Monday, 30 September 2013

Sunday Sunday, doo doo, doo doo doo doo

Hands up if you know that tune.Yeah Yeah , i know its meant to be Monday Monday, but who wants to sing about Monday when its the start of a new working week and back to the grindstone.  Saturday is full of chores not managed at night during the week, shopping, chicken coop clean out, lawns and on and on .....   Nothing better than a Sunday with only a few errands so the whole day just unfolds.  I'm writing about Sunday before Saturday because I've left my phone containing the photos from the Royal Melbourne Show on my office desk and right now, it feels like I'm missing an appendage.  So excuse me if I'm out of sync this week.

My Sunday starts with some very very loud clucking right on 6.00am  For that matter, make that most days. I'm sure the neighbours wouldn't believe the size of the chooks making that much noise.  Those bantams make the loudest noise ever and even i cant pretend i cant hear them and have to drag myself out from under a doona into the cold to feed them.  Note to self, put the grain out the night before when they have gone to bed.

My very bossy girls.  Ive fixed their little red wagon, today i ordered the Royal Rooster Feeder and Drinker.  No more early morning feeds. Yeah me.  How dumb not to have done it sooner.  It will also help with keeping the other birds away.  I'm sick of cleaning up their poop. Like any Mum, its ok to clean up your own girls poop but not others!
So why is it such a big drama to have to get up.  Why cant i just go back to sleep?  Because i have a puppy in the house.  Once she sees me awake, that's it, play time.  She is so full of energy. Being only 10 weeks she is only making it as far as 4am (gosh its like having a baby all over again) and then with a little cuddle i can get her back down again.  Once she sees me out of bed though, the game is up and i have to keep her quiet so she doesn't wake the rest of the house having a weekend sleep in.

My name is TROUBLE!

Take one massive beetroot found hiding in one of the raised bed.  Its about the size of a softball.  A little woody on the end but salvageable.  

Skin and cut into large chunks, toss in  little oil, salt & pepper and garlic.  Roast at 180, cover in foil for 40 minutes.  Test with skewer for softness.  You don't want it mushy but just a little bite

PS.  I don't eat beetroot but Hubby and Bestie were impressed.

Waltz around the garden picking leaves from various green things including snow peas and baby beetroot leaves and give them a good wash. 

All packaged ready for early morning prep of lunches this week, and it didn't cost me $5 a bag (which i can re-use next week)
Talk about fluro eggs.  How yellow are these?  The scrambled eggs looked almost weird on the white plate with crispy bacon and toast triangles (no photos but I'm sure you get the picture)  but tasted divine.  Tom not only ate them (miracle) but said they tasted great.  Bantam eggs have a greater proportion of yolk to white.
This lettuce, which is one of the ones i pick my weekly bag from is months old and almost 2 ft high.  You can see the lemon balm on the left doing very well now that it has been moved from under a pile of parsley. 

There is so much growth going on i cant keep up.  This chard just took off and grew literally feet in a week.  I still don't do anything with it.  Please send a recipe that you think might be acceptable to two very plain eaters.  The spinach must be hidden.   I wouldn't grow this again (as i don't use it) but i planted it last spring and its still here.  At least it is lovely to look at.  The girls don't eat it either. 
I have several of these in my pot garden (all terracotta) and they are literally covered in bees.

I pot up smaller pots of lavender and move them around the garden beds wherever there are flowers to be pollinated.  
My sister has taken her grandchildren "home"  (read country NSW) for the holidays and so i did my sisterly duty and snuck in (on her request) and gathered up all the hidden Christmas presents to bring to my house.  Yes, she is that organised.  All put on layby earlier in the year, paid for and ready for wrapping.

Yep, that's me!  Santa's Little Helper - i knew one day i would sneak in a photo of myself .
 I Wish (and so does my Hubbby)

OK, so now that you are all thoroughly jealous and ive allienating every female reader and perhaps gained a few male ones, i will take my weary feet (long day at Show) to bed with some Dencorub and a painkiller.

Wouldnt you have sore feet and be uncomfortable walking for 12 hrs in those snazzy high boots and short dress on a very cool blustery spring day here in Melbourne.  Give a girl a break.   Next time ill wear opaques. LOL.

