Hen House Update

Remember when I rambled on, at length about how excited I was for my new Hen House? After a few months in, I thought I would share some highs and lows.

Without a doubt, the best highlight has been the eggs. I got the ‘pullets’ at around 18 weeks, which is supposed to be point of lay. It was the middle of winter, so we had to be patient, but we are now, well and truly in supply.Eggs! or in our house, eggy-eggs.

Poo has been another positive aspect of my backyard chickens. Each week, I ‘muck out’ the hen house. I take out the sugar-cane mulch, shredded paper, any uneaten scraps and of course, the poo. This is added to either the compost, or the veggie patch. I also add some camphor laurel leaves to the nesting boxes, once I’ve raked up all the muck, to deter any bugs.

See that ‘igloo’? At first, we didn’t need to worry about the garden when we free-ranged the ladies. They were shy, and tended to stick close to their coop. As time wore on, they became bolshy, and we spent most of out time shoo-ing the ladies out of the veggie patch! My husband was determined to have a hen-free patch, so he created this beauty, which keeps the ladies out of the veggies. For this creation, most of the items were purchased, but it was a necessity and my husband points out, this is only igloo stage one. Igloo stage two will have a door, and be re-strung with clothesline for a more even tension.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   Phase 1

My husband also made a shade-house while he had all the materials and equipment handy. Most of the materials for this one were re-purposed and salvaged, just like the hen-house. This is also in stage one of development. My husband was quick to point out, there will a floor for the shade house. IMG_5896

The celery can flourish, now the hens can't get at it.

I also had to hastily make some guards for some individual plants. This was a contentious issue in our household, so I would call this part a low-light. My husband was quiet stressed about the ladies digging around in his garden, and I clearly didn’t plan for keeping them out of the garden. I knew they would make a mess, but they went to town in the veggie patch. I would STRONGLY recommend hen-proofing your garden if you don’t want it dug up.

It’s all in the detail.

Another low-light was finding a dead chook in the middle of the lawn. One Saturday, we found one of the hens had died, but there were no warning signs, and there were no signs of distress. It was upsetting, because earlier this month, we had to put down our surrogate dog (We dog-sit with regularity for my in-laws.). Last year, we also lost one of our own dogs as he was attacked by an un-identified animal, so we buried the feathered lady in the pet-cemetery in our back yard. It wasn’t pleasant, but it is a part of life, and we all die at some stage. It also brought back memories of the death of my grandparents that I hadn’t dealt with, and earlier this week, a friend also lost a loved one. Death is just another part of life. It is inescapable but we spend out lives trying to ignore it’s certainty. Death death death. Dead. I know it’s not the end of the world, but Hermione’s death was a sharp reminder of the banality and certainly of death.

On a more positive note, I’ve really enjoyed having the hens in my life. It gets me out of the house, and I spend time chasing the chooks and dogs around the yard and feeling the sunshine on my skin. I spend far too much time behind a desk, and the gym isn’t my thing, so the time I spend outside with the ladies and my puppies is precious. It’s also drawn my husband and I closer together. He is very much an out-doors person, se we now spend time outside together, which feel like a rare treat.

My puppy pulled the head off his toy chook. I hope it’s not a sign of things to come.
Hillary and Henrietta out for a stroll.
I found a Giant Panda Snail and an egg on my lawn.

I would absolutely recommend getting some hens for your back yard, if you can spare the time and space. Our eggs are plentiful, and sharing them is a joy. Getting outside, in the fresh air has helped me break out of my comfort zone, and given me something else to focus on,  other than impending doom the mammoth task of my PhD.

The nesting nook

Unedited Glory

I don’t know about you, but I cannot believe that it is the end of October. My PhD has taken hold of me, and while I am no-where near as productive as I would like to be, the workload is all consuming. It’s all I think about, and everyday I am doing something towards it. The good news, is most of my quantitative data has been collected. YAY! The bad news, is now it’s more fucking hard work. Ugh. And I’m a wee bit tired of of people asking what I’m going to do when I finish. Stop making me folks, because I have no fucking clue. Unless you’re offering me a job, don’t ask what I’m doing with my life post uni.

