Hellena Post - Creatrix

I've tried on so many uniforms and badges that now I'm just me - mother of 8 children and all that entails, flowmad, and human animal parent. Writer of this living book of a blog, philosopher, and creatrix of hand dyed and spun crocheted wearable art. I gave up polite conversation years ago, and now I dive into the big one's.....birth, sex, great wellness, life, passion, death and rebirth.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Humanimal Evolution And Liberation Through Harmony....or the HEALTH Manifesto

Since we moved away from our earliest families and set out to explore the earth as it was going through its constant evolution, we’ve found a myriad of ways to be different to each other, in our dress, skin and insides.  Boundaries and territories and theologies have carved battle and the knitting together of close hierarchical groups to survive onto our souls.  We mirror the other mammals in how we’ve reacted to limited resources and land – we’ve formed bullying hierarchies that advance territory, and see ‘the other’ as dehumanised, thereby justifying our warfare.  We’ve also managed to become hoarders to defy any other hoarding animal – taking it to outrageous extremes.

Since we first made that deal with the grass called wheat that we used as a tool to settle, (or perhaps, the wheat that used us for colonisation) we’ve been working out how to over-ride our instincts towards peaceful living, to create warriors and distinctions so we could keep acquiring the land we needed to perform agriculture.  The Spartans threw their babies to the ground and buried placentas on battlefiels, the Mayans separated their boys early from their families, and we western humans in particular, have come up with multitudinous forms of bonding interruption and layers of seperation to create warriors, to keep advancing our civilized bulldozing of the world. 

But in Humanimals early evolution, we traded our easy births and more independent babies for walking and a bigger brain to think with.  And we believe the time has come for Humanimals to use those brains we traded up for, and consciously evolve beyond the need for warfare, hoarding, hierarchies and bullying tactics.  Because we stand on the brink of mass extinctions that threaten not only us but every other animal, landscape and seascape on the planet.   It’s time for us to get together on this, be the change we want to see in the world, and take personal responsibility for the time we occupy on this planet.

The earth herself has shown that no matter what she endures…….she will go on.   And we wish to go on in HEALTH with her.

We believe that it is time for us to emerge from our waking sleep, as slaves in a civilised society, that treats us like children, and informs us that we wouldn’t learn without being forced, and we wouldn’t be ‘good’ without limiting rules, and we wouldn’t co-operate unless we were made to.  Our societal structures have revolved around guilt and fear, punishment and revenge, judgement, rules and hierarchies.  While indigenous societies all over the world have quietly shown, from the time we started forming tribes, how Humanimals can coexist peacefully with the other animals and ecosystems through experiencing a connection with everything, and accepting everything as an integral part of the Healthy Whole. 

In a great and delicious irony, in all our learning and civilising, we’ve searched and searched for truths until we’ve found them, in the lap of Science and Quantum Physics, and on the shoulders of Chaos, that we’ve had the universe contained within us allways, all the answers we’d ever need are locked in our DNA, and what the indigenous nations were saying all along about everything being connected was true.  We live in a conscious universe, and it’s safe  to trust that consciousness, and relinquish our grasp of control, to start exploring what an interconnected universe is really all about.  Everything that we’ve done to the world ‘out there’, we’ve actually done to ourselves. 

And no matter what other distinctions you may be able to lay upon the collective Humanimal soul, we are all reflected by Mother, Father and Child, as the realities of our species, and we are all Born, we Live and have Sex, and Die, just like all the other species.  These are the things that every Humanimal either does or has the potential to do within them.  The realities of our existence that connect us no matter what other categories we can create.

I think any reasonable Humanimal would be hard pressed to find many examples of our societies working healthily.  Threats, bullying, standardised birthing and education, governments, corporations, dogmatic religion, wage slaving, hierarchies and punishment haven’t really worked have they.  To try and trace back and untangle the threads that we’ve woven as dominators of the planet is hard work and obtuse, and reinvigorates old arguments. 

Instead, we identify the areas of Birthing, Living, Travelling, Sex, Water, Food, Home and Death to be our sovereign Humanimal birthrights, and sacred occupations in which the search for betterment and understanding for all of us and the rest of our planet, is to be encouraged and supported in the striving of our species evolution. 

It’s time to create a Conscious way forward into a HEALTHy future for everything…….  To create the future we’re wishing for and step into it.

Humanimal Evolution And Liberation Through Harmony 
 HEALTH Manifesto

FIRST - We claim the right to embrace our Human experience and liberate our DNA connected, sovereign, and autonomous human natures, and to consciously evolve, as our ancestors have done for millions of years.  And we embrace our religion as the living of our lives.

