Sunday, December 30, 2012

dashing 'cross the downs

No rest for the wicked in these parts, no lazing around sunny beaches, or even laying around at home. There hasn't been any rain to speak of yet (well at least in our little patch of the world) and it is all business as usual.

IMG_1478We went to my mum's place for a quiet BBQ with the neighbours on Thursday evening, and stayed the night in anticipation of a very early start The Husband and I had planned the next day. And because it was my birthday and we were all clean and showered I made the kids have a photo with mum, wearing what could be best described as post a Christmas day too-much-food tunic and tights ensemble. Comfortable if not flattering.

The early start the next morning involved being slapped on the bum at 4am and told to get out of bed. I dragged my self out and into work clothes and off we went, leaving the kids at Granma's.  You may recall that we took some cows to a lovely downs paddock back in winter. They've really done well there and had started to calve, when unfortunately in November a lightning strike caused a fire in the paddock and burnt about 2/3 of the grass. I know. We can't get away from the stuff.

The owner of the paddock had been keeping an eye on the grass situation and the time had come to move the cows to another paddock (to allow the burnt grass to regenerate without being eaten off by hungry mouths). And being summer, a daylight start was required to get the cows and small calves moving before the heat of the day, and let them rest during the hottest part of the day.

The very full moon was just setting in the west as we arrived at the paddock. I tried in vain to take a photo, but this was the best I could do....

IMG_1486I know. Dismal effort.

IMG_1489The edge of the burnt country...

IMG_1490Getting the cows moving as the sun rises. It was a lovely morning, the air was fresh and as we moved the cows and their babies the smell of warm bodies and fresh milk (breakfast time for babies) rose in the air. I had forgotten how high up the downs ridges were, and we could see for miles and miles, as the rolling grass hills spread out before us.

IMG_1492That little black fellow with the white face was my friend on the tail...his size belying his age, the poor little bloke plodded along, his dutiful mama staying with him.

We tipped the cows out into a laneway at around 7am, and then then headed back to mum's place for a coffee, shower and change before heading to town for a funeral. A quick lunch, running some errands and picking up some milk from the supermarket, before heading home to my place to feed the poor neglected poddy calves waiting there. Aircon on full, we managed a quick nanna nap, before completing the driving-in-circles operation of the day, returning to the cows in the laneway. The cows didn't get the memo about resting at the water trough, so had to be fetched from almost the starting point, then continued on their way to the fresh paddock. It was hot, but as we meandered on our way (one does not rush a cow and baby calf) the storms started to roll in around the downs and our high vantage point gave us a great view. I wish I had taken my camera but was a little concerned it may have gotten wet (didn't happen).

At 6.55pm we shut the gate on the cows, and loaded up the bikes, watching a rather dark looking storm come between us and my parents place. Never letting the threat of a bit of precipitation slow us down, and possibly reliving our misspent youth ;-) we ran into some very wet and muddy road on the way home. The negotiation of which made extra interesting by the fact we were towing a rather large trailer behind us, leaving a bit of a mess in our wake. At one point I thought we may have had to abandon ship and ride our bikes home but the old Toyota persevered and we made it. Home to find not only the kids wide eyed but adults too, about the wild wind storm that had just passed, 90 points in the gauge but not an accurate measurement as the rain had come in sideways, as evidenced by water blown in under the eaves everywhere, and tales of the hay and machinery shed rooves flapping and wobbling about alarmingly.

Given the mess we'd already made of the road, we decided to have a sleepover at Granma's as well, and returned home (sans kids "we're staying at Granma's") without incident the next morning.

And you know what? I have no idea of where I was going with this post, other than a recount of our misadventures. And wondering just when it might feel like holidays here...After it rains?!

And one more sunrise photo, just cause it was pretty, and as my husband says, I don't get up to photograph them very often! (he's so funny. But in this case, right, I don't spring out before daylight unless I REALLY have to!)


IMG_1494 This one, a Dorothea McKellar shot....


Wednesday, December 26, 2012

I wonder why my pants feel tight?!

