my view of the natural world

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More on Depression


Nothing more I can add to this…..

Originally posted on Damn the Matrix:

It’s a miserable day today.  Cold, rainy, and worst of all…….  the AGA’s flue looks like it’s blocked up, and getting up on the roof to clean it out in this weather is simply out of the question!  My fault, I had scrap pine left over, and I decided to put it through the stove to get rid of it, and now I pay the price……. at least, all things being equal, we might end up with full tanks again by the time this deluge ends, we do need the rain.


Nicole Thornton

The passing of Robin Williams by his own hand has caused much gnashing of teeth on the internet, and a rebound in posts about depression and suicide.  So this is what I’m writing about on this rainy afternoon.  The post I put up about ‘everyone I know is heartbroken’ attracted a lot of attention; then the other…

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASorry, but the cat’s got my tongue these days….  so I’m leaving it to Fred to tell the story.

Rally this Saturday at Parliament House

Originally posted on WattleRangeNow:

Save our Food Bowl, Water and Tourism State Rally and March.

We would love your help to stop proposed invasive gas and mining projects on our farmland and in our ocean that pose a major threat to our clean water, soil and air, affecting our agricultural, marine and tourism industries.

A rally has been arranged Saturday 2 August 2014by the LCPA

9.45am GATHER at Parliament House10.00am START RALLY
10.20am MARCH to Victoria Square
(There will be some brief speeches at Parliament House and Victoria Square)
We strongly urge everyone in rural areas as well as our city friends to come and join us.
The Adelaide City Council will provide parking for any farm machinery, e.g. tractors and trucks. But please let Anne Daw know if you can bring any farm machinery, so that provisions for parking can be made with the Adelaide City Council.
Please feel free to…

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Open Letter by a Farmer concerning Rex Mines to all residents of Yorke Peninsula


Another example of a world gone crazy on greed. It’s time for ordinary people to revolt!

Originally posted on Sustainable Communities SA - McLaren Vale Group:

Preface by David Ninnes Sustainable Communities McLaren Vale

Please support the farmers of Yorke Peninsula by attending the

Save Our Food Bowl Rally
Saturday August 2nd 2014
9:45am on steps of Parliament House 

The appalling way that Rex Mining and the government are treating this issue is beyond belief. Our hearts go out to the author of this letter and to all of the farmers and residents who have without wavering opposed the mining of copper and other minerals because it is their right and also because the Yorke Peninsula is a major part of Australia’s food bowl. We do not need this mine! We need to protect the areas history, culture & traditions, the ecology and biodiversity for the sake of all Australians, future generations and the planet. I will be at the rally – please join me in support of  this cause – see you there.

Open Letter to…

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Billy Connolly CBE


I’ll drink to that!

Originally posted on Silver of the Stars: Creative Learning Resource:

Billy drinks several cups of tea every day and enjoys them immensely although tea is only his second favourite beverage – his first choice would eb alcohol, which unfortunately he’s no longer allowed, as he drank his share all at once, not knowing it was supposed to last a lifetime. BC Photo Cosy Hi ResBilly would like to invite God round for tea as there are several issues that he feels should be brought to his attention, not least being the poor refereeing at Celtic games, but he guesses he’s busy in the Middle East right now and so alternatively he’d love to soend some time with Nelson Mandela or Keith Richards.

Billy Conolly 5 bf 005Billy has always felt it beneficial to have a code to live by to assist in avoiding life’s mosre treacherous pitfalls. His has always been to never trust a man, who, when he’s alone in a room with a tea cosy, doesn’t…

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Time for Tea

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERACome and share a pot of tea,
My home is warm and my friendship’s free
    Emilie Barnes

Fallen Boys


I am aghast at Australia’s continued collusion with Israel allowing these atrocities to continue. Shame Abbott shame!

Originally posted on CollTales:

Where Children Are
Killed & No One Cares

The original, moving tribute to Ahed Atef Bakr, Zakaria Ahed Bakr, Mohamed Ramez Bakr, and Ismael Mohamed Bakr, ages 8 to 10, killed by Israel’s shells at Gaza, was done by Israeli artist Almir Shiby.
We took the liberty of including the heartbreaking picture of the grief stricken father of one of the boys, taken by Hosam Salem. If nothing is done to stop this carnage, we’re all guilty by association.