SECOND - We’ve learnt and felt that the entire universe is a conscious ocean of connection, and the drop goes into the ocean, but the ocean also goes into the drop.  Every single Humanimal is born with a purpose and destiny, and the most sacred profession we can engage in is to truly know and be ourselves.

THIRD - We acknowledge that there are infinite ways to express divinity, spirituality, God, creativity, and faith, and paths that have formed around the Humanimal instincts of searching out Love, Respect, Peace and Freedom.  And we believe that when you reduce all the worlds religions and spiritualities down to their synthesis, they are all striving to be the best they can be, to do no harm, and to work towards love and compassion.  So we claim the right to express our personal beliefs, spiritualities, truths, and philosophies in our individual ways, and have them accepted and supported as equally valid as any other. From journeying with organised religion to worshipping a guitar…….everything is relative and a matter of perspective, and valuable to the HEALTHy whole. 

FOURTH - We insist on taking personal responsibility for how we birth, live, learn, engage in consensual sex, travel, and die, and own these sacred traditions as an essential part of searching out our deep Humanimal natures and identities, engaging in all these traditions that are as old as our Humanimal bodies.  All of these areas have been shrouded in dogma, control, hierarchies, and rules for longer than we care to remember, and we believe it’s time for us to search through them with a fresh perspective.  To find ways of performing them that reflect our stage of conscious evolution. 

FIFTH - To all the sacred trinities that have been revered throughout our spiritual evolution, we add two more.  The first being –

That of Mother, Father, Child, as a representation of who we all come from, the cycle we can all experience, and the possibilities of who we can be.   While we have known the age of the Mother, and that of the Father, we believe that this is the age of the Child.  Because they are the ones who will remind us of who we have always been.


That of Birth, Sex and Death, as the inextricably linked trinity that is the reflection of all the great cycles within and without us, from whence we all come and to where we all go. 

SIXTH - We share solidarity with all the indigenous people of the earth,  the scientists and techno wizards, the philosophers and (R)evolutionary thinkers, and the eco-warriors and fringedwellers, who have all carved evolutionary thinking and hacked out free realities to express the Humanimal potentials in living respectfully and sustainably.  And we declare that compassionate searching into our indigenous and ancestral roots, alongside our search for how to create HEALTHy alternatives, are important elements of forming identity and community.  Learning our languages, songs, traditional dress, stories, heritage, ancient lores and histories.  At the same time as developing new ones, that explore ways of bringing spiritual and religious significance to everything we do. 

SEVENTH - Whilst living as perpetual children in a master slave society, we’ve actually oppressed our own children, and tried to force them to become like us.  They have often been the unspoken but understood possessions, slaves, powerless victims and lab rats of our cultural fads.  We believe that rather than teach them to be like us, we could instead learn from them, and let them remind us of the awe, curiosity, fascination, honesty, unconditional love and boundless enthusiasm with which we’re born into life, when born into love.  To see ourselves and magic in the simple and magnificent miracles of our personal worlds and universe.  And liberate the children within and without us.

EIGHTH - We claim our Humanimal birthright as being reflections of a chaotically harmonious universe, to honour the inherent consciousness of ecosystems and balance, and form our communities, self and community governance and regulation, collective endeavours, monetary systems,  trade and commerce, on the model of a wheel or circle. Where every person/idea/trade/spoke of the wheel is equally needed, appreciated, valid and essential to the whole.  And everybody feels empowered and appreciated in their role of collective self governance. 

NINTH - We encourage every single Humanimal to find the occupation, trade, or life path that makes them sing, and then to set sail on a never ending quest to find different and unique ways of doing…….everything.  We honour the long lineage of self taught Masters and Mistresses of their fields who created whole new vistas to explore from pursuing their passions.  And we celebrate the magnificence and brilliance of the human spirit, that has continued to create beauty, art, evolving thought, innovation, love, compassion and forgiveness, despite the cages and dark places that we’ve visited through oppressive and narrow paradigms. 

TENTH - We spread like a virus the love of learning, and encourage Humanimals to explore concepts like Pantheism, Animism, Humanism, The Gaia Theory, Chaos Theory, Anarchy, Gifting Economies, Community Supported Agriculture, The Farmers Market Movement, the Zapatistas, Evolution, Natural History, Ethnopaediatrics, Biomimicry, Alternative Technology, Birthing practices, Bonding, The Peace Movement, Indigenous spiritualities, a Wide and Broad World History, the Community Movement, Sexual histories, Attachment Parenting, historical dwellings, Nomadic cultures and the modern Protest movement, and all the different ways we’ve survived……  And take it all in, and sit with it, and then make up their own minds based on comparison and their personal life experience.  Disregard the bits that don’t work for them, and take the bits that do, and create their own webwork of understanding, and then help to continue the evolution of thought.  Whilst having a greater appreciation of all the diverse ways of understanding and enlightenment we can take.

