Wanted urgently!

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Publishers who understand ecological crises, monetary damage, and the imperatives of radical change. Publishers open to new models for human societies, who understand multiform and experimental texts, who get biodiversity and the relationships between food, energy and ecology. Publishers who are giving up on perpetuating anthropocentric pollution ideology and who promote the composting of hierarchical and unjust social orders. Publishers who value the reclaiming of low-carbon, regenerative technologies, thought and deeds and believe they can contribute to a future of aggregating uncertainty and struggle but nonetheless joy, resilience and intelligence.

If you know of any publisher that fits such a description please let me know.


Gariwerd boomerang

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

For a while now I've wanted to make a boomerang. A recent trip to Gariwerd became the perfect time to do it. I took a few basic tools with me and late one afternoon I set out from our camp to find an appropriate wattle limb.

Near to where Zeph, Gabe and I were camping I found a lightwood wattle (Acacia implexa) that had blown over in a storm. It was still quite green and I found a suitable part to cut out.

I then got to work with my small hatchet cutting a basic form,

before beginning work on shaving down the sides. Traditionally, a stone head axe of a similar size would have been used to shape such tools.

I then used the small saw to do some more basic shaping,

returning to more shaving until most of the wood was removed. A boomerang is the precursor to an airplane's wing and precedes this technology by about forty thousand years. It has a flat under side and a curved up side.

I then used my pocket knife to finely finish the boomerang. It flew well, but didn't return. Someone at the camp joked, if it doesn't return it is not a boomerang, it's just a stick. I needed some better advice than this so we headed off to the Brambuk Cultural Centre again.

We admired the traditional boomerangs in the Brambuk collection,

and booked in to the boomerang throwing workshop with Jeremy. He kindly gave some great tips on getting my next boomerang to return. He suggested that the shape of mine was generally used for ceremonies. Next time I will try to find an acacia root with a greater natural curve.

On no other continent did people develop a returning arrow. This ingenious tool really indicates an incredible intelligence. I have often heard it said that Aboriginal people purposely didn't develop their technology beyond their edible and ceremonial needs. This represents a mature sensibility to land and resources that the west (and its anxiety for innovation) could really refer to now.


Gariwerd bush foods

Monday, October 21, 2013

Zeph and I joined the Victorian home educators camp at Halls Gap in the Grampians this week. We came with a community friend Gabe and the two boys joined over 100 kids from all over the state (and further afield). For five days we experienced unpredictable weather, night games, wrestling, abseiling, rock climbing, new friend making, swimming, tiredness, ball games, bike-riding, sunburn, boomerang throwing, cuts and bruises and some autonomous food.

Blow fly grass (Briza maxima) also known as quaking grass
It is true spring, one of the six seasons in Gariwerd, and there is an abundance of edible flowering plants covering the ground. These are the traditional bush plants used by the original people and the newly naturalised plants that have come since 1788. Many are edible and/or medicinal. One favourite newly naturalised plant at this time of year is wild onion, otherwise known as three-cornered garlic or angled onion because of the triangulate stem shape. We found swathes of them along the path that runs into town and on to the Brambuk Cultural Centre. Great food for being on the go.

Three-cornered garlic (Allium triquetrum)
The garlic was growing near pockets of Milkmaids, a perennial herb native to woodland forests of southern Australia. The tuberous roots are edible cooked as potato and like yam daisies they are crisp and starchy eaten raw.

Milkmaids (Burchardia umbellate)
Everywhere throughout Gariwerd relationships between traditional bush food species and newly naturalised tucker are apparent. Common resources are shared between species who get along without ideological register or monetary warring.

Deer (Cervidae family) and Kangaroo (Macropod, meaning 'large foot')
We visited Brambuk and spoke with the knowledgeable and generous Blake, the chef at the centre's Bushtucker Cafe. Blake and I shared notes. He introducing me to some of his preferred herbs and spices from nearby and other regions of Australia,

Round-leaf Mint (Prostanthera rotundifolia),  Strawberry Gum (Eucalyptus olida), Wattleseed (Acacia sp) Lemon myrtle (Backhousia citriodora)
and I demonstrated how to find desirable starch at the base of mat-rush (lomandra) leaves just outside the cafe. Lomandra is also known as basket grass and was used for traditional basket making. The seeds can be ground into a flour meal for cakes. The plant is a good source of vitamin C, iron and fibre.

Mat-rush (Lomandra longifolia) a common source of starchy food
At Brambuk we also learned about uses for honey-myrtles. The local people called these plants Gutyamul. The scientific name is Melaleuca. The nectar was added to water to make a sweet drink. There are thirteen species of Melaleuca in Victoria and like all the Banksia species the flower spikes can be used to make a sweet cordial or a fermented beverage.

Honey myrtle (Melaleuca sp.)
We also learned about the traditional uses for grass trees and how the seeds were ground as flour and the stem was used as a fire-stick for the ingenious fire-stick farming that was common to all Aboriginal peoples. The resin was used to bond materials together such as stone spearheads to wooden shafts.

Grass tree (Xanthorrhoea sp.)
The walk to Brambuk and back to our camp was around ten kilometres. The sun beat down in the afternoon and we were talking up the need for a swim when we came across what I thought was an enormous bolete mushroom, but my mycologist friend Alison Pouliot (who knows the area well) believes it is Phlebopus marginatus. We placed a dollar coin on the cap of this big pore mushroom to give a sense of the size.

Phlebopus marginatus
While at Brambuk we also undertook a boomerang throwing workshop. A second Gariwerd post will follow on making and throwing a boomerang.


All Rights Relinquished

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

There is a colourful stoush going on at Overland about:

More virulent than MODERNISM
More critical than POST–MODERNISM
Read the full story inside!
Home, Stewart. Plagiarism: Art as Commodity and Strategies for its NegationLondon: Aporia Press, 1988.
Tipping, Richard & Mansell, Chris. Lessons for Plagairists (with a Special Proem by Bill Posters, Complete with Precepts and a Handy Compendium of Instructions)Sydney: Well Sprung Productions, 2013.

And more grist for the mill at Notes from the Sinister Quarter.


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