Friday, December 31, 2010

Sunday, December 26, 2010

New frogs???

I just heard something really odd. Definitely a frog but like a clucking chook...and I'm hearing a lot of different calls...so much rain is causing a population explosion which is good because after all this rain there will be a HUGE insect explosion.

I was confused over peron's & tyler's tree frogs and have decided we must have both because I am sure I have seen both of these and heard both the calls.

Yesterday I uncovered a rocket frog it looked like this  Feycient's frog  but larger.

Nevertheless, I think we may also have
beeping froglets
clicking froglets
Broad palmed rocket frog

Sigh...the smaller homonid species, Mischieveii is calling.  Yum yum time again.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Try something different

I love cooking almost as much as I love eating. To keep it  interesting I give myself challenges. They go in and out of fashion depending on employment. Some of these ideas started off as environmental ideas but they've grown on me and I simply enjoy the challenge now. Here are some of them.
  • Buy nothing for a fortnight.  I can manage a month but Sean gets jack of no bread and milk.
  • Eat local. Try to buy everything grown within a 300km radius.
  • Spend a month eating one nationality's cuisine.
  • Vegetarian
  • Minimal packaging.
  • Buy nothing I can't make myself. So I still have to buy cheese and and a few Asian products (miso paste, seaweed paper for sushi, rice paper for spring rolls) or leave them off the menu.
In the new year I'm planning to expand my ability to cater for allergies and food taboos. At each SCA event we cater for people with the following exclusions: seafood, pork, alcohol, lactose, gluten, salicylic acid, allium family, spice of any sort, mushrooms, caffine, chocolate, sugar (inc. fruit), high GI, fat & meat. In addition to this we need to make sure the food is from the time period of 600 to 1600.  Surprisingly, this is not too hard until we get to salycilate allergy, then things get very tricky.

I thought also I might try a week each of; one-pot cooking, BBQ only, Buddhist, paleo, 4 ingredients...

Does anyone have any more ideas for me?

More calves

2 more calves were born this week but one has died. The poor Frisian cow must have hidden her calf near the creek because she has been pacing along the bank bellowing. Hopefully her milk will dry up soon. Oh well...nature takes no hostages.

Friday, December 17, 2010

A funny thing happened on my way to the post office

A fortnight ago I was eagerly awaiting the arrival of a package ordered especially for the last day of school. And because I needed it so fervently of course ebay & Pay Pal screwed it up and sent the package to my previous address in Southport. (?!) Considering all the successful transactions I have had with ebay via PayPal this one stumps me too. I had a hard time tracking the package but yesterday it FINALLY arrived and the tool I bought isn't just the duck's nuts - I can even MAKE the duck's nuts! With this tool I can sculpt wool without spending a whole day up to my armpits in soap. The dry felting technique is quicker, more successful than wet felting and is as portable as crochet. But the best thing about this needle felting tool  is it demands instant respect from anyone in the immediate vicinity.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Bring on the Bubbles

Oh well...the three bags of wool did not go over so well. They had a go at processing the wool but were determined NOT to do the science. So we watched movies and played the computers. What a dull way to end the year.  Would they have been more interested if I told them they could set fire to things?

Bring me another tall glass of bubbles will you, Dear?

Thursday, December 9, 2010

HATCH

GOOD NEWS: Ziva Rose was  born last Thursday to Chris & Cat Kelly
Congratulations :-)

White White Wi-i-ine

Sparkle for me-ee-ee
Helps me forget that I
Have just one more day to go-o-o

White White wi-i-iine
Stay close to me-e-e
Make them leave me alone
When the bell ri-i-ings

Tonight I am savoring the sensation of almost finality.

It has been a dreadful fortnight.
Skye, Kirk and I have been sick with the flu and croup and the miasma is lingering.
In the middle of it I had a pile of urgent work for BIEDO.
Then I had some assessment due for the my teaching registration but was unable to extend the date more than three days because crucial websites were going down for maintenance.
Then I had little jobs - things that mean something to other people. Like meetings, IT support, student assessments....etc..ad nauseum...
Then the bills rolled in...phone, teaching rego, teachers' union, car rego, car service & maintenance.

BUT FINALLY
It's that last class of the year.

I've got Baa Baa Black Sheep's 3 bags of wool.
I've got all the materials prepared.
I've got my professional patter down pat.
And...Tomorrow it ends and I will be free.

It tastes like a sparkling Cuvee....over ice.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Reviewing

This week I revisited my goals for Kirk's homeschooling. They were based on the EQ's Essential Learnings modified to suit Kirk and our lifestyle.  The good news is he is well above average in numeracy, science understanding and linguistic abilities (no surprises there). However his artistic, small motor and conventional literacy skills are just ordinary which reflects a lack of interest and disinclination towards risk taking rather than a lack of ability.  His visual literacy is pretty good so I am sure his interest in reading and writing will fire up soon.

His maturity has developed in some ways - he is better able to control his temper and is starting to understand his responsibilities as a brother. He has become aware of emotions and their outward expressions - he can deliberately act as he chooses.  His sense of humor has also expanded. He is "trying on" a lot of things to see if they are funny to the people around him but much of it is just seeking a chance to be silly which will be fine once he has figured out time and place.  Possibly the best thing about Kirk's maturity is he is appreciative. If someone gives him a present - no matter if it is small or old or cheap - he loves it and immediately uses it. In fact if something has been pre-loved he values it more, "My cousin gave me his shirts! WOW! Don't I look great in them?!"

Intellectually...he's a thinker. He fantasises and creates elaborate, macabre scenarios which he plays out with whatever is to hand.

Physically. He taught himself to ride a bike and we discovered he has a natural talent for discus. He enjoys swimming and improves by the month.  But...he runs like a confused chook and how his lanky legs get him to the finish line is a miracle. Have tried a couple of times to teach him karate when he has demanded I teach him to fight but he just doesn't have the focus, awareness or toughness to deal with being knocked around. I think we shall keep the enemy at a distance and stick with archery.

