Tag Archive | Australia

Wildlife Rescue by Cassandra Shaw

From Christina: Recently Cassandra Shaw was featured as the guest author at Seasons of Love.  She wrote about her personal experiences in wildlife rescue in her native Australia. I was so moved by the post, I asked her permission to share it with readers here.  Thank you, Cassandra!

Wildlife Rescue

by Cassandra Shaw

Two decades ago I followed one of my dreams and became involved in something that took time, money, and most certainly my heart.

I started caring for (raising, rehabilitating and releasing) Australian wildlife.

In my part of Australia, what is known as South East Queensland, caring for wildlife means kangaroos, wallabies, koalas, echidnas, possums, gliders, flying foxes, and bats, and many types of birds, lizards, and snakes. (Wombats are from further south so we missed out on these marvelous little fellows).

I stuck with kangaroos, wallabies and possums as the other species often take more specialized care, although we do rescue these and hand them on.

Raising an orphaned joey is a long term commitment, up to two years for an Eastern Grey Kangaroo if the joey comes into care young enough.

Many joeys come into care because the mother has been hit by some sort of vehicle. Most native Australia mammals are marsupials so if there is a young joey it is can still be in their mom’s pouch alive. I was constantly amazed at how mangled the mother could be and yet we’d find a bonny joey in the pouch.

I have extracted a live joey from a corpse that was fly-blown and stinking. Yes, the joey stunk (like nothing I want to re-smell), and yes, she was dehydrated and starving. But a wash (or six), warm marsupial milk and some vet help for the dehydration all saw her through. She was released as an adult healthy Eastern Grey Kangaroo eighteen months later.

Agile Wallaby we found unconscious on the road

One little Agile Wallaby (we lived further north then) we found lying on the road. We saw his dead mother at the side and suspect he’d been thrown out of her pouch from the impact of the car hitting his mom.

He looked dead, but I got out of the car to move him off the road so no other creature died trying to eat his remains. I picked him up and he twitched. 

Life is hope. Wrapped warmly in a blanket (we carry rescue equipment with us) within minutes, the little fellow came awake. He’d been unconscious and would not have survived if we hadn’t stopped.

We also love rehabilitating injured adult animals. In fact, we often find this the most rewarding.

I cared for ones hit by cars who sustained broken jaws, possums (ringtail and brushtail) that had been electrocuted on electricity lines, and even a swamp wallaby old momma that the vet thought had had a stroke as she’d been left partially paralyzed. She couldn’t be safely put back into the wild so she lived with us.

Sunny basked in the outside sun of our yard, ate the food she loved. Considering she’d been wild, she loved her chest being scratched and  adapted very quickly to sleeping on a soft warm bed inside our garage.

She was sweet and loving and enjoyed the last twelve months of her life in her retirement home. One night she died quietly in her sleep, and we were devastated.

It’s not all love and cuteness, although there’s lots of that.

Caring for wildlife is hard work, expensive, messy, and …  often addictive.

If the joey is really young I often have to wake 3 hourly to feed it with special formula suitable for marsupials (there are some great products available now). Joey’s have fragile systems and some die (for many and various reasons) and no matter what or how many I’ve raised the wrenching heartbreak of these losses never diminish.

But then I’ve always believed that if you don’t love your little charges then you shouldn’t raise them. You fight harder for something you love.

With losses also come miracles. There is nothing better when you are told an animal won’t make it and they do.

Wildlife care is not for the faint hearted.

I’ve seen some horrific injuries that I won’t describe, and have had to find a way to have animals humanely put down. Bagging an injured fully grown Eastern Grey Kangaroo who’s scared and bigger than you is dangerous work (there is of course normally more than one of us doing this). Koalas that are sick or injured are terrified and will try to run away or attack. I’ve never been badly injured, but I know some people who have. They might not be tigers or bears, but they are wild creatures. We can never forget that.

Then there is the time. My husband and I once spent hours and several days going to a lady’s house to trap a Kookaburra (bird) who had somehow had his bottom beak broken off so he couldn’t eat. We caught him using a washing basket, string on a stick, and some meat as bait. Hunger caught him for us.

I’ve had people tell me I and the other carers are wonderful but I don’t think we are. We do what we love and get a great deal out of it. As far as I am concerned, no act of kindness is without gain.

