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Climate change is spreading diseases you haven’t even heard of yet

Now this has definitely got me a little sick in the gut. The hardest thing to swallow for me was this quote near the end – “Here’s the irony,” Brooks says. “The countries that have the money and the technology to actually make a difference don’t feel the crisis, and the countries that feel the crisis don’t have the money to do anything.”


Hollywood tradition dictates that in Act One of the outbreak narrative, we begin deep in the bowels of the CDC, cell cultures sloshing around a petri dish, a gaggle of white coats huddled around a microscope. Cut to the limb-flailing, flesh-eating symptoms, entire families frothing at the mouth — once unleashed, the pathogen will sweep the globe and consume us all before you can finish your Hail Marys: I’ve always loved you, Nancy!

 But according to Daniel Brooks, who’s been studying the rise of emerging infectious diseases (EIDs) for 40 years, the Hollywood model needs to be recalibrated in light of climate change.

“It’s not that there’s going to be one ‘Andromeda Strain’ that will wipe out everybody on the planet,” says Brooks, professor emeritus at Toronto University and a senior research fellow at the University of Nebraska’s H.W. Manter Parasitology Lab. “There are going to be a lot…

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5 Great Ways to share your garden Surplus!


So you do or have grown your own fruit/veggies? Perhaps you stopped because you hated to see all that good stuff going to waste? Do you have a tinge of sadness every time you harvest? Perhaps, you look at your garden & think “holy crow, what am I going to do with ALL of that?!”. Well never fear, I have 3 great ideas that you can put to good use immediately!

First Option –

Do you know a family that’s doing it rough at the moment? Or perhaps they are always tight? BRING IT TO THEM! Not a truckload mind you, they can only use a certain amount too lol. I suggest for most people, don’t ask them. That’s right I said do not ask them. WHY? Well, most ppl, myself included, are too embarrassed to say yes. We also don’t want to “put other’s out” or be a “burden”. Yeah, I know, silliness & it’s our issues we need to get over but, many of us still battle them. If you rock up to their house & knock holding the bags they are more likely to take it. Don’t worry, most every body will feel grateful after you walk out at least. LOL! Not because you left but, because they can’t let their defences down. If you want, you can always play Spy & wait until no one is home & leave by their front door😉.

I can honestly say it meant the world to me when I recently had some people do it to me. Granted our kids were besties since the the start of the school year (we start at the end of January here) but, it’s not like we knew each other well.

Second option-

Take it to a food bank. Some of you may not know what this is so, I’ll fill you in. Some of us who are doing it rough from time to time have to go to outside sources and ask for either vouchers to the local grocery store or food from donations that they have. Now, for many of us it isn’t a proud moment but, it sure does help when you are unexpectedly unemployed for a while, a larger than average bill came in or your child needed something like new shoes.

Where can you find them? Hopefully, it will be pretty darn easy for you. The best thing to do is start with the bigger places that you know help people out. They are the ones that you usually see on TV asking for donations or come around door to door such as the Red Cross. Here in Australia we also have St Vincet de Paul (aka: Vinnies), The Good Shephard, The Brotherhood & many different churches. You will be happier knowing you are giving people a chance to have healthy fresh food while not letting the labour of your love go to waste & they’ll probably be ecstatic to not get prepackaged junk.

Here is a link to a major Foodbank that also lists big companies that donate (might be a lead too!)

Third Option-

Get a few of you together that you know grow your own or have fruit trees dropping fruit everywhere & start an “op-shop” in your area. I know that is may sound weird but, they have actually just recently opened a Fruit & Veg Op-Shop (that link will take you to their FB page in case you want more info!) in our area. Basically, ppl donate from the surrounding area all their surplus fruit & veg. The Op-shop then sells it for $1 a bag. Another win-win in my opinion.

Fourth Option – 


     Join your local co-op. How do you find them???? Sometimes a google or Facebook search will bring them up but, you can always ask your local permaculture group. Then there are the places that advertise organic veggies who could probably link you to a farmer or the like who might be able to guide you. If you try those & can’t find them, send me a message & I’ll do what I can to help.

Fifth Option –


     The local farmer’s market ain’t just for “farmers” anymore. You grow food? You are a small time farmer my friend & you can go to the farmer’s market. If you don’t think you have enough to make it worth it, work out something with other people from your local community be it via your kid(s) school, work, friends of the neighbour & pool together. Then you can take turns manning the stall & split the profits. Then you might have a little extra cash to not only get new seeds (if you haven’t saved your own) or that new addition to your garden you’ve been drooling over!

