Ravaged, Energy and Demands

November has passed and with it some of the stress. Here, in Australia, we were bombarded by fire. All up the Eastern seaboard, already ravaged by drought, the land when up in flames. Where I live was okay – just. We had fires to the north, west and south and still they burn. Today is windy, and embers can still find us; trees that are still burning inside can flare up, or fall, sending the sparks high into the air.

It has been a worrying time, and will continue to be throughout the summer. The energy expended by the fire-fighters has been tremendous – with volunteers helping with supplies and stock feed for burnt out paddocks that have left animals starving, let alone the myriads of Australian wildlife that perished. I might add that worry and stress of the community has left little ability to focus on every day living, and many people have succumbed to shock and despair. So many lost everything as the fire tore through the land, consuming everything in its path – including their homes.

Now we are all looking at the aftermath and demanding to know how this could have happened. All our national parks and swathes of bush-land have been decimated. Was this climate change? Yes – partly. Was this government changing funding for the fire service? Yes – partly. Was it the inability to do controlled burning during the winter months? Yes – partly. And finally was it through some thoughtless act of arson in some cases? Yes- partly.

We can sit and blame everyone else for the horrors of this last month – but it is time to take responsibility for our planet and our own lifestyle choices. We must adapt and begin to understand that this planet isn’t an infinite entity. We need to do some things to protect our future here – one thing that springs to mind is the need for less population. And hand in glove with this goes the greed for money, possessions and power.

How do we change the inherent idiocy of the human race?

Have you got any suggestions?

Rags, Emergencies and Dinosaurs

Another month has gone, and Christmas looms! I always try to have gifts ready by now, but, again, time has moved too swiftly and busily to think of it. My gifts are always small and, hopefully, fit to the person I give them. But gifts are a privilege. So many do not get them, or can afford the luxury of giving them.

I think of all the people in far flung places (was it really a year ago that I was in Cambodia?) and wonder why the western world creates such a commercial broohaha over every festival of the year. We are encouraged to SPEND, SPEND, and SPEND all the time. The poor people of the world, even within our own society, often live in rags, concerned only with living and surviving one day at a time – and we in the ‘civilized’ world don’t show the care of the planet, environment or those less fortunate than ourselves.

How dare we!

And that comment brings to mind the passionate speech of Greta, castigating the governments for not fixing the climate change of our planet. Then there are the protesters who are using violence to change the regimes of oppression in other parts of the world. I guess my opinions are not worth much, but I wonder whether those people have any solutions, or are just yelling at others who also can’t fix the emergencies of the world?

I would like to see the people with the solutions get the type of airplay that those angry people get. The fact that people in Africa are digging the desert to re-green it, that Egypt is planting trees to stop the march of the desert sand in their country, the people in Australia growing coral to fix the barrier reef, the volunteers who feed the poor, the farmers struggling to help feed the masses trying to use sustainable practices – this is where our thoughts and efforts should be directed.

Can YOU live your life in a better way?

Can YOU help fix the mountains of plastic, general waste and the acquisition of ever more ‘gadgets’?

I know, in my life, I have endeavored to curb my desire for all the fripperies of the world, I’ve been to places to help teach and educate, and I strive to make my small plot of earth better than I found it.

If everyone followed those principles – no doubt, the planet would be better off. At the moment, all I see is the rush towards the same fate as the dinosaurs!

There is more in this world to hope for than that!

Refreshments, Emeralds and Delight

It always amazes me that, as you grow older, time passes by so much quicker than when you were young. The intolerable wait for birthdays to happen, Christmas to celebrate, and a one hundred andone delights to look forward to, always seemed to be so far away. Now, I blink, and another month has slipped by.

I do understand that my life has got busier and busier – now that I’ve ‘retired’. I am constantly wondering how I had time to go to work! I hear that from nearly every retiree that I meet. I suppose I don’t meet those people who sit at home and do nothing. The depressed and isolated, the tired and sick, and the unloved and desperate, are tucked away in their homes.

It’s sad. I wish I could help those people.

