Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Pretty in Pink

After chook dome building yesterday, the girls and I donned our finest pinks today and headed into our small local town for a 'Think Pink' morning tea raising awareness as well as funds for Breast Cancer research.  We took these little delights along, and were instantly warmly welcomed.

With wet weather keeping Dad closer to home than usual, Wallace opted out of thinking pink and stayed with Dad.

Back into work clothes tomorrow, we're fast running out of school holiday time!

Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Operation Permaculture

Today marked the start of a new project. 

Inspired by my friend Mare and her beautiful vege garden I have read, re-read, highlighted and asterisked Linda Woodrow's 'The Permaculture Home Garden', my new day-to-day handguide.

The idea is to create a rotational complex of vegetable garden beds complete with nomadic chickens who do the work for you of digging, mulching, weeding and pest-controlling, in the process providing you with golden-yolked eggs and leaving behind them a fluffed up bed of nutrition in which to plant your vegetables.  Yeah man.

First step of the process is building the 'chook dome'.  The round chook pen is basically the same size as your pending vegetable gardens, the chooks just make them for you.  Sounds so much better than the hours of crowbar, shovel and pitchfork-wielding that have previously been a major focus of my gardening endeavours.  At the end of a period of time you simply move chooks, dome and all to the next garden site so they can begin the process again.  They feel so involved.  Chicken Team Members.

So, with the team on board today (the un-chicken variety) we set about the 'very simple task of creating a chook dome'.  Now I don't consider myself useless, but Ms Woodrow's description of one person in just a couple of hours putting this baby together, leans me towards thinking Ms Woodrow is one very capable lady.

I can't really begin to explain this one.  Left to cut ties I turned to find 'Wire-Man' in action.

Having just completed Elizabeth Gill's "Eat, Pray, Love", it was about this time I thought seriously of sitting cross-legged under my teepee, praying to the great Ikea, God of Construction and repeating the mantra Ham-sa until such time as the children either completed the task at hand, Matthew returned home or I was at least transported to a happier place.  I'm yet to master meditation.  (Maybe another project!)

By dinnertime the hand on hip was saying it all.  That top ring was giving us no end of grief.  Corned meat sandwich and a cuppa later and things were rolling right along...


Monday, 27 September 2010

Saturday, 25 September 2010

Bull Sale Season

This time of year, all our attention seems focused on forthcoming bull sales.
As multiple sale catalogues arrive in the mail every day, all spare time is spent poring over catalogues, researching bloodlines and ogling advertisements.
Every available benchtop, tabletop or loungechair seems to have a sale catalogue sitting on it.

First week back to school after these holidays sees the children miss the first three days as we head to town for the 'World's Biggest Bull Sale', and although we're not looking to buy it's a wonderful opportunity to inspect what's on offer, see which genetics seem to be working best and come home with some new breeding plans.

The following week we head north to Charters Towers with our sale team.  Matthew will head up earlier in the week with the bulls, the kids and I leaving it until closer to sale day to join him, only missing two days school that week.

After a week of drizzly mizzly weather, amounting to only ten mil of rain in the guage, we are today experiencing some decent rain.  Cool, wet and the most wonderful Spring we could wish for.
In fact, if you listen hard enough, you can almost hear the grass growing.

Thursday, 23 September 2010

Family Favourites

These little cornflake wonders are becoming a firm favourite as smoko fare in this household, and can often be found in the biscuit barrel on our kitchen counter.
With wet weather keeping us indoors, Wallace and Sally took to the kitchen yesterday and whipped up the following:

Unfortunately, they're yet to master the clean-up process.

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Holiday Fun

Only three days into our two weeks of school holidays and a very relaxed feeling is spreading over our household.  Inclement weather has kept us housebound thus far  but we're all enjoying later than usual bedtimes, resulting in later than usual breakfasts and a fair dose of indoor games.

