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Summer Solstice, December 2013
~ Winter Solstice in Northern Hemisphere ~


Mirabilis - an attractive & reliable heat-loving perennial from South America.
Commonly found in old cottage gardens, where it is known as 'Four O'Clocks' this plant forms a tuber, before dying back with the cold.
It springs up gaily as soon as the weather gets warm again. The flowers are often bi-coloured.It also seeds prolifically, & has a lovely perfume.
These are growing happily outside my front fence, on the street corner.

"The Earth is capable of replenishing herself and supplying every living thing with a home and sustenance"
Sarah King

News from the RainbowWeb

The most significant occurence since my Winter Solstice News in June has been the death of neighbour, environmental activist, and beloved friend, Judy Dispain.
Judy died on 17th.October, after a long, painful and debilitating illness. She was buried at Wirra Wonga, a local natural burial ground, on 21st. October, attended by her extended family, and myriad friends and co-travellers on the sustainable path.

Death is an inevitable stage in the cycle of life, pain and grief something we cannot avoid.
"Grief is the price we pay for love."
Queen Elizabeth II


(By using your backspace key to return here after you visit a link, you've saved me an awful lot of work - thankyou!)

A recent positive achievement has been collaborating with Anne Wharton in producing an updated version of the local recycling brochure
No Such Thing As Rubbish (pdf version, ready for printing) rtf version for reading online
for Sustainable Communities SA.
This amazing little publication concentrates on 'recycling right' in kerbside bins, so that everything that goes in can be used, not discarded;
and what to do with objects that can't go in the kerbside bin, due to the mechanical nature of the materials recovery process, and regard for the occupational health & safety of the staff.

While it is easy to get discouraged when considering all the environmental challenges we face, especially in view of the last Federal Election, we can look back on many real, if sometimes small improvements.

For instance, when I first moved here, 24 years ago, rubbish was put out in galvanised or plastic rubbish bins. Now most urban councils have a 3 bin system, separating recyclables and green waste from 'rubbish', which means valuable resources are recovered, and green & food waste composted.

It is now illegal to put e-waste in landfill, and the recycling of e-waste is gradually becoming easier for most people,
especially if they get together to make the most of every trip to their nearest Materials Recovery centre.

Forward-thinking UNLEY COUNCIL has begun a campaign to encourage the use of washable nappies,
thus cutting down on the increasing use of disposables, now one of the major components of 'rubbish'.
See also, on this site:Really radical recycling and Laundry leaflet 5 - nappies

Was it not JANE GOODALL, chimpanzee Godmother, and founder of ROOTS AND SHOOTS,
an international youth organisation for environmental activists, who said:
We must continue to hope, though we have considered all the facts!

I've recently been on a steep learning curve.
My 10 year old computer finally gave up, and I have had to come to terms with Windows8,
although so far I have been able to keep XP running on my netbook.
But with my impaired vision and decreasing dexterity, I really need the larger screen & keyboard.
I've also kept a really old machine which has a floppy drive, operates my ancient scanner, and a host of older programmes.
I really deplore the constant upgrades in both hardware & software.
In particular, web designers seem to give no thought to a number of important facts:

starThe more complex a source file, the more bandwidth it uses when downloaded.
starHigh resolution images also chew up Kbs. They are necessary only for printing, not for display on a webpage!
starJava menus are difficult & frustrating for people with stiff fingers and trembling hands to navigate.
What's wrong with simple links & drop-down menus with keyboard shortcuts?
starClear, simple pages, with easily negotiated navigation
are not only more accessible for the disabled or elderly, but are becoming increasingly necessary
for use with the diminuitive screens of tablets and smartphones.
Remember! K.I.S.S.!!

That's my rant for this time!

The garden, after the cool wet spring, is looking good. The almond tree has recovered from being almost denuded by possums, (no almonds though, since they did eat all the flowers!) and most things are doing well after the severe pruning necessitated by the damage earlier in the year. (See:Winter Solstice 2013)
New leaves on the apple & persimmon are nibbled away as soon as they appear, so whether these trees will continue to survive remains to be seen. Whereas the possums merely snack on the various wattles, which consequently are holding their own. The loquat tree, planted 2 years ago, has tough leaves & furry flower buds, which don't seem to attract them, though they enjoy the fruit, which is also attacked by birds. I harvested quite enough for myself. There was also a good crop of oranges, mandarins, & lemons - in fact I'm still able to pick the occasional lemon for a garnish. The Cape Gooseberry has cropped well, & is still producing fruit.
It looks as though there will be a fine grape crop, which I'll have to thin severely if they are to ripen well, and plenty of figs. The Jerusalem artichokes are more than a metre high in spite of the cool - until a couple of days ago! - weather, there's still plenty of silver beet, parsley, herbs, sweet potato tops, & a variety of edible weeds & succulents. The choko has come back well after the winter - my problem now is keeping it under control! It's a good thing the growing tips are not only edible, but delicious. The green 7-year bean died during the cold weather, but I've already had a few pods from the seedling which grew to replace it, and the purple ones growing up the dead avocado tree have produced prolifically.

Increased medication, partial blindness and age have resulted in fatigue of both mind & body. I find it harder to be a good neighbour, or even sometimes a sociable friend.
But I've bought myself a Gratitude Diary for 2014, and look forward to using it to remind myself constantly of the many people and amenities I need to be thankful for.

If your New Year begins in January, I wish you a blessed and fulfilling 12 months in 2014.

Moon phases

Why observe and celebrate the interactions of the Earth, Moon, and Sun?

The Festivals, Feasts, and Fasts of most human belief systems originated in our observations of this Cosmic Dance and it's effects.
Everything is affected by the changing seasons and the rhythm of the tides.
Why not commit yourself to celebrating in tune with these natural rhythms?
You will benefit physically, emotionally, and spiritually, and it will help you to truly re-earth.

For those who dismiss such practices are mere superstition, consider that:

"We cannot know more than a fraction of what exists. We will always be a minor part of the information system"
Methods of Design - 3.10.3

and that: "Nothing we can observe is regular, partly because we ourselves are imperfect observers.
We tell fortunes, (or lose them) on the writhing of entrails, or cathode ray graphics;
on the scatters of dice or bones, or on arrays of measures.
Are the readings of tea-leaves any less reliable than the projections of pollsters?"
Pattern Understanding - 4.1
from "Permaculture - A Designer's Manual" by Bill Mollison


Seasons and Calendars
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