ELEVENTH - We claim our religious birthright, to form families, tribes and communities, as we feel drawn.  To create homes that reflect our needs, survival, and unique natures.  To travel freely in safe vehicles with homes inside them, and to meet, share, trade, work, gift, do ceremony, perform, celebrate and hang out together.  To educate ourselves according to our desires and interests and with the support of mentors.  To birth in the way that we and our babies deserve, and to engage in activities that aid in our survival, enlightenment, and evolution.  To express our Humanimal love and lust with consensual partners, and explore our natures, smells, needs, rituals, preferred environments and foods.  To evolve our own death ceremonies and burials.  To experience connection with our planet, fellow earth dwellers, food, water, home, births, sexuality, rituals, learning and death.

TWELFTH - We acknowledge suffering, grief, pain, and the underworlds of humanity as well, as parts of the whole, and that these undergrounds give us great lessons, insights, empathy, compassion, balance, forgiveness, and motivation to evolve.  We believe that every humanimal has the potential for everything within them, as a reflection of the macro in the micro, but that in owning our shadows, and sewing them back onto ourselves like Wendy did with Peter Pan, we can reclaim them from the civilised world gone crazy with shadow power, and eat them back into ourselves. 

THIRTEENTH - We dedicate ourselves to exploring new ways to make our homes, towns, farms and cities, Humanimal, Ecosystem, and Earth friendly.  Sustainable and HEALTHy. To repairing the damage that our fathers and mothers have wrought.  To keep endeavouring to know ourselves, but to also keep exploring our physical environment, and in conjunction with soaring into space, also delve the depths of our oceans and inner planet.

FOURTEENTH - We propose the creation of Humanimal Wildlife Sanctuaries, where Humanimals can live free of constriction and contract and obligation, to explore their Humanimal natures and release themselves back into the wild should they so choose.  With the freedom to help heal and nurture the wild, and assist it to renew itself from the ravages of monocultural agriculture.  In these sanctuaries we will also explore our ancestry and genetic lineages, as a means towards discovering and creating identities that fit us collectively and individually.  They could also be places for natural learning centres along the lines of Uniterra, and birthing centres removed from the sick and dying, schedules and routines, and dying centres where age is celebrated, learned from, and helped with peaceful and dignified deaths.   Community banks, insurance funds, alternate monetary systems, libraries, health centres, and centres of trade could also be created.  And we can also work out better ways to deal with those that harm others, than to torture them and lock them away.  All managed by our wheels of council.  Dealing with these matters as empathetic fellow humanimals, instead of harsh and vengeful judges, and dealing with our matters communally and locally, rather than subjugate everybody to the guilty until proven innocent clause, implemented by strangers.

FIFTEENTH – We claim our birthright, and will strive to reinvigorate Humanimals most ancient form of community, the town market.    Where we can form local networks, food and seed banks, connections of care, share ideas, and grow our local communities, food, water sources, clothing, adornment, rituals, festivals, authentic relationships,learnings, tools and skills.

SIXTEENTH – We dedicate ourselves to a process of continual conscious evolution, and state that even our beginning searchings into the formation of our communities, shall always be viewed as historical documents and incidences, and will never become dogma or worship. We will retain an adapting, changing, evolving record and representation of our search into our selves and our planet.

We are the result of thousands of generations of love, and our ancestors wish to welcome us back into their arms.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

An Ode To Body Hair And The Great Unwashed

Now if you've studied history, and the tales of the conquerors and colonialists, there are two parts to colonising a culture and territory.  It's only the first part where there's a big war and killing with death machines, and after that comes the real strategy of utmost import, if the land conquered is to remain so.  Which is large scale divide and conquer, on every level, through every strata of the society or culture to remain colonised.  The disease of separation spread like a virus, through families, communities and peoples, based on age, belief, body type, look, profession, possessions, you name it, it can be categorised into a million different splinter groups, unlikely to ever form again into a glorious whole of connected, acknowledged, diverse and conscious parts. 

