Saturday, February 8, 2014

Doing it tough

I've always hated hot weather. My Celtic body thermometer insists that anything over 25 degrees is way too hot. And the high temperatures we've been consistently having here in Ballarat have been way way too hot for me - think up to 42 degrees some days.  Being retired, I can choose to stay inside in air-conditioned comfort. My garden is feeling it too and although no plants have been lost, all are wilting in the heat, just like me.
But while I love my garden, I don't rely on it to provide me with food. And with no current water restrictions, apart from being sensible and careful and not wasteful, I can still give plants a shower in the cool of the early morning or evening.
And there's the thing. We rely on our farmers to provide us with food - the beef and lamb for our roasts and barbecues, the grain for our cereals and breads, the wool that keeps us cosy. But with the long-term drought conditions being experienced in many parts of Australia, it's a struggle. You only have to listen to or watch the news to realise how dire the situation is.
Blogger Chookyblue  lives on a farm in NSW and her posts about lack of water, about having to handfeed stock because there has been no rain for a long time therefore no grass, about the increasing cost and decreasing availability of feed,  about handrearing newborn calves because their mothers simply cannot provide milk, about having to slaughter breeding stock, about dust and constant worry are heartbreaking. Her stories and photos give a personal slant to what we see/hear on the news.
Here, with her blessing, are a few of Chooky's photos.
Hand-feeding sheep
A bone-dry dam

 With all the discussion of the pros and cons of industry assistance at present, it's to be hoped the Government will take quick action to help out, because this vital sector is doing it very, very tough.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

This and that

I don't know where January went - oh yes I do, I was having fun hanging out with my girl Rosy, who was visiting from China. She's lived there for nearly 8 years, teaching English to little Chinese children at various kindergartens in Shekou, which is in Shenzhen, near Hong Kong. She loves it.

We all loved being together, having meals out or cooking at home, watching telly, chatting, you know, just normal everyday family stuff, which was very special because we don't get to do it very often.

It was great to have her here during her Chinese New Year break, which is our summer, because apart from the hideously hot first week it was good to be out and about in the sunshine. Other times she has been back in winter  and we have all stayed inside and moaned about the cold (winters in Ballarat are long and chilly).

I was really keen to take Rosy to see the film Saving Mr Banks because she loved the Mary Poppins books when she was young and worked as a nanny for several years (minus Mary P's parrot-headed umbrella and carpetbag, of course). We enjoyed it. She made a gorgeous button bracelet from some very smart black and silver buttons purchased from Spotlight, which is always one of her must-visit places. I think that Millrose Cottage at Ballan has been added to that list following a breakfast catch-up with my friends Jodie and Annie and Maria and a forage around the gorgeous patchwork shop. Some nifty last-minute sewing by her wonderful mother LOL added three cushion covers to her luggage.

She and her dad talked about cricket and footy (I was very happy to dip out of those conversations, being generally uninterested in sport) and she spent lots of time with our dogs.

We were all sorry when she flew back to the country she now calls home;  it was such a happy, relaxing time for all of us.

I handed over my Initial Heart Swap goodies to Shez this morning when we met for coffee at the Upholstery Gallery in Ballarat, one of my favourite places for coffee and browsing, so now I can show what we made for each other.

Shez made me this gorgeous cushion.
And after spending quite a while wondering what to make and changing my mind umpteen times, I decided on these smaller  items. I really enjoyed making them and enjoyed being able to hand them over in person. Many thanks to Shez for the appreciative response, and for the lovely gift she made for me, and to
Cheryll for organising such a fun swap.