Sunday, 31 May 2009
Earlier this morning, I helped the Machinist load some of our wood supply onto the utility and together, we packed it next to Grandpa's shed. I know the Machinist feels as though he has yet another 'job' and responsibility; - to keep the Grands' wood supply up, but I keep assuring him that he will be blessed for his kind deeds. He knows this and tells me he is always grateful for what we have (not necessarily materialistic things). When the Grands are comfortable and warm and settled and happy, we are happy.
The girls are out working at their weekend jobs. I wish they didn't have to work weekends, but that's the way the cookie crumbles nowadays. They have both forfeited for the same goal of having their own business. And while they are forfeiting, they still need to earn to attend to their personal financial responsibilities.
Sam has been repairing a low brick wall that the local Council wrecked when they pulled out deep rooted, invasive bushes at the front of the Shop (where I've since planted a lawn). I appreciate the way Sam is ready to have a go at anything and by the time he is finished, he'll be a seasoned brick-layer. At the moment, he's having a shower, as we are about to set out to pick up more commercial equipment for the pie shop - a two hour drive away.
I get the feeling that the acquisition of necessary equipment and items for our new venture is akin to planting vegetables. It's one thing to locate and pay for items (plant and nurture vegetables); - it's another thing to travel and gather them in (harvest the fruits of labours borne). To actually collect the goods, especially from afar, is time consuming and breaks the momentum of daily chores and projects. Some would enjoy breaking the monotony, but for me - well I am just too eager and excited for the Shop to be open and our family to slot into an arduous, but yet comfortable role of daily routine. We know it's going to be hard work, but when routines are established and general business and homelife is organised, its a matter of just - doing it.
So I'm focussing on letting the games begin, while injecting fun.
Fun and games. Get it?
Friday, 29 May 2009
We were met by eight canine friendlies: Teddy, Honey, Rosie, Lindsay, Pickles, Alistair, Wallace and Leo, along with their Master, Keith who's repeated requests for his furry pack to be quiet proved quite futile. Visitors had arrived, and they couldn't contain their excitement. Keith scrambled through one gate and strolled towards us, opening the main vehicular gate so we could drive onto the property. "Would you like a cup of tea?" he asked.
A cup of tea? Really?
I knew instantly we would be friends. A cup of tea and a good chat. The stuff treaties are signed and sealed with.
A house full of character, depicting a love of dogs, nature, travel, people and all things home was a delight to be in. A garden with nooks, crannies, theme garden beds and naughty gnomes invited us, - urged us to inspect further. Paddocks containing projects in progress engaged us, and the glimpse of a river confined to the base of a group of cuckaburra-infested gum trees convinced us how fortunate we were to have had the pleasure of this new acquaintance. Saying goodbye was akin to farewelling old, familiar friends.
Product as described. Great Communication. Wonderful People. And dogs.
Thursday, 28 May 2009
Just today Housewife Savant blogged about her affliction with Meniere's Disease. She is realistic about her condition, recognising what helps and what doesn't, while remaining the epitome of wit and good humour and retaining her faculties with dignity. Her plight has touched me and I am grateful for my health, and that of my family.
Then this evening I received a poem from my youngest daughter, Middlepaw.
Later, a deep, honest and raw discussion with my eldest daughter.
I am grateful we can all communicate and we do it well.
Something I have recognised for a while now, is the fact that when it comes to writing about how I feel about my children, I cannot. Just like the time when the Machinist and I had one of many interviews during the course of our fostering experience:
One of the assignments was to share what we loved about each of our own children. We started off with ease, and the more we thought about how and why we loved and admired them, the more choked up we became. Even the couple who were interviewing us were tearing up as we teared up. It was one of those totally unexpected reactions and we surprised (and shocked) ourselves.
Do most parents have difficulty in verbalising why they love their offspring, I wonder?
Tuesday, 26 May 2009
Two weeks ago, Grandpa began his ritual of watering the seeds, twice a day.
Three weeks ago, we put up this sign:
Sunday, 24 May 2009
I am passing this award on to other lovely bloggers who I have not only recently discovered, but those who have inspired me for some time - bloggers who have a beauty that appeals to the heart, mind and eye, or are generally charming and delightful, - so here are my lovelies in no particular order:
Laeriss from A Heart In Provence - I was hooked immediately. Laeriss has a knack of finding the beauty in nature, and mixing it with odd and random objects to create wonderful themes.
Sarah from Middlepaw - My middle child who inspires and encourages me daily. I delight in seeing her perspective on our lives together.
