Friday, October 30, 2009

Careful What You Plant

We are getting a tree out the front taken down today. I am not really into pruning or chopping down living trees but this is a necessity. The roots of the tree are coming up through the house slab and the front veranda is cracked, this is not good.

Whoever has lived in the house before us just randomly planted trees (not plants) which have grown humongous. We have a couple fall over, luckily just into the yard, we have taken a couple out ourselves, and we have has others removed as they were so big we just couldn't do it without killing ourselves. People just don't think, we also have an incredible amount of palms (different kinds) and they are hard to get out because of the roots, so most those have stayed. Needless to say we spend some time going to the tip to get rid of palm fronds and branches, and we also have an uncontrollable yard, especially the front.

When we first moved in the trees were of course there but weren't so big and the yard looked like a lovely park after it was mowed. The sun also shone through. After a few years though all those nice looking trees grew so big that the sun could even reach the ground and the grass died and we couldn't even use that part of the yard. Not only were they huge trees but some were planted really close together, this is just a suburban block, a large one but still just in the suburbs.

So those trees have been removed and my vege gardens are now down there and we can use the yard. However, I can barely remember how much of a jungle it was but the photo above shows a bit, glad it is not like that now.

So as I type, there is a young fellow up the tree (he has been up our coconut trees a few times too) cutting down the branches, I can barely look as he goes so high. Very scary seeing him at the top of a coconut tree too, but he knows what he is doing.

So, the lesson learned from this is to be careful what you plant, and even if you aren't going to be living there forever, be considerate to others that will be.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009


Well, today is a day at home and of course it is about to rain. Had washing hanging out but brought it in as it had started to sprinkle, but isn't it always the way, when you have washing hanging out. Thank goodness for my handy dandy washing area near my very comfy hammock.

I have finally started on two coat hanger covers for my friend's kids, I just don't think anyone should go through life using only plastic coat hangers to hang their lovely clothes. I am using the 75% recycled cotton that I bought recently, and I have quite a bit, unfortunately in only a couple of colours :( but it is easy to work with and I bought a lot of it on special so I am not going to complain.

The men are back at work and school after their quick trip away, though they very reluctantly went, they obviously have too much of a good time when off that they don't want to go back (what a surprise). I am catching up on their washing today and they didn't make too much of a mess when they got home Monday evening (what a surprise).

Of all things to be excited about, I am about pegs. I have just bought some new ones on the Internet and they are very cool. I am sick of pegs that break and deteriorate and leave marks on the clothes, I have been thinking about how maybe those old fashioned ones might be the go but where do you find them? I guess putting out the vibe/question into the world was a good thing, as the answer was delivered to me via one of the forums I regularly visit.

So, I ordered these pegs, they are lovely colours and apparently last for years and they shouldn't break and leave less marks. They seem quite sturdy and I bought a few packets so I could put some away and gradually replace the old yucky pegs. And here is the site I ordered them from, it was easy and they were very prompt,

It is the little things that make life easier, it is amazing how many things we take for granted, imagine not having pegs, you still could dry things but it would be harder. It is like having a sore foot suddenly and not being able to walk properly, your feet are something people rarely think about until they play up, our health, technology, electricity (how much do you miss that when there is a blackout, no fans in the hot weather), water. There a lot of things we take for granted, that we don't think about until it is no longer there, so pegs may sound silly but I am grateful for them.

Monday, October 26, 2009

I have recovered from the big day out on Saturday, and I spent yesterday not doing very much at all. Apart from reading, I spent a lot of time on the computer looking at real estate sites trying to find a property that suits our wants, needs and finances. Not an easy task I can tell you, every time I talk to my partner in crime and life about it he wants more or something different or bigger, the money coffers might not be big enough :)

Today has been spent in my usual way, washing sheets and cleaning, usually a fairly large task after the weekend , but this time hasn't been so bad as there has only been me here this time (and I am pretty clean and tidy and don't leave my stuff all over the place, of course).

