Monday, January 31, 2011

Some serious decluttering...

I was working on the bedrooms last week, doing a focused clean up on them, cleaning windows, skirtings, cobwebs etc. Part of this task was also to sort out the clothing, so I set to work on Kasey's room first, and got rid of a box of things, as well as 3 garbage bags full of outgrown clothes. Then I set to work on our room...ughh...The walk in robe was in serious need of some sorting out. It's funny how you can look at something every day and totally ignore the state of it...well it's been about 10 years since I have cleaned it out, I have done wardrobe declutters in that time, but that has been getting rid of unworn clothes, not touching the shelves as well. are the before shots:

This is the pile of clothes and things being donated to Lifeline:
And here is the finished product..the wardrobe is still quite full...where did it all go before!

Also on the floor in our bedroom were my pile of craft magazines that I read before going to sleep.  So I decided now was as good a time as any to get stuck in to those as well.  I have to stop buying magazines...there is over $2000 worth of mags here...that is a few years worth though, but still....look at them all!!

These are the only remaining ones now, my collection of Handmade mags, Grass roots, fruit and veg and organic gardening mags, and my warm earth magazines.  This box was choc a block full before, as well as 2 piles in our bedroom.
15 minutes in the focus zone turned in to a whole afternoon, but it is worth it now. There were 21 bags of clothing out of our walk in robe, plus a box of unused items, bags, shoes, etc.  To say I was stuffed after this was an understatement! Damian and Kasey helped me load it all in to the car....the back of the car was jam packed full, and I dropped it all off on my way to the markets on Sunday morning. This week is the lounge room and office....I cleaned the windows in the loungeroom today, the office will be tomorrow, and then on to dusting and cleaning them over the rest of the week.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

I have bananas......yippee

I have had a busy, busy week.....phew....Damian and I were doing a bit out in the yard this afternoon, and I said to him, I wonder if my banana plants are doing anything yet....I looked up and I was like a little kid with excitement when I saw that beautiful purple flower, and then as I focused a bit harder, I saw all those little lady fingers behind it.  This is the first time I have had a banana tree, so these are my very first bananas produced by me ever....I would love to get the planting staggered so that we are getting bananas on a regular basis...I have to do lots more research on that to see how best to do that.

I have done some serious decluttering this week, but I will post about that tomorrow. I am really tired after a very busy weekend, so it will be an early night tonight.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Some gorgeous tropical flowers in the garden...

I have been waiting and waiting for my Beehive Ginger to flower.  I haven't looked at it for a couple of months, and I looked at it today when I was over that way, and was pleasantly surprised to see my beehive ginger flowering....I love, love, love these flowers, they are one of my favourite tropical cut flowers, and they look fantastic in modern floral arrangements....makes me want to get back in to sending out flower arrangements for customers again...hmmm, don't think I am quite ready for that just yet....  :)

I have also got some beautiful heliconias flowering at the moment as well, these are stunning in modern flower arrangements as well.

At the very least these beautiful flowers make me want to be out in the garden planting lots more of these lovely tropical flowers, so that they are scattered all through the garden....lots of work to do in the garden at the moment, lots of rain means LOTS of weeds....blah....and I really want to get in to my greenhouse and put some more plants in there as well....lots to do....I would like to get a garden mulcher as well, as I have a lot of palms and they lose so many fronds, so I would love to turn them in to something useful and mulch them over the garden...something else to add on to the "want" list....

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Candle Making

I went to a candle making class last night. It was a soy candle class, meaning the candles are soy based, not petroleum based, so are better and nicer for burning in your home, and not releasing petro chemicals into your home, and they also burn longer than parrafin based candles.  I made a candle in a glass container which was scented with "white tea" fragrance, some melts scented with "green tea and lemongrass" fragance and gardenia scented tea light candles. I have also bought some supplies so I can make some more and practice some more.

So, something else I have been wanting to learn, crossed off the list nice and early in the new year. I have been using my home routines app on my ipad every day, and I am finding it easier and easier to follow each day, with the morning tasks only taking 15 minutes or so in the mornings to get through most of the list, which I have been doing before breakfast, which leaves just the floors to do, and washing to hang out after breakfast. I have edited the list so it is more suitable for me, and added a couple of things to it that weren't on the list. Damian wanted to add some things on to my evening list...but I said So, I'll keep plodding along with this for now, and see how I go with it all. It is certainly keeping things much tidier here.