Kelly from Housewife Savant - I love Kelly's knack of keeping things real, adding the humour, doubling the wit. Oh, and her Savantisms are addictive, so beware - or she'll Kel ya!
Emily from Thoughts and Biro Sketches - Emily is a young, talented and beautiful artist and you will undoubtedly get lost in her world...
Willow from Willow Manor - Willow's blog has absolutely and definitely something for everyone. You will be inspired by her love of and interest in - life.
Eloh@ from Elohssanatahw - An honest and humourous look at the reality of life from a lady who's been there, done that and probably has the weaponry to prove it.
Alison from Brocante Home - A single mommy with a vintage spirit chronicles her life stories and offers a variety of puttery treats for likeminded home-loving bodies.
Please go and visit these blogs. Thanks again for the award, Vivienne!
After the Pumpkin Festival, there was much home and garden maintenance, housekeeping to catch up on, as well as lots of paperwork, bookkeeping and general business admin. Our intention was to attempt to accomplish all the backlog within two weeks and then trot off down to the Shop, single file, singing "I owe, I owe, so off to work, I go" - after regular, every-day business as usual, mind you. But this was not to be.
Our septic system has quit working and after Bob, the sh@* man's inspection and professional advice, the verdict is, we need a new absorption trench. Sarah was the first to notice, as she was taking the puppies for their ablutions one crispy morning. "Mam, you've gotta see this, but your not gonna like it..." I could tell by the tone of her voice that it wasn't good. It had to be the tone, because had I checked out her face, I would have seen that she had a massive grin on it, which would have given me mixed messages (not hard). Until, of course, I realised she was speaking of the plumbing...
As serious and annoying problems with septics are, our family has this insane urge to laugh when the words 'septic problems' comes up. (Is that normal?). The Machinist is the one that suffers the most. He's got most septic maintenance tools down-pat (certain type of shovel, hose pipe, black agri-pipe, dead chicken), but still gags every two seconds. He tells me that sometimes, it's not the smell, its the feel and look of it....
There is a problem with heating at the Grand's Cottage, too. When we re-did the cottage, we installed an LPG gas heater, which the Grands could move around, should they so desire. The gas heater, however, needs ventilation, and the vent-holes were blocked in when we insulated and re-cladded the walls. Now the Grands have spent most of their life in England, and are used to cold weather, but they cannot and will not open a window in mid-winter ".. don't you see, Helen - if we open the window, all the hot air will rush out, and the cold air will rush in.."
So for the past three days, we've had discussions, made enquiries, checked out models and have finally come to the conclusion to purchase a slow combustion wood heater, and should it arrive in time (as per the salesman's assurance), we will fit it ourselves - next weekend.
Back at the ranch, I've been researching different aspects of business each night: cafe layout, kitchen layout, paint patinas, pie crusts and fillings, lighting, floor finishes and acid washes, budgets, themes and decor. I cannot even consider looking at the big picture, because for now, I have hundreds of baby ones surrounding me.
Oh, and remember how we had made the decision not to have the miniature pigs? The Machinist was cutting and welding a bumper bar for our friend's truck - the same friend who had offered us the pigs in the first place. I had just returned from town and went into the workshop to have coffee with the Machinist and our friend, Robert. During the course of conversation, Robert turned to me and said ".. hey, good news. Eva may be having piglets..."
Aussie, Aussie Aussie. Oink Oink Oink.
Wednesday, 20 May 2009
Something Housewife Savant wrote about make-up has caused me to recollect the first 'date' I had with the Machinist, many moons ago, when we were both 15. I had never been asked out before. I'd had a crush on a boy at school, but the most we would do would be to glance at each other, smile and look away as quickly as possible, as we hurried to the next lesson in a different section of the school grounds. That was the total extent of my flirtation. I didn't even know what flirting was and what it entailed. I'm only telling you now, 'cos as a fully grown up person I can think on it and identify it.
Anyway, I had met the Machinist one Friday night, as I waited with my friend for her father to pick us up from the movies. The Machinist had pretended to tie his lace, so that we would have to overtake him. To cut a long story short, he asked us to meet him and his friend the very next day at the local tea-room.
For some reason, my father (Grandpa) had always chosen to rent houses either in the country or on the outskirts of town. I allowed myself time to get ready AND walk into town. Usually, getting ready was a case of washing my face, and brushing my hair. Not on this occasion, though. This was, after all, a date. A date with the most handsome boy in town!
I spent ages on my hair which wouldn't do as it was told. Then I scratched through the dressing table drawers to find some makeup (that I didn't wear), but that my mam (Granny) had brought home from her place of work (an old wares / second hand shop). The makeup was brand new - salvaged from a Chemist shop that had burned down. Mary Quaint makeup.