Our mangoes are starting look really good now and look they they are going to be really nice, well I hope so. We really look forward to having mangoes, though after the umpteenth millionth mango we do get a bit sick of them, we do have two trees in our yard. Still, I am looking forward to them, and I freeze a lot, dry some and of course eat them for breakfast every day.

I am thinking about having to mow, the grass is not long at all but still alive thanks to the washing water. It is just looking scrappy, some longs weeds and leaves around, dead patches and some green ones, it needs a tidy up.

I obviously have not been looking up much recently and today took notice of the tree in the middle of the yard, it is out in flower. I don't know what sort of a tree it is but it has lovely red flowers, every time it flowers I always admire it, adds colour to the lots of green we have in the yard.

Well, I still have a couple of things to do before I can stop, I would like to do some crocheting today but the work comes first. And I still have to think about dinner for tonight, maybe just an omlette or something simple like that, the men will have been eating plastic food today while travelling home so may not be too hungry. And I am betting as they walk in the house stuff will be left in their wake, oh well, that is life I guess, at least they had a good time while away. The party went well and they caught up with all the rellies and most important, the in-laws. 80is a fairly big milestone, and and while they reduced the numbers attending they still ended up with about twenty five or so.

Well, I am off to fininsh my stuff.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Had a great day yesterday, I drove the whole time which I haven't done in a fair while(my partner in crime and life hates being a passenger so he always drives)and I was tired after I got home but it was a good day.

We went to the markets and had a good wander around, it rained on us there but we stuck it out and it went away. If you look, there are some good bargains at the markets but also a lot of not so good bargains. I got a bag of potatoes and a bag of onions for $1 each, macadamia nuts (so love macadamias) and a purple flag thing for my garden.

We than went the the lake but the kids thought it was too cold for swimming so they just had a run around and we had something to eat (rockmelon, macadamias, almond bread and this puffy bread stuff that icing sugar on it). There wasn't many people there just some kids canoeing and some people scuba diving, which would have been fun.

We then went driving down the back roads to go to my friends parents farm, I was so lost, but we did see some Brolgas (we think they were) and lots of lovely red dirt which I wanted to take home for my garden.

When we got to my friends parents farm, I found they have the loveliest Jacaranda trees. It used to be a working farm but they have now retired and only own the land around the house. They still have the tractors and other farm equipment, big sheds with lots of stuff in them (like you might need for repairs on a farm). Before we left they gave us some potatoes (so now I have two bags) which had only been picked about two days before, so a lot fresher than from the shops.

On the way home, we stopped at a roadside stall at a farm,and I bought bananas and my friend bought a massive watermelon, fresh from the farm, just love that :) We also stopped for an ice cream before heading down the mountain and home.

We spent a lot of the day discussing the property we wanted to buy, what we wanted from that property and how far from town we would like it to be. We looked at lots of land we would like but of course none of it was for sale but it was nice to look anyway, we both would like to move out of suburbia onto some acreage. You never know, one day we may just find what we are looking for :)

Friday, October 23, 2009

Well, I am on my own for the next four days and I have the best of intentions to do many things, but knowing myself as I do, I may get distracted and just do the fun things. The men in my life have gone to Sydney to visit family, it is my father-in-law's 80th birthday and he has also been in hospital, but is now home and much better.

I finally got a photo of the Ipod bag I crocheted and it looks alright.

Our number one and only son is going to a Halloween party next weekend and he is very excited. We don't celebrate Halloween here in Australia but some kids still have parties for it. So I bought some decorations to contribute to the party and also got a couple of masks for him to choose from and he can't wait. The friend of his who is having the party gave up her birthday party this year so she could have a Halloween party instead. So this weekend (just so I don't get lonely) I am going over to help get the outdoor area ready.

I am also going to up the mountains tomorrow with my friend and her two kids (the ones having the Halloween party), actually they are coming with me, and we are going to some markets and then maybe swimming in one of the lakes before coming home. There are some nice spots up there, so we will see how we go.

