Sorry Day and other bits and pieces

26 May 2011
Today is Sorry Day in Australia. This day is an opportunity to show respect to our fellow indigenous Australians and to move closer towards reconciliation.  The first Sorry Day was held in 1998 after a government report called Bringing Them Home recommended, among many other things, that an apology be made to the aboriginal people for forcibly removing the Stolen Generations from their parents and communities. Many of these people never saw their parents again.  I'm ashamed to tell you that it was Australian government policy to remove these children up until 1969. The recommended apology eventually happened in 2008; the first major official act of a new Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd.

The Apology Day ceremony was held in Parliament House and brought together many black and white Australians from cities, towns and the outback. They were met at the front door by the Prime Minister, who greeted many of them with: "Hello I'm Kevin." When I saw that, I felt very proud to be an Australian. However, today, on this Sorry Day 2011, many Australians would not know we are commemorating this day, and the vast majority will not attend any reconciliation or sorry ceremony.  The Maleny Neighbourhood Centre's Sorry Day will start at 10.00am. There is a timeline, speeches, music and food to share. Aunty Beverly and Aunty Pam will be there to meet and greet. As far as I know there is no other event on the Sunshine Coast and I couldn't find any listed in Brisbane either.  If you wish to come to ours, please join us. Everyone is welcome.  

I haven't written about Alice lately. She's still with us but her eyesight is very poor and she's deaf. She's also lost all the hair on her bottom and back legs. We are currently looking after another Airedale, Koda, Jens and Cathy's dog. Koda is a very big girl but she's gentle and timid so it's good to have her here with Alice and it's lovely seeing them play together. I feed them early in the morning when I get up and leave them outside to do a wee then they come inside again. The signal they want to come in is when Alice gives one bark. Yesterday when I hear the bark, I went out and opened the door and only Koda walked in. Then Alice barked again. I looked out into the darkness and could barely see Alice on the verandah. She barked again. I walked over to her and she was standing facing the washing basket trolley - she thought it was the back door. :- (   We cherish every day we have her with us.

I have finished making the prizes for a competition we're having at the Down to Earth Forum which ends next Tuesday. The competition is for the best post in May. It can be on any subject, by any of the members or moderators. I will pick the winner.  The prize, when only the best will do, is a handmade pure cotton apron, two pure cotton waffle weave dishcloths and two balls of pure Merino organic Australian wool. I will post the prize anywhere in the world, so get your posts in now.

And finally, for those who are following along with the vinegar making, here is my vinegar, photo taken now as I write this post.  Looking into the side of the jar there is not much happening but when I took off the lid, I could see bubbles starting on the top. That's a good sign. It's also a good sign if you see movement in the bottom sediment layer. Fermenting is a live process, this movement is the fermentation process happening right before your eyes.

I have been struggling with my vinegar because it's been quite cold here. I've been taking it outside, with the jar wrapped in a towel, and the top open, to sit in the sun on the verandah.  When I cook, I sit it close to the stove.  Hopefully, all that attention will pay off.  How is yours going?


  1. I had a blind doggie several years ago who did the same thing. It was funny yet sad. It's nice to know that dogs hopefully do not have the same angst that we do. They just enjoy one day at a time. Give her a kiss for me. Lana

  2. HI Rhonda,
    I loved reading about your dog Alice ;) :) I was curious about the white kitty cat in the photo? My childhood pet was a white kitty cat, just like the one in your photo. His name was Bubba. He slept on my pillow every night as a kid :) :) I'm glad you can cherish these days with Alice :) :)

    Love and hugs from Oregon, Heather :)

  3. I would like to try making vinegar. How warm does it need to be? If you are finding it too cold, I don't think I would have much success in the south of NZ at this time of year!

  4. Morning Rhonda,
    Thank you for reminding us of this very important day. I wish I could join you at the neighbourhood centre this morning.
    That was a sad but sweet story of beloved Alice. She must've had a snior moment there.
    Well done on the vinegar- how exciting :) Xx Sarndra

  5. I was not aware of Sorry Day. I appreciate its meaning and yet see why so many glance over the day.

    Seems like no matter how much we talk about slowing down and living a more simple,less fast paced life, we don't. I do not mean this negatively but more of an observation.

