Saturday, June 27, 2009

The Rainbow in my Granny's Garden

This morning was a little foggy. This usually means it will clear to a beautiful clear blue sky day, but not today. Today was cloudy and there must have been odd spots of actual precipitation from time to time, if things that were dry, then were no longer dry are to be believed. I never caught it happening, though.

About mid-morning I looked out to our view to see a shadowy rainbow. And I tell you for certain that one end of it must have been firmly planted in my Grandmother's front yard.

Walked around to her this afternoon, but how many pots of gold were sitting about the place?

... Approximately None! *sigh*

Monday, June 22, 2009

A Great Day

Just a few years ago a group of impressionable young women from different parts of Queensland met at a University residential college. Our friendship rapidly developed during the process of escaping the various evening entertainments offered during the ritual of O-week without being caught by the vengeful O-week committee.

We each had different courses and different dreams, and despite the ones that we've already gained, we haven't finished with the world yet.

Be afraid, be very afraid.

Today four of us got together. One all the way from the UK, two from rural Queesland centres and one is still located in Brisbane. We sat and ate fish and chips and caught up on each other's lives. There might have been a bit of laughter.

This was the stimulus for some of my laughter. Nothing like supporting smokers by removing their bin! Just drop your butts on the concrete here beside the entry gate.

I wanted to leave good company to come home again...

... Approximately None

Sunday, June 21, 2009

2 Green Pellets and a Recipe

Well, last night was a two green pellets on the kitchen benches night.

This contrasts favourably with the 15 green pellet night the night my Beloved put the baits down, and the regular 15-20 black pellet nights prior to that.

The problem is that yesterday I needed to cook and didn't have time to do the full surgical scrub-down of my kitchen that is required if foodstuffs (or any implement that may possibly come into contact with foodstuffs) are to come anywhere near it. I'm not keen on my food having the slightest chance to come into contact with faeces. Particularly poisoned faeces. And although I had cleaned the bench of visible remains, I know that I can't see the germs that might have survived my quick clean.

It resulted in much careful placement of stuff so that any surface that may touch food did not come into contact with the bench. Anything that did touch the bench was discarded and a clean one sourced. It makes cooking very difficult. And mountains of washing up.

However, I did make dessert for our family Sunday lunch. And as I can never leave a recipe alone I created a winner all of my own.

Jen's Tropical Crumble

440g tin crushed pineapple
825g tin Pears (whizzed in the food processor)

Topping: (this is a generous amount of crumble)
1 cup sugar (I used white, but brown or raw would also work)
1 cup rice flour (I used MacKenzies because it's not as fine as some)
1/2 cup dessicated coconut
1/2 cup of macadamia nuts (when whizzed in the food processor)
about 75g butter, cubed
1 teasp ground cinnamon

1. Drain the tins of fruit and whizz the pears in the food processor
2. Spread the fruit evenly over a baking dish (I used a 25cm quiche dish)
3. Whizz the macadamia nuts in the food processor
4. Mix all dried ingredients in a bowl, then add butter and whizz in the food processor (I had to do 2 lots)
5. Spread topping over the fruit.
6. Bake in a moderate (180 degrees) oven for 30 mins.

Serve with the mango icecream that I also made specifically for the purpose.

Boy am I hungry now. Must go and get into the left-overs.

How much time does this have left on the planet?

... Approximately None!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Would the mouse baits happen to be green?

I stymied my Beloved by ringing him up at work with this question yesterday.

He wasn't certain how I could have worked it out, given the fact that I've not been in any way involved in operation "Bait the Little Blighters".

I had been in the kitchen and noted that the tiny pellets the mice had left were a very pretty shade of forest green.

I think they've been eating the baits.

Now we await the massive pong of several dozen dead mice.

Looking forward to that...

... Approximately None!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Rude Old People

Generally I love old people.

I've sat by the bedside of old people I don't know as they struggle through that knife-edged balance between this world and the next.

I've sat and talked with them about many things, amazed at how much better the world is because they have lived in it (even if they only feel they've influenced a tiny part of it).

I've lead funerals where their lives are celebrated by those who love them.

And I've probably known more of them than most people my age because I grew up within the church family, which is one of the few places where cross-generational activities are still encouraged (at least in small churches where I've always been involved).