In September I went to Canberra and it was exciting. It has been ages since I travelled alone, and even longer since I’ve travelled for the sake of it. Canberra was everything I expected and more. I went for the APSA conference, and I was reminded that I am socially awkward. NBD, cause I got a selfie with Antony Green, visited the Federal Parliament, and saw Floridae.

My desk in all of it’s unedited glory. How does your compare?
Tulips from Floriade. Call me a Nanna, but I can’t wait to go back again.
In the House of Representatives. They wouldn’t let me on the floor, because I’m not an MP.
A snapshot from Federal Parliament. I felt super safe, because there was a man with a massive gun, patrolling the place.

Needing out to the MAX at the big house.

Because I am lazy, I ripped this list street from Meet me at Mikes.

Making : My head explode with data
Cooking :Vegemite and cheese on toast
Drinking :Goon (don’t judge, I’m a poor student)
Reading: All Fall Down by Matt Condon.
Wanting: To have my life sorted
Looking: Like I’ve just rolled out of bed
Playing: Sonic Dash
Deciding: That I need a job. ASAP
Wishing: upon a star
Enjoying: Coming home to my puppy
Waiting: to hear back from a friend
Liking: comfort food too much
Wondering: If I will ever be an adult
Loving: $6 roasts at uni
Pondering: the ethics of a $6 roast
Considering: Netflix. But dammit Mr Turnbull, you still haven’t fixed my internet!
Buying: Nothing because I am poor. Although I need new tyres and a windscreen.
Watching: Kitchen Cabinet, Peeky Blinders and HANGING OUT FOR DR BLAKE!
Hoping: Dr Blake is coming back real soon
Marvelling: at the data
Cringing: At federal politics.
Needing: Cashola and a holiday
Questioning: existentialism
Smelling: I caught the bus today, and was stuck between bad aftershave and fart.
Wearing: A wool dress that I nabbed for $20 from a posh lady shop.
Following: The QLD Hansards
Noticing: That I need to stop procrastinating
Knowing: That Social Media is the worst
Thinking: about gender equality
Admiring: Other academics
Sorting: My shit out
Getting: tired of driving so much
Bookmarking: election info on websites
Coveting: Thou shall not Covert
Disliking: Politics
Opening: my wallet and finding moths
Giggling: at Tony Abbot telling Europe to stop the boats. If you don’t laugh you cry.
Feeling: Sad after watching the news. Too many women are being killed by their partners and at the hands of men. 
Snacking: On lollies
Hearing: podcasts that I’m addicted to. Like this one, and this one and this one.

Counting Dead Women

TRIGGER WARNING: Domestic violence.

Call DV Connect if you need to talk to someone about your domestic situation 1800811811

It’s 12:06 pm, and I sit down at the computer for the day. After opening my internet browser, I learn that a man has died in hospital from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. He shot himself, after he shot his partner at a McDonalds restaurant on the Gold Coast.

In Queensland, the police deal with an average of 8 call-outs per hour which are related to domestic violence. I once made a call to the local police, because my neighbours were feuding on the front lawn; the woman was holding her young daughter in her arms, while her male partner was yelling and attempting to hit the woman. When I called the police, the tone of the voice on the other end was unmistakably tired. I’m sure the officer had seen it all before. This incident is not the only time I’ve witnessed domestic violence, or male dominated violence, earlier this year, a fight broke out in the local uni cafe, and a young woman was held by the neck by her male partner. I’ve also witnessed domestic violence and male dominated violence in my wider circle of family and friends. I write of these occurrences, not to draw the narrative towards my trajectory, but to illustrate the ways in which domestic violence permeates all of our lives. I’ve also experienced male dominated violence, but I’ve been fortunate enough to walk away unscathed and able to tell my story. This year, 62 women did not have that luck, and unfortunately, died as a result of domestic or male dominated violence.

