Tuesday, 30 April 2013

A Cacophony of Crows

Hi All,

And just a quick post to tell you about my bit of egg recycling from yesterday. As I said, two of the eight eggs vanished fast yesterday, but then nothing happened overnight. I felt a bit discouraged at the thought of having to hurl six eggs somewhere far away from the house.

This morning there grew a noise of crows, assembling around the house and hidden in the trees. It's odd - crows are smart, and hide themselves pretty well from view, but they haven't worked out that discussing the latest gossip extremely loudly gives them away. That's why they don't work as spies.

Anyway I left them strictly alone, not even looking towards the eggs. I went inside for breakfast, and when I emerged, lo, six eggs had become one and a half. I wondered why they had left the remnants but was busy. I had to go into Warwick to have a new pair of rib belts fitted to the car, hence the birds had yet more space, though undoubtedly watched by slitty-eyed dogs the other side of the fence.

I returned home at lunchtime to find there was no sign of any eggs, not a fragment of shell, nothing. I was pleased with my wildlife for doing a very neat job!
Thank you, Google images!

My dogs complain they lack attention - I must go.

Oh, I should say that El fixed my sound, or lack thereof, while I was in Warwick, so now my computer works in fantastic techni-sound!

Take care, everyone!


Monday, 29 April 2013

Feral fowls and the jungle awaits!

Hi all, 

And I hope you feel healthy despite the change of season.

Yesterday I decided to venture into the garden to look at the weeds. That was interesting as there were some extra-length beans hiding out in the foliage, together with hordes of  tomatoes...
Some of those beans are about ten inches long...the dogs will like them when steamed, I hope.

This morning I made a discovery too, in the chook run. One of the feathered ladies had found a cozy corner in which to hide eight eggs. Darn it, I had been grumbling, along with everyone else locally, about how few eggs there were (moulting time, when hens look like plucked turkeys), and now here were eight very dubious eggs. I decided against checking them in water (if they float you throw them as far as possible down the paddock, if they sink you can risk eating them) because the shells are also suffering from the stress of moult season. After consideration, I put them in the fenced part of the yard (no dogs allowed) in full view for any hungry birds passing by. It was too late for the magpies, who had already discussed the morning and departed, but there was loud talking amongst the crows. To my disappointment they only took two, so there are still six eggs sitting grubbily in the yard. I hope the birds are hungrier by morning.

This afternoon the Jehovah's Witnesses called around. Oh, good. One lady comes from the Philippines so is familiar with Malabar spinach, and they both eat tomatoes. Excellent. Plastic bags issued and they harvested, also happily taking some basil and seeds. It may not have been their first intention, but I think the free veggies made them happy anyway. More visitors, please?

Have a very good evening/morning/night, won't you?

Cheers - Fliss

Saturday, 27 April 2013

What a week!

Hi, and sorry for the pause yet again. This week (apart from giving up artichokes) has gone thus:

Monday. I had to take the car in for servicing, which entails driving half an hour to Clifton, then waiting in Clifton while the vehicle is hopefully operated on to make her purr along for the next few months. Usually it goes well - one hour and she's mine again and I head for home. Not so good this time around. Firstly I was feeling rather greenish, like slime on wet concrete. Secondly this time around I had to wait for two hours+ to reclaim my burro. This was distinctly not good. The receptionist dropped me off in the middle of town to have a drink at the cafe. She said she'd call when the car was ready. Having had my coffee at the cafe I could no longer tolerate sitting on the hideously uncomfortable chair at the wobbly glass table. Mischief was very excited and happy as, sitting by the footpath, she had the chance to talk to every passerby.I sagged steadily. Finally I picked up all our gear (this has to include a bottle of water and drinking bowl) and started hobbling my way back to the garage. Mischief is the world's worst on the lead, so I was tugged this way and the other until I was so fed up I let her off and just called her to heel constantly. I found all the seats possible on the long walk (don't know the exact distance, but at least two kilometres). Finally I sagged my way into the mechanic's office, where the resident woman took some measure of pity on me and gave me a plastic cup of cold water. Then I sat on their uncomfortable seat until I could sit no more, when I went in search of the car. Praises be - it was ready, but there was no-one around whom I could pay. Eventually I gave up and told the mechanic I just had to go home. My green sliminess must have shown, as he offered to drive me back. He didn't know how long it would take him! I thanked him very much and strapped myself in. He said anxiously was I going to be alright, and I said I felt better supported by the car seat and belt. I departed, and never was gladder to get home. The dogs, who hadn't had their meal, were similarly ecstatic to see me...

