Friday, February 25, 2011

Has Mother Nature Gone MAD??

Lately I'm of the opinion that Mother Nature really has gone mad!! After the devastation of the QLD and VIC floods and Cyclone Yasi, now she unleashes absolute carnage on beautiful Christchurch in the form of a devastating earthquake.

So many precious lives lost, so many people injured and mentally scarred for life! The only positive thing to come out of this tragedy is the way people from all over the world have come together to help in the rescue and recovery of victims. The re-building of Christchurch will take many, many years but it will never look or feel the same.

I can clearly remember standing in front of the Christchurch Cathedral back in January 1982 when my family did a 3 week tour of the South Island. I can't believe that on Monday I blogged about my time living in NZ, and the next day a huge earthquake hits - I hope I wasn't a jinx!

Monday, February 21, 2011

My NZ Experience

From when I was 10 to almost 16 years old I lived in New Zealand. My Dad had been given a promotion with work so we moved to Howick which was a rural suburb of Auckland back then. Mum and Dad said they'd give it 5 years before moving back to Australia, but by the time 5 years was up both my sister and I didn't want to leave. We loved living in Auckland, we had made some great friends there and we saw just about everything to see in NZ during the 5 1/2 years we lived there.

We left NZ in December 1984 after my sister had finished high school and I still had 2 years to go. I visited NZ in 2008 - 24 years after leaving! I still keep in contact with 2 school friends and one of them was having a terrible time battling cancer so I decided to have a week just visiting with both of them.

My friend Andrea bought me this beautiful artwork which hangs on our bedroom wall. "Aroha" means love in Maori language. It came from the most gorgeous shop called The Garden Party and was made by Hayley Hamilton.

My other friend Adrienne gave me this piece of Kiwiana - a kiwi and pukeko noughts and crosses set. Kiwiana is defined as "quirky things that contribute to a sense of nationhood". Some other examples of Kiwiana that I love are hokey-pokey icecream, pineapple lumps, Footrot Flats, and tomato-shaped tomato sauce bottles.

I'd love to take Farmer Phil and the kids to NZ and show them where I lived, where I went to school, and do all the touristy stuff as well. I don't know when or if this will ever happen, but I can always dream!!

Thursday, February 17, 2011


Just need to do a little bit of bragging for the minute! We received a lovely letter in the mail today informing us that Emma had won a partial scholarship to the Riverina Conservatorium of Music in Wagga for her contemporary vocal lessons she has once a week. She is to perform at their scholarship night in September and she's also been awarded a solo at their major concert called "Something to Sing About" in May. Farmer Phil and I have absolutely no idea where her beautiful voice comes from!!!???

Art Purchase

While in Narrandera today, our Ag n Chat group had a lovely lunch at the East Street Cafe which had a beautiful display of artworks for sale. I could not resist this oil on canvas painting called "Grevillea & Friends" by Catherine Stewart. As soon as I walked into the cafe it caught my eye - the gorgeous colours of green and red. It's now hanging in our front entryway. Catherine was actually Emma's art teacher last year at school but she has now retired from teaching to concentrate on her career as a professional artist.

Ag n Chat Visit to Fisheries

This morning we kicked off 2011 for Ag n Chat with a visit to the Narrandera Fisheries. Our guide Dexter gave us a very informative talk about the native freshwater fish species in Australia and also the fish pests such as Carp and Redfin.

The centre was opened in 1962 as a research centre to study the biology and ecology of inland aquatic systems. It is also now a productive hatchery which releases millions of fingerlings of Murray Cod, Golden Perch, Silver Perch and Trout Cod into waterways in our area. The centre is also an educational centre for children to learn about fishing and preserving the fish environment.

This is "Agro", a 20 year old Murray Cod who has a very easy life floating around all day getting fed twice a week. He is also one of the "stud" males used for reproduction.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Holiday Pics

While sorting through photos for the previous post I found some from our holiday in January and realised that I hadn't blogged about it. If you look on a map of Australia you will see that Renmark is just over the NSW border in SA. It's like an oasis when you get there after travelling across the desert for hours. On my birthday it decided to rain a bucket load (100ml) for the whole day.

