Tag Archives: Don Watson

2017 ??


New Years Day started for me at 6.

Cloudy and still humid with the chorus of the birds almost deafening. The searing heat of yesterday ( 38 here) has brought out many insects. Spangled drongos were darting and swooping on their breakfast.



Another year flown by.

Looking at my photos from last January and it felt like yesterday.

A busy and satisfying year here. A couple of wwoofers ( Simon and Yoko ) in January and February.  Great dinners prepared by new influences into my kitchen. More sea weed into my diet. Wide range of herbs and leaf from the gardens . The wonderful extra with some wwoofers is their food choices.


My regeneration continual work progressed well with Tim, Victor and others slashing, pulling and mulching. Continual light rain punctuated the days we could work. Leeches, windy days, when boughs of higher trees come darting down, and strong sun, even as early as August, lessened our working hours.

Thank-you to all my real physical workers….. Both the volunteers on the road verges and the paid workers here……great effort too with helping me prepare 500 kilos of turmeric for dispatch.

Overall it was with much satisfaction, as we climbed to our present work site,  through emerging rain forest canopy. From metres above, frogmouth owls watched, brown pigeons scattered to a higher branch, to watch us climb through. The odd yellow breasted robin escorted us through its territory.  Night Caps cliffs look down on us and the emergent bangalow palm forest is now clearly visible.

Surely one of the more beautiful working sites.


Through-out the year. Heather, my sister, came for a very happy laughing time with her. Others too so socially a very good year. My big night out highlight was thwarted by a flood, and I couldn’t attend Barb Jungr’s Byron Bay concert. She kindly sent us her CD singing Dylan and Cohen.  Thank-you Barb.


Politics left me depressed. From our elections here in Australia to the debacle we saw from the US.

Day by day from now on.

Greens take heed. Many of us are disillusioned.


My reading was restricted to those below…………….  THE NEW WILD………….  a positive reassurance in what I am doing here and my approach to regeneration.  With many facts on plants migration and the niches some fill, in a new land, as humans rampage through, this book by Fred Pearce has opened my eyes wider with hope. Anything that grows in our depleted soil is showing us the way is his thesis.

Galvanized my thinking to a satisfactory and comfortable  level and strengthened my approach against herbicides. As Peter Wohllenben says in THE HIDDEN LIFE OF TREES……………  we deaf and dumb our ecology with our lack of understanding that plants communicate. He was talking about modern whole sale farming practices and the use of herbicides on our food growing areas and hybrid seed. And essentially how that impacts all health, from the micro soil life to us at the top of the food chain.



Radio National is my daily back ground along with Bay FM.  I wait with hesitation, the new programming for Radio National in 2017.  Does not look promising for us old timers. Many programmes I follow when indoors going.

TV, flicked through the food programmes, always about over eating  with Come Dine With Me reflecting our disconnect with the food we take for granted. Food waste is now an epidemic.

SBS Food channel disappointing to the extreme with further encouragement for binge eating.

Reminds me of a Japanese saying ” one grain of rice left in your bowl is a bead of sweat on the brow of a rice farmer”.  Why not some vegetarian and vegan cooking programmes?

Land-line always informative. Science programme CATALYST axed. Why ?

Solar rebate ends today. Paying us 6 cents when the sun shines and selling it back to us for 36 plus cents. Time to off grid.


The renovation shows along with Grand Designs, reflect the status of home builders which is more than often dominated by the third bathroom and space large enough to house 10 instead of two or four.

How do we adapt to climate reality I ask?  AUSTRALIA’s carbon output is still rising. And no real debate or incentive to do anything to reduce it.

There is no real will and my thinking along that line is reinforced when high profile so called environmentalists fly off to another countries campaign while our koalas and many of our indigenous creatures are in rapid free fall in  numbers here. So few want to get involved on the ground.

And life style changes with-in the home, like turning off all standbys, is seen by many as pointless.

The Green party should have their feet on the ground as close to local ecological reality and inform the general population on very real environmental issues, like herbicides in our creeks and drains and on our food.

Advise and engage with what the individual can do. We have been talking about plastic bags in this Shire for over 10 years to finally see initiative from our local IGA and the Mullumbimby Music festival in 2016. Many of those ten years we had a Green dominated Council.