How do you explain, except by example, that days on this planet are not only like diamonds, but emeralds, sapphires and opals too. Full of colour and beauty. Don’t give up. Look around and see that beauty. Embrace your life and give to others.

It’s hard.

We are constantly bombarded with doom and gloom, bad news, climate change and the unscrupulous behaviour of the criminals, punks and big business tycoons of our warped society.

Life should be lived with a love of nature, the animals around us, the glory of the environment and the close and far loved ones of our human family.

Life should be lived with a love of nature, the animals around us, the glory of the environment and the close and far loved ones of our human family.

I don’t, for one moment suggest we should ignore the decline in the world around us, but, by living a life that shows you CAN do something to help society, should be the ambition of many of us. By living a life of joy, usefulness, love, art, music and dance instead of greed, intolerance and hatred would make this world a better place.

So lift your heart, speak your truths, lift your glasses of whatever refreshments you enjoy, and smile. Let the lonely, depressed and isolated people know you care. Put your hand out and lift them up, rather than oppressing them.

Understand and encourage them.

You’ll find that it becomes a win/win situation for everyone.

Rain, Elusive and Daytime

Here in the Mid North Coast of Australia, we are in the last month of winter. So far, there has been so little rain that I’m hoping my cows, goats and chickens on my property aren’t going to become extinct!!

The ground is like concrete and the grass is dying – in fact quite a lot of it has completely died. I am feeding my poor animals every day, and the cost of stock food continues to rise, as it becomes more and more scarce.

I really have tried to ‘drought-proof’ my land, but it isn’t easy. Although, I remember when I first moved here, nearly twenty years ago, the ground was empty of vegetation – it was just dust. So I haven’t done too badly, I suppose.

ISBN – 978-0-9876393-9-4 Contact me if you would like a hard copy.

Another thing that has been going well is the breeding, in China, of the fabulous Giant Pandas. They were considered close to endangered and now seem to have been brought back from the brink. I wrote a book – called ‘In Search of the Elusive Panda’ (a chapter book for children) and in my research was pleasantly surprised by the work that is going on in the field. This book is a ‘Kathy Edwards’ adventure, and I have decided to use that type of theme for my other books in the series. The next book in the series (now half written) concerns the sea-dragons off the Tasmanian Giant Kelp fields. And to be quite honesty – I’ve already planned out another 2 books with endangered turtles in one and a more general ‘rain-forest destruction’ in another.

I’ve come to the conclusion that there just isn’t enough daytime hours for me to do everything I would like to do. but I still persevere. There isn’t any point in joining ‘protest’ marches about climate change, the destruction of our environment and the wholesale extinction of so many of the world’s creatures, if I don’t actually do something about those problems. I’m hoping my books will educate the younger generation. The previous generations certainly didn’t have any idea what their practices were doing to our planet. I also have my doubts that today’s politicians care either. Their hip pocket seems to be the only thing that drives them. Let’s hope that will change radically in the future. (Although – having said that – if the dinosaurs hadn’t become extinct – we’d still be knee deep in them! – perhaps we should be thankful for that!!)

Reading, Everyone and Dangerous

Books are one of my addictions. I have six large bookcases, and they are all jammed with books. – I think the books breed. I’m sure I only had a few, but the next time I looked they had multiplied.

They are not all novels, although there are some. I have gardening books, recipe books, how-to books, information books, knitting books, dressmaking books and history books.

You get the idea, I’m sure.

It is a dangerous addiction that even my friends have noticed. The problem is, they give my books as presents now – which only adds to the general confusion.

My job, now that I’m retired, is helping anyone and everyone I know to publish their books, as well as writing my own books that I also publish.

You would think I would have enough of books – but every evening, before I go to sleep – I read. Reading is a way to escape the constant chatter in my brain, to imagine a life of others, to just plain enjoy the story that I am reading. Sometimes I don’t get to sleep until some ridiculous hour deep into the night, because the story has trapped me in its clasp and I just can’t put the book down. I expand my knowledge of places across the globe, as well as increase my understanding about all sorts of things – from the making of jewelry (‘Jewelled Path’ by Barbara Ovstedal) to Victorian English history ( in the romances of Georgette Heyer), from the wilds of Ireland (‘The Glass Lake’ by Maeve Binchy) to the Australian way of life (‘Beneath the Southern Cross’ by Judy Nunn) and the joys of children’s books – yes – because I write them, I read them, too.

