A philosophic Australian writes here, one who admits to loving Scandinavia. I'm interested in global politics, but scratch the surface and you'll find I am a practical Environmentalist with an Egalitarian bent trying to unleash a little creativity.
Scandinavian culture, literature and traditions are close to my heart, even though I am Australian. Travel broadens the mind, so I travel whenever I can. I am an avid reader, I enjoy photography, writing and a variety of crafts, particularly traditional art forms. You are always welcome to stop by at S.t.P.A.
“If you set your goals ridiculously high and it’s a failure, you will fail above everyone else’s success.”
Most of the effort in problem solving is in firstly correctly identifying the real problem. Once it has been identified, a problem becomes much easier to break down into chunks. Find 15 minutes each day to slowly work through an issue that you have been procrastinating about.
“Success usually comes to those who are too busy to be looking for it.”
Henry David Thoreau
Problems aren’t something to be ignored in the hopes they will disappear. A new problem might be seen as a new opportunity to progress further to the common goal.
“Success is walking from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.”
“If you are not willing to risk the usual, you will have to settle for the ordinary.”
We all have a collection remnant fabric scraps, don’t we, but who saves the small off-cuts? They are useless, right? WRONG….
There are a number of useful ways to create something quite unique, out of very small fabric scraps, and one way is to make a durable floor mat/rug that is soft on our feet.
Perfect for the kitchen, bathroom or laundry, it is time to think of keeping our toes warm, now that winter is approaching. Rag mats first originated in the depression years, when every single item had to be used and re-used. Whilst there is no need for us to be so frugal today, why throw away something that could be turned into a functional and pretty item? It is free and uses no pre-purchased materials, apart from a small piece of hessian, which most crafters would have sitting in their stash, anyways.
In years gone by, many families purchased their potatoes, flour, sugar or salt in hessian bags, and once the contents were eaten, gave the sacks second lives, around the home.
You will need:
1 piece of hessian or burlap, cut and hemmed to the size of the mat you desire. The hemming will stop the hessian from fraying.
A selection of fabric scraps, cut into strips -1cm w x 12 cm long and upwards.
You don’t have to be especially neat with this, but I do prefer to use pinking shears to cut a zig zag edge, otherwise the scraps do tend to fray.
Now you are ready…. this technique does take some time, so be patient, or do this whilst watching TV, a little each night.
Using an old crochet hook, or knitting needle, lay a fabric strip on the hessian and push one end of the cut strip through to the other side of the hessian.
Do the same on the underside, so that there are two ends showing through on the right side of the hessian mat.
Tie a simple “criss cross and under” overhand knot. No need to double the knot.
Repeat with more and more fabric strips.
Continue in this fashion until the mat is covered to the desired thickness and fullness with fabric off-cuts.
If you have a limited amount of one colour of fabric, I like to distribute it evenly over the mat, rather than finishing with a conglomeration of colour, on one end.
Then I just fill in all the gaps…..
Until, one day… hey presto, it is done. A cosy, environmentally friendly rug to keep your bare feet warm when the weather cools that has cost you nothing but time.
The under side of your hessian mat should look something like this:
Once complete, the mat may be washed in very hot water to make the hessian shrink, and the holes in the base fabric contract, thereby locking the fabric strips/scraps into the hessian.
If you use this method, you probably don’t have to knot the ends of each fabric strip together, just poke them through to the other side.
How many scraps make a rug?
Definitely something I will NOT ponder about today.
It was a perfect afternoon on a perfect mountain top, 30 km west of Kathmandu in Nepal.
We’d travelled in the back seat of an ageing and dusty Black Toyota sedan to Kakani. The lack of seat belts in the car might have given an inkling of the car’s advanced age, but it was mainly the dark exterior that prompted our Nepalese guide to label it, “the Mafia car” suggesting with a hearty laugh, that our driver looked “criminal!”
Thirty odd years ago, the road to Nagarkot Mountain Top and Lookout was narrow, winding and precipitous. Dirt tracks, barely one car width wide, that would be better suited to goats, twisted their way sharply around steep hillsides with never a guardrail to be seen.
Despite this, I was focused less on my safety than on the countryside itself. It looked alive and thriving. Almost every hill no matter how steep, had been heavily terraced and cultivated with crops. Quaint mud-brick farm cottages clung to 80 degree slopes and the mountainous backdrop grew ever more spectacular with each and every bend. I pinched myself.
