Just over a year ago, our local community narrowly escaped the onslaught of a devastating bushfire that burnt over 2,850 hectares of bushland in the area. In my post shortly afterwards, I wrote my personal account of an event I have never experienced before, nor wish to again.
[One of the photos I took in October 2013 in the immediate aftermath of the bushfire]
So, what has changed 12 months on? The Big Prawn on the Pacific Highway has not been rebuilt, and, given its rather odd location, I wonder whether the site will ever be redeveloped. But the bushland is beautiful once again. The first new shoots emerged from the ashy ground just a couple of weeks after the fire, and a colourful array of green and gold has gradually spread through the trees and undergrowth. Yes, there are still reminders of flames in the charred tree trunks, but overall it has been a fascinating example of nature’s ability to regenerate in record time.
In fact, fire has very positive consequences for the Australian bush. Eucalypts release their seeds in the intense heat of the flames; wattle seeds that have lain dormant in the soil burst open; and the bed of ash left behind is full of vital nutrients to allow strong new growth. And these are just a few examples. Little wonder then that the Aboriginals used fire as a tool to revitalise the bush environment.
This Factsheet is a great source of information on the impact of fire on Australian bushland regeneration.
Bundy and I took Ickle and Baby Lil to our local library for a little trip out. After Ickle had posted our almost-overdue books in the box at the entrance, she scooted along to the children’s corner to see what was on offer. And we ended up with a small selection of books, including the very pink, very sparkly and ever-so-slightly trashy Tea Time with Sophia Grace and Rosie. We did try to dissuade Ickle from this choice, but to no avail. This book was coming home in our library bag, like it or not.
And to our surprise, we’ve had good mileage out of it. The book recounts the story of two young divas* who decide to organise a tea party, with a little help from their fairy friends. Ickle has requested it for pre-nap and bedtime reads on numerous occasions. Perhaps it is the pink (on every page) she finds so attractive…or the glitter…or possibly the cupcakes. Hmmm, most likely the cupcakes. So I suggested that, just like Sophia Grace and Rosie, we organise our own tea party, complete with pink-iced treats.
First step: invitation design, which went very well. Ickle is now creating shapes with her colouring pens, and not just random scribbles. And stickers are always a fun addition to any artwork. We steered clear of the glitter this time. Phew!
Next, the yummy part: making and decorating the cupcakes. Although Mummy and Nana J did this bit while Ickle was sleeping, so she would have a surprise waiting for her when she woke up. Great icing by the way, Nana! And pretty yummy cupcakes too.
*Sophia Grace and Rosie are regulars on The Ellen Show, where they chatter away and perform a variety of songs. They have also made their own movie. Not bad for two children under ten.
Things have been rather quiet on Icklegen of late, but here in the real world life has been busy. Baby Lil appeared on the scene a little over three weeks ago, just a day after her grandparents, Nana and Bundy, arrived from the UK. Now that’s what I call good timing.
So, it’s welcome again to infant nappies, feeds at all hours of the day and night, and the joy and excitement of seeing a little person grow and develop. Ickle loves her little sis. She is always eager to hold her hand or give her a kiss and a cuddle…or five or six. She is the first to hear Lil cry out when she wakes from a daytime snooze, racing to her side. And I have a special little helper at nappy-change time and companion during feeds.
Juggling two littlies – meeting their needs and keeping them happy – is far from easy, even with several extra, expert, pairs of hands to help out. But, we’re making good progress. And Baby Lil is certainly playing her part: she feeds and naps and then feeds and naps some more, and she’s already been to two of our favourite cafés for lunch (blissfully sleeping in her car seat through both meals). Let’s start as we mean to go on!
Photo credits: all photos in this post were taken by Nana J, talented happy snapper, champion knitter and seamstress, skilled ironer of clothes, and dab hand in the kitchen.