The Gleaners
Jean-Francois Millet (1814-1875)

Melinda Copper has the extraordinary ability to duplicate the styles and techniques of the greatest artists who ever lived and to refresh their works with a whimsical touch that is all her own. The classic cats, dogs and bunnies who inhabit her artistic world are infused by the artist with the same expressions, feelings and emotions of the original works. Go with her, then, on an artistic journey through the finest and most famous masterpieces of western art, all seen through the eyes of this amazing artist. Make sure you see the bunnies gleaning the cornfields.

To Glean:

Main Entry: glean Pronunciation: 'glEn Function: verb Etymology: Middle English glenen, from Middle French glener, from Late Latin glennare, of Celtic origin; akin to Old Irish doglenn he selects Date: 14th century intransitive senses 1 : to gather grain or other produce left by reapers 2 : to gather information or material bit by bit transitive senses 1 a : to pick up after a reaper b : to strip (as a field) of the leavings of reapers 2 a : to gather (as information) bit by bit b : to pick over in search of relevant material

The Forty-spotted Pardalote is one of the smallest and rarest birds in Australia. It is classified as endangered. It belongs to a group known as ‘diamond birds’ because of their tiny, jewel-like appearance. Between 9-10cm long, forty-spotted pardalotes have a light olive green body, with pale yellow around the eyes and on the rump. The wings are black with distinctive white dots. The birds are found only in eastern Tasmania – the Darling ranges on Flinders Island, Maria Island, at Tinderbox, Bruny Island, Lime Bay and Conningham. Colonies of more than 100 birds are found only on Bruny Island and Maria Island. Forty-spotted pardalotes live and feed in the upper foliage of white gum eucalypts. They are called foliage gleaners because they pick insects from the leaves. They also eat a sugary secretion produced by the tree in response to insect attacks.

The Three Drovers

Across the plains one Christmas night
Three drovers riding blithe and gay,
Looked up and saw a starry light
More radiant than the Milky Way;
And on their hearts such wonder fell,
They sang with joy "Noel!,
Noel! Noel! Noel! Noel!"

The black swans flew across the sky,
The wild dog called across the plain,
The starry lustre blazed on high,
Still echoed on the heavenly strain;
And still they sang, 'Noel! Noel!'
Those drovers three. Noel! Noel!

The air was dry with summer heat,
And smoke was on the yellow moon;
But from the heavens, faint and sweet,
Came floating down a wond'rous tune;
And as they heard, they sang full well
Those drovers three -- 'Noel! Noel!'

Listen to The Three Drovers

Carol of The Birds

1. Upon this holy night,
When God's great star appears,
And floods the earth with brightness
Birds' voices rise in song
And warbling all night long
Express their glad heart's lightness
Birds' voices rise in song
And warbling all night long
Express their glad heart's lightness


Carol of The Bird

Carols by Candlelight

It is generally agreed that "Carols by Candlelight," was started in Melbourne, Australia by radio announcer Norman Banks in 1937 after he saw a woman listening to carols alone by candlelight. Banks decided to do something to relieve the loneliness and isolation some feel during the Christmas period.

He announced community carol singing for anyone who wanted to join in. The concept has grown in popularity over the years, and the recorded program is now broadcast the world over.

Carols by Candlelight is held every year in the week before Christmas, when thousands of people gather in the parks of the larger towns and cities to sing their favourite Christmas carols.

The fact that this time of year is also the longest day of the year in the southern hemisphere ensures warm weather which allows Australians to enjoy this tradition. The function commences before dark and runs until about 10.00 pm depending on the latitude of the location. As Australia spans from above the Tropic of Capricorn to 40 degrees south, sunset is at a later time the further south you go.

The gold fields of knowledge

A solid basis in fact is at the root of all truth and a true man of wisdom has spent many years of effort diligently gleaning many gold nuggets of knowledge from many fields.

With all your getting, get wisdom.

Be willing to spend days or even weeks of digging into the gold fields of knowledge to discover a precious nugget of truth.

To be able to recognize real gold when he sees it is a talent a good prospector definitely needs.