Thanks for Visiting Living In The Land Of Oz

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Disaster and Recovery

There are catastrophic disasters happening around the world everyday.  Some are natural but many of them  man-made.  The senseless killing of innocent people in Kenya this week has left me feeling a little shaken and saddened.  I felt that same way when 9/11 occurred. I was flattened for weeks and had to take time off work.  We see these headlines so often and its easy to hear them on the radio or see them on the TV and just keep going on with our lives. So why is it that one in particular makes you stop and it actually rocks your world (not in a good way).  Its  feels like an exclamation mark !!!!!   All i can think is...
Ive been off air for a little while as blogging is something that i do for enjoyment and when all else in my world is OK.  Which, of late, is not the case.  I certainly wouldn't be very popular inflicting my worries on others and who wants to read a post that glum and depressing and probably too personal for publication.  That just makes everyone uncomfortable.  I will simply say that as the mother of a teenage boy with Aspergers, my life is not always easy and in fact, it can be just plain hard and emotionally painful at times.  
Make that someones!

And so, how to lift myself out of these feeling of doom and gloom.  At times like these i am particularly hypersensitive to everything and no doubt I'm not the easiest person to live with or work with at the moment. Bursting into tears for no good reason and feeling like the the bottom has fallen out of everything.  Ive done the medication thing.  Perhaps, ill do it again but Ive been trying to focus on the good things in my life.  I was reminded of how fortunate i am when one of the guys in the office had to take his daughter (4) to the RCH to meet with specialist for her disabilities (Cri Du Chat Syndrome).  He is a constant support to me in my situation even when he himself has issues that far outweigh my own. His last comment to me before leaving was that walking through the doors of the Royal Children's Hospital here in Melbourne make you put things in perspective.

And so, tonight i looked around the house for way to demonstrate the good and the bad, the ups and the down, trying to get a new perspective.

Disaster (well its relative isn't it) - the state of the carpet at the end of the day with one little munchkin called Tilly running in and out all day.  The spirit level has taken up residence while we complete Tom's room makeover.

Recovery - the simple pleasure of cuddling a tiny package of softness and cuteness.  Believe me, she is only this way when she is asleep.  This is one very razzed up lady and its a priority when i get home to wear her out so she will sleep beside my bed ALL night.  

Disaster (or so Hubby thinks) - they are breeding !  Not long ago i came home with a plate full of goodies from Ella's.  That single brown plate just keeps going through the wash and being used over and over again.  Hubby hates it - we have all white crockery.   So when i took another plate home on Sunday from Ella's i was sure to ask for a brown one just to rib him.  

Recovery - he didn't seem to mind the plate when it was covered with a pizza made from left over beef rissoles tonight.
Disaster - I walked out this morning and found Blackie dead in the coop.   I think it was old age.  This was Tom's chook.
Recovery - reminding me that the effort of keeping the 4 remaining bantam girls is worth it.

Things have changed since Tilly arrived.  The yard access now has to be done in shifts.  I also need to fence in the lower beds and the girls have discovered my lovely worm laden soil that is meant for the tomatoes and cucumbers.   Seedlings are going missing everyday. 

Im feeling better all ready.


Thanks for visiting Living In The Land of Oz

Sunday, 15 September 2013

A Day Trip with Antiques

No, not Mum, furniture, bric-a-brac and such.  Besides, Mum tells me you have to be 100 to be considered an antique and she is only 84.   Cute look in one of the hats that were for sale.  Is it cruel to dress your elderly Mum up in funny hats and take pictures?  She actually asked me, "Will that one go on your blog"?  Too funny....

We popped in to The Mill Markets just outside Ballarat, an hour away.  This is a large shed with numerous stores inside selling mostly smaller pieces of furniture, jewellery and household items. There were some lovely things and some frightening items (like burnt orange canisters) that i remember from my childhood which reminds me that today's kids think we are old.  I almost bought a set of six boned handled Sheffield desert knives but then gave myself a kick and a telling off.  What would i do with them and when would i use them.  I have cupboards full of "good stuff" for visitors and i don't use them.  So, well done me for buying nothing more than a bowl of barley and veggie soup.