Enough. Onwards to the new year.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

You just know it

I was standing in Maccas tonight and a family walked through the door.
Ahhh... Homeschoolers, I thought. BINGO!

How? 5 young kids all close in age, no loud clothing labels, all well behaved.
The fact they are American helped too. Luckily Maccas had roped off a lot of the restaurant so they were forced to sit with me at the very big, clean table I chose. (Do I sound creepy?)

It was lovely to chat to them and I really hope they decide to buy in here because they would fit in so well. I gave them my contact details and will just keep my fingers crossed.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

SURPRISE!

Last year the bull out lived his welcome and was put in the freezer. We thought this year the girls could have a spell from calving but recently I noticed a few of them looking suspiciously fat but I dismissed it with, "There's plenty of feed & that bull calf couldn't REACH 9 months ago." Two days ago Clarabell arrived with a newborn calf.  Where there's a will...Read "One Jumped Over The Moon"

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Great Advertising

The Baby Whisperer

Dylan & Skye - 16th November

The Baby Whisperer is the ultimate baby tranquiliser.  Dylan has no expectations and no agenda. He isn't upset by their tantrums. He just sighs and does the job. Babies quickly realise there will be no gratification from their wailing and simply give in. Consequently Kirk worships Dylan and I am sure will dog his footsteps the minute he can snap my apron strings.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Relief for the Relief Teacher

Robyn finally returned from her sad duty and set me free. I am now resolved to learn the grade 11-12 chemistry in case she takes leave again.

Today poor Skye had her first day in a childcare centre. She cried when she was separated from Kirk and I think she must have cried for well over 1/2 an hour because when Rachel arrived for work, Skye was so relieved to see her, she fell asleep directly after eating. I am not sure if we will be doing that again.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Worth a watch

Enjoy...
Currently I am replacing a teacher who is probably THE best science teacher in the school. The kids love her and they make this abundantly clear when they see me arrive.  I DO hope she comes home soon!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

I am Winston

Today I was handed a science lesson to teach from Primary Connections. It has this great name, Catapult Capers, and I imagined building siege engines and battering the sports shed to rubble. Not so... it was in fact one of the most over-structured boring lessons I have ever taught. I tried very hard to inject some fun demonstrations and excitement and plenty of language the kids would relate to but in the end they were suffocated with the paperwork which must be done for the sake of OUTCOMES.

15 years ago science in primary was practically non-existent. NOW they're KILLING it with data and filling in boxes and just CRAP. Yes, I understand we need to be teaching the scientific methods but...we don't need to strangle it with bookwork to prove frigging OUTCOMES.  I want science for kids to be full of activity, excitement and intrigue because THEY are the ones who will be the scientists of tomorrow.

Sigh....here I blog in the depth of night ...like Winston hiding from the telescreen writing, 
Down with big brother.
Down with big brother.
Down with big brother.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

A few firsts

Oh dear, it's proud parent syndrome again. Yesterday Skye said her first distinct word, "Daddy" while looking at him. Now THAT'S the highway to Sean's heart! (Kirk's first word was "more").
 This morning she said her second contextually appropriate word while pulling my hair, "NO!" And then to top it off her nappy was dry in the morning and she used the potty.
These tiny little advances are pleasing me enormously because it means we can stop decoding the wails and my washing load is going to gradually decline. Why is this all so easy? Maybe she's planning to be the teenager from hell.

I found this over at Smacksy.   I love this blog, she does it so well  :-)

Postscript: Dry to midnight. Piddle in the potty. Fingers crossed she can have a full dry night.

We Are The People We Have Been Waiting For

We Are The People We Have Been Waiting For

OK, I'm biased, but try and tell me you don't agree.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

New Toy

Over the last few years I have bought some very expensive gadgets.

A fridge that is plumbed in and issues cold water and ice  - cubed and crushed - and it has a mini door for drinks so you don't have to open the fridge every time. People exclaimed that it was an expensive luxury but I don't care because it makes ice cubes! I adore mocktails, frapes, milkshakes & quick sorbets. Previously I owned a plethora of hand-me-downs which served me well and are continuing their lives as chemical storage, party fridges or have new owners.

A front-loading washing machine that is self heating and uses a mere 4 buckets of water (instead of 10). Since leaving home I have owned 3 twin tubs & 3 top loaders - all 2nd hand. My favourite was Annette's twin tub which was so powerful it frequently threw the clothes out of the wash tub. I also remember the twin tub in Japan which sat on the verandah. I used to save the rinse water to start the next wash. One winter's day, the cat, Arbuckle, attempted to jump onto the machine but fell into the washer because I'd left the lid off. He crashed through the layer of ice and into the water. (Giggle snort what a great image)

A Tefal Quick Cup to replace the kettle of poor design because water would splash onto the electrical connector and trip the safety switch.

And now I have bought a Thermomix. After the solar hot water system and the laptop it is THE most expensive toy I have bought. It looks like a blender but it can mix everything from bread to meringue in a fraction of the time. It can chop vegies or turn rice into flour. It can cook and stir a soup, steam a  basket of rice and a colander of vegies all at the same time. Oh and you can weigh everything as you add it and it has a timer and a clock. Over the last 18 years I have owned 3 stick blenders (all deceased), 2 milkshake makers (cracked and burnt out), 2 food processors (1 dead, one surviving...and onto it's 3rd replacement jug), 4 sets of scales (3 down, 1 to go), a food steamer, 2 rice makers and 4 kettles.  It has cleared a lot of the clutter on my kitchen benches and I dearly hope the money has been worth it because, you know what? If it breaks, I'm stuffed!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Thanks for Sharing

Yesterday, I cared for Rachel's animals while she is on holiday and for this minor service she allows me the eggs. I then visited Hylen who sent me off with tumeric and finger roots for planting. Finally I dropped in on Michelle who gave me wedgies and a couple of little hams to contribute to dinner with the family tonight.  Regularly I score lamb, eggs, citrus & tomatoes from Richard & Michelle, fresh fish from Bob, the very occasional batch of moonshine from Mickey, and at the markets excess produce is simply passed around. The Bureau of Statistics profiles this area as one of the poorest in Australia, but you'd never know it.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

ORGY! Right HERE! Right NOW! In my DAM!