Was I really here at the top of the world? I marveled at how the puffy white clouds perched high up in the sky were not actually clouds at all, but the Himalayan mountain tops tinged with snow!
Every few kilometres, or so, smiling school children appeared on the roadside, waving enthusiastically at our car, as we passed by. Our Guide informed us that many of the chuldren walk several hours just to reach the nearest school. No School of the Air exists in Nepal. A very different life to Australia, where schools are located in every suburb and in remote areas, lessons with a teacher are given over radio communication, (now, presumably skype), each day.
On reaching Nagarkot Lookout, we were invited to sit on a deck chair at the cliff’s edge. I actually couldn’t stop smiling. I have never seen anything so extraordinary. It is a cliché, but the air was palpably clean and pure. Hauntingly beautiful flute music played in the air adding to the mystical atmosphere.
Sitting and looking out upon the highest mountain tops of the world brought me feelings of tranquility and material needlessness to my head. In those moments, any yearning for material objects and acquisitions completely vanished. Even my materialistic other half, the Moth, agreed that afternoon. We struck up a conversation with another traveler. He was from – wait for it: the Australian Gold Coast. Thousands of miles from home and I meet a stranger who lives less than 60 minutes from my home!
Meanwhile Mudhav, our smartly dressed guide, complete with pristine, ‘Mrs-March” bleached shirt, stated he never gets bored with the mountains. He reads Wordsworth, Keats and other romantic English poetry. He says his presentation as a guide, is different with ‘good people,’ like us.
Again, I smile!
We didn’t anticipate the final surprise that was yet to come.
Nepalese Women Carry the Load
As we sat on that small area of level ground surrounded by precipitous cliffs, enjoying the view at 2200 metres above sea level, two women appeared from below the cliff face, casually climbing up and over the rock incline directly in front of us.
Such was their physical strength they were able to scale an almost, I guess, 80 degree vertical slope, as if they were taking a light stroll.
There is no photo of them, but to our shock we noted they carried large straw baskets down their back, laden to the brim, with potatoes. The basket was held by a narrow rope tied around their forehead. You can imagine our astonishment and our incredulity at the strength of their necks under such a load!
Nagarkot and Kakani can get very cold as night draws near, but the view of Mt. Annapurna, as well as the other mountains that make up this part of the Himalayas: Machhapuchhare, Ganesh Himal and Langtang, are in a word stupendous Mountain Tops. It is very easy to sit and watch those mountains for hours, so mesmerizing is this special part of the world.
My photographs are showing their age and the quality is not so good so I have included two videos to enhance your impression of the area.
Join in the Friendly Friday Blog Challenge
Every other week we post a topic to inspire a post on a particular theme. This week the theme is Mountain Top. Your challenge is to feature a story, photo/s, a recipe or anything else that captures your imagination.
You can post once, twice or as many times as you’re inspired by the topic.
Getting engaged six months before a Covid pandemic begins was always going to get complicated.
Choosing a wedding date back then, (before Covid), seemed so simple, as long as this particular engaged couple gave both sets of parents enough notice to organise travel to Australia, from their home in Malaysia.
Perhaps it isn’t widely known that Australia has had a pro-active policy of shutting borders to most overseas visitors since early in the pandemic and because of this, my dear friend’s wedding had to be postponed. The Bride was an only child and rightfully couldn’t bear the thought of getting married without her parents seeing it happening irl.
A twelve-month postponement of the wedding seemed reasonable in early 2020, but as we know, Covid has a longer lifespan than anyone thought. Going ahead with a wedding in 2021, meant neither of the couple’s parent would likely be able to attend.
Sad and courageous, but a wise decision was made to get married as this couple had wanted long enough to start their life as husband and wife together. They love each other, right?
Fast forward to three weeks before the wedding date.
We had hen’s and buck’s nights, dinners out with friends, life was resuming normality and then, suddenly, another problem!
Two weeks before the proposed wedding day, our state authority imposed a snap Covid lockdown. The virus was loose in the community! Medical staff treating Covid patients in quarantine had inadvertently transmitted the UK variant of the virus to our community. It was out there.
Gatherings of any type including weddings were instantly restricted to 10 people. Oops!!! Ten people at a wedding? Not fun when you have paid and prepared for 80 +.
Queenslanders and the wedding couple went into panic mode.
