Harvest

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This is what we picked in just one day. Small naked child included for size comparison. We planted the scarlet runner beans last year so the chickens could have some shade in the hot summer months. These are also called seven year beans, because they die back in winter and come again for years and years. The harvest this year has been amazing, and it looks like we’ll be able to keep picking for some time to come.

It’s a good thing we like beans!

Books For Timor Leste

My gorgeous sister in law, Kerry, has been working in Timor for a few months – organising a women’s conference for next year, for the Alola Foundation. While she’s been there, she’s been educating me about the day to day reality of life for women in East Timor.

The Alola Foundation works hard to end domestic violence, to improve maternal and child health, to boost educational outcomes for children, and to educate and support women to support themselves and their families.

East Timor has one of the highest mortality rates for women in childbirth anywhere in the world. Because of Portugese colonisation it’s a predominantly Catholic country, so birth control is practically unavailable. Timorese women have very high fertility, averaging ten pregnancies over a lifetime.

Although Timor has very high rates of breastfeeding, a comparatively low percentage of babies are exclusively breastfed until 6 months of age, and up to 2 years of age as per World Health Organisation Guidelines. Poor feeding practices contribute to high infant mortality.

Children in East Timor speak Tetun, the native language, and usually Bahasa Indonesia. Portuguese is the official national language that they will learn in school, and many also will learn some English. Kerry told me about a pre-school that she visited that has over 80 students in a house about the size of a small car.

If you have kids, and have some old books that they have grown out of, please consider donating them to this little school. Kerry will be in Australia for Christmas, and will be able to take some books back with her in January.

Because English is the 4th language for these kids, picture books with no words, or only a single word are useful. Books in reasonable condition would be appreciated, as they are going to be loved by a great many children. New books would also be appreciated.

And if you can’t send books, please consider making a donation here, to help women you will never meet lead a richer life.

Leave a comment and I will email you details of where to post the books, or I can arrange to collect them from you if you live in Sydney.

Please cross post and spread the word!

A pig has the intelligence of a 3 year old child

More than 90% of pigs raised for Australia’s pork, bacon and ham products are confined in factory farms—a fact not advertised by the pork industry. Caring Australians are buying these products not realising that they are supporting animal cruelty.

In factory farms, painful surgical procedures are performed on pigs without pain relief and ‘sow stalls’ confine pregnant pigs in cages so tiny that they cannot even turn around. These cruel cages have been banned in Britain, Sweden and Switzerland, and are being phased out elsewhere. Yet last year, Australian politicians voted to continue to allow their use.

From Animals Australia

One

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Andrew and Inigo share a quiet moment before the festivities begin. Note “The Force is Strong in This One” t-shit – thanks Pru!

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Everyone seemed to enjoy the pass the parcel – Leigh was one of the few “grown ups” to wear her ‘mo all day. You rock Leigh!

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Nanna shows Inigo how to use maracas. I did finally get his birthday outfit made, though I was up until 1.30am the night before, it was totally worth it!

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Inigo and his two cousins had a ball. And a maraca.

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Or three.

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Emmi gets in on the act. Emmi is my cousin Katie’s baby, she is about 2 moths older than Inigo.

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Simone and the amazing moustache cake she made. White chocolate with chocolate icing. We got the leftovers, and if I lose any weight this week, it will be a miracle.

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The Grandpa and Grandad show.

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Some people didn’t need falsies!

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And some had all the attitude without the facial hair.

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Oscar had definite opinions about where the moustache should be worn.

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Inigo savours his first ever taste of cake. There were smiles after the flavour was carefully considered.

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Ella had her first cake too – she pretty quickly decided that cake was good.

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Inigo meets Rex for the first time. Every kid should have a Tyrannosaurus Rex in a Cowboy outfit, don’t you think?

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Oscar helps Inigo check out the loot.

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Patrick is possessed by a cricketer from 1970.

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The most appropriate gift ever? Thanks to Simone!

And for posterity, here are the words I wrote for the occasion – paraphrased terribly on the day…

One year ago, I was scared – worried about the birth. I had no concept of anything beyond the beautiful drug free birth I was going to have, I had no capacity to think beyond what was happening in that moment.
And in retrospect, that was probably a good thing. From his traumatic birth, his early health complications, breastfeeding issues, mystery lack of weight gain, my fight for a diagnosis, rapid recovery and transformation into a cheery, clever, beautiful and inquisitive little boy, it’s been a wild year.
Before his birth, my greatest fear was that he would be an unsettled baby, that he wouldn’t sleep, and that I wouldn’t cope. Of course, the reality has been much worse than I could have ever imagined, but I’ve been amazed at how well I’ve coped. Due in part to loving him more than I thought was possible, but mostly due to the love and support I have received from all of you here.
I won’t bang on forever, but I would like to acknowledge some special people who’ve been instrumental in getting me through the last year, and have made today such a great celebration.
First, I’d like to thank Bronwen and Peter, my parents for being fantastic grandparents, ready to drop everything to help out when I was feeling wobbly. For letting us have the party at this wonderful house, which is so full of memories for me. I wish George could be here to see his great grandson (and namesake) turn one, but it is fitting that we should celebrate in his home. To dad for his special “Old Farts Daycare” service, and mum for her organisation and superb desserts. Without them this party would never have happened.
To Bev and Ted, I’d like to say thank you for being the most amazing in-laws ever. Inigo is supremely lucky to have four grandparents who adore him and I can’t believe how lucky I am to have married into such a wonderful family.
Mark, my adorable husband. We both knew that the bald tyrant would change our lives forever, and I am so proud of what a great dad you are, while still being the worlds best husband. I love you, and I am sorry I’ve been such a grumpy cow.
Simone and Andrew, one half of Inigo’s Fairly Odd Parents. While we don’t see them as much as we would like, I know that they will always be there when I need to be told to “buck up you sad cow, nobody likes a whinger”. Andrew made the amazing sign that beckoned us in from the road, and Simone is responsible for the most superb confectionery mustache I have ever laid eyes on. Of course, it’s the only one, but it is superb!
Miriam and Richard – also odd parents, but perhaps a little less odd. Miriam has been the best pregnancy and baby buddy I could hope for. Having the support of such a great friend who was going through the same things at the same time was invaluable – and I only hope I have been slightly helpful to her too. Oscar was born four days before Inigo, and I hope that they stay friends for a long time to come.
Thank you everyone for traveling such a long way to be here today. You’ve all made an important difference in our lives, and I hope that you have a great time celebrating with us.

Shocking

I saw this video a few days ago, and it’s still haunting me.

Whether you are pro choice or not – you have to agree that there are some disturbing consequences of these laws. These things could happen in Australia if Fred Nile and his mates get their way – and anywhere that women don’t own the fight for equal rights.

Feminist is not a dirty word.