Three Billy Goats Gruff

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Three Billy Goats Gruff come to eat our stuff

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Oh hai! Extreme close up goat style.

It seems that hardly a day passes here without some sort of odd occurrence. Today that occurrence was once again animal related. We had a surprise visit from three goats. We know who owns them and where they live but there’s still something strange about gazing through your kitchen window and suddenly there are goats……but hold on, we don’t own any goats. According to legend, these three goats used to live on our land before being given away to a neighbour about 12 acres away. Occasionally they will wander back to see whats happening. To see if there is anything new they can destroy. Today they met Felix, one of our cats. It was a surprisingly uneventful scenario. A cat/goat bi-species kiss was shared then both parties went back about their business….the goats business being eating our plants. Eventually they will wander back home again.

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Felix and goat lock eyes. Both are intrigued

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Closer, closer…..

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Give us a kiss! Muah! Inter-species affection

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Thankfully we still haven’t started our vegie patch. Next season this area will be goat fort knox

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No, I didn’t  want that plant anyway. Thanks for asking me, goat.

When a day conspires to drive you mad

Wake up to cat pooh in the bath again….pooh. Wake up to two sick and cranky four year olds…pooh. Wake up sick myself….pooh. 20 minutes later the cat pisses on the bathroom floor…..oh pooh. And even more pooh is the pooh it leaves in the bathtub 10 minutes after that…..again, what fresh pooh is this? Cue the mopping of cat pee floors and medicating of sick peoples. Tv is on all day and I feel pooh about that.  My patience is truly running thin…and I feel pooh about that. Thankfully my husband can recognise when the pooh is about to hit the fan and sends me for a nap….which is awesome and the first not pooh thing to happen today.

Homemade pizza base is made for dinner and placed in a cling wrapped bowl infront of our fireplace to rise. Instructions are given to leave it be and watch it grow. I turn my back and master 4 has gouged a massive hole in the wrap and is currently hand moulding our pizza dough like its a plasticine project….pooh. Deep breaths, deep breaths…..

Instead of strangling master 4, the dough gets re-wrapped, placed out of reach and a 5 minute sanity break walk is taken.

Seeing this guy always makes the heart rate calm down. He is definitely not pooh.

Looking at the sunset, our farm and beautiful views all serve to calm down the rattled nerves. Ahhhh, serenity now. This is not pooh either

 

…..AHHH POOH! In my 5 minute absence my partially drunk coffee has been turned into a lolly river, the wooden floors have been “washed” (i.e. flooded with cold water), the house looks like a bomb has hit, and the pizza dough has NOT risen.

I look at my husband and try not to cry, “So, takeaway pizza then?”……

 

 

 

 

 

Mushrooms, mushrooms…..a badger……

Rain, rain, rain, and oh, here, have some more rain why don’t you. So, as you can tell we have had quite a bucket load of rain lately. Its been enough to fill our dam, make the ducks extremely happy, and create a fantastically damp environment for all things fungussy to grow.

In a rare days break from the rain the kids and I set off on a mushroom hunt. They have become so adept at spotting a shroom from 20 feet away they both now claim to have “mushroom eyes” and be mushroom experts. I myself make no such claims. Mostly our hunt reminded me of this song which will now be like an earwig in my brain for days. Here, let me share it with you. Once that is in your head take a peek at the awesome fungi found on our property.

Badger, badger…….

Digging for treasures

We have recently moved to a 20 acre property in North East Tasmania. Farm,or more correctly hobby farm, life is suiting us well so far. Another recent occurence was our twins 4th birthday. Our son was lucky enough to recieve an awesome pirate outfit. Despite us not being within 30 minutes of the ocean and therefore pirateering shenanigans, his outfit and their current pirate/treasure obsession has brought closer to reality a part of our farm life and the history of our land. How so you might ask…….because there’s buried treasure on our land! I kid you not.

