Category Archives: Farm

Rivulet of Hope

via Daily Prompt: Rivulet

Scan.jpg

Every year the creeks would dry up, the rains would cease, summer would arrive, the heat would brown the paddocks and turn the soil to hardpan. As summer streched into pseudo summer, the early part of autumn, we’d be craving the rains. The damns would be low, the pools down the creek almost gone, and the land crying in thirst.

But then the rains came, slowly, a shower here and there. And then the heavens would open, and down it would come. Some days after the water had prepared its own path, soaking into the creek beds, the soil would take no more and, at first a rivulet of water would appear, then a trickle, and then a flow, and the granite would shine, wet and glossy, the cascade decked with white froth. The sound of running water, a sound that brings joy, relief nd new life fills our ears. Soon the frogs would be calling.

Nature’s like that, it gives what is needed, it takes what is needed.

The economy is a whole other world. Conservative politicians the world over talk of ‘trickle down’ economics. Give the money to the rich and it will eventually trickle down to the poor. It never has, it never will. The economy, unlike nature, takes and takes and keeps on taking and only gives back to the rich and those in power.

I my view, an economy that is based on sharing, taking only what is needed and also giving back is a balanced one, but one that ensures there are less cracks to fall through, less barriers to surmount for the poor, more opportunity for all. A shared economy has to bid farewell to greed and selfishness, and requires a change of heart towards consumption. The dog-eat-dog cycle we’re in is doomed and the world cries out for releif and justice. But we are the change that needs to happen.

For my part that requires an ever growing awareness of others needs both near and far. It requires an awareness of my responsibility in my love affair with nature. It requires that I give back in generous ways. It requires that I model the economy I beleive in by not consuming the very lives of others. If everyone dropped a pebble in a pond it would cease to be, but if everyone took a breath and backed off from supporting the madness of consumption we’d make a dent. Of course, realistically, the other thing we need to do is exercise our vote with discretion towards those goals. And then the trickle will flow and become a stream, a river, a torrent of justice, a rivulet of hope.

The late Brazilian archbishop Helder Camara, an advocate for the poor, especially the slum dwellers, named it when he said: “When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist.”

We still need to ask why!

politicians lie
money will not trickle down
let love flow instead

©Paul Cannon

Paul,

pvcann.com

 

23 Comments

Filed under Economics, Farm, Haiku, history, life, mindfulness, nature, politics, quote, Uncategorized

Daily Prompt: Fret

via Daily Prompt: Fret

Capture_32.jpg

As bricks and mortar age they fret, or wear away. The photo shows Balladonia Station homestead (c. 2007 © P. V. Cannon) on the Eyre Highway, east of Norseman. It is a conglomerate of 1890s to 1930s construction, but even the 1930s parts are showing their age, the mortar between the bricks has been fretting and someone has made a hasty repair to prevent the bricks falling away. The stone and bricks are also fretting.

The owner was in process of repairs, but it would be an enourmous task and very costly (distance from any city would mean high transport costs). We were fortunate that day as the manager was home and showed us around and gave us quite a bit of the history of Balladonia. One snippet was that Balladonia was part of the crash site for Skylab in 1979 when it re-entered earth’s atmosphere (the local roadhouse has memorabilia pieces from the Skylab on display). A lot of history has passed through this place.

Buildings tend to fret on the outside earlier due to exposure to the elements of weather. We tend to fret on the inside ealier because, unless we take care, we are exposed to the ravages of hurt, grief, anger, worry, anxiety … which, while normal life experiences, can become embedded and drive us, wear us down, drag us low.

We really need good boundaries, supportive relationships and conversation with deep empathic listening, even having accountability partners who hold us to account on our issues. An ability to reflect, journal and meditate can be a wonderful help. Reality is perception, but comfort and solace is human friendship, the very best antidote to fretting. The old saying, prevention is better than cure, rings true, though it’s never too late to make repairs.

The Roman poet Aulus Persius Flaccus (34 – 62 CE) wrote: “We consume our tomorrows fretting about our yesterdays.”

Living in the present moment is one of the few ways of not being consumed by our yesterdays or even our tomorrows. Maintaining perspective is another. That’s why we need others around us, they can help to keep us grounded and true to ourselves.

Paul,

pvcann.com

13 Comments

Filed under Country, Farm, history, life, mindfulness, quote, Space

I Churn For You

via Daily Prompt: Churn

200021403-001-300.jpg

Image from b-i.forbesimg.com

Lyn’s parents left us a milk separator, and butter paddles, there was even an old milk churn in the shed, but no butter churn. Milk separators do just that, separate the cream/butter fat from the milk. Milk churns are misnamed in my view – they’re just a large metal container for transporting milk. Butter paddles and butter churns do something else, they turn the butter fat from the milk into actual butter, they produce something.

Emotionally we churn. Surely you’ve heard the term butterflies in the stomach, a reference to mild worry. I don’t make a habit of it, my stomach rarely churns, but there are those rare occasions. If I’m going to churn it will be heights. I was fearful of flying, and my first few flights were nerve wracking, but I’m getting better at it. I engaged with abseiling, that was certainly nerve wracking, but I found I could even enjoy it. But with each activity, the night before I would be churning, worrying, mulling it over. By the morning I was no better, often exhausted from all the useless churning because my sleep had been interrupted or prevented by all the worry. Now it’s different, I find a mindful approach is helpful.