I hope that’s helped you. I am happy to help you find any of these things in your area if you are struggling. Just remember, I am a single mum & I am doing a lot of things myself so, don’t just expect me to do it all for you, but, I am happy to help & see what I can do for getting you possible contacts etc be it for local laws for doing some of the options or connections to share your produce.

My love & appreciation goes out to all those people who sow, grow & share. It’s made a difference for my daughter & I in these last few weeks. I look forward to getting my soil teeming with life so I can grow more myself.

Kindest wishes,

Cheyenne Christine

I stand quietly

What a wonderful prose expressing life with an autistic child. I alms it feel like the “I stand quietly” is like a forced gag she wears to help her daughter & to keep herself from shattering. As if she stops standing quietly she’ll scream & sob into a million pieces

Dirty, Naked and Happy

I stand quietly while you do somersaults on the bed as you aren’t being naughty, you are just trying to get your out of sync body under control.

I stand quietly by the toilet door every time you need to go, and come with you around the house, and sometimes even just across the room, because I know you can feel truly frightened when you are not near me.

I stand quietly at the supermarket checkout while everyone stares at you barking like a dog and blowing raspberries on my arms to cope with the buzzing lights.

I stand quietly while you tell the baffled shop owner that you are looking for shoes that feel hard like splintered wood because your skin can’t bear soft things.

I stand quietly when the attendant gives us scornful looks when I ask for the key to the disabled toilet because the hand dryer…

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Wind turbines on the Eiffel tower? WOW! That’s amazing. It’s great though part of me can’t believe a world icon like that would willing have it’s profile changed like that. Wonder who will be brave & be next?


“One of the world’s most iconic sites has become the latest high profile venue to embrace renewable energy, after the installation of two vertical axis wind turbines as part of the Eiffel tower’s high profile renovation project.” (http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/feb/25/eiffel-tower-embraces-wind-power)

Vive la revolution.

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Thought for today February 27th 2015

As do I. I want to positively affect ppl whether they know it’s me or not

Veraiconica's Blog

Mirrors of Our Highest Selves

We need more kindness, more compassion,
more joy, more laughter.
I definitely want to contribute to that.

Photography Credit
Larry Cochran
<a href=”https://www.flickr.com/photos/lalalands/13166513315″

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Moving from the city to a farm – a pre-step to a dream

Have you ever had a dream, something you wanted but, until you stopped & traced it back had no idea where the dream or longing came from? Some of my friends said it was a “mid-life” crisis. Others said I would be crazy to move us that far out & change my daughter’s primary a THIRD time but, there were a few who said ” You would be NUTS not to take this opportunity!”. One of my best friends told me straight out – “If you do not try this I NEVER, EVER want to hear you bitch about your job again.” Wow, OK……..

Goat love

Kid love

That’s my daughter with one of the last kids I promised her we would adopt. His name was Cuddlepie. Before you ask she has never read any of the Snugglepot books to my knowledge, I’m not even sure I just wrote the title correctly. The reason it was the last one was because sadly, Cuddlepie and many others died bless their little souls. It was a great, yet horrible experience. Let me tell you how it all started.

As I mentioned in my previous post about camping, I just couldn’t take the normal, average, mundane job. It was making me physically ill. It’s not that I am a princess & think I should be taking care of (though that would be nice on an occasion or 3!), it’s just, I was too awake to continue. Does that make sense? My “awakening” or “re-awakening” had been happening for YEEEAAARRRRSSSS but, I was also growing a backbone at the same time so, I guess I progressed decently.

The thing is once I started on the road to growing veggies at home……something in me kinda took off. I only wanted to learn to grow a few things so that my daughter would actually eat them. See, every time we went to her great-grandmother’s house she would wander around the backyard & just kind of feast on the things growing there. It helped that her father’s family is very into organics before organics was a thing. I admired them, agreed with most of their point of view on it all & of course as most parents do, wanted the best for my little monkey.

So, I plodded to a “Home Harvest” course to get a few basics and before I know it – BAM! I was hit with the permaculture bug. The class I had taken happen to be at a local permaculture garden & I was learning all this fascinating stuff that just a generation or 2 ago most new by heart!! After that I took a certified Permaculture Design Course. I could go on for ages about what I did & when but, I don’t want you to go to sleep.

