Not as Brave as I’d Like to Be

Over the last couple of days I’ve been upset by discovering a boy I worked with has been jailed for 23 years for murder. The judge was scathing of him in his judgement and the media has shown graphic footage of his arrest as well as daily newspaper articles. I wanted to write something in the “Letters to the Editor” but my name would be published along with the suburb in which I live and I know I couldn’t deal with the inevitable vitriol which would follow.

I’m hoping that if I put my letter to the editor here it will make me feel better, make me feel I’ve “got it off my chest”.

How can people look at the images of Liam Humbles and rip him to shreds? Don’t they see the completely miserable human I see? His thin shoulders curled around his scrawny body, his completely blank face and his inability to process any reasonable thought.  People take “recreational drugs” to make themselves happy don’t they? Liam is the best anti-drugs image I’ve ever seen.  By contrast the image of his victim shows a wonderful happy face, the face of a person whose loss causes terrible pain but Liam apparently shows no remorse for killing him. I suspect that Liam feels nothing, not hope, happiness, pain, guilt or remorse. Probably he’s felt that way most of his life and when drugs became accessible he abused them to make himself numb but our society needs to ask why and do something about it or we will continue to create people like him.

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Wicking Beds

Our land is mostly sloping with clay “soil” and big Gum Trees dominate so keeping garden beds adequately watered throughout Summer is impossible without using a lot of water. We soon use up all the water in the rainwater tanks, mains water is costly and in our state needs to be conserved as much as possible but I want to grow fruit and vegetables. I have been successful using wine barrels but water is wasted through evaporation and runoff so I’m trying some “wicking beds”. (More basinettes than beds) Last year I used half a plastic barrel and put sand in the reservoir section but it is so heavy I can never move it so this year I’m trying a light-weight option. I hope the Slideshow will show clearly how I’m doing it.

I’m using foam Broccoli boxes which I’m able to get free from a local Greengrocer. I have seen bigger foam boxes which might be from Fish Markets but I’m not sure. They need to be boxes with no holes in them. The viewing tube is made from a 13mm irrigation pipe elbow and some plastic tubing.

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I’ve learnt a lot already.

The plastic tubing comes in a roll so is curved, I was too impatient to leave the tubing in the sun to soften and straighten so I used the microwave method. I put a little water inside the tubing then put it in the microwave, I watched it and when I saw it was straight I took it out. You need to be very careful because the water in the tubing boils and the tube is straight so the boiling water can easily spill onto your hand. I run cold water straight through it to cool it & set the shape.

Although it was fiddly fitting the “viewing tube” and making sure it didn’t leak I like it because I can see at a glance how much water is in the box. Apparently it’s a good idea to let the water level go right down before refilling otherwise the water goes smelly.

I found that it was more practical if the filling pipe and viewing tube were on the same end.

To prevent mosquitos, spiders and lizards getting into the filling pipe I cover it. The mosquitos and spiders are able to get out but the lizards can’t. If you can’t find a suitable lid put a stick down into the filling pipe. Lizards will be able to climb up the stick, hopefully after they’ve eaten all the mozzies.

A few weeks ago I had just planted some Spring Onion seeds in a wicking box when we had a record number of days over 40 deg. The nights didn’t cool down much and I just stayed inside wishing the heat wave would end. I was absolutely delighted to see tiny little Spring Onion seedlings when I did eventually get back out into the garden so the wicking action must be working. I know some people advocate just putting gravel in the base but I can’t understand how the water can make its way up to the potting mix if it’s not in physical contact so I prefer to use the wicking strips.

There is a lot of information online about Wicking Beds, the site I like best is Scarecrows Garden, it has much more information than I’ve given here.