    I live in NM and my children are mixed of Spanish, Mescalero Apache, Mexican and American mix...celebrating a day of apology for how one group treated another may not fare so well as so many are intermixed here. I do not know about the situation in Australia.

    Perhaps instead of a Sorry Day each of us strive to never again see another people as less than us, greater than us etc. Perhaps we could stand firm for people as a whole, and stop the craziness. I know my simple naivete is showing. I guess that happens when you live on a border that has an Apache reservation, US town, border of Mexico, and the only German airforce base outside of Germany(minus in the war zones).

    We are a very diverse area where I live. The history is loaded with 400 plus years of European history as well as thousands of years of native history that is recorded in the petroglyphs near my home.

    I am sorry for the lack of turnout, but perhaps sorry is not the appropriate moniker for the day. In sensitive times, many say, I did not do anything to be sorry for. Perhaps a NO MORE, NEVER AGAIN day could be more appreciated.

    Thank you


  6. Hello ladies, hugs to Sarndra!

    Heather, our white cat is Hettie, she's 13 years old and is very comfortable with both dogs.

  7. Morning I was reading your post, Emma Ayres on ABC Classical announced it was Sorry Day. I know of a couple of Aboriginal Services in Tweed and lower Gold Coast holding events, and the National Sorry Day Committee website has quite a few events listed, a lot of them schools... so it's being recognised, just not publicised that much.

    Enjoy your day!

  8. Hello. Thank you for your sweet sharing. The pineapple vinegar sounded interesting and mine will be ready to cut soon, so I'll be running a little behind the group. But, I'm out of town for a week starting June 3rd. Is it possible to freeze the off cuts, then thaw and start the process, or would I be better off just waiting until after the trip and start with a new fruit? Thanks.

  9. Pats to The Lovely Alice.

  10. I love your dogs. Their sweetness and sensitivity comes through in the photos. I have an 18 year old lab/golden retriever named Oliver. The last time I took him hiking, I called for him and he began running eagerly in the opposite direction of my voice. It was sweet but sad. Your blog has given me incredible inspiration and encouragement! I now make my own laundry soap, have gotten out of debt, am building my orchard, tending a 12 year old chicken, and caring for my three rescued dogs. As I do my housekeeping each day, I remind myself that as you say, "It doesn't have to be perfect." A clean, nurtured home is so healing and peaceful. I have cut my expenses in half, thanks to your tips and advice. Thank you Rhonda!

  11. Hello, Rhonda and thank you for the poignant post. As an average American, I had never heard of Sorry Day, so thank you also for the education.

    Just last week I watched the movie, "Rabbit-Proof Fence." It's an older movie,but never saw it before now, or really knew of the issue it portrayed.

    Maybe there should be a universal Sorry Day, where we can all ask forgiveness of anyone anywhere in our lives we feel we've hurt.

  12. my vinegar looks the same as yours, ive not moved it off the kitchen bench nor wrapped it. I am in NZ so a colder enviroment than yours. i used honey in mine and the book says this might take longer....but ive tasted it, quite yeasty

  13. A question about the vinegar Rhonda- would a cheesecloth cover work? Or is it too fine a weave? Where I live I don't know where to buy that kind of netting you have, so just wondering. This is something I've actually been looking into! Thanks!
    The Girl in the Pink Dress

  14. Hi I just had to comment that I really agree with humble wifes comment. I think to keep on saying sorry year after year does not move on. I think it creates more division. Your vinegar is looking great - I tried making pineapple vinegar when you had a post on that, but after a few days the hubby said it had to go! I am sure it added lots of goodness to the compost bin though.

  15. I wasn't aware today was sorry day. I usually attend the gathering at the local public school but now that daughter is in High School I feel a bit out of touch as there don't seem to be many newsletters from there.
    My lemon vinegar smells very lemony but as I have it in a ceramic jar I can't see what is happening at the bottom. Probably not much as I'm having similar temperature problems as you are Rhonda. Think I'll park it in the sun through the day and sit it near the combustion stove at night but not too close!

  16. Oh, that hurts my heart to hear about your Alice. But she's very blessed to have loving pet parents to take such good care of her in her old age.