I could put together all the stats in a neat table, indicating the number of women who experience domestic violence, but it’s not going to stop the pain, and it’s not going to change those stats. While getting ready this morning I was listening to the news and heard Minister Pyne tell us all, that we need to change our culture (He has a habit of telling women what they already know) towards domestic violence. On the from page of the Courier Mail we’re told that the government and community is doing something about this terrible tragedy. I’m sure all of the people pictured here (and many others) recognise the need to end domestic violence. Premier Palaszczuk has rightfully condemned this behaviour and committed to additional resources to assist DV Connect. This is a necessary move, but I can’t stop thinking this is only half of the problem. When the first line of the article states “SPORTING great Darren Lockyer has joined other prominent Queenslanders in making an impassioned plea to rise up against the domestic violence scourge, and scores of people have taken to social media to join the campaign”. I’m sure I will be forgiven for being somewhat cynical. I don’t care how great Mr Lockyer is at throwing some pig-skin around a field, it does’t make him an instant champion against domestic violence, and when a man’s sporting prowess is used to justify his stance against domestic violence it reinforces the nature of male and female dichotomy. It also patronises the survivors and victims of domestic violence, by ignoring their narrative, at the importance of a white man’s sporting ability.

Front Page of the Courier Mail, Friday, September 11, 2015.
I am somewhat cynical because I’m tired of hearing from men, what us women need to do, and how we live our lives, and I’m damn sick of hearing of how good some men are, when they lead the charge, like a white knight against the scourge of domestic violence. And again, I’ll ask for your forgiveness for my cynicism when I hear Dazza taking a stand against anti-social behaviour. I’m also over hearing men say they don’t hit women, that is is something done by other men, and those men are horrible. This year, °62 women have died as a result of domestic violence and its only now that you’ve seen an outrage at that statistic and the reporting of the issue. You want to know why men hit women? Because we let them. We let boys get away with violent and aggressive behaviour, because, well, boys will be boys, and that translate to more aggressive behaviour resulting in domestic violence. Not only do we let male domination to occur in this self-perpetuating cycle, but we expect it and we demand it. When we tell boys not to cry, we’re telling them expressing emotions is not ok.

Peeling back through the layers of our masculine hegemony, there is a striking imbalance when it comes to men in power and leadership.¹ Not only do we condition our children in explicitly gendered terms but our wider culture maintains the dominance of men. In the ²workplace, women comprise 26.1 percent of key management positions and 17.3 percent of CEO positions. Women are also under-represented in politics, since the represent approximately ³29 percent of parliaments. Our capacity for leadership is not related to any biological pre-disposition based on what we keep in out pants, but somehow, as a society, we equate very different abilities and traits with gender, and these traits seep further into the cultural milieu. While it looks like a large jump between a women being killed by as a result of domestic violence, we need to recognise how we got there in the first place. Not only do we expect a certain level of aggression from men, but as a culture, we are blind to the dominance of male power because it is perceived to be the status quo.

Domestic violence is a complex and wide reaching issue, but at it’s core is power. If we can address this power imbalance, we can address male dominated violence. Don’t ask why a woman stays in an abusive relationship, ask why men are still behaving like this.


¹ BATHES, R. 1927. Mythologies, New York, Hill and Wang.

² AUSTRALIAN GOVERNMENT 2014. Australia’s gender equality scorecard. In: WORKPLACE GENDER EQUALITY AGENCY (ed.)

³WILSON, J. & BLACK, D. 2014. Women Parliamentarians in Australia 1921–2013. In: SERVICES, D. O. P. (ed.). Canberra: Parliament of Australia.


TRIGGER WARNING: Body Talk. Food Consumption

I saw this video on Facebook last week and it made me think many thoughts. I couldn’t watch it all the entire clip, intact, I think I got one minute into it, before I walked away because I found the argument so appalling. But at the time, I didn’t react to it, as Nicole Arbour is entitled to her view, and she is entitled to explain her view via social media. I also dismissed the video, because I like to think that what we see on Facebook and other digital platforms do not control my life. I clearly love a good selfie, but there are more important things in life than what someone posts on their social media.

But then, I saw this article, and, truth be told, I had some niggling thoughts and feelings about what Ms. Arbour was saying.

