The Week Links: Summer Edition.

Yes, I’ve been a little remiss with the links lately. Who knew summer holidays, swimming lessons, stationery shopping and work (plus the usual busy-ness) would keep me run off my feet these last several weeks? Well, everyone, probably, but it still always comes as a surprise to me that there are not enough hours in the day.

We’re expecting a warm day today–not as warm as Perth, but still summery–and I hope to be able to pick the last of the boysenberries and pretend to get organised for another school week (but no doubt I’ll end up working and/or reading a book and patting the cat. Possibly taking the dog for a walk. Maybe eating some cake…)

Enjoy the links!

Continue reading

Sowing the Seeds.

I’ve been out planting seeds this morning. I planted sunflowers a few weeks ago and was very happy to see them pop out of the ground only a few days later, and then they were all eaten by snails. Grr.

So I’ve planted more. I have a lot of seeds because I saved them from the sunflowers I planted last year, which means I can afford to lose a few to snails. But you can be sure that I’ll be buying coffee when I next go shopping (coffee is poisonous to snails and slugs). And as I was walking around with my watering can, giving the seeds a soak, my thoughts turned to the TPP. It’s not as big a leap as you might think–saving seeds is something which is common to both gardeners and farmers the world over, and with the trade agreement having been apparently rushed through, I’m concerned about how this will affect our agricultural sector, and the environment, as well as a host of other areas.

Continue reading

The Week Links: in which our blogger sees cousins!

I’ve been busy with family over the past couple of weeks–our Offspring have been on their school holidays (a two-week break) and also, my cousins, whom I’ve not seen for over a decade, came to visit. It was really great to see them, and meet their children (and introduce ours) and now our Offspring are sad because I told them that the cousins live on the other side of the country! Still, it was lovely to see them all getting along, and my cousins are as awesome as they ever were.

Now, on with the links!

Continue reading

The Right Price.

A friend of mine and I were talking online recently, where he was teasing me about something I’d said, and we were light-heartedly discussing my work in the coal mining industry. Of course, I’ve never worked in the coal mining industry, which my friend knows (hence the joke) and I responded that I was intending to take up a position with Philip Morris instead, the humour being that both of these industries were facing falling profits and had questionable practices when it came to ethics and/or the environment.

I guess you had to be there.

Continue reading

The Power of the Passion.

You might remember I mentioned last week that we have new kittens. After we had to put our cat down, and knowing that the remaining one would be following that route soon (sob!), we looked around to see if we could find some more cats to take on. We knew we wanted to get more than one, because when our old guy does die, it would be sad for a new cat to suddenly be in a still unfamiliar place without anyone of its own species. So when we saw an ad for a special deal on two feline friends looking for a home, I rang the number immediately.

Continue reading

The Week Links: in which our blogger bakes a lot of bread.

Fruit bread and English muffin bread, to be precise. The English muffin bread is a new recipe. I’m interested to see how it turns out, but it’s rising right now, so I thought I’d just jump online and post the links while I wait for it to be ready for the oven. It’s a deliciously gloomy day here on the south coast, and the chooks are in their portable pen, I’ve planted lettuce seeds with our Offspring, and the Handsome Sidekick has fixed the gate which was damaged in yesterday’s strong winds. All in all, a productive day! Enjoy your Sunday, and the links…

Continue reading

The Week Links: in which our blogger sleeps in, and eats Gummibears.

It’s been a busy weekend, with soccer for First Offspring yesterday as well as visiting some friends on their farm in the afternoon. Today has so far been about sleeping in, eating chocolate chip biscuits and Haribo Goldbears, and drinking tea. My Offspring came in to cuddle me before I got out of bed and they had all made me a card for Mother’s Day (we don’t really do presents in our family for these kinds of celebrations). Now they’re watching a movie, and shortly, I plan to head out for a run with the dog. As far as weekends go, I’m chalking this one up as successful! Hope yours is too. Enjoy the links!

Continue reading

An Easter Exploration.

I’m cheating a little, by using ‘Easter’ in my title, so that I can use another ‘E’ word. In fact, this post has nothing to do with Easter, other than it’s on Easter Sunday. So far I’m limiting everyone’s chocolate but they’ve probably already had more this morning than they usually have in a week, and combined with too little sleep, we’re up for an interesting day. By interesting, I mean a few meltdowns and tantrums. I also (somewhat unwisely?) chose this weekend to begin toilet training in earnest with Fourth Offspring. What was I thinking?!

I see many mugs of tea in my future.

Have a contented Sunday, everyone!

Continue reading

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!

Continue reading

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?

* * * * *

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.

* * * * *

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.

* * * * *

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.