The chick's eye that I have been bathing is looking a lot better, and she is keeping it open much more now, so I will keep up with this until it's all better. Diesel is also going well, I think he has almost doubled in size already, and he is settling in well. I don't think he is going to be as tolerant of Kasey as Max is, but it is also good for Kasey to realise that not all dogs are as tolerant as Max is, and that she does need to exercise some care when handling different dogs. Diesel is a quiet little boy, and is more reserved than Max, but very friendly and loves a pat, just doesn't put up with as much as Max does. Not sure what the day holds for today, I have another preservation to finish off, and some flowers to order for a wedding next month, and a few other things to organise. I might take Kasey to the movies to see Yogi Bear this afternoon, we went and saw Tangled the other day, and it was really good and got us out of the heat for the day, as we have been having some really hot days here this week. On the plus side of that though, is that I finally got the mowing done yesterday, the grass was so long, but looks much better now. Still need to whipper snip and spray for weeds.  The seedlings that I planted on Sunday are starting to sprout already as well with all of this moisture and hot days we have been having. 
(lettuce coming through thick and fast)
 (corn are coming along really well, germination rate seems much better than sowing directly in to the garden)
 (some cabbage are starting to come through, the other seedling types are still to show their faces)
 (the pumpkin's are starting to come along too, yay, I have got Damian looking out for some Reo concrete mesh for me, so I can teepee the mesh and grow them up these, instead of ramling all through and taking over the rest of the vegie garden, they seem to grow better when they are suspended as well)

 Good to see people are starting to dry out here after the floods of last week, still so much to do though, and now Victoria is copping it as well....the weather is all over the place right now...hopefully it will start to settle soon.

Monday, January 17, 2011

I was fairly well prepared, but still more to do....

With the disasters and tragedies of last week, I have been trying to make sure that I have been as organised as possible, and that we had plenty of food and supplies to see us through in case we were cut off. I purchased frozen vegies in the week prior to the floods, and I have also stored some milk in our freezer and we have plenty of powdered milk as well. I re-stocked the bulk supplies cupboard last week, and we have plenty of meat in the freezer. I also purchased a large bag of bread flour the week prior to the floods, so I can make bread if needed. The shops have been in very short supply of flour and bread and milk, so it is reassuring to know I have plenty here to see us through a number of weeks if needed. We are also lucky enough to have our own generator, in case of power failure, to keep the fridge and freezer running. However, I would like to have some rainwater tanks here for water storage, and that will be a priority this year. There were some rumblings on a forum that I follow that our water supply in this area had been comprimised, so to know that we have our own water supply would be good. Our girls provide us with plenty of eggs, even though they aren't laying a lot at the moment as 6 of the girls are still to start laying so I only have 5 regular layers, and I am only getting 1 - 3 eggs per day at the moment as they are a bit off the lay, I think with all of this horrible weather, they are a bit out of sorts, but we still have enough eggs for us.

I have been trying over the last 18 months or so to scan all of our older photos, so that I have an electronic copy of them all, so that if ever disaster does happen, those memories are not lost , I haven't got them all done yet as it is quite time consuming.  Our computers are all backed up a couple of times a month, so that data isn't lost either. I am also currently filling out our home organisation manual, which will hold all of our information on bank accounts, loan details, super details, card information etc etc. So in an emergency it's just a matter of grabbing the folder, and my external hard drive and we can leave. It is reassuring to know that I am at least this organised. I still have to get together an emergency kit, but that is something I will concentrate on next.

One thing that has been quite disappointing is that with all of the wet weather, my vegetable garden has been basically wiped out, other than a few of the long term plants like the asparagus, shallots, strawberries, chillies, and the sweet potato. My rhubarb was decimated, but it is starting to come back now that we have had a few dryer days. Everything else has either gone to slush or is in the process of doing so. So I am not prepared enough in keeping fresh produce coming from the garden, at a time when produce is going to become quite expensive. So I have been busily sowing some seeds over the weekend, to try and get things coming along again. I have filled a pot near the back door with pick and eat salad lettuce, so that should start to sprout soon. I am also going to put another pot in the same spot with some grape tomatoes, so I can just pick these and throw together a salad for lunch, without having to wander up the back to the vege garden.

We also purchased another few chickens yesterday, I managed to get hold of some plymouth rock girls from the markets, I have been wanting some of these, they are still quite young, so it will be about 3 months before they start to lay, but they have some attitude that's for sure! I don't think too many things will give these 3 a hard time. I kept them in a separate cage in the chook house yard overnight, and I have let them out with the others this morning, and they have been loving having a big scratch around, and I have left the cage door open so they can retreat in there if the big chooks start to harrass them at all. One of the new girls has a sore eye, I think it has been scratched, she is keeping it shut and it was weeping...I have bathed it this afternoon with salty water, and have put a tiny bit of Rawleigh's above and below her eye to try and pull out any infection, so I am hoping it looks a little better in the morning, but I will keep bathing it until it looks better.

