Bills and the flip side of being ‘Landed Gentry’

Hi All,
When my dad died and left us 2 houses we were under no misapprehensions that this was going to be easy. We know that house owners have to pay rates, water rates etc., but ours are times 2 and so we have been careful to make sure that we are able to pay whatever comes in to us. As students it’s never easy to manage the books, but suddenly we are confronted with massive increases (along with the rest of Tasmania) on top of having to pay twice. I have no idea how pensioners cope to be honest. If you didn’t own your house outright, these bills would cripple you and they are all delivered at the same time! I understand the need to pay for infrastructure, but our roads are falling apart, our health services are being slashed and we are no longer able to avail ourselves of even getting on the elective surgery list, because there is NO elective surgery list in Tasmania any more. Our police departments are being slashed, education is being slashed and unemployment in this state is hideous. Our weekly wage (should we be so amazingly lucky as to HAVE a job in the first place…) is less than comparative mainland wages even though we have to work just as hard to receive it. Life in Tasmania is just getting harder and harder every day. Now that I have finished highlighting just how hard it is, there are many ways that we can take back some of what the government and our utility companies are trying to claw away from us. We can grow our own fruit and vegetables. Even in units, you can have potatoes, tomatoes, strawberries and chillies growing in holes punched in bags of potting mix. We can stop buying everything at supermarkets, support the little guy and go out to farmers markets when you can find them. Buy boxes of veggies and go to the farm door and get your fruit. It doesn’t take too much to make really positive changes to your and other people’s lives. I think that we are going to have to start initiating programs like “Transition Towns” where everyone works towards living sustainably and within their means. In the U.K, Hugh Fearnley Wittingstall is teaching people how to fight back against rising fuel and utility prices and is showing people how to mass together, put in money and install wind turbines that generate enough electricity for a small town. Imagine not having to pay power at all! It’s all totally possible and we all need to be thinking outside the box with ways to reduce our costs and minimise corporate greed. Everyone is tired of just how much we are paying for simple everyday things. It’s not like we are getting any more for our dollar than we used to get. In most cases, we are paying more for considerably less. Why do we have so many water corporations when we are such a tiny state? Who knows! My guess is that ‘someone’ somewhere has decided that they can make a buck or two out of it and our government is quite easily bought.  The rallies in countries around the world show that everyday people are getting heartily sick about having to pay for, and support corporate greed and government corruption on a global scale. I guess that is why so many people are trying to succeed from ‘the world’ and do things themselves. I think that we all need to be sharing what we know about living sustainably, and voting with our feet when it comes to corporate greed.
How was that for a mornings rant? Good eh! Today we headed out to a friend’s place to do some site surveying towards the last unit of our diploma. I can’t tell you how good it is going to feel when we have actually finished studying for this year. Hopefully we will get our diploma. I can’t see why we won’t but never say never as a wise sage once said. We have collated our information and now need to sit down and weave what our ‘client’ wants, into what is totally possible. We are very lucky to have such a laid back client. I guess getting your garden designed for nothing, gives you a degree of laid back ease, but she is still very nice to allow us to invade her personal territory and bang posts and datum points into her countryside quiet. I was talking to my lecturer from Certificate’s 2 and 3 of Horticulture today. I must admit to not thinking that we would use much of what we were taught in our earlier certificates, but every day we use ‘something’ that we learned to advance our forces against the weed, overgrown tree and general overgrown tangle around here. We learned to pruned tree limbs properly, and not only properly, but our lecturer James was (and probably still is) a first class arborist. We learned how to classify our soil, how to amend it when it is lacking (a good thing as ours is SEVERELY lacking…), we learned about how to get water retained in our soil, how to choose the appropriate plant for the area that we are trying to plant out, how to use light, wind direction, microclimates and so much more. Again, sorry James, I didn’t think that I would need much of this, but becoming a Hill William out in the sticks has totally changed all of that. Steve is outside mowing the lawn (a skill that he learned how to do properly at Polytechnic) and when he has finished, you can bet that you will be able to see lovely lines in his finished product, all thanks to one James Huggett. I guess you don’t get a lot of recognition about what you are teaching your students when you are teaching them. I would imagine that it would be nice to be told that you have given someone skills to make their lives happier and better. I never realised it before, but I sure do now James. Sorry for the lack of enthusiasm when we had to get outside, up close and personal to our environment, and thank you so very much for teaching what you do, year in and year out. You get that too Nat, but we never had you as a lecturer, so you are just going to have to hope that Harvey posts something nice about you on his blog or you are going to have to keep your ego under a bushel :o). It was great to go into Polytechnic today and see all of our past lecturers and students and friends. Studying from home can make you feel a bit isolated, but all it takes to make you feel like part of a great big Polytechnic family, is a quick trip to Alanvale where you can always see a smiling friendly face. Thanks guys :o) and you are just going to have to learn to read faster Nat, as I am NOT going to be minimising the length of my posts to suit you :o)
