Saturday, 28 July 2007

By Myself.

It has happened! The ultimate rarity around my house. I am alone. I have the house to myself. Joy of joys. I cant remember the last time this happened, even for a couple of hours. Well.....I have a couple of hours of nothing and nobody until Pete comes home from work. Mum & Michael are in Grafton, Annie is in Wagga and Pete is at work. The wood fire is burning cheerily and it is quiet. Amazing. I will also have tomorrow morning, heaven on a stick.
I rushed around doing my cleaning this morning so I could go to Wagga to buy some new undies and have a throw out session from my lingerie draw. I also got a new nighty, (my favorite type are big T-shirt style) and a jumper. The jumper is great. It is a designer one which was marked down from $128.00 to $52. It is dark red with a big droopy collar and a knitted brooch on it and funny looking ruffly cuffs on the sleeves. I will wear it tonight to the club for Fiona's farewell dinner. Should be good.
On my way home after Annie left me, I had a dawdle around the art gallery in Wagga. This is also a luxury as the family does not enjoy it and get impatient with me taking too long. I am now sitting here doing absolutely nothing more than drinking numerous cups of tea and having a lovely self indulgent time.
My photo was in the local Junee paper again this week advertising the day at the museum on sept. 1st. The story was a bit wrong though. It sounded like I was having an exhibition there and not what we were planning, which is display, come & try and Raku firing. Mrs Bell, one of the old ladies (residents) at work spotted the picture first and took great delight in showing and telling everybody who came through her door for the rest of the day. I didn't think she liked me because she watches me nervously when I clean in her room as one day I knocked over her beloved cactus plant while dusting her windowsill.
At the start of this month the Greater Southern Health service, for whom I work, declared their buildings and grounds a smoke free zone. The workers now have to go up the back lane or off the grounds to have a smoke during their breaks. Not real good since it is mid winter. Anyway, the girls decided they would start up a weigh in type club to try to stop putting on weight while some of them give up smoking. It is also for non smokers. You have to put in $1 each weigh in, which will go towards the furnishing of the staff dining room in the new hospital when it is finished. Anyway I decided to go in it and now I have to be a good girl and cut down my food intake and go on the treadmill regularly. Hmmmm, watch this space! Confession.... today I ate a few lifesavers and an extra slice of fresh bread & honey for afternoon tea.
The heron was back in my yard this afternoon, sorry mate they don't grow that fast, you already ate them all.
In my garden the mandarines are sweet enough to eat, there are some pansies in pots flowering that Mum planted and a few pretty purple pea flowers from the mulch that I used and did'nt get around to weeding. My coriander (cilantro) is beautiful at the moment and I have been using it in sandwiches. There is a really nice sandwich filling I make up from a small tin of red salmon, a blob of mayonaise, fresh ground black pepper and about a 1/4 cup of chopped fresh coriander from my garden mashed together. It grows well here in the winter but doesn't like the summer. You can collect the seeds in the summer and replant them or use them in the kitchen.
Brad in Idaho says he is having beautiful days with temps in the high 8o's to 90's, sounds good to me, the temp under my back verandah is 10 degrees at the moment which is equal to 50 there.
O.K I had better go and feed the chooks as it is getting late and it will be dark in less than an hour. Bye. Love Linda.

Monday, 23 July 2007

Heron's attack, straw garden.

I had my second of 2 days off work today. It was nice and sunny again so I went out the back to attempt the straw garden I was wanting to try. I laid a thick bed of newspaper then wet it and then a layer of the sugar cane mulch with dolomite and blood and bone sprinkled on top then a bag of the cow manure over that. Next went the seed potatoes and another layer of the mulch. then another watering and finally a cover of chicken wire to keep Rufus from digging it all over the yard. I have seen this type of garden done many times and called different names, but have not tried it myself, so... here goes. It is under the old swing set and is about 7ft square. I will have to take the wire off later when it all settles in but hopefully Rufus will be used to it by then. Also I did a bit more pruning and tidying around the yard, but I didn't get back to the roses. Except for one monster sized rose down the side of the house and all the miniature roses I have them done anyway.
I rang my sister tonight, she was having a party. Just her, my niece Cassie, her soon to be husband and their baby Ivory. They were celebrating because El had some of her stitches removed today but also my niece had moved into her new house, after a long wait settling red tape etc associated with the purchase of it. They were cooking the first meal in their own home. A nice milestone.
For the last week or so the Heron has been visiting our fishpond and has finally succeeded in emptying it of fish. I couldn't find any there today at all. It sneaks silently in at first light and because nobody is around to see it, he waits silent and motionless until a fish comes by and has it for an easy breakfast. Rufus is too silly to even notice it is there and does not chase it away. My pond is covered by a net but that has not stopped the heron from getting at my fish. There was 18 fish in there last time I counted them. The heron usually comes in winter, I don't know if they migrate from somewhere colder to here for the winter. About 4 years ago another heron came and cleaned out the pond. There was a few really big fish that it couldn't swallow so it threw them out of the pond and they died anyway. The fish had eggs there and a few months later they all hatched and I had dozens of baby fish that survived because there was no adults to cannibalize them. The fish that were taken this time were what was left of the hatchlings. Maybe I will be lucky again.

