Heather's vision for Wattle Downs 2030

Wattle Downs – 20 years after the end of cheap oil after much great work by Transition Initiatives all over.

As I wake this new morning, I take time to be grateful for the time and space to stretch from toes to head, take a deep breath. I listen to the morning bird chorus then open my eyes. A gentle breeze moves leaves outside the window and wafts a delicious fragrance from the blossom and fruit in the orchard where a grass reserve once existed.

As I gaze around the bedroom I notice the bedding, of our own fibre, woven in our local weaving group, and remember learning this skill after foreign supplies ended. Woollen blankets from sheep grazing in the orchard are more than adequate in this climate. Wool is precious – it fills old duvet covers for some people, makes great insulation for homes to reduce heating/cooling needs and has such a warm, cosy feel. Our clothes too, fibre for clothing now comes in a variety of strengths and colours made from local plants and rocks.

First, let out the animals for the day, chooks, ducks, sheep out into the orchard, and milk the house cow then let her calf have breakfast too. Her calf is destined to replace our neighbour’s cow, as she is getting too old to milk.

I take a few moments to check that the pumpkins are being pollinated by bees [who also supply great honey!]

Then food for ourselves – grains growing well here include quinoa and amaranth. Rice sometimes does OK. Wheat and oats less well in the humid summers. We miss it in years when the grain goes mouldy before harvest so these days wheat is a specialty – for celebrations. Sometimes boats arrive from wheat growing areas in the South Island and we trade happily with them for their excellent wheat and oats.

There is no hurry – work today will be in the communal orchard with a working bee from the community to care for the trees, check the harvest, weed situation and where to put the grazing animals for best outcome.

After fuel reached $10 per litre, people couldn’t afford to travel to far away jobs so spend our time nearer home supplying most of our needs within bicycling distance. We trade with neighbouring communities and occasionally many communities gather for celebration and trading events.

The ‘9 to 5’ work day seems a quaint memory.

Our local dairy has turned into the hub of the community – we bring our produce to this new ‘market’, chat, buy, check who needs help or is unwell, what projects are happening and need some extra hands, organising celebrations and generally keep in touch with the pulse of the community. The local nurse, doctor, police officer all drop in to check what needs to be done today.

We remember the turbulent times of the past, when transport became so expensive that we could not afford goods from foreign countries. We are grateful that Kiwi ingenuity arose to supply our needs. We may lack the ability to produce electronic gadgets, but we are well supplied with entertainment by our local bands, drama groups, artists and community choral events. Each birth, wedding or ‘occasion’ brings people out of the woodwork to participate in creating a great time. We found opportunities for our talents which would not have been possible 20 years before. We turned into a very creative bunch.