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Tag Archives: home

  1. Making Coffee

    Two weeks ago, I noticed that the coffee tree out back was filled with bright red cherries. After a little bit of online research, I thought it might be fun to give homemade coffee processing a try. (In hindsight, “fun” is not the word I would actually use anymore.)

    You can see each stage of the process in my Flickr set. My thumbs are raw from taking off the parchment this afternoon. I hope to roast next weekend.

    Coffee Cherries

    Deparchmented

    ** Find Home Coffee Roasting gear at Amazon.

    Posted in Cooking.

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  2. The Goat Rescue Story

    For those who haven’t seen my story on Facebook…

    One cold and rainy winter morning, the horses in the paddock next door were racing around playfully.

    Mystery & Gossamer

    From the middle of the horse stampede came the cries of a little lost goat named Penelope. She could not find her mama and was very sad.

    Penelope

    Our hero jumped the fence and carried her through the paddock back to the herd.

    Penelope

    We like to think Penelope’s mama was very grateful that we sacrificed getting to work on time in order to save her kid. The End.

    Mama Goat

    Posted in Creative, Photographing.

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  3. Live and Learn

    So next time we go away for two months, I’m going to throw away all the food in the pantry BEFORE we leave. That will save me the trouble of doing so when I get home. Mmm, yeah. We had some uninvited housesitters. Nasty.

    ** Get Anchor Hocking glass storage containers at Amazon

    Posted in Nothing in Particular.

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  4. Money, Money, Money… Must Be Funny

    Last night we pulled out The Money Drawer. We throw all of our loose change into a drawer at the end of the day. We’ve been accumulating for years, only taking out the gold coins when we’re desperate. I’ve been worried about losing the bottom of the drawer, because it was so heavy it could hardly be pulled out anymore.

    Coin Drawer
    At our bank, they want you to count out the coins and put them into bags before you bring them in. So we watched Wipeout and sorted coins until we ran out of bags. What you see below is $1000 in $1, $2 or 50¢ coins. One THOUSAND dollars. In CHANGE. That was sitting in a drawer in our house.

    $1000 in Coins
    And that’s not even all of it. We have a ton more $1 coins. And then there’s all of the 20¢, 10¢, & 5¢ coins to go. I’d bet there’s at least another $500 at least. I feel a bit like someone with a mattress full of cash, but it’s a nice little stash to deposit right before we go on holidays!

    Posted in Nothing in Particular.

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  5. Welcome to the Neighbourhood

    We have some new neighbours. I’ll give you a cute, little hint.

    Goat Tail

    Not just one. No, more like 13 and possibly more. Here’s a small sampling:

    Hi Goat

    Goat Munch

    Billy Goat
    I kinda love these stinky little goats. One was extremely pregnant, so I expect we’ll be seeing a little one soon. Frida seemed a bit skeptical. She was ready to defend our jasmine with a peck on the nose if need be.

    Frida & the Goats

    (P.S. Feel better, Tash!)

    Posted in Creative, Photographing.

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  6. Pain in the Neck

    Two days ago I woke up with a horrible pain in my neck. I don’t know if I just slept wrong or if the new chilly weather at night cramped me up, but I haven’t been able to turn my head for two days. I’m starting to feel kind of silly. Any of my chiropractor and/or massage therapist friends out there have any advice?

    ** Check out Sonoma Lavender Heat Wrap at Amazon for your aches and pains.

    Posted in Nothing in Particular.

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  7. Crafty

    I’ve had a couple of projects set aside that I finally took action on this week. I’ve been wanting a bulletin board in the kitchen for quite a while for two reasons. One is for the obvious use of tacking up notes and photos. The other is to showcase my pins.

    Back when I was on the road, I tried to get a lapel pin from every area where we stopped and put it on my backpack which went everywhere I did. Some were the touristy type which said specifically where they came from, and others were a bit more generic. But each one invoked a memory.

    I have picked up a few so far over the last few years, so I thought the cork boards would be a good place for them. I originally wanted to get the cork trivets from Ikea, but I found these at Bunnings. They fit perfectly between the picture rail and the top edge of the kitchen nook, so I settled. I gave them a light mist of white spray paint, but I may go over them again to make them a little more even toned and whiter.

    Kitchen Boards
    Now I just have to find the rest of my pins. Hmm…

    Posted in Crafting, Creative.

