Sunday, June 26, 2011

Daffodil´s One Month of Little Changes...

The end came yesterday. One month of walking one hour a day (sometimes counted as the miles that I walk at work) one month without alcohol (apart from 2 glasses of savvie blanc) and no bread. For one whole month, actually 35 days.

So how did I do?

My jeans that were too tight have now been relegated to the local charity shop. My jeans that I could not even do up are my new jeans, and they are also almost too big. My work pants have gone the way of the dodo as they keep slipping down over my hips. My long black leather riding boots fit again...YAY!

Yesterday Cash and I attended Standardbred Riding Group which came armed with it´s own set of firsts for both of us. Riding in public, riding in hoof boots and riding in an indoor arena for a whole hour in the saddle that my horse loves and I hate. He was a legend. He was quite taken with the large mirrors positioned throughout the indoor arena. At one stage he was trying to force his nose behind the mirror to meet the horse in the mirror. Dag. He moved off of the leg beautifully, he executed perfect square halts. For a horse that has not been ridden in almost 5 months he was an absolute star.

What have I learnt from my one month of little deprivations?

I don´t NEED to drink alcohol, I barely missed it and my bank balance was so much healthier, not to mention my liver!

Bread makes me bloat.

Walking is great for the back and legs.

My ankle held up quite nicely with minimal pain experienced.

Riding horses really is enjoyable.

So for my next month? I quite like the idea of short term changes to reach goals. This month I will

1) Have a riding lesson once a week.
2) Ride the fat, hairy yak at least 3 times per be damned.
3) Walk one hour 3-4 times per week.
4) Go another month without bread.
5) Only one glass of wine no more than three times per week and not a vase sized one!

I did not have a photographer present for my public riding lesson on Saturday...they showed up late. I am more than a little peeved as I would have loved a photo of Cash playing with the mirrors.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Another Touch of Frost

Actually these photos prove that I really need to get out in the garden and do some serious weeding.

..this one looks like a little half frozen kiwi

Friday, June 17, 2011

¨I am Paisley¨

Our little boxer girl is Paisley. She is 2 years old and was purchased brand spanking new off of the shelf from a breeder here in Victoria.

For the regular reader there was no doubt a sharp intake of breath regarding Daffodil buying new and unused, but it does happen occasionally!

HH and I love boxer dogs. Paisley was number 4 and Rubin Carter number 5. However, Rubin has had his moment in the blogging sun, now it is Paisley´s turn.

She is a very sweet dog. Very sure of herself and fiercely independent. She is one dog who will see someone walking past and will quite happily abandon us and join them in their jaunt around the block. Everyone around us knows Paisley and very kindly returns her after they have finished their walk. Paisley, unlike Rubin who has lived life on the streets, thinks that the grass is ALWAYS greener on the other side.

If she gets bored she creates her own fun. That usually means seeking out Drake Ramoray, our Duck, and wrestling with him for an hour or so. Or stealing off to find bits of Don and Hamelot fur that have not been picked up by the birds and chowing down that. She is a charming little creature.

She is gentle with children. She stayed with friends of our while we went away on holiday. Her morning ritual involved waking up at five in the morning and playing tug of war with their 2 year old daughter in the hallway using the cord from daddy´s dressing gown.

As a little puppy, once she was awake, she was awake for the day. HH could be often heard in the darkness of early morning bemoaning ¨WARNING!!!! The jack is out of the box...I repeat, the jack is out of the box¨ while unceremoniously having his ears chewed off by a 10 week old puppy. There were no weekend sleep ins there for a while. She is much better these days.

She thinks that the entire world revolves around her and that everyone is there to love her.

She may just be right.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

A Guest Bedroom in a Straw Bale House.

If you ever come to stay with us you will stay in our guest bedroom in our straw bale house. The wall behind the bed is ready for it´s last coat of render. The cross hatching pattern in the earthen render ensures that the final coat of render will adhere to the wall and not delaminate or simply peel off.

As you can imagine, rendering the guest bedroom is low on our list of priorities, so you will just have to live with it until we can bothered to get around to rendering it.

The bed suite was an eBay purchase, like that was a surprise. We paid all of $190 for it with two bed side tables which have been put to use in our bedroom. The tables that feature in this room were picked up at the Bed, Bath and Table factory outlet in Brunswick East...10 bucks a piece....BARGAIN!

The light fitting was also an eBay puchase. Custom made for a client who then purchased a property with very low ceilings....her gain/loss = my gain. $23.00 a piece and I ended up with three of those light fittings. OUTRAGEOUS!!!

