Forest Wood Rosemaling Art & Craft

Amanda's Rosemaling and Traditional Crafts (Husfliden)


Some things to ponder about:

I write about things that interest me, frustrate me, puzzle me, and things that will be educational and informative to others.

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New Location for blog posts

Posted by forestwood on July 29, 2014 at 12:25 AM Comments comments (2)

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Star Quality foods to enhance Good Health

Posted by forestwood on September 13, 2010 at 12:11 AM Comments comments (1)

Taken from Karen Fischer's ( Australian nutritionist and dietician) book called Don't tell them it is healthy...

sound advice on easily improving one's diet and especially good for growing children.


Strongly alkalinising and contain Protein, folic acid, minerals ( calcium, magnesium potassium and zinc)

Recommended: one handful as a snack for children over four.



we all love them and know that "an apple a day keeps the Doctor away!"


Fabulous source of fibre which soothes the intestines and promotes good bowel flora needed for proper digestion and the manufacturing of B group vitamins.

Contain the antioxidant quercetin and minerals potassium and silicon.


For a child with diarrhoea: Reduce their symptoms with one grated apple ( let it brown slightly), mixed with half a teaspoon of carob powder ( see a Doctor if symptoms don't quickly improve)



mildly alkalinising...

contain a mega source of beta carotene which can reduce the risk of cancer

contain B- group vitamins, Vitamin c, calcium, magnesium, potassium. Fresh are better than the tinned variety. Dried Apricots contain preservatives as to do all dried foods, so if your child is sensitive to additives or has eczema, asthma or hyperactivity, it is best to avoid these. You can get preservative free dried apricots from health food stores or supermarkets' health food aisle.



mildly alkalinising

Rich in monounsaturated fatty acids, potassium, Vitamins A,B6, B3, C folic acid puls copper magnesium, iron, amino acids and antioxidants.

A healthy alternative to butter and margarine spread.


Keep two halve together and wrap in wet paper towel and cling wrap to maintain freshness and avoid the browning that will otherwise happen.


Rich in potassium and mildly alkalinising.

Fibre B6, magnesium and copper


Basmati Rice or Brown Rice

Only mildly acidifying

Contains fibre, B group vitamins, magnesium, copper, potassium, and calcium

Basmati rice has Low GI offering sustained energy


Beans (green)

Strongly alkalinising. Half a cup contains 1 g of fibre. Also have beta carotene, potassium, iron and calcium.


Great boost for the immune system: as they can detoxify contaminants, and pollutants and reduce inflammation. The darker the berry, the more antioxidants it has.

Raspberries contain B group vitamins, C, calcium, iron, magnesium and potassium. Strawberries are rich in Vit C.



Great quantities of beta carotene.  which is involved in skin maintenance and if consumed regularly dietary beta carotene can enhance the skin's ability to protect itself against uv radiation. Has an anti ageing effect.

Alkalinising and contain b group vitamins, Vit C, calcium and potassium.


Contains calcium and potassium and has been shown to improve blood glucose levels, slow absorption of carbohydrates and is used in India to treat diabetes. Has a lasting effect so it does not need to be consumed every day, only every 2-3 days.


Other spices auch as nutmeg, bay leaf, allspice, garlic, ginger, and basil and oregano can all reduce type 2 diabetes even in small amounts.

Cruciferous Vegetables

Brussel sprouts Broccoli cauliflower, cabbage etc are

Stongly alkalinising. Anti cancer effects especially in the lung and colon. Also enhances liver detoxification in eliminating pesticides, antibiotics and toxic heavy metals such as lead.


Dark Green Leafy Vegetables

Silverbeet, spinach, beet green and watercress. Chines greens kale and baby spinach are the most alkalinising of all the vegetables and the calcium in kale and watercress is easy for the body to absorb. Contains fibre, cancer protective phytochemicals, calcium and potassium as well as Vitamins A, B, C, and folic acid.



