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I ran away from teaching to the country to grow veggies. There are also some chooks and a pair of troublesome goats who were so much trouble they had to go! My simple green life isn't always as simple or as green as I'd like...but I keep trying!

Monday, October 24, 2011

An ethical question

I have been concocting various potting mixtures today and planting things up for the greenhouse and into containers which will not be in the greenhouse.

I am in danger of turning into a mad scientist, worrying about variables, control groups and the like.  You can look forward to a post (probably a whole raft of posts) about my experiments.

Last week, when I asked for potting mix recipes, My Favourite Witch, mentioned using gravel from a culvert.  I knew exactly what she meant, so today I donned the gumboots and waded into the creek to retrieve a bucket of the most beautiful gravel imaginable.  It is bigger than sand but still quite small.


 The creek is fast flowing and its bed is rocks and stones.  My daughter and grandsons made a little rock dam next to the bank last Summer.  The upstream side of the dam is filling with silt (yabbies are loving it) and the downstream side has this gravel.

As you can see, it it quite small.

I have been thinking that this, and some larger stones, would be a great floor for the greenhouse.

My dilemma is:   
should I be 'mining' the creek?

My thoughts are: the gravel has to come from somewhere;  I am taking a finite amount; no machinery will be used; no profit will be made from the sale of the gravel; fossil fuels will not be used in its collection and transport.

Do you think it will be okay 
- ethically and environmentally?

Mind you, if I decide to do it, I will have to convince The Cook that it is a GREAT idea and, carrying buckets of gravel up the creek bank and into the greenhouse, is a fabulous workout.

Oh!  'Old fossil' fuel will be required!


  1. Depends how much you take I guess Hazel, a few bucket loads wouldnt hurt but if you were taking barrow loads then I guess that may be different...Im one of those mums who dosnt let my kids bring sand, rocks or sea shells home from the beach anymore, but hey, thats just me.....I have beach sand in my sand pit so I guess that got dug up from somewhere....I have gravel, a lot of it! so that got dug up from somewhere too.....

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  3. I deleted my post cause it didn't make sense when I read it i'll shorten it to is my belief that God gave us all things as wonderful, useful ,resources,large corporations are greedy and take more than they need till things become out of I would take the river sand but i would only take what I needed.

  4. It's perfect sand for pottin. I think (like so many ethical questions) it's tangled up with a bigger ethical question. When you try to really create a relationship with an environment, to really learn to know it and its cycles, needs, moods, to notice what happens, where the floods move sand, where the creatures live, you can make a good judgement about whether moving that sand from there to your greenhouse is a good thing, whether it is husbandry (funny word that) or exploitation. Don't think there's any short answer. It's a question of love.

  5. I think yes, if it's just a little, but be a good harvester and put back more than you take. I'm not sure what the putting back would be but you know the area.

  6. Perhaps, only on a 'Sunday'.

  7. I would consider taking a small amount of gravel to be a sensible and legitimate use of a natural resource.

  8. I agree that taking a little would do no harm.

  9. Hey Hazel, been a while since I popped the photo of the Aracuana Chicks, it's brilliant.
    I agree with joyfulhomemaker, if you take just what you need and don't bag up loads of the stuff to sell at the market, hehe............. it's fine.
    It sounds as though the creek borders or runs through your property so you're not going out of your way to get the stuff you need. It's a resource in your 'own backyard' ......hope it does the job.

    Claire :}

  10. Hazel I think it is ok to take a little and as Linda says you need to be aware of the impact you may cause. You will need some material for your greenhouse and this supply involves no carbon footprint.
    Giving back! Bubba and Bazza are doing a good job in keeping the weeds down on the creek banks - perhaps you could plant some indigenous plants to stop the edges eroding. HDW

  11. What a dilemma!

    When I think about these things, I tend to ask myself, "What if everyone did it?" I guess maybe there are limited people with access to that area, but if you saw your neighbours hauling loads of it away & perhaps causing damage by doing so or in the process, would you could call them out on it? I guess everyone has an opinion about how & how much is 'sustainable'...

    But you are right, if you were going through a landscaping supplies, where are they getting it from? How much fossil fuels were used to dig it, process it, distribute it etc.?

    It would be an ideal flooring, wouldn't it... hmmm.

  12. Ohhh, such a thing can be a subject of a heated debate here.

    It depends on what laws and regulations your council has regarding such matter, and how much you'd want to take. Or anything in between. Looking forward to seeing what you decide upon! :)

  13. It's been great to have some time to catch up on all your doings over the past few weeks or so. Love holidays! Mmm...thoughts about this there a reasonably close by supply of crushed concrete available that could go on the greenhouse floor?

  14. Thanks for your thoughts everyone. The jury is still out. I do know where there are some lovely pebbles on the terrace of an old house, that will be lost in a demolition. I may be able to convince the new owner to let me take a trailer load of those. Then I could just top it up with some from the creek.

    Still thinking....Linda, whatever I do will be done with love.

    Cookie, I thought of crushed concrete...but there is nothing 'close' here.

    HDW - what a coincidence, I just happen to have a few indigenous plants to plant on the creek bank.


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