It is the pre-dawn peace - still in darkness, but full of potential of a beautiful new day to come. Some kookaburras far away cackle with impatience for the sun to rise. As light fills the sky all living things seem to sigh with gratitude, to be here, to be alive. Recently my slow life has started to overflow with plans and commitments and responsibilities - oh dear! I often wake in the middle of the night and my head fills with the things I need to do and not forget. Sometimes the only thing I can do is get up and start to do some of these things (like writing my Blog!) - sleep becomes impossible. This hasn't happened to me for a while and it is good to observe it. I think about most people in the world who live constantly with this condition, or have to take drugs to be able to sleep well.

It has been a productive time for the Ayr Light household. I have been building and planting and designing and studying - with some help from Pacha and Yani, who have had their own developmental stretches.First there was the new bathroom and toilet downstairs. To keep the costs down and to feel a stronger connection to the project, I did the tiling and dug the trenches for the sewerage. This would have been quite easy except for the huge palm tree stump that I had to dig out - which took about 2 weeks of afternoon digging (everyone who uses this bathroom has to be told of the sweat and effort that went in to digging the trenches!). I was happy to find a toilet and bathtub base at the dump and bought them both for $4 (about 300Y)!

Yani had a great time playing with the toilet before the sewerage pipes were connected - he kept flushing to see the water pour out of the side of the house - an urban waterfall! The chickens also loved the new bathroom - for some reason they were very attracted to the toilet and I discovered recently that they had started sleeping in the bathtub! Our biggest priority now is putting the door on the bathtub (and fixing the door to the chicken shed so they stay there at night)!

Last week I built a block wall to make a big room under the house. This was a great project and reminded me of Intag and all the work to build the stone house.Of course here it is much easier - a truck delivers the blocks and you don't need mules to bring in the cement. The people who sold the blocks were interested and amused by this strange woman who wanted to build her own wall - but supportive in ideas and basic techniques on how this is done.

My trusty handyman Gino started me off doing the first row of blocks - then it was my turn and 2 days later there was my 2 metre high, 4 metre long cyclone proof creation! A few days later I rendered (layered in cement) the outside of the blocks with a dark red colour (I am going for the earthy colours of Australia) and now Gino has been working to build the frame for the door and windows. It is such a satisfying feeling to have created something solid, to develop a new skill that is usually in the realm of men. I was ridiculously excited that I had succeeded in this self made challenge. And it was great to experience how physically demanding, difficult and detailed building can be - I have a new respect for bricklayers d builders (and the masculine mind that seems so much better adapted to making straight and level lines!). Now I know how to build a wall, I can relax and not ever have to make another one (next one is Yani's turn).

In my new training course as a teacher's assistant I have been able to start training at my daughters' school (along with study). There are only 80 students at this school, so this will make it a little easier to remember names! Our garden project there (and at our house too) is going very well with everything planted still alive and well. It is so empowering to watch the children get excited about the growth and exuberance of the plants!

Something very interesting has happened to us in the past month. We received an anonymous donation of a $100 gift voucher for the local plant nursery. The voucher was left at Yani's kindy - so whoever it was doesn't even know where we live. What does this mean? Did we do something kind to someone without knowing about it (smile profusely or help their child or open a door)? Or does someone think we are obviously very poor and need help? It is a tantalizing mystery that has brought up all kinds of issues for me. Do I emit an aura of poverty around me? Our car is very old and I don't worry too much about wearing new clothes yet, I feel like the richest person on Earth - beautiful healthy children, abundant food and clean water, meaningful work, wonderful friends and networks, supportive family, land to be able to grow things on, a simple but sturdy roof over our heads, freedom to practice my beliefs.

I felt embarrassed and rather guilty imagining someone thinking that we needed help. But maybe we did. I have been here for over a year and have hesitated in buying more fruit trees because I look at the price in the nursery and think: that's expensive - maybe they will go on special, maybe I can find one in someone's garden or at the second hand st, really - all I need to do is plant a seed and wait 10 years and they will be the same. Now I have been to the nursery and bought a lemon, lime, mandarin, sour sop and star fruit tree - and they are now planted in the garden and I feel very silly that I didn't spend $100 a year ago and plant them then. So, now I will spend another $100 and plant more fruit trees and when I find out who was the generous person who gave us the donation, I will be able to supply them with a year round supply of organic fruit!

Our Easter Egg hunt was special this year - we found real eggs! Yes, our lovely ladies finally started laying and the children have wonderful fun finding the eggs. The chickens are lovely pets too - letting the kids pick them up and nurse them. Even with only 3 chickens there are still enough eggs to give our friends and neighbours here. Even though we always bought the free-range eggs at the supermarket - the difference with these eggs is incredible - one egg in our pancake mix makes the whole batch a lovely yellow colour and the flavour is divine!

Next week we will make the long, slow journey down south to prepare for the Sloth Deep Eco-tour. Megu has told me that there are 17 participants on the tour - wow! It is very exciting and a great responsibility to do everything we can to reflect a slow/permaculture/deep ecology approach as well as running smoothly. It will be wonderful to connect with everyone and share thoughts, ideas and our visions for a sustainable future.

No comments: