Wednesday, November 26, 2014

You don't get it doya

The three amigos ( Sinclair, Anthony and Nixon   )
 featured on a wonderful  reflection on the history of the Country Party in Australia this week. They were found , not reveling in their achievements or bemoaning their lack of influence,  but back in the garden ;their farms .
Heather Ewart's series should be shown around the world -----its that good and such good therapy about the things that matter .Its a long way from the shallow pedant ridden world of political games and rhetoric.
There is something magical about the opportunity to manage the land .The rewards are there despite the external contradictions .
The most potent part of that wonder is the fact that even though these three ( and their constituency) did much to keep us on track and in the black , they still accept a pittance for payment .

Yes the rats can love the treadmill of the modern economic machine to death,,,
but somethings missing . we have lots of things and are ,in that numbers sense, rich; Something about the modern ideal is not working . In our blindness and arrogance about capital and income growth we have taken the boat and missed the sailing ship to real prosperity.

Every country needs a Country Party and a political philosophy that DOES not give in to the dominant crap that fixates itself on mere efficiency .Where are the people going to come from?
My local branch hasn't met for 6 years.  Potential members are too busy and know that the political process venerated by the masses just basically ignores their unique view of  economics and ecology .

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Give me my dog back woodya

Cool dude in a nice new RCV is held up by the sheep on the road .
Intrigued,  as are all city people by the paradoxes of the scene ( low technology , doing same old same old  dirty work for nothing , still smiling )  he offers to help the poor peasant using the mass of technology in his car...... and do some trading ( as is the way of the world in the city )

" If I guess correctly tell you how many sheep you have ......will you let me have one? 
He gets out his computer dials up Google Earth , zooms in  using a app , does some triangulation and wow there is the number  "215"  in the mob .

"Wow"  the shepherd says  "thats right" and things move on

If I guess correctly what you do for a living ,  can we do another trade ? shepherd says

Straight up the shepherd says " Consultant -----" . "How did you work that out?  

Firstly , you think you know what i need , second you tell me something I already know , Thirdly you wanna be paid for such waste and you don't know what I need to know ;  You get lost in the numbers and can't even name the pieces in the game 
As for the reward you took ........can I have my dog back ?

No actual sheep were manhandled in this encounter

Thursday, October 09, 2014

You're driving us insane... with all your talk - MentalAs week

It's true - modern city concerns often make us feel bad..... really bad but we can't talk about it
 It seems you get it off the TV and that's dangerous.You should be more wary of the media and what it does with your mind .
People , it now seems , would rather talk about you than talk to you..esp when you are mad like we often are ........inside at least .
Yet we talk and care about land animals all the time , every single day ; they even stop us from having holidays .
This "about you " kind of talk means that a lot of that talk is suspect even if it sounds " caring " .

Reasonable rational face to face would help us see where we are wrong , but frankly you no longer support services that used to do that and FRANKLY we haven't got time for most of the worries generated in the hype media . (Sometimes we are angry and in no talk because we are so busy -- unlike you , it seems who seem to have time for FB and internet ?)

Where this divorce is most obvious to us in the bush is in the perfectly strange way the worry warriors  let themselves get all tied up in knots about the risks out here . We feel for them because sometimes they do care and they do see the world at risk from what appears on the surface to be man's hunger games .Like the story and the stories before( Hitler ,Ammin, Pol Pot, Stalin ) arrogant ambitious people USE the scarcity argument as a cover for there own greed and power games.    Because most people( we are 1% of the population in Australia)  never work closely and objectively with natural landscapes and complex ecosystems ,  they never get to" know that enemy"( survival with respect)  well enough;  Like those in the Fertile Crescent we are still at risk( even now)   but the possibility of degradation of soils salinity is something we now know and limit pressure on . Unlike many of you we are not denying death as part of life ; Death , anger, fear , uncertainty and killing are no easy things and should not be treated as such  But  we want you  to live within natural  limits and love it as we do with all our emotions;( be real = that's the best way to care for it )

This insistence by the city that it "knows something we don't "means we  are no talk zone or at best "no time to talk to idiots"zone  .Sure there is a place for the observer but that person needs to be close enough to really know what is happening .  Well intentioned but uncommitted people  don't know that all their talk is actually stopping us talking .There is, a sense in which they are making us mad , but they don't always know it .
Get closer and you won't worry so much .Knowledge is a sound antidote to fear . We don't want you worried about scarcity when its only a temporary thing and secondary to the problem of greed.