So as Australians, conquered how many times removed now?  From the Romans, to the Roman Catholics, to the English, to the prison colonies on supposed Terra Nullis…….we've been collectively divided and conquered within an inch of our long and tangled ancestral paths.  Split into billions of divisions and separations, some of the worst being within the splinters of the splinter groups, that fight each other for moral worth.  Divided and separated from our families, our bonding in our family groups, our connection to our larger communities, and extended families, our food, our water, our lifestyles, our works, our art, our clothes, our music, our homes, our animals, our authenticity, our bodies, our birthing, our body hair, our sexuality, our mammalian selves, and our smells.  

As a result of my birth, family life, religion and schooling, I was turned out into the world a bit disgusted by my own body and its emissions, and entirely grossed out by the thought of anyone else's.  I shaved and waxed and make upped and permed and wore dozens of products all over my body.  On my skin.  The most sensitive and large organ we have on our bodies.  I had sprays for my female bits, and sprays for my underarms, and shame for wherever my hair was that it wasn't 'meant' to be.  I had soaps and special face scrubs, and shampoos and conditioners, and body creams and scented panty liners, and a rigorous body hygiene that saw any body juice or smell, as something to be cleaned up and away, and the appropriate 'better' smell applied.  

Till I hit the lesbian world that is, where womens bodies were a representation of the goddess, and divine, and perfect as they were, and make up and shaving and all those other things were CHOSEN to be done, or not done at all…..PROUDLY!  I started to chill on my rigorous hygiene, and started to relax into some body smells and juices.  There were some women who had turned their back entirely on 'the system', and had amazing body smells, as they eschewed all corporations.  And then when I left that world for the other places where rare humans dwelt, I found quite a few scenes with a love for the human body in it's natural form.  Activists, anarchists, punks to be precise, are often members of the 'great unwashed', who have pushed off from the shore of chemicalised smells and shaved hair, into love and lust of the hairy, smelly, juice creating bodies we were born with.  

But my Currawong was the port where I set sail into my body in its natural form, so intoxicated I was by the sheer smell and feel and hairiness of him.  I'd reduced my money spent on corporate beauty products by a lot by the time we met, but still held onto aluminium free roll on deodorant under my arms, and a jolly good soaping and washing on a regular basis.  If I went for a few days without washing I'd start to smell in a way I didn't like.  And if I did sweaty work or sex, I'd often smell a little bit rancid after, and race off to the shower as soon as I could.  I'd become one with my bleeding, and the various smells that come with that time, but I was still seeing my body odour and flora as something to be tamed.  

And he hit my senses like a tidal wave.  An olfactorial wash that made me want to dive into him again and again.  His clothes, his bedding, his body…….the sweatier and sexier the better.  A totally intoxicating mix of musk and skin and warmth and hair and himness.  That can never be replicated or turned into a product, because it's his unique signature scent.  When we were first courting interstate, I slept on the sheets and pillows we'd slept in for weeks, wallowing in the remnant smells of him.  15 years down the track I still find his scent the most delightful aroma in the world.  

You know how all the other mammals smell each others noses, and bums, and bodies?  Sniff them all  over?  From dogs and cats to horses and elephants, us mammals know that there's a lot to be learnt from smell.  How a creature is feeling, when it's sick, when it's stressed, when it's fertile, when it's turned on, when it's angry, all of these things can be smelt.  And are translated through our signature smells.  The smells that identify us.  The smells that are our birth right, inherited in our bodies.  

So when we first got together, Currawong and I, a bit of fuss was made about his body smell.  More heady than any cologne or aftershave that had ever wafted past my nose.  Even the scent of our intermixed loving was an olfactorial orgasm.  And I was curious about his superior smell, and why I didn't have one of my own.  He told me to stop washing under my arms with soap.  And to stop using all deodorants and products of any kind.  And when I said that I'd tried that before, but I always ended up smelling rank, he said that was because the soap knocked out the ability of my underarms to regulate it's own microflora.  And to just stop soaping and wait a while.  Shower with whatever regularity I wanted, and keep soap for bits if it was really necessary, but just leave the rest alone.  Wash with our pure rainwater only, rubbing and washing my skin with the roughness of my finger pads.  

And blow me over with a feather he was right.  After a few weeks of no soap under my arms, I started to smell like me.  A signature scent that to this day, I can stick my nose in my armpit, and happily offer it to anyone to smell, with great pride and pleasure.  I smell hot.  I smell earthy and ripe and musky and sweet and it's all mine.  A result of the foods I eat, and the emotions I feel, and the sex we set sail in, and the things I do.  I've learnt that just like mens balls, when my underarms or boobs are constricted, or wrapped in polyester or plastic, they smell quite intense.  They like to be free and be connected to the breeze so my underarm hair can do it's job of regulating and spreading the scent.  So I wear clothes with no sleeves, or wide armpit holders, so there's no conqueror in my armpit.  Cause underarm hair is a large part of the smell.  Sometimes there's naturally formed salt crystals on them, and they just intensify the smell.  And underarm hair, like boobs, and pubes, can definitely be completely left alone.  To waft and move and jiggle and groove as they choose.  Like many of our ancestors from time immemorial.  

