The Dog runner by Bren MacDibble


“When the world turns upside down, the ones that survive are the first ones who learn to walk on their heads.”


The Dog Runner , written by Bren MacDibble is a  poignant Middle grade fiction book that allows readers to delve into a world where food is scarce and the world population is suffering.

We meet Ella, the quiet city girl who has lost her mother and hasn’t seen her for 8 months.  She borrows books from her neighbour by sliding them under his door and she remembers life before people started to become dangerous.  Her father and brother live with her and each day, although comforting to still have some of her family, is an act of survival.

Until her Dad doesn’t return home.

Ella and her brother Emery need to find not only their Dad but also Ella’s mum and Emery’s home out in the Mallee scrub. If they can find this place not only will they find his family but they will be able to live off the land and not have  to live off canned sardines and old books.

But to get there they need to pass people who will stop at nothing and land that has little water or shade. Ella and Emery shouldn’t have to take a dangerous journey like this – but they must.

But that’s when Maroochy, Wolf, Bear, Oyster and Squid come in –  A pack of dogs who are strong enough to pull a sled across the barren land. The adventure starts when they take off from the city and it is non stop suspense as they bump and race over the land.

The Dog Runner highlights the importance of the danger of relying too heavily on the use of pesticides on farmed land, large corporations who focus on one type of grain and thinking we can constantly kill our soil and hope that it continues to give us more food.

In this world that Bren MacDibble creates, a fungus has killed all crops around the world and it is only the genius of Emery’s grandpa that gives Emery and Ella hope that the world will again be fed and hopefully more aware.

Indigenous farming methods are the best suited farming methods for Australia and it is about time that we started to take more notice of how they looked after the land and always had diversity in what they grew. Many crops in Australia are not suited to the climate and the soil has been mistreated so poorly that the reliance on pesticides is increasing.

This book sends a message to us all – re learn your Australian history and trust the methods and the crops that the first Australians grew. Stop relying on multinational companies and start looking towards smaller scale farms that take time to look after soils and produce.

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Save time, save money and be eco #2 – Veggies

So you’ve been told to only eat organic, only buy from farmer’s markets and nothing wrapped in plastic – tricky? Yes!

After reading many years ago that the pesticides that are sprayed on our vegetables cause more harm than good to not only our bodies but also the environment, I was determined to eat better.

We tried organic for everything

First we tried organic. Eating certified organic food is one of the best possible ways you can avoid nasty pesticides but it is very expensive and often wrapped in unnecessary plastic to differentiate it from other vegetables.

So I found a list: https://www.onegreenplanet.org/news/dirty-dozen-fruits-and-vegetables/

And we tried to stick by this but as you are well aware time and money comes into play

So we found this – A local coop : Harvest Hub

Harvest hub has been a great find for us. It supplies Sydney suburbs with small scale farmed produce and many of it is spray free. This means they are not certified organic but still limit the amount and types of sprays they use. The fruit and vegetables are fresh – no sitting in freezers for month and we are supporting locally grown produce – no overseas food miles here.

We may spend a little bit more money but the produce lasts A LOT LONGER than supermarket food. I have had carrots fall to the bottom of the drawer and be found two weeks later still crispy and delicious! (that would never happen with the supermarket bought carrots)

So what do I recommend?

  1. Buy organic if you can but only if it is not wrapped in plastic. Local coops and farmers markets can offer affordable organic produce at times.
  2. Buy spray free if not organic. Google your local coops for this and seek farmers markets.
  3. If you cannot afford either, soak your vegetables in one tablespoon of baking soda to a bowl of water (https://foodrevolution.org/blog/how-to-wash-vegetables-fruits/) to remove pesticide residue.
  4. Buy local food and buy in season. You do not need mandarins from USA in summer if you can buy melons and berries grown in Australia.
  5. Buy fruit and vegetables that are not wrapped in plastic – does it really save you time? I highly doubt it.

What do you do to lessen your impact on the environment and your wallet when buying fruit and vegetables?

The next day roast pumpkin

I love pumpkin and it’s only recently that I have realised how diverse this orange vegetable is!

Whenever we had leftover roast pumpkin in the past I would serve it again as – roast pumpkin.

But now, inspired by a need to cut down on food waste I have come across some great recipes and they are here for you to make too!

  • Bake your pumpkin seeds – use them as extra crunch on top of a salad.
  • Make some delicious pumpkin and corn fritters, taken from Simplicious Flow by Sarah Wilson.

 I Quit Sugar: Simplicious Flow by Sarah Wilson

  • Bake some sausages with your pumpkin to give them some extra flavour! Another recipe taken from Simplicious Flow by Sarah Wilson.

 I Quit Sugar: Simplicious Flow by Sarah Wilson

Pumpkin-Spice-Muffins-and-Bread-Recipe-with-Coconut-Flour (image taken from https://wellnessmama.com/3655/coconut-flour-pumpkin-bread/)

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(Image taken from https://detoxinista.com/coconut-flour-pumpkin-bars/)

No more just leftover roast pumpkin nights OR leftover pumpkin in the compost bin.

It’s much better in your belly!

Stock made from scraps!

Over the last week rather than composting all of our vegetable scraps, I have been keeping some of it in the freezer.

I then roasted an organic chook and some chicken drumsticks and kept all the bones and leftover meaty bits we didn’t want to eat.

Now, this will often go into our compost but I have given it one more life and turned it into

Chicken Stock!

Now we can add extra flavour to our meals throughout the weeks and months without it costing a single cent!

Recipe taken from
I Quit Sugar: Simplicious