The only consolation from seeing Australia dismiss Bob Katter on Monday (QandA) was the knowledge that most farmers (all under stress) never expect the ABC to be very brilliant in solving their problems in the firstplace.  At least the ABC ( good on em )  are letting more people tell their stories . I am sure most farmers have given up talking /writing to polys on this subject ! All of our reps,  to a man,  are sitting on the same train they believe ( not know) will benefit everyone- it won't .(There is a war on in places like ours Iraq) because we don't treat subsistence Ag with eco respect )

At least if the ABC dedicated some of its huge capacity ( ABC2 and3 ) to storytelling things would be better - we would share better . All we need is a camera, a tripod . old pictures and a script . And they want to stop funding Community TV - just tweak it and make history Mark Scott and Christopher Pyne.

Anyone who wants to take mental risk seriously knows that "no talk "zone is very
 dangerous. Most people in the Australian audience are not there on site but their vehicle ( ABC and other TV and media ) can carelessly create even  greater risks by talking at them and then listening without understanding them and the land pressures they live under ( second point is critical , but not widely seen) .
Think numbers : How much will ABC raise and how much does it cost to put one good earth planner ( or someone to talk to ) in every regional/district centre in Australia ; The farmers would finally find someone to talk to ( do not dismiss this key need!) . While the ABC and government get it wrong,  the gate will be shut and the guns will be out .

Les Murray, in a great personal piece on Radio National with Cathcart on Thursday,  hit the nail on the head . He finally found the sin that started the depression and the "no talk "and forgave it .Men are under stress and temptation to shortcut to this or that risk - it goes with the territory on dryland especially . Exposure to risks that kill is a daily thing out here .Les's grandfather didn't listen to a voice of reason on risk ( it happens) and someone died . Would not WE ALL we want them all to stop carrying around the burden of depression that one mistake created ? How do we make that happen ? . When will we finally make that happen ? Many used to be reminded every Sunday both in theory and in fellowship ( do not underestimate it , because its still the great stabilizer out in the bush)   Even if the ABC  gave all that money they are proposing to divert to offline experts(drips under pressure )  to Lifeline ( online) they would only stop people dying---- he said ;  Not that bad to die mate ,  Les reminds us !
The existing Offline paper and words stuff ( dragged out this week) is enough to make you mad - but they refuse to accept that . People would rather talk about you than talk to you . That's a big part of the growing mental health problem.The reason for "no talk"

Was great that Les eventually found out the tragedy behind his illness .  The tree.
Pity it wasn't earlier --
Lucky Les had someone to talk too . 

Forever studying but never coming to a knowledge of the truth
There is so much we don't see in suffering and its purpose and never will .( that in itself might limit the areas of research into mental illness) Encourage us to bemoan how we are treated, and we might all be in hospital and the country broke.

Areas of consensus
Les showed that rural pressures create great risks and that's a consensus issue.
But get real you media people – we never expected your mentalas week ( esp Q&A) would do anything – that’s  wise of us and its wisdom about ourselves that can save us. Noone and nothing  else.

Real talk initiatives Because the Greens and major parties  never study anything properly and haven't supported an objective research program they simply don't know what to do beyond that. They talk about resilience when they wouldn't know what a resilient ecosystem looked like . No joke to us that you talk so much about things you don't really understand!

Review of your problem
As said at start .Outsiders  create and perpetuate fear as a result of fear . Spinoza rightly said that fear is a companion of hope,  but  distant ' would be doctors'  will never know that - The ABC shouldn't even listen to them at length; As bush telegraph often does   after 11 - even on RN .
Thankfully Les knows that, unlike the fearful kids whose minds we are contaminating with a glass half empty view of the world.( my concern) . You can breed an alcoholic in the city just as easily as you breed one trying to grow grass. The grass grows in each paddock and no simple equation will tell you why one family out here thrives in poverty and abundance while another dives.

 - attitude has a lot to do with it. Not so much nature ; not so much "talking positively "(
- a uniquely unsustainable approach cultivated by those on the drip fed from the taxpayer)
-- governments can play a role provided they don't keep changing whats worked see my paper here  

What the farm will tell you each year , though , if you stick with it  , is that sun and rain will come again,  forgiving the past and making a new start;  better than that ......if you wait till morning,  the sun will appear and results are not only possible but often highly productive to boot .

The farm provides reason for hope and a reasoned way to look at how you can really live beyond the silly shallow idea of getting what you want .
Life comes and goes,  like positive and negative , anger and joy , mental stress and mental relief . Maybe--- it isn't  an illness as the specialist on Q&A said ?  Resilience after all requires stretching not this " i am sick and will never recover nonsense"
Go listen to Les Murray or try this with someone who is "no talk" zone .      

