Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The Murray Mouth

The earth we abuse and the living things we kill will, in the end, take their revenge; for in exploiting their presence we are diminishing our future.  ~Marya Mannes, More in Anger, 1958

The rain arrived just before we left Goolwa which created a perfect opportunity to refrain from beach hunting and explore the Goolwa Barrage...

...and the Murray Mouth.

I was intrigued by the number of visitors to the Murray Mouth with comments always in the vein of "it's so sad isn't it! :(" (with appropriate facial expression).  I was intrigued because at the mouth of the river you see the sea moving in and out with its regular tidal activity and lots of water.  Correct me if I'm wrong but it looks similar to last time we visited.  (Yet I confess I am not a long time local so someone could put me to rights).  

The real affects of the drought on the river can be seen at the Goolwa Barrage.  This is the last of many barrages along the river which have been placed in the wake of the Mighty Murray River in order for us to farm, primarily.  I cannot see any ecological reason for the barrages to have been built and I constantly wonder why people marvel at their construction.  Wouldn't it have been better for it all to have been left alone?  All this for human consumption and greed in the process of attaining our perceived needs.

The Goolwa Barrage is holding back the river...or should I say some pools of water and a lot of sand.

This is where you see that we are definitely in drought.  The barrages haven't been able to be opened to allow water to flow through as there has been none to flow.  I am sorry we didn't have the opportunity to see Lake Alexandrina a little further upstream (see map), as I know that this would be considerably lower than when we last visited a couple of years ago.  Water Level and Salinity Predictions for 2009 are quite startling.  The lack of flow is putting the Murray Mouth at risk as sand is building up which may cause the mouth to close.  This will seriously impact the ecosystem of the Coorong.  Thus sand pumping has been in place since 2002.

When you are visiting Goolwa do head on over to Hindmarsh Island and visit the Murray Mouth which is now signed with explanations for visitors.

But be sure to make your way round to the Goolwa Barrage - not so well signposted.  Take a walk, enjoy the magnificent birdlife, wonder along with me where the birds will be living in the future and truly be informed about the state of the Mighty River Murray.   No doubt you'll wonder, along with the rest of us, where on earth the "Mighty" went.  Fortunately it is the Almighty One who is looking after us.

It is certainly very clear that Goolwa needs water now!  If you miss that, as you drive through the town, you must be blind as there are bright red signs up everywhere pleading with us all to save the town, the river and the ecosystem of the Coorong.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Waitpinga Beach

We love this beach, situated just west of Victor Harbor.  Its coarse red sand...

rugged dunes and cliff tops in the distance begging for me memories of the Cliffs of Moher  albeit on a much smaller scale...

Its rough coastline with deep crashing waves over the steep sandy banks.  Its feeling of distance and space, even though it is actually relatively secluded.    Popular with anglers for salmon apparently and also with surfers.

Of course, there was more castle building.  The sand was very easy to manipulate. It is just so coarse - quite unlike the usual soft white sandy beaches Australia is so famous for.

It is very difficult to remove and even after towelling off little Ess she still travelled home that day with newly decorated fingers and toes.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Sand, Sunshine and Rain

And for every child on the beach that day
stands a castle tall and proud ~ Sand Castles, Elvis Presley

What bliss to wake up to the sound of rain and be snug and warm in bed, home from holidays.  It has been amazing weather these past few days - rain, wind and cold that even stopped me walking to school today.  This rain, so long unseen, is definitely soothing to the soul.  I can hear the garden, veges, neighbours and schoolfriends all heave a sigh of welcome relief.

For the most part of our holiday the weather was delicious - warm and sunny, yet not at all hot.

We spent most of our time playing on the beach digging and building, having sandcastles stomped upon and chasing a certain little offender up towards the dunes amidst cries of laughter and swirls of girly giggles upon her capture.  Our new walker looked on with eager learning eyes and continued her dig, dig, digging and castle pushing!

In the afternoon, little Eee slept while we painted shells into sweet little critters.  This was inspired both by Ess' Princess Poppy: Fun and Games - A Colouring and Activity Book and our friend Bella with her rock painting...

and more castles...

Goolwa Beach delighted us all, day by day.

See you tomorrow with a few more holiday pics as I slowly regain my composure for writing.

This weather does not combine at all well with the mountains of washing we brought home.  I'm swamped in the chinese laundry our home now appears to be. :)

Saturday, April 18, 2009

I'm packing.

