Rain

I love rain. In Queensland when it rains it is warm so you can be out in it for ages.

Ants:

Have you ever wondered how ants plug up their holes so water doesn’t get into their nest? This is what we observed in one species last week, a living ‘door’

DSCN1667

Termites

Termites making an addition to their nest. We watched them a few weeks ago and their skills in building, teamwork & cooperation is incredible

Fungi

A few days before the day of rain we had a couple of smaller storms and all kinds of fungi began sprouting out up out of the debosia and hardwood chip

These ones looked like flowers and if they are left on paper they leave a flower like spore pattern

cropped-dscn4322.jpg

Bright Yellow Fungi

These fungi look similar to coral. They open with moisture and stay tightly closed when dry

DSCN1330

Dams:

The images on the left are what it was like in 2015. Images on right were taken today.

Eating Meat Is Destroying Our Planet

Discoveries Along The Way

Hi my name is Pete Lytton-Hitchins. I was born a country boy and ever since I can remember all I wanted to do was be a sheep and cattle farmer. I remember the first time I killed a kangaroo, the first time I fell off a horse and I used to think all I would ever do was be a sheep and cattle farmer.

With the help of my family over a period of 20 years we own and killed over 100,000 sheep and 10,000 head of cattle.

In 2015 we sold the farm and stopped making money from meat farming. I say the words “meat farming” because when we farm animals we are in the business of producing kilograms of meat for human consumption.

I gave up what I thought was my life long passion. Once I released that eating meat and killing animals was wrong I no longer…

View original post 1,301 more words

What I’m Learning About The Environment & Land Recovery

I have spent much of my life so far focused on Results. If I want to plant a tree, I want to plant it now. In the past I was happy spending lots of money bringing in big machinery like tractors and graders to get instant results that then take even more money to maintain the projects long term. It was a very costly and an extremely ineffective way to heal land destruction.

Over the past few years I have had the privilege of seeing how Jesus looks after his land and shares his thoughts on how to make loving eco systems and help with environmental recovery. There is a talk on the Divine Truth website that covers a lot of this information in detail called ‘Creating Loving Eco Systems‘ and can be found at the links you will find at the bottom of this post*.

The information below is based upon my personal experience with what has been shared and shown to me over this time.

When I observe Jesus caring for the environment his main concern is working out how God cares for the environment and then replicating that any way he can. This means things take time and that there is a natural order of how to heal land.

The modern way to make soil fertile is to add fertilisers and use heavy machinery to aerate and break down soil compaction. Gods Way I’m learning is very different

Gods Way is all about holding water/moisture in the soil and creating fertility through the intelligence in the soil. The intelligence is living creatures, organisms and seeds that live in the eco system. By looking after the seeds and feeding the creatures and organisms real recovery can then begin. Fungi, earthworms and ants are all examples of intelligence we want to grow and encourage in the eco system.

The first step should be to protect the soil and allow seeds to grow. This starts with removing grazing animals that constantly eat the shoots and leaves of seeds that germinate. Each seed has inbuilt intelligence and will only grow when the environment is suited to it’s germination. The more seeds germinate and are constantly eaten by animals the less seeds the soil has for the next cycle.

Think about this process happening for 100’s of years and you can start to see how serious this problem becomes. The soil gets no new seeds and all the seeds that do germinate get eaten. Gods Way of looking after soil is no longer working effectively. No seeds and less and less plant life creates a drier environment which eventually becomes a man made desert. The living creatures and organisms that thrived in the environment are no longer able to exist.

When the grazing animals are removed first generation seeds can start to germinate. These plants are mostly seen as weeds. They have the toughest job to do. They can grow in little fertility, need less water and sometimes have a tap root to help open up compaction. In some cases they are also not very attractive to animals and are spikey or prickly. This is often the only way they can survive. Ideally they are legume plants that release nitrogen into the soil. Australian wattles are a good example of first generation plants also known as ‘pioneer plants’ that start the healing process to rebuilding soil fertility.

So how do we create an environment that supports the living creatures and organisms essential to making a sustainable eco-system?

Firstly we need to provide the Food, Water and Shelter (a home) that all life needs. This becomes the focus. In some cases we need to re introduce the intelligence as well. Earthworms are a great example of intelligence we can re introduce into the system once we have the necessary food available.

Food swales and trenches are one way we can create a home that can feed the intelligence that makes the soil.

Swales are a man made bank built on a contour. The idea is for the swale to collect and hold water. With a food swale* we take this one step further and fill the water collection side of the bank with organic matter and hence the name “Food Swale”. The organic matter becomes the food feeding the system. The organic matter used can be anything from waste food scraps to hay and newspaper or bales of cardboard. This organic material becomes a sponge that releases moisture and nutrients out slowly. It’s a fertility bank full of life. When it rains we are now collecting all the water we possibly can and keeping it in the landscape as long as possible. The landscape is now becoming hydrated for longer periods of time.

The organic matter we bring into the system we want to break down slowly through decomposition rather than composting. Decomposition is Gods Way, a slow release over time that supports the whole of the eco system and takes time. When we compost we create heat, which kills life in the organic matter and breaks down fast. Composting has no intelligence. Decomposition is full of intelligence. With decomposition creatures have a home and food.

A Trench is similar to a food swale expect this time everything is below ground rather than on the top. A Trench is an underground hole that is built on contour. The trench is then filled with organic matter just like the food swale. Its size can vary depending on how much organic matter you have available. You can build these trenches quite deep so they are like an underground water reservoir full of life on top. The benefit of the trench is that it can hold more matter and water than a swale.

The aim for both food swale’s and trenches is to create life in the system. The more we feed the intelligence the more the intelligence feeds the soil.

One of the first noticeable changes is the amount of flying insects and ants that appear. As more abundance is created bigger creatures and birds start arriving and feasting on all the tasty food now in the eco system.

