Monday, July 30, 2012

the toure

Outback style of course. Regular readers of this blog will recall the Toure de Prairie from years gone past, where the school kids dress up and bike their way to a nearby property homestead, about 8kms away. Complete with police escort. And then ride back again. This year, the 5th year of the Toure de Prairie, the children were sponsored, this time fundraising for Angel Flight.

This year, Angus and I missed out. Inconvenienced by broken arms and unco-operative day surgery bookings as we were.

Non the less, a few photos filtered out of the day, not quite of the quantity and quality ;-) that you are used to from previous documentation of this great day, but something is better than nothing!

This year saw the addition of livestock to the Toure,

bike ride1with the porky pig pet from across the road joining the fun. The mesh cage was only to stop the piglet from jumping off in transit, they let her out for a run at each drink stop. Kids say she quite enjoyed the ride!

bike2a smaller group this year, thanks to the flu and other commitments. Georgie went as the promised black kitty cat, thanks to a last minute dash into spotlight and finding THE perfect mask and ears and a fluffy tail, on my way home from the first Townsville trip. And saving someone angst with pipecleaners and plaits, I managed alsp to find the best wig ever for Kate's Pippy Longstocking (sadly not wired like the packet indicated).  There so happened to be two Pippi's this year, which is funny considering at least two people spoke to recently had NO IDEA who Pippi Longstocking was.

Please tell me you have read Pippi Longstocking?!

bike 3bike 4The weather was more spring/summer like on this day (the temperature plummeting the next day, as it so happens with these things) so water stops were very welcome. Lunch and some rest was enjoyed on the lawns of the homestead and then they rode back to school, some of the littler ones hitching a lift. The Kids tell me it was a great day (any day getting out of school is great!) but hot. Thanks to Grannies and Aunties for getting my girls there in costume!

And please note, those that can't believe that we get a police escort: see the police car above? Police take community involvement very seriously in these parts :-) and just quietly, I think he is as partial to a bush style smoko and sausage sizzle as the rest of us, and whilst on duty? even better!

Next on our calendar of Community Events and Committments: The Campdraft, followed shortly thereafter by The Races.

I'm weary already...

Saturday, July 28, 2012

a week in which I pass myself on the road

1600 kilometres later, the week is finally done, and my opinion on the public health system isn't any higher.

My boy and I went to Townsville on Monday, did a few jobs (picking up strange mechanical parts) some grocery shopping and then booked into a motel, got some room service and then went to the Fractures Clinic for his appointment at 1030 Tuesday morning. (how exciting, I managed to get a park with little effort which also wasn't a million miles away from the hospital!) Our appointment was only an hour late, which too was very exciting.  There the exciting stuff ended.  Review x-rays were done, and blind Freddie could tell his arm wasn't straight. So, can you come back on Thursday and we'll fix that. Can't do Wednesday, I asked? No, sorry. And you can't go home on Thursday afterwards, as he will be under general anaesthetic, you'll have to stay close to medical assistance just in case, and if they pin it, well he'll have to stay in overnight and maybe you can go home Friday.

Hmm. We went back to the car park, started the car, and with airconditioner running, made some phone calls and thought about things. I could go home straight away, spend a full day at home, or sit in Townsville for the rest of the week. I decided to go home, grabbing some groceries on the way to restock the pantry. We were home by dark Tuesday evening.

The Husband, in the midst of sending sale steers away (another story, which has a rather complicated twist involving a truck rollover on route to their destination, but thankfully for us financially they were already under the ownership of the buyers, although sad for the cattle that had to be put down, and the rest that may be wandering around the paddocks around Tambo somewhere!) said he would take us back down.  And because he 1. likes to sleep in his own bed and 2. apparently has a liking for the wee hours, we left at stupid o'clock on Thursday morning.

We made it to Townsville with an hour to spare before Angus's 7am Thursday admission, so he was able to drink his apple juice (nil by mouth apart from clear fluids before 0630) and coffee and breakfast for us. And after seeing three or four different people ticking boxes on papers (and waiting, lucky I was prepared with cars, books and electronic equipment!) finally at 10am he was wheeled into theatre. He was a little nervous and excited, and the nurses were very good.  I got to stay with him as they put him to sleep with gas (quite funny, he fought it a bit!) and then was sent back to the waiting room.

