Australia, Community, Environment, Food, Gardening

REKO – Covid safe drive through food

By the time the humble spud or apple reaches your supermarket shelf from its trek from the farm, it could be up to three weeks old, due to storage times, days waiting for freighting in trucks, sitting in the open air at wholesale markets, transportation to distribution centers and then to individual supermarkets. Then there is the shelf time waiting until the customer selects it, for purchase.

It doesn’t help the consumer or the farmer.

We have come to expect produce to be available year round, but this comes at a cost in terms of nutritional content and quality. Some fruits that grow naturally in warmer/colder climates have been genetically modified to lengthen the growing season. In the 1970-‘s a range of foods were genetically modified to ensure a longer shelf life, or make fresh crops more resistant to pesticide attack in the non-optimal growing months. Food quality has changed.

As we all know fresh is best, how can the fresh food supply chain be compressed, so that produce reaches us sooner and in better condition?

vegetables tomato salad

Alternatives to the Supermarket

A farmer led online co-operative company called Food Connect, was one way I sourced fresh produce sooner than the tired offerings at my supermarket. This company guaranteed to get fruit and vege to your point of collection from the farm within three days.

The range is limited to seasonal produce, (which is the way it should be), so the boxes has a set selection of product. Customized boxes cost the customer a lot more and were supply dependent.

But now there is another alternative.

What is REKO?

Reko is an online farmers market where the supply chain involves the farmer or producers selling directly to the customer with zero wastage and minimal delays in transportation of goods.

This concept originated in Scandinavia, by a Finnish gentleman and has now grown to more than 500 local groups in Scandinavia, Canada and North America.

The reach and success of online farmers markets such as the Reko model have been made possible by technology. A positive is that Covid has helped this model flourish. And it supports your local growers!

The Reko model means more time available to farmers tend and develop farm animals/produce – a job that is always 7 days a week.

How Reko Online Farmers Markets work

Customers read the Reko Facebook group posts for their area, each week on social media to see what each farmer or supplier is offering.

If there is something that appeals, the customer orders by posting a comment, indicating the quantities they’d like, sends through the payment via direct bank deposit, (ie no credit card fees), and collects the produce at the nominated time and pick up point. Voila!

Straight from the farm to your fridge all within 24 hours.

Reko offers more than just fruit and vegetables.

A home gardener who has excess produce may sell via the REKO group and if you are selling cakes or prepared meals, you must have a commercial style kitchen. When we grew zucchinis in our home garden, we planted so many plants, we could have fed an army, so this option would have been a way to share our produce and make a little money for more seeds! If only it had been possible then.

Advantages of Online Vegetable and Produce Ordering

  • A way to stay Covid safe in a variant outbreak!
  • Pick up from your car appeals too!
  • Local growers supporting local community
  • Hand made or home grown sold by person growing it
  • A supply chain model that makes food or products available as fresh as is humanly possible
  • Farmers get cash directly and there is no excess wastage of product

Less wastage = lower prices + a better environmental outcome.

Costs are reduced as farmers don’t need to spend time away from their farm, spending hours in the hot sun/cold rain setting up and sitting at an outdoor markets, or selling to wholesale distributors, fiddling with cash and change. There’s less wastage as they don’t take more product to sell than is required, as the grower in the you tube video explains.

Why is it different from a farmers market?

  • No sitting out in the rain
  • Farmers only harvest as much as has been ordered
  • Less transport time and fossil fuel emissions
  • No signage, change, Point of sale machine, tent or tables needed as pick up is direct from the farmers car boot or truck
  • Farmer received the money directly – keeping costs down and cash flow is instant
  • Supports local growers
  • Minimal effort to source
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Australia

Father’s day Covid Jab #1

I could have been anyone with access to my name and date of birth which the clinic happened to have entered incorrectly. No ID or Medicare card check was requested; I just walked in, gave my name, waited in the queue, then had the jab.

22nd August 2005,” some family member screamed out to a young man waiting in the queue. Who doesn’t know their own birth date, I wonder?

Despite the increasing crowd of 50 or more, I noted that only myself and one other person checked into the medical centre, via the Covid contact tracing app!

