Jul. 12th, 2016

I just posted a Spinster's Bayley tinyletter about natural cheesemaking. As a taster, here's a short quotation from David Asher, author of "The Art of Natural Cheesemaking":

Cheese comes from the land and is one of our most celebrated foods; yet its current production methods are environmentally destructive, corporately controlled, and chemically dependent. In its eating we are not celebrating the traditions of agriculture but rather pasteurization, stainless-steel production, biotechnology, and corporate culture. [...] We need a more radical cheesemaking, a more natural approach to the medium of milk.

You can read more in the archive or subscribe to future letters at https://tinyletter.com/spinstersbayley

Originally published at Spinster's Bayley. Please leave any comments there.

Resilience, generally

A practical infographic on increasing your personal resilience to adversity: practice mindfulness, beware of skewed perceptions, get enough rest, and other good advice.


NYT: “Well-seasoned cast-iron pans are the new broken-in jeans: proof of both good taste and hard use.”

On consolidation in the food industry: “In California, where I used to live, large food companies were encouraging farmers to have no wildlife whatsoever on their land.” (and other stories of what happens when big food businesses take over small ones.) In Australia, farmers fear retribution from huge supermarkets if they complain to the ACCC.

Drought stricken peaches are smaller, but taste better.  Have farmers been over-watering all along?

Meanwhile, a straightforward shopping list for decarbonising food: better farming, zero food waste, energy efficiency, less but better meat, healthier diets.

Growing and husbandry

Wishlisting this book (available later this month): The Ultimate Guide to Soil. (non affiliate link)

I enjoyed this video tour of Morag Gamble’s permaculture garden in sub-tropical south-east Queensland.

Grassroots urban agriculture and cooperative food distribution as a response to food shortages in Venezuela.  I’m watching this closely – it could easily happen here, dependent as we are on long food supply chains.

Uh oh, varroa mites in Queensland.  I like the idea of “sentinel hives” though. Fingers crossed.  Meanwhile on Milkwood Permaculture’s blog, keeping beehives in with the chickens help reduce small hive beetle infestations.


“Cars, no matter how propelled, will still be atomistic, privatized, individualistic forms of mobility that undermine arrangements based on cooperation.”  How driverless cars will still wreck livable cities.

private car vs uber vs driverless car: they all take up the same space

From the Ottawa Citizen, the cycling myths that won’t die (like licensing and registration), and from the Washington Post, serious talk about why cyclists break traffic laws. And in case you needed reminding, bike infrastructure is great for small business.

More regional rail services in Melbourne’s west have brought increase in public transport use.  Of course, it hasn’t been that great for Ballarat, where our experience of the new regional rail link rhymes with “fluster duck”. Meanwhile in SA, The Indian Pacific is cutting economy class, leaving no affordable train from Broken Hill to Adelaide. One step forward, two steps back?

Energy and climate

The window for avoiding dangerous climate change has closed. This is why I talk about resilience more than sustainability these days. This guy knew the deal back in 2008 (I didn’t even realise this article was 8 years old when I retweeted it):

Humanity is in a period exactly like 1938-9, he explains, when “we all knew something terrible was going to happen, but didn’t know what to do about it”.

Still, let’s not make it worse than it has to be. Bendigo’s aiming to go carbon neutral by 2036.  Time to step up, Ballarat!

Plus, energy poverty. Almost 1 in 4 Australian families finds it hard to pay power bills. Will solar+batteries change that?


Plastic free July is in progress. France bans plastic shopping bags, across the whole country. “Each of those 17 billion plastic bags [used in France each year] takes several hundred years to biodegrade.”

The Oxford Symposium on Food and Cookery had “offal” as its theme this year.  As well as following all the tweets about duck tongues and liver divination, there’s this interesting article on their site: Who ever heard of vegetable offal? Indian recipes for spiced cauliflower stems and stir-fried potato peel.

Indigenous culture

For NAIDOC week (3rd-10th July), Five things about indigenous history you probably didn’t learn in school.


Vegan sweet potato chocolate cake. Whoa.

Rhubarb simple syrup looks good, but feels a bit summery for right now. Saving it for spring!

Salted spruce tips and pine infused garlic salt from Root Simple. Huh. I don’t know if we even have any spruce around here, but I really should make herb salts more often, especially on popcorn as they suggest!

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