Brain food: Omega 3  and iodine

Found in Salmon, sardine/pilchard, especially fresh Australian sardine, mackerel, mullet, oero, trumpeter, blue eye, tuna, dory, threadfin emperor, bream, trout, flathead, pike, tailor, herring, moon fish, hake, and halibut.

Children who don't eat fish can have salmon and tuna oil supplements which will give them omega 3. Oysters, prawns, scallops and squid contain minor amounts of omega 3.



Avoid having the following types of fish more than once a fortnight ( due to mercury levels) :

Shark, Snapper, swordfish, roughy, marlin, king mackerel, perch, barrmundi, gemfish, and southern blue fin tuna ( tinned tuna is ok )


B group vitamins, Vit C an beta carotene. calcium and potassium and iron.


Antibiotic effect and tranquilising properties.  Better than cough syrup for a night time cough.

Contains chromium and has a strong antioxidant effect.

Lecithin Granules


Lecithin makes fat become water soluble, which enhances digestion of good fats and allows for the safe removal of excess saturated fats and cholesterol from the body. Supplies choline, needed for healthy brain neurotransmitters and good liver function.

Found naturally in liver soybean, eggs and beef.


a.k.a. flaxseeds

anti-inflammatory alkalinishing and 50 % omega 3 essential fatty acids. Have omega 6 phytochemicals, slica, mucilage, oleic acid, protein Vit E and fibre and are a potent bowel cleanser. Mix with porridge or smoothies. Need to drink additional water with them.



Traditional and the original. Rich in phenolics and they protect against heart disease. Anti inflammatory, beneficial for all skin problems, and they have an antioxidant effect. Have a slow energy release so are a fabulous brain food. Add berries of fruit with Vit C to enhance their health effect.


Green pumpkin seeds that are rich in zinc and vital for skin health and balanced hormones. Add to salads, porridge or breakfast cereal.



mild alkalinising effect. Contain calcium and potassium, B group vitamins, magnesium, copper and iron. Sultanas are a type of raisin.



iodine. Vitamins A,D,E, K, and folic acid. Skin cleansing food for constipation and has anti cancer properties. Add a sprinkling of kelp or kombu to cereals. Add kombu to beans or legumes making them easier to digest ( eliminates gas )


Sweet Potato

(Kumara) rich in alkalinising potassium and beta carotene. Vitamins C, B group, calcium copper, magnesium, and tarces of zine. Good for skin and bone health.



can reduce chronic disease such as cancer and cardiovascular disease. Can also help the skin from burning in the sun ( from lycopene contained within).



Lycopene and potassium.



Rolled oats, Corn, Dark Rye, barley and rice.

They digest sloly giving your child a calm and steady supply of energy for concentration and sports performance. Fibre, Chromium, B group vitamins.


Add some of these to your shopping today... for us all to ponder about....

A recipe from multicultural Australia?

Posted by forestwood on July 2, 2010 at 7:58 PM Comments comments (0)

One could not get more Australian than Sausages, although our cuisine is fast changing with all the multicultural influences in our country today. The Greeks and Italians, and Chinese were the first waves of immigration to change our staple diet of bangers mash or meat and three veges.... but now there are other elements taking hold. Lebanese, Middle eastern, Thai, and Indian are making big inroads into traditional Australian food lines. There is even an Indian supermarket chain having success in the suburbs of Australia.

A friend asked me for a recipe for something different to do with Sausages and I came up with this one. It is something from my mother's generation but fits well with the multicultural image that Australia purports to have, I think. Do you agree? Something for you to ponder about....

Curried Sausages

1 kg sausages

2 tables vinegar

1 tsp salt

2 onions

1 small apple

1 tablespoon curry powder

60 g butter

2 ½ cups water

1 beef stock cube

Salt and pepper

1 table cornflour

1 table water extra


Prick sausages in several places and place in pan with coldwater to cover

 Add vinegar and salt.Bring slowly to boil and simmer 10 minutes

Drain cool and remove skins


Finely slice apple and onions. Melt butter in pan

Add onion apple and curry powder.  Stir till onion is tender.