One of the medical staff in question had even attended my local restaurant, the local Sunday markets and the hardware store during the virus incubation period for Covid 19. News of this raised an alarm at the Home by the Sea, as the Moth’s second home is the same hardware store!
Frantically checking the contact tracing information on the Government website and liberal splashings of same across social media, we determined the Moth was at the same location, but four hours after the infected man attended.
Folks living outside Australia and New Zealand might find this concern ridiculous, given the level of Covid infections they deal with every day. Here, two community cases caused societal pandemonium.
We saw protests of lockdown measures, many others complaining stores should remain open or unhappy to wear masks; some were irate at shoppers at the supermarket spotted wearing mask pulled down with nose protruding.
Within minutes of the lockdown announcement being broadcast on media channels, toilet paper, paper towel, disinfectant, rice and pasta disappeared from store shelves and queues were a mile long at the supermarket checkouts. It was crazy.
After a very tense week which was by then, less than one week out from the wedding date, we all breathed a sigh of relief when gatherings over 30 people were once again permitted to resume and non-essential shops could re-open. The Wedding could go ahead!
A huge sigh of relief.
The wedding ceremony was a beautiful and very happy ceremony to remember, even with us all wearing masks and or socially distancing for most of the night.
Both sets of parents of the bridal couple connected via Zoom and Skype thereby being able to witness the ceremony and reception. Other guests connected from Canada and South Africa. A truly international affair.
My other half, aka the ‘Moth,’ called out – anxious to leave for another shopping expedition. Meanwhile, I tapped away on the keyboard writing yet another blog post.
“I won’t be long,” I distractedly shouted back down the hall.
But time then slowed for me; I was engrossed in getting my thoughts down from the jumble of words that regularly spin about in my head.
I dislike shopping for food or groceries as it is such a mind-numbingly, repetitive, ‘rinse-repeat-rinse,’ kind of task that my other half likes to do, almost weekly. For him, it’s like a contemporary equivalent of an old religious ritual. And each time we do it, I have to grit my teeth.
Before the move to the Home by the Sea, the prelude to a shopping trip would be a visit to a delightful Italian cafe or Pasticceria and, in this way, I’d come to believe shopping could be enjoyable especially when it comes with a cup of hot chocolate as well!
The Pasticceria Cafe was run by an Italian man from Venice, with a rich and deep baritone voice, named Aladdino, who made the very best Italian hot chocolate! If you imagine a cup of blancmange-like, soupy thick, steaming dark chocolate milk, that you almost have to spoon into your mouth, you’d have the general idea.
Aladdino could often be quite intimidating, or so I found one day when I reminded him I liked the hot chocolate made really thick and soupy.
“You Australians,” he bellowed at me in a tone that would impress Pavarotti. “It’s not a pudding, you know!“
“It is a pudding for me,” I quip back. And my bribery comfort food, I think to myself; as it is some consolation for the ‘battle’ ahead.
Grocery shopping can be a suburban battlefield.
The stainless steel shopping trolleys are our ‘cavalry steeds’ and the supermarket aisles, a place where a cavalry-style charge might occur, if only during a red light special!
Each week, I notice the faces of shoppers at the supermarket. Stereotypes are always well represented.
There’s the elderly gentleman trying in vain to find Bi-Carb Soda, the fatigued mothers with crying babies insitu or children wanting popcorn, the bogan with a shirt-busting beer gut in a rush to get to the pub, the well-heeled Hampton fan searching for gourmet cheese and others who try to emulate TV reality show Chefs in an effort to tantalize their family’s tastebuds, while still balancing the budget.
The battlefield is exhausting!
The Rise of Generic and Convenience Food
Food prices continue to spiral upwards, coercing us to buy more of the less expensive generically branded items. Many seem to be quality degraded items from dubious overseas manufacturers, where one imagines working conditions to be almost medieval. I am lucky enough to pass them by if I can. The appearance of more and more convenience/ready-made meals is also worrisome.
Convenience food options seem to multiply each week taking up more and more shelf space.
I nearly lost the plot and caused a public scene last month, when I found they were selling shredded iceberg lettuce and grated carrot, in a bag!
So, now the working family has no time at all to grate a carrot, or perhaps the problem is they don’t own a grater? Will children grow up not knowing how to grate a carrot for a humble salad sandwich?
This leads my runaway mind to think of a future where only the elderly remember what a virgin vegetable actually looks like prior to peeling, slicing, dicing and wrapped in plastic bags lined with preservatives!