The rain has inspired a thousand rana orgies and I can hear at least 6 species goin' for it.

Strangely the cane toads are not calling. Perhaps because I squashed 'em on the road tonight. Toad...road...there's definitely a poem to be written there...ok well maybe a revolting limerick.

And thinking of springtime orgies....the channel billed cuckoos have arrived. Their all-night trumpeting is more effective than any cock-a-crowing. Sean says he knows it is spring because the pretty-voiced brown honey eater starts throwing himself at the window. Twitter tweet tweet melodious whistle THUMP!

Gotta go - my own offspring is calling.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Hunt The Horned One

The September Baronial was a success. Mostly. There are a few things to be worked out but mostly everyone went home happy. It looks like next year we will hold an all-archery event because we seem to have the ideal conditions. The archers ran an IKAK (standard bulls eye), a clout, a 3D hunt and a live shoot. Now we need to a debrief and write our own preparation manual to make next year a lot smoother and we need to find ways to make it LESS WORK!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

The Baronial Approaches

Preparations for the Baronial are speeding along:
  • long drops drilled
  • path flattened
  • tokens twisted
  • shopping list written
  • poo thrones constructed
  • marquees borrowed
  • grass mowed
  • archery field roped
  • monies taken
  • fire permits obtained (did my husband notify the world he loves me?)
  • Dad bringing 40L of homebrew
  • house clean
  • fridge booked
...and much more ...Time to go, friends from Goondiwindi have arrived. YAY!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Kirk is home

Kirk returned from hospital this morning and his voice is different now he lacks tonsils and adenoids. Hopefully soon he will be able to hear us better too, once all the fluid has drained via the grommets.

The hospital has prescribed tons of painkiller, chips, chewing gum, icecream, custard, jelly etc... oh well... there have to be some compensations for having your throat ripped out.

Rachel, Alisha & co. also visited and gave him a remote controlled car. He is THRILLED - WOW! PRESENTS FOR BEING SICK! I think the batteries are going to have a very short life.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Hunting for Vegetarians

"The cruel bastards!" you think.  Nahh, it's hunting that vegetarians can do without hurting fellow life forms.  Archery can get dull always shooting bull's eyes, hay bales and silhouette so on Friday we collected a variety of 3D targets from Bushbow 3D Targets. A cat, bunny, fox, boar and a deer. Keith also loaned us a running goat and 2 flying pigs for the SCA September Baronial. However, it won't all be for gentle people. The event has been titled "Hunt the Horned One" and will include Steve, with antlers strapped to his head, running like buggery from the mass of archers who will be trying to shoot him. More on the event later.

Kids' report: Skye thankfully has had no more croup but still phlegmy and in pain. Not sure if it is a sore throat or gum but she has reverted to breastfeeding which is difficult now I am returning to work.

Kirk is very obviously in need of the grommets the ENT intends to insert on Tuesday. He is having difficulty hearing the fricatives. But apart from that he seems to be fairly happy and is learning quickly how to ride the bike.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Lord Keynes had something there...

"On their deathbed people don't say, I wish I'd done more housework." I recite this every time I begin to despair of my entropic nature and assure myself there are more important things in life than a sterile home. The Toothfairy will always back me with his pithy; "There are no awards for housekeeping," which I regard as flagrant permission to go fishing. Essentially this amounts to the same thing as "I should have drunk more champagne"...the clothes and dishes will always be there so you may as well do the things you enjoy.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Bark!

Skye & I had an awful night. She barked, spluttered, panicked and gagged for breath. I cuddled her and just waited it out. I suffered childhood croup regularly so I realise that with the sun comes relief. Tonight we have some medication in case it grows worse.

Doctors appear to be popular this week. Rachel practically ripped her little toe off resulting in a compound fracture.  Today she decided she did not like the top dressing which she thought was too sticky and had me "Whip into Wendy's" to buy Co-Flex bandages which are generally used for horses. The only colour they had was fluro pink! Can't wait for the doctor to see it.  (This is revenge for all the pink clothes she keeps giving me for Skye.)

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Weaning

Once again I am doing relief days, weaning myself away from Skye. They are what I call "glass of water" days - nice, but so dull so you don't want another - because the teachers must plan for the possibility of the worst imaginable teacher arriving. Rarely do I have the opportunity of teaching anything more strenuous than the components of 3D shapes so I amuse myself fixing their computers or spending some personal time with the less motivated kids in my spare moments. However, teaching staff are always lovely and generally make me feel welcome.

At the end of the day, my welcome home is quite different.  Kirk's greeting is usually offhand being busy with his own activities but Skye greets me ravenously. I know she has been well fed and has not missed me but she only accepts breast milk direct and scrabbles under my shirt to latch on and fill her belly. What a difference a few years makes in kids. For one I am chopped liver, for the other you'd think I was the life source. Sigh...and now the small one calls my breasts hither!

Quick note: Skye is crawling and pulling herself up on furniture. She is very single minded about this and will use anything to assist her quest for the rarefied atmosphere .

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Bag'o'Bread

I'm experimenting with breadmaking. Today I lumped flour, water and yeast together in an old plastic bag and squeezed it until it was mixed [Kirk loved that bit]. It was a batter rather than a dough. I let it prove for a few hours and gently decanted it into a silicone loaf pan and cooked it in the microwave - 15 mins@ half power. The result is no crust and slightly chewier in texture but pretty good. I don't think it will be much good tomorrow but if you have a ton of kids turning up in an hour and no bread it is definitely and easy way to go.
No floury mess on the bench, no time spent kneading it to perfection, no double rising.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Another weekend gone

"Thank you" to the honest person who found my wallet & coin purse which I lost on Saturday morning somewhere between the markets and the sports ground.  It was great to have it returned with all my cards and money!

