Sunday, September 28, 2014

I just need a hand, he said

Ah the infamous words…I just need a hand. We all know how that goes. So I packed lunch and smoko, and the kids and headed off to the prickle farm to help The Husband put up a fence around a tank.  Well, not so much put up, but pull down the old one so a new improved model could be installed.

IMG_4721This may sound a simple task, but much machinery and equipment was required. Firstly we had to wait for Dad to arrive with the bulldozer.  Dad (I should have known better) vastly over estimated the speed of his machine and so we had a bit of a wait. This allowed me to catch up on some reading, and the kids to catch up on some sword stick fighting and generally do their best to maim each other before smoko.





First job of the day, after feeding the troops, was to roll up the barbed wire fence that was sort of still standing.


Clearly my gloves have seen better days and this little chore did not do them any favours. Whilst I was rolling the bulldozer did its thing VERY closely behind me, removing trees that could drop limbs on the new solar panels that are to be installed beside this tank. Speaking of Boys Toys, there were two boys in that bulldozer with big dusty smiles on their faces as they inhaled dieseline fumes and did lots of brooooming as they made an unholy dusty mess.

I also discovered – well I had a fair inkling – that I lack the skills to create anything more artistic than this out of barbed wire.



Then came the super fun part (please read that in sarcasm font). Digging holes with the post hole digger on the tractor. There’s about 3 feet of super fine sand and then a big old flat hard rock after that. A three foot deep hole isn’t ideal however is not so bad if one has to bale out the super fine sand by hand after the post hole digger has finished.


(I wasn’t just taking photos! sheesh. That’s my shovel sticking out of a hole there in front of me).

Once holes were close enough is good enough, in went the frame for the solar panels and cement to hold it in place.


At this point in time, after putting the frame in place and putting in two strainer posts for the fence that was to go around this structure, it was discovered that we were out of both vital materials and day. So all toys were parked up or packed up and homewards we went. The kids were delighted that I managed to get sand bogged in the ute (however nothing that the application of hubs in and 4WD didn’t fix…which reminds me, I always forget the HUBS OUT part. Wonder how many kilometres before The Husband realises and takes the hubs out again….)

Anyhow. I digress. We got home just on dark – and in time for some golden light that enabled me to take this photo.

Great end to a good days work.


Grubby faced,  bare footed children and sharp toothed pups make the best photos do they not? Smile

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Guard Dog

With the passing of dear old Sally (also known as The Black Tart from time to time) Wally the Jack Russell has been a bit lonely. He has also been letting down the side in the watch dog stakes, most likely to only bark at the visitors he knows at the gate (a welcome bark if you will) instead of everyone that arrives.

Fortuitously, the provider of many of our ill fated kittens over the years, recenty advertised the availability of a litter of blue/collie cross pups. I chose one from a photo simply as he had a patch on his bum and showed the most blueness.

And so Boof arrived to live at our place.


Very wriggly with sharp teeth. Very friendly. Very FAST.



Also very much liking coming inside. And doesn’t sulk when smacked. Probably would be good if he did as he keeps repeating his mistakes over and over. Perhaps somewhat aided and abetted by the two youngest children in the house.

Boof has settled in JUST fine. The first night of yowling and crying stopped abruptly and we were quite smug in that he had settled in his pen quite quickly. Turns out the next morning, he had managed to squeeze through the small gap at the top of the pen, and put himself with Wally. Not sure what Wally thought of proceedings but it certainly kept Boof quiet . Wally has found out there does exist a more annoying and persistent dog than himself, but thankfully cannot jump up onto chairs and other high surfaces as yet. Wally takes the high ground when he has had enough attention.

It has occurred to me that perhaps having both a Blue Dog and a Jack Russell may be a volatile/rebellious combination. Oh well.

Get ‘em Boof. (and pick up your shoes, kids!)

Friday, September 26, 2014


Eight. Hard to comprehend my squigy cuddly little baby boy is now a long lean lanky, callused palmed and boofy, eight year old boy. How the years have melted away.

The eight year old boy was lucky enough to score TWO cakes this go round, a pretty mean feat considering mum had spent the best part of the week prior away at Westech Field Days in Barcaldine. But seeing as his birthday fell on a Saturday, a second cake was required to share with the 6 little friends at school.



There was plenty of sisterly love going his way. Momentarily at least!


Lego and games, and a new hat, boots AND WHIP. All dogs in the district are cowering. Boy can crack a whip far better than his mother (who’s whip cracking skills are very lacking).


