Sunday, 30 September 2012

Mining Update

My apologies for not posting last week. A gastro bug/virus laid me low... again. What a year!

A Land Court mediation hearing between Monto Minerals subsidiary Baal Gammon Copper and concerned residents of the Walsh River community regarding the proposed mining venture (behind our home) was held last week in Herberton. 

Save the Walsh FNQ has released the following statement:
“It was a fantastic outcome for the local residents of the area, we all feel it has been a real win, “ said group spokesperson Holly Richardson.
“We cannot divulge the full details of what was agreed upon, because of a confidentiality agreement but we can say the new proposed lease has been adjourned and absolutely nothing further in regards to the new mine can proceed until the next mediation with local residents in February/March 2013. 
This mediation will take place after the next wet season, giving Kagara and Monto Minerals the chance to prove that they can work together to address the current issues of environmental harm as demanded to be rectified in the three Environmental Protection Orders issued against them.”
Meanwhile, back at my loom, I've finished weaving the planned projects and there's not much warp remaining so I've been experimenting. Most people do samples at the beginning of their warp. I find myself doing samples at the end. 

Crackle weave threading with summer/winter treadling.
Sample: handspun white Pima cotton 2 ply weft on cottolin warp

One of my small samples has my handspun white Pima cotton (2 ply) as weft. I'm delighted with the look of it. How much the sample shrinks during the finishing process remains to be seen.

Close up shows some variation in grist of cotton weft, but not a real problem
Now that I'm feeling some energy again, I expect to reach the end of the cottolin warp tomorrow and cut it from the loom. That will mark the end of my weaving-on-the-loom season until cool weather returns next year.

Post & Photos by M in JaM

Saturday, 15 September 2012

Is Responsible Mining A Contradiction?

Lorikeets drink water from the Walsh River and its tributaries, too.
The Twentieth Century saw the development of the Mighty Extractors, powerful machinery that harvests massive numbers of trees in forests, strips the ocean of fish and removes mountain tops to reach and extract ore bodies. Fast, efficient, relentless and driven by need to profit now, they devour resources like a plague of alien locusts. And then they move on, maybe pay a fine or two that seldom actually covers the costs of rehabilitation, to find other cheap pickings and cooperative governments.

Our current system favours these behemoths.

Recently, the new Queensland government, led by Premier Campbell Newman (LNP - Liberal and National Party), terminated the Environmental Defence Office which was dedicated to protecting the environment in the public interest.

Earlier this year I reported that the nearby mining operation went into receivership after an environmental order forced a cessation of operations after contaminated spillage flowed into Jamie Creek and then into the Walsh River. Latest report is that mining operations are resuming and an expansion is proposed. We have already experienced a failure of trust in the mining company's ability to mine responsibly in our region.

We are concerned because our household water supply comes from a creek that originates near the mining area. We are concerned for the endangered Northern Quoll. We are concerned about the habitat and quality of life for wildlife as well as for humans.

Keep informed about this issue by going to:

Post by M in JaM
Photo by J in JaM

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Hands, Heart and Home

My handspun Easy To Spin Pima cotton 2 ply

My collection of handspun cotton skeins continues to grow. I'm halfway through spinning a pound of Easy ToSpin Pima cotton top from Cotton Clouds. My knowledge grows and my technique improves thanks to hours of handspinning. I learn best through direct experience – and even then the learning happens slowly. I think it's muscle-learning, not brain-learning. Now that I'm more confident spinning cotton, I like to listen to an audio book while I spin. I'm producing a pretty even cotton yarn now and that's what I want.

Cotton 2 ply yarn wound on wooden skeiner.
Singles were spun and plied on Ashford Traditional wheel. 
For the first time I used the charming wooden skeiner that formerly belonged to Australian artist Mary Dau. The skeiner worked perfectly with the cotton yarn. It's thanks to the generosity of Mary Dau and her son that I began spinning cotton.

My weaving likewise continues slowly. I plan to weave a sample with my handspun cotton. In times past, each weaver needed a bunch of spinners. I'll weave through the pile of cotton skeins in no time at all... well, I would if I did anything quickly. The crackle weave I'm currently working on engages my mind to the extent that I cannot listen to an audio book while weaving. Yet my sessions at the loom and the experience of using handwoven tea towels and table runners every day give me a feeling of lasting satisfaction.

“One must take the bitter with the better,” said someone. And so we received news of another death in the extended family. Heartbreaking to lose good people. 

“God needs them more than we do,” said an elder Auntie. I wanted to argue but thought better of it. Best for me to marshall my energies toward joining in the resistance to the proposed resumption and expansion of mining behind our home. More on that issue in my next post.

Post by M in JaM
Photos by JaM

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Two More Birthday Photos

I had enjoyed knitting two sets of Owl Puffs for the twins, but forgot to take photos for my records before wrapping the Owls for the party. J managed to get this action shot as the Owls were revealed.

Two sets of Owl Puffs for twins second birthday

Birthday parties for two year olds can be pretty chaotic, but one could find quiet areas, too. Doesn't this photo say something charming about the capable young woman of today?

After recovering from the party, I dove back into spinning and weaving projects. Now I'm taking a few days break from hand-crafting after overworked shoulder/neck muscles laid me low. I thought I was being smart by alternating my activities. I spent a day weaving for a bit, spinning for a bit, chopping veggies, then back to spinning. But I neglected to consider that I was using basically the same muscles. By bedtime I knew I was in trouble. I'm feeling better now, thanks to panadol, rest and massage with theracane. I have to figure out better strategies, i.e . get a whole lot smarter. Yes, for a person my age, I'm pretty optimistic.

Staying strong and positive is asking a lot sometimes. That's when it's time to endure... and remember that things do change. May they change for the better in your life and mine.

Post by M in JaM
Photos by J in JaM