Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Easter Break

Easter Break this year was 5 days and it coincided with school holidays. So we decided to take the girls, Tame Chef and go camping.

Now we did think about heading "up north" (away from the people with similar plans to us), but as the girl's granny was going to be "down south" and we've not seen her recently we decided, very late on, to change plans.

So late on, in fact, that pretty much everywhere was booked solid :( However, we did get into an unpowered site at the Nannup Caravan Park.

I took half a day off on the Thursday (had some time owing) and set off about 3.30pm. We drove down the South West Highway and stopped for dinner in Donnybrook – quite yummy. We then decided to take the Donnybrook-Capel Road / Jarrahwood Road route rather than the Balingup / Nannup route.

I had forgotten that Jarrahwood Road was a gravel track. By the time we got onto it, it was dark. We decided to let Tame Chef go first in his (very large) 4WD. I'm glad we did because he met a roo in a close & personal (and not good for the roo) way.

We got to the campsite around 8.30pm. Met up with the caretakers who took our money and showed us to our patch of grass. It was quite a nice 6mx6m spot – unfortunately with two large trees in the middle. We managed to arrange the tent and all our stuff so that it fitted in the spot and settled down for a nice cuppa tea.

We decided that we'd do nothing on the Friday. So we just hung around the campsite – did take a walk or two and get the girls on their bikes. Miss 7 was still a bit nervous about her bike initially. Most of the day was spent watching family after family arrive at the campsite and set up. Talk about amusing. It was very, very obvious that a large proportion of the 'campers' had either bought new tents just for this trip or had never been camping in their lives. We did occasionally go and rescue people when it got beyond the amusing and into the 'too painful to watch' stage.

By late evening the campsite was more or less full :( There was a large family group camped near us (by large, I mean 11 tents worth). The caravan park only had three male & three female showers, so it did get challenging at times. Luckily we were pretty self sufficient when it came to cooking and we didn't have to try and use the camp kitchen.

We did think about putting the canoe into the river that ran past the caravan park. That was until we saw the river … stagnant green ponds … yuk! Did I mention how DRY everything was looking?

On the Saturday we decided to take a drive and do some sightseeing. There was a "Barrabup pool" sign-posted just up the road from the campsite so we went up there first and discovered quite a nice picnic spot.

There was water in the pool but it was very deep right from the edges so the girls weren't too keen on getting in. They did also said something about the water being cold, but I think that was just an excuse. Tame Chef and I took a walk to another "pool" – apparently it was only 1.2kms away – felt like that coming back, but for some reason, it felt a lot further on the way there … strange.

After lunch, we decided to take a drive across a road we'd never been on before to Balingup. It was a nice road, however, again we couldn't get over how dry the whole area was. On the way we stopped at a Cheese Factory. I LOVE cheese, but I was so full from lunch that I couldn't even face tasting it :( Miss 7 convinced me to buy some local honey (Karri) and we had a cuppa. Miss 9 and Tame Chef faced the cheese and LOVED all of the ones on offer. However we resisted temptation and didn't buy any.

In Balingup we checked out a winery. And bought a quite pleasant red. Then went to the Tinderbox – which stock the best "herb sprinkles" (a nice mix of herbs to use in cooking) and did a tasting of the latest offerings (well all the offerings) at the Fruit Winery. Then looked for coffee, but everywhere was shut :(

We thought we'd give the Old Cheese Factory a try for a cuppa on the way out, but they had closed down their café, so we spent an hour wandering through the shop looking at all of the wood products / antiques and other things they have there.

We headed back to camp along the Balingup / Nannup road. This road is my favourite road. It winds up and down through some of the most beautiful countryside. Well, normally anyway. Everything unfortunately was just so dry it was depressing. We did however see a large number of kangaroos on the way back.

Tame Chef offered to buy Fish & Chips for dinner. We ended up with Chicken & Chips which was very tasty.

That night the weather changed. I really shouldn't have complained about how dry everything was because the rain came down with a vengeance! There was lightening and thunder too. We ended up having to cover the girls' tent with another tarp to keep them dry. Our tent survived okay (even though it's really a summer tent).

It had stopped raining by morning and we went out to survey the damage. The large family group, I mentioned earlier, were bailing out three of their tents. They had placed them at the base of a small hill and the water, of course, ran down the hill and straight into the tents.

Other than that, not too much damage but power apparently was pretty tenuous for the rest of the day (this didn't affect us as we were running off batteries and using gas for cooking).