The nurse’s technique was textbook, yet her initial screening questions were vague. “Any serious conditions?” she asked in a lovely African accent. I could have done a tad better job at the questions, even with my outdated medical knowledge. Perhaps the Covid jab training is somewhat abridged?

Sheep-like, I followed the arrows on the path to an external waiting area, read: car park. A car park for people, one without patient engagement or monitoring, save by two attendants up front that were not in my direct line of sight chatting to each other.

I decided to set my own timer for 15 minutes lest I be sitting there all day.

I noted that there were no list of side effects handed out, either. (Perhaps it was an environmental initiative and they were trying to save the trees?) I have to give them the benefit of the doubt.

I’ve heard of better organization at the Government health hubs, so bearing in mind this was a private seven-day medical clinic, I’d have to say the efficiency of numbers through the door was the paramount driver here.

Given Australia is in a race against time in terms of Covid, atm, the Government presumably thinks it is imperative to get as many folks jabbed as possible. Not that I disagree with that. For them, it is about image not health.

With the Corona Delta variant raging down south, unchecked by casual restrictions of an economics-only minded government that sings the mantra of, “we now have to learn to live with Covid,” – I prefer to be jabbed asap.

Once again I observe that I am still not in the line of sight of the attendants. If I fainted or fell asleep on my chair, would anyone notice?

In the time it has taken me to write up this post,  I calculated I am now free to leave – by my own measurement. Not a clock in sight. 15 minutes are up according to the timer on my watch.

I am off to enjoy the rest of my Sunday. It is Father’s Day here.

I hope you enjoy yours too.

Australia, blogging

Friendly Friday Blog Challenge – Look Back to the Future

Over half a century ago this happened:

It’s Friday 13th, one October, in the early seventies and it’s raining hard, in torrents, as it does in summer in a tropical country, like Australia. Construction had started on the Sydney Opera House, (it took 14, instead of the predicted 4 years to complete) and Apollo 16 had launched into space.

Australia in the Seventies

I am young, walking home from school down a very steep road, partly finished with asphalt, wearing an outdated, unfashionable, yellow raincoat. It is a garment made from the kind of thick rubbery plastic that makes one sweat profusely, but fails to thoroughly keep the skin dry – (its sole purpose!). I’m carrying a grey pocked-mark ‘port’, (a school student’s case), with a red handle. I remember feeling pretty lonely, as one is apt to feel when you are of primary school age, alone and have a long walk home from school in the pouring rain.

What was I thinking on this walk home, fifty-odd years ago whilst NASA scanned the universe?

My guess is that I was probably wishing I had more friends to walk home with, so that time would pass more enjoyably. I thought about what life might be like in the future and dreamed of being happy and successful. Something most of us dream of when young.

I remember Sir Edmund Hillary, the first man to conquer Everest, had come to visit my school that day and addressed a somewhat bewildered audience of young kids, unsure of the exact significance of this tall stranger. Although I have no memory of his words, I do remember his imposing presence at the microphone as we stood at attention on the parade ground. For him to visit our far-flung school, must have meant that he spent many hours, visiting school children, not only in New Zealand but throughout Australia as well.

Growing up in Australia

What did I do when I arrived home? If the rain had stopped, I’d play with the dog in the backyard, swing on a rusty, ‘Hills Hoist,’ [read: rotary clothesline]. I might visit one or two friends who lived in the same street and ride our bikes, or if my friends and I were feeling creative, we might build cubby houses in the gum trees or make wooden billy carts out of fruit boxes. The splinters in fingers and toes were real!

If the rain continued, we’d build rafts out of anything we could find. As you can see, my brother made a raft out of an old metal panel, presumably laced with tetanus. Later, he confessed sheepishly that it came from the side of a Council depot’s toilet shed! That was the butt of family jokes for a while. (I couldn’t resist the pun!)

Primary kids were never assigned any homework until they reached high school, or if it was allocated, it wasn’t compulsory, so I never thought twice about doing it. And I was one of the more diligent students as you can see by my school report.

Of an evening, I’d read books, sometimes the same ones, over and over again. Titles on loan from the library or A.A. Milne, The *Sue Barton-Student Nurse series, or Two Minute Mysteries. I collected stamps, such a boring hobby when I think about it now, or collect signatures and corny limericks in my autograph book.

