Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Easily Entertained

Dad was driving the BBQ the other night, and boy was entertaining himself outside in the dark, playing in the stove box.

IMG_2141 The light was on downstairs but inside the box was just dark enough for a little boy to try out his special torch from grandma (who knows about a little boy being a "bit" scared of the dark)

Oh, he's still a delicious child!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Muddy Puddles

We finally got enough rain to lay some water here the past few days (an inch and a bit falling here at home this week, and 65mm in one fall at the prickle farm!!) and the kids were excited. First water to play in for the summer. Yes, the WHOLE summer holidays not one muddy puddle.

IMG_2067So they decided to make the most of the bit of water in the gutter, and splash through it on their bikes.

IMG_2073   Which, of course you will not be surprised to find, ended up like this:

IMG_2103IMG_2125And isn't it amazing how soft focus and clever angles can make even my daggily rustic (that I am always casting the evil eye at) front gate seem a bit Country Stylish!  

Monday, February 25, 2013

Fun and Games

Alternately titled "Bloody Cat". In the interests of keeping it real over here at The Quiet Life (what was I thinking when I named my blog so? more apt would have been "A serve of mayhem with chaos on the side") I must share our current state of being. 

We have this cat, the last (long story) of the three destructo kitties we reared last year. We call him Max. He's a black bush cat, sleek and slightly physco. He's been doing a marvellous job at keeping the rat and mouse population in the sheds down to a dull roar (and bunnies too, during spring). The trouble is, the darned cat just isn't hungry enough. As a consequence, and only discovered the past three days, he has been leaving bodies around - out of sight in all sorts of hidden places - under the house. We know this because of the delicate aroma being emitted from the general vicinity of the back steps. Despite extensive searches (well, five minutes with a torch looking in exposed and easy to see spots, with no real desire to find the evidence, as THEN what?!) the final resting place has not been discovered and we've just had to grin and bear it. And not hang about the back steps for too long ;-)

I thought things were on the improve this morning. On the way to the laundry, my twitching nose has discovered a fresh-ish kill. In a different spot under the house. BLOODY CAT. 

ANYHOW. In happier news, WOOHOO! the kitchen is done. Despite my being a rather lacklustre housekeeper, I was rather over the displaced kitchen paraphernalia and the other crap stuff piling up around it as a consequence. Lets enjoy the before, and after shots shall we?!


Please note the old stove, which gave me a tingle (and cause to use bad language) when cleaning the wall behind it the other day.  (handyman is fixing the unpainted windows).

IMG_2135Slowly getting there.

  IMG_2137AND DONE!!!  IMG_2155 Isn't that stove just a work of beauty in itself?!! and is the first ceramic topped, fan forced oven I have used. Loving it sick.

IMG_2146I also had a stroke of genius, when about to rehang the hook that I used to hang my draining rack off when not in use (hate it cluttering up the draining board). I dug out one of my ceramic drawers knobs, which I have been saving for refurbishing a chest of drawers. That's not going to happen any time soon so I might as well enjoy the prettiness now!  It makes me smile, as does the freshly painted windows and sill.

Which are firmly shut at the moment, keeping out the aroma of Max's handiwork. Bloody cat.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

making do

My biggest girl has been long asking for a desk in her shared bedroom. I've resisted, seeing as 1. there isn't room and 2. she is SUCH a hoarder.

But with their dollhouse being outgrown and ready to be passed along or put into storage for future little girls to play with, its opened up a little space.

Unfortunately, cute little bargain filled second hand shops are in short supply here and I am SO kicking myself that I did not snap up a timber desk and hutch set up that I did see last year for $50 (!!) even though I had, at the time, no where to put it. So I am unlikely to find a small, cute old timber desk any time soon, even my beloved ebay fails me in this instance, not many offer postage on furniture! And I don't have any desire to slap down 500 bucks for a fancy new desk from the furniture shop/

I'll be keeping my eye open, but I think I've found a solution to my desk problem. (thanks pinterest)


Next time I get near one of those discount stores, I'll seek out a two cube units, and then I'll simply add a bit of plywood to the top. Painted white, or perhaps even covered with oilcloth. A chair I already have.

Sadly, living 400kms from the nearest store that sells what I am after means this project won't happen overnight, but it will happen. Sometimes making do, or finding alternatives, turns out so much better.

I'll share when I get it done.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

mundane matters

There's been a little bit of "movement at the station" here the last few rain of any real importance but at least the clouds have been looking a little more hopeful, with some falling around the district. Just not here, or over the prickle farm.

ANYHOW. The chirpy handy man from down the road arrived to put in my kitchen splash backs! Given that this is a undertaking that is over ten years in the making (filed under "I'm Too Busy" and "Don't Even Want To Think About It" in the husbands diary ) its a pretty momentous occasion.

