The most vivid memories of my childhood are often about playing in the outdoors. A large Kowhai tree in our garden was the centrepiece for my imaginary play. It's pods would hang down heavily from the tree in season with its seeds and leaves used for counting, food for my dolls and treasure to hide. There was no technology until a black and white TV entered into the lounge. Sitting for long in front of it was never an option due to my grumpy parents. I know the amount of time I spent as a child appreciating nature is directly linked to how I cherish the simple things of life; fresh air, a walk in the forest, a swim in the lake. How fortunate I am to live in Franz Josef where those activities are on the doorstep.
As I watch the news I can't help but feel negative about the future of nature. Surely though it can't be helpful blaming industry and the slow pace of government change for the over development taking place on Earth So do we all have to stop driving our petrol cars, become vegetarians, or stop buying anything new? Maybe we will achieve more by being mindful of what we are doing and how we can do it better, grateful for what we have already and being able to change what we can.
We collect our own rain water and as such all drinking water is safe, fresh and delicious. So bringing plastic bottled water is not necessary.
Rubbish and recycling
We follow the three Rs in relation to the environment – reduce, reuse and recycle.
We buy goods in bulk to reduce packaging and reuse when possible. Recycling is fostered by composting all suitable
materials, separating bottles, plastics and cardboard to be sent to our local recycling facility. Any
remaining rubbish is sent to an approved local body landfill. We also pick up rubbish along our local roads
(piccie Julie with rubbish) (garden & compost bin)
We monitor where goods are coming from to ensure sustainable best practice is used. We support initiatives such as Fair Trade and buy and support local whenever possible.
We have a large and prolific garden at with nut trees, berry bushes, a tunnel house and raised vegetable garden plots.
There is nothing quite like getting fresh berries, herbs and vegetables from our own garden. We also preserve our garden surplus by freezing and making jams and pickles.
To further reduce the environmental footprint we monitor our electric and water usage and reduce
both as much as possible turning off appliances, switches etc, using energy efficient electrical items
and invite guests staying at Ribbonwood to do the same.
We use environmentally friendly in-room toiletries and cleaning products and donate any unwanted
items to charity. To reduce packaging, we make our own bar soap from sustainable accredited
Local environment and native wildlife
Over the 20 years we have owned the property we have planted more than 500 trees and shrubs.
Some were for firewood, many for shelter and also long lived native species, which hopefully will still
be growing in 500 years time. Where possible the trees were grown from locally sourced seed, or
transplanted from self seeded sources. These have encouraged prolific bird life, which in turn bring in
more native seeds which germinate and enhance our species diversity.