Sunday, January 31, 2010

The Chook News

Chickens Sprung by Paparazzi

Notorious party animals, The Chooks, were spotted after dark hanging out on TOP of their coop by the Paparazzi last night.  Worried that them camera things might Steal Their Soul they refused to sit still and look cute, and threatened strike action. However, Landlord and Local F-list celebrity, Caitlyn Nicholas, pointed out that it was past their bedtime and that the foxes would eat them if they didn't get in the damn coop this instant.  The chooks responded with complete ambivalence and had to be persuaded into bed with a humane catch and release program.

Chickens Deny Claims of Racism

Appalled Landlord and Local F-list celebrity, Caitlyn Nicholas, claims that The Chooks dislike interracial relationships - despite being assured by the chook-breeder fellow at Barter&Sons that chickens are NOT racially intolerant.

It has been observed that The Chickens, whilst having no overt difficulty with Chooks of Other Colours, prefer to hang out with their own colour and rarely spend time with non-matching chickens.  However, should there be a threat to the coop in the form of a salivating spaniel then its every chicken for herself and colour be damned.

An educational program is being put in place.

Chook Cracks Under Pressure

Hormones are stirring down at The Coop.  Today, for the first time, one of The Chooks was heard to cluck.  Up to this point there has been much cute but immature cheeping going on. Landlord and Local F-list celebrity, Caitlyn Nicholas said, "great, puberty riddled chickens, next they'll be laying eggs."

You are now up-to-date with The Chicken News. Watch this space for updates As They Happen.

Breaking News: Snails Rain From Sky

Earlier reports that The Apocalypse was upon us may have been slightly exaggerated.  Instead of a biblical storm of snails falling from the sky as first assumed, it turns out it was just Landlord and Local F-list celebrity, Caitlyn Nicholas, "getting the damn snails out of the damn strawberry patch and feeding them to the damn chickens."

Apologies for any confusion or panic-stricken fleeing in the family car without the family.


Saturday, January 30, 2010

Strawberry Patch

The kids are out of their teeny weeny trees this weekend.  Not surprisingly, what with school and all.  We've been in a cycle of run around like the demented fiends that they are, start fighting with your sister, scream, scream, scream some more, throw, hit or break something, allow yourself to be ushered off to watch TV by your fraught parent.  Well, okay, by their fraught father.  It being the "I'm feeling stabby," day of the month, hubby chose to relegate me to the front garden.  Yes,  he has this being married to a woman business down to a fine art.

To indulge my burning desire to chop and hack things, I tidied up the strawberry patch, under the watchful eye of my site supervisor, Pepper.  She is now fifteen and well experienced at these things.

The patch is in too hot a spot (but at the time of planting I didn't have much choice in location).  So most of the strawbs get roasted off when the temperature is above 35.  The possums help themselves to the rest.  Sigh.

But, rather to my surprise, the Chandler* strawberries - which are the most awesome strawberryish strawberries I have ever tasted - have produced runners (little baby strawberry plants) all over the place.  So I spent the rest of the morning planting them along the edges of the paths.  I ended up with 57 runners (yes I counted them. Why? What are you saying??)
I admit some are looking rather unhappy, and given that a few of the runners had practically no roots I'm expecting quite a few casualties.  But still.  Even if half of them survive there's going to be lots and lots of fabulous strawberries next spring. Rather chuffed about that actually.

*You can get Chandler strawberries from Diggers - they're an heirloom strawberry and not usually available in nurseries.  In the strawberry bed I also planted some nursery available strawbs (after a slight snail catastrophe killed off  thirteen of my twenty Chandlers - yes I counted and yes I still remember).  The nursery strawberries are not as strawberry tasting, and less sweet, and have been much, much less prolific in the amount of berries they've produced. The only other type to produce runners were the Tiogas - and these had tiny roots - I've planted them out but don't hold much hope.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Kate's Blog

I follow Kate's blog.  At the moment she is writing about the tragedy of losing her daughter, Olivia, who was killed in a car accident shortly after Christmas.  She was nine.  Even as I parent I can barely imagine what Kate is going through right now.  Its not easy to read her posts - although she is a wonderful writer - but I read them for Kate, because that support, little though it is, is all I can offer her.  I always leave a comment as well, stunningly difficult though it is.  What words are there, after all?