It is also amazing how long water/moisture stays in the system once it is no longer been lost through evaporation and is been collected and stored when ever it rains rather than flowing off the landscape.

One way you can experiment at home is by digging a pit in your backyard and filling it up with your kitchen scraps and any other organic matter you have around the house. Cover the green waste with a layer of dry organic matter like sugar cane mulch or shredded up newspaper to help with the smell. See what happens and then maybe in a year or so plant a seed on top of the pit. You will be amazed at all the life that turns up and the beautiful soil it then creates.

Happy Experimenting

Peter

* Links:

24 Oct 2012 Creating Loving Eco Systems – An Introduction S1

06 Nov 2012 Creating Loving Eco Systems – Audio Lessons

There is an Intro and 8 Audio files for the above can be found at this link, you will need to scroll down to find it.

06 Nov 2012 Creating loving Eco-Systems – An Introduction S2

  • Food Swale- A name I made up

 

Snow in Kentucky

*This post has been updated

20150712 Sunday

We returned from a trip to Queensland yesterday to a steadily decreasing temperature as we traveled south. We awoke this morning to a light covering of snow all around and the kids getting their snow gear on at 6:30am to build a snowman and chuck snow at us as we emerged from the front door. It is literally freezing, and fun to play in snow. Snow didn’t settle for long, it has all melted away by lunch time. Windy – freezing, we are glad for a toasty fire. We are hoping for more and deeper tomorrow.

20150712 Snow in Kentucky - snow paddock

20150712 Snow in Kentucky – snow paddock

20150713 snow day 1 - snowman

20150713 snow day 1 – snowman

20150713 snow day 1 - snowman, Archie eating snowman's nose

20150713 snow day 1 – snowman, Archie eating snowman’s nose

20150713, Monday

We went to the snow! And didn’t leave Kentucky.

Day 2 of lovely snow, awoke today to beautiful fluffy flakes of snow falling from the sky. Snow is so fun and so cold.

20150713 snow day 2 - front drive

20150713 snow day 2 – front drive

20150713 snow day 2 - view from the front dooe

20150713 snow day 2 – view from the front door

20150713 snow day 2 - wattle

20150713 snow day 2 – wattle

20150713 snow day 2 - tracks

20150713 snow day 2 – tracks

20150713 snow day 2 - farm equipment snowed under

20150713 snow day 2 – farm equipment snowed under

20150713 snow day 2 - Pete and kids

20150713 snow day 2 – Pete and kids

Blood Money – Killing animals for financial Gain

Slide17Having been involved in livestock farming – sheep and cattle – for the last eight years I have noticed and contributed to many unethical practices and much environmental damage (see The Darker Side of Agriculture Post). What I have noticed most is what I am prepared to do for money.

Everything I own and have purchased in the last eight years comes from blood money. The money I have used has been made off the death of animals and the destruction of the environment*.

This is a sobering thought and not a very pleasant feeling, but it is the truth.

I have been thinking a lot about killing animals for financial gain or stomach gratification recently (An example: Producers/Farmers kill animals for financial gain, Consumers/animal product users eating animals to satisfy addictions). It has brought up a lot of interesting thoughts and hypocrisies for me. In fact there are many emotional ‘crisis’ occurring within me as I begin to look more deeply into the reasons why I have done this. As I begin opening up to feeling the consequences upon my soul for doing so, and ponder and feel about how I can remedy the damage I have done. I have been in denial, living in my false beliefs – such as feeling I am entitled to dominate animals and use them for my financial security,  and have deeply buried many of my feelings in order to justify how I make the money to lead the lifestyle I do.

DSCN5488

I have been an unethical, hypocritical vegan for about five years and I am only just beginning to actually notice the really big issues and reasons why I felt I was entitled to eat meat now**.

The irony is that it is not about the eating of the meat itself that drives me to support killing or why I used to consume animals. It is other things, for example, feeling I have the ‘right’ to kill animals rather than care for, learn from and enjoy animals while they live out their lives; Fear about not having financial security; My willingness to kill animals when things get ‘tough’ financially – fear of lack; My rebellion and rage that I ought to be able to do as I please if I want to; Trying ‘exotic’ meats or  having ‘exotic’ skins to stand out and be ‘different’, and feelings of superiority to other living creatures and intelligent life.

I have been thinking a lot about how we use animals. I find the responses to animal culling/slaughter interesting. When we hear 40,000 elephants*** have been killed in the name of preventing desertification, we get shocked or outraged. When it is reported that thousands of whales**** are used for human consumption or ‘scientific research’ we are in uproar and protesting. When horse meat is found in mince meat in Europe***** it is a world wide media sensation. Not much is reported on the mass killings of millions of sheep and cattle, goats, chickens and many other animals that we kill for food and consume each year, day, minute world wide. There is no protest about eating them or killing them unless it is deemed ‘inhumane killing’. There is little to no protest about the impact that growing meat has on the environment******.

Is killing for meat production ethical and moral******* under any conditions? It is killing, and I am beginning to feel, emotionally, it is wrong.

2014 Sheep mob in the yards for sorting

2014 Sheep mob in the yards for sorting

The protest by media in Australia about the way in which animals are killed in Indonesia was extraordinary******** I do not condone suffering in animals or humans. I just found this interesting as it wasn’t the killing of the animal that was an issue, it was the way in which it was killed that seemed to matter.

How many people are even aware of the process an animal goes through to get to be a piece of meat, a pair of shoes or a handbag? How many people have actually been to places where live stock are killed (abattoirs, farm meat houses etc) and experienced the entire process? How many of us have actually watched footage of the entire process?******** And if we have, how many of us have remained emotionally open, sensitive and felt the animal and our own true feelings while it happened? I suggest if everyone had remained emotionally open, what is happening in the world in regards to animals would be very different right now.

