Sunday, April 28, 2013

Anzac day and Remembering

We were in Melbourne the day after Anzac Day, and a stroll through the Royal Botanic Gardens led us to the Shrine of Remembrance. The little Bowerbird found a piece of rosemary with a poppy and tiny flag attached, it lay fallen on the path, she smelt and treasured it. I wondered whose pocket once held it. I tried to explain a little about war and the importance of remembering. There were wreaths laid at the base of monuments and sprigs of rosemary and poppies placed at the foot of memorial trees. The trees were large and tall, many of the battalions they represented have passed. A tree seems such a fitting way to remember, life goes on, the trunks rings growing as the years pass. The enormous crowd of Thursday was long gone, and there was a stillness and quiet at this huge monument. There was no field of poppies, but red salvias were equally evocative at the base of the shrine, so many names, so much blood spilt. A hedge of rosemary for remembrance.

I always think of my Poppa on Anzac Day, a man who refused to touch tinned soup, who never marched, who knew too much about war, and the loss and pain it caused both there, and when he and his fellow soldiers came back home. So many didn't cope. He didn't like to talk about the war. Poppa should never have had to see war, to be a part of it, no one should. He was a wonderful gentle man who would have been home tending his vegie patch and fruit trees, caring for his large family whom he adored, if it were not for events carried out on a world stage so far from his small country home. I am so privileged not to have seen what he saw, felt what he felt.


On Thursday I heard an interview on Radio National with Anne Wilkes Tucker (follow the link if you would like to listen to it), the curator of a huge photography exhibition that is travelling through the United States, WAR/PHOTOGRAPHYImages of Armed Conflict and Its Aftermath ". The exhibition spans 165 years and 28 nations, it took 10 years to curate.

At the end of the interview Anne Wilkes Tucker spoke of visitors reactions to the exhibition (they could write their comments on a wall): "they were heartbroken, not only by what we are capable of doing, but also ...when you see it across time, when you see the same thing happening again, and again, and again, and again, across country, across time, across space, it is sobering and it is saddening".

Lest We Forget

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

DIY Rainbow

All it took was a little prod yesterday from my sister in London. "Chalk rainbow crossings, aren't they so cute", so off I went perusing the web, I'd seen a chalk rainbow image but not really taken in what was going on.  Then, because the worldwide chalk rainbow phenomenon was awesome, I showed the kids the pictures, and told them the story. Suddenly the Bowerbird family had a strong urge to draw our own chalk rainbow. I'm sure this was all part of my sister's master plan - she knows I love this kind of thing.  All the little Bowerbird's eyes lit up when I suggested a night time graffiti session, a chance to release their inner naughty. We scoped out the best place for a drawing in the daylight, then gathered Saffron Milk Caps and pine cones on the way home. After mushroom pizza for dinner we were still inspired and, undeterred by the cold, ventured out with a bag of chalk and torches.

I thought we were being surreptitious but it turns out 8pm is peak hour at the Macedon Station pedestrian tunnel. At first we thought of hiding, but who am I kidding, it's a small town and we're drawing rainbows, arrest us. We had lots of words of encouragement, my favourite comment from a passing jogger "the family that graffiti together, stays together". Many people were aware and in full support of this colourful protest, that began with a beautifully painted rainbow crossing on Oxford St, created to celebrate Sydney's 35th Mardi Gras. Ironically a 'Mr Gay" had it removed.
The littlest had the best time, piping "I could do this all night". It sure brightens up this gloomy brick tunnel, hopefully it will be still there to admire in the daylight. I think it makes the railway tunnel feel safer.For more rainbows checkout DIY Rainbow Crossings.

On our return home there were more rainbows, solar rainbow fairy lights (still up since xmas because that's how we roll) and a beautiful bunch of rainbow roses (gifted from mum a week ago and still going strong).


I watched this video clip with my children this week and asked them if they knew what it was about.  The middle one nodded knowingly and said "gayness",  I had to laugh.  After growing up with two awesome gay aunties, its really just love to them, they don't judge who it should be between, they don't even notice. The children were horrified to hear that some people don't like gay people, and that same sex couples aren't allowed to get married in Australia. You might have said some people have purple blood to explain the incredulous look of on their faces.

I hope you're inspired to sketch a rainbow, we had soooo much fun.

Friday, April 19, 2013

The Taste of Autumn

 I've had my mum visiting me for the last week, I always cherish this time, as she lives in Indonesia. Unfortunately I can't just pop around to her place for a cuppa, which is a shame as they grow delicious coffee beans there. Mum loves taking photos too, so we picked up the little Bowerbird from kinder and dragged her out on an Autumn photo expedition.

 One minute we were admiring the many shades of Autumn leaves and before we knew it I was looking for scarlet robins on Mount Macedon.  We didn't see any but it was a wonderfully clear day up the top, and there were plenty of scarlet leaves to admire. There was a frosty bite in the air, and despite the sun filled day you could still blow smoke mid afternoon.

The cross was getting a spruce up in preparation for Anzac Day, chairs were being fixed and plants pruned. Every year I think I might like to go up for the dawn service, I'm sure its magical, and then I remember I'm not really much of a morning person.

 Of course Mr wombat just goes about his business, placing square poos in prominent places, he'd even done one on a pine cone which made me and the little Bowerbird laugh.

 The little Bowerbird was complaining of sore legs at the end of our walk so mum played chase with her.  Amazing how little one's can't walk, but they can run.

On the way back down the mountain I had to stop the car, as I had spied something growing under some pine trees, and it is the perfect time of year. Mushrooms!

 The right sort took a little finding, they do hide themselves very well. Saffron Milk Caps, how we have missed you, soft glowing orange sapphires hiding in the needles. Everyone loves to forage in our house, even those who are less fond of consuming these earthy delights.

 The little Bowerbird posed as a mushroom with her colourful friends.

  With orange stained fingers and clothes we returned to the car with our bounty.  Others were also out enjoying the day and gathering, it is a popular past time around here, part of me is glad to see others enjoying the fun of collecting and the selfish part of me is thinking, oh no they'll all be gone.

I am so glad to live in a place that highlights the seasons, letting you know the earth is turning.

For dinner, an Autumn feast.  Wild Mushroom Risotto.

Fry arborio rice in rice cooker with olive oil until translucent. Add wine and stock and water (the same liquid to rice ratio you would use in your rice cooker).  Give it a stir now and then (cheats risotto for busy mums).

Fry onion and garlic (still eating home grown of both although green shoots are beginning to appear in their middles).  Clean mushrooms with a paper towel and paint brush. Add sliced mushrooms, salt and pepper, and cook for around 10mins. At the end add parsley, thyme and chives and 1/2 a cup of cream.

To serve pour sauce over rice, add parmesan and chilli to taste.

We also had some feta and olives on the side which I would have stirred through if I did not live with fussy eaters.

Time to plant next years garlic, it seems silly planting more when we have so much, but I would be sorely missing it come December if we didn't get around to it.

Linking up with Veggiegobbler's , although dinner was more foraged than grown.