Animals Australia: the voice for animals

Animals Australia: the voice for animals
Love life? Love all of life

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Prayer & Pots; handles & holders - and op shopping

Now, I really don't use pot holders. And I've never made one. I either use the space age oven mitts which were a birthday present from The Director (my sister), pictured below, or I quickly grab a tea-towel. But, when I saw these at my favourite op shop, I had to bring them home. Who knows? Part of a gift package, a decorating item? But they are cute - particularly the embroidered one.
These oven mitts withstand temperatures of 300 degrees Celsius.
And I have found this prayer by Leunig which just seems to fit:
We give thanks for the invention of the handle.
Without it there would be many things we couldn't hold on to.
As for the things we can't hold on to anyway,
let us gracefully accept their ungraspable nature and
celebrate all things elusive, fleeting and intangible.
They mystify us and make us receptive to truth and beauty.
We celebrate and give thanks.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

The Light in Mid-Winter: a story for the winter solstice

To-day I go to Cindy-Lee's at Cockatoo in the Dandenong Ranges (I live in Upper Gully in the foothills) for an afternoon barbecue and story-telling and lantern-making session. Then we go to Belgrave in the evening for the Lantern Parade. For the occasion, I have written this story:

THE LIGHT IN MID-WINTER A story for the Winter Solstice

The Earth is in winter once again. The Sun gets out of bed later to find the Day and tucks itself away earlier to bring Night.
But there is a place that we can’t touch or feel. We scarcely notice it when it is come and it is gone. It is Mid-Winter. The Winter Solstice. This is a very special time. Before this time the hours of The Sun are getting shorter and shorter. After this time, the hours of The Sun are getting longer and longer. Or we can think of it another way. Before Mid-Winter the hours of Great Darkness are getting longer and longer. After Mid-Winter the hours of Great Darkness are getting shorter and shorter.
The Sun is s-o-o important to us. It is the bringer of Life and Light. When we put our plants in the ground to grow our food, to produce beautiful flowers, and start big shady trees on their journey of life – our effort will be wasted if there is not Light. We need Light to live. And while plants and animals and human beings have adjusted and adapted to living with cold in most places on The Earth, we do need Warmth. The Sun gives us Warmth. Our life is in Light and Warmth – not in Dark and Cold.
Our bodies love to be warm. They do not like to be shivery cold.
But it is not just our bodies. We human beings are not just our bodies. We are spirit too. And sometimes, in our spirit, we do not feel warm. Sometimes, in our spirit, we do not feel full of Life and filled with Light. We feel the Dark and the Cold coming inside of us and this does not make us feel happy. Instead, we feel s-o-o sad. We don’t want to get out of bed. We don’t want to talk to people. We want to huddle into ourselves because the sunny parts of our lives feel as if they have gone away never to come again.
So what do we do when we feel dark in our spirit?
It helps to look around at the world created for us. When we make a garden we have to think of all that a plant needs. This includes thinking about the Light. If the garden is too shady because of big trees, we have to prune and shape the trees. The plants in our garden will receive more Light to grow.
We look at our spirit in the same way. We do this by sitting quietly. We sit quietly so that the spirit inside us can listen. We sit quietly so that the spirit inside us can be still and not disturbed. As we still our spirit inside us, it is like pruning and shaping that big shady tree. As we are sitting, as we are still, as we are quiet we find the Light comes to our spirit just as the Light comes to our growing plants.
A long time ago a man called George Fox learned about the Light. He said then – and his words have come down to us to this very day – I saw an ocean of darkness and death BUT – and this is a great, lovely, big BUT – and infinite ocean of light and love which flowed over the ocean of darkness.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

A taste of heaven - but a dog of a drought!

Jeanna over at Wisconsin Candy Dish in Green Bay Packers country has one of the evil-est blogs on the 'net. It is wicked and I somehow kinda-sorta think that she will go for almost anything which is illegal, immoral or fattening! Now she is telling the world that June is Dairy Month.
Well, then Jeanna have I got some news for you.
Only I can't send you any of this stuff to confirm my good taste -
like with the Tim Tams.
King Island Dairy issues forth products of the most delectable and absolute luxury. If they were handbags you would find them at Louis Vuitton. As it is, I only have to pop up to my favourite supermarket, Maxi in the Ferntree Plaza in Upper Gully.
King Island Dairy is situated on remote and isolated King Island which is situated in a gutter of water - between Victoria on the Australian mainland and Tasmania, Australia's southernmost state - named Bass Strait. Bass Strait lies between the Great Southern Ocean and the Tasman Sea. In other words, it sort of separates the Indian Ocean from the Pacific Ocean - or at least provides part of the route between the two. So it is a watery, windy place.
I put together, assemble, concoct the most simple and taste-bud luxuriating dessert with King Island Dairy products. For two of us, I take a pack of Toffee Caramel and a pack of Belgian Chocolate and a pack of Pure Cream. Needless to say, the 400 gram pack is the pick. Then I split them between the two of us in a nice bowl: one big dollop or half a pack of Belgian Chocolate on one side of the bowl and the same of Toffee Caramel on the other side of the bowl. On top and in the middle, one big dollop or half a pack of Pure Cream. Repeat for other person. As you eat you gently mix all three together or alternate cream and BC and cream and TC.
Then recline on your beautifully soft cushion
and you will know what heaven feels like.
However, I close this post on the saddest of sad notes. In recent times, I have not been able to purchase any King Island Dairy desserts or cream at my local supermarkets. And here is why. You may have heard that Australia is in drought - the longest and most severe drought in living memory. Here is one result of it. This is sad - but unfortunately, dear Reader, there are worse stories than this.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Amberley hospitality - with a lemon flavour