The reality, in most cases, is that agriculture is based on financial gain, in the case of livestock it is about an animals’ worth to the farmer, it’s dollar value. For example with sheep you don’t look at the sheep as a beautiful,  incredible animal and a gift of God’s creation who we are the carers of, we look at a sheep in regards to how many lambs it can produce, what kind of mother it is, how many kilograms of wool it cuts/produces, how much it’s carcase is worth as meat.

Agriculture, at this time, is based upon using and selling. In our personal business, the commodity we trade in is livestock. It is generally considered ‘good farming to sell livestock when the monetary gain is high, we are successful based on how much money we get for a sheep or it’s wool. The only reason that we wouldn’t sell livestock is if we felt that they could reproduce more progeny or fibre, or we could potentially get more money than the current market offers.

20140321 Clydesdales

20140321 Clydesdales

Animals for generations have been used, often abused, and discarded when they no longer serve a purpose, example: before tractors there were draught horses, what happened to these teams when technology got more progressive? in many cases they were destroyed, mass slaughter, which indicates to me that people didn’t love them, rather they had used them and then got rid of them when they were of no use any more. This is not love between man and beast, this is man using beast for personal gain. Even pets are about meeting our addictions and personal gratification rather than genuine care of the animals. We need to sincerely look at our feelings and attitudes towards animals and the relationship we have with them.

I find it ironic that the majority of those who get outraged about mis-treatment of animals or the environment often sit down to an animal based meal each evening, if not a few times a day and think nothing of it? From my observations people still want to eat meat and animal products. In fact I would go so far as to say they feel entitled to their meat based meal and if it was taken away would feel extremely annoyed, even enraged. Why? That is a good question. I feel it is based upon our emotional addictions, emotional demands, emotional beliefs and other particular emotions we desire to hold onto**********. Check the advertisements out on television of green fields with chooks or cows in them luring you into a false sense that your cow ‘lived a good life’ before it became your dinner – we don’t really want to know the reality, let alone feel it.

Thanks to Serge Bertasisius Photography and FreeDigitalPhotos.net for the use of this image

Thanks to Serge Bertasisius Photography and FreeDigitalPhotos.net for the use of this image

People who are likely to stay vegan for their lifetimes are those that make the choice based on ethics and morals, often accompanied by a genuine emotional shift**********. Even if we don’t eat animal products we often use them in other ways, sometimes without even realising, for example in clothing & accessories, cosmetics, wine, vitamins, sweets, vaccines.

I feel that our desire for meat and animal products, the impact that has on animals, the planet and the universe and the rate of destruction of the environment because of our demand and expectations is worth reflecting upon, worth investigating and worth feeling about. It is up to each of us to find out why we do what we do for ourselves and feel about why we do it and if we desire to change or not. If we don’t desire to change I feel it is worth looking at why  we don’t want to.

Pete and I have been discussing new and different ways to remedy the issues we have created, contributed to or exasperated. We have been discussing different ways to ensure that food production takes place in a way that is harmonious with Love and how we might convert what we do now into something that gives to the land first, rehabilitates and replenishes the depleted soils and creates abundant, self sustainable eco-systems abundant with intelligent life, as God intended the Earth to have. We have much to feel about where we are right now, and we have lots to discover of how we can move forward in a way that is sustainable and in harmony with God’s Laws. As we embark on this investigation we will share our discoveries, thoughts and ponderings.

I have included in the foot notes some interesting links to investigate and contemplate if you so desire: I do not endorse or agree with everything in these articles, I do feel there are some interesting points to explore and for me reading and viewing these things brought up feelings I had not been aware of before. I also feel it is important to be informed of what is actually going on and to find out why and how I contribute to the suffering and problems in the world personally. Because if I understand my contributions and the emotions in me that cause these things, I have the opportunity to change them. If I live in ignorance the damage continues and no change can occur.

We hope you enjoy exploring, questioning and discovering more about yourself and why you choose to do what you do.

Note: We are noticing that there is a lot of mis-information out in the world. A lot of ‘facts’ lacking real or scientifically based information and embellished or diminishment in order to suit someone’s motives. We feel this is actually manipulative. We notice that often some truth is put with a heap of illogical information that is un-tested and un-verified. We need to examine what we are being told and find out what’s really going on rather than accepting and believing everything at face value.

DSCN3892

Footnotes:

** 2 While we have domesticated animals we are not truly vegan. We still have emotions and would under pressure be prepared to do things that are unethical and unloving in regards to livestock.I have no desire to eat meat, but I am using animals for financial gain. All the links mentioned in this post I suggest finding out about for yourself and verifying the ‘facts’ before you take it them as the truth. I suggest widely reading and praying to know God’s Truth on the matters discussed. If you have a sincere and genuine desire to know you will find the truth.

***3 Alan Savory youtube clip where he talks about his responsibility in the decision to cull 40,000 elephants and that he now realises that it was wrong to do so. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WUMQVqtjUAQ

Articles disputing Alan Savory’s agricultural & farming methods: http://www.theguardian.com/environment/georgemonbiot/2014/aug/04/eat-more-meat-and-save-the-world-the-latest-implausible-farming-miracle

http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2013/11/cows-carbon-and-the-anthropocene-commentary-on-savory-ted-video/comment-page-4/

****4  Whaling articles

http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/international-court-of-justice-upholds-australias-bid-to-ban-japanese-whaling-in-antarctica-20140331-35ude.html

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-09-17/phillips-the-flawed-science-of-the-whaling-commission/5751232

