The quick and the dead

Images from this morning’s walk with Mouse.

The quick is the mangoes; a lavish crop of ‘commons’ in all the local trees, making a bid for immortality by fruiting well in harsh conditions. Also quick are the very early blossoms on the poincianas (aka Flamboyant Tree or Delonix regis), which normally flower for Christmas. All around the area, the trees are wearing enormous pompoms of brilliant scarlet flowers, almost as if they were waiting for an international convention of cheerleaders.

The dead is mostly everything else. Even the indestructible bougainvilleas have lost their green leaves, and the hot pink, purple and orange flowers are bursting forth on bare stems. Blossoms are falling everywhere, and any grass that isn’t irrigated is either brown and crispy, or already history.

On the upside, a little rain is forecast for the weekend. A couple of hours, not enough to restore the land, but it’ll make the fire danger just a little less. And a little more rain next week.

It had better be quick or there’ll be more dead.

Over the hills and far away

It’s not often I get to hear where our Ovarian Cancer quilts go.

Mostly, we send them out into the blue, with love and the hope that they are doing some good and spreading some happiness.  Today, the blue spoke back!

Remember this lovely, one of our best ovarian cancer quilts, back in December 2018? It was a joy to work on and an outstanding result. Go Teal it on the Mountain has found its new forever home. Click on this link and scroll down to near the bottom of the comments, from Debra. Somewhere in Perth, WA, GTOM is bringing happiness to its new family.

This is why we do it, people. The next Nude Lunch fundraiser will be in early September next year, and as we have for the past several years, we’ll create another quilt. I haven’t yet decided which silly name to go with yet, but I will soon. We’ll kick off mid-April or early May, depending on whether I feel the design needs a bit of extra time.

So, a big thank you to Debra for letting me know, and another thank you to all the wonderful contributors.

Love your work 🙂

Stink Eye

No one can stink eye like a dog.

Having got up at 6am to feed his Majesty, two carefully prepared bowls of rather tasty food, I poured myself a cup of coffee, grabbed a banana cupcake and retired back to bed. Normally at this point, there is a session of dog worship. He’s allowed on the bed this one time, after I’ve put a cotton bedspread over my precious heirloom quilt. He gets admiration and intensive strokies.

So I settle into bed with coffee and banana cupcake beside me. I call him. He comes bounding in and does a standing leap onto the bed. And then he freezes. The nose swivels. The nose wiffles… and then swings inexorably towards my banana cupcake. He begins to reach for it. I tell him No in a very decided voice. He lies down, reluctantly, still sniffing. I pick up my cupcake and he thrashes upright. Well, OK then. He’s not going to give up. He gets more NO!

He leaps off the bed and hunkers down into his best sphinx position. I dig in. I glance down and I am getting stink eye unto the seventh generation, straight down the barrel of his aristocratic needle nose. Clearly, in his mind banana cupcakes are ALL the property of Mouse Dog, I am now eating his food, and it is beyond the pale. I hold his eyes while I bite into them, asserting my dominance over this tasty, crumbly, bananan-y morsel. He stalks off in outrage, and is currently sulking on his bed. Note to self: do not eat banana cupcakes in front of dog, it is mental cruelty.

Mum 1, Mouse 0.  Mwahahah!

ScrapHappy November: Not too bad!

Welcome once again to ScrapHappy Day!

It’s the day my friend Gun in Sweden and I host ScrapHappy, a day for showing something made from scraps.

Here’s where I’d got to, having, started again.

And now, this is where I am. Not bad at all, though I say so myself. If I can keep going at the same sort of rate I’ll catch up soon! It’s two hexie flowers short of the original width, and of course, I still have to sew in that section on the left,

ScrapHappy is open to anyone using up scraps of anything – no new materials. It can be a quilt block, pincushion, bag or hat, socks or a sculpture. Anything made of genuine scraps is eligible. If your scrap collection is out of control and you’d like to turn them into something beautiful or useful instead of leaving them to collect dust in the cupboard, why not join us on the 15th of each month? Either email me at the address on my Contact Me page, or leave a comment below. You can also contact Gun via her blog to join. We welcome new members. You don’t have to worry about making a long term commitment or even join in every month, just let either of us know a day or so in advance if you’re new and you’ll have something to show, so we can add your link. Regular contributors will receive an email reminder three days before the event.

Here are the links for everyone who joins ScrapHappy from time to time (they may not post every time, but their blogs are still worth looking at). If you’ve copied this list from previous posts, please use the one below as it’s the most up to date 🙂

Kate (me!)Gun, TittiHeléneEvaSue, Nanette, Lynn, Lynda,
Birthe, Turid, Susan, Cathy, Debbierose, Tracy, Jill, Claire, Jan,
Moira, SandraLindaChrisNancy, Alys, Kerry, Claire, Jean,
Joanne, Jon, HayleyDawn, Gwen, Connie, Bekki, Pauline and Sue L.

See you again, same time next month

In the front line

This is becoming a habit.

