Quality time.

I always try and pass on the things I have learnt, important skills, and other things that might come in handy through life’s journey. Today, Jack and I painted the front of the shed. I taught him the right way, to get the paint even, no drips, nice and neat. And he did a fantastic job. We Also did some more sealing work around the back of the shed, getting it ready to paint as well, and some gardening. He just loved seeing how to do all theses things.

For a reward for his hard work, and bloody great work too, it turned out really good, I took him down to Babinda Boulders for a swim this afternoon. Mum was tired, so it was just me and Jack. We had a good drive down there, and spent about an hour and a half in the icy cool water, and it was so refreshing after sweating our backsides off in the morning.

We stopped in at the local supermarket for a treat after the swim, and then did a bit of back road driving on the way home, checking out some of the side roads on the way back. It was worthwhile, as we think we have found another great swimming hole a lot closer to home !!

Tomorrow, weather permitting, I am going to try and get one of the sides of the shed ready to paint, and if lucky, get it painted too. I am trying to get it sorted, especially the sealing it up to stop the leaks bit, because I am going to line the inside with insulation and boards, and turn it into my art studio. I have so wanted a specific space just for painting for so long, and now the opportunity is here. It may not be ready until mid May, as the shed dad is getting built is delayed, yet again, and I can’t do the lining work until his stuff is out of the old shed and in the new one. I can almost see it now, but not quite yet.

I am also looking at some windows, I need to replace the window in the back of the shed with a decent one, as the current one is just a perspex one with plastic frame, and is very crazed and stained, so a bit bigger, glass and aluminium framed one, is really what I want to put in. I have been looking at them at the Recycle Shop, and they are a real good price, but really don’t want to get one just yet until I can virtually just put it straight in, as I don’t want a glass window just sitting around on the off chance that it might get broken before it gets put in. I need a decent window, not only for light, but airflow, it is just a shed, so I need to be able to get it cool enough to sit and work in.

Last night, my one remaining cherry tomato plant was destroyed by the neighbours cats, they snapped it clean off in a fight, and knocked over several pots which have small desert roses in them. Luckily they survived, but unfortunately, the tomato plant is beyond saving. It really sucks, because of the 4 I had growing, 3 succumbed to wet weather and crushing heat early on, it survived, then went really ill as it first flowered, so I did a bit of work on it and managed to resurrect it, carefully cutting it back to help it get strength, and it came back really beautifully, started flowering  again a couple of days ago, and was doing very well, and then the cats snap it off.

I am actually pretty pissed off about it. It is actually illegal for people to leave their cats out at night around here, and our neighbour has three of them that they feed outside, never let inside, and just let them kill everything in sight. I am getting some plants to get rid of them from our yard, apparently they don’t like Coleus plants, so we are going to underplant all the trees around the boundary of our property with them. Plus, we are keeping all the citrus rinds and grating them up to scatter around, as apparently cats hate that too. If it doesn’t work, I will be getting a trap, and if they stray into it, they will be going to the pound. I really don’t like animals that obliterate native wildlife, like cats do, and the fact they are coming in and wrecking the garden irks me as well.

Anyhow, I must get off to bed, it’s late once again, and I really need to get some rest, I have been over doing it for days, and it is really taking it’s toll.

Andy.

 

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School Holidays and other adventures

It seems the craziness of life just wants to keep me hurtling forward. No rest for the wicked they say, but surely I haven’t been that wicked.

Nothing ever stops. There just doesn’t seem to be a moment where I am just in a zone of peace and quiet, without a care in the world. There is always something going on.

So, this first week of the school holidays has flown by. I just don’t know where it has gone. It’s just full on crazy. We had plans for 2 outings a week during the holidays, but this week it’s been one. We had a really wonderful day trip to Lake Barrine, which is just up the road on the Atherton Tablelands. It was really quite a remarkable place. It is a crater lake, ie, a lake in the crater of a former volcanic vent. It is surrounded by the most amazing rainforest, full on tropical rainforest, heck, it even rained when we were there, even though it wasn’t forecast. The sounds of the Eastern Whip birds rang through the trees, amazing curtain figs went from high in the sky to the cool, crystal clear waters of the lake below. A multitude of fungi and strangler vines, huge towering giants of the forest reaching to the sky. It was really beautiful. Mum and Jack even spotted some of the very rare musky rat kangaroo, a small rodent sized kangaroo which live in the very specific habitats surrounding these crater lakes.