The thing is that I've also heard the tisking and negative comments made by some older people about children and young people. I do stress that these were not by all older people, but certainly a representative sample of them.

I couldn't help but reflect on this as I madly vacuumed the church hall floor yesterday morning before setting up for our children's music morning. You see, after 35 years in the church I know that it is the kids who create mess, not the adults who came to yesterday's funeral.

We are incredibly careful to clean up after ourselves, even to the point of making the kids sit and have their morning tea on a tarp that can be shaken out afterwards and catch any liquid spills. And here I was trying to scrape ground-in icing off the carpet with my thumbnail and pick up cake crumbs and the occasional cakey sultana with the vacuum cleaner. (And I must stress that as a member of my church I would have been happy to vacuum the floor after the funeral yesterday, I just didn't need 20 minutes of vacuuming added to the set-up time this morning when numbers were down in the set-up team due to illness!)

We all know that it is the kids who create disturbing noise in church, but it was two ladies well into their retirement who used to talk throughout the distribution phase of communion in one of my former churches.

It also reminded me of an incident from a shopping trip where I was standing in the line a the bakery waiting my turn to buy bread rolls, when a lady of mature years pushed in front of me to buy a loaf of sliced bread that she'd picked up. I was so stunned at her behaviour that I couldn't come up with anything to say. I could even have been standing there with my mouth hanging open at her behaviour, I was that shocked. You see, I know that it's the kids that are rude and don't consider the needs of others or take their turn.

The thing is, I guess rude people get old as well as the dear, happy and polite. As a society we don't cull people with bad manners (although, maybe that's not a bad idea?!) At least the rude kids are in the process of learning manners. The chance that rude old people ever will?

... Approximately None!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

It turns out that mice are opportunistic whether or not the household includes an absent cat...

We had a great time away over the weekend. Kid-crazy, noisy, busy and exhausting, but wonderful.

We got home to find that a mouse that seems to have invaded recently had had a great time too.

But this is not just an ordinary mouse, this is a daring, exploring, frontier mouse. You see he doesn't seem to have a particular home. My Beloved (who has to get to work by 7am and so is up earlier than I am) has seen him in both the lounge room and abseiling from the kitchen bench down the cupboards to the floor. We have found no evidence of where he might be living, but there is mouse poo in multiple locations from my office desk at one end of the house to the kitchen benches and our ensuite handbasin countertop at the other.

Yes, I'm clinging to the vain hope that it is mouse, singular, with bowel trouble, rather than mice, plural. But the sheer quantity of tiny pellets indicates mice, plural. Yes, Russell brought friends. Maybe he decided to relocate his whole family.

And my Beloved and I are not pleased that we have illegal immigrants. But they enjoy the food we put out for their delectation each evening.

Without setting off the trap.


They have not taken up residence in the pantry where they can be caught by running up my Beloved's trousers.

Now my Beloved has put out other food for them. I'm not certain about baits because I forsee trying in vain to track down the source of dead and decaying rodent smell. But there are times in a woman's life when we just have to allow a husband to make a decision. And make certain to have the vet's number really handy for the occasion that the LBD is the one who tracks down the source of the dead and decaying rodent smell first (the bait is somewhere that he can't get at it).

What I am hoping happens is that I will be able to leave the clean washing up to drain once more. You see, small mice look on stacked clean dishes as a small child would a super-dooper playground. This lead to my best ever clean washing up stack because I had to rewash the cooking dishes that I'd washed up before leaving for the coast, plus the things we'd taken to the coast, plus Sunday night's dishes.

Hopefully, how many mice will we have by this time next week?

... Approximately None.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Back from our Weekend Away

Had a wonderful weekend. Giggles is so cute and very verbal for her age. Also really determined in anything that she wants to do. Uncle Beloved (who actually gets "Aunty Beloved") was dragged around by the hand for a while at the park to help her do things. Until she was finished with him, when she waddled off to something else. Adorable.

After the party we went back to the house to put Troy together while Giggles had a sleep (he'd had to travel in two separate cars). Once he was operational all the adults were impatient for her to wake up. One of Giggles' other aunties got to have a ride to check that all was okay, due to the fact that she is very slim and tall enough to get on without unnecessary transverse pressure.

Giggles was still a bit sleepy when she finally got to see what was under the doona, and stood transfixed for a while. She was put up onto him and the boys rocked her for a bit, but when they stopped, she got him rocking herself.