Not just communication, and not just sexual, our natural body odours are also great aides in bonding.  And comfort.  And creating a sense and smell of home wherever you go.  I've had more than one child who has buried their head into my armpit when they're upset.  And more than one person on whom I've casually left my scent in a hug, who has told me how good I smell.  We had one friend who told us we were the strongest smelling humans she knew, and that it was a really good thing.  We had friends who said they could smell us as soon as they entered a supermarket in Mt Barker, above all the air ducted smells, and they sniffed us out till they found us.  We spent a night in a perfumed bed, and Spiral-Moon baby cried and cried and cried until we went out to the bus, got our sheets, and remade the bed with our bedding.  Only then did she finally sleep.  And at markets back in Maccy a bit down the olfactorial track, when more than a few had sniffed our whiff, we'd meet up early in the pre market dawn, and give each other a snuffle of our pits.  Many a friend has vowed to stop using soap on their underarms, and told us later they were delighted with the results.  Most of our birthing experiences have revolved around bonding, and wanting our baby to be born into the smells and feelings of home.  To stay quietly with me and be welcomed to the world slowly and gently.  To soak up the heady perfume of birth, that once you've smelt it you'll never forget.  To bond closely, skin to skin, heart beat to heart beat, with no bras and deodorants and factory farmed smells intruding.  If you look into early human practices, there was a time when we licked the perineum of our babies after they were born, like the other mammals.  And the smells of birth were considered an integral part of a bonded birth.

Because to be totally honest…..after spending so many years with real smelling humans, doing all the communicating and hugging and sniffing that we do, the cloy of a factory farmed scent is quite offensive to my nostrils.  There's been so much fuss over the years, that some folk have even fronted me on, about the offensive smell of B.O.  So many mainstream people seem assured that the best thing to do in the face of an authentic human animal smell is to disinfect it and cover over the scent with the same smell as a million others.  At least.  To hide it.  Smother it.  Get rid of it quick.  I remember one night, in the height of our summer of love at the market, when there was a circus tent full of opera goers on the oval beneath our hippy camp.  We walked down to check it out, and were assaulted by a tsunami of chemically toxic perfumes and colognes.  I ended up holding my breath.  Grieving for the olfactory sensation I'd been robbed of, had I been able to swim through an ocean of signature smelling humans.  And Currawong and I both fondly talk about the events that we've been to full of human smelling humans.  On summer evenings, with sweat drenched bodies singing their aromas to the wind, many moments of connection and bonding occurred.  Our sex life revolves massively around our body odours.  We communicate so much with the way we smell.  One day I met Currawong at the door after a hot day away armpit first.  And it made him melt to the point of almost collapsing.  His knees instantly went from beneath him. And all the different zones on him, and how they smell, never cease to entrance me and stir me from stupor.  He's my Pied Piper, and I'll follow his scent to the ends of the earth.  

I'm only writing this, cause I was set to think by an article about underarm hair sent to me by a friend.  It really tripped me out that, like the fella said…

Mr Hopper sees his project as a 'type of protest' against the beauty industry.
'Although armpit hair is a natural state it has become a statement. Why is that?' he writes.
'For almost a century we have been brainwashed by the beauty industry, encouraging hair removal. Natural Beauty could be classified as a type of protest. 
'By creating a contrast between common "fashionable" female beauty and the raw unconventional look of female armpit hair, thoughts are intrigued and a discussion is made,' he explains.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2600074/Body-hair-natural-NOT-gross-Striking-images-women-unshaven-underarms-protest-conventional-standards-beauty.html#ixzz2zUurRJyT
Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

It really is quite bizarre that we find the natural state of our bodies that we were born with…..abhorrent.  One of the models even pulled out of the project, cause she was so 'grossed out' by her body hair.  I just don't get it.  In a society ruled by many religions and spiritualities, collective in their belief that we are made in the image of God/ess, in whichever form that takes…….how have we got so far from loving ourselves exactly as we are?  Aren't we meant to be a reflection of perfection?  It doesn't occur to me much to talk about, as it's so completely and intrinsically part of who we are, but when I read this article I thought I should post out a view from one of the many alternatives to the beauty industry.  Cause I know when I was enthralled with it, I never stopped to think that there was any other way.  It's a great big arsed multinational corporation regime that has many dancing to the beat of its drum.  

