The group was well supported again this month.
Arthur Lynch was our first speaker, a well know Waihi identity who is very passionate about his topic of worm farms.
Arthur described how he became involved in worm farming 12 years ago in an effort to draw attention to the ‘poisoning” of the environment with the use of chemicals. Prior to developing and using products from worm farming he suffered with joint pain. He is now able to move freely, without pain and it has improved his general health. He has been campaigning the council ever since.
Worm castings are the richest natural fertiliser known, he says. They stimulate growth plant growth, are easily absorbed and help maintain the plant’s hydration.
Arthur demonstrated construction of a tiered worm farm and the importance of each step. It is an easily managed system and he is happy to help others to set up their own farm.
Tiger worms need to be kept moist so that they can move freely and not fed with too much acid, so no bread, biscuits or meat as their bowels cannot digest. The three biggest enemies of your worm farm are:
Centipedes — they are death to your worm farm and must be destroyed straight away
Silver worms — it has a head like a hammerhead shark, and Earwigs. Worm castings liquid is made up with 1tsp of castings to 1 litre of water — use this in your garden every three months.
Arthur is based in Waihi. Further advice can be found on his website Stemtech Farming or email on arthurlynchwormfarming.com.
Colin Bradley and Paul Forward wowed us with their talk on Running a Marathon in Antarctica.
Colin introduced himself as an Accountant for the Chiefs and Paul is the owner of Calder and Lawson, House of Travel in Hamilton East.
Their presentation was humorous and entertaining as they each took turn about to recount their experiences leading up to and during the marathon.
Paul, who organises running tours around the world ignited Colin’s interest by describing the challenge of the Seven Continents Club in which competitors run a marathon in each continent. To date only 700 people have achieved this. They signed up for the Antarctic marathon after completing the New York marathon together. At this point Paul had run three marathons and Colin one. What was usually a three-year waiting list was suddenly shortened and they found themselves booked to run in March this year. Their adventure began in Buenos Aires on 9 March. There were 200 competitors who set off on two ships each carrying 100 runners. They sailed on a Russian Research vessel and had a mostly calm journey to King George Island. It was during this voyage that they met many well prepared athletes and became aware of their inadequate preparation for this marathon. Some athletes had trained in cool stores, some in Alaska and Paul and Colin only on their tread mill in 28 degrees. Their prior injuries also concerned them — Colin had injured his back and Paul his hamstring so both were reduced to limited training. Paul dryly laughed they were glad they had not over trained. Race day conditions were terrible — minus 10 degrees, snowing and high winds. They wore three layers of clothing, top and bottom, two pairs of socks, buff, balaclava and ski googles — and they had to carry anything they might need on the run, including a change of clothes.
The marathon consisted of six loops of seven kms.
Early on Paul injured his hamstring. By lap 4 they were both getting sore, cold and tired. The track was uneven and rocky which made it very slippery. Lap 5 was a bit easier — the sun was shining so they stopped and took photos. This meant that by lap 6 they were in danger of missing the cut-off time of six and half hours.
Then 300 m from the finish line Paul’s hamstring went completely and Colin offered to carry him across the line, but Paul refused.
After some recovery time they finally jogged across the finish line together — an incredible experience to share with a good mate.
Using vivid word pictures, some of their highlights were breathtaking beautiful scenery, seeing inquisitive humpback whales up close, ferocious leopard seals and sunset lighting up the ice, and how quiet it was with only the sound of ice on the kayaks and the ice cracking. Colin described how he was left with an understanding of how precious Antarctica is and how it must be protected for the generations to come. It is the coldest, windiest continent on earth, twice the size of the United States with an average ice thickness of 1.6m deep. Untouched, inhospitable, pure and challenging.
FOCUS Parting thought: People are prisoners of their phones. That’s why they are called cell phones.