Remembering the walls of my kitchen are timber tongue and groove. Great stuff to clean.  Amazingly though, when I cleaned the bench top off and ran the steam cleaner over the walls, and then a quick wipe over with a dishcloth, the walls came up very nicely.

image image

The splash back installation has also included painting the sole remaining window that has managed to escape the attentions of not one but TWO painters that have been here over the past five or so years. The fact that I am not the one doing the sanding and painting of the window frames has just about made me skip with joy.

Unfortunately, when I was doing my Sadie thing on the walls, leaning over the stove, I managed to give myself a bit of an electric shock (resulting language was not at all ladylike).  Jury's out as to whether it was the stove or the master switch for the stove (I have my money on the latter), however when the handy man looked at me with a twinkle in his eye and said he'd be happy to put a new stove into place, I went and made some calls. Husband approved, found some room in the budget and the EXACT sort of stove I had hoped to find (given space limitations and limited budget...but geez, they are not cheap items) just happened to be in stock in the Towers. Meant to be. (Surely a stove is a tool? Tax deductable under Repairs and Maintenance?!)

Things are poking along steadily, with the splashbacky bits being cut and fiddled with today. Measure twice - or more - think about things, and cut once. I'm in no rush. Its taken ten years after all. Stove is being collected today, and by tomorrow afternoon, should be all over red rover.

I'm not sure its going to make me cook any better (or keep the kitchen tidier, lets face it, I'm a shocking housekeeper!) but I look forward to some LEVEL cakes and will be interested to see what difference a fan forced oven will bring. Intend to bake a big pav for a BBQ this weekend.

Stay tuned for the afterwards pics.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

arty crafty

During the holidays, although I instagrammed it, I forgot to share this here. Yes, doing that a lot, I know.


Inspired by something I'd seen on instagram, and sick of the IM BORED coming out of her mouth, I spray painted an old canvas (some painting she'd done ages ago, truly awful) white and let her loose with PVA glue, scissors and scraps of paper. It may have been easier if I'd made her do rough square shapes instead of random, as towards the end I had to step in and help out. Anyhow, she's pretty impressed with the finished result and that she did it (mostly) by herself.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

of drought and flooding rains

Dorothea McKellar certainly captured our great land perfectly in her poem, we can all extremes in one day across the land, drought, bushfire, floods, as we have seen recently.

And while I would not call this a drought (yet) , we've certainly had no rain to speak of here in the past couple of months, a few showers here and there. None of the usual wet season stuff. Old timers have said that the wet is traditionally after January, but even so we've always managed to get under some storms before that point. Storms have been very very scattered around the district.

And so comes the forward planning. Places to the west, perhaps leaving things a little too long in anticipation of The Wet or better prices, have made the decision and have fully destocked. Others making moves to do so, as the better part of the state over the Great Divide has yet to receive any sustainable rain, so there is no where to go on agistment. We have til the middle of March to move our cows from the downs agistment paddock (unless it rains and then its all good) as the owner of that place makes plans to protect himself. At the in-laws property, water stocks in the dams (more like lakes)  are getting low and discussions are underway to put a bore down (possibly something that should have been down years ago) but like my husband says, by the time the two lakes are dry, there will be no grass anyhow.

At my parents place, lucky enough to get under the few storms, so the grass is looking not too bad for now. Water however is an issue and again big dams have gone dry. The windmill powered bore that has been so since day dot, has not been keeping up with demand and so has forced the need to install submersible pump and generator to keep water supplies in front of the cattle (There is an old pump jack at the bore, from memory, so perhaps it was driven by that back in the 70's when there was an awful drought?!)

At our place the three small (and never year round anyhow) dams are completely dry and we rely completely on one bore suppling the network of poly pipe. The cattle are looking pretty good, as they've only just gone back into the paddocks that had been burnt in 2011. We have our "bush country" spare, requiring 5km of fencing to make secure.  More poly pipe has been ordered as insurance, fearing should the bore break down we'd really be in trouble and the extra poly pipe could bring a "spare", currently unused bore, into the network within a few hours.

So, despite the need to tighten the belt with a possible drought on our hands, everyone has to face increased expenditure to improve infrastructure, to transport cattle. Selling cattle when prices aren't optimum to do so, but better to have at least cash in hand than a starving animal. Stress levels are high, as people struggle with decisions and choices to look after their land and livestock and financial security.

In brighter news, meet Tealeaf:

imageNewest kid on the block, his bottle-teated mother (go on, ask!) was "accidentally" put on the truck to the meatworks as they thought she'd lost her calf. Nope, she didn't, but his days would have been numbered in his mothers care. Here the little fellow has an insatiable appetite, putting away 9 LITRES of milk a day!! (certainly more than the back of the milk powder bag recommends!).