A few months ago, not long after we had moved in, I was taking a solo wander around our pastures, strolling along our riverside, really soaking everything in and letting my imagination run wild with the awesomeness of our new situation. I glanced down and saw something gleaming in the sunlight, something shiny half embedded into a grass covered mound of dirt. Not keen at this stage to get my hands dirty I grab a handy stick and poke around. I almost peed my pants in excitement when this little beauty of a bottle emerged from the riverside muck…….

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Being in an imaginative state my mind ran just a bit wild. Bushrangers! Bushrangers had once been on our land and made a camp by our riverside. This theory was only enforced by my next find,this ye olde beer bottle….

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Actually turns out not to be a beer bottle but instead a Lockett sauce bottle

I rushed home to show my treasures to my three fellow potential archaeologists.

My husband soon put a factual spin on my find. Unfortunately my imagination, while it made an intetesting story, was wrong.

So, apparently there was an older house on our land, further towards the mountain base. This house burnt down but the concrete foundation is still there. People from around this era (1940s) didnt have garbage collection. Instead they made their own garbage mounds at various locations around their property. Of course many years later the food stuffs have decomposed, leaving the unbiodegradable goods under the earth.

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Our current dig site. About 6 feet wide and 3 feet deep.

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The view of where I first found treasure. If you look carefully you can see some overgrown mounds. Potential excavation sites

The next day the kids (my keen treasure discovering pirates) and myself (now armed with gloves and digging implements) set forth to excavate more historical artefacts. Fast forward to four months later and we still go digging for treasure about once a week and have unearthed some real beautiful finds.

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My favourites all displayed together.

They may not be worth much (that I know of) but the connection they give us to the previous land owners,the history of our land, and the shared excitement we have of finding our own treasure, is priceless.

Some of our finds close up:

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A gorgeous glass Pecks jar.

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“The Tasmanian Eucalyptus Oil Compy. Hobart. Platypus Brand. Blue Gum Oil.

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“Property of Chamberlains Limited Sydney N.SW.” A medicine bottle,from my research.

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Cute little IXL glass bottle.

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“Davenport Olive Oil. This bottle is the property of G.F. Cleland & Sons LTD Adelaide”.

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Its not all glass bottles….here’s a leather shoe

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And a handmade nail.

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Our first coloured glass find (besides beer bottles). Unfortunately its smashed to smithereens otherwise it would have been a lovely green serving plate. Perhaps carnival glass?

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Interesting piece of a jug top.

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Super proud of his finds.

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Its not all just about digging. There’s plenty of time for jumping in puddles too. Fun is the name of our game 🙂

Discovering the gleam beneath the tarnish

Home decorating has never been one of my fortes, most of our furniture until now has been pre-loved by family or friends, or bought cheap, then broken with a few years of use. Now that we have moved to a place (geographically and financially) where I can start fresh and purchase home goodies on a whim we’ve had a few lovely items come into our home.

One of these items is this –

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A vintage hand beaten brass fire screen featuring two lovely “hunting dogs”.

I had spotted it a few times for sale at a shop and finally decided that it must be ours. We recently lost our two ten year old dogs. I loved them immensely and think they would have enjoyed sitting in front of the warm fire place during winter. Now these two brass dogs will be their shiny reminders, taking their place in front of the burning embers.

Shiny reminders now, but not so when they first came home. This is what they looked like –

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Tarnish galore! Today I broke out the Brasso, grabbed some rags and sacrificed a toothbrush in the goal of finding the gleam beneath the tarnish.

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A messy work in progress.

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The two intrepid hunters.

Approximately three hours later, this is the result.

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A mostly shiny fire screen. I’m sure that with some more elbow grease the remaining gumpfh would be buffed away to reveal a perfect 100% brassy shine, but I kind of like it with a bit of tarnish. Like most things in life, its not perfect, and that’s what gives it its character.

 

  • Hand beaten brass “Hunting dogs” fire screen. Bought from Junk St. Store, Invermay, Tasmania, for $95.00.

