On being part of our community

16 June 2009
We live in a bit of a retro world here. Most of the time it's not like we're living in the 21st century, it's more like a time from the past when neighbours knew each other and people say hello as you walk down the street. When we close our gate, time doesn't matter at all and we could be living anywhere, at any time. We make our own experiences and memories within our boundary fences with little influence from whatever is outside. There is a special feeling of isolation living here in the hinterland but when we cross that line that cuts our hinterland off from what is known as "the coast" it's like stepping nervously into another world.

We went out shopping yesterday. = :- O

I'm glad I don't do that too often. There have been lots of changes since I was last at the mall, the crowds of wandering people are still there but we bought what we went for - some clothes for Hanno to wear at the wedding, ribbons and lights, and then we were out of there. It felt good to cross back over the main highway again and thread our way through the pine forests, back to familiar territory.

We travelled up the mountain late in the afternoon to collect the little bus from the Centre I work at so Hanno can be off early this morning. Today we'll have another day out. Hanno will drive into Brisbane soon to collect 11 international visitors who are attending the Building Community Centred Economies conference. They have chosen to spend the day in our town to see how we live. We have a community bank that invests in the community instead of taking profits, we have several co-operative trading enterprises, a permaculture village as well as a couple of other communal living villages, a co-op restaurant and generally a well functioning, self-supporting town. The delegates will visit several of these enterprises, then my Centre, and after that we'll take them to a heritage listed park, with gorgeous views, for a BBQ lunch.

It will be a busy day but one that I think we'll enjoy. We'll be showcasing our community and providing hospitality to our visitors and even though these people will just see us as helpers on a bus tour they've decided to take in a foreign land, today they will be part of our simple lives and I think we'll be better for the experience of it.

And now I'd better get a wriggle on. I can hear Hanno making a cup of tea so I'd best start my chores, one of which is making a ricotta and spinach pie for any vegetarians we have in our company today. I hope you enjoy your day too. Take care.


  1. Have a wonderful time!

    Ricotta spinach pie sounds really really good!
    Would love the recipe!

  2. Have a delightful day. Hope they get really inspired. We need more little villages like yours.

    Blessings Gail

  3. Sounds like a wonderful place to live! I agree with Toni about the Ricotta spinach pie....sounds yummy!

  4. Like you Rhonda, I am blessed to live in a very special place yet it is only a 5 minute drive to the highway and when I go to the city malls I cannot wait to return home to the peace and serenity of my forest home. There is only one thing that bothers me about where I live; because it is such a beautiful place people want to live here and in recent years it has attracted lots of affluent people from the cities. This forces the real estate prices up and it costs a lot to rent here. We were fortunate to find acreage which was 'the last of the bargains'. Also the shops are going upmarket, even the vintage stores sell restored furniture at inflated prices. I cannot afford to shop in some of the stores and have to go to the malls to find more affordable goods. Many of the goods on sale are aimed at 'eco conscious' people with big salaries. I wondered what you think of this trend which is appearing in many of the organic living magazines? I recently saw a pair of knitted baby booties in a parenting magazine for $90! Perhaps it would make a good subject for a post.

  5. Those hinterland people! Just kidding. I live on 'the coast' - right next door to the mall and I can't wait until we move away to a quieter spot.

    Your community organisations sound very interesting. I saw a segment on the telly last week about the Baroon Dollar. I doubt whether there would be many other towns that had the type of community that could do that.

    Good luck with all the wedding preparations.

  6. Hi Toni and Diana, I've added the link to the pie recipe. I hope you enjoy it.

    Good morning Gail, thank you. I agree!

    Ann, buying the lifestyle instead of creating it seems like short changing yourself to me. We have a similar problem with rising house prices and rent. Many locals that had been renting have been forced out of town. Luckily, this community does fight against gentrification and boycott those stores but still, it's a worry.

    LOL Melissa. From memory, you're in Caloundra. We'll be talking about the Baroon Dollar today - the idea of it is being floated by one of the groups who have a space at our Centre. The wedding is fast approaching, the first visitor arrives tomorrow.

  7. Funny, I thought LETS schemes had died out due to the GST. The ATO has a pamphlet on barter schemes which says that LETS members who run a business have to cope with GST: the trade dollar is counted as assessible income, with a 1:1 rate to the AUD. Ouch!

  8. the pie sounds good..
    I hate malls, hate crowds, just the whole traffic is not my thing..I guess iam a home body..
    take care,

  9. Delightful post as always, Rhonda! The pie sounds delicious. And I loved the expression, "get a wriggle on"...I have a feeling it means the same thing as "hustle my bustle"! *grin*


  10. chookie, LETS has been operating successfully here for 30 years. Now we have a new local currency on the horizon, the baroon dollar.

    lulu, I hate the traffic too.

    Dianne, I haven't heard hustle my bustle but I bet it does mean the same - I'd best get moving. :- )

  11. Hope you'll have a wonderful day.

    Greats from Holland

  12. Im a Brisbane girl and heading up your way in a few weeks- I was wondering what town you live near, it sounds like a lovely place and id like to check it out.

  13. I love to try your recipes. They are ALWAYS successful. I'm going to try this. Also, I noticed in your picture tutorial of this recipe, the egg yolks are a nice, orange color. I am raising 2 hens for the first time. I have heard there is a difference in yolk. (My eggs from the store are light yellow yolks). I assume those are your hens eggs.

  14. Sounds like you have a wonderful place to live.

    I'd like to try to develop more of a community in my area, but sometimes I long for being able to relocate into a community like yours with so many great institutions. While I know that any community takes work anywhere you go, especially to get things going, sometimes the appeal of not having to force it and being with like-minded people is very strong indeed. And, at the very least, it's good to know that there are places like this to look to to model other communities.

  15. Marnie, it's Maleny. Enjoy your trip.

    Lori Veronica, they were our eggs. They look lovely, don't they. While the colour of egg yolks is determined by the type of chooks you have, you'll deepen the colour of the yolks by giving your chickens leafy green vegetables to eat. Things like spinach, silverbeet, kale etc.

    Jenn, it's much easier to work in a community that is accepting of its residents inputs, however, it's not impossible to do it in other places. Start small and get others to work with you. Good luck, love.

  16. Rhonda, just visiting your blog is like stepping into another world. As much as I like progress, technology, etc, living a life more in tune with the natural world is as relevant as ever, as our environmental disasters are now showing us. Your vibrant community sounds like a wonderful place. I live as simply as I can; I learned a lot from my mum who always loved to have chooks, or at one stage a goose, and edible plants growing in our suburban backyard, as we grew up.

  17. Hi Norma Jean.
    I am very interested in finding out about the work you do at your Co-Op and what goes on there. The special International Day sounded facinating. Will you be telling us all about it and the opening of your new building?


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