Getting close to our friend coming to visit, our number one and only son is very excited about this even though he hasn't seen him since he was a baby. I think we may have told too many stories, hope our friend lives up to his reputation :-) just kidding. But seriously, we are all looking forward to it very much, and my partner in crime and life is looking forward to sitting around and talking into the wee hours, if we can make it past 10.30pm without falling asleep that is :)

Well, I best get the dog out of bed, she has been for a walk this morning and then went back to bed, lazy thing.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Well, we have finally had some rain, it has washed away the dust and gave us a beautiful sunrise this morning.

The rain also came after I had watered and had the sheets hanging on the line, so of course they took about 24 more hours to dry, isn't it always the way. However, I wish we would get a bit more, it has cooled down and everything feels clean, but I am not sure what the chances are.

We also saw this lovely rainbow, I still try and find where the end is, because you just never know :)

I crocheted our number one and only son an Ipod bag so he can protect his hard spent money. It turned out quite well now I just hope he remembers to use it, and I wish I could find it in his chaotic pre-teen room so I can preserve its picture forever on my blog, but not today.

My mum sent me photos of my Christmas card basket so now I can put them in, I filled them with tea.

Seeing that I keep all my cards, this is a very useful way to stop me from hoarding, at least some things anyway. And I bought more wool (actually recycled cotton 75%cotton and 25% acrylic) on special so I had better get on with using it up and giving it away.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

A Day of Rest

Must be because it is Sunday, but I am tired. We always relax more on a Sunday but I feel really lazy today.

I made banana pancakes for breakfast this morning, no ice cream :( but my partner in crime and life thinks that is too unhealthy, so we just put golden syrup on them. He is such a spoilsport, but I suppose you get to a point where if you want to live to that 150 that I keep spouting off about you have to look after yourself (by the way, I have to live to 150 as there is too much to do, places to go and people to meet, anything less and I don't have enough time so I have to look after myself) though my Mother-in-law has told me I will be all wrinkly so why, but as long as I can still do stuff I don't care how wrinkly I am, just let mother nature take her course :)


1 cup SR flour
1 large egg
1cup milk
1-3 bananas

Mix and cook

A friend of mine yesterday reminded me about the pancakes as she uses up her old bananas at the end of the week, and we haven't had them for a while so we did. We always have old bananas in the freezer. We once went with them to the beach and made pancakes on the BBQs there for breakfast (including ice cream), I think the kids were still in their PJs.

Our number one and only son made the bread today, he loves homemade bread, so does everyone else, but he needs to learn how to make it and earn his keep :)

MMMMMM, the smell of freshly baked bread. Now it is time to cut the ends off it and slather it with butter (not margarine), maybe I won't make it to 150 after all, no control :))

We are going through some mayonnaise, I think I am addicted to it, and now have started putting it on many different things, but it is so yum. My mum has always made her own mayonnaise (at least from when I took notice of it), the homemade stuff is much tastier and at least I know what is in it and no extras.


1/4 cup vinegar
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2/3 - 1 cup sweetened condensed milk
1 egg yolk, unbeaten
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt
Cayenne Pepper to taste

Put the ingredients into a jar in this order, put the lid on and shake like crazy.

I end up putting a whole jar of sweetened condensed milk in just so I don't eat the rest, and my partner in crime and life won't have a go at me for doing so. See, saves me all round, I don't have leftovers hanging around and I don't get in trouble for eating out of the tin.

Our number one and only son made a volcano out of paper mache today, yes that is a beer bottle holding it up in the centre and he has spray painted it. He is going to put bicarb and vinegar in the bottle and watch it fizz up and hopefully not kill anything. He once did a bottle rocket, same thing with the vinegar and bicarb, nearly killed himself when it went off, pretty impressive though.

Friday, October 16, 2009


I believe that we should strive to be the best we can, to try new things and challenge ourselves, do some scary things sometimes. What I don't like is people thinking they are not good enough because they can't do something as well as someone else, that they are not smart because they can't keep up others. We all have our own unique gifts and talents, and some people just naturally excel at some things.

What I see a lot in my Tai Chi classes and also amongst kids, is that because they can't catch on immediately they think they are dumb. This frustrates me no end, everyone has different learning abilities and interests (who is going to excel at something they are not interested in) and I see people getting down about it.

