Sunday, 17 February 2013

We Love Puddles

I am sitting here at my desk smiling at this sight out the window.  Tis merely a boring puddle you say, but it has been ages since we've seen one.  Yes, it is raining!


The ground will suck the rain up and the plants will say thank you.  Everything is so dry and we have been doing ever such a lot of hand watering of plants and vegies to keep things barely alive.  I am hoping that in a few days all this brown grass will turn lovely and green.
I mention hand watering the vegies, and it is a real pain as our tank where the hose comes off is about 30 metres away from the vegies, and I can put on quite a tantrum trying to lug long hoses around, which of course kink and get caught on roots.  So my darling husband undertook his next mission, the extension of the tank watering system down to the vegie patch.  He dug a long long trench and laid out one inch poly pipe until it reached the vegie patch.
Ta-dum, look at this, a TAP in the vegie garden!!  It is wonderful, you have no idea how wonderful. :-)
Even the roos have been struggling to find green grass to eat, and the braver ones have taken to coming up right in front of the house where there happens to be a patch of lush, green kikuyu that has sprung up.  They love it.
So, yet another close-up of gorgeous mummy and baby roo from our bedroom window.  This is the feisty baby I have talked about before, the one with attitude.  I know it is this one because its mother has this sort of sleepy eyed look about her all the time.  I think she is trying to block out the behaviour of her child in her mind.
I had a big day in the kitchen.  I wanted to make a couple of lasagnes and as I found my pasta squisher in another unpacked box, home made pasta was on the menu.  It is rather fun actually, you just keep feeding it through over and over, and each time turn the dial to make it a bit thinner, until you are happy with it.
There we have it, lasagne pasta sheets.  I find the clothes airer handy for this, as it is a place to keep the pasta without it sticking to things or losing its shape.
Then I amassed our home grown tomatoes, onions, garlic, capsicum and herbs, and added to that some mince and more tinned tomatoes and some bought mushrooms, and cooked up a huge quantity of meat sauce for the lasagnes.  Then I made a big pot of bechamel sauce to which I added parmesan cheese, then made up two huge lasagnes.  One went in the freezer and the other one we ate over three days!  Very yummy.
Have I mentioned that we don't have a rubbish collection where we live?  We have to take our rubbish to the local transfer station, which, luckily for us, is only a five minute drive away.  We usually go once a fortnight, waving our tip pass, and rid ourselves of rubbish and recycling.  There is also a small tip shop there, where people leave things too good to throw away but not worth trying to sell.  I was most chuffed with this pick-up, seven huge preserving jars.  I managed to buy lids to fit them so Steve will be able to make masses and masses of pickled onions this year!
One thing we did buy last week was this gorgeous metal hat and coat rack.  We have been looking for one for a few months, not quite liking anything we saw, but we spotted this one in an Emporium in Albany and both loved it, so we snapped it up for the bargain price of $35. 
My big mission at the moment is curtain making.  I managed to buy some end of roll fabrics from Textile Traders at a really good price, and bought timber curtain rods from Spotlight also for a really good price, so I starting this big task with the satisfaction of dollars well spent.  :-)
I like to think about how I am to go about tasks for quite a while before I actually commence, thus my etchings of thought processes and measurements stretched to be quite a few pages long.  I have 9 windows to make curtains for, one window is complete and I'm halfway through the second window.  It's going well albeit slowly.
In the meantime I finished my blackwork embroidery project and framed it.  I like the simplicity of the monochrome.  I had an idea of putting a tiny bit of red in it, thinking the middle of a flower would look good like that, but after three different tries doing three different things, I pulled them all out, instead preferring the look of the plain flower middles.
The grand finale of this week was the arrival of our new car.  Meet our Suzuki Jimny 4WD, and we have named the car 'Jimmitu', cos our friend Laurie has one so we have one too.  ha ha ha 
We will be buying a small box trailer in a couple of weeks and this will open things up a lot for us, making it easy to go and get a load of cow poo from the local dairy, or buy some bales of hay.  Steve will be able to get his little tinny in the water eventually.  For now we are taking things slowly, getting used to having a four wheel drive, and trying not to embarrass ourselves by getting stuck somewhere that we were not experienced enough to have been in the first place.  We did our first four wheel drive track yesterday, one that Steve knew was very easy, and I am proud to announce that we came out of it unscathed.  Well done Steve.

Sunday, 10 February 2013

Goodbye

Almost 15 years ago these two little fluffpots came into our lives, 2 sisters from the same litter of Miniature Schnauzers.  On the left is Maxie and on the right is Pepper. 
They grew up into fine, healthy girls.  Here is Maxie, the boss.  She had the most beautiful, thick, soft coat but boy did it tangle.
And here is Pepper, who was the runt of the litter, although as you can see, she caught up fast!  She is sitting in her favourite pose aka "the bear".
 During their younger years they suffered the humiliations of the festive season with good grace.
Pepper, being the underdog, had food issues and devised all sorts of ways to stop Maxie nicking her grub.  Here she is napping, with her rawhide chew safely ensconced in her mouth.
  They posed beautifully for photos, if you were quick! Maxie left, Pepper right.
 The girls loved nothing better than cuddles.  Here is Maxie snuggled up to Steve's left side...
 