Tealeaf is the offspring of TeaBag (aka Hazeldean Earl Grey, but we don't stand on ceremony around here!) and is a quiet natured little soul, with a huge frame to grow into. No wonder he's so hungry! He's learning the ropes, and hanging with the big kids, and finding out mum isn't so keen on having him camping out at the back steps waiting for another feed.

And if you want to see how glorious good rain can make both cattle and country, do go over to Fiona's and have a look.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Random oddments

images from my hard drive, discovered today when searching for a file, one that I had forgotten what I had named it.  That fact, and these images which I had forgotten about entirely, are quite indicative of my scatty brain at the moment. So, here I present, absolute fluff, may you find it inspiring.

8387349031_cc58f22ffa_z old window 2 old window

 stop-seeking-out-the-storms-mini-prints-final sunshine canvas windmill art work paving

(The last two photos: I believe it was the windmill as wall art on the left, and the paving treatment on the right, that caught my eye).

Ok, off to find what's left of my marbles. Hooroo!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Words to ponder

Taken from THIS BLOG. Words to remember. We need to be reminded of this every year...

So you’re feeling too fat to be photographed . . .

Listen. I hear you. You’re a few pounds heavier than you like (or a 100lbs heavier than you like). I completely understand how you feel. I get that same blah feeling about myself when I think about booking new head shots or long overdue pictures of me and Justin. Precious, I even picked a career that has me permanently behind the camera rather than in front of it. Seeing myself in pictures actually produces the faintest sick feeling in my stomach. Isn’t it amazing we can see the beauty in our best friends, sisters, mothers, and aunts without the slightest thought to their flaws . . . but can obsess for hours on our own imperfections? We fixate on our flaws to the point we shirk at any documentation that our round faces and curvy bodies ever walked the earth. No pictures to show how we LOVE, how we laugh, how we are treasured by our families. How is it possible that a double chin can overpower the beauty of a mother cuddling her child? How does arm fat distract from the perfect shot of a spontaneous hug? I swear y’all . . . how is it that we can put more value on a TUMMY ROLL than the captivating way you throw yourself into a roar of laughter during a shoot?

In our warped minds pictures become frozen mirrors that we can stare at as we pick apart our features over and over again.
I know girl. I know.

My personal duck-and-cover (or signature “make a funny face”) approach to having pictures of myself changed completely when I had a serious car accident last year (and started over). In the flash of a second (or a flash of the text message the young woman was reading) my entire life changed. I nearly left this earth with no physical evidence of the goofy, wide open and loud love I have for my life, my husband, my family and friends. I haven’t had professional pictures done since our wedding in 2006 . . . always waiting for this elusive moment where I would be thin enough (pretty enough) to have such a permanent record of me. Because, you know, HEAVEN FORBID there be any proof that I look the way I actually look.

So here is the harsh truth y’all. Listen good. Our vanity is no longer enough of a reason to avoid the camera. Life doesn’t wait until you “get thin” enough to capture it. Life is happening . . . it is happening right now and the only moment we are guaranteed is the one we are living. I shudder at the thought of leaving behind no pictures of my life with ME in it. My mom says of the accident she is “just glad that we’re still a whole family.” My gift to her this Christmas was a family portrait showing just that, 9 months post-accident . . . a whole family.

So You're Feeling Too Fat for Pictures?  My Friend Teresa Photography Puts it All in Perspective.

Do you know what my mom sees when she looks at this picture? Her beautiful family all together.
Do you know what my husband sees? The family he gained the moment he met me (and how much he looks like my dad…)
Do you know what my dad sees? The happy family he has worked for every day of his life.
Do you know what my brother sees? That he got away with wearing shorts… :)

Shocker: No one is looking at how fat I look.

Can we agree to put the value of family over the value of fat? Can we just accept that the weight you’ve been trying to lose for 5 years might actually just be a part of what you look like . . . and that if this magical day does come when you’re acceptably thin you’ll STILL regret not having any pictures of you with your kids from ages 5 – 10? Can we acknowledge that the insecurities we have in our heads will never be a part of how our children, husbands, and friends see us? Can we just please let our loved ones remember the YOU they love?

Your children want pictures with their mom.

Your husband wants pictures with his beautiful wife.

Your mom and dad want pictures of the happy, successful, amazing woman they raised (ok, and more pictures of the grandkids while you’re at it)

And if you’re thinking that high school friend on Facebook will say to herself (“wow she has gained weight”) then . . . newsflash you DID. You gained weight. Shed a tear. Read a book. Drink a Sweet Tea. Watch Oprah. Whatever it takes. Accept this reality . . . YOU GAINED WEIGHT. The truth is you’ve gained a lot of other things too (a career, a family, some kids, a house, a love for travel, the ability to coordinate your separetes . . . ) and that girl from high school is going to spend a lot more time hating on those things then she ever will on your double chin.