My dream, my longing began with that home harvest class & hearing about all the exciting things my ex’s aunt & uncle did in the world of Permaculture. The more my daughter & I would talk about what kind of plants we’d like the more we added. It wasn’t long before we were talking about all kinds of animals as well! You know what happened then? We realised….WE WANT A FARM!!!!!!

What’s one of the BIGGEST obstacles to your dream?

Mine (other than having no $ to buy a farm lol) was knowledge. Now, taking a life long city/suburbian & plopping them down in the country can, will & dose have consequences. Give that city person a farm with a bunch of living things and well…I reckon you have a recipe for disaster either to the person(s) or to the living things.

Who wants to fail at achieving their dream???????

Not me, that’s for sure!

Then I had this ingenious thought. Why don’t I work on a farm & learn how to do some of it before we ever get a farm that way I am more likely to manage & not wound or hurt the animals?! Makes sense don’t you think? I thought so & my daughter was up for the adventure (albeit with the wisdom of a 6 year old).

WHAT is up with itty bitty caravans on farms?

The few positions I found that wanted a live on farm, farm-hand had these itty bitty caravans which, of course they then weren’t comfortable allowing my daughter & I to live in. One even had made the shower outside!!! Could you imagine doing that in winter?????? I found out that most farmers usually hire backpackers. From what they offer for “accommodation” I can’t see how most of the backpackers get through that part of their working visa & totally understand why so many ppl have a hard time finding good, long term farm work!

What happens when you achieve a big goal?

It’s like………like……….wonderfully scary & surreal all that the same time. I finally answered an ad where the man had an actual HOUSE & not only that, he was OK with my daughter & was happy for us to get any pets we wanted. To ice my cake just a little I was going to get PAID. Holy guacamole. I felt like a dog that chased a car and actually caught it. I was flipping out!!!! I decided to take the leap & move 2 hours away from everyone & everything I know in this country to give this a go. I mean how often do you get handed the 2nd best thing to your dream on a platter? He was upfront & told me things were declining & he really hoped I could help pull it out. I was excited.

I did what I thought was my due diligence & went to spend the night on the farm to check it all out & talked to a few ppl about town etc. Seems, my investigative skills need some MAJOR honing! thing is….. I didn’t really know who to talk to nor did I know anything much about animals so…I didn’t understand what I was seeing. I mean the man has a 1 chef hat restaurant in Prahan for goodness sakes. Surely he knows what he is doing…….right?

Sad to say, it all went down hill very quickly. By time I moved up, the backpackers that were there were telling me about all the animals that had died or where dying in the month since I had been there. There was so much inbreeding of the animals that some were coming out…..a bit different & some animals were so young they couldn’t birth their babies. The owner refused to let us deworm them, or deal with their hoof hoofrot & many other things he was very particular about though he was rarely ever there & when he was it was for a few hours at a time. And many things that would anger & frustrate you if I shared happened.

After 45 days the owner calls me to tell me that he is going to sell the land & house that my daughter & I were living on. Great. I just left a great community & a good school in an area I know well, spent all my savings to move my daughter & I up there to be told now, I need to find not only a new place to live but, a new job as well.

What happens when your reach for the dream leaves you flat on your face?

For me…..a bit of depression & self-pity. Then of course I went to anger & resentment which, turned into resignation. It really wounded my ego & even shook the desire for our dream farm. I am sure other people face it differently but, that’s what makes life interesting right?

What do you do after that?

Hopefully, you’ll look at it & see what you can do better in the next step for your dream. We decided to stay in the area for a multitude reasons. I don’t like driving past that farm & thankfully I rarely need to. It’s still a bit sour but, with more time I won’t think twice about. I took a job on a different farm & have way different duties but, that experience has made me realise a few things. 1 – I can actually do it. I can do a lot of the work myself but, it probably would be safer to have others working around too. 2- I love, love, love working with animals. 3 – Poo no longer bother’s me so much (except for kitty litter but, I can’t explain that!) & my gross out levels are WAY higher than they were pre-farm. 4 – If I can stick my hand up a goats vagina, there ain’t much in life stopping me now! Knowing how much I miss interacting with the animals let’s me know that my farm is still a possibility. 5- The farm brought out a much more independent child which was lovely to see. Knowing I can learn new things & feel happy when I am working……well, I guess that more than pays for the stress & worry I went through during the whole thing.

