Thursday, 27 June 2013

When City Council's Get It Right!

Many people like to whinge about their local council.   It seems they can do nothing right.  There's always a road that needs fixing or an inconvenient by-law that prevents you from doing something.  The list of complaints must seem endless.   Councils are made up of many people, working in many different departments that all come together to create and manage your municipality.  

Well I'm telling you that the people at my local council are working their butts off trying to deal with the many issues that arise when you have the third fastest growing municipality in Australia.  When i first came here 18 years ago the population was approx 90,000.  It is now 187,000 and by 2021 it is forecast to be 245,000.
So how do you go about handling this type of growth and still maintain your focus on the community's wellbeing. By having several departments full of motivated people that do exactly that.  Recently I've had some correspondence with a department called Healthy Communities.   Hi Eilis!!!  Her job title is Partnership and Engagement Officer. She does and has a great job and recently ran under the Greens ticket at the local council elections so you know she's got passion. I certainly feel more "engaged" with my community of late. 

You will have heard me mention many times in this blog (under the Garden and Self Sustainability labels) that Wyndham City Council sponsored the workshops that i have been attending through a organisation called Shoestring Gardening , under the banner of Growing Healthy Communities Workshops.  Well its that time when they have to make submissions for future funding of Shoestring's community gardening programs and workshops and i am fully supporting it with my fingers and toes crossed.  Can they hurry up though - I'm turning blue!

Another initiative of this department includes social media.  This city has a large young population. 
Facebook - Healthy and Active In Wyndham   linking residents with resources within the city to help stay fit and healthy.  This is a great site that provides lots of healthy tips and connects residents with a multitude of registered groups and "friends".  There are walking groups, gardening groups, recipes, bicycle clubs, gyms etc.   

This is a couple of examples of recent entries on the facebook page:

Laughter is the best medicine! A good belly laugh exercises your diaphragm, contracts your abs and works your shoulders. Laughing 100 times is comparable to 10 minutes on a rowing machine or 15 minutes on an exercise bike! Check out some other cute facts about laughter below!

Now how many Governments (Local, State or Federal) do you think give two hoots about your laughter quota.   Apparently the volunteer pruners at the State Rose Garden not only get exercise and roses but get  plenty of laughter as well.  So if you are new to the city and want to get involved then click on the link they provided with their comment.  Now if this isn't an invitation to connect?

Click "like" if you know a beautiful woman.

I like this one, as we come in all shapes, sizes, colours and religions in this city.

On the Council's webside under Sustainable Living in the City of Wyndham you can find many tabs like:

Where all the Op Shops are
How to reduce waste at home;
Saving Energy and Water;

And best of all and the reason i was posting today (cause you knew i would get their eventually), a brand new booklet called Home Harvest.

Home Harvest - How to Grow your Own Delicious Fresh Food  You can view this booklet in PDF form by clicking link.  It really is quite detailed yet simple for a beginner, like me.

This fantastic booklet was created with the assistance of Sustainable Gardening Australia.   I do recommend checking this site out.  It has great resources and fact sheets.  If you are in another Victorian municipality or are in a temperate zone, they may have one that is specific to your area. 

Wyndham are giving 25 residents the opportunity to attend a free gardening workshop to launch their new Home Harvest booklet created and tailored specifically for Wyndham residents. Home Harvest is delivered as an intensive 5 hour workshop focused on designing and maintaining a successful produce garden. Helen Tuton, on behalf of Sustainable Gardening Australia, will educate and will demonstrate while participants get to enjoy a “hands on” experience.  Don't forget lunch and snacks, they promised!

Well guess who got to be one of the 25 residents?  ME

So stay tuned for a post over this coming weekend.  I am sure to have more to say and be full of enthusiasm.

For those who haven't been following the great chicken adventure (try the last three posts), here is a shot of three of my five little girls (Pekin Bantams) eating politely from the bowl this morning.  I sadly get only a glimpse as i waltz out the door and they have already put themselves to bed when i get home.