Australian Parenting in the Seventies

When I arrived home from school, Mum was usually there relaxing on the lounge and I’d find something to drink: most likely red cordial, [thinking about this now makes my stomach turn], and I’d eat a biscuit or two. I would never dare to eat any more than two biscuits – there was some unwritten house rule about that. I might also follow the biscuit with a banana or apple, perhaps to clean my teeth?

Iced Vo-Vos

Sugar featured strongly in the seventies Aussie diet, as ‘Iced Vo-Vo‘s’ and other biscuits were standard afternoon tea for many Aussie kids. The now infamous ‘Golliwog‘ biscuits, (re-named Scallywags or something more 21st century), were my favourite, in terms of taste. The naming feels so wrong, looking back from the hindsight of our era of political correctness.

Australian Dinners, at my house, consisted of meat, peas and that awful yellow stuff; a mix of mashed potato and pumpkin was my mother’s way of getting us kids to eat two vegetables at once. Little did she know I’d have been more cooperative about finishing my meal if the potato and pumpkin had been served separately, on the plate.

Apparently, this was another of those days where I showed my determined [read: stubborn], streak at rebelling in the face of injustice. I was required to continue sitting at the table for some time after everyone else had left, as I had refused to eat the dreadful yellow potato-pumpkin ‘poison.’ My parents mistakenly thought I would eventually eat it all up, if I sat there long enough; their parenting strategies a strange blend of Depression-era child-rearing tactics and Dr Spock’s now-debunked theories of child psychology.

On evenings like these, my parents recited mantras of sagely advice such as:

“You can sit there, (at the Dining table), until you finish everything on your plate. There are starving children in Africa who’d give anything to have a meal like that.” [referring to the yellow mashed potato].

Parent of the Seventies Child

This humanitarian-cause-mixed-with-guilt-trip styled parenting tactic was completely lost on my logical, young brain, as I would wile away the time sitting at the table contemplating how I would disprove their parental hypothesis by posting yellow, mashed vegies to Africa, in a test shipment.

As I sat there, alone at the dining table, the cold, yellow mound now well-congealed on my plate, I remember older brother gleefully looking up from the adjoining room, smirking during the TV-ad breaks of shows like, ‘Skippy the Bush Kangaroo,’ or ‘Coyote Road Runner,’ with his ‘Neopolitan,’ ice-cream embellished grin: his reward for eating his full allocation of the nightly yellow curse!

As I grew older, this parenting strategy was abandoned. Presumably, at the time of adolescence, but I can’t be sure. My stubbornness may have tipped the balance in my favour, after all.

Road Trips and Bus Tours were popular vacations in the seventies; the most memorable trip for me was seeing snow in Australia’s imaginatively named, ‘Snowy Mountains.’ I loved the sight of ice as tall as the bus and this might just be where I started my love affair with mountains and snow. I couldn’t wait for the opportunity to experience it again.

Road Trip to Snowy Mountains and Swan Hill, Victoria

Expectations of Adult Life

That afternoon in the seventies, whilst walking home in the rain, I wondered what life had in store for me as a ‘grown-up.’ I thought I’d have children, which came to pass, but thought I wouldn’t marry. I was wrong about marriage.

I thought as an adult, I would move location often, as that sounded more exciting than living in one suburban doldrum- I was both right and wrong about that. I thought I’d live interstate or on the other side of the world, unfortunately, the M.o.t.h, my future husband, happened to be Australian and liked to stay put.

I thought my children would be strong and confident. No doubt, everyone hopes for this. They have grown to be wonderful human beings, but I see with sadness the challenges of a modern world have taken a toll on their well-being. They are my world.

Surprisingly, there was a downside to my childhood reading ritual. I think if there is blame to be laid I would blame Helen Dore Boylston, the author of, ‘Sue Barton – Student Nurse,’ for my misguided foray into the world of Student Nursing. The books promised a dream vocation of caring and positivity and as a child, I was bewitched. In part, a mistake.

I must have read this book ten times over

The reality was far different and although I continued to work in the medical field for most of my working life, the long hours of shift-work required of a student nurse frequently made me ill and I was forced to change my career path.

