Tuesday, June 30, 2009

No Technology Mondays...

Must admit I really enjoy Mondays. The boys are both finding it hard during the holidays to start with but yesterday they coped just fine.

Let me explain what I mean by No Technology Mondays... That means that we don't have DVD's, DS, Computer, Wii, etc on during that 24 hours. It is not turned on at the wall and therefore is not using any ghost power either. This now gets them off the thought of winning that next battle or what is on that DVD. TV is not a problem for us as we don't have it. No reception with all the mountains around us. The boys only sometimes miss it and I don't at all.

So when they are not focused on their games, they are more able to interact with one another. From Day 1 it has been a problem for Joshua who loves to play with someone to have Timothy not interacting with him. Very Asperger's. This was a way for me to take out the clutter from our day and get them concentrating on each other and to be more inclusive. So far it is really working well.

Usually in the morning over breakfast they will decide what they are going to play. For a while now it has been Lego. They love it and I will be getting more shortly. Just have to save up the money for it. It is rather expensive, even on eBay. They will also play Pool. We got the table early last year as I didn't want them down at the local Pub all the time asking to play there and it costs money on top of that. So we have a proper size pool table at home and they play whenever they want, on their own, in groups and with friends.

The sandpit, which is just a pile of soil that was so go under our grass seeds for inside the fenced house area is also always an option. They also love to interact with the animals. That can take up a heap of time. Or they are chasing mice to kill. You name it, it is there for the taking and they do that very well.

I took yesterday's photo and posted it here for you to see just how much things have changed with the boys. They sometimes whine about the day but I just wait for the "I am bored" sentence and they know that that will mean chores or doing extra things for their pocket money. I don't like those words. Visitors are treated the same... So watch out there are plenty of things for me to get you to do.

It is so quiet on these days, I love it. I sometimes have music on. Yesterday I was playing a Russell Watson CD that I borrowed from the Library. They boys loved it so much that I ended up playing it through twice.

Here is to many more No Technology Mondays...
Cheers Damaris

Sunday, June 28, 2009


Quilling beads drying...
When I went to the Toowoomba Gem Festival last year, I was browsing and found a lady at a stall that was twirling paper, all sorts of paper around a quilling needle. I was rather interested and watched for quite some time. I also listened to her explaining how you could cut wrapping paper, office scrap paper, any paper, into these beautiful beads and then after twirling them you just put a bit of glue over the end. With a nail polish bottle of the glue you then cover the whole bead so that it protects against sweat.
Then you put them on toothpicks and let them dry. When dry you take them off the toothpick and you thread them onto string or whatever you wish to make them into a necklace, bracelet or you could even make them into earrings.
I was hooked and got the kit and couldn't get home to try it out. Could I maybe use this as a way of recycling paper and making lovely gifts for the ladies in my family come Christmas time.
Well it worked a treat. All that got them for Christmas presents loved them as they were handmade and they were thought of lovingly while I made them. It took time to make them and it was really appreciated.
The beads above are the ones that I make for my eldest, Timothy, and as he loves the colour gold I got some cheap nail polish and painted them after the glue had dried. I used three layers in total to cover the wrapping paper I used underneath. He loves it and still wears it proudly. Made one also for Joshua but his was pink as that is his favourite colour.
I love having found something that I really like to do and that I can do at the table with my family around me. The boys like to help pulling them off the sticks too and they like to show me different combinations as well. I am glad that I found that lady and that she was so patient in trying to show me what I had to do.
Cheers Damaris

Saturday, June 27, 2009

No Kids...