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  8. The Mystery Mystery

    I have probably mentioned “our” horse before. She lives in the paddock next to us, and we feed her apples and carrots and bread. We call her Mystery even though that’s not her name, and the lady across the street corrects me every time she hears me say it.

    So the other morning I got called outside to see quite a surprise.

    The Mystery Mystery
    Mystery Indeed Not a Mystery

    Three!

    We’ve named the other ones too. (Suck it, Across-the-Street Lady!) So in the top photo, it goes Sugarplum(p), Gossamer, and Mystery. We’re gonna need more apples.

    Posted in Creative, Photographing.

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  9. Next to the Noise

    We’re officially halfway through the album-writing challenge. I say “we”, because it’s a challenge for me too. A challenge not to go completely crazy.

    That’s not true. There is some stuff I really love coming through the wall, and I’m actually quite looking forward to seeing them work it out live.

    If you’re of the curious sort, you can hear some snippets here. My favourite at the moment is Day 12 Song 8 Version 4 because of its 80s-licious synth line.

    If you really want to experience what I am, you can try cranking that up as loud as you can in one room, and then go into the next room and try do anything that requires any sort of concentration. Fun times.

    Posted in Creative.

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  10. Why Someday I Will End Up with Claw Marks Across My Face

    Last nightlHubby was doing some recording. At one point I went in to talk to him, and Chucky followed me in. I had this moment of genius and asked if he wanted to sample the cat. Brilliant, right?

    Yeah, Chucky doesn’t like to be held except on his own terms. So dangling him in front of the microphone wasn’t really the brightest of ideas. I would, however, like to point out that the rumbling you hear is purring, so he still loves me. I think the reverb adds a particularly nice touch.

    Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

    (Yes, when we address the cat, we use this high, squeaky voice that comes from an old ventriloquist show by Ronn Lucas called “Who’s in Charge Here”. If you know it, you are awesome and probably had The Disney Channel in 1983.)

    Posted in Creative.

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  11. Birds in Backyards

    This morning, my little tawny frogmouth was back in the tree by the house. He’s lost the baby fluff, but he is still gorgeous. How can you not love a face like this?

    Tawny Peeking at Me

    Posted in Creative, Photographing.

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  12. Since Last Time…

    … my Tash has been here;
    … we got a new tv and Lego: Batman, which consumes us;
    … one or both of us has been sick almost every day;
    … I have barely looked at websites not news or weather related, except Facebook. There’s always time for Facebook, yeah?

    I’m Excited About…
    Coles Online: this is going to change my LIFE! Shopping for groceries FROM MY COUCH, and then they will magically appear at my door at any time I desire??!! I love you, Coles. If only you stocked Method, I would never go anywhere else again.

    … our new chook pen. Frida is completely too big for the cage set-up we had on the veranda, so we bought her the super-deluxe, A-frame chicken tractor. She is spoiled.

    … but she is LAYING EGGS. Did I mention this before? We’ve got eggs coming literally and figuratively out the wazoo. So if you’re in the Brisbane area and want some yummy eggs from a happy chicken, let me know. We can work out some sort of drop off action. EGGS!

    ** Check out the fancy chicken coops at Amazon.

    Posted in Nothing in Particular.

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  13. Day One: Survived

    We got up before dawn and managed to get the parents from the airport. We had an easy day with hanging around the house and a light lunch. Then we took them to Queen’s Park in Ipswich. Their nature centre is really quite good. It’s not quite Australia Zoo, but it IS free. No koalas or crocs, but it has wombats, goannas, wallabies, emus, kangaroos, lizards and birds of all sorts.

    We also had a walk around the Nerima Japanese Garden. While you can tell it has been affected by the drought, it still is the greenest place I’ve seen in quite a while. It really is so peaceful and beautiful. I reckon we’ll be having a picnic there one day soon.

    Then tonight we cooked dinner for both sets of parents. No culinary catastrophes to speak of. No embarrassing childhood stories. No lack of conversation. It was quite impressive for a first-time meeting.

    Now we sleep.

    Posted in Exploring.

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  14. Pending Arrival

    I have to say that things are looking… good. It’s not really the “finding places to stash clutter” that I’m worried about, it’s most definitely the “finding it all back again” part.

    So now that it’s crunch time, I’m starting to re-look at what I REALLY need to have done before they get here. So the curtains may not get washed, but since they are staying in our room, the contents of bedside table drawers are getting repositioned, if you know what I’m saying.

    It’s going to be good. Trying not to stress.