A prospector who can not recognize real gold when he sees it will no doubt return foolishly rejoicing with a bag full of worthless stones.

It is not easy to find nuggets of pure gold. A good prospector knows he much search long and hard to find the precious nuggets of pure gold for which he seeks.

Likewise, a man of true wisdom must be willing to labor as long as it takes to find the precious nuggets of pure truth that for which he seeks.
©09/06/2001 Jim Welch

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View the whole collection of iconic Australian images used in the centre of the Advent Calendar to help give it a unique Australian feel. These images were gleaned from a collection of Australian advertising symbols.

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December Assortment

Gleaning - A Way of Life

I think in a past life I must have been a gleaner, (someone who comes through the field after harvest and gleans anything of value) The internet is an incredibly exciting source of information and I love typing a word into Google just to see what pops up. However, I get my information from a very diverse range of places. I hunt through second hand book shops and pour through the library shelves at our school. Sometimes I simply see a word, phrase or image and an idea appears, seemingly from nowhere. Things which may seem irrelevant have new relevance and now that my eccentricity is so well known, people save and send me all sorts of things that they think will be of interest. As this Advent Calendar testifies, gleaning has become my occupation.

The Story of Rudolph...
gleaned from my email.

On a December night in Chicago several years ago, a little girl climbed onto her father's lap and asked a question. It was a simple question, asked in children's curiosity, yet it had a heart-rending effect on Robert May. "Daddy," four-year old Barbara asked, "Why isn't my Mommy just like everybody else's mommy?" Bob May stole a glance across his shabby two room apartment. On a couch lay his young wife, Evelyn, racked with cancer. For two years she had been bedridden; for two years, all Bob's income and smaller savings had gone to pay for treatments and medicines. The terrible ordeal already had shattered two adult lives. Now Bob suddenly realized the happiness of his growing daughter was also in jeopardy. As he ran his fingers through Barbara's hair, he prayed for some satisfactory answer to her question.

Bob May knew only too well what it meant to be "different." As a child he had been weak and delicate. With the innocent cruelty of children, his playmates had continually goaded the stunted, skinny lad to tears. Later at Dartmouth, from which he was graduated in 1926, Bob May was so small that he was always being mistaken for someone's little brother. Nor was his adult life much happier. Unlike many of his classmates who floated from college into plush jobs, Bob became a lowly copy writer for Montgomery Ward, the big Chicago mail order house. Now at 33 Bob was deep in debt, depressed and sad. Although Bob did not know it at the time, the answer he gave the tousled haired child on his lap was to bring him to fame and fortune. It was also to bring joy to countless thousands of children like his own Barbara.

On that December night in the shabby Chicago apartment, Bob cradled his little girl's head against his shoulder and began to tell a story... "Once upon a time there was a reindeer named Rudolph, the only reindeer in the world that had a big red nose. Naturally people called him "Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer." As Bob went on to tell about Rudolph, he tried desperately to communicate to Barbara the knowledge that, even though some creatures of God are strange and different, they often enjoy the miraculous power to make others happy. Rudolph, Bob explained, was terribly embarrassed by his unique nose. Other reindeer laughed at him; his mother and father and sister were mortified too. Even Rudolph wallowed in self pity. "Well," continued Bob, "one Christmas Eve, Santa Claus got his team of husky reindeer - Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, and Vixon ready for their yearly trip around the world. The entire reindeer community assembled to cheer these great heroes on their way. But a terrible fog engulfed the earth that evening, and Santa knew that the mist was so thick he wouldn't be able to find any chimney. Suddenly Rudolph appeared, his red nose glowing brighter than ever. Santa sensed at once that here was the answer to his perplexing problem. He led Rudolph to the front of the sleigh, fastened the harness and climbed in. They were off! Rudolph guided Santa safely to every chimney that night. Rain and fog, snow and sleet; nothing bothered Rudolph, for his bright nose penetrated the mist like a beacon. And so it was that Rudolph became the most famous and beloved of all the reindeer. The huge red nose he once hid in shame was now the envy of every buck and doe in the reindeer world. Santa Claus told everyone that Rudolph had saved the day and from that Christmas, Rudolph has been living serenely and happy."