Ah, Christmas Day has come and gone and the day of over indulgence in both food and present form has been just that. We had pretty much an all day smoko yesterday, with friends and family coming and going, and the plates of delicious nibblies appearing on the table. I even drank a beer (well to be accurate, it was Apple Cider, but same difference) which was witnessed by husband who thought he may have to wheel me off for a nap (not a big drinker am I). It may explain the wicked headache I ended up with later in the day? or that may relate to the over consumption of many rum balls, choc almonds, cob loaf and mini quiches.

Anyhow, we had the place looking all festive:



with what my dad reckons was the drought version of a christmas tree ;-) and I found a use for that old window, it made a nice centrepiece AND table weight in one.

IMG_1661The kids were very very excited and finally put to bed on Christmas Eve, although that little boy kept reappearing with odd requests way after he should have. (and the tree was even wonkier, after the cat and boy incident knocked it over more than once...cable tied together, its bound for the rubbish dump post Christmas I am afraid).

IMG_1669  IMG_1673

Santa left a letter for the kids that had to be read before the paper fest began...

IMG_1676Little boys were bleary eyed when bigger sisters could not wait any longer - one was hunted back to bed at 4:45am by what might be called a slightly cranky mother - but at 6am we finally gave in.

And I put the camera down, although did take a few more snaps on instagram during the day.

image image image (didn't the old sofa bed/couch downstairs dress up nicely for the occassion!)

IMG_1684 The lego fest began, with all kids, big and little putting their minds to construction. I think the big boys were enjoying it as much as the little ones (and being in the aircon helped, although my pretty christmas table did not stay that way for long, making way for little piles of lego!)

And that was it, some kiddies slept very very soundly last night, and are happily playing with the new lego and other lovely presents friends and family gave them today. Watching a new movie is also on the plans for the day (sadly dad had to go and put out lick and give a non performing pump a good talking to, but plans on being home tomorrow)

I hope your day was full of food, family and fun as well.

PS no family photo on christmas day :( but have plans over the next few days to take family off down the flat and have tuned husband to be co-operative AND happy when the time comes!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

I'll be buying a ham this Christmas

  as opposed to scoring and glazing and baking my own home-grown, hand-fed and hand-raised leg of ham. She is still very much alive and kicking and at this point in time the kids and I are just about ready to do the deed ourselves. Poor piggy. No sense of attachment to our walking oinking Christmas dinners in this house ;-)

We've slid very nicely into the Christmas Holidays here, and guess what? I haven't picked up my big camera once. I know. Shame on me. But thank goodness (or perhaps blame?) instagram for documenting these days.

We did a quick trip to the city to address some dental issues. Which really didn't get addressed, we have to go back early next year. Joy. Did some shopping. Kids had fun, Mum not so much trying to get a few little bits and pieces whilst solo shopping with the kids, one of whom is a great sticky beak and may just find out being a sticky beak means you miss out. #biggest kid


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We loved these decorations we found in one shopping centre, but overall, the place wasn't dripping with gorgeous decorations like we've seen before. Disappointing. It was late when we left the city, which DID mean we got to see some great christmas lights as we came back through the Towers. (and the other pic is a cute necklace I bought myself, lovely chunky wooden beads. LOVE it)

Since getting home, we've been underataking some Summer Cleaning as opposed to Spring Cleaning. The much longed for installation of the Built Ins in the girls room has happened, which has led to a great reshuffling of beds and furniture and a great cull of Stuff.

image image image

There's also been some pavlova making, some party attending, some poor spelling (and great dismay from one sad little boy who did not appreciate that sentiment AT ALL) and some wearing of cute new plastic shoes for girly #2.

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The room round up continued, with excess furniture from the girls room, moving to the boy's room, turfing out a set of drawers bound for the office (which in turn, turfs out a cupboard bound for the bathroom, and in full circle, the too small bathroom cupboard goes into the spare room! Those two rooms remain on my attack list at this stage). Fairy lights were hung along the front fence with gay abandon, and newly purchased solar lights for the front steps were hung without the complaining assistance of The Husband. (the shuffling of furniture has overjoyed him as well!)

