One's destination is never a place but rather a new way of looking at things - Henry Miller

Monday, January 31, 2011

January draws to a close

It's been a week for cooking.  Every one is back at work, the grandkids at school and sunny skies above.  We do have two cyclones threatening in the Coral Sea - but they are in the future!

First kisses go to my Cherry Guava tree which is laden with fruit... so laden it's turning itself inside out as it branches are dragged downwards by the weight of fruit.  On Sunday, I picked 2 kg of fruit and baked a beautiful Guava Crumble for our desert... Drew lots of praise from Hobo 1...Guava ice cream is next.

Second kisses are for me for making an attack on the garden invaders. I've been procrastinating long enough.  So this week I attacked the jungle!  I found green tomatoes and burr gherkins amongst the roses and zinnia.  With a couple of onions and a few herbs, I turned the fruit into 5 jars of Green Tomato and Cucumber Relish which on a Sao biscuit made a tasty morning tea. (Thank goodness for the Internet...had no idea what I could do with the Burr Gherkins!)

Kisses also for my seven old hens.  They keep us in eggs.  I saw the brown hen sneak into a hole in the hay so I put on the flash and snapped her in action!  But look!  There's not one but two hens in there and a third one was waiting outside.  It goes without saying. There'd been no eggs in the chook house for several days but I found twelve eggs in this secret nest in the hay!  Several of the eggs were immediately used to make a custard for the Guava Crumble.

I wish I could get back into the garden but all this cooking and organising of photos to get my blogs going before January ends has drawn my gardening program to a halt.  Are the roses trying to tell me something as they form bridges in the sky? Or are they just advertising my waywardness? ..."Rose hips, black spot, leggy branches...Help us please!"

Three Kisses and a Wish - Week 4

The school year begins in Queensland this week and I'm not missing the start one bit.  That's comforting.  After nearly 45 years of helping the children in my care to discover their gifts and talents and grow to be the best person they could be,  I am exhausted.  I have given all I can give and I'm ready for some "me time".

Not being tied down with school, I was able to drive into town and share great grandson 1's first day of kindy.

Kisses for his baby sister who slept through the event and allowed him to have Mum and Dad all to himself on this special day.

Kisses to his family and Aunty Bibbi for their love and support.  They made this transition so easy for him when it could have been quite challenging.

Kisses to him for taking the time to pose for me just once in his busy, exciting (dare I say a little scary?) day.

"Oh, no!  Where's his cup?  They 've just asked him to hang up his cup and I can't find it! Oooh, I left it on the sink!"  Heaps of kisses for a great Dad who went all the way home and got it for him.

 I wonder where the years of education that lie ahead will lead him?

Looking back cont. - January Week 3

The property was water logged - so waterlogged my brother-in-law bogged his ute driving in.  He called hobo 1 who had lent our 4WD to number 1 daughter to move her "stuff" to her new school.  (She's transferred.  After 20 years in the same school, its time for a change.) So Hobo 1 drove little brother home and got another ute to do the pulling.  This too bogged!  Nothing left to do but take the tractor down - a 3/4 hour drive.  You guessed it!  The tractor bogged.  It get's worse...a sightseer who came up to see what was going on, bogged as well.  Which brings me to my first kiss for...

...the support of family and the strong family bonds that bind us together.  Number one son arrived next morning with the gear needed to remove a tractor from a bog...and this is after having just finished a night shift!

While he worked up a sweat I wandered about with my trusty camera and caught this:

Kisses number 2 and 3 go to the wonders of creation.  Isn't a feather a marvellous creation?  Such perfection!

...and this is the dawn that greeted our early morning start.

But my garden, poor thing, is badly needing some TLC.  Plants that survived the flooding have grown "like Topsy" in the hot, moist conditions.  Others have fallen victim to the damp but that doesn't stop me catching my breathe when I spot beauty such as this. 

I really must find time to reward my spider lily's efforts!

The Month That Was... Week 2

Kisses this week for grandaughters...
...and grandsons...

...and the wonders of nature.  What a beautiful design and its just the stones at my feet washed clean by flood waters.

This is the family who escaped the Boxing Day flooding of our valley.  The kids returned in the new year to help us around the farm.  Grandson came to help grandad with flood fencing and grandaughter arrived with her ingredients, apron and chefs cap and cooked for us...pancakes are her speciality!

But oh how I wish the ABC would find something else to talk about!  I am drowning in flood stories!  Lazy reporting in my view.

Three Kisses and a Wish #1

Welcome to Three Kisses and a Wish - a strategy I used with my class when I was teaching. To end each day the children would record three things that made them feel good about the day and one thing that disappointed them or needed improving in the days ahead. Join me as I use this strategy to reflect on this next chapter in life's journal.

As January draws to a close I look back and give kisses for...

...flooding rains, flowing rivers and the free time to wander the bush recalling childhood sights and pleasures

...grandchildren (and great grandchildren) who bring joy to my life and help me rediscover the  pleasure to be found in the simple things of life

...taking the time to join us and share our New Years Day celebrations.

I wish...

...the floods had not been so brutal, that lives had not been lost, that we didn't have to face a mountain of flood fencing as a consequence...
and the youngest great grandchild might have found our New Year celebrations more enjoyable!!!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Back again.

2010 has come and gone and as January marches to an end at long last I find myself motivated to begin blogging again.

We returned home from our world tour with heavy hearts - our eldest grandson was loosing his lifelong battle with cancer.

Fortunately for us, in October he was well enough to leave his home in Townsville and make his last visit to his central Queensland family. He made the most of this special time - visiting all his old haunts and doing everything he had usually done on a visit down to us. We were lucky enough to have him stay on the farm for a week. But unfortunately his time was very limited. Within a week of his return to Townsville he was placed in paliative care and in early December cancer won the day.

This certainly threw a blanket over our Christmas preparations but we were determined to come together as he had told us all to do. So inspite of the weather forecast (200-300mm of rain forecast for the Christmas period) we gathered at the farm - all 36 of us!- to celebrate the joy of family coming together at Christmas time.

The idea of Christmas in the garden under the shade trees was dashed by the rains of the week before and good use was made of our verandahs for lunch. But Christmas afternoon the skies opened. One family hit the road immediately. The rest waited for the storm to pass. But it continued into the night. When dawn broke the next day they were flood bound... and remained so for five days.

One family walked out on day four but the rest remained until an alternate route opened.

It's amazing what is at the back of cupboards when you have to find enough food for thirty people for five days. But the family pulled together. 70 year old Uncle treated us to scones and jam and cream one day. Son-in-law curried all left over seafood, gathering a variety of herbs and vegetables from the sodden garden and with the help of a big pot of boiled rice feed us on another occasion. The ducks and hens supplied eggs for breakfast and the pikelets and muffins the grandchildren made for lunch. And the expert carving of a lamb roast meant for 6-10 people (by the same son-in-law above) was stretched to give us all a roast dinner. Thank goodness for covered barbeques! The new one we'd bought for Christmas was worth it's weight in gold!

Now at last, after nearly a month of rain we are enjoying sunshine - be it with very hot, muggy weather...We've been fixing flood fences, retrieving cattle caught in the floods, bogging and freeing vehicles, enjoying seeing the rivers run like they did when we were kids, trying to undo all the bad habits in a young pup that had had a ball running wild for a week with all the children and generally trying to get life back to normal...hence the restarting of this blog.

Happy New Year to all. 2011 will certainly be a year to live in our memories if the first couple of weeks are anything to go by.