Ever since I was a small child I have been surrounded by animals,
creatures in all shapes and sizes and I guess this started me on the
road to understanding or trying to understand the world around us.
My Grandfather had a huge Vegetable Garden in the backyard and
trees and flowers everywhere, people would ask him to help them in
their yards and for hints and tips on keeping it healthy. The yard was
a magical place to grow up, with lizards, snails, worms, snakes, spiders,
cicardas, and all manner of bugs.
I remember asking him when I was about 6 yrs old, why he had so many
bugs in the garden when my friends had so few and what they did? he told me:
“The lady bugs eat the Afides on his prize winning roses, the flowers keep the
cabbage moths busy, the worms made food for the plants to eat, the mulch kept
the soil nice and damp and the cicardas help keep the pests and wasps of the fruit.”
He would always tell me never use chemicals, there is always a natural way….
This was nearly 40 years ago. He would companion plant, pull up weeds, dig in
mulch and generally use the tools nature gave him to grow the vegetables that
we would eat all year round.
My parents had cats, dogs, birds, and fish so I was always in company of some
creature or another, we never had mice or rats, issues with tomcats or spiders in
the house. The cats kept the mice away, the Tomcats and Prowlers where kept
away by the Dogs and the Spiders eaten by the birds…..
It was a very natural and wonderful thing to learn about our symbiotic relationship to world around us.
This lifestyle was in the city, with all normal issues of work and school that go along
In recent times I have tried to raise my children in the same spirit,
we would take them camping, exploring, swimming in the rivers, rock climbing, caving,etc.
They have visited some of the most beautiful places this country has
to offer and it has paid dividends for all of us.
One day driving home from a shopping trip, we decided to visit a friend who
lived just off the main road, having not called in for a while.
On the way to her house we drove past what had been terrific bushland
but now it flaterned not a tree was left standing.
My daughter was in the back seat, she was about 3 years old,
she started to scream and sob, as if great pain, it was so bad we had to stop,
thinking she had injured herself in someway.
We took her out of the car, asked her what was the matter,
all the while looking for some indication of what had caused this.
All she could do was point at the trees.
So we calmed her down and took her for a walk through the devastation
of what had been beautiful bushland, you could almost hear her heart breaking
when we found a dead possom. She asked
“where are the other animals?”, “where are they living?”,
“why are all the trees gone?”, “it isnt fair they didn’t do anything!”
How do answer such question from a child, So the truth was the only answer
and I explained the reason for this was a new housing estate, and shopping centre,
her reaction shocked even me and thats not easy,
she said nothing just walked back to car sat down put her belt on and that was it,
she was CROSS!
When we arrived home, not stopping at the friends house,
she took out our travel book and looking at the pictures
she used her pencil to mark all the places there were no trees,
then she marked all the places there were homes and shopping centres,
drew a line between them all and then gave it to me.
I said to her what is this you had better explain, so she did:
“These places have no trees and no bush and no animals live here,
so here is where the houses go.
These are the shops for the people to go shopping,
and these lines are the roads to take them there.
Look I didn’t cut down ONE Tree. Can I send my map to the
Tree choppers so they can see where to build their houses?”
So this Blog is my hopefully my way of showing the Treechoppers for her,
and a Tribute to my Gandfathers inspirational teachings.