Cake One was a chocolate and freckles masterpiece that did not last past morning smoko.

Cake Two was a lot heavier on the sugar laden embellishments. Smarties and TV Snack biscuits surely do hide an absolute multitude of sins, do they not?!


Happy Birthday Angus. Now about that whip. Back corner of the back paddock is a brilliant place to practise your whip cracking, son.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Spring Cleaning

So in the spirit of spring and all, and the fact that my bathroom needs cleaning far more than my blog, but that is far less fun, I give you a new blog header.

header sept 1

Sadly what equals white and code #fffff in my photoshop elements doesn’t seem to equal the same thing when I upload it into blogger. Hence the change of background colour. I don’t like the grey walls. Any one who can help me solve my colour issues, I’d love to hear from you.

Bit rusty at all of this stuff clearly!

FOOTNOTE:  have since changed back the background colour to white.  In livewriter and photoshop elements on my computer (new laptop), the background is showing as white (and code #fffff  - I checked) and yet even when I upload the header into the body of the post it comes up as #eeeee. (grey). WHY IS THIS SO?!!!

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Fun Times

Ah, fun times indeed. As I mentioned in my last post, I lost my voice somewhere between Barenya and home that afternoon. It certainly did not improve that evening (nor did the man flu/sinus problems) but fortunately for me but possibly not so much the children and husband, I posses a pretty strident whistle and can say an awful lot with a certain look and pointed finger.

However just because the vocal chords had man flu didn’t mean that lolling around in bed was an option (actually, I’d stopped feeling blah by this point) as the next day the good times were continuing. Such is the way, events tend to cluster and collide and this was no different, with a Yoga Day being held at school the morning after our paddle boarding adventure. Now, you’d be pretty assured in knowing that Yoga is not something that I have done regularly but in the name of supporting local events and Frontier Services (host, another one of their community resilience drought functions) I donned my stretchy pants. I took them off again as I really didn’t feel MY stretchy pants had any place in public, not when around my butt that is for sure.

Yoga, I have found, is not a lot different to the stretching exercises one might do in other exercise sessions. I am sure the mentality and the deeper meaning behind it is totally different, however I am also pretty sure we never reached that level as we were far too busy giggling at our ability or lack thereof to complete the moved required.


Cath, our instructor had no such difficulty but enjoyed trying to put us through our paces. Some of us were far more flexible than others, and some of us really found the stretching and using a few forgotten muscles really loosened up a few sore spots.















Cath is also a pretty flash cook/foodie type and provided morning tea and lunch with her sister Rachel’s help.

We then REALLY enjoyed the “breathing/relaxation” session that Cath led us through which involved laying down and breathing deeply in varying ways. The use of a straw to control stress, control breathing and to calm was introduced and it was suggested that the straw might come in very handy to hand to ones husband in the cattle yards when he might be getting a little overwrought. “Here dear, breath through this, in through the nose and out through the straw”. The thought was highly entertaining for all present. (all husbands clearly must be the same in the cattle yards)

Lunch was a treat of tastes, with platters of flavours and dips to spread on crusty bread.  Lots of laughter and conversation accompanied. Even more so after we allowed the food to settle and we tried a new version of yoga – with a partner.

Let me say we got to know our friends a whole lot more intimately after this session.

I think it also helped if you had longer legs and were a bit flexible for this exercise. Oh how we did laugh.

IMG_9345But soon it was time to pack up (there is only so much contortion one body can withstand!) and head home. Cath also sent home with us a precooked cryo-vaced meal for dinner that night.

You know, I didn’t think I needed yoga at all. Especially not with little to no voice (it improved on and off throughout the day). But I did have THE best day, and laughed more than I had for such a long time. So perhaps I did need yoga.

On arrival home I found the men folk undertaking their own version of yoga (the one that bends the elbow frequently) on my front steps.

They seemed to be doing a fair bit of giggling themselves, for grown tough middle aged men. They were not keen to participate in the downward facing dog even though the kids offered to show them how and help them do it. Spoilt sports.

And that night, as our bellies were full and we were all sleepy in our jarmies – kids and parents alike – it was declared a Very Good Day indeed.

Yoga huh. Who knew.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Paddle boarding

One would think that living 450kms from the nearest beach might put the stoppers on paddle boarding but where there is a will there is a way. Invited to attend the a joint Frontier Services/RFDS clinic at Barenya Stn, we drove around 120kms from us, paddle boarding was on the menu. With some community drought funding, the paddleboarders with their blow up paddle boards, flew in with the RFDS for the day. The other small school in the district swelled the number with their 3 students.

