All posts by Whistling Kite Collective

Hey there. Welcome to my latest online adventure. Well, professionally I work as a consultant botanist for a large company in Brisbane, Australia. Privately I am a mother of two beautiful children under the age of three. I have been a dedicated career single, a working mother, window cleaner, waitress, pattern maker for adult fashion, weed sprayer, gardener, terrestrial orchid specialist and amateur macro photographer. I love exploring nature and cooking delicious food for my family. I also handmake beautiful one-off baby bonnets for children aged newborn to approximately three years of age. Check them out! Please join me in my adventures with nature. My blog is about rock-hopping through life with joy and satisfaction, grappling with big questions, using the natural world as a basis for creating a wonderful life and a few good recipes thrown in! I would love to hear your thoughts on my posts. Thanks for reading. I sincerely hope you enjoy thewhistlingkite!

Loss, family unity, the waiting and drawing with cats

Loss

I didn’t work this week. I saw some texts, but this week was about holding our family and myself together. This week has been hard. Hard for my beautiful aunty and uncle,  hard as a sister, sister-in-law, as a mother, as a partner, as a friend.

My aunty and uncle said goodbye to their son this week. My uncle was the step father. You know what, labels are rubbish because he loved him like a son. Correction. Loves him.

My cousin was a soldier who died at work. Three days after he saw his mother. I just don’t know what to say. Stuart was an achiever and a great friend to his mates. He cared about people. He made a difference. Even if you ignored his personal and professional achievements, he put others in the shade with his impsct on people.

I have an uncle that would drop everything to help. My aunty is a self-made woman full of practical conversation and humour. She is a joy.

They lost him. He was young, strong, full of talent and purpose, beloved. There’s no way to make it better 😦

Family unity

At Stuart’s funeral and his wake I saw my family gravitate together to support each other.  My amazing sister-in-law is such a beautiful soil. Honestly, my brother is lucky to have her.  She has been through so much, and manages to maintain her empathy. My other beautiful sister-in-law,  always reliable to be there, was supportive and kind to her family.

My aunty went through the room, speaking of her son with an everlasting line of well – wishers. She comforted them. She held them, patted their backs. Thanked them for coming. It was remarkable. If i was in her place I just can’t imagine doing that. She was he image of strength and beauty.  Wow. 

The waiting

The very next day our youngest has another surgery and general anaesthetic. The waiting is the worst. Next to that is encouraging my baby to lie on the operating table and breathe the strawberry gas so she can fall asleep. 

The waiting. The silent worry. I sit in the waiting room and repeatedly check that my phone call volume is turned up. Pace the floor. Check the phone.

She comes through. We are home. Ready for recovery. The post-operative treatment is extremely painfull. It will continue for ten days at least. 

Drawing with cats

I had booked this art class prior to knowing my daughter’s surgery date. Dad was home in time so I actually went. What a night. After a huge week, I learnt the technical aspects of drawing cats at the Cat Café in Red Hill. It was really lovely. 

Tomorrow is s brand new day. Wish me luck.  Hope you are well and joyful and enjoying your wonderful life, whatever it looks like. Xx

Vegan cheesy spinach canneloni with tomato sauce

Hi. I made vegan canneloni for the first time. I’ve made heaps of pastries, tarts, pies, scrolls etc with a similar filling base  (varied) but never stuffed a pasta tube with it, smothered with sauce and baked it.

I must admit i didn’t really measure anything because i just threw it all together for dinner. It was so, so good that I’ll share the basics if you are interested.

 Filling
Fry onion and crushed garlic until golden. 

Crumble in block of firm tofu and fry.

Add lots of finely diced mushrooms (or processed).

Add teaspoon stock powder and season with salt and pepper.

Add soy milk

Add onion powder and garlic powder

Add cornflour water mix

Stir to thicken

Turn off heat.

in stick mixer/processor, chop fresh spinach (more than you think you need so that when you stir through the tofu mixture turns really green)

Mix through spinach. 

Add generous amount of nutritional yeast and stir through. The mixture will still thicken on standing.

In a saucepan stir a jar of bolognese and a bottle of passata together until warmed through.

Spray a lasagne dish with spray oil.

Put a layer of sauce on bottom in nice layer.

Fill cannelloni tubes with mixture and lay in single layer.

Cover with remaining sauce so generously covered.

Grate biocheese on top.

Oven cook for about 40 minutes. Cover with foil at start then remove for last 15 mins or so.

I served this with baby kale dressed with fig balsamic glaze and olive oil. Very tasty! Everyone loved it 🙂

Easy, creamy, vegan tomato soup with pasta

Easy, creamy tomato soup.