While the weather hasn't been exactly Queensland-Spring typical, with drizzly rain amounting to very little in the guage for the past few days, the kids have still been entertaining themselves almost peacefully. 

While many families are spending their holidays beachside enjoying the pristine coast and crystal clear water our island nation has to offer, these goons are happy to make do with what's on hand.

They headed off yesterday afternoon, in various states of poor dress.

Some barefoot,

others looking decidedly beach-chic,

others who simply can't be without their boots,

but all looking for adventure...

They found themselves at the closest dam, almost dry, but a change of scenery none the less.

While some tentatively approached the water,

others dived right in...

which made it so very difficult for those serious fishermen amongst us.

Mud-encrusted, cold and wet, they returned home, actually happy for once to hop in the shower.

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Sunday, 19 September 2010

What's Cookin'?

This weekend our home has been filled with the crazy laughter, giggling and slapstick joviality that comes with children who've just discovered they have two weeks break from school.  It's as though they've emerged from a cocoon.  Happy kids.  Beautiful.

Yesterday saw good friends have the day with us.  Susan's veterinary prowess is put to work, as she semen-tested our sale bulls and gave them all the Veterinary Association's tick of approval to go forth and multiply.

The onset of Spring has made it much easier to return to the world of early-morning walking.  I like to walk two laps of our front paddock, feeding the bulls on the way past and continuing my journey.  I've always been a morning person and love seeing the sun spread it's first rays over yonder hill as I plod on.

I return to the house, turning sprinklers on as I head indoors gasping for air, juice and coffee.  Kids are often just stumbling from their beds, I often referee the first fight of the day as Wallace endeavours to terrify his sisters by wiggling his bare bottom in front of them.  (It's a boy-thing)!  And he does it most days.  And receives the same disgusted, squealing response from the girls every day.  And he never tires of it.

My early morning walking is not only a means of hopefully shifting some of the Winter weight I add every year, but also the most wonderful time to have to myself.  Often the only time.  I often wonder why the times I'm in either the shower or the toilet, are when my children wish to have the most meaningful conversations with me.  But by leaving the house when all is quiet, when they are still blissfully unaware of my presence, or lack thereof, it is a soul-rebuilding exercise.

Unfortunately the winter weight is going nowhere, possibly being added to by my latest obsession with cooking.

Cinnamon Rolls.
Flourless Orange Cake with Passionfruit Glaze.

Baked Sticky Date Cheesecake with Caramel Sauce. 
Smoked Pork Sausages.
Curry Chicken Pasta Salad.
Pulled Slow Roasted Pork. 
Oh my.

And today.  My first trial-run with Bakerella's Cake Pops.  A practice-run for a 'Breast Cancer' Morning Tea the girls and I are attending over the holidays.  So pink and girly.  Just perfect.  The good ole Chocolate Heather Cake came to the fore yet again. 

Baked, then crumbled,

with chocolate icing added to the mix as a glue.

With my littlest helper on board, they were rolled into balls,

frozen and then dipped in ...

melted white chocolate ...

coloured pink. 

Beautiful.  Unfortunately I didn't have lollipop sticks, and after searching valiantly for kebab sticks that I still believe are somewhere in that kitchen, had to delve into the great depths of ingenuity that seemed somewhat lacking on this Sunday afternoon.

So with pliers in hand, I tracked down some No. 10 wire and made me some sticks.  Not very 'Bakerella-ish' but practical all the same.

With a fairly uninspiring 'drizzle' (the white choc was setting, think I'll add some Copha to the mix next time), the pops were complete.

... and passed the taste-test with flying colours.

Might just walk me an extra lap tomorrow morning.

Wednesday, 15 September 2010


As much as I love my children more than life itself, I can't help but feel a sense of peace come over me every evening as I pull the last bedroom door closed behind me.

For this is my time.  Selfish perhaps.

