Sunday, 30 December 2012

Simple Christmas 2012

We had a simple Christmas Lunch at a local chinese restaurant!
Shocking I know!
I have always turned myself inside out for Christmas day with the endless cleaning before having visitors plus cooking and the trying to make everyone's food wishes come true.

It was really easy just to push my MIL around the corner to the restaurant from the nursing home.
They had all sorts of seafood on offer. Plus a hot chinese buffet.
It was nothing short of interesting. They did a wonderful job.
I highly recommend going out for Christmas lunch.
Walk in- walk out.

 Must say though that I didn't like driving about on Christmas day.
Me being the designated driver meant only 2 drinks!
I'm a bit funny about that when I have my kids in the car, preferring not to drink at all.
Though this organisation meant we had a little boy who was extremely happy not to have to wait for anyone to arrive at our house before he ripped into his presents.
Here is my optic fibre tree that I had up at work.
The kids loved it and would ask for the lights to go off.
I was more than happy to do it.
Ha ha lights off in a library!
They would just sit or stand around and look at it!

The Fireworks at the town carols were fab too.

I meant to blog about these before Christmas as we have made them in the past and they are always a big hit! You can't see it- there is a little chocolate santa in there driving the sleigh.

It's a pretty fun thing to do for gifts for classmates.

Now I am organising things for a New Year's Eve gathering here tomorrow night!
I wonder if we will make it to midnight !!

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Jodie shared an Instagram photo with you

Hi there,

Jodie just shared an Instagram photo with you:

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"What's your goal for today? The kids tell me they are just going to hang by the milkbar and push and shove each other out of the way for the best milkshake!! #cairnterrier #puppies #cute"

The Instagram Team

Monday, 3 December 2012

Hot Weather Gardening

The heatwave hitting us at the moment is incredible. It normally doesn't hit 'til later in the season. So many days in the high thirties and low forties are terribly oppressive.
We're fortunate enough to have a swimming pool, so when one of our evaporative air cons decided to blow a pump, we were still able to chill out in the pool.
We're also incredibly fortunate to have a bore and basically a never ending supply of really good water. Our's is pretty good in regards to minerals as well. They are there, but not concentrated enough to worry the garden or household appliances.

I knew the heat was coming and watered the garden right up to maximum moisture levels.
Once the heat hits it's too late to start watering.
I've learned that I have to keep things wet and damp, 
but not quite drowned for them to do well.
Laying in pools of water seems to cook things.
The water laying on top of the lawn and beds just heats up in the sun and boils the plants.
I have lost some patches of lawn this way. At least they grow back easily.
The trick is to water it until there is a flood, but then turn the sprinklers off and have it almost all soaked in by the time the sun shines on it.

There are lots of plants which thrive in this hot climate we have.

All up my driveway is an outstanding display of agapanthus.
It's taken a few years to get them this way! I'm so thrilled with them.

I fell in love with Agapanthus many years ago when at the Peppers Resort in the Hunter valley.
They had them all up their driveway.

Looking so much better without the wooden sleepers.
The 1 year old aggies up the front are again flowering well.
Hoses are always laying about here! No open garden rules at my house!
There's one with a weird deformity going on- another flower coming out of its mid region.
They are truly a beautiful stalwart in my garden.

We got to eat a couple of these apricots and some birds got the rest.
very tasty and rewarding for their first year!
As soon as I finish mowing the lawn, I plug in the bayonet sprinklers in on the lawn and leave them for a day or so. Making sure that none have been on for a couple of days before I mow again in a week's time. I'm often getting bogged in the muddy bits!

I tend to get up really early in the morning and turn the big lawn sprinklers off or move them to a new location, then set my little gentle sprinklers on the garden beds for 2 hours with the timers.
These are moved around each day so each section gets a really big soak about every 4 or 5 days.

I'm looking forward to eating these figgies before the birds do!

The big beds have really filled out. Everything is growing so well, even the paths need spraying with weed killer again.
Then I hand water the veggie garden every single morning.
This is the workflow that's working for me.
That shipping container really needs a coat of paint.
I think I might paint it in the holidays, have compressor and spray gun so I can knock it over easily!
I am told that the best time to pick zucchini (- or courgettes) is just when the flower withers, that way they are at their most tender and not all tough and woody.

