Sunday, December 30, 2012

Time keeps moving on

I can't believe tomorrow marks the last day of the year. The past couple of weeks have passed in a blur of pre-Christmas parties, end of year school and preschool wrap ups, the chaotic packing for a Christmas Eve departure for a Christmas spent away, and of course Christmas thrown in for good measure.
Through all the chaos has been wonderful time with family and friends and lots of fun, excitement and laughter from all of us, before we get those tired eyes and the tears start. We have had a ball, but come New Years Day, I will be very pleased to pack my family in the car and head home from the big smoke to our little home in the country and enjoy the peace and quiet and routine that keeps us going.
I hope you and yours have had a fabulous friend and family filled Christmas time like we have and I wish everyone a very Happy New Year and may your 2013 be full of love, laughter and minimal drama.



Thanks Chrissy for the Fabulous Glasses, we 'll be wearing them to watch the Fireworks!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Muddy Boy and His Sacrifical Snake Dog

We have a sacrificial snake dog, he's a Jack Russell and his name is N-G-O, he's a cheeky character, who from day one has refused to sleep in his kennel and has camped under our bedroom. The Muddy Girls have always loved him, they play with him on and off, but if he's not there they are not fussed.
My Muddy Baby Boy thought is enraptured by him, he seeks him out, he chases him, he rolls on the grass with him, pats him, wrestles him and just sits companionably with him. They have this special bond that the Muddy Girls don't have. I just love to watch them together, it makes me smile every time.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Easy Shortbread Biscuits

Shortbread is something I have always been a little bit scared of making, I've made it before (a few years ago) and it was not a success. This year though I figured I would give it another go. I'm so pleased I did, as it is so yummy and worked out just as I remember having as a kid, all buttery goodness. I used a recipe from 'The Country Table', but adapted the method a little bit, as I'm lazy like that!

250 Butter, Softened
1/3 Cup Caster Sugar
1 Tablespoon Water
2 Cups Plain Flour
1/2 Cup Rice Flour
1 Dessert Spoon Icing Sugar

Throw it all in the Food Processor, whizz it around until it's all combined. Pull it out, either roll it out on a floured bench or press out with your hands. I used Christmas Shape cutters to make them all Christmasy and cut out the shapes. You can make them thick or thin (just vary your cooking time). Bake in the oven on greased trays for 30-40mins. Cool them on the tray. Dust with Icing Sugar before serving.

They were a big hit at the class party, and made a nice option from chips and lollies that were on offer. The rest of the batch will go in for the Presentation Night Supper, as the leftovers will send me up a dress size.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Scattered Thoughts

Chaos reigns supreme at the moment, there are swimming bags and towels and swimmers everywhere. There are half folded piles of washing spread around the house. The kitchen is overflowing with Christmas cooking, a variety of delightful things made for parties, catch ups and just because it's Christmas. Containers of leftovers and 'don't touch until Christmas' goodies.

No matter how hard I try my house looks like a tornado has gone through it. I am learning to let things slide a 'little bit' but do not function very well if they're let slide for too long. Tonight I employed flat out bribery to get the toy room and lounge room tidy for the first time in a few weeks. The 3 Muddy Girls were rewarded with a square of Cadbury Mint Bubbly Chocolate for doing a superb job of tidying up!

I am feeling a little bit calmer. I know that the tidiness of my house should not affect my mood so much, but it does. I find it unsettling, the messier my house gets the more out of control I feel. I don't mind so much the dust and the cleaning, as I do the best that time allows, as long as things are tidy I can find a balance. With school holidays starting in a couple of days and people coming in to look after my kids I have a pressing need for things to be in order!

Please tell me I am not alone in feeling like this! Do you need things tidy or a you a sparkling clean and tidy person? Any advice on how to let things slide a bit more???

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Everything Old is New Again

One of the things I love about my Muddy Organiser going to school is reliving my childhood, or parts of it anyway! There's been stories they're reading at school or that she brings home from the library, sports I'd forgotten about like tunnel ball. I love watching her learn new songs and dances for the school social and singing along with her.

I was extra excited though last week when she bought home some string. Not just any string, but a loop of string to do Cat's Cradle with. I can remember spending hours and hours trying new tricks with the string, I was hopeless but it didn't stop me trying! My Muddy Organiser though has proved to be quite a whizz with the string, she can already do the Harbour Bridge and is teaching her friends how to do it. My Mum (god bless the teacher in her) has dug through her bookshelf and found a book on Cat's Cradle and other string things which the Muddy Organiser is learning from to add to her string repertoire. She has already well surpassed my string abilities.