I dipped my finger into the pot of creamy, pea-green eye-shadow and smeared it on one eyelid, then the other. No eyeliner, no mascara. Just two commando style smears of mushy pea soup, sans ham, on my lids. No looking in the mirror afterwards, either, because had I looked in the mirror, I would have been tempted to re-do my hair.
What to wear? Oh, I almost forgot.... Teresa's pastel green dress (Teresa was almost twice my height). I loved her dress, and seeing as it was rather long, it was an opportunity to wear four-inch platform strappy shoes. Brilliant!
The walk into town was long, hot and blistering, but the lime flavoured milkshake was most refreshing.
As I sat in the cool of the tea room, I thought "I'm going to marry that boy one day".
He must have really loved me back, too. Why else would he wed a highly flushed and blushed, curly haired green dream of a girl?
Let me count the ways...
Tuesday, 19 May 2009
Everything seems a lot smaller now. When I was a child, the streets were wider; the places we walked to seemed so far away and taxing for our tiny legs. The shopping districts (not malls) were widespread, the parks were vast, the ponds were lakes and the canal was full.
Aaahh.. the canal. Nowadays, the canal has been filled in and replaced with a 'bicycle' path. I remember it with reeds and grasses, frogs and spawn, tadpoles and mud - with the odd rusty child's tricycle or pram or car protruding from the middle - always a source of mystery and intrigue; "Who's was it?" and "Who put it there?" and "I dare you to wade out and get it" and "I dare you!"
At the side of the canal was a series of hedges, all connected, all intertwined. In autumn and winter, we would have races as to who could clamber the WHOLE LENGTH of the hedgerow in the SHORTEST POSSIBLE TIME. No child would be in that game to come second place, and this tenacity resulted in many - many - scratched, bruised, grazed, cut and bleeding limb to run home with, determined not to cry until home came into view.
There are so many memories from the first 13 years of my life in England, but the one that always comes to mind and which brings me a great source of joy and chuckles as I recollect the picture in my mind's eye is that of a series of carved-in-stone graffitti on an ancient bridge over the River Derwent. Three of my four brothers had plotted to carve our five sibling's names as a memorial to our family in the early days of hearing about my parent's intentions to leave Mother England. Each brother took it in turns to hang upside down to carve, held only by the strength of the other two, as they grasped an ankle with all their might. The height of the bridge, the body of water underneath the bridge, the constant traffic over the bridge played no part in their determination to complete their task.
The ancient bridge still stands today. If you look to the top of the bridge, amidst the weathered and lichen covered stone, you will see something written there and if you look very carefully, the names will become apparent:
Atts Batts = Alan
Keamo = Brian
Gaz = Gary
Root = Robin
Tammy Lock = Helen
Monday, 18 May 2009
Sam and Sarah both attended the orthodontist today. I never thought I would see the day where one of my children would drive the other to an appointment IN THEIR OWN CAR. For years, it seems, and as most mammas would testify, I have been their sole source of transport. It's even strange to stand back and watch them consult with a doctor or dentist without me in the room as well. Sam has reached the end of his 18-month-teeth-behind-bars experience and now goes into parole mode (retainers). Sarah, on the other hand, is at the beginning of her mouth-makeover. I often tease her: if you're having ALL of your wisdom teeth out, does that mean you won't have any more wisdom?
The Machinist appeared around the corner of my office and whizzed a chair from behind his back, planting it right in front of me. "Waddayathink?", he asked. The chair in question is one of 20 (I think), left for us at the Shop. Initially, we were going to take them to the tip, but on inspection, we realised we could transform them from ugly ducklings to swans. Our plan is to take off the back rest and replace it with a decorative metal back rest, re-powdercoat the frame work and recover the seat with some type of animal hide. More on that in days to come.
This evening, Sam came into the loungeroom and asked what I was watching. With his eyes on the television, he edged backwards, and without thinking, sat on my knee. Still not thinking, he extended his legs upon the rest of the couch. Polly looked warily at him. "Hmm.. what's he up to?" said her expression. I have to confess, I love having our children around and have NEVER desired for them to leave home, as some parents have expressed.
After much discussion, we have decided not to take the miniature pigs offered to us (I wrote about this previously). I'm glad the decision has been made now, rather than later. It's awfully hard to return or give pets away, once they've spent even an hour at our home. We'll still visit Onslo and Eva, though.
In the meantime, all donations of their nutritious (to growing vegetables) excrement will be gratefully received!
