It may come as no surprise that there are benefits for our health in having a pet. This could be a pet dog, cat, bird, horse, pony or like us – chickens. If you are kind to an animal, feed them well and take care […]
Did you know that the cost of treating skin cancer is higher in Australia than any other cancer. For many years I have been part of the QSKIN Sun & Health Study at the QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute. The QIMR, based in Brisbane, Queensland, is a world leading research centre which focuses on four areas: cancer; infectious disease; mental health and chronic disorders.
The QSKIN research is the largest medical research study ever conducted in Queensland. In 2014 the research was expanded to the QSKIN Genetics Project and 42,690 participants were invited to provide a saliva sample. I provided mine in 2015. In total 20,925 responded positively and 18,627 saliva samples were returned. This is an overall response rate of 43.6% which is very good. DNA were extracted from the samples and currently these are being genotyped at the Human Genomics Facility (HuGe-F) at Erasmus MC University Medical Center Rotterdam.
Earlier this year I and my O&O had a Basal Cell Carcinoma (BCC) surgically removed. Queensland with our wonderful climate and sunshine has one downside, that is, we are at higher risk of getting a skin cancer than the southern states of Australia. Therefore, the slogan, Slip (on a top), Slop (on sunscreen) and Slap (on a hat) is a good one to follow. Slip, slop, slap is one of the most successful health campaigns in Australian history. It was first launched in 1981 and today is institutionalised as the core message of the Cancer Council Australia. If you want to learn more about their work go to the link – Cancer Council Australia.
In the latest QSKIN newsletter it reported that smoking increases the risk of Squamous Cell Carcinomas (SCC). Recent research has shown a link between current smokers as being significantly more likely to develop a SCC than non-smokers. On the other hand, there was no evidence that smoker had higher risk of BCC than non-smoker. The research was undertaken by PhD student Jean Claude Dusingize. More research of the area is required however the findings to date suggest that by quitting a smoker can lower their risk of SCC to the same level as someone who has never smoked.
Those of us with fair skin are more at risk of burning in the sun, rather than getting a tan. When I was a teenager I thought I could sun bake and get a fabulous tan. All I ended up with was fabulous sunburn and very painful it was. I remember one family holiday at Palm Beach, Gold Coast, getting very sun burnt after I fell asleep on the beach! I have had a few BCC’s removed and in the decades that followed I have covered up when in the sun. Now I am Vitamin D deficient and on supplements. Sun bathing is good for us, as long as we don’t over do it. The best times in Queensland are between 10am – 4pm in the summer. I have gotten wiser as I have gotten older, but still I have to remember to put on the sunscreen as well as a hat!
Yesterday we were at the Farmers’ Markets held in the grounds of the iconic Empire Theatre, Toowoomba. It is held every Thursday from 12 noon to 6pm. It was our first time at this Market. We arrived early and not all the stallholders had set up. This was due to a recent change of the starting time from 3pm to 12noon.
It was a beautiful sunny day in Toowoomba, perfect for being outdoors. We enjoyed our walk to the Markets and then having a look at the different stalls. We bought some fresh made pasta from Angelo. We found out that Angelo was the founder of Angelo’s House Restaurant, 210 Herries Street, Toowoomba, opposite Laurel Bank Park. The restaurant has recently re-branded and is now called the Urban Grounds Cafe. There is a growing cafe culture in Toowoomba. Gone are the days when the local cafe served up milk shakes, chips and paddle pops. Barista’s (those who make coffee) are popping up everywhere in the city. Barista’s are skilled in making a range of specialised coffee’s and are trained in the art of being a barista. Not that this is of significance to me as I am not a coffee drinker. I am fine to have the occasionally coffee but for me my preference is for tea. Most markets whether these be art & craft or produce & food you will usually find a barista!
Looking at all of Angelo’s pasta, made from Semolina, I had to take some home. We are having the pasta tonight with a rich Italian bolognese sauce. These days I make up extra and freeze one to two extra meals. It gives me a night off on another occasion. Better than getting a take-away! We know what is in the food and the hygiene practices that are followed in its preparation. Leaving Angelo we found a stall of organic herbs. I am fully stocked at the moment with herbs, 30 jars in all. Next we went on to the olive stall. Olives of different flavours made by Bunnyconnellen, Crows Nest. Tasting was welcomed and we enjoyed tasting three varieties before we made our selection of two. These will be great to add to our Mediterranean diet.
We did not buy any fresh produce today as we are stocked up on fruit and vegetables. Not long after we came home we wandered out to our veggie garden and picked fresh snow peas for dinner. I don’t think I have ever tasted a snow pea so good. This is life, day by day, at our place. My One&Only (O&O) is recovering from his shoulder surgery and diligently doing his exercises, set by the physiotherapist, three times a day. Life is challenging with only one arm, however we have moved into the rhythm of managing all that has to be done day by day. Fresh veggie’s home grown and our home grown eggs…this is the good life!
Enjoy your weekend. Maybe you too, will find yourself in a farmers market this weekend.
I really like the garden at this time of the year – Winter. We live 691 metres above sea level and with this comes cooler weather in the winter. Also, we are able to enjoy the changing of the seasons – the deciduous trees lose their leaves creating a carpet of colour. There is also the opportunity to walk through Queen’s Park or Queen’s Park Botanic Garden and shuffle through the pile of leaves covering the pathways. Yes, I really like the garden at this time of the year.
We have this beautiful tree in our front garden. It is a Maidenhair Tree – Ginkgo Biloba. It comes from China. The foliage is very distinctive, yellow in autumn/winter and lime in spring. There are a number of great specimens of Ginkgo Biloba in Australia. There is a 100 year old tree in Kingston Terrace and another in Medole Court at the University of Adelaide. I don’t know of any notable specimens in Queensland. Though in the Australian Capital Territory, Canberra, probably due to the colder weather have street and park Ginkgo specimens. In Weston Park, Canberra there is a beautiful male Ginkgo in the grounds of Hobday’s Cottage (Yarralumla Gallery and The Oaks Brasserie) where you can sit under it and enjoy lunch. We can also do this at our place. Maybe we should!
Even though our climate is colder than places closer to the coast we can still grow tomatoes all year around. Our enclosed veggie garden is proving very successful. All the wild life, including birds, possums, brush turkeys, cats and bandicoots are no longer able to venture into our veggie patch. Recently through one of our windows I saw a cat get a surprise when it wandered up to our privacy screen (inside our boundary) to find a barrier. It wandered around for a while and then put its nose up to the timber boards and peered through. That was as much as it could do and then take a new path back to where it came from.
It is very satisfying growing your own veggies and herbs. It does not take too much effort. If you mulch it cuts down on having to deal with the weeds. Then there is the watering. My O&O installed a watering system above the garden. See this black tube in both photos. After that all we have to do is watch out for the random bug, that manages to get in and munch on our veggies, before we do! Happy gardening everyone.