So to go with my very cheaply priced straw bale build, I also seek to fit it out and furnish it on the cheap. It just goes with my eBay kitchen and my eBay bathroom

Sunday, June 12, 2011

She Has Gone and Killed the Cardamom!!!!

I cannot believe what I have done. Honestly if I had children and treated them with the same contempt and mindlessness that I have inflicted upon my cardamom plant, Child Services would have stepped in and seized my babies a long time ago.

I left my beautiful cardamom out on a freezing cold night in Central Victoria. The mercury dipped down to at least minus 4 degrees and froze the living daylights out of it. I am so ashamed. I quickly scooted her inside to bask in the warmth of the wintery sun in our lounge room, but I fear the damage may be done.

...and if you look closely you can see the beginnings of one little potato. I have no idea how that got in there! Again, I am not the most observant of parents, not only do I let them freeze to death but I do not keep track of who their little playmates are!

No wonder I don´t have children. I cannot be trusted.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

For Dom - Mister Cee´s Lineage

...nothing fancy pants

I know, no photos!!!!

I will get out this afternoon and grab a couple of the fattus yakkus for you...and maybe even one with a saddle on his back...and who knows, maybe a rider as well.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

I Am Now An Official Member of a Standardbred Riding Group...

Gosh darn it!

Yes, I went out today and lodged paperwork so now Cash and I are official members of the local Standardbred Riding Group.

I would go out and take a photo of their latest horse addition, but he is absolutely putrid with mud and looks less like a potential dressage horse as he does a pure mud pony.

I suppose I should highlight Cash´s racing details.....

Racing Name: Mister Cee. (terrible name!)

Never started, never trialled and never raced.

That was pretty easy!

Now he is ¨Walk the Line¨ stable name Cash, of course! Fifteen years young, Sixteen hands high and as fat as a yak. Hardly auspicious stuff is my boy.

In two weeks time he and I will strut our stuff in our first public ridden appearance and I already need a change of underwear, I am so nervous.

Daffodil Can Run, But She Cannot Hide.

Almost three weeks ago I pledged to myself to walk for an hour every day, to not drink alcohol and not eat bread for a self imposed month of torture to get back into my jeans and to also get back on the horse and attend my first ever riding session at the local Standardbred Riding Group.

Walking - check.

No Alcohol - check minus one day of rolling around under a wagon.

No Bread - check.

Fitting in the jeans again - huge check. I can only just wear them without being charged with public indecency.

Registering for Standardbred Riding Group - non-check

Getting back in the Saddle - non check.

Oh well, I had resigned myself to delaying joining the SRG for ANOTHER month. All well and good. EXCEPT that the Rally Organizer caught me out at my new place of employment. Her Mother-in Law is a resident of the facility that I work at and came in to visit her. The lovely rally organiser had me bailed up against the wall promising that I would register with the riding group by handing in my forms and monies on Thursday at her place of employment AND attend the monthly meeting this Friday night AND attending Standardbred riding group on Saturday the 25th of June.

If I still worked in the Big Smoke this never would have happened, our paths would never have crossed and I would have had another month of procrastination.

That is living and working in little country towns for you.

You think that you might be able to run, but you certainly cannot hide.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

My Red Boy

My red boy is Rubin Carter. We found him online at the RSPCA website. We were taken with his big cheeky grin. We drove down to meet him and were confronted with 30kgs of boisterous, licky boxer. He had been kept solely in his backyard by his previous owner. He was never house trained, walked on lead, or let inside. He was left at home alone for days on end with only a bucket of water and a bucket of dry biscuits. Dogs are pack animals, leave them alone for long enough and they will serach out a pack of their own. He was impounded by the council on numerous occasions. Eventually, his previous owners got fed up with posting his bail that they surrendered him to the RSPCA for rehoming. Apparently nobody wants an escaping boxer. He had no manners and jumped all over us. We fell for him immediately. He was two days from being destroyed as literally nobody wanted him. He was too much of a dog for most people...except for us. To us he was a boxer who needed a home. So we spent almost three hours doing some training with him and introducing him to our other boxer, Paisley and ensuring that they did not want to kill each other. By the end of training session he was walking beautifully on lead next to Paisley and they were more than the gorgeous couple stepping out on the town with their owners. We had lots of family´s wanting to meet with our dogs and sold more than one family on a boxer for a suitable family dog.

