Friday, July 31, 2009

Plants galore...

Some of my goodies that I got this week...

So guess who had a visit from Garden Express??? Yep, I have. A friend of mine and I went halves in a whole bunch of plants. So here is the list of what I ended up with:

10 Strawberry plants;

3 Thornless Loganberry canes;

3 Redcurrent canes;

3 Thornless Blackberry canes;

3 Raspberry canes;

3 Blackberry canes; and

3 Boysenberry canes.

The strawberries will be going into the ground in the morning. Have not had time as yet to get them in the ground. Been rather busy with work. The canes will be going in over the weekend. Have to still fix the fence for the chookhouse area as well. Busy weekend lined up.

I am rather looking forward to the canes setting fruit in another year or two. There will be lots of jam made that's for sure...
Cheers Damaris

Thursday, July 30, 2009


What an excellent night...

Went to see P!NK in concert last Sunday Night... What an awesome night it was. There was seven of us altogether. Four that were staying the night at the Medina in Brisbane checked in and took in the sights overlooking the Story Bridge and Brisbane River. We got there about 2pm.

At 5:45pm our chauffeur driven Limousine arrived and we were taken on a sight seeing adventure of Brisbane while downing two bottles of Champagne, not allot for seven people but we had a ball. One of the girls even waved to the 'little people' as we drove straight into the VIP drop off point at the Brisbane Entertainment Centre.

I got my souvenir which was a program. Has allot of fantastic pictures in it and also all the costumes that she would later wear on stage...

We got inside and there were about 40000 people altogether. The atmosphere was electric and she was true to form and performed her little heart out. We all agreed that it was a fantastic night. She even came back three times.

When it finished we were again picked up by Limousine and were taken on another tour and then dropped off at the front door of our hotel. Couple of drinks later I was ready for bed as I was driving four of us home the next day. Late checkout off course, 11:30am and had lunch at DFO Coffee Club. Had a ball. What else can I say. She was truly awesome and an experience I will never forget. Could have gone again the next night as well. haha

Cheers Damaris

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Rainbow... get better quickly...

Rainbow in his temp hospital room...

One of the new roosters, Rainbow (named by Timothy off course, lol) was found in the chookhouse with watery eyes day after we got him home... He is rather sick.

We have brought him inside, same as we did with the other rooster when he first came home to us. He is now fine. Rainbow is still battling. We all hope he makes it. Timothy keeps crying saying he doesn't want another chook to die... If only I could stop this from happening. I can't though. He needs to learn that. Is a little hard at the moment though as the deaths from last week are still so fresh in our minds...

I really hope that Rainbow does make it... He is rather cute to look at. He has his eyes shut most of the time, except when I am there taking photos of him. Lol. He bends his head back to breathe and make weird noises... Oh boy, I hope he makes it...

On that note, all the other chooks are settling in really well. So is the new Guinea Fowl. Guinea pigs are doing well too. I still have all 8 of them. I don't know still which ones I want to keep. They are all soooo cute. Couple of nights ago there was one that gave birth to two stillborn guinea pig babies which was sad. Nothing has happened since then so hope the others will give birth ok.

Cheers Damaris

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Frost and more frost...

My poor Brad (my car, named after Brad Pitt off course :))

Days like we have had the last few weeks, I am rather glad that our house has excellent insulation. We have it in the roof as well as the walls. Our windows are tinted and covered. Trust me the chimneys around here have been working overtime for many weeks before we light ours the first time.
One morning last week, Wednesday I believe I went to take the boys to school and there was the windscreen still all covered in frost at nearly 9am. Looking over the valley from where I stood you could see the white carpet of frost. I loved seeing that. Reminded me of early snow in Austria. Not nice for the majority of plants though. I lots a few tomatoes, zucchini and pumpkin plants these last few weeks. I will see how new ones go under light sheets as I really want to get some out growing.

During the day it does get really lovely and warm but at night it is rather chilly right now, especially if we have our wind which doesn't really ever die down up here on the hill. Small price to pay I think considering we have it allot cooler instead. Great for summer time as well. Have the heat but not the humidity and the air is not stagnant.

Anyway off to plant and water some seedlings I got from Bunnings yesterday. Russell sent me for wire for the chook fence so could not help looking out where the plants are... Then I have to refresh the water for the animals and milk Lorray before I am off to see P!NK tonight. Am rather excited and dreamt about her all night. Can't wait to share my piccies!!!!