All the ancient cultures and religions relate strong emotional fellings to the stomach, hence the term “I have a gut feeling.” A churning stomach is, for many, a far too regular experience. Churning stomach often results from anxiety and stress. While the habit in days gone by (in the West) was to prescribe something, eventually there was a realization that worry was different to stomach ailments or sickness. A churning stomach is simply the body getting our attention that we need to make some adjustments to whatever the body is registering.

The ancient cultures and religions, (and now) modern medicine, suggest more simple, even commensense remedies to help end the churning: Adjusting diet (reducing sugar, caffeine and alcohol, other stimulants, large meals in general), exercising, and ensuring adequate sleep. In addition, and more importantly, a mindful approach is beneficial: adjust your breathing (awareness, calm breathing), relaxation, reduce stress (awareness), meditate, rest, and adjust whatever it is that is the cause of your churning. If we don’t take steps to adjust and change, then why expect anything to be different? For me, rest, creativity (simply writing or painting is a wonderful reframing), exercise, and meditation make all the difference. Stop, breathe, reframe, and arrest the churn.

Paul,

pvcann.com

6 Comments

Filed under Farm, life, meditation, mindfulness, psychology, religion, self-development

This Toxic Life

via Daily Prompt: Toxic

Run, hide, stay in bed. They’re going to get you!

The video is a traler for the Sean Penn doco – it is confronting because it challenges us to look at what we use and how it effects us.

Toxicity is actually part of our lives, we can deal with it easily if we learn and take steps to minimise the effects of chemicals in our lives. But we do need to take stock of the things that do effect us.

Do you love that new car smell? Beware.

My first conscious moment of how chemicals affect could affect me was in the 1970s when I was sitting in my father’s car. It was a hot day, around 35c. The windows were up, there was no sea breeze at that point, and all I could smell was vinyl. I immediately wound the window down to allow air to come in and displace what I could smell. I didn’t know then that the sweet smell in my nostrils was vinyl chloride which is highly toxic. In the 80s I commented to a car repair guy that the windshield of my car often had a film on it, he said it was vinyl vappour. It wasn’t until the late 90s that some public comment was made to the effect of always leave your car window down just a little to vent the vinyl vapour.

Vinyl chloride was developed in 1863, and over the next sixty years it would be refined and used in a number of applications from aerosols, to car fabrics. It was in production in the 1930s and was already the subject of research by those concerned for health. One of the research statistics was a consistent record of liver and kidney cancers among those who worked with the product. Since then the companies using poly vinyl chloride or PVC* have developed a more stable formulation, or, in some cases, companies buying in the product have reduced their usage.

The year our two young sons wanted their bedrooms painted in bold and trendy colours, I set to and did it myself, never once thinking to move the youngest’s aquarium tank out while I painted. I used a new formulation of paint on the market, made by a top brand. I thought the fumes were extreme. The next morning the fish were all dead, and we pondered the effect on our own lungs.

When we were on the farm we went organic, I had read more than enough to convince me that herbicides and pesticides, as well as inorganic fertilizers were likely to affect our health. The research into the cancer risk through the use of some agricultural products is now publicly well documented, and by the World Health organisation. Some of our extended family have suffered from agricultural chemical induced cancers.

There’s been a whole range of building product disasters from petro-chemically based products to vinyls, to asbestos, cement dust, fiberglass, and chemically treated particle board. Many of those issues now thoroughly researched and most dealt with.

And then there’s the whole processed and fast food issue, Supersize Me, Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead are among the many documentaries on food and how it affects us. The current issue is sugar. And then there’s cleaning and personal care products.

So, long story short. We have reduced as much plastic as we can, especially those products that are formed from any vinyl chloride compounds, mainly soft plastics. That’s not as easy as it sounds – tubes, packaging, paints, equipment, cars, clothing, building products – it is everywhere. But we are getting there and with the public and corporate awareness, vinyls are being  more responsibly produced and monitored, and vinyl chloride is much more stable today than it was three decades ago. We are using natural fibres, metal drink containers, glass where possible, organic products from foods to personal care products to garden chemicals. Who knows what effect these will have? I’m thinking, they’ve got to be better than vinyl chloride!

*Note: PVC is also my initial and in highschool my nickname was plastic!

Paul,

pvcann.com

9 Comments

Filed under chemicals, environment, Farm, farming, food, life, mindfulness

Frantic

via Daily Prompt: Frantic

Sheep drinking at a dam.jpg

I parked the ute as usual by the garage, I was just stopping in for lunch, and soon would drive out again. Barely through the front door and Lyn is frantically calling to me, “Have you seen Hayden and (his friend) Nathan?”

“No” I replied. “What’s wrong?” “I called the boys for lunch, but they’re not responding and I walked out to the places they’d normally be, but nothing.” “Okay, I’ll drive the top end of the paddock, you take the home block.” And off we set, tooting, yelling, whistling, calling, but no sign of the boys.

Now I was frantic too, I stopped to check the granite outcrops, then the creek line, and then with some trepidation, my heart in my throat, I drove out to the dam, looking but not wanting to look, barely breathing. Relief flooding in that there were only sheep there.

Somehow we managed to time our return to the farmhouse, and no luck. I drove out again with lyn behind, and then suddenly,  there they were, jumping out from behind some rocks and laughing. It had been a huge joke for them, seeing us frantic and playing hidey! Apparently it was fun to watch us driving around and shouting out. It was that weird moment of anger and relief. That moment when you realise just how tense you have been in the moment, sweating, rasping, dry mouth, pressure around the forehead. It took some time for my pulse to settle. I worked much harder that afternoon. The boys took it to heart, thankfully, that it was not quite so funny for us.

Paul,

pvcann.com

6 Comments

Filed under bush walking, Country, Farm, life, nature