ago in 2010, when I volunteered as a WWOOF-er (willing workers on organic
farms) during my then September school holidays. I then backed up that visit
to the Permaculture Research Institute with another that November. Except
this time, I went there as a student.
The owner of the place was away at the time and so we had Canadian
permaculturalist Jesse Lemieux out here in Australia acting as farm manager
and taking the classes that otherwise would not have taken place. He is
probably more of a temperature climate specialist and maybe lacked some
familiarity with sub-tropical issues, but those two weeks of classes were
just so intriguing and an eye-opening experience. I went away having helped
compost a deceased calf (poor thing had tumours growing through it so it was
put down), completed an original design for a local property, milked cows
and chased a pregnant goat around the paddock in an attempt to get her back
in her pen. I milked her as well.
I am reminded of my two week experience just as the Gold Coast is flooded
with schoolies, school-leavers at the same point in their lives as I was
this time two years ago; Schoolies is a huge one-week "get off your face"
party in Surfers Paradise. It is sometimes referred to as a 'tradition' or a
'transition' to adulthood. Unfortunately, it seems that most people continue
to "get off their faces" in adulthood so it does not seem to be a very
intelligent transition. I also can't help but think that there are better
ways to celebrate the end of one's high school life. I suppose it is not for
me to comment on the decisions of others but events like these make me
wonder what has happened to society.
My musings here refer mainly to the use and abuse of alcohol. Back in the
good old days (I'm talking about 30-40 years ago - the golden years of my
parents' generation), apparently people would go out for a drink but they
wouldn't go out to get drunk. Call me old fashioned but I really don't see
the point of sculling box upon box of goon, particularly if the taste of the
alcohol is disguised by orange juice/coke. I'm told that it's not possible
to "have fun" without being totally off one's face but my [albeit limited]
experience in clubs and the like have proved to me that this assertion is
definitely not true. It is just a matter of trying it out.
On my Permaculture Design Certificate course, I also had a great time. That
was instead of going to Schoolies and I have never regretted the experience.
What that two weeks did was really infuse into me my already bubbling desire
to live on the land.
It truly was a unique experience and is certainly one that made me crave the
country more than ever. There is nothing better than going to sleep away
from the city lights and noise apart of course, from frogs and cicadas which
is very peaceful noise and under the bright stars. Then, to rise early and
throw yourself into the dam for a lazy morning swim; porridge with fresh
milk/cream from the cows also kicks off a day of great food with zero food