Lacy, Chelsea & Honey

Thanks for visiting Living In The Land of Oz

Monday, 24 June 2013

Chicken Foot Bath, Pedicure & Facial

Warning - Don't be Eating when you read this post!

Funny the things they don't tell you when they sell you chickens.  Yep, my beautiful girls looked just fine in the photos especially to me being an inexperienced buyer that had been longing for chickens.  I've had Blackie and Molly for two days now and my family and I have fallen in love with them. 

I know, its my own fault for not researching first but it was a Gumtree purchase and i really wanted chickens and like i said in Saturday's post, they had me at "hello". 

So for those who want to use their head first before giving away their heart, here are a few things to look for.  If you are showing them there is a long long list but this is the basics for the backyard owner who just wants happy healthy little bantams:

Eyes should be large and bright.  They are usually red or orange/red.
Beak should be short and slightly curved.
Comb should be single, small, firm, straight and erect.  Red in colour without blemishes.
Vent area should be clean and no discharge.
Legs and feet should be yellow in colour.  Legs should be short and well apart.  Feet should have four toes that are straight and all have toenails.  Legs should be abundantly covered with soft outstanding feathers.

Pay attention to the description of healthy legs and feet.

Now take a look at my baby girls feet when i sat down to give them an all over health check after work tonight. 

I don't know where to look and I'm sure you don't either.  What of earth has happened to their feet.  Molly's are just as bad.  Poor poor girls.  What i can tell you is that this is what happens when scale is left untreated for a long time.   Pekins don't show their feet.  They are totally covered in feathers that drag on the ground. This means they tread lightly on the soil and they don't do as much damage.  Its a case of feet unseen. So you actually have to make the effort to pick them up and examine them and if necessary deal with the issue. 

Its not pleasant but you know, you (or in this case I) chose to care for them. So with the aid of my ever willing assistant (my big sister who recently moved here from interstate to live making me the happiest sister in the world) we got to work on all five of them.   We did all this at 4.30 pm as they were just becoming docile and sleepy.  When we were finished we dried them and put them straight into the warm coop with plenty of bedding.  I've covered the front doors with a thick towel to give them total darkness and protection from the winter air overnight.  There is a building project for the weekend to build some nesting boxes on the side since ive more than doubled my original 2.

1.   Soak the legs and feet in warm soapy water.   This wasn't hard at all.  We filled an old baking dish with warm water and a little dishwashing detergent and just lowered them down into it.  They were so placid and seemed to enjoy their foot bath.   I cleaned their feet and feathered legs with a small paint brush while Big Sis held them.

One very relaxed chooky

Miss Honey in the drink

Lacy before her facial looking a little dry.

Molly in the foot bath

Molly, definately in need of a pedicure and nail trim. 
2.  Once lightly patted dry, trim nails with dog clippers being careful not to cut to close to the quick. 

3.  Treat scale by painting legs all over with olive oil using a soft paint brush.

4.  While i had them in hand i also oiled their comb and the other parts on their head with oil.  They were loving the attention and we were bonding.

Honey getting her facial

And off to sleep she goes.   Very Cute. 
5.  Be sure to disinfect all containers, tools and your hands. 

I will continue the above treatment twice a week over the next few weeks and the scale will gradually fall off.  I'm not sure what will be left but only the girls and I will know what goes on under their full feathered dresses. 

For more information refer to How to remove scaly leg mites  from Gav at Greening of Gavin.

One thousand thank you to Craig from Edible Gardens who was one the end of the phone when i saw the extent of the scale and panicked.  Yep, I can do this.

So, now that Ive done the appropriate research and had a little hands on experience i now know that i have chosen not only the cutest of all bantam breeds but also one that involves a little more work than a normal chicken due to their overabundance of feathers. Trust me!


1. Check under their tail and cushion area for droppings that have stuck.  You can trim this area and around the vent area lightly so that it doesn't get as dirty.