I love my underarm hair.  And I don't have to be part of a project to do so.  It's one of the sexiest things about me I think.  Currawong concurs.  And there is the odd human around who has kept a love for natural smells despite the mainstream.  I remember once Hairy Dave back in Maccy, telling Currawong rather sheepishly that he wasn't trying to cut his lunch, but he saw me lift my arm, and the sweat glistening on my armpit hairs was glinting in the sunlight, and he couldn't help it mate, but he barred up!  All said with a big grin and laugh of course.  Love it.  And I love every inch of hair on my man.  Incidentally, I don't think I've ever shared mine and Currawong's theme song with you on here.  I knew it from my lesbian days, and thought it was a hoot, and never expected that the song would go on to prove quite prophetic……except we obviously missed out a bit on the birth control :)  But here it is nonetheless.  Our theme song.  'I spent my last $10 on birth control and beer' by Two Nice Girls.

And I can't talk about body hair without a specific mention of pubic hair.  It's another amazing part of our bodies, that doesn't necessarily need taming.  And a rather special part in my experience.  One thing I particularly love about my pubic hair is that with every pregnancy I've experienced, it's grown really long.  Like a hairy protective measure to keep what's inside safe.  It also can perform a rather miraculous alchemical role in the collection of juices that can happen around there.  And I've only ever shaved it off completely once, and by gawd it hurt and was itchy and scratchy when it started to grow back.  How do you all go through that?  And of course…..if I'm talking about pubic hair, I'm going to have to share with you Amanda Palmer's song 'Map Of Tasmania', cause when I saw it I really fell in love with her.  Both the cheekiness and creativity of the whole clip and song about the map of Tasmania, but also her complete abandon for flashing her hairy pits.

Currawong and I totally agree, that the only humans that ever really enter our attraction radars, are totally hairy and smelling like themselves :)  Let your hair and body be what they're meant to be!  And at least run an experiment, to see whether there isn't a sexy smell lurking on your body, once it's had the chance to regain it's natural ecosystem…….

Monday, June 9, 2014

Sometimes It Feels Like I'm Living In Narnia

Anyone who's tried community living in Australia, whether it be formal or informal communities, like we have for our entire relationship……..knows that there's usually some form of rules on every single one of them about animals, and what sort are allowed there.  Cats and dogs are usually forbidden, for the damage they do to the environment, and other animals are negotiable.  Even on the informal communities we've lived on, there have been other folk who owned it or had been there before us, who had their own animals, and requirements for what sort did and didn't come.  So we've been pretty animal free for years.  We had a cat called Fuzznut who ended up getting old and really over babies, and let us know that she chose to retire to my mothers and daughters house, and a dog called Scratch who couldn't be with kids after she broke her pelvis and retired to my mothers too, till she died.  Little Scratch came everywhere and got snuck into places she wasn't meant to be, cause she was so small and inoffensive.  

But for 7 years pretty solidly now, we've had no pets except for the rats that we got at Billen.  And we've dreamed about getting others, but been on communities up here in the Rainbow Region that wouldn't allow them.

So in moving here to our (mostly) private rental, we decided that the time was now.  It was starting to break my heart, that Griffyn, who'd wanted a cat all his life, was 12 years old without ever having his own animal.  I figured it was just time to let some animals in our lives, and that the relationships you can only form with other animals was a really important part of childhood that my kids were missing out on.  Not to say that they weren't finding and connecting with as many wild species as they could……they find creatures in the weirdest places, and hang out with them as long as is safe, and then let them go.  Lilly who loves all animals had a hard time getting to love leeches, but all of them have quite a large respect for leeches now, and will let them feed till they drop off.  We're usually asked to take photos of the creatures we come across, and here's just a few, but there's lots more of them peppered through our photos.

I so love how Lilly manages to pick up bugs with stings at the front and the back gently, without hurting them, and then releasing them after she's admired them….

We even had a wild duck follow us home and hang out for a night.  She hung out in the house for the afternoon, and at night she sat on the lounge next to me, moving step by step closer until she was sitting on my lap. In the morning she went on her way, but we loved her visit….

But what really got us started on the animal collecting, was when our neighbours were away, and their rabbit had been ripped apart by a goanna, and had left 5 little babies that were too young to survive really.  It pulled on all our heartstrings and maternal instincts, and we did our best to save them.  I even crocheted them a handspun rabbit fleece blanket to lay on.  But they died one by one, and we buried them with many tears.