*****5 horse meat media sensation stories 

http://www.theguardian.com/uk/2013/feb/14/horsemeat-beef-tests

http://www.theguardian.com/business/2013/feb/09/aldi-100-percent-horsemeat-beef-products

http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-21430329

******6 http://www.wearesalt.org/how-meat-addiction-is-hurting-the-planet/

*******7 Check out Jesus’ talk on ethics and morality

20120513 Ethics and Morality S1 P1

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mybby95f3vs

20120513 Ethics and Morality S1P2

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JA9-BS7-ouw

*******8 Animal slaughter in Indonesia:

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/thats-not-halal-killing-indonesian-cleric-joins-attack-on-cattle-slaughter/story-fn59niix-1226066813585

********9 ‘Earthlings’ is a really interesting documentary about how animals are treated, raised and consumed.

http://earthlings.com

‘Cowspiracy’ is a documentary about the impact of livestock, inparticular, cattle on the Earth & environment.

http://www.cowspiracy.com

Cowspiracy responses and interviews

http://blog.allisonsgourmet.com/2014/10/31/the-story-behind-cowspiracy-with-kip-andersen-and-keegan-kuhn/

Blog response to an article on Cowspiracy.

http://www.loghancall.org/?p=78

*********10 To read more about the emotional reasons why people sometimes struggle on a vegan diet check out the following link to Jesus’ letter to Lucette on Veganism. I feel if we dealt with the causal emotional reasons, beliefs and investments we have to eating meat, we would have no need or even desire to eat meat.

https://www.divinetruth.com/www/en/pdf/FAQ/General/JesusMary/20150228%20Jesus%20answers%20question%20about%20vegan%20diet%20and%20digestion.pdf

**********11 Info on Veganism:

http://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/becoming-a-vegetarian

http://thevegantruth.blogspot.com.au/2013/03/a-compilation-of-long-term-vegans-our.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Veganism

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vegetarianism_by_country

Tasty vegan & vegetarian recipes, by Sarah Britton:

www.mynewroots.org

20140828 As full as the dam has been so far. You can see the erosion lines in the foreground and some of the pioneer plants on the far bank

20140828 As full as the dam has been so far. You can see the erosion lines in the foreground and some of the pioneer plants on the far bank

Interesting websites and links to critically explore and feel about:

We were looking at these in regards to the impact that livestock and farming has upon the environment. Many of these websites are pushing their opinions and at times trying to manipulate the viewer to agree with them. There is also some good info amongst this.

cropped-dsc_1816.jpg

Things you may like to ponder further in regards to this subject:

  1. The ethics and morality of: (based on Jesus definition of ethics & morality can be found above)
    • killing animals
    • growing meat and all that involves
    • intensive mass farming and the impact this has on the environment
    • your personal contribution to these things
  2. Your personal contribution and your unhealed emotions, beliefs, expectations & demands that cause these things to happen and how you can change yourself to help the world
  3. Are we using ‘prime agricultural’ land in the most loving and efficient ways?
  4.  Check out the water footprint of growing meat how does this compare to growing plants?
  5.  How do you feel about the destruction of places like the Amazon Rainforest, Desertification in Africa etc? What is your personal contribution to this?
  6. Reflect on how easy it is to destroy. How easy forests and land are cleared in comparison to the effort it takes to rehabilitate and regenerate forest/rainforest to it’s pristine state. I don’t think that total rehabilitation to it’s original state has ever been achieved by mankind yet.  It makes me wonder, if it takes such effort to right the wrongs we have done why do we keep destroying things that work perfectly and work for us? If we stopped destroying and worked in harmony with nature rather than against it, great things could occur.
  7. How we are changing the water cycle and interfering with the water tables as we clear more land and our demand for more water increases. Are we harvesting the resources we have e.g rain as efficiently as we could? Due to deforestation by human hand, we have messed up collecting the moisture that naturally occurs and so have dehydrated the land even more. Humanity seems to so often be working against nature rather than in harmony with nature, why do we do this? Natural eco-systems are self sustainable and work PERFECTLY who are we to be so arrogant as to think we know better than God? why are we trying so hard to work against God’s perfect design rather than in harmony with it?
  8. Are you aware of how much water, energy and land is used to support domesticated animals? You personaly? The worlds entire population?
  9. Do you feel being angry at your partner, child, brother/sister, fellow human is ‘better’ in comparison to killing an animal?
  10. Find the truth on these matters from God’s perspective.

The Darker Side of Agriculture

2014 Sheep muster

2014 Sheep muster

Pete and I have been reflecting about how we have made money and lived* off killing animals. We have been discussing what we have done in the name of farming and how we have used the land and animals for financial gain. We have said a lot of things like:

“We love and care for sheep; We love and care about animals; We love and care for the environment’; ‘We are custodians or ‘caregivers’ of the land’. But do we truly love?

The Truth, based upon our actions, shows otherwise**.

I am beginning to see the Truth and reality of the decisions we have made on ‘our’ farm. We feel we own it and we can do as we please with it. We feel that we are entitled to take as much as we want from the environment and livestock, and to be honest many of our ‘environmental’ decisions haven’t been because we have had a pure desire to Love the environment but because we wanted to improve the land to get more from it, example grow more grass to run more livestock. At this time we are takers rather than givers. We continue to run sheep and ‘love’ them until we need money and then we sell them. We hope that re-stockiest will buy them, but often its abattoirs, so we have sold them to slaughter.

To put it bluntly we trade and kill animals for financial gain. Our financial wealth is made from blood money.

Pete and I were adding up approximate numbers of animals we have been responsible for raising and their eventual deaths due to the personal choices and decisions that we have made for the 19 years that Kyabra has existed in it’s current form.

It is important to note that we often want to pretend and tell ourselves that we are responsible for less killings because we have sent animals to re-stockers (another property), cattle agistment  (providing grass/food for other peoples cattle) and they don’t immediately die. The truth is that for the majority of domesticated animal’s***, their eventual fate will be death by human hand, for human or pet consumption by abattoirs or by other killing locations (the back yard meat house).