A Zelda lookalike!

Tuesday you already know (I gave up artichokes!!), in addition lying around the place a fair bit feeling only as green as a frog - that was an improvement. Wednesday and Thursday I felt similar - everything was an aching, uphill plod. Surely this was not all due to those darned vegetables?

Yesterday, however, was a great improvement, so I went around for an hour and a half with the handyman, David, and not only did we remove the For Sale signs down by the road (plans have to be changed a bit, as I said) but also did some essential organising around the place, to my great satisfaction. I didn't register the pain until David left, when I realised the week's aches were back. Darn. But we did a great job between us of tidying up such things as a long plastic pipe that had to be pulled out of the grass and rolled up. Banjo was a great help with this, though David didn't seem excited to have a dog blissfully tugging the pipe in the opposite direction. Can't please some people!

Today has been a wall-to-wall sneeze, carry round the tissues, day - so that's what has been building. Thank heavens it has finally emerged so I can deal with the monstrous virus. After the morning in bed I swaddled myself in a way that would make the Chinese proud, then took some good herbals. By now I have few sneezes but still the aches, so I shall continue the swelter treatment until tomorrow. Definitely the winter bugs are on the prowl... I shall have to think healthy thoughts for the next few days, but will definitely live!

Keep well, everyone!

Cheers - Fliss.

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

catch-up time for the next while!

Hi again, 

And I don't quite know which end of string to pull! I guess, with the Move. But what have I to tell? Just a lot more frustration. All the bargain houses in the area I looked at moving to, outside Ipswich, have sold, while although places are starting to sell up here the market is still incredibly flaccid one way or the other. The agent who came round the other day has not been in touch since, so maybe he's not as dynamic as he said. I have bad thoughts about hot air mongers that promise roses and leave you with weeds.

Oh, talking of weeds. I gave up on trying to make my stomach happy with Jerusalem artichokes and gave them all away. El found a lovely quote about them, dating back to 1621, a chap called John Goodyer. he said, 'in my judgement, in whatsoever way they be drest and eaten they stir up and cause a filthie loathsome stinking winde with the bodie, thereby causing the belly to bee much bloated and tormented... more fit for swine than men.'

They knew how to express themselves in the 17th century! El is still trying to find recipes which agree with her, but I don't want the suffering. And as to El' suggestion that I feed the artichokes to the dogs?

Sorry - today is definitely what you might call a basic day!!

Smile, and the world smiles with you!

Take care - Fliss

Sunday, 21 April 2013

Back at last!

Well, I've spent the last few days racking my brain as to how I could make Google recognise me on the new computer. I done it!!! Um, did I ever tell you I wasn't very smart technologically???

And it is bedtime for me, so I shall hope to get back in again tomorrow and start to catch up with my mundane news. No earthquakes, bombs or such awful events here as yet, and my deepest sympathies to anyone affected by any of the news headline events at present. 

So, a little picture hopefully to make you smile - I received it in an email from Eve today. And Betty, I made it back as promised, didn't I?

Love to you all - back tomorrow (fingers crossed) -

Sunday, 14 April 2013


Alas, the poor blogger is offline again.

She's just found out why PC's are suposed to have working cooling fans.


Hopefully back soon!