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And that brings us nearly up to date, with some wrapping by the kids done yesterday, and some, FINALLY, mango picking and rescuing from the wretched birds.

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So, two rooms down and two rooms to go (can I get them done before christmas?!) some rum balls to be made and some arty crafty cutting and folding of cardboard to be done with some little friends who had a sleepover last night. The kids have a planned "craft day" at grannies tomorrow and then we are off grocery shopping to the Towers (getting that HAM) on Friday, as well as fitting in a movie at the theatre (Return of the Guardians) and dropping off the Jack Russell to have a little operation of a delicate nature whilst we are in town.

And at some stage, some present wrapping?! The chances of getting those other two rooms organised are fairly slim.(and please note the lack of rainfall reports. Its hot, and it hasn't rained. Here anyhow. Much pumping of water for cattle. Much ordering of supplementary feed happening. Much angst by CFO (ie me) over the once reasonably healthy bank account balance dwindling at rapid rate.) Ho Ho Ho indeed.

Merry Christmas all!

christmas 2012 resized 4x6

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

some maintenance

For those that are interested, the instagram page link at the top of the page hasn't been working apparently. However I think I have it fixed now, so please can you check it out (no need to sign in or anything if you aren't an instagram user, this is just a web view of my own shots) and let me know if its working.

Even better than the last one, if you click on the photo you can see the comments. Fun :-)

light entertainment

I went to bed last night, a good couple of hours after The Husband  (who normally goes to bed at the same time as the kids at this time of year!) to find him sprawled over on my side of the bed. I thumped him and kindly asked him to move over and make room. Very clearly he said to me "LOOK OUT! I'm nursing a tadpole!!" and then some more, not so clear stuff about water tanks and water troughs. Obviously the water issues (or lack thereof) of the past few days have been well seated on his subconsciousness.

I laughed and laughed. Dug him in the ribs and asked him how one nursed a tadpole. He mumbled and rolled over. I have no idea if he even remembers this conversation, I wasn't in the mood for talking or inquiring at 5am when he got up this morning.

This middle of the night conversation is up there, maybe even tops the time he sat up in bed, and shouted (swearing) "I've run into the shed!!" or the time he was fumbling around with the collar of my pyjama shirt (with me sound asleep). When I woke and asked what he was doing, he was" trying to see what size shirt you take" (no surprise giftage of a shirt was ever forthcoming)

He has no recollection of those conversations either..

I have talked in my sleep from time to time as well, but not whole conversations where I answer questions. Daughter #2 does however and I have had to wake her on more than one occasion from what was a very vivid dream involving some sort of conflict or adventure with her siblings!

Husband will probably moan that I have blogged about this, but hey, at least its not facebooked ;-)

Saturday, December 8, 2012

when santa claus came to town

We are On Holidays. Our school break up was last night, on the last day of school, and along with the kids concert and presentations, Santa always manages to fit in a little pre Christmas visit.

His method of transportation can be somewhat varied from time to time, Santa himself said he has lost a few reindeer down south of Torrens Creek in years gone by and has had to revert to far more less stylish modes of travel.

IMG_0889The kids were very excited to see him, and Santa seemed quite ready to sit down and have a yarn with the kids, he seemed to be feeling the heat, but Elf kept him in line and the show on the road.

IMG_0893  IMG_0894

Elf was somewhat familiar, normally a strapping young fellow clad in wranglers and akubra, the fiancé of one of our teacher aides. He didn't realised that when she started work at school that he would too, albeit unpaid. A former student though, he knew the drill.

IMG_0897IMG_0921Santa had a wonderful time reminiscing about the parents of the children before him, much to the merriment of the audience.

IMG_0900Before too long though, he had to go, but before he left he did a lolly drop/throw for the kids.  He was heard to be muttering something about insurance policies and their coverage, as he mounted onto his vehicle and the elf, with a twinkle in his eye and some not so subtle encouragement from the assembled audience, drove off.

