Monday Harvest, August 2021

It’s time once again for Harvest Monday, where we celebrate all things harvest related. 

I’ve been quiet because busy busy. Not much happening in the garden because most of my down time has been spent lying on the couch in a lot of “cannot be bothereds”, and my work day is book-ended by walks in the park. I really need the walks to separate my “work from home” life from my “life at home” life, and it helps keep me sane.

Sydney is currently under various stages of lockdown to try and contain the delta variant of covid-19, and my area is under one of the strictest orders. Now I must wear a mask when outside my house/property, and cannot go more than 5km from home. I tell you, I tried playing badminton today wearing a mask, and I was overheating!

But let’s talk about my winter harvest.

Firstly, guavas:

Guavas 2021

I haven’t actually weighed my harvests, but this year has been really productive. I’m getting (probably) 5-10kg worth of fruit on a weekly basis, and it’s been about 7 weeks so far. In non-covid years, I would have swapped these beauties for other goods. This year, because of restrictions of travel, I’ve been turning most of these into rather disappointing fruit leathers. Two years ago, I made the most perfect guava fruit leather recipe. This year, I cannot replicate it. So instead I’m getting gritty guava chips. I have tried up to 50% apple sauce/50% guava puree (de-seeded), and I cannot get the texture that I am looking for. Combos include with apple sauce, bush lemon juice (& zest), pureed pear, banana, and even the fruit from a monstera deliciosa (foraged). Nope. Fruit leather does not want to cooperate with me this year.

Secondly, Macadamia nuts:

Macadamias 2021

I haven’t actually got a macadamia tree*, but I have found a street tree in my travels. As they fruit in winter, I have been busily collecting and de-husking the nuts. I think I like foraged macadamia nuts much better than bunya nuts, because the return on investment is much better, almost 1:1 versus 1:30 chance in getting an edible nut!

* I have a macadamia nut seedling, which sprouted in the compost from a discarded 2020 nut. I shall try and grow it.

I didn’t take a photo, but I did a huge harvest of my silverbeet. Mainly to clear my planter box so that I could plant garlic before the winter solstice.

So dear reader, how are your winter harvests going?

Musing on bulk food goods stores

In response to the desire for less plastic, or during campaigns like “plastic free july“, we often turn to bulk food goods stores such as Alfalfa House, Blue Mountains Food Co-operative, Naked Foods, or The Source Bulk Foods (other brands are available).

This might ease our conscience as an individual consumer, but, plastic is still generated, just in a bigger format.

So are we really making a difference?

For example, I might have a one litre laundry liquid bottle. And I refill it from a 20L bulk square bottle like these ones at flora and fauna:store-refill-1

I do prefer to get laundry powder, but most of the stuff I can get still contains a lot  of salt, and contains optical brighteners which aren’t recommended for clothes. I did try using soap nuts in the wash; not sure if it cleaned my clothes. Next up is try making a soap nut liquid.

I know some bulk 25kg flours is sourced in a paper bag, but most other products – nuts, pasta etc do come in plastic.

With milk, I am re-using glass bottles for full cream milk via Harris Farm’s single herd milk scheme; but I am also travelling a 80km+ round trip to do so. (However, I am doing this journey  as part of other journeys).

I try to support those cafes that are accepting re-usable cups. If I do have to get a landfill coffee cup, I take advantage of 7-11’s scheme to recycle coffee cups and lids

Some random musings from a sleep deprived, over-extended, overly mentally loaded me.

Still here

Still here. Life has become busy.

Since November 2020 ish, my mum has gone from having low care needs to medium-to-high care needs. This means that if I’m not at home, or working from home, exercising (to keep myself sane): I’m at her place.
Covid-19 has a lot to answer for, in that all of the emergency lockdown provisions have meant that our elderly have become socially isolated (more so), and this has escalated their mental decline, particularly if they are suffering from a dementia related illness.
Garden is still chugging along with the cherry tomatoes going strong, silverbeet going nuts, and chokoes (chayote) had to be harvested with an extendable pole and me standing on a milkcrate. I haven’t yet planted garlic for winter growing, or my potatoes for last summer’s growing. I got very excited when I spotted a surprise hand of bananas growing in my mini banana grove. I suspect the
intense 1:100 rainfall that we had in March 2021
may have contributed to the surprise!