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Flowing beards

I recently attended a farm auction and couldn’t help but be reminded of Banjo Patterson’s poem “The Man from Ironbark”. 

The Man from Ironbark by A B Patterson

It was the man from Ironbark who struck the Sydney town,
He wandered over street and park, he wandered up and down.
He loitered here, he loitered there, till he was like to drop,
Until at last in sheer despair he sought a barber’s shop.
`’Ere! shave my beard and whiskers off, I’ll be a man of mark,
I’ll go and do the Sydney toff up home in Ironbark.’

The barber man was small and flash, as barbers mostly are,
He wore a strike-your-fancy sash, he smoked a huge cigar:
He was a humorist of note and keen at repartee,
He laid the odds and kept a `tote’, whatever that may be,
And when he saw our friend arrive, he whispered `Here’s a lark!
Just watch me catch him all alive, this man from Ironbark.’

There were some gilded youths that sat along the barber’s wall,
Their eyes were dull, their heads were flat, they had no brains at all;
To them the barber passed the wink, his dexter eyelid shut,
`I’ll make this bloomin’ yokel think his bloomin’ throat is cut.’
And as he soaped and rubbed it in he made a rude remark:
`I s’pose the flats is pretty green up there in Ironbark.’

A grunt was all reply he got; he shaved the bushman’s chin,
Then made the water boiling hot and dipped the razor in.
He raised his hand, his brow grew black, he paused awhile to gloat,
Then slashed the red-hot razor-back across his victim’s throat;
Upon the newly shaven skin it made a livid mark –
No doubt it fairly took him in — the man from Ironbark.

He fetched a wild up-country yell might wake the dead to hear,
And though his throat, he knew full well, was cut from ear to ear,
He struggled gamely to his feet, and faced the murd’rous foe:
`You’ve done for me! you dog, I’m beat! one hit before I go!
I only wish I had a knife, you blessed murdering shark!
But you’ll remember all your life, the man from Ironbark.’

He lifted up his hairy paw, with one tremendous clout
He landed on the barber’s jaw, and knocked the barber out.
He set to work with tooth and nail, he made the place a wreck;
He grabbed the nearest gilded youth, and tried to break his neck.
And all the while his throat he held to save his vital spark,
And `Murder! Bloody Murder!’ yelled the man from Ironbark.

A peeler man who heard the din came in to see the show;
He tried to run the bushman in, but he refused to go.
And when at last the barber spoke, and said, `’Twas all in fun –
‘Twas just a little harmless joke, a trifle overdone.’
`A joke!’ he cried, `By George, that’s fine; a lively sort of lark;
I’d like to catch that murdering swine some night in Ironbark.’

And now while round the shearing floor the list’ning shearers gape,
He tells the story o’er and o’er, and brags of his escape.
`Them barber chaps what keeps a tote, By George, I’ve had enough,
One tried to cut my bloomin’ throat, but thank the Lord it’s tough.’
And whether he’s believed or no, there’s one thing to remark,
That flowing beards are all the go way up in Ironbark.


Glyphosate + Wheat linked to gluten intolerance, celiac disease, and irritable bowel syndrome


Considering the massive increase in people’s intolerances, this seems as good a place to look as any.

Originally posted on GMO Awareness:

Gluten Wheat Glyphosate RoundUp GMO

New evidence points to glyphosate, the active ingredient in Monsanto’s RoundUp weedkiller, as the culprit in the rise of gluten intolerance, celiac disease and irritable bowel syndrome.

No, this isn’t coming from Monsanto’s test plots of wheat genetically engineered to resist RoundUp (yet). This is coming from a standard practice used on the vast majority of non-organic wheat grown in the United States and other countries…

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A little adventuring – Part 2

One of the mid-north towns we stopped at on the trip was Wirrabara.  It’s a favourite little town of mine, mostly because it has a great produce market once a month – and I timed the visit to co-incide with one.  Sorry, didn’t take any photos of the market, as I was too busy catching up with old friends, and buying yummy food :-)

The following morning though, I took a quiet walk around the town, and on a Monday morning in winter, it was very quiet.  The locals I did see, were friendly in their greetings.  There’s a saying in South Australia, that the further north one travels, the friendlier the people get, and I have to agree that its been my experience also.  Perhaps it’s to do with the climate – further south where its colder, people tend to stay in the their homes more…….