Kirk aced the discus at Little Athletics once again (it's that long wingspan he has) but buggered up the 300m walk because he lost interest 1/2 way and wandered in slowly around the track. Then when everyone yelled encouragement for him to hurry to the line he suddenly got very suspicious about what was going to happen if he actually crossed it and started bawling.

Little Miss Independent: refuses to be fed with a spoon. She desires to feed herself and then play in it. This would be fine if she could convey some of the food into her mouth. She is also drinking water from a cup now. No interest in bottles, not even if they have breast milk expresso in them.

This weekend we have had a lot of visitors. On Saturday Brian, Anita and Ron came to help prepare for the baronial. They finished the bridge across the creek and rewarded themselves with a black'n'tan before dinner.
Today, Michelle & Jordan arrived with "sheep in a box", Isaac & Amina came with his passport renewal for signing and Rachel & Dan brought a randy rooster for me to gut, which we ate for dinner. Imagine if THAT happened to all the cocks who harassed women. Mind you, the poor sheepies didn't do anything wrong, they just happen to be yearling males.

Last week Sean bought a Suzuki Stockman with an aluminium tray for $700. It's a very cool little toy and I hope I get to play in it sometimes when I don't have kids to look after. While Sean intends to fix it up there is no intention to re-register it. It will just be a paddock basher. Pics to be posted soon.

And finally, Sean has changed jobs to Bundaberg Housing. They are a private business who procure and manage public housing.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Almost Home

Thanks to everyone who has fed us and given us beds, been tour guides and helped us out!
We've been to the Dubbo Park Zoo, played in snow at Thredbow, seen the Dinosaur Museum (well Kirk did), attended a robotics workshop, experienced Questacon, picniced at "The Regatta", hooned around at Monkey Mania, visted The Rocks, rode a ferry to Manly, admired the Botanical Gardens, strolled along the river at Balmain, viewed art galleries, seen movies, gone fishing and, most importantly, spent time with family and friends, some of whom we haven't seen in years.

Thankyou again.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Delivery from the Tooth Fairy

Kirk's 1st adult tooth is emerging through the gap he created when he faceplanted on a rock in the yard. He is thrilled. It will be good to loose the lisp.

Also Skye has cut her first tooth. "YAY", says my mind but "NAY", say my nipples.

Happy Midwinter!

Last year I didn't want to do a big Christmas celebration because I think midsummer should be beer and prawns with feet up and fishing rod in hand on the most remote beach possible. Most of the family agreed to Christmas in July so last Saturday our family got together for a traditional dinner. In my opinion it worked well because in cold weather we all had appetites for rich food. Also the absence of Christmas advertisements meant low expectations from kids for presents so the focus became the food and the family. What made it better was, no one had engagements elsewhere and could devote their full day instead of rushing off to the next affair. It was certainly a far more relaxed and enjoyable day. Thankyou all for coming to the party ;-)

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Dispense with ETAs and never be late again!

Yesterday we left Gin Gin around 2-ish. Played with friends at Childers for a few hours. Dinner at Gympie...fuel at Brisbane...stress stop at Logan...11:30 arrival on Gold Coast...average speed; 52km per hour. SMOKIN'!   Ph: 55302530 if you want to catch up with us.

And for your amusement, Michelle and I in the shower, circa 1975-ish.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Great Northern War Photos

 As requested.  I find it appropriate that the photo group is called "lost property"

http://www.flickr.com/photos/gnwlostproperty/

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Great Northern War

Huge thanks to the organisers of Great Northern War. I enjoyed the very casual collegias and the full-on fighting which really does get better every year. Kirk was impressed with the trebuchets and I have promised we will make one - we'll start with a paper & card prototype before we move onto wood. GNW is growing as are the stalls and I bought an amber necklace which is significant because I have not bought an item of jewellery for over 10 years. Thanks also to Anna Rose who took me to the all-night-chemist-on-the-other-side-of-Brisbane - we have a gastro bug doing the rounds of Gin Gin! That buggered my Friday night (and hers) but fortunately drugs work well on me.

Afterwards we visited Gold Coast for a couple of days where I had my 2nd ever pedicure and once again had to apologise to the beautician for the feral state of my heels.  ("Look at mah sexy footsies" - NOT!)  I then introduced Rachel to the joy of sushi trains restaurants.  For me, sushi is the oral sublime.

Preparations for the September Baronial on this property are progressing - a bridge across the creek is forming and the archery range has been mowed.  It all takes time :-)

Monday, June 7, 2010

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Buggerising Again

I found a blog design that works for me! Plain. Give me time to figure out the photo doodad.

Post Script - 15th June: OOOHHH Look! Blogger has a new template designer. More play!

Friday, June 4, 2010

A week

On Sunday I baked an oven full of yummies, Sean & co. seated some pipes into the creek as the start of a vehicle crossing for the September Baronial, and we did a little archery. Then spent the evening doing the eat, drink and carry on like wallies.
On Monday Dan finished the foothpath (YAY!), I sweated over grant writing and Jorja played with us & showed Kirk how to count to 100...or rather he sulked at a distance but, I discovered, very carefully took everything in.
On Tuesday we homeschooled, gardened and I started embroidering my Viking dress for Great Northern War. At SCA that evening  Ron gracefully accepted his new nickname, Papa Smurf.
On Wednesday Kirk counted to 100 - with only a little prompting... looks like I'll have to buy that trampoline sooner than I thought.  We gardened and reburied the dog (I DO wish Spook & Kurgen wouldn't keep digging into Jo's plot). In the evening I processed a 7kg rump into mince, steaks, skewers and stirfry.
On Thursday Kirk went to Mango Tree and I worked on grant searching and contacting 6 new clients. We visited Bob & Cissy in the afternoon and scored an eski full of fish (I doubt I will ever buy fish again if this keeps up), I attended the evening Auslan class and shopped afterwards for big yarn needles because the big convenient sack needle I had went missing.
On Friday Cate dropped in for coffee & chat and then Kirk & I went to the Gin Gin SHS's musical, Back to the 80s. After that we visited Mary & Brian for afternoon tea.
Busy Busy Busy!