Oh What a beautiful day... Not weather wise I assure you. There are nothing but clouds in the sky, tanks are overflowing from the rain we got last night and there are muddy puddles around the place again. At least the wind has died down a little.
No, it is a beautiful day because Timothy is in respite since last night. He was really looking forward to it and really excited to be going which I am most thankful for. Joshua is off to a friend's place just after lunch today till the afternoon sometime tomorrow. He is sooo looking forward to that. He always loves it there. The people are lovely and he has a ball with their boy.
Then, early this afternoon, Russell and I are off to Brisbane, as adults, without kids, on our own. Need I say more. How fun is that. I don't know if we have ever done this... No we haven't.
Well I am so looking forward to it. We were to stay over in Brisbane for the night but now can't do this. We will be back later tonight so that we can again sleep on our lovely new mattress that Russell picked up yesterday. Yes, it is wonderful and have just gotten out of it.
Lorray is being milked late today as I will not be able to tonight. This will see her through and in not too much discomfort. She will need milking in the morning too... Had forgotten about her when I had accepted the lovely gesture of staying the night. Oops.
So this also means that tomorrow morning we are at home, with not a child in sight. We are soooo sleeping in. Oh the bliss of my new mattress. With my new bed covers off course. :)
So on that note, I must get off the computer and get onto milking my lovely girl. She is waiting at the shed for me, Russell has just told me. Then I need to get a couple of things ready for Joshua's sleepover and then we are off for the afternoon and evening.
Hope you enjoy your weekend.
Cheers Damaris

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Just another Day...

A rainy view out the front door. Bit how I feel at the moment...

Today, I must admit, I am feeling a little flat. I don't really know why just that I feel a little bit down for some reason. This week has been the last week of this school term and have also been working yesterday and today and will be there again tomorrow.

Getting home and seeing the place needing sweeping and beds needing making... I know these things need to be done but today I just can't be bothered. Do you have days like that? I do sometimes. Usually I make my bed as soon as I get up. It doesn't even have a chance to get cold. I like a made bed and like to walk into my room knowing it is done.

Swept floors are also important to me. I like to have them without the little crusher dust pebbles that so easily make it into the house. Especially when we have had a few days of rain. Mud is also easily traipsed in and even mats around the house doesn't stop the spread.

Russell is coming home tonight and I want it all nice and neat for him, having his dinner ready for when he walks in the door. He has had a full week at work, doing extra hours so that he can have and extra day off every three weeks or so. It must be very hard for him to stay away from us three nights a week. I try my best to not burden him with the little things that go here as he doesn't need the hassle. But I am tired. Tired as it is the end of school term and worried a little of what the holidays will bring.

Tomorrow I get my new mattress as long as the rain holds off... Timothy is off to respite at Bluecare tomorrow after school till Sunday afternoon. He is looking forward to his stay. I am glad as previously he didn't want to go back. It is nice to have that two night break every four months or so. Joshua is at a friend's place on Saturday and Russell and I are off to Brisbane for a housewarming. I am really looking forward to it. One night away without kids. That just doesn't happen.

We have some things planned for the holidays and are not going overboard with going to far and distant places, which I am glad about. I don't like to go too far. Much rather be a recluse and stay home. Hope I get to do that a bit. Will also mean no work for two weeks which will be strange. Love feeding those truckies...

Well here is to a better night sleep than I had last night and a brighter outlook. Will try and be a bit more cheery next time, promise. :)

Cheers Damaris

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

My Babies are growing up...

Two baby rooster, the one on the right is the one causing all the grief...

All of our chicks are out with the adults these days. We no longer need to use the doggy house as a in-between home for the chicks. That is the stage between being inside the home and being with the adults. It is a great way to introduce them to the outside as well as the other animals. They certainly need that chance to get to know each other as there are more and more of them...
Having them all out is lovely really. I love to see them interact with one another and love to see how they rearrange the pecking order each time new ones come into the fold. Also another thing that I am finding very interesting is that as the babies grow up and 1/2 of them are roosters, just what that does to the other roosters that have established their clutch of girls that they look after.
At the moment I have one little rooster, trying desperately to crow. He is getting there and in another week I would say that he will know how to do it properly. What the other smaller roosters don't like is that he is small so therefore goes for the little hens. The Peking and Belgium D'uccles are his main target! It is so funny seeing him chased away from the chooks and then the original rooster also chases all the other potential roosters. Good way for me to also work out who is what. Yes their combs are bigger than the hens but one that I thought up to today was a hen is actually by the looks a rooster. Shame I liked that one.
Once the roosters are big enough they will be put in the freezer. I have a couple of people that have done it so many times and have the knack. I have only done it a couple of times and that was years ago so will need help to relearn in the first instance.
I have also decided after talking to a couple of people that if we don't have success with our geese this coming spring then the goose is going in the pot as well and will replace her from different stock. The gander is a proven reproducer so will keep him. Not that Russell will be happy to hear that as he keeps attaching him... Males, what are you to do with then... :)