We are rewarded with love and by getting to understand each species and individual’s personality. And then when we release an animal on our land we are further rewarded by a mother coming back to show us her joey. I’ve also had ones released long ago come back for help when sick or injured. They remember.

Kangaroos

Over the years I’ve been frustrated by ignorance and lack of empathy by officials, but met many passionate people.

In the end there is nothing more rewarding than raising an animal the right way and releasing them to live free in the wild. (There is a way to do this, that is a slow gentle approach)

So if you love animals, get involved in your area’s wildlife rescue group – even if you can’t be a carer you can help raise funds and awareness.

 * * * *

About Cassandra:

Cassandra L Shaw. sml JPGCassandra L Shaw was a child of passion who prayed she was secretly Dr. Dolittle. She loved all animals and bugs with a fierce devotion that has carried into her writing. Most of her stories –be they paranormal, futuristic, fantasy, or suspense – have humorous roles for her character’s pets. These pets are often named after her own beloved dogs, cats, horses, goats, chickens, ducks and birds.

Tina, Tit Tit, Bones, Willow, Falcor, and Asha are already in her first book, and there will be more. She’s pinky promised her pets immortality, so they will have it!

 With a passion for fashion, Cassandra’s fun quirky female characters like to wear Goth one day, fifties dresses the next, or imaginary witch capes and wands. Her hot, muscled male characters wear tight clothes to best show off their … err … attributes.

Hey, what’s a hero and romantic lead if he isn’t hot??

If you don’t like having a giggle while Cassandra’s heroes and heroines fight evil and other bad guys, discover themselves, eat well, and enjoy a good taste of life, lust, and love then Cassandra’s stories aren’t for you.

At home on her small farm in Queensland Australia, demons, monsters, aliens, futuristic worlds, sexy men, and hot sex scenes nestle happily amongst the housework Cassandra pretends doesn’t need doing.

Cobwebs are soooooo chic, her family think so too. HONEST.

SHOWCASE: Author Tea Cooper

I first became acquainted with Australian author Tea Cooper through one of the various Facebook groups to which I belong. I enjoyed Tea’s posts and quickly realized I’d found a fellow history-lover. I invited her to share a few thoughts about love and romance in February, and her Valentine’s post was thoroughly enjoyed by Time for Love’s readers.

 

Valentine’s Day Musings by Tea Cooper

I wanted to know more about Tea, her appreciation for the past, and about her books.

Today, I’m delighted to have Tea as my “Showcase” author for March.

 

From Tea:

Why do I write romance?

 I can’t help it … an over active imagination and the Greek Gods smiling at me!

I received a great review the other day for one of my books – any author’s life blood! The best part of the review though wasn’t the stars or the delightful comments about my plot and my story but the sentence that read:

You have such wonderful ideas for your books, wherever do you get them?”

 It got me thinking. I know I’m a visual learner – too many years trying to work out how children learn – then I realized I’m also a “visual writer.” I backtracked to see if it is true and where I got my inspiration.

 Inspiration means literally, to breathe in and be filled with spirit of the Gods, the muses of ancient Greece. I like to think the gods smile on me.

450px-StatueFaunePomp+¬i

 

It was certainly true of my little Greek novel A WINNING STREAK. It harks back to a trip to Pompeii more years ago than I am prepared to admit!

 

 

 

 

 

Then I took a closer look at my other books:

 

IMG_0520TREE CHANGE is about a woman who has to choose between her career (she’s a sculptor) and the love of her life, who is an environmentalist. The actual starting point for Cassia and Jake’s story was a sculpture I saw.

 

 

As I’ve become more aware of the way I write, (I’d like to say the way I capture my muse but it sounds dreadfully pretentious!) it became easier to spot the starting point of a story.

My family saga FROM THE OCEAN TO THE OUTBACK, which will be published at the end of the year, began with this necklace.

Republis of You

 

 

JAZZ BABY, the first of my 1920s stories to be published in October, began with a trip to a wine bar in Sydney right in the middle of the back streets where the Razor Gangs ruled between the two world wars.

photo 3

 

 

The well-known meme I came across while I was sitting in a café in the local town called The Queen of Tarts combined to set PASSIONFRUIT & POETRY in motion.

Passionfruit & Poetry small

 

(PS That’s my daughter!)

