Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Another year older, but not necessarily wiser.

a corner in the creek

On the weekend I turned 39.  And still no sign of a grey hair.  I'm so proud of myself.  The Groom says it's because I've caused him enough stress for the two of us and he's got my share of grey.  I don't think so.  They all got me a leaf blower/vac thingy.  I'm yet to use it.  I haven't figured out yet how to work it.  Then again, we've had the whipper snipper for years now and I don't know how to work that either.  I also went and got myself a pedicure last week, too.  That was my gift to myself.  And, today, I bought myself an Akubra Cattleman hat.  I've been thinking about getting one for a while, so today I bought one while waiting for the bank to open at 9.30am.   Not a bad haul for a birthday I say.

one of the orchids in flower

Here are some more pictures from around the place. I like orchids and when we sold our first house, in 2003, I had to leave ours behind and I regret it.  Now this place has a few stuck on some of the trees, so I'm enjoying looking at them.  There are lots of plants growing at this new place that have to go.  Things like oleander, mother-in-law's tongue, heaps of frangipanni growing in ridiculous, impractical spots and lots more.  I've spoken to a nearby nursery and they'll come out and look at what I want to get rid of and if they want them they are welcome to have them.  They're interested in the frangipanni so far.  It all depends on if they can get them out, though.    

I planted two calistemon in the front paddock last week.  They look pitiful and small next to everything else.  The photo below is one of the trees nearby; I'm not sure what it is but I like it.  We do have a lot of ti-tree on the block (a sign of bogginess I guess) and we're working on how to deal with it.  The boggy parts, that is.  The Groom and I have gone around and identified which plants we want to get rid of; again, everything has to wait until after settlement before we can do anything.

I'm enjoying a life without pay tv and the telephone, but miss not having an internet connection.  The library is a bit out the way for me to plug into their connection, but will have to do in the meantime.  I think for the time being we shall have to look at a pre-paid mobile broadband, but they all seem such a rip-off and full of clauses and loopholes and fine print it is frustrating to try and navigate them all to work out what suits us.  

We are still slogging away with all the legal stuff to do with the sale and purchase of the houses.  It seems like every second day more things turn up in the mail that need to be signed or paid.  I feel so overwhelmed!  I don't recall it being this 'hard' last time.  I think once settlement of this place is over I shall feel better.

I just want to get back into sewing, start my vegie garden and chickens, and just go back to some kind of normality.  The people who own the house we are buying (settlement is next week) are here this week to get their stuff from the shed and the house.  So I'm trying to avoid being around as I don't like the woman very much and I can't trust myself to be nice to her all of the time.  They came over on Sunday afternoon and she made comments I found unfair and tried so hard to zip my lip.  Oh well, it will all soon be over.

Well, Cyclone Paul is hovering in the Gulf and I'm hoping it will not affect us here.  We don't need anymore rain at all.  I did wake up during the night to the sound of rain but it wasn't really hard or last long.  From what I heard anyway.  

I have to go and find some Easter eggs soon.  I've told the children they aren't getting anything from the Easter Bunny this year, but of course, I'll relent and get them something!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Farmer in the Dell I am not!

Well, living on acreage is proving interesting every single day.  

On Wednesday I took the garden secateurs down to the creek to do some 'pruning'.  It was like waging a war on terror with a tissue!  I got to the gate that separates the back paddock from the creek area and I thought to myself "this just isn't going to work".  I feebly nipped the ends of some chinee apple off (and managed to get the thorns stuck in my hands and on my clothes - they even stuck into my pretty pink gumboots).  I wandered along snipping off bits and pieces as I went knowing I wasn't making a spot of difference.

The dogs took off into the water and splashed around, like they are wont to do, then they sensed something and took off.  I saw a flash of white and saw the dogs were in a neighbouring property, then heard cursing from the house behind us.  I'm calling the dogs like mad, trying to get them to come home, to no avail.  Finally, as I decided to turn around and head for the car to go looking for them, they came splashing along the creek and back to me.  They got a gumboot up the bottom and sent back to their avairy (where they sleep or spend time when we aren't home).  

Isn't the picture up the top lovely?  It's of our creek and to the left is a little hole that is ideal for lazing around in.  It's not too deep but the water is icy cold on a hot day.  And thankfully, crocodile free!  There is a fair amount of erosion along the bank of the creek that we are hoping to be able to stabilise.  We just have a lot of work to do first clearing out all the weeds and rubbish plants down there.

While I was looking for them I heard a loud rustle in some grass and I nearly died.  The neighbours had told me wild pigs sometimes come into the area, so that was my first thought.  I stood stock still then realised I'd probably disturbed a wallaby or a bush stone curlew.  I steered clear of that area - just in case.

could this be a wattle growing on the creek bank?