Three hours later (more waiting waiting, luck we had a couch to sit on, not hard chairs, Husband read the papers front to back and back again, before finally deciding he would go pick up more strange expensive mechanical parts) they finally called us into recovery where there was quite a sad little boy waking up.

He's not a boy that often gets truly, sadly upset (oh, there are often bawling tears, often caused by minor injury or slight by his sisters) but there were true tears and a declaration that his arm "hurted really bad".  Once he was awake enough the nurses gave him som Nurofen, and once that kicked in, he sat up and was able to do something to distract himself (playing Cranky Chickens) he improved out of sight. More xrays (although none of this happened with any sort of alacrity) and finally we were declared fit to depart, at around 3pm. "come back next week" they said. We will see about that.

By this time the boy was skipping around like he had been fed red jelly beans all day (a side affect?! anyone else had this experience? or perhaps very refreshed from the deep sleep?!) so we went shopping for the promised cars (matchbox set) which he and his father took a deal of time deliberating over, and then, getting rather weary (well at least his father and I!) plonked ourselves into the motel.

Friday morning The Husband did a few more of those blokey jobs that seem to take a looooong time, we hit Bunny's (aka bunnings) and finished the grocery shopping I didn't get done earlier in the week, and we got home before dark Friday evening.

A very long week. Thank goodness for Grannies and SIL's for housing and taking the girls to school, it feels like I have been away from home all week.

A few things are bugging me though about the whole public system (I did ask about private, but it would have taken referrals, appointments and longer time frame) is:

1. lack of information from medical staff, the nurses know nothing really (apart from looking after him, which of course they did very well) and I didn't see the Dr that he was under AT ALL. He may be treated properly but I would really like to know what they did, and what the plan is. I do have a brain in my head and even though we were more or less forced to go down the public route, I would like to be able to communicate my thoughts or questions about my son's health care! 

2.  staff think nothing of ordering you back in a day or so (remembering its 400kms one way) and offer no alternative or flexibility.

We are so glad to be home, although woo boy! the change in temperature when we got out of the car at home was a shock! Back into trakky daks and coats, and lighting the fire (and keeping it going all day).

Right. back to the clothes line I go. Hooroo!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

of a sport I know naught about

Yesterday was the inaugural Rugby 7's competition for our area, an event that took long hours of organising and promoting by the committee - one thankfully I was NOT on!  I was however, a member of the wider body behind the Rugby 7's, so went along to man the canteen and take some team photos.

I know as much about Rugby Union as I do netball, but I can tell you I certainly can appreciate seeing a mob of strapping young men belting up and down the field, or warming up, all in close quarters. And even more, appreciate their good spirits, enthusiasm and co-operation in getting their teams photograph. I had my reservations about photographing a bunch of young men (and an odd not so young one!) in one bunch but geez, they were a pleasure to deal with.

IMG_5001  IMG_4996  The team from my neck of the woods, and if you look closely, you might see the minor celebrity that got his mug on TV last year. Clue, top row. Not looking very happy, but then again, he would be classed as an Aged Player in this team of young uns.

IMG_5148Action shot. I make a shite footy photographer :)

IMG_5133  This shot being my favourite of the day, truly showing it is indeed an outback event! and wondering how I might be able to work this into our business's advertising, as LOOK there, over in the yards. One fine looking concrete cattle trough :)

Enough of the football stuff, on with the details of the day...

IMG_5040Major sponsors of the event were treated to lunch in a beautifully presented marquee.

IMG_5042and any ladies wishing to watch the boys in style, could do so in the Ladies Tent...

IMG_5052which looked like a pretty swish place to be, with flowers on tables and all sorts of yummies and champagne to be had.

After the testosterone fest and sore muscles had been iced, and the sweat and blood washed away, there followed the Full Time Soiree, which was to be held nearby that evening, and required the frocking up of all that attended. We didn't go, feeling a wee bit long in the tooth, and rather looking forward to an early night in our jarmies, but I snuck in and had a look at how things were looking.

Pretty darned slick.

IMG_5078With beautifully set tables for the VIPS who wanted to eat sitting down (for the "older" ones like ourselves I suspect) and a generous standing area with cocktail tables for the younger set, this was all set up under the covered equestrian arena. Portable timber dance floors were laid out in front of the band area, it all looked simply amazing. My brother laid claim to actioning the brilliant old trees, which really are old trees trimmed and shoved into pots weighed down with rocks. I have no doubt that the whole area, come dark, would have looked gorgeous with twinkling fairy lights and tea lights on the tables.