We hit the sunny beaches where we occupy ourselves keeping the sun off our skin, the saltwater off our bodies, and the sand out of our belongings.  ~Erma Bombeck

Blue seas and skies have beckoned again.

We are heading off tomorrow on a week's holiday.

It will be 100% tech free so I will see you  on our return with a few more photos which will probably look a little like this one...

Any guesses?  (Hint: you are viewing the Southern Ocean).

See you anon.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

An Ethical Easter?

The joyful news that He is risen does not change the contemporary world.  Still before us lie work, discipline, sacrifice.  But the fact of Easter gives us the spiritual power to do the work, accept the discipline, and make the sacrifice.  ~Henry Knox Sherrill

I find it quite difficult to eat chocolate comfortably these days knowing that a child may have been ill-treated as a slave in the cocoa farms which were the origin of my chocolate.  Indeed this is the possible origin of 70% of the world's chocolate.  How did you feel at Easter consuming your chocolate Easter eggs?  Or perhaps you bought Fair Trade chocolate so you could indulge knowing that the economy of some family somewhere was being aided by your purchase in an equitable way.

We enjoy consuming Haigh's chocolate because they are superbly made, taste delicious, have brilliant displays in their stores, are local to us in South Australia and also support quality local causes.  They make a lovely Easter Bilby as seen above.  (Yes, it is still in the plastic wrapper and I really did take that photo just this morning.  Our family shares our chocolate and we enjoy it in the weeks following Easter.)  Part proceeds from the sale of Haigh's Chocolate Bilbies helps protect the Bilby's habitat through the work of the Foundation for a Rabbit Free Australia.  They also produced a Murray Cod this year to support this vulnerable species.  These were our Easter treats.

I was not entirely satisfied however, that our indulgence would be "child slave free" so I wrote to Haigh's indicating that "we are becoming increasingly concerned about the means by which chocolate is farmed.  We cannot sit comfortably with the fact that for us to indulge in chocolate a child has possibily been enslaved."  I asked them why they were not on this Good Chocolate Guide to Australia presented by World Vision.
The little white bunny in the photo will soon be given away as a random act of kindness on our behalf.  Ess and I didn't read very many kindnesses which were made before Easter.  We hope this is due to the fact that you simply didn't get back here to let us know rather than that there were no kindnesses carried out! So keep being kind and perhaps a little less busy ;)

Haigh's passed my email onto the Confectionery Manufacturers of Australasia who responded promptly to let me know what they are doing to change the lives of cocoa farming families in West Africa.  I find it quite encouraging but I still am not guaranteed that children are not being harmed.  Apparently "all Australian chocolate manufacturers are part of building an ethical supply chain through a holistic process called Certification that assesses labour and farming practices, implements remedial measures and then goes back to check on the progress."  The chocolate industry, local aid organisations and the governments of Ghana and Ivory Coast are working together to educate and break the poverty cycle.  More details can be found on the CMA website - candy.  (The name leaves a little to be desired, would you agree? sshhhh, you cynic).

So it seems that work is being done.  Did you know about it?  Is the media telling us this?  Am I ignorant of the positives?  Or is it simply that the work is supposed to be being done so that we can continue to be ignorant consumers and indulge in chocolate no matter where and how the cocoa is being sourced?  We just need to be told that improvements are being made and trust that hopefully they are??

It comes down to publicity doesn't it.  We can only believe what we are told and then what we discover when we question this information.  Unless we actually go to Ghana and the Ivory Coast and see the children and the families working to make a living on their cocoa farms, we will never actually know the truth of the situation.

What are your thoughts? Do you buy Fair Trade chocolate?  Are you happy enough with the situation to leave it to the authorities and the government to sort out what they think is best?  Did you eat your easter eggs and give a second thought to where they came from?

Tuesday, April 14, 2009


For I remember it is Easter morn,
And life and love and peace are all new born.  ~Alice Freeman Palmer

Wide expanses of sunny, crisp blue skies...

clear, vivid blue seas, stretching as far as the eye can see...

beckoned us outdoors.

We heard the call.  We responded.

We took our bikes and rode the paths on the foreshores of Semaphore and Largs Bay.