In my experience with food, exercise and weight control, there is no single path, cure or pill that will immediately change your body or your headspace regarding weight management. I have been many different sizes, from 10-16 (maybe even 18), and even at my skinniest, smallest, lowest weight, I thought I needed to drop a dress size, tone up and be smaller. I cannot think of a time since adolescence where my diet of my body didn’t enter my mind at some point during the day. And I don’t think I am different from too many other people with these thoughts and feeling. How did it start, and why did I, at 13 take a day off from eating, because I thought I was too fat, or only eat rice crackers, or binge and engage in many different unhealthy diet patterns? I have a distinct memory of reading Dolly/Girlfriend and looking at the models, with their thigh-gaps and flat hips. In my mind, I knew the girls in my magazine were photoshopped and therefore, unrealistic, but it didn’t stop me from obsessing about my weight, and weighing myself daily, to see if I had lost anything. And now, despite all the knowledge we have about photoshop, it is still just as challenging to walk through our daily lives without seeing those images of unrealistic perfection.

Me, in all my #bodypositive glory.
Me, in all my #bodypositive glory.

So back to that YouTube clip: fat people are unhealthy, and therefore bad, and need to be stopped. SIGH! This makes me so disappointed, on so many, MANY levels. 1) Skinny people can be unhealthy 2) Fat people can be healthy 3) STOP MAKING THIS ARGUMENT INTO A SKINNY/FAT DICHOTOMY! I’m not going to comment on Ms. Arbour’s appearance, because that is rude, her exterior doesn’t dictate her academic capacity and I don’t know her background. But what I will say, is I’m a bit over skinny people telling fat people how to live their lives, and as for denying the concept of fat-shaming. Lady, you’re doing it. The whole video, which I have to say, I don’t find humorous or intelligent, shames people who are outside the socially accepted size range. I’m never going to say it’s acceptable to be unhealthy choices but it’s not my place, nor Ms. Arbour’s place to judge what is acceptable for someone else’s body. #BODYPOSITIVE.

And as of blaming the #bodypositive movement, oh golly gosh, do I have plenty to say about this. When we are bombarded with images of white, able-bodied, slender people, (usually women, and usually sexualised), and those images are replicated and reproduced within our cultural expectations, its pretty darn hard to fight the hegemony. So as I fill my mouth, one-by-one with choice malt balls, I wish to remind people that weight management, is more than a mathematic equation. Yes, we need to be mindful of the types of food we consume, and how much activity we engage in, but this doesn’t take into account the external pressures of the day-to-day grind. It doesn’t account for the ways in which food is marketed to us (How many Maccas do you have in your local neighbourhood compared to fruit and veg shops?), it doesn’t account for the internalising process of watching a sea of perfect images, and it doesn’t account the relationship we have with food, exercise and our bodies. All of which are personal and shape the way we approach life. When a fat person speaks up, dares to take up space and be unashamed in their body positivity it can only be a positive thing. From my experience of being all sizes, I know you are never going to be able to sustain and maintain a healthy weight range when you work from a position of fear, shame and negativity. Ms. Arbour’s stance on #bodypositive is rude, demeaning and seeks to further oppress the already marginalised by reinforcing the dominant cultural expectations. Love your body at every size, live your life for today, and not when you fit into that dress or those pants.

Project Harpoon? More like project online body-shaming misogyny. 

So, I saw some images from project harpoon, and I was lost for words. I felt I needed to write a post about it, because the Internet is filled with words of hate and shame, so I wanted  to counteract it, but I also knew, I wanted to craft something useful, clever and realistic.  So my thoughts milled around while I went about my business. 



Then I found this link in Daily Life. It doesn’t cover all the aspects, so I think I’ll add something to this later in the week. In the meantime, I suggest you report any images or trolling you see it experience. I’m a bit over individuals who think it’s their job to tell you that you’re a fat idiot. 

Glued to the Screen

Have you managed to catch up with #GlitchTV? If you’re behind on it all, never fear. I’ll bring you up to speed.

Glitch is one of the many zombie resurrection shows to hit our screens, however it’s done with great subtlety and explores numerous ideas beyond the gore and horror of death, dying and eating flesh. Directed by Emma Freeman, the show passes the Bechdel test as the characters drive the numerous narratives of the show, including life after death, grief, the migrant experience, social justice, sexual orientation, colonisation and domestic abuse.