But we all have to eat, or face a riot on the home front, particularly if there are any remaining adolescent children lurking in the bedrooms!
“How much longer are you going to be?”
The disembodied voice filters down the hallway suddenly dragging me back to reality. It has happened again: I have become engrossed in another blog post.
When visiting Germany in 2010, I was staggered to see solar panels on so many roofs and farms across the country, especially in the rural areas. It put my own country, Australia, to shame. Why?
With plenty of strong sunlight year-round, Australia would presumably be at the forefront of engaging with solar technology early on, right? Especially when the solar cell was invented on these very shores.
Sadly, the answer was no. It wasn’t.
Coal Fired Power Generation in Australia
With its vast swathes of coal and fossil fuels, historically it has been far cheaper and easier for Australia, to mine coal and export surplus abroad, than to explore alternative energy sources.
In fact, around half the Australian economy depends on coal mining. This mammoth industry menas whole towns and cities are built around the economies of coal production and consequently, coal-fired power has been the electrical generation system of choice in Australia.
Yet it comes at a heavy price for the environment and our planet, as most of us already know.
Coal is becoming far less desirable as an energy source and has become a four-letter word in environmental circles. China, our biggest importer, no longer wants coal, as it turns its attention to the free energy source, the sun.
Solar Systems for the Home
At the Home by the Sea, we’ve just installed 17 new-tech Hyundai Solar panels – a 6.6 kW Solar system with a 5kw inverter. Our second home solar system.
Previously, we had 14 panels producing 3.6 kW. Solar system technology has advanced to almost doubled the capacity and efficiency in ten years. When we first installed solar in 2011, it would take 3-5 years to pay back the installation price. Now we will pay it back through savings after the first 18 months!
Saving Trees and Reducing Coal and Carbon Dioxide Emissions
Today, a few weeks after installation, the “you-beaut” app, which is installed with our new solar energy system, tells us we have saved not only 40 trees but have also saved 280 kgs of coal and thus 280 kgs of carbon dioxide from being emitted into the atmosphere.
Amazing. Yay to that!
Rise in Solar Systems Installations in Australia
I do have a reason to celebrate, because last year, more than 1/4 of Australia’s total power generation came from solar power generation, much of it from small-scale homeowners, investing in solar systems to power their houses.
1 in 5 Australian homes now produce energy from solar systems. Yay!
And why not?
When our climate is conducive to solar power generation, almost 365 days a year.
In addition, 76 large-scale wind and solar projects are under construction, “representing more than 8 GW of new capacity and employing over 9000 Australian workers.”[source: cleanenergycouncil.org.au]
This surge in uptake has been boosted by Government rebates and ridiculous hikes in electricity bills for consumers making alternative technology more viable. Ironically, the coal and fossil fuel generation industry is clanging its death knell by trying to maintain its competitive edge by lobbying politicians and raising prices.
Looking around this year in my new suburb, it seems that the figure for home-based solar systems, in Australia, is more likely to be 1 in 2 or 3.
Australia’s home solar power revolution has been nothing short of phenomenal..in 2009, there were just 85,000 solar systems connected to the mains grid in Australia – and Australia’s first solar farm was yet to be built.
Fast forward to 2021 and more than 2.65 million solar panel systems have been installed on rooftops throughout the nation and gigawatts of large scale solar energy projects are in place, being developed or in the pipeline.
In fact, more solar panels have been installed on rooftops of homes in this country than there are people in Australia.
In 2019, the solar industry created over 13,000 new jobs. There is really no reason why certain politicians don’t get fully on board. It is the future energy source.
The table below has a few years of aberrant figures where exponential growth slowed. It correlates with some political decisions of a pro-fossil fuels and anti-renewables leader in Government trying hard to destroy the Solar industry and the renewable targets.
Some years ago, I became fascinated with traditional proverbs and sayings, their metaphorical layers and the many different interpretations found within just a few, succinct words. I marvelled at their ability to transcend race, religion, opinions and age.
These often humble words, offer us knowledge; knowledge that is passed to us in much the same way relay runners might pass a baton. Once it’s handed over, it is up to us what we do with it and how we pass it on.
During my formative years, as many Aussie families could attest, Salmon dishes hadn’t extended beyond one’s elderly Aunt Betty’s, “Salmon Patty.” For the uninitiated, salmon patties are a slightly bland salmon and mashed potato concoction. For the most part, Australian cuisine hadn’t spread its wings beyond the ‘meat and three veg’, until well after the seventies.