How are you going, dear reader? How does your garden grow?

2020 Review Thingo Part 2.

This post is the second of two parts. Part one can be found here: Review thingo 2020.1

14. What song will always remind you of this year?

Ballad of Bunnings Karen.
OK, so it’s not a song. It’s performance poetry in the style of Banjo Patterson.

For some bizarre reason, everytime a covid related lockdown was announced, Australian people would rush to the supermarket to stock up on toilet paper. You can’t eat it. Yet people would get TP as if their life depended on it. Also as if you couldn’t catch covid-19 by jamming the supermarket in the 2 hours before curfew or lockdown hit.

Anyway, Bunnings is a chain of hardware stores like Home Depot in the USA or B&Q in the UK. At one point, masks were mandatory inside shops, yet some people refused to wear them claiming that it was their right to not wear a mask. This song is about them.

15. Compared to this time last year, are you:
a) happier or sadder?

Happier! I’m not dead or sick! No one I know is dead or sick!
Sadder! How did we get to this? A bunch of people thinking this is all a hoax.

b) t̶h̶i̶n̶n̶e̶r̶ ̶o̶r̶ ̶f̶a̶t̶t̶e̶r̶?̶ Are you stronger?

Marginally larger. I ate a lot more working from home; and then turned to chocolate to keep me going through the day. I thought I changed this question. Perhaps the question should be: Are you stronger? I thought I changed this question. Right, I’m changing it now.

c) richer or poorer?

Probably poorer due the amount of online shopping. Yet richer, because I’m not buying a daily coffee while working in the office. I do miss that ritual.

16. What do you wish you’d done more of?

Looked after me before looking after others.

18. How did you spend Christmas?

We were supposed to spend Christmas at an old station/ranch house in the NSW outback (also like in 2019). Instead, the NPWS cancelled on us because of the rain (rain makes the dirt roads impassable for day/weeks as they get torn up if you drive on them when wet), so we spent Christmas in a motel room in Cobar. Thankfully average temperatures this year were in the low to mid 30s instead of the mid 40s! I think the only nod that we had towards it being Christmas (rather than any other day), was the teeny tiny round of Christmas Cake that I had bought from Flour and Stone. We explored a lot of Cobar and found two football fields that we didn’t know about before.

19. Did you fall in love this year?

20. What was your favourite TV program?

Why do all the Australian on-demand tv stations online, on the internet require you to sign in? If I didn’t have to sign in, I probably would have watched more TV online. I don’t need to sign in when I watch your tv shows on my tv.
As it is, I can only remember watching crap home renovation tv shows, re-runs of the cook & the chef, and gogglebox.

21. What was the best book you read?

I haven’t done much reading, and as it is, I mainly read cookbooks.
I liked the bits that I saw of Maeve O’Mara’s Food Safari: Earth, Fire, Water, mainly because there was a complex interesting looking dish involving amazake (with koji) and dehydrated black olives. I was very excited to see Shannon Martinez’s A Cookbook (that happens to be Vegan) in the book remainder store. Yes, I bought it.

22. What was your favourite f̶i̶l̶m̶ theatre event?

I really only watch movies when I’m on a plane, going for an overseas holiday. No holidays in 2020, so no new movies.
So my alternate question – because I go to the theatre a lot more than I go to the cinema.
Favourite theatre event for 2020: Cursed! at Belvoir Street theatre. Three generations of family get together – are they cursed, or is life what they make of it?
I also did quite enjoy watching Hamilton online.

23. What did you do on your birthday

Fark. Worked from home. Lame, huh?

24. What kept you sane?

Cycling or yoga every morning before starting my work from home routine.

25. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?

Francesa Mills. Saw her in The Globe’s streaming of Two noble kinsmen, and was like *thunk* this woman is AMAZING.

26. Who did you miss?

As much as some of the stupidness annoys me … I miss being in the office with my co-workers and the ritual of going to the cafe for the morning coffee.