Matthew's job means he is inevitably on the phone until 9 and beyond most nights, when he's home.  Then it's our time.  Sometimes we'll watch a movie, sometimes share a drink, catch up on the papers or have some time to talk.

Last night we made sausages.

Delicious, flavoursome, homegrown pork sausages.
Hundreds of them.

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

How many kids can you fit on a Quad?

I recall being pregnant with our third child, mustering on this bike with Sarah aged three, and Jessie, eighteen months also on board.  I thought at the time that my days of venturing out on the bike would be impossible with an extra little one.  How wrong I was.  In fact it is possible for Mum and four kids, two dogs and a bale of hay to fit on this machine. 

Not comfortable.  Not recommended.  But doable.

Monday, 13 September 2010

I Know Bikes

Like most seven year old boys, our boy has a particular love of all things motorised.

In fact, given the option between saddling his horse, or backing the Polaris out of the shed, there's really no option.

And there's nothing he loves more than to offer mechanical advice to his sisters.
Experiencing some difficulty starting the bike yesterday morning, Wallace was heard to comment to Sarah, "it's probably out of fuel, switch it over to the 'reception' tank".

And I'm sure if indeed it had been out of fuel, switching to the 'reserve' tank would have been useful advice.

Sunday, 12 September 2010

Me and My Gang

Most weekends Dad and I split the teams in an effort to get more work done in less time.
That's the theory at least.
But over breakfast this morning, we decided it would be a lovely 'Family-Sunday' if we all saddled up and rode out together to bring in a paddock of breeders.
Alas, my old steed didn't pass the vet-check and was relegated to stay in the long yard.

Deflated I returned home, promptly made a coffee, forgot my disappointment, put my feet up and read a couple of chapters of a new book that arrived in the mail this week.  Keeping one eye towards the yards, at the first sign of movement I donned hat and boots and high-tailed it, ran some bulls through the crush, and when my team turned up, wiped my brow and looked decidedly busy.  I'm pretty sure they're onto me though, as I'd only dipped four when they arrived.

We drafted off what we needed and the junior team tailed the remainder back to their paddock.

After dinner and some close paddocks in and out, I sighted this posse heading for the homestead.
At first I thought there were only four...

a Dad and his girls.
But closer inspection revealed another...

a stripling, on a small and weedy beast,
lagging a little behind, cap jauntily askew (can't find me helmet Mum), not quite included in the pack...

Arm raised, either about to try to ride time, crack an imaginary whip or possibly trying to be heard. 
"Please Sir..."

Oblivious to his cry for ..... something, they rode on.

"Please Sir, I really need to ... "

Dads and their girls.
They're tough on my boy!

It's alright baby, Mummy's here!  Would you like a cordial?

Saturday, 11 September 2010

Not More Hockey!

So yesterday was the big day.

By 7 am yesterday morning, we'd enjoyed a hearty meal of scrambled eggs, hastily threw dishes in the dishwasher, inhaled a cup and a half of mandatory morning caffeine, packed an esky full of sandwiches, mandarines and chocolate cake, filled water bottles and were on our way over the range, 80 km to our west to participate in the first of what will become an annual local small schools' hockey tournament.  (a big sentence I know, 'twas a big morning).  With sunscreen plastered over little faces, hockey sticks at the ready, school war cries voiced, we were ready.

And what a super day it was.  These youngsters who had never had the opportunity to compete in a team sport before, and had never played hockey before the start of this term, amazed us all with their newfound skills and more importantly their terrific sense of sportsmanship.

And on what was a particularly hot Spring day in CQ, they ducked and weaved, sweated and toiled, and most importantly had a ton of fun.

Our Junior team were victorious, with the Senior team runners-up.  

The worst part of the day is being subbed out, so everybody gets a turn.

And Wallace, who's brought home two medallions this week, is just a little unsure which one he's most proud of.  It's a toss-up between yesterday's hockey medal, or the previous day's 'Donut-Eating' championship.

Photos to follow.


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