Friday, November 30, 2012

random observations and not so profound thoughts

In case you hadn't noticed, we are rapidly approaching the pointy end of the year, and the silly season. Where did the year go?!

I went to the city early last week. Solo. No kids, no husband. Unfortunately, I did take with me the head cold thing that the kids brought home from school, which I am still dealing with a whole week and a bit later. And while it did take the shine off my trip and made me squint with glazed eyes at my shopping list, I soldiered on. Coka Cola has saved me on many a trip home and this one was no different.

Our old dog Sally is on heat. Thankfully she seems as interested in having another litter of puppies as I am. Our other dog, a teenaged Jack Russell who is still in full ownership of all of his dangly bits, is obsessed (can you imagine it?!!). So much so, that after Sally's morning run, where all she wants to do is complete her ablutions (as you do), she puts herself back into the pen to get away from Wally's constant "attentions". Jack Russells are nothing but determined, and a bit dense, he hasn't worked out from the snarky snarly snaps in his direction that she is just not interested. Highly entertaining.


Its dry. And it busy. And its hot. Combination of which makes for tired, cranky husbands (and wives).

We have a week left of school. Given that we are struggling to even get inside by 7pm, lingering outside to enjoy the coolness of dusk, it can't come sooner - having tea cooked and eaten then having to be in bed on time to get a good nights sleep for school the next day. To be honest, we've struggled with bed time all term. Bring on the summer holidays...


I have yet to start thinking about christmas cards and letters...I love getting them (anything more than a few lines on a card) and I love skimming through the years worth of photos to include on my letter. And honestly, sometimes its only way I manage to remember what happened this year.

IMG_1464 This boy lost his second bottom tooth. Tooth fairy finally remembered to visit. They are used to her absent mindedness in these parts.

Santa lists have been written, at least by the two younger ones...I think the biggest one is getting slightly suss about things.

We went to the first Christmas BBQ this week. Hosted by OUR BANK!  As one of the other clients said, he has been waiting 84 years for a bank to give HIM something. We are very happy with our bank and its manager, and we had a lovely evening, eating a lovely meal provided by their caterer, and chatting with friends and neighbours. Bank manager seemed disappointed that his clients did not drink all of the beer provided.

Speaking of BBQ's and christmas cheer, the fridge door is getting quite overloaded with upcoming already feeling the desire to stay home in my jarmies in front of the tv with a packet of maltesers. Festive aren't I?!!

And finally: when did my kids get so grown up looking? my baby is SO not a squiggly, snuggly little boy any more. Although still has a wicked sense of humour. last night he hid under the bed to scare me, and giggled his little head off when I squealed. (I did know he was there, one thing he does not know how to do is hide successfully!) He was still snickering to himself when I turned the light off.

Righto. Off to find some festive cheer. Ho Ho Ho!

Monday, November 19, 2012

mad mexicans and burning logs

Yes, the look known as the Mad Mexican has returned, briefly I am told.

IMG_1368This time I also believe with quite a bit more of the salt and pepper affect. We won't mention that to him though ;-)

Anyhow, apparently conditions were right for a spot of log burning on Saturday evening, after some 40mm+ of rain just the week before. Yes, starting fires rather than putting them out. My Father in law has been busy on his loader and stick rake, pushing up great piles of logs in the pulled country. And I have to say, riding over the raked country is so much nicer now one doesn't have to bump crawl and climb over the fallen timber.

My husband and brother got the fire crazed look, and went off to light up the stacks of timber, also known as windrows.

IMG_1382 At the same time storms were about, the wind fresh and lively, and the kids got their own crazy on (one with a fresh, gently bent collar bone. Don't ask)

IMG_1385IMG_1400IMG_1440I didn't the number of stacks - there were a LOT - and before long they were all alight. The grass around was too short and too green to carry the fire away from the burning timber.

IMG_1450And just on dark, with dark stormy skies and lightning flashing around the edges (the top end of the influence that hit the south east corner of the state with a whammy) the burning logs really were bright against the sky.

IMG_1457And when they had had their fill of lighting logs, and it started to drizzle (not enough to put out the flames) we went home. The End.

IMG_1387(that boy better hurry up and grow some legs, his sisters are towering over him!)     

Friday, November 16, 2012


Last Saturday we managed to pull off a surprise baby shower for my dear friend Mel, who I have mentioned here before. Earlier in the year Mel was VERY surprised to find herself pregnant, as this certainly wasn't on her list of plans for the year, nor any time soon. Mel likes to run an organised ship ;-) (I am snickering away to myself at the moment)

Luckily for us, she has been sick with the flu and baby brain has kicked in, as she was completely unaware of our plans despite some strange and often aborted phone calls to her husband in the weeks leading up to the party, organising the hows and whys of getting her to the party. The evening before, there was a flurry of texts and organising new locations, with 40mm of wonderful rain making the road too wet to get to the original venue.

