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1)  Cutting dead wood didgs rather than green wood   "Environmentally sensitive didging"  By Munga Sheriiff

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Cutting dead wood didgs rather than green wood.  "Environmentally sensitive didging"
By Munga Sheriff


The first didjs I made were all found lying on the forest floor.  Some extremely old dead branches still in very good condition, hardened by extreme temperatures and weathering.  With thousands of trees bulldozed in QLD each year I set about being the greenest didj maker I could in respect to Mother Nature, by only cutting dead timber and recycling off bulldozed piles etc, before they are burnt into the atmosphere.  Being a lover of nature a lot longer than a didj maker, it was only natural that I cut dead trees and branches and others that I found lying  around, to create this brilliant instrument.  By recycling, life will improve - restoring the old to make new.

I was talking to a local young Murry bloke as he was looking at my didjs at the markets, and he told me a story of this old uncle who made a traditional didj.  This uncle picked a tree and waited 15 years for the tree to die and harden naturally.  Then, he said, the wood was cured and ready for cutting, making and playing.  This Aboriginal bloke shook my hand and said "Keep up the good work Bro".  This story only fortifies my commitment to only cut trees that can be recycled into class didjs, in respect for the trees and Mother Nature and in respect for Aboriginal culture.

Six tonne trucks, cutting with chainsaws, big teams of men.  Cutting acres of live forests, two varieties of trees under threat.  Big sheds stacked with thousands of didjeridoos.  No respect to the trees and our earth.  These are some of the stories I hear.

I have always loved the big dead grand daddy trees in the forest, home to  so much life.  I realise they are as important to the forest as the live trees are, as part of the whole ecosystem. By only selectively cutting  dead wood there is minimal damage, whereas live trees are not only food and shelter for a miriad of life, but also  create   oxygen  and are part of the seedbank.

If there is no visual sign of leaves, the white ants have usually finished eating the wood out, then the branch or tree dies. hardens and dries.  I like to see the green leaves on the branches of the trees because we are not replanting what is going missing.  Everyone, not only didj makers but farmers, land holders etc, seems to be taking but who is replanting these beautiful trees.  My guess is not many.  People just keep on cutting and bulldozing, not enough planting back.  Some varieties sprout back, nature is strong, but others die.

All in all, we take too much.  But the good news is the Australian Aboriginals have  given us   a  very special instrument that helps us  attune to nature in a very mystical way. Through this ancient log of sound  I've seen people from all over the world laughing happily together just by blowing into it.  Its such a good vibe. And it reconects us with the earth.

These are some of my thoughts and ideals.  I strive to make the best didjs I can but cause the least damage I can.  Love, peace and rainbows to all.  Munga.

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