And then 'stuff it!' I thought.  It was time for us to invite animals into our lives.  The first animal that came along was a beautiful rabbit called Nimue, or Nim. And in the process of meeting Nim, we also met the gorgeous Rhea and John of R&J Pets and Aquariums in Lismore, who have totally impressed us with their love for all animals as well as people, and their true integrity and compassion in how they run their pet shop.  The first time we went in there, I was in the small animal room, and there was a bunch of younguns talking over the rats, and one of the girls was talking about how they wanted a big fat one, so they could see it in the belly, and I realised they were gonna feed one of these little hand raised rats to a snake.  Rhea came in, and they picked their rat, and they all filed out and it was just Rhea and me for a minute.  I told her what I'd overheard, and she walked out, coming back a few minutes later with a triumphant smile, and released the rat back in with his brothers, saying 'they're not feeding one of my hand raised rats to a snake!'  I was so impressed.  And just a wee while ago, John told a story on Facebook, about how an elderly lady was there one morning as he opened his shop, asking him to find her budgie another home, as she wouldn't be able to feed herself with the new budget, let alone her beloved budgie.  His answer was to give her a stack of feed, and to publicly tell folks that pensioners now had 20% off all animal food to help out.  I love those two.  We find any excuse we can at all to go in and hang out and swap stories.  

But back to Nim,  Griff and her really loved each other.  We'd never had a bunny before, so we tried to let her be a house living bunny, but that didn't work out.  So we made her a big enclosure, and had a cosy bunny house for night, and all fell in mutual love with each other. 

And cause we found R&J's, it was a great excuse to fulfil a bit of a life long dream for Currawong, as well as a huge desire of Mr B's, to get an aquarium full of fish.  We knew we'd found the right people to advise us on it too.  For example, I didn't know until John told me, that goldfish need a huge amount more room than most people give them.  He won't sell goldfish unless you have a massive tank or pond.  Cause if they don't have the space, their internal organs keep growing to the size their meant to be, even though their body can't grow any more, and they end up getting suffocated by their own organs.  He created an underwater garden for us, and gave us incredible information and advice, and our little boys (and the rest of us) are totally mesmerised….

We also got some chookies, but they were very young too, and one died a few days after we got her, and the other one ate something under the house and choked.  So we had just the one chook for quite a while, and we called her Storm Chookie.  

Being the only chook for a while led to some rather…..interesting……behaviours.  Cause she thought she was one of us.  She fast became one of my favourite friends.  And comes inside to visit us, and threatens me with laying her eggs on my printer, unless I provide an adequate roost for her.  There's lots of Chookie stories that I've told on Facebook, but to get to all the animals, I'm going to have to keep it concise.  Enough to say that I love my Chookie.

And we got a cat for Griffyn called Dreamer.  You can see her on the chair in front of Storm Chookie.  They tend to hang out together.  She was a kitten who was born into love at a friends of ours home, and raised with the utmost bonding and respect.  And she's quite unique.  Currawong and I were both a bit dubious about how other animal friendly she'd be, and were prepared to build her a large cat cage off the house if she proved to be a killer.  I've had cats all my life, and know that they usually disappear off for a while every day, and who knows how much they kill in that time.  But Dreamer is different.  

She was given her name by our friend from her birth, and we all assumed we'd change it when we got to know her, but ended up realising that the name suits her completely, cause she spends most of her time sleeping.  We always know where she is, every moment of the day, cause she's always within sight of us, and she cuddles with Griffyn every night, and gets the shits if he sleeps away too long.  She puts up with the little boy pack being rough with her, and laying on her, and carrying her around (we do our best to minimalise it) and seems to just love all of us.  The kids the most though…..

But the most amazing thing about Dreamer is her love for the other animals.  Like I said before, the relationship between Storm Chookie and Dreamer is quite cute.  Dreamer spent a lot of still and silent time winning Chookie over.  Convincing her that she was a friend.  And we quite often see them hang out together.

And then came Pixel.  Lilly's been wanting a dog for ever so long, and another dear friend had puppies that needed homes, and we brought a little boy pup home the night before christmas incidentally, and it didn't take long till he chose Lilly as his person.  We call him Pixel.  And if he gets fat when he's old, we can call him Mega Pixel :)

And like Dreamer, Pixel loves all the other animals, and they all get along.  He was only 6 weeks old when we got him, and his mother got sick and her milk dried up, so he was just a baby when he came to us.  And we attachment parented him, not out of any ideology, but because we couldn't leave him on his own, and there was always so much going on around him.  So now Pixie is convinced he's one of the kids.  He's a cheeky and sweet little thing.  