On the Sunday we were meeting up with Granny and her husband in Bridgetown. We drove there via the Brockman Highway and ended up taking a detour up the Maranup Ford road. I've spent a lot of time in this area but have never driven up that road before. It's pretty stunning and there's a quite little caravan park right at the top of the hill. So I've made a note of it for the next time we decide to go camping in the area. This road took us to Kirup, so we headed back down the highway into Bridgetown.

Mum had invited us to lunch at the Red Panda, which is a great place if you're looking for good priced, tasty food and good service. After lunch we headed to the river and put the canoes in for the girls to play with.

After a nice afternoon (and a yummy Easter Cake made by Granny) and a detour via the Cidery we headed back to camp.

On the Monday we packed up (with wet tents), even though the Tuesday was a holiday, and headed home via Balingup.

We stopped at a cheese factory that we hadn't discovered before and they had the BEST marinated chili feta you have ever eaten (so we had to buy that), and some of their garlic & chili feta and, at the request of Miss 9, their Romano.

In Balingup, stopped for lunch which was a bit of a mistake as it was CROWDED due to our arrival coinciding with the local ANZAC service finishing. And while the pies at the Magic Mushroom were tasty the service was a bit um, not-so-good.

We then took a detour through Dardanup before heading to the 'HaVe' cheese factory just outside Harvey where we sampled the ice-cream and watched cheese being made (and yes, sampled the cheese too!).

Then it was back home to the unpacking and six loads of washing :(

Map of the area:

We decided to come home on the Monday as the girls started a 'basketball camp' on the Tuesday (6 hours of basketball a day), I think they will be tired out as the week progresses :)
[UPDATE] A pic:

Monday, April 25, 2011

Lest we forget


ANZAC was the name given to the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps soldiers who landed on the Gallipoli Peninsula in Turkey early on the morning of 25 April 1915 during the First World War (1914-1918).

As a result, one day in the year has involved the whole of Australia in solemn ceremonies of remembrance, gratitude and national pride for all our men and women who have fought and died in all wars. That day is ANZAC Day - 25 April.

This was read out at the ANZAC service at my girls’ school. (The school held the service on the day they broke up for the holiday).

After The Service

I saw a man parade today, in uniform complete,
His hat cocked neatly on his head, clean boots upon his feet,
His buttons highly polished, and his belt was shiny too,
His head held high, his shoulders back, like I once used to do.

The pride in him was evident in every move he made,
The smile and twinkle in his eye, that time would never fade,
So young and fit and confident, with his gun upon his shoulder,
And I prayed that he would never see his mates with him grow older.

For if I could alter history the wars would not have been,
No-one should ever have to face the horrors I have seen,
In the stinking, sweaty jungles, with the bullets and the bombs,
And the fever and the insects, in a world so full of wrongs.

I saw fighting in the deserts too, in blinding, searing heat,
Saw men go mad with thirst, or fear, or not a thing to eat,
I saw injuries and damages that no-one could believe,
And saw months of non-stop "action" without a day of leave.

I was part of ocean warfare in a ship and submarine,
Part of sinking other tortured souls - a memory obscene.
I saw oceans full of burning oil, and lifeboats upside down,
And officers and "other ranks" who would either burn or drown.

I piloted a bomber and I bombed from in the skies,
I saw planes explode, or crash to earth, and airmen, too, likewise,
I also flew a fighter and I flew it mighty well,
And I reckon what I saw of war would coincide with hell.

I was nursing sick and broken men to bring them back to health,
And I did all that I could do to protect the Commonwealth,
I fought and fed and flew and rode and drove and sailed and nursed,
And if I could have a dying wish, I’d see those days reversed.

Then no-one would be hurt next time, no mates or cobbers fall,
And everyone would understand the futility of it all,
Now I pray that that young man I saw will be just a sentinel,
And I pray that I’m a dying group, - for I am the R.S.L.

Jeff Cook

To all those who have and do serve “Thank You”

[UPDATE]A pic from the service:


Saturday, April 16, 2011

A Quick Eggplant Recipe

In the previous post about the garden I mentioned the eggplant bushes.

I actually read the label on the plants and they're the "Mini Lebanese" variety of eggplants.

So far I have only got one off the bush which was about 15cm long and had a diameter of about 4cm (at the widest part), so not huge but a good size.

Tonight I decided to make a quick Tomato and Eggplant side dish for dinner.