On the ABC website, you can watch the behind the scenes footage, where numerous people involved with the show explain their roles and the artistic direction of the show. This clip explains the small details which drive the show, and further how a lack of gore and special effects keep the show in a specific genre. It was definitely one of the reasons I loved it so much. Compared with Dexter or Buffy, there is very little in the way of blood, melting demons or exploding corpses. This lack of gore and horror makes the audience focus on the relationships and challenges faced by the characters. Additionally, as an audience, you’re also drawn into the landscape and the backdrop of the series. Set in a small country town, Yoorana, outside of Shepparton, the location by its vastness and constraints, adds another layer of complexity and subtly. It’s also great to see home-grown tv, with Australian accents, towns and realities (except, that they still have phone reception in this middle-of-nowhere-town).

By passing the Bechdel test, the show has a broader scope for character development and plot lines. There is a love story, and SPOILER ALERT a love triangle, however the typical narrative of boy-meets-girl or manic-pixie-girl-saves-boy-from-himself is completely avoided. And the male protagonist, while he is shown as strong and in a role of power and leadership, has a more human side which is close to the surface, as opposed to hidden and shameful. I even spoke to the director about this ↓

Emma chats with me!
#GlitchTV makes for an innovative tv experience
Yeah, I was so excited about the series that I both live tweeted and asked questions. Which brings me to my final point about why this show was so. damn. good. After the first episode was first broadcast, the ABC bravely put all of the episodes available on iView and they will be there until August 27. I tottaly binged on this, and I cannot WAIT for series 2. When free-to-air is battling both Netflix/On demand services and piracy, it is imperative that the industry looks into alternative viewing methods and platforms. Australia is behind in technology (yeah, thanks Mr. Abbott!) and for many shows it really is simpler to illegally download the show. The technology and corporations have not caught up with consumer demand. And while I am incredibly sympathetic to all the artists who create these exciting shows, I cannot stand to wait for shows, simply because a multi-national corporation decrees it to be so.

If you have 6 hours to kill, enjoy Australian made drama, and are interested in life after death, then this is the show for you.

Thank you Minister Pyne, for putting the representation of woman in the parliament on the national agenda.

Earlier this week, Minister Pyne was interviewed on the 7:30 Report, where he was talking about a book had had written. The discussion was about his choice to go into politics. Both the Minister’s new book and appearance on the news program, are completely mundane and ordinary occurrences. The noteworthy part was when the discussion turned towards the representation of women in politics and when the Minister was asked about the difference in numbers between the ALP and the LNP he said ‘I don’t believe in quotas and I don’t believe in targets, but I do believe in people being elected on the basis of merit.’

But here’s the thing: the concept of merit or the very idea that career progression is simply based in the quality of one’s work is naive at best, and folly at worst.

Looking at the surface of the representation of woman in Australian Federal politics, it’s not great. The first woman to be elected federally was Enid Lyons in 1943, 41 years after women received the right to vote and stand. At a state level in Queensland, you might remember that women won the right to vote in 1905, the right to stand in 1915 and Irene Longman was the first woman elected in 1929. Across all the Parliaments, it isn’t until the 1990s that the number of women in the house is significant. In Queensland, this was obvious with the 1989 election where seven women were elected at once. Overall, the percentage of women in the Federall the parliament peaked at 27.3 and it now sits at 26. Basically, we’ve had a few women through the doors, and Julia Gillard even made it to Prime Minister in 2010, but if you were to believe the only reason why the the proportion of women in parliament doesn’t reflect the proportion of women in the wider population is based in merit, then you need to face the facts.

Women make up 50 percent of the population, and are now more likely to be better educated than men, however this is not reflected in positions of leadership or power. In The Wife Drought Annabel Crabb outlines the numerous was in which women take on the lions share of the domestic duties and emotional labour, even when they work full-time. The same is not true of men. Specifically, men are more likely to progress further in their careers when then become a father and earn more money. Not only do women tend to take a career break if they have children, they also run the risk of retuning to work in areas of under employment. Women can also expect to earn up to 20 percent less than men, even without the traditional career breaks. If women are as capable as men, and now, more educated than men, then why are they under-represented in terms of power and leadership? It’s the merit argument. Which I would re-lable as the social capital argument. It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.

