Saturday was the Gloucester Platypus Festival, bringing together local efforts in environmental sustainability. There’s a lot going on in our area that isn’t related to the more unsustainable enterprises like coal and CSG mining. Rain bucketed down on Friday night (no-one noticeably complaining) but you could hear the collective sigh of relief through the valley when Saturday was bright and blue-skyed and the event didn’t have to be cancelled. Weeks of work would have been wasted, and you couldn’t even have complained.
I was working on a ‘make your own milkshake’ stall, where the milkshake is placed at the front of an adapted bicycle and mixed by pedal power – which was provided by the purchaser. The idea of sitting on a stationary bike and pedalling in order to froth their own milkshake was so enticing to pretty much every child at the festival that we were rarely without a queue of customers. There were some who were shy, scared of failure or something new, and some who were too small and needed a parent, grandparent or sibling to ride for them. But mostly it was an energetic crowd, waiting patiently as each rider went through the necessarily slow process of riding the bike sufficiently to froth the milk. In terms of simple (and sustainable) pleasures, this must surely rate.
Back at the farm in the afternoon we gardened, filled with the satisfaction of putting seeds into damp ground. Our newest technique involves placing hessian over the seeds so the chooks can’t dig them up as they germinate ¬— the chances of germination having improved vastly in the last couple of weeks. That night, when we switched off the light, there was a lightness in the sky, the near-full moon throwing dim shadows through the garden. Right in front of our window two tiny dots of bright light appeared, surrounded by a small cloud of dots that moved in and out of perception. Fireflies adding their brief magic to the night.