2020 Review Thingo Part 1

Questions repeated from Shauna Reid 2017 Review Thingo, because the actual reverb thingy appears to have stalled on the interwebs.

This post is going to be published in two parts, mainly because it’s still a work in progress, but also because it’s the last day of January, and I really gotta get something out there! This is 2020.1.

Earlier “year in review” posts can be found:

2019 Review Thingo
2014 part one, part two

1. What did you do in 2020 that you’d never done before?

Purchased an overlocker (serger) and a sewing machine. Both secondhand of course. I had been really getting into the regular sewing bees with the local boomerang bags group, so when the first Sydney COVID lockdown started in March, I bought these two machines second hand so i could keep making bags. The overlocker was heaps of fun – I overlocked all my bag & handle blanks, but never quite got around to sewing them together to make a complete bag. Adding to the list of partially complete projects.

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for this year?

a. Reduce single use plastics by buying from bricks and mortar store, rather than online.

Yes, and no. All good until covid hit. I don’t think I bought anything excessively extra, but then it got to the point where I preferred to buy certain goods online (from independent stores), rather than go out. And then I would go and buy takeaway food, as a relief from the need to cook (because 8 hour workshops in person, turned into 8 hour workshops ONLINE. Very draining).
There was a brief period in which reusable coffee cups could be used in cafes (rather than single use landfill cups), but when Sydney had it’s “Northern Beaches” outbreak in December, that put those small gains to a screaming halt.
2020 reduce plastic usage: 0
March 2021 edit – cafes like Ragamuffin and Bourke Street Bakery have started accepting reusable cups again. Yay!
I’ll keep this resolution on the list for 2021.

b. Finish stuff, rather than have partially complete projects.
2020 finish stuff: 0
You know what I think it is? I’m like a magpie, easily distracted by something new and shiny.

c. meditate daily.
I didn’t meditate daily, but with the start of the coronavirus work from home lockdown in Sydney, I started off the day with a yoga, possibly the closest thing I have to daily meditation. I got to 90 days in a row before I fell off the wagon.
2020 meditate daily: 0.25

I have started (again) with an app that has a “new year’s meditation challenge”, to meditate at least 15 out of 21 days. There are short intros to various mediation concepts leading in, a bit less intensive than the meditate in may interviews. I made it to about 20 days consecutive, and then had one day off, and am now restarting.

A new one for 2021: Be kinder to myself. Daily grateful moments

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

My friend Reg gave birth to baby Mia, about 3 months premature. This was in May.

Baby Mia

4. Did anyone close to you pass away?

My bees. I realised part way through the year that although I have referred to my bees dying, I haven’t actually told you about it.

Early January 2020/late December 2019, it was so hot. Sydney was ringed by bushfires, smoke was in the air. My bees were under stress. Small Hive Beetle (SHB) can detect the bees under stress – so they moved in, which causes more distress, and so the spiral starts. I noticed some odd behaviour, even so much that I thought the bees were about to swarm. After chatting to some other beekeepers, I decided that I needed to get into the hive, but was hamstrung by the lack of other warre beekeepers available for about a week. In the end, I grabbed a beekeeper who was available and went in, but it was too late. The remaining bees (clustered on the outside), had disappeared, and i think the queen had died. Six hours worth of cutting out comb and then “cooking” SHB larvae in boiling water is not a task I would wish on anyone.

Now imagine that this was a beehive on a farm that is only visited once a month? All you would see is any empty hive filled with the vermin SHB, and probably wax moth. No bees.

5. What countries did you visit?

Australia! One of the emergency edicts brought in as part Australia’s covid-19 response was that Australians weren’t allowed to leave the country.

As various covid-19 clusters grew, this turned into state based or local government area based lockdowns, stopping various residents of certain areas entering/exiting one state or another. The police forces in Australia are generally state based (rather than city/county based like in the USA), so the majority of police were deployed to border towns and the roads between states.

I haven’t even left the state of NSW during 2020.

But then, with the various state and country based restrictions, NSW is currently at 14 days of no community transmission of Covid-19. That’s pretty good.