Cheers Damaris

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Good enough to eat, for the cow that is...

Treat time...

Treat time... I went down to the vegie garden yesterday and found some beans that were not quite good enough to eat for humans but would make a lovely treat for the animals. I thought I would give it a try...

Lorray was the first to have a go. I have given her carrot tops before and she loves them. Lavender and Sausage enjoy them also. Lorray loved taking the beans from my hand and basically sucked them down. The whole handful was gone rather quickly...

The chooks got the odd one as well. Lucky them. They wanted more but Lorray was not really sharing.

Now I know why the cows love going into my vegie garden so much... They love the food in there. Must be alot better than the grass in the paddock... Tasty!!!

Cheers Damaris

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Dirt and Water...

Joshua pouring water into yet another hole...

Dirt and Water, what else could a kid want... I have taken a new stand with my boys as they were on computers too much. They also watched DVD's all the time, or so it seemed. Well no more... They are restricted to two hours in the afternoon during the week, except for Monday and Wednesday. On the weekend they are allowed two hours in the morning and two hours in the afternoon. Other than that....

I say go outside or play a board game... Outside is where they chose this morning. They have been there since just before 9am and are having a ball. The mound of soil that they are playing on is supposed to eventually get into the yard to go under some grass seeds. Can't see that happening as by the time the weather warms up for the seeds, there will be no soil left.

They use a watering can to make sure they get it all really muddy and are digging all sorts of tunnels. Being waterwise at the same time, onya boys... They took the poles from an old miniature green house that was all broken and use those as reinforcement for their caves and tunnels.

I have found that it is a fantastic way for them to communicate as well. Timothy still tends to play by himself alongside of Joshua but at least they are out there and doing it. Better than no communication at all I say. They will get there. They are getting there...

Here is to more dirt piles...

Cheers Damaris

Friday, June 19, 2009

And more hospital visits...

Timothy's leftover scarring from his pins.

Russell, Timothy and I have just come back from Toowoomba Base Hospital from his check up. He had X-rays done on his right arm to see how it was mending.

We saw the Doctor and he said that while it was healing and mending ok it was not a great heal. When he asked Timothy to perform certain movements with his right arm he could only do about 1/2 of them. In the end he said that though they don't normally send children to get physiotherapy for broken arms in this case he was wanting it to happen.

We are now waiting to hear from Warwick Hospital to see about an appointment with the physio there. The one at the Toowoomba Base Hospital was so nice. She rang for us to arrange an appointment. They needed the referral from the hospital first and that is what she ended up faxing through for us. She really did all she could and more.

I truly feel that God is looking after our little boy's arm. Everyone that has been involved with Timothy has been so kind and gentle with him.

We have another appointment in six weeks to see how the physiotherapy has been going and until then he is out of his sling, which he is very happy about. He still can't play contact sport off course but he doesn't mind that anyway as he is not into any of those sports.

He is just so happy to be able to go back to the Lapidary Club. Come Wednesday after school, that is where we will be. :)

Cheers Damaris

Thursday, June 18, 2009

We are getting there...

