Back in the early 2000’s, writing for the hippy press was a lot of fun. The first articles published were probably of a similar standard to my earlier gardening efforts, you know, there was a bit of room for improvement. In those heady days, physical magazines and books were actually published, and people paid for that stuff. Cool! Prior to submitting my first article for publication, I’d been reading a few different sources of the hippy press for a number of years, and was enthused enough to contribute. The first article was accepted by the publisher in a strange sort of hurry up, then wait, manner. But not to worry about the finer details, my name was published up there with the other folks I’d so much admired.
By the end of the decade, the Global Financial Crisis had run amok, and the pay for each article had been much reduced. The remuneration had frankly gotten to be a bit of a joke, even when the words submitted for publication were way funnier than that. It all came to something of a head (literally in this case) with me in the infamous bubble article. Caused quite the furore in the publishers office. The amusing article was published, the photo sadly never made the front cover. I was replaced by a ubiquitous Earth Mother archetype. Probably why they eventually went out of business.
Whatever. By those days, Sandra and I had been on our Fernglade Farm adventure for a few years. You see, we were getting ahead of the curve. One of the interesting side stories about writing for the hippy press, is that you read the hippy press. And I read widely.
Back in 2004, or was it 2005 (who cares), I read that the IRA (International Rock Agency) announced that we’d reached Peak Rocks. Few people seemed to make much of an issue about it. I’d heard at the time that a few retired geologists were sharing some rather dark thoughts on the website: ‘The Rock Drum’. What did they care, being retired, they didn’t need to earn a living like I did. But, from their unique vantage point of experience and in-depth knowledge they could tell it like it was: Peak Rocks is real, and it’s here. Or more correctly, it had been and gone.
Rocks are fundamental to our way of life. If you’ve been reading this blog for more than say, a month, you’d know we use rocks. Lot’s of rocks. And apparently, as a civilisation us humans were now using more rocks than we’re finding. That doesn’t imply that there aren’t enough rocks left to utilise. No way. There’s still plenty of rocks around, but those are not enough to meet demand. And the rocks are getting more expensive to obtain too. So, it’s going to get worse every single year. Once Peak Rocks was reached, someone was clearly missing out.
We chose to live here because it’s not too far from the big smoke, the land was cheap and the rainfall seemed reliable. And there were rocks. Heaps of rocks. Unfortunately, we’ve now used all of the easy to get rocks. They’re gone (disappeared into projects). Now we have to head down further into the forest, and split larger rocks so that we can move their now smaller incarnations back up the hill. Even then, they’re heavy. We know how to do that work, and we’ve got the tools for the drilling and cracking, but it’s hard work. Sadly, it just isn’t as easy as grabbing a choice rock off the paddock. People tell me that the technology for splitting these rocks is getting better and cheaper all the time, but I’m not seeing that. Did I mention that it is hard work? Wouldn’t it just be easier if rocks were more readily available on contour? It’s enough to make a person say in exasperation: Far freakin’ out!
Makes me wonder what the past used to be like. Can you imagine the ancient days when Stonehenge was constructed? The vast bluestone granite monoliths look awesome. Weren’t they even dragged from Ireland or Wales or somewhere distant like that? Clearly in those days, large rocks were there just for the taking, and people could be choosy. Since Peak Rocks though, everything’s changed, it’s all different now. Nobody could even afford to construct another Stonehenge. Shows you just how far civilisation has fallen in these so-called enlightened days.
So next time you’re wondering about why a loaf of bread, or a bottle of milk suddenly costs so much, you’ll know it’s due to Peak Rocks. It’s real, and it’s happening. I’d really like to have access to some choice rocks of just the right shape and size all happily delivered to where I need them, but wishes are ephemeral, and they won’t do you any good. The effects of Peak Rocks is a real bummer.
I’ve mostly given up trying to comprehend why the loggers who worked these forests for over a century, left the mess they did. In the above image, these trees were dropped decades ago, and there’s a little bit of decay, but not as much as you’d imagine. It was an extraordinarily wasteful act. Anyway, over the years we’ve been slowly cleaning this mess up. A natural forest environment, wouldn’t look like this.
It’s a lot of work to clean up the mess. We cut the logs into discs, then split them. The split firewood then gets thrown onto a big pile in a very sunny location. Despite the rain throughout the year, the sun does dry the split firewood. Over the summer months when the suns strength is at its greatest, we haul the split firewood further uphill, then store it away dry for use during the very wet and humid winter months. Firewood is a complicated energy source which you have to plan many years in advance. It is not as easy as flicking a switch.
Some of the loggers mess, we’re unable to convert into firewood. For some strange reason, those blokes went to a lot of trouble to extract the tree stumps from the soil. This is no easy feat, and well beyond our abilities. Then they just left them. Makes no sense whatsoever. There’s quite a number of stumps like that, many of which are upside down. It takes a couple of days to burn one off. The timber is so dense that few if any insects live on them, and they don’t seem to be breaking down. Oh well, the ash at least makes excellent fertiliser.
The clean up is a lot of hard work, and a bloke and his dog has gotta take a well earned break every now and then.
In the above photo there is a mysterious stone circle. I have absolutely no idea how it came to be there, or what it was used for, but there is another one nearby. Leaning against the stone circle is a large rock in the foreground that clearly does not belong there. We split that large rock into many smaller (yet still large) rocks.
In order to split a rock, you drill a few holes along the line where you wish the rock to crack. Then a jackhammer with pointy bits, wedges the rock apart along the line of the drill holes. People have been doing such work since the days of the Ancient Romans, although they didn’t have an electric jackhammer and carbon steel drill bits!
Another rock was also split.
By the end of the work day, we’d scored a decent quantity of nicely sized rocks. Peak Rocks is real, but we’re doing our bit to put the inevitable off for another day.
One of the low centre of gravity ride on mowers needed a bit of maintenance. Near to a large shed, we’d recently constructed an inspection pit made from steel rock gabion cages. I told you we used a lot of rocks here! I took a photo of the arrangement to show how it all works. And it’s a nice feeling being underneath the machine knowing it isn’t likely to fall onto my head. Falling on my head would be a bad thing.
Peak Rocks is here, but so too is leaf change. With today being mothers day, I dare not leave the property for fear of being confronted by a human wall of leaf change tourists. Plans to head to the local pub for a pint and feed were quietly shelved.
The deciduous trees in the shady orchard are almost now completely bare of leaves.
I can understand that the tourists would enjoy the spectacle of the autumn leaf change, but need there be so many tourists? The area does not have the facilities (or available land for that matter) to accommodate such vast numbers of people.
The trees are colourful up here, but so too are the parrots. The other day we spotted an adult and juvenile King Parrot snacking upon the seeds of a Japanese maple.
Onto the flowers:
The temperature outside now at about 10am is 11’C (52’F). So far this year there has been 314.2mm (12.4 inches) which is up from last weeks total of 310.4mm (12.2 inches)