So we were in pet heaven for about 3 months I reckon, and everything was sweet, and we learnt all sorts of things about the animals we have, and how best to look after them.  And then Death came to town.  Our neighbour has a habit of leaving her rabbits out of their cages, though most of them have met untimely deaths that way.  And even though we asked her if she could put her male bunny away while we were trying to housetrain Nim, she refused.  Inevitably, they got together, and we didn't realise it at the time, but that meeting was fatal.  The male was far too big for Dwarf bunny Nim, and when she went into labour, a baby got stuck (it was never going to be able to get out), and we took her to the vet hoping a caesarean or something could help her, and were devastated to hear that rabbits really don't do anaesthetic well, and the chances of her surviving were minimal, and very expensive.  I was in tears, and prepared to get a loan to pay for it, and had to ring Griff up on the phone and break the heartbreaking news to him, and in the end the best solution for everyone was to put our dear Nim down.  

It was horrendous from top to bottom.  My eldest daughter had come for a visit the day before, and it was a shock for all of us that such a tragedy had happened.  Jess was awesome in helping and comforting, and we were all glad she was there.  On the night after she died, Griff went to bed and cried and cried and cried, and it totally broke my heart that my firstborn son was going through his first big heart break.  Dreamer cuddled so close to his face that we knew she was totally tuned in.  And I got very angry at our neighbour.  Threw a lot of judgement at her.  And the very next day, after changing the procedure for the rats, trying to be extra careful that they got more shade on a hot day…….I quite stupidly put them in a place where they got full sun if we were away for too long, and in the process of that mistake, Lilly's favourite rat Snuggles died in the heat. We managed to save the others, even though they were thoroughly heat stressed, and Jess was amazing again in her calmness and assistance.  

We were beyond distraught, and I wailed and said sorry over and over, and instantly thought that my judgement had come back to bite me on the bum.  It seemed a harsh lesson for us all to learn.  And was so very very sad.  We all cried a lot.  And built some graves for our loved animals.  

But the next morning, after we'd lost two of our most loved animals over two horrible days, Lilly and I sat and talked on the verandah.  She said that in a horrible way, she was getting used to death, and to the grief and loss, and that maybe in a way, that was actually a good thing, as we knew we were going to love lots of animals in our lives.  She was also the first to notice in the following days, that there was a change in me.  Up until these traumatic events, I'd been nice at arms length to Lilly's rats, and really didn't realise how much I'd come to love Nim.  And it cracked my heart open to such a degree, that I felt like I pushed through that arms length approach, and reverted back to the full hearted love I had for animals when I was younger.  I vowed to honour the demise of our loved ones by being a better animal carer.  And went into full sook mode with Lilly.  As much as it was awful, it also helped us appreciate the animals that are left in our circle even more.  I took on the remaining rats with Lilly, and fell head over heels in love with Dusty, who is in the photograph with me and Storm Chookie up above as well.  

And even though Griff didn't want to replace Nim, and knew that it would never be the same as it was with his first love, he fell for a bunny in R&J's again, and helped by Jess, who so wanted to help him heal, and bought him a beautiful bunny habitat, we ended up bringing Fleur home.  She's not the same as Nim of course, but she's delightful.  And very cuddly.

Zarra and the other little boys love her to bits, and visit her first thing every morning to feed her and pat her.  She loves a pat more than any other rabbit I've met, apart from Nim.  And she loves to lick their hands and faces.  He can't resist getting in for a visit sometimes. 

In fact…..lots of critters love to steal into Fleur's cage and hang out with her.  Between her little home here and the big bunny cage outside that she's busy creating an underground home in, she has a pretty busy and loved life.  Her and Storm Chookie were even timesharing her little night home for a while.  Chookie decided for a bit that the bunny cage was the only place she was going to lay an egg.

With all the equals and opposites and ups and downs I must admit to being utterly thrilled by having all these animals in our lives.  It does help us get used to death, and work out how to deal with it.  And it also helps all of us to develop relationships with species that aren't only our own.  There's so much we learn from all of it in fact, that we're always on the plan for more.  But the best thing is the love.  The huge amount of love given and received by us all.  Not to mention the relationships between all the animals and how they all inter relate and get on!  Sometimes I feel like Fern in Charlotte's Web, sitting outside just to watch and observe the interactions all around me.  Not to mention the wild animals that come into and around the edges of our existence.

So much to learn.  So much to love.  So glad that we finally got to this place where we can explore this most important dimension, of the truly deep and human love and need for animal friendship.