I don't know if it is society, that the pressure is put on that if you can't do something there is something wrong with you, or just pressure from ourselves. When we were at school you knew where in the class you came for that subject, and even if you got 79%, you felt bad if you were 3rd last or last in the class. I think those days are gone now (mostly) but there still is that competition and I think if people feel bad, it is bad competition, but also we need to learn that not everyone can be first or good at something, and that is OK to.

I don't think this is done consciously by anyone but I think sometimes it happens anyway. I always tell my students (mostly retired people) that they are not to try and keep up (catch up)with others, they should learn at their pace, everyone learns differently and at different speeds, but as they start to get it, the learning process speeds up naturally. But, there is no competition.

When I first started BMX racing, I was embarrassed as I was at the back of the pack, I am still there but I am closer. I am not athletic at all so I will never be fast but I have made sure I have learnt new skills, I don't believe I have wasted my time. When I first started I didn't think I could make it over the jumps (they are actually higher than they look), but now I am faster, can balance on the start gate(though can't get out the gate too fast), pump over the jumps and ride two classes of bikes :) In saying all that, I still hope I am not embarrassing my partner in crime and life, he is very good at BMX. I know that is pressure I am putting on myself, not to look silly, I am nearly over it after three years.

I think kids suffer the most, they try so hard to fit in and it just doesn't always work. They can try their absolute hardest, but there will always be that group who are cooler and smarter and have no problem letting others know about it. Kids also have the problem that they think they can be good at everything first time, mind you some adults think that too (I know I want everything and I want it now).

Healthy competition is good, trying to improve yourself and learn new things, encouraging everyone to do the best they can and to feel good that they have given it a shot. Not everyone is going to be good at everything but it doesn't mean you can't try everything and have fun doing it, and you will most likely find that thing that is your talent or gift, we all have one.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

It Is Nearly Christmas

The weather is quite hot here about 30-32 degrees, but down south they are getting 10-15 degrees is some places, I saw on the weather yesterday that Thredbo got zero degrees. How crazy is all that, at least it is cooling down at night so sleeping is no problem. Must tell our visitor from Adelaide NOT to bring a jumper.

Not long till Christmas now, but I am not going to say out loud how many weeks as it is not long enough. I dread Christmas until the day and then I enjoy it. I don't enjoy it as I struggle to know what to give everyone for a gift and though we have cut down our gift giving it is still stressful.

I noticed on Tuesday when I was in the supermarket that Christmas things are out already, why? I know we have to think about it and prepare ourselves but we don't need to see it on the shelves until December, but obviously that is only my opinion, the supermarkets don't agree.

So, I have already sent off some of my Christmas gifts, some of which I made. So a big relief that I don't have to think about those ones any more. Unfortunately I didn't take a photo of the things I made, don't know why, The Christmas card basket made form old Christmas cards I had never made before and it turned out great. But, no photo, so I will have to make another one just to get a photo. Didn't take a photo of the towel that I crocheted a top on or the dishcloth, where was my head? Probably just thinking thank goodness this part is done.

However, because I liked the colours I did another lot for myself so here is a photo of those.

Christmas is so commercialised that it drives me crazy, I wish we could go back to homemade gifts and limiting the amount spent, but I got laughed at when I mentioned it. I will still make some of my gifts, the things I can, as I know I always love homemade gifts as people put so much effort even into the smallest gift that that is the thing that is the real gift.

Last Christmas I was given this lovely coat hanger that a friend made, and of course I put one of my best shirts on it. It was a lovely gift, and I really love covered coat hangers, it may seem weird but I do. I have always had covered coat hangers, knitted ones that my grandma and mum had made,so when mum was staying I got her to show me how to knit them.

For some reason I didn't realise how easy they were (I obviously have no imagination) so I am going to knit and crochet some too. I went to a friend's house the other week and she was fixing up her kids rooms and I realised they only had wire and plastic coat hangers, so I am going to make her some. Girls have just got to have nice coat hangers for their dresses and boys for their shirts or all is not right with the world, it is like crooked things, just have to straighten them. So hopefully that will get my must-make-coat-hanger-covers-for-the-world bug out of my system.