Little Barbara laughed with glee when her father finished. Every night she begged him to repeat the tale until finally Bob could rattle it off in his sleep. Then, at Christmas time he decided to make the story into a poem like "The Night Before Christmas" and prepare it in bookish form illustrated with pictures, for Barbara's personal gift. Night after night, Bob worked on the verses after Barbara had gone to bed for he was determined his daughter should have a worthwhile gift, even though he could not afford to buy one...

Then as Bob was about to put the finishing touches on Rudolph, tragedy struck. Evelyn May died. Bob, his hopes crushed, turned to Barbara as chief comfort. Yet, despite his grief, he sat at his desk in the quiet, now lonely apartment, and worked on "Rudolph" with tears in his eyes. Shortly after Barbara had cried with joy over his handmade gift on Christmas morning, Bob was asked to an employee's holiday party at Montgomery Wards. He didn't want to go, but his office associates insisted. When Bob finally agreed, he took with him the poem and read it to the crowd. First the noisy throng listened in laughter and gaiety. Then they became silent, and at the end, broke into spontaneous applause. That was in 1938. By Christmas of 1947, some 6,000,000 copies of the booklet had been given away or sold, making Rudolph one of the most widely distributed books in the world. The demand for Rudolph sponsored products, increased so much in variety and number that educators and historians predicted Rudolph would come to occupy a permanent place in the Christmas legend.

Through the years of unhappiness, the tragedy of his wife's death and his ultimate success with Rudolph, Bob May has captured a sense of serenity. And as each Christmas rolls around he recalls with thankfulness the night when his daughter, Barbara's questions inspired him to write the story.

This is a true story. What it doesn't tell, is that he sold the story to Wards. As far as I know, to this day, Wards still owns the copyright. Always remember that God has a reason for everything in this world, what may look like a tragedy can eventually become great happiness.
gleaned from Megan Warren's email box

Gleaning on the Goldfields

courtesy of Syracuse University Library Department of Special Collections

People from across the world swarmed to the Victorian gold fields as news of the discoveries spread. The result was one of the largest voluntary mass migrations in history. Victoria's ports bustled with new arrivals from England, Europe, China and America - most of them men intent on making their fortune. In December 1851, Victoria's population was 97,489. By Christmas the next year it had burgeoned to 168,321 people.

Ex convicts, Polish soldiers, Dutch sailors, English doctors, and Chinese labourers were among the many who flocked to the gold fields in pursuit of riches. Yet many found the myth of the gold rush more appealing than the reality. Sometimes hot and dusty, other times cold and damp, the diggings offered a life of hard labour, flies, mud, sly grog, dysentery, and occasionally, gold.

Chinese people first came to Australia in large numbers during the Gold Rush in the 1850s and 60s and many Chinese-Australian families can trace their settlement in Australia to that time. Monuments and buildings developed by Chinese settlers serve as reminders of the long history of Chinese immigration to Australia. Examples remain in towns like Ballarat and Bendigo in Victoria and memorabilia is displayed in museums like the Chinese Museum in Cohen Place, Melbourne, and the Golden Dragon Museum in Bendigo - and of course in our vibrant Chinese-Australian communities.

Australians have not always been welcoming to Chinese immigrants. On the gold diggings there were a number of instances of violence against Chinese prospectors - the most well known is probably Lambing Flat (now called Young) where thousands of Chinese were run off the diggings by non-Chinese. The diggers argued the Chinese used too much precious water and were taking opportunities away from Europeans.

Another source of resentment was that the Chinese miners used different mining methods to the Europeans. They are said to have seldom tackled new ground, preferring to go over ground abandoned by the Europeans. It is thought that they found much gold which had been missed by European miners in their haste. In other words, the Chinese were resented because of their skill in gleaning gold which others failed to see.

Associated Links

Gleaning on the goldfields
The Gleaners and I
Expanding the definition of gleaning
On Gleaning