Funnily enough, Rubin is no longer an escaping boxer. He never leaves our sight when we are out and about. He never runs off of our property. He loves being with us. When we go out he simply falls asleep on our bed with Paisley. Neither of them chew things or play tug or war with anything. They are both confident that we will return to them...and they are right. So they sleep soundly knowing that we will return to them.

He is a changed boxer. He is included. He sleeps in our bedroom with his sister. He wakes up when we wake up. He falls asleep when we go to bed. He never runs away as he knows that the grass is not greener on the other side. He plays with Paisley and he plays with other dogs. For a boxer who has led a very sheltered and excluded life, he now has the best of every world. We love our red boxer and cannot imagine life without him.

Please do not discount adopting an older dog from a rescue shelter. All of these animals deserve a second chance, but please bear in mind that they may come with some excess baggage. We have found Rubin to be the most loyal companion. The rescue dog may need some extra training and extra attention, but it is all worth it in the end. Rubin is a firmly established part of our family.

Rubin Carter, we love you.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Did Someone Get the Number of That Wagon.....

I have wagon wheel tracks across my face....they must have come about when I fell off the wagon and it ran over me.

Two glasses of a SPECTACULAR Sauvignon Blanc and I am sitting here posting and feeling more than a little tipsy. I blame work. Running me into the ground and making me feel exhaustimatated and losing my ability to think clearly and make sensible decisions.

We went out for dinner. Delish!!!! Normally we would eat at home, but both HH and I were absolutely pooped. We have not been out for dinner for almost 3 months and we thought...STUFF IT!!! Lets go. So we did, and I had one of glass of wine and then another and then, wait for it, I had a profiterole for dessert! I have never had a profiterole before. It was nice, but very sweet. now I must run after that blasted wagon and get back on it. Thank goodness I allowed 36 days for my month of little changes, although I am thinking that maybe I should start all over again, but there will be no beating up of oneself, there is no guilt, there is no BAD, BAD DAFFODIL. I enjoyed myself and now I am back on track for the rest of the month.

At least I have been keeping on top of the walking and the bread.....

although I am beating myself up over not taking photos of my delish indulgence to share with you!

I had pork sirloin, nice but not as good as Don and Hamelot, on cauliflower puree with steamed green beans and grilled blood sausage. (Dom and Bryce, was that suitably Primal?) Dessert was profiteroles with chocolate sauce and home made vanilla ice cream and berry coulis shared by two. (Definitely NOT Primal!)

Not World Wide Web

Only a spiders web in my orchard. Does this mean I am now posting with photos?

Fear not, blog reading public, I shalt not go overboard with pictorial inserts which may unduly distract from my enthusiastic verbosity.

I was just having fun with my little camera.

I have no eye, no idea and my thumb is missing from this shot.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

When Buying Meat....

We are lucky in that our little town we have a butcher who actively advertises that they sell locally raised meat that is raised in premium free range conditions. We also have a farm set up that also advertises cows and sheep that are kept on pasture. They slaughter and butcher for you and you can purchase a full, half or quarter of a cow or sheep. You can visit their farm and view the living conditions that livestock live on.

So, check out your local butcher, or even talk to a farmer who may sell you a cow for meat and suggest a mobile butcher who will shoot and butcher the cow for you to pop into your freezer.

If you have a small backyard, you could even look at raising chickens of ducks for your meat consumption. Some people keep rabbits for this purpose.

When you raise your animals you have full control over their living environment. You know exactly what your animals are eating and ultimately what you will be eating. If you are nervous of killing and butchering your own meat, enlist the help of a butcher. They can show you exactly how to quickly and painlessly kill your animals and to cut them down into traditional cuts and portions.

My pigs were shot. They stood at the gate with their snouts upturned waiting for their food bucket. They literally had no idea what happened. There was no stress, no torture and very little noise. They died the ultimate stress free death. Isn´t every living thing entitled to that?

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

One Little Lime

We hosted Christmas last year and requested that we have a present free Christmas. One set of friends was very naughty and presented us with a lime tree. Don´t try and tell me that rules are meant to be broken!

Anyhoo, their lovely and very thoughtful present was duly potted and for the last six months has been hauled around the various microclimes on our property to ensure its first year survival rate in blustery Central Victoria.

The hard slog has paid off with the lime tree sporting one lovely little lime that has survived the punishing winds, the deep frosts and the flaying sun. Onya little lime tree.

...and may you be the first of many more to come.

My Eyes are Not as Wide Open as I Thought They Were....

Four Corners, Monday Night - A Bloody Business. Watch it. It is horrendous and gut-wrenching.