Cheers Damaris

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Still milking Lorray...

Lovely warm, frothy milk from Lorray... YUM

About a week ago I started not milking in the morning. I still give the cows their lucerne of a morning but no grain and milking for Lorray. Giving her a break is good for her condition during winter I am sure and nice break for me as well...

She has gotten used to it and has taken it well. She had a show this week and even tried to mount her own calf. Funny watching that. He didn't know what on earth was going on... She was calling allot for a bull though... Will try and organise for her to be AI'ed I think. Can't have a bull here at the moment as there is just not enough in the paddock and already feeding three. That's enough for us...

Lorray loves it when I come and relieve her of the pressure in the udder though. She stands there straight away not moving. She gets rather antsy after a while as it is taking longer then it used to but need to take about 3 litres of milk out of her to make her comfortable. I used to take 2 litres morning and night. This has had a good side effect in the fridge wise. I am not throwing away any milk anymore. I love that part. I used to let it curdle for the chooks as they love that and is very good for them as well... Such a waste though in my opinion... Friends live to far away to just drop it off as well so now we are not wasting it anymore. Got to be happy about that...

Cheers Damaris

Friday, July 24, 2009

Climate Smart Home Service, Qld Government

My new gadget... love it!

Had Daniel the electrician out here from Warwick last Monday... He brought with his a few presents. I was so excited to see him turn up at 7.15am. He stayed for about one hour and asked Russell and I allot of questions in order for him to ascertain where he could help us save more energy and in turn also money. My last Electricity bill was $233.10. I really wanted that lower.

He ended up giving us 10 globes for the lights, a thermometer to put on the fridge for inside temperature measurement, a new shower head and also my favourite gadget of all time... a brand new wireless Energy Monitor. It tells you your total energy consumption, greenhouse gas omission, your cost. This can be seen by the hour, day, week and even this quarter. Great way to straight away compare your daily usage to see what differences there might be. There is an alarm you can set as well. We have set ours for 10kWh so if at any one time we go over that we have the alarm go off. I love walking around the place seeing what takes what power. Very, very interesting...

I already do a daily reading of our electricity usage. Was doing it a few days this week but since 1 July 2009 have been doing this every day. I wanted to see exactly where our up and down usage days were. Will monitor for one year at this point and see how I go... Part of the routine now. When I go out to give the cows lucerne, then I take the reading beforehand.

Unfortunately the electrician's own power bill last quarter was over $500 so there was not much that he could help us with. I was wanting to help him actually but thought I had best not. lol

I can honestly say that I am really happy with this service. Daniel did a great job. He was very generous with products as well as information. I would not hesitate in recommending this wonderful service. All it cost was $50 out of my pocket money. It was SO worth it.

If you want to check out the website here it is:

You can book the visit online. It is so simple... You would be mad not to use it... Now to keep my bill under $200... with the recent price rise for electricity I doubt it. But I will not stop trying. I think people that know me personally know that one! lol

Cheers Damaris

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Lots of chickens dead and missing...

So many of our babies have gone to heaven...

It is Rubbish collection day today and I am really glad for that. Normally I have... maybe about three or four bags of rubbish in it for the week. This week there are also 12 dead chickens in it...

Yes, two nights ago we had a pack of foxes or dogs visit us. That was the first night that Russell and I changed the boy's night routine, letting them stay up till 8pm. This totally threw me out. Was also Russell's 44th Birthday and he was still home. He was going to work the next morning at 4am.

In the end I totally forgot to shut away the chooks, guinea fowl and ducks. The geese are roamers anyway but the stick around the house mainly. That is fine with me. Daisy the goose is laying still but all the eggs are disappearing so am wondering if there is a goanna around somewhere. No snakes to see and there is no leftovers at all. I don't think that they are eating them themselves...

Back to the slaughter. Sorry. In the morning I saw a young rooster that was really wet. I wondered what on earth was going on... Walked towards the chookhouse and saw 12 dead chickens all over the place. They were spread from near the shed to one of our paddocks. One is even in next door's paddock that I can't get to...

Except for one Pekin Rooster and one D'uccle female all the little ones are gone. So is the meat rooster and hen... I loved that little guy so much and posted about him not long ago. He sadly was the first one that I saw. I couldn't find about 15-20 of the chooks. Most of my layers are gone. The beasts actually got into the chookhouse and lined up their killings up for me...