Approximate numbers of animals**** we are responsible for raising, killing or their eventual death over the last 19 years:*****

Estimates

  • 115,000 Sheep
  • 15,000 Cattle – raised, killed and supported by us in running cattle on agistment
  • 450 Alpaca’s – on agistment
  • 16 or more Eagles – killed by poisoned sheep carcasses
  • 100’s Crows – killed by poisoned sheep carcasses – uncertain of accurate numbers
  • 1000‘s Kangaroos – killed by contract shooters
  • 1000’s Rabbits – killed by contact shooters, intentionally spreading calicivirus across entire property when first arrived, poisoned 1080 carrots, 1000’s Foxes – killed by contract shooters and intentional poisoning
  • 100’s Pigs – killed by contract shooters
  • 1000’s Eggs – I found this hard to calculate when I realised I needed to include everything in my entire life I have eaten that has contained eggs. That is A LOT of eggs as I loved cakes.
  • 100’s Cats
  • <10 Wild Dogs
  • Any wild animal that has eaten poisoned meat or 1080 baits we are responsible for killing. We cannot give absolute numbers as in some years we have put out over a thousand 1080 fox baits and we do not know the numbers of animals and creatures that have died or had an associated death from these intentional poisonings. For example, 1080 carrot baiting for rabbits we have no idea how many rabbits died from it and how many foxes, birds and pigs then subsequently died from eating the now poison rabbits.

I (Eloisa) have wanted to feel I am better than Pete and other farmers because I told myself I wasn’t ‘responsible’ for any of the killing, I didn’t take part in it in a literal way. I haven’t wanted to see what I have been doing, the consequences of my actions and the demand I have upon animals, the environment, and others, mainly because I want financial security. I am wiling to justify, compromise and desentise to issues that are morally and ethically wrong to get my addictions, demands and expectations met.

So what I now need to accept is that I want financial security and I want the lifestyle that I lead; I want Pete to do the ‘dirty work’; I want to take from the earth rather than give and live in harmony with God’s creations; I wanted to distance myself from the truth of what I have done and make out I am better than I am; and I want to live off the ‘blood money’ of an industry that is contributing to the destruction of the environment and will end up negatively impacting future generations and affecting their quality of life.

We have been discussing how our actions and what we are doing, and have done in our agricultural practice is contributing to the destruction of the environment world wide.

Examples of adverse environmental effects from current agricultural practices: Destroying the ozone layer with methane gas from cattle and livestock gas, affecting the natural seed bank by stock eating the shoots and the plants not being able to seed and reproduce. We are responsible for the degradation of the land, erosion and the beginnings of desertification; jeopardizing the natural seed-bank; the pillaging and pollution of waterways – lakes, rivers, seas, chemical pollution; degradation of the soil; competition between domestic and native animals; the decline of native animal species and all sorts of other destructive environmental effects. All of these things are not loving nor caring towards the environment and are not in harmony with God’s view on how eco-systems work******. All of these things not only effect us now, but will negatively effect and impact future generations lives as well.

The more we destroy now, the more we take, the more we continue to run livestock or partake in mass scale intensive farming with the demand to take what we please, when we please, the more damage we are creating.

We can get judgmental, blaming and all uppity at farmers and primary producers making them ‘wrong’ and feeling that it is ‘they’ that need to remedy the situation, but we need to look at both sides of the story and our personal contribution to the situation. It is not just ‘their’ problem it is ours too. The media and groups like Animals Australia and the RSPCA, for example (there are many other groups not named), get up in arms about how other countries slaughter animals, or how some farmers are treating animals, they choose who is doing the ‘right’ thing and who is not. Animal activist groups are willing to sneak in and take videos to discredit farmers.

I wonder why these groups are not also sneaking into people’s homes in the city where people eat cow, sheep, chicken or fish each night and give a view on how terrible this practice is and how it is contributing to the rapid degradation of the planet, it’s atmosphere and possibly even further into the universe. And how in fact it is a combination of the barter system between producer and consumer that actually perpetuates the cycle and actually contributes to dodgy farming practices, because farmers are only keeping animals for financial gain or trying to meet a demand which is too large to be sustainable.

Many people want ‘organic’ meat, or ‘grass fed beef’, or RSPCA condoned brands of dead chickens in the super market, as they feel ‘better’ about eating this than feedlot beef or battery farmed hen. What the consumer is not realising is they are in part responsible for many things they are unhappy about, including mis-treatment of animals due to their demand for meat and animal products (see list above of adverse environmental effects from current agricultural practices).

The majority of us are not interested in looking at our personal involvement in the reasons why meat is produced in the first place, how it is produced, the emotional reasons why we eat it and how it is contributing to the destruction of the planet, wildlife, domesticated animals, eco-systems and ultimately humanity.

We are so desensitized and this is a huge problem.

In order to change for real and begin to heal the planet in a real way there will need to be personal change at a soul level, the allowance of old beliefs and fears to be challenged and felt, and a willingness to experiment and modify existing agricultural practices or try totally new ones. I feel that people in agriculture could actually make the radical changes necessary to both feed everyone on the earth and fix the planet environmentally. People will also need to examine their current consumer choices and dietary desires.

It will take heart and soul change as well as physical effort & attitude change. It will take re-education and new education based on Truth, love and care, rather than fear and greed, for all of us to make both the emotional and physical changes needed to do things differently. We need to stop the cycle of ignorance and educate ourselves on what is really happening, this may take experimentation and trying new things, we need to discuss the real issues, feel about them and desire to change it in a loving, positive direction. All these things I feel are possible and hopeful in a world that at present is being destroyed at a rate that is faster than nature is able to repair.

