Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Sex tourism for cows.

I just went down and picked up my cow Dolores from the farm she'd be visiting to "put her in the family way" as they say. I'm absolutely stoked that Steve and Letitia have been kind enough to let my cows get serviced by their little dexter bull and I'm looking forward to having two calves to manage at the same time as a newborn human.

While I was there it came up that I had given The Pregnant Wife a cold and that she couldn't take any of the sweet, sweet drugs that we use without thinking these days. Letitia asked if I wanted some citrus. Of course I did. She proceeded to fill a bag with juicy lemons, lemonade, two types of mandarins, oranges and just for fun threw in a couple of custard apples. Woolworths value of about $50. I was stoked.

On the way home though, I got angry. Letitia could have given me three bags full and not even noticed the difference. To get that from woolies I would have paid a quite steep price, for, from what I've tasted so far, an inferior product.

I mean, I am trying to get an orchard and vegetable garden established, but I need to work harder at it. I want my kid to enjoy food. The problem is, that unless you want to pay the premium, you won't get food that tastes like it should. Unless we can somehow get something like the Victoria Markets in all our capital cities, seven days a week.

I bought some tomatoes the other day from a trendy inner city fruit shop cause I was there and in a hurry. Took out a small loan at the checkout to purchase them. But outside of the ones I'd grown myself they were the best tasting tomatoes in years. Got eaten in a day, because they tasted fantastic.

Now that just made me keen to grow some great tomatoes and I've planted four varieties this week, but what if you can't? Why would a kid keep eating fruit and veg if it tastes like colored cardboard? All the education and marketing in the world won't beat the taste of a fantastic crisp sweet apple. If it tastes good, people will eat it.

I haven't got the answers, unless you have the money to buy the good stuff. I have the answer for me, which is to plant a fruit tree every couple of weeks so that I have some sort of fresh fruit and veg all year round. But I have Lantanaland.

I can see the day when the bulk of people will get the bulk of their food from a powder or a tube, cause if the fruit and veg is tasteless, why go to the bother of preparing it? Just mainline it baby!

That future makes me sad and a little angry, but it's not going to be mine.

- Lantanaland from my iPad

Monday, June 6, 2011

Theory into practice.

When I was growing up, my parents would escape to a small beach shack on Curtis Island, off the coast of Gladstone. I didn't particularly like fishing and all my mates were back in town and I found it bloody boring to be honest. My mum would always tell me despairingly that I didn't know how lucky I was and she was dead on. At least then. As I got older I appreciated it more and more, the space to explore, the solitude, eventually even the fishing.

So much so that today Curtis Island is still one of my favorite places to visit, even though it has changed and the island doesn't have the same freedom to roam around in that I had when I was a kid. I still try and get back there as much as can and it is one of the main reasons that we searched for, found and bought Lantanaland.

One of most evocative memories of the island was the generator at the nearby shop. A loud diesel, it would thump away powering the rental flats until the curfew at ten pm. As it died the silence would echo and wash over you. I used to try and stay awake just for that moment, sitting in the dark, hearing the silence, before it would be filled by all the small noises, the crashing of the waves if there was a swell, the wind in the trees, the insects and the animals.

Fast forward to 2006. I had been living and share housing in Brisbane for ten years. Now I know that Brisbane is not New York or Tokyo. But the mental walls were closing in. I enjoyed the community that we had around Red Hill and I had my chooks and garden, but I felt cramped. The neighbors closest were loud and had no concept of a working week or sleeping at three am. And just in the back of my mind was the thought of a kid growing up there, unable to enjoy any of the things that I had when I was growing up. It was not a nice thought.

So we bought Lantanaland and have been on a journey that I have enjoyed every second of. My life is quite a bit different, milking cows and making cheese and building things that would hopefully still be there when I die. Much more fun than three tradies on a ice binge. Still in the back of my mind was the thought of what it might be like to have a kid here. Every time kids came round and got to have a go at milking the cows or petting the chickens I got a little taste. Good fun, but all in the theoretical.

Until now. Come December I won't be thinking about raising a kid in Lantanaland. I will be! I'm looking forward to it an amazing amount actually. I realize that he or she will bitch about milking the cows just like I did about fishing and they'll probably want to play Xbox 22 rather than weed the garden, but the joy is that they'll have the space to choose, to think and to grow, as much as they like.

- Lantanaland from my iPad

Location:Virgin airlines.