Last Friday we got to meet our neighbours on one side because I'd come back from picking up The Princess and Little Man from school to find our white dog had a bone wedged in the back of her throat at the roof of her mouth.  The poor thing was frantically pawing at her face and I thought at first it was a wasp or some thing, then I saw she was foaming at the mouth and figured it was a toad, then I saw the blood and panicked.  The blood was from her feet from trying to get the bone out, as well as where the bone was sticking into her gum.  The neighbour drove my car to the vet while the children were left at her house with her family.  None of us could get the bone out with pliers, but the vet got it out on the second go.  $65 later, we went home and the dog was back to her normal self.

I've been sharing not only our home with green frogs, but the toilet and shower as well.  The children love it, but this morning I was keeping a wary eye on one frog that was on the shower tap and giving me the impression he was waiting for me to turn my back so he could pounce.  I do love seeing all the frogs, though.  It is a good sign that the environment is healthy around us.  

We have a little family of plovers that live out the front.  Their baby is so cute and so far the parents have been happy to allow the kids to wander around near them without trying to swoop them.  The cockatoos come in the morning and afternoon and vandalise the trees.  They are rather destructive and nip the ends off branches and let them fall to the ground.  I like the curlews most of all.  Their mournful calls at night sound so sad but they are lovely to have.  In the afternoons lorikeets come and screech around the poinciana tree in the front yard.  The mornings bring signs the wallabies have been around poo-ing everywhere.  I wonder if I could train them to do it in the vegie garden when it's built?  Without eating everything in sight in return.

Our house still resembles a disaster zone with unopened or partially opened boxes everywhere.  Some of the stuff belonging to the sellers are still in the house and most of the shed, so once it all goes after settlement we can start to get ourselves sorted and build in wardrobes and storage cupboards.  I have forgotten where I have put half of our stuff and found a half roll of toilet paper in a box with stationery yesterday.  My mind is still trying to work that one out.

So, so far nothing has been dull.  Not even the fright Little Man gave me yesterday when I was waiting to pick them up from school and he decided to jump on the school bus instead.  I had only told his teacher 15 minutes earlier their bus passes had arrived and they'd be catching the bus home from next week.  He only heard 'catching the bus home' part I think!  Thankfully he knew which bus to catch and where to get off, but it was an anxious wait at the school while the office was trying to find out from the bus company (via the drivers) which bus he would have gotten on and where he could be going.  I found him walking down our road with the boy from across the road who had caught the bus, too.  He said he didn't even notice his sister wasn't on the bus with him!  So, if he feels ready and old enough to catch the bus home, then so be it.  

I've handed them their passes and today they are both making their own way home this afternoon.  I was just worried he'd get off the bus and turn the wrong way and end up at the highway!  

Our other house we just sold settles today.  I'm a bit sad, but that's how it goes.  I had a call from the solicitor yesterday saying that at the pre-purchase inspection the buyers noticed one wall from the garden shed was missing and they told their solicitor it was there when they signed the contract!  They were adamant about it.  I called the agent who said she didn't even notice there was a panel missing, but then remembered that someone else who put in an offer on the place early on asked about the missing panel.  I told the solicitor it has been removed years ago to allow easier access to the shed for The Groom's bio-diesel making.  I told her I had photographic and video proof dating back to 2008 to show it wasn't there and to tell them that I would be more than happy to forward it on if they were going to dispute it.  I got a call from our solicitor this morning to tell me she had told the other solicitor about the photos yesterday and had a call this morning to say they'd told their client (the buyer) and they said they've decided to remove the garden shed anyway so it didn't really matter!  What the????

So, with that, I'm off to get some lunch from the library cafe, browse the papers and then head home to my telephone/internet/pay tv free home where I shall be sit surrounded by mountains of boxes and too much furniture, then I shall kick back on the couch and read my Grass Roots magazine that arrived in the mail yesterday.

Friday, March 19, 2010

We're not in Kansas anymore...

Well, we here in the North are on Cyclone Watch.  For us it's the first time this year, and it's promising to be a big one.  But the watch area is so huge nobody is sure who will be the (un)lucky recipient of Ului.  

I like the name Ului.  Reminds me 'yoo-hoo' - watch out here I come!

We've got our kit prepared but I just need to go to the supermarket and get some chocolate.  Luckily Woolies has 1litre Long Life Milk on sale this week for $10 for 1o litres!  I stocked up earlier this week - I usually keep a couple of bottles in case Little Man has drank the last of the milk in the morning and there's none left for my coffee.

We are mostly moved in at the new place.  I'm itching for settlement to come so I can start doing the things I want to it.  Like the garden etc.  The cyclone may change some of my plans if it gets to us, though.  

Looking toward where my vegies and chickens will go

We haven't got the phone or internet connected there yet, so at the moment I am driving to the library to plug in my laptop to their connection.  The airconditioner is so cold in here my arms are stiff and I'm freezing.  I've been clearing up some space on my hard drive as it's nearly full with photos and iTunes stuff, so I've been taking advantage of the high speed internet at the library to transfer photos to Facebook for keeping there. 
looking toward the far back corner of the block.  all 5.5 acres of it.