    We had to say goodbye to our kitty Calvin in February. It's so hard, but he'd been sick for a long time. Cherish those last days, for sure!

  17. Hi, Rhonda,

    I haven't posted before, but wanted to "introduce" myself. I'm Lisa, a 40 year old SAHM, in Nevada, USA. I have 3 children (7, 5, and 2) and love doing as much myself as I can (soapmaking, etc).

    Anyway, thank you for educating me about Sorry Day. I think its a great thing. I also hope that Alice is not in any pain?

    I started the vinegar on Sunday, and just stirred it tonight (Wed) and its starting to smell like vinegar. It doesn't look quite as dark as yours, but it does smell a bit like vinegar now.

    Thank you so much for your blog - I absolutely love it.


  18. BStiches, I'd just start it again when you come back. It can be started with any fruit scraps.

    Stephanie, it sounds like Oliver and Alice would make a good couple.

    Kay, Rabbit-Proof Fence was a very good movie. We saw a little bit of it at our ceremony.

    From a plant, all the instructions are in the post on vinegar.

    Brendie, it will probably work, but take longer. If you can keep it in a warm place, do so, or move it around like I am.

    Pink Dress, yes, cheesecloth should do fine.

    Africanaussie, we aren't saying sorry every year. That would be pointless. It's much more about reconciliation and acceptance now. We are learning to trust each other.

    AnneMarie, I'm sorry to hear about Calvin. Pets make such a deep impression in our hearts.

    Hello Lisa, Alice is not in any pain. I hope your vinegar goes well.

  19. I think these kinds of days are good even though it's important to practice reconciliation amongst all people every day.

    In South Africa, we had the infamous Truth & Reconciliation Council that (began to) address some of the Apartheid atrocities. Many of the old Apartheid public holidays have been re-named since 1994 eg Day of the Vow (Dec 16) was renamed the Day of Reconciliation. Commemorating a famous Boer (white Afrikaner) victory over the (black) Zulus, in the past the anniversary and its commemoration were intimately connected with various streams of Afrikaner nationalism.

    According to an Afrikaner tradition, the Day of the Vow traces its origin as an annual religious holiday to The Battle of Blood River on 16 December 1838. The besieged Voortrekkers (Afrikaners) took a public vow (or covenant) together before the battle, led by either Andries Pretorius or Sarel Cilliers, depending on whose version is correct. In return for God's help in obtaining victory, they promised to build a church. Participants also vowed that they and their descendants would keep the day as a holy Sabbath. During the battle a group of about 470 Voortrekkers and their servants defeated a force of about ten thousand Zulu. Only three Voortrekkers were wounded, and some 3,000 Zulu warriors died in the battle.

    Two of the earlier names given to the day stem from this prayer. Officially known as the Day of the Vow, the commemoration was renamed the Day of the Covenant in 1982. Some Afrikaners colloquially referred to it as Dingaansdag (English: Dingane's Day), a reference to the Zulu ruler of the defeated attackers.

    On the other side of the political spectrum, 16 December is also the anniversary of the 1961 founding of Umkhonto we Sizwe (Spear of the Nation), the armed wing of the African National Congress--the ANC--(the political party currently in power).

    Now, the Day of Reconciliation serves as a similar theme to Australia's Sorry to foster reconciliation and national unity.

    Some people attend ceremonies while others don't.

  20. Hi Rhonda,

    I started your recipe for pineapple vinegar about 10 days ago. It's gone cloudy and is bubbling away nicely.

    I was wondering though, how do I know when it's 'done'? When it stops bubbling?

  21. Romany, when it tastes like vinegar it's ready. Usually but that time it's stopped fizzing, but not all the time. Store it in a glass bottle and make sure it's sealed. Air will allow the bacteria to keep growing. You could pasturise the vinegar if you wish to. It would kill the bacteria.

    Don't use this vinegar for preserving unless you test it and it's at least 5% acidic.

  22. Thanks, Rhonda. Will it stay cloudy or should I expect it to clear as it goets more acidic?

  23. Hi Rhonda. I didn't know it was Sorry Day until I read your post. I was pleasantly surprised to hear my 5yr old daughter say that they acknowledged it at school today.