2.  Check vent area for signs of lice or mites.  As Pekins are lower to the ground they are more prone to getting lice than other poultry breeds.   Use organic methods like providing wood ash in their dust bath.  Be sure to stock up for use in summer also.  Spray roosts with vinegar and citrus oil or Neemoil to prevent infestation. 

3. Rub some Vitamin E cream or olive oil into combs and wattles as it keeps them from getting dry and flakey.  All girls need a moisturiser. 

4.  Change bedding in their coop and sprinkle some ash through the bedding. 

5.  Garlic boosts their immune system - sprinkle minced garlic in their feed every now and then. Comfrey is a preventive medicine for chooks - just put a little in their yard. Apple Cider Vinegar in the water helps with disease causing organisms in the gut.


Inspect feet and toes (once any treatments have been completed) and trim nails. 

Apply lice treatment if necessary.


Give them fresh food, grains and cereals, shell grit, and fresh water.

Pop them out onto the grass every few days for a nibble of greens.

Give them all a cuddle every day. 

Oh, and i suppose i really should be checking for eggs.  Forgot that's why i got them.  LOL

Thanks for visiting Living In The Land of Oz

Sunday, 23 June 2013

Chicken Refuge

OK, this is getting serious.  Saturday morning i woke up chickenless.  That's right, not a chicken in site.  The dog, Peppy, was quite secure in the knowledge that he had our undivided attention as he has for the last ten years.  Oh how things change, and quickly.  Poor Pep!

As my post of yesterday stated,  i picked up a coop and my first two chickens from Melton before having a lovely morning tea with Gav and Kim from The Greening of Gav.   Once home it was fun fun fun getting to know each other and worrying non stop as all new mothers are apt to do.   How come they wont use the ramp?  Why aren't they eating the food? I had served a full chicken buffet to tempt the fussiest of diners.   Pellets, grains, bread, fresh veg and water.  What's not to like?  Chickens get up early, why were mine still on the roost at 9am.  I mean, i had invited guests for breakfast at 9  that were expecting an encore performance after they had turned up 9.30pm the previous night saying "So, where are the chickens?" - City Slickers!

By 10am  they were up but wondering how to get down.   USE THE RAMP i was telling them, but no, it took 30 min and open doors up-stairs for them to kind-of jump down free fall.  This was their coop.  Not a knew one but they didn't seem to know how to operate it.  Poor chickens.  Their every move has been watched and dissected all day.  Not just by me.  All three of us have been ooing and arring through the glass door/windows as they dust bathed conveniently right in front of us.  My guests were suitable impressed with my ladies, Molly and Blackie.  That's right, Esmeralda has had a name change by popular vote that overruled me.  How can you call a beautiful lady Blackie?  Blackie does not pay homage to the dark emerald green in her feathers. 

The girls were having a great time dust bathing and fluffing their feathers. 
By 12, they had a reprieve.  Guests had left and i was on my way to Ballan to visit Jessie from Rabid Little Hippy.  Didn't we see each other yesterday?  Yes, but i was delivering the carpet newly removed from my sons bedroom which looks like it might find a home in her hubby's rather glamorous shed (it has a wood heater) while i had the work ute for the weekend.   Carpet in a shed?  Let me tell you that this morning it was -6.5C in Ballan.  I'd want not only the heater and carpet but full insulation if i was spending time in a tin shed in those temps.

Jess came out to help unload the carpet and when we walked inside this is how we found Orik.  How cute?
So, to the point (at last) of my tale.  Jessie has three beautiful little Pekin Bantams that were being, how can i put this politely, hmmmmm......   being molested regularly by some rather large very horny roosters.  The poor things were hiding in the dark corner of the shed whilst the beasts strutted their stuff in the sunny yard.  So, as we explained to little Allegra, Honey and her friends were going to a lovely holiday resort where they would have other friends the same size and there were no naughty boys.  She took it well, kudos to you Allegra.

