Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Slide Night Dinner + Working Bee

We are so looking forward to this community dinner + slide show event! Some of you may have seen Brenna around these last few months. She is currently living and volunteering at Melliodora, studying permaculture, and working as an illustrator on David Holmgren's forthcoming book, RetroSuburbia.

As a 23-year-old, Brenna began to question the worth of her university degrees and the consumerist good-job-and-double-garage-and-2.4-children society that she felt pressured to commit to. So she bought a one-way ticket to India in the hopes of discovering a more meaningful life direction.

She spent the next six years hiking, hitching, riding, cycling, driving and canoeing her way towards a more sustainable life. She cycled 12,000 kilometres from Canada to the Panama Canal on a second-hand bike, and in the process learnt to appreciate the pleasures of voluntary simplicity. 

Over the next three years’ travel, she didn’t once pay for accommodation, preferring to rely on the kindness of others and on the non-monetary gift economy. As a volunteer, she realised the beauty and challenges of off-grid living, and the different reasons that drive people to live this way. She began to learn about permaculture, and that there were other people out there who thought the same way as she did. In Argentina, she fell in with a group of like-minded locos from all over Latin America, and they named themselves Rucache (‘the house of everyone’). Together they began growing their own food, building their own space, and facilitating permaculture events in Brazil, Chile and Argentina. This fascinating chapter of her travels will be explored during Brenna’s presentation for HRN. 

Brenna came home late last year, now aged 30, to be with her family and to further her permaculture journey. 

Entry is by gold coin donation. Please RSVP by Tuesday August 2.

We had another successful working bee out at Rod May's farm on Friday. A big thank you to Su Dennett for organising it, Ian Clarke for taking the pruning workshop, for everybody's enthusiasm and elbow grease, and for Kirsten Bradley for taking these photos:

Also, sorry fermies but Culture Club is having a break in August to make time for more literary pleasures over the Words in Winter weekend. We are already busy planning the September Culture Club which will be a natural cheesemaking workshop. Watch this space for more info!

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Fermented beverages

Hi everyone, this month's Culture Club is focused on a wide variety of delicious probiotic-rich drinks including alcoholic root beers, bubbly vegetable tonics and wild food drinks.

Pls bring along your loveliest homemade fermented drinks and favourite second ferments for people to try and be inspired by.

This Friday 30 June at 9.30am there will be a pruning workshop with biodynamic orchardist Ian Clarke at Rod May's Captains Creek Organics farm. Please bring:
  • secateurs
  • a saw
  • loppers
  • water-based paint (in any colour!)
  • a small knife
  • a paintbrush or two
  • an orchard ladder (or step ladder) if you have one
  • a dish to share for lunch
  • warm clothes!
Here are another couple of workshops we thought might take your fancy.

More details here

So many wonderful events to keep us busy and warm. x

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Community hibernal for we wintering diurnal

Hepburn Relocalisation Network organised another winter solstice gathering, which took place on Thursday night at the Senior Citizen's room at the Town Hall. Many of us put our hands and hearts together to decorate the room and make warming food and drink to share. It was another community event open to all, and as the 80 of us arrived we were greeted by the strumming mandolin of Tony Soccio and the brightness of the community bunting.

Michel and Linda led the opening ceremony, honouring the mother, Pandora, Ge, the flowering earth, the goddess, the fermentor of culture, as well as the moon and sun and the more than human.

We were all ages coming together, to grieve and praise life,

to say goodbye to Steven and Maureen,

Maureen in her speech of farewell describes the bare Hepburn plot they transformed into forest over two decades,

and Anthony Petrucci performed Patrick Jones' elegy for Rod May.

The Daylesford Madrigal Singers performed old songs to connect us to our old stories, and Fay White led a sing-a-long along similar lines.

Music, warmth, origin-known food and the love-filled room marked this moment of community immunity, sharing and honouring friends present and past.

Thank you everyone for coming along, and making the solstice such a merry occasion.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

From Apples to Cider - Another Working Bee at Rod May's Farm

Many hands make light work, and the recent working bee out at Rod May's farm was no exception. On Friday another group of switched-on community members showed up to help process some of the apple harvest, share the community spirit, and to celebrate the life of an incredible man.

In the early morning sunshine a cider press was set up, tables were moved outside, and the sound of a dozen knives rang out as all available baskets, tubs and buckets were filled with apple halves. The grinder was plugged in to the solar system, and those apples were promptly turned to pulp. The pulp then moved to the press, where it was wrapped in fabric and squeezed between wooden boards to extract the juice. By lunch time, a huge crate of apples had been turned into a mountain of pulp for the hungry cows, and a large barrel of soon-to-be cider.

The Cider House String Band had us all dancing and grooving as we worked, and definitely added a few extra smiles to the tally.

The day was topped off with another standout HRN community lunch, where everyone present (and even some who weren't) brought along a dish of good, local food to share. Before lunch started we all formed a circle and, holding hands, we stood in silence, reflecting on our memories of Rod, and on his ability to still bring his community together.

In the afternoon the last apples were pressed, and as most people went back to their homes (and for some, their chooks, cows, goats and pigs), a few stayed on to help Steph, Serge and Ogy finish their veggie boxes for the next day's delivery in Melbourne.

The next working bee will be held on Friday the 30th of June for another round of cider-making, and a community pruning bee under some expert instruction. Stay tuned for more info.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Working Bee + Community Dinner

Hi everyone,

We have two reminders to share with you. The first is that there will be another working bee at Rod May's this Friday June 16 from 9.30am. Pls bring a plate of food to share, and warm clothes. The last working bees out on his farm were a joyous reminder of Rod's hard work - to fill the bellies of his community and beyond with organic food. Rod really was ahead of his time, having his farm certified organic 30 years ago. Only this week, a report has been released warning that pesticides on foods are far more dangerous than was originally thought, causing damage to the human brain.

The second reminder is to please book your places for the solstice community dinner next Thursday. We have two musical guests lined up, so we can sing Stephen + Maureen off into the sunset...

We hope you are keeping warm as the colder months set in, and are taking this time to seek much needed rest. It's so easy to get caught up in our busy lives, isn't it? Sometimes finding time for quiet and reflection is harder to find. Be kind to yourselves. x

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Working Bee at Rod's

Thank you to the HRNers and much wider community who met out at Rod May's farm on Friday for a collective working bee, and a much needed collective cry. What a beautiful day! And a beautiful turn up of enthusiastic workers. Some of us helped kraut hundreds of cabbages from out in the fields, others helped rebuild the greenhouse and others helped Steph, Serge and Ogy fill veggie boxes for the Melbourne orders.


Other good folk who couldn't make it provided food for morning tea and lunch which was much appreciated and duly devoured.

We worked and ate and hugged and cried. We mourned and ached and had great conversations. We got a mountain of stuff done, and thanked Rod for bringing us together on such a glorious day.

We are planning another working bee on Friday June 16, to help salve our broken hearts. We will confirm closer to the date, but we are aiming to have a cider pressing day with all of Rod's apples. We hope you will be able to join us.

A memorial for Rod will take place at the Daylesford Town Hall this coming Thursday at 1pm followed by a get together with the family at the farm (89 Kangaroo Hills Rd, Blampied) for more celebrations. The pizza oven will be going and everyone is invited to bring a plate of local food to share, as well as cutlery and crockery. There will be some of Rod's delicious cider to accompany our meal.

We have lost one of our vital elders, but Rod's spirit lives on in each of us and (through us) will continue to nourish the community and beyond.

See you on Thursday..