See?! He's a dead ringer for Papa Smurf. Anita is making him a new fighting jacket in pretty blue.


Monday, May 31, 2010

Thursday, May 27, 2010

LOTE

LOTE (Languages Other Than English) in this local area died at the end of 2009 primarily because no one valued it. I came across this quote last week from Mr Barnes regarding the remote bilingual policy;

"We want people to speak their home language for the first four hours but we want it predominantly done in English." 

Perhaps this makes sense in context but it is still a sad example of how people simply do not understand about learning, language and culture.

Ad hoc day

Today, I had a plan but ...first I realised Sean had a day off.
Then there was a call from Michelle, "Can you kill that chook please and can I use your kitchen?" (Of course!)
Next was a call from a grant applicant, "The president has blocked the application because he wasn't told about it." (Sigh...He wasn't here to tell.)
Then friends at the door, "Can you print some forms, please?" (Yep)
And then I forgot the time and am too late for my class tonight (bugger).
Oh well...the household is happy and content so that's enough.


Mind you, the chook is as tough as old Goldie Hawn but it's making a passable pilaff.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Budgie Budgie Yum Yum

No, not the Goodies. Tonight I stewed some rosellas for dessert (to be accompaied by coffee custard and lemon teacake) and Jorja wanted to know what they were. Being red, fleshy and apparently bleeding, I said they were budgie heads. Sean then turned to Kirk and reminded him to "spit out the skulls". Kirk enthused, "Budgie, budgie! Yum! Yum!" and proceeded to suck noisily upon them.

...I can't remember if she ate them....

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Cooler Weather

This week I experimented with jerky. The first batch was made with corned beef from the bull (too salty) and the second was a rump marinated in sweet soy (divine). I used the smoker very carefully for the flavour and finished it off in Rachel's dehydrator. This will not last long because it's very "more-ish". On Saturday I cooked all our meals for the week in it; roo meat, roo-snags, plain snags and a couple of chooks.

Tonight Sean and Kirk set fire to the bathtub. They reheated the snags and threw in some sweet potato and sweet dampers. I made some spinach pasta from scratch as an experiment and thought it was worth repeating.

Last Thursday night we stayed with Bob and Cissy at Coonarr. It was great fun. The next day Bob took us fishing but we never made it. I buried my car to the axles and had to dig it out by myself. That sucked but it was an adventure and a reminder to pack the car kit. Sigh...I carried that car kit for YEARS and a few months ago tossed it in the shed because I never used it. I think Sean is going to buy me a folding shovel for my birthday...which reminds me...THANKYOU everyone for your presents and calls.  I keep forgetting people's birthdays (even my own until the evening) but you all continue to remember mine! Please forgive my neglect and I hope my adoration of you all shows itself sufficiently in other ways.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Talking Sense At Last!

At last someone is talking sense about Naplan. Thankyou, Bernie, for this link.
http://www.abc.net.au/unleashed/stories/s2894651.htm


While others are copping the non-sense :-(
http://www.abc.net.au/unleashed/stories/s2894651.htm
I enjoy Razer's Rants.

The Skye Pokemon Stats

Permanent stats
Hit Points: invincible
Attack: engaging smile and fluttery eye lashes, escalating to blowing rasberries
Defense: wailing
Special Attack: hair grab
Special Defense: emission of evil yellow poo
Speed: 1 foot per minute - rolling/wriggling

In-battle stats
Evasion: back arch in extreme situations
Accuracy: projectile vomit - hits first time every time

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Family Footprints Challenge

My office asked me to do some photos for the Family Footprints Challenge which is a part of the Funky Futures Festival.  I was supposed to do our family but I neglected to recharge the camera before Sean left...so just the kids.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Smokin'

Last year Dad brought up a smoker for me and I finally made the time to try it out. I made sweet soy spare ribs and plain smoked chicken. Shall try beef jerky next.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Aunty Rene

Sean's Aunty Rene died on Thursday night. This really isn't my news to deliver but it explains where he is until Wednesday. The family is gathering in Toowoomba for her farewell.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Firsts

Unexpectedly, I had my first day back in classroom today. "Unprepared" would be an understatement, and Skye even less so. I had no bottles, no milk expressed and no one organised. Nevertheless, for the first time Skye was given a bottle, ate apple sauce, and tried to hold a rattle. Thanks to everyone who helped us through this day.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Free Range Books

www.BookCrossing.com
I dare you.

Caption This


Kerri James sent this picture and I thought it needed a new caption. Here is the conversation which ensued after I left for SCA tonight, in order of arrival in my mailbox.

Rob: Didn't the guy at the boat shop say to reverse the boat into the water?
Ross: As opposed to reversing the boat OUT of the water!
Michelle: Shouldn't the boat float once we get it in the water?
Michelle: Can't quite remember if we reverse it in or out of the water
Sean:  I _am_ tying it up!
Yep, the bung's still in!
Wrong end in tha watah, Papa!
Luckeeeee you're with AAMI
Cruise boat? What cruise boat?No, rabbit comes out the hole, round the tree then back in the hole. Or is that round the hole then back up the tree? Over the tree and down the hole? Damn, I'll never get this tied up...
Andrew: Wanted: woman who likes boating.  Send photo of boat.
Ross: Wanted: woman who likes swimming. Must have own lifejacket.
Sean: Wanted: woman who likes diving. Must have own insurance
Ross: newsflash – latest pictures of global warming
          really, officer, I’m launching my amphibious ute…

Kelly: Well, they're men, what do you expect?!?!
Ross: Wanted: Woman who owns DUKW, LARK or Schwimmwagen.  Send photo of vehicle.
          OK, I've tied up the boat... funny, the car's engine's flooded.
Sean:  How they launch boats in Atlantis.
Little Jim: He's fallen in the water!