To say that we are devastated is an understatement. Timothy doesn't attach himself easily to things but when he does and something like this happens it just destroys him. Joshua also was inconsolable. All day there was a sick horrible feeling in my stomach. What had I done!!!!

From now on to avoid this EVER happening again, we have set an alarm on my phone. Have allot of those on my phone... milk Lorray, Tablets for Timothy, Bins out, etc, etc.

We will not forget again... Went and saw Brian yesterday after school and got another lot of chooks to make up for the ones that we lost. Lots of little ones that were cheaper and also a girl for the Pekin and a boy for the D'uccle. They are getting to know one another as we speak.

Three came back yesterday from wherever they happened to escape to... Hope more come back. Hard lesson in life to learn this one... Hope it NEVER ever happens again.

Cheers Damaris

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Guinea Pigs galore...

Joshua's Guinea Pig wanting some lucerne more than being bothered by the dogs...

Guess what the dogs are looking at and wanting to EAT!!! Yep you got it, Guinea Pigs. We are looking after them for a friend at the moment. There are eight of them. One boy and the rest are girls. Most are pregnant. They have been given to us now along with a cage.

Previously we had some from a pet shop and they all died from scurvy, diagnosed by our lovely Vet. I told her what we were doing and how we were looking after them, their housing, everything. I was told on a number of occasions that I had done everything right. More so than normal. All came down to bad stock and that particular pet shop. Will never buy any from there again.

I am rather determined that this lot will not come to the same end. To this end I have decided to only keep four of them. One for each member of the family. We have a double storey house for them inside for during the night and the cage for during the day, out of the dogs reach off course.
The cows are rather interested in them as they also get the lucerne hay and the piggies love that also. They just can't quite figure out how to get into that cage to get at the food. Keep trying, you ain't getting them. :)

I hope that seeing this lot of guinea pigs are from good stock that they will be ok. We love them all to bits but will try and get the other four adopted out locally if possible. I was going to take them to the pet shop but can't bear to think of what might happen to the little darlings.

Hopefully we will be able to see some births as well... That would be great. Boys have already seen the calf, chicks, goslings and ducklings. Just another one to add to our list. Can't wait...

Cheers Damaris

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Spring Onions galore...

The beginning of a beautiful relationship...

I have been trying to grow Spring Onions for a little while now. I wanted to substitute my use of onions if possible. They smell great and are wonderful to watch grow in the garden...

So far not too bad. Need to grow another whole lot and will be putting some more in for spring time so that I end up with a year's supply if at all possible. I will still be getting some onions though as well as I like to make Onion Marmalade and have about 18 bottles that are water bathed in the pantry ready for Christmas presents. Can't wait to give them out.

Other than the spring onions the only other thing really growing are the peas. They are doing well. Cows love them as a treat as well. :)

I can't wait to get the surrounds for the garden beds in the vegie area. It will make such a difference to anything that we put in there and will help things along nicely.

Cheers Damaris

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Early Days...

With our Family Plan now organised and worked out as well as through, Russell and I are looking at ordering our Cubby house for the boys this weekend. He has time off work till Wednesday morning this week as it is his Birthday on Tuesday. Glad to have him home for it but would have taken the boys down to Brisbane after school to see their dad for his birthday if I had to.
Another thing that we did today was move our spare doggy house to the chook area so that I could relocate all the goose' eggs into one area. She laid two in the dirt near where we have put all three so hope that she finds them and starts sitting soon. Chucky is rather aggressive at the moment so want it all over and done with. Love it though when he fluffs up his feathers.
This weekend we are also using the star pickets that we got from Bunnings today to ensure we properly fence all our small shade trees. We will shortly be getting an electric fence charger with more kick so that the calf stays out from the orchard as well.
Busy weekend ahead for us as Russell is also having his tax done on Monday and we have our Queensland Government Climatesmart Home Survey done. Cost is $50 and you even get a monitor with it. Can't wait to see what is chewing our power and then make steps to replace with something more environmental and economical.
We are getting there slowly and are working hard to ensure that we are ready for spring. In August we are supposed to get our solar electricity as well which I am soooo looking forward to.
Cheers Damaris

Friday, July 17, 2009

Double Helix Science Club Adventures...

Attention everyone...

During the holidays, Timothy, Joshua and I (along with one of their friends) spent the whole day doing lovely experiments. It went for a total of seven hours with two hours for lunch and one hour for afternoon tea.