 

And MATILDA’S FREEDOM and LILY’S LEAP (releasing July 2014) belong to Wollombi, the village where I live, my historical muse, the local museum and the surrounding countryside … there’s a very old winding road built in 1826 that runs through Wollombi and nastiest bend is called Ramsey’s Leap  – rumor has it that a convict leapt over the side in an attempt to escape. As I stood gazing over the culvert I couldn’t help wondering what if ….

ramsays_leap

 

What a strange collection of snippets! If I haven’t bored you to death my Pinterest Boards tell more of the stories behind my stories. Drop by if you have some time to kill.

Tea’s Pinterest Boards

Where does your inspiration come from?

Do the ancient Gods smile on you?

* * * * * * * *

Many thanks to Tea for sharing her thoughts and inspirations! You can find here at her website: Tea Cooper Author. You can also follow her on Twitter @TeaCooper1

About Tea: Téa Cooper lives in a stone cottage on one hundred acres of bushland, in the Hunter Valley. When she isn’t writing, Téa can be found haunting the local museum or chatting to the locals, who provide her with a never-ending source of inspiration. The settings for her stories range from the glittering beachside city of Sydney to small country towns and the harsh outback. 

  WANT A CHANCE TO WIN?

There is a Giveaway currently running on Goodreads for a print copy of TREE CHANGE and THE PROTEA BOYS. You can find details on Tea’s page at Goodreads.

Tea Cooper Author – Goodreads

Broccoli Fritters by Ann B Harrison

From Christina: While spring is almost upon us here in this hemisphere, our friends “down under” are looking forward to the cooler days of autumn. Either way — spring, fall, or any other time of the year — good food is always appreciated. Today, Australian author Ann B Harrison drops by to share one of her favorite recipes.

Broccoli Fritters

by Ann B Harrison

One of my favourite meals to make is fritters. When I came across a healthy version I knew I had to make them for lunch. Just so happens I was invited over to spend the day with a fellow writer working out our game plans for the next new releases and I thought, ‘what a great easy meal to take along with a salad.’

Seems I made the right move, because my host was thrilled with them. They are very “more-ish” so I suggest you double the mixture.

Broccoli Fritters

Quick Note from Christina:  Ann’s recipe uses metric measurements.  American cooks, please note that the amount of flour would be about 1 cup with an additional 1/3 cup reserved. The amount of cheese would be about 1/2 cups.

See link below for basic measurement conversions. 

Ingredients (makes 8 fritters)

1 medium sized broccoli

3 garlic cloves, finely chopped

4 eggs

1 small bunch of parsley, chopped

150 grams of gluten free flour or buckwheat flour (put an extra 50 grams aside in case mixture is too wet)

80 grams of feta cheese

1/2 cup of pine nuts

1 lemon

Salt and pepper

Dash of olive/coconut oil

Method

1. Chop up the broccoli finely and steam for 5 minutes.

2. Beat the eggs in a bowl and add the flour, garlic, salt and pepper and parsley.

3. Chop up the feta cheese into small cubes and place into the mixture.

4. Place the pine nuts in a fry pan on a low heat and gently roast for 4-7 minutes or until pine nuts are slightly golden. Once cooked add them to the mixture.

5. Before adding the broccoli into the mixture make sure it is finely sliced. I found that I needed to add an extra 50 grams of flour to the mixture as it was too wet.

6. Heat a large frying pan over moderate heat and add a dash of oil.

7. Scoop 1 large tablespoon of mixture into the frying pan, then flatten it slightly with a spatula. The mixture should make around 8 fritters. Cook the fritters for 2-3 minutes on each side, or until golden.

8. Place fritters onto a paper towel to soak up any excess oil.

9. Drizzle with lemon juice before serving. Enjoy!

Converting Grams to Cups

About Ann:

Ann swears she was born with a book in her hands and has never put it down. A lifelong love of reader has finally culminated in achieving her dream of writing…and publication. She lives in the beautiful Hunter Valley with her own handsome hero of many years. Ann has always loved the ups and downs of life in small communities and she shares this with readers in her rural romances. When not writing Ann enjoys reading, gardening, walking her very large dog Hugo and fighting with her computer.

Valentine’s Day Musings by Tea Cooper

From Christina: I loved this post from Australian author, Tea Cooper. I’m always excited when someone loves Valentine’s Day as much as I do, and it is with great pleasure I present Tea’s “Valentine’s Day Musings”.