Let me preface this image with the reminder – this is what drought looks like. You see grass in my pictures around home, and it doesn’t look like we have a lack of feed but its goodness is minimal. But this… this is drought encapsulated in a photo.


Remember a while ago – we took cows to agistment nearby on the downs? The green knee deep grass? well this paddock is part of it. Very different now.

The RFDS plane landed on the dirt strip at Barenya. This strip is maintained year round and is often used by the RFDS and bigger planes.


Back to the paddle boarding. The hole in the bore drain that our host used as a swimming pool in summer (with a sand base for comfort!) was deemed a little too small, so off to the nearest turkeys nest they went.


The kids took to paddle boarding like ducks to water.  The instructor was amazed at how quickly they were on their boards – but these are all fit bush kids that love their swimming and water.


If that doesn’t say paddle boarding in the bush, then nothing does.


















Meanwhile, while the kids were getting wet and muddy and slightly burnt (someone’s children thought it a super duper idea to not done their swim shirts for the first boarding session) the adults weren’t being left out of the fun.
















Yes, there’s two blokey blokes sitting there getting a foot scrub and a massage (and really enjoying it). A hairdresser was also brought along by frontier services, and Georgie begged for an overdue fringe cut (before paddling). There was no shortage of tucker  - as usual at bush events…


(last two images borrowed from fellow attendee Jenny Underwood, thanks Jenny)

And then, with our feet scrubbed and massaged, our bellies very full, our souls a little lighter, and with sun kissed wet, muddy children waving, the RFDS plane took off back to Cairns. The kids were handed a backpack each as we left – sun shirt, cap, t shirt and other fun things contained within. I was handed a brown paper gift bag – a pamper pack lovely shower gels. How lovely and unexpected! We piled back into our cars and weaved our slightly weary way home.


Where at that point, having had a good hour at least of peace with snoring kids in the back seat, I discovered that I had pretty much lost my voice in that time period of unuse.Yay. Fun times indeed.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014


The pace of life seems to have picked up like a runaway truck hurtling down a highway, whilst brain speed and creativity levels correspondingly seemingly have slowed right down, and paradoxically, at the same time we are in a holding and making do pattern waiting for it to one day rain. During the midst of all of this, the kids keep on growing and Dodgy Birthday Cakes need to be made.

Ten whole years we’ve had this kid. Without argument she’s the loudest personality of our offspring, the one that lives life from one extreme to the other, sometimes in mere minutes. She’s the one that gets her name yelled at the loudest and most often, the one that’s in strife, but also the one that can suddenly decide to clean the bathroom just because she feels like it (she likes cleaning stuff!) She adores animals. She’s loud and opinionated – she came out that way, quite indignant about being born. Her mind is quick; her body is twitchy (dear lord is it ever) even in sleep. She’s a master debater and will go back again and again from a different tact to try and get her own way. She drives her brother bonkers but he adores her. She fights with her sister over clothes and yet they chatter well after bed time every night even thought Dad has threatened to send them separately to dog and chook pens to sleep if they don’t bloody well shut up and go to sleep.  


The request this year was just that the horse had to be on the cake. Of course when it comes to birthday cake baking, the never fail recipe turned out a little dodgy on the day, but nothing that a fair application of butter cream icing with the magical cake icing thingymemob didnt sort of fix. And really when you are TEN, there’s not much room for anything else on the cake other than candles which hides a lot of flaws!



Ten is a pretty good age. Double digits but not so cool and grown up that you cant be super excited about presents and a day being about you.

Most favoured gifts have been cool retro headphones; lego (of course) water coloured paints from grandma (the real deal) and BY FAR, a pocket knife complete with pink pouch from a little mate.


I look forward to seeing how long it is before injury occurs – or it gets left somewhere and becomes lost. The boy, reminded of his own small carabineer-style  knife with the pink arrival, was recently devastated to loose his when he thought tying it to his shoe via shoe lace would be a great place to keep it. And then run through some long grass. Of course the inevitable happened, given his poor shoe lace tying skills and the fact his shoe laces are pretty much always undone no matter who has done them up in a triple knot. Such a boy.

But this isn’t about him, its about Georgie!

Ten whole years huh. Holy smokes. We now have two kids in double digits.

Excuse me whilst I go have a bex and a good lie down. I am not mentally prepared for teenagehood.

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