One should never mix them, probably.

Here’s a photograph of one of my cheeses next to Billy (Billy is the yellow one), a hard goat’s cheese from Tongola.

A wonderfully stinky cheese, Bill is aged for six weeks and has his rind smeared daily, according to his maker.  Its a pity we don’t have smellovision though!

I enjoyed Billy very much. Hard cheeses will my next experiments in cheese-making over winter, when its cooler here.

Meanwhile, we have a caretaker government in Tassie. Everyone’s waiting anxiously to find out if the Greens have won a fifth seat. It’s predicted that it will be Labor 10, Liberal 10, Greens 5, but Andrew Wilkie could be the spoiler. For a better analysis for what’s going on than I could ever attempt, read the Tasmanian Times.

I am reading a book from the library about a Collective based in Berkeley that was set-up in the 60’s. What is so extraordinary about The Cheese Board Collective is that they are still alive and well today.

Based on the kibbutz model, all the workers are paid equally. They have no hierarchy, and every member of the collective has equal power. Important business decisions are made by consensus.

As Olivia says in the book “I actually enjoy coming to work…I feel that I have a luxury of time that somebody earning six figures doesn’t have. Its very precious to me. Only in a place like this could I have that.”

This extraordinary worker-owned business grew organically, starting as a cheese shop. Soon they expanded to making their own bread, then started making pizzas in the 80’s. The pizza shop is actually run as an independent business alongside the original cheese and bread shop. Each day the collective makes a “Pizza of the Day” –

(Friday’s pizza (03.05.2010):

Asparagus, Shitake mushrooms, mozzarella and Montalban manchego cheese, garlic olive oil, fresh herbs.

Saturday’s pizza (03.06.2010):

Roma tomatoes, onions, mozzarella cheese, pinenuts, garlic olive oil, basil parmesan cheese.

Their website states that:

For tax and liability purposes it has been incorporated, with each collective member an equal shareholder and member of the board of directors. Upon joining each member is given ten shares worth $100/share. When a member leaves these shares are sold back to the corporation. All members are paid an equal hourly wage. Profits go to buy new equipment, raise wages, or are placed into our retirement fund. Moneys placed into this fund are distributed based on hours worked.

Pam: “Making food is both an art and a craft. To me, it’s life. My mom was a good cook. She had a wok in the fifties, a nice Jewish lady with a wok. I love shopping. I love to watch food grow. I love to play with it. I love eating.”

These workers feel that they are contributing to something important and nourishing of life. How satisfying.


The white mould forms on the outside of the cheese

I mean here in Hobart, not the philosophical ‘why am I here?’

Actually, Hobart is on the way to Cabanandra. I don’t mean this in a geographical sense, but rather in a strategic sense.

Ok, so Hobart is actually a city, not a country town, or an isolated rural area. However, moving away from Melbourne has provided us with new insights and a new set of skills.

We know that our relationship can survive the stresses of moving, and we can even laugh about it (later!). We know that we can find work, learn new skills, make new friends, and enjoy exploring a new place. Sure, there are plenty of things I might do differently, but I know I can do it again, when I need to.

Christmas is coming, and at the moment, its a great time to relax. To take in the glorious spring growth, eat lovely food, drink great wine and hang out with friends. To take stock of what we have achieved in just nine months, with little savings, but plenty of energy and passion.

Making (or finding) a place to call your own isn’t just about buying (or building) a house. It is just as important to pay attention to all those other things: work, friends, exploring, socialising and community participation. In some ways we have down-sized. We earn less, we have less space, we have fewer possessions. But looked at another way, we have actually up-sized.

No, we are not just surviving, we are thriving.

Some links to Sea / Tree change stories (not all positive)

Charles Sturt University research

Regional Living Australia blog post

The Sea Change

Transformations Journal

Rural life not so sweet

Live the Dream

Definition: That which is produced, brought forth, or yielded; product; yield; proceeds; result of labor, especially of agricultural labors.

My little camemberts

My Little Camemberts