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Harvest of Jerusalem artichokes

With mind made up to sell and move, I decided I would also work on harvesting and replanting, so I can leave the winter crop in for the new owners. At least that's the idea. Hence today I wrestled with my one artichoke plant. It wasn't meant to exist, as last year I became bored with preparing the knobbly tubers, cooking and then finding I hadn't cooked for long enough. I lack patience, as Jerusalem artichokes are delicious when cooked long enough, boiled until the saucepan is tender, approximately. As I steam most of my 'greens' I kept being optimistic about being able to do the same with the artichokes. It doesn't work!

As a result, I yanked up all the artichokes last year. However, clearly one little piece survived, and a happy plant grew. Today it was consigned to the goats after I fought through its root system for the bulk of the tubers (I gave El two large ones yesterday, and there will be all the outliers hiding throughout the bed, still to find).

Here are the results:
Interpreting my clumsy photo, it's about 3/4 of a bucket full. That's a lot of tenderised saucepans!

Changing the subject, irritant of the day: yesterday I bought a bag of plums, only to find that every mortal one has a sticker on it stuck, I swear, with Super Glue. So I have to remove the sticker plus the skin under it so I can wash the plum...that definitely takes away the fun of the exercise!

Well, this is a short mail, but is posted much faster than usual, so we're up to date at present.

Take care, survive whatever the weather!

Cheers - Fliss

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

A 2-eagle day

And it was, a 2-eagle day that is. Actually, I am not sure they were technically eagles. At first I thought they were two rather small wedgetails, but they were behaving differently, flying very low and quartering the area. Amused by the local resident birds going ballistic at the intruders, I watched as the raptors calmly landed in a nearby tree and contemplated the scene.

When I looked up the various eagle-type pictures I came across some for harriers, and the ones most closely matching the visitors' appearance were swamp harriers:
It seems these birds migrate north at the end of summer, then hunting for small mammals, birds or eggs for food. They are fairly common, though not in this area usually. Well, welcome, visitors!

I have been busy this week, contacting new real estate agents (someone must want my lovely place apart from the wildlife, surely?) and the local councils in the areas I might be moving to. As it is essential for my total well-being to keep my pack of dogs I need to know what I have to do to qualify for keeping the them. Of course it is complicated by councils drawing up their own sets of rules, but so long as I buy a rural place again (like who'd want not to be rural, huh?) it does not seem to be a huge drama. It really is time for me to pull my socks up, tidy up the place and find a buyer!

A change of subject: Betty tells me she has tried a number of times to post a comment, but without success. I'm sorry if Mr Google is being difficult! Anyone is welcome to email me at: feralfliss@gmail.com, so try that if all else fails!

May your weather be kind, your gardens grow and everyone have fun -
Cheers - Fliss.

Friday, 5 April 2013

My ears and whiskers, I'm late!

I'm so sorry - I am very late posting this time around. I had the delight of a visit from son Duncan and the three grandchildren, last seen at Christmas so of course all several inches taller. I had schemed that I would ask Rebecca to post a story about her pig, Stella, but it came to nothing. She shied away every time I mentioned it. Right at the end of the visit she asked nervously, 'Um, what IS a blog?' Tut, tut, and she a modern child! Or maybe blogs are now totally off the agenda for wired-up children. Everything is evolving so quickly. Anyway, I have asked her to send me another photo of Stella, and Lachlan said he will organise it, so hopefully I will have a cute picture to post shortly. I've also asked Duncan for a group shot.

I enjoyed myself thoroughly seeing all the family, though I think I become more abrasive as time goes on. At one point Duncan said maybe I was becoming a grumpy old woman. Too late - I have fully graduated, alas, in grumpiness. I think it's partly that I have become so used to my own company (inasmuch as I talk to very few people nowadays, and dogs don't verbalise a heap). It is also hard being deaf as I rarely hear what is said in a group. Non-deaf people often have the attitude that deafness equals stupidity. It's the same attitude that folk sometimes adopt if unfamiliar with handicapped people in wheelchairs. It can make life tricky, and many people are like me and retreat to their own company a lot. I can usually hear when talking direct to someone, or at least work out what they are saying, but it is an effort on both sides. 