IMG_5037I brought home a stubby cooler to add to the collection of other stubby coolers we, for some reason, do not use.

And was very,very pleased, that I was not some young thing living it up at the Full Time Soiree, but instead sitting with my feet up in my slippers and pj's. And I suspect, there might have been more than one young fellow feeling the affects of some hard playing wishing he were doing the same!

I don't know where ever anyone got the thought there was nothing to do in the country.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

fun times

Yesterday afternoon, just as I was finishing my corned beef and pickled sandwhich, I got a short, sharp phone call from school: "Angus has broken his arm".

Given that we live just 2-300 metres from the school, I scampered down to find a white faced boy sitting on Miss Mac's lap, with a very bent looking arm. I had to turn around and walk back out again to compose myself, I didn't know whether to throw up or cry! 

We have a great little school community, and when Angus had fallen off the monkey bars (rite of passage?!) the biggest boy gathered him up, and sent some other kids for help. Great kids. And the staff, a bit shaken too, kept the show on the road and getting the kids back to school, even though the excitement of the ambulance arrival may have distracted them a bit!

We trotted off to town, and with the assistance of some medication the boy had a little nap on the way, and then was the wait wait wait for xrays.

We had enough time waiting for the ambulance to gather some books, and I ducked back home to grab his favourite Cow-ie soft toy and some clothes for him, and change out of shorts and thongs into something a little warmer and less daggy (learnt from experience!)

X-rays were very clear. This is a side view, so imagine in real life his arm looking straight, with a sudden bend in it before the wrist. Yeah. Not a nice sight.

xray2Xrays were printed out and thoughtfully provided for show and tell :) Learning experiences can come from anywhere!

xrayAnd after a somewhat painful alignment to apply the back slab (this is a boy that screams blue murder when the needle comes out to dig out a prickle, but just whimpered with tears rolling down his face during what must have been a very very painful process) we were allowed to come home. And wait for an appointment at the fractures clinic in Townsville. (yes, the same one I visited less than twelve months ago with Georgie).

I hope the boy and I get more sleep tonight.

Consulting shopping list for Townsville trip, as I am not doing an eight hour round trip and not do some other jobs and a grocery order while I am at it!

And considering the fact that each family member, bar me, has a file at our local hospital. I'm not planning on getting one either.

Fun times indeed.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

the magic of new technology

I've been instagramming again. Well, since I discovered it, I have been all of the time, but if you don't have it on your phone, and don't look at my page above often, you wouldn't know that.  Anyhow, yesterday afternoon, when the light was at that short, golden, warm phase (and the temperature wasn't freezing) i walked around and snapped some shots, with my phone, as I was feeling too lazy to go and find my camera.

My point is this: one - amazing that my phone takes photos of this quality and two - that it is SO easy to quickly give them a little something something if need be, and upload to instagram. Literally seconds.

Here's yesterday afternoons offerings.

Crying boy because he broke the bottle tree. Given that 1. it doesn't have the sturdiest of branches and 2. he has been climbing to the top on a daily basis, it was only a matter of time that it before it happened. This little boy with quite a conscious was more than a bit tearful when he manfully came and told me the news.

That golden afternoon light. And the seed head on my precious ornamental grass, which is recovering from the attack of the Killer Poddies.

My favourite white bougainvillea, which can throw a delicate pink tinge through its flowers sometimes. Not this one though, pure clean and bright white.

And in the same garden bed, thriving on neglect and the water from the laundry which runs out nearby, my paperbark trees.

And now for the fun stuff. Grabbed the kids and got them to pose, more or less with co-operation, against the rustic laundry wall. I must do this again, with the PROPER camera!

The biggest girl, who loves posing and having her photograph may have been mentioned on her recent report card that she has a propensity towards drama-queen and princess like behaviour given the opportunity. Her father and I read that and laughed. Miss Mac knows the kid well (and how much attention drama-queen and princess like behaviour get given at home :) heh heh) Dramatics aside, she is a sweet,kind girl with a typical oldest child touch of bossiness.


You might be able to tell by the expression on her face, but the short girl there was in one of those moods yesterday. She is one of those kids that have a brain fart and do things that makes you wonder what on earth goes through their strange little minds at that given moment (and whose genetics are responsible). Directing those impulsions towards good rather than evil is the problem...

