The Customary Campaign.

For most of you who live in the northern hemisphere, summer comes and goes too quickly and the long winter is formidable and exhausting. By the time spring rolls around, you’re well and truly ready for the green. Here, as we slip into autumn, it’s also a relief from the harsh summer, where everything takes a break, welcomes the rain, and settles in to replenish itself with the cooler weather.

To this end, I spent some time yesterday, pulling up some of the less successful pumpkin plants, and inviting the chickens into the garden (it’s usually Out Of Bounds) to eat slaters and loosen the soil. Today I’ll sow some winter vegetable seeds. New seasons bring such anticipation.

First, though, I have to honour my promise to make playdough, so I’ll leave you the links and be on my way!

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The Big, Bad World.

The news that a plane had crashed in the French Alps three days ago was shocking on its own, but all day I felt uneasy about it, wondering what it was that could have gone so terribly wrong. If it wasn’t a terrorist attack (admittedly, my first thought), then why would the pilots not have sent a distress call? Of course, now it appears that the plane was deliberately sent into the mountainside by the co-pilot, for reasons nobody seems to be able to fathom.

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The Frequent Frolic.

I made hot cross buns for the first time this week and it was AWESOME. I can highly recommend making them yourself, especially if your household is anything like mine in which a half-dozen buns disappear in one sitting. And it’s wonderfully appropriate weather for hot cross buns, too — cool and rainy.

I’m off to a birthday party with Third and Fourth Offspring this morning, so while I’m eating cake, please enjoy the links!

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Always Was, Always Will Be.

As I’ve written before we moved almost eighteen months ago from the largest city in our state to a very small one, further south. Really, it’s more of a town. There were a few reasons we moved – we liked the idea of living in a cooler climate, we liked the idea of living in a smaller city, and we thought it would be good for our Offspring to grow up in the country rather than in a bigger city.

For me, though, it was much more than all that. It was like coming home.

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Stormy Sunday.

Given that we’re expecting some wild weather this (Saturday) afternoon and evening, I’m quickly scheduling this post in case we lose power. So far, we’ve just had lots of drizzle and it’s a wonderfully cool day, but perhaps that’s the calm before the storm. I’ve decided to put the car in the shed later, just in case.

Right, then. I’m off to decide what we’ll eat tonight. Enjoy the links and enjoy your Sunday!

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Compare and Contrast.

Last year, when First Offspring was doing swimming lessons, I would take him once a week after school and sit on the benches near the pool with Fourth Offspring. First Offspring would spend twenty minutes splashing about in the water and Fourth Offspring and I would watch the swimmers come and go. A couple of times, we were joined as a woman brought her two young sons to swim. She dressed them quickly in their bathers and then once they were in the water, stripped off to a bikini and followed them into the pool.

She was very trim and looked as though she swam often. Next to her neat figure, I felt embarrassingly aware of my own rather… messy one.

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Women’s Weekly.

Happy International Women’s Day, everyone.

I planted some sunflowers at Christmastime and I’m delighted that the first of them is blooming! So exciting. If I remember, I’ll take a picture to put up with next week’s links. In the meantime, I’m celebrating Women’s Day with tea and cake. Oh, wait, that’s how I celebrate every Sunday. Well, why break with tradition, right?

Happy Day!

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In The Beginning…

Like many countries which were originally colonies, Australia has been reluctant to admit past transgressions against the original inhabitants of our country. In 2008, then Prime Minister Kevin Rudd apologised to the Stolen Generation – those Indigenous Australians who, as children, had been taken from their families to live in foster homes. Some of these children never saw their families again.  In doing this, Rudd at least expressed some understanding of the hurt and damage such a policy caused, and admitted that it had been wrong.

Tony Abbott, current Prime Minister, has decided that his legacy to Indigenous Australia will be to include in Australian’s Constitution a recognition of the Aboriginal people as original inhabitants of Australia. It will also recognise that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders have a deep connection with the land and waters.*

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Long-Weekend Links.

It’s a long weekend here in Western Australia (Labour Day), and First Offspring is also celebrating his birthday, which means that we’ll have some of his friends over for birthday tea later today. In the meantime, I’ll be doing some last-minute cleaning, and drinking a lot of tea… we woke up quite early, as you can imagine.

Summer seems to be finally over, thank goodness, and we’ve been having rain interspersed with sunshine, and the plants and animals (human and non-human) are loving it. So with that, I’ll leave you to enjoy your Sunday, and the links!

I realise that some might dismiss the correlation between the increase in natural disasters and climate change over the last several decades, but just hoping that things will improve on their own seems to be a highly ineffectual and naïve response. I would love for developed nations to take more interest in the fact that people are losing lives, homes and livelihoods from these disasters. But given that we always seem to be able to disregard the suffering of those who are different from us, then at the very least, we should care about the economics. Not only is it costly for the global community to support those affected by such disasters, but these weather events will ultimately also lead to a rise in the number of refugees, and then it really will become ‘our problem’. We will need to find ways to integrate many millions more into our countries. Can our societies or our infrastructure stand up to that? Wouldn’t it be better if we could affect change before it came to this?

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Recently I sent an email in which I wrote to the recipient that I’d attached a document. As I went to send it, Google told me that I’d mentioned I was attaching a document in the email body, but I’d not done it. Was I sure I wanted to send the email without the attachment? And I said, thank you Google, I did indeed forget, and it was kind of you to remind me. That’s helpful. But broad sweeping data retention? I don’t believe this is helpful. It’s a difficult balance, to ensure the privacy of the population while making certain that those people who would threaten the wellbeing of the population are unable to do so. According to our own politicians, the only way to ensure that we are safe is to record whom we email, text or speak to and what websites we visit. I’m not convinced. I don’t like the idea of my internet browsing history being held for two years at a time. Can the government guarantee that the data will be safe? Can they guarantee that holding all this data will make us safer? This article demonstrates just how much one can infer from metadata. It feels very Big-Brotheresque.

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When I first became vegetarian, it was mostly for environmental reasons. I’d read Diet for A Small Planet and was generally well into being a hippie, so the whole idea of eating green and shunning meat suited me just fine. But as this article points out, it’s not that simple. It rarely is, is it? For us to actually do something about climate change, we are going to need to change our lifestyle in a much bigger way.

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There is a trend of taking high school students (especially those from very privileged backgrounds) on overseas trips to help out in orphanages in developing countries. But again, like climate change, there is no sweeping one-size-fits-all solution. And there’s evidence that it actually splits families apart, rather than helping them. It’s a shame because I’m sure those who organise and go on these trips are doing it for the right reasons, but in effect, it’s a kind of neo-colonialism which ignores the importance of agency in the fight against poverty and for education.