Cityscapes: Chippendale

chippendale01chippendale05 chippendale06 chippendale07chippendale08 chippendale10 chippendale13chippendale14The inner-Sydney suburb of Chippendale is a hidden gem. One doesn’t have to wander far from Redfern station to find streets overflowing with leafy trees and verge gardens (gardens by the roadside) that range from planter boxes filled with vegetables and herb bushes, flowering natives, citrus and paupya trees, compost bins, and even a public book library!

I recently read Michael Mobb’s book “sustainable food” which documents the green transformation in his suburb of Chippendale – he also shares various sustainable water, energy and waste systems for the urban australian landscape. It is so very inspiring to see photos of the suburb before the gardens were established and then to wander around them today with my toddler delighting in the spying of birds and nasturtium flowers! To think, what small communitites are capable of when they work together with a shared vision for healthier, happier streets!

Spring is here, so are the bees

IMG_0906 IMG_0929IMG_0916beesIMG_0925Spring is here! We wander around the neighbourhood smelling jasmine-laden fences and lawns sprigged with freesias… we stretch out in the park blanketed in yellow grass flowers. Carefully we make crowns for our heads. We lie still for a moment to feel sun soaking into our cheeks, we hear a soft buzzing of bees around us. I watch those busy workers dancing, balancing, gathering up and moving on again…

Once we get down to Taranaki one of our projects will be to construct and care for the farm’s first apiary – with the hope to produce delicious raw, local honey! We are starting this adventure by taking Tim Malfroy’s natural beekeeping course with Milkwood next weekend. I know so little about beekeeping, as in, really not anything – but I am so excited to join the movement of people learning this art of understanding, keeping and nurturing one of the world’s greatest resources.

Which reminds me, have you seen Markus Imhoof’s film “More than Honey” yet? It provides a compelling, frightening and hopeful look into the state of bee-keeping today. We follow the work of an elderly apiarist in the wild swiss mountains, a “mass-production” apiarist who moves his bees by the truck-load around the USA – as well as the alarming lack of bees in Northern China, growing population of killer bees in America, and the health of our bees here in Australia.

The close-range camera footage of bees in flight and the intricacies of their hives is superb. Though I must warn you, some scenes are quite distressing. The film is in both spoken german (subtitled) and english and is a must see for everyone. Find it here.beesketchedp.s. I’ve been playing around with bee shapes in my sketchbook. Mister bee, I wrote, an emblem of Spring… and also of reproduction, growth and the gift of honey…