IMG_1175Mel's the one in green, greeting her special group of friends.
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That is her husband in the blue, who was very chuffed with himself for managing to get her there
We held the party under the golden BER library at school. Decorated and made the place all pretty.
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Another friend made and decorated the most gorgeous cake...
IMG_1165 And one things for sure, when you ask someone to bring a plate to share out here, no one will go home hungry!
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We played games, we drank and ate, and ate some more, talked, chatted and laughed.
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And that last one there on the right, that's for Jaki, who now lives in Dalby and just COULDN"T picture Mel with the belly.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

not happy jan

A little bloggy catch up on the adventures, or rather misadventures around here. The Husband wanted me to blog about it, obviously because he thinks it wildly amusing, me? Not so much.

Anyhow, on Wednesday last week I was summonsed to appear at the cattle yards to assist in drafting the cows we had to let go because of being rudely interrupted by a fire. Still recovering from the tummy bug , I would have to admit that I probably wasn't as agile and alert as I could be, but STILL....(the rest of the tale below taken from an email which tells the story, why rewrite it again?!)

"I have been in the yards where I have been most rudely snotted by a cow who APPARENTLY thinks I look like a dingo, albeit one half way up the rails, and using an impressive array of inappropriate language.

Needless to say my shin is feeling very sore from the cow trying to push it through the rails, and I have very Dark Thoughts about said cow, and her longevity. Husband and BIL both very unsympathetic, even though I was pretty much as far out of the way as I could have been, apart from back at the hut, laying on the couch, having a by-jingo.

Actually, adding husband to list of things to have Dark Thoughts about. Should be showing far more concern for love of his life and mother of his children"

The leg and shin in question did indeed take offence to being ground into the steel yard panels, swelling and bruising impressively. (although, obviously not enough to impress Husband to dole out sympathy).

IMG_1258 This is the best photograph I could get, and it was indeed purple and yellow, with a great deal of the bruising drifting downwards as is wont to happen in these cases.  Its a very attractive look, appearing like one has jaundice in just below the knee in one leg!

Kids however, are impressed enough to fetch and carry for mum, especially if any of them bumps or whacks the offending limb (it hurts), Mum sporting too a limp that at least works on them if not their father!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

the northern report

I have to confess something: after ignoring my husband at 5am when he wanted me to help him unload a truck (he's nothing but a sh!t stirrer) I really had no plans on seeing the solar eclipse, especially as I had no equipment (ie welding helmets) at home in order to do so safely.

But a phone call at 6:20am from a wildly excited neighbour made my drag my sorry butt out of bed and outside. Not sure if it was the eclipse or just the weather but it was gorgeously fresh this morning. The first thing I noticed was the light, which was really quite strange, like a big smoke cloud had gone across the sun, but everything was clear and crisp otherwise. Quite lovely and eyrie at the same time.

Like I said, I was lacking anything to see the eclipse itself, but I DID see it like this: in the shadows. Which were really amazing!

IMG_1280Alerted this by Dr Carl on TV, it took me a little while to work out how to see this, then I happened to turn around and THERE THEY WERE! Amazing! I then rang the wildly excited neighbour to pass on this exciting information, and she got even MORE excited. I know. We don't get out much out here ;-)

IMG_1285  IMG_1286 IMG_1311

Did you see it in your part of the world?

Saturday, November 10, 2012


IMG_1086at first I thought I had two varieties of parrot drinking from my fish pond. However closer study revealed the greener bird the same, either a juvenile not quite in full colour, a female, or perhaps just one that had a genetic abnormality!

IMG_1090These are the same birds that attack my mangoes each year. Its obvious they are here, preparing themselves for the feasting. I'm preparing myself for the battle. Bring it on birdies. ;-) 

Friday, November 9, 2012

becoming a little monotonous

On Friday afternoon I very unfortunately succumbed to the children's tummy bug (or there really WAS something in the water) and had a delightful night feeling quite under the weather (you don't need the full details, trust me!). We did have plans for cattle work on Saturday but as The Husband left early that morning, he decided that I probably could be excused. (very generous of him, wasn't it!)

For the first time in literally years, I put myself back to bed (on top of the covers, even if still in my jarmies I can't do UNDER the covers during the day!) with the air conditioner roaring, and tried to recover. Kids did their chores and quite happily fed themselves and occupied themselves happily inside in the cool as well.

