Sunday, 19 January 2020

Rejoicing in the Rain

It's been pattering on our roof, trickling into our tanks and soaking into our soil. Oh, how happy I am for wonderful wet days after so many dry days. I suspect there are others rejoicing too in this much-longed-for RAIN!

A jewel-like raindrop on the tip of a leaf.

Our new rain gauge (a rather hopeful Xmas gift from my son to his Dad) finally has some water in it. Some drought-affected areas had precious rain fall too. It was just wonderful to see footage of rural folk and farmers celebrating in the downpours of rain in their towns and on their parched paddocks. Like these happy station workers in this video, I'd be jumping for joy and splashing in muddy puddles too if I hadn't seen rain for as long as they haven't. (I fully intend to jump in a puddle or two when I take Sir Steve dog for his morning stroll a little later on. I expect he'll find a puddle to loll about in too!)

Precious water in our rain gauge.

This beautiful rain will bring relief too for our native wildlife who are impacted by lack of water in the landscapes they call home. They've been thirsty too! At our place, these two rather wet Pied Butcher Birds perched up on the railing of our back verandah yesterday to fluff up their feathers and sing. They broke out in bursts of rather enthusiastic trills and whistles which I imagined was in celebration of the "wet stuff" falling from the sky. 

Happy and wet Butcher Birds on our back railing.

More rain is forecast for today. I hope the mist of this morning, which shrouded the view from my back deck in a cloak of grey, doesn't clear to a blue-sky day but to a cloudy, rainy one instead. Follow-up rain would be wonderful! 

 Misty view from my back deck this morning.

For many people in drought-impacted areas, this rain brings with it, more than anything else, hope. Hope that more will fall to revive their landscapes, properties and farms, to replenish creeks and rivers and dams and to boost their spirits. That's certainly what I'm wishing for too. Xx

Prayer flags along my wet front verandah.

Have you had rain at your place? 


Saturday, 18 January 2020

Sewing for Wildlife

The raging bushfires that have burned huge swathes of our country's beautiful lands have meant that so many people have lost, or become displaced from, the places they call home. So too, our animals. These fires have destroyed so much habitat, their homes, and our native wildlife need all they help they can get.

A sweet joey kangaroo resting on the grass just outside our holiday unit door.

The loss and suffering of so many of these beautiful creatures is immense and I wanted to do something to help and to support those wonderful wildlife rescuers and carers who will try to nurse injured and frightened animals back to health and release them again if they can.

A possum pouch lining made from the flannelette of old pillowcases.

 A soft and warm place to rest.

On the WIRES website, I found very simple instructions for how to make little liners for possum pouches. These are a soft inner liner that go inside the larger outer pouch that holds small and recovering native animals like young possums, wombats or bandicoots. These liners have to be changed much more regularly than the outer pouch they line and so, from a pair of old and soft flannelette pillowcases, I made a set of them. They are simple to make and anyone who can sew a straight line can make them.

 A set of stripey bat wraps.

My mother-in-law gave me two more flannelette sheets, soft with age and many washes, to make bat wraps with. Rhonda, on her Down-to-Earth blog, which many of you will be familiar with, wrote about the work her nephew does as a wildlife rescuer in the Blue Mountains, west of Sydney. He needed more joey slings and bat wraps to transport and care for animals caught up in these terrible bushfires so I sewed some bat wraps from stripey strips of my mother-in-law's gifted sheets. The little bats' wings are protected as the fabric is wrapped, sausage-roll style, around them. The bat wrap pattern that Rhonda linked to, with photos of little bats all wrapped up in them, is available here. They are simple to make and anyone who can sew a straight line can make them.

A little bundle of home sewing for wildlife.

This sewing is one small thing I can do in the face of a big crisis but there are many, many people right around our beautiful country, and the world too, who are doing what it is they can do to help. Just one example is this inspiring news story of crafters in the far north joining a sewing bee to sew for wildlife affected by the bushfires. I think that's a wonderful example of community and compassion. 

A protective Bush Stone-Curlew with her little chicks 
in the garden of our holiday unit home.

My little set of pouch liners and bat wraps doesn't look a lot on its own but it is something and, when joined together with everyone else's somethings, that then becomes a lot! And our animals need a lot of help right now.


Saturday, 11 January 2020

Making Meals in my Kitchen

I grew up eating my mother's homemade food. It was rarely anything fancy but it was good and filling and nourishing and there on the table every day. Now I cook for my own family. The food I make isn't that fancy either but it's fresh and wholesome and there on the table every day. 

This past week there was one roast dinner and lots of salads among other homemade deliciousness. I planned out our meals for the week, substituted what I did have for what I didn't have, shopped for what I needed and made the most of the ingredients I bought. Nothing was wasted; the compost bin got the peelings and my enthusiastic Labrador "supervisor" got the tidbits with roast chicken and leftover gravy being one of his favourites ... among his many favourites!

A lovely roast dinner.

On the one cooler evening we had this past week, I roasted a whole chicken (I had one left in the freezer that I did not cook up for Christmas lunch) with lots of roasted vegetables and made pan gravy from all the goodness stuck to the bottom of the roasting tray. We had leftover chicken wraps for lunch the next day too. Yum!

An oven baked frittata filled with roast veg.

From the leftover roast vegetables, I made an oven-baked frittata for dinner the next night. It stretched to lunch, accompanied by a summer salad, the following day.

Mmm ...  Macadamia & Mango Rice Salad

Salads are on our plates often during these Summer days. They are quick to make, full of revitalising colour and healthy goodness, taste amazing and there's always leftovers if you make a big enough bowlful to begin with. 

This Macadamia and Mango Brown Rice Salad is full of flavour and crunch! I bought the mangoes and raw macadamia nuts from Aldi and I have enough of both to make another big bowlful of this over the coming weekend. Besides roasting the macadamias and cooking the rice, there's very little else other than chopping up some fresh veg, throwing in a handful of currants and whisking up a two-ingredient dressing. So simple and so good!

Macadamia nuts roasted in my oven.

I roasted beautiful macadamia nuts for the salad while I was toasting a batch of homemade granola. Granola, or toasted muesli is so simple to make and so versatile. I added dried cranberries and chopped almonds and shaved coconut to this one. My husband loves coconut-everything (me, not so much) but you can add in your own favourites be it coconut or dates or dried apricots or pecans or sunflower seeds. That was breakfast taken care of!

Toasty homemade granola.

While the oven was on, I baked a lovely lemon slice using more of the rolled oats I bought for the granola, a tin of condensed milk I had in my pantry and some lemon juice I had in the freezer. I should have photographed that slice before putting it out for afternoon tea because it was gone before I remembered ... and I don't think the aforementioned Labrador had anything to do with that!