So in the space of one day, i have gone from none, to two, to five Pekin Bantams and i and the "boys" couldn't be happier.   I arrived home to find more guests, my sister and her two grandchildren playing with Molly and Blackie.  They duly inspected the new arrivals and renamed two of them. I insisted that Honey remain Honey for Allegra's sake.  So now we have Molly, Blackie, Lace, Honey and Chelsea (which by co-incidence happens to be the 4 year old girl's name. Fancy That!

My nieces daughter, my sister's granddaughter, my...........cheeky girl Chelsea.
I kept the new arrivals in a box until dark and the other two had gone to bed.  In the dead of night (or around 7) i slipped them in and other than a few quiet clucks that was it.  Everyone went to sleep.  Who knew that i knew what i was doing.  All that advice and workshops must have sunk in. 

I'm expecting the worst at first light.  Well wouldn't you be upset to find three unknowns in your room. Lucky I'm up that time but its something they have to sort out on their own.  The Pecking Order!  Jess believes that little Honey (the smallest) will come out on top.  As the roosters favourite she's has some battle experience after all.  
Chicken Wars
Tomorrow my sister is coming over to hold them while we give them the once over.  I'm looking at claws that need trimming, possible scale and clipping of wings.  All pretty much run of the mill stuff that you do every day, NOT!  Hey, I'm a mother, of chickens, and so i will skill up to deal with whatever. 

Thanks for visiting Living In The Land of Oz

Saturday, 22 June 2013

I am about to burst with happiness!

Today i got my first chickens and i'm giggling like a little girl. This is not a photo of someone else's chicken, they are mine, all mine.  

Meet Molly, very creamy and so many feathers, she looks like she's wearing a massive bell hooped dress.  The gorgeous jet black one with greens and blue highlights is Esmeralda.  They are Pekin Bantams and appear to be young from the size of the crest.   You had better get use to them as these girls are going to be blog superstars. 

Molly isn't quite use to the camera yet, but here are her beautiful feathers. 
I've started small which for me is a miracle. I do have a tendency to jump in with both feet and over plan, over commit and over spend on my passions but i am learning from the masters, my fellow bloggers, to take it slow, make it simple, be frugal and also that patience is a virtue.

I still have my grand designs but we are over committed on home projects at the moment and needs to finish them first and get to a point where we are not both working 40 hrs each week and then coming home to two days of more work getting crabbier everyday. What, me?

I was searching on Gumtree for tractor options for my friend Jessie over at rabidlittlehippy, when i came across an advert for a coop with two bantams in Melton for $100.  Well that just needed further investigation and then POW! I saw them.   "The Girls", they had me at hello!   I don't think i really would have cared much about the coop but i knew i needed to pacify the tradie husband so i enquired about the strength of the frame etc etc etc bla bla bla.   The owner was a lovely gentleman who genuinely cared for them.  He has a business in organic gardening and so he must be trustworthy and an all-round good guy, right?

First call of business though was to brush up on all things relating to chickens.  Ive read many books in the past whilst daydreaming of a chicken paradise. Ive even blogged about courses that i have attended on making coops and keeping chickens for beginners (here under my Chicken Label ) but talking about and doing it are too different things.

So who are you going to trust? Ghostbusters!   Nope, Gavin from The Greening of Gavin.  Coincidentally, he is doing a series on keeping chickens right now so hop on over to Gavin's Chicken Label for lots of good posts.

Ii purchased his Ebook  - The Way of the Chicken - A Guide to Keeping Backyard Chickens.  76 Pages of Gavin retelling his story from when he and his family starting building there first coop and run, to the getting of theirs first flock and all the basic information you need to get started and keep them healthy and happy.  The only problem with Gav's books is that he writes from his heart and when his chook died, I was sitting in front of my PC crying right along with him.  I almost gave a Whoop! when he got his first egg.  More tears.   You can tell that I'm going to be a basketcase with my girls, cant you? 