I’ve outlined before there is a gap between women’s rights and the cultural execution of these rights, and I assert this lingering cultural lag is due to both explicit and implicit gender based discrimination. While the explicit discrimination is beginning to recede, it is the implicit discrimination which is more pernicious and more challenging to eradicate. Which is why this concept of merit is inappropriate. Merit implies recruitment requirements are measurable outcomes and accountable terms which can be marked off on a list, however this doesn’t account for implicit discrimination or unconscious bias. That is, qualities which are desirable for certain roles cannot always be learned, taught or measured.

The merit argument, also does not account for the ways in which our lives are imbued with gendered dispositions, whereby men (when I say men, I recognise there are numerous way in which men express their feelings, emotions and masculinity, however there is a clear pattern where white men are valued higher than people from other backgrounds) are seen as powerful leaders and women are the caregivers and nurturers. Bringing this back to politics, remember when the PM said this ‘I think it would be folly to expect that women will ever dominate or even approach equal representation in a large number of areas simply because their aptitudes, abilities and interests are different for physiological reasons’? Or when the Pm was asked about his biggest achievement as Minister for Women was the repeal of the carbon tax? Or when he said, ‘What the housewives of Australia need to understand as they do the ironing is that if they get it done commercially it’s going to go up in price’. All of these comments from Mr. Abbott rely on the natural order of the duality of the gender binary. Not only are these terms outdated, as specifically, there are no differences in our capacity to learn, or carry out certain tasks, but by reinforcing the gender binary, we are ignoring the complexity of identity. Furthermore, the gender binary exploits and represses men just as much as women, by expecting masculinity to be one small facet, instead of recognising the myriad of ways in which human express ourselves. Views which argue for the natural order of things, ignore the structures which reinforce this natural order. It ignores that this concept is not natural, that it is constructed and is embedded and ingrained by cultural practices .

The implementation of quotas is a positive step, but it is only one of many  steps necessary for any organisation interested in becoming the best it can be. The ALP implemented quotas in 1994, however we are still yet to see equality within the party, as quotas still do not answer the bigger questions of unconscious bias. As Paul Reynolds indicates, despite the implementation of the 40 40 20 rules, women are still over-represented in the marginal seats. 

So I say thank you to Minister Pyne, for telling the women of the Australia, what we already know. Women are knocking on the door, but patriarchal structures are sill holding us back from our full potential.

Shove it in your ear holes.

  Have you ever switched on the telly or the radio, only to see a sea of middle-aged white guys? Yeah, I get sick get sick of that too. Never fear, there are alternative media streams which you can listen to, which don’t just focus on your ovaries.

When I’m travelling to and from uni, which takes up more time than I care to recall, I like to get into the zone by listening to podcasts. It’s no big surprise that I love podcasts, as my addiction to radio started in my mid-teens. The year was 2000, and Wil Anderson and Adam Spencer were filling the airwaves with dick jokes and mathematics. Adam Spencer had Word Of The Day, which I followed religiously, writing down the new words and meanings in my journals. Yes dear reader, I loved the radio.

Now days, I’m still plugged into the ABC, but I prefer Radio National or News Radio. Boring I know, but if you’re a political junkee like me, there is nothing quiet like listening to Fran Kelly grill the Treasurer about the GST. While listening to the ABC, and from my undergraduate days, I am more than aware of how fantastic the website is, and the great content produced by the media outlet. It’s not just soundbites, at ABC covers a broad range of topics, and the journalism investigates the wider picture, meaning numerous experts are interviewed, not just opinionated white dudes. Which is how I started podcasting. I was listening to Margaret Throsby, and I just had to listen to the interview again. When I realised, there’s an app for that, it changed the way I lived my life. After subscribing to the ABC, vacuuming would never be the same again. I listened Professor Marcia Langton, I listened to Wendy McCarthy and I listened to Fran Kelly grill pollys like there is no tomorrow. I was in heaven.