Add water and crumbled stock cube.

Bring to boil while stirring. Add sausages and season withsalt and pepper.


Reduce heat and simmer covered for 10 minutes.

Blend cornflour and extra water and stir into sausages tothicken.

Serve hot with rice.



Art and Music? A crazy combination?

Posted by forestwood on May 28, 2010 at 12:02 AM Comments comments (1)




An attempt was made to fuse Art and Music recently at the Gallery of Modern Art.

Guitars that were for all intensive purposes unplayable, yet still a beautiful thing to look at.




The musician in my family thought it was all a bit pretentious.



What value does it have?


Does it question our long held belief systems? Is that why some find it offensive, even stupid or banal?

Is it pushing the boundaries of art?

What happens to these pieces once they have finished being exhibited? Do they find a valued spot in someone's home, or are they left in a warehouse to gather dust?

Can the environmental cost be wayed up against the aesthetic benefit, or the emotional one?

Is this more than just "entertainment"

All these things might be something to ponder about?

Personal faith versus Public Religion

Posted by forestwood on May 21, 2010 at 12:24 AM Comments comments (0)

 When is the boundary drawn?

Does the public institutions of religion enhance or restrict the evolution and developement of personal faith.

If a person becomes enlightened, do they really need the guidance and advice of the clergy with their opinionated dogma. Can the clergy really provide an impartial view?

The hypocrisy of a cleric extolling the virtue of living a simplistic life, so as to assist the poor and needy, and deriding selfishness, grates against my craw when I see the wealth that exists in the churches of the old religions.

Teleevangelists do not seem to have a good grasp either. They encourage their congregations to pray for a new car or for money for this and that. Is that the true purpose of becoming a spiritual person, so as you can attain more material weath, and by supposedly guaranteeing your place in the eternal hereafter?

Where does caring, compassion and trying to be a better person fit with the goals of material wealth.

Finding one's inner strength and using that to better the conditions of one's life and those around us sits more correctly with me. The dogma of God first, others second and me last does not always seem to universally apply.

Perhaps St Francis had the right path, or the Dalai lama?

Something to ponder about.....

next time Crafts and Recycled Bags....

Litter in the Environment Problems and Solutions

Posted by forestwood on May 9, 2010 at 5:06 AM Comments comments (5)

Thank goodness school are waking up to the importance of studying socially useful topics like sustainability and Caring for our Environment. My local school is discussing Litter and possible solutions....


Did you know:



* Cigarette butts, are made of a form of plastic that can persist in the environment for 10-12 years! 4.5 trillion Non-biodegradable cigarette butts are littered worldwide.

• Polystyrene litter such as disposable coffee cups or packing materials can be eaten by animals who mistake it for food,. Polystyrene can poison and/or clog stomachs leading to death by either toxicity or starvation. Once released into the environment, polystyrene will NEVER decompose to a non-recognizable form.

Entanglement occurs when animal becomes wrapped in or ensnared up by something. In many cases litter can entangle an animal swimming by. It can suffocate or drown. Six packs rings causing 6 million sea bird deaths a year and over 100,000 marine mammal deaths. The plastic used to create the rings takes 450 years to decompose!

• Plastic shopping bags take between 10-20 years to decompose. Turtles mistake plastic bags as jellyfish and eat them causing suffocation, drowning and gut obstruction.




• Set an example by not littering.

• Using cloth napkins rather than paper,

• Composting food scraps,

• Carrying reusable bottles instead of buying water in plastic, etc.

• Talk to your family and friends about recycling to reduce the amount of material you throw away, this will also result in a reduction of litter generally.


• Dispose of rubbish properly. Recycle any materials that can be recycled and dispose of the rest in a garbage can.