I’m steaming with fury. Our government is mouthing platitudes about the victims of Australia’s current horrendous bushfire season. Sorry, guys, but “thoughts and prayers” don’t put out fires. And reducing our carbon emissions targets doesn’t help either. Publicly abusing climate change advocates isn’t a good look in the circumstances, either. Nor is promising a ‘review’ of the fire service, the implication being that the fire service hasn’t done its job properly, since of course, fires ignited by lightning, fed by raging winds and covering hundreds of thousands of hectares would have been easily controlled if they’d been doing it right.

Today, amidst the horror and heartbreak being reported, the exhausted, blackened faces of the firefighters, and the distraught, blackened faces of the suddenly homeless or bereaved, we learned another outrage. Most of our rural and country firefighters are volunteers. Many of them have been fighting fires for over a week straight. And we are so, so grateful. But it seems their employers only grant them 3 days of paid fire service leave a year. After that, they have to use up their annual leave entitlement, and when that is gone, they are unpaid. And many employers are enforcing this.


Get your greedy, lazy, money grubbing arses down to the fire front, grab a hose and walk a mile in their shoes.

Oh, and while you’re at it, the fire will be burning down your house, consuming your business or laying waste to whatever it is your mean little souls hold most dear.  Because there aren’t enough fire fighters. And despite an economy in the black, there ‘isn’t enough money to pay for more equipment’. And most of all, there aren’t enough people in your position giving a damn that this is what the future looks like. And you helped to make it that way.

Shame on you.

The strange case of the banana cupcakes

It was a complete mystery.

To begin with, we’d smugly imagined we had the only greyhound in existence who didn’t steal food carelessly left within reach for more than 10 seconds. Biscuits, toast, chicken soup and full meals had all survived the ‘needle-nose test’. Foolishly, we congratulated ourselves on having a most unusually angelic hound…

Until today.

As previously mentioned, we have a lot of small, sweet bananas ripening in the garage, and I wanted to use some of them up. So it was a banana bread and cupcake baking session this morning, using my favourite recipe:

Banana bread
2½ cups self-raising flour
3 mashed bananas (or 5 of the small sugar bananas)
¾ cup of soft dark brown sugar
3 tblsp crunchy peanut butter
½ cup sultanas
½ cup dark chocolate chips
½ tsp ground cinnamon, 1 tsp vanilla essence
1 cup milk

Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F
Mix everything together with a wooden spoon in a large bowl till there is no visible dry flour left. Dollop the batter into cupcake cases or loaf tin(s) and put in the oven – 25 mins for cupcakes, 40 mins or so for loaves. Check with a skewer after 30 mins, and cover loaves with foil after 30 mins if necessary.

We did half and half: one smallish loaf, and a batch of 9 cupcakes. Half a dozen of the latter disappeared with cups of coffee for lunch. I left the remaining three on a plate beside my chair while I did something else for a couple of hours. It didn’t even occur to me to move them… When I came back and thought about photographing them for a post, they were gone. Plate empty. Initially, I suspected the Husband, but he disclaimed all knowledge. I looked at the dog. Innocent expression… lack of dismembered cupcake remains… no bits of paper case…

Eventually, I tracked down the scene of the crime.

A few random crumbs. No other signs, not a shred of paper. Clearly, they were excellent cupcakes!

Of course, he had to eat them on my beautiful rug….


In case you’re concerned, I’m not worried about the quantity of chocolate or sultanas he’s ingested. There was only half a cupful of each in one loaf and 9 cupcakes, and while he had three cupcakes and may have an upset tummy for the next day or so, I don’t think the amount is going to be very harmful.

Walking through fire

“The difference between a good life and a bad life is how well you walk through the fire.”  Carl Jung

Sometimes, it is only in the fire that a person’s qualities become apparent. We’re seeing a lot of that right now. The east coast of Australia is largely ablaze. Communities are being razed to smoking ashes, lives are being lost, including those trying to save others. We have been in drought for so long that our land is a tinder box, and the smallest spark sets the red devil howling across the landscape, consuming everything without respect for great or small. We are grateful for the mercy that has the wind blowing offshore, away from the dry heart of the country. People are showing their best side; they offer generous help, risk their own lives and hold out their hands to save each other. The debt we all owe to our fire services, professional and volunteer alike, is uncountable.

Click to enlarge

This is the view from space, side by side with the Regional Fire Service’s map of approximately the same area, showing all the active fires. Somewhere under that pall of smoke, there are people I care about, people I love. Some are struggling to breathe, some are worried, some are gritting their teeth and preparing to act to defend their homes and property and aid their neighbours. Friends and family are scanning the sky and horizon and praying for the wind to drop and maybe, just maybe, cooler temperatures and the chance of rain. The fire service has called the situation unprecedented: they have never had to fight so many fires on so many fronts. The rural fire service, staffed mainly by volunteers, has suffered an additional blow in that many of their fire stations have also been lost.

It’s counter-intuitive to say we’re fortunate. Our country is huge and our population is small. Compared with the US, for example, with its much greater population density, the loss of property and perhaps life is small. But the suffering is just as great, and because there are so few of us, the resources are fewer, the infrastructure to deal with fire is less and the budget is tiny by comparison.

If you believe in the power of prayer, pray. If positive thoughts are your thing, think them. Hard.  But whatever you do, keep in mind those men and women at the fire front.