    I have to say that things are looking… good. It’s not really the “finding places to stash clutter” that I’m worried about, it’s most definitely the “finding it all back again” part.

    So now that it’s crunch time, I’m starting to re-look at what I REALLY need to have done before they get here. So the curtains may not get washed, but since they are staying in our room, the contents of bedside table drawers are getting repositioned, if you know what I’m saying.

    It’s going to be good. Trying not to stress.

    Posted in Nothing in Particular.

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  15. Working Best Under Pressure

    I am finding myself wishing that my parents would stop by a little more often, because dang, it’s motivational. We’re achieving things these days that I haven’t managed to do in the last two and a bit years that we’ve lived in this house… specifically unpacking a box of my stuff that I haven’t opened since we moved. Found $400 in travellers’ cheques, too. I mean, awesome, right?

    So as a bit of a pat on my own little back (and that of my dear husband), here’s a bit that we accomplished today:

    • Wiped down the adirondack chairs on the veranda so we could eat breakfast outside.
    • Dusted the ceiling fan blades in the bedroom.
    • Changed lightbulbs in places we’ve been stumbling blindly through for quite some time.
    • Massive dust and purge in the bathroom. (Thanks, sweetie!)
    • Bought a new washing machine, since our other one completely died after the Great Power Outage of 2008.
    • Bought and changed fuse on our stereo, which also was a result of the aforementioned power issues.
    • Had lunch at a cute little place called Fig Jam. It was an Entertainment Book find, and it was quite lovely. The chips are scrumptious.
    • Went to Bunnings. It’s like the Home Depot of the southern hemisphere. It was familiar and great. Bought pavers, because we’re crafty like that.
    • Purchase and built a shelf unit thingie for the corner where the unpacked box used to be.

    Overall, I’m feeling pretty good. Just 12 days to make the rest of the house immaculate.

    Posted in Nothing in Particular.

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  16. Rock Down to Electric Avenue

    While I was tempted to feel rich with all this newly counted wealth we’ve been hording, that was all before the Great Blackout of 2008. Last Saturday night, we were going to bed when I noticed the lamp kind of fading in and out. Finally the power went out in that half of the house altogether, but as we were already in bed, it didn’t really matter.

    We called the power company on Sunday morning. The guy came out and said that there was a faulty switch and that we were lucky it hadn’t caught fire. So he disconnected the power to the whole house.

    Monday, we called a wonderful electrician who came out to change the switch that the power company had disconnected. However, since we were at work, he couldn’t check the switches inside. We got home and the lights worked, but the powerpoints did not. The freezer was thawing.

    Yesterday, he came back out and changed a bunch of stuff and whatever they do. He stayed until almost 7pm to get it working for us. All was good until after he left, and I went to turn on the dishwasher. That’s when we realized that the major appliances would still trip the safety switch.

    So this morning, he came back one more time and found a stray wire from our original bungled wiring that was the issue. So hopefully we’re good to go now. Today we eat meat and lots of it to avoid wasting everything that was in mid-thaw yesterday. *sigh* Not looking forward to the bill.

    Posted in Nothing in Particular.

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  17. Sadness

    The in-laws’ dog killed my chicken Dixie yesterday. I wasn’t a fan of the dog to begin with, but I pretty much hate him now. I’m quite sad.

    Posted in Nothing in Particular.

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  18. Crazy Town

    When I’m home alone, I am acutely aware of the sounds around the place, the dogs in the neighborhood, and the noise of the gate. So when I heard the gate open a little earlier, I started to panic knowing that it was an unexpected visitor. Footsteps on the stairs. Oh… poop.

    “This is the police”. Oh… crap.

    I opened the door and was met with a flashlight in the face. It was a very nice officer asking if I had called the police. Turned out that the lady next door had actually called them, as we have sort of the same house number. (Don’t ask.)

    So of course, I stood outside like the rest of the neighborhood trying to figure out why there were three patrol cars and six officers walking around. Oh, it must be the guy off his face sitting on the curb screaming that he needed help and didn’t want to die.

    From all appearances, he was being helped and was not, in fact, dying. But he kept up the screaming, nonetheless. Even as they all drove away, you could hear him in the back of the patrol car. Erm. Right. Back to “So You Think You Can Dance.”

    Posted in Nothing in Particular.

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  19. Save Electricity, Kill Trees

    This morning we were leaving the train station, and there was a group of people handing out postcards. Having seen the logo before, I pulled Hans around them and told him not to accept one. Sure enough, when we passed the garbage can outside, there were dozens and dozens of postcards reminding people about Earth Hour. Ugh, at least offer a recycle bin for people.