Plug it into your ear holes.Currently, I’m loving Annabel Crabb and Leigh Sales’s podcast, Chat 10 Looks 3. The website is great, and I’ve made the lentil and tomato soup, YUM! I found it insightful, and I’m always learning about new works of fiction which I don’t have time to read which one day I’ll get round to reading. I find it incredibly refreshing to listen to talented and professional women, who talk about all different aspects of life, without focusing solely on their kids. Kids are great (Even better when you can hand them back!), but women are more than their families or what their uteruses produce, and Chat 10 looks 3 is the perfect balance of talking about women’s lives experiences and the intellectual issues. It’s also a great cheat sheet, so next time you’re at a dinner party, and someone asks, “Oh, have you read that book by Helen Garner?” you can say, I heard it was good, Leigh Sales loved it.

Both Politics with Michelle Grattan and The Big Picture with Lenore Taylor tick all the right boxes as far as I am concerned, since they are lead by a woman, and its all politics. Michelle IMG_4832interviews a politician for around 20 minutes, and you can guarantee she’ll ask the right questions. It’s not so much as a grilling, as a slow roast. You’ll feel smarter for listening. As for The Big Picture again, it’s lead by a woman, but this time, Lenore usually has a variety of interviewees, and sometimes all at once. she even played Fantasy Cabinet one episode, and it rocked my socks. Again, this one is a great way to stay onto of the bigger issues and the interviewees are usually leaders in their field and or politicians, so it’s straight from the horses mouth.IMG_4834

Big Ideas from Radio National was probably, where it all started for me, and I think it covers the broadest range of topics. Again, as this is the ABC, the panelists or experts are more than likely to be industry leaders or actual experts so you will feel like you’ve learnt something at the end of it, probably because you have. When Paul Barclay interviews or facilitates a panel discussion, he has a unique manner of allowing the participants to speak, and extracting their stories without making you aware that he is even there. Definitely a great technique to have as an interviewer.


Finally, Bitch Media. Bitch is my least favourite word, but this podcast is pure intersectionality feminism and I love it. The only down side, it is is made in America, so some of the topical issues they discuss, are based around American topics, however since Australia has imported plenty of cultural ideas and shows, you won’t be too far behind on anything the ladies discuss. I say intersectionality, as the presenters acknowledge concepts of privilege, colour, ethnicity, class and recognise there is more to structural repression than whether you are a man of a women. Definitely worth a listen if you’re tied of boring old white men telling you what to wear, how to cook and what to think.

Hey Ladies!

So, remember how I was all uptight and self-concious of turning 30? As a sweetener, my husband asked me what I wanted one day, while we were meandering through the garden. “Chickens” I said. “We’ve been here for five years, and we still don’t have any chickens”.

Working on the coop
My husband, hard at work.

And so, he set about making me a coop! My husband and I are for the better part, vegetarians, and we both are conscious of what we consume. Neither of us are extreme, he still eats fish (I call them sea kittens.), and I am partial to the occasional steak, but we’re both focused on consuming less. We’re never going to be perfect, but it’s important to minimise your footprint on this earth, and eating less meat is definitely one way to do so.

Keeping with the less is more theme, my husband used as many objects and items which were already lying around the paddock. Again, I know it’s easier said than done, not everyone has a small garden-shed, just lying around, waiting to be repurposed, but it was surprising what he managed to make out of a few left-over pieces of wood and metal. We had intended on visiting the local recycle shop at the tip, but we scavenged a few extra pieces from the family’s farm. I scoured Gumtree for an old cupboard, which we remodelled into a nesting and perch area. And of course some pieces like the wire, mesh and other wood which was necessary to purchase from the local hardware shop. For us, the local hardware store isn’t one owed by the Duopoly of Coles or Woolworths, and I’m pleased as punch about this. Don’t get me wrong, megastores have their place, however the local Williams team are great when it comes to animals and produce. The small businesses in town, are one of the benefits of living in sticks. Sure, we have less variety, but some of the best customer service I’ve received has been in the small country town.

A pic worthy for Instagram
One day, it will be filled with eggs!