Sunday, 22 July 2007

Sunday, Garden maintainence,

I had a nice day today, it was a clear sunny Sunday that leads you outside to spend time in the back yard. I started pruning my roses early this morning. I am about 3/4 of the way through them. I also spread gypsum around the garden beds and watered it in, pulled out a few weeds and did some other trimming up. As well as a bit of washing and raking up leaves to add to the garden beds. Then I went in to Wagga to the hardware / garden place and got some more gypsum and 4 bags of composted cow manure. Yes I bought cow manure! It is cleaner than what you collect yourself and its nicely mashed up and you can use it straight away, it saves me a bit of work. I must be getting old! We had a cuppachino on the way home.
Follow up on my last post.... The lady I was talking about is apparently o.k. and has gone to a nursing home in Narranderra. I haven't spoken to my sister yet but Mum and Michael are going to visit her next week. She lives in this state but in the north east close to 1000 km away.
I went to the Dr on Thursday because my collar bone is a bit weird and out of shape and I was looking for something to blame my shoulder & neck pain on. I have to go for x rays. The x ray lady is at Junee on Wednesdays so I will find out what is going on then. The Dr reckons it might be broken. I don't know of anything that could have caused it recently but I have had pain for over a year. It might have happened when Pete and I had to push the Caravan to move it, which was ages ago, maybe I did some more damage chopping wood or something, I dunno.
This afternoon on my way in to Wagga I passed my son David, who was on his way to Junee and we turned around to talk to each other. My next door neighbor saw us at the side of the road and stopped to see if everything was o.k. I thought that was nice that she stopped to check.
For tea tonight I cooked pork spare ribs with ginger and garlic with them, I heated some little roast potatoes that I had brought frozen and ready made, see I am getting old. Not long ago I would never have looked at not doing my own. However, the price of fruit and veges has risen steeply in recent months due to the drought and then the floods straight on top of that, so frozen vegetables are actually cheaper than fresh at the moment. Bananas are $7.60 a kilo, Apples are not far behind, green beans are $12 and cauliflower are around $6.00 each, I don't buy them when they are too high priced.
Peter is driving me mad with his work at the moment. He has never been able to separate home and work. He always builds his life around his current job. I have been with him since I was 17 years old and I know him too well and know the sighs as to where this is leading. Hmmmm.....
I worked out how to put my camera on macro for close up pics and how to turn the flash off when I do that. Above is a close up of my Mum. I liked it. The picture above working well, does not mean I will remember how to do it again. So, who has dementia?

Wednesday, 18 July 2007

Dog bite, New stuff, Work.