Unless your family was into crabbing or regular fishing trips, like my former neighbour who served up this delicious smoked fish and Red Claw lunch one day, you might not be tempted by seafood at all. But I can’t really understand that! It matters not whether it is Barramundi, Salmon or Mussels, there isn’t any seafood I don’t like.
Ten or so years ago, Norwegian Gravlax, entered my life. I was visiting a Danish friend who was teaching me how to string a loom for weaving, (which had nothing to do with salmon), and she kindly offered me a smoked salmon and lettuce sandwich for lunch. It was humble and it was delicious. I was hooked. I had to have more.
Gravlax tastes like a cross between salmon sashimi (imagine it with the addition of seasoning from salt, plus fresh herb flavour), and the smoked salmon slices you buy at stores – but minus the smokey flavour, because smoked salmon, is, [of course,] made by smoking salmon.
It’s not too salty, the flesh is not overly cured i.e. still nice and moist. But it’s cured enough to be easily sliceable into thin pieces, (which is virtually impossible with raw fish). It’s salty enough that you’ll want to eat the slices plain, but not too salty that you’ll need to guzzle a glass
Most of the salmon, that is produced in salmon farms, is thought to be highly toxic. This is due to the techniques required to produce it according to a documentary on YouTube. Some varieties of FARMED salmon they consider especially so. The farmed salmon can and may infect, wild populations as well.
Although this revelation concerns this salmon zealot, I’ve only discovered the delights of eating smoked salmon a mere decade ago, so I’m thinking I am not about to give it up, yet, especially at my stage of life.
It’s All About the Salmon
So where do you find the best Salmon?
Sweden? The very best I’ve eaten was a Salmon dish in Stockholm, with Swedish friends. A melt-in-the-mouth fillet topped with a berry-based sauce that can only be described as sublime perfection.
Surprisingly enough, the next best salmon dish, I’ve eaten, was a pan-fried Tasmanian Salmon fillet I selected from a local restaurant’s menu. Again, it was – perfection.
Many Scandinavians love eating Salmon, so I can easily blame my Nordic genes, for my present addiction. Finns have a hundred different varieties of this fishy beast to try, as I discovered in Helsinki, one day.
Salmon Quiche, found in a Norwegian friend’s Women’s Weekly magazine, was more popular with visiting guests, than it was with my children, as was a Salmon pie recipe shared by a fellow Australian School-Mum.
Needless to say, I loved them both.
Some folks enjoy Salmon soup, which I found to be quite similar to a creamy seafood chowder I was served in Wellington harbour one year, but the Finns adds a flavour to die for. It must be the fresh dill or the cold waters of the Baltic region? Here’s the one I tasted in Finland.
By now, you have probably figured salmon, smoked or otherwise, had me in its grasp. Each time I ate it, I liked it more and more. So much so that I experimented with making my own Gravlax.
How to Make Your Own Gravlax
A rose gold lump, formerly knows as a marine creature, sat curing in the refrigerator, under a cleaned bluestone rock, for 3 days. It had been doused with black pepper and enough salt to clog several arteries. The rock was to compress it, (apparently). Here is the recipe I followed:
Mix equal parts salt + sugar (combined) to 50% of the weight of the salmon.
Coat a fresh fillet of salmon liberally with the salt and sugar mix
Top with loads of chopped fresh Dill, or herbs of your choice.
Place a cleaned, heavy weight, such as a rock, a paperweight or marble board, on top.
Leave, loosely covered, in the fridge for 24 hours to cure; 36 hours for medium; 48 hours for hard cure. [I chose the medium time frame.]
Slice with a very sharp knife into wafer-thin slices and serve.
Next Friendly Friday Blog Challenge
Sandy, from The Sandy Chronicles, will announce the next theme for the Friendly Friday Challenge over at her blog, in two weeks time.
“Society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in.” ~Greek Proverb
The Chinese sages also appreciated their value:
Let us not forget the importance of creating nature; fostering and nurturing Mother Earth.
Trees provide so many benefits to our everyday lives. They filter clean air, provide fresh drinking water, help curb climate change, and create homes for thousands of species of plants and animals. Planting a Billion Trees can help save the Earth from deforestation.