After reading her latest post I had to go and sit quietly in the front garden for a while, just to digest it.  We've been working very hard out there of late, mulching around the fruit trees - which the possums have been eating - planting out strawberries and whatnot.  As I sat there a thin, gold colour snake slid out of the murryana hedge and into a gap under some newspaper mulch.  I don't mind snakes.  So aside from decreeing no more bare feet in the front garden we'll leave it be - also I've got a bit of experience with black and brown snakes and its neither of them - I think its a non-venemous green tree snake.

Last winter it looked like this out there.

And now it looks like this.
Still a work in progress. But we're getting there.

Knocked Sideways

Today Miss 5 was overwhelmed at the sight of the school playground, seething with hundreds of excited children. I can't say I blamed her. Anyway, a little friend from her class was with us, and as she had older sisters at the school, was keen to go and investigate the cubby house, but Miss 5 baulked, and then started to lose it.

At that moment I had to make one of the most difficult decisions of my life. Stay and watch this wobble turn into a full blown melt-down, or leave and pray that she'd be okay.

I walked away.

Within twenty seconds of leaving the bell went and the teachers began to gather up the children, I tried to hide and see how Miss 5 was doing, but I couldn't see her amongst all the fenced off building equipment and matching uniforms. So I took myself home, on the edge of tears, assuring myself that she'd be fine.

Its been a long day. I've been so worried about her and hating myself for leaving her there, and wishing I'd stayed and knowing that if I had she'd have started howling. My heart hurts, I'm consumed with guilt and anxiety, and I just can't believe how difficult it all is.

She was white-faced and subdued when I picked her up and she won't talk to me at all. She just walks away. I think she's exhausted. I'm not going to push anything, and hopefully over the weekend we can set things to rights and talk it all out.

In the meantime I'm knocked sideways by Mummy-guilt - Just another thing they failed to mention in ante-natal classes.


Wednesday, January 27, 2010

First Day

So we've made it through the first day.  I can't believe I got here.  I can't believe that tomorrow they go back and then I get to come home and, well, clean the house, but yanno, nobody will be following behind me trashing it again.

Yay. I think.

No. YAY. Seriously.  Miss 4 loved it and didn't want to come home.  I was most worried about her, she can come across as very out-going, but still needs a lot of support.  But her teacher had her all sorted out.   When she tried to be a drama queen at story-time she was left to her own devices and within thirty seconds she was bouncing up and down with her hand in the air begging to answer questions.

Miss H: Where do possums live?
Miss 4: In our roof.


Naturally, Miss 4 has been a total turd since we got in the car and came home.  For the second time in her life she managed to out scream the loudest volume on the car stereo, and its been one blood-curdling tantrum after the other this afternoon - I've got the windows shut and the air-con on so the neighbours don't have to endure it as well.  She is over tired and over excited, big time. In orbit. Beyond the beyonds. Hubby and I have dug to the deepest depths of our compassion and patience and she is not shut in the chook pen. Well not yet.

Thank GOD for alcohol and pain-killers. (For me - despite all my father's good advice on the care and management of children).

Miss 5 was an angel.  Calm, self-possessed, glad to have me there, but quietly excited about it all.  A little shy when it came to making friends, but so was everyone else, and a bit unsure. But all in all I'm about to faint with pride.  I mean where in the world did I get this child??  This calmness must be a throw-back gene on my Mother's side or something.  Trust me when I tell you she did not get it from hubby or I.

She came home earlier than Miss 4 and I, with hubby.  On the way she mentioned that she really missed her pre-school, so they went a bought a card and dropped in for a visit during the afternoon.  Her teachers and friends were so excited to see her, especially in her new school uniform. Then she spent the afternoon pouring over her learn-to-write book and watching Bambi 2.

Yes, I love her so much I might just explode.

I love her sister as well.  Despite the tantys.  Can't help it.


Monday, January 25, 2010

School jitters

I'm tired.  Had four hours sleep. Why?  Well, actually I was really excited about planting out my strawberries.  And sadly, so, so incredibly sadly, that is the honest truth.

After a long long day which included dealing with 20kgs of tomatoes, planting - yes you guessed it - strawberries, snow peas, bean and some spuds AND facing Coles at peak holiday panic shopping time. I am now slumped in front of Shaun the Sheep and tucking into a litre of Honeycomb Butterscotch ice-cream.