• Do not have bins in forest areas where birds or animals may spread litter around. When you visit a park or beach, remember to take out what you bring in. Keep trash and recyclables in a bag or backpack until you can put them in a litter basket.

• Do not dump anything down the storm drain.


• Keep a litterbag in your car.


• Avoid excess packaging when you shop. This will decrease litter from the start.


• Purchase reusable canvas natural fibre bags for your groceries and errands. Keep these items in your car so that they are handy whenever you might need them.


• Do not accept plastic bags with items you purchase if you can carry your purchase with out them.


• Keep your yard clean and free of things that can blow into the street and become litter.


• At home, make sure garbage and recycling bags are tied securely so that loose papers and other items cannot fall out and become litter.


• Make sure you close the lid on your refuse containers after depositing your trash or recycling inside. This will prevent refuse from spilling into the street.


• Do not overfill refuse containers; exposed garbage will likely result in litter.


• Remove flyers or take-out menus promptly from your front door or windscreen before they are blown away and become litter.


• Participate in and promote recycling programs such as kerbside cleanup.


• Stop litter at the source. Reduce your junk mail by writing to Direct Marketing companies to request no junk mail to be sent to your address.


• Have a "no smoking" policy or allow smoking only in designated areas. More and more public beaches, parks, open-air shopping malls, and college campus are trying to concentrate cigarette butt litter by requiring smokers to use only designated areas.Posted byI write about things that interest me, frustrate me, puzzle me and information that will be educational and useful to others. 


Bananas Ballina Bangalow and "The Big Scrub"

Posted by forestwood on May 4, 2010 at 6:24 PM Comments comments (0)

A Day trip driving along the M1 south means that you can reach the south coast of New South Wales from Brisbane in as little as 1.5 hours. Formerly a sugar cane timber, and banana growing area, the farms here now seem to grow macadamia nuts and various fruit trees, as well as raising beef cattle. Tourism is big here, and of course the wonderful beaches are a big drawcard. For me this area has a special significance.

History and Family history

The hinterland of Northern New South Wales coast used to be called The Big Scrub and was the site of my great grandfathers farm. He was a pioneer in this area. In 1860 the Robertson Land Act was passed and allowed for selection of areas of land in this area. 

Samuel Russell was the last of the selectors in Eureka. Although he applied for the minimum 40 acres of land, he finally obtained 73 acres 21st June 1883. There were conditions attached requiring the selectors to clear a certain amount of land on their property each year. This was also necessary to make a productive farm. As the scrub was virgin rainforest, this was a difficult task. The roads were a mere track and the forest at times impenetrable.

Russell family History

Although Samuel was born here in 1853, his family had come from Wells in Somerset England. They had immigrated on the "Victory/Victoia" which arrived in Australia 4 September 1849 and settled in East Maitland.

Samuel was working as a farmer at Martin's creek, (Near Paterson NSW) and worked as on the supply boats sailing up the coasts to Ballina, before taking up the selection at Eureka, with his wife, Sarah Jemima Louisa Hale and their three children. Marjorie, Arthur and Oliver Russell attended Eureka School. 

Seven more children were born before Samuel died prematurely of a heart condition, in 1877,and the family went their separate ways. Sarah remarried and became Sarah Appleton and some of the children went to live in the Kingaroy area of Queensland with the eldest daughter, Annie Sheather. Apparently one reason she married and moved away was because she was sick of minding her Mother's many children.

This is an interesting article explaining the significance of the area.


The Big Scrub, once Australia's largest area of tall subtropical rainforest, originally covered approximately 75,000 hectares extending from Lismore east to the edge of the coastal plain inland from Ballina, and from Meerschaum Vale in the south to Nightcap, Goonengerry and Byron Bay in the north, including the villages of Alstonville, Clunes and Bangalow.