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA The town park is well set up for visitors, with toilets, and shelters and BBQ facilities.  A lovely creek flows through it in winter, and there are plenty of frogs and birds to listen to.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis mural in the park was constructed as part of the Centenary of Federation Celebrations.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOne of the pieces of playground equipment.  :-)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMany towns have paintings on the electricity poles, and the theme for this one appears to be birds.


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis church was built during the Great Depression, which I think quite an incredible effort.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIt’s obvious it’s a farming area.  During last summer, bush fires came very close to the town, and it was a very concerning time for all.  Thankfully, it survived.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe local craft shop is well worth a visit, with a wide selection of local produce, such as jams and honey etc, and woollen garments, fleeces, timber carvings, and stunning fibre work by a local artist.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis is the site of the monthly market, and the verandah and decking is a recent addition.  The market is a real meeting place, and great tea, coffee and cakes make it a perfect place to catch up.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERARoses roses and roses were everywhere, and really enjoying the season.  Yes, it’s midwinter and the roses are in full leaf and bloom!

For more on the history of this area, please follow this link.


The little adventuring – Part 1

Three years ago I left the area I loved and moved from the Mid-North of South Australia to the Lower South East.  It was for the sake of my health, as the farming chemicals in the area were dramatically adversely affecting my daily life.  Coastal life held some reprive…..  and so I became an environmental refugee.  My heart has always remained in the North; no matter how much I tried to love this area, it never really spoke to me in the way that the north does, and in particular, the Flinder’s Ranges.  If there’s a place on this Earth that I feel at home, it is in the Flinders.

So I resolved to take a journey back, to see if it really was how I still felt, or if I was simply in love with the notion, and not the reality.  I was also looking forward to catching up with old friends.  A new friend from this area, and also relatively new to Australia, accompanied me on this trip, while Fred and the cats went into boarding.  Merriwether stayed at home, keeping the grass mowed.  The plan was to be away for about 10 days, with three days at Melrose, at the base of Mt. Remarkable, Southern Flinders Ranges.  It was a flexible timetable, to allow for happenstance, which incidently, did happen :-)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis is what I travelled hundreds of kilometers to see - Mt. Remarkable.  It really is quite amazing how it suddenly appears out of the plain.  All 960 metres of it.  For one who now lives at virtual sea level, it’s balm for the soul.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA While surfing the net for somewhere to stay, I came across Kookaburra Creek Bush Retreat, and thought it seemed worth a try.  So very glad I did!  Initially we booked in for three nights, then added an extra night for good measure.  The bus was within my budget, and it was great!  It bit like camping with an outdoor kitchen, but with more comfort for sleeping on cold nights.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASweet and simply furnished, it fulfilled its role wonderfully.

I’ll write more about the Retreat in another post, as there’s far too much to talk about in this one, to do it full justice, but here’s a few bits to whet your appetite.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHere’s a couple of locals, enjoying the peaceful surroundings.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOnly in Australia out bush would you be likely to see a notice like this :-)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThere are many old trucks strategically placed around the large property and yes, I took many many pictures of them.   Wallace the Blue Heeler, is resident guide dog, and takes all new visitors for a walk around the grounds.  Although still quite young, he was very well mannered and a real pleasure to have the company of.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMy companion also loved taking plenty of pictures of the trucks.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAA late afternoon view of the Northern Flinders Ranges.  I spent a decade living in them…. a long time ago….

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAReturning to the Mount at sunset, after a day out at Quorn.

Overall, we were very lucky with the weather, it being mid-winter Downunder, as rain didn’t dampen too many days.  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

One morning I rose before the sun and climbed up high to catch the sun as it rose over the tree tops.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOn this morning, the golden light was wonderful as were the birds singing to it. No crowds here to spoil it.

Of course, there were many other places and people I saw along the way, all of it memorable.  More on it later… I hear rumblings approaching from yet another storm – winter is well and truly arrived!


Do we exaggerate the dangers of conventional fabrics?


Dangers are not exaggerated. If anything, humans underestimate the damage being done to themselves and their environment.

Originally posted on O ECOTEXTILES:

We received a comment on one of our blog posts recently in which the reader chastised us for exaggerating issues which they believe are disproportionate to the facts. In their words: For instance formaldehyde… is a volatile chemical…no doubt it is used in the textile industry a great deal…but looking for this chemical in end products is an example chasing a ghost…. It has to be put in perspective. I do not know of any citation that a human developed cancer because they wore durable press finished clothing.

