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.

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!


  1. Yay! Well done! But will you still be blogging?

  2. at least for the ones we still have to finnish off .

  3. Oops, the last bit somehow didn't come out, the bit saying we'd be back!

  4. congrats! you guys should be proud. Inspiring stuff :)

    p.s PLEASE see Avatar 3D! Seriously it is worth the money. It takes a little bit to get used to the 3D-ness and the plot is Hollywood cheese, but it's pro environment and Pandora is the most beautiful planet, you will never want to leave....