Oddly, very extremely oddly I find myself a bit gloomy and in need of comfort food this evening.  Despite counting the days to the end of the holidays and finding the last week utterly exhausting, the thought of my little girls going off to a new school, Miss 5 in kindergarten and Miss 4 at a new pre-school every day, makes my heart heavy.  I guess I'm worried about them settling in, and being okay, and its such a big school and they are both so very little.

I am looking forward to the school years, I think what lies ahead is going to be such fun, and a time when I find a contentment that has eluded me somewhat during the baby years.  But my heart is still aching. I hope our girls are going to be okay.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Doing it ALL wrong

Another brutal day. 42.5 was the max and the tatsoi seedlings joined the celery seedlings in vegetable heaven.  Hmm, is there a vegetable heaven?  A place where they can roam unfettered, and there is no slicing, dicing, steaming or (argh) grating. I suppose if there was there would have to be a dairy products heaven as well. Hmm.  This is what you get when you have a totally non-religious up-bringing - and if you had to throw your hat into any religious circus it'd be Church of England which was invented by King Henry VII so that he could marry Anne Boleyn and then cut her head off.  Its a good thing I am a complete hypocrite and am sending my children to a religious school (because its the easiest commute). Soon they will have all the answers for me.

Did I just open a can of worms?

Ah well.  My day has run along those lines.

Today's incidents of parental fuck-uppage today are almost too many to count.  But here, I'll make a list, so my children can find it one day and show it to their counsellors.

  1. Pre 7am Miss 5 called hubby a "bitch" because he wouldn't let her have his ipod - and I laughed. We have no idea where she heard that one, its not one hubby or I ever use. 
  2. Forget to light up with joy when I emerge from my bed and see the kids - possibly because at least one of them is decorating the table and a small pile of bills with her squished up weet-bix. 
  3. Its a blistering hot day, the kids are tired from a busy few days and really snarky - how to entertain them?  Hmm, chuck them in the car where they are within hitting distance of each other and drive them too a plant nursery - cos kids love that.
  4. Promise kids DVD in car.  DVD player broken. Kids beg for Milly & Molly audio book - I lie and say its broken too because their horrible little squeaky voices give me a headache.
  5. Fighting in back intensified and mid-bellow I realise I forgot to feed them morning tea.
  6. Feed them slightly biro-stained fruit tingles from depths of handbag.
  7. Find a cafe. Children put it on in the cafe and behave appallingly so I feed them chocolate muffins with cream as a reward for their disgusting behaviour - oh and don't forget the babycinos - which they whined about because they are for babies and 'We Are Not Babies Mummy'.  
  8. Made children walk around nursery looking at fruit trees in 40+ heat. Tell them this is fun and threaten if they don't behave I'll lock them in the car.
  9. Drag plant-picking children from Nursery.
  10. Decide to go to Bunnings.  Because it hadn't all been bloody hard enough already.  Hubby distracts children in party shop opposite Bunnings - children run around causing havoc wearing plastic boobs from the Buck's night aisle.  Hubby brings children to Bunnings.  I've blanked out what happened next.
  11. Get drive through MacDonalds.  Add chicken nuggets and chips to already stellar diet of fruit tingles and chocolate muffins.
  12. Get home and incarcerate children in bedrooms for 'rest time' - spend next twenty minutes bellowing 'get back in your bedroom, rest time lasts for an hour.'  Give in to nagging and utter disobedience and reward them with a swim.
  13. Put on DVD and hide at the other end of the house for the rest of the afternoon.
Total parenting fail.


Friday, January 22, 2010

Udderly Confusing

So its wretched hot.  We've hit 43.6 this afternoon and all my celery seedlings have burnt off - which I'm almighty cranky about.  The kids are going nuts, trapped inside and we aren't even able to keep them entertained with DVDs.

Though to be honest I don't really blame them.  Presently we are watching Barnyard and it has to be one of the weirdest kids movies ever - although the prize for the completely weirdest ever goes hands down to Kimba.

My main issue with Barnyard and its MALE lead cow, Otis.  Here is his picture.

Is it just because I'm a dairy-farmers grand daughter that I'm having difficulties with this?


So, in desperation I am about to whip out the sewing machine, sew two sheets together and turn the dining room table into a cubby house.  Yes. It has come to this.  School, five sleeps and counting.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Trying Very Hard To Be Miserable

I've mentioned before that The Universe Hates Me.

Well, today has been no exception.

