I can’t quite believe how long it is since I have blogged. I have missed it…..sort of…but to be honest it’s so chaotic around here that blogging was the very last thing on my “to do” list. I have kept up with reading everyones blogs though which has helped keep me sane.
We had the final Primary School Concert a couple of weeks ago. I say final because its the very last one that one of my children will be performing in, no doubt the school concerts will continue as they are a fantastic way to fund raise. With James in Grade Six this year our primary school days are ending. I will be the first to admit that James hates being the centre of attention. He would much rather be on the sidelines looking on so for him to be up on stage in front of a hall full of parents and children is a big thing but as always he pulls on his “big boy pants” and gets on with it. This year there was a very happy smile at the end of the concert and I was greeted with “thank goodness that’s the last concert I will ever have to do”. I didn’t like to tell him that no doubt there will be many more moments when he will be front and centre.
We have also had the dramas of Elise’s car breaking down yet again and me having to drive to Bendigo the Thursday before the concert to take Elise to Uni and bring her home. The Daewoo is still in Bendigo in a non going state. We, or rather Elise, bought a Mitsubishi Magna that weekend and she loves it. It is cheap to run, is automatic which she says is wonderful with the tight parking at uni and it’s comfortable and (crossing fingers) reliable. Of course there were the usual dramas of getting the car road worthied and the tyres balanced, the actual registration and insuring of the car was the easy bit but it all worked out in the end. Both Ashley and I are so thankful that she now has a good car to drive (we were very disappointed in the Daewoo) as Elise is doing a lot of miles at the moment as she has practical placement here in Swan Hill every Monday for the next couple of weeks and has to go back to Bendigo Monday nights to be at Uni first thing Tuesday.
Of course there is the usual unexpected happenings on the home front. The fence between us and the neighbours is up but the garage the men were supposed to have been building has stalled. Not sure why but no doubt they will get around it to…..hopefully sooner rather than later. The fence is all packing sheets that come up with bulk lots of other fencing sheets. Our friend saves them for us when he knows we have a project on. We get the benefit of a lovely colourful and cheap fence, he gets the benefit of not having to store them or try to dispose of them. It’s a win win situation and I truly do love a fence of many colours.
There’s a new man in my life……”Stanley”. My wood stove.
The plumbers came and put in the flue and it’s all systems go. More details on Stanley another day but trust me when I say there is one very happy cook typing this post. Last nights roast was magnificent…..as was the bread I have made, the fruit cake, the biscuits and various other items. Can you tell I love using my new stove…..vbg.
There was a small hiccup to our day last week despite Stanley being operational- well big hiccup as it turned out. There was a bulge in the plaster in the passage right where the kids shower is. Ashley cut a big hole – and I do mean BIG – to discover that ants (not white ants thank goodness) had filled up the cavity to the lowest stud with dirt and were happily living there. It looks like the shower has been leaking for a while too as most of the dirt was mud and now we have to have the shower repaired and new tiles put in. Even our builder was shocked when he came round to inspect the damage. Thank goodness for insurance as it’s another expense we just don’t need at the moment. The good news is the insurance is through and the builders should be here tomorrow to make a start.
On the gardening front – I’m just starting to get organised for Spring Planting. The weather is slowly but surely warming up and we have had wonderful sunshine and even some days of rain which has lead to me being a happy gardener. I planted potatoes – from those that had sprouted in the cupboard – the other day and sweet potatoe. I refuse to Pay $6 or more for a bag of seed potatoes that I wouldn’t even get meal from when I have potatoes reporoducing themselves in my pantry. I bought a huge cabbage while I was in Bendigo for $4 – it was the size of a basketball and locally grown which was nice and Nicola and I spent a couple of hours preparing and freezing it into meal size portions. The cabbages I planted did no good at all. Too crowded I think – obviously my vegie garden has to grow size wise in order for me to get decent crops. I have picked out the area I want to grow pumpkins in – the chook pen would you believe. Once the pumpkins are up the chooks won’t both them and the ground is nice and fertile from the girls so I should (crossing fingers) get a good crop. Pumpkins are priced at $4 a kilo and over at the moment and sweet potatoes aren’t far behind them so I’m determined to grow all I can.
I really wanted to get some sheep for their fleece but also for meat but Ashley said no. Luckily he swapped some work for meat with a friend and now I have two sheep cut into chops and roasts in my freezer. I swear those sheep were dinosaurs looking a the size of the chops and my freezer is now full to busting with lovely home grown meat that Elise and I saw being cut into chops and roast. Is there anything better than seeing your meat be prepared right in front of you. I saved all the fat from the dog bones and spent yesterday rendering it down to tallow or is it Lard? I can never remember. I’m going to have ago at making soap with it.
The crafting side of my life is going ahead in leaps and bounds. Heaps of knitting, crochet, spinning and even some felting. Wool is the great leveller when the going gets rough I have discovered. There’s nothing like creating something out of wooly goodness to make all the “crap” stuff fade into insignificance.
Despite everything that has been happening we have had fun motor bike riding. With the really lovely weather it was beautiful riding around checking out all the cattle tracks on a friends farm and generally exploring. As always there is trouble getting the bikes to start. Who knows why – probably because the bikes just sit in between being used or maybe cause they know that James and Ashley will end up riding them through creeks – regardless of the reasons this time it was my turn to push Ashley as he tried to start the bike.
Not my favorite of occupations and in the end he took pity on me and tied the bike to the car and pull started it that way.