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Celebrating the Scarecrow

Like most small, country towns, Milton (which is up the road a bit from me here on the NSW South Coast) has a wacky annual festival: The Scarecrow Festival. I don’t know its origins, but as we’re new around town we thought we’d mosey along on Saturday and check it out. It seems there’s a theme every year, and this year was Scary Scarecrows. A touch of Halloween in June, using scarecrows on the street? Strange, but strange is what we like best! And it worked!

locals getting their scarecrow on

locals getting their scarecrow on

On a sunny winter’s day seemingly the entire town had flocked to the main streets for markets, buskers, dancing, rock wall climbing, and betting on where Maisie Moo the cow would, well, poo. Young children dressed as scary scarecrows for the fancy dress competition. A couple of enterprising young girls with pumpkin faces had even decided to busk by singing ‘I’m a Dingle Dangle Scarecrow’. Over. And. Over.

Mr Raw paying the buskers' salary (yes, that is a water bottle in his pocket and yes, he was happy to see me!)

Mr Raw paying the buskers’ salary
(yes, that is a water bottle in his pocket and yes, he was happy to see me!)

The highlight of the festival is the scarecrows (which is probably a good thing for a Scarecrow Festival). Local businesses and residents get into the spirit by putting their own themed scarecrow on display. They start appearing at around the start of May, and gradually fill Milton and the surrounding towns with scarecrow goodness. A winner was announced, but sadly we missed the judging.  But here’s a few we snapped:

that leotard definitely scared me

that leotard definitely scared me

this was a big, round pumpkin when they first put it out. But you know what they say... never work with children or vegetables!

this was a big, round pumpkin when they first put it out. But you know what they say… never work with children or vegetables!

we artists are scary folk

we artists are scary folk

Drunken Darth?

Drunken Darth?

another scarecrow looking a little drunk, although the smile on this one makes me think he's been hitting the harder stuff

another scarecrow looking a little drunk, although the smile on this one makes me think he’s been hitting the harder stuff

quirky considering the business who made it wasn't even an optometrist, just someone with a good sense of humour

quirky considering the business who made it wasn’t even an optometrist, just someone with a good sense of humour

definitely scary! I think this guy tried to pick me up once

definitely scary! I think this guy tried to pick me up once

I loved this cute ET!

I loved this cute ET!

I thought this guy was beautiful

I thought this guy was beautiful

even the church got in on the fun, but I'm not sure scary Jesus is really the look they should be going for

even the church got in on the fun, but I’m not sure scary Jesus is really the look they should be going for

I want my mummy!

I want my mummy!

burning Pinocchio at the stake... I know I've thought about it!

burning Pinocchio at the stake… I know I’ve thought about it!

scariest of them all?? Good effort from an accountant's firm

scariest of them all?? Good effort from an accountant’s firm

This is probably the kind of thing I would’ve mocked (but secretly loved) when I was much younger. Now I can proudly state that I really did love it. It was fun, and quaint, entertaining, and hilarious. It brought much-needed visitors to a town that relies on the cash flow of tourists, who tend to visit less often during winter. And it was a demonstration of one of the main reasons we chose to move to a small rural area. Community. The whole community came together to put on a festival, promote it, and enjoy it. Everyone got involved in one way or another. People shouted hello to each other with big smiles on their faces (painted or plain). People celebrated the pure joy that comes from getting together with the whole town to celebrate bundles of straw in costume. We laughed, we watched, we ate, we enjoyed, and we felt like we had found somewhere we belonged.

Oh yes! Any town with this on the main street is a town where we belong!

Oh yes! Any town with this on the main street is a town where we belong!

 

Does your town have any strange rituals? Festivals? Crazy things on the main street?

 

 

 

 

LITTLE STEPS: Down The Drain

Today I thought I’d take a look at something that I think all of us are guilty of doing at some time or another. How often do you contemplate your pipes? Ever wondered about the journey your dish water takes once you pull that plug? Ever stopped to consider exactly how many drops of used cooking oil it takes to kill a fish? Or an ecosystem? This post could be accompanied by some graphic and horrible images, but I thought I’d post photos of some creatures I’ve met on my travels instead. Creatures who can remind us just how important it is to take the extra effort at home to protect our waterways.

A tiny crab we discovered in Fiji

A tiny crab we discovered in Fiji

We use water in diverse ways in our homes: cooking, cleaning, washing, playing, soothing, nourishing, drinking, and of course, flushing. But whatever the reason, all the water we use, whether at home or out and about, makes its way via drains to the sewerage system. Still with me? Not the most fascinating topic, I know. But our lack of interest in our drains is causing damage to our waterways, and the ecosystems they support. What goes down the plug hole, also has to come out somewhere, and for most homes it’s the sewerage system. After treatment, this water then rejoins the water supply for reuse, or is released into creeks, rivers, and oceans. When we don’t pay attention to what we’re putting down the drains, the entire system is affected, which can: Read the rest of this entry

Back from the Bush and Back to the Blog

I’m baaaaaaaaack! (Say that in your mind with a creepy poltergeist-type voice for full effect. Then imagine a whiny, nasal, Australian accent, and you got me!) After a wonderful week away in the serenity of the Pilliga, learning to sculpt, and being inspired by breathtakingly brilliant artists, I’m back in my beautiful coastal town. I’ve been home a couple of days, but like lupies and sickies everywhere, I needed a bit of time to rest and recover from my time away. I also needed time to take it all in: to get down to the beach and get my feet wet and breathe the salty air again; to take stock of just how much amazing talent I’d been in the company of; to try to focus and still my mind, racing with inspiration, ideas, creations, and dreams.