Today I bought a new keyboard and mouse. I won't have to do so many corrections when I type in my special two fingered style because the E key and the spacer bar will work and the little ball in the bottom of the mouse won't keep sticking and annoying the hell out of me. Now I just have to correct all the times I press the key beside or above the letter I intended to use. Lol.
Today I also made the last payment on the treadmill I had on Lay by. It will be delivered tomorrow and we have to assemble it. Then I will have fewer excuses not to exercise.
My sister Ellen was at a party 2 nights ago and was playing with a friends dog when it turned on her and attacked her. She was very badly bitten on the neck and throat and had her cheek torn right through from her mouth towards her ear. She spent the night in hospital and had surgery but she came home today. I spoke to her on the phone and she said she has 15 stitches on the outside of her face and doesn't know how many inside. She was worried about scaring on her face as her daughter is getting married in November this year. She was the one who was most blessed with good looks when we were young, she is in for a rough time of it. Michael and Mum are going to Grafton later next week to see her.
At work yesterday while I was taking the menus, the lady I was sitting with was very upset about the lady in the bed beside her, who had had a turn, and was not very well. I started out trying to make light of the situation by continuing like nothing was wrong and getting on with my job but then she told me that she had known the other lady in the bed next door to her for many years and they and their husbands were friends, and often were at each others houses for meals etc. She had watched this lady go downhill over the years with dementia, and was now listening to her in trouble with her health and receiving treatment from the nurses. Very sad, she asked me what she could do and I said "talk to the bloke up there" (pray). The sick lady was sent to Wagga Base Hospital, I don't know if she survived. Isn't it strange the links you find between people that you come across. I have found links with quite a few people through work, with people who come in and out the door. An old school friend's Mum who I lost contact with years ago, a son of a relative through marriage, an aunty of old friends, a workmates mechanic who was my ex brother in laws best friend ...... People whom have passed in and out of your life and who you don't really expect you will hear any more of, but who keep popping up in strange ways.
Annie gave me a manicure tonight, it was really nice and my hands are not so rough and smell nice. She is a much more girlie girl than me, as I don't usually bother with such things for myself.
I couldn't be bothered with make up, it seems so false to me, but I do like pretty perfumes. I usually stick to the same favorite ones that I have been using for years. I am very boring.
It was exceptionally cold here today, a maximum of just 7 degrees celcius. No rain today even though snow was predicted to 500 meters above sea level, which includes us, as we are about that height. That didn't happen! The long time locals say it hasn't snowed here since the late 1960's but I saw sleet once about 10 years ago.
Fiona one of my work mates has her last day at work with us tomorrow, and since I am not working I volunteered to take afternoon tea in to work. I cooked a sponge tonight but I had my oven on the wrong setting and the top of it is a bit too brown so I will have to do another one tomorrow. I am also taking some butter nut biscuits which you can soften in the oven and push into a cup shape then fill with caramel and top with chocolate or cream. I will cook a batch of pikelets tomorrow too. That should be enough. Naughty but nice.
O.K enough trivia for tonight.
Bye Love Linda.

Sunday, 15 July 2007

Grumpy Bum.

I just read a couple of my bookmarked blog friends entries. It cheered me up as I am grumpy this afternoon with my Mum, who lives with us, chucking a tantrum. You see I went to the shop without her. Naughty inconsiderate me! I got up at 5.30 this morning to start work at 6.30 then came home at 3.00. I didn't feel like haggling around the shop with her for 45 minutes so I snuck off by myself to get some chicken to cook for tea. Bad move! She chucked one.! I must have been gone for a full 10 minutes and when I got back she was trying to leave on her electric scooter. Then she reckoned that it didn't have enough power to take her to the shop which is rubbish as she hasn't used it since I recharged it 2 days ago. I took her to the shop. For the sake of my sanity I waited in the car for the next 20 minutes while she did her thing. She came back and to prove to me that I am wrong and she is always right she bought me another bottle of fabric softener that I told her I did not need. We now have 2 of them. She has obsessions with certain products. Her favorites being biscuits, cuppa soups and soap, which she can't resist buying every time she walks through the shop door. Who knows what her diet would be if she wasn't here with me. She wants to go back to my sister's place at Grafton when she can't get her own way with us. I need a new life. Ahhhhh!!!!!.
O.K. enough whinging!
I had my picture and a little story about my pots in the "Wagga Leader" newspaper last week. Michael was proud because he took the picture. It was for the opening of my turn at the monthly exhibition in the Potter's club.
Today, indeed for the last few days, it has been very cold here. It was so frosty this morning when I left for work, the grass was crunchy and everything was white. The wood fire had gone out when I got out of bed and I was naughty and used some mineral turps to light it, it worked anyway. The last lot of wood we got doesn't burn as easily as it should, maybe it isn't well seasoned.
We must be over the half way mark for winter because my chookies are giving us an egg or two just about every day now again, which means the days must be getting a bit longer. It is time to condition my soil in preparation for spring. I have some composted horse manure and some dolomite and gypsum to spread across the beds. I will action that next week. Our expensive time with vehicles hasn't ended yet. We got the registration papers for the caravan late this week. Yet another bill. I hope it passes rego checks without needing any repairs.
I inquired about getting another water tank a few days ago. It was an 8000 litre plastic tank which cost $1800. There is a govt funded rebate scheme going until 2009 with cash back, depending on the tank size and how you use it. I want to put it down the western side of my house and connect it to the toilet. I am increasingly water conscious, we need to use more of the water that would otherwise run down the drain when it rains. Hopefully it will eventually save money too and pay for itself over time.
On Thursday morning Pete and I took the ford to the garage to get the registration check done and took Rufus our pup with us so we could walk home , he enjoys a walk. When we left the garage we saw a puppy out on the road and it came running over to meet us. It was a chocolate Labrador puppy about 8 weeks old. It followed us so I picked her up and took her home with us to look after as she was too little and too good a puppy (they cost $6oo to $800 here) to leave on the road to get run over. She was so gorgeous and won all of our hearts. We checked with the local council for her micro chip to find her owner. They had recently moved here and had only had the puppy for 3 days and both worked out of town. We returned her but haven't heard anything back, not even a thank you. It was funny though, I carried her most of the way home and she snuggled into my neck and I kept thinking, "If the owner comes along now they will think I am stealing her or something". She was so beautiful, I hope they look after her the way she deserves.
That's all, it is time to cook tea.
Bye love Linda.