It puts me in mind of Doug's Land Rover sailing adventure (bottom of the page)

Friday, April 16, 2010

The outdoor room

You know how outdoor rooms and pergolas are currently all the rage? Those nice, airy, shady places with designer cushions casually scattered on expensive wicker furniture? Perhaps a Tabachi teppanyaki BBQ and a bronze, nude statue to draw attention towards the fountain playing over the artfully arranged Zen rocks?

Yeah? Well we got a shed. A F$%^&G BIG SHED stuck to the side of the house. Gin Gin is not a pretentious place and people appreciate practical things, possibly because many of them are owner builders. People, some I only know to say hello to, keep stopping me in the street and saying things like,"Hey, I saw the new shed - it looks great!". I'm not sure that Bourke's Backyard would appreciate it but I do. The house is cooler and now we have an outside place to spend our endless Qld summers.

My thanks to Manrex Industries (read: Phil) who designed and built it.

So who's up for  BBQ?

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The awning has begun!

Give me a couple more weeks to manicure the yard (?!) then it's BBQ ON!!! So who wants to come???

Monday, April 12, 2010

The Hole

There is a hole the shape of a moth-eaten dog, in my carpet, under the desk, on the lino, in the kennel, on and in the grass. Her presence is so paleable. I understand how we etymologically "miss" someone. We look and our eyes slide past where they should be.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

These are a Few of my Favourite Things - For Jo

Swimming at Main Beach and chasing of tennis balls
Licking down icecream and riding shotgun
Sleeping on carpet and runs in the park
These are a few of my favourite things

Ducks for the chasing and Nipper for playing
Going off camping and barking at bovines
Chewing on bones which were buried for months
These are a few of of my favourite things

Swinging on washing and digging up gardens
Rolling in cow dung and the eating up chock-tops
Cuddling up next to the fire
These are a few of of my favourite things

When the thunder cracks, when the rain pours
When I'm feeling scared
I simply remember my favourite things
And then I don't feel so bad


Goodbye and thanks for all the licks.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Intriguing

And I leave you with a website I came across recently, Zefrank. 
Project:Young me / me now
Toys:  Spinningflowers,   scribbling

Easter Weekend


Is this the face of a baby who poos the equivalent of uranium yellowcake? I swore I would not be one of those mothers who obsessed about what came out of her child's backside BUT SERIOUSLY it looked like metallic yellow enamel paint! I have no idea where the metallic iridescence came from and have trawled the net and checked out all the additives in everything I eat but I simply can not find anything that resembles titanium dioxide paint base (No, I have not been drinking!)

During Easter Nanny & Bernie visited. We spent Saturday at Penny's BBQ, Sunday making curtains & Monday at Bob & Cissy's place at Coonarr.

Gorgeous horse! Pity about the grump on her back.




Saturday, April 3, 2010

Brief update

Skye is chewing her fist but no more of the all night crying.
Kirk is well and still enjoying his birthday presents.
Sean's mum and sister are visiting.
Weather is still very wet.
The wine supply is holding up well.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Looong night ahead

Perhaps even a long week. She doesn't seem to be sick but is crying and dribbling. Not showing any other symptoms so I can only guess that teeth are on the way. Roh had teeth at 3 months. I had hoped Skye would take a bit longer.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Spontanaeity wins again

My expectations of organising the kid's bedroom last night  were happily smacked for 6 due to another spontaneous evening of fun, food and music.  Oh well...when I die I won't be saying "I wish I'd done more housework".

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Birthday Boy

Kirk is now 5. What a miracle! We weren't planning to do anything but all his friends turned up anyway with cards they made themselves. They had lunch and played outside until the storm when they hid in the cubby (sort of like a car full of clowns) and when it eased off they stripped naked and played in the rain and had a big mud fight.  Presents arrived from family via all sorts of routes and greatly appreciated. Thanking you all for everything.

Wicking Beds

These are water conservation gardens perfected by Colin Austin, a friend at Kookaburra park, and all the rage around Gin Gin because they work exceptionally well. Usually people build a polypipe and shade cloth protection over the top because the insects and sun are ferocious here.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Poco a poco

Little by little I am progressing on the multitude of projects. A couple of weeks ago, I banged in a few pickets for the new garden and today mulched and planted beans and sweet potato along the fenceline. WOW! Maybe next month I'll build a wicking garden! Phew! Better not get too ambitious...

Sunday, March 21, 2010

MARCH!

The month invokes the verb and suddenly Gin Gin wakes from its summer stupor and goes social! ESA held their cancer fundraiser. Tanya Sinden of the Boolboonda Tunnel Hall organised a quiz night because she's entering the Lions Medical Research Foundation Personality Quest. Multicultural Group celebrated Harmony Day with a huge dinner [YUM!] and the Chamber of Commerce ALMOST held the Gateway Festival (cancelled due to cyclone).

The theme for the Cancer Fundraiser was Masquerade and a few people came in masks and costumes. I went as the Bag Fairy who fills your kitchen cupboards with plastic shopping bags. I sewed an enormous skirt with ruffles from plastic bags and pinned a couple of sections of silver reflective tubing on my back for wings. The entertainment was provided by the highschool and the drama students were particularly dramatic with their black-light story-dance to Queen's Bohemian RaphsodyNote to self: bring a LARGE crate of wine next time - the ladies at the next table were having more fun than us.


The Harmony Day dinner was impressive. A Rwandan massacre survivor spoke on the importance of peace followed by music, entertainment, costumes and FOOOOOD - lots of it. Huge thanks to Nora Reeve who organised it - she even managed to pull the regional mayor. Sean, Issac and Jayson [Sankofa Band] played that night and were the best they have ever been. As a result they have been asked to do a recording for the Rwandan massacre survivors. Then I met Baya, an Indonesian, whose husband manages a scallop hatchery at Burnett Heads who seems also be doing research with James Cook Uni. Mmmm...I wonder if they want someone as a quality assessor?