She has an amazing seat and pretty good hands for someone who is only two and has only had a couple of pony rides before. I'm seriously impressed!

Still negotiating with her parents about posting a photo of a grinning Giggles having a ride. We'll have to see.

Later, she was playing with other presents and had a toy brush. She went and brushed Troy's tail. Cute. Then she gave her plastic toy llama a ride. That was so sweet I could have eaten her all up.

All the boys (the various uncles) kept on asking my Beloved about the project and complimenting him on the job. He was very good at explaining that I'd done the carving, staining and painting. I was starting to get a bit peeved (although he had done a fantastic job of the laminating, sawing and all the joints required).

Will we be going into rocking horse production any time soon?
... I don't think so.

Chance that we are not relieved that this project is finished?

... Approximately None!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Wild Thing!

Got to go and take the dog to his great-grandparents', ice my slice and pack the car.

But I thought you might be interested.

Anyone have curling tongs so that I can bend his hair down?

The chance that there won't be better photos after the weekend?

... Approximately None!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

A Horse for Giggles: Part 8

Nearly there.

Troy has had his second of three top coats of paint today. Tomorrow he will get the last.

He now has the rods bent and in through the rails between his feet. Bit of a hicup with the way we were planning to attach the rods to the stand, though. Worked really well (he was rocking beautifully) until the point where weight was applied to Troy, when the attachy thingies entirely gave way, leaving a bit of a divot in the top of the stand.

My Beloved believes that he has solved this problem. I hope so. I'm not certain when we'll get the opportunity to test it out prior to Saturday due to needing to let the paint dry. It's probably okay, Giggles weighs a lot less than me.

I finished the saddle today. The webbing for stirrup leathers and girth had to be singed so that it wouldn't fray. My wonderful Dad bung a nail into his soldering iron for me so that I could do this to all the holes and cut edges. My wonderful Mum had some serious press-studs that help keep the saddle's 'ears' down over where the stirrups attach.

It has a few wobbly spots up close, but it does really look like a saddle. And any equestrians please note that I have run the stirrups up the leathers properly. Attention to detail is my motto. No slack habits in this household!

So that leaves me with the saddle cloth; glueing of mane, tail and forelock; and one final coat of paint. My Beloved has to paint up the new attachy thingies, and put the four screws that hold the saddle into poor Troy's belly.

Then we have a little engraved plaque to attach. I got it done at a local jeweller's and it has Giggles' name, her birthdate, the fact that it is from Grandma, Grandad, Uncle Beloved and Aunty Jenny and that Uncle Beloved and Aunty Jenny made it for her with much love (I thought that "with love" was better than "with blood, sweat, tears, unbelievably disgusting smells and an occasional word that we wouldn't be allowed to use in front of you". It wouldn't have fit on the plaque, and would have cost a packet on a per character engraving basis).

Tomorrow. The last day for work. It is possible.

How much am I going to miss this project?

... You got that right!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Why I wouldn't trust latex for anything important...

Yesterday, when I was staining Troy, I remembered that I have disposable gloves in the house. I didn't want a repeat of last week's grotty hand, so I donned the gloves and merrily stained away secure in the knowledge that the stained layer of latex could be removed when the job was finished.

Now, people trust every day that latex is going to save them from having babies or from nasty diseases. I've decided that I don't.

For one thing, you never know that it has failed you until the final outcome is obvious.

Can you tell me which fingers of the gloves had holes in them?

And, boy, do I wish that the answer to that question was

... Approximately None!

A Horse for Giggles: Part 7

The mega-project is still on-going and we are leaving for the coast on Friday for Giggles' birthday party on Saturday.

It is still looking possible that we will be finished on time, but the timeframes are getting quite tight. So many little bits of projects that will hopefully all come together in the next few days.

It was a big weekend.

Saddlery the easy way?

Oh, for goodness sake just take it to a saddler! Who wants to be fiddling around with this the weekend before? It's nearly finished now, just a few finishing touches before I can show you the final product.

While I was upstairs doing that, my Beloved was downstairs doing this:-

Boxy, but beautiful (hey, wasn't that a Volvo advertisement some years ago?).