Please note I’m a real home cook so with stuff like this I rarely use measurements so all is approximate and will taste good even if you have more of something etc…
Ingredients 

Small shell pasta 1/3 pkt

Small can condensed tomato soup (300 gm but 420 gm can also fine)

1 cup full fat soy milk

2 heaped tbsp Tofutti cream cheese

Dried italian herb mix

Small brown onion diced

Cup of frozen peas

1 or 2 cups green veges chopped (this version has leftover sauteed brocollini)

Olives
Optional:

Can of chickpeas or cannelini beans drained

Chopped fresh rosemary

Can crushed tomatoes
Method

1- In medium pot of salted boiling water cook pasta shells

2- in larger nonstick pot fry onion in a little vegetable oil until golden

3- add all other indredients plus 1 to 2 cans of water excluding pasta and peas.

4- when pasta 2/3 cooked, loosely drain and add to soup.

5- when pasta al dente, add peas and stir until defrosted.
Serve with garlic bread (preferably not burnt like mine). 
I’ve also served this with 1/2 a toasted biocheese wholemeal sandwich for each person.

Enjoy!

Quick weekly baking

Oh jeez. So much has happened since my last post. Where do i start? Maybe a picture of the muffins I made mostly one – handed tonight.

These don’t come with a recipe. I just threw them together while getting dinner in the table.  I guess the best tip is to mix all the dry ingredients then add wet ingredients.  Stir until just combined so the muffins come out of the oven fluffy.

These have a hugh proportion of vegetables to flour. I used mushrooms,  fresh corn, spinach, nutritional yeast, chia seeds, vegan stock powder, olive oil, soy milk and topped with sesame seeds.

They are then sliced in half, spread with either vegan margarine or cream cheese,  wrapped and frozen. They defrost in the lunchbox.

Not easy, but slowly doable for someone with a broken finger three weeks after reconstructive surgery. 

This village is real.

Women can be rude, sarcastic, manipulative, cruel and ill intentioned. Actually, people can be all of these things, beyond imagining. Our world is full of horror stories.

But, where there is dark, there is light. Light always overpowers dark and this is one example of how this happens. 

I have a girlfriend group that I seemingly stumbled into. These three women all have different histories,  professional skillsets, mothering styles, ages, upbringings. Somehow we all fit like a group of pieces from different puzzels that magically come together. Our individual patterns match. We fit.

It’s a remarkable, lucky thing to be able to recognise the village. The village may be scattered but come together for a single reason. Our children. Every one of us has multiple challenges ongoing at any time. Some more immenent and urgent than the others.

Light prevails where love prevails. But what is love in a friendship circle? To me, love in our friendship circle is where we can all care for each other, express ourselves, our concerns, even when as a collective we are helping sort major, urgent issues (in hospital for how long with no childcare). 

It isn’t tidy. It’s messy. Even when we are laughing at the everyday (how is running naked through the house with a toilet paper tail supposed to be funny gawd), groaning at the ridiculous (those aren’t “balloons…”), snorting at the humorous  (refused dinner but drank half a bottle of tomato ketchup instead). 

The village is a collective. This collective is grounded in respect and love. 

Even if this is a fleeting village, one that isn’t so close throughout my entire life, I know it’s value.  These women are immensely amazing. Their good deeds, even if seen as minor are immense in their magnitude because kindness spreads kindness. 

One of these earthlings says one thing, that she is hard,  tough and unreachable; but her actions override her words. She is kind and generous and makes people matter. She builds them up. When you see her she lights up like she’s truly happy to see and be with you. Like a light. Her smile is just magic. You have to see it to understand how beautiful it is. 

This other woman. What do i say? She is so laid back in conversation. So easy to talk to that speaking with her feels like you’ve been blessed with a cool breeze on a hot summer’s day. Some people could walk past her in the street and not realise the gift to our world they have not rejoiced. She is just a joy, anytime.

This third lady. She is beautiful, powerful, she inspires other women to be better. She loves and gives so much, but doesn’t save any for herself. She doesn’t see her value, doesn’t understand just how much SHE MATTERS. Every time I see her, she somehow in a blink can spread warmth in my heartspace. She is a sweet woman who swears like a sailor and makes me laugh.

So to my village, I adore this time we have. I treasure you all. You are the example of what is good in our world.  Each of you in your own way will have a legacy of good in your own way. Collectively you are a beautiful power that can change the world, at least in our own lunchboxes xx.

You know who you are xx

The stuff of nightmares

Just sent this email to our pest control company.

(Warning: true story, making fun of a very real phobia)

Hi guys,

It’s K from xxxxx.  I was hoping to book David for a whole of house spray on either xxxxx, xxxxxx or xxxxxx. 

We are due for a spray. I love that you use natural products based on dandelion extract. However, I don’t care if you go nuclear this time!

