I want to treat a serious issue in a somewhat humorous way.  Early on in our stay here we took out a good number of big overhanging branches and even a few trees.  This is not on the scale of forest fires in Brazil, but chopping trees down is a bad thing, alongside driving a petrol or diesel powered car or having cows.  There are now less trees for oxygen creating photosynthesis, the “lungs of the earth” have been dimished! So, I have been feeling a little guilty, even though the space created by opening up will give more light for other plants to thrive.   Planting some blueberry bushes does not nearly compensate for the destruction.  I almost volunteered for a programme which is re-establishing a wetland in Hannah’s Bay, before I found out it was a youth programme – how agist!

Pieces of wood from the cut down trees, over about 3cms in diameter are being cut for firewood.   We save on electricity usage next winter – so that’s a bit like having solar panels.  Our fireplace is efficient giving off little smoke pollution and the ash remaining is used for fertiliser.  Reduce consumption and re-use, that’s a tick – right?

Reduce waste is another plus right? We had the best part of a day with a chipper and chipped all the small waste wood in the orchard.  Chipping is good right? But, the chipper is made of manufactured steel and it had to be towed here, using a petrol powered vehicle.  It ran on petrol and it created a great deal of noise pollution.  Still, the wood chip will be great in the hen house, under the trees as a weed suppressant and will eventually break down to feed the earth – that’s good. 

We have re-used, recycled, re-purposed, and reduced what had become waste, but still the dilemma remains, should those trees have come down and if so, should we not have left it to nature to break them down naturally over time?       

In another save the planet type initiative, we have become members of a trap library as a part of a pest free scheme on the eastern side of Rotorua.  We got 2 free predator traps which are designed to catch rats, but which do the job on mice and stoats as well we are told.  I did have to drive the car to get them though. We’ll let you know how that goes – maybe without photos of dead rats?  There is another story about mice – but that’s for another time.   

Kathleen (Kevin’s sister) & Bruce Gavin & Miranda.

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