Finally, a whole horse!
Then there was lots of sanding and carving and we killed the little Ozito sanding machine. It sparked, then died. Troy, you were just too much for a little sanding machine.
I do know, though, that Troy can take my whole weight. It would be interesting to have a visual record of some of the positions I've needed to get at different bits of this timber horse for sanding or carving or painting. Today's post could have been entitled "Musings from beneath a timber horse". But I decided that the world did not need to see a record of the inane things I think about when I'm staining timber.
After today's staining and first top coat efforts. Thanks for the help, Mum.

He came up shiny and luminous and gorgeous.
Tomorrow he is off to get the swinging rods put on, followed by a second coat of paint.

How many coats of paint do I want to have to put on on Friday?
... Approximately None!
(But I'm likely to be glueing in his mane, tail, and forelock)

Thursday, June 4, 2009

A Horse for Giggles: Part 6

The deadline is looming. We've been madly using every spare minute to get Troy finished. We go to the coast in 9 days' time.

I'm just hoping the final coat of paint will be dry.

And it doesn't feel like we're getting very far. So many things need working out or drying time or we need to do something else first.

Thank goodness for the Queen's Birthday Holiday next Monday.

I can prove that I've been doing things, though -

Jen, remember that you have disposable gloves in the cupboard.

Of course, there was another job where it would have been really good to remember that I had disposable gloves in the cupboard. Remember these? -

Now, if the average person has to wash their hands six times in scented soap to get rid of the smell, how often does an average person have to wash the hair to get rid of the smell?
I can't actually remember. Lots.
To get the last of the chaff out of them I had to condition them, comb them thoroughly, let them dry and then comb them again. Then check to see if they passed the sniff test. Any last remaining little specks were then considered to be 'clean dirt' due to the number of times they'd been soaped, rinsed, conditioned and brushed at.
Here's one batch hanging up to dry on the laundry spout. I think I only have six paper clips left that haven't been bent into hooks to hang up hair to dry. Good thing I work from home, or I wouldn't have had enough.
I didn't have enough rubber bands, but Dad works from home too, so we got by.
Dad, do you want your rubber bands back when I've finished with them?
Why ever not?

This was one of the longest of the tails. You would never have guessed that it was this colour when it came in.

Of course, it isn't that colour anymore. I got at it with the hair dye.
I made certain it was a dye that covers gray.
It did.
Here is all my hair lined up. The big pile in the foreground are the longest and thickest ones that are designated as 'tail'. The next ones back are designated 'forelock', and the others are lined up longest to shortest for the mane.
(Is it freaky that I still have the original box for my sewing machine, which was new back in 1985? It's my Mother's fault - it started off as hers and she kept the box because we lived out west and it had to be shipped in for servicing. Of course, I've had the machine now for about 10 years and have no such excuse.)

I stitched the tails to cotton tape.
I didn't use them all.
I really regret the fact that I de-clodified more tails than I needed.
And washed more tails than I needed.
And conditioned and brushed more tails than I needed.
And dyed more tails than I needed.
There is no way I'm throwing them out.

I'm still experimenting with options for glueing the ends in so that the individual hairs can't be pulled out. Silicone didn't quite cut it. We'll see how an actual glue goes, but I want something that will stay flexible enough to be inserted into a slit in Troy's neck.

I am running out of time to conduct clinical trials on different products.
Chance that I'm going to let this deadline beat me?
... Approximately None!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

A Horse for Giggles: Part 5 or so

Okay, so I've done a dumb thing. I've forgotten that Blogger uploads photos in the reverse order to the way they were selected. And it won't let me change them. *Sigh*

So here is the whole point of this post, which I was going to save for last. Isn't it the cutest thing you have ever seen?

Yes, Troy is still headless, which does make it easier to take him to Mum and Dad's because my sewing machine is playing up and I needed to fit the bridle to make certain it was going to work.

I think it is even cuter when it is hanging about. It makes a jangly sound just like a real bridle, but doesn't smell as good because I've used vinyl, not leather. I'm so proud of me for getting the bridle made in a way that means it can be taken off and put on. A wooden horse's ears don't squish down to allow this to happen without some jiggery-pokery. But it works!

My Beloved managed to bend the ends of the wire around the rings to make the bit. Spectacular!

These are the saddle bits waiting for Troy's body to be finished, so that I can fit everything as I go. I had so much fun in the saddlery, picking out the bits I needed.
Then I had to pay for them.
So how much work did I achieve this afternoon?
... Approximately None.