Wednesday, August 2, 2017

The Grasshopper or the Ant - Part 2

Self-Reliance Corner

Managing Our Money - Expecting the Unexpected

Unexpected events will happen in our lives which can sometimes have disastrous consequences if we are not prepared for them.  For example, after many years of schooling, we were excited to buy our first home.  We put every penny we owned into purchasing it and our finances, month to month, were balanced on the head of a pin.  Unfortunately, the Canadian economy crashed and in the course of 6 months we had three pay cuts, amounting (guess what) to almost exactly the amount of our mortgage payment.  We were within months of losing our home because we had no emergency fund.  Janette tried to gain more music students, but who wants music lessons in the middle of a recession?

Fortunately for us, a job opportunity opened up in northern Alberta.  We were able to sell our house (another miracle), move to Fort McMurray, rent for several years, pay off debts, and eventually buy another house.

It was a bitter lesson for us, extending over a number of years, with a lot of heartache, but we did learn the value of having an emergency fund to deal with unexpected expenditures.

The Lord promises that "If ye are prepared, ye shall not fear", (Doctrine & Covenants 38:30).  The first step in this financial preparation is to put aside one month's worth of expenses, i.e., the amount of money that you would need to pay all of your expenses for a one month period.

"For your one-month emergency fund, you should save cash in a safe and accessible place such as a bank account.  Do not use this money for anything other than emergencies.  If you have an emergency and must use money from your one-month emergency fund, immediately begin putting money back into the fund until it is full. Later, after you have paid down all of your consumer debt, you will begin to save enough money to cover your expenses for three to six months", (Personal Finances, Chapter 6, p. 93).

Gordon B. Hinckley

Gordon B. Hinckley, one of our previous prophets, said: "We need to care for one another more diligently....I believe the lord does not wish to see his people condemned to live in poverty.  I believe he would have the faithful enjoy the good things of the earth."

Caring for one another starts with our families.  It is important to protect them from financial hardship and provide peace of mind for the future.  Establishing a one month emergency plan is a first step in our preparation.

The Grasshopper and the Ants

We asked the question "Are you a Grasshopper or an Ant" in our previous blog, but not everyone is familiar with this Aesop's fable.  Disney made a rendition of the fable in their "Silly Symphonies".  It is a little dated, but still has a good message.  And it is very relevant to the topic of today's post - being prepared for what the future may bring!  Here is a link to the Disney 'toon:

Spring is Coming (Well, It Seems Like It)

While it is still officially the middle of winter, we have observed a number of events that lead us to believe spring is right around the corner.  Or maybe the plants, the birds and the animals just get started on things a bit earlier in Australia.

While driving back from the Grampians in early July, we saw a field full of sheep with lambs.

Lamb with Mother
We were surprised to see that the adult sheep were more darkly coloured than the babies - the wool doesn't stay squeaky clean out in a field for too long.

This lamb was staying close to its mother.  As soon as we stopped and got out of our car to take a photo, they were "casually" but quickly putting a lot more distance between themselves and us.

Two Lambs (Twins)

Many sheep have twins.  These two were again sticking close to one another and making sure mom was not too far away.  Given the popularity of lamb in the stores down here, we were hoping these cuties were destined for wool production and not for the supper table!

Different plants continue to bloom over the "winter time", paying apparently no attention to the weather and suffering no ill effects.

Not only the sheep were having lambs, but the kangaroos were having Joey's.  This one, taken towards the end of July, looks like it hardly fits in its mom's pouch any more.

Mother Kangaroo with Joey

This photo was taken at Plenty Gorge Park, in the north central part of Melbourne.  Kangaroos are wild and plentiful in the park; one has to watch carefully where he or she is stepping to avoid their droppings.


We've seen some new species of birds over the winter, despite our daily bird species counts being down by about 1/2 compared to the summer time.  The ones that are here are getting into spring fever as well, pairing off and building nests.  Here is a pair of long-billed Corellas that were preening one another and looking very friendly.

A Pair of Very Friendly Long Billed Corella
Stopping by a pond just as the sun was setting, we saw this White Necked Heron.  Unfortunately, it didn't want to wait around and find out what we were doing; the other side of the pond seemed suddenly much more inviting.

White Necked Heron
The following bird of prey was a first sighting for us.  It is a Collared Sparrowhawk, of similar size to a Red Wattlebird and thus distinguishable from the much larger (but similarly coloured) Brown Goshawk.  We don't see a lot of raptors here, so this was a real treat.

Collared Sparrowhawk
Another bird photographed in the evening light, and while we have posted them here before, they are uncommon and so beautiful, that we can't resist showing them again, particularly in this setting - a Yellow-tailed Black-Cockatoo.

Yellow-tailed Black-Cockatoo
This must have been a good month for "magic hour" photos of birds, taken as the sun is low in the west.  The evening light on this one, of a Crimson Rosella, deepens its plumage to a rich, rich red.

Crimson Rosella
We'll finish with our most exciting find of the past month or so, the (for us) elusive Gang-gang Cockatoo.  We've only seen this bird once the entire year we've been here.  They are supposed to be common but quiet; I guess we can vouch for the latter.  A beautiful bird!  These two looked like they were preparing a nest for the spring.

Gang-gang Cockatoo Building Nest in Vertical opening in Eucalypt