Some resolution may be pending in downtown Havanna

I've had a bugger of a life these last two years. I've never been so consistently and so consistently ill as I have been throughout this year and 2006 and maybe just before that.

But I've been trying ever so hard to overcome these somatic failings.It ain't as easy as it may seem. I can be as true gritting as you'd want, but still it ain't a walk in the park when you walk the way I have had to.

But now -- touch wood -- there may be some movement -- some resolution may be pending so -- that my physical and very mortal existence has turned a tad around the proverbial corner.

And that's good, right? It is something to note in way of credits if one were to allocate "number of stars" in one's diary.

I is on the mend. [At least I hope I am].

As my dear old mater so often informs me: "Every day is a blessing, David..."

And so it friggin is! So long as today isn't as handicapped and as painful as the day before.

You know: let's bring up the violins and the harp and go la la la la...

But today I was blessed with organic success such that I think it warrants attention.

Pool to pond

This is indeed why I write this today. For a few years now I have spent a good part of each year dragging myself around and around a 3 metre wide swimming pool. Call it aqua-robics -- but my style was to sort of jog in chest deep water most days most of the year. I even had a wet suit so I could keep on doing these circuits when the weather was Winterish.

I don't recommend water activity like this primarily because it wasn't sufficient to keep my physical deterioration at bay.Forget all the malarkey about water buoyed exercising -- its' not as useful as they say.

After years of doing it I can say that to you, because I am informed by experience.

I now do more strenuous stuff which makes me sweat big time and offers me lots of exertion pain --- and I'm much better for it. I do boxing exercising. Them boxers, or rather boxing trainers, know a thing or two about pain and gain.

So I'm turning my back on the pool as my "gym" and am more land based than of yore. But the pool is a place for the effervescent cooling off during the hot summer months. And since we are in drought mode here within the shadow of the Golden Circle Cannery -- I'm converting the "swimming pool" into a "swimming pond" -- with water plants and fish, frogs and the like. Au natural. Later it will hold our roof run off.

And today I managed to get the water pH just right so I can begin to add the flora and fauna. It's a challenge of getting the ecology right so you can have a swimming pond and an aqua cultural environment that grows water plants you can eat -- while offering an interface that takes up the nitrates in the water and competes against any nasty algae (usually greenish is stark hue).

Since a standard chlorine pool is a massive and very sterile chemistry set -- this other natural way is very organic indeed. It's very biological.

So I've got some plants and I have a plan, an ecological strategy -- But not until today did I get the pH to round about 7 -- neutral -- Potential of the Hydrogen ion. My chemistry knowledge is rusty , but I had to pour in almost two kilograms of bicarbonate of soda to get to that lucky number.

All that bicarbonate could have baked a lot of muffins!

Way below that magical seven -- in acidic mode -- the water plants were quickly bleaching..and dying ..

I look upon this 'pool' as a metaphor, you see -- a metaphor of my own recovery. The natural pond and the "Little Cuba" Permaculture garden project is in sync with me getting some control back over my health.

So I garden and I box and -- hopefully this week -- to mark my physical assertion, I'll get my upgraded kickbike.

And I'll be less of the victim.

To celebrate I served us all here at Maison Riley a crisp garden salad grown in the soil we claim as home turf. To celebrate the new worms arrived to make whoopie in the new woomery and I planted some more stuff for the f domestic cuisine.

Ah yes, to say "cuisine" may sound so suave -- but the motivation has a lot to do with supermarket prices. We're going back to farming because its getting very expensive to shop for the vegetable and fruits you may prefer or have come to rely on.

Welcome to Australia in 2007 -- drought and food shortages.

So we're growing herbs, sweet potato, tomatoes, salad greens, daikon radishes passion fruit, paw paw, chokoes, cucumbers, bananas, zucchini, mulberry...and what else takes our fancy and we can fit in within the space on hand.

This week we are also working on the chook pen...

Expect new images in these pages logging the culinary sights.Soon enough we'll be looking like downtown Havana!