Sunday, November 14, 2010

The usefulness of things

Nature knows best! Poppies are useful after they die;
by providing food for the soil and seeds, to plant later

My lapse in blogging has a particular catalyst. It started when a useful thing ceased being useful, and became an obsolete thing instead. Or to inject a noun into this story, my "digital camera" has died. I had my suspicions when the images were appearing washed out and the low-battery icon, kept appearing with rigorous monotony.

Okay, so it died, no biggy right. It can be replaced. Eventually. After I pay for the sump pump in my septic that died recently too; and the distributor coil in the car which caused the battery to expire. I don't know the damage of the pump yet (or plumbing fees) as I'm waiting for the invoice to arrive in the mail, but I'm still estimating at least a few grand to replace or repair the obsolete things.

I'm not complaining about the money, it's just when the useful things stop working, you have to adjust to life without those useful things.

I'm preparing in some aspects for further eventualities. Like the dishwasher - I've started washing by hand instead. I get to extend the life of the dishwasher as it's not working every day; but I also get weened off the convenience of a machine. Ultimately when it dies, as all electrical appliances seem to do, I will be better prepared to cope with the adjustment.

Things like digital cameras though, what is the alternative? It's not exactly viable to start downloading your brain to the computer instead. There are just some useful things, no substitutes can remedy. A digital camera allows me to document our progress with the property over the years - even seeing the faces of ourselves (and our bodies) changing with each season.

Although (brain ticking away here) I just remembered an old skill that has probably been long forgotten. Drawing. That's an alternative to a digital camera, yes?

Back before photography was invented, many tapestries and artworks told stories about times and places. I'd like to do some sketches perhaps one day, but for now I'm forced into using my mobile phone camera. Eeek! New program to download on the PC and new ways of doing things. For the love of all things electronic, I give you (that which I can) photographic evidence we are still alive and working in the garden...

We've been collecting rocks! This is hopefully going to result in a dry river creek bed, that will act as a spoon drain for rain run-off. We've got some non-invasive bamboo arriving soon, and a banana circle planned to integrate on the edges of the dry river creek bed.

We've been collecting large rocks too, and some old hardwood fence posts that aren't much good for fencing any more, but make great, small retaining walls. We're growing dianella plants to help hold the soil together at the bottom of the slope too.

And hey, we've been collecting old boots! Our old boots! Way past their prime in the foot-wearing department, but they will also make excellent pot plants when we get around to it. In the background is some of the felled trees we've been turning into retaining walls, while we get some plants growing above.

Another angle of our rural log wall. On the right (planted in the mulch) is a Japanese Maple with red leaves. A little further along is a Brazillian Cherry and down the back is a Brown Turkey Fig. We're planting alternate deciduous and evergreen shrubs, to allow for more sunlight during winter. This is also a walking ramp to the lower half of the garden.

Oh look, more rocks! And Dave got creative with spotted gum and wattle saplings, making a trellis for our cucumbers to ramble over. There's a small Black Mulberry tree growing in the background too. All that's required is a bit of hard yakka, an axe, hatchet plus a crow bar to dig the posts in. An existing tree (right) is being used as a post, rather than cutting it down. The natural canopy it has, also provides a bit of shade for this bed.

We threw in some corn, cucumbers, button squash and a hand full of chicken grains. After we eat the veg and the chickens eat the grains that sprout, we'll turn it all back into the soil.

While some of our man-made gadgets aren't always useful when they die, you've got to know that Nature set the standard - how best to utilise obsolete and useful things together.


  1. Oh, if only everything we use had a useful after-life! Good idea about those boots, mind you- they look better than the ones I refuse to throw out, even though the sole is hanging off... maybe I'll plant into mine one day, preserved forever!
    Love your rock collections :-)

  2. 'Oh Chris,it is such a shame things don't last for years and years anymore. For us it is currently toys, but I won't get into it here.
    The plants in boots, is a great idea, succulents growing in ours, beside the front gate. It always brings a smile to visitors faces!
    Quirky homemade obects in the garden is such fun!
    Great to hear you are all well - Emily

  3. LOL, we have thread bare boots too! That particular pair is made out of concrete (not literally) and feels like you're wearing stones on the bottom of your feet. We tried stretching them but it boggles the mind how "stone like" they are. ;)

    Dave recycles his old steel cap boots from work, to garden boots now. We know they're done (but he still wear them anyway) once the steel cap falls out, LOL.

    Hi Emily, nice to see you back blogging too. Life has a habit of getting away on us sometimes. My favourite ornaments in the garden, are the recylced ones. They just ooze memories and stories of moments when...

    I think succulents would work very well in those old boots too. :)


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