Angel

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While many people look at their 15 year old daughters they may think to themselves, “I hope they don’t get their heart broken, and that they grow up to follow their dreams and experience all there is to offer.” Not to forget the thoughts of, “They better stop this attitude or my hair is going to fall out soon.” Yes this was us but this all changed on December 19 when my wife, daughter and I heard the words, “Jesse has cancer.” We were in a little bit of shock but strangely had a laugh due to our daughter saying, “I told you so. Now I’ve won the bet, I can get a nose ring.” This was the type of personality that carried our daughter for the next 3 ½ years. No tears for this diagnosis, just jokes and her supporting us. This is when our whirlwind journey began.

I went home to collect our then 11-year-old son and collect more clothes while my wife and Jesse began her chemo path. First round of cancer was one year of Trish and Jesse in Brisbane while Bailey and I would visit every fortnight. Chemo took a toll on her body and our girl was to remain in a wheelchair for several months before learning how to walk again. This was heartbreaking for Jesse as she loved dancing but used every opportunity she had to tease her mother with impromptu dance sessions. Jesse lost an incredible amount of weight and had to have a nasal tube. Doctors and nurses were amazed by her strength to keep a smile on her face and push toward a cancer-free life while supporting other cancer children along the way.

In the last three and a half years we have had an oven, fridge, TV, lawnmower and car die, four new car batteries, one alternator and two reminder notifications for bills. We have travelled more than 15,000 km and quit jobs. Our son has been in between two schools, lost a girlfriend and had not seen his mum and sister for about 18 months out of the last three and a half years. Plus we have celebrated two 15th birthdays, a sweet 16 and an 18th away from home, friends and family. This may seem overwhelming but throw cancer in to the mix and it takes an emotional, mental and physical toll. Cancer does not stop at treatment. Life does not pause for it. It does not discriminate.

Coming home in December 2016 was not the end of treatment, she still underwent daily oral chemo, monthly lumbar punctures and trips back and forth to Brisbane until we had the all clear in January 2017 and last oral chemo in April 2017. It was if a weight was lifted from our shoulders until July 2017, Jesse mentioned having headaches and blurry vision. Once again back to Brisbane via Flying Doctors and a diagnosis again of CANCER. As our daughter comforted her mother, she apologised for what was about to come. Our daughter was sorry that our family was once again going to be uprooted and all of us quit our jobs and move to Brisbane for a bone marrow transplant. Her donor was from overseas and we are forever grateful for their donation. This trip was made harder for our daughter as she had fallen in love for the first time and did not want to put her partner through this also. She was heartbroken by having to disrupt her brother’s life again. Six and a half months of isolation and painful treatment and we were able to come home in February.

Our life has provided us with many challenges and once again our crew had been hit again. On February 21, 2018, two weeks after coming home from bone marrow transplant, Jesse was in Brisbane for a routine appointment and we were informed she had contracted CMV (Cytomegalovirus). Not a great one to have with a low immune system. Sadly this has caused havoc with her lungs and kidneys. Her condition worsened over time and had badly damaged her lungs and kidneys which left her in ICU on an ECMO machine (lung bypass/life support) to oxygenate her blood to support her lungs and a dialysis machine for her kidneys. Jesse was also heavily sedated and intubated to keep the lungs open. The hospital had arranged for trial t-cells from America to assist with the healing process. Sadly after 6 weeks, we made the heavy hearted decision to turn off the machine our baby girl, our 18-year-old little woman was on. Her body was struggling and shutting down and surrounded by family and friends, we said goodbye to our ANGEL on April 29, 2018.

We have always been overwhelmed with the love and support we have received over the years and also now in this especially trying time, we are eternally grateful for the family, friends and strangers who become friends for this support. Although the future is unknown for us now, we will never forget the amazing young lady who touched so many lives with her zest for life.

This situation is something we wish would not have happened to us and the too many people diagnosed with cancer each year. I would truly appreciate everyone’s help to raise funds and awareness for this life-changing disease. As I do not have the hair for it, I will be growing my wild beard to shave to raise money to support families to help ease some of the burden during such a trying time. I will be shaving my beard off on March 16, 2019.

The link to donate is:- https://secure.leukaemiafoundation.org.au/registrant/FundraisingPage.aspx?RegistrationID=720994

Take A Trip To History Town

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BROOWEENA
HISTORY MUSEUM

It was a word from a friend that found us one sunny Thursday heading west from Maryborough on the Maryborough-Biggenden Road in search of a museum in the small town of Brooweena. If my friend’s ecstatic enthusiasm could be taken as any sort of measure, this museum rated as a ‘must see’. It was our love of history and an innate curiosity that set our course. The half-hour trip through scenic countryside was relaxing. Our windows were down, radio blaring and our German Shepherd’s head was hanging out the back window taking in all the new sights and sounds. The day could not have started out any better. We had little idea of what was yet to come.

