Sunday, 31 January 2010

New Year of the Trees

Yesterday was the Jewish holiday of Tu Bishvat – which is the birthday of trees. In the tradition, all fruit trees celebrate their birthday on this day. In honour of the trees’ birthday, we made a cake – peach and mango cobbler; yum! (Well, that’s my excuse, and I’m sticking to it!)

Tu Bishvat is one of the best Jewish holidays, and not just because it’s traditional to eat fruit and nuts – it’s also one of the few holidays that doesn’t commemorate some past suffering and persecution.

So, as is traditional, we planted a tree.

19 tree planting

It’s a great holiday, really. Imagine if everyone in the world celebrated by planting a tree every year. Imagine six and a half billion trees being planted each year.

The tree we planted is a Lilly Pilly, which is an Australian native fruit tree. It already had a few fruits on it when we got it – they’re small pink berries a bit like tiny rose apples, but Littletree already ate them all!

Purple did the hard work of digging a hole in the ground (actually, it was the spot where I had a little blueberry tree planted, but the @#$% brush turkeys dug it up and killed it).

15 tree planting

Littletree put the little tree in the ground

16 tree planting

and I pressed the soil in

17 tree planting 

We put some chicken wire around this tree, so hopefully the brush turkeys wont get this tree too (they also killed my Lemon Myrtle tree), otherwise we’ll be having roast wild turkey for dinner next week!

Happy New Year of the Trees!

Tuesday, 26 January 2010

Bunya Nuts for Australia Day

Sadly, my computer power cable broke, so I'm temporarily crippled without my beloved laptop. Thankfully, I was able to borrow an old one from Purple, which is great, but it's a bit of a crap computer, even compared to mine.

Anyways, our wonderful Bunya Nut tree started fruiting and Purple managed to find a big store of nuts
The cones were really well camouflaged at the bottom of the tree, but in the end he found about 20 of them

We hadn't had any plans for Invasion Day (aka Australia Day), but our neighbours dropped by spontaneously, and it seemed like an appropriate moment to sit together opening and shelling the nuts

We had a great time, pulling them apart - it's a bit tricky to get them started

But then it's just a matter of pulling the segments apart to find the nuts. Of course, they're sharp and prickly, and filled with very sticky sap, which makes it all the more fun

At the end we were left with a whole wheel barrow full of empty shells and the stalks from inside the cones

and best of all... a big bowl of bunya nuts! YUM

We roasted a bunch of them, and they're so good.

I thought Bunya Nuts are totally appropriate, being that it's a traditional Australian food, and a symbol of peace for the local tribes who used to put aside their tribal differences and fights during Bunya season so they could all come together to harvest and feast on Bunyas :)

Saturday, 23 January 2010

The Great Firewall of China is Coming to Australia!

You might notice my blog was blacked out when it first loads – I’m participating in the Great Australian Internet Blackout, which is protesting against the Australian government’s plan to introduce a mandatory internet filter.

This basically means that Australia will join countries such as China, Iran and Saudi Arabia, which impose centralised Internet censorship. The internet filter will force internet service providers to block access to a website blacklist or “Restricted Content” (RC), created by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA). However this list is confidential and not available to the public.

And might I point out that *this* website – my blog, is blocked in China.

While Communications minister Stephen Conroy thinks the filter will "the risk of Australians being inadvertently exposed to RC-rated material when they are online", the lists have been widely criticised for being too broad in scope.

What’s more, trials of the filter were largely considered to be ineffective. Yet, the government is still spending millions of dollars on this plot to rob Australians of their right to freedom of information.

Ostensibly, Conroy insists that the net-filter is for blocking out child pornography, and sites that would endanger our children, but the reality is that the RC list also includes sites that contain “politically sensitive” information, like pro-euthanasia sites.

Does this remind anyone else of the Aussie government’s plan to rob Australian women of the right to choose where they give birth?

Will this mean in the near future pro-homebirth sites will also be blocked? after all, the proposed maternity care laws state that anyone inciting a woman to homebirth would be illegal. What about websites about freebirthing, or unschooling, or natural healing. What about freedom of speech. What about freedom of THOUGHT!?

you can read more about the internet censorship here:,21985,24568137-2862,00.html

Friday, 22 January 2010

Adventures in Adelaide

After the World Rainbow Gathering in New Zealand (which you can read about HERE and HERE), we went home via Adelaide, South Australia, where I wanted to attend a midwifery workshop with Lisa Barrett from In a strange twist of events, I didn’t get to do the workshop, but sometimes the universe guides us in funny ways.