There is a lot to do here for my tastes and our convenience, but our main priority is to get wardrobes installed for the children and a storage/linen cupboard in the 'utility' room.  But I so want to get the vegies and chickens in.  I'm itching to dig and fork and compost and plant and grow and build.  It's a shame the cyclone has put a hold on things at the moment.  And the fact we still have some things left in the other house we need to take out this weekend - we settle on the other house on Friday next week and it feels so odd to go there and walk around and hear the walls echo with emptiness.  It feels like it is sad.

Well, it's way too cold here now and I've got goosebumps.  Next time I come back I hope to remember to bring a cardigan!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Half way there

Well, we are half way moved in to the other house.  

We finished building this house in late 2003, so it's been a while since we undertook the torture test that is moving.  I do not want to move ever again.  Then again, that's what I said last time!

Packing and moving really highlights how different The Groom and I are about it all.  I'm a 'pack everything in an orderly manner' kind of person - shoes in one box, underwear in another etc.  Everything should be methodical and orderly.  The Groom's idea of packing involves plopping a box on the floor and throwing everything in that surrounds it.  It will make the next couple of weeks interesting when I'm unpacking and searching for things.  Sadly, my way of packing takes way too long, but I keep telling him it makes it easier at the other end.  The downside to this all is you end up finding stuff you've forgotten about and waste time going over it and reminiscing!  The Groom found the scrap book I made from our engagement and wedding, complete with all of the cards, telegrams etc.  We lost nearly an hour of our day going over it!

The other house is starting to look like ours.  Most of our prints and photos are up, the clothes are in our wardrobe, half of the kitchen is unpacked, towels and toiletries are in place.  Most of our 'stuff' is there, all we have to do is the big furniture and things we have to leave until the last minute, like the computer and pots and pans and stuff.  

We aim to be in by Friday night, so when The Groom goes away again for work next week I can just bring over smaller bits and bobs during the week.  I'm so tired that I can't wait for it to be all done and dusted.  

We won't have the phone connected for a while out there, so there will be no internet access unless I go to the library with my laptop.  We won't get internet back on until May I guess as after Easter we head off on our big Northern Territory trip.  We've planned it over a year ago, and we were meant to head off next week but the house sale delayed things, and some of the "highways" etc we will be travelling on are currently cut off by flood waters.  

Once things get more relaxed and orderly I aim to get some photos up of our new garden.  There's a lot to do in it, getting rid of the oleanders is priority number one.  Then the mother-in-law's tongues  and other horrible plants the other people planted.  

I am thankful our house has sold and we can move into this new one.  Even if the decor is not to our liking and we have to live with it until we can afford to change things.

So, watch this space...

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

We finally 'gave away' our home

Well, it's done and dusted.  

Last night we signed the contract to sell our house - for a ridiculous $70,000 less than what we originally asked for.  We're unhappy about doing so, but had to weigh up whether it was worth holding out longer for not much more, or cutting and running.  Which we ended up doing.  

Don't get me wrong, we didn't 'lose' on our house, we owed little compared to many others, but what we made was profit that we could have used to further reduce the mortgage we'll take out on the next house.  And to spend towards renovations etc.  

But, it's done now and it's time to start letting go.  On the bright side, I won't have to have the house in a constant show-room standard!  For the rest of the month, until settlement, I refuse to clean anymore fans, walls, showers etc.  

Because we feel we gave away our home we have decided not to leave the spare floor and wall tiles here, or the shade sails over the cubby.  If we aren't legally required to leave it, then it's coming with us.  I'm sure I can use the tiles somewhere at the next place - a nice tiled chicken coop would look lovely I'm sure!

So, now is the dreaded start to the 'getting things ready for moving' phase.  Notifying utilities, businesses, subscriptions etc.  We probably won't get the phone connected out there for a while, and possibly do away with pay-tv even.  We'll see how we go I guess.  

I'm looking forward to starting on 'light' improvements to the next house like replacing ugly curtains, repainting icky colored walls etc.  The big stuff, like pulling out the yellow bathtub in the second bathroom and its mdf brown and white cupboard and sink, as well as getting rid of the ugly brown tiled corner spa with matching smokey mirrored tiles in the ensuite, and later the impractical kitchen cupboards.  

And once the wet season is over, start ripping out the copious amounts of 'mother-in-law's tongue' that's planted everywhere and all of the other horrid plants.  Most of the plants I want are to provide a purpose in some way, be it providing us with food, or attracting birds or butterflies etc.  

So while I'm sad to farewell our lovely home, I'm glad to be rid of the stresses of selling.  It's been a strain on us all.  Last night The Princess gave me a hug and said "no more 'psycho' mummy!"  That sums up how I've been the past three months!

I'm looking forward to sharing my journey in this blog so for now, while I am still sick, it's time for a hard earned rest until the moving nonsense begins.