Sunday, 29 September 2013

Fuel anyone?

Our once monthly time to fill the car up with fuel.
Living in such a small town, the car is rarely used for big trips anymore. For off road trips, we use the bumpy car, so it had been a few weeks since we'd last needed to fill the tank.
We were slightly shocked.

This, is slightly higher than even we're used to paying up here.
As with anything in WA, the cost of living is relatively high when compared to other states. And it's certainly the reality in this part of the world. Everything is just that little bit more expensive again. Transported in to us from some place far away.
But I can't help but wonder, if it quite justifies an extra 30 cents per litre more than what you would pay in Perth. But hey, what do I know. If you're the only roadhouse on the highway for the next 300 kilometres or so, I guess you can charge whatever you feel!

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Shoots and Leaves

And just like that, we have shoots.
It was just over a week ago that we planted our small vegetable garden, and we are so excited to see lots of little plants growing everywhere. Twice daily watering seems to have overcome the daily 30 degree temperatures, which I thought might have slowed down any new shoots, from sprouting too soon. It might be too soon to say, but it seems our garden, with all the care taken in preparing the soil, is thriving.
Now, if only we'd remembered to place tags near to where we planted each line of seeds. My guess is that these are our cucumber or beans sprouting.
Do any greenthumbs have any answers for me?

Sunday, 22 September 2013

Grace has a Secret

I love a childrens book.
I once toyed very seriously with the idea of being a childrens librarian. And still do.
At primary school, the librarian Mrs West, put new books aside for me as they arrived. One's that she thought I might like to read and enjoy, before anybody else had the chance. She really fostered in me, a love of books that I still have today. (Yes, I was a Librarian teachers pet.) Even without as much time now as I used to have, I still try to find time to read. It's not always daily now, maybe more weekly. I am still bad, for staying up too late, reading until the last chapter, because I can't bring myself to put a book down. Now, as an adult, I do it by the light of a miners light, clipped around my forehead, while my husband is asleep next to me in bed. And, as a child, I sneakily read by the light of the hallway, always later into the night than I was allowed. So in some ways, not much has changed really. Just the addition of a snoring husband.
Reading childrens books, particularly at the end of the day, is one of the most enjoyable moments that I share with my daughters, and I hope that I have passed my joy of reading onto them. I feel I definetly have with our eldest. But time is lacking slightly at the moment, to spend as much time reading with my youngest as I would like to. And I'm finding, she doesn't quite have the patience for books at the moment. Or to sit still long enough to listen. She really is in a movement "phase'' at the moment.
Today, the postman delivered something that I'm always pleased to see arrive at my door. A parcel. Presents for the girls from my family. And inside, amongst other things, a childrens book, "Grace has a secret". One of the most gorgeously illustrated books that I've seen for a long time. With such a lovely storyline and simple message, about a little girl with a big heart, who tries to change the world through a simple act of kindness. It will definetly be a favourite for bedtime stories for us.

Proudly, this book was also written by Prudence Holling & Philippa Ray. Two ladies who live near my small hometown in Tasmania. And as a result, we were lucky enough to receive a signed copy, courtesy of my Mum who is now a stockist. (Don't you just love small towns!) So I can't help but sing it's praises. It is, the first picture book in a series, written to encourage kindness and gratitude. What could be nicer than that?
On my reading pile, I'm afraid there is nothing anywhere close as pretty a book to look at or read.
My brothers partner, suggested to me something on her visit here. A great idea. One that she also is thinking of doing in Hobart. That maybe, I should start a book club while I'm living here. A great way to do non-Mumsy things, and meet new people also. One's that aren't necessarily linked to the girls and their play friends. I'm not sure how such a club would work, or if anybody would be interested. Though I'm hoping it would involve a certain amount of wine being enjoyed at the same time. But it's definetly something worth thinking about.
Not that I need an excuse to read a book.
Is anybody a part of a book club? or has started one themselves?
If your're interested, you can find out more about this lovely book here

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

A Vegetable Garden

I have wanted a small vegetable patch for sometime now.
I planned one for our own home when we were living in Perth, but it soon became obvious that a move to the Pilbara for my husbands’ work was more than likely on the cards. So I let the idea go.
But now, with my veggie patch loving, perma-culture trained, organic farming, bee hive keeping brother is here visiting, our own vegetable garden is now finally a reality.

The climate is less suited, the soil is average. Very average. We managed to find somebody selling sleepers here for the garden bed, and by chance we were also given a trailer load of top soil by a local resident. It wasn't the best top soil, certainly not the kind you might find in Tasmania, where my brother is used to living and working. But it is as good as it can get for here. We've chosen plants (and sunflowers), that can supposedly tolerate full to part sun, and added as many nutrients as we could possible to the soil.

The afternoon was fun, preparing the soil, digging and planting seeds. Both girls loved it. Much soil was consumed by my youngest in the process.

And my eldest planted the seeds, with some assistance.
No dirt allowed on the favourite orange tutu.


 I look forward to picking our first cherry tomatoes, sweet corn and cucumbers to eat. Locally grown produce is not readily available here. Neither is there much organic produce here to choose from. And no farmers markets. And fruit and vegetables can sometimes be a little wilted, before you've even had the chance to take them home. It will definetly be worth the effort to grow some of our own.

It was the last afternoon we had the chance to spend with my brother and his partner. And we spent it creating the vegetable garden. It was the perfect end to their holiday with us. It was followed by a dinner of homemade paella, and a bottle of 13 year old Portuguese red wine I had been babysitting for my brother. It was left here on his last visit to us, which I'd clearly forgotten about. Otherwise, it wouldn't have survived sitting in our wine rack for the last five years. 