What are your dreams? Have you started working toward them? Can you even define them yet? Please, share with me

Camping after 23 yrs – How it changed my life

Watching my daughter be a child :)

Watching my daughter be a child🙂

The last time I had went camping when I was about 19 during my first year at University. A group of college friends and I trudge off to a place lovingly named “Bust Your Ass Falls”. I hadn’t done much camping previously during my youth but, there was a cute guy (I wonder how Bo is now?) I had a thing for so, I thought what the heck? It was a great time for the most part. Lots of laughter, quite a bit of drinking for some (just a little for me as I’ve always been a bit of a wuss lol) * a few tantrums from girls who weren’t getting the attention they desired. In other words, pretty much business as usual for the teen/20 somethings.

Fast forward to age 42, a single mother, ex-pat American, Dual citizen with Australia & a strong-willed 7 yr old girl. My daughter & I had been talking about being more active, getting into nature & maybe one day having a farm with Alpacas…..you know, as ya do. A lovely mother of one of my daughter’s friends at her 2nd primary school asked if we wanted to go camping with her & her 3 kids. I said yes but, spent the next few weeks dreading it & absolutely talking myself out of it. “It’ll be too cold”, “I think it’s going to rain”, “I can’t really afford it” and I am sure quite a few other things I can’t remember BUT, come a few days out I recommit to the whole thing.

As I am packing to go I am a little optimistic but, honestly, quite bummed because I feel like I’d rather stay at home. I couldn’t afford to get the solar charger for my mobile phone & my car charger didn’t work so I KNEW I’d not be able to contact people or post to social media over the weekend. I was DREADING it.

We had to go late on Friday night because I had to work so, we were picking camp sites at the Cathedral Ranges in the dark, cold, night with tired & hungry children. Yay me (read that with dullness & regret). Needless to say it went better than I thought it would until I realised there was NO phone signal, then I really thought I should just go home.

The next day we meandered around and then went for a walk up part of the cathedral mountains.

Big mamma is chugging along!

Big mamma is chugging along!

That’s when the little spark in me got stronger, stronger & by the time we headed down was roaring like a bonfire! As I went up the small path with the other’s of our group & the children I kept thinking – “WOW!, I am doing AWESOME for an overweight, smoking, asthmatic”. I kept wanting to go higher & higher. I even didn’t mind hauling myself over rocks or through crevices. I was bummed when we had to get back down so we could
make it back in time for dinner. I was HIGH both with the exhilaration as well as the altitude.

I was in love with the view, the loveliness of the people we were with & the fact that I felt like I could go for hours more despite the cold & drizzling rain. When we got back to the campsite I realised, I didn’t really miss my phone, the internet, heck, I didn’t even miss my HOUSE! It felt so GOOD. Sitting around chatting, taking the kids off on adventures to see wildlife, wildlife coming to see us…..it just felt….natural. The only thing I did miss was a toilet that wasn’t a drop toilet. Man those things are DISGUSTING and REAK! I can’t imagine the putrid smell after a few weeks of summer weather. Ewwwwwwwwwww.

In the end, I didn’t really want to go home, back to worrying about rent, my job that I didn’t like & suburbia but, it had to end not only because that was my life at the time but, because my daughter was vomiting the night before & needed a warm dry bed not a cold wet tent. Though, as you can see she enjoyed herself immensely!

Rain Games

Rain Games

Sooooo, I bet you are wondering. OK, that sounds good & all but, how did it change your life? This is how –

By actually going despite talking myself out of it daily & accepting the fact that I couldn’t use my phone I let myself get absorbed in the then & there. It meant I connected with the people around me and best of all reconnected with nature. I walked up a steep walking path and I did it, I made it without feeling horrible & I wanted, no, craved more! I was totally aware that I CAN live without MANY things, I can push my boundaries & surprise myself. The best of all……it pushed me to take a scary leap towards getting my own farm one day.

After we got back to suburbia, I felt like I just couldn’t take that false life anymore. I searched & searched & searched for a farm hand job that had live on site accommodation that would also accommodate my daughter. It took awhile but, I found it. I had thought I would love going out in Gippsland somewhere. That’s what I was aiming for but, I found myself on a meat farm of all things almost 2 hours north of where I was living in Melbourne. Making that shift, wells, that’s another whole story.

If I hadn’t gone there

Our highest point

Our highest point

Then my daughter and I would have never taken the leap to experience farm life and boy how that’s changed us! Just had to stretch that comfort zone😉

More goats to love!

More goats to love!

3 of our Amigos ;)

3 of our Amigos😉

Goat love

Goat love