other posts justice we're going to extend the blog out into February and beyond. We're not sure if we'll continue blogging about new projects after we've reported on all the 31 Things - maybe!

We're booked in for our massage on Friday, and will have at least started or tee'd up all of the "Things" by Sunday, the 31st day of January. Except possibly "Go to an escapist movie"! We wanted to see "Where the Wild Things Are", but it looks as if we've missed it. "Avatar" was recommended (thanks Trina!), but Anna said the camera motion made her sick. I have a bizarre urge to see "The Road", which could not be classified escapist by any stretch of anyone's imagination. (Unless in that way where you realise that your fears for the future aren't as horrible as someone else's dystopia. )

Lastly, a friend of John's parents told us today that my polemic letter about Rudd avoiding the climate change question made it into the Advertiser yesterday! "Catastrophe awaits"!