Their leaving today, has left me feeling the most down that I have felt since moving here. We are ridiculously far away from everybody I care about. We've made some new friends since being here, but it just doesn't quite feel the same. Not yet anyway. I have a feeling, that it might not ever feel quite right for me here. It's all a bit too far from home. Too hot, too sunny. Everyday.

If nothing else, with or without flourishing vegetable plants, watering the vegetable garden everyday, will allow me to reminisce of my brother and the great afternoon we all spent planting it together.

Friday, 13 September 2013

Three Pools with Brother Jim

We have visitors. Evenings have mostly included laptop sharing, cups of herbal tea and internet sharing to some degree, so I have haven't had the chance to sit down and write.
After travelling through the Kimberley on the Gibb River Road, and volunteering in a whale research program, my brother has made it to our little town. His partner in tow also. They arrived in a miners white ute vehicle, complete with fluoro stripe down the side, which, considering their very strong Greenie inclinations, gave me a laugh. They were acclimatising themselves to our small mining town already. Complete with the usual sounds of almost constant beep beep beeping reversing vehicles, that are heard throughout town. Including from their own hire car.

It has been so nice having family here to visit. My daughters have loved it. And I've enjoyed the break. Having others in and around home most of the day, to play with or distract my two is such a huge help. Both have happily spent as much time as requested by my eldest daughter, jumping on the trampoline, hula hooping, or playing in the cubby.
They easily admit, that their diet makes them the annoying type when it comes to eating out. Gluten free, sugar free, and a desire to only eat ecologically sustainable meats means that they happily offered to cook all dinners during their week long stay with us. And despite the fact that they dirty almost every dish that I own everytime they cook, and leave a small bomb site in my kichen during the process, I quickly agreed that somebody cooking all our meals, even if it had to encompass all of the above things, suited me just fine. The food they have cooked, I will say, has been delicious. Though they really could have served me up almost anything, and I would have been happy with it, such is the treat of being cooked for everynight. And with my daughters first birthday party also occurring during their stay, we have without meaning to, reintroduced them to the delights of sugar. Or in their case, more so my brothers, who has indulged himself the most while here, reminded them of the reasons why not eating sugar was such a good thing for their bodies in the first place.
Fortunately, they are the up with the birds sort, and have fitted in well to my littlest's current phase of crawling and rolling in her sleep throughout the night, banging her head on all sides of the cot in the process, and ending in very early wake ups for all. We have enjoyed a reasonably relaxed and lazy week. Allowing them a chance to recover, write postcards, and rest their sore backs after long 4WD trips and many continuous nights of camping in tents.
Eventually, we summoned the motivation to daytrip out of town, and show them the best bits of living in and around this part of the Pilbara. With a friend of ours also accompanying us, we drove to Three Pools for a picnic lunch and swim.
After getting lost, and finding ourselves driving down a dry creek bed instead of an unsealed gravelled road, we finally found the correct turn off to Three Pools. It was a stunning rock pool, but unfortunately, it didn't suit us to swim in. The girls weren't able to reach the pool safely, and it was very deep in most parts. And the only spot to set up a picnic was where we parked our vehicles, in amongst some very snake friendly looking scrub.

My brother and his partner enjoyed the climb down to the pool, and my daughters did what they do best when in the red dirt. Get themselves dirty.

Sunday, 1 September 2013

Kitchen Cabinet and Annabel Crabb

The final election campaign week......
My vote has been decided for quite some time, so I really haven't taken much of an interest to any of the campaigns, slogans or debates this time around. The most exciting thing to look forward to for me, was the announcement by our local high school (where voting will be held), that they will be selling cooked breakfast and morning tea delights on the day. Yummo.
That was until I heard Annabel Crabb's announcement. Then I was excited. Two spin offs of her show "Kitchen Cabinet" this final election week, with both Tony Abbott and Kevin Rudd separately. It speaks volumes that this is about the most interesting thing that's happened all election campaign. A culinary coup. These shows, will be the only pre election "campaigning" I will watch with anticipation and 100% voluntarily. It has even been alleged that K Rudd delayed a briefing over the Syria security crisis for the recording of the ABC show. A last pre election pitch, to show your true self and positives to the public. And one that will be actually broadcast on free to air TV, and worth watching.
If you're unfamiliar with the format of the show, Annabel "invades the kitchens of Australian politicians, in search of food and psychoanalysis." The federal politician cooks dinner, and Annabel brings desert. In the past, there have been all levels of gourmet, or lack of on the show. Joe Hockey, opposition treasurer, cooked steak on the barbie, accompanied with an iceberg lettuce and tomato salad. While Christine Milne, leader of the greens, made a warm goats cheese tart.

I'm not really interested in what Kevin and Tony have to say. I'm sure, as genuine a conversation as it may be, all questions will still be carefully answered, though hopefully not as scripted as we're used to seeing in the press. And the setting, carefully stage managed.
For me, I personally can't wait to see what Kevin and Tony cook up. Will it be a carefully staged choice of food that reflects themselves, or something that reflects where they live. Perhaps Kevin might cook a dish of Moreton Bay bugs, washed down with a can of XXXX, and desert served with a cup of his own Twining's blend Australian afternoon tea that he created. And Tony a gourmet style salad with fish or seafood, that reflects his Northern Beaches of Sydney lifestyle. Or maybe, they might just be one of those politicians, who's wives type out the recipe in point format. Complete with presliced ingredients, sitting in nice containers, ready to be cooked, in front of the glare of the camera and Annabel's questions.
Who knows, but I can't wait to watch.

Happy voting!
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