    I hate Earth Hour. Something about it irks me to no end. Like, ooo, let’s shut our lights off for ONE, single, solitary hour (while using batteries and burning candles) and then pat ourselves on the back for helping save the Earth.

    How about having Earth DAY? Where we consider turning all our electronics OFF instead of on standby. Where we choose our products based on the amount of packaging and the recycleability of that packaging. Where we take public transport instead of idling by ourselves in our cars on the freeway.

    I realize that Earth HOUR is just the beginning, but I just think it’s a lame beginning.

    But that’s me. I recycle. I compost. I am soon to be getting my eggs directly from the chicken. I want to try canning and growing a window-box herb garden. And I’ll shut my lights off for Earth Hour… because we’ll be gone.

    UPDATE
    I just had to quote this person who is also anti-Earth Hour:

    Participation in Earth Hour is a salve for people who are otherwise thoughtless about their impact on the environment. It becomes a one hour penance for spendthrift activity and as soon as it is over, they can go back to their TVs and entertainment units, and continue to live their lives the way they always have.
    Woolly Days

    ** Check out the compost supplies at Amazon.

    Posted in Nothing in Particular.

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  20. Cheep Cheep Cheep

    So my mother-in-law gave me a baby chicken. I’m not 100% sure I ever WANTED a baby chicken, but I now have one. (I think this is why the RSPCA doesn’t recommend giving animals as gifts… of course, you can’t eat a kitten if you decide you don’t want it after Christmas is over.)

    Her name is Pepper (or Pepertje), and she is an Australorp. And she is going to be big and black and is apparently going to be laying lots of eggs for me. (Again, I’m not sure I ever wanted to have an intimate knowledge of exactly where my eggs come from, but mother-in-law knows best.)

    I’ve never been much of a bird person for many of the same reasons that I’m not a moth or butterfly person. Not so much a fan of things flying at my face. But I have to admit I’ve fallen in love. I mean, how can you not love this face?


    Or this tookus?


    I’m now a faithful reader of backyardchickens.com, and I worry about her while I’m gone during the day. She’s my little chickie!

    ** Check out The Joy of Keeping Chickens: The Ultimate Guide to Raising Poultry for Fun or Profit at Amazon.

    Posted in Creative, Nothing in Particular, Photographing.

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  21. Go, Canada!

    In my hometown high school, there was always a bit of a traditional ribbing of Canadians due to the large influx of them every school year. Who knows why my rural Iowa hometown has the college of choice for them? They DO have a hockey team, but until recently they had to practice nearly an hour away for lack of a local indoor rink. While I took classes there with some very lovely Canadians, I’ve never considered myself to be much of a Canada fan.

    Until today, that is, when I found out that several of their cities have a Green Bin Program for organic waste. Everything from food to soiled food papers to plants to kitty litter. Brilliant! Then they turn it into biogas and free compost.

    I had wanted to compost for years but never had until I moved here. Now I don’t understand why more people don’t. Between our recycling bin and the compost, we barely throw anything out. It’s so wonderful, and I love them for making it so easy.

    ** Compost indoors with bokashi bins from Amazon.

    Posted in Inspired.

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  22. My New Greenery


    My new plant from my thoughtful husband.

    Last Tuesday I had a really bad day. It was my day off. I had a phone-date with my parents planned. It was going to be lovely.

    Instead, I woke up to find fleas. ON MY BED. Fleas. I love my cat, but I wanted to kill him. Perhaps there was a lack of prevention on my part, but I know he’s been cavorting around with the neighborhood cat-hos lately too.

    So I was going to wash all the bedding, including the gigantic king-sized bedspread that barely fits in our washer. I went downstairs thinking it was about time to move the bedspread to the dryer only to find it soaking in a washer filled with water. Hmm, washer is broken. Won’t even spin my blanket dry.

    Call the repair place who fixed our gas tanks. Lady treats me like a stupid person just because none of the words I can find on the entire machine match any of the apparently well-known brands of washing machines in this country. Sometimes I just hate people here.

    It all ends well. I was able to drag my water-logged bedding over to the in-laws and used their machine to finish the cleansing. Repair people, from a different company out of pure principle, are coming on Monday.

    And then I called my folks. Dad said that he just fixed my mom’s washer — he bought her a new one. I told him he needed to teach my husband how to fix washing machines!