It was a great day for the three boys. We made clean water dirty, then separated it again through homemade filters and tried to get clean water again. We investigated under the microscope all sorts of bugs. We also counted our family's carbon footprint and did stuff with solar panels. So all in all it was very, very interesting.

The best bit was separating DNA. The boys and I were very intrigued to see if they would use our own blood. No that didn't happen... We used bananas and mandarins instead. We squished and mangled and added some powders and then sifted until we got the DNA. It was very interesting and the boys got to take theirs home in a little test tube with lid. It was fantastic...

This club is normally run by the Science Club in Indooroopilly but one local mum took it upon herself to be taught how to do the experiments and bring them all to Warwick. We had a fantastic day and ended up having picnic lunch and plays in the local park. At the end of the day, all boys, including me, were all rather tired and went to sleep easily that night.

Can't wait for the next holidays when we do it all again. Hopefully we blow up stuff next time. No not really, just building volcanoes, etc. Best bit was it was all free as well. The whole day didn't cost us a thing. Thank you very much again for all your hard work Clare.

Cheers Damaris

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Goose Eggs, If only they were golden...

Daisy's first egg for the season...

Woke up the other day and went to go milking... Got outside the house gate and there was Chuck, the gander, rather upset at me. Looked around and there was an egg that Daisy had laid. They are rather large and fit well into the hand.

Can't say that I have eaten them before because I haven't. Have eaten duck and chook eggs but not geese eggs. Don't really intend to either...

She has now laid a second one. The first one she laid beside the solar hot water storage container. The other in between the chookhouse and the chickhouse. Go figure. How she intended to keep both warm I will never know... I moved them to an empty dog house and hope she lays another couple until she goes on the lay. That way I can show her where her potential babies are.

Last year was the first time that we had them here laying. She sat very well on three of them for the 28 days required. She is a good mum. Problem was that one was a dud, nothing in it... the second one was born with its stomach outside its body and the last was born with splayed legs. The last one was taken within about two hours of it being outside. Crows from what we can gather but would not have survived anyway. Shame could have made a nice dinner eventually...

Hope this time we are more successful. Chuck is a proven breeder so if this time turns out bad then we will put her in the oven and get another Daisy. I have my suspicion that they may be brother and sister which would not be good to breed from anyway. Will see how we go. Am hoping all goes well. Will know in a month I guess.

Cheers Damaris

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Help, I am getting attached...

What a little cutie?

Nearly two weeks ago, I had a splurge on chooks. I went to the Pig and Calf Auctions in Warwick and went nuts, literally... But it was all my own pocket money so that makes it sort of alright... Just don't ask Russell... :)

Well two of them were meat chickens that the Warwick SHS kids had raised so was doing a good deed and got a couple of them. Male and Female. The male took to me immediately...

Whenever I am out there with the hose, he tries and gets some water. He is forever walking all over my feet and loves having a talk to me as well. So cute. So now I am falling for the little guy. He is only 10 weeks old and is for sure going into the freezer but... HE IS SOOOOO CUTE.

I need to distance myself. Have not named him for that reason but you know... He is just soooo cute. :)

Cheers Damaris

Monday, July 13, 2009

Culprit found... You are in TROUBLE now Lavender...

You are busted, Lavender...

Went out to say goodbye to Russell at 4am this morning and saw that my huge planter that I have by the front door had been knocked over. It was broken into two huge pieces. Then around the back this morning I find that my MIL's Tongue had been eaten and plants ripped out of their pot. Some others had been attached or ripped straight out of the ground. Nearly all of my Moses in a basket plants that were gifts from a friend, were uprooted.

Quickly I tried to fix what I could. Boy did Lavender get a talking to... When Russell, the boys and I went for our walk yesterday we looked back at the house at one stage and realised that Lavender had gotten into our fenced area around the house. I was silly, had left it open for the chooks to get some of the grass that was green and she had gotten in as well. Well didn't she have a plate full of stuff she is not supposed to. So much for it being safe. My own fault really.

When we got back I didn't even see the pot on it's side as it was half way under the trampoline. I didn't even think to check around the back either. Was doing other things for the rest of the day and got one heck of a shock early this morning, that's for sure.

Well no more chookies in my yard for now. Plants need to recover and so do I. I need to pot up my plant from the broken pot this morning though.

I realise that it is No Technology Monday, but had to rant. Sorry... Will get off now. :)

Cheers Damaris

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Audit Update...