Their spikey leaves give me a bit of a rash on my arms. does anyone else have that worry??
Sometimes I think I need welding gloves for protection.
When these Roma tomatoes ripen up I think I will be overwhelmed. There are so many!

I like them slow roasted with olive oil, sea salt and Balsamic vinegar.

This year I have planted an heirloom variety of tomato, they are still a bit green when ripe, some would call them black!
And who doesn't love a cherry tomato??

I also have some button squash. i'm not sure why I put these in, I am not exactly a big fan. I think I just wanted some squash variety! 

And I still have no idea about when to pull up the beetroot. 
I think I will be roasting them in the same way as the Roma tomatoes. 

How do you manage to keep up the water to your garden in the heat?
Do you have a little veggie garden, just something to potter in and fuss over?
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Friday, 30 November 2012

Snakes alive

 Ugly dead snakes following!

This little dog has taken to snake hunting.
Not a good thing to be doing.
Especially when you are deliberately pregnant with little Cairn Terrier puppies!

A couple of weeks ago we came home to this Giant brown snake in pieces in one side of the dog yard. Our oldest one, and also the pregnant one's side.
Off I raced to the vet's with the 2 dogs. Anthistamine and steroid injections are the first line of defence.
Then a wait and see.
All was ok. I couldn't believe our luck.

I was pretty sure that the other bitch in the yard would have just cowered inside the kennel. and not joined in on taking on a big brown snake.

And this Young German shepherd chases lizards and birds non stop all day long. 
 Then 5 days later when I came home and let the doggies out, within 5 minutes, the little cairn dove under a rose bush right next to me and pulled out one flapping it all about.
She killed it. I was sure that she had been bitten and again rushed to the vet's to get her checked over.

I loaded her up into the car and put the dead snake into a chook bucket for identification by the vet.
Well it wasn't quite dead but wasn't a danger to anyone. Another lot of shots and another night of watch and see. I couldn't believe our luck again. It must have been my screaming that made her slink away, not a bite.
Needless to say she is no longer allowed to just roam around of her own accord, but has to be on a lead at all times when she is not locked on the verandah, in her yard or in the pool house or veggie garden with me. She only has a few weeks to go until the pups are on the ground!

We thought it was a whip snake, but no it was a deadly Eastern brown.

This bird netting has always served me well, catching many snakes.

But this time I was over it and knew of snake repellers that are on the market. I rang my friend who has them and she swears by them. So I rang and organised an order to come my way.
These machines look just like solar lights and send out a vibration through the ground every couple of minutes.
I have 2 layers of defence, one right up next to the house and the other out at the edge of the garden. 20 machines in total. And some just randomly placed.

Every couple of minutes they vibrate for a few seconds. a red Led light glows and blinks while this vibrating is going on. They look like evil little red eyes blinking.

Touch wood- I haven't seen a slithering nasty since these went in the ground.
It's going to be extremely hot here in the next few days and I hope that none try to take their luck in my cool damp garden!!

Here is where you can read about the device and order them.
So far so good.
birthday brownie stack.

These are the only snakes I am interested in around here!
How about you? Do you like or loathe snakes?
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Tuesday, 27 November 2012

A huge caterpillar in the garden.

Husband has bought a new Tonka toy.
It's old but incredibly useful for the light jobs we have around here.
We traded an old John Deere on it.
Husband is under strict instructions to replace it with a Kubota.
We found over the last week that the cat does a great job of moving gravel into the holes in the driveway.
Husband and son were covered in Hydraulic oil when they serviced it on Saturday.
I though t that maybe their clothes might need to be burned-
Luckily I have some pretty top washing machines to clean them all up.

Delivery day.
On the day it arrived, we wouldn't let our delivery friend leave until he had shown husband how to drive it!
The little fella is getting really good at driving it. 
Yesterday he pushed over a little tree that was in his way.
Today he lifted a solar panel into position atop a steel post.
Precision at its best.

It was most definitely turned off at this point. Big machinery terrifies me!

And then he demonstrated how a caterpillar farts.

Husband says he wished he had a toy like this when he was a little boy.
Perhaps a dream come true??

Sunday, 25 November 2012

Fantastic sunsets

We have been having the most sensational sunsets lately.

I think it may have something to do with all the dust in the air from Harvest.

and today!

Aren't we lucky to have an unobstructed skyline to see these fantastic sunsets?
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