After not using my back at all yesterday it was much improved, until this morning when I picked up a basket of wet laundry and buggered it up again.  So NOT ONLY is that part of me immensely painful when ever I move, BUT The Universe decided to send me an allergy day today just to really make me suffer.  I'm allergic to privet, and next door, for reasons best known to themselves have chosen to grow massive privet trees in their back garden DESPITE the fact it is a noxious weed in these parts and we live a few hundred metres from acres and acres untouched bushland.


Long story short. Privet is blooming. Thus I am sneezing which makes me yelp in pain because it jolts my back, my nose is running, I have a headache and hubby flinches every time he looks at me - apparently abject misery sucks away all my pretty.

So, trapped inside, air conditioning on and I had resigned myself to a day of wallowing around the house feeling desperately sorry for myself.  But the Universe had other plans.  No, it wasn't happy letting me just enjoy being miserable. It had to CHEER ME UP.

Firstly I had an email from the English Department at Macquarie University saying CONGRATULATIONS - You have been accepted into our Masters of Creative Writing program.  Well bugger-me-backwards-until-Friday.  I'm rather almighty pleased about that.  I've not had the smoothest path when it comes to tertiary education - it took me a long, long time to get my arts degree whilst working full time and I could hardly believe it when I finally graduated.  Higher degrees were the domain of my younger sister - who is presently working on her PhD in Statistics (SO PROUD OF HER).  But now, here I am, standing on the cusp of achieving a higher degree of my own. HELL YES :)

Then, if that wasn't enough, my copy of Backyard Self-Sufficiency by Jackie French arrived. I love Jackie French - there I've said it.  I really do.  Amazing lady.  So, I've spent most of the day reading it and making grand, immense plans for our back garden.  I have been feeling that my vege garden etc, whilst heading in the right direction, were somewhat milquetoast (oh how I love that word). And this book has confirmed that I was correct - and pointed me in the right direction - Basically I need to Plant More. Simple as that.

Came across the following paragraphs in the book, rather liked them...
Making Do
Someone once defined happiness as the right to spend extremely long hours doing something you love. If you count the minutes, you're doing the wrong thing.
Lives can be created. Work out what you love - and fill your life with it. Don't live second-hand via TV and video. Don't let other people's rules keep you to a job you hate, living in a house that is only tolerable. Every part of your life should give richness, or it's wasted - a house should be a place you love, not something to keep off the rain; a garden should be a place of fascination  (what will bloom or fruit today, what bird with visit) instead of just a lawn, to mow on Sunday afternoons and to make your house identical with all the others in the neighbourhood.  Each meal should be a delight, not a hurried munch at a once frozen pizza.
This is what self-sufficiency is about: not just producing your own food to save money (though it will), or having an insurance policy in case civilisation collapses even further. It is about making your life richer, not just in material things, but also in the memories and joy that can come with them.
So yes. Planned on being a misery-guts today, but somehow it just hasn't worked out that way.


Monday, January 18, 2010

The Ladies

I've done my sodding back. Am in a sizeable amount of pain and unable to bend or even pick up so much as a laundry basket. OH okay, it was just twinge-ing but then we got Wii Fit plus and I spent half the afternoon beating the kids into a pulp on the Wii Fit and now I cannot move. Woe. Is. I.

This has led to me spending the other half of the afternoon parked on the couch watching kid's tv and periodically bellowing "Get the f*** away from the chickens," at the dog.

You see the chickens are fulfilling part of their role in the garden, clearing out the weeds and bugs from one of the vege gardens before I plant the spuds. We've set them up a mini-run which, whilst it is dog-proof, the dog can get quite close to them and they don't like it AT ALL - much squawking.  They go back to their proper run in the evening.

I'd like to add that the dog wouldn't hurt the chickens should he happen to get his paws on one. See, utterly harmless.

The chooks are settling in wonderfully and growing every day.  I'm completely delighted with them, the coop is working well,  they're not too much trouble, and its like they've always been here.

Miss 5 horrified her father this afternoon when he got home though.  She saw the dog sneaking up to the chook run and, without moving from the couch she bellowed, "Get the F*** away from the chooks Sebby."

I have no idea where she picks these things up from. No. Idea. At. All.


Sunday, January 17, 2010

Domestic Godessing

Spent the afternoon making Peach Brandy. See...


Actually it is. Have tested it numerous times.  First few times it made my right eye twitch a bit, but it's all good now.