Nova and Bailey (and stuffed dog)

Well it has been over five weeks now since Poppy passed away and slowly we are getting used to the change. It is still very strange to call Bailey and Nova and start with Poppy's name and then stop ourselves.
The number of times I have gone to say to the other two: "Where is Poppy?" and then catch myself. When out talking to the chooks I wonder where she is and then remember.
Many a times still when the boys are being tucked in at night do they say how much they miss her. I think that will go on for a while. While it is hard to cope with it is slowly getting easier.
The two left over dogs seem settled into their new life without Poppy. Nova was looking around for her for a while but that too has now stopped.
They say that time heals all wounds... We will see I guess...
Cheers Damaris

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

New Peg bag

My new peg bag...

About six months ago I started finding that my peg bag was starting to wear out. I usually would buy the ones that had the little white coat hangers on the top and were made out of cloth. I liked the opening and was very easy to reach in and grab what you needed. They come at a cost though. Being out here in this sunny, windy or cold weather I tended to go through them a bit.

Then I had an idea... Part of trying to do as much for ourselves as possible is to make things for yourself. I had some shade cloth left over from an old project from our last house and thought I could possibly use it as my new peg bag. It would be durable as it was shade cloth and also wash and wear better being out in the elements.

Got my sewing machine out the other day and grabbed an old coat hanger that I didn't need anymore and started cutting the shade cloth to size. The end result is in the picture above.

I am rather impressed with my first attempt. I sewed up three sides and then turned it inside out to finish off the last side on the sewing machine with the coat hanger already in there.

It now has a place of pride on the clothes line. It is rather heavy when full but the coat hanger and washing line take that pressure easily. I usually place it in the middle of the washing line so that it doesn't unbalance my clothesline.

I rather like it. It is here to stay. I also have enough leftovers of the shade cloth so I can make another one if the need arises.

Cheers Damaris

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Bargain Hunting at DFO...

New Quilt cover hanging in the breeze...

Previously I have written about my little fetish with buying sheets. Well I was in heaven last Sunday... I went to DFO at Jindalee in Brisbane.

There were alot of shops there that I could have spent alot of money in but didn't really want to. There was nothing that I NEEDED...

Well, I went into Adair's and that is just about one of my favourite shop in the whole wide world. I saw this beautiful bed made up with lovely sheets and bedlinen. I had a look at the price of the Queen size quilt cover and pillow cases...

I could not believe my eyes. Being factory seconds but still in excellent condition there were quilt covers reduced from $220.00 to $19.95 each. Pillow cases were $25.00 down to $5.95 each.

Needless to say I had to get two sets. These are pure cotton and have a lovely feel to them as well. I can't believe I got them. I paid for them out of my own spending money off course. I didn't want this to affect our budget and it was something that I needed not what Russell wanted. So I got the two sets, washed them this morning and hung them out. The piccy above shows them swaying in the morning sun this morning.

They have come off the line now and are waiting patiently in the cupboard for when the new mattress comes and then will be put on at that time. I am sooooo happy. :)

Cheers Damaris

PS Next time I will show off my new peg bag that I made up with an old coat hanger and some shade cloth. It works really great...

Sunday, June 14, 2009

My Bathroom...

My two-way Bathroom

In my last house we had an ensuite in our house. This was not to be in this one as I didn't want to have to clean two bathrooms. What we did instead was have the main toilet on its own. Then next to that we put the bathroom which as a shower in with the bath. Saves alot of room that way, and plumbing.

I still wanted my own toilet as the boys are getting bigger and have their friends over and frankly I didn't want to share with them... How picky is that.

Well I ended up with a toilet in the bathroom. There is plenty of room for all and the bathroom vanity has enough room for all the usual on top and underneath. There is even room for a couple of plants.

When choosing the tiles Russell had a go. He has never done it before and really wanted to choose the Toilet and Bathroom tiles. I was a little dubious I must admit but in the end he did a really great job. It is a cool blue and the tiles around the bath and shower area are classic white.
One other thing that was different from building this house to the other two was that this house had ceramic toilet seats, bowls and lids. How great was that. I always hated the plastic and these ones are sooo much easier to keep clean.