So you’re feeling too fat to be photographed? . . . Ok. But you’re the only one who notices. The rest of us are too caught up in loving you.

Hope this has struck a chord with everyone too.

Monday, February 4, 2013

weekend adventures

We have a fabulous neighbour that for years, has managed to muster and fence and do all sorts of property work with a workforce mainly comprising of kids from around the district aged 15 and under. He just LOVES having kids work for him, and guide and shape them into great young workers.  Although recently he has been quite dismayed by the fact that his workforce has been shipped off to boarding school and he is running out of workforce when boarding school activities are more attractive on weekends.

So it may have been with an ulterior motive in mind that he invited us and our horses down to "help" muster a small mob of cattle and process them. The kids were keen, fired up by stories from their mates, of mustering adventures at PeterFinlay's. (all one word, his christian name and surname all run together, that's how he's known around here).

He was also excited by the fact that his long and lanky mate (my husband) was getting on a horse after a hiatus of around 7 years. (I may have mentioned before he prefers his horsepower to be Honda branded!)

IMG_1514He took this family snapshot. We borrowed two horses, one for me (I donated my steed to The Husband), an old faithful of The Neighbour's (a nice short pony for mum! I wanted to take him home!) and the gorgeous old Red for Kate. Red is well known around the region for his general amazing-ness.

IMG_1509The Neighbour had to take a photo of his own to share with other mates that were also entertained by the thought of The Husband on a horse. (we country folk are easily amused)

IMG_1518After the heat of the past weeks, it was a clear and cool morning. Lovely morning for a short ride down the laneway to pick up some cows. We had two other young ringers, old hands, along for the ride too.

IMG_1525The cows weren't exactly wild and misbehaving, so it was a pleasant outing for all. It did get a bit exciting when bulls started fighting, just as we were yarding up (kids riding to get out of the way all over the place, which is hard to do when the bulls are so determined, and so unpredictable) but no disaster unfolded and was a little bit thrilling for the kids.

IMG_1530The boy child, who is very much a chip off the old block and was lamenting for his motorbike half way home, even rode "solo" on the way home. When I say rode solo, I mean he sat on the back of old dear old Ben, who knows the drill and was quite happy to follow the tail of the mob with his passenger. Ben was quite aware of his passengers skills or lack thereof, and would stop when directed, but turning to go off the track (and expend more energy) well, he was having none of that. It was all home James, but lets not be in TOO much of a rush.

After smoko followed some drafting, and being not a big mob did not take very long.  All kids, apart from the leading hand (12 years of age) penning up at the back,  were put in the crows nest and didn't they think they were great  with a gate each to open.

IMG_1534(some big kids there to keep things under control)

After lick runs, lunch and a spell in the heat of the day, we branded the small mob of calves.

IMG_1553That would be the 12 year old leading hand Toby doing the branding (I helped him out, just so I wasn't twiddling my thumbs), the rest of the kids penning up the calves and hanging off rails down the back. The neighbour and I agreed it was best to not ever look back.

IMG_1556Toby showed my kids how to brand as well ;-) They each had a turn at the end.

IMG_1562 IMG_1563


The Neighbour with all of his disciplines lined up in a row. Kids had a GREAT day, and as always when not working at home,  where there is always nearly a rush to get something done, and a cranky parent or two, much more was learnt. The kids were allowed to do much more and given responsibility. And despite being having an easy day, they all slept well last night. Even mum ;-)

Now they should be all trained up for when we brand in a few weeks time, when the cows come in from the bush country. We may have to bring Toby on board to keep the trainees in check, and I may well just stay at home and keep the pikelets coming, read the paper, and paint my toenails.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Dodgy Birthday Cakes 2013 #10

Poor Kate always ends up with the dodgiest cakes - end of school holidays, start of school, its soo hot...needless to say baking and decorating inspiration are always at an all time low. This year was no different:


It actually looked better in real life, and the pale pink buttercream turned out really well, which makes a change for me.


The candles were lit and were blown out very quickly (a strong breeze helped!) and cake devoured in record time, despite there being less kids at school this year!

I'm getting a bit slack with the photos I have to say, I didn't take many at all (a few more on my phone, which I have been using a lot!)The

I now have a child in double digits...scary much! She was a very lucky girl and got a lot of thoughtful presents from family and friends and so was feeling very loved and special. Granma got her a 500 piece puzzle which we put at the end of the dining table. Lets just say she didn't do a whole lot of it, but Mum, Dad and sister did. Distracting, mind bending bloody thing. But now of course we are all hooked and even Dad has said I need to get another. I'll think about it. He thought Instagram was bad at wasting my time...

One cake down, three to go...

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