Friday, December 31, 2010

A Little Bit of Reflection

Well, the New Year is upon us and we have had an interesting 2010. We have after many years of dreaming about it, bought our little bit of paradise and have been busy doing all the things we planned.

We have built a large vegetable garden, though still expanding it, an orchard, chook pen and chooks, natives plants and bush tucker, and still more things to come. We still need to work on the inside of our home, and in the new year our number one and only son will be out in his own room, once the lino arrives and we put it in. We fixed the old ride on mower, bought a motor bike and another vehicle, bought more tools, chainsaws and stuff, put in a wood fire for our few weeks of cold, the list is rather long.

Financially we will be having a much slower year in 2011, it will be basically a no spend year except for the things we need and a family wedding to go to, not sure we can do more than that, don't think I want to.

Our dam is full now with the rain we have had and our tanks are nearly there too. We did get rain from Cyclone Tasha that crossed the coast on Christmas morning (the dog came and woke me at 5.30am right when the cyclone was crossing but I told her to go away, I think she knew something) however after that it moved south and the rain stopped. Not so good for others though, and my heart goes out to those who have lost.

With the rain that we had a lot of water sat around the tanks and we tried to find the pipe that had been covered up when the new tank went in, actually I supervised and the men dug. We haven't found it yet but we (as in my partner in crime and life) put in our own drainage just to get the water away.

We are now expecting more rain for the New Year, I certainly wouldn't be going out to celebrate, apart form the fact that I am showing my age by not being able to stay up late, they are predicting rain. Besides, I have been there done that and am now in the can't sleep past 6am stage of my life, very frustrating :-D

For Christmas I got a pasta maker, and it makes great pasta, I have never had fresh pasta before and it is yum. So I that is our new thing for the new year, only making own pasta, doesn't take much time and it is fun.

So I am all ready for the new year. The budget has been reviewed, my new diary is already full of stuff for the new year like the school terms, my partner in crime and life gave me an IPOD dock with speakers for my Tai Chi classes so no more Cd's, yay, I am ready to keep track of all our spending this year and I have many many lists.

So, see you all on the other side of midnight for the start of what will be a great year :D

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Christmas 2010

We are in either the wind up or the wind down to Christmas, not sure which. We went into town for the last time this week and thank goodness for that, the people are driving me crazy, and I just want to do regular stuff not Christmas stuff. So now can opt out of the craziness for more than a few days.

We have bought a ham from the butchers, which we are sure to pick at constantly, we bought frozen green prawns so we can make lots of prawn things with them, so these are things I am looking forward to.

We haven't got really anything of the rain the rest of the country is getting, or has gotten, just a little, they say it will rain Christmas day but we will just wait and see.

This is what our number one and only son has been up too these holidays so far, making a fish trap to put in the dam

He has also been out motorbike riding with friends, I don't really want to know about all this mud and stuff but that is what the bike is for

We have had some lovely days here, though quite hot during the day and not much rain but just gorgeous in the mornings.

There has been a little fog in the mornings on the tops of the mountains.

We have still managed to keep our chooks alive, there are no eggs yet, maybe in another month. They run to a more natural cycle as they haven't been bred for laying or for meat and so are slower in developing than other breeds, I ran in to the lady we got them from the other day and that is what she said. So I guess we have to hang on for a bit longer, but apparently they live a long time, what ever that is.

I have given away my paw paw sauce and chutney, and they have been well received, also the rosella jam was a HUGE hit apparently so I am happy, and will post up the recipes in the new year.

I have finished Tai Chi for the year, having our Christmas lunch last week, though some people had already gone away and there were a couple of sickies. My partner in crime and life has some time off work so we are also catching up on the heavier stuff around the property.

So I am now hoping to have some time to do some serious reading, I am reading a lot of environmental/self sufficiency/no spending books, so next year we can do more of all those things. I think I need to make some more lists on these things, I already have made lists of things we can do in various areas, but feel the need for more, I like lists, maybe I will post some of them just so people can see how really crazy I am :-D

Friday, December 10, 2010

Night Noises

Who said it was quiet in the bush? I am sure someone did. I can tell you right now it is not, it is really noisy, especially at night.

I have been making fly screens for the windows and for the last two night have been able to leave the bedroom window open at night. For the last year we have has to sleep with the window closed and I hate it, no fresh air. We could have the window open in the daytime as we are not worried about the daytime creatures, but we don't want the night time creatures getting in, so now we have a fly screen.

Well, there is lovely fresh air coming in but also the sounds of all those night creatures. The frogs, crickets, cicadas, and I am sure the snakes and spiders contribute too. They are so loud that I have laid awake the last two nights for quite a while unable to sleep.