Helping to Plant Trees
Depending on location, it costs between $1-$3 to plant a tree including ongoing maintenance and stewardship. Including organizational overheads, I see this as a real bargain, especially for something that might last 70 years!
The Nature Conservancy’s Plant a Billion Trees campaign is a major forest restoration effort with a goal of planting a billion trees across the planet.
So you don’t have the time or don’t want to get your hands dirty? I hear you, but you can still support the various organizations around the world depending on your preferred location.
“So I woke up and my beautiful Schnauzer pup is laying on the back patio covered in dirt with a rabbit in his mouth. The rabbit’s not bloody, just dirty. My neighbor’s kids raise blue ribbon rabbits. I instantly knew it was one of theirs. 😢
I took the rabbit away from my dog, rushed inside, and brushed all the dirt off it before my neighbors could come home. It was stiff but I heard some animals play dead when they are afraid, but I couldn’t remember which ones.
I quickly took it and placed it back in one of the cages in their back yard then I ZOOMED back home. (Don’t judge me 😒)
Not 30 minutes later, I heard my neighbour screaming like she’s seen a ghost, so I go out and innocently ask them what’s wrong?
They tell me their rabbit died three days ago and they buried it, but now it’s back in the cage.” 😳
Found on social media, this was not my story. It just might be a work of fiction, or an old joke, but I wouldn’t put it past a Schnauzer to go after a rabbit!
Apparently this very thing DID happen with another Schnauzer, their owner and a guinea pig. I am giving this author, (Kathy W.), the benefit of the doubt, but it is April Fools Day, isn’t it?
Not many folks have pet rabbits in Australia. Keeping them is illegal and there are fines unless you have a special permit. Without a natural predator to control numbers, introduced Rabbits decimated Australia’s bush in the early 20th century reaching plague proportions and thus were banned.
It is legal to keep the following variety, and give them to your Schnauzer!
“The mind is its own place, and in itself can make a heaven of hell, a hell of heaven.” -John Milton
We hear it all the time. Mindfulness. The advice to practise mindfulness as a way to deal with troublesome thoughts.
Why does Mindfulness help?
It’s impossible to stay strong when you’re rehashing something that happened last week or predicting that horrible things are going to happen tomorrow. Mindfulness is about staying present in the moment. And since the only time you can change your behavior is right now, it’s important to be able to focus on the here-and-now.
Our minds become more resilent to stress and less prone to anxiety, if we maintain focus on the here and now; meaning the present moment. The future and the past are, after all, not our reality, but only mental constructs over which we have no, or little, influence. Trying to live in two dimensions at once creates stress for ourselves.
The present moment is the only real time concept we can fully experience, with our senses.
Confucious understood this saying,
“Remember, no matter where you go, there you are.”
Buddha considered the secret of good health was not to mourn the past, or worry about the future, cautioning against anticipation and encouraging the use of each moment wisely and earnestly.
As if each moment was a priceless gift.
Because each moment is a priceless gift that will never return again.
Staying mindful removes the immediate stress for a mind that might continue to worry or dwell on what has gone before.
The present moment is a concept so very difficult to grab hold on to; for it is transient, dynamic and we might rail against letting it go. Even as we ponder its nature, it has passed us by. Gone.
Some of us keep the past, or future, alive in our minds, through repetitive thoughts. Our minds, in idle moments, stray back to past events, or happier times. If those thoughts are negative, and we think them often enough, we can do ourselves real mental damage or initiate a stress reaction in our body.
Strategies for Mindfulness
Stay in the moment
Look around you and note your environment
Notice where your focus lies and your own body’s natural breath
Is your breath short, sharp and shallow, or deep and long? Focusing on the breath is a way to stay mindful
Be Mindful and Ground yourself with the following exercise
Questions for the Self
Are you able to be mindful, keeping thoughts aligned with the present moment?
Can you break your day down and stay with those moments?
Besides Grounding, what is it that helps you to do this?
I never thought I’d be confirming an urban myth – that kangaroos hop down Australian streets.
Australia’s a first world country, (with a few exceptions), with over 22 million occupants, clustered in a few sprawling metropolises hugging the east coast. Noone still believes kangaroos hop along our city streets, do they?
It seems I was wrong.
Walking the dog around our new Home by the Sea, yesterday, I wasn’t quick enough to snag a photo of the Eastern Grey Male Kangaroo hopping down this street between the rows of newly built homes.
(I did get a video of the sweet creature, as you will see below).