Time for reflection...

I thought I would take this opportunity to just let everyone know how our family went in last week's audit...

It started on the Saturday with the Family Plan being created just for us. This has given us great focus for the next 12 months at least. We have done everything that we set out in our plan to do during this week. This included:

We collected chicken and cow manure for the compost.
I reduced the amount of milk that I take from Lorray so that we don't have any go off anymore.
The boys started to regularly collect kindling from a kind neighbour and we are giving her milk in return.
I have asked another neighbour about fixing our tractor and that hopefully will be done within a month.
I have asked another person from our village about helping plant our seedling trees when we get them in spring.

Other things that we continued this week were:

Monitoring our electricity usage and putting the information into a spreadsheet.
Wednesday we only used 0.3kWh for our Low Electricity Day.
We spent no money this week at all as per Rhonda's blog. We are rather proud of that one and ended up saving over $140 for the week on groceries alone.
Made a monthly menu plan.

Yesterday I had a day to myself. It was lovely and I went to the Beaudesert Dexter Breed Show. Yes it started two hours later than originally scheduled but I had a ball. It was lovely to see our breeders and show them pictures of our three. I nearly sold my single milking machine. Shame, could have done with the room in the shed... I will actually get a little more serious about it soon as I would rather see someone else using it than it just sitting there.

Really this week has been very productive. I am still working on things as we go but today is a stay-at-home day, which I love and am really looking forward to. I will milk, cook, bake and do some cleaning probably. Washing will also be done. More firewood needs splitting as well for the coming week. I like Russell to do a whole heap so that the boys and I don't have to worry about it as much during the week when he is not here.

One thing that I am really excited about and can't believe that I have not done it years earlier is my monthly Menu Plan. Wow, how easy is that. All I did was sit down last Sunday night, think of all the dinners that my family likes and then fit them into our days accordingly. I have picked up some lovely quick but nutritious ones in the last two weeks as well so have incorporated them in as well. I must say, I am loving my Menu Plan. Why did I wait so long? I will never know but realise now that the time spent one evening collating it all and putting it all down on paper is sooooo worth the effort. I don't stress anymore about what is for dinner. I already know I have the ingredients and just make sure meat is out in time to defrost. Time management wise it is brilliant. Until I did this plan, I didn't realise just how much I stressed about dinners. I implore anyone and everyone to try this. If you want a copy of mine just let me know and I will email it to you. You can then customise it to your own needs.

My biggest hurdle this week, being holidays has been to limit the boys on the computer or with the DVD's. I usually allow two hours in the morning and two hours in the afternoon but this has not worked at all this week and shows with my electricity usage. I must admit I have not stuck to it either. Bad, bad, bad. This will improve I am sure as we go back to school and I can implement it starting this school term. Wish me luck...

So this is what happened for us during the last week. Has been very busy but very productive.

Cheers Damaris

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Timothy's treasures...

Some of Timothy's rocks...

When Timothy was young he was always fixated on something. Something that he could be interested in for a long time. This could be Lego or Magnetix. Didn't matter, if he was interested in it it held his attention span for a long time. Also if you talked to him, it was all he talked about. He was not interested in the conversation that you were trying to have with him. Very ASD I am afraid. Didn't make it easy for him to build relationships with other kids, let alone his brother.

One thing that he has been interested in for years now are rocks and gems. Rocks of all kind but especially ones that are really shiny. With fool's gold in them or tin. He loves them. He loves the slithers of rock from Thunder Eggs especially.

He has a huge collection of all sorts and loves to put them in rows and study them. He has many books on the subject and loves to tell anyone that will or will not listen about them. I am so glad that he has such an interest in this subject. For years he has been wanting to turn 12 so that he can get into the Warwick Lapidary Club.

In February this year he turned 12 and that is exactly the first thing after his Birthday that we did. We joined the club. Since then we have gone every two weeks after school (except while his broken arm was healing, off course). It is on on a Wednesday at their club house. He enjoys it so much and loves to tell everyone about his adventures there. He loves to spread the knowledge that he has gained and is very thankful to the lovely people that have shown him all he knows.
I hope that this little obsession continues though as he is really good at all he has tried so far. He is very good at it and his teachers have told him on various occasions how quick he is to pick up new skills. Now if only he was a little more patient and didn't want everything done all at once... Yes we are working on that. Slow process though. lol

Cheers Damaris

Friday, July 10, 2009

Happy Birthday, Lavender...