 76 pages for less than USD4 - bargain!
After picking up the girls, guess whose place i visited.  That's right none other than the King of Bloggers, Gavin himself.  Gav and Kim were kind enough to invite Jessie and I for morning tea.  I got the personal tour of his garden, saw the cob oven, inspected Cluckingham Palace, sized up his fruit trees and his solar operations but best of all, i got to meet his beautiful wife and eat his cheese.  Pretty cool and committed stuff.  A great example of someone leading the way.  No photos, i was being polite. 

Now, where to put these girls of mine.   My reserved location for The Chicken Palace (pending) has one problem.  That would be a dog that barks on the other side of the fence from sun up to sun down for no other reason than it is bored, unloved, untrained, inappropriate shelter, and basically uncared for.  I'd approach the owner but he is way too scary.  Anyone who calls his very young daughters "b...........s" is not going to take me telling him to look after his dog too kindly.  So i am plodding along with the proper actions through council.   I digress but this barking would not be good for the girls, hell, it drives us mad.  So, i am putting them around the other side of the house in our fernery area which is under shade cloth.  Its more protected from frosts and the weather during winter anyway. 

This area is on the North side about is 20m long and goes from 2m to 3m wide.  It is current covered by 90% shade cloth to keep house cool in summer but at least 4 m at the other end will soon be opened up for a grape vine - i just have to string the wire. 
The footprint of the coop is only 1450 X 950 and so i can move a few pots around and find it a home on the mulch.  This side area has a gate at each end that can be locked so i can let them out of the coop to forage in the fernery.  There must be bugs in that mulch and wood chips as we have frequent bird visitors who scratch around in there.   There is also a small table and chairs so i can sit out with them.

View from sliding door
What this does do is put them right outside the glass sliding door leading off the kitchen dining area which has pluses and minuses.  I am going to have to be super vigilant about cleaning the flooring out regularly to avoid any smell entering the house but can you imagine sitting at your dining table and hearing the little contented cluck cluck clucks a few mtrs away.  I think also they will get more attention and ready scraps from the kitchen as they will be within vision rather than down the back where there are no rear facing windows.  Going into the backyard involves having a purpose usually.  Although there is far more going on there now than when it was a patch of Kikuyu, sometimes a week will go by without my venturing around the back.

I also plan to use a large cage setup that we bought for Peppy when he had to be immobilised to give them a run on the grass when i am home.  Bantams don't fly much so i think my tall veggie beds at 90 cms are probably safe but the low ones that are only 45cm high and the potato bed on the ground will need protecting.  The cage (which is quite large) seems the best option and i can move it around. I bought a second hand mower catcher and filled it with sugar cane mulch so they can nest or find shade while out on the grass. 

In the background is where the big L shaped coop will be built later in the year.  We are just practising for now. 
Did you know that chickens originated from forest dwelling birds? Of course you did, you are all chicken experts.  What better place than to have them wandering about among the ferns and palms.  I'll wait to see what the damage is in the next few weeks before revising my location but bantams are not as destructive as other varieties of chicken.   They also appear to be very cuddly.  I had several cuddles already and they don't seem to mind being picked up. 

Its going to be very interesting watching Peppy with them.  He has never seen a chook before and at first it was overwhelming.  We had to hold him.  I don't think he wants to hurt them but he does want to get close enough to sniff them out.  Once he realises they are staying and that he is still head of the mob he will probably go to sleep outside their cage while we are away.
So why am i bursting with happiness.   When i started that very first permaculture course with Shoestring Gardening way back in August, we received a good grounding over two day on permaculture and organic principles.  Without chickens it just doesn't make sense.  They are a large part of the cycle.  So now with my veggie garden, my worm farm, my compost and now my chickens, i think i can say that i've completed the full circle.  The two final things on my list are irrigation and solar.

Don't get me wrong.  If these courses and your blogs have taught me anything, its that you never stop learning and that there is so much to learn.