What he hoped to find to eat along the street, I wasn’t sure. Kangaroos eat a range of grasses, herbs and shrubs. Perhaps Mrs Baldry’s lavender was to his liking?
The roo was headed in the wrong direction for grass, so I tried to shoo it back towards the Eco Corridor and wetland areas to the west and away from the traffic as you will see in the following video.
(Hopefully the embedded video works. Let me know if you can’t see it or it says unsupported which can happen on mobile phones).
Kangaroo in the Suburbs
We all know that rain can make the grass grow, while you are watching it. During rains, the water that runs off from the road surface collects in the verges along the edge of the streets and roads, resulting in a flush of lush, green grassy growth. Grass that many Australian herbivorous animals enjoy eating. Especially Kangaroos, wallabies and wombats.
I think you can guess what happens when they feed on these verges, after rain. Roadkill stats rise, not just in the wake of floodwaters ravaging their habitat, but also the lush growth that entices the animals out towards the roadside verges to feed.
Then this happened on my way home yesterday. Apologies for the poor quality of the dashcam footage.
Sliding Kangaroos on a Wet Road
There might just be another explanation for the sliding kangaroos, which from my perspective appear unhurt by the incident and hop away okay.
As I discovered, reading an ABC article, kangaroos can become slightly drunk or disorientated on eating too much lush new grass, (which we have plenty of at the moment), and especially so, if a particular form of pasture grass has been consumed.
This can be known as Philaris poisioning syndrome, making kangaroos disoriented, clumsy and loose balance. Which is fairly critical when jumping if you are a roo!
Michelle Mead, from Central Victoria’s Wildlife Rescue and Information Network, said the ailing kangaroos resembled someone who was under the influence of alcohol. The wildlife worker said the animals were indeed intoxicated and that it was likely a type of grass that was to blame. Known as phalaris or bulbous-canary grass, the introduced plant species is a common pasture crop grown to feed livestock.
The syndrome was more common in areas with limestone soils, which contained less cobalt than basalt soils, Dr Rendell said. Dr Rendell said Phalaris staggers were also more common when lush grass growth occurred, because animals digested less soil, and therefore less cobalt, in those areas.
Kangaroos have all kinds of fascinating physical adaptations for existing in dry country, including suspending pregnancies and foetal growth in drier weather, inducing them to coincide with the grass growth after rainfall, as well as methods for keeping themselves cool in intense heat.
They are not usually active in the middle of the day, conserving their energy. Seeing them jump around at 1pm on some idle Tuesday was unsual.
For several years, Australia has languished under extreme drought and water was severely rationed; last year we experienced bushfires on an epic scale that decimated the countryside. A year later, extreme rainfall and flooding on a Noah’s Ark scale!
This is the Australian climate.
Six months of rain fell in just one day and a half. Even by Australian standards, this is severe.
10 million Australians currently under a weather warning as two major systems collide.There have been hundreds of rescues and thousands across the state have faced evacuation orders as huge downfalls have caused rivers to overflow in recent days.The BOM said every mainland state and territory except Western Australia is impacted by the weather event.
Streets in Brisbane city regularly go under with each and every summer storm, and housing close to riverfronts may be picturesque in the drier times, but remain extremely vulnerable in summer rains and excessive rainfall, such as we are experiencing now.
This is my former local shopping centre car park. Cars floated away with the water.
In the country, the land is extremely low and flat. The floodplain for a river can be a kilometre or more wide. So there will be problems. Emergency services are busy.
Around 15,000 people have been evacuated on the Mid North Coast
3,000 people evacuated in the Hawkesbury-Nepean Valley region
Up to 38 regions have been declared natural disaster areas
Severe weather warnings issued for southern and western Queensland
Heavy rainfall is expected to continue
The equivalent of all the water contained in Sydney Harbour is pouring out the country’s rivers each day.
Luckily, we are safe, good rainfall is welcome, for the minute, because all too soon it will be dry again, Very dry.
Further south, particularly in New South Wales, they are in trouble. Big trouble. There are landslips, severed flooding and roads have been cut. Communities have been declared disaster zones and are isolated by floodwater. Farm animals left to fend for themselves as people have no alternative but to leave their homes.
Event the insects are evacuating seeking higher ground.
Another one in 100 year event, is a term I am hearing on an all too regular basis.
Yet another indication of the effects of climate change. Our planet needs help again.