I just spent the last two days and one night away in Brisbane with a friend at another friend's place and it is amazing how different the plumbing makeup of that house is. It was built in the 70's. Lovely and big, but the water wastage is horrifying. The flush just keeps gushing water. The shower was not water saving either and the pressure was amazing. Water gushing into the sink. My friend is renting and had previously asked to have these all changed but the owners won't. What a shame. They could save so much water.

It is not just us rural folk that have to watch out about water usage. Yes we are on tank water but the city water doesn't have an endless supply either. Just because you can't see the water doesn't mean that it is always going to be there.

I really love our bathroom setup and really believe what they say. 'You need to build three times before you get it right.' How true...

Cheers Damaris

Friday, June 12, 2009

Finally a new mattress...

What a cheesy grin, on my new mattress in the shop...

One thing that I have been at Russell for quite a while is for us to get a new mattress. We were still using the same one that we bought ohhhh about 14 years ago. It was an ensemble firstly but then when we bought our bed frame we used the top mattress and donated the base as another family needed that from our church.

Russell has unfortunately had a rather sore neck for the last couple of weeks and said out loud last night that he thought that maybe we should get a new mattress. Well that was all the encouragement that I needed. I was soooo happy and couldn't stop thinking about it.

So this morning the car went in for a service and we have over three hours to kill in town. We went to Big W, we went to the newsagent, we went and had two hamburgers for $5.00. Best deal we have had in a very long time. Tasted really good as well. Then we went to Bunnings and then we finally got to the mattress store. I must say at this point that in Warwick we don't have alot of choice in mattress shops and when we were looking at a couple of them one that I really liked was $1100. That was so out of the price league that it was not funny. In the end we were able to negotiate the price down a heap and were very happy to even pick it up ourselves in our trailer. This way we saved even more money.

Only thing was that they don't have any in stock. How sad is that???? I have to wait for another two weeks before I get it. But you know what I am soooo looking forward to that sleep. That first sleep that you have when your bed is freshly made and totally new.

I can't wait. Bring on 26 June 2009. Woohoo!!!

Cheers Damaris

What is in your Pantry?

My lovely pantry

One thing that I made sure when we built out home this time was that the pantry was large enough. I really wanted to be able to walk in and have everything together. In the other two houses that we built, we had pantries with double doors. They were large but not large enough for what I wanted to do with it.

When I got out here I wanted to be able to preserve and water bath all glut that I could get my hands on. I also wanted to be able to store all my FV container, preserving bottles, lids as well as put my sausage maker and other large kitchen appliances. There was a time when there was a little too much weight sitting on some of the shelves so Russell cut some left over timber from another job and put the pieces in between the shelves as extra support. Works really well and has stopped the shelves from sagging.

I don't just have enough room to store those but also my ironing board as well. I made sure that we also got a power point installed so that I could even use the dehydrator if I needed to. To date I have not used it but do use the power point for when I iron. Nice and easy and close!

I love my pantry and really look forward to when it is even more fuller than what it is at the moment. My problem is though that when I preserve something, I then don't want to use it. Sort of defeats the purpose I know and am getting better at this as time goes on. Nice way to also have pressies ready at a short moments notice...

Cheers Damaris

Thursday, June 11, 2009

We have Frost...

Frosty leaves this morning at around 7.45am

When the boys and I went to bed last night it was rather chilly and had been blowing a gale all day. The wind just cut thru you as you walked around outside. Milking that night was not so fun...

The fire kept us very warm and we went to bed nice and cozy. This morning when I got out to milk, there was frost everywhere. You could see it in the distance even. Bright lovely sky and frost everywhere. Amazing. It is wonderful to see. Funny to watch the cow try to drink when there is a 2mm thick sheet of ice on top of the water trough. No, ok not so funny but was...