Monday, September 29, 2014

Rusty metal relief

( soil vs metal) The industrial revolution has hit hard in soft old agriculture .The mellow and soft edge of life on the land have changed forever .With our new knowledge of how to save time in making both biology and metallurgy  work for us . Maybe one day in the future  someone will say , as they do now (see the B on the new conservatives - the greens ), the past is better , lets go back there .but even further back than they want s to go .  Lucky noone takes the Greens ( incl themselves ) too seriously because this nostalgia for the past is a nostalgia for a past world  is for a world that no longer works. In fact in all our idealogical haste to redeem our confusion about where to go to next we are denying ourselves the opportunity to celebrate both what we have learned and what we can do with the future B this is the ideal - enjoy the new challenge )
What's holding me back then?
Some bad habits with rusty metal . My dad amzed me one day when after i painted the old trucks primed dent on the front mudgauard black that i was 'wasting my time ". His rejection of my work choices hit me hard then but clearly not hard enough because I still have truble  abandoning care for the rusty oldstuff - i am trying to fix B u the old slasher and its BSA engine t the momenet . I guess he too at the age of 50 realized he had done too much of fiddling with it  and was trying to kerb my clearly well developed tendency to love it or at elast live with it too . It was infact the fixing and make do model which didn't work for him or for us . Much of the euipement was faulty run down and unable to meet the production pressures required of a sound industrail invesemnet ( one that would would work hard and well when needed) We discounted our labour ( being frombig families meant it was easy to do) and paid oursleves nothing to do things we quite liked doing ( just got int the habit of doing ) Somehow in it all  we used the challenge to learn to innovate and adapt whch is really what all of us are supposed to learn ( thorow) Our education system wasn't faulty even though our farthers economic choices were (and who can blame them coming sraight fromserfdom in teh spreewad ) Iam sure Matthias      thought he was doing ok geteeing 100 acres for henry and albert getiing 600cares for loius and his other 6 . It seemed like progress . In agriculture it seemed like get big or get out was right . Who was to know that the Ag advisors we only selling one half of the story and what a different story it would have been if both sides were told ( the mallee had better soils but half the rainfall - who would have thought that goo old Victoria has a good a desert as any part of austalaia ( its such a samll part and it right next to water ) . We as kids were detsined to acrry soem of that elegacy of economially constrained choice s around agriculture with us. More constrained that most industrial ? yes ebcause teh variables are s much larger - ther are profits if you invest wisely  but the weather is unprdectable , unforgiving and returns just nott relaible . Noone goes farmeing if they have only one sense of whats important .

The failure to "get out" too is a habit too strong in me . I guess you can argue that hoobyb farming is the way to go but as I have always said , I don't believe i should at age 42 invest too much anymore mumoney and time in rusty baleds and spades .Helping Bruce ( as chris says that family mirro my own)  and Joel ( miiroing the desire to garden) has brought all these issues into sharp focus this week . Its early hristmas and taking Jimmy out to expereinec the paradox of placing hay bale and me reneweing my interest in magnetos and carbys bearings and hard sharfts has been unmisable . Even Dave has enjoyed the contacts and ive picked all teh ebarings I need to make the billycarts i wasgoing to for chrstanas .

What i can say is that all the expereinec has made me want to keepwriting and helping rural communities make better choices when useingland . If soemone like my close friends and reliies can make poor choices (as they have doen in recent years ) I an go with them ( as i am doing with the slasher ) but should i - The hard decsion is the right decsion. don't supprt them tell them the truth orlet them find out - like our children we do a bit of both .

Bruce tells me that its now illegal to hire a motorized slasher . I can understand why ( and will tell Joelwhy) because i am up early typing because they is still much to do to make this mid last century monster in my backyars safe and serviceable . From servicabelpoint of view ( 2 full dys easily to fix) The hardest thingto do isto proetect teh barings on teh vertical shaft from water and seal damage from winding grass . But the really dangerous thing is what those 18 bledes acn throw ack at you as You and they force there way foward itothe undergrowth .
As for the engine the old condenser was shot so i hope we willsee spark today

The really challengeing thing though is to see christains falling for sus  idea and that include s me. the romantic noitions ( old is good ) rather thanthe the really realistic ones ( we have ti follow the industrial rev whether we liem it or not ) Its corceion that drives us to make choices  in some ways we can be the biggest reactionaries of all . We choose not to follow but to be different . W carry the toolsof innovation but do we use them well enough ?

