Monday, September 28, 2009

Kitchen Garden

I have been longing for a kitchen garden, but have been short on the time required to dig and maintain extensive garden beds. The perfect compromise is to plant up pots with some of the yummies I long for. Now I have tomatoes, lots of lettuce (vital as I am also working on healthy eating and salad has become a staple of my diet), and a plethora of herbs (my passion). There is dill and mint in the above pot.

And a second pot with lemon balm, peppermint, pineapple sage and chamomile. I am looking forward to all the delicious teas and meals I will be creating with this little crop.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Uncles are cool!

Especially ones who'll keep the kids amused between practising his chef training in my pokey little kitchen. How awesome is my 'little' brother!?

It's been a busy week, filled with knitting, craft shop hopping, soap making, cooking, eating, tea drinking and laughing. I have planted a couple of pots of vegies and herbs, produced most of a sock and made a couple of craft book purchases which are bringing delight to my 'spare' moments.
Photos will follow when I get time to take any!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Lazy Lizards

On an excursion into the city we took a stroll through the Botanical Gardens. Most of it was fenced off for an event, but we lingered by the ponds for a while, because Christopher had seen eels there during a school trip a few weeks ago. He was right about the eels. They were huge and hung around hoping that we'd feed them. They were not, however very cooperative to photograph.

The water dragons, on the other hand, were very keen to be photographed. The little one above was so cute!

This one was huge, and swam across the pond to check us out. Isn't he just gorgeous! Those spines make him look positively prehistoric.

I love that we find something new and interesting to look at every time we travel into the city.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Is this the same city?

We woke this morning to spectacular images of Sydney in the grips of a dust storm. We murmured about how awful it looked, and went about our morning, washed the dogs and dried them in the sunshine, and went to a friend's house for a cuppa. As we were sitting on her verandah, admiring the views of the city and the river they started to disappear. The photo above is taken in our back yard, looking over the neighbours' shed. The dust storm has covered most of the east coast of Australia.

And this is our sky. The floors feel like there is a layer of talcum powder, even though all the doors and windows are shut. I am not looking forward to the clean up.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Today feels like the first day of summer. We packed kids and Gran into the car and dragged them down to Cleveland, about 1/2 an hour away, to see the set of the Dawn Treader. How exciting, that they are making a Narnia movie right here!

Being Sunday, they weren't filming today, but there were a lot of people around having a look, and many stressed out security guards.

We loved the detail, especially the lantern hanging from the tail of the ship. It is entirely built on dry land, with no hull, but the filming is done in such a way that our beautiful bay will be visible in the background.

She's beautiful, isn't she?

And these cockatoos were squabbling nearby. They are such cheeky birds. As we were leaving we saw one hanging from a powerline by its beak. They are so much fun to watch.

Sunset and the Brisbane River. We picked up Daddy from the Citycat, because we were in a hurry to be places.

We enjoyed the last of the sun while we waited for the boat to arrive.

It was my Grandmother's 90th birthday, and we took her out to celebrate. In spite of the fact that she'd spent the entire day making excuses not to go, she seemed to enjoy the event. She loved seeing her great grandchildren, and we all enjoyed catching up.

The boys have really taken to Uncle Rohan, my 'little' brother. Circumstances have meant that we haven't seen a lot of eachother. He and Mum are down for a couple of weeks, and we are having a ball.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Sunday Socks

Though to be honest, they actually took a couple of weeks. My very first pair of home knitted socks (that aren't the unbearably sweaty acrylic bedsocks my sweet Nana knitted for me decades ago). I am so pleased with them, my first effort at knitting with double pointed needles.

They fit me perfectly. I have horribly wide feet, possibly a consequence of going barefoot until age 11, so I did the larger size, but shortened them to suit the length of my foot. The pattern was easy, with loads of links to explain techniques.

Then I got distracted by a bee. We have not had many bees around yet. We have a lot of clover in our back yard, and everyone got stung at least once last year. This year, as soon as the clover started flowering, the kids have been saying "Watch out for bees!" every time they step onto the grass. Even though there haven't been bees to avoid until the last couple of days.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

It has been beautiful here. We had a brief storm on Monday, which watered the garden up nicely, and temperatures have been less hot than last week. It's a funny sort of spring, and the jacarandas are so confused that they are attempting to flower a whole month earlier than usual. My new geraniums are happy, as you can see above.

We spent Friday afternoon in the back yard. The cubby house is like a bower at the moment, and is the perfect spot to catch the last rays of sunlight.

Look at my new toy! It's not much bigger than the book next to it, but it is oh so clever compared to the dinosaur I have been using. Hubby went to a Microsoft conference this week, and so I even have the shiny, new, not-even-beta-tested Office 10 on it. Oh my, it's so exciting.
Don't you love my tea mug? Josh bought it for me at the school Mother's Day stall. He presented it triumphantly "I picked it 'coz you like green, Mummy!". I do wonder, however, what he really thinks of me, every time I look at the crazed grin on the side of it!

Thursday, September 03, 2009

If you have to be at home sick it's nice to have friends who love you. Poor Christopher has been suffering the turmoil of a stomach bug, and the dear animals recognise a boy who needs a cuddle. They are usually hovering around my feet, but today they are ignoring me completely. They make excellent nurse maids!
Update: After a full day of violent illness I took Christopher to the hospital, where he was diagnosed with his first migraine. He spent the night in hospital, with a saline drip and some potent medications to settle him down. I spent the night on a chair beside him. He's home now, much happier and once more ensconced on the couch with the kitten.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Another Day at the Beach

It was Samara's turn to go out on the bay today. I was lucky enough to be invited along a second time. This trip was even more exciting than yesterday's. This squid was the first creature we spotted - as we were walking along the jetty to board the boat. The teachers hosting us said that it's the first time they have seen a squid so close to the shore.

The water was like glass, which turned out to be a huge boon. I was riding at the bow, supervising children who were looking out the front. We were thrilled to see a dugong surface several times, the last time showing us its tail as it dove back down to feed on the sea grass. It was too fleeting to photograph, sadly. We were told that the dugong were very rare to see; they are a threatened species, and it's so amazing to see these huge gentle creatures so close to our beautiful city.

It was amusing to listen to the children, who were so excited by the sighting that they were shouting "I see a dugong" every time a ripple showed on the water.

This is the jetty at Wellington Point, taken from the boat.

Samara enjoyed the sea breezes.

The perfect classroom!

We licked mangrove leaves (I know! Not something I'd planned on doing today!) and discovered that the mangroves secrete salt they extract from the sea water through the underside of their leaves. We squelched through mud, picked up mud whelks, squeezed sponges and left the beach cleaner than we found it by collecting litter as we left. The kids were so proud of their contribution to the preservation of the habitat.
What a wonderful day! Thanks Moreton Bay Environmental Education Centre!

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

A Day on the Bay

Joshua's Prep class spent a day out today. We boarded the MV Heritage, a boat used by the Education Department for school educational excursions. We sailed to Wellington Point, where we disembarked to explore the sand dunes and mud flats.

We saw an osprey's nest.

There was so much to look at!

We saw little hermit crabs ...

and really big ones! Joshua was intrigued with the stalky eyes. Very cool. And they tickle on your hand.
It was an awesome day. And the best bit is that I get to go again tomorrow with Samara's class. Apparently it's going to involve mangroves, and a whole mess of mud.