Thanks for visiting Living In The Land of Oz

Thursday, 20 June 2013

The 4th Frog Blog - Telling it like it is with humour

Let me tell introduce you to a new blog i found.  Strange name huh! 

Now what drew me to Amy?    First there is a little phrase beside her picture in the side bar and it says "I blog therefore i don't sleep".  How true this is.  You know it is, for many of us.  On many nights after a full day of work and home chores I've finally sat down and blogged on, especially when i am posting, till 1 or 2 in the morning without even feeling slightly tired.  That is, until i look at the clock and know that I've got to get up 3 hours. 

OK the name of the blog.  Amy explains it best:


"How I became the 4th Frog

I decided to start blogging in June 2008. But several weeks went by and the blog was still a figment of my imagination because I was stuck on what to call it. Then my husband told me this riddle:
Four frogs were sitting on a log. Three decided they were going to jump off. How many were left?

All four. Three frogs said they were jumping, but no one took any action.

I decided I wanted to be the one that jumped. So I became the 4th Frog.


Now you got to want to know someone who wants to be the one to jump, don't you?

Just Do It
The following is Amy's advice on how to release stress in less than 5 minutes without buying someones book.  

4th Frog - I don't need a press release to tell me about stress release

I'm sorry but I'm still such a "goodie two shoe" (in some things) at 49 that i still crack up at the naughtiness of talking about farting but she is probably right about that one.  There is certainly an uncomfortable kind of stress involved in having to hold it in until you reach a bathroom because, well, girls don't fart, now do they?

Her readers are pretty cool too, this comment is from kimybeee


"I am telling you if everybody farted when they needed to the world would be a happier and funnier place. I laugh so hard when I am in a multi stall bathroom. farts are funny! and the middle east eats all that spicy food, no wonder they are always at war - they have too much pent up fart gas bothering them".


Dare i put a picture of Farting in my post? Well if Wikipedia actually think its worth quite a lengthy entry then who am i to exclude.  This is a test anyway.  If anyone in my family actually reads my blog (which i doubt) i will soon be advised of its inappropriateness and a phone call from my mother will soon follow along with a lecture about being a "lady".  I'm waiting.............

Artwork by Tim Nyberg - The fish doesnt look stressed, now does it.
Anyway, check out Amy's blog.  Im turning the PC off before it keeps me hostage all night, again. 

Thanks for visiting Living In The Land Of Oz

Monday, 17 June 2013

Oh Lordy - The Teen is Renovating his Room!!!

One of many reasons for writing a blog is to bookmark family events and happenings so that at some point we can look back and relive the past.  Kind of like a living photo album.    So indulge me.

It's been a long time coming but with the advent of Dad getting a job, the big reno is underway.  Tom (16) has a double bedroom down the back of the house but with a double bed, sundry drawers, consoles and stereo paraphernalia, its quite a squeeze.  One that really gets my goat when i venture in, with trepidation, to find the dirty clothes and to change the bed sheets before they start growing mould.
As you can see the carpet has to go and also i don't think the buttercup yellow walls suit a 16 year old boy. 

It was actually about two years ago, Tom's been quite patient, that we discussed opening up the wall to the bedroom next door and making one giant room.  One that will allow him a small sofa bed for friends and room for all "his stuff".  Presently it is in boxes and spread out all over the house.  Oh, we have four bedrooms and only 1 child so with one allocated as an office there is one spare that gets filled up with junk when visitors arrive and never finds its way to being cleared.

The Pièce de résistance of the renovation is a wall unit that Tom has designed many times over.  It takes up one wall leaving a gap in the middle to fit his bedhead (ie the bedhead is recessed into the unit). 

Hard to see but is has spaces for just about everything including the fridge (bottom RHS) which he already has.
Actual measurements.   He did all this himself.  Its about the 10th version and he spends nights dreaming about it putting it on paper and then presenting it to us the next day hoping that it will get started soon. 
It has cubby-holes for just about everything, including cup holders, recessed lights, speaker ports, lots of storage for games, DVDs, CDs and hopefully in there somewhere is a few cavities for important stuff like baskets of socks and jocks.  This will alleviate the need for drawers.  I'm hoping that the misc models of cars and trains and football trophies currently taking up residence in my beautiful country wall unit in family room will make it into his room/s as well.  Ive got my own stuff hidden away in boxes to pull out and use.