  24. I'm ashamed to say I did not realise it was Sorry Day today. I am a bit shocked as I had the radio on all day today and turned it off around 4pm, but did not hear anything about it! Granted with a young baby I was not paying 100% attention however I think it's a shame that more attention hasn't been put towards this. Thanks for making me aware!

  25. I'm going to start my vinegar today as we've had a cold snap the past week.

    I am eager to start!

  26. Hi Rhonda,

    It's sad whenever our pets get older and I'm glad Alice has you and Hanno to help her along. Our beloved Dalmation, Sparky developed hip dysphasia in his later years. My husband built him a handicap ramp as it became too difficult for him to climb the steps into the house. We also put a heating pad under his bed that seemed to help with the pain and soreness.

    Sweet Alice...and sweet Rosie. I haven't forgotten her either.

    Yesterday I baked your quiche and this morning I baked your apple cake. They were both hits with my husband and I expect he'll be asking for them often. This evening I'm going to make your vinegarette dressing.

    Love from Diane in North Carolina

  27. As a kiwi, I'd never heard of Sorry Day. It sort of reminds me of our Waitangi Day. Waitangi Day is 6 February, the anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840. The treaty was the beginning of the nation and is the root of issues that still cause many problems today. For a long time, this day meant different things to kiwis: for many, it was simply a day off work; for active Maori it meant a day of protest.

    Being out of the country I have somewhat lost touch with events, but it definitely seems to me that the focus is changing and it's become a lot less about protest and (literal) mud-slinging, and more about "us" - the people, Maori and non-Maori alike.

    Mel (I remembered to include my name that time! :) )

  28. Good morning Rhonda - I have been reading your blogs on and off for a couple of years now and really find I get alot out of your down-to-earth ideas. I have now two partridge silkie bantams which I adore, grow most of my veges, have moved from the Gold Coast to country life in Toowoomba and have become very simple in my life style here with my husband. I have changed my job three times and I am now very happy with my simple life and all this using your inspiration and strength. I didn't hear anything about 'Sorry Day' in Toowoomba although I'm sure it happened somewhere!? Lorraine

  29. I like your post about Sorry Day....I have a dear friend who was one of the children who were stolen from her parents....the government told them they were no longer wanted by their mother and were sent to one of the homes, where unmentionable crimes were committed upon is only recently that she has been fortunate to find two of her sisters...she is still searching for her other 5 siblings.
    Thank-you again, for a wonderful is good that we are bringing this history out in the open. For it not to be forgotten, it needs first to be learnt that it took place.

  30. I am ashamed I did not realise It was Sorry Day. I'm usually proud to stand up and be counted in trying to make a difference.

    Worst is, I live in a city with a very large Indigenous population of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

    I speak to traditional Aboriginal people everyday in my job. And yet this day went past me by as nothing was mentioned in my Govt Department.

    I am truely SORRY for the past and am still SORRY today. The NT Intervention, the Centrelink Basic Card, misuse of traditional sacred land land, large numbers of Aboriginals in prison and high numbers of kids in foster care is a problem stemming from discrimination and something I am very SORRY for.

  31. Hello Rhonda,
    Its me again, Dhilma. My vinegar has totally stopped bubbling. Is it supposed to do that? Or should I add more sugar? I'm in a hot climate so its not the temperature, but I thought probably the sugar has run out? Please advice?

  32. Hello. If you have the time for a vinegar review, it would be much appreciated. I started a bit late, and messed up a bit. All looked well through the first two weeks(bubbly, foamy), fruit was removed, but I didn't have access to instruction, and I strained the liquid through a cloth 4 times before the next two week sitting period, instead of straining after the second two weeks. Even so, there is sediment on the bottom. The top is an off-white scummy layer that will stick to your fingers. It has a somewhat vinegary, pineapply cheap wine smell. My finish date should be June 23rd, so I'll strain through cloth again then. My temps have been good (72-78F) Am I OK, or maybe off course? Will the top layer continue to form in the cabinet, or would refrigeration stop that? This student may need remedial vinegar course. If you're busy, I understand, and I'll just start again the next time you do. Thanks so much.



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