TBL Blue- Canowindra

Gooood morning CANOWINDRA! What a splendid township you are, giving us little grief but for your pronunciation.

We were awoken bright (actually, not so bright) and early at 7am by our wondrously cheery and onsie- clad crew. The air was at a crisp subzero temperature, but we were met by a picturesque scene outside of the sparkling of frost and the rising forms of Canowindra’s famous hot air balloons across the skyline. After a fantastic feed hosted by some lovely ladies at the local club the previous evening and a humble- yet-satisfying breakfast, we were fuelled for the morning’s activities.

Our troops split off into three platoons to to take on the day’s missions. One of these stayed on the school grounds and tackled several jobs. The big job of the morning was the erection of a chicken coop, followed by digging trenches in order to lay irrigation. The green thumb in all of them was coaxed out, planting strawberry seedlings and JC and Sheerin worked their magic with the power tools, creating some beautiful signage to be displayed around the grounds.

My group and I were met by the Costa of Canowindra, Margie Crowther, who is the coordinator of the local community garden and a certified organic farmer. We were treated to a crash course in permaculture, a modern approach to sustainable farming and gardening which is implemented in the garden. The design of the garden reflects the principles of permaculture, such as the Mandala plot which allows easy access to all plants and minimises disturbance with a honeycomb layout. Our first task was to mulch this area and then around the exterior of the entire garden. We then proceeded to turn the compost heap, shovelling and pitchforking a tonne of organic matter from one heap to another which is, apart from smelly, a critical step in creating a year’s worth of soil-enriching goodness. A local young farmer called David was passing by and jumped in to lend a hand after hearing what TBL is all about (#TBLLove). We have to send a big ‘yeah buddy’ (read: shout out) to Margie and Jenny for all their time and effort and a delicious morning tea!

The final group headed to a nearby preschool to spread the love around town even more. They jumped right in and got their hands dirty, fixing up anything and everything they were instructed. Shortly after, the fence was beautifully painted and they commenced the legwork, laying paving on the paths and continuing to make everything look pretty. After cleaning out the shed and putting the finishing touches on their work, they were absolutely stoked to be gifted with the preschool’s very own cookbook and the recipes got us all salivating!

After a good morning’s hard work, we restocked the energy supplies with a BBQ lunch, said our thank yous and goodbyes and set off on the road to Trangie. Or so we thought... A nice surprise awaited us at Parkes in the form of The Dish! The famous key site in the 1969 Apollo landing that Sam Neil etched into our memories in high school science was suddenly there in front of us! After many a cheesy photo, we got back on the road to Trangie for real this time. Jay and her team of locals were waiting at the multi- purpose sports hall to welcome us. And what a welcome it was, for although the night was bitter cold, the hospitality and the wonderful feast they cooked for us warmed our hearts and our bellies. Oh and of course the bonfire helped as well!

As Inti hinted at in yesterday’s recounts, I came into this year’s TBL as the outsider with the dream of bringing TBL to Macquarie University. So far I have been so overwhelmed with everyone’s welcoming and friendliness, both my fellow lifter’s and the townships' with which we have so far come in to contact. To see the community building that we have been able to facilitate and benefit from as well as the incredible camaraderie that is blossoming between us all reassures me that this is an absolutely worthwhile initiative that I can’t wait to share. A big thank you to TBL for bringing me on board - I am so grateful for all your help on this!

Much love. Michael