IMG_0928   IMG_0929Hanging on for dear life and a with a few muttered words towards his Elf and a strangled HO HO HO, Santa departed in a shower of gravel as they broadslided around the corner on the way out and departed in a less than sedate pace.

We love an elf with a sense of adventure and humour, and a Santa with a wary eye ;-)

And now: roll on Summer Holidays!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Rudolph and Dasher

have arrived on the scene...and no, not reindeer. The first poddies have the dry season have arrived in quick succession. Rudolph on Sunday evening, the product of a teenage pregnancy that wasn't meant to happen and removed from his mother so they both don't die.
IMG_1567A deep red bull calf that looks suspiciously like an old Droughtmaster bull we call Monty (guess where his bloodlines hail from, cattle people?!) Rudolph has sulked and refused to partake of anything but water and grass until this morning. I tried him again this morning with the bottle and suddenly a switch went off - he remembered! And of course, will now become a menace.

Dasher arrived on Monday night, a bit of a strange calf in that his reproductive organs seem a bit messed up (happens sometimes) but otherwise healthy and with no issues about a lack of appetite at all. Sadly, he is an orphan as his mother decided to try and drink out of a muddy dam instead of the trough. She had to be dragged out of the mud and was in such a bad state, was put down. Life/death, all part of living in the bush and dealing with livestock. As some one said, if you've got live stock, you've got dead stock. Guinea pigs, cows, chooks, the same applies to all of them.


Rudolph and Dasher have a little mate. He's sat with them whether they want him to or not. I'm thinking he's waiting to catch the excess milk, but no, he sits with them ALL DAY.  When he was a wee puppy he would disappear and one would find him just poking about the paddock with the poddies we had then. Strange little dog.

IMG_1579At least I haven't had to chase him out of the house for the past couple of days!

And now I am extra keen for it to rain so I can eject the poddies from my house yard. I was going to mow the lawn but with the calves needing a bit of grass to chew on, well that put paid to that idea. Fingers crossed or else my garden is going to look very munched upon very soon. Not to mention well fertilised. Keep your shoes on kids ;-)

In other news, we have fairy lights operational. And I have to say, seeing them twinkle at night? making me feel all festive!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

in need of a bex and a good lie down

the kids, now old enough to read the calendar and realise the date, were well aware that the 1st December had come upon us. Yesterday morning, as soon as they got out of bed, began pestering me to put up the Christmas decorations.

Finally, after giving them jobs to do every time they asked about the wretched (oh yes, feeling the cheer) tree, I gave up.

And then, as you do, instagrammed it all. Clearly not embracing less is more this year, the slightly wonky tree is quite loaded, but the kids are happy. Anyone coming to the front gate will be blinded by the sun reflecting off the tinsel wound there, and then soothed by the gentle glow of the lanterns draped along the louvers on the front veranda

That's before we even drape the long strand of coloured fairy lights along the front fence - the bit I love the best. Sadly now, as the garden has grown so thick (as was intended) we hardly even get to see these in their full glory unless standing on the road, so to counteract I hang some icicle ones from the gutter of the back patio. Which I can see from the kitchen sink.

But I'll save the fairy light extravaganza for another afternoon, for now just the finding of the tree and its trimmings and the creation of this little random Christmas vignette was more than enough Christmas Fun.

Please admire my new china reindeer, picked up for the princely sum of $3.

Hope you're finding the HO in your own ho ho ho...I will say this: it was a rather good excuse to be in the air-conditioning today! Its more like Hot Hot Hot in these parts!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

jury's out

Inspired by this:
christmas chalkboardand this
ChalkboardWishesToday I did this...AND ordered some prints.

christmas 2012 resized 4x6And now I don't know if I like it. Lesson learnt. One should always sleep on ones design choices before ordering.
Oh well. Too late now. Look for one coming into your letterbox sometime between now and new year. I'm becoming a fan of the letter arriving in the new year, just cause I am so slack that is how long it takes me to get posted!

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