If you do not understand how to slaughter an animal humanely, even after years of supposed education paid for by the industry that is supplying you with the animals to kill in the first place then you and that industry are both blindly stupid, negligent and promote animal cruelty and torture. How long would have these barbaric practices continued without the public knowing, how long was this going to continue on without any improvements in the end conditions for future animals?

If Australia cuts the ties for supplying Indonesia and other countries with live animal exports and deplorable killing conditions, then other countries will step in to fill the void (make the money). Then, as big business is prone to do, will not only export and kill their animals inhumanely, but raise, feed and transport those animals inhumanely as well. All to make money. Will we be as upset if those animals are not Australian cows?

Food is business.

If you do not grow and raise your own produce then you are subject to big business and its practices. As soon as there is money to be made, corners will be cut and animals will always be the ones to suffer.

As a developed nation, Australians are very good at not even being aware that we have our heads in the sand. Ask no questions and you will be told no lies. As long as the money is rolling in then we are happy little campers. We love our booming economy.

The killing conditions have been going on for years in Indonesia despite supposed multiple attempts at educating the staff at abattoirs on how to kill humanely. Someone has not been doing their job properly and it is only when the Australian public are brought to awareness by shocking video footage that we start yelling our outrage. Shame on us Australia. You are happy to reap the profits but turn a blind eye to what happens to animals after they leave our shores.

...and don´t get me started on slow racehorses or those who are now to old to race and win money lest I disturb your planning for your pretty little fascinator and outfit for the Melbourne Spring racing carnival..

or slow greyhounds..

or slow harness racing horses...

or the continuation of caged chickens so that you can have your omelette for breakfast...

or how pigs are kept so that you can eat your bacon...

or feedlot fed cattle in the USA..

or Premarin Mares (Pregnant Mare Urine) kept pregnant AND in a feedlot so that you can have your female hormones as ¨menopause is a disease¨. The foals born are then either retained and put into the ¨pee line¨ or fattened up and sent to slaughter for horse meat which is then shipped to overseas markets...

So sit on your leather sofa with your sheepskin ugg boots on smugly confident that your yelling outrage will make a difference. How do you reconcile your previous 10 or so years of existence while millions of other cows and livestock died in agony?

This is globalisation, baby.

Who do we take a stand against?

Live animal exporters?

Incompetent education practices and educators?

Meat eaters?

Foreign slaughterhouses?

Cattle Farmers who engage in exporting Australian beef to overseas markets rather than feeding and employing in their own backyard?

The Australian Tax Department for making all transport costs fully tax deductible meaning that we can fling our produce all over the world without having to be mindful of transport costs and end stage living and killing conditions?


Readers of my blog will already know my stance on meat consumption.

You want to eat meat? Raise it and kill it yourself. OR know where your cow is living and what it is eating and who slaughters it. Familiarise yourself on what you are feeding your family. Don´t dumb it down. ¨Pork¨ is dead pig. ¨Beef¨ is dead cow. These are animals that lived their lives to be killed for our consumption. The least we can do is advocate for their entitlement for optimum living conditions, a quick and a quick painless death.

I actually do not know the answer for the issues raised by Four Corners, but it disgusting that it has been going on for so long unchecked, unregulated, unknown (to the international public) and with those animals not having a voice to advocate for their rights.

I am guilty of ignorance about the plight of beef cattle in Indonesia, and that makes me sick to my stomach. How long before the furore dies down and we forget about the plight of future cows whose destiny lies in these slaughterhouses regardless of their origin? How long will it be before we return to putting our heads back in the sand and be completely unaware that we have done so?

.....and what about all of the other animals that exist and die in suffering all around the world to feed the human population? Do we pick and choose our causes?

If you were put off of my post about slaughtering my two little pigs, then watch the video and then re-read it. My little pigs had a great life and quick death. They suffered no torture and no fear.

I though my eyes were wide open, after A Bloody Business, they are not as wide open as I thought.

A Little Bit of Frost

Well, it was cold in Victoria overnight. My car had iced shut by 8.30pm last night.

When I got home this morning my property was a sea of frost. So out came my new little camera and I got a little bit shutterbug happy.

My little camera may be lacking a huge lens and a knowledgeable eye, but for a little point and shoot, she is a fun little camera.

After this ¨photo shoot¨ my poor little tootsies were just about snap frozen so I hightailed it inside and sought refuge in my warm bed to catch some much needed sleep after a night shift.

Winter has certainly made her presence felt!