440gm Can of Diced Tomato
Black pepper
Red wine
Basil & parsley (with stock) ice cube (I mince basil & parsley -out of the garden - with a bit of vegetable stock and put into ice block trays).
Olive Oil

Slice eggplant very finely
Poor some olive oil into a griddle pan and place on the heat.
When hot, lay the eggplant in a single layer over the pan.
Turn until both sides are browned.
Remove eggplant and cook more.
While doing this, open the can of tomatoes and place in a small saucepan, along with the black pepper, red wine and the basil & parsley ice cube. Bring to the boil and boil until most of the liquid is reduced. At this point turn down to low.
Once all the eggplant is cooked, mix it into the tomato mixture and keep warm until ready to serve.

I served it with a slice of veal and some mashed potatoes.

Now I just need to wait until another eggplant is ripe (not long away) to do it again! This time I'll try for photos.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Need a present for a special lady ...

A very SPECIAL lady ...

Fargginay Bacōn is made with “11 popular pure essential oils and an ever so slight hint of . . . bacon” and it’s already being marketed as bacon in a bottle. The wacky cologne is supposed to be a rediscovered secret recipe by John Fargginay, a Parisian butcher who, at the beginning of the 20th century, “discovered the ability to elevate his customers’ mood” using a combination of bacon, essential oils and herbs. Unfortunately, the original recipe was lost during a fire in 1924, but John Laydon, current owner of Fargginay, has attempted to recreate the scent and bottled it up as Bacōn.

Truth in advertising ...

Found while surfing a job site:

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Veggie Garden Update

Got an email the other day asking how the veggie garden was going as I hadn't posted about it recently.

For those who don't remember it, here was Day 1 and here's the garden a month later.

Yesterday I took some photos, as you can see the garden has grown pretty well:

We've had so much basil from the garden that we've made lots of ice blocks with the mashed basil and stock. Tame Chef and Miss 9 also made two large containers of Pesto (yum!).

The eggplant at the back are going well, I thought I had bought Zucchini, but no, they're eggplant. I'm hoping I'll get some hot chilies off the chili bush because I have a wonderful recipe for spicy eggplant.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The weekend

Well last weekend we went off to a scout camp. It was a combined Joeys, Cubs, Scouts and Rangers family camp.

All up, I believe there were 43 people there.

The camp started on Friday night, however it was going to be a challenge for us to get there before 8pm and with showers forecast and the fact that we were tenting, we decided to go down on the Saturday morning instead.

We got there about 8am on the Saturday, found a grassy spot and put the tent up.

The camp site was right next to a river and most of the activities were centered around the river.

The girls had a great time. They got to fish (first time); canoe (first time) and raft (following on from the CubTiki a couple of weeks back).

Miss 9 took awhile to warm to canoeing. Miss 7 loved it straight off and even went with an adult on a couple of "rescues" for other kids who were struggling.

Here's couple of pictures:

Camp site, with a leader showing off

Miss 9 out on the canoe

Miss 7 out on the canoe

Miss 9 on the raft. She got to name it as she did a lot of the knot typing.

Miss 7 with the kids fishing

Miss 9 getting "rescued" by a ranger going for a badge. She was a very compliant drowning victim :)

I really enjoyed getting away for the weekend, just wish it was longer.

Oh, and the scout troop want to come shooting, so need to organise that.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Well, he drove

Just a quick update - will do a more detailed post later - but I wanted to share the good news with you all.

Hubby has now driven twice!!! Without any issues at all.

So now I can start getting him to do more running around :)

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Say what?

Crossbows prohibited weapons from Saturday

CROSSBOWS will become a prohibited weapon in WA, effective from this weekend. Currently, as controlled weapons, crossbows can be legally purchased through a number of specialised outlets.

However, changes to the Weapons Act 1999 to reclassify crossbows to a prohibited weapon will come into effect this Saturday across Western Australia.

Police Minister Rob Johnson says the changes will help reduce the likelihood of a crossbow falling into the “wrong hands”.

Mr Johnson said he had been in regular contact with the Halstead family, whose son Christopher was killed with a crossbow in Karratha in 2009.

However a number of exceptions will apply for the possession of crossbows from this Saturday:
● Exempt collectors - genuine collectors of crossbows will be able to possess and continue collecting crossbows
● Exempt arbalest - anyone engaged in crossbow events or competitions and who belong to an Archery Australia Inc. member club (the changes will only allow those people who are currently engaged in the sport to continue this activity)
● Dramatic productions - producers of dramatic productions can apply in writing to the Commissioner of Police for an exemption notice in respect to any prohibited weapons (including crossbows) listed in Schedule 1 of the Weapons Regulations 1999

The provisions in respect to collectors, arbalests and dramatic productions will not commence until July 1 in order to give these groups and police enough time to process approvals without people committing offences.