Our number one and only son loves Christmas and doesn't understand my stress, but he only has to think about Christmas day and how great is that. He actually loves the whole ritual of Christmas, putting the tree up and decorating it, wrapping presents, giving gifts, he really enters into the spirit of it all so I try to as well. I can certainly see where he is coming from, it is a lovely time of the year if you don't get caught up in the whole money spending thing. He also told me yesterday, that he is going to play the only two Christmas songs he can play on his guitar over and over. Of course I promised him that we will find the music to other Christmas songs so he can expand his repertoire (I really don't think that I could stand Jingle Bells and Silent Night being played over and over, though he does play them beautifully)

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The Messy Garden

Time gets away now we are back into our regular routine, having to do the things we HAVE to do as opposed to the things we WANT to do. Still, we don't want life to get away from us so we have to get on.

I was having a look at my top garden today and it really is a mess, though it does have edible things in it. I haven't done anything to it for ages, like months, but it still is growing, I would like to think that is good planning but it is more like good luck.

This top garden is actually overgrown with Gota Kola which is a ground cover and spreads like crazy and is good for arthritis and we add to green salads. Isabel Shipard has a few pages in her book "How Can I Use Herbs in my Daily Life" on this herb, a good read.

The other things in this messy garden are Garlic Chives (no idea how they survived all this time), Chinese Kale, Chilli bush (in the pot), random cherry tomato, Betel Leaf(good for arthritis, headache and joint pain), Kang Kong (Water Spinach), Paw Paw and Abika (New Guinea Spinach, if it grows from the cuttings I planted the other day).

The Mulberry tree next to this garden has a lot of fruit on it this year and we just stand out there and eat them off the tree, so sweet. Next to the mulberry is the sweet leaf, which is beside the Barbados Cherry, which we also just eat straight off the tree. So it is very easy to go out into the garden with a bowl and pick the leaves off different things and come back with a bowl of salad greens, so fresh and yum.

Well, best go and organise dinner, mainly dessert, and maybe have a swing in the hammock :)

Friday, October 9, 2009

Visitors and Snakes

Well, busy week this one, getting back into routine, it took me about a week and half to wind down then had three or four relaxing days then had to force myself back into the term.

My partner in crime and life and our number one and only son are off to NSW in two weeks, only for four days including travelling. They are going down for my father-in-law's 80th birthday, they are having a family lunch with most of the grandchildren and great grandchildren, so it is good they can go. Plus, I get to hang out in my favourite place in the hammock and read, eat chocolate and not get up unless I feel like it, YAY :)

My Tai Chi classes resumed this week and as usual they soldiered on without me, I have some great people who step up during holidays and keep the classes going without me. Even though it is getting hot, people are still coming to class and seem to want to keep going as close to Christmas as possible as we then have a long break as most people are away.

We have a friend from Adelaide coming up to stay in a few weeks time, haven't seen him in quite a few years so we are really looking forward to it, even our number one and only son is very excited. We must have told him lots of stories as I think he more excited than when other visitors have come to stay. We are going to keep it simple while he is here, probably lots of sitting around and talking, taking a couple of beers up to the beach when we walk the dog, out to one of our local creeks, that sort of thing. He is only here for a few days but it is going to be great to catch up in person. Oh, and I promise not to forget to pick him up from the airport :)

Picked up our number one and only son the other day from school and he had in his hand a massive snake skin he had found in the garden. He brought it home to go with his other one which came out of our shed, we haven't seen Cuddles for a while, he must have moved on or is hiding behind our stuff. There is also a green tree snake at the bottom of the garden that I see every few days, so every time I go down there now I am stamping my feet all the way down to scare him away. He is very pretty but I really don't want to step on him.

Cuddles, isn't he pretty, and long.