Around midday a phone call notified us of a fire within our rural fire brigade region (thankfully nowhere near us) and I dragged my butt off the bed to make some calls to get troops on the way. Temperature wise it could not have been a worse a day to fight fires, I believe it was well into the mid 40's on Saturday. I fielded calls on and off all afternoon, helping with communications (the fire being only 20kms from here).  After dark Trevor rang to see if I could bring him some food, so (feeling a lot better by this stage of the day, lolling about in the cool being quite restorative!) we quickly made up a loaf of bread into sandwiches, found some cold drinks, fruit and snacks and headed off. Handed it over to Husband and his crew merry men, chatted with a few others that we found along the way (the front being along the highway, most fortuitous for us, no bush bashing through strange paddocks in the middle of a back burn for us, thank goodness!)

Of course, camera was taken along too.

IMG_1008  IMG_1025 There were several crews on hand that worked all night and into the wee hours to bring the multi fronted blaze under control. The smallest property affected lost probably 90% of their grass, as well as livestock, some found dead, some having to be put down and many cows bagged up (ie udders full of milk, meaning the calves have been separated from them or died). It was such a hot day that the fire just raced through the tinder dry grass and trees.

We went for a drive the next day:

IMG_1047IMG_1071 IMG_1036 IMG_1045


The sad thing? This fire came from the highway, not from a lightening strike. Some inconsiderate person had thrown out a cigarette butt - or even worse, lit it deliberately.

Pray for rain.

IMG_1062And probably my sanity too ;-)

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Melbourne Cup in the bush

You may have realised it already, but out here we don't knock back the opportunity to don a frock and have a grand old time, and Melbourne Cup is just the perfect excuse to do both.

In previous years the kids and I have made the arduous trek down the the local pub (some 400m down the road) where of course both fashion and fun was in high supply. This year, some friends down the road on a property decided that they would host a little do, and so we decided to go to their place for a change of scenery and catch up with everyone.

The kids were happy with this choice as it meant they got the day off school. Of course we had to have the obligatory "we're clean and tidy and dressed up" shot before we left: (badly angled photo provided by the kids..either teach them to take better shots or teach myself to pose in a more flattering manner?!)

IMG_1091 IMG_1095

Husband was in attendance but declined to be photographed.

IMG_1101 IMG_1107

The homestead is perched on the edge of a man made dam/lake and has a sprawling shady lawn overlooking the water. Just gorgeous, and the breeze coming off the water was sublime. Thankfully not the hottest day of the year, we were sheltered by marquees on the lawn, under which were white clothed tables decorated with flowers and trophies from race days long gone.


Luncheon was served on the deck of the house (having not long put in sprinkler systems the lawn wasn't at it best, but no one really cared!) and the bunting and lanterns strung up have really inspired me for Christmas this year.

IMG_1120 IMG_1146

My new sister in law was there, squeezing babies (he was a very happy squeezable baby)


And my old ;-) sister in law was there too, with the chubby niece that doesn't like me. First baby I have met that doesn't and I am taking it hard. I think I have lost my touch.

IMG_1124And these lot had a grand old time, doing kid stuff and not wearing their hats.

  IMG_1128As you can see, it was a lovely setting and we had a marvellous day chatting, eating (I did not take a photo of the food, lest they think me totally barmy, however the fancy salads and cold meats delicious, and the deserts (simple but stunning trifle, and a tiramisu concoction) divine.

We even watched a horse race. Somehow managed to buy a horse in the Calcutta without making a single bid (who needs enemies when you have larrikin mates!) who ran at the back of the pack. (but what a great race it was!)

And as the sun was starting to lower in the sky, we decided to head home, where we had noodles for tea and the kids melted into bed.

IMG_1162Who'd want to live anywhere else?!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

frocking up

again, yes, I know. Seems there are plenty of opportunity to don the frock, heels and fascinator out here in the bush, and I am not one to turn away from a chance to dress up. Not being alone, fashions out here could and would rival Flemington.

Fashion favourites

Melbourne Cup, of course, next week, so there has been much perusing of wardrobes and wondering how long one might stand to wear a certain pair of gorgeously uncomfortable pair of shoes. This year we have the choice of celebrating the race that stops the nation at a property down the road (the hosts having thrown previous Melbourne Cup galas in their large shady garden) or more intimately, but with just as much style, down the road the road at the pub. The kids, ever the ones for an eye for a day of school (and the girls, a chance to dress up themselves) are understandably, pushing for going out of town.

We've got some cattle work to do between now and Race Day, which is more than enough to burst one's bubble, given the hot dry days we are having (no such thing as early storms in these parts!)...from Rolling in Cow Poo, to Race Day there's a contrast.]

I'll be back to share those adventures soon.

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