Now only small scattered remnants of rainforest remain, many of them less than five hectares in area and covering less than 700 hectares in total – less than 1 per cent of the original area.

The Big Scrub was cleared by European settlers from the 1840s. The area was cleared for its valuable cabinet timber species, in particular red cedar, and ultimately to open up the land for agriculture, particularly dairying.

The mosaic of remnants stretches across the Alstonville-Dunoon plateau and provides important stepping stones for birds and bats which seasonally migrate between the forests of the coast to the south and the Nightcap and Border Ranges. The remnants are important genetic pools for seed dispersal between rainforests in north-eastern New South Wales and demonstrate the range of lowland rainforest alliances of the Mt Warning volcanic caldera.

The main Big Scrub remnants today include Uralba Nature Reserve, Booyong Recreation Reserve, Andrew Johnston Big Scrub, Victoria Park, Davis Scrub, Hayters Hill, Boatharbour, Minyon Falls Nature Reserve, Big Scrub Flora Reserve and Wilson Nature Reserve.

When the original cedar cutters arrived in 1842, they were spellbound by the trees that stood dense and tall on the river banks. The abundance of the ‘red gold’ was greater than anyone had experienced before and the quality of the timber was exceptional. More cedar cutters from the coast flocked to the district.

As the trees became scarcer in easy country, the cutters moved into more remote and virtually inaccessible country and continued their harvest. Apart from cedar, the cutters also sought valuable rainforest timber species such as rosewood and "bog onion" or "onion cedar" and, later, hoop pine, which are now scarce and limited in range.

Although the Richmond River area around Casino had been opened up by 1840 and settlements were already established along the rivers, the Big Scrub remained, for the most part, uninhabited prior to 1861.

Indeed, some scientists believe that river flats within the Big Scrub were relatively tree-free lands suitable for grazing from an early stage without massive clearing and it was these lands which were settled in the early period - including properties such as Cassino, Runnymede, Wooroowoolgen, Wyangarie, Dyraaba, Richmond Head (later named Fairy Mount), Tunstall and Lismore.

It was not until 1865, when the Freeborn brothers selected land at what is now Alstonville, under the Conditional Purchase provisions of the Robertson Land Act of 1862, that settlement of the Big Scrub commenced in earnest.

The photo at left, taken c.1908 near Jiggi Creek just north of Lismore, shows that even to clear a site for a hut was a major undertaking; clearing an entire selection would involve months of back-breaking effort for the settler and any of his children able to help.

Nevertheless, the demand for good grazing land fed a steady flow of settlers into the region as land was progressively made available for purchase.

Inroads into the wildlife were heavy but in the long term may have had less drastic permanent effects on animal populations, had suitable reserves been created and maintained. But as axes rang through the forest, trees crashed and the smoke drifted through the canopy, wildlife had no hope; its habitat was almost totally erased.

One man and his brother were able to shoot 102 wompoo pigeons from one white cedar in one morning and, on another day, filled two chaff bags with topknot pigeons and four brush turkeys; brown pigeons were too small to waste the powder on but, on the way home, one casually thrown stick killed six of them. These birds were destined for salting down as the family's food.

At the same time, previously uncommon cockatoos, parrots and lorikeets descended on the pioneer settlers’ crops "in clouds". Pademelons also proliferated and became a scourge to crops and pastures; bandicoots were more numerous than ever before and the brush possum appeared in numbers.

The settlers explained this passing abundance of some animals as crowding due to the reduction of available habitat. This may be partly true, but a more likely explanation is that the plant communities at that stage of the clearing provided better habitat for some animals than had the unbroken rainforest.

The abundance was short lived and soon the main elements of the rainforest fauna were gone. The Big Scrub was inhabited by dairy cows and open-country avifauna. There were few remaining native mammals. That situation remains today, although dairy farms have largely been replaced by macadamia nut and tropical fruit plantations.