Mum did buy a crystal bowl that matches one that she already has so that she can serve trifle (she makes two) for the oldies at Friday at 11 (Church for seniors).  I mean, they must be in matching crystal bowls, right?   We may have been dirt poor farmers kids but we were taught how to do things right.  Right down to the "book on head" posture lessons and presenting meals on the table.  One day I, and my three sisters (the two boys can raid the tool shed) will inherit a shop's worth of crockery, crystal, cutlery, ornaments and accompanying table cloths and doilies.  Never mind all the hand painted china plates on the walls and assorted Italian statues on beautiful carved pedestals.  This will be her legacy along with a lifetime of giving love, faith and life lessons to her brood (and many others).

Of course, we all have houses full already as she has gifted us much and we have all accumulated even more over the years through 21st, engagements and weddings.  I think we all like pretty things and enjoy entertaining and "going over the top" for guests.  I kept looking at things today with the thought that i want less, not more.  I want to declutter not accumulate.  I don't need things, despite them being pretty.  I'm looking forward to Tom's room being done so that all his stuff (trophies, signed basketballs, souvenirs of trips, remote cars etc) can leave the family room's display cupboards and i can drag out the boxes of beautiful salad bowls, platters and crockery, and actually use them, regularly.

Ive only just noticed the truck with the rocket on the back in the photo. Huh? Nevermind the lifesize camel made of wool and felt just inside the door.  We laughed about taking it home and putting in front of the Mum's house next to the For Sale sign so everyone in town can refer to it as "You know that house that has the camel in the front yard!".

Next stop was the Ballarat Botanical Gardens next to Wendouree Lake.

Mum has a walker which i bought recently from Gumtree and this enables her to walk with stability and to take a seat when she gets tired.  At one point, my sister, sat her down and pushed her backwards like a wheelchair.  Neat trick.   Ive taken some photos of the beautiful gardens, greenhouse and statues so just breeze through and admire.

We ended our day with a drive around the lake, gawking at all the beautiful heritage homes (that must cost a buck or two) and the amazing architecture in Ballarat left over from the goldfield days.  They sure knew how to build back then.   I find it amazing that you could put all 4 of us (the girls) in a car with Mum and we would all be ooooing and arhhhing about the same things.  We really have similar taste in most things although i did buy my sister today a box of cacti plants (which i dont like but its about the only thing she cant kill) to put on her windowsill.  Lucky she doesn't know how to turn on a computer, huh!

On the way home we called in at service centre for pee breaks (another thing in common) and Mum tried her first Popcorn chicken.

Her verdict was "they are quite savoury, aren't they".   I couldn't let her go through life without ever having proper junk food, now can i.   She must enjoy all of life's riches.    I took her two weeks ago to see Hot Shoe Shuffle, at Her Majesty's Theatre in Melbourne so since her recovery from major surgery only a few weeks ago, she's done pretty well for herself.    She leaves to go back home next Friday and so i have only a few more nights to squeeze some time in.  I know I'm blowing a few pennies at this time and will need to seriously buckle down to saving but i don't get to spend time with Mum very much and nor do I get the chance to spoil her.

Now, I'm on a mission to find a lobster and then work out what to do with it.  She said the other night that she hadn't had one for thirty years.  ......

Now this will be interesting.  I had to get my husband to take the head off a prawn the other day when i made her an old fashioned Prawn Cocktail.  I just couldn't do it.  I don't eat seafood.

Tra La.....

Thanks for visiting Living In The Land of Oz

Saturday, 14 September 2013

Introducing Miss Tilly

Please love me!
 I know, I know, could you look at that little face and not fall in love?   This is Chantilly or as she is known, Tilly.  She is the latest and very much loved newest addition to our family.  Its been just over a month since we lost our beloved Peppy.  If you had asked me then when we would think of getting a new dog i would have said, at the time, never.  No one could replace him but in truth, the hole he left behind had become so huge that in our small family of 3 it felt like we were missing a limb.  This absence in the home of a pet for all of us to cuddle and love had become "a thing".  I don't know how to describe it any other way.  So, Rob and I, unbeknown to each other, were casually looking to see what was available to fill this void.  We both searched the rescue places and didn't see what we were looking for.  Then we both started looking at Maltese breeders but both of us felt that to get the same breed would be like trying to replace Pep, or we would keep making comparisons.