We obviously didn't ski at all that day. Just running to the toilet block in the caravan park meant that you would get soaked to the skin even with an umbrella!

After much discussion we took the kids to see the latest Harry Potter movie for the afternoon, and then had an extended birthday dinner at the club.

We've never experienced a day like that before in the 22 years that we've been going to Renmark every January. We were sloshing around in ankle deep water for the day!

Anyway, we had a really relaxing 2 weeks away with a manditory sleep in every morning, a lazy late brekkie of bacon and eggs, then an even later lunch, finally finishing with a gourmet bbq cooked by Farmer Phil. There was also the odd ski inbetween! The perfect holiday really!


Since coming home from holidays Farmer Phil has been trying to get as much spraying done as he can when the weather conditions allow. The weeds have been growing like Topsy since before harvest so it's a full time job to keep on top of them.

Today it's decided to rain so Farmer Phil has picked Ryan and Emma up from school to take them water skiing for the day at Albury to have some training with coach Cathryn. We are all booked to go to the Australian Water Ski Nationals held in Townsville this year over the Easter weekend. To qualify for them you need to ski to a certain standard so both Ryan and Emma need as much coaching and time on the water as possible.

So, while I have the house to myself I've decided to get some more work done on this quilt I started last year. I originally started to make it as a Christmas gift for a member of the family but I loved the fabric so much that I'm keeping it for myself to put on our bed. The fabric is from Anna Maria Horner and is very bright and cheerful.

Hope you all have a productive day!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

New Purchases!

Now that we finally have a successful and profitable harvest behind us there are a few things that need to be bought to make our life on the farm just a bit more comfortable.

This was my first after-harvest purchase - a new lawn mower! But not just any old lawn mower, it's a self-propelled mulching one so no more struggling to push the thing up hills or emptying the catcher 50 thousand times! I'm not exaggerating!!!

It may not sound very exciting to you all, but to me it will be a huge time and energy saver.

Also, the air conditioner installer man has just left after installing a split system air conditioner in our master bedroom. We have ducted evaporative air conditioning already, but our bedroom is on the western wall of our house and with no protection from the sun the room can get up to 35 degrees on really hot days. It also doesn't cool down by the time Farmer Phil and I are trying to go to sleep. Hopefully this problem has been solved and we will have some refreshing sleep in the future!

The Decision is Final!!

This vintage club lounge belonged to my grand parents from 1946? until 1989 and then I became it's owner. As a child I remember the lounge in the "front" room of their farmhouse which was only used for special visitors. My sister and I used to sneak in and have a quick look and sit on it - it seemed so huge to us as little kids!

When Nana bought herself a new lounge she was going to give the old lounge to the charity shop until I heard about it and asked if she would mind me having it. I'm so very lucky to have something that belonged to my grandparents which holds special memories for me.

Every time my mum comes to visit she always asks when I am going to get it restored and reupholstered. Well mum, now is the time!!

After a rewarding harvest a few projects that have been put off for years (22 for the lounge to be exact!) are finally going to be completed.

I wanted the lounge to remain "art deco" looking so I picked out a fabric which I think will do the job. I'm not showing you what I picked yet - I'll wait until I get the finished product home and put back in the lounge room.

Farmer Phil said he didn't care what fabric I picked so I asked my sister her opinion which I value very much. She agreed with my choice so the decision is final!!

Can't wait to see it when it's finished!

I Am Cursed!!!

This is what I am faced with every morning!!! The pool is full of "hairy panic grass" after it has blown in over night. We live on a hill which can get very windy at times and with all the Spring and Summer rain we've had the panic grass (officially called Panicum Capillare) is flourishing on the sides of the roads and paddocks that farmers haven't managed to spray yet. It takes me about an hour every day to firstly clean the filter baskets and then start scooping the grass out. I have hedges of lilly pilly, coastal rosemary and seaside daisy which are absolutely covered in the stuff too!!