Friendly Friday Blog Challenge Prompt

For this week’s Friendly Friday Challenge, we continue the Flashback theme Sandy posted earlier in the year by taking a Look Back to the Future, from our childhood years.

Here are some questions to get those creative juices flowing:

  • What is your memory of childhood?
  • Was there a significant milestone for you growing up and did it change your direction?
  • If you lived through the sixties and seventies, what stands out for you?
  • What do you recall of your childhood that directed you as an adult? Was there something that was instrumental in your path in life? Did it turn out well for you?
  • Is there an historic event that changed your perspective on life?

I invite you to join in and post a photo or story about your own childhood era.

Don’t forget to tag your post, Friendly Friday and leave a comment below so readers can visit you.

This challenge runs for two weeks after which Sarah will release a fantastic new prompt for the next Friendly Friday Blog Challenge. Check it out at Travel With Me.

Australia, Book review, Environment, History & Traditions

Maralinga – Australian Author Judy Nunn

In the 1950s the British military detonated a total of 21 nuclear weapons in various sites in Australia. Maralinga is the most infamous of these sites.

British soldiers were told working at Maralinga was a ‘secret’ assignment and despite the displacement of some local Aboriginal people, many indigenous folks were still exposed to high levels of radiation and later became sick or died. These reports were not publicized.

Australian author Judy Nunn’s Maralinga is a fictional account based on true events.

The novel starts with a love blossoming between a British soldier and female journalist in their home country before a confidential mission changes everything. While their story is the most prominent in the novel, several Aboriginal voices are also peppered throughout the text. Maralinga is character-driven as well as very much centering itself in two starkly different landscapes.

There may be a misconception that this is a book for the female demographic. It isn’t. This book has wide appeal for those interested in Australian and English history, romanticism, the 1950s, war, feminism and vivid landscapes.

While those that are already hard ’n’ fast Judy Nunn fans are sure to love it, it’s a good introduction to those that haven’t been driven to pick up her titles before.

However, if you are like me, you may find you are sufficiently incensed at the violation of sovereign Australian territory and the complete lack of regard for the health of those involved and the health of the local indigenous population.

Times were different then, but not so different that they did not take certain precautions. The personnel involved were told to don sunglasses and turn away from the blast to provide protection. Some onlookers wore shirts and shorts! Incredible now with the hindsight of time that the English organizers could think this was safe practice.


Documentation on Maralinga and the contamination can be found here.

It’s been ten years since I started Something to Ponder About, and the reproduction of this early post is quietly marking that occasion.

Judy Nunn
Source: Google
Australia, blogging, Travel

Travelling to the Pilbara in Western Australia

I was 22 years old and I was lucky to make it to 23. But I didn’t know that yet.

While other girls my age flocked to tropical getaways or the beach for holidays, I was going to the remote North-west of Australia. The fact that I’d promised to visit a good friend in a mining town in the Pilbara, some 5000 km from a major centre, was seen by my beach-loving colleagues as evidence I’d lost the plot, or had fallen in love? Or possibly, both?

Western Australia’s Pilbara Region

Western Australia’s Pilbara Region

The Pilbara is a large, dry, thinly populated region in the north of Western Australia. It is known for its Aboriginal peoples; its ancient landscapes; the red earth; and its vast mineral deposits, in particular iron ore.

Wikipedia

This arid Western Australian region is known to be hot and very dry. Even the Aboriginal word for the area bilybara, means,”dry” in the Indigenous Nyamal and Banyjima languages. Given that it would take a staggering and torturous 51 hour drive across several deserts from the Eastern side of Australia, tourists are warned not to travel unprepared, as this region can be terribly unforgiving. Little did I know how telling those words would become, later in the trip.

The Pilbara was an unusual and very different place to my home in the East. That interested the 22 year old me. Books on the area were non-existent so my only knowledge came from the one person I knew, who lived there. Despite the reservations of the “Negative Nancys,” at work, I boarded four consecutive flights spending a total of 19 hours circumnavigating my way round to the other side of Australia by air, in order to arrive at a place, called Port Hedland.