I feel if we really knew the truth of our own choices and how we personally contribute to what goes on on farms and how involved and responsible we are personally in what is going on in the world; If we believed that change was actually possible and had ways to make those changes personally, that we may have more desire and be more likely to take the opportunities to change and make different decisions. While we keep these issues at arms length, justify them and remain desensitized they will continue to happen and we will all continue do what we have always done which means no change can occur.

To be honest if something doesn’t change very soon (Like beginning change today) in 20 years the turn around will be even harder and more labour intensive because of our choices to not do anything. As is quoted by many, ‘the best time to begin is now’.

Footnotes:

1 My focus will mostly be on livestock in this article as that is what I have experience with at this time. I feel some of the comments in this article also apply to other intensive agricultural practices such as cropping.

**2 I do not disregard that we have had a growing awareness, and on some projects an intention to love and care for the environment, but it hasn’t been holistic, it has been selective, unethical and often hypocritical. Ironically with the realisations we are having now about just how ‘off’ we have been, it begins the process of awareness and we have the opportunity to love in a real way and make real change in order to right the wrongs we have perpetuated.

***3 This is the reality for all bar a lucky few that will die a natural death after a long and (questionably) enjoyable life. Many animals die on the land but there are many instances where this is not due to old age and a life spent grazing the luscious grasses and herbaceous plants. Rather illness, bad management, natural or man made disasters, drought, starvation, attack or all sorts of other reasons could contribute to their demise (these are all attracted by sheep owners soul condition, so are the responsibility of humans also).

****4 I (Eloisa) am also responsible for each animal that I ate part of during my meat eating years. Each animal that had it’s skin used to shod my feet and give me pretty handbags or wallets; Each animal that was boiled down to meet my sugar addictions by supplying gelatin in the sweets I ate; The colostrum of cows for a facial product; Fish oil in vitamins and lots more. Even my desire for these things contributes to animals dying, I was a consumer supporting a market based on animal slaughter.

*****5 These numbers are a rough guide to how many animals we suspect we have killed or been involved in killing. We don’t have accurate records and Pete has tried to estimate to the best of his ability for these numbers. I share these numbers to show you the magnitude of what we are personally responsible for and to illustrate that it is wrong to kill animals for financial gain and human consumption.

******6 Jesus’ talk on ‘Loving Eco-Systems’ LINK

20121031 Creating Loving Eco-Systems, An Introduction S1

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ndtLmM20hH4

20121031 Creating Loving Eco-Systems – An Introduction S2

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f7kJrBx5jrY

Pure Gyrs 027

Discovery Morning: Minibeasts

We had a really exciting adventure with the local school (Kentucky Public School) a week back.

A class of kids came over to investigate, explore and discover ‘minibeasts’ otherwise known as insects or arthropods to be precise. We all spent time in and around the dam and investigating the living systems in the swales.

What Lies Beneath… 

The kids ran down the hill, kicked off their shoes and each with a net and a white bucket scooped up matter and observed what emerged from their ‘catch’. Most were wet through in minutes, but didn’t seem to mind in the excitement of discovery.

It was really fun and so exciting finding out what was in the dam. We discovered different shapes, sizes, colours, patterns, with legs and without legs, tadpoles, nymphs, larvae, large, small, minute, eggs, see through shrimps, minute yabbies and millions of insects and creatures we have no idea about what they are yet. We learnt so much about various species, their life cycles and all sorts of other incredible things God has created.

I unfortunately didn’t get any photographs of either the naturalists at work nor their discoveries at the pond as I was personally so engrossed in the whole thing. So below is a photo of the dam we checked out and I have attached two resources with all sorts of water creatures that you can investigate and go and find for yourselves if you so desire in a waterway or dam near you. The resources I found simple but informative with all sorts of information I did not know. They are fun for kids to check out when they find the various insects listed – we laminated a set and took them down to the dam so the kids could look them up on site, literacy in the field.

20141209 Minibeasts day with Kentucky School. Unfortunately I was so involved in this part of the morning that I didn't get any photographs of the kids exploring the dam and all the amazing creatures they found beneath the surface.

20141209 Minibeasts day with Kentucky School. Unfortunately I was so involved in this part of the morning that I didn’t get any photographs of the kids exploring the dam and all the amazing creatures they found beneath the surface.

Nature Activities: Water bug resources

press on the links below to open pdf’s with information on various water insects.

Buglopedia – click on highlighted word to open pdf

Buglopedia

Buglopedia – first page of the above pdf

Bug detective Guide – click on highlighted word to open pdf

Water Bugs Detectives

Water Bugs Detectives – first page of the above pdf

I found out that there are fresh water relations to the jellyfish in our dams – polyps. Mostly they are mistaken for water plants but they are actually arthropods (animals without backbones).

Below: Investigating the Living Systems to find out who and what was living there. Also an opportunity to see how the systems worked and provided shelter, water/moisture, food for all sorts of creatures. The kids were amazed by how many slugs were in there and the different varieties (we found on the internet a giant hot pink slug, that lives on Mount Kaputar, it is worth checking out http://www.australiangeographic.com.au/topics/wildlife/2013/06/the-giant-pink-slugs-of-mount-kaputar).

20141209 Minibeasts day with Kentucky School. Pete asking questions of the kids about various insects and creatures.

20141209 Minibeasts day with Kentucky School. Pete asking questions of the kids about various insects and creatures.

Below: Pete shows the kids how moisture is collected in the newspaper and provides food, moisture and shelter for various creatures in the fertility systems.

20141209 Pete shares about the basics of a loving eco-system, food, shelter, water/moisture and demonstrates using the living systems how this works in practice. (Minibeasts day with Kentucky School)

20141209 Pete shares about the basics of a loving eco-system, food, shelter, water/moisture and demonstrates using the living systems how this works in practice. (Minibeasts day with Kentucky School)

Below: the kids explore the living systems and see what they can find. We speculated at what animals may have made or live in the holes we found in the living systems.