Monday, 9 July 2007

I am back. I have not been able to get a turn on the computer for the last week as the Brett & Annie team have had his computer connected up to obsessively play war craft games. Tonight it is my turn. It was nice and sunny here today which is nice after 4 days at work and some very cold, yucky, drizzly days. I walked down the street twice today. The first time was to take Rufus for a walk and get the morning newspaper. I went down again after lunch to take mum to her optometrist appointment. Well that sounds like a nice idea until I stopped at the baker's shop for a cup of tea and to share an apple turnover with mum. Sort of defeats the purpose doesn't it. I have been doing well up until the last few weeks and keeping my weight loss from coming back, but I am now gaining weight again and the scales show an increase of 3 kg. I have been for a few good walks lately though. Puff Puff! I reckon I totaled 5 km or more today. Last week Pete and I walked up to the top of Rocky hill and along the golf course. Rufus our Jack Russell pup, loved it as he can go off the lead safely there. He chases rabbit scents and runs along, just for the joy of running, tongue and ears flying, with a great grin on his face. But if I go to the baker's shop or keep eating naughty things I guess I might as well give up trying.......
We had the monthly exhibition opening last Saturday afternoon at the potter's club. It was a yucky day but we had a few turn up. Dianne who usually does the arranging at the gallery was not there so I put up my exhibition myself. I arranged my pots on the plinths in the centre of the gallery and thought it was a bit um!. So I stood and looked and thought for a while and thought "it needs dirt". Kath and I went outside in the rain and pulled some bark off the big eucalypt out the front and I put it all around my pots with the crumbly bits of bark looking like dirt. I was happy with it, but I reckon when Di sees it she will have a pink fit and change it. We were all laughing at the thought of Dianne's face when she sees it. I would love to be there when she does, to see her reaction. I sold one of the little red square plates at the opening to Fran, our club president. Nobody wanted to go out for tea because of the weather so Pete, Mum, Dave and I went to the Vic bistro by ourselves. It is always a good meal there.
We have had good rain here but still not enough to say we have come out of the drought. It will take quite a few years to get back to normal after that. 80 percent of new south wales is still drought declared, despite the flooding that has occurred in the hunter valley and the south and central coasts. I was talking to a man I know the other day who is a farmer and he said this season is shaping up too good to be true so he is not trusting anything. He has planted and things are looking good with that but he is still holding his breath to see what happens next. My daughter was best friends with his until half way through high school when she moved away. He said she is like my daughter and hard to motivate to drive, get a job etc, so that was comforting in a strange sort of way. Along the Murrumbidgee and Murray Rivers the govt has brought in new rules that there will be zero water allocations made available to irrigaters for the coming season. That is very harsh is your livelihood depends on it but environmentally I guess I can understand it. The rivers are dying and need a rest and god willing a good flush.

Monday, 2 July 2007

I have 2 posts today, one with the story, here are the pictures. Here are the pictures I took of the results from my firing last Friday. Annie helped me put them on here but I am still just as confused as I was before because she did it a different way. This one shows the ash glaze pots mentioned earlier and the still wet raku clay ones.
Here are the 2 wood textured ash glaze vases. They are about 15 inches high.
The copper red glazed pots from the same firing. You can tell which ones were on the bottom shelf.
The square pot above shows how I would like the red glaze to look. The picture below is of cheeky, our Galah. Yes he is aptly named. He is quite darkly colored, meaning he is an older bird.