Can you imagine this filled with heritage platters and large ceramic bowls that will actually be used?

So while i was doing  a 21.5 hr weekend at work (after a 40 hr week) they went shopping for a tin of paint and came home with not only the paint but packs of bamboo flooring.  At $61m2 its not so bad for just his room but calculate that out over the whole house and i think that we are going to have hotch potch flooring for many years to come.  Some rooms will have the now 18 year old cream carpet (Yuk) and gradually the bamboo flooring will creep throughout.  They did call the "Finance Minister" for the final OK and my only criteria was that whatever they bought had to last 25 years plus, had better not sound or look like plastic or vinyl, and that when it did reach the family room. it flowed seamlessly onto the deck through the french doors without looking mis-matched.  Now is that too much to ask for?  I'm not sure they took it too much into consideration but i was pleased that the bamboo boards are eco friendly and it is a solid piece and not a veneer.  Later on, if needed, it can be lightly sanded and restained.
Actual Colour under bright light.

Tongue and Groove for easy installation.   - this is the colour it normally looks inside and will go well with the merbau deck later on. 

You might be wondering who is going to do all this work.  Well look no further than the 3 of us.  Its usually an exercise in family disharmony throughout the process but we do good work.  Now that Tom is older he is taking on more jobs himself.  Today he taped up the room to protect the stained architraves and put some filler in any holes.   It just needs a light sand and tomorrow he will start painting.  I've asked my sister over to be a friendly adviser and ladder holder (cause he's doing it himself, he tells me) and i don't imagine it will take more than a day to do the one room.  He's not waiting for Dad to open up the second room as he figures he could be waiting another year. His focus is getting that wall unit built that he designed and the walls and floor have to be done first. 

Important paint attributes for teenager' bedrooms - Exception Washability, Superior Stain Resistance, Highly Scuff Proof.  Most importantly it is Vivid White - at times he was planning on Black with white splotches! 
And so it begins.....     I imagine this job will take a while and in the mean time he has moved all his stuff into the family room and looks quite at home taking up the centre of the house. 

Only problem is that he is near the kitchen and i got in trouble at 5am this morning making too much noise while i was getting Dad's breakfast and making his lunch. 

Where do these kids get their spunk from?

Thanks for visiting Living In The Land of Oz

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Being Bold - If you dont ask, you dont get!

Adjective   (of a person, action or idea)  Showing an ability to be:
1. Fearless and daring; courageous;
2. Requiring or exhibiting courage and bravery;
3. Unduly forward and brazen.
Gosh, this topic is a bit out there today.  Why am i giving you an English lesson?  I'm not really, its just that i was told i was "bold" today and it got me thinking what the word actually meant.  Looking at the above definitions it could be seen as both a positive and a negative attribute.  So was it a compliment? 
Am i fearless and courageous? No siree - last week i was asked by a council rep. to back my blog, or at least my posts on the workshops I've been doing at Shoestring Gardening in order to support their application for continued funding from the council.  This involved an interview on camera.  I couldn't run fast enough despite my commitment to Shoestring and the wonderful work they do.  I wrote long long emails and provided access to my blog posts for a powerpoint presentation but put me in front of a camera (either still or video) and it just wont happen.   Why?  I am introspective (big word) enough to understand that i have self-esteem issues regarding my appearance.  I am a BIG girl. I am intelligent (some would think) enough to know that it shouldn't matter but it does and so there is the truth of the matter.  It doesn't stop me from achieving results though - i work around it.  Remember - i am bold.