6. What would you like to have next year that you lacked in this one?

These are the words I picked in last two years reverb:



and I will keep them again for 2021. Does that mean I have been lacking these things the past two years? Hmm.

7. What dates from this year will remain etched upon your memory?

The “very last play” I saw at the Opera House in March 2020, before the covid-19 lockdowns stopped all theatre in the state.
The “very first play” we saw in real life, all masked up after lockdown – Virginia Wolf’s A Room of One’s Own. Not the best play to discover that you can no longer concentrate on a monologue

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

Maintaining a good LIFE/work balance while working from home. My routine generally involved morning exercise before I started the working day – yoga, a walk to the station, or a long bike ride. Then, my partner kept me honest at the end of the working day, by making sure I ended my day on time by going for a walk.

Also pretty happy that we haven’t managed to kill each other yet, and that we kept a few online “theatre dates” with the theatre crew via videoconferencing.

9. What was your biggest failure?

Finishing projects. Cleaning up.
I enjoy the end products of gardening. but never quite get around to planting the seeds or seedlings.
This is despite working from home. So my routine is now to do at least 10 minutes in the morning – repot or plant something, before I do my morning exercise and start work.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

No, thank goodness.

11. What was the best thing you bought?

Hmm. The toy is still new, but I bought a pressure cooker, which I have wanted for a while. I had been eyeing off stove top pressure cookers, as well as electric. I ended up with an electric one.

This has actually been really useful during summer because I have been able to cook and not heat up the kitchen. Very happy.

12. Where did most of your money go?

Online shopping.
Our once-a-day coffee habit, no longer supplied by the cafes near the office, had to be supplied by me. I’ve worked out that we went through about 8kg coffee, April – December.
I’m still a bit wary about stepping into shops for too long a period. So if there isn’t a local stockist of something that I can run in and grab; yes, I have ordered it online and had it shipped.

13. What did you get really, really, really excited about?

Australia’s relative success in containing covid-19.
Jacinda Ardern’s re-election as prime minister in New Zealand.
The election of Biden/Harris in the USA.

Nine Weeks until Christmas 2020

The local farmers markets restarted in June 2020 after the first* NSW Covid-19 lockdown, and I have been visiting regularly, almost more regularly than pre-covid. There’s a little fence around all entry points, and you need to have your temperature taken and grab a squirt of hand sanitiser before heading into the outdoor venue.

It’s good to see all of the farmers and producers again.

Anyway, for my most recent visit, there was a sign up saying: “Nine Weeks till Christmas! Order your hams now!”

What the? Nine weeks till Christmas? What happened to 2020? How has it both managed to drag on interminably, and suddenly be near the end?

In other (garden) news, I thought I would get no guava crop this year. They normally crop around June-July. When I had nothing then, I thought my pruning mid-summer had snipped off all of the forming fruit. But it seems it was a combination of odd-weather and poor pollination. I got fruit in October. So very very late. The poorly pollinated fruits were smaller than golf balls, and instead of the rock hard “normal” seeds inside, I got little brown dots, a bit like rosehips. Because it is so warm, the guavas are almost rotten by the time they drop off the tree. What’s left I have been pureeing with apple sauce + tumeric + black pepper + cinnamon, and dehydrating. Sort of a guava chewy.

Over winter, I splurged a little and bought two fruit trees – prunus mume and a calville blanc d’hiver apple tree. Then I found out this new apple tree isn’t compatible with the current lot of apple trees that I already have, and not only that it is a triploid. Gonna be difficult to get apples unless I get another pollinator ….

Have also planted corn “seeds”, from last years crop. Germination rate is pretty good, nearly 100%. Hoping to have a break from the cherry tomatoes, but the seedlings sprouting from my compost have other ideas.

Have you discovered this too, dear reader, that your year has been both super fast and super slow? Have your fruit trees also cropped this year at an unexpected time? Let me know your thoughts.

Plastic Free July, 2020

Unlike previous years, I am not cataloging my usage (or attempt at non-usage) of plastic during this year’s Plastic Free July.