It is hard to be critical of early cedar cutters and settlers who contributed to this destruction; the evidence of their hardiness and enterprise, their spirit and their willingness to endure harsh conditions and to pull together is too great not to feel some admiration, notwithstanding various incidents of cruelty and worse towards the Bundjalung and other Aboriginal peoples of the region.

It is worth remembering that red cedar was the first export product of the convict colony of NSW and, for a good part of the 19th century, it was the third most important economic produce of NSW after wheat and wool. As for settlers, the "conditional purchase" provisions of the 1862 Robertson Land Act meant that the selector had to clear several acres of land each year; otherwise the land could have been forfeited. In addition, the selector had to build a house and make other "improvements" to maintain his title.

In the midst of the destruction, some land-clearing practices that were consciously adopted had the effect of preserving patches of The Big Scrub for posterity. Some property owners preserved small parcels of their upper country out of respect for and appreciation of the forest's natural values. Other patches were deliberately retained as firebreaks (although rainforest is susceptible to fire and does not regrow from it as does eucalypt forest).

The modern pursuit of industrialised rainforest timber harvesting by corporate sawmillers acting with the blessing and support of the Forestry Commission of New South Wales is another matter, worthy of a separate story.

The Big Scrub was the largest and probably the richest in New South Wales but there were other “scrubs”. They were distributed, patchily, from the Illawarra district to Cape York but most have a similar history of destruction.

In New South Wales virtually all have gone and rainforest now remains as isolated pockets in the ranges or on mountainsides, much of them preserved in national parks with significant areas also in Forests NSW properties. The only sizeable areas left are in the north east of the state, in the Border Ranges.

 Wells is a city located in Somerset England 22 miles from Bath. There is a medieval cathedral, with imposing architecture, and archealogists have found not only a Roman mauseleum located beneath its foundations, but also the district was home to ancient celts and their rituals, with stone circles similar to Stonehenge. The information below also indicates the area was a centre of Vikingactivity in the 9th century.

St Cuthbert's church in Wells, where several generations of the Russell family were baptised.

more info

The Enchanting Somerset Levels

The Levels are a sizable area that stretch further south than our Wells & Area Map may suggest. The main image supplied by Tony Howell shows Glastonbury Tor and other hills 'floating' in the mist. The ground is only a few meters above sea level and an extensive network of ditches and rivers help to drain the land of excess water. Indeed some areas can be frequently underwater after heavy rains. This is an area that is perfect to explore on bicycles as the flat landscape makes for easy riding. There are many small pretty villages here including Wedmore where the Saxon King Alfred signed a peace treaty with the Danes in the 9th century.


And they said the Vikings were bloodthirsty?

Posted by forestwood on March 14, 2010 at 6:00 PM Comments comments (0)



Popular British empire history paints the Vikings as a marauding bloodthirsty pirates that used to pillage and raid the residents of Anglo Saxon England. Some claim that although there were raids on England and other coastal countries, the majority of Vikings led a peaceful life, but that in order to assist the spread and adoption of Christianity, myths pervaded about their bloodthirsty pagan rituals and fearsome callous immoral ways.... however, archaeology throws a different light on this, as new evidence is uncovered. One site in England has archaelogists buzzing... as it seems the peaceful residents of England also had mean streaks... read on....

 Rosemaling is an over 1000 year old art form which was copied by the roving Vikings in the 8th.century from the Greek and Roman acanthus leaf design. The Vikings used to carve the form of the leaves on their war ships as a decoration and protections from all evil spirits, sea monsters and other dangerous threats that might face them during their long journeys from the North to other distant places in the world. Not all the Viking's lives were saved by the acanthus carvings on their ships....




An analysis shows that many of the men suffered wounds thought to relate to the process of decapitation.



*         51 bodies were unearthed near the site of the 2012 London Olympics

*         On Friday, scientists announce the men were Vikings from the Dark Ages

*         The men, who were beheaded, were found near the Olympic sailing venue

*         Carbon dating places the men in the time period from A.D. 890 to 1030


London, England -- They were 51 young men who met a grisly death far from home, their heads chopped off and their bodies thrown into a mass grave.

