To roll with a dog on a hillside on a glorious afternoon

woman with dog

Will exchange large, ill-mannered blonde golden retriever for old, slow, lap cat.

I decided to strike out and take Augie Dog for a walk. He was so excited when he saw me pick up his orange lead that he started twirling and whirling in circles. Daughter1, who is staying with us, decided to join us. She was in for a treat.

Half way down the  hill towards our front fence, Augie must have picked up the scent of something really enticing, perhaps a wallaby, or a possum and all forty kilos of dog raced away with Flamingo Dancer in tow.

Well, I kept up for a metre or so, before the slope of the hill and poor foot work brought me down. I hit the ground and rolled.

No hand on his leash, Augie turned back and thinking I was in for a game, jumped on top of me. Daughter1, who had the manners and good sense not to laugh at her mother floored by a dog, grabbed his leash and pulled Augie into control.

“Are you okay,” she asked.

No.”

We continued on down the road where we were met by a dog that escaped from a nearby yard. It looked as though it was part pig dog, which too many dogs are in the country, and next thing, my stupid genes came into play and I placed myself between the two dogs. Yes, I know, stupid, stupid, stupid. Luckily, the interloper was more inquisitive than aggressive and its owner soon puffed up the hill and retrieved it.

By then both daughter and I had enough of the dog walking and turned for home. Another neighbour, a wild life warrior from down the road whom we had never met before, pulls up in his truck and as greeting calls, “Is that the dog that ran through my yard yesterday?”

“No, we have a fence. He is never out of his yard.”

“Well, it looks like the dog.”

“The breeder lives locally, there are golden retrievers everywhere,” I snapped and walked on. What an objectionable man.

Back home, I told Augie I was trading him in for a lap cat. He appeared not to care.

Daughter added insult to injury by commenting that “every time I walk out with you, you fall over.” She was referring to the start of the year when I tripped while carrying Petite Fille in the garden.

“Common denominator is?” I replied, applying disinfectant to my knee graze. “I refuse to walk with you for it is obviously your fault.” She appeared not to care.

Minerva sent a text a little later to say that she had been forced to put one of her dogs down over the weekend. I said she could have Augie Dog. She was not amused.

“Dogs are our link to paradise. They don’t know evil or jealousy or discontent. To sit with a dog on a hillside on a glorious afternoon is to be back in Eden, where doing nothing was not boring–it was peace.”
― Milan Kundera

the revolving door policy

team meeting inspiration. Verner Panton . 1963-64

You know how you have an empty nest, then a kid comes back, and then maybe goes away again. and maybe another kid will nest again for awhile? Well, this weekend we got a kid, a husband and a grandchild; for six to nine months.

Daughter, husband and Petite Fille’s home is undergoing major renovations. It means they need to vacant for the project. They had somewhere to moved to, but on the day of moving things went majorly astray, and with little more than a phone call we found ourselves welcoming them back home.

Because we haven’t had time to prepare, we are presently bursting at the seams, with our stuff and their stuff, and we all know how much stuff a toddler travels with! I have had to rescue a stuffed lemur from Augie Dog’s jaws more than once today.

Over the next week or so we will sort through things and move furniture around and maybe Son will have to move rooms, so that Petite Fille can be in her own room and near her parents. We have yet to discuss that one with Son… it is his birthday today and we thought we would allow him at least another day in ignorance.

This afternoon I was sitting outside in the late afternoon shade as Petite Fille played at making mud dams out of the pebble path Son had crafted so meticulously a few months ago, while son-in-law, Mr Boy, cooked sausages and potatoes on the bar-b-cue. Daughter1 was in the kitchen cooking more vegetables, and Mr FD was watching football on the television.  Son and his mate were playing computer games. The parrots were performing their afternoon socialising and Augie Dog was asleep by the patio door. The thought occurred to me that I am an incredibly lucky woman, to live where I do, have the family I have and to be gifted with this precious time with our granddaughter, Petite Fille.

Now, someone just remind me of that thought over the next few months. I suspect I may just need some intense reminding from time to time…

great story

nothing but blue skies and a pas de deux

We woke to the most beautiful blue sky morning. It was if the world was apologising for being so cruel in the last few days. The morning air had that autumn feeling, but any autumn changes are some weeks away.