1. It is depressing; and
2. Covid-19.

I am still heading to the bulk goods stores when I can, and refilling my dish detergent, milk bottles, laundry detergent, epsom salts etc. I’ve found some local shops that sell nuts & beans without packaging, I just take along & reuse a plastic bag when I head there. I am using my reusable N95 mask that I purchased during the 2019 Summer bushfire season. Who knew that it would come in so handy later in the year?

But look at this:

reusable cup

I got so excited when local (ish) bourke street bakery announced that after the Covid lockdown in March 2020 (& subsequent refusal to use any reusable cup); that from July they were accepting the “Green Caffeen” system of reusable cups. Woohoo!

I couldn’t find a copy of the updated advice from the Restaurant & Catering association, but here is something from the Northern Territory Government. Essentially, cafes can accept a reusable cup as long as (a) it’s a contactless pour; and (b) cup is clean/cleaned in a commercial dishwasher.

Not only that, Ragamuffin Cafe in Leichhardt is accepting *any* reusable cup, not just the green caffeen system.

So appropriate to the public health orders applicable to your area.

So get out there, be social but spatially distance so you can *support* these business that are supporting the reusable cup system (rather than those that don’t), and get caffeinated at the same time.

PS. I was sifting through my compost. Look what I found:

disposable cup

Yep, it’s the plastic liner of a single use disposable coffee cup. Each reusable cup you use, prevents the usage/creation of something like that.

Ping, May 2020

Hello world, it’s me. I’m still alive!

Blogging has gotten a little more complicated than when I first started. Yahoo sold Flickr to SmugMug, and then the access rights changed, and now I can’t simply upload a photo by emailing it; I have to drag and drop to upload. So it’s an extra step that I haven’t had to do for YEARS. Then my phone bricked itself, and so of course any photos that I have taken in the past couple of months are currently inaccessible.

Stuff is still growing in the garden. The cherry tomatoes have been cropping like crazy, too many than I know what to do with, so I have been dehydrating them, and blitzing them into tomato powder to make “instant” tomato paste. The dehydrator has been getting a big workout.

I harvested 3 x purple cherokee tomatoes so far. They were enormous.I got the plants from a crop swap. Oh crop swaps, when we could meet in a group to exchange plants, seeds and baked goods and give each other hugs. *cries*

I just recently spotted a banana flower growing. I was so excited, my first banana hand growing for at least 3 years. We are going into winter, it’s going to have a hard life. Poor thing gets so neglected – I don’t chop down competing banana pups, and it doesn’t get extra fertiliser apart from grey water from the laundry. I guess I’m going to have to do something about that.

Harvested a few strawberries, some pineberries, basil, parsley.

Also a TRUCKLOAD of apples.

I would never think that my ballerina columnar apple trees would fruit so much. I think that there was so little forage around Winter 2019, that my bees (*sob*) went nuts, and I got an incredible apple harvest. Many more waltz’s (20+) than bolero’s (3 isH), which is good. The waltz’s were fantastic, the bolero’s were like an overcooked golden delicious. So I dehydrated slices of the boleros which made them much more edible.

My kaffir limes are fruiting again. I dehydrated my 2019 crop to make kaffir lime shampoo when the limes were out of season. They’re back in season,

I’ll post some photos when I get my act into gear, or get my gear acted upon.

Work wise – yes, I still am employed. I am working from home which is a privilege that I am very grateful for. This is week seven of WFH.

I feel really sad for the arts/theatre/music communities – all of these things that I had been looking forward to in 2020, all of those social butterfly things, all gone. Surprisingly, although I am more extroverted than my partner, I appear to be handling the work from home aspect a lot better than he is. He is itching to go out camping, or go mountain biking, just do SOMETHING. I don’t want to do anything that lands me in hospital! Hospital is the last place I want to be right now. I’m still keeping busy, but keeping busy in the home. I book-end my WFH days with yoga in the morning, and walks in the afternoon. It keeps me going.