I am listening to a little bird that at incredibly regular intervals makes a little “weep-weep-weep” sound. Quite peasant unless you have been listening to it for 24 hours straight that is! It’s a little bird and as such, it can hide in the shrubs so I can’t find it and flatten it with a frying pan…It goes all night! You will have noticed that I have an affinity with animals and try to look after them at all times. This little bird has taken the Mick and if it keeps “weep-weep-weeping” is going to get hunted and chased off the property! We have no little chickens yet, but we figure that it will be on about the 21st that we should hear little peeps. I got an email from the lady that we bought our fertilised eggs from telling me that if I want some, I can have some fertilised turkey eggs for free….I would LOVE some turkeys. I especially want them because apart from not needing to be housed (they live in the trees apparently), when I saw them on the program about Mathew Evens “The Gourmet Farmer” about a past Sydney Herald food critic who now lives in Tasmania and lives off the land, he had bought these turkeys and they were the most mental things that I had ever seen. They just sat on the roof of his chook run that he was trying to get them to stay in for the night and stared at him like the Children of the Damned! I have been thinking about getting a couple of geese to keep the grass in the back paddocks down. They could free range all they liked and it might be nice to have them. Steve isn’t so keen on my trying to make this place a haven for multicultural poultry, but who knows, we might even get some guinea fowl eggs for our broody hen who is on again, off again at the moment and should she stay “on again” we might think about putting some eggs under her.
I think that despite Steve’s city upbringing and he vehement plea that we never live anywhere smaller than a very large town (30 000+ if my memory serves me well), he has adapted amazingly well to being a country Hill William. A Hill William is an upper class Hill Billy by the way. Town is (according to Steve), “too busy, too many people, too many numpty drivers, WAY too many pushbikes and not enough room to move”. Strong words from a man that lived and worked close to London most of his life. We love walking around the countryside on our early morning walks. We feed a couple of horses with long grass and they race over to take it. We say “Hello” to 4 alpacas who love to squeal at the boys even though they have seen us walking and no-one has bothered to eat any of them yet for ages now….we walk past cows, lots of horses including a lovely shire horse and a tiny baby foal that we saw not too long after its birth and who couldn’t even stand up. We see all sorts of dogs, cats, chickens, various wild animals and lots and LOTS of road kill that we have to drag El Chupacabra away from because he thinks that he is back in “the old country” where he had to hunt for his own food (I told you before he is mental….we try not to encourage him, he doesn’t need much encouragement…) and if he can’t eat it, he rolls in it….
Time to head off for my food. Apparently the spring rolls turned out nicely this time. We have avoided having them for a while now because the company was making their wrappers too thin and they were not turning out nicely. We bake ours rather than fry them and we were ending up with soggy things that we were not enjoying. It’s good to see that they are back to their old quality (probably people complained) and we can put them back on the menu again. Have a great evening everyone and now, I am off to eat spring rolls and watch some television until I fall asleep (in about 10 minutes) in my food…


3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. mum
    Oct 18, 2011 @ 21:11:19

    Horses love a carrot & a bit of bread pen ! You’re doing allright I can see !


  2. Kreebard
    Oct 18, 2011 @ 22:03:48

    I live within my means! I just wish my means were more… meany.
    And you got one thing slightly wrong up there in your rant. Everything else is being slashed to pay for ‘education’ (meaning iPads for schools) that nobody is benefitting from because kids don’t go to school anymore. Surely it would make more sense to cut the funding to Tasmanian schools, seeing as no one learns anything there anyway, and put it into the police so they can go around and collect up all of the truant teenagers who are harassing decent citizens.


  3. athursdayschild has a long way to go and much to be thankful for.
    Apr 07, 2013 @ 23:57:11

    We keep saying we are going to live off the land, but we don’t have a clue, or maybe we are just to lazy to do the hard work, well, I am….Chris is far from lazy. We planted 3 different potatoes, various lettuces, and spinach yesterday. In the past we’ve had good luck with potatoes and lettuce.


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