On the flight (which was a cheap ticket with Virgin), the air stewardess was going up the plane inviting all the small children to come to the front of the plane and get their faces painted! That was pretty cool – reminds me a bit of the days when kids were invited to come up to see the cockpit.

01 face paint

We stayed with old friends of Purple’s – they all travelled around in Scotland together 8 years ago, and they now have two daughters who are 5 and 2.5. The girls had a great time playing together.

They got crazy with nail polish

13 nail polish

14 nail polish

and made Papier Mache beads

60 bead making

And the impossible - sewed flowery pink skirts out of an old curtain and then climbed the mulberry tree in them.

44 mulberry fairies

52 mulberry fairies

We went on a little driving tour around the Barossa Valley area, and saw the Herbig Family Tree - a really cool big old tree that has a massive hollow trunk – an entire family used to live in it 150 years ago.

43 treehouse

We did get to do some fun things in the city. We went to the South Australian Art Gallery, and the South Australian Museum. They had a cool exhibit on fossils for the school holidays

07 fossils

But Littletree’s favourite part was the minerals

08 mineral rainbow

We also got to have dinner with my brother and sister at the Central Markets

17 family dinner

It was great to catch up with them – Littletree was so excited. She took this picture of me and my sister – pretty wong-kee! LOL

19 me and sis

Sadly, Littletree’s only pair of shoes broke, so Aunty Chicky took her to get new ones

20 new shoes

And then we simply *had* to sample the chocolate fountain

21 chocolate fountain

Well, I didn’t have any coz I’m allergic to chocolate, but Littletree LOVED it (and so appropriately, since we were listening to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory on tape in the car).

23 chocolate fountain

We also had a picnic at the Adelaide Botanic Gardens with my friend Poly Nucleotide

40 verity seq hat

and Littletree got to meet her cousin for the first time

34 seq annabelle

Littletree’s faerie nature coming out

42 mushroom fairy

And we stumbled across a meeting of the South Australian Spinners guild, who were all our in the park with their spinning wheels, and were very happy to show us how it all works. I want a spinning wheel!!!

29 spinning

Finally, we got to come home :) Ah, it’s so good to be in my own space again.

More pictures from our adventure can be seen on my flickr page HERE

Thursday, 21 January 2010

New Zealand World Rainbow Gathering (part 2)

(You can see part 1 of this post HERE) We had a fantastic time at the World Rainbow Gathering in New Zealand. Littletree was off most of the time playing with the other kids

Or twirling her ribbon

Most folk congregated around main meadow before dinner to do workshops like staff twirling, poi, hula hoop, acrobalance, juggling, yoga, capoeira, etc

And just enjoy the sunset

We lit Channukah candles, rainbow-style.

05 channukah

We enjoyed two food circles every day

I spent a lot of time in the kitchen

And I held a few workshops – rebozo massage, women’s mysteries/ billings method, crochet. And I did some pre-natal care with a few pregnant mamas :) as well as catching up with a lot of old friends


(photo courtesy Arjuna)

Someone made a drum kit out of djembes and a pot lid

Someone carried in an antique mantlepiece and set it up by the river – then people hung their stinky socks up on it on Christmas and everyone came and put random gifts in the socks


(Photo courtesy Arjuna)

I hung out a lot with some family from Quebec, they had a temple set up in their camp that included tins of maple syrup!

The vision council reached consensus for the next World Rainbow Gathering to be in Argentina, March 2011, details HERE. And so, so, so much more! I could write 27 blog posts and still not tell all the stories! You can see the rest of my photos from the rainbow on my flickr page HERE.

We were sad to finally leave the gathering, but it was time to go. We flew off to Adelaide, South Australia, but that will be another post.

Wednesday, 20 January 2010

New Zealand World Rainbow Gathering (part 1)

After we rested a day in Christchurch, waiting for the scouts/ seed campers to announce the new site for the world rainbow gathering (the original site had been flooded, necessitating evacuation and re-scouting), we drove out to the new site, an easy 3-hour drive, and then a 40-minute walk from the car park to the main site (Littletree valiantly walked in with me more than half way, when we were happy to accept a ride with Peter Pan on a 4WD bringing in supplies).

Walking the last kilometre, past where the 4WD could reach, we came through a beautiful valley, where Littletree ran off ahead of me, skipping and shouting, “I’m home!”

The site was spectacularly beautiful.

Though we had frequent rain

But rain means rainbows!

It was cold at night (a couple of times, snow fell on the mountains)

The river was freezing cold, but there was a hot bath (outdoor tub with a fire under it), perfect for a rainy day! The hard work of getting a bathtub full of water hot with wet firewood was worth it in the end.

Set in a valley with breathtaking views (notice the bathtub at the bottom next to the river).

More to come tomorrow!