Climate change is about adaptation and softening our carbon and other outputs. Not wasting food, car pooling, growing where you can instead of mowing and encouraging local food self sufficiency.


Our leadership in our no herbicide approach to plants someone decides to poison, has gathered momentum and support. More non chemical company research is being published, after peer review, and its not finding most herbicides a plus for the planet.

A total of 80 hours I, along with Jayne, have put in each, to the hand removal of jump-seed from the public road’s verges. Our volunteer workers, Lou, Shea, Lil, Pav and Tim have had some enjoyable work mornings as we laughed and talked and sung as we mattock  out the beautiful jump-seed, with its soft green broad leaf centred with a dark red. Always a good feeling after we finish.


My projected hopes for 2017 ?

Continue our herbicide free Shire campaign, gather information on a setup for a Shire wide Organic Certifying body  through a public meeting. Publish peer reviewed fact on herbicides.

Will ask to contribute,  Nadia, Ellen and Mary Gardener, Geoff Dawe.



Continue the gardens and ready for a winter harvest of turmeric, ginger, galangal, yacons and yams.

And have a good steady slash, pull and mulch of lantana throughout the winter months here.


Happy New Year.

The year facts will overwhelm fiction.


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Another week.


Oskar……coming up to his 4th birthday.


Peter Andrews, who Don Watson writes about in THE BUSH, believes weeds are in the eye of the beholder and in general, he shares the view articulated by the environmental scientist and writer, George Seddon, that weeds are stateless persons with no civil rights ‘, dissidents, plants that don’t properly belong. Essentially, as Seddon says, plants are ranked as weeds if they are contrary to human intentions. But what if the intentions are contrary to common sense?  For Peter Andrews, so called weeds are an essential aid to the lands regeneration. If blackberries and willows are holding the banks of a stream together, leave them there. ( Poisoned coral tree roots pulling the banks of Wilson’s Creek into the water as viewed last Friday ). Control them by slashing, planting natives shade trees etc. but don’t poison them. For Andrews, the residual effects on the food we eat, the water life and the people who work and grow the food constitute one of the major arguments against herbicides and chemical farming in general. Weeds deep fibrous roots draw up moisture and minerals and not only hold the the soil together, but make it porous, fertile and ready for the emergence of native grasses and other plants. The weed, to quote an earlier admirer, is the “”’pioneering agent of Nature’.

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October 26, 2015 · 12:15 am

More on weeds. Peter Andrews in ‘THE BUSH’.

In Don Watson’s THE BUSH he tells of Peter Andrew’s belief that weeds are in the eye of the beholder. In general he shares the view of the legendary environmentalist and scientist and writer, George Seddon, that weeds are ‘stateless persons with no civil rights’, ‘dissidents’, plants that don’t properly belong. Essentially, as Seddon says, plants are ranked as weeds if they are contrary to human intention. But what if the intentions are contrary to common sense? For Peter Andrews, so-called weeds are an essential aid to the lands regeneration. If blackberries and willows are holding the banks of the stream together, leave them there. Control them ( as I have done here ) by slashing, planting indigenous trees and DO NOT poison them. ( in our local valley, Wilson Creeks banks are collapsing after recent Coral tree poisonings) For Peter Andrews and a growing body of evidence, the residual effects of the poisons touch the workers who distribute them, the water, the food and the myriad of micro life our eyes can not see. These fact constitute one of the main arguments against herbicides and chemical farming in general. Another argument, now proven, that weeds look after the soil in hard times and restore it for our benefit. The weed, to quote an earlier admirer, is the ‘PIONEERING AGENT OF NATURE’.
From Page 261. The Bush by Don Watson.

The photo above is of a slashed and layered lantana gully in 1996 to today, where 20 different rain forest trees have germinated.

Next blog more from Don Watson on Round-up and Monsanto.

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Red Cedar.

