Thursday, July 12, 2012

Twig # 2

By Friday evening everything was in place. The Machinery shed was now an art gallery and projection space and the bridge over the irrigation channel had been transformed into a spectacular light show. As the first guests arrived I positioned the final spotlight and returned to the warmth of the campfire.

What follows is a collection of still images, audio and video taken before and during Twig #2. Many thanks to Dianne, Gary, Melissa, Lance, and the musicians Samara on flute and Rodger on guitar.
 To see some more particularly good photographs taken during the evening by Kim Bennet follow this link.

Bull calf dies

On the evening of Thursday the 24th of May Gary asked me to come over to the milking shed where he had a cow in trouble. Her calf, which was an unusually large, was stuck. So while I held the torch Gary located the calf's front legs, attached two separate lengths of rope, and pulled with all his might!  Eventually the calf was free and breathing and his mother licked him all over with great care. We left them together and hoped for the best. But by morning the calf was dead.

Green drink, pumpkin soup and corn on the cob

Stinging nettles, mallow, wild lettuce and lambs quarters featured in the green smoothie concoction that was created for opening night drinks. 
While Dianne was at work I took over her kitchen and made a large batch of pumpkin soup; perfect for a cold Autumn evening.

Dianne arrived home from work with a boot full of fresh corn, donated by one of her kind customers.  A perfect addition to the Twig feast!

Gary's Fountain

At about midday on Wednesday Gary shows me the fountain he had come up using a spare pump, a length of pipe, a plastic drink bottle and gaffer tape. A marvellous job!
Once positioned in the irrigation channel and lit from behind the fountain would become an important feature at Friday's twig.

Two men with a new tractor and an old dog.

Gary and his mate Ross Crane admire the new tractor.

Dianne's daughter Mel takes horsey for walkies.
On Thursday morning, while moving the cows (pun intended) I met Rowan and his dog on a neighbouring dairy farm. 
The machinery shed on Wednesday morning, moments before  I began transforming it into the Maranatha Gallery.

This is one of my favourite pictures, taken of Ron Smith and Nathaniel. Ron is the Bowles's next door neighbour and Nathaniel is a Shetland pony stallion.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Cow 888

A picture of me taken by Dianne Bowles half way through the morning milk. Below is a picture of my favourite cow 888, who was always the first one in to be milked. She has an incredible knack for pushing through the closed gates of the milk run, something the other cows seemed unable to manage.
A picture taken just before sunrise outside the milking shed - somewhat reminiscent of Hipgnosis's design for Atom Heart Mother, Pink Floyd's 1970 prog rock classsic.

Lance's last day

On my arrival at the Bowles's farm I was introduced to their good friend and worker, Lance.
Lance points out the mechanism that keeps the suction cups in place.

My first day on the farm was Lance's last so in an attempt to immortalise his final milking session I asked him to pose for a photograph outside the milking shed.

Gary and the Wild Radish

Gary Bowles examines a wild radish plant, removed from one of his lush grazing paddocks, during a tour of his dairy farm in Mead. 

The wild radish is regarded as a pest plant and according to Gary's spray guy it is one of the worst weeds and really hard to eradicate. 
Interestingly the Japanese regard the plant as a nutritional powerhouse and according to Masanobu Fukuoka's 1975 book 'One Straw Revolution' (one of the founding documents of the alternative food movement) the plant has all kinds of culinary uses.

Gary has a great interest in natural farming methods and passion for plant knowledge. During my visit to Maranatha Gary introduced me to patch of Petty Spurge growing beside his house; a fascinating plant from the Euphorbia group. 

Apparently components of its milky sap are being studied for the treatment of skin cancer, leukemia and warts!

Weeds, and green feed generally, became a bit of a theme of my visit and some of the numerous edible varieties of weeds from Gary's property found their way into the opening night refreshments... but more on that later.