Our number one and only son had a friend sleep over last night, they were very happy with the cheesecake and ice cream last night, while watching movies, and pancakes, golden syrup and ice cream for breakfast. Though I did tell them not to tell other adults they had ice cream for breakfast :D

Busy today for me today, big clean up of the house, the Christmas decorations are getting in the way, need to move the boxes. At least the tree is finished and doesn't look too bad.

Our first ever white Christmas Tree

The grass is growing like crazy so I must get out the ride on mower and mow around the house and vege gardens at least. There is something dead behind the freezer, but I need to work myself up for that one, and I really need to clean out the fridge. Oh, and I have two more flysreens to make then that will all finished, I had better get cracking :P

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

School Holidays

Hard to blog at the moment as we have a new rule for the school holidays, no TV, computers or Xbox between 9am and 5pm. It is too early before 9am and I am tired after 5pm, can't win :D Unfortunately, the rule also applies to the parents, so I am off as well, and my partner in crime and life when he returns home, oh well, it is not so bad.

I decided that during the holidays our number one and only son will not waste his days dribbling out the side of his mouth while frying his brain on these activities. However, not wanting to be the fun police, he can get on at 5pm, and guess what? At 5pm on the dot, he is on the computer. But he has managed to keep himself amused in other ways during the day, so life is not so bad :D

My partner in crime and life is away this week in the Philippines for work so I am working extra hard to keep on top of everything.

I have made Paw Paw sauce and today made Rosella jam, I am also making fly screens for all our windows (there are only six so not too bad) which in theory is simple but in reality is more difficult.

Paw Paw Sauce

One fly screen down :)

I have been mowing and gardening and making heaps of mistakes making the fly screens and it is all very tiring, I have been falling asleep early I am so tired, but I am getting a lot done.

We have lost our Christmas tree in the move so have had to get a new one, not as easy as you might think, a lot of places didn't have Christmas trees, can't figure that one out. Anyway, for the first time, we have a white one and it is not bad, I was a bit resistant at first but it looks alright, we are still decorating it, can't rush these things :D

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Sweet Potatoes and Garden Beds

I have taken a lot of photos but have forgotten to blog about them in the last week so had best do a quick catchup.

The chooks are going along really well and we haven't accidentally killed any of them yet so we must be doing the right things. They do look like they have grown but it is hard to tell, they are still wild, but don't seem to mind if I stand still in the pen, but I am not allowed to move around :)

I have harvested the sweet potato over the weekend and replanted more in more beds. I now have orange and red sweet potato and have been given white sweet potato.

These are all now sweet potato beds, and though they look a bit scrappy at the moment, I will be joining them all up and making a circle and planting more.

I was given this really large paw paw on the weekend but it was a bit too far gone to eat, so yesterday I made paw paw chutney, and it is yummo :D

I have made my final garden row. I was going to make it out of bessa blocks like the others but haven't been able to get seconds so it hadn't happened. When the guy came and put in the roller door for the new room he told me to make raised beds out of the circular cardboard the door came in.

They turned out rather well and I have decided to continue with the cardboard theme. The boxes will be covered with dirt and they won't be seen and will eventually just break down and become One with the earth :D I transplanted out the strawberry plants which were desperate to get out of the pots, and also put in root bound parsley and little chives.

The other thing we were given over the weekend was this very large cucumber, actually we were given two. One to eat and the other to get seeds from, so I planted some out and have dried the rest.

Yesterday I made these lovely coconut biscuits, recipe from my mother-in-law, and they were being eaten off the trays, and I think I will have to make more really, really soon. The inlaws made a huge batch of these biscuits when we went down to the wedding and we ate them all weekend :)

Saturday, November 20, 2010

I Grew Food

I grew food :D

I have never grown potatoes before and now I have. Unfortunately I didn't take note of when I put them in so I don't know how long they took, maybe about four months, and they were mostly neglected as I didn't really think they would grow.

My partner in crime and life was happy about this as he was thought that I would only be growing leafy things. However, I have now grown corn, snake beans, tomatoes and cabbages, all of which are now in the freezer, plus a couple of zucchini, spinach, capsicum and sweet chilli, mutant carrots, beetroot, turnips (which were quite easy, I think, I forgot I put in seeds so I think they were easy) and other leafy things.

Potatoes really are the easiest thing to grow and I don't know why I have never done it, I have grown lots of other things, and over the years we have lived in climates that they would grow well in. But I have never grown them.

So next year I am going to plants lots of potatoes, planting them a few weeks apart of course so we can have lovely fresh potatoes, grown organically (grown in dirt, as my partner in crime and life puts it) and with my own two hands.

