Bushfire Prayer for Australia

Bushfire devastation across rural Australia, everything and everyone is at risk, rain is desperately needed, it will arrive too late for many, let’s pray many thousands will be spared the burning embers Gretchen Bernet-Ward

[PLEASE NOTE: ChildFund Australia has posted a link to the ABCTV website with a list of charities for appeal donations.  ABCTV list https://about.abc.net.au/appeals/  Get behind the genuine charities which are supporting our bushfire affected communities]

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A bushfire prayer read by Dot Bernet of Uniting Church Australia (Brisbane) and blessings written by Rev Jennie Gordon Pastoral Resource Minister (Gippsland) January 2020.

My Tree Orchid with Pink Flowers

Trees are dropping leaves to survive and the ground is like iron.  Just the other morning I watered my Dendrobium orchid and the long buds were tightly closed.  Drought conditions have sent the ants in all directions in search of sustenance but even they were absent.

In the afternoon I returned from lunch with friends and à la voile!  There was my tree orchid in full bloom!

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Springtime is not properly acknowledged in my garden until this orchid flowers.  It is always my September spectacular.

Australian orchids tend to be small, for instance the Cooktown Orchid which is the floral emblem of Queensland, but this species is large and robust.  The dull afternoon light does not do justice to its display.

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A semi deciduous pink-flowering orchid, it is ‘probably’ native to Australia, a Dendrobium Nobile, and in this case has been grown as an epiphyte – tree hugger.  It has been in the family for over forty years and needs basically no care at all.  The blooms have a very faint fragrance.

Why I say ‘probably’ native to Australia is because I always thought it came from the Pacific region.  In fact, originally its forebears came from northern India/southern China where it would have been quite used to extremes in temperature.

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Then I discovered hybrids have been produced.  These can be subdivided into two types, the ‘English’ and ‘Japanese’ type, and later I read this historical document courtesy of The Shambles, a country garden at Montville in south-east Queensland:

Dendrobium nobile  Reliable soft cane epiphytic orchid.  We have many unnamed flower colour varieties from mauve, pink and white range.  A trouble-free orchid flowering in spring.  Introduced to Britain c.1836 by Loddiges’ Nursery.  Requested from Loddiges’ Nursery on 1st February 1849 for Camden Park NSW Australia and obtained from them, brought out from England by Captain P. P. King in that year.  India www.qos.org.au 1A.1885, 13.1900/1,15.Camden Orchid walk, West Garden, near back stairs, Blue trellis garden, Rain forest walk.

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After reading the Wagga Orchid Society PDF (link below) and using a bit of guesstimation, years later my orchid could have been transported from the Riverina region of New South Wales, Australia, on consignment to a Brisbane plant nursery.

I now look at my tree orchid in awe and wonderment – such a lineage.

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The following shot was taken a few days later in much better sunlight.  There was a bee hovering around but it refused to be photographed.

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Gretchen Bernet-Ward

P.S. If you are interested in lovely flowers and picturesque settings in rural countryside, I can recommend a visit to the website and blogspot of The Shambles country garden, Montville, Queensland.

https://montvillegarden.com/
https://montvillegarden.blogspot.com/
https://www.facebook.com/montvillegarden
and further reading
http://waggaorchidsociety.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/Dendrobium-nobile-orchid-growing.pdf

The Shambles Monsieur Tillier Rose
The Shambles and ‘Monsieur Tillier Rose’

‘Undrought’ Poem by Casey Williams

Undrought

The year has barely started,
The ringers still on leave,
The wet is running late this year,
Lord, bring us our reprieve.

The North is bloody thirsty
The cows are calving down
The grass is getting sparser
And the ground is turning brown

It’s been this way a while now
Too long, in fact, for some
The dry is taking over
When will the rain please come?

At last the clouds are building
And the frogs are crying out
I wonder if they know at all,
What’s due to come about?

A couple inches, you bloody beaut!
What a blessed sight,
The sound of raindrops on the roof,
I’ll listen up all night.

Another night, and then again,
She’s getting fairly damp,
The river’s running beautifully,
She’s really set up camp.

Again and again, it hammers down,
In drowning, vicious waves,
We hate to sound ungrateful
But rain, please go away.

At last the drought is broken
But so are all our hearts
Homes are under water
Lives are ripped apart

No warning of the enormity
No chance to get ahead
Just paralysed by water
And what we will find dead

The land has gone from Barron
To an ocean, vast and brown
The calves are drowned or frozen
Their mothers, bogging down.

The rain has finished finally
The world turned upside down
There’s cattle stuck in trees
Dead wildlife on the ground.

The North just copped a big one
We’re hurting far and wide
Our community’s a strong one
But we need you on our side

Don’t kick us while we’re down
Don’t say we have no shame
You want to see compassion
Drive up here, see our pain.

I for one, could not be prouder
Of the industry up here
It’s one of strength and courage,
Through drought, through flood and fear

I say this to all affected
To those who’ve lost so much
You’re the backbone of this country
Keep talking, stay in touch

You’ve got your mates behind you
To help with all your doubts
We can rebuild together
The sunshine has come out.

by Casey Williams

Saturday 16 Feb 2019 ABC Brisbane Queensland Australia
Also blog post Drought
Gretchen Bernet-Ward

Queensland Map

Drought Ain’t Over Yet

Australian farmers, east and west, north and south are facing challenges on the land.  As we head into summer, the drought has reached drastic proportions right across the country.  Imagine no water, cattle dying, crops withering and red dust coating everything you touch.  We have to think about farmers livelihoods, they put the food on everyone’s table.

So far Rural Aid have…

•  Helped over 4500 farmers have registered for various types of assistance.

•  2000 farmers have received Buy-a-Bale hay, currently numbers growing at 30 a week.

•  1000’s of hampers, water trucks, fuel cards and vouchers.

Since 1 July 2018 Rural Aid have…

•  Employed 11 mental health counsellors with committed funding of $5.5m over 3 years.

•  More than $20m in total cash donations has been accepted by Rural Aid.

•  Over 2200 counselling telephone one-on-one calls or face to face visits to farmers in 4 months.

•  $3m paid for hay distributed to farmers in need.

•  $2.3m paid in freight to deliver the hay.

•  $6m for bill relief for farmers.

•  Forward commitment to purchase $11m of hay and transport for next 6 months.

•  More than $1.2m provided to farmers in the form of gift cards which can be spent locally.

•  Expanded their team by 7 people so they can respond to enquiries and provide help faster to those most in need.

Rural Aid have moved 76 and 88 trailers respective, almost 3500 tonnes of hay in the last two weeks alone, delivered to over 300 farmers.  This is amazing work by hay teams, truckies and hay producers who are all pulling together, a super support effort.  But the battle continues.

Read the blog of a drought-stricken cattle farmer Paula Stevenson
http://paulastevensonwriter.com.au/day-266/

My thoughts into words…

It’s a hard way to earn a living.  You can help dedicated farmers to keep growing our country’s food.  Consider Farm-sitting, Farm Army volunteering, Farm Rescue groups, buying hay bales or donating to—
Rural Aid www.ruralaid.org.au
Buy-a-Bale www.buyabale.com.au

As Rural Aid wraps up another year, their 2019 calendars are now selling.  Help out by placing an order for this great Christmas gift and have it mailed—
Calendar Grab a 2019 calendar

Gretchen Bernet-Ward

Buy A Bale Calendar 2019