Their resting place was unknown until last year, when workers excavating for a road near the London 2012 Olympic sailing venue in Weymouth, England, unearthed the grave. But questions remained about who the men were, how long they had been there and why they had been decapitated.

On Friday, officials revealed that analysis of the men's teeth shows they were Vikings, executed with sharp blows to the head around a thousand years ago. They were killed during the Dark Ages, when Vikings frequently invaded the region.

"To find out that the young men executed were Vikings is a thrilling development," said David Score, project manager for Oxford Archaeology, which excavated the remains. "Any mass grave is a relatively rare find, but to find one on this scale, from this period of history, is extremely unusual and presents an incredible opportunity to learn more about what is happening in Dorset at this time."

Radiocarbon dating had already placed the remains between A.D. 890 and 1030, before the Norman conquest of Anglo-Saxon England.


Teeth ID beheaded Vikings


Scientists from the British Geological Survey then went further and analyzed the men's teeth to find out exactly where they were from. Isotope analysis of teeth can reveal clues about a person's drinking water, and in turn the climate they came from, said Jane Evans, an isotope geochemist at the survey.

"What we found was all of these guys came from a climate that had to be colder than Britain ... probably Sweden and Norway," Evans said by phone Friday. "One guy had such a signature of such a cold climate that he probably came from above the Arctic Circle."

The isotopes also show the men had eaten a high-protein diet, comparable to known sites in Sweden. It means the men were probably Scandinavian Vikings who were executed by Anglo-Saxons.

Evans and her colleagues at the British Geological Survey's NERC Isotope Geosciences Laboratory in Nottingham, England, analyzed 10 of the skeletons over the course of six weeks.

This is the best example we have ever seen of a group of individuals that clearly have their origins outside Britain.

--Jane Evans, an isotope geochemist at the British Geological Survey


"These results are fantastic," Evans said. "This is the best example we have ever seen of a group of individuals that clearly have their origins outside Britain."

Many of the executed men suffered multiple wounds, inflicted by a sharp-bladed weapon, to the skull, jaw and upper spine, all thought to relate to the process of decapitation, the Dorset County Council said.

Some men show evidence of other wounds, including a cut to the pelvis, blows to the chest and stomach, and defensive injuries to the hands, the council said.

The bones still appear cleanly sliced, indicating the men suffered a "sword-based execution," Evans said.

There are also two examples of healed fractures that are unlikely to have been medically treated. In one case, the skeleton's right leg is 5 centimeters, or about 2 inches, shorter than the left, which would have given the person a pronounced limp, the council said.

The burial site was found during work for the Weymouth Relief Road, meant to ease traffic congestion on the highway to Weymouth, on England's southern coast. Weymouth Bay and nearby Portland Harbor will host the Olympic and Paralympics sailing events during the 2012 London Olympics. The leader of the Dorset County Council, Angus Campbell, said the construction of the road had already revealed prehistoric and Iron Age finds.

"But we never would have dreamed of finding a Viking war grave," Campbell said in a statement. "The burial pit took us all by surprise and its story gets more fascinating as the analysis goes on."

Researchers are hoping to find further evidence about the men's lifestyles, activity, health and diet, the council said.

Was it just the Vikings who were bloodthirsty heathens or a "urban" myth designed to promote Christian beliefs and conversions?

Somthing to ponder about

Are our Health Expectations too High?

Posted by forestwood on March 7, 2010 at 5:26 PM Comments comments (0)

Nowadays it seems there is an expectation that as one ages, we can expect have a knee replacement/hip replacement/ bypass surgery etc.  The health care system (especially the public ones) are strained by an affluent society with expectations that each niggling pain and ache will be dealth with promptly.