Driving in to Port Hedland

I wrote in my travel journal:

Driving into Port Hedland from the airport, the first thing I notice is the redness; the country is so very red and flat. So flat you can literally see for miles not that there is much to see other than red dusty sand. Ancient soils like these look quite alien and hostile to a city girl, but, occasionally, I spot a vestige of low saltbush or a stunted tree struggling valiently to survive against the harshest of climates.

Tell me again why did I choose to come here?

My Travel Journal ~1984

After meeting a few of my friend’s housemates and family, it didn’t take me long to notice the town of Hedland, as the locals called it, was naive and raw – undeveloped, with an pervasive atmosphere of transience. The residents appeared similar to a young child unable to hold its attention, they were restless, found it hard to settle down, were constantly agitating and always seeking something more than Hedland could offer them.

The rudimentary Hedland Drive in. It closed when video availability came to town.

No one is putting down roots in ‘Port Hedland,’ I was quickly informed. Everyone here speaks in terms of before PH, [Port Hedland], and after PH; the present moment being likened to a kind of stagnant quagmire they wade through, before true reality begins again. This was a place in which the people exist because they have to; a place they stayed in, only for as long as they had to stay.

The majority of indigenous families live on the town’s outer fringes, usually in Government sponsored housing. There’s a multitude of social problems and I note the streets are littered with rusty car wrecks and the detritus of disadvantage. Prejudice and racism appears rampant. I feel ashamed of my comparatively affluenct city life and my general ignorance of the Aboriginal’s plight.

Even the weather seemed discontent in Hedland. Cyclones regularly ravaged swathes of this country in summer, perhaps made worse by the lack of hills or trees which might ameliorate the wind’s fury. You have to be resilient to live here or perhaps it is the living here that makes a person tough. I am unsure which.

My Travel Journal ~1984
The roads in and around Port Hedland c1984

Port Hedland Mining and Maritime Activities

Almost without exception, the town’s people were either directly employed by the mining industries of salt and iron ore, or performing ancillary jobs supporting mine workers. Mining was, after all the very reason this town was established.

One thing that is impressive about Hedland besides the mine, is the port, impressive by its sheer scale. It handles the largest tonnage of any port in Australia and it is here that that salt and iron-ore is unloaded, screened, crushed, stockpiled and transferred from wharf to ship to export.

Mammoth iron-ore carriers frequent the port and dot the horizon, transporting the iron-ore to Japanese, European, Chinese and Korean markets. A 426km-long railway was built to carry ore from one of the world’s biggest mining facilities in Newman, southeast of Port Hedland. This busy line is visible along the road to Port Hedland and trains and their cars are up to 3km long.

https://growporthedland.com.au/about-port-hedland/

Near the port itself, I recall seeing towering piles of salt and massive, massive ships – both of which seemed higher than a six story building. The tides here are huge and the land so flat, a shipping Pilot is necessary to guide the huge vessels in and out of the port.

My only Helicopter ride

I was invited aboard a Helicopter Taxi bringing the Port’s Shipping Pilot, back to the land after he completed his task guiding the ships. Nowadays WH&S would most likely prohibit such familiarity by a tourist. It was my first and probably my last helicopter ride. It was jerky and noisy, something I had not anticipated.

Mining Boom and Rental Accomodation in Port Hedland

During the 90’s mining boom, rental prices for accomodation in Hedland became ludicrously expensive and resources were stretched to breaking point. Any kind of accomodation was so sought after, the one pub in Hedland closed down and both it and shipping containers were converted to flats for workers. The workforce became ‘fifo,’ – (fly in, fly out workers), in which they were separated from their family for weeks on end, then able to fly home for some leave before flying back to resume work again. The population is now over 14,000.

My final night in Hedland was spent at the open air theatre. Even in winter, it is so cooler to sit outside under the stars on a camp chair and watch a movie and of course, there are no city lights to dull the screen. Sadly, I can’t even remember what movie we watched.

The events over the ensuing week overshadowed this and the first few nights of my visit. A story I will relate another day.

Me in the Pilbara
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ropes course balance australia
Australia, blogging

Security

Germaine Greer is a legend in her own time, a leading feminist in the ‘burn the bra,’ era, yet Germaine has something to say about security.

“Security is when everything is settled, when nothing can happen to you; security is the denial of life.”