20141209 Minibeasts day with Kentucky School. Kids checking out a swale and what is living there. We had just had rain.

20141209 Minibeasts day with Kentucky School. Kids checking out a swale and what is living there. We had just had rain.

Below: more exploring and investigation

20141209 Minibeasts day with Kentucky School. Kids checking out the swales and living systems for new discoveries and who might live there.

20141209 Minibeasts day with Kentucky School. Kids checking out the swales and living systems for new discoveries and who might live there.

Pete and I had a most enjoyable day hanging out with kids and investigating insects.

We are keen to do more of these days for schools, kids and families who would like to learn and discover more about the natural environment. So if you are interested, please contact us to arrange a day of fun exploration, investigation and discovering all sorts of things that you may, or may not have seen before.

We will also put up any open days on the events page so check it out in the new year and come along if you desire.

Lastly, If you are an expert on insects and creatures and would like to come and hang out and share your knowledge and expertise, we would love to learn from you! Please contact us.

Observation of Dam banks & Exposed Earth

We have been observing God’s perfect design to heal the earth when it has been disturbed or degraded by us.

Fungi growing in the rocky, clay soil. Fungi are the 'fruit' of the mycelium that is running under the ground and the major contributor to creating soil and recycling plant matter into beautiful soils. Fungi is so important in our environment

Fungi growing in the rocky, clay soil. Fungi are the ‘fruit’ of the mycelium that is running under the ground and the major contributor to creating soil and recycling plant matter into beautiful soils. Fungi is so important in our environment

Fungi growing in the rocky, clay soil. Fungi are the ‘fruit’ of the mycelium that is running under the ground and the major contributor to creating soil and recycling plant matter into beautiful soils. Fungi is so important in our environment

Pete created a dam last year near our house, we call it the Big House Dam. We have had very little rain during that time and it has not filled that much going from the first picture below to being dry cracked mud for most of the time since it was created.

Note: In the last week we have had rain so I have included images taken yesterday evening 20140828 of the most water we have had yet. It is really interesting as all the water that is coming down the hill can be seen seeping through the internal dam wall and running into the dam (see last photos at the bottom of this post).

We have observed barren earth banks begin the healing process naturally. It seems to us the earth is designed to heal.

Pete planted some Lomandra along the top of the dam banks and we have scattered seed all about the banks.

Lomandra with plantain growing near it

Lomandra with plantain growing near it

It seems to me that everything in God’s universe just wants to grow, in fact I suspect it is designed to grow. There were flowers that I scattered seed and they grew in a mini version of what they were in more fertile soil. They still flowered and produced seed but were stunted, about one fifth the size of what some others we had planted in more fertile soil grew to be.

stunted flower

Stunted flower still growing but tiny in comparison to it’s same species planted in more fertile soils. The plant was approximately 10cm tall.

stunted flower

Stunted flower*

We noticed also that the plants have been healing the soil from the bottom up and the sides down. Small very close to the ground plants first appeared and different species continue to appear (such as plantain, clover, and heaps of ones I have not yet identified) – this was before we planted any seed, which indicates that there is a natural seed bank contained within the soil, which seems to me specifically designed for healing, regenerating and repairing the areas of the earth we degrade (what we call weeds) already in the soil waiting to do their job when the conditions are favourable. Sharp flat to the ground thistles and fleabane were the next cycle of dominant plants.

Low to the ground, very sharp and spiky thistle species

Low to the ground, very sharp and spiky thistle species

Big House Dam

An example of the ‘softer’ milk type thistle variety

Now there are other smaller flatter plants (not necessarily meant to be small and flat, just that is how they grow in such an arid and harsh environment) growing up and as more and more grow side by side they join up to cover the soil and ‘protect’ it.

pioneer ground covering plants that are slowly covering all the bare soil. You can see how these are joining up to create a more densely covered area. Dead fleabane that will become mulch creating soil

pioneer ground covering plants that are slowly covering all the bare soil. You can see how these are joining up to create a more densely covered area. Dead fleabane that will become mulch creating soil

Close up of pioneer ground covering plants that are covering all the bare soil. You can see how these are joining up to create a more densely covered area. As they die they will become mulch and new plants will come and do their job until the soil is balanced

Close up of pioneer ground covering plants that are covering all the bare soil. You can see how these are joining up to create a more densely covered area. As they die they will become mulch and new plants will come and do their job until the soil is balanced

As the plants complete their cycle they die it is creating mulch (this is not abundant mulch at this time, but it is interesting and cool to watch all these things happening. Note it would be faster and better for the soil if we covered it and helped it out more, we have noticed erosion happening on the banks due to the soil not being covered.)

20130615 Dam in just after it was built.

20130615 Dam in just after it was built.

20131221 some primary plants beginning to sprout and heal the disturbed soil

20131221 some pioneer plants beginning to sprout and heal the disturbed soil

20140220 some primary plants beginning to sprout and heal the disturbed soil

20140220 some pioneer plants beginning to sprout and heal the disturbed soil

20140509 The plants are beginning to sprout up and move in from the outside in.

20140509 The plants are beginning to sprout up and move in from the outside in. This is aided by the cycle and the first lot of plants spreading seeds that are sprouting and also by the plants creeping in. I am in awe of how there are already seeds in the earth designed to grow under the conditions we created through destruction

20140509 Dam, The middle row of lamandra was planted by Pete the rest are all wonderful weedy plants that are doing their utmost to cover the bare soil.

