Farmers Rejoice As Rain Boosts Crops

It wasn’t really Gourmet Farmer Matthew Evans who inspired me to write about wheat and how we so much take the bread of life for granted. As you may have noticed, we spent last week cruising around the tiny hamlets of Yelarbon, Talwood and Thallon, part of the south-western Downs grain belt. At Talwood and Thallon in particular, the landscape is dominated by man-made mountain ranges of wheat, pinned down under blue tarpaulins. This takes…

Continue reading

Water theft a sign of crumbling civilisation

As communities across drought-paralysed Australia patiently wait for rain, reports of water theft, ranging from relatively trivial incidents to a 25,000-litre heist, are troubling. Can we be far from outright anarchy when dishonest (and sometimes honest but desperate), people help themselves to other people’s water? There are precedents for this – just think back to Cape Town‘s ‘Day Zero’ crisis in 2018 when a city of 3.74 million was set to run out of reticulated…

Continue reading

Water shortages – here and there

When visiting friends in the water starved towns of Warwick and Stanthorpe, it does not take long for the local message to sink in – ‘If it’s yellow, let it mellow, if it’s brown, flush it down’. This is a water-saving tip for times of drought – seemingly a more or less a permanent state of affairs in south-east Queensland. Southern Downs residents are currently on a per capita water limit of 120 litres per…

Continue reading

A cold snap, firewood and a short history of chimney sweeps

Almost on schedule, a cold snap arrived, coinciding nicely with our completely running out of firewood. Oh you too, eh? I thought as much, queuing up on Saturday at the fill-your-own-boot firewood supplier. It took a while. Chatting to a friend on the same mission, I mentioned that the fire was not drawing very well. He then told me about an organic solvent you could buy from the hardware store. “You just get a good…

Continue reading