There was basically NO fresh produce at the markets yesterday. It just goes to show that the bigger sellers that are usually there get all of their produce from the rocklea markets instead of being local growers, so that is disappointing. I will have to try and source some more local growers, as I would like to support local farmers and know that the food hasn't travelled from god knows where...lots to think about here, and lots of things still to organise.

Even though some of what has happened here in Qld over the last week, happened so fast that all of the planning wouldn't have helped anyone in those areas where tragedy struck, a large proportion of areas had some notice to be able to move a good amount of property out of harms way, but not having a bulk storage of food and essentials, or backups of photos and computers etc. have left a lot of people very vulnerable and with a huge amount of loss of precious items.  So many people who were able to stay in their homes, but were isolated, seemed to run out of food and essentials within a day of the floods, I am glad that I could rest easy knowing that if we had to, we could get by for a number of weeks on what we have here.  It does make you realise though, just how reliant we all are on other people to provide goods for us....and how far off being anywhere near self sufficient most of us really are....

Saturday, January 15, 2011

The first lost tooth

Kasey has lost her first ever tooth today. It has been loose for about 6 - 7 weeks, and her new tooth has even been growing up behind it. I would have been taking her to the dentist next week if it hadn't fallen out by itself, as I was, and still am, a little concerned about how far back the new tooth is coming up. I have been getting her to wiggle it, and I could see this morning it was only just hanging in there, and she pushed it out with her tongue accidentally about 1/2 hour later, much to her surprise. So her tooth is now sitting in a glass beside her bed, waiting for the tooth fairy to come tonight...

I have downloaded an app on to my ipad called "home routines" and it is based on the flylady principles. It has morning and evening routines, as well as the 5 zones, and the focus zones for each week, as well as weekly tasks. As you do each one, you can click on it, and it marks it as done, and fills in one of the points on a star on the home page. As you complete all of the tasks, the whole star is filled in, showing you that you have finished it. I have finished most of my morning routines today, and the afternoon one is much easier. I have done quite a bit of clearing out in the kitchen, as that has been the focus zone for this week.  The pantry is nice and clean, and the clutter drawer was cleaned out by Damian yesterday.  I am noticing that since I have been focusing on this, that everyone else has been more focused on keeping their own rooms tidier, (a small miracle where Toni is concerned) so things are very slowly falling in to place. I will have to watch I don't overdo it though, as I was pretty wrecked by lunch time yesterday. Ok, I'm off to work out what we're having for dinner tonight, so I can complete my morning tasks....

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Dark days here in Queensland

Absolute tragedy happening here in Qld at the moment.  From the tragedy of the inland tsnuami going through Toowoomba on Monday, and then wiping out Grantham and the Lockyer valley Monday night and yesterday...just terrible. And the news is only going to get worse as they start to get in to those places and finding people who are missing. It looks like a bomb has gone off in those towns. We were only in the Lockyer Valley on Saturday and I fear where we picked up the puppies from may not even be there now! Local businesses around here were flooded yesterday, including the local shopping centre. The sewing shop where I go had a metre of water through their shop and will be closed indefinitely. We had water up a couple of inches on our verandahs at the peak of the rain and flooding yesterday, and our toilets were backing up, but that was the worst of it, and we didn't have any water come in to our house, so we are so lucky. I have been glued to the tv for the last couple of days watching what has been happening. Brisbane city and Ipswich are copping the worst of it today and in the next couple of days while the rivers rise. So far there are 10 people confirmed dead, and 90 people reported as missing, and they hold grave fears for at least 18 of those...  they are saying it is going to be as bad or worse than the 1974 floods.  We have plenty of food here, as well as a generator if needed, so we are ok to hold up here for quite a while if needed. The rain has eased a lot this morning, with just the occasional shower here and there. I am thinking of all our neighbours throughout Qld at the moment....

(We had some minor flooding here, but nothing too serious...thank goodness..)

Monday, January 10, 2011

Some new chickens to add to our brood....

We went and picked up 3 new light sussex girls on the weekend to add to our brood. I'm looking forward to them growing up and providing us with some more eggs and some chickens. I may possibly get a sussex rooster to keep some purebreeds coming through, will see what happens. This is the girls before they were put up in the pen with the big girls, they have settled in quite well, the big girls aren't harrasing them too much which is good.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

The new puppy

Here is the newest addition to our family, a gorgeous little Smithfield Blue Cattle Dog...awwww....isn't he cute....we have named him Diesel..right now he is asleep on the verandah next to Max...tomorrow he will be introduced to the chickens for the first time so he can get used to them before he grows up and wants to eat them!