The point is we don't get the poaint  its not about technology but about hope and a willingness to learn and take risks . I might say i believe in risktaking but having een brought up in a poor family who lost their breadwinner too earrlyI just don't actually do enough of it . I kno w eneough now at my age and having studiesd others rural enterpises till their cows coem home to make good investement decsions - - i just struggle to get y body to do it .
Ive done it once - when the family farm ws sold I got rid of most of the mostsly good but still large volume of rusty meatl required to run a farm . The bits i do still ahve remined me  of the huge commeitement that modern agricaultue has to make to the meatl managemnet  , Sure you can buy and sell it . if you have the cash flow but you still need it . Other students of the indsutry tell me that there are roghly two camps - the ones that mainatain old machinersy and the ones that keep upto date by buying new machinersy ( just as all enterpreneuers in the indsuratila revoltion are ecouraged to do  No contrractor can afford to go the foremr way but the best farmers are i think soemwhere in betwen ; Maybe its because they have eeough of teh old to innovate with  and enough of the new to fix that they maintain a sense of how to keep whateevr they have working through thick and thin seassn and the war on rust ad cooruption asthingsage . There are farmers who aren't mechanics but they are usualy very poor farmers .
see B As a biilogist i ama very poor mechanic . As a ameahnic i am at times a very poor biologist 
and maiantain that they have The agricultueral revolution itslef was strong step away from doing it all yourself , Since we learned how to make ansismals work for us we have have looking for slaves to marry and sheep and cattle to mow our grasslands ( see the B on farmer wants a slave or Farming is too easy and too hard )  . Sure its meant  we taep Nowhere  is this more evident than in the way weuse metal to make machines and get onto ofthe labor requiremet . spring produce of grassland . What the anmilas used to commWhile none of us want Even for the most up to date farmer it means manhandling a lot of meatl

Our real handicaps- our bad habits

I can go on about professors and what the don't know but I also know that observers can often see things we can't .
Take the whole issue of industrialization of agriculture . See previous blog about steel wheeled tractor an how I serviced it kept it going and so on . Got parts and lost parts . It turned out to be a Lost cause should call me John of lost causes;  The man who invested in lost causes .

The media too are happy to invest in lost causes ..........but they don't have to pay for them .Warn them ,,,,,its too easy to talk .

Please use the word Resilience more carefully

re My love hate relationship with Landline ABCTV 
and lesser extent Quantum and even now RN rural ( sad to say!)

While they,  like the ABC generally ( as real lifelines for rural people) do some good reporting, they ONLY do it  when they stick to reporting ( recording real authors).
Embedding is for those who live with and in and beside -who know their land as well or better than the farmers  do ;  quote them and quote them carefully . More importantly make sure they exist in Country towns . Find them----- they are as rare as real farmers
These competent people don't have to be psychologists ;  I have listed their qualifications above , If Greenies were to embed themselves the shallowness and disrespect for the diversity and depth of land and ecology understanding wouldn't be so evident to those on the ground.Many farmers are in no talk land and it isn't because they don't have people to talk to - because those that do talk, talk carelessly ( seeTelecom 2000 report on maladaptive tendencies in the telecom age  ). even worse the city seems to care more about the token animal tahn the people out here - Whatever you say , please just make sure your claim to "unsustainable" or "endangered" or even " resilient " really sticks ( happy to back anyone who does their homework on this )
  1. Do not try to embed yourselves in a week or a day but support those outsiders to primary industry producers who are embedded in in all week every week  we need more real environmental experts out in the bush ( sorry they cost a lot to retain and keep like doctors)
  2. Use word resilience more carefully ,We are elastic, but elastic can easily break  Yes my clients show,  like land  does , great elasticity but if stretched by false hope ( new technology ) or political brilliance in environment  the elasticity can't last  .You do break us with all your talk ( Sorry but true)  - whether you know it or not you are NOT  on-farm advisers - you are less careful about tricks to make more money and be more sustainable.   The cities great interest in solving our problems is not matched by a commitment to actually doing that .( not anymore - it once was ) . this is not just your problem but OUR problem : you can support people who are more effective than you 

    I am posting this because recent events in the excalation of the war in Iraq and Syria demonstrate that we in the west STILL do not understand the difference between a technical solution and a human solution ----let alone a combination of both. 
Some great stories this week,  all the same .1  the NT cook who post great pictures . 2 The Minister for Ag who knows his portfolio ( sugar energy and unsustainable investments ).We need help but we need understanding more .