I surprised myself, and managed to complete a bust. Not perfect, but in the spirit of being a recovering perfectionist, I feel it’s not bad for my first sculpture!

bust frontbust sideIt’s all due to my amazing teacher Kate French. Kate is a very experienced, talented, hard-working, inspiring, and generous artist and teacher. Her work is beautiful. Please take the time to have a look at her site – you won’t be sorry!

Pilliga Pottery The workshop was at the glorious Pilliga Pottery. I’ll write a special post about this amazing, soul-enriching place and its beautiful people soon. Read the rest of this entry

A Few Days With My Muse

Hello wonderful people! This is a quick note to say I’m probably going to be missing from my web home for a few days. I’ve travelled to a beautiful part of the world to take part in a clay sculpting master class. I’ve gone bush, I’m in the outback. For non-Australians, this means I’m surrounded by forest, dust, kangaroos, wallabies, goannas, and lots of open space and nothingness. The skies are so big out here. No pollution, no lights, just millions of stars at night, and blue skies and fluffy, white clouds in the day. I’m staying in a hand built cottage made of recycled wood and mud bricks, eating at a handmade wooden table, and drinking from handmade terracotta cups. It’s a beautiful, creative, soul-enriching experience. No noise, stars, and my muse.
My mum’s farm is an hour and a half away so I got to spend some time there as well. You might have seen the pictures of her beautiful property on my Instagram feed.
So, between the normal exhaustion of a day of concentrating and sculpting, and the extra complete and utter wipeoutness and pain of all of that plus lupus, sjogrens (and its incredibly dry here! Ouch!), CFS, fibromyalgia and all the rest, I’m absolutely exhausted tonight. I’d hoped to still post while I was away, but I think I may have to cut myself a break, enjoy my time here, rest as much as I can so I can get the most out of my course without having a major flare, and return to the blog in a few days. Oh, and my Internet is very unreliable here.
So, I’ll return soon with lots of stories about my time here reconnecting with the bush and my creativity. I wish you all a wonderful week 🙂

My Latest Instagrams

I’m not sure of any other way to share these on wordpress. Any ideas? Meanwhile, enjoy…

#sunset #mollymook #nofilter. Nuff said? Paradise!

A post shared by Raw Once More (@rawoncemore) on

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Earth Day and an Announcement

I’m feeling some joyous synchronicity because the day after I publish my first post and commit to writing daily, it’s Earth Day! And if there’s one thing I do love to bang on about it’s this beautiful planet of ours. We live in a wonderous place which provides everything we need, if only we let it. But in typical human fashion we’re abusing this relationship and taking a lot more than we give, ie we are screwing up the joint.

But why should we care? Because we have to. We don’t get another chance folks, this is it! Economic rationalization, ignorance and apathy won’t save us when entire nations are wiped out due to climate change. The latest resource-sucking electronic gadget won’t be much use to you if you can’t afford to eat due to world-wide food shortages. That’s the hard-line. But it’s not all doom and gloom. It’s also about looking around and realizing just how lucky we are to be here, in this beautiful place. Open your window, go for a walk, Google ‘nature’. To get you inspired, I’m going to post a few photos of my latest home on the planet: the NSW South Coast. When deciding to embark on a journey of healing and wholeness, location was important. Because I was starting over again (again!), I had the option to go anywhere (we didn’t exactly have the bank balance to go anywhere, but we’ve never let that stand in the way before!). We chose this area for several reasons. We have been fortunate enough to live in many beautiful locations throughout the world, and coastal areas have always felt most like home to us. Immediately prior to moving here we were living ‘out west’ in Australia, surrounded by beautiful bush, mountains, valleys, and sunsets that reach forever. It was gorgeous, but it wasn’t ‘our place’. I believe everyone has a ‘soul home’, the place that makes you feel most alive, that makes your heart sing. This is it for us. The climate here is also the most conducive to my health: not too hot, not too cold; not too humid, not too dry; clean fresh sea air; peaceful and quiet; unpolluted, and still close enough to capital cities to visit doctors and get a taste of city life and ‘culture’ (though our desire to take these visits is almost non-existent these days). It was also a location where we really could practice being locovores, thinking globally and acting locally. This region is full of gorgeous fresh food of all varieties. Read the rest of this entry