Last weekend, was Quaker Mid-winter Gathering. Every year it happens - this year, there were 65 of us including children. It was at a wonderful establishment called Amberley in the northern suburbs of Melbourne.
Once a stately home it is now the Edmund Rice Centre, a venue for conferences and seminars; prayer experiences and personal development. There is just so much room and with our particular needs Amberley provided the sort of flexibility that contributed to the enjoyment of our weekend.

The kids and their involvement in their own activities as well as inclusion in adult activities is always foremost in our minds. Amberley excelled. The children had a huge downstairs space all to themselves - h-u-g-e activity room PLUS h-u-g-e indoor games area with ping pong and billiard tables. And they could not be heard by us upstairs even during our silent Meetings for Worship.

Meals were in a wonderful olde-worlde dining room with entry out to a balcony looking across to the steep bush-clad hillside with the Yarra winding lazily below and across the river, Westerfolds Park. The romantic staircase, interior balconies overlooking the dining room, chandelier and grand piano caused one to daydream about other uses for the room.

But let me tell you about the food.

Coffee and tea all the time and access to the never-diminishing fruit basket. The food was lovely and the most wonderful scones appeared on Saturday afternoon, piping hot. We were all just so impressed - and we felt really, really spoilt.

But the piece de resistance was the Lemon Slice - and the happy women who provided all our food hospitality have given me the recipe especially for the blog. In addition, they have also provided their Lemon Tea Cake Recipe. Later in the year, they plan to produce a recipe book - proceeds of which will go to a project in Africa. 'Onya girls! Like your spirit, every which way.


  • 100 grams butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup icing sugar
  • 1 cup plain flour
  • Extra icing sugar


  • 2 eggs lightly beaten
  • 2 teaspoons lemon rind
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 cup caster sugar
  • 2 tablespoons plain flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder



  • Grease 19x29cm rectangular slice pan
  • Line base and sides with baking paper
  • Beat butter and icing sugar until light and fluffy.
  • Stir in flour and mix well.
  • Press evenly into base.
  • Bake at 180 degrees Celsius for 20 minutes or until lightly golden.


  • Beat eggs in a bowl until combined.
  • Stir in ingredients
  • Pour topping over base and bake for a further 25 minutes or until top is crisp.
  • Slice and dust with extra icing sugar.
  • Put feet up with cup of coffee and enjoy Lemon Slice served with happy memories of Amberley.



  • 1 cup self-raising flour
  • 1/2 cup caster sugar
  • 60 grams butter
  • 1 egg


  • Combine flour and sugar and rub in butter with fingertips until mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
  • Add egg and mix well.
  • Press two-thirds of the mixture in the base of 20c spring-form tin or flan dish.
  • Reserve one-third for topping.


  • 1/2 cup caster sugar
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1 egg
  • 60 grams butter


  • Place sugar, lemon juice and butter in saucepan
  • Heat until butter is melted and sugar dissolved.
  • Lightly beat egg.
  • Add lemon mixture to egg and mix well.
  • Return to stove to thicken.
  • Cool slightly before pouring over pastry and sprinkle remaining base mix on top.
  • Bake for 30 minutes at 180 degrees Celsius
  • Serve hot or cold.

Really yummy is The Verdict!

Friday, June 13, 2008

I was up at my favouritest Parents Without Partners Opp Shop in Upper Gully to-day.
To-day, Friday 13 June, and to-morrow, Saturday 14 June, they are having a Dollar Day.
They are stocked to the hilt and they want all their regulars to benefit from the sale.
As well, they want to welcome lots of newcomers too.
So, time to hotfoot it to Rose Street, Upper Ferntree Gully.
Head east to the Dandenong Ranges,
turn right from Burwood Highway into Dawson Street, Upper Ferntree Gully
(Ferntree Gully Plaza Shopping Centre on one side of Dawson Street
and the Royal Hotel on the other side)
Take first turn to the left - along Rose Street.
Rose Street bends to the left.
On the bend look right and there it is!
Your money is well spent
because PWP at Upper Gully contributes to the support of Emergency Housing in the south-east and, in addition, pays the wages of a Social Worker to assist those in need of the housing.