 But you can't have one without the other so here is Pepper snuggled up to Steve's right side.
 And better still, here is a big group hug with Grandma!
 
 Failing that, they were very devoted to each other so flipside cuddles were most satisfactory too.
 
A big part of their lives was attention to their coiffure.  I used to clip them myself, but always felt sorry for them in winter, so let them get shaggy.  This particular year I think I went a bit overboard, Maxie on the left and Pepper on the right are barely recognisable to their breed!
Right, Maxie first.  Here she is looking very sad as the clippers have come out, Maxie did not like being clipped.  As her coat was quite thick, her appointment with her hairdresser mother always took longer.  I learned long ago to clip fast as under that mop of hair is the mind of an escape artist, if I turned my back she'd be off!
 
 There, a Maxie schnauzer appears from under all that fluff!
 Here we are at the halfway mark, with fuzzball Pepper on the left and newly shorn Maxie on the right.
Ok Pepper, it's your turn.  She was a lot easier to clip as her coat was coarse and a lot thinner than Maxies, although you wouldn't know it from the photo!
 
 There!  Pepper emerges from under her fur coat looking dapper.
Now, bathtime!  Here we have Pepper look content (although do I detect a slight sneer in response to horrid water) after a good scrub to get rid of all the itchy bits of cut fur.
 
 Maxie excelled at the pathetic face.
 
The first clip and bath after winter always took about half a day, but here are Maxie left and Pepper right looking spiffy and smelling sweet.
Life pottered on happily, until the entrance of THE CAT aka The Overlord.  Maxie and Pepper soon learned to just do whatever the cat wanted them to do and everyone was happy. 
There were a few bed issues.  Here are the girls looking most perplexed after Asta parked herself in their new bed!
Pepper got her revenge however.
In 2010 when we bought our country land, the girls tasted the life of the great outdoors on a grander scale.  Here is Pepper on the left and Maxie on the right, securely attached to leads.  Maxie in particular was thrilled to bits with the sight of kangaroos and used to quiver in anticipation of a good chase - no way girlie!
They enjoyed coming down to stay in the shed, as long as I packed their jarmies for those chilly nights.  Sadly, this is the last photo taken of Maxie in September 2010.  She died of melanoma on the 15th of  December 2010.  I still miss you beautiful girl xx

After a few months of getting used to being a lone dog, Pepper slowly settled down into that life.  She quite enjoyed living in the shed and loved her snuggly warm bed.
She even endured being taken to the beach.  Pepper liked walking on the beach but if one drop of water hit those toes then she would head for the towel.  That girl did not like getting wet!
During 2012, Pepper's health deteriorated.  We didn't want to take her to the vet, knowing in our hearts what was going be said to us.  Finally, after a bad week we took her and on Thursday the 7th of February 2013, Pepper was peacefully and gently put to sleep while the tears poured. It is just not the same around here, I keep seeing her out of the corner of my eye, and the tears flowed again last night when I forgot and went to sweep some grated cheese on the floor for her, she absolutely loved cheese.

So this little fluffball here, the runt of her litter, lived for a fortnight off 15 years.
 
 She lived her life quietly and cutely, very much a homebody, liking nothing more than a good snooze.
Goodbye baby girl, you're with Maxie now at Rainbow Bridge.  xx

Friday, 1 February 2013

For Kerry

This blog post is especially for my friend Kerry who asked if she could see a house walkthrough. 
Okay, let's start at the front door.  It still has the bright blue undercoat showing cos we are over painting for the moment.  Eventually that door will be 'Manor Red' which is a medium gloss dark reddy brown.  We haven't decided whether or not to paint those indented panels in a different colour or have the whole lot the same.
As you open the front door you are in the entry.  We have a copper sculpture thingy for on the wall that is still in a box somewhere, but we are also toying with the idea of putting a mirror on the wall here, to reflect the light coming in from the pretty glass door panels.
If you head left after the entry you will find yourself in our bedroom.  We also have the desk in here as the room is huge.  I am sitting at the desk writing this blog post right now.  I have some work to do on the quilt that is on our bed.  It is falling to pieces, particularly the borders that hang over the bed.  I am thinking I will cut the borders off and re-bind the quilt into a smaller lap quilt, as I do have a half finished quilt that would look great on the bed (yes Kerry, the Indian Orange Peel quilt!!).  It's on my list for completion this year.
 We are fortunate to have a really nice ensuite attached to our bedroom.  It is interesting that using only rainwater in our house, the shower glass stays a lot cleaner, yay, less cleaning!
 