After a 5 kilometre hike through the rainforest, we headed on to Atherton, and lunch. At Atherton, they have an amazing IGA supermarket, where you can get all sorts of stuff, it’s like an Aladdin’s cave of food. After lunch, we did a bit of Op Shopping, and stopped in at a place called Crystal Cave, a shop which has, you guessed it, lot’s of crystals, as well as a good range of fossils and other geological wares.¬† On the roof of this place, in the main street of Atherton, is a Triceratops, and on the footpath at the front door is a velociraptor like those in Jurassic Park. So, obviously, the little dinosaur mad nut was in his element. He even got to hold rocks from outer space, thanks to the sales assistant.

The rest of the week has been filled with lots of jobs around the house, and the usual weekly stuff like shopping. It’s seemed like we haven’t stopped, although, apart from the one outing, we have been at home.

Last Saturday, I did a huge job in the back garden, it was the first rain free day for weeks, and so I got out and did a heap of work in the vege garden. I have planted cucumber, radish, lettuce, spring onion, spinach and some sunflower seeds, and all of them, apart from the sunflowers, have sprouted today. Yes, amazingly, everything apart from the flowers wasn’t there yesterday afternoon when I watered them, and this morning, nice neat rows of seedlings are now poking out of the worked over soil, only 1 week later.

A few of the other plantings have been suffering a little due to the prolonged overcast and wet days, but now, for the past week, it has been sunnier, and we are seeing a good recovery in them all. We even had a small harvest of beans in our stir fry tonight from the garden.

One of the grape vines is now fully trained onto the lower trellis wire, as well as the Passionfruit, and the Passionfruit has a couple of nice leaders just about ready to go up to the top wire of the trellis. The citrus plants are going well, and our birds eye chilli bush is producing well, supplying some nice zing in our pasta’s and other cooking. The food production is really starting to happen.

Our little lean to out the back of the shed is being rebuilt, I completely dismantled it, and am now rebuilding it, the main frame is completed, and now all bolted together rather than just screwed, making it more safe in the event of a cyclone. I have one section of roof back on it, and hopefully, all going well tomorrow, the roof will be complete. It is a bit taller than before, as it was so low that I was leaning over every time I was inside it, and 2 of the main beams of the frame were very weak and half rotted, so it really had to be fixed.

I also cleaned up the front of the shed, and have sealed it all up properly to stop it leaking, and hopefully, weather permitting, Jack and I will paint it in the next day or two. We have some old paint from the exterior of the house, and seeing we won’t be using it on the house again, it’s a waste not, want not scenario, so instead of wasting the paint, we will paint the shed, thus making the shed last longer too. Dad also got a big tin of paving paint, as the concrete steps leading up to the shed are not made well, the concrete is fairly fragile, not enough cement was put in the mix, so it is all pressure washed now, and to stop it deteriorating further, it will be protected by the paving paint. There is enough paint for that, as well as under the entertainment area of the verandah, so once that is sorted a bit more, it will get freshened up too.

Well, it’s just ticked over to midnight, so I must get some sleep, and until next time, smile.

Andy.

Light show

Tonight, after several very warm and incredibly humid days, the heavens have erupted in a dazzling light show. It’s been rumbling with thunder since 5pm, and its just past 10pm now. I made a few attempts to get a few shots, but the rain just kept chasing me around. I may have something, I am not sure, but nothing too spectacular.

Yesterday Mum and I went off to the nursery to get some Bird of Paradise plants, Strelitzia’s, and one is planted already, the other will be done when I level out the ground where it needs to go. We even had the first 3 beans off our bean plants, Jack, Mum and I all had one fresh out of the garden, and it is years since I have had fresh beans !!

I have tied up the bean plants, to get them off the ground, and added some wires to the tomato trellis also, the tomato plants are growing like mad right now, it’s incredible. Talking about incredible, the 2 grape vines and the passionfruit vine are all growing about 2 to 3 inches every day at the moment. I am blown away.

The rest of the garden is doing well, I managed to cut a bit of the lawn out the back today, but my fibromyalgia is not good right now, so there is still a little bit to do.