Valentine’s Day Musings …

 by Tea Cooper

While I was doing some research for a historical romance, I stumbled across the ultimate Valentine … Australian love tokens or leaden hearts as they were also known. I’d never heard of them before. They weren’t solely reserved for Valentine’s Day but they belong as surely as any Valentine’s Day card, poem or love letter.

Musing1

 When This You See

Remember Me 

When  I am Far

    From Thee

 

 

 

Coins were used to create love tokens in England as early as the 1400s. At first, the coins were simply bent out of shape, usually twice, so that they could not be used as money. They were then given to a lover as a token or amulet.

When prisoners were sentenced to transportation to Australia between 1788 and 1868 it was seen as a one-way trip. Often they were imprisoned in Newgate or the hulks, rotting ships on the Thames, to await passage and during that time many of them fashioned love tokens as a memento to leave behind with their loved ones.

The National Museum in Canberra and the Powerhouse Museum in Sydney both have collections. I can’t look at them without tearing up. The messages on them tell so many stories of love.

There were also the more sophisticated leaden hearts that probably cost the poor convict his last remaining pennies…

Musing2

The engraved side shows a female figure with an anchor leaning on a rectangular structure, with two crossed hearts and a bird flying above, a ship sailing in the distance, and the text:

I love till death shall stop my breath

1802

 

And finally my two favourites because I am fascinated by the stories behind them…

A Token 

of Respect 

Given to S K. 

By J D her 

Brother in law 

April 3rd 

1816

The other side features a design of an ornate pot with crossed hearts below a border and flowers. I can’t help wonder about SK’s story and her relationship with her brother-in –law!

Willm. 

 Powell 

Manchester

1799

(with a heart engraved to one side.)

On the other side the text ‘

W.P. 

Mary Fin

 I’ve left you here for 

To complain til I 

Return to Old 

England, again.

So many untold stories!

By then I was bitten by the bug and went in search of other Australian ‘love tokens’ and I was sidetracked yet again. I found this Valentine’s Day card at the Powerhouse Museum.

Musing3

Apparently picture postcards first appeared around 1869 and marked the beginning of Valentine’s Day cards in Australia then around 1910 there was an outbreak of “vulgar” postcards and the straight-laced Australian society threatened to make the “Valentine’s Day card extinct…” Surely this couldn’t be the case!

Off I went again…. and discovered this….from the Brisbane Courier on 15th February in 1928

“Who’ll be My Valentine?”

Time was when St. Valentine’s Day brought to many a young maiden a sheaf of artistically designed missives from anonymous donors each expressing, per medium of a white dove, or the conventional heart pierced with Cupid’s dart, or, the true lover’s knot, the tenderest devotion. Yesterday was St. Valentine’s day, but the postman was not overloaded.

Alas! The patron saint of true lovers has fallen upon evil days … he is cast out from the ecclesiastical calendar … the advent of the picture post-card and the degeneration to vulgar humour dealt the custom its death blow … and this year it is safe to say that there were few of these messengers of sweet prevailment passing through the post.

Last year a determined attempt to resurrect the custom was made in England, but it is likely that the next generation will see its complete extinction.

Well, The Brisbane Courier certainly got it wrong or perhaps they just ahead of their time?  Maybe love letters, love tokens, even Valentine’s Day cards are finally destined to “complete extinction”.

How do people send their messages of love today? I can’t see a museum keeping a collection of emails, text messages, even Facebook posts. Something definitely gets lost in translation. Perhaps I’m a sentimental fool searching for immortality—I’d rather have a letter or a card or better still a love token, in the hope one day someone will look at it and tear up knowing my love truly was eternal.

This Valentine’s Day I will be sending my message handwritten with a fountain pen (yes, I still have one) on a piece of recycled paper in the hope that it will live on down the ages and the next generations will not “see its complete extinction.”

Musing4How about you? Cyber Valentine or old-fashioned romance?

About Tea Cooper: 

Téa Cooper lives in a stone cottage on one hundred acres of bushland, in the Hunter Valley. When she isn’t writing, Téa can be found haunting the local museum or chatting to the locals, who provide her with a never-ending source of inspiration. The settings for her stories range from the glittering beachside city of Sydney to small country towns and the harsh outback. Here first three contemporary romances will be available in print in February and March 2014.

Please visit her website, Tea Cooper Author. You’ll find links to her blog, and an opportunity to sign up for her author newsletter.