Look at those lashes

Hubby found advert on Gumtree for a breeder that lived only a short distance away and came to me to show me what he had found.  Tilly is a pedigree Chinese Crested (Powderpuff).  They come in two different varieties, hairless and powderpuff, which has a beautiful soft coat that doesnt shed.  The litter is usually mixed and Tilly comes from a litter of 4, 2 hairless and 2 powderpuff.  We both spent a night researching the breed and going on forums to see what kind of temperament she would have but at the end of the day i believe that it comes down to the individual dog, training and environment.  Tilly's brother was very boisterous and feisty while she appeared to be timid (which she is not) and very loving (which she is).  I spent quite a bit of time with Rebecca from Entourage Cresteds discussing her care and the breed in general waiting for Hubby to arrive to inspect only to be presented with Tilly, fate accompli.  Could you refuse that face?????

The hairless mutations of this breed are a fascinating genetic twist.  Cresteds fall into the toy category of breeds and she should be no taller than 30cm when adult.

Her real name is "Entourage The Cats Whiskars"
We don't have any intention, at the moment, of breeding her so at six months she will probably be desexed.

This is her Mum (Inka) and Dad (Quigley).

Tilly's colouring will lighten and she will be white and sable when older

They can both be groomed in a variety of styles but i think we will just keep to grooming for comfort rather than appearance and keep the coat short in summer and thicker in winter as we did with Pep. Tilly is a very fine boned little miss at 8 weeks and is very loving and cuddly with a bit of spark in short bursts.  I can see that we will have to deal with the usually puppy traits of mouthing, chewing and house training but this comes with the territory.

Last night i went onto the River Cottage Australia link posted on Rhonda's Weekend Reading post and watched the entire series in one night.  It all became too much for Tilly and she flaked out on me.

Ten minutes before this shot i was holding onto a tug rope beside my chair and she was pulling with all her might making tiny little growling sounds.  It doesn't take long to wear her out.

Tom automatically became Mr Mum when she arrived and at the end of the first day he came to me, gave me a big hug and said thank you.  He is besotted.  Last night he came to me and said, Mum can you take her tonight, i cant get any sleep.  Sound familiar ladies?    So she curled up on her blanket with her toy that smells like her siblings and slept all night beside my bed.  Only the bantams tapping on my window at 6.30am for their morning feed woke her up.

We like to take our dog with us and so her training began today.  She was popped into a dog carrier and went for a drive.  First i picked up Mum (visiting from NSW) and sister and dropped the borrowed cat cage back to Little River.  Then onto to Lara to visit my friend Ella for coffee, yummies and a garden tour.  Followed by a quick trip down to Queenscliff on the coast to visit my favourite eatery The Courtyard Cafe where Tilly sat at my feet under the table in the courtyard.  What a perfect little lady she was.  Being so tiny and cute there were lots of ooo's and arhhhs by the other diners, and she didnt make a sound.

Potato and Bacon Fritata with salad and relish.  I love the seed mix that they sprinkle on their salads and the flaked salt.
Mum decided she would forgo the desert cabinet for a Scandinavian icecream down the road.  It was so cute to see Mum sitting on a little sidewalk table licking a icecream that was so so big.  She looked like a little girl.   She also admired a double strand of brightly coloured wooden beads in a passing window, so on the pretext of getting a treat for Tilly i backtracked and purchased them.  The girls at church, of all ages, will be jealous.  Tilly travelled well and slept most of the time and I'm looking forward to going on holidays with her.  Midway through the day i got a call from Tom saying "Mum, can you bring Tilly back home, i miss her".

Yet another grandchild to add to the brood.  I think Mum has lost count of two legged and four legged variety.  
So, there you have it.  Im sure you will be seeing plenty more of Tilly as she grows up.

Oh, take a look at my pear tree blossom today, how pretty.

Thanks for visiting Living In The Land of Oz