I was very excited to see I had actually grown potatoes and didn't wait to get my gloves, just dug them up, dirt all over me, don't you just love that dirt feeling on your hands and under your nails, very earthy :D

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The Teenage Retreat

The teenage retreat is nearly finished. The builders are supposed to be back today (they were also supposed to be here yesterday and the day before) but are not here yet.

At least we can use it, though we can't actually move our number one and only son in until it is completely finished.

So our number one and only son had a friend over for the weekend and the teenager from next door also came down and they spent a lot of time in there playing very loud music and the xbox of course. That was inbetween riding motorbikes.

However, this is what happens when you let teenagers loose, including plates left on the floor which I found this morning that included ants, hope this is not what the future holds. Guess we need to impose some restrictions, though it may have happened because there was a visitor.

We will finish off the inside ourselves, walls, floor coverings, electricity (via an electrician of course), water tanks off the back, a deck off the glass sliding door and a garden down the other side. This will all take some time but at least we are nearly there, it has taken a lot longer than we thought it would.

So the builders just have to turn up and finish the gutters and put in the roof vent and we are good to go :D

Monday, November 15, 2010

We Have Chooks

Our little chooks arrived on Saturday, not sure how old they are, maybe about 8 -12 weeks old.

I think they may be all different ages, their legs are all different shapes and sizes, though not sure if that is a good way of telling their age, though I think I will run with that, works for me :D

This one is a little rooster like, it is the largest and has the biggest legs, maybe it is just the oldest, that is what we are hoping anyway :)

They are a bit wild and run away every time we go in, and we have been told not to let them out of the pen for quite a few weeks as they will just fly away.

This one is definitely a girl, looks quite girly :)

They have been coming out into the pen, but when we go near they run back into their house, but it is nice to look out the door and see them picking around in the pen. I really think they belong here as they have a nap in the afternoon, that fits right in with me :D

Thursday, November 11, 2010

The Chook Pen

Our chook pen is finished and awaiting it's new residents. We are pretty sure it is snake proof, but you never know until one gets in, but we hope not.

At lot of work was put into it especially by my partner in crime and life, he did more than me, he was determined to have it finished before he went back to work.

We are very happy with it and hope the chooks are too.

I think they will be all snuggly in here, but not too hot as we have left air vents at the top.

We found a guy who sells bales straw mulch for $4 each and we can pick them up from his property only about ten minutes from here. So we can see him any time we need more, which is great.

So the chooks should be arriving this weekend, they are from people we know who live not far away and they have Jungle Fowl. I googled them (the chooks not the people), and it says they are the ancestors of all chooks, they are hardy and I was told they lay medium sized eggs, they are a good looking bird, being all colours. No roosters for us though, not yet, I just have to get used to having chooks and work my way along to getting a rooster :)

So the next thing is getting the room finished for our number one and only son, it is being worked on as we speak, and I will let you know how many disasters there are and how long it takes :D I am sure we will never build anything again after all this. Oh well, such is life, best go have a cup of tea :)

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Family Wedding

We are back from the family wedding and we had a good time catching up with everyone. The kids have all grown and some have kids of their own, there were people and cars everywhere as we where all staying in the same place, so we got to see it all.

The wedding was beautiful, the beaches gorgeous, the company great and the food magnificent (mainly because we didn't have to cook but also because it was yummy).

So I must share my photos, as everyone looked great and the kids kept rolling around on the floor for our amusement, including distracting the bride while she was supposed to be all serious when the minister was speaking, yes I saw you Mel :D

The bride arriving with her dad in his hot rod, nice car :D

Everyone looked very flash, including the grandparents of the bride (my in-laws).

Even my partner in crime and life and our number one and only son scrubbed up quite well.

This little one I wanted to stuff in my bag and bring home, she is gorgeous.

The bridal party looked great, so young, when did everyone became younger than me :)Just kidding, they did look great though didn't they?

Isn't she beautiful? To think she was flower girl at our wedding and looked beautiful then too, hasn't changed too much really. Oh, and the groom looked alright too :)

Another gorgeous little girl, this was the best photo of her and I followed her around a fair bit trying to get a picture of her in her gorgeous dress but ended up with lots of shots of the back of her :D

Just need to cut the photographer out of this one and it would be perfect :)

Everyone just loves the babies.

The first dance.

Beaches don't get better than this I don't think, no wonder they picked this area to get married.

Not a bad photo of me as we were checking out the sights.

Just one last photo, this is the fish our number one and only son caught. There was a fair bit of fishing, wakeboarding and socialising to fit in around the wedding :D

Well, life goes back to normal this week, no weddings, no jetsetting around the country, my partner in crime and life is back at work and I can get back into some sort of routine until Christmas hits and then it all goes out the window again. Such is life :D