Well, I had best go see if the bandicoots have dug up the garden (again), I have pegged the wire down, but they still manage to get under sometimes, little ratbags they are.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Combustable Washing

I have been up since 5.30am, walked the dog with my partner in crime and life, got the lunches ready, got me ready, loaded up the washing machine and took our number one and only son to school for Term 4. Except it is a pupil free day today. I even left him there, got just down the road when the mobile rang. I thought I had better answer it as it was unusual for it to ring so early, so I pulled over, it was the school, it is a pupil free day today, so I had to turn around and go back and pick him up. Poor kid, has a mother who didn't even check if he should be at school, he was quite happy to be coming home again, but not happy when I told him he still had to do some maths and guitar practice (though these things would take an hour at the most out of his busy schedule). So now I am wilting as I didn't sleep so well last night, maybe a cup of tea might do me good.

The days here are crispy which makes it good for drying the washing but also making everything fade (most of our clothes are faded on the inside as I hang them inside out). But it is really crispy at the moment so the sheets and towels are being hung out and the clothes are being hung on the racks and hangers in the outdoor area, I think maybe they might burst into flames it is so crispy. I do love looking out the kitchen window and seeing the line spinning around

I was thinking about getting another u bute drying rack to increase my drying capacity for the wet but we already had a bamboo pole hanging (too high mind you) so my partner in crime and life finally lowered it so all the normal sized people can reach and then also put up another over the racks. The fishing rods had to move along slightly but it all worked out perfectly, and then I bought some plastic coat hangers to hang shirts and tops and there you go, all ready for the wet season and also crispy days when your clothes might combust in the sun.

The lawn is patchy but managing on the washing water which I run out onto it, bet it can't wait for the wet to begin. Though they said in the paper the other day that if we don't get some rain soon we will be on water restrictions, I guess you can't be too careful, just in case we don't get as much rain this year. I am sure I remember them letting out some water from the dam a few years ago in anticipation of the wet and we didn't get much, oops.

Well, I feel I have neglected my hammock for too long today and it is calling out to me to sit and have a cuppa and a read. Though I think I might have to save it from our number one and only son who is probably dribbling his lovely homemade iceblock on to it.

Friday, October 2, 2009


Teenagers are just trying to get out the start gate of life and go as fast as they can regardless of the bumps, I actually don't think they can see them until they get there.

Had a thing with our number one and only son, I think he thinks mums may be good for lots of things but not any good when it comes to school work. I am the one he always comes to to ask to do stuff as I am the boss, even if my partner in crime and life is standing right there. But the school work stuff is completely different, I think I will have to go against my nature and let it go, let others help in that area. Hard age too, becoming a teenager, and I know he tries not to be difficult but we do clash sometimes, maybe our natures are similar or too different, but I am going to make more effort.

We believe it is important to be there for our kids but the teenage years especially so. They are going through puberty, put up with peer pressure, hormones, bullying, insecurity all those things, and we hear about teenagers going home to an empty house at the end of the day and no-one to talk to about their stuff. With teenage pregnancy on the rise, drug abuse, suicide and all the other things out there, teenagers need parents in their life.

Now I understand that not all parents can be home in the afternoons, and adults think that now their kids are teenagers they can look after themselves (which is true) but what happens when a kid comes home to an empty house and has had a bad day and needs someone to talk to? They may have to wait for three or four hours before a parent comes home and has all that time to think. Has all that time to make things worse in their own minds.

A friend of mine is a teacher and has said to me that if you can be a stay at home parent, do it during the teenage years. It is very nice to stay home when they are little and watch them grow, but emotionally they need you more as teenagers, keeping in mind all those teenage issues.

Anyway, it is something I feel very strongly about, maybe because we waited a long time for our number one and only son to arrive in our life and couldn't imagine then paying someone else to raise him while we were both at work. We didn't see much point in having a family if we weren't going to be there. This is just how we feel for our own small family and what works for us, and do understand everyone's circumstances are different, what works for one doesn't always work for another.

Being a parent is a hard job and it comes with no instruction manual, we just have to do the best we can, be there for our kids as much as we are able and try not to make too many mistakes.