Tomorrow is shopping day, but tomorrow Mum also wants to get a new school shirt for Jack, the shirts are special ones you can only get from the school, so we will have to get that before we head off to the markets for our fruit and vegetables, and then to the supermarket for the rest. It is our off week for the butcher, so at least we don’t have to do that.

Jack is motoring along at school, making impressive progress. Tomorrow is Cross Country day, and then next week is school photo’s, and it is also the last week before Easter break. We have a few plans for the school holidays, we will go off for a day trip to Babinda Boulders for a swim, we are thinking of a day trip to the Botanic Gardens, and I can’t remember the other things Mum said, but we reckon we will do about 2 things special a week for the holidays.

I must go now, my medications are all kicking in, and the fatigue is coming over in a flood.

Andy.

Pugglewomp

Another of the weird titles, just to try and lighten my mind.

I am in a bit of a shambles right now (I was about to write “write now”, so as you can see….yep, shambles). Too many upsetting things happening in my own country, I’ve already vented about it, but the lessons haven’t been learnt, the people who have created the problem are back to business as usual. It is just so frustrating that imbeciles are running things. These are just plain, stupid people.

Now, aside from that, life goes on, as it does. I have to do things to take my mind off the pathetic state of affairs, so I have got back into my garden today after a couple of weeks of not doing much in it, firstly, I was pretty ill for a week, then it has been raining incessantly for the past week, so gardening hasn’t exactly been a viable option. Firstly, I got out and tied up the tomatoes, and found that all three varieties I have planted are starting to flower. I also have several flowers on the corn I planted, and the beans are also packed with flowers and going great. There are heaps of viable small Pawpaw plants now going ahead in leaps and bounds, I will have to thin them and pot some up, as there are so many growing. I might get them strong and then sell them for a bit of pocket money. The Banana plant is now over 6ft tall, and going great, the passionfruit vine is nearly completely trained on the lower part of the trellis, so the next bit will be getting it started on the upper part, and the 2 grape plants are also going amazingly, I wouldn’t be surprised if they aren’t ready to go to the second wire in another months time also.

I also did a bit of a trim up around the place, the Tahitian Lime needed a little trim, it’s still quite small, so I need it to get taller before I let it grow out too many branches, I don’t want a tree that I can’t get to the trunk of when it’s a big tree. The Valencia Orange and the Imperial Mandarin are also going great, the orange in particular, the first one I put in of the citrus, is just growing like crazy. Because all of them are growing so rapidly, and now after a week of solid rain, I have fertilised them all again today as well, as I want them to have everything they need to get well established as quickly as possible.

We have some Murraya’s down the side of one of the verandahs, they were ill when we moved in here, and looked like they might not survive, but with lots of TLC they are now doing what they need to do, create a privacy hedge down the side of the verandah. I gave them a trim also today, most of them are now at Gutter height, and will be kept that height, so they don’t fill the gutters with leaves. Also, the almost dead Golden Duranta’s we had down the side are now also at the top the fence, considering they were almost dead too, when we moved in, and barely half a metre high, they are really doing well. We planted more of them down the same side where obviously some older ones had died, and those are now all getting to the height that the established ones were when we moved in. I think there is about 10 of them we planted, so when it all gets up to around 6ft, we will keep them at that height too. We have some shitty neighbours on that side, so a good screening hedge is exactly what we need there !!

Jack has started a literacy program at school last week, he spends an hour 4 afternoons a week getting extra tuition through the school, so it isn’t costing me anything, thankfully, but he is finally getting the extra help with his reading and writing that we have so desperately wanted for him. It is certainly showing too, because he is going ahead in leaps and bounds, it’s quite astonishing really. I am so glad he is finally getting tghe hang of it. We have poured a lot of work into it ourselves, but because the previous schools didn’t seem to understand that the way they were trying to teach him wasn’t working, it was difficult, because we were trying to teach him the way we had learnt, and they are stuck on this stupid sound out the letters crap, which doesn’t work. You know, if, for example, if you sound out the letters of a simple word like “the”, t-h-e, it doesn’t sound like “the” . We had been trying to teach him all the combined sounds, like th, oo, ou, ee, ea, ing, but the way the school did it was sounding out all the individual letters, which just doesn’t work. Here, in Queensland, they teach it the way we were trying to all along, and now the consistency is happening at school as well, he is going well. He even said to me last night that he now gets what we were trying to teach him, and it’s better, easier, and makes sense. He is a smart kid.