 Ok, heading back into the entry and looking right, you can see the living area.  This is a large open plan area in the middle of the house, comprised of sitting area, meals area and the kitchen.  We are really liking having it all together rather than in separate rooms.
 Walking into the living area and looking to the right you see the sitting/tv area.  I took all these photos in the late afternoon and for about 2 hours we get direct sun coming in through these two windows.  Hence the need for curtains, but for now we are using old sheets.
 
 Heading left into the living area and looking towards the front of the house you can see the blending of meals and sitting.  All our walls are very bare at the moment as we haven't unpacked any wall art yet.  Looking forward to putting up some adornments on the walls.  The fire is just out of sight to the right of that bookcase.
 
 Looking from the sitting area towards the back of the house you can see the meals area with the kitchen off to the left. 
 
 From the meals area you look into the kitchen, which I still love the best of all the rooms in the house.  In fact everything in the house works well together, spacing wise and positioning.  Everything seems easy and within reach.
 
 Heading into the kitchen and looking slightly left you can see the walk-in pantry.  What a fabulous thing this is.  It is still in a somewhat chaotic state but amazing how much stuff can be fitted in here.  I have big baskets all around the walls at floor level which are great for home produce such as potatoes/pumpkins/onions etc, but also for keeping all those pesky plastic containers that disappear into the murky depths of cupboards.  Much easier to find plastics in a big open basket!  Behind the pantry door are four skinny shelves which is where we keep preserves and other stuff in jars.  Presently you would find pickled olives, pickled beetroot and pickled onions.  Next to the stove you can see the breadmaker, our trusty friend.  We use it about three times a week.
 
 In the kitchen, turning around to face the living area once again, you can see the meals area on the left, and fridge/freezer area.  The dog's bed is just around the corner from the fridge, right in the middle of the living area so she can lie there and view her domain.
 
 Walking through the living area, past the meals area on the left, we come to the hallway.
 
 First door on the left is the laundry.  The dog's night bed is on the floor, and the latest boxes of stuff to unpack are sitting on top of the drawers.  This is the darkest room in the house due to the solid door and small window, but I imagine it will lighten up when we paint the door white.
 
 Looking to the right of the laundry you can see the wall length line of cupboard doors.  There are three sliding doors concealing floor to ceiling shelves, which is just brilliant.  I love having a house with a decent amount of storage space!
 
 Back out to the hallway and heading into the first room on the right we find my sewing room.  There is a line of tall cupboards along the wall to the left, a sewing table in the far corner and my cupboard unit in the centre of the room.  Basically the unit is six little cupboards/drawers positioned in a 'u' shape with a melamine top on it, long enough to give a bit of an overhang at one end.  That's the end I sit at.  The top is fantastic for working with patchwork as I don't need to bend over and it is big enough to spread things out properly to cut and measure.  Those rolls of fabric on top are for making curtains, my next mission.
 
 Further into the sewing room you can see the sewing corner more clearly.  To the left of that I have a bookcase with all my craft books.  There is also a lot of crap in this room that we haven't found a home for yet, but it is tidy enough to get started with the curtains!  I am itching to hang some quilts on the walls in here!
 
 From the sewing table looking back towards the door, you can see the big cupboards where all my fabric and other stuff is stored. 
 
 Back out in the hallway and entering the second door on the left we find the loo.  Complete with psychedelic ceramic cow adorning the window ledge.  I will be happy when we have a bit of garden growing out the back, currently the wind blows all the dust and sand around and I keep finding it all over the top of the loo.  Amazing how much comes in through the tiny open part of the window actually.
Third door on the left is the main and guest bathroom.  This the bathroom that contains the bath, a new thing for us.  Love it. 
 
 Second and last room on the right is the guest bedroom.  You are seeing it warts and all as I haven't yet stripped the sheets from the bed after the last visitors left.  I should have done it before the photo but couldn't be stuffed.  :-) 
 
 Finally, the room at the end of the hall is the back bedroom.  There are two single beds in here plus we will store a bit of our stuff in the cupboards as well, leaving a couple of drawers for visitors.  Steve's tools are all over the chest of drawers as he had just put up a curtain rod for me.  This will be the first curtain I make, the prototype.  And maybe the wonky one, if I haven't measured properly, this will be my test case.  In the past I have always made curtains using the tape with the slots in it for the hooks to make the pleats, but this time I am having a go at making the pleats myself.  Watch this space...
 And to finish up, this is the view from the back bedroom down the hallway towards the living area.  Pepper is watching you from her bed.  There's the fire behind her to the left and the kitchen behind her to the right.
 So that's where we are at, this is our happy home that we love.  Still some boxes to unpack but we have done most of them.  The shed is an atrocious mess but Steve is working through it slowly, trying to work out where the workshop area will be, the beer brewing area will be, the garden area will be, and so on.  It all takes time, slowly does it.  :-)