Most recent travel: to a yoga retreat near Nowra, mid March 2020
Most recent crop swap: mid February 2020
Most recent theatre: early March 2020, Sydney Theatre Company’s “No Pay? No Way!” at the Sydney Opera House. A week later, all theatre was cancelled.

What I *had* been looking forward to in 2020:

  • Belvoir 2020 theatre subscription (Some plays outright cancelled, others postponed)
  • Tim Minchin “Back” (postponed to January 2021)
  • Tami Neilson in May 2020 (TBA…)
  • Support the arts. It’s what makes us human.

    Isn’t it incredible how much we take for granted, until it is no longer available to us?

    Harvest Monday, December 2019

    Welcome to Harvest Monday, where we celebrate all things harvest related. For the background behind Monday harvests, please visit the Our Happy Acres blog.

    Harvested, took photos, went on Christmas holidays, forgot to post. Posting now!

    Capsicum (sweet peppers):

    Two small capsicums. These went into a chilli dish I made whilst in the outback over Christmas.


    Soybean seeds, blue butterfly peas, and purple tomatillos planted in November didn’t survive me going away. Purple “sapphire” seed potatoes and “midnight specials” potatoes have sprouted greenery. The greenery has (sort of) survived some 40 + degree days (104 F). It has been hot.

    I have harvested one full warre box of honey, about 6 frames (6/8) from a second box. This is probably about 20kg worth of honey, unknown amount of beeswax.

    Look at them apples:

    I have had an incredible amount of pollination this year on my columnar (ballerina) apple trees. I shouldn’t have over 20 apples growing from a pot. I think because of the drought this year, there has been less in flower/less of a nectar flow elsewhere & since these are well watered I got A LOT of pollination.

    We are now in “stage 2” water restrictions, with the main dams for Sydney at just of 40% capacity & a lot of bushfires going on (which needs water to fight them). Sydney is basically surrounded by a burning ring of fire. These water restrictions mean that now I can only water my plants with a bucket. Which is ridiculous because it is less targeted than a hose. I’ve had crop swap friends observe that they are actually using MORE WATER with bucket watering than they were with a hose. Surely, me growing plants that help keep the area cool & the bees & birds fed, as well as reducing food miles is a more useful deployment of water than someone washing their car (also with a bucket)? Makes me so angry. I got a few more unglazed terracotta pots & installed them as ollas in my raised garden beds.

    So dear reader, what have you harvested from your garden recently? Do you have any tips for keeping plants going through water restrictions?

    2019 Review Thingo

    Questions repeated from Shauna Reid 2017 Review Thingo, because the actual reverb thingy appears to have stalled on the interwebs.

    Earlier “year in review” posts can be found:

    2014 part one, part two

    1. What did you do in 2019 that you’d never done before?

    Travelled to Tenterfield, Inverell, Grafton, Glen Innes areas, all within NSW Australia.
    Joined a local Boomerang Bags sewing group, and learned to sew a little on a machine! These groups make reusable bags from reclaimed materials that would otherwise be put into landfill.

    2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for this year?

    I don’t remember what new years resolutions I made in 2019, so clearly can’t have kept them.

    This year I’m trying to use less single use plastic, so if there’s an option to buy something in a bricks and mortar store (rather than online), that’s what I’ll do.

    Complete projects that I start, rather than having a house filled with partially started efforts.

    Meditate daily.

    3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

    My friend Clare gave birth to Liam in June.

    4. Did anyone close to you pass away?


    5. What countries did you visit?

    Australia and USA. Shouldn’t discount the country that you live in as a place to visit!

    6. What would you like to have next year that you lacked in this one?

    These are the words I picked last year:




    7. What dates from this year will remain etched upon your memory?

    The week that I spent on Lady Elliot Island, in the Southern part of the Great Barrier Reef. Same as last year – and yes, I went again this year!!

    Two years in a row. How indulgent.

    8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

    I got some kudos at work for some problems I managed to hose down by working cooperatively etc.

    I helped start up a local Women’s Shed.

    9. What was your biggest failure?

    Stopping procrastination.
    Making time.