 

 

 

 

 

Twin-tastic. Awesome things about having twins.

Like every mum I love love love (times infinity) my babies. Even though I might struggle slightly at times, as I am sure every new mum does, they are truly the light of my life and now that I have them I would not ever want to be without them. These are a few of my favourite things (about twins);

  • There is always a baby wanting a hug, you can never feel unneeded or unwanted when there are four eager hands ready to clasp around your waist.

  • Going into their room of a morning to delighted choruses of “Mum Mum Mum” in stereo, and two happy chappies bouncing up and down in their cots ready to start their day.

  • Watching them develop together. It is amazing to watch their different personalities evolve as completely different people, yet from the same womb at the same time.

  • Watching their skills develop at different rates, they both say different words, despite having been exposed to the same vocabularies, and have their own particular favourite toys and books.

  • They go through milestones at the same time. Teething – done. Toilet training – done. Terrible twos – done. Or will be done when we get to that point <fingers crossed>.

  • Seeing them interact more and more, changing from parallel play to actually playing together.

  • Listening to them chatter away together in their own baby babble language.

  • Always having something to do, there is never ever a dull moment, for me, or for them.

  • Random strangers will stop you and compliment you on your beautiful babies. Even these days when multiple births are not particularly uncommon, twins still fascinate people.

  • They will always have someone to play with, and hopefully remain close for life.

  • Its an awesome feeling to know that these two people were together from pretty much their first moments of conception, and grew together within me. The human body is an amazing thing.

  • Watching the learn from each other (usually devious things ; )). They encourage each other and give each other confidence.

  • Through having multiples we have met some lovely people we wouldn’t have otherwise and now feel like part of a special community.

  • They have made me realise that I am stronger than I think and can handle a lot more than previously thought. So can my marriage for that matter.

  • They are just so damn cute!

 All in all twinfancy is a pretty awesome thing and all the difficulties seem like nothing when compared to two times the happiness. (Just remind me of this next time one of them has a meltdown).

Things you probably should not say to this twin mum, and alternatives you could try.

These are all things I have had said to me in the past 16 months. And the reasons why its just not cool.

“Geez you look tired” – tired is not abnormal, it is a constant state of being for me. It just is. There’s no need to point out the grey eye bags…I’m aware they are there and that they are massive. Fanks.

“You don’t seem like you have PND” – Should I be a constant crying mess, unable to do anything? Happy fronts are easy to put on and only few people see what happens behind closed doors, and you cannot, more importantly, see what’s happening inside someone else’s brain. BTW, what does PND “look” like anyway? This in itself is a *whole* other blog post.

“Having one baby is just as hard as having twins” – Bwahahahahahahahahahahaha…and did I mention bwahahahahahahahahahahaha. No, just no. That is like me saying having twins is just the same as having triplets. I am pretty sure that triplet mum would want to punch me too. I had ‘one’ baby at home for 6 weeks before her twin joined us, and although 6 weeks is not a huge amount of time by jeesus I could tell the difference when there were eventually two. Yes, I am certain there are singleton babies that are as demanding as twins but the logistics are much simpler.

“Having kids close together is the same as twins” – Again, no, just no. Don’t make me want to punch you again.

“Are they “natural”?- Yes, they are made from flesh and blood, not plastic. i.e. I know what you are getting at and its none of your business Mr or Mrs Nosey-Parker.

“Double trouble” – Not really, actually, they’re great kids.

 

Things you could try saying instead:

“Your kids look like happy babies” – Yes, they are, thanks.

“You’re doing a great job” – Thanks again. Actually, I am sure every Mum, regardless of how many kids they have, would like to hear this. Say this one more often!!

Any other twin mums have something to add to the list?

Don’t Judge a Rat by its Cover

Animals, family pets in particular, have always played a big part in my life. When I was little we always had one pet or two pets running around and destroying the couches, usually the typical run of the mill animal like cats and birds and dogs. I loved all those animals as members of my family and today firmly believe that kids who grow up caring for animals become more compassionate adults than those who don’t.