Next weekend Bernie and Sean's mum arrive - let the festivities continue!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Long Live the Rat Race

10 years ago out of curiosity when teaching a primary class, I calculated how much time *I* had available to the individual kids. Once I subtracted time spent at lunch, assemblies, lining up, management, and the time they were away at library, PE, music, LOTE, RE, interschool sport etc... it worked out that as a group they were getting about 3.5 hours a day but if you looked at this as individual time it was below 7 minutes per child per day.  Ouch!  The amount of time kids actually received from me was even lower because we wasted so much time on marking the homework, revising, getting cranky, and fulfilling other people's agendas.

Tonight I am thinking about how much time is spent schooling. On top of their 30 hour school week, there is time spent on travelling and homework - anywhere between 3 and 30 hours per week depending on where you live and how much homework you get. So the average kid is doing a 40 hour week.

Compare this to home schooling where a child gets one-on-one for as long as they need it. They also complete their work in 3 hours a day. There is no travel or homework. This gives them a 15 hour week with plenty of one-on-one time. All that extra time is liberated for family, friends, personal interests and real work. Home schooling is definitely a good lifestyle choice!

The above rant was inspired by The Camp Creek Blog - courtesy of the Anti-Rat who linked to the site.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Bring on the tooth fairy

Kirk fell over and knocked out a tooth today. He was wailing over its loss because now the teachers at "school" (Mango Tree) would notice and ...[incomprehensible blubbing] ???  I am fanatical about teeth so it's my fault he is so upset. So...I rang the Tooth Fairy and Tooth Fairy told him everything would be all right and he would grow a new one soon and he must keep brushing them every day. Kirk was very pleased and delighted to know we are related to this fantastic mythical being [pictured below].

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Story Catcher

Radio National are offering people the chance to tell their life stories. [Innocent whistling...]

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

"They like me!"

Said Kirk when I caught him pulling green frogs out of their corners with a garden rake this morning. An odds and sods day today - much done but little achieved.

Friday, March 5, 2010

How high's the water, Moma?

But first, Sean announced this evening, "I bought a dog of bag food for you." My imagination is having a lovely time with this. Does it have legs?

After the extreme dry stretch we suffered this year I dare not wish the rain away but I don't know how long I can stand Johnny Cash running through my head besides we'll be singing the Volga Boatmen if this keeps up!  I thought this was a rowing song until I saw the You Tube and decided to investigate. We learned this dirge from the ABC's Let's Sing program in the early 70's.

Background to the song
People who sang the song - Burlaks
And Burlak Women

Oh...man...I love the associated videos in YouTube...

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Gibbs-esque

Plug time: Photo and nappy cover by Kelly of Pepper Place.  When Skye reaches critical mass she literally explodes and I can not believe how much  sh*t comes out of one tiny baby. These nappy covers achieve something akin to duct taping the the nappy to her body.  Oh, and they look pretty too.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

What is boredom?

I know the transient, excruciating type one feels in meetings but what is it that people are experiencing when they say their lives are "boring"? Can anyone fill me in here?

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Sigh...Labradors

Yes, that is a swing-top bin lid over this head and a pooey nappy in his mouth.
Kurgen - 1
Tamara - Nil

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Archives

I bought another large book case last month intending to reserve a shelf for Rohan's photos and ashes. Unfortunately I have already packed it with books, and various media. In the top of this book case I have placed my most valuable books. A few of my favourites being: The Witching Weed (1927 - A book on smoking), Burn's Works (18??), The Decameron (of course - everyone must have this), and most extraordinarily, An Anglo-Saxon Reader (1925). The contents of which date from 700s to 900s and is printed in the Anglo-Saxon alphabet. One of the texts is a poem by Cynewulf who wove his runic name into the poem, Juliana  (Use the link and type in p.174 if you're seriously interested).

Sigh...beautiful books. It's lucky they're a tax deduction for teachers' professional libraries.

Skye Update: At 2 months she has doubled her birth weight and grown 6cm.  She is not a very smiley child but nevertheless alert and fairly content.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Grandma's sheets

As a girl I stayed with my grandmother most weekends and on winter nights I loved snuggling into the flannel bed sheets. After she died these passed to Mum and Dad and eventually they came to me. When their centres started to thin I patched them until I cut them down the centre and sewed the outsides together. Finally they are beyond repair but I can not let them go because they are imbued with "Grandma" and still smell distantly of sunlight soap. Moreover, they have survived at least 50 years of use while the flannel sheets I bought in the 1990's managed barely four.

Thinking of this I envision a timeline of memory persistence. My Grandma was born in 1904 and died in 1987. She acquired a household full of stuff and to have something of hers is to enable her some small existence.  This puts me in mind of a Radio National show I heard about living on as a part of nature. A person may be dead but their corporeal form has been distributed and has become a part of many things and the speaker suggests the mind may also be experiencing the same phenomena. A wide, worldly, planetary consciousness. Lifiting your arm becomes the swaying of a tree and your thoughts a swam of sandflies.  I will trawl the archives and see if I can find that show to share with you...AFTER I have turned these sheets into nappies for Skye.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Gold Coast Trip

Kirk has the flu so our plans for snorkling and rockpooling on Gold Coast  were replaced with Foxtel overload. Nevertheless, Skye is starting to settle and behaved fairly well. "Thankyou" to our family and friends who have fed, housed and put up with us this week.