    10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

    Consistent niggling injuries, the downside of getting older.
    The leg thing I talked about at the end of 2018? I somehow knocked off a piece of cartilage in my knee, & it was rattling around like a pinball in my knee joint. I got an arthroscopy to vacuum it out.

    11. What was the best thing you bought?

    A ticket for a special vegan Southern-style dinner, created by Shannon Martinez as part of good food month.

    12. Where did most of your money go?

    Online shopping. I joined a buy swap sell group to get rid of some clothing that I had purchased. I still have the clothing I started with, but now I have even more. Then the penny dropped that each purchase meant another shipping satchel, & these aren’t necessarily recyclable. See New Years’ Resolution.

    13. What did you get really, really, really excited about?

    My second visit to the Great Barrier Reef as part of a yoga retreat. I went in 2018, and so I knew what I was in for. This year’s trip was in October, and the weather was so much warmer. I went snorkelling once, twice, even four times a day. I was a lot more confident in the water, going into the water on the ocean side (always with a swim buddy) and I saw SO MANY TURTLES. Very excited. I love turtles. Also saw a few cow tail rays, which are all black with gold spots. Fantastic. Yes, the reef has been bleached (2016) and it is recovering from the last bleaching event; however it looks like 2019/20 is another hot season and the coral may be bleached again. It’s not a good thing.

    I also managed to get the last ticket to a sold out show to Terry Pratchett’s Maskerade in Brisbane. The show was sold out, and I had my name put on a waitlist. Miraculously, someone returned their ticket, and I got it. Woot!

    14. What song will always remind you of this year?

    Tones and I, Dance Monkey.

    15. Compared to this time last year, are you:
    a) happier or sadder?

    Much of a muchness.

    b) thinner or fatter?

    Marginally thinner. It took me all year to lose the weight from eating all the American diner breakfasts I had in a fortnight in the USA in 2018. How did I measure? Whether or not I fit into a specific item of clothing.

    c) richer or poorer?

    Probably poorer due the amount of online shopping.

    16. What do you wish you’d done more of?


    18. How did you spend Christmas?

    At an old station/ranch house in the NSW outback. Daily temperatures were 25 deg C to 45 deg C – thank goodness one room had refrigerated air-conditioning. Unfortunately for evaporative air-conditioners (swamp coolers) you need potable water, I don’t think you can use bore water due to the salinity and minerals.

    19. Did you fall in love this year?

    20. What was your favourite TV program?

    Seriously. Can’t remember anything memorable that I watched on TV. I watched Shaun Micallef’s Mad as Hell when it was on tv; and also the x-files seems to be getting a bit of a repeat on SBS. I seem to be drifting a lot towards the home renovations type shows, including things like Escape to the Country.

    21. What was the best book you read?

    Cannot believe that I used to be such a bookworm. I have a lot of aspirational books that I carry around with me on my travels, but never quite get around to reading. Case in point:

    Thinking Fast and Slow. I don’t think I’ve made it past page 50.

    I’ve been getting a lot more into ferments, and I have recently picked up Pascal Bauder’s foraging/ferment book, as well as the Shockey’s miso, tempeh and natto book. Sandor Ellix Katz is touring Australia in early 2020, so I’m looking forward to something on this tour.

    22. What was your favourite film?

    I really only watch movies when I’m on a plane, going for an overseas holiday. After commenting on Shauna’s 2018 review post, I realised that I had only seen part of Three Billboards outside Ebbing Missouri, so I finished that. And I cried again. Other movies seen include…. The Shape of Water (OMG! The staging, the storyline, the ending …), Secret Life of Pets 2 (uh…), Toy Story 4 (Yes!), 50% of The Dead Don’t Die (Don’t bother), Precious (OMG!) and I, Tonya (WTF? I don’t get it).

    So from that list, I think The Shape of Water and Precious were probably my favourite films.

    I must add to my list of things to see: Parasite.

    23. What did you do on your birthday

    Parkrun. Had a vanilla slice. Delicious.

    24. What kept you sane?

    Gardening. Yoga. Cycling when I couldn’t go to the gym.

    25. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?


    26. Who did you miss?

    Perhaps this should be “what” did I miss? Time. Being present.