Tuesday, August 31, 2010
Sunday, August 29, 2010
Saturday, August 28, 2010
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 carrots, diced
50g ham hock meat (I had some in the freezer) or 2 rashers thick, streaky bacon (or pancetta), chopped
3 red or green capsicums, chopped
1 400g can chopped tomatoes
1 bay leaf
1 sprig thyme
1 teaspoon paprika
1 tsp dried mustard
salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons maple syrup, treacle, golden syrup or honey
Preheat oven to 160 degrees C.
Thursday, August 26, 2010
Wednesday, August 25, 2010
Tuesday, August 24, 2010
Monday, August 23, 2010
Saturday, August 21, 2010
I think I've polished off my list of winter jobs in the garden:
- roses and stone fruit pruned: in my case this was 36 roses and one nectarine
- sprayed the nectarine buds in the hopes of reducing fungal infection of the fruit
- major garden restructuring jobs achieved to take advantage of wet weather and dormant plants- most of this centred around the Colorado Bed. I've also shifted a spider plant which was spreading into the vegie patch (how dare it!) and a pittosporum which wasn't doing much next to a fence
- we haven't done a lot of new planting other than annual vegetables, apart from three new blueberry plants and three strawberry crowns in the now-dedicated shade/acid lovers bed, in between the camelias.
- I've been trying to get ahead on the weeding while the soil is moist. Big Bro is starting to get the idea of weeding and while is hasn't yet met the high standards set by other children, he's keen enough to deposit pulled weeds in the bin. This will be my third spring in this garden, and I'm starting to see through some of the pseudo-ornamental weeks. Canna lillies, a bulbous grass (I originally thought it was crocuses) and a spreading ground cover have persisted long enough that they are now on my "show no remorse" list
- after procrastinating for six months, I have finally taken the advice of a stranger at Bunnings who recommended Grow Organic for home-delivered manures. Most of the beds have now had a top dressing of manure; take it from this stranger, Grow Organic manures are a great product, and they were very easy to deal with over the phone
- rosemary cuttings have been started to make a hedge for the Colorado Bed; I've had about a 50% strike rate for rosemary cuttings propagated in pots (inside or out), directly in garden beds, or in water. In future I'll probably only propagate Rosemary cuttings by putting them in water for a month or two as it seems as good as the in-soil methods, and takes a lot less space and effort
- spring vegie planting has started, albeit slowly. So far we have two zucchinis and one Minnesota melon that were germinated inside and are now joining three overwintered tomatoes in the mini-greenhouse. Capsicums, eggplants, cucumber and more melons are next on my list. I have never got a melon or a cucumber past the flower stage (and usually not even that far) but I'll live in hope!
Have I forgotten anything? Bring on Spring!
Thursday, August 19, 2010
Wednesday, August 18, 2010
Tuesday, August 17, 2010
Monday, August 16, 2010
To quote last week's Q&A: how big a tool is Mark Latham?
Sunday, August 15, 2010
The soaps are made in Melbourne from sustainably farmed ingredients (no palm oil here) and the scents match what the cake flavours would be. We bought ours at a end-of-winter sale price of $5 each.
Saturday, August 14, 2010
- hearing an excellent seminar by Prof. Melanie Wakefield, a behavioural psychologist at the Cancer Council Victoria, who described the important factors- in particular, increases in cigarette prices, restrictions on smoking in public places, and "shock" advertising- which have fueled the recent decline in smoking in Australia
Friday, August 13, 2010
Thursday, August 12, 2010
Wednesday, August 11, 2010
Tuesday, August 10, 2010
Sunday, August 8, 2010
Friday, August 6, 2010
Sunday, August 1, 2010
A lot of people in real life and online have been expressing their lack of interest in the election- it was called in the shadow of the replacement of ALP Prime Minister by a more right-leaning politician, and since the last election, the major parties have backed down on a number of significant environmental policies. There has been a lot of comment that whichever major party wins power, their policies will be the same. And a lot of people commenting that because they live in a safe seat, their vote is irrelevant.
I agree with the view that the major parties are equally disappointing in some aspects, but rather than ostrich-like apathy, my response has been to research alternatives. My favourite election analyst, Antony Green of the ABC, has a very thorough blog on all things electoral, with as much information as anyone could need to know about trends, swings and other roundabouts, which has been more than adequate as a starting point for my research. The Tally Room is also good for summarising the key aspects of the contests.
In the lower house, we live in a very safe major party seat so as far as that goes my best hope is that a vote for a minor party will send a message about my disenchantment. Obviously that's not the case everywhere, and the implications of a such disenchantment would have actual outcomes in the inner city electorate of Melbourne (where we used to live) where the Greens are close to taking their first lower house seat (unless there is a swing towards the ex-Bush-Republican-campaign-worker Liberal candidate... hmm, unlikely?)
The senate, however, is where these feelings of disenchantment could be translated into outcomes. In Victoria, a minor party- probably the Greens- are likely to take a senate seat (probably at the expense of the Family First Senator). The Australian Democrats, a former force in the senate, also have a chance of distinguishing themselves from the major parties on several key issues. So I've taken this as incentive to research my senate vote closely.
In thinking about my vote, I have had to question what is important to me. High on my priority list are the usual things like economic benefit to my family and the community, and provision of community services like health care and education. Having children has also made me more aware of how my vote could alter the country that I bring my children up in (the never-ending Howard era may have something to do with that). I want my children to grow up in a rich, fair and diverse society, which values its people, its industries and its planet. So I have been busy researching policies on climate change, immigration and the environment.
I've put more energy into researching this election than ever before. Because in ten years time, I want to know in my heart that I tried my hardest to make my country the best I could for my children, whether the candidates I vote for win or lose.
So please don't tell me my vote doesn't count.
It does- to me.
Postscript: Interestingly, since I started writing this a few days ago, Antony Green has raised the same issue on his blog- Do Australian Elections Offer Voters a Choice?
And I have just realised that The Tally Room is run by an ex-Greens candidate so caveat lector. But it did teach me a new word: psephology.