I was very happy to get out of the cold and milk in the shed this morning. I put my head on Lorray and she kept that part of me warm at least. Feet froze and was very happy to get back inside. Lorray is being nice again... Two nights ago I went to milk her and all of the sudden there were two heads wanting some food. Yep you guessed it, Sausage got out of the cow yard. Lorray must have knocked open the latch. Now there are bricks in front of it so that won't happy again, I hope... He didn't drink from her that night but by the morning there was no milk for me to collect and she kept kicking me. She wanted him to have it... So now he is in the yards again and I need to wean all over again... I thought he would be ok as he had been apart from mum for 7 weeks but not this little one.

This morning when I took the boys to school just before 9am I still had ice on my windshield. I love the crackle under my feet too when walking on the ice. Reminds me so much of Austria... Ah it was good being a kid back then. You didn't have to worry about chopping wood or keeping warm or worrying about things that adults had to worry about. You just went out and had fun.

I can already see that my crocus and canna lillies didn't fare so well last night as they have been burnt on the leaves and stems. They will hopefully recover. Alot more of this all to come... I didn't go to see how the vegies fared and will see that tomorrow. Hope they are fine. :)

Cheers Damaris

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Making my bed

I love my bed...

In the morning when I get up I love making the bed before I do anything. It seems to sort of start me off for the day just in the right way. I open my blinds that cover the sliding door and let the sunshine in. That is the eastern side to the sun rises there. It is a beautiful way to wake up. I see the retaining wall with all my little flowers and plants in, some tumbling over the edge.

Russell says to me that making the bed just before getting in is making the bed. I disagree with that. I like to be able to walk past my bed or when in the bathroom and see a nicely made bed that is ready for me to get back into and re-energize my body overnight.

I must admit I have a little bit of a fetish when it comes to 100% cotton sheets and anything linen for the bed. I love to have earthy tones if at all possible. Whites are out here really as there is just too much black soil. I would have a very hard time keeping it clean.

Russell is off to work this morning. Just staying up to say goodbye and then I am back off to that lovely place called my bed...

Cheers Damaris

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Lazy Sunday Mornings

Russell's lovely French Toast

When I woke up this morning it was pouring rain. It had rained off and on all thru the night but not like it did this morning. At one point we thought that we would have hail and in Brisbane they did actually. Just very heavy drops. Filled up my tanks again off course. Thank you God.

I got up and did the milking this morning and when I came inside again to strain and put away the milk that I had collected there was this wonderful smell coming from the kitchen. Yep you guessed it, my lovely hubby was making breakfast.

It was French Toast. He uses our own eggs and milk. Usually we also use our own bread but used some store bought bread this time. At the moment it is so much cheaper to buy it so when I was in town last week I got a couple of loaves and put them in the freezer. Good to have just in case. The homemade bread never lasts long around here...

I love my French Toast with Jam on it. Russell likes to have it savory but not me. I have a sweet tooth. He makes it so well. I must admit this is another one of those foods that I have not made as he is just so good at it and loves to do it.

I hope you have a wonderful day today. I know my is shaping up to be a great one!

Cheers Damaris

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Animals interactions

Sausage teasing Bailey as he knows he can't get him...

Don't know about you but I love to watch our animals interacting with one another.

Over the last few weeks my gander, Chuck has gotten really close with my Cavalier Bailey. Not on the friendly type either. You see they don't get along. Whenever Bailey sees Chuck, he barks at him which invites Chuck up to try and take a bite out of him. The closer to the yard fence that Chuck gets, the louder the barking and carrying on from Chuck. It is sooo funny to watch them...

Bailey also loves having a go at Sausage, our calf. He barks at him and mum, Lorray comes charging up at his as if to say, "You stay away from my baby!" The calf just looks at him and gets closer to sniff him. He is very curious.

I also love to watch the chooks. They are so funny. Love to hear them clucking away. Bruce, the Rooster is wonderful in his little antics if he finds some food for his girls and let them know about it. The babies love running up to me as if to ask for food whenever I am near their chookhouse. Go find your own food, you have 8 acres to run around on, I say...