So enjoyable was the drive, we almost missed our destination. The road we travelled did not go through Brooweena but straight past it with little fanfare. Thank goodness we were told to look out for the old wagon on the right side of the road, because the hours after turning into that small road to the middle of downtown Brooweena were not only interesting, engaging and educational, they were also fun. It soon became very clear that Brooweena did not just have an interesting museum, Brooweena was an interesting museum.

The town of Brooweena is small, but the heart and sense of community that radiates from within its 200 residents is strong. The community’s strength and pride are evident in the way it had so diligently catalogued and preserved its history – from simple farm equipment and tools, variety of wagons and their associated equipage through to the relocation of a small settler’s hut from a surrounding farm to the towns centre. Too fragile to move in one piece, the hut had been disassembled plank by plank. Each section was numbered and then painstakingly rebuilt. The original roof was unfortunately too rotten to save, but the townspeople learned how to make traditional shingles and recreated the roof to perfection, even to the extent of ageing the timber before installing.

The hut is furnished as it would have been all those years ago – simply. With its double bed, cot, table and chairs and shelving, the hut is a true eye opener. You cannot help but compare this humble home – its size no bigger than a small bedroom in one of today’s standard homes – to our most typical home of today. It represents a time when wants were minimal and needs were simple.

The town is full of these treasures. Historical wooden buildings make up the small town and vividly remind me of two of my most favourite school trips: ‘Old Sydney Town’ and ‘Australiana Village’. After 40 years, both excursions are still memorable. My visit to Brooweena made me think how lucky the children of the Fraser Coast are to have their very own ‘memorable excursion’ within their own region. The town houses the original Woocoo District Council Chambers, a fully set up school room, a fully working blacksmith shop and dairy, and a train station with an original wooden train carriage pulled up to the platform.

There are 12 historical buildings to see within the small town. All of these are filled with original furnishings, books, costumes, artwork, equipment and are like taking a step into the past through Doctor Who’s Tardis. If visitor numbers are high enough or a specific event is planned, the town will arrange a blacksmith exhibition, with a smithy coming in to stoke the fires and show his trade. The dairy also puts on exhibitions with children invited to share in the experience of churning milk to butter using original equipment. The barn has all manner of saddles, tools and beautifully maintained wagons and carriages.

All those things that do not belong to a specific place have been displayed to perfection in the actual building titled the Brooweena Museum. The museum is packed with interesting items, from war memorabilia including medals, certificates of valour, one of the first limb prosthetics – an arm replacement from the First World War, armaments and a range of kettles through the ages. The museum houses photographic and sound equipment, clothing, telecommunication equipment including telegraph and fax machines and a whole selection of telephones.

There is even a full original set of the Encyclopaedia Britannica – Google for a time before the internet! There truly is too much history to see in Brooweena for me to catalogue it all in this article. It is not something which words can express. The rich history of Brooweena is something that needs to be visited and seen for it to be truly appreciated. The town also needs your help. Since the amalgamation of its council of the Woocoo Shire with that of the Fraser Coast Council, Brooweena has lost the funding it needs to keep its treasures safe. It has only been through town citizens generosity, the hard work of volunteers and the monies received from the museum’s $5 entry charge that has ensured that this historical wonder has been maintained. Lead by the museum’s committee, the small community is responsible for ensuring there are enough funds to pay the rates, insurance and all other upkeep expenses. Volunteers help maintain the town. The town is currently faced with a rabbit infestation which is severely threatening the foundation of one of their historical buildings.

The museum is open every second Sunday from 2pm to 4pm. Visits and excursions are also welcome by appointment. The $5 entry fee is waived if you coordinate your visit with the museum market day on the 4th Sunday every three months. You can visit their Facebook page to find out the date of the next market.

Brooweena is a safe place to take the kids for a day out. The near-empty streets are a great space for children to ride bikes and the picnic ground is lovely place to sit and enjoy lunch. The rest… the history, the sites…. they will speak for themselves!

BUNYA

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Bunya Mountains National Park is a great place to go camping or stay in a holiday rental. Bunya Mountains is just over a three-hour drive from the Fraser Coast region. The park has three camping areas catering to a range of experiences. Camping permits are required and fees apply. Bookings should be made well in advance for peak times such as school holidays and long weekends as well as if you have a large group. The roads that lead up the Bunya Mountains are steep, winding and narrow. The roads are not suitable for long or heavy vehicles but discretion is reserved for caravans, motorhomes and large buses. Remember to fill up before going up the mountain as there is no fuel in the Bunya Mountain National park.