And in case you were wondering what I get up to on a Saturday night...

Peeling nectarines, checking emails and working on latest manuscript. Yes a multi-tasking domestic goddess, me.

And then this morning I bottled them (the nectarines, not the manuscript, tempting though that thought is).

Looking forward to opening these up in the winter and making a crumble or having them warm with cream.  Well, if they don't give us botulism first.

Decided not to make the nectarines into jam as I arrived at mumndads yesterday to find dads had made about four tonnes of peach jam.

But, in retaliation I have made a significant amount of strawberry jam.

Of course the wretched wretched stuff isn't sodding setting. AGAIN. And NO I did not use jam-setter and YES I shall be starting again tomorrow with jam-setter.

But shhhh, don't mention it to Dads. K?


Friday, January 15, 2010

Making Tomato Sauce

So today we went to Koala Park at Castle Hill.  Couldn't face the zoo - it'd have been too full on for all of us.  Koala Park is a funny place. Hasn't been updated since 1973, even the jokes of the guy doing the shearing demonstration were lurking around 1981 somewhere.  Still the animals were beautifully looked after and it was a diverting and stunningly expensive way to spend the morning.

We came home via Dural/Galston and stopped at a roadside stalls to pick up some fruit and veg. Quite a lot as it happens.

6kgs white nectarines, 3kgs yellow peaches, 3kgs Strawberries and a kilo of roma tomatoes.

As soon as I got home I got started cooking.  First on the list was tomato sauce. I used the roma tomatoes with a kilo of my home grown heirloom ones, along with home grown carrots, basil, onions and garlic. Even the red wine vinegar I used was made by dad.

Heirloom carrots and home grown basil...

Right now the tomato sauce is cooking in the oven and the house smells divine. I'm really really proud of it.  Food miles for the roma tomatoes is about 10kms, and other than the salt, pepper and oil, I grew the rest of it. Very chuffed.

As for the rest of it. I'm planning peach brandy, nectarine liqueur, strawberry jam and nectarine jam. Well, if they all don't get eaten first. :)

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Holiday Fatigue

Am feeling the wuv today.  Firstly am up on the Blog This website with a New Member Monday interview (yes, yes, it went up on Monday). And the lovely Sharnia of Chronicles of Sharnia has mentioned me as well.  Cool huh??

Other than these moments of sheer unadulterated wonderfulness, today has been exhausting. Took the screamies on their first train trip ever - in fact it wasn't, but they don't remember the other ones, little goldfish brains.  We hopped off at Milson's Point and had a stroll over the bridge.  Small rebellion at the half-way point - when everyone decided they weren't going any further - and me wondering out loud where exactly they thought they were going to go as we were ON A BRIDGE was not well received - solved it by bribing them all the way to the Observatory Park with fruit tingles.

I'm suffering a severe case of Being Over My Wretched Children this afternoon.  Or let's just call it Holiday Fatigue.  We've got a zoo trip planned for Friday, but I can't face it. The very thought of dragging them around, whining, complaining and generally being cranky, fills me with dread. DREAD I tells ya.  But the alternative, spending the day at home with them bored and nagging is an even worse thought.  Two weeks to go. Fourteen days. Ack.

Tomorrow I am escaping from this house, manuscript in hand, and may or may not return.


Now, I have a book recommendation.  Its not often that a recipe book keeps me up reading late at night, in fact not ever.  But this one is something special.  Anyone who has read this blog for a while knows my love of preserving things and making stuff that involves bacterial cultures, yeast, fermenting and so on.  Well, all my dreams came true when I found Preserving the Italian way.

Wonderful wonderful book written by a Melburnian Italian on preserving stuff, making wine, salami, cheese, soap, oh you name it. But what makes the book so special is the authors anecdotes about the recipes, they are hilarious, and written with Italian style heart, humour and ebullience.

So yes, Preserving the Italian Way.  Thumbs up from me.

Monday, January 11, 2010

It has come to this.

Well it had to happen eventually. I mean, I'd rather it didn't happen at all, but life being what it is I had long ago resigned myself to its inevitability.

Yes. My children saw me ironing.

I don't like to iron.

Well. That's a slight understatement. I loathe to iron so much that I do not possess any clothes What-So-Ever that require ironing.  In fact, when I opened my birthday present from my mother and saw it was a Shirt that Required Ironing I felt overcome with a surge of irritation that practically negated any lingering resentment from the whole Christmas re-gifting debacle. 