Birthday Girl, cheeky and curious as always...

Today she is 2 years old. Who am I talking about, you may ask? My heifer off course... :)

She was born two years ago today and I chose her four weeks later. She was sooo little back then. How times have changed.

Now she is 2 years old and having her own baby in September. Hope all goes well. I always worry with pregnancies. But from all that I have heard and read Dexters are really easy calvers. Lorray certainly had no problems.

Tonight she will get an extra biscuit of lucerne hay. She will love that much more than if she was to get Birthday cake. lol

Cheers Damaris

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Russell's Handiwork...

Russell's work is all about Information Technology. He has been a programmer since forever and now is in charge of projects where he tell others what to do and make sure he works within budget...

He is very versatile and till try anything. And he does. He tried alot of things for a little while and then does something else. He has tried many, many things. I am so fortunate to have a hubby that will try it all. I am very proud of him.

These days he is crafting pens from silicon as well as wood. He is rather clever. He also make boomerangs and he sells and these ones even come back. They are sold all over the world.

One thing that he has not done in a while is Intarsia. He is soooo good at it. Above is an example. These creations are dotted around our lovely home and always remind me of him, which is great especially when he is at work for the week and not home at night. I hope he gets into it alot more as I miss him making these creations.

The picture above was his first attempt. It was made for me many years ago for Mother's Day and it has a proud place in my kitchen. I love it.

He is really good at getting training info off the Internet or from the library and giving it a go himself. Good way to also get info for him is through forums. There are many people out there with alot of knowledge and are always willing to share that with others. Wonder when the next one is going to show its head out of the shed....

Cheers Damaris

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

An example of my folk art painting...

Six months before we moved out here I had started taking painting lessons. I loved the folk arty stuff that I had always seen in shops and with Russell's encouragement I took the plunge and gave it a go. I had wanted to for years, I must admit but didn't want to intrude on something that both my younger sisters were so good at. Silly, I know but there it is...

I learnt lots of techniques over that short period of time and picked up some great teaching books as well. I am a very visual person so like to see what I am doing not just reading instructions. I must say that I was rather pleased with myself with many of the end results.

I make alot of different things over that time but since we have moved out here, I must admit that I have done basically nothing... It is one thing that I have put into the Family Collective Plan for our family. I want to really get back into it and relearn what I had learned. I also want to get better and better at it so that I can use this as another way of giving gifts at Christmas and during the year.

I actually have orders that I have not filled, still. Luckily they are within the family so the understanding is there... Must get to them soon though. Time for this year is, again, running out.

What I am going to be doing over the next little while is seeing at the end of the day where my times goes. I have to make myself more accountable for time I spend doing things and then I can change my priorities and get more done of what I want to and need to get done. That is my plan. Will see how it pans out...

Cheers Damaris

Sunday, July 5, 2009

The Family Collective...

Our Family Plan drawn on butcher's paper...

For nearly a year now I have been involved with a pilot project with Carer's Queensland (CQ) and Disabilities Services Queensland (DSQ). This project involves 10 families in the Darling Downs area that currently do not have any DSQ Family Funding. The aim of the project is to give one 'normal' family's funding to a group of 10 families to see if it can make a difference for those families that have children with disabilities or not. The pilot project goes for two years and at the end our group's input will help decide if this is something that DSQ will do with other families throughout Queensland. I feel very proud to be involved with this project as I feel that I am able to contribute to a process that will hopefully benefit many more families in the future.

What happened yesterday is that our group's facilitator and her boss from CQ came to our home for a few hours and we nutted out a Family Plan just for the four of us. Russell and I planned where we want our family to be in 12 months time, in 6 months time, in 1 month and what we can start doing next week towards our goals. We also enlisted people that we could approach to help us achieve our goals.

Our main goals are as follows:

1. We want Russell home during the week at night and not working in Brisbane.

2. We want to get the veggie garden really going, buying surrounds for the gardens as barriers and edging. Fencing needs to be attended to also.

3. We want the boys to play together outside more and interact more. This will be achieved by us getting a cubby house.

4. We want to get shade trees planted in spring and get more fruit trees planted. Within our time frame we want to be as self reliant as we can be.