And to finish off, the reluctant subject...

And I think, even though taken with a cheapo supposedly smart phone, that it actually captures what a sweet natured little boy he is.

And as much as I love my boy and how easy he has been (and wondered what the dynamics of having two of each would have been like) after meeting a family of five pre-teen to late teenage boys the other day, with a sweet, gentle mum, and a happy, energetic, loud dad, I am rather pleased with my lot. How loud and rambunctious that household must be!

And how thankful for this bit of modern technology I phone and instagram, I love it!

Monday, July 16, 2012

catering for a crowd

the past week or so, I have been caught up in the logistics of catering for a crowd of up to 250 people. That's a lot of tummies to fill!  The reason for this influx of hungry tummies was the Endeavour Rally passing through town, and needing food and a place to rest their wearies heads for the night. Having travelled from Croydon (FNQ) the lead started rolling into the Racecourse just before dark yesterday (and don't imagine that these are shiny state of the art four wheel drive rally cars, I think part of the rules state the cars must be at least 25 years old!)

The logistics around feeding 250 head for dinner and breakfast meant that I ended up being the one sourcing the 100 odd kgs of corned beef, 24 dozen eggs and 30 kgs of sausages, and 18 kgs of pie apple for apple crumble. Thank goodness for wholesalers that deliver.  The corned beef was farmed out amongst local committee members of the Jockey Club and P & C to cook, as was the pie apple. Sunday morning saw my husband manning the meat slicer and spending a good two hours slicing the corned beef, and me stacking it into trays, ready to be placed in the bay-marie for serving.

Over at the Jockey Club, the grounds were being primped and prepped, and extra showers made to accommodate the crowd.  A lot of work went into preparing the grounds and feeding the crowd of rally drivers.

IMG_4961And in making the place look a little bit swish and classy. The old hardy bougainvillea always comes in handy!

IMG_4962Although a last minute shower of rain had everyone scurrying to get the tables and chairs back under cover!

IMG_4964Old style cooking implements were brought into play, the racecourse not having a gourmet style kitchen. Jacket potatoes were boiled in the old copper.

IMG_4968And fancy outback style "fire pits" were erected to counteract the chilly breeze.  Please note the attention OH&S with the fence around the fire, in the old days it would have been a bonfire on the ground! (pleas note the Bar in the background as well)/

IMG_4972everything looks fancier with a bit of hessian draped over it, in this case some portable yard panels around the opening to the unisex showers (thoughtfully adorned with informative signage). Also note the alfresco sink, which belongs to the mens toilets backing onto the showers.

IMG_4981The ladies toilets being slightly grander (again with thougthful signage), again with more hessian. And a mirror, which I didn't photograph, but was obviously hung by a very short person. Must rectify this before the races! 

I managed to catch a few of the cars before dark...

IMG_4974IMG_4978IMG_4980IMG_4976Obviously it is essential and obligatory to get as many stickers as possible over ones vehicle, to have the biggest spot lights as one can source, carry many a spare tyre, and have a good sense of humour.

It got busy, and I didn't get a chance to photograph the food, but no one went home hungry. Although it was noted these rally types weren't as big eaters as expected (I guess sitting in a car all day doesn't work up an appetite) so we had plenty of leftovers, some of which got turned into bubble and squeak for breakfast (at which I wasn't present, sent the husband out at 530 instead!) and the rest sold back to the committee...I have three apple crumbles in my freezer now!

Thank goodness its over though! they departed around 8am this morning, bound for their final destination, Yeppoon.

Now that is crossed off the calendar, onto the next event, the inaugural Rugby Sevens Comp in town next weekend. Working in catering and watering the troops for that one too, with some baking to be done this week, and working in the canteen/bar areas on the day.

Who ever said there was nothing to do in the country?!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

still thinking about

inside my house.  This time the girls room.  The girls are rapidly outgrowing their current cupboards (one being a nursery style cupboard) and I have to say its driving me bonkers.  Yesterday I sat down with a pencil and paper, and with the help of the www and built in cupboard dimensions, worked out a plan.  However, instead of the rubbish (and expensive) built in cupboards that come from the likes of super-amart, whenever the builder man comes to fix my verandah up (before someone falls through the boards, which would be an adventure I wish upon no man!) I am going to get him to whip up the frame for a built in wardrobe, inside which will go those simple and reasonably inexpensive wire drawers, with a small amount of hanging space.  And then no matter how haphazardly the girls put their stuff away, one will slide a door shut over the whole mess. It will have a nice shelf at the top to hold clothes to grow into and winter stuff, and it will be all behind doors. To the ceiling if I have any choice in the matter!

