Motivational, Philosophy

Problem Solving

“If you set your goals ridiculously high and it’s a failure, you will fail above everyone else’s success.”

James Cameron

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.”

Winston Churchill

“If you are not willing to risk the usual, you will have to settle for the ordinary.”

Jim Rohn

sewing
craft

Upcycling Fabric Scraps – DIY Rag Rug

 

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.

blog pictures 011

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.

blog pictures 012

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…..

 

IMG_1136
The look of the finished rug

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:

blog pictures 014

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.

blogging, Community, Photography, Travel

Friendly Friday Blog Challenge – Mountain Top

Kakani 1988

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!”

nepal guide
A young Amanda at 6500 Feet at Nagarkot with Nepalese Guide Madhav

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.

nepal mountain road

Nagarkot Lookout

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!

Amazing Women!

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.

Sandy and I take turns in posting challenges.  Keep notified of new themes by following both our blog’s at  Something to Ponder About  and  The Sandy Chronicles

How to join the Friendly Friday Challenge

  • Write a post titled ‘Friendly Friday – ‘Mountain Top’ and add a tag: ‘Friendly Friday’
  • Include a link to this Friendly Friendly Challenge within your own post.
  • Optionally, you can include the latest Friendly Friday Challenge logo. Download it here.
  • Comment below, on this post so that others can read your post.
  • Remember to include a url link to your own post in your comment below. This will guarantee a visit, in the event the automatic ping-back does not work.
  • Visit other Friendly Friday entries by following their links. It’s fun!
  • Follow the host blogs to see future Friendly Friday Challenges

The Benefits of Joining Blog Challenges

  • Increase your exposure in the blogging communities
  • Inspire and be inspired by diverse blog articles
  • Challenge your creativity
  • Make new friends and keep in touch with old ones

Are you joining in with this theme?

Where is your favourite Mountain Top?

How do you feel when you reach the summit? This motorcyclist loves the countryside too.

Blog challenge Friday
Australia

A Covid Wedding

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.

Closed sign
Photo by Ellie Burgin on Pexels.com

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.

This truly was a unique wedding to remember!

Blog logo on transparent background

flowers
blogging, Philosophy

Are You Ready Yet? How We Shop

Are you ready yet?”

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!

Not me, or the MotH! But a photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

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!

shopping centre with consumers

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.

female writing

Has your supermarket changed?

Do you enjoy convenience food options?

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Early morning sunrise photography
Environment

Solar Energy in Australia

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?

sunrise photography

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.

solar panels on houses with sunrise

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.

Solar power app

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.

new houses with solar panels
Twelve more houses in the street have solar systems compared to last year

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.

http://www.solarquotes.com.au/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.

Source: http://www.solarquotes.com.au/australia/

YearSystems InstalledRunning Total
2001118 
2002251369
20036641,033
200410892,122
200514063,528
200611154,643
200734808,123
200814,06422,187
200962,91685,103
2010198,208283,311
2011360,745644,056
2012343,320987,376
2013200,4071,187,783
2014180,1391,367,922
2015141,4901,509,412
2016132,6771,642,089
2017174,7611,816,850
2018224,8382,0416,88
2019283,9522,325,861
2020333,9782,659,839

This repressed environmentalist is smiling a little more now.

#Weekly Smile

More about Solar Energy

proverb from Tibet with snowy background
blogging

Norwegian Wisdom in Words

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.

birch trees beside a Norwegian stream

Mange bekker små gjør en stor elv.

Many little streams make a great river.

Photo by Rawan Jo on Pexels.com

Smuler er også mat.

Crumbs are food too.

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fish graffiti
blogging, Food

Friendly Friday Blog Challenge – Something Fishy

Join the Friendly Friday Blog Challenge

For the next two weeks, the Friendly Friday Blog Challenge asks for you to share a story, photographs, poem or recipe on the theme: Something Fishy. You are very welcome to join in.

  • crab
  • fish face mural fgraffiti art

Think fish markets, lobsters, fishing tales, the one that got away, graffiti art, food or travel photography, even something suspect or mysterious can fit with this theme. Make it your own!

Gold Fish in a pond
Wellington Botanic Gardens, New Zealand

The Friendly Friday Blog Challenge instructions fully explain how to join in. Don’t forget to pingback this post and leave a comment below, so I can find your post.

Here is my contribution for Something Fishy.

Fishy Dishes

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.

Red claw smoked fish
Red Claw and Smoked fish

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.

Salmon and Avocado on ryebread
Salmon and Avocado on ryebread

Norwegian Gravlax

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

recipetineats.com/cured-salmon-gravlax/

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.

Salmon varieties in Finland

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.

salmon pie
Salmon Pie

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.

salmon soup in helsinki
in helsinki

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:

Smoked Salmon Gravadlax
Smoked salmon fillet prior to adding the seasonings and rock

Gravlax Recipe

  • 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.

Blog challenge Friday
forestwoodfolkart.wordpress.com/instructions-for-the-friendly-friday-photo-challenge/

Until then,

Fishy Cheers from Amanda

Environment, History & Traditions, Motivational

Sunday Sayings – Planting Trees

Toowoomba street and painted bird with lavender

“Society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in.” ~Greek Proverb

Goodreads.com

The Chinese sages also appreciated their value:

Chines proverb about planting a tree in a voice bubble

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.

Tree Planting Organizations

Landcare – Australia; (not for profit)

Greening Australia – 20 locations around Australia (also not for profit) 25 million plants established; 15,000 hectares of habitat restored; 150,000 tonnes of carbon sequestered per annum

Reforestnow – based in Byron Bay Austalia (not for profit) -planted  105,227 trees to restore rainforest in Australia on behalf of donors from around the world (as at 23 Mar 2021).  $5per tree.

Onetreeplanted – a global not for profit organization working against deforestation. $1 per tree.

Graph Source: One Tree Planted

Plant a billion trees initiative – South America, Africa and China

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Go Ahead.

Our planet depends on it.

Australia, Environment, History & Traditions

April Fool Ghost

“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.” 😳

April Fools!

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!

home made fabric easter bunny
Mental Health, Motivational

Minding our Minds through Mindfulness

The mind is its own place, and in itself can make a heaven of hell, a hell of heaven.” -John Milton

Mindfulness

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.

http://www.psychology.com

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
  • Observe
  • 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 would love to hear your thoughts.

kangaroo
Australia, Environment

Kangaroos Hopping Down the Street

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.

Eco corridor

(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

Drunken Kangaroos

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.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-06-21/grass-to-blame-for-staggering-kangaroos/9886884?nw=0
kangaroo
Close up of our local Skippy

Kangaroos Physical Attributes and Adaptations

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.

Some myths and truths about Kangaroos

One can hope that this doesn’t happen too often as they are likely to run out of luck crossing that road.

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flooding
Australia, Environment

It’s Raining, It’s Pouring

river flood
Flooded creek near where I used to live. It is normally a tiny stream which often runs dry.

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.

https://www.9news.com.au/national/nsw-floods-rescue-operations-mid-north-coast-people-trapped-ses/58e50cdd-27b4-4b9c-9dc5-06568e5217b5

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.

flooding

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.

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