Please follow along as I itemize the reasons that we don’t feel the issues are exaggerated.

Textiles are full of chemicals. The chemicals found in fabrics have been deemed to be, even by conservative organizations such as the Swedish government, simply doing us no good – and even harming us in ways ranging from subtle to profound. But fabrics are just one…

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Stormy times

I have returned from my adventures, just in time to experience storms in my local area – storms that are travelling across most of South East Australia.   It seems somewhat reflective of my state of mind…..

I had a great time overall, took many pictures, did lots of exploring, all of which will be revealed later.  So far, I’ve not downloaded the images….

It’s not easy settling into life at sea level again.  Hmm….  not sure at this stage which is the best solution to that……

My four-legged family seem pleased to have me back again, although Fred may miss the extra attention he got on his other holiday.  It’s certainly  the weather to have a cat curled up on one’s lap :-)  and they are loving the warm hearth at night :-)

Time passes

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOnce upon a time, it was a rare day I didn’t take a whole heap of pictures with my camera.  Now, for a variety of reasons, it is reversed – more and more days go by without my camera leaving its case.  It is partly because I’m getting more selected of what I ‘shoot’ but also simply other things are taking priority at present.

Later in the week, it will change, as I’m going on a little adventure for a while, and intend to take many images along the way.  Who knows, there may even be some ‘selfies’ !  I’ll not be on the internet much if at all during my ‘adventure’ but will show you what I’ve been up to on my return :-)

Inspiration from Ruby Ranch Horse Rescue.


Not all humanity is heartless, as this wonderful horsewoman shows through her actions. Please support her and others rescue efforts.

Originally posted on Horses |AnnaBlakeBlog | Equestrian:


Viking re-homed, Beryl still looking.

Some rescue groups prove their point by showing graphic photos of the very worst cases of abuse and neglect. These horrific images cower in a dark corner of my brain forever. Their torture leaves a mark on us, too. Maybe people think that the more blood-dried wounds, protruding bones and dull eyes I see, the more I will care.

I wonder how many of us get inspired by the gore, versus the number of us that just shut down. We look away because we are full to the top with pleading eyes and it just rubs salt in the wound, not that the wound was anywhere near healing in the first place.

“You can’t save them all!” That’s what my mother said when I was little and it still puts a lump in my throat. What a sorry excuse for inaction. What a petty reason…

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Snapshots of Penola Festival

Last Saturday I travelled to Penola to see some of the events taking place during the Penola Coonawarra Arts Festival.

The weather was perfect – no rain, no wind – couldn’t ask for more!

There was too much for me to take in with limited time, but what I did see was great and it was so nice to chat with other creative people.  Here’s a brief overview of some that I saw.


I’ve been fleeced!!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOne day I was wandering around all bundled up in fine merino wool……..

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThen I was kidnapped and held to ransom!   I got FLEECED!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIt was bad enough when the dog didn’t recognise me and barked at me when I arrived back at the cottage, then the cats laughed, as only cats can – they think they are SO superior to anything else!  But the cattle – BAAAA!  They all gathered together to stare at me – how RUDE!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERADon’t need company like that anyway!

E’s got all my wool now, and keeps talking about taking a photo sometime to show you all how wonderful it is.  Apparently it’s very high class microns.  At least she’s making sure I’m warm at night, and giving me extra food, and the weather has been quite mild.   And do you know, there’s times when I feel quite frisky, now that I’m not carrying all that wool around!  I guess there’s always a bright side to anything :-)


Household gas bills to increase by $162-00


Let the people be well informed and not duped by corporations and governments.

Originally posted on WattleRangeNow:

by S Lowe 5THE FM newsonline wattlerangenow

‘It’s a hard narrative to sell, to a community, to a government, that we are going to increase production of gas and we are going to export it, and in the meantime, domestic gas supplies will be diminished and domestic prices will go up. I’m a politician and I’m pretty good at selling a story, but I’d find that a tough one to sell’. Colin Barnett, Premier WA

Coal Seam Gas Will Cost YOU More
Fact Sheet: East Coast Gas Supply in Australia
Quick Facts
• The CSG export industry is causing domestic gas prices to rise by linking us to world prices
• In 2015 they will increase gas bills by up to $162/yr for households and $625/yr for businesses
• Wholesale gas prices will triple, causing up to 100,000 direct manufacturing jobs to be lost
• In total, rising prices will…

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The Anthropocene: It’s Not All About Us

Originally posted on Damn the Matrix:

heinbergA guest post from my friend Richard Heinberg, originally published as MuseLetter #264 in May 2014.  This is a long but important essay. I recommend a large cup of your favourite poison, and a biscuit or two….  Enjoy!