The ducks keep quacking away, and heaven help the geese when they try to break up Quack and Beauty (mum and dad ducks) when they are mating. The geese get upset and make a racket but the ducks still keep going at it :)

It is funny watching the chooks and ducks fighting over the dead mice at the moment as well. They launch themselves at the pile I throw out of a morning and at intervals whenever I happen to go to the shed to check for more and to reset traps. Over the last (nearly) three weeks we have caught about 300 mice and still get a handful every day. Today I left out two buckets of milk for the chooks, geese and ducks to let the sun curdle the milk (so they don't get the runs) and ended up with three drowned mice in the buckets. Well done I say and didn't even plan that one.

They keep me very amused and love to share with the kids what the animals have been up to. They also love to hear about it...

Cheers Damaris

Friday, June 5, 2009

My big boy Timothy...

Timothy, having just joined the Lapidary Club, his obsession for many years...

My eldest boy's name is Timothy, and he is 12 years old. My little man is very loving and caring in his own little ways. When he was younger he was rather hyper all the time and always was into something. He climbed before he could walk. He was diagnosed with (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) ADHD when he was 5 years old but were given no support from his Doctor. I ended up seeing four Doctors to ensure that his diagnosis was correct. It was but there were other things that didn't add up...

When he started school he still was not really talking so ended up going to the Special Education Development Unit (SEDU) as well as Preschool. At the end of the year they tried to have him diagnosed for Speech delay but that didn't pan out either. He was getting better but very slowly.

In Grade 1 we had our breakthrough and finally after many incidences at home as well as school, he was diagnosed with Central Auditory Processing Disorder (CAPD) as well as Asperger's Syndrome (AS).

I remember clearly saying to his Doctor: "So does this mean that he doesn't have ADHD?" No it meant this stuff was on top of everything else. Thinking back now it is amazing how shocked and unable to function I was during that period of time. I read alot on the Internet as Google seems to have endless supplies of information on everything... All the questionnaires fit him perfectly. It was amazing, finally something that fit him. We could finally try and find ways to help him.

I joined a Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) parent group as well as meeting other parents through the Special Education Unit at school. Timothy was assessed and given an ASD Level 6. This is the highest number on the old scale. I meant some beautiful people through the SEDU as well as the SEU. Some I still am in contact with today...

One thing that was hard was him looking normal but not do things that were socially acceptable. He was shunned and rarely invited over to kids' places or to Birthday Parties. He was such a beautiful little boy that just wanted to play but couldn't work out how.

In Grade 4 and 5 we finally hit the jackpot when Timothy attended Autism Qld, a specialised school for ASD kids that ran for three days per week for two years. The other two days a week he would go to his normal school supported still by the SEU. This was the best money that I could have ever spent... They were fantastic. The course mainly focuses on social skill building. They saw the Physiotherapist, Speech Therapist and Occupational Therapist once a week. The class groups were 1 teacher, 1 teacher aide and 6 students.

Once he finished there instead of integrating back into his old school full time we ended up moving out here in the country and start fresh at a small country school with only about 25 kids at the time. This has grown to over 30 now and has two teachers. Timothy still has a teacher aide for 5 hrs per week and a Advisory Visiting Teacher (AVT-ASD) for two hours every two weeks. Not alot of support but the school is managing really well with him.

He has grown so much in the last year. It is amazing to see. It is even more amazing that he starts High School next year. He will be going to a High School that has a really great SEU. I am rather glad about that...

I am so proud of who he has become so far. His manners are really good and he is so gentle and thoughtful. At night when he thinks I am sleeping but he snuggles into bed between Russell and I and he says: "I love you, Mum", it just warms my heart. I am so proud to be his mum...

Cheers Damaris

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Our Chookhouse

Our beautiful Chookhouse

Russell and I are rather proud of our chookhouse. Please that come over, especially for the first time always comment how it looks like an outhouse :). Yes it sure does but you know what it really services its purpose.

When we started designing it I said that I wanted to be able to get into the house, have it off the ground and have the chooks come and go thru a separate door. So this is the design that Russell came up with.

