Sunday, December 26, 2010


The ritual we have always followed on Boxing Day is for Jim to watch the test cricket at the MCG. Flick over to the start of the Sydney to Hobart yacht race, then back to the cricket.
So the ritual was followed this year.
We have enough fuel for the generator for about 10 days so Jim was able to kick back like he always does.
I used to opportunity of extended generated power to break out the breadmaker and we have fresh crusty bread!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

A Bush Christmas

Christmas Tree 
Well its more like a Christmas Twig. A very sad bare little twig, but we had to have somewhere for Santa to leave the pressies if he made it through.

The Festive Table
I laid the table with my best Laminex tablecloth.
 Next I laid out the lovingly polished cutlery which was reputedly to have been passed down from Great Grandma K-Mart

 Next the exquisitely crafted dinner plates flown in from Corelle by Corning at great expense.
 The plates are graced by some hand woven and hand dyed table napkins. Or maybe they were crocheted from green plastic garbage bags.
Either way they are artisan made.

I was lucky enough to get the very last frozen chicken in the supermarket freezer case. I made stuffing with a delicious rice mixture. (Last night's tea) and roasted it in the tiny gas oven in the caravan. Although the oven has a thermostat, I think it 
only has 2 settings - flat out and off.
The roast came out a treat!
As well as pot roasted potatoes the feast also included freshly picked dehydrated peas with butter sauce.
You will note the golden gravy lovingly cradled in the exquisite ancient glass jug we got at an archaeological dig in Pyrex.

We sat down to the luxurious spread and supped wine from finely crafted goblets that had once belonged to a fearless sea captain.
The wine we chose was a cheeky little white from Chateau Sprite.
To finish this creative and wonderous repast, we had fruit cake bursting with artificial flavours, yellow custard with artificual colours and low fat/calorie/taste cream and . . .


no fair!!!!!!!!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Singers of the Rain

With all the heavy rain, the local tree frogs have all gone into breeding mode. The night is filled with 'braaks', 'pips' and 'moans' and a few days ago we looked into a bucket filled with fresh rain water and there they were - Taddies!
They are growing as we watch and as there are so many of them, we are concerned if there is enough food for all of them.
And that, dear reader, leads nicely to my Vegetable Garden.

The vegies have not fared well with all the rain.
Firstly the cucumbers have powdery mildew, and the leaves are turning yellow and dying. In spite of this they still harbour plans for world domination.

I have ONE capsicum

The beans have fared better and are currently eyeing the gutter on the shed as the next place to wrap their stems
The lettuces have bolted and are developing flowers. So why haven't I pulled them out. I'm not sure why but I think the universe told me to keep them.
Of course! The lettuce leaves will be used to provide food for the tadpoles.
Every few days we boil a few leaves and the little taddies get stuck into them. 
So soon we will have smiling green children of the damp places, singers of the rain.

Last night in bed, with fireflies winking and frogs calling Jim said "you realise that if all those tadpoles change. . .'
'Yes' said I foolishly. . .
Jim - 'we will probably end up 'nee-deep' in frogs!'

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Vale Mr Q

Mr Q was an Australian magpie. 
He came into care after a member of the public, in an effort to assist took him to a vet for treatment of throat worm. Unfortunately by the time he was delivered to us, his neck was twisted until his head was almost upside down. Another veterinary opinion was that he was given an overdose of possibly Ivermec, and it had damaged the nerves in one side of the neck. Treatment was started along with physio in the hope that the situation could be resolved. With one eye on the ground and the other watching the sky, the literal cock-eyed optimist. He was naturally named Quasimodo.
At the same time a young female was rescued. She was badly bruised, feathers damaged and torn out and she was very traumatised. She refused both food and water of her own accord.
Mr Q cage was placed along side her in an attempt to provide some stimulation. He sat next to her and softly sang. The next day she began to eat and drink.
When she was placed in the aviary, Mr Q went too as he had  clearly met the love of his life.
In the aviary he blossomed. Mastered scaling perches and even with his disability, he flew.
He played with his lady and should a tasty insect come his way, he always offered it to her and both of them developed their special song.
As all who have rehabilitated magpies know only too well, the difficulty of finding a niche in the wild for them that does not intrude on another magpies territory. Clearly Mr Q could never be released in a high density area as he could not hold his place against other healthy males. And so Mr & Mrs Q came to St Agnes.
After several weeks we made the decision to open the door.
They were both delighted, exploring their new area by day and always at dusk return to the safety of the aviary and sat side by side wings touching.
With all the open space Mr Q began to polish his flying skills. At first he was like a Harrier Jump Jet - all vertical lift and not much forward motion. But he kept trying and eventually could fly to about 6 metres up into a tree and from one side of the house pad to the other. With his cock-eyed view of the world, landing was a challenge. He solved this by performing a 180 degree spin and landed with easy (mostly).

Tuesday Mr Q went missing. We searched all the places he used to perch but nothing, not a sign. Mrs Q sat in the trees in one corner of the house area and called and called. This must have been the last place she saw him. That night she did not return to the aviary.
Yesterday she spent half the day flying around the boundary of their little world calling. Eventually, with only half a song, she stopped.
Today she is much more as she used to be, caroling and chasing the king parrots and bar-shouldered doves. She still goes to that corner from time to time, but now is silent.

We always knew when we opened the door that there was a chance a predator would eventually take him, but we hoped later rather than sooner, and had he been asked, I'm sure Mr Q would have chosen Life, for life is not about being safe in an aviary. Life is about living, taking chances, doing the best you possibly can with what you have. Feeling the sun on your back, the wind in your face, rain and above all loving your mate.

We will miss you Mr Q. Your funny song embellished with notes stolen from a butcher bird, your funny cock-eyed black and white shape running with wings out to catch up with Mrs Q. 
We honour your courage, perseverance and your lust for life

Sunday, December 12, 2010

How High's the Water Momma?

Six Feet High and Rising. . . .
That's the Johnny Cash song we have been singing this weekend.

About 10pm Saturday night the rain started. We knew it was going to rain, but not what ensued.
All night long a very steady drumming of rain on the tin roof continued. Daybreak dawned grey and very wet and still the rain fell sometimes very heavy and other times not so heavy. 
During a visit to the "small room with a view" I could hear this noise like wind through the trees and suddenly realised it was the sound of the creek at the bottom of our property. 
We drove down the road towards the creek and found water where we had not seen it before as water crossed the road from the bush.
 When we climbed the hill that runs down to the causeway we found that our lovely creek that wandered through rainforest patches with shafts of sunlight gleaming on the waters, and chuckled over rocky bars and glided over pale cream gravel with little leaf boats floating softly on the surface had become a raging torrent.

 The crossing is normally a small concrete apron about 10 metres wide and here it is fast flowing water about 200 metres wide and we estimated 5-6 metres deep.

 It will probably take 4-5 days to drop to a level that can safely be crossed as this is the only road out!
Good job we did a big food stock up on Saturday. All the same we will have to go easy. I mean, the though of running out of chocolate it too much to bear!