    Posted in Creative, Nothing in Particular, Photographing.

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  23. Ants in My Pants

    Being in the house all day long over Christmas break, I had to face what I feared most. The ants don’t only come out on the weekends, and in fact, spend all day every day trekking through my house in search of a moth carcass or a lost crumb. It was when they started coming in through the BEDROOM window, going down the wall, under the bed, and out into the hallway that I really lost my shizz.

    Let me point out that I KNOW ants, okay? It’s not like Iowa or Michigan or Indiana or Tennessee were somehow ant-free zones, and this is a totally new experience for me. (Not like when I moved to Michigan and faced cockroaches for the first time in my life… I mean, eww!) I realize that ants are everywhere, but it is the sheer number of ants that we have here that is absolutely mind-boggling. It’s not even one KIND of ant… I can at any given moment stand outside and point out at least four different varieties traipsing around.

    (I was trying to find a link for you to show all the different kinds, but it was giving me the heebie-jeebies. Google it for yourself.)

    What was worse was that people trying to console me were just feeding me lies.

    LIE #1 – They’re harmless.

    If the only reason I notice that there are ants on the floor in the living room is because I’m sitting on the couch and have just got bitten in the sensitive area between my toes, then I’m sorry, but they’re NOT harmless.

    LIE #2 – At least they’re not dirty.
    What? Seriously? They’re bugs. I don’t care if they just took a bath. If they are carving their way through MY FOOD, they are DIRTY.

    LIE #3 – This is Queensland. There’s not much you can do about ants.
    Wrong-o. That’s why they invented exterminators.

    So after some tears and wailing that I could never open my home to another guest ever, we made a booking with Elders. (Super easy to do, book right online.)

    The guy came on Tuesday, and I am feeling much better about life.

    The Spider That Nearly Ate Me
    Interestingly, the same morning that the pest-control guy came was the same morning that I saw my first huntsman inside the house in ages. I couldn’t have just spotted it from afar. No, this one was hiding in the little jar of kitchen utensils I have on my kitchen counter. So when I picked up the tongs to get my chicken out of the oven, it came RUNNING UP MY ARM before I shook it off in mild convulsions. It ran under the dishwasher and was later found gasping for breath after the Elders guy sprayed under there. Sorry, buddy. MY house. Don’t forget it.

    And More on the Ants
    So Wednesday we were walking home from the train, eagerly looking forward to spending some time in the ant-free zone. We were walking through a semi-wooded area, when I felt the bite of a meat ant through my stocking. We made the mistake of stopping to try and remove it, not realizing a nest nearby must have been recently disrupted. Soon there were twenty or more on me and twice as many on Hans — all madly trying to gnaw through the leather of our shoes or the flesh on our bodies. It was absolutely disgusting, and once we had kicked them all off, it took all my strength to make it the rest of the way home without vomiting. A mistake that will not be made again soon, to be sure.

    ** For the only GOOD ant in this world, check out the Adam Ant store at Amazon.

    Posted in Nothing in Particular.

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  24. Hot Hot Heat

    It has become quite dreadful here. Last night all the covers got pushed between us like a third person in the bed. There was much tossing and turning before I broke down and turned on the air conditioner. I really, really hate this weather.

    ** Maybe someone wants to get me one of those awesome Dyson bladeless fans from Amazon.

    Posted in Nothing in Particular.

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  25. Mmm… Yummy

    baked pumpkin with basil and feta

    1/2 pumpkin, seeded, skin on, cut into 2 cm wedges
    1 tablespoon olive oil
    2 sliced seeded red capsicum (grilled until slightly blackened)
    2/3 cup fresh breadcrumbs
    100g feta, crumbled ( one block) smallish
    2 tomatoes, seeded, chopped
    1/4 cup pine nuts
    1/4 cup roughly chopped basil, plus extra to serve
    1 clove garlic crushed

    preheat oven to hot 200C or 450F Line a baking tray with baking paper

    arrange pumpkin on prepared tray and brush with oil season to taste

    bake for 15-20 minutes until just tender

    meanwhile in a large bowl, combine capsicum, breadcrumbs, feta, tomatoes, pine nuts, basil and garlic. Mix well and season to taste.

    Spoon an even amount of capsicum mixture onto each wedge of pumpkin. Bake for a further 10-15 minutes until golden. Serve as a meal accompaniment scattered with extra basil, or on its own with other vegetables of choice.

    Posted in Cooking.

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