what a difference a year makes!

By robynjay On April 10th, 2017

For three months during winter 2016 I worked to clear the eastern half of our land of snake weed. It’d be over an acre in size.

Previous owners had tackled the problem by slashing; hiding the top but strengthening the roots, and spreading seed. By slashing they also stopped all natives from regenerating and the result was a wasteland with only mature trees.

May 2016 snake weed

Three months of weed pulling left me with a nasty case of tendonitis but a first run over was done. In September I successfully applied for some ‘Land for Wildlife’ finding to plant 500 trees both here and in a cleared area near the house.

Since then we’ve had one of hottest and driest summers on record. It’s been too hot to do anything much outside, and far too dry for planting. But now with 100 trees nearly planted by the house I wandered across the creek and up the hill today armed with stakes and flagging tape to plan what comes next.

A strip down the northern edge of block (maybe 15%) has definitely grown back and will need some serious weeding as I plant. The balance however is looking great. Grasses, sedges, ferns etc are doing really well. There’s a very healthy scattering of Black Casuarinas (Allocasuarina littoralis) and quite a few eucalypts, wattles and other little native trees and shrubs starting to appear. Very exciting to see. With a few hundred more plants it’ll start to feel like a forest again.

April 2017 native regrowth

 

 

the place called home

By robynjay On February 27th, 2017

It’s hard to believe that it’s been nearly a year since we left Sydney, friends, careers, familiar spaces and packed our precious belongings in pouring rain to head north to Qld. It’s been exciting, blissful, stressful, relaxing, frightening.

Each day is an adventure and it’s time to start capturing that. So here we go. New characters; same loves. New challenges; same focus.

We’ll see where the next year leads.

 

[CC FlickR image by tanakawho]

a return to the fold

By robynjay On February 12th, 2015

OK, so it has been a long time since I blogged in here. It’s been 3 years in fact since I posted I am enough, and a lot has happened in that time.
I was back in a full-time employment role when my sister was diagnosed with terminal cancer. Without hesitation I resigned to spend the little time we had left close by her, and to offer whatever support I could to her and her family.
It sucked losing my parents and then her in the space of 3 years.
I spoke to her about our dream to travel to the Kimberleys, and she confided that it was somewhere she had always wanted to visit but now never would.

So we did. In 2014 after months of preparation and saving, we hit the road. You can follow our adventures on the blog and in FlickR. Traveling in this way is life changing, there’s no denying it.
It’s hard to believe we’ve been home now for as long as we were away.

We returned to a VET system in disarray. To be honest it had been heading that way for some time. In a recent podcast we pondered this and the loss of trust, flexibility, innovation, social justice and the right to life long education.
Insufficient funding, overly complex bureaucratic systems, competition, incompetence and a lack of focus on the needs of individuals has led to a sector that has lost its soul and functionality.

Regardless I ploughed back on in to Seek etc. What I discovered was earth shattering, but perhaps my saviour. There’s nothing much there for me.
With public education in crisis most contracts and work are currently in the corporate space and it appears that (predominantly) coming from the public sphere pretty much labels you an outcast. Now this is an interesting discussion in itself …. why an experienced educator with a wide range of experience and skills would not be competent to fill a L&D type of role in business, but apparently that’s the perception [and a warning note here to all the wonderful educators finding themselves out of work].

The more I looked, the more I decided I didn’t want to be there anyway!

So with that as impetus I’ve retreated back to my first love – design. At school I studied art, and textiles and design. It was made pretty clear to me however that this was not a wise career choice, and so I detoured into education.
With a total change of direction it’s taking time to find my feet and my niche. Thankfully I have the resources to take this time. I’ve been trying out Spoonflower for fabric and paper design, Society6 for readimade textile and homeware products, and I’m investigating Etsy.
I’m weighing up adopting readimade goods or making my own – there’s not a lot of difference in potential income when it comes down to it and the former allows more time for actual design rather than construction.
The drop in the Australian dollar has come at a bad time for those of us importing goods from the US however!

So I’m starting a new category in here for Bunyip Designs and we’ll see how we go.
Thanks for sharing the journey!

and after the rain comes new life