Oh I am grateful for the shirt, as it suits me very well and is slimming and flattering and I can wear it all over the place. BUT, oh GOD it needs to be ironed and thus shall be worn, washed and then hang about, hooked over the back of a chair in the dining room waiting to be ironed until company turns up that requires it to be hidden (as part of my futile quest to Look Like I Am Actually Coping) in the spare bedroom, whereupon the cat will sleep on it and it will have to be washed again and the whole cycle will continue until I bribe hubby to do it for me with some Vile Wifely Duty.


If you are wondering, that's Miss 5's school uniform and I was ironing on name-labels before I lose the wretched things - also it might make school happen faster.  I need school to happen quickly as I am not sure how much longer I can survive; it's a race between drowning whilst being jumped on in the swimming pool, being bitten to death by sand-flies and mosquitoes whilst on yet another 'picnic,' a fatal fall involving a mystery puddle, a lot of lego and four carefully aligned matchbox cars, or choking to death when trying to eat a Portuguese tart in one mouthful without chewing in the pantry.


Saturday, January 09, 2010

I resolve to never ever ever do these things again

A Blog This challenge on anti-resolutions.

I resolve that I will never, ever, ever...
  1. Take up archery as a sport - nearly de-nippled myself the first time 
  2. Drink an entire flagon of port - twenty years later and I still cannot smell the stuff without feeling deeply sick
  3. Bite off my fingernails and give them to the nearest friend as a present - yes, they all love me and my little ways
  4. Inform a senior editor at Mills&Boon that 'she wouldn't be interested in my book' - grooooan, excuse me whilst I just go bang my head on a solid object for a few minutes
  5. Bang head on solid objects - thought of that one just now
  6. Use hair-dye clearly marked NOT for natural blondes - it was hot pink for months - the original plan being that it would go auburn and I'd look exactly like Jane Seymour (What? I was 17)
  7. Flash my boobs at my husband in remote places of stunning natural beauty without first checking for bus loads of Japanese tourists with cameras
  8. Take no notice of my child when she says, "I'm going to bomit." In our house v is pronounced b.
  9. Do a home bikini wax - giving birth was more dignified, hurt less, and required less flexibility
  10. Ignore my intuition
Yes, I think I should manage to get through 2010 without breaking a single one of these - OKAY, even number 7.

    Friday, January 08, 2010

    Have spent the entire day watching my chickens.

    All I Need To Know In Life I Learned From My Chickens
    by Michaele Oleson

    Wake up early, stay busy
    Rest when you need to, but always stay alert
    Visit you favourite places every day
    Scratch out a living
    Routine is good
    Plump is good
    Don't ponder your purpose in life - your brain is too small
    Accept the pecking order and know you enemies
    Weed your garden
    Look after your children
    - Sit on them if necessary
    - Take them for walks, show them the little things and talk constantly
    Make a nice nest - share it with friends
    Brag on your accomplishments
    Protect your nest egg
    Test your wings once in a while
    Squawk when necessary
    As you age, demand respect
    Leave a little something for those who care about you
    Chase butterflies

    Thursday, January 07, 2010


    Welcome to my camera-averse-but-lovely-nonetheless ladies; Pecky, Gladys, Strawberry Shortcake and Karen Francis Chicken (or KFC for short).

    They arrived at our house this afternoon and after a tentative start - which involved being lured out of the nesting box with some feed - are settling in very nicely.

    The kids are entranced.
    The Dog is entraced.
    Hubby and I are entranced.
    Swishy and Bobbi are completely underwhelmed.  Also Bobbi has black bits on him - I think that's bad for a goldfish isn't it?

    This is the New Coop.

    We're finishing the outside run tomorrow and the tarp at the back is so that That Barky Dog Next Door doesn't scare the feathers off them every time they set foot outside.  They'll get used to it, but I figured Our Barky Dog and Our Screaming Children were quite enough to contend with for one afternoon.

    The chooks are 6 - 8 weeks old, so they won't be laying for a little while yet.  The black ones are Australorps and the brown ones are Rhode Island Reds.  We bought them from Barter and Sons hatchery in Luddenham - its a good hatchery, clean, no smell at all, and you can wander around all the chook pens and find out about chickens.  They are very kid and family friendly and brimming with enthusiasm about their chooks.  Barter and Sons also do Chicks-r-us.