When I was about 8 years old my family and I went on a camping trip way out west (were the rain don’t fall) and I ended up returning home with a new pet, my first foray into the exotic – a baby Eastern Longneck Turtle. Being young and not really knowing how to take care of Mr. Yertle he didn’t last particularly long, and unfortunately for him his two hour sojourn behind the caravan fridge didn’t help his health at all either. But he was awesome and he was unique.

My love of animals extended further and I enrolled in a TAFE course on Animal Attending. I did my work experience at a local pet shop while my parents were away for a few weeks holiday. Big mistake, Mum and Dad. When they returned our family had grown and lets just say they were not very happy with these new additions. One in particular got banished to the garage until he proved himself to be as irresistible as I knew he was…..he was Barnaby, the rat. Nobody believes me when I tell them that rats are just like miniature dogs. People, we have come to realise, are rattist. “Eeeuuuuuuwwww, look at that scaly tail!”…”Eeeeuuuuuwwwww, does it have the plague?”….”Eeeeeuuuw, aren’t you afraid it will eat your face off while you sleep?”…rattist I says. If only people would take the time to look deep into their beady eyes and see the love within. Truly, its just gorgeous how they get excited when you come home and jump up and down with joy, the way they dopely try to pull a sheet of newspaper with their teeth while simultaneously standing on it, and the way they scoop out frozen peas from a bowl of water with their tiny hands and delicately nibble away. They are also useful for pest control and enjoy nothing better than chomping saisfactorily on a crunchy Cockroach. We used to take our rats for walks, sitting on our shoulders. They loved it, basking in the sun. Can’t really say the same for the people that crossed the road to avoid walking past us. Rattists.

Would *I* give you the plague?

Would *I* give you the plague?

The other pet my parents returned home to was about 50 axolotl eggs. Better known as Mexican Walking Fish. These eggs hatched into tiny tadpoles who we lovingly fed with brine shrimp, otherwise known as Sea Monkeys. We sold a bunch that survived and ended up keeping five for ourselves, each a different colour. They grew to be massive and lived with us for six years before passing away. They survived through three rounds of rats and a spree of guinea pigs too. Sturdy buggers they are. They can even regrow limbs if they get chewed off, which did happen on occasion. I wouldn’t ever keep axolotls again, or any fish for that matter, too much work. But if our kids ever utter the words “Can we please have a rat?” we’ll be jumping for joy ourselves.

Gorgeous rat pic courtesy of ‘The Dapper Rat: Showing the world just how charming rats are!’. Amen to that.

 

A shock for the good

I recently had to go through a Medical for a job I had applied for. All pretty standard stuff: wee in this cup; put on this blood pressure cuff; stand on these scales……woah! Wait a minute! You want me to what?!? <insert look of horror on my face>.

Before I had the twins I lost 40 kilos. It took me two years but I did it, and actually enjoyed the process. I was a healthy eating, exercising machine. Breastfeeding the twins took a heck of a lot of energy, and I slipped back into old bigger me eating habits because I knew the breastfeeding was preventing me from putting on fat. Then one day I stopped breastfeeding yet continued eating in the same fashion. Fast-forward 12 months and here you have me, standing before a scale in a DR’s room holding my breath and hoping for the best. 

20 kilos!!! I had put on 20 kilos in 12 months!!! Who does that?!?! Me, obviously.

So, I was a little bit shocked by that, to say the least. I knew I had completely fallen into bad habits, healthy eating had gone out the window. I have plenty of excuses as to why I had slackened off, all quite reasonable ones. But I hate making excuses as to why I am fat. In the end, when you take away medical issues, it comes down to a choice. I have chosen to eat poorly (although I still exercise 5 days a week), and the consequence of that is weight gain. Simple. Sometimes it takes a shock like that to wake you up again and make the effort to change.