Am i unduly forward and brazen?  Hmmmm  Am i one to put myself out front or do i have no shame? 
I do know i am easily embarrassed.  At almost 50 I still flush red with embarrassment to the point of being purple when i inadvertently find myself the centre of attention.  I sometimes without thinking point out a naughty joke or make reference to a sexual innuendo only to be completely undone when i realise what i have said and everyone is looking at me.  The boys in the office have great fun at my expense.  I then become the joke, because of the colour of my face.  Somewhere inside is the "good girl" that knows shes been naughty and hence my embarrassment.  At 49? 
I think this could also be probably linked to the second definition of bold and that is exhibiting courage and bravery.  I guess yes, i could be seen to put myself out there.  I do often take the lead, not to self promote but to get the job done. I am task orientated.  Am i conceited enough to think that someone else couldn't do it better? No, but often no one does, so i jump in to make things happen.  I think what i am capable of doing (i don't know how) is faking bravery.  I'm a very pro-active person and if something has to be done to get things rolling then I'm probably going to be the one to do it. Yep, i think that's it.  I step out of my comfort zone and fake boldness in order to achieve results. Someone give me an Academy Award.  
So here's the rub - if i can do it, with my handicap of self esteem issues, so can you

My husband calls this ability as having "more front than Myer and David Jones put together".  This is a Melbourne saying as there are two major department stores in the city that sit side by side and together their frontage takes up most of a city block.

He is not referring to my bust size but my ability to make things happen.  I am sure his life would be much simpler (but less organised) if his wife were one to sit round painting fingernails and looking ornamental but  when you are built like a brick "S....t" house, you don't get to play the dainty fragile card. I am physically as capable as he is and he knows it.  So i just better get on and do the job. 

I have never had a bikini nor have i smoked but the shape is about right!

I live by the motto:
If you don't ask, you don't get!

So why was i told i was bold today?
Karen at Shoestring asked us a week ago to collect PET bottles and plastic milk bottles for an up and coming workshop during school holidays where they will be teaching children about composting and gardening and the whole premise of Shoestring is to re-use, re-cycle and re-purpose.  So much to my husbands embarrassment when we were in Bunnings (large warehouse hardware store) i asked the cafe if they had empty milk bottles they were throwing out.  Of course they did, I'm not silly, but would they give them to me?  Most people, if you explain why you want something, will help you out.  By the time i got back from getting a trolley she had removed them from the bin and rinsed them out.  I arranged an appointment to come back next weekend to do the same.  Oh and while I'm at it could i have your coffee grounds as well. Sure, just bring a container. 

Now is that hard?  Did it hurt anyone?  Was i unduly forward and brazen?  Was there anything to be afraid of other than the word "NO"?

By mid week, my collection has grown considerably.  They are breeding like rabbits in my family room and will soon take over.  I've now got several coffee providers doing the same and have appointed times each day for collection.   Why provide a few, when you can give lots.  They are going to think we (a family of 3) drink a lot of milk.   

Need veggies for your chooks or styro foam boxes for growing seedlings, then rock up to your local fresh market and ask to dumpster dive out the back.  Most don't care, its waste anyway.   On second thoughts perhaps i do have no shame.   

Not Me - I'd love a rear view like this one. 
Running short of funds and cant pay your utilities.  Then get on the phone at your earliest possible time and negotiate a payment plan. Why stress over it?   9/10th of the people on the end of the phone do not care.  They will just make a note on the file and move onto the next customer.  Its not personal, they don't know you, you are just an account number on their system.

Paying too much for something, then negotiate.  If you aren't comfortable in person, then do it over the phone.  Or, if you can possibly fake confidence, like i do, look them straight in the face.  Very few people will turn you down completely.  Compromise is the key.  You might not get everything you ask for but possibly more than nothing. 

My point today, is not to gloat about my scavenging abilities, my acting prowess or to shout FIGJAM (if you have to ask, don't).  Its to encourage you to step outside of your comfort zone and take control of (or skirt around) your insecurities in order to achieve great things in your life.  Be Bold!

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