Putting in Hard Yards for Mutual Benefit
Three of the Core Team for CCP are in rural mid-north coastal New South Wales this week working on a shared property owned with friends. The approximately 50 acres used to be an organic banana farm. It slopes up a not-too-narrow, not-too-wide valley about 5 kms from the little town of Bowraville. The old packing shed was converted to a rough-and-ready house a couple of decades ago, which acts as home base for the CCP crew and friends.
There are always lots of land-based jobs to be done on a working bee visit like this. This trip's focus has been around the old corrugated iron shed up in the nook end of the valley, above the dam. Three years ago, CCP convener Jana took a real shine to this old shed and spent a couple of weeks on the original working bee cleaning it out. Back then it was filled to the rafters with rotten junk of every description, all on top of a floor covered in 6-12 inches of hard-packed dirt from a mudslide some time before. Shoveling that earth pack out was hard yakker as is said in these parts. Overall, it was back-breaking work and there was no time to clear out the area behind the shed, also full of old furniture, food wrappers, children's toys, and bottles...tons of bottles...
In the intervening time since the original working bee, one of the collective fulfilled his life's dream of purchasing a Bobcat. On this trip we were able to clear out all the trash, load it onto his other amazing toy, a tipper truck, and dispose of it responsibly at the local tip. Although there is no actual "away" when it comes to trash, it is away from here and that is enabling us to work on regeneration of this land.
Except for what the Bobcat can clear in great fell swoops, the sheer scale and scope of the lantana work is overwhelming. It is everywhere and it clings to earth and trees with an unrivalled fierceness.
The team soon realised that it is best approached as a project of Rain Forest Tree Liberation. One tree at a time. Bush cutters, whipper snippers, and secateurs are the tools of the Tree Liberation trade.
In the middle of a heat wave, it's slow going but satisfying work. Once the pile of choking vines is transferred by a mighty tug of war out of the tree and onto the ground (to be mulched with the slashing attachment of the Bobcat), and the base of the vine painted with very localised herbicide, it's possible to feel a real sense of accomplishment and a sense of learning to be present to the planet - this little patch of it at least - in a mutually beneficial manner. Is this the hard-won heart of Ecozoic Living?
So now the land stands bare again, but only for as long as it takes to develop and implement a variety of regeneration plans. Trees, native grasses, permaculture food gardens, and an Ecozoic dwelling are all more possible now that the area is ready to be engaged with an eye towards mutual enhancement of land and the people who belong to it.