Tonight as i was peacefully putting away clean clothes my darling cat Henry called me from downstairs. I came to the top of the stairs and called down to him. He appeared in the entryway and was most insistant I join him downstairs. 

He sat patiently outside our storeroom indicating there was something of interest. 

That’s when i heard the scurrying. We both listened under the door for a while as Henry proceeded to cover my face in fur with his pacing and smooching. I thought hmmm, it’s too small for a possum and fast. Sounds like a mouse. I can’t imagine a rat could get in there.

I prepared for small mammal catch and release. I’ve caught possums inside with a bath towel before. I grabbed a tshirt. The great plan appeared like a bolt of insprational lightning. Henry would squeeze through the door, chase the mouse out of the storeroom where i would be waiting, ready to gently throw a tshirt over the frightened creature. Then I’d bundle it up, let Henry have a sniff then release it outside in the garden.

Oh how the best laid plans often unravel in an instant. 

More scurrying. I said to Henry “Are you ready?” He miowed his enthusiasm. Henry squeezed through the door and commenced his patrol. I had a peek through the door into darkness. Hmmm. The conundrum. If I turn the light on the mouse will run and hide, making it more difficult for my accomplice to complete his task. If I leave the light off, we could be here all night. I snuck my hand around the door frame and switched on the light.

More scurrying. This time, our eyes tracked where the noise was coming from. That’s funny. This mouse climbed vertically very quickly. Good grief it’s a nimble little fellow. 

Well, what popped up with no fear, shame and can what can only be described as a warrior attitude in full flourescent light was the largest, healthiest, ugliest, most disgusting, vulgar, vomit inducing creature I’ve ever been unfortunate enough to witness. This ferocious vermin is the thing of nightmares. 

Aaaahhhhhhhhhhh

Aaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhh

I beckoned Henry to escape the dungeon, to flee from the terror. He had other plans. What to do?! Close the door, trapping Henry in the storeroom with this monster or leave the door almost closed so i can help him escape. But the creature surely wants to unleash it’s brand of hell throughout the house. A flimsy tshirt is not sufficient to cover something that can survive a nuclear explosion.

I reverse, never turning away from the badlands and retrieve the first can of toxic, long lasting, exterior strength spray my grappling hand can find, and a ballet flat. Why oh why is my beloved always out watching football during emergencies like this?

After I have enjoyed my 100th birthday Henry indicates he’s ready to come out of the little storeroom of horrors. I send him a safe distance away and spray into the room as much as possible without really opening the door, ensuring all door edges are coated. A towel is shoved under the door to ensure no attack from within.

So here we are, upstairs, on edge (well Henry’s asleep), waiting to see if you have time for a booking at short notice. If you have lasted through this nightmare to this end, thank you and we await your booking confirmation. 

Kind regards,

K

Family sushi dinner

We love sushi. It’s so delicious, healthy and full of vegetables. I love making vegan sushi so much.

Tonight’s sushi dinner includes:

– edamame in pods blanched and tossed in salt.

– inari stuffed with garlic, sesame mushrooms

– tofu and vegetable sushi rolls,

– ginger sesame cabbage

– tofu nigiri

– vegetable gyoza.

A lovely friend showed me Costco and i bought the edamame and tofu there at good prices.

The lettuce in the sushi rolls came from our vege patch!

The gyoza i buy frozen. Served with accompaniments 🙂

This big banquet served 3 adults and 2 children for dinner and has enough leftovers for 3 lunches. You could easily make dinner go further by adding a serve of miso soup for each person and some tempura vegetables.  Yum!

Hope you have a lovely week full of vegetables hehe.

Xx

To kill or not to kill, that is the question.

Its 11:30 pm. our family is together, but soon this is all about to change.  My child was hurt today. She had a procedure by a plastic surgeon that put her back together,  hopefully with minimal scarring into the future.

The purpetrator to her injuries? Our family pet. He can’t stay in our home now. He must go. I know it seems simple to some but let me give you some background.

For years, my partner and I lived in apartments. I was desperate for a cat but it wasn’t to be. I grew up in a family with pets. We waited. We moved a long way to be closer to our families.

We got jobs, bought a house and four weeks later I went to the animal shelter for a look. As I walked along the rows of cages, there were so many tiny kittens and adult cats waiting to be rescued. Some sleeping, some laying, some crying. There was one that was climbing a cat stand, playing, jumping, miowing. I kept walking. The adopton facilitator showed me some kittens. “These are very cute. Maybe one of those?” I looked. They were very sweet, curled up in a warm, furry pile. We went back to the climber. “I’d like to meet him please”.