It has been a long time since we have ridden.  Two years ago I was pregnant.  We have waited and waited for little Eee to be big enough to ride in her seat on Dad's bike.  We have waited for ideal weather ~ cool mornings, warm days.  We rode and rode and rode and rode... Ess did so well on her own.  Finally, at the end of the day, we returned...

revitalised, energized, renewed.

Hoping Easter was the same for you.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Eggs in Our Basket

Where man sees but withered leaves, God sees sweet flowers growing.  ~Albert Laighton

A circle of rainbow-coloured tiny Easter eggs of salt dough were the order of the day for me and my girls.

We had such fun, all afternoon, stirring the salt dough, colouring it, pressing it, pulling it, making little handprints...

Eee's handprint inside Ess'

We formed them into tiny eggs to be dried... 

...and placed into an Easter basket, handmade and decorated by Ess...

...with a little help from little Eee.  The putting in and out of the basket was a great hit for her.

All to remind us of the gift of new life.

Thanks for your inspiration Mel, we loved Bella's basket of eggs.

Children's craft...perhaps sometimes looking a little wilted, a little laboured, a little skewed (particularly after returning from a day at school where most of the eggs were given away to classmates) yet God sees the flowers growing, the little hands learning about making, creating, preparing, giving, increasing their abilities, developing motor skills along with attitudes about themselves and their gifts and abilities.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Ess' Muff and Mittens Set

Really, all you need to become a good knitter are wool, needles, hands, and slightly below-average intelligence.  Of course, superior intelligence, such as yours and mine, is an advantage.  ~Elizabeth Zimmerman

Recently I referred to Ess' "essentials".  Today I thought I'd share a glimpse of part of those seeing as I managed to finished the final mitten over the weekend.  What is it about that second mitten, the second sock, the second sleeve??  It seems we are all agreed that the next project is too enticing, it simply must be commenced, and it is hard to go back to complete the first one.  So I have commenced, completed, and been inspired to undertake many other projects since I finished that first mitten.   I have to say, I am a project completer and while I have many ongoing projects in my house I rarely have something that is completely  left unfinished.  My thoughts about that second mitt etc. are that creators are always inspired by the "something new", we always see and invoke new ideas - hence the reason we are creative people.  This is where our gifting lies.  There are others who are more productive and more administrative and are there to keep us organised and ordered (Hint: that is not really me, although I do work so hard at it).

So here is the completed set - a pair of mittens and a sweet muff.  They have already been worn.  Can you notice more wear in the left mitten?  Ess looks at every opportunity to put on a pair of gloves.  "I know what I'll do Mummy.  I'll wear just the mittens when it's just a bit cold and then when it's really cold I'll wear the muff ... but I won't be able to hold the stroller to cross the road :) I'll just have to take one of my hands out!"

Ess chose the wool. I don't think I would have chosen the same as she has, but then, they are hers.  Isn't that something a mother does day by day? - let go of much that you love, desire and enjoy so that the little ones in your life, whom you love and desire to have satisfied, are pleased.  In the process I fear I am losing my own sense of taste - hopefully not.

Ess chose parade by bella baby which is 100% soft nylon.  It is certainly very, very soft which is, I am certain, the reason it was chosen.  Along with the very bright colours.  The ends of the muff are knitted with Moda Vera Jazz.

Thankyou Susan for finding me this pattern for the mittens which was very easy to knit.  Great for my first ever pair of mittens.  It came from the Lion website.

So, here is one of the little kind deeds I love to do for my family - not sure this one was a surprise but I know it makes Ess feel very valued.  If you have one to share for my giveaway, don't forget to leave your comment before Easter Sunday this weekend.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Autumn Sunshine

Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.  ~Albert Camus

warm autumn sunshine
spreads its rays through coloured leaves
dangling tenderly

Isn't this a beautiful sight!  The morning sunshine, not long risen, shining brightly through changing trees.  Twas a beautiful feeling as well.  This is the reason I keep walking to school day by day.  The path is just so well planted and walking it allows time to really take everything in - the rays of sunshine, the twitter of the birds, the chatter of little girls, the changing seasons, along with the roar of cars on their way to work and school, the 'ding ding' of passing bicycles and scooters, and a few chatty Mums.

There is something about Autumn which seems to inspire me to write poetry.  This year it is Haiku, last year it was ... you'll have to go and take a peak at the beautiful Autumn we had last year. I am hoping that in a couple of weeks we'll see heaps more colour here.

Our New Treasure

Lilypie Maternity tickers


Blog Widget by LinkWithin