On taking the puppies out for their morning ablutions (usually our Sarah's job), I saw that there was frost on the ground, which was more noticeable on the vegetable beds, as they truly are 'beds' with their ample blanket of leaves. The girls and I had weeded, added generous amounts of chicken and pig manure and carted barrows of fallen leaves to cover them for a snug winter's rest.
"Which bed is that, ma?", Emma had asked
"We've got chicken, chicken, pig, pig ..."
"Hmmm.... I thought those two looked a lot darker..."
In truth, we haven't taken care of our food garden this summer past. Work at the Shop has taken everybody's spare time. It never ceases to amaze me how it still copes and how seemingly fast new life appears.
In the top orchard, we've removed two dead citrus trees, woody, clumpy daisies, hundreds of tall, easy-pull weeds and now the hens are permitted to scratch and discover. In front of the orchard, two rose bushes have been removed and replanted, as they were being compromised by enthusiastic raspberry canes. Shrubs with past flowering spires have been trimmed and carted away, as have squashed, pecked and browned fallen apples, reeking strongly of cider.
Rosebushes from other areas of the garden have been transplanted as well, due to excessive growth of those plants and bushes surrounding them. We fought with a rogue blackberry cane that had taken dominion over the lilac garden and was heading strongly and speedily, up and over the arbour towards the herb garden.
Common mint is the conquerer of the herb garden for the most part. Parsley is ever-faithful, as is coriander. Thyme and oregano are good neighbours, but confess how they miss the seasonal basil (as I do). Sage and rosemary sit together, unassumingly, and we've had to trim the curry bush which had taken over the whole corner, stealing another's prime real estate. I have an on-again-off-again love affair with Fennel, which I think is rather handsome and adds a twist to vegetable drinks, but is rather tenatious at grounding itself deep in the soil and germinating prolifically throughout the back garden.
At the front of the house, thickly packed wood chip has kept many potential invaders at bay. Pigsface is loyal, gaining strength with each stealth-tendril. The banksia rose continues to cover the daphne and the mini Irish strawberry, which continue to survive, and surprisingly, thrive. Azaleas and helibores have a permanent lean, due to constant westerlies.
There is still so much to do, and I constantly wonder how our garden will transform if we don't get the time to care for it as we have in times past, due to new committments with pies and metal creations. But... I have determined to cross that proverbial bridge, if and when I get to it.
For now, though, " ... all is safely gathered in, 'ere the winter storms begin..."
Monday, 11 May 2009
On the other couch, Polly, ever-protective and possessive of me, sleeps with one eye open, while one of the 'twin puppies', - Lily is also in a very relaxed and dopey state. You can see where I got up and out of the coccoon blankie to take these pics ...
Small, foolish things.....
Saturday, 9 May 2009
You will understand, then, how happy I was to find this on Youtube:
Thursday, 7 May 2009
The Machinist and I. Fully sick emotional!
Tuesday, 5 May 2009
A lot of things have been put on hold and ignored. Like this:
Well, the Festival IS over and the last media release has been - released, which means we can now get back to 'normal life'.
MEDIA RELEASE 5TH MAY 2009
THE CHOSEN ONES
They were abducted from their warm, sun-drenched patch, held captive for a weekend and are now liberated into the arms and bags of their new owners. Such is the life of a pumpkin; whether in perfect condition or mangled and deformed, nevertheless selected for either decoration, competition, or simply to be baked - all in the name of Festivity, and in particular - the 6th annual Collector Village Pumpkin Festival.
The theme for the Pumpkin Ball, was ‘Masks and Enchantment‘. A heated marquee protected its masquerading patrons from a frosty autumnal Southern Tablelands evening. Dining and wining were amply catered for, served on tables draped in white linen, adorned with glitter and star-sprinkled pumpkins. The dance-floor was a mass of gyrating pumpkin-lovers, disguised in masks as diverse as their personalities and geographical locations.
On Festival day, an array of transformed pumpkins sat atop trestle tables in the community owned Hall, central hub of Pumpkin Square. Their larger, heavier siblings sprawled across the hall’s floorboards, where small children delighted in conquering their heights. Entries for the Pumpkin Scones and Pumpkin Pie competitions lay in waiting for judgement.
Over seventy stalls of food, wine, crafts, plants, clothing and produce lined not only Pumpkin Square, but extended down Pumpkin Lane. The Old Church yard played host to vintage cars, bikes, steam engines, tractors, farm animals, rides and demonstrations.
Thus enabling a mass seduction of over eight thousand patrons…