I entered the cage and sat down close to the exit. He looked at me. “Hello” I said. He jumped down from the cat stand, walked over to me, climbed onto my lap and cuddled in. “Would you like to come home with me?” I asked. He miowed and curled into me. The adoption facilitator was training someone that day. She said to the trainee “This is how adoption is meant to be. You won’t see a better meeting than this”. I took him home.  He was 8 months old. His shelter name was spike. We named him Henry. He’s been my baby since that day. He has my last name!

We soon realised that he was scared of men and workboots. You can probably imagine why he has those fears.

We built a back deck. He hurt his back the day we signed the construction contracts. He couldn’t walk without crying out in pain. I flew out for work the next morning after a night of hand feeding him cat food and water. My partner took him to the vet.  He had hurt his back.

Fast forward to the death of my grandmother. He sat with me while I grieved. As I lay on the floor crying, he snuggled against me. When our friend came to stay and look after him while we went to the funeral, I wrote a three page letter about how to look after him. I grieved. He was always there, even in the weeks that followed as life went on but I had sadness creep through the everyday.

Later my first child was born. We did all the things the pet experts suggested. My partner brought home a singlet of the baby’s so he could smell her before she arrived. We put aluminium foil on the cot mattress (hilarious in retrospect but we were first time parents hehe). We did it all. He was so gentle and sweet. He cuddled up in between my shins while I spent what felt like endless hours breastfeeding. 

Then my second child was born. I birthed her at 1:30 pm. I arrived home at 9pm with a newborn in my arms. The next morning my toddler came into our bedroom and discovered Mummy with a flatter stomach, her new sister in her arms and Henry curled up in between her thighs. Again he was always in close proximity,  although this time around, navigating around an enthusiastic, almost two year old toddler. He managed beautifully.

The children grew. He did too. My dad had an accident at a hardware store. I tried my best to look after my father during his immediate recovery from his shoulder operation and the weeks that followed. For the first week after my Dad’s operation, I slept (badly) on the couch upstairs in between my unwell baby’s bedroom and the stairs downstairs to where Dad was staying. It was very rough. Dad was suffering badly. I was very worried. I also worked during this period on a major project at work.

Who slept next to me on the couch? Henry. Who visited my Dad during his convalenscence and really brightened his day? Henry.

All those days working from home, all those all nighters rewriting reports so they would meet client deadlines. Henry lay in his cat napper next to my work desk. So many days we would intermittently smooch. He made the stress manageable.

Henry has a beautiful soul. When my partner worked night shifts, we would play quiet games for hours. He would play fetch with mouse toys. When we had chidren he snuggled with me.

Through all the colds, flus, period pains, celebrations, family time, challenges Henry has been there. Just two weeks ago I went to bed feeling horribly ill. He lay on my chest with face next to mine. I slept better.

Today he made a mistake. He has scratched my eldest before because he was cornered and frightened. Today though, she could have lost her eye. He has to leave our home. My child isn’t safe if he is frightened.

We took Henry for a walk in the back garden. He got frightened by a neighbour who is loud and speaks unkindly to his wife. So we took him down to the front garden instead. His tail was still puffed up. All my daughter did was lean down and innocently pat his back. He turned and hurt her.

I watched as my baby was repaired. I saw it all. I was there for her fear, anxiety, sedation, procedure and I will be there for her recovery.

This time Henry won’t be with me. He won’t be a comfort. He will be put away. In exile. While we decide what his fate will be. While our daughter recovers from her injuries with me by her side.

I am well versed in animal welfare issues. I understand the complexity and vulnerability of rescue animals’ lives. I know how much love they need to heal from their bad experiences.

So what about Henry? What will become of him? We could rehome him to a childless person/couple. In two years time they get a great job overseas and have to move. Henry gets handed on to a friend/cousin/coworker. They don’t really love him.  His history is forgotten. He makes another mistake. He is abused because of it, or neglected. He leads a miserable life. Maybe remembering our family, maybe me. Or worse. He’s given away for free and ends up as live bait for some greyhound or dog fighting ring. He could die a horrible death within view of heartless scumbags.

I believe pets are for life. Our responsibility to them is a serious, lifelong committment. Henry’s care is written into my last will and testament. I am heartbroken.

So to kill or not to kill. That is the question. We could have a vet come to the house and he could be euthanised in my arms at home. Or he could face an uncertain life and death.

Should he die in the arms of his favourite person or should he be tossed aside, not understanding where his home and family is? Why he has been abandoned.

So now it’s 1am the next day. I sit here listening to him snoring, crying, about to check on my injured child.

I am heartbroken because I can no longer fulfill my promise to him. To always care for him and keep him safe and loved. I am heartbroken because my child is badly hurt. No parent wants this.

As I sit here with pain in my heartspace, where he has always put warm, fuzzy feelings,  the question remains.

To kill. Or not to kill.

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