Mr Johnson said he had met with a number of groups which indicated they had no objections to the changes.

Anyone with a crossbow who does not qualify for one of the three exceptions will need to lawfully dispose of their crossbow, destroy it or surrender it to a police station.

The penalty for buying, possessing, selling, supplying or manufacturing crossbows outside the exemptions is a $36,000 fine and three years jail.

Okay, so just as "gun laws" stop guns falling into the wrong hands (because we all know that criminals are basically law abiding) we now have laws against crossbow ownership!

However, the bit that REALLY concerns me is the section I bolded above.

● Exempt arbalest - anyone engaged in crossbow events or competitions and who belong to an Archery Australia Inc. member club (the changes will only allow those people who are currently engaged in the sport to continue this activity)

How to kill off a sport in one easy lesson. From this article it appears that you can not decide to join an Archery club to obtain the 'right' to have a crossbow !?!

I decided to go looking for the (alleged) backstory of this "ban" - the story of the killing of Christopher Halstead.

A 28-year-old man was tonight found guilty of manslaughter after he fatally shot a man with a crossbow during a dispute over a one-night stand. A Supreme Court jury took about four hours to clear Fraser Macaree of murder but convict him of unlawful killing, which carries no intent to grievously injure or kill.
During the trial, the court was told Mr Halstead, 26, was trying to help friend Steven Bruce after Macaree had a one-night stand with Mr Bruce’s girlfriend the previous week.

They went to Mr Macaree’s house in Karratha on February 19 last year and Mr Halstead was standing outside when Mr Macaree emerged with a loaded crossbow and shot him through the chest with a hunting bolt. It went through Mr Halstead and landed 30m away.

Mr Halstead, who did not know Macaree, died in minutes.

Defence counsel Colin Lovitt argued the crossbow was found to have a malfunction with its safety device and his client had never meant to shoot the weapon, which he had carried out of fear.
(full story at

Mmmm, so he went with his mate to confront another guy and ended up dead and now all crossbows are banned.

Wonder what is next on the list?

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

It's going to be a busy year ....

Went along to the Scout group's (did I mention the girls have joined Cubs?) AGM tonight.

There were only 6 of us there :( The Treasurer was retiring as his daughter was no longer in Scouts so I ended up volunteering to be the Treasurer for the coming year.

This is in addition to being the Secretary of the Little Athletics group my girls are members of. Next meeting for that is Monday night.

It's a shame that more parents aren't willing to be involved however I am looking forward to helping out with both organisations.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Hubby Update

Okay, it's official. I HATE Fremantle. Hubby's appointment was 10.50am this morning. Normally, his appointments have been earlier, like 9am. At 9am you can find parking somewhere near the hospital. Apparently, at 10am, you can't.

We seriously drove round and round and round looking for parking for AN HOUR, while negotiating rubbish trucks, cranes, road works, cyclists, pedestrians and, for some unknown reason, HUGE trucks double parked on narrow streets. In the end I dropped hubby off and parked 1/2km away.

Hubby had already checked in and was sitting in the waiting room when I got there. A friend of hubby's niece was on the reception desk so we had a bit of a chat with her about how long we had still to wait. Apparently we were fourth in line.

Just over two hours later we got called in to see the surgeon. Well into another waiting room anyway. Only to be told that hubby needed an x-ray. Why they couldn't have done this during the 2 hour wait, we'll never know!

So off he treks to x-ray. Then back to the second waiting room. Eventually the surgeon comes in.

Bit of a chat later. Surgeon is a bit concerned that hubby is limping when he walks. However, the x-ray shows no issues, so the surgeon puts the problem down to muscle wastage. I ask about when hubby can start driving again and the Surgeon said when he felt that he was safe to.

Woo hoo!!!!!!

The Surgeon also wanted a blood test to ensure that there was no infection. So after thanking the Surgeon, we headed to pathology for a blood test (we'll get a call if there is an issue) and then walked back to the car.

I was impressed with hubby. It was probably the furthest he had walked since August last year.

We then headed to the Licensing Centre to get hubby's licence renewed (he had forgotten to pay it back in June last year). Last time I went to the Licensing Centre it took me 2hrs to get my licence renewed, however this time we were in and out of there in under 15mins.