By the way - I highly recommend the sushi train underneath Robina Town Shopping Centre. DE-LISH-OUS!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Transition Towns

This weekend I attended a workshop on Transition Towns which is a determinedly non-political movement to facilitate communities towards the lifestyle changes which must be made once the cheap oil has run out. The point being (cue cliche) "to leave oil before it leaves us." To detail here what  we did at the workshop would be tedious so for the time being just imagine how life would change if fuel jumped to $5 a litre. Now, excuse me while I turn Henny Penny into chicken soup. BOK BOK BOK!!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Mooo

Sky's belly is getting better now I am sticking with just one breast per feed. She doesn't cry as much any more and we are both getting a better night's sleep. (Note that it is currently a quarter to 3 in the morning, I'm awake but she's asleep...Mmmm)

Kirk now has a blog, The Apprentice. The purpose is to keep people in touch with what he is doing for home schooling although we will just be posting the highlights. It's also for him to reflect on his own progress and experience different ways of communicating with the world. If anyone wants a full breakdown of skills and a program, let me know. Incidentally I am writing a program for a 14 year old home schooler who loves sailing, YAY! There is so much he can do which ties in with grade 9 benchmarks. By the way, Jessica Watson is a homeschooler too, imagine making a solo circumnavigation of the globe your culminating assessment!

My friend and I start an Auslan course tomorrow night but we've had a lot of rain so fingers crossed she will make it because there are 9 creek crossings between her place and mine.

PS Kirk's not scared of Rhino beetles any more. He chases Aunty Michelle with them instead.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Epiphany

At 2am this morning I put 2 & 2 together. Skye is not an impatient night owl...she has lactose overload due to my Jersy Cow breasts.  I simply produce way too much milk so she never gets to the proper fatty stuff at the end of the feed - she's just loading up on sugary lactose. Bugger...it's taken me two weeks to figure it out, I hope I can fix this problem. The good thing is at least I understand the problem now and I don't resent the hours of sleep I'm losing.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

A rhino beetle...


...inside a frog. This is also the reason we don't bother spraying cockroaches.

Sorry I keep mucking around with the blog layout but I don't have the time to make one from scratch so I'm trying one at a time until I find something satisfactory.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Home schooling is GO

I can't see the point in sending Kirk to school this year because he's just too young to cope with 5 days a week. So we will spend this year participating in the School of Life :-)   I understand the government has changed prep. in order to bring Qld into line with the other states' 13 years of schooling but 30% of boys are failing to reach the grade 2 benchmarks so why set him up for failure? I fear the early age of enrolment has more to do with babysitting and getting mums into "gainful employment" than lifting standards. Anyone interested?

Little Fatty: Skye, has put on a kilo and grown 2cm since birth. She is now capable of wiggling her way around the bed, rolling front to back and has a good degree of head control.  She is a night owl with an impatient  personality. Hopefully that will change.

Swim School: Kirk had a great time and is starting to swim the length of the pool (approx 12m). He has a lot of confidence but swimming club is a long way off yet.

NAPLAN: Finally I'm close to finishing the NAPLAN math preparation materials for the teachers who will instruct this year (YAY for Jo &  Barb!)  I spent terms 3 & 4 last year teaching students how to do better in their national exam. Why are we spending money on teaching kids how to score well in an exam? Because our funding is linked to it. Qld came 7th of the states and although the authorities say they make allowance for Qld students being a year younger and with a year less schooling there is little evidence of this and they are not forthcoming on exactly how they do this. My best wishes to Jo and Barb as they try to bring our year 8s up to scratch.


Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Good things happen

YAY!!!  We've been accepted as campground hosts for Lady Musgrave Island in November. We camped there in 2008 and enjoyed it so much we wanted to become regulars.  The job is basically about keeping things clean and safe. The benefit is being able to go there in the high season when the turtles are mating and laying and possibly being able to take part in the various studies on seabirds and turtles.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

HISSS HISSS HISSSS

Tonight we have about 30 rhino beetles on the verandah  hissing, fighting, scrabbling and looking disoriented...and 5 very satisfied treefrogs :-) 
I really like rhino beetles - I can chase Kirk around the house with them.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Avarice

Oh Lord won't you buy me a Scandinavian Cruiser,
My friends all have tinnies, I must make amends.
Worked hard all my lifetime, WITH help from my friends,
So Lord, won't you buy me a Scandinavian Cruiser ?




Groan..it is so suave and sexy.
I can FEEL what sailing it would be like.
It's like an Etchel without the burden of a crew.
But narrow channels, reefs and rocky beaches make this yacht unsuitable for Bundy.
So I'll just keep dreaming.


Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Sustainabundy meet

There were almost as many Gin Gin people at the Sustainabundy meet as there were Bundy people and it appears we are primarily interested in Transition Culture. Where to start?!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

This little piggy...

...guzzles like a billionaire's motor yacht. At 3 weeks her belly is growing quite fat and already she can worm her way across the bed towards dinner.

Tim Hay arrived yesterday with 100 bales of mulch to plant the 1000 trees. Now I need fencing and gates to exclude the cows who would greatly enjoy an all-you-can-eat buffet.

Swim school starts tomorrow so Kirk will be delighted.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Land For Wildlife

Rachel from the Burnett Mary Regional Group arrived today to perform the Land for Wildlife assessment. We intend to revegetate and lock away the whole creek and dam area. Once it is established I hope to encourage my neighbours to do the same and thus on down the creek until the whole creek is a wildlife corridor.  Ahhh...idealism is such a luxury.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Like mother like son?

My mum was amused by Kirk trying to keep the dummy in Skye's mouth to prevent her crying because I did the same thing. The first picture is me pulling Michelle's dummy out just to hear her cry. The second is stuffing the dummy back in her mouth for obvious reasons. What fun! I'm not sure if Mum agreed.

Today Skye had her first check up at the Gin Gin hospital. She was born 2.650kg, on leaving the hospital she weighed 2.425kg and today she is 2.888kg. That's almost a couple of steaks. Mmm...maybe I DID score as least one thing in genetic roulette.

Weather-wise, the dams have never been so full which in one way is great. In another it means there is no vegetation slowing and soaking up the run off.