Acquiring the birds was probably the easier part of the whole process. While getting a few extra supplies at the local hardware, my husband asked around for some laying-hens. We were given a number to call, and the people were loverly to deal with. (Although they were late for the delivery, because someone had left the gate open and the birds made their big escape!) I asked for four birds, and I was able to request Australorps. Australorps are bred for Australian conditions and are prolific egg layers, which is perfect for us, in Northern NSW. All up, my husband spent three weeks to build the chicken mansion  coop, but we had some terrible weather, which meant tools down. The coop is much larger than we currently need, however I do envisage, in the future, we’ll get more chickens and supply the whole neighbourhood with free-range eggs.

Henrietta, the hen.
What are you looking at? Have you never seen a bird perch before?

We’ve put plenty of effort into making sure we have an area which is suitable for the ladies, and not everyone has the materials or inclination, but not everything is about the bottom line. Not only will we get eggs, but we now have four bug catchers, running around the garden. Not to mention the poop manure. I spent the afternoon sorting out the pen and collecting poop for our veggie patch. I’m not really the outdoorsy type, however I mucked out the coop and split some wood, which is one way to get some fresh air and burn the odd calorie.

I can’t wait to share the eggs with my friends and family.

The repurposed cupboard.
The repurposed cupboard.

I Hope You Like Feminist Rants, Because That’s Kind Of My Thing.

I had a rad time for my thirtieth.

We are now in the thick of winter. I’ve turned 30, drunk my weight in red wine, ate many soups and split plenty of wood. In other words, the earth is still orbiting the sun and the clock is ticking.

Winter is coming.
Winter is coming.

I’ve had some time to marinate in my post WOW haze, and I an getting stuck into my data collection. Which reminded me of why I started this blog, and exactly where the culture is at with women, leadership and power. When Kathy Lette touched my face she said we as women, should support each other and she reminded us to have a few barbs up our sleeves for when people try to tell us that the war has been won, and that we don’t need feminism (Ugh, I HATE that one. It’s 2015 and we’re still experiencing firsts!). Well, let me tell you dear reader, that it ain’t over until the fat, non-white, trans, gay, non-ablebodied lady can sing, without fear of discrimination.

I’m intently interested in women’s rights, our culture and how we execute these rights. Remembering that my research is focussing on Queensland, I can assure you there is a large gap between women’s rights and how they are executed. For example, women won the right to vote (I say won, because the suffragists fought damn hard!) in Queensland in 1905, but had to wait a decade before they held full suffrage and gained the right to stand for parliament. During the century between then and now, only 85 women have sat in the parliament, compared more than 1000 men. The first women, Irene Longman wasn’t elected until 1929. During that time, in 1931, with thanks to Irene Longman, QLD instated women to the police force, but it wasn’t until 1965 that women became sworn officers. Irene didn’t have a female college in Parliament until 1966 when Vi Jordan was elected. Up until 1969, women in the Commonwealth public service were required to resign after marriage, and thanks to Merle Thornton & Co, who chained themselves to the bar at the Regatta Hotel, it wasn’t until 1970, that women could visit a pub outside the Ladies Lounge.

Moving forward to 1992, Leene Forde was Queensland’s first Governor, Anna Bligh became the first women Premier in QLD in 2007, and the first women in 2009 to win an election in her own right. By 2012, Fiona Simpson was the first women Speaker in QLD and 2015, Annastacia  Palaszczuk was the first women to become Premier from Opposition. I know that’s a lot to take in, and it’s not even counting Joan Childs, the first Federal Speaker, Julia Gillard, the first woman PM, Joan Sheldon, the first female leader of a Party in QLD and first female Treasurer.

Where’s the relevance in all this? The crux; despite having the right to vote, stand for Parliament, to work and receive equal pay for equal work, and the right to work in an industry of our choosing, women are yet to hold the reigns of power in a prolonged or sustained manner. In other words, the world is still run by white, middle aged, privileged men. There is a gap between rights and how we culturally execute these rights. Annabelle Crab’s book, The Wife Drought looks at the trend, where despite having rights, women are still stuck with the kids and the ironing, while men receive the benefits and are able to dedicate themselves to their careers.IMG_3744

Botton Line: We might have the rights on paper, but we don’t have the cultural freedom to execute these rights, so yes for all of the flaws of Western feminism, we are very much, still fighting in the trenches of discrimination and patriarchy.