Galah. Pottery. Car.

Yesterday I went to work at 6.30. I obviously looked at my calender/roster cross eyed. I was meant to start at 9.30. When I drove into the car park it was still dark, I saw a galah beside the tank stand and he looked up at me. I went over to have a look and he was sick and flew a few feet away where he stopped again, he was huddled up and had a wobbly head. One of the nursing sisters at work is a Wires carer, Ruthie, (wildlife rescuer) and she was on duty but was going home sick so she gave me a cage she keeps in the back of the car for such occasions . I caught the galah and put him inside in the warm. Ruthie forgot to ring another carer in town so after many phone calls I found them and by the time they came to get the galah to care for it, it was after 5 o'clock. She told me that there had been 9 poisoned galahs handed in to them over the last few days and only 4 had survived, this little bloke had the same symptoms. Poor little bloke, I hope he survives. He deserves to after waiting all day and being so sick. I don't know if the little darling who poisoned it were intending to poison galahs or something else like sparrows or English blackbirds which are ferals here and a nuisance. They probably put out poisoned grain and thoughtlessly didn't consider what else would take the baits. I will ring later and see what happened.
Galahs are native birds and very common but not really a pest. They are a pretty pink and grey with a grey crest on their heads. Also known as pink breasted cockatoo. They can be kept as pets and will become good talkers. We have one called cheeky. I don't trust him though, and won't go in the cage except to feed him as one minute he is loving you and climbing all over you being affectionate and the next minute without any provocation he will bite hard and not let go. The male ones are the same color as the females and males have black eyes while the females have reddish brown eyes. They are great to watch when they fly in a flock, they fly like little pilots in war planes, wheeling and doing acrobatics. They love to eat the bulbs from the weeds that grow along the footpaths and you see great mobs of them having a lovely time digging with muddy faces, together, heads down, bums up. I have some down the back yard and cheeky goes mad over them too when I dig some up for him. When I was in primary school we had the same weeds and we used to pull them up and eat the bulbs on the end of them too. The babies start of mostly grey with a dusty pink chest that gets darker with age. They follow their parents around and sit nearby doing this annoying repetitive wheezy screech until they get fed.
Pete has just gone for a job interview in Wagga. He has wanted to get out of working at the prison for quite a while now and get back into admin type work. If he doesn't get this one he has a few more leads to follow up, and has learned of some contacts he didn't know of before that now work in employment agencies, so here's hoping.
My little car is back in action and it did not cost me any extra. The box that had the wires in it that ran the distributor was full of water. It is going fine now. The mechanic filled it up with water when he cleaned down the engine. Anyway all's good.
I did a firing at the potter's club last Friday. Cone 9 down, 10 half way. I learned that the best copper reds come from the top of the kiln and not the bottom shelf. I also did some ash glaze tests and fired the two vases with De Boo's ash 111 glaze with 2. red iron and 4. rutile added. The glaze turned out beautiful but proved runny where thick. I now have a pot with a broken bottom and a shelf to grind. I knew ash glaze did that I just did not think. Oh well next time. I have the monthly exhibition at the club for July with another girl, Kasee. I have quite a few things made but not a lot. I made 5 smaller vases of the same wood texture design in raku clay, but they are not dry enough to do anything else with at the moment. We have the option of having an exhibition opening after the monthly meeting or going out together for dinner, I chose the later of course. Then I got a phone call to say do both so that is what I will be doing this Saturday.
I have also been looking in the puter at accommodation adverts for the Potter's club workshop next year. I found a place right in Fitzroy falls with 3 bush cabins that sound great. There is not much in Fitzroy falls except the national park, the waterfall and a tiny village. The cabins are hexagonal shaped and on the edge of the national park. We can self cater or I will arrange the meals sharing costs, no supermarket in town, and they have a pool which will be good in February heat. I will make a booking after getting approval at the next meeting. The potter who is giving the workshop, Neil Boughton, does raku lusters, great stuff. Fitzroy Falls is in the southern highlands of this state which is a trendy very expensive real estate type area. There are lots of great places to stay but not right in Fitzroy falls itself. The movie Babe was made nearby at Robertson.