We assembled it in the shed first, took it apart again and put it up out where it now stands. The door is a little bit smaller than a normal size door. When our house was being built the carpenter got one of the door measurements wrong. The door was left behind and so we ended up using it here. The chooky door has a sliding door with handle on it and gets shut up every night. Inside the chooks have three roosting perches and then four nesting boxes. They usually only use the one... I also keep seed in a metal feeder and a waterer in there as well. Other than that they have wood shavings on the ground and in the nesting boxes.

This set-up has worked really well so far and hope that it sticks around for a while. The posts are hardwood and you should see the bolts used. They should be around for a long time. :)

Currently I am getting 10 to 11 eggs from 13 chooks. The other chooks that I have are either not laying or too young, so think I am getting a pretty good number of eggs currently. Most of them just went thru a moult but not for long really. They are back and at it. They also free range all day and love it. They have lots of area to cover and do a great job...

I Love my chooks, ducks, guinea fowl and geese. Wouldn't be the same out here without them.
Cheers Damaris

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

I am a proud Greeny

Love being called a greeny... :)

People that have gotten to know me know that I am a bit of a greeny. I love being called that and don't mind at all really. I love to help out the environment seeing it can't help itself. I believe that the government is doing way too little to encourage us Aussies to do the right thing. The first step has to be taken by each and every one of us and we do our bit here on our little patch of heaven.

I love it that my rubbish bin is never full, very rarely gets 1/4 full as I reuse and recycle as much as I possibly can. I can't wait for Queensland to follow South Australia and get rid of the plastic shopping bag. The ones that I use from enviro bags to old bread flour bags is enough for me.

I also like to replace the carbon dioxide that our two cars put into the air by planting trees every year as an offset. We try to do this not just with shade trees but with fruit trees as well, so that we benefit from them as well as the animals that need shade. I like to plant shrubs as well for the birds or small lizards that come and visit our garden. Another reason why we have not used any pesticides while we have owned this property. I realise that owners near us love to use the most deadly poison, that has not been on the market for many reasons for decades but I know that when they hit our 8 little acres they are safe.

I am in the middle of getting our property soil tested. This requires 500 grams of dry soil. This is taken by using a stainless steel apple corer and taking around 30 samples from all over your property. Send the soil to the soil testing company (I am using SWEP) and I am also paying an extra $10.00 for the test results to go to Pat Coleby. You can then ring her and she will advise you on what you need to do to get your land back into shape. This way we can then grow our own fodder which is something that we are aiming to do. I don't want to have to buy off the land all the time as I want to grow here, then the nutrients go back to the soil it came from from the manure...

I am glad also in alot of ways that we are not able to use anti bacterial cleaners, toilet block cleaners, bleach, etc in our waste management system. This way it is also better for the environment. We have had to change alot of ways that we do things and it certainly has stretched us but all for the better I believe.

The boys are also alot more aware of the environment and I must say I love it when at the end of 'No Electricity Wednesday', they ask me, "So how did we do Mum?" They loved doing it so much that they asked if we could do another day during the week without computers, DVD's, DS, etc and I was happy to offer as that day being on a Monday. This also means I won't be blogging on Mondays or Wednesdays.

A friend of mine told me last week that she was also doing this from now on with her two boys. It is really encouraging to see...
Another friend at work is now keeping old jars and milk bottles to reuse. This is also very moving to see as I try to encourage her as much as possible and show her the possibilities of reusing. She is on her way that's for sure. :)
I don't use the dishwasher unless full, same with my washing machine and don't use the dryer, unless absolutely necessary. The boys also bike to school as much as possible too. We only go into town when we have alot of errands to run or we make do with what we have. We also switch off all power points and don't leave anything on stand-by. What a waste of electricity and resources. Our hot water is solar and am looking at the solar electricity at the moment as well. More to come on that as details are finalized.

If there are any other ways that my family can help the environment that I may not have thought of let me know in the comments please?

Cheers Damaris