Mar(k): Travel, Hiking, and "Doing Good"

musings on our life of travel and volunteering

Archive for the ‘Gardening’ Category

A Simpler Life – and what that means for this blog!

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As we are rapidly approaching the end of another year, I thought I would send us off into the New Year with some thoughts around living (more) simply.  After just having celebrated some holidays with loved ones, I noticed that many people seem exhausted from the effort, rather than rejuvenated.  Whilst I won’t go into the whole “expectation, tradition, pleasing others” experience, suffice it to say that everyone seems to breathe a collective sigh of relief in the days after Christmas, when the relatives have (largely) left, the leftovers are (largely) consumed, and day to day living can get back to normal.


Then a mere week later, things gear up again for people to don the “resolution” hat, and doggedly dig out the trainers, dust off the bicycle, or find that gym membership card.  Lose weight, stop smoking, drink less, blah blah blah.  Most resolutions have fallen by the wayside before the end of January!   Speaking from personal experience, I generally try to avoid the gym during January, because it is just far too busy with the “New Year’s Resolved”.   Things settle down nicely, back into the groove by early February.  Which is when I return to the fold.

But what has all this got to do with a Simpler Life?  Simply this.  Doing less, wanting less, and consuming less are all good things.   And if we live more simply, we simply have more time to do, enjoy, and experience the things that really matter.   For us, this means that 2015 will bring a renewed focus on volunteering locally, and spending more time on minimalist pursuits (gardening, reading, and even keeping more regular posts coming on this blog!).

If you have some time, I’d recommend this article, which talks about the Simple Life in terms of community, and what we can be doing in our own neighbourhoods.  It is a bit Walden / Utopia idealist, but I like the concept.  I hope you enjoy!  And may 2015 bring you more time, more joy, and more LESS!   ; )


Written by Mar(k)

December 29, 2014 at 2:26 pm

Sharing Ideas @ TEDxPerth

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During breaks, the conversations continued out in the courtyard where Q&A sessions were held

During breaks, the conversations continued out in the courtyard where Q&A sessions were held

Hopefully some of our readers already know all about the wonderful TED initiative.   These Ideas Worth Spreading have been going on since 1984, and over 1500 videos are available here free to charge to peruse.  They cover a wide range of topics, emanating from the original TED nucleus of Technology, Entertainment and Design.  This past weekend Mar(k) had the opportunity to attend the TEDxPerth talks, which were truly inspiring!

TEDx encouraged us to meet new people, and the people I met at the coffee breaks and over lunch, and even sitting next to me in sessions were interesting and amazingly diverse.   Here is a sample:

  • Brodie, who runs Spacecubed, an innovative place where people can collaborate on ideas.
  • Two women (Renae and her boss – the Marketing Manager) for the Art Gallery of WA
  • Martin, a lawyer who immigrated from Hong Kong as a child, and is also the Secretary of the Chung Wah Association in Perth.  His long association with this great organisation goes back to his childhood, when he remembered teaching some of the older Chinese folks English.
  • A student who has her masters in Anthropology but is now going back to get her masters in Law.
  • A lady who was passionate about sustainable living, growing broad beans and raising chooks in suburban Perth.

The speakers were all first rate, and inspiring.

From musical performances to talks about complementary therapy for cancer patients, sustainable communities, and dealing with refugees in a humane way – it was a great day out.

From Little Things, Big Things Grow

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These may be the lines of a popular Paul Kelly song, but they will also serve to outline a few unlikely links in the Shox’s lives these days!   We’ll draw a link between our garden (of which we are most proud!) and some of the work we are doing up in the East Kimberley (of which we are even more proud!)

First of all, we had an amazing display from one of our native plants a few months ago!   Every morning during summer (and spring, and autumn, come to think of it!) we enjoy our morning breakfast outside in our enclosed patio area.  It is a good opportunity to take in some fresh air, and enjoy the fruits of our labour by enjoying watching our garden grow – literally!

One of our plants in particular, really puts on an awesome display when it flowers.   It spends most of its year placidly looking like a spiky plant.  But when it comes to flower, in literally a matter of days, it starts to sprout up a shoot from its centre (see figure 1).

Figure 1 – The shooting process begins…

This shoot then starts to branch off, in preparation for flowering (see figure 2).

Figure 2 – in preparation for flowering….

Then we get the full blow, awesome display of flowers which is really quite sensational, don’t you think?  (figure 3)

Figure 3 – what a thing of absolute beauty!!! (don’t you agree??)

This whole process, from no shoot, to full flowering, takes about 10 days!  It is amazing.  The shoot literally grows almost before our eyes!   It grows on average of about 10 cm or so A DAY!!!   Amazing.

This reminds us of some of the work we are doing up in the East Kimberley, working with some of the new Directors, and giving some Governance Training.  Working with these guys has been absolutely fantastic.   They are really wonderful to work with, and lap up the knowledge like sponges!  We really enjoy our time with the guys, and share more than a few laughs, while we all learn and grow.

It reminds us of how a little bit of nurturing, and in the right environment, you can really see results!   As in the garden, so in the Kimberley….