Wednesday, 29 August 2012

The journey home

Today we transported my wife from Helsinki back to Heinavesi in preparation for her funeral. It was a long day with not much to recommend for it.

The church which will conduct the funeral is a lovely old gothic wooden building which dates from the 1890's. The view from the hill is nice too.

My wife has family connections here so its a nice place to put her to rest among family.

One step at a time, makes this all possible as even each step feels hard. The journey feels impossible right now.

Thanks everyone for your support

Sunday, 19 August 2012

Farewell my love

My darling wife has been taken from me.

She passed away while I was in transit from Australia.

She was my best friend, my travelling companion and support.

The world has lost one of the most caring and generous people. She will be missed by us all.

Fighting for her life

Tonight I am a mess. My lovely wife has been struk down by some tumor on her brain. She is at this minute fighting for her life after surgeons have tried to remove some of the pressure.

She is in Finland visiting her family and I am here in Australia waiting for a flight out tomorrow.

I can only pray that she holds on till I get there.

She tied a yellow ribbon around the table leg where she normally sits before she left (actually I didn't see her do this).

So if its not too much to ask would those who read this please offer a prayer to ask God to keep her here with me.

She is my everything and I am so very afraid right now.

Monday, 13 August 2012

Feral plants

With more and more Australians leaving the land and going urban it seems that the lands are being left to the mercy of the exotic weeds.


Thursday, 9 August 2012

Corked Coonawarra Estate

Opened one of my 2002 wines tonight and it wasn't right. A quick look at the cork reveals the fault.

The fold extended right to the base.

Oh well 5h1t happens.

Sunday, 5 August 2012

Finnish forest berries

A recent post of mine drew a comment which reminded me of how much I liked the "fruits" of the Finnish Forests.


Like the native Strawberries. These tiny little fellas are small sure, but just so full of actual flavor.

Of course there's more, such as Crow Berries:

Lingon Berries:

and wild blueberries

But even the cultivated blueberries are great there!

you can't go past the wild raspberries either ...

Of course if this existed in Australia we'd have ploughed it in, burnt it down or mined it into oblivion.

back yard: moths eggs

Was out hanging the washing this morning and noticed (what is to me here in Australia again) a common sight. I post this sort of thing as I know readers in the Northern parts of the Northern Hemisphere will perhaps think its as wonderfully different as I did the everyday things when I was living in Finland.

They are laid out in a line and alternated left and right on their little stalk.

Zooming in a little closer on that image you can see that the eggs are each suspended on a fine strong thread.

Its a cunning strategy to keep their eggs safe from predators (like ants) but perhaps not safe from clothes being hung on (other people's) washing lines.

I'd be grateful if anyone out there can clear up exactly which eggs these are.

Saturday, 4 August 2012

Wild plant book recommendations

A comment on my earlier blog post on edible Australian Plants was quite a fair question and something that most migrants to Australia (and even the descendants of migrants to Australia) often think: that is that there isn't anything to eat in the bush here, unlike back home.

There seems to be a view that Europe was a blessed garden and Australia was a harsh place to live in (certainly any early settlers can give testament to that).
The question in particular was:
Gotta say that's not as appealing as the stuff we had in Northern Europe, but I'd still love to learn to forage more here

The poster also asked for a book reference on Australian plants. Ultimately I thought that the easiest way to answer the question of a good book on edible Australian plants was to post this picture of the book.

On the other subject, while it may be true that many plants which are used for food are superior in Europe (or other parts of the world), its important to recall that this is the result of some thousands of years of cultivation, cross breeding and and international trade / exploration.

For example:
The wild ancestors of the carrot are likely to have come from Iran and Afghanistan, which remains the centre of diversity of D. carota, the wild carrot. Selective breeding over the centuries of a naturally occurring subspecies of the wild carrot, Daucus carota subsp. sativus, to reduce bitterness, increase sweetness and minimise the woody core, has produced the familiar garden vegetable. ... The modern carrot appears to have been introduced to Europe in the 8–10th centuries.

The potato was first domesticated in the region of modern-day southern Peru and extreme northwestern Bolivia. This event took place between the years 8000 BC and 5000 BC. ... Historians speculate that leftover tubers (and maize) were carried ashore and planted: "We think that the potato arrived some years before the end of the 16th century, by two different ports of entry: the first, logically, in Spain around 1570, and the second via the British isles between 1588 and 1593 ...

and even bread on the table in Europe owes its existence to trade with the "east"
Wheat is one of the first cereals known to have been domesticated, and wheat's ability to self-pollinate greatly facilitated the selection of many distinct domesticated varieties. The archaeological record suggests that this first occurred in the regions known as the Fertile Crescent, and the Nile Delta. These include southeastern parts of Turkey, Lebanon, Syria, the Levant, Israel, Egypt and Ethiopia. Recent findings narrow the first domestication of wheat down to a small region of southeastern Turkey, and domesticated Einkorn wheat at Nevalı Çori—40 miles (64 km) northwest of Gobekli Tepe in Turkey

the list of benefits to our food from trade and exchange goes on and on .. you may be rather disappointed with what was strictly locally available without this. This is something which wasn't available to the peoples of this continent.

There is little doubt that survival in Australia was hard going. Sure the climate may be less challenging than parts of Europe, but the life here wasn't any less so. The indigenous people were clearly masterful at survival here.

Australian edible plants

Lots of stuff that we can eat and enjoy more of the forests

Going birko

Quick note on an old bit of aussie slang.

Basically this is a brand of water boiling electric jug. So without any thermostat to shut it off, when it boils it gets rather excited and agitated.

So it goes birko

Thursday, 2 August 2012

Stupid or ignorant or lazy?

Postie just jammed this into my letterbox. Even though its official Australia Post instructions.