    We arrived just as a bevy of vet students were leaving - I'm assuming they're doing work experience there.  And I say bevy because I have never seen such a pretty group of girls before - and trust me, it ain't easy to carry off pretty when wearing gum-boots and ankle deep in dried chook poo. 

    We are expecting to see eggs around Easter, hopefully.


    Diet going well - and had a hot tip to check out AJ Rochester's book on dieting - apparently it has some good advice :)

    Tuesday, January 05, 2010

    Wentworth Common

    Went to pick up chicken coop today, only due to a small size misunderstanding it turned out we could only fit it in the car if we left the kids behind.  We were fine with that, but the chirpy fellow at the warehouse was convinced we were being amusing.


    We spent the rest of the day at Wentworth Common.  This is a park area that's part of the Olympic stadium complex at Homebush.  We drove past the Bicentennial Park playground first, but it was heaving, so we continued until we found the Common, and there we had the whole wonderful adventure playground practially to ourselves.

    There was a great sandpit which had taps and a wet area where you could play streams / rivers / dam-bursting-and-drowning-all-the-poor-sleeping-people.

    And a slide - it was difficult for the kids to get up there, but once they did (with hubby's help) they were so pleased with themselves.

    And a we climbed the hill (called the Bay Marker) -

    It has a spiral pathway up it - perfect for bikes ridden by pre-teens intent on mowing down pedestrians - and looked at the view from the top, and had a rest.

    Miss Five took that photo - how excruciatingly talented is she???  Also, I have a white hat on, its not a halo, just in case you were wondering.


    Monday, January 04, 2010

    Happy New Year etc etc

    Have spent a large part of the last few days attempting to get the house in order - a dull and thankless task which makes me even more cranky than usual. Also, it looks no different to when I started.


    Diet began yesterday (can't be the first due to all the birthday action around here). Got off to a fair start, though have had an unreasonably hungry day today and as a result have eaten too many points worth of birthday cheese (yes, in addition to clothes, kitchenalia and books I got CHEESE for my birthday - it was my favorite present). But now the birthday cheese is gone and I can knuckle down to dedicated points gobbling tomorrow. So all is good. :)

    Much to my eternal amazement Swishy and Bobbie are STILL ALIVE. See look...

    Please appreciate this photo, it took about a hundred blurry fish photos to get one even reasonably blogworthy - and you know I don't have  a photography knack at the best of times (trust me, anything you see up here that's remotely in focus, showing depth or arty is taken by hubby).  Was quite pleased with butter dish in background of this one. sigh.

    Swishy is beginning to look alarmingly fat, and I suspect the little strumpet has got herself knocked up, or maybe not.  What the hell would I know about up-the-duff fish anyway?


    Have also been busy in the garden, hammering in star pickets rescued from mumndads and painting them green - I'll attach wire to them and tie my fruit tree's branches to the wires.  Have had a small technical hitch though, as my fruit trees are not cooperating and growing branches in the right places.  I need them to grow one branch up, one left and one right. Despite following instructions carefully and pruning in all the right places the trees are happily growing one branch up, and if I'm lucky one to the left or right, BUT NOT BOTH. 

    Am trying not to take it personally.

    The containers of brown liquid shoved in the ground by the base of the trees are upside down old drink bottles with the bottoms cut off filled with worm tea - well if you must ask...

    Whilst I'm on the subject of painting my star pickets, I would just like to say to The Man at the Hardware store that
    1. Just because my list was written in sparkly green pen does not mean I am a ditz
    2. Just because I am blonde and have an awesome rack that you were obviously quite interested in does not mean I am a ditz
    3. Don't mock me. If I want to save myself $140 by recycling old star pickets and camouflage them by painting them green. Don't laugh. Don't sneer. Just shut the hell up and answer my questions about rust and paint. This also goes for the sarcastic twit who works there on the weekend. Also, to the guys at the wood place a suburb or two up the road - browny-red is browny-red and it IS a colour.
    Finally, we are underway building the chicken enclosure.

    Yes, well. Not much to see as yet.  But we're picking up our coop tomorrow and (probably) getting the ladies on Thursday.

    Last week we were a no income, two kids, one dog, one cat family and by next week we will be a no income, two kids, one dog, one cat, two fishes and four chickens family.

    I have no idea how these things happen to me.