– Germaine Greer

If we think about those words, to live life we have to face risks. The trick is to balance that risk with practical common sense and find that happy medium between living and managing risk.

Zipline

Recently I attended an Adventure Climbing Park. At my age, it is an unusual thing to do and I have not done it before. But it was now or never, I thought. Last Chance station. So I gave it a go.

The task was to climb trees, harnessed in for safety about 20 metres up a tall tree, and walk across progressively more difficult and wobbly bridges and ropes from platform to platform suspended high above the ground, with no exit until the end of the course.

I was keen yet I was terrified. Terrified of falling off the bridge and hanging in my harness mid-air 20 metres up, until some 20 something park attendant could rescue me. How he would rescue me, I did not know and that was even more terrifying! This single thought propelled me onwards when I doubted my ability to continue.

This task that I was so keen to undertake was way out of my usual comfort zone and was designed to test your physical strength and mental resilience. After several reasonably easy initial steps climbing nets that gradually took us higher and higher into the trees, I faced walking across a tightrope – still harnessed in.

This was a real challenge balancing and stepping carefully and I balked at it, thinking there was no way I could do it, but as there was no way down, I inched across sideways, little by little, hanging on to the harness for grim life, until I made it safely to the other side.

NB. This was the Beginners course!

Photo credit: www.treetopchallenge.com.au/sunshine-coast-adventure

https://www.treetopchallenge.com.au/sunshine-coast-adventure

After traversing six or more wobbly poles and ropes that made my upper body muscles tremor with fear/tension? I reached the end and ziplined my way to ground again. Phew! I did it.

Would I do it again?

No! Did I enjoy it? Yes. But it was nerve wracking!

Stepping out of one’s comfort zone and performing calculated risks may allow for personal growth in confidence, ability and perhaps reduction of stress associated with the previous level of risk.

How willing are you to step out and face risks?

grotto at the sea
Australia, blogging, Travel

Friendly Friday Challenge – Road Trip

Over at The Sandy Chronicles, my Friendly Friday co-host Sandy has thrown out the challenge for me to participate in the theme Road Trip. Not just with the usual written post, but with a custom video presentation via Canva.

So, I know a little about Canva, but I’ve only used the trial version. Ah! This was a challenge. However, with a little bit of time invested, I have pulled it off, I hope.

Thanks Sandy for stretching my IT skills a little wider!

Road Trip along the Great Ocean Road

What do you think? Would you want to visit there?

Update: I have slowed the video shots a little and uploaded a new version.

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Australia, blogging

Dog Friendly Cafes and Bars

Unlike a lot of Europe, dogs are not welcome at all eating venues around Australia. The select ones that do welcome dogs, were so few a decade ago that I started a social media group to identify and share information about their location. It now has almost 9000 members. That is a lot of folks wanting to take their doggy with them to eat/have coffee.

Mostly the allocated dog friendly space at an Australian Dog Friendly Cafe is outdoors, without a fixed roof, if the venue is serving any kind of food. I do understand that dogs are unpredictable and can bark or become a nuisance. If this is the sort of dog you have, you probably would hang out at a park instead of a cafe.

Bearing this in mind, it was with much excitement that I attended Dalgety Public House located on the riverside fringe of the CBD. Not only did this Gastropub welcome dogs, they offered wide range of events, lunchs dinners, and weekend breakfasts. The meal we had was scrumptious and the Barista was a talented coffee artist who decorated our coffee crema with our own pet or animal of choice.

Here is some of her creations. Guess which one is my pup?

Are dogs accepted at cafes, pubs in your area?

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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!

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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
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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Australia, Environment

More Environmental Initatives for Recycling

In my locale, over 22,000 used tyres have been recycled into a new product, called Carbonfelt, to resurface700 metres of road that would normally be dumped in a toxic landfill.

In the process, 93,000 kgs of carbon have been drawn up and saved from being emitted into the atmosphere.

Racing champion, Paul Morris, says Austek’s new product, ‘Carbonfelt,’ is durable, absorbs road-noise, cost is no different and grips in the wet. “This should be everywhere.”

I love hearing stories like this.

https://fb.watch/3ZqVKuxkIo/

More about waste-education in our area.

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