The thing I love most about the string is it's portable, she takes it everywhere, it's not electronic, it's just good old fashioned fun at it's best, just like my childhood. A teacher friend tells me elastics are the next thing coming back in!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Lotions and Potions for my Scavenger

I'm starting to wonder if my Muddy Puzzler might become a bit of a Chemist, either that or a treasure hunter. Every time I turn my back she has snuck away another one of our creams, or soap or gels. Glue has also gone missing in action, as well as sunscreen or lipstick. It's not only creams and gels though, nothing is exempt from my little scavenger, before we went to a BBQ on the weekend she snaffled the salad servers, they took me 15 minutes to find hidden under the spare bed, my iPad gets the same treatment, as does any bit of jewellery. The one that got me last week though was a box full of band aids and Muddy Hubby's lunchbox which had his leftover afternoon tea in it. By the time I found her she had a full belly and both her and the lunch box were covered in band aids.
Nobody is able to escape her ministrations though, Muddy Pixie has been decorated in makeup and had her hair cut, Muddy Bubby has had his hair styled with sunscreen, and the pillows on my bed are often smeared with hair gel or deodorant. My phone is one of her favourite things to sneak away, she puts it on silent so she can watch videos of herself or play games and I follow the vibrations in the floor as I ring it, until I find it and her!
I am not worried, I know she's bored, very bored, very ready for preschool next year and some outside stimulation. I make no excuses for the busy way things are at the moment, we will get there and she won't forever be sneaking under beds with make-up and creams (I hope). Each time it happens though I am reminded to pack things away properly in either very high or lockable spots to help minimise the chance of it happening again!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Moving On

Friday night I put my glad rags on, blinged it up and headed out for a Girl's only farewell for a friend who is moving away. It was a very, very fun night. Everyone bought a plate to share, there was lots of uninterrupted catch up and talking time, with a few drinks and dances thrown in for good measure, even a disco ball hing in a tree to add some extra bling.

As I made my way home though I started to think about the impact on our town when a large family, or any family really, leaves town. This lovely friend is the mother of four gorgeous kids, her husband has already left to start his new job and she is staying on with the kids til the end of the school year.

The council has lost a good worker, the High School will lose a good teacher, my Muddy Organiser and Muddy Pixie will each lose a classmate and that's not to mention the loss of friends and being able to easily catch up, whether it be at school or preschool pick up, or a quick chat down the street.

Yes, other families move into town, just as much as families move on, but the impact felt is still a great loss. I often wonder if the same impact is felt in large cities and towns when a family moves on, or is it felt more in a small town like ours, where there are less people to fill that gap left behind?

Monday, December 3, 2012

Concert Fever

The last week has passed in a rush of pretty dresses, parties, preschool concerts and ballet concerts. We've had rehearsals and our scary first foray into ballet concert make-up! We've had costume changes and hair spray in abundance to keep the wispy bits of hair in a tight bun.
Through it all we have had lots of fun, lots of photos and lots of proud Muddy Mummy, tear-in-the-eye moments. Each day I wake up and pinch myself in amazement that I have 4 beautiful Muddy Kids and feel like I've blinked and missed the last 6 years, as I now have a little ballerina, who proudly danced on stage, accepted her cup and her encouragement trophy, all without a clingy moment or worried cry!
Both the preschool concert and the ballet concert were hot, hot, hot days, 40 plus degrees, and my lovely Mum (Nana) came and sat through them both, helping me to look after the Muddy Kids and take photos and videos to make sure we don't miss a bit of it! I am now officially exhausted and we have a few weeks of school, birthday parties and Christmas parties still to come before the guy in the big red suit visits, somehow I'm not sure that the next few weeks will pass without a few tantrums from all of us!



Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Bag It

In the downhill run of harvest we strip some feed grain and some pulses to store and sell later in the year. One of the things that has been last to strip is the Triticale, it's a feed grain and we either sell it or use it to feed our own sheep. We have almost run out of silo storage so we have opted to 'Bag It', store it in a 'Silo Bag'.

Effectively a Silo Bag looks like a great big white sausage, it's long and smooth and it fills from a Silo Bag Machine of course!

Because the Triticale is stripped in a different paddock to where we have set up the silo bag the trucks first need to unload into the Chaser Bin, before the Chaser Bin can run alongside the Silo Bag. We Use our Chaser Bin to fill it and the pressure moves the machine along as it fills, until you either run out of grain or the bag is full.

Short term they are are a really effective storage method, long term we spend time keeping the birds away so they don't peck through the bag, chasing the mice and rats away that also like to chew through the bag for a feed and trying to avoid the snakes that come along for a feed on the fat rats and mice! Yes, long-term it has it's down falls, but short term they are very handy!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

A Snippet Here and There

I know I have joked before about being a Harvest Widow, about solo-parenting over the big harvest season. Five and a half weeks on and we're still not quite finished, just under 500acres of Lupins to go and they're not liking the heat!
We gets snippets of time with Muddy Hubby here and there, a quick lie down next to him while he drops in for a sleep for an hour, a quick trip in the truck as Muddy Hubby pulled onto our road just as the bus pulled up after school, a brief chat while he loads or unloads the truck or we help shift gear.
Then on Sunday we had a few uninterrupted hours with Muddy Hubby, we made the most of it, heading into the local pool and playing in the park, getting takeaway Chinese and eating as a family for the first time in weeks. It was lovely, quality time to soak up Muddy Hubby before he headed out to slip in some sheep work.