Is this an unreal expectation? I have known many people who have had a hip replacement, only to pass away six months later, never havig gotten out of the rehabilitation wheelchair; other more mobile citizens being told they need a knee replacement but ten years later they are still mobile, albeit in some pain, but still not enough to warrant them consenting to a knee replacement.

I have an 88 year old father - in - law with circulation impaired enough in his leg that his knee bone is dying. Yes dying, and ten years ago they drilled a hole in his kneecap to initiate further bone growth. This worked. Now the problem has recurred. At 88 what would he do differently if he knee was magically fixed. In his words, probably nothing different, except perhaps walk a little further than he does each day.  He would not play any more lawn bowls or sport than he does now, would not be taking on any marathon challenges, so does he need the magic wand, even if the Doctor had it?  Probably not, although some pain relief would probably be desirable.

I am not in any way demeaning the suffering of those with a very serious condition who do urgently need replacement joints. This will always be necessary in some cases. And I can only imagine the agony that some people go through with their joints. I really hope I am never in that situation myself.

 However, perhaps insted of lamenting or questioning a health care system that is struggling to cope with the masses of patients, and a shortage of beds, we should rather question modern lifes' expectations in senior years and the quality of life that is possible without resorting to major surgery.

A Hearty Stew - Slow cooker Style

Posted by forestwood on March 4, 2010 at 6:29 PM Comments comments (0)

Fill up teenage bellies with Irish Stew.

When you have had a series of rainy days there is nothing better than a good hearty stew, and we can thank the Irish for the basis of the stew that I cooked this week, which satisfied 8 teenage appetites.

We can also thank the Naxon company in Chicago for first developing a rudimentary slow cooker or crockpot which has since been refined to the wonderful appliance we have today. This means the ingredients can be placed inside and albeit forgotten until hours later when the slow cooker has worked its magic and produced a tasty and nutritious meal completely without supervision. In the current supercharged world, this is a wonderful advantage and fantastic alternative to fast food dinners.

"Ever since man first tamed fire, slow cooking was discovered as a way to soften up and tenderize those tough slabs of meat and fibrous rooty vegetables. In prehistoric times, indigenous peoples often cooked wildroot plants in a slow burning fire pit for a full 24 hours. This released the nutrition locked into the bulbs and made them much more tender and tastier to eat. Tough meat cuts especially benefit from slow cooking. Slow cooking these chewy cuts broke down the collagen in themeat and turned it into a gelatinous broth. As the fibers of the meat separated and shrunk during slow cooking, the juices would moisten the meat and turn even the toughest cuts into a mouth watering meal." (click here to read more)

Family Stew Recipe

♦In the morning, set the Slow cooker to Auto for 6-8 hours, or Low for 8-10 hours. (Auto setting will simply adjust the cooking time from high intially to low in the later stages of the cooking time)

♠ Place a selection of diced vegetables in the base of the cooker, including:

3 sticks celery

3 onions

3-4 carrrots

1 capsicum (green)

3-4 small new potatoes

I also add the following for flavour:

1 swede or rutabaga

1 turnip

1 parsnip

2 zucchini

You can also throw in any leftover vegetable you have in your fridge; Spinach or Siverbeet leaves or corn kernels might be nice.

♦ On top of the vegetables place diced Mutton chops or Blade steak (I use blade myself)

( trimmed of excess fat)

♦ 2-3 cups of beef or chicken stock (I use chicken to avoid Mad Cow Contamination - buthten I am paranoid)

♦ seasoning

♦ 1 teaspoon thyme

♦ a few celery stalks with leaves intact

Cover and let it cook. When you come home in the evening, add:

♠1-2 cups frozen peas (or beans)

♦ 3 tablespoons cornflour mixed with 1/3 cup cold water (and a little stock from the pot)

Cook on high till thickened ( about 10-15 minutes)

Voila! Dinner is done...

Serve with rice or noodles, and it will feed at least 8 people comfortably.