It was the type of morning that made one want to get up and do something, something energetic. I curtailed the instinct with a cup of tea, and then another cup of tea. Moderation in all things.

tea Sanka 1952

Lunch time, I did venture out to pick tomatoes and salad leaves from our vegetable garden. By this time it was 33C outside and very, very muggy. Humid.

I pulled on my rain boots as the going was muddy, but I was rewarded by deep ruby red tomatoes and lush green salad leaves. Back in the house I was struggling to get my boots off, so asked Mr FD to assist.

Mr FD was sitting down so I had to stand beside his chair as he pulled on my boots. My frets were sweaty from the heavy foot ware, which made it a little tough – well, if it was easier I would have accomplished it myself, right?

One tug, two. Mr FD must have been under the impression I was third years younger and as flexible as a practising prima ballerina, because he kept raising my leg higher and higher. When it was level with my hip, I yelled “enough”. Oddly, the boot came away then.

Repeat on the second boot.

Afterwards, Mr FD commented, “Oh, I hope you can walk tomorrow, and not dislocated a hip or anything.”

Mr FD’s powers of hindsight are unparalleled.

tutti fruiti

country apples

The sun came out this afternoon. It is still raining on the coast, but inland it is starting to dry out. Quiet day at home, so I slept in. Augie Dog did too.

For some reason, Augie won’t move from my bedside until I do; even if Mr FD is up and about. Sometimes, he goes out for a toilet break, but then he comes back to my bedside. I can only guess that he is in the routine of my early, weekday risings to go to work, and thinks the day only starts if I get up. Or he just loves me best!

Got a bit carried away with the fruit today. Cooked apricot chicken for dinner, followed by an apple crumble served with vanilla bean greek yoghurt for dessert. We rarely eat dessert, so after all that food, I feel like a gluttonous little piggy!

Mr FD and I shared a bottle of white as well, which had us heckling the Prime Minister when he appeared on the evening news. We don’t need alcohol to heckle the Prime Minister, we do it most of the time, but alcohol makes us more creative with our insults and outrage.

 

raining frogs and dogs

GR RAIN

Unable to sleep in the early hours of the morning, I wandered out to the kitchen. I flicked on the family room light, only to spy something small and brown near the door leading onto the patio. My sleepy eyes were blurry, despite wearing my glasses, but I was fairly certain it was a small cane toad!

Interesting, as our entire house, windows and doors have insect screens. The screens are stainless steel security mesh and frames, so how the little creature got into the house I have no idea.

“There’s a toad in the house,” I called back up the hall to Mr FD, still in our bed.

“A toad?”

His disbelief was enough to bring on my self doubt. It wasn’t moving, but I wasn’t going to get any closer to investigate. “Well, it is either a  cane toad, or Augie Dog has pooped in the house!” Either way I figured it was Mr FD’s problem.

A naked Mr FD walked down the hall.  “It’s a frog!” A very dark green frog.

I didn’t really care what it was, it just needed to exit. I grabbed the long handled brush and dustpan and handed them to my beloved, well, Mr FD.

It was about then that Augie Dog emerged from our bedroom, where he sleeps by my side of the bed. Hunting toads is one of his favourite past times, even though they could make him ill. He is always being wrenched away from them when he goes out for his night time toilet breaks.

So, naked Mr FD and over excited, Augie duel for the frog. Mr FD won, by quick flicking of the dustpan brush into Augie Dog’s face, and the frog was despatched out through the screen door and back to its rightful place – outside.

A bit of a worry when there are cyclones approaching and even the frogs endeavour to to sit it out inside your house!

 

The cyclone crossed the Queensland coast midmorning, and while there was major destruction, so far there have been no reports of injury, or death. It is gradually weakening as it travels south, but continues dumping huge amounts of rain. It should reach Brisbane sometime tomorrow, probably as a tropical low, but the city is already experiencing minor flooding in some areas.

In our country nest we are soggy, very soggy. The wind increased this afternoon and the poor trees are swaying madly. The neighbours who wanted us to chop our trees down not so long ago, are probably sitting in fear in their home, but I don’t think they have anything to really fear. People can always be hit by a bus, as well.

pours

I didn’t go to school, where the dramas continued. Today, there was a gas leak in one of the buildings, the science block I suspect, and so they had to move students into the library. I can only guess the mayhem that ensued, but these days, I refuse to stress myself out regarding situations that I can’t control. I am proud of our library, but if admin allows students to run amuck in my absence, well that is their issue, not mine. Not my zoo, not my monkeys.