In Don Watson’s “THE BUSH”, he tells us that the red cedar (Toona Ciliata) is hard to find outside of a half a dozen public gardens. However, he says, dead ones abound. In Sydney town Hall, for example: the interior of this mid-nineteenth century monster, by turns French Second Empire, Italian Renaissance, Jacobean and English Aesthetic in style, swallowed an unknown number of red cedars from the Hawksbury River stands. As the material of choice among mid-Victorian designers of public buildings, unpainted red cedar turns up in the walls or furnishings of town halls, parliaments, post offices, churches, libraries, courthouses and railway stations built on the eastern seaboard before 1880. being strong, light and durable, easily carved and turned, it was put to use in house frames and picture frames, interior panelling in trams and rail carriages, staircases, doors, floors, ceilings, shutters, window frames, skirting boards, mantelpieces, veneers, boats, cigar boxes,fine furniture and coffins.
From Don Watson.

I call this my red cedar parent tree due to its seedlings being transplanted throughout this property.

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In Don Watson’s “The Bush”, he writes that when we think of a tree and not of it as an impediment or a utility then its power quickly becomes apparent: the height, the mass, the form; the force, tenacity, grace or its agelessness it expresses. The colour, light, movement and the sound it generates; the vigour, strength, fecundity and the life force. zone-33 Trees provoke the imagination and enliven the senses; they suggest mystery, remind us of our freedoms, lift our spirits and carry us, if unconsciously and only for an instant, back to nature and in proportion to it. zone-333 Thank-you Don Watson………..an incredibly important book for Australia, to learn how to adapt to a climate change future ….. and by helping us understand  Europeans adventure and misadventure on this ancient land. zone-3


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Rain and more rain.

Unexpected heavy rain which has changed  the week’s work plan, with the forecast promising gales to follow. I have bunkered down and while I have electricity and phone connection, I have baked bread and biscuits, made more tamarillo and pumpkin sauce and caught up with e mails. Also have begun to read “THE BUSH” by Don Watson, a former Australian Prime Minister’s speech writer. Don Watson penned Paul Keatings Famous reconciliation speech given in Redfern to the  Aboriginal People. Already I am hooked, what a beautiful and concise writer made more poignant in parts from ones own childhood memories growing up in the country on a dairy farm and where the indigenous people did not count.

Although now, when we read that the Western Australian Government is withdrawing services to many outback Aboriginal Communities, I doubt whether we have made any progress while mining interests rule and determine who governs.more-tamarillo-and-pumpkin-sauce And Don Watson’s Book. Don-Watson

From a previous post:

Don Watson’s new book http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/bushtelegraph/don-watson/5788052 ( The Bush travels in the Heart of Australia, ) is about to be released. Watson spoke on Radio National where he outlined our fragmented relationship with the land compared to the Aboriginal People’s cosmology of the land…… .to how we treat the soil to what we put into our water ect ect.
A must read.

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Shaking the tree of orthodoxy.

Don Watson’s new book http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/bushtelegraph/don-watson/5788052 ( The Bush travels in the Heart of Australia, ) is about to be released. Watson spoke on Radio National where he outlined our fragmented relationship with the land compared to the Aboriginal People’s cosmology of the land…… .to how we treat the soil to what we put into our water ect ect.
A must read.

So as the coral tree injecting programme in our valley, next to running water, is gathering pace, my hope is the many objecting land-guardians hold their ground and refuse glyphosate use on the land they manage. The science, chemical free/most organic gardeners follow, from data collected from all over the world’s Universities to Friends of the Earth, all confirm the creeping negative input of glyphosate in water, sea water, air and soil and food. Some ecologists call this research hocus pocus. I wonder why when ecology means the study of the relationship between living organisms and their environment.

It then makes some of us responsible for alerting those environmentalists/ecologists/land guardians who are not aware of contemporary peer reviewed findings around glyphosate contamination. Out-side of what the self serving chemical companies say about their product, it is up to us, the lay people observers and citizen scientists to report what we read,see and observe. Its called a Public Service.

The pro-herbicide lobby remind me of the first defence of smoking as being harmless.


I was asked at the week-end what endangered birds depend upon the nectar of the coral tree. All I could say is that many birds feed on the nectar during the winter flowering months. With Australia’s appalling rate of fauna decline, it is vital, in my view, that we adapt to 2014 and our rapidly changing climate systems.

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