My shiny sink...step 1... my sink is usually pretty tidy, the dishes are put in the dishwasher throughout the day and the sink is wiped down regularly. However, in my quest to become a more organised person, I am going to try the flylady way..(.again...)  Step 1 is to shine my sink...this step apparently leads on to other areas of my life and the yesterday I shined the sink by filling each side with very hot water and bleach, leaving for an hour, and rinsing out, and then I cleaned the splashback with sugar soap, and gave it a nice wipe over, and then polished the sink. I also soaked the dishcloth in the bleach to get rid of any germs in it while the sink was soaking. I replaced the hand wash, and put it in a nice new ceramic dispenser that was sitting in the ensuite not being used, and moved the plug, dishrack and detergent underneath the sink. Now how long the dishrack and detergent stay under the sink for, will have to wait and see, as life needs to be practical as well, and if it is a pain taking them out and setting them up, then I will leave them on the sink...but I will try and make it all work.  Sooo..presenting my nice shiny sink....tahdah!!
To fit my dishrack in the cupboard underneath my sink, I needed to clean out this cupboard (So, there you go, already leading on to the next step)  I threw out a bag full of junk, and relocated a few things that didn't belong there.

So, I have achieved step 1, and I feel like I have gotten somewhere constructive, and I have got some decluttering done at the same time.

Friday, January 7, 2011

The firm favourite....and this weather!!

Out of all of the gifts Kasey received for Xmas, there are a couple of firm favourites....the green machine, a set of walkie talkies, and the swimming pool toys. This was the theme I was going with this year, activities and toys that gets Kasey outside, and can be used over and over again. So even though the weather hasn't been very favourable, she has been riding her machine around (and around and around) the verandahs, and been having great fun with the walkie talkies....she also received lots of crafty and scrapbooking things, and this has been getting lots of use also, and I have received lots of pictures and cards in the last couple of weeks from her new stash. She has also been getting lots of wear out of a couple of new items of clothing and some new togs.

I still ended up with sooo many things to try and incorporate in to Kasey's room, which is pretty normal with Christmas and kids...and I can't really go through and take out the things she no longer uses while she is on school holidays as she brings things back in as fast as I take them out!!  Kasey is a major her room will get sorted when she goes back to school, everything is tidy and put away for now...which is the main thing.   We have been having really heavy rain here again this morning, it was so dark when  I got up at 6, I could have easily rolled over and stayed snuggled under the blankets, but I have a courier coming this morning, so had to get up..typical though, last week when I didn't know they were coming they were here just after 7.30 and woke me up and got me out of bed, today when I got up early so I would be ready, they haven't turned up!! 

Everything is so wet again now, I think the grass is going to be a couple of feet tall by the time things dry out enough to get the mowing done....however, I don't mind....we have nothing to worry about here other than some long grass and having to wear gumboots in the yard, much better than having to wear gumboots in the house like our poor neighbours up north who are flooded are having to do. I look at pictures on the news where you can only see the roof of some houses....that would just be devastating, and the clean up would be horrendous, and some people are still waiting for the floods to hit, but at least they have had time to prepare and move their valuable posessions and their livestock, unlike the people up north. Mother Nature is sure reminding us right now that we are mere mortals, and she has complete control of things, and that we had better not forget it!

More water backed up after more heavy downpours today...

Fresh produce prices are going to hit the roof in the coming months, and things have been so wet in the gardens, that most of my produce has died so I basically have to start again, but it has been too wet to plant anything right now, as things are getting too wet and rotting and dying..I have stocked up on a few frozen vegies, and with bananas apparently going to hit record high prices, we will be sticking with the basic fruits for the next few banana tree hasn't fruited yet...hopefully it isn't too far off now..

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Our day at the zoo......

We ended up having nice enough weather to go to the zoo today.  It was looking very "iffy" this morning, but Kasey was really looking forward to going, so we risked it and it ended up being a good day. 

This peacock put on a lovely display for us when we got there...he waited until I took the photo, and then retracted his feathers....very thoughtful...thankyou Mr Peacock! are always so bright and bubbly, and we love that about you....
 I patted the Alpacas...this one spat on my stank...their spit smells like it comes from the other end, not out of their mouth....
Kasey was mesmerised by the baby chickens 
Toni "drinking" from the fountain...a trick of the eye... 
Patting the wallabies
And feeding the deer's
 Awww...cuddling a koala...
 This cow was hilarious, it was chasing everyone around wanting their food, and ended up stealing Kasey's bag of food...bag and all, and promptly swallowed it before anyone knew anything about it....lucky it's a paper bag....!!!
Kasey and Hannah feeding and patting the kangaroos
We invited one of Kasey's oldest friend's along as well, they have been friends since toddlers at daycare. We came back here for a swim after the zoo as it was quite hot, and Hannah didn't end up going home until about 8.30 tonight, so they should both sleep well tonight, come to think should I !!!