My husband and I both have what you could call a bad relationship with food. This is something we don’t ever want our kids to have. We don’t want them to be teased for being the fat kid at school. We want them to enjoy exercise and eating healthy foods and understand the reasons behind it. Hence, our two have had a good introduction to solid food…no processed sugar until they were one, despite food pushers trying to make us give them sweets, lots of veges, fruits, good carbs and a variation of proteins. You could never tell by looking at them now that they were born so early and so tiny and sick. They are the pictures of good health.

But lately, after this mega weight gain sunk into my brain, I realised that while I was slackening off in my own diet, theirs was also being affected. Instead of veges and protein for lunch they were having sandwiches more often, on soy and linseed bread, but still. Instead of a once a month or two treat of chicken nuggets with chips there were more dinners of this type sneaking in. Carbs were increasing and veges decreasing.

I don’t like that this has been happening. Our philosophy is that while the babies don’t have a voice of their own we are that voice, and its up to us to set them on the right path for a good life, food playing a part in that. So, today I did a bit of baking, a Zucchini, Carrot and Broccoli slice, an alternative to a sandwich for their lunch.

By the looks of things it is a hit.

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Perfect finger food for tiny hands.

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Om Nom Delicious Nom

So, here’s to more lunches of the nutritious type, for them, and for me.

 

Zucchini, Carrot & Broccoli Slice Recipe

Ingredients
5 eggs
1 cup self raising flour, sifted
2 large zucchinis, grated
1 large carrot, grated
120g broccoli, finely chopped
1 large white onion, finely chopped
1 cup grated cheese
60ml vegetable oil

Method
Preheat oven to 170
Lightly spray cupcake pattys
Or
Grease 30 x 20 baking dish

Beat eggs in a large bowl
Add the flour and beat until smooth
Then add zucchini, carrot, broccoli, onion, cheese and oil and stir to combine.
Pour into prepared cupcake pattys or pan
Bake pattys for 22 mins
Or
Bake dish for 45 mins
Remove from oven and leave it to set for 5mins before serving

Also great served cold

You can mix up the veges by using corn, peas, ham instead roughly 400g of any vege

Enjoy!

 

 

 

The Light of Our Lives – Part 5

I always thought that having a trouble-free pregnancy, giving birth the way you planned, and those first precious moments of bonding when the baby is placed on your chest, were rights that every woman had. Experiences that I would have. Instead, I did not get to hold my daughter for five days, and my son for an agonising 26 days. My first Mother’s Day, and my 31st birthday, were spent by their humidicribs, watching them struggle to breathe. I clearly remember the haunting wails of a mother whose four-day-old son had to be taken off life support to pass away, and the prayers of another mother, whose little daughter ended up dying in the cot next to Sebastian. These are memories that will stay with me for a lifetime; things that no-one should have to ever have to go through, or bear witness to.

The loss of these dreams, of how you thought motherhood would be, should be mourned, as they are very significant losses. However, I have come to the realisation that that’s how life goes, things do not always go to plan, despite the best intentions. There is no way around it, and you just have to deal with it as best you can. That does not mean that it will be easy, but in the end things will get better, the sun will come out again and you will once again gain some semblance of normal. Use these experiences in your life to inspire you, to be stronger, to be empowered.

•••

Today, Sebastian and Lily are exceptionally happy, bright, perfect 14-month-olds. Their health, growth and development check-ups are on-going, but so far they are meeting all their milestones and we have only had one overnight hospital stay due to illness. They are the light of our lives and we cannot imagine ever being without them.

I believe that being born so early has given our children a strength and determination they might otherwise not have had. They have been through more in their short lives than most people could even imagine, and with this brings a sort of power and peaceful spirit. For myself and my husband I believe that we are stronger now as a couple, and more in love, than we ever have been. We both had moments of complete despair and emotional and mental collapse during those months but I think that sometimes you have to breakdown completely to be able to rebuild again, and that is what we have done.

Happy family.

Happy family.