So now hubby IS ALLOWED TO drive and is LICENCED to drive ... woo hoo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thanks for your thoughts and prayers everyone.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Thursday - Showers

So they say. Maybe I'm tempting fate by blogging this but they're forecasting RAIN for THURSDAY - that's like the day after tomorrow.

The better news (sort of)# is that they're forecasting this weather for the next couple of days:

Friday......Early morning shower possible.......Min 9.....Max 22
Saturday....Chance of an evening shower.........Min 7.....Max 25
Sunday......A few showers.........................Min 15....Max 24
Monday......Morning shower........................Min 13....Max 23

Temps in Celsius of course

#The "sort of" is because we're going camping this weekend - with the girls' cub troop.

Now why is this worth blogging, you ask?

Let me point you to an article from today's news:

PERTH'S equal-biggest dam is just 9 per cent full - its lowest level ever - sparking fears of a water shortage after months of record-breaking heat and drought.

After Perth's hottest March in a century, longest period without rain and lowest inflow to dams on record, the Water Corporation said the situation was "dire".

"It's almost getting to the point where we can't rely on our dams for any water," spokesman Ben Jarvis told The Australian.

He said the 138-gigalitre South Dandalup Dam had only 12GL stored, and the similar-sized Serpentine Dam was only 22 per cent full with 31GL - and a lot was unusable "mud and muck" on the bottom. One of the smaller dams, Samson, was completely dry.

"It is dire. There's only so long you can go with almost no rainfall without having to have some cutbacks," Mr Jarvis said.

"We've identified a shortfall of 76 billion litres that needs to met by either inflow into our dams or reductions in consumption, and unfortunately we only had about 13 billion litres in total for the entirety of last winter spread across our 13 dams."

In a normal year, the inflow was about 100GL.

Mr Jarvis said Perth used about 1GL of water a day but the last drop of rain was 62 days ago, when 0.4mm fell.

Bureau of Meteorology statistician John Relf said many records had been smashed.

"The previous driest two-month period for February-March in Perth was 0.8mm back in 1877 and in 1973. Both those years had 0.8mm - so this is the driest in over 130 years," he said.

"It was also the sunniest March in more than 110 years, with 11 hours of sunshine a day compared to the average 9.5 hours, and in the last three months Perth also had its hottest nights on record."

We NEED rain, desperately. So let's all hope that the weather bureau has got it right and that it does rain on Thursday.

[Update]Just heard on the news that there are now 5 southwest towns which are totally reliant on water being trucked in. I've never heard of this happening before.[/Update]

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Okay I'm a couple of years late

This apparently was displayed at the Tokyo Motor Show in 2007, however I didn't find out about it tonight until I saw it on an episode of "Top Gear".

It's a personal mobility device, with a range of up to 30kms per charge (I could get to work, but dropping the girls off at school on the way could be a challenge!).

I like the idea. Especially for short trips around the city.

Check out here for more details.

What do you think?

Fun site for kids

Over the last couple of days Miss 7 has been challenging the rest of us to a game of checkers or chess.

I played her in chess and was surprised at how well she played. She was a bit sketchy on the all of the rules but did have an understanding of the basics and wasn't bad at strategy.

So after the game I dug out a website that I had come across about 6 months ago and sat down with her to work through some of it.

I like the way that it is presented even if I think they spend too long on each topic for littlies. Anyway, if you've got a child who is interested in learning chess check (lol) it out here.

[pdate]I have just found (by actually reading the site's front page) an updated version of the website, here[/update]

[update2]The girls prefer the original site rather than the updated site. It's not as easy to navigate but it's written in a much more fun way.[/update2]

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Upate on Hubby

Skul asked in a comment on my last post how hubby was going, so I thought an update was due :)

He's going pretty well actually. He's walking more and more often without crutches or a cane. The physio wants him to use these when he's out, but around the house he's free to walk unaided.

He's therefore able to do more around the house too (yay!). This makes my life a lot easier :)

On Tuesday he has a post-op appointment with the Surgeon. We're hoping that he will be given the 'okay to drive' then (so fingers crossed please).

Once he's back driving he'll also be able to start looking for work (yay!).

SO all being well, life will get a bit easier :)

Thanks to everyone for their support.

I'll let you all know how Tuesday's appointment goes.

In other family news - Miss 7 had an operation on her ingrown toenails two weeks ago and is now pretty much fully recovered but Miss 9 has an allergenic cough and a secondary infection - so she's keeping all of us up at night :( Saw the doctor today with her, hopefully the stuff he's given her will help!

Me? I'm well, thanks :) (Just tired!).