No matter, with the internet the world is always at one's feet, while phones and TV can be turned up - though I have reached the point where I think TV subtitles would be good, if I knew how to get them.

Back to the visit, which has left me with a host of fun memories: I had a list a metre long of bits and pieces I needed help with, and the family jumped in and did everything instantly. The large dog kennel was shifted into Banjo's yard (though it half fell apart in the transition due to termites), all the snake repellers were checked and replaced where necessary (I can't hear whether or not they work, so the family checks for me), the frying pan lid was fixed, a limping gate was fixed, my new printer was installed - it was quite amazing - what wonderful people!

Then, out of spite, the alien ants struck back - the shower water was cold for Duncan, while I frantically rang the electrician. The ants had decided to move into the wiring part of the hot water tank. How rude! Anyway, courtesy of the nice and efficient man, the tank was fixed within half an hour by fiddling around with chewed off wires and blocked entry points. Fantastic, but too late for Duncan's ablutions.

 source: Google images

I had bought a Readers Digest game as part of Christmas, which I handed over at this visit. It's an elaborate round-the-world competition and a heap of fun. We spent half of yesterday playing it. Becca is too young for the 12-and-over designation, but played anyway, and won both times with no help from anyone. How humiliating for the rest of us! I must remember we have a demon game player in the family...

Too soon they departed, bearing a pumpkin and some assorted leaves and leaving me with a messy house but happy heart.

Monday, 1 April 2013

and now it's All Fools Day

The examples of April Fool jokes they had on the morning show this morning were uninspiring; maybe everyone was tired after Easter. The best one I recall was the spaghetti tree one many, many years ago, when they had half the Western world convinced that Italian farmers picked spaghetti from trees in harvest season. Well, maybe this year we are all too busy being depressed by politics or the weather...I'll wait and see what the evening news has to offer.

Good Friday had very appropriate weather here, dark and depressing, the clouds hanging low over the trees and the occasional drip of rain. It was almost silent, little traffic venturing out and that going slowly due to the police monitoring speed severely this year. I wandered out with the dogs, even they being quiet in their play, and felt the hush of expectation, the annual mea culpa of the death of Christ. Could it happen again? Yes, in so many guises, and probably televised for everyone to goggle at.

Saturday was just another day, with traffic hastening to Allora for people to buy what they found they were without on Friday. For my part I discovered a large number of outsize beans that had been hiding under leaves. I put them in the fridge to share with son and grands when they come up on Wednesday. A wandering pumpkin vine in the chook run has at last set a fruit (with assistance) right up on top of the wire. I took some baking paper and managed to fold some below the fruit so that it would not be cut in two by the wire - I hope. I have a few late-setting fruits: a couple of the ever-hopeful Moon and Stars watermelon and a melon of some green sort that I maybe will have the chance to identify. I am determined that next year I shall be more methodical in how I plant seed, so I actually know what comes up! Vain hope, as I can't resist sticking seeds in any bare patch of earth that appears, so I keep having a riot of interesting things that I can't actually name.One good thing, though - I gave El one of my Jarrahdale pumpkins harvested against all odds, and she was impressed enough to eat half of it within a few days. Ah, the satisfaction of the farmer!

Yesterday was rain for most of the day, excellent for the ground and water tanks after a dry break. Virginia was not happy, of course, tiptoeing reluctantly out when ordered to and demanding to be dried when we returned to the house.The other dogs ignored the weather as usual, romping and rolling around in play. the chooks are defying the weather and laying well at present. I found that I had a sack of very defective feed from the grain merchant which lead to the birds going off lay and going into moult. I started cooking the feed up every evening, with some wholemeal flour added to stick it all together so the birds could eat it easily. In addition I have been giving them some pet mince each day and the improvement has been amazing, their combs plumping up and turning healthy scarlet while they have been noticeably cheerful.

And that was my very quiet Easter. I hope everyone has had a peaceful weekend and is well.

See you all soon - cheers