There is a range of activities available for the whole family and all types of abilities. There is bird feeding on allocated times and days at the Bunya mountains convenience store with bird seed available to buy at the time. The Bunya Mountains has walking trails that vary in length with some being lookout walks or circuits with great views, boardwalks and maybe even a waterfall or two. The walking tracks are safe but it’s best to wear appropriately closed in shoes and clothing, wear sunscreen and insect repellent and always be on the lookout for wildlife as there can be anything from bush turkeys to snakes.

It is recommended to pack warm clothes and layers as the nights can get cold all year round and pack a raincoat as you’re in a rainforest in the mountains and weather can be unpredictable.

If you feel like just relaxing in the camp area you can still have a great experience. Wallabies fill the fields and birds fill the trees. For lunch, you can go to the café or restaurant and have a delicious warm meal.

No matter if you have a family with children or just a couple there is something for everyone.

Sustainable Living Choices on the Fraser Coast

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Our adventure with permaculture started a few years ago when we first laid our eyes on the block of land which became our home and paradise. After lots of research and inspired by some of the food forests and permaculture pioneers like Masanobu Fukuoka and Bill Mollison we were ready for the new adventure.

As soon as we moved in, our first goal was a low maintenance garden and so we started to create our very first food forest.  A food forest is a low-maintenance sustainable plant-based food production strategy incorporating fruit and nut trees, shrubs, herbs, vines and vegetables. Healthy and established food forest doesn’t require weeding or fertilizer. Growing food is a long-term investment in your own health with edible rewards and can be achieved even in the smallest place.

We are strong believers that healthy food comes from healthy ingredients. Food is a very important part of our life and we are what we eat. There are so many perennial vegetables which can be grown without special care or lots of knowledge. What can be better than going to the backyard and grab some fresh greens for the sandwich before work or for dinner?

Especially here on the Fraser Coast with our subtropical climate it is an easily achievable way to have more than enough food for your own family and the surplus can be shared or swapped locally.

There are already many food swap groups around Australia and in many other countries around the world so why not in Howard on the Fraser Coast? It is also a great way to meet like-minded locals, with sharing tips and tricks of how and what to grow. After setting up a Facebook group, sharing it around in the local social media and spreading the word, it didn’t take long till the first meet up was set up. We meet monthly in Howard which is just about 30 minutes drive from Hervey Bay and Maryborough. There is no restrictions of what you can swap as long as it comes from your garden, backyard or its home made like preserves, cakes or other home made goodies. Come along and join us even if you don’t have anything to swap yet. Everyone is welcome!

Join the local swap group at:
www.facebook.com/groups/gardenfoodswaphoward

Subscribe to Ewas and Sebs youtube channel or blog for info about growing food and more at:
www.youtube.com/c/FoodForestCookery or www.foodforestcookery.com

Ewa and Seb’s gardening background:
Both Ewa and Seb grew up helping grandparents and parents in the family garden. Ewa has a certificate in Food as Medicine from the Monash University. Ewa and Sebastian have a Certificate of Achievement in Permaculture Basics from the Regenerative Leadership Institute and they are both on the way to become Certified Permaculture Designers in the very near future.  They have created a blog and YouTube channel where they share their own life story of growing food, sharing recipes and inspiring people to grow healthy food and create sustainable lifestyle.

Easy spring sunglasses holder

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You will need: An old photo frame, string, thumbtacks and sunglasses.

1. Firstly you will need to remove the backing and glass carefully from the picture frame.

2. Tie a knot big enough for a thumbtack to be place securely in at one end of the string.

3. Secure the string using the thumbtack to the back of the side of the frame.

4. Measure how much string you will need to make it across the frame with a small amount of slack.

5. Tie off the end and secure to the frame.

6. Hang your frame and add all your sunnies.

Now you can display your sunglasses and also keep them in an easy, safe place for spring time.

Wildlife friendly gardens

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No matter how large or small, gardens play a vital role in wildlife conservation as well as providing a cool, shady retreat for people on a hot day.

Watching birds, butterflies, frogs and other critters come to your garden is a delightful way to spend time and to help you deal with the pressures of modern living.

However, some gardens are much more appealing to wildlife than others.

A wildlife friendly garden can play a vital role in conservation.

With the right plantings and management, wildlife will come to any garden, whether it is a balcony, a small suburban garden, a large garden or acreage.

Wildlife friendly gardens have plants that have seeds and pollens that attract insects and birds.

Water features can attract frogs, so it’s ideal to include some in your wildlife haven.

Bees can be a great benefit to your garden as they help produce flowers.

Landscaping and land clearing is destroying Australian Native bee food sources and nest sites.

You can attract bees to your garden by planting nectar-rich flowers and creating nesting areas in your garden such as, Lavender, Flowering gum, Tea tree Leptospermum, Purple Coral Pea Hardenbergia violacea, Grevillia Pink Surprise, Sage Salvia officinalis, Native Rosemary Westringia fruticosa and Bottlebrush Callisteon.