Sunday, November 18, 2012

The thing about sheep....

There's this thing I have about sheep, sometimes I love them and sometimes they drive me insane, especially when I waste over an hour chasing them round and round a paddock. Today was one of those days, a simple task shifting sheep from one paddock to another to ensure they have feed to eat turned into a frustrating, hair pulling task. The neighbour's lambs had got into our paddock a few weeks ago and he was supposed to come and shift them out, unfortunately he hadn't done it, which left me chasing cheeky rogue lambs round and round trying to get them in the yards. I'd get them altogether and they turn off and split into different groups and all head in different directions. So we'd start again and almost get them there and they'd take off again. I managed to exhaust a few of them and when they lay down I picked them up and put them on the back of the ute.
The others however remained elusive and we will need to go back with reinforcements to get them all in and sorted out with the neighbour. One little fellow though decided he was more human than lamb, and when I cornered him against the fence and jumped out of the ute to catch him, he circled round the ute and jumped in the open driver's door. The Muddy Girls were in hysterics, they didn't know whether to laugh or scream. I laughed and took a photo, because otherwise I think I would have cried and nobody would have believed me! I pulled him out and popped him on the back of the ute with strict instructions for him not to jump off and the Muddy Girls were beside themselves with excitement to tell everyone the story of the lamb that jumped in the ute, not to be forgotten any time soon.
Muddy Pixie is starting to open and shut gates and takes it very seriously.

Cheeky Rogue Lamb wanting a driving lesson.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012


Today the three youngest Muddy Kids and I headed out to one of the Muddy Pixie's Bestie's Birthday Party. It was a Princess themed party, complete with tiaras for all the little princesses, a treasure hunt, mini jumping castle, wand decorating and of course a Dolly Vardan Princess Cake. It was a delightful morning and making sure he didn't miss out Muddy Bubby grabbed his own tiara and wore it in style as he cruised around in the toy car.
I delight in mornings like these, watching my Muddy Kids play with their friends or watching Muddy Bubby off exploring on his own, discovering whatever boys toys he can find, even the smallest finds excite and entertain him. I also get to spend some time with my friends, catching up and watching their little ones grow and change before my eyes.
Happy Birthday to a Gorgeous Four Year Old Princess. Thanks for sharing your birthday with us.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Harvest Widow

It's that time of year again when Muddy Hubby heads off in his Road Train to strip our crop up North and I fly solo in the parenting department until he returns. It's not easy, we just take it each day at a time. Some days are easier than others, and some days just suck and I count the minutes until Muddy Hubby is at least returning close to home to strip the crop, and we get intermittent time with him when he comes home to shower, eat and nap.
It's still one of my favourite times of year despite the solo parenting caper, I think it's the machinery. The size, the noise, the power, I just love watching it all work together, this is what we work toward and wait for each year, and it only lasts a matter of weeks and it's over. We have done bits and pieces of our crop at home and now we work on the couple of thousand acres up north to try and get it done before more rain.
Every year I say the same thing though, I absolutely take my hat off to single parents and parents that solo parent for long periods of time while their hubbies are away with work. Me, I know he will return and I just run a tight ship with routine and discipline to make sure we make it through relatively unscathed, but for those that do it on a permanent or semi-permanent basis I remain in awe. They are made of stronger stuff than me I think. I am pleased that I am a Harvest Widow only once a year.

Friday, November 9, 2012

The Day the Bus got Bogged

Last week our shire council decided that they would 'fix' the curb of the road where my Muddy Kids get on the bus for school and preschool. Long story short they fixed the curb but wrecked the rest of the bus stop where the bus pulls off the highway. It's been a dust bowl and each morning I have watched the tyres start to spin before they grab hold and the bus pulls away. Wednesday night we had 8mm of rain, bot a lot, just enough to wet things lightly. I checked with Muddy Hubby before we left 'Will the bus be right' 'sure no problem, the rain would have done it good, helped seal it, give it traction'. Famous last words.
The Bus got bogged, it reversed to try and get out, it got more bogged. I have never been so Grateful for rain during Harvest, as it meant Muddy Hubby was working at home around the shed and could come and pull the bus out. Yes if it hadn't rained it probably wouldn't have got bogged, but it did, so I am Grateful for my Muddy Hubby and his chains that pulled the bus full of kids out of the bog.
I am also in some respects Grateful the bus got bogged as it might actually mean the council might do something to fix it up a little bit and stop it getting bogged again!
Yes it means that at the moment I have to drive my Muddy Kids an extra 10km to the next bus stop, but today they had fun doing it and looking at the gorgeous fog that was around.

From Sunny Monday Morning

To the Bogged Bus on Thursday morning


Linking up with Maxabella at Village Voices for 52 Weeks of Grateful. Make sure you check it out.