Wednesday, June 30, 2010

School holidays are here.

It's half way through the first week of two weeks of school holidays.

So far so good.

I deliberately didn't organise to do much this time, then again, we don't normally do heaps of things on the holidays anyway.  I try to find as many free/low cost activities as we can on holidays.  And here, there isn't that much to choose from, or places to go where we have been heaps of times anyway.

I figure that since we have so much land here for them to play on they can make the most of it.  It is also a lot further away from town than at our previous house, wherever we go should be combined with other places to save fuel.

We had friends visit yesterday and the kids were happy to show their friends around.  We had home made spaghetti for lunch, and our guests supplied the ice-cream and donut treats for afterwards.  It was a lovely way to spend an afternoon and catch up with my friend who I haven't seen all year since moving.  

I am so over tiles and renovating.  The tiles I chose at Bunnings were delivered, but when I came to collect them they were the wrong size, wrong color and were for walls not floors.  The next day I had a message from them telling me the supplier called them to tell them the tiles had been discontinued.  So I had to go back in and get a refund.  The kind lady, who was very apologetic, did call around a couple of stores looking for light blue floor tiles for me.  

So, on Monday I began my search again, and finally found light blue floor tiles I was remotely happy with, then I had to choose new listello's/feature tiles all over again to match the new floor tiles.  I made sure they checked with the supplier on availability this time.  At least the vanity/taps/accessories are safely stored here in the shed!

It is one year ago today that our beloved Murphy was put to sleep.  Also, our beloved Lily, who went missing, presumed dead, would have turned 5 today.  Little Man and The Princess are a bit mopey today, especially Little Man over Lily.  Today we will buy some bubbles and blow our wishes and thoughts up to Heaven for them and everyone else we've loved and lost.  It's what we did last year and have promised to do each anniversary.

Amazingly, since moving to this house, the children have only asked once to play video games.  More amazingly, said video game consoles are still packed away - out of sight out of mind definitely works.  I'm amazed at how many children I see these days busily being anti-social in 'public' with their DS's or PSP thingies.  When we went camping for the last long weekend ALL of the children in the other families who came with us spent most of their time in their tents playing games, only venturing out for food or marshmallows around the fire at night.  There was one girl who walked past me as we were packing up that I swear was the only time I saw her in the entire three days.  Some of the visiting children yesterday came with their DS's and I promptly told my children they were not to play them even if they were offered it.  I think that if you are around other people, then you ought to show them courtesy by putting those things away or leaving them at home or in the car at least.

My vegetable garden is coming along nicely.  I've got lots of grosse lisse tomatoes that should start to ripen shortly, and some Lebanese eggplant ready to harvest.  The wind knocked over a huge basil plant but I've got two smaller ones to pick from.  I have planted a heap of various tomato seedlings that I was given by a neighbour - black russian, beef steak, grape and cherry's I think.  The corn is doing well (better if the dogs didn't keep running through the beds or eating the rotting manure around them), and the cucumber is starting to flower.    At the gardening group get-together I was given a heap of plants - more than I can possibly need right now so they'll be shared with friends and neighbours.  I've started a food forest outside our bedroom side of the house.  I've planted a tahitian lime seedling, two brush cherries and a native peanut so far.  So many thing to do, so little time...

The chicken yard is starting to take shape.  The frame for the house is in place - it's final location was based solely on where we could get the forklift we borrowed from the neighbour to fit in between the surrounding trees.  Now the yard measures around 11x15m.  It's bigger than the backyard at our last house!  The star pickets for the fence are in, and one side of the fence has fencing wire strung along, once the rest is on then the mesh fence can get put on.  I need to strip off the old, rusting wire off the frame for the house and replace it with small bird aviary wire.  Then the old door needs to have the hinges replaced - they were rusted on and had to be rocked back and forth to break them off.  The wire frames around the little pigeon pea and native mulberry in the chicken yard need to be secured with tent pegs to prevent future chickens from pushing them over to get to the plants.  Half of the chicken yard is sheltered by young mahogany trees that are growing in there, the other half will one day be covered in bird netting if needs be.  We have a lot of birds of prey in our area and if we start raising our own chickens we will probably need it.  Later on we will look at digging a trench and filling it with rocks around the fence line to prevent the massive goanna that roams the area from helping himself to the eggs.  I can only do so much to prevent snakes getting in to the yard but hopefully meshing the chicken house with the small bird mesh and leaving the door to it closed when they're not in there, will go some way to reducing that risk.  

We had a common tree snake at our back door the other day.  The dogs alerted me to it, and at first I thought it was an olive python because I only caught a glimpse of it - trying to get three dogs in to the house while preventing two children from getting out as well as stopping a cranky snake from coming in was a bit of a feat.  I called the snake handler to come out before The Groom happened to stop in at home to pick up stuff, then The Groom caught sight of it and proclaimed it to be a yellow bellied black snake.  So, another call was made to the snake handler informing him of this, only to have him suggest that the common tree snake was often mistaken for yellow-bellied ones.  I told him I'd leave it to him to determine.  Anyhoo, he finally came out and had to dismantle the gas bottles from the wall in order to get to the poor thing where it had escaped to.  Yep, it was a common tree snake, who was rather agitated.  The man was lovely and explained the snake to us, and let the kids take pictures of it.  He checked around our house for any 'friends' and gave us plenty of advice and tips.  Embarrassingly, I didn't have any money on me to make a donation to their group.  I offered him a soft drink instead, but he declined.  He had to get back to his paying job.  Thank heaven for the internet, I say.  That's where I found his group and information on possible suspects we could have in our yard.  Hopefully the years I've spent 'educating' the children on assuming any snake they see is venomous and they should steer clear of it is going to pay off.

Well, today I'm off to collect mail from the post office.  A parcel was 'undeliverable' yesterday (despite our being home all day) so a card was left in the mail box with the regular mail telling us to go and collect it.  I shall buy some tinned tomatoes for a slow-cooked lamb shank recipe I'll be making for dinner on Friday night, probably buy a tub of ice-cream for sticky date pudding I plan to make for dessert tonight, then come home to make sultana cupcakes, chocolate biscuits and a recipe for bacon and lentil soup I found in the current edition of Women's Weekly.  It sounds yummy.

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