20140509 Dam, The middle row of lamandra was planted by Pete the rest are all wonderful weedy plants that are doing their utmost to cover the bare soil. I am fascinated at how the weedy plants grow and these pioneer ones are very close to the ground. I feel they are trying to cover as much bare earth as they possibly can. After these appear more begin to come up in the gaps creating more and more cover for the damaged and exposed soil area.

20140509 plant life beginning to establish itself on the edge of the dam

20140509 plant life beginning to establish itself on the edge of the dam

20140509 Fleabane that is growing up from the edges in around the Dam, doing its thing to heal the disturbed and damaged soil

20140509 Fleabane that is growing up from the edges in around the Dam, doing its thing to heal the disturbed and damaged soil

fleabane, plantain and other ground covers

20140509 fleabane, plantain and other ground covers that are ever spreading their seeds to grow and cover more and more of the exposed soil of the dam bank

20140509 Growing from the bottom up, all the thistles which have died and will now become mulch along with all types of other soil healing plants all creeping closer and more up the dam bank. I find this fascinating how plants are designed to grow, repair, and heal the soil. They do it without any human intervention and all the plants that are needed the seed is in the soil ready to heal when the conditions are right for them. We have noticed that there are cycles of plants, for example there are sharp spiky thistle crops which come up once to three times until they have done their job and then new types of plants appear, like softer milk thistles and then softer still. Each plant seems to come up between one and three times and then doesn't come up again in the same area.

20140509 Growing from the bottom up, all the thistles which have died and will now become mulch along with all types of other soil healing plants all creeping closer and more up the dam bank. I find this fascinating how plants are designed to grow, repair, and heal the soil. They do it without any human intervention and all the plants that are needed the seed is in the soil ready to heal when the conditions are right for them. We have noticed that there are cycles of plants, for example there are sharp spiky thistle crops which come up once to three times until they have done their job and then new types of plants appear, like softer milk thistles and then softer still. Each plant seems to come up between one and three times and then doesn’t come up again in the same area.

20140828 As full as the dam has been so far. You can see the erosion lines in the foreground and some of the pioneer plants on the far bank

20140828 As full as the dam has been so far. You can see the erosion lines in the foreground and some of the pioneer plants on the far bank

 

20140828 pioneer plants on the inner wall of the dam bank with dead fleabane that will become mulch and in time soil

20140828 pioneer plants on the inner wall of the dam bank with dead fleabane that will become mulch and in time soil

 

20140829 Plants on the internal wall of the dam bank. All of them have started out really small, flat and low to the ground. They are spreading and connecting up to each other. These ones started at the side, and top and ventured down towards the water. They are now getting closer to joining up with each other and making a solid ground covering

20140829 Plants on the internal wall of the dam bank. All of them have started out really small, flat and low to the ground. They are spreading and connecting up to each other. These ones started at the side, and top and ventured down towards the water. They are now getting closer to joining up with each other and making a solid ground covering

20140829 The most water we have had in the big house dam so far

20140829 The most water we have had in the big house dam so far

* The flower is still growing but in miniature version as it is not getting the nutrition from the soil to become a big plant. This demonstrates to me that God has designed things in the universe to grow no matter how harsh the environment is, the potential is there. Imagine what could happen with a little love, some beautiful soil and nutrients.

Living Systems Create Abundance

Below are images of the swales that were first dug and planted out at Octoberfest 2011.

Pete has been converting them into living systems, meaning filling the swale part up with matter, including but not limited to:

  • Cardboard bales – thank you Bunnings Armidale
  • Windfall branches and pruned and dead tree matter
  • Biodegradable household waste, including old clothing, paper, green waste etc
  • Newspapers/paper
  • Sheep manure
  • A couple of dead animals
  • Woodchips
  • Hay

We noticed during the drought a huge difference in this area to other areas of the property. The grass was greener on the swale banks, it was longer and more lush.There is a heap of fungi growing and breaking down matter within the systems, indicating that moisture is being retained in these systems. Insect life is increasing. Animal life is increasing in this area also. Trees are growing and healthier.

We have noticed that each type of matter breaks down at different rates, attracts different insects and grows different fungi and plants.

Living Systems are awesome. They create abundance when made with love and given to generously when initially set up. We cannot stress enough the importance of Love and giving generously when setting up living systems. If there is no desire to love and no intention to give generously and abundantly to the project you are engaging in with the earth, the results will reflect that, our soul’s are powerful creators.

We feel that Living Systems are a really great way to begin to ‘drought proof’* a property as they hold and retain moisture under the ground and are a food source for the intelligent life that creates soil and keeps the earth healthy at the same time.

The images below hopefully give an idea of what can be achieved in your back yard as well as on a larger scale.

*More on ‘drought proofing’ to come

 

 

Swales

Foreground: Swale with tree matter, cardboard, wood chips, notice how green the grass on the top edge is. Background: Swale with hay

Living Systems

Swales being filled with Cardboard – we fill up the swales as we collect the raw materials and as our time is available. We would not recommend digging a heap of holes that you cannot fill. Leaving bare, exposed earth creates a lot of problems and potential for erosion. Make as many holes as you can fill, fill them and then create more. Do one at a time if needs be.

Living Systems

Cardboard bales

Living Systems

Sheep manure covering cardboard bales

Living Systems

Living Systems: Hay covering cardboard bales

Living Systems

Living Systems: A living system with cardboard bales, tree branches covered in wood chip

Living Systems

Living Systems: we noticed this awesome fungi growing in the swales that had newspaper and wood chips. The fungi actually grew out from between the sheets of newspaper as can be seen in the next image

Living Systems

Living Systems: we noticed this awesome fungi growing in the swales that had newspaper and wood chips. The fungi is growing out from between the sheets of newspaper. Noticed this happened after the newspaper had absorbed some moisture. Amazing how fungi breaks down matter!!

 

Photos taken by Eloisa, 20140611