Download printable PDF version here (PDF, 126 KB)

Time to celebrate! Woo-hoo! It’s official: we humans have started a new geological epoch—the Anthropocene. Who’d have thought that just one species among millions might be capable of such an amazing accomplishment?

Let’s wait to stock up on party favours, though. After all, the Anthropocene could be rather bleak. The reason our epoch has acquired a new name is that future geologists will be able to spot a fundamental discontinuity in the rock strata that document our little slice of time in Earth’s multi-billion year pageant. This discontinuity will be traceable to the results of human presence. Think climate change, ocean acidification, and…

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Confession time


I sleep in organic bedding, it’s the least I can do to my long suffering body, but if only that could apply to all fabrics I have contact with.

Originally posted on O ECOTEXTILES:

Sometimes I wonder if I’m making too much fuss about organic fabrics. I mean, we live surrounded by textiles, and nobody – well, o.k., most people –  don’t have immediate reactions to the fabric. I can use towels and sheets and still wake up in the morning feeling just fine. Organic fabrics don’t look or feel any different from conventional fabrics. Just like organic food, the only difference seems to be in the price tag.

So it’s always with, I don’t know, relief perhaps, when I find support for the fact that textiles are filled with chemical substances that can gravely harm us. I just found a report by the Swedish Chemicals Agency which was asked by the Swedish government to develop proposals and principles for a piece of EU legislation on hazardous chemicals in textiles. (click here to read the entire report.). It was published in April 2013.


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“If you only look at what is, you might never attain what could be”. – Anonymous

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA“You have to dream before your dreams can come true.” – Abdul Kalam
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA“Without leaps of imagination, or dreaming, we lose the excitement of possibilities. Dreaming, after all, is a form of planning.” – Gloria Steinem


“So many of our dreams at first seem impossible, then they seem improbable, and then, when we summon the will, they soon become inevitable.” – Christopher Reeve

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA“People need dreams, there’s as much nourishment in ‘em as food.” – Dorothy Gilman

Community Radio needs your help


Keep the voice of the community!

Originally posted on WattleRangeNow:


by S Lowe 5THEFM newsonlinewattlerangenow

With just a few days to go to the Budget, we need you to put your voice behind 5THE FM and our fellow stations around Australia. Please click onto the link below and send you support to the treasurer.

The scrapping  of Community Radio removes community voice – your voice.

Please take the time to send your support.


S Lowe 5 THE FM Manager

Listeners please go to to email the Treasurer Joe Hockey.

We know how passionate listeners are about community broadcasting. Let’s turn that passion into action by emailing the Treasurer and call on him to make sure that cuts to community broadcasting funding aren’t included in the Federal Budget.

The more emails that are sent to the Treasurer (emails will also be copied to the Communications and Finance Ministers too), the greater chance we have of ensuring community broadcasting…

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The Harvest

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI gathered the final pumpkins from the garden a few days ago, a little earlier than I’d have liked, but it was a question of getting them in before the rodents ate them!  This lot should last me six months anyway as this variety – a type of Queensland Blue – is a good keeper.  And it keeps my arm muscles strong – cutting into these hard skins is not for the faint-hearted!  It’s a busy busy time in the garden, pulling out the last of the summer crops, and putting in the next ones – garlic, onions, brassicas so far, with more to go in soon, including peas peas and more peas :-)

Nights are cooler so it’s collection time for firewood – I’d prefer to do it during the summer but the danger of snakes is too high for me then.  Living the simple life is lovely, but golly there’s often not too many moments to savour it, especially at the change of seasons.

Taking a couple of days off though, for some R&R, and have vehicle maintenance done.  See you later :-)

Flying – it’s Supercat!


I fly because it releases my mind from the tyranny of petty things. ~Antoine de Saint-Exupery