It has been quite the week, hasn’t it? Happy to see it end.  Saturday will be more rain, but hopefully, no major flooding for anyone – and the frogs won’t need to look for dry ground!

When the rains come

thief

Police cars, helicopters, fleeing criminals; not the usual school day, but the day we had today. A group of young car thieves stole a couple cars and attempted to flee. The police were in pursuit when they turned and rammed the police cars, fleeing on foot into the bushland across the road from our school.

Police helicopters were called to track the escapades, who were eventually captured. Strangely, the police instructed us not to go into lock down as the young thieves had run in the opposite direction to the school. They brought them back through the bush to the waiting police cars outside our school though!

Most of us were oblivious to the happenings as we continued teaching class. Minerva and I were concerned about the continual overhead buzzing of helicopters, but as we are not far from an airbase, there was the probability that it was something in relation to that. The sirens were a little worry though, but we expected the lock down – which we had drilled in only days earlier – to be enacted if required.

So, though being on the spot, we had to wait until the evening news to hear the details!

Cyclone Marcia

The state has gone into its own lockdown tonight, as a cyclone, Cyclone Marcia, now predicated to cross the central Queensland coast as a category five, is expected to hit land over night. Having been through two very nasty floods in the last four years, people are now rather versed in preparations.

We are in south east Queensland and about three hours drive from any coast, but still expecting major wind and rain. Our little town floods too easily, but we are placed high on a hill. We might be cut off, and perhaps have no power if it is a worst case scenario. I feel so sorry for those people around Yeppoon and Gladstone on the central coast. Let us hope things aren’t as bad as anticipated.

The scientists have warned that with climate change we should expect more severe cyclones. There is a second in the Gulf of Carpentaria, which is shared by both Queensland and the Northern Territory.It is a high end category three at this stage. I think it is expected to impact the N.T more so than QLD.

Interesting days, indeed. I shall be checking the creek before heading off to work in the morning. I won’t be risking life and limb through heavy rain, only to have to turn around and make a fast return journey before the flooding cuts me off.

Happy Year of the Goat!

doing small things

pantry

Once we were a family of five in a house and any food item that entered our house was soon consumed. I bought economy size. Now, we are not a family of five, as chickens grow and make their own nests. Economy size is no longer required.

Once, I would buy a large bottle of mayonnaise knowing it would be consumed well before its use by date. Now, it won’t be. Even small sizes aren’t always consumed before the clock ticks over.

My problem is that without warning those chickens can return, a phone call on a Sunday morning and news they are on their unexpected way. Lunch?  Of course!

Also, a couple of days of heavy rain can see us cut off  by flood waters, thankfully not frequently, but it can happen. Last time our Village centre was out of action for weeks, not just days.

Now I find that I am making more elements of our meals, the basic elements, than I ever have. Mayonnaise, just a few minute and I have a fresh version. A well stocked pantry is getting me through most events. What the pantry doesn’t handle a little creativity and substitution often makes up the difference. It is almost fun, pulling off the Flamingo Dancer’s version. Failure is not a fault, it means that I tried!

The benefit that I never realised until recently, well, when I started thinking about writing this post, is that this has served to simplify our meals and even our lives. No longer do I run to the supermarket for costly ingredients that will only be used once. I choose recipes that I know I already have ingredients for in the pantry. And no, we do not eat the same thing every meal.

I think we are also eating a healthier diet. I do have to think and plan more, but that is a positive. I also order our groceries online, so the spontaneous buying of “new products” no longer blows out the budget, and in turn cuts down the unnecessary extra salt and sugar of processed food.

When I make something from “scratch” I feel as though I am caring for my family in the best way. I also feel a link to all the women in my family from previous generations who have done the exact same thing. I guess, I am trying to say that I feel it all a very holistic experience, and that has been a surprise.

It is getting to be a very overused adage, but once again it proves to me that the simple things in life really are the best. As though I didn’t know that already!

cook book