Now you can see where that bonus money the government gave me the other day will be going...not towards that new camera! Practical husband raised an eyebrow and asked was there anything wrong with the old one. Umm, no (hangs head and scuffs ground).

Anyhoo, the installation of one storage facility would mean much more space in their shared bedroom, and when I came across this idea below on pinterest, a lightbulb went off.

Original idea HERE (although my version won't be nearly as flash!)  these bookcases turned on their sides come from Ikea. Lacking an Ikea store here in the sticks (and they don't freight or online order, unfortunately) similar style bookcases can be found cheaply in other stores. The installation of one big wardrobe in the girls room will leave just one dressing table and bedding in the girls room. Currently in bunk beds because of space, this idea could be carried out in the newly freed up corner of their room, or going back to standard single beds, could sit at the end of each bed. Even without the seating aspect, just as storage.

I can't tell you how happy the idea of not seeing drawers with legs of pants, and undies and other things hanging out of them makes me (or even funner, dumped on the floor in front of the drawers, messy little ratbag).

And having enough space for everything (getting bigger means bigger clothing, which doesn't fit as well in the same space that they used as babies!)

And having a storage space for each girl for all of the precious things that girlies like to keep. Although the biggest challenge, as ever, will be getting them to put it all back where it should go.

Never fear, I won't be throwing out perfectly good, albeit too small, storage. The boy will score the lovely antique wardrobe (perfectly adequate for one boy) and the nursery wardrobe/drawers will be pressed into service elsewhere, or be stored in the shed to be passed along to my new sister in law, when they might need it ;-)

Now I just to be patient, and wait, wait, wait.

Ok, enough house stuff! Hooroo.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Ten-four rubber duckie

Anyone ever watch The Convoy, or Smokey and The Bandit when they were kids? We did.  And I have no real idea of what ten four rubber duckie means, but it sounds cool over the two way radio!

Anyhow, the gist of all that is that the other day we had our own little convoy happening. With an over abundance of cattle populating our leased portion of Charley Creek (the inlaws property) and more knocking on the door, thanks to the "numbers building" phase of livestock production we are currently in, we had to find some more space.  An agistment paddock on The Downs was found, not far away. Decisions were made, paddocks mustered, and a line of four decks of pregnant cows was drafted off and loaded onto the truck.

My job on this day was Counter-on-erer (making sure I had the right number of cows per pen on the truck) and transporter of the mobile loading ramp to the paddock.

Cows loaded, we headed off, me being the sandwhich between two trucks. One to slow me down (apparently) and one to pick up any pieces. Ye of little faith, the men in these parts.

IMG_4776  The local contractor taking the lead...

IMG_4772husband in the rear...and me towing the un-aerodynamic mobile loading ramp (those bits you can see behind me) in the ute. I will admit to being accused of low level flying the past, but this trip saw me poking along at a sedate 76km per hour (any faster and things rattled alarmingly!)

IMG_4784 Lucky for the kids, the route took us past Granma's house, so they were dropped off before we arrived at our destination (look at that grass!)

IMG_4785Loading ramp unhooked and set into place, ready for the pregnant cows (also known as PTIC, which means Preg Tested In Calf) to daintily step off and survey their new pastures.

IMG_4793 which they did, with a minimum of fuss.

IMG_4800particularly this lovely girl, who was hardly flustered at all by the whole process. Always quite fond of Brafords with their white faces and clean red coats, I think I will be keeping a close eye on this cow and her progeny.

IMG_4802I'm a wee bit suspicious she may have been a poddy, as she looked at my like if I had had a bucket of feed she would have come right on over!

IMG_4836The unloading process continued uneventfully, and the mob was held by The Husband on the four wheeler, waiting for them all to be offloaded before he walked them the short distance to the water trough nearby.


IMG_4823 after which they put their heads down and hoed into this beautiful body of feed - Mitchell grass (and some Flinders) which is very nutritious. They'll do well here!

And thankfully, my normal driving habits were able to be resumed, leaving the loading ramp behind and collecting the children (reluctantly) from Granma's house on the way home.

I didn't get much laundry done that day.

Ten four, rubber ducky, over and out.

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