16 April 2009

What I did on my Easter holiday

For my Easter holiday I visited my family, and I left my husband and kids at home. I was away for 3 days.

I went down with my sister J and her husband M and little boy B. He is 3. We stopped in Cooma to play in the park. B likes the swings. He wouldn't let his mum stop pushing him. He kept going down the big slide too.

We drove to Cobargo, to our brother D's house. His daughter R likes to jump on the trampoline and do gymnastics. She is 7.

I got to sit on the front porch and drink tea and knit. It was sunny and nice. The garden was very very green.

I was making a bamboo shrug. It is nearly done now.

This is my brother D with his boat. He has been fixing it up for 3 years. It is nearly ready now. He is good at making things, and he is good at sailing.

We had dinners at our mother's house, which is just around the corner from my brother. It was fun to have all the family together. My mum and her husband have a big garden, and wonderful vegetables and fruit trees.

My step-dad made a wonderful fence, from old pieces of machines, wheels, chains, farm machinery and other things. Every bit of it is different. He welded them all together. People drive past and stop to look all the time.

The gate post is an auger, and rabbit traps are part of the gate (the upside down triangle). The swirly wheel is made from the tines of a hay rake. It is very cool.

On Saturday we all visited our dad and his wife at Bermagui. They have a little house which was the first farmhouse in the area, so it's pretty old and funny. They were just staying for a few days. They rent it out to other people most of the time. We had tea and juice and hot cross buns, but not too many.

My nephew and niece ran around a lot on the lawn, and climbed trees. My sister J and I were the Princess and Queen, and the kids were our servants. It was nice. They washed the windows, did the gardening, and made us scones with jam and cream. I just wish the scones hadn't been made of stones.

I taught my SIL D to knit, and she loved it. She is allergic to wool, so I gave her some bamboo. She kept knitting and knitting! She said it was very relaxing. She wants to make socks one day.

On Sunday the Easter Bilby came, and R and B looked and looked for Easter eggs. They shared them after they found them all. It was nice and fun.

My BIL, Mum, brother, and mum's husband are watching the kids find eggs at D's house.

Then we all went to visit our brother Tim, who died in December 07 and is buried in the Cobargo Cemetary. Little B was a bit confused about him being under the ground. He told Tim that his mummy has a baby in her tummy, which is true.

It was time to come home. We packed up, and all drove down to Bermagui for fish and chips for lunch. We went to the headland to have a nice picnic. It was fun.

It was nice to see the ocean.

My dad showed us how to make swords from Norfolk Pine needles. You can pull the inside bit out of the needles, and you get a sword, and a scabbard. It was cool. I made one too. Dad's wife K showed R how to do fencing.

We saw a seal in the ocean. I wanted it to come onto the rocks, but it stayed in the water.

R was mucking around in the grass, and my dad took this photo. It was funny.

We went to get gelati, which is Italian talking for ice cream. It was super yummy. They make all their ice cream fresh, with fruit from the farmers who live nearby.

I had Cherry Ripple and Peach. I didn't have to share.

The shop sign was funny, too. It used to be a Veterinary Clinic.

Then J, M, B and I drove back home to Canberra in the car.

The End.

All done, Miss. Can I go play now?

07 April 2009


Chilli Jelly!
My new favourite condiment

You know it's a winner when you make two batches in a week!

This is the recipe I use.

Adaptations :
• I don't use jalapeños, but small red Thai chillis. I think you could use any sort of chilli you have to hand, or in the garden.
• I don't use the cranberries; the red capsicum does help get a better colour (having made one batch with and one without).
• I add finely diced seeded chillis to the mixture once it's cooking with sugar etc.

Notes :
• The strained chilli & apple 'juice' may look cloudy when first strained, but it will cook up clear.
• I squeezed the jelly 'bag' quite a lot to get as much liquid out as possible, twisting the neck of the bag to pressure the contents. This gave me more liquid, and the results still cooked up clear.
• It took about 60-75 minutes to gel, when starting with 1.5 litres of 'chilli juice'. A candy thermometer helps a lot, and test frequently when it's close to setting.

Thanks to Kuka for introducing me to this delicious stuff! I adore the jewel-like colour, and the wonderful hot spice hit!

Super scrummy on cheese (especially good with bleu cheese, cream cheese, or Brie!). Wonderful on buttered toast. Nom nom nom!

In booky news, Word Searches For Dummieshas officially gone to press! Thousands of copies are being printed! Oh my! Let's hope there aren't too many mistakes that slipped by all that editing and proofreading .... feeling a bit nervous about that!

05 April 2009

More puppy piccies!

Our puppy is 3 weeks old now. She weighs 380 g (13 oz) and is a very forward and adventurous little pup - she takes off to explore while her sisters and brother are just sniffing the yellow bunny/duck toy thing. The breeder says "she has a mind of her own!"

The pups had their first solid food yesterday - Farex with egg yolk and creamy milk. Our pup climbed right into the dish!

The breeder says that this week they should start staying awake a little longer than just one minute, will begin playing with their siblings - chewing tails etc, and maybe just venture out of their bed on their own.

We should be able to visit her in a couple of weeks :)

We're calling her Petal.

04 April 2009


Well, the fun and relaxation hasn't exactly kicked in as hoped. I have lunched with some friends, which has been truly nice. But my vile FIL has been extra demanding. He's been feeling sick, and keeps calling us up saying he's 'never felt this bad before' and 'I'm really crook (cough) (cough)', and carrying on.

We say : "It sounds like you have a virus, go back to bed, rest, drink plenty of fluids." But oh no, that's not good enough. He keeps pestering and calling, protesting that he's practically dying, until we (ie I, seeing as DH isn't well enough) drive him to the medical centre, where we then wait ages to be seen, only to have a doctor tell him that (you guessed it) he has a virus, go back to bed, rest, and drink plenty of fluids.

Aaaaaaaaaargh!!! TWICE he's done this to me in the past week, this morning waking me at 7am, after I'd had a whole 5 hours sleep ... plus there was a GP appointment I had to take him to last week, and medical appointments (x-rays, blood tests, and so on) in the weeks ahead. Add to this his total self-obsession, dementia, severe complaining-itis, almost-autistic Aspergers, and disregard for anyone else, and it's a recipe for ... high blood pressure, to say the least!

He complains about every single appointment, and every test, accusing all the doctors and medical staff of "only being in it for the money" (which is deeply offensive to everyone who's trying to help him, and ridiculous on so many levels, not the least of which is that he's a veteran and all his medical bills are covered by Veterans' Affairs!). He endlessly complains "I'm sick of all this medical stuff, when is it going to all end?!" and I now just say "When you're dead!" - he's 86 for f***'s sake, what does he bleedin' expect?!

Think I'll go bake some bread, and punch the dough. A lot.

And I'm having to work. I know it's good to be in demand, but honestly guys - I need a break! My syndicator needed Anzac Day puzzles, which I wrote yesterday, and new Gourmet crosswords (next week's job) as Reader's Digest have bought up most of my stock (only about 10 of them) to go into a puzzle booklet (ie just one-off sales, not an ongoing contract). Very happy about the Reader's Digest connection, I really am, but ... !!

Okay, trying to calm down. Some knitting content : The Mitred Baby Jacket, back view - close to completion. Damn, there are a lot of ends to darn in! I'm doing them as I go to minimise the pain at the end ;)

Proof of drought (does this make it drought-proof?) .... our backyard with bare earth for 'lawn'. Veggie garden going so-so.

On the funny side, check out Cock & Bull, my new favourite web comic. I love this strip in particular ...