My parents would laugh, and tell me I was hopeless – that I would read the back of a Cornflakes box if it was put in front of me. I was, and still am, enchanted by the written word. I can easily identify with the character in the movie ‘The Book Thief’. I become enthusiastic about causes like ‘Erin Brokovitch’ (although my excitement is contained within my own bedroom) and I cry and laugh with the heroes and heroines in fantasy novels like ‘Harry Potter – both the books and the movies.

How many others have this problem? Am I alone in the world, hiding inside a delicious story of some other author’s mind?

P.S. – my catalogue of books is on my second page of this blog – if you want more information of all the books I have – please email me at maureenlarter@gmail.com

Reasons, Eggs and Daylight

Hi everyone – well, Easter has been and gone, and here in Australia, Summer daylight saving has finished. The cooler weather has started and shorter days progress. The hens have gone into a moult and there are feathers everywhere, but, while they are growing new feathers for Winter, I’m not getting any eggs.

The goats are getting old, and the cows are dry – so no fresh milk. Life is not as rosy as it was just a few short weeks ago.

So those are the reasons I can cheerfully say “Oh – woe is me!” Lucky I have a sense of humour. But – you can’t keep me down for long – there is still so much to be happy about. I have seedlings to put in – cabbage, broccoli, cauli, snow peas and all-year lettuces. They will be feeding me in the coldest months.

However, on a lighter note, I am still writing, and there are going to be several books added to my library stable. “Elephants Everywhere” is the next of my children’s picture books to be released.

I have a picture book – “Bartholomew” by Elizabeth Kempers that Sweetfields Publishing will release very soon, and 4 other books waiting in the wings by two different authors.

I have started on two more chapter books for middle school children as well. “Rosferado – a New Adventure” (The titles may change in the future) is book two of my wizard series. “Kathy and the Sea Dragons” or maybe “Smugglers and Dragons”(?) is the second book in the Kathy Edwards series of adventures. Hopefully these will be available later in the year.

It’s going to be a busy year.

Release, Extraordinaire and Direction.

Now that three months have gone, and Easter is almost here, I am able to give you all news of the new direction my life has been moving in.

I have started to publish, not only my own books, but other people’s as well. Sweetfields Publishing has already helped two struggling authors, and there are more in the pipeline.

I have also been working hard at releasing two more of my books – one is a picture book (‘Larry Lyrebird Laughs’)

and the other a fantasy chapter book for middle school children (‘Rosferado – Wizard Extraordinaire‘).Rosferado Cover FRONT Trim

Whoever said retirement was relaxing had obviously not retired. I seem to be busier than ever. Not that I’m complaining – as you age – challenges and busyness are the very things that keep your brain and body functioning.

In Australia we are now in Autumn (Fall) and heading for winter. One of my other projects is my vegetable garden. Now is the time to prepare for winter – so I’ve planted cauliflowers, cabbage, broccoli ( these are collectively called – brassicas) and onions.Brassicasa cauliThese are all more slower growing than Spring and Summer vegetables. I’ve also put in carrots, beetroot and turnips. Root crops should be in poorer soil than other plants, as the roots are the edible bits – protected from Winter frosts, but easily misshapen by too much fertilizer. I still have parsnips, silver beet (also known as chard) and leeks to get into the soil.

Of course, the northern hemisphere is in Spring – so they should be growing everything from lettuce to zucchini, tomatoes to watermelons, and cucumber to corn and everything in between. I love flowers for the bees as well, but I am very much a vegetable grower. It is important to be able to grow your food and know where it comes from and that it hasn’t been sprayed with anything toxic.

If you enjoy gardening, both Autumn and Spring are wonderful times to get out into the outside, as the temperature is not too cold, nor too hot.

With Kindness.

P.S. I have two more pages to this blog. Can you find them – would you prefer all of page two and three moved to page one?