It’s sad to live in a time when a man is slated for walking alone on a mountain. A cowardly age where the supine pontificate through a spray of Cheezels crumbs.
Cross posted on the Camp Cooinda Facebook page
I was reminiscing recently about time spent away from what many would call, “life’s modern conveniences”, in a land far far away – at least a tiny low lying island in East Gippsland. The special place that is Cooinda Island.
I remembered all the things I learnt on that place both as a camper and leader, some of which I still use today – also, some that strangely do not come up during day to day activities.
How to make bread and skin an eel
My first memory of the Isle, is what I think was my first summer as a camper. Dave and Al were the charismatic island directors and provided so much of what I feel Cooinda ‘is’. Dave is the author of the ‘Dave’s piece of piss bread’ recipe, the handwritten recording of which still in the Island cookbook today (I think?) – also attached at the bottom of this post.
Also on that impressionable summer, I learnt how to skin and smoke an eel, who ‘CondoMan‘ is and most importantly, learnt the ‘Noddy Joke’
I have never eaten eel again, mainly because I doubt I could ever manage to achieve the same amazing flavours again. I did however, twenty years later, make a CondoMan t-shirt which I still wear today.
The bread has been cooked by island directors every year since and, is something I continue to whip up – using a black garbage bag (to help with the proving) and imprecise measurements – at home from time to time.
Bake a cake in the sun and whip cream with two butter knives
My first cake produced in the solar oven was a piece of mastery, the discovery that so little can produce a little something wonderful, was amazing.
Scones, jam and cream was called for next. But the cream needs whipping.
No problem, we’ll grab the beaters…rusted solid… No drama, apparently the desired result can be achieved using a couple of butter knives. I have no idea how I discovered this, I imagine from whoever was on the island of knowledge at the time. So, two butter knives and about half an hour of frantic beating later, whipped cream!
All life long knowledge and skills that I suspect I would struggle to acquire anywhere else.
What has Cooinda Island taught you?
I am amazed at the hype and stamina surrounding the US elections. Given all of that, here is some wonderful journalism…
Callie Shell followed Barack Obama for much of the last two years, and captured some excellent photos (and micro stories to go along with them). Keep clicking ‘Show More Images’ at the bottom to see them all.
On the wall of Country Road at the corner of Faraday and Lygon Streets, Carlton. Some food for thought:
The best things in life
are not the things…
The more you know you know you don’t know shit…
So why you gotta act like you know when you don’t know?
It’s okay if you don’t know everything.
(ben folds 2005)
Will the Treasurer and, for that matter, the federal government, ever get it?
Federal Treasurer Peter Costello says there is no point in Australia reducing its greenhouse gas emissions when China and India are such major global polluters.
“There’s no point in Australia meeting its emissions target – and we are on track to do so, and I believe we ought to do so when we’re less than 1 per cent of global emissions – if you’re going to have major emitters such as China and India, which are increasing every year the emissions by more than the total of Australia,”
Which is like saying it is not worth me turning the tap off while I clean my teeth because industry uses heaps of water anyway…my little bit is just isn’t worth doing.
Does today’s announcement of the Victorian government’s approval of the largest wind farm in the southern hemisphere, mean that all our problems are over? Not according to the ACF. At least the state government seems to be a little more switched on than their federal conterparts. Even with the recent announcement of a huge (biggest in the world) solar power station to be built near Mildura, the fed’s just don’t see the point.
Geoffles recently pointed out an article on the difficulties of “pitching” environmental concerns. While I agree many of the population are self-interested, I would argue that we are also currently very materialistic. It may come down to purely economic arguments to get the plebs and the powerbrokers to take action.
In the meantime, here is an economic argument everyone can understand… Did you know you could save as much as $100 a year by turning your electrical appliances off at the powerpoint?
Six people in a four bedroom share house can be pretty full on living for those of us from small families. It was with this in mind that Sarah and I began considering how we were going to last the next couple of years before I finished uni.
A couple of options existed;
- seek out a house to buy, somewhere in Bendigo (where we were living at the time).
- find a block of land somewhere with thoughts of maybe someday producing a three dimensional dwelling.
After some consideration, we decided a slab of earth may be the way to go. The plan was that in the meantime, we would be able to ‘escape’ to ‘the block’ during breaks and have our own little place.
The big question was where? Somewhere within commuting distance to Melbourne was required, along with proximity to a regional centre and enough buffer space so we did not have to worry about noise and neighbours.
We searched around Victoria and eventually found a wonderful little spot around 25km SW of Ballarat. 5 acres of natural bushland with one side adjoining State Forest, in an area with enough rainfall to be self sufficient.
With the foundation in place, the next step was to decide what to create. Time to call in friends and relatives! (a catchcry that is to be repeated frequently). Sarah’s family friend, Architect, Ross Henry, came and visited the site and spent time chatting with us about possibilities. We also began reading and talking with people (another continuous theme).
The decision was made: start with a shed/studio and follow in the future with a possible house. We still do not need to ‘settle down’ anywhere special a this stage, so having a small base to come back to if we decide to live in the Sahara for a year, would be wonderful.
Ross came up with plans for a 7 x 5m shed based on one that Sarah’s family had built some years previous. We also asked Ross to add on an extra 5m metre carport area making the roofline 12 x 5m in total. Our list of requirements for the shed were minimal:
- passive solar design,
- somewhere to use as a creative space in the future,
- an area to use for power generation (solar panels to be fitted to the roof and a battery area to be housed as part of the carport space)
The plans were simple (designed for first time owner builders), “post and beam(Method of construction using vertical members [posts] to support load-bearing horizontal members [beams].)”:http://www.claimrep.com/constTerms_P.htm#Post, mud brick. We chose to go with mud brick after much thought and research. It provides all that we require for know and can be clad in the future to offer better insulation if needed.
Away we go…!