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Oct 2009

My New Project

At the instigation of my colleagues in the Transition, I am concentrating on projects which will generate a reputation for real and immediate contributions to the town to offset the negative perception of a newbie telling the town that is has to change. Of course is does have to change but one must gain their respect before people will listen to the arguments which support the need for change.

I was talking to one of our neighbours recently and she told us of her experience when she settled here 25 years ago. She was a double degree qualified town planner but they wouldn't listen to any advice she offered when she was a newbie. She has worked in various organisations in the town ever since and she is now very respected and can achieve all the things she sees as necessary. Sadly I don't have 25 years to achieve a similar result.

I have joined the Barraba River Landcare Group which is seeking funding to clean up the Manilla River around the town which is full of noxious weeds and invasive species and which doesn't have clean water flow (the town water supply come from the river and from Barraba Creek and the water quality is so bad that no-one drinks the town water if they have rain water in their tanks).

We are only 12 strong at the moment and the task ahead of us very labour intensive as we are required to contribute dollar for dollar in kind to qualify for the grant which will pay for contractors to do the heavy work in the river. Given the reluctance most of the townsfolk to volunteer, we have a major task ahead of us. Happily we have been offered support from the Tamworth Manilla Landcare Association which will be of great assistance.

Posted: 22/10/09 9:49 AM

I'm surely not a gardener

My two baby Callistemon trees I replanted recently are shrivelling away. I have watered them every day but clearly the quantity of water they are getting is inadequate.

I assume the the soil into which I dug the holes for the trees is too compacted to be anything but impervious. I guess when I replace the trees that I will have to dig much bigger holes and fill them with good soil. I don't know if I will be able to dig big holes and I don't know where to get good soil.

I suppose I will have to take some expert advice before I try again.

Posted: 16/10/09 6:26 PM

I'm not really a gardener.

Some time ago I bought two baby Callistemon trees in pots. They have been living in their pots buried in the front garden and were growing very well.

I had to move them because I was asked to dig the mulch into the front garden bed. Even though I watered the pots, they complained about their treatment by hanging their heads.

Today I planted them in the front lawn. My first idea was to plant them near the kerb just along from the old Callistemon next to our driveway which is home for the flocks of Double Barred Finches and the Zebra Finches which we love.

I realised that the council might disapprove of my planting and pull them out as they have been known to do before so I chose to plant them inside the property boundary. One is by the Spare room, soon to be the Office/Sewing room, and the other is outside one of the Sitting room windows.

I hope they thrive because they will certainly attract more little native birds to the garden.

Posted: 11/10/09 5:53 PM

I think I have identified the breed of the fowl that has adopted our garden

a photo of the chicken a photo of the my father

On the 22nd of September I reported the arrival in our garden of a strange looking fowl. I was advised to talk toTom, one of the old fellows that works in our favourite butcher shop. I described the bird to him and he suggested that it was an Old English Game. When I showed him the photo he said it was definitely female and he thought it was a Red Leghorn.

I looked up the Old English Game in Wikipedia and found a picture of a bird pretty much like our visitor. The female Old English Game is reputed to be a "good mother" and the male was bred for cock fighting so is not useful as a domestic bird.

I asked Tom if he thought our visitor could be a feral but he said that it probably escaped from someone's fowl yard. The Wikipedia description says that the Old English Game is well able to sustain itself on insects, worms and seeds which well describes how our visitor is feeding so I now feel that she is likely to be OK living here as a free bird.

Posted: 9/10/09 9:06 PM

A Hiccup in the Transition Initiative

I have been advised that my conversations with people about the Transition come across as "telling people what to do" even though I am always careful to explain that the Transition is about giving people the information they need to understand the looming problems of Climate Change and Peak Oil and that we don't have the answers but we do have proven techniques which the members of our Working Groups can use to develop solutions which will be incorporated in our Energy Descent Action Plan. It is said that I generate resistance by being forthright in my views about things about which I am passionate.

The theory is that people in places like Barraba are resistant to change because they generally think "we have always done things this way so why should we change" and are unlikely to accept anything proposed by a "newbie" which suggests that things need to change.

I have been thinking about the criticism of my presentation and have decided to modify my approach. My new approach is to talk only to people who are interested in what we are setting out to do and leave the talking to the change resistant people to others. One of my colleagues thinks that this will be OK because we need to recruit only people with a positive view anyway.

The Towards Transition Barraba Initiating group has had a few of its original members step down so we need a new agenda for our activities and a plan for its revitalization.

We do have a new member who is an experienced event co-ordinator so we have revised our plans for the Awareness Raising phase of the project. We plan to do some demonstration projects which will illustrate our commitment to "a sustainable and resilient future" which will encourage people to join us in our work. When we have a significant membership, we can follow up with the challenging technical stuff about Peak Oil and Climate Change to a receptive audience.

Posted: 3/10/09 1:07 PM


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Created: 3/10/09 and last revised 30/03/2014
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