5. By Christmas I will have my pigs that will be fattened up for when Sausage also get processed by the Home butcher.

6. To have bees at our property as well.

These goals have been fantastic to make and I am really excited about the pictures that were drawn by Annette. Thank you so much Annette and Chris for the hard work you have put into making our little dreams a reality. As a family we have extensively discussed the drawings since yesterday and the big page is still out covering our pool table as it is such a good reminder of what we are setting out to achieve.

The boys love that they are getting their cubby house finally and love to have their own veggies so will look forward this week to helping with the gathering of the cow manure that we have so much of. This has seen them cooperating all day yesterday and rather proud of themselves as well that they didn't fight a WHOLE day. They have tried to continue that today but so far has not worked. They are back on track as we 'speak' and I am glad that they are trying.

On a different note: So far the No Spending Week is going really well. I have things all planned out for the week which is great. Will let you know at the end how I ended up doing...

Cheers Damaris

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Audit time...

For a couple of weeks now I have felt the need to take stock of what Russell and I are trying to achieve being out here. We have also been talking about goals and what we hope to achieve within the next few years.

Then I read on one of the blogs that I read daily... An audit is being held. Woohoo!!! Exactly what I had been wanting to do. I signed up for the challenge, needless to say. In addition we are not spending any money at all for the next week starting today.

For all the information you can see Rhonda Jean on

It will explain the concept and principle behind it all. I was very happy to go to shops one last time, just to get some bread as it is cheaper at the moment to buy then make and some fruit. Timothy is back from his three day sleepover at a friend's place so my fruit bowl never lasts very long. Here is hoping it will do for the next week. Especially seeing we still have one week of holidays to go.

So this will be interesting. I am 1/2 hour from town so won't be hard to not spend. I had thought about going to the movies on Tuesday but now will not. We saw Transformers yesterday instead anyway. I was also going to have take away for lunch after that as I then have to attend an ASD Parent Support Group Meeting. That will now be homemade sandwiches at the park I think. There is a big park just in the centre of town so that will keep the boys happy. I will love sitting in the sun as well...

Will let you all know how I go with the rest of the week. I am also tracking my electricity usage for the whole of July and putting it into a Excel Spreadsheet to see where and when we use more power. Will be interesting to see. Is winter also so wonder if that will make a difference??? Time will tell.

Cheers Damaris

Friday, July 3, 2009

Update on my new Mattress...

My new mattress with new quilt cover on as well...

It has been a week today since I got my new mattress. A friend has had a lie on it and wants it. But can't have it. Sorry Margaret... lol

The boys also love the feel of it and Joshua especially falls asleep on it very easily. Russell and I are adjusting to it. It takes time I guess. I keep feeling like I am rolling into the middle of the bed when Russell is in there as well. Is that normal??? I have never had a pillow top mattress before so will have to ask a friend of mine who does... I hope that is not how it stays.

Will have to get used to turning the mattress every so often, more often in the beginning. Can't flip this mattress. There would be no sense. No pillow top on the bottom. lol

I love having my new queen size quilt cover on it as well. You know, the one from Adairs??? From DFO??? Ring a bell. Yes, lovely, lovely, and more lovely. I must admit.

Off to make dinner and then an early night with a movie maybe... Very chilly and a lot of wind here for the last two days. Hope it dies down soon. New chooks that I bought at the Pig and Calf last Wednesday are not liking the weather. One silky is rather crook. Hope it doesn't die on me. Only been here two days... Don't hold much chance though. Will see how he goes.

Cheers Damaris

Thursday, July 2, 2009

My new Clock, with a hidden agenda...

Above you can see my new clock. Now this clock I have been looking for for a long time. I wanted to get something with a country sort of feel and as I love chickens I thought it would fit right in at home. It was also 1/2 price for only $10. The welcome sign on the top of it was also rather nice as the clock hangs next to our front entrance door.

When we first moved out here we used to have digital clocks around the place but only even glanced at them once or twice a day. So I ended up unplugging them and putting them away. This clock is now the only clock in the whole house. I have a clock on the computer that I can glance at but that gets turned off once the screen is off as well.

The hidden agenda behind this clock though is that where the hands are there is a lovely dark coloured rooster. I like for time to go slow out here. I didn't want the face of the clock easily seen. You really have to go up close if you really want to see the time. I like that. It was a little annoying for the boys at first but even Russell has gotten used to it.

One way to get the boys to concentrate on their time telling when I ask them what time it is as they really have to get up close and personal with it. Another great way for the time just to while away...

Cheers Damaris