I have a little project that is in waiting, I have yearned for a proper studio in which to paint, and because I just haven’t had the place to do it, I haven’t done much painting for a while. Well, when dad finally has his shed built, and moves all his stuff out of the shed we already have here, I am going to line the roof with insulation and the side wall that gets full sun as well, and then frame up the walls and put proper lining inside it. I have power almost set up, it’s still difficult while all the stuff that will go into dad’s shed is still in there, but I have now organised most of the shed, got a proper bench set up, I used the old, heavy laminated bench tops we replaced in the kitchen, got the window fixed so it now opens, and all the stuff that will remain in the shed once dad’s stuff is out of there is all organised and is now where it will remain once the stuff of dad’s is gone. Put it this way, 3/4 of the shed is full of dad’s stuff, so it is going to be roomy once it’s all out. I will get a stool and a small fan, and I have a great 1970’s banker style desk lamp that I will set up in there also, and then I will move all my art supplies out of my room, and it will be all set up, finally. I am really excited about it. I already have the insulation, and most of the framing for the internal walls, and am looking for some decent pallets to use for lining it. I might even put a wooden floor over the concrete if I get enough pallets. It should look awesome when it’s done, and I plan on taking photo’s of it all as it progresses.

Apart from all that, I have had a shocking day with IBS today, to the point that I was on the toilet for nearly an hour after dinner tonight, it was awful and painful. It isn’t a good sign, because usually, that comes right before a bad flare up of the pain and fatigue, and to be honest, I have been struggling with the fatigue already pretty badly, so hopefully it doesn’t get much worse. Every single day for a few weeks now, I have had to sleep during the day for a few hours, even if I slept well all night and had over 9 hours sleep. It’s so bad that basically if I don’t sleep, I would fall down, because that is what my body wants, I just can’t stay awake.¬† Oh well, that’s just how life is for me now.

Anyhow, I hope you are all doing well, and I hope to write some more again soon.

Andy.

 

Calm

I am feeling relaxed and calm as I write. The last bit of the house renovations is just about done, the bench tops are all installed in the kitchen, I did it on Saturday, and today I cut the hole out for the cook top to go in, and put it all in place. We just have to wait for the gas fitter to come and connect the pipework to it, and then the Kitchen will be finished. The whole place has been in chaos since the beginning of the year due to tiling and the kitchen renovation, but now we are getting it all back to normal.

I still have the stress of finding a new doctor, it’s something that I will have to throw myself into this week, as I need a doctor who will help me manage this condition, but it needs to be a doctor who will work with me, not against me. Why are doctors so arrogant? They aren’t Gods, although I think a lot of them think they are. Working with your patient will always yield the best result.

Today I have spent a bit of time in the garden, which I really believe is my happy place. I got a lime and mandarin tree in the garden over the weekend, and have given them a good fertilise today with blood and bone, along with all the other food plants. I also ended up mowing the whole place, I was only going to mow the front yard, because I have been feeling wrecked and in pain, but ended up doing the lot. I was a bit of a mess when I finished, feeling a bit faint and also nauseous, but after sitting on the verandah, having a nice long drink straight from the garden hose (remember doing that as a kid? It is still good!!) and my cursed cigarette (something that I am planning on attempting to ditch again this week), I went inside and had some lunch, before I just couldn’t do any more and after a shower, had a sleep for an hour or so before I picked Jack up from school.

While I was sitting on the verandah trying to recover from the mowing, I watched the birds, some species of which I hadn’t seen in the garden before, and a multitude of of different types of butterflies, swoop in and out of the trees doing the most magnificent ballet routine I have ever watched. I also saw different types of skink lizard run around through the rocks and crevices, one type was rather large and had a brilliant red area running down from it’s head to it’s front shoulder. Last night, we even had a lovely little tree frog next to the front door, climbing the wall to get near the light for the bounty of bugs it was attracting. The Geckos are also making their presence known, one just cheerfully chirped just out my bedroom window. There are lots of little baby geckos around right now, and they are awesome little bug eaters, they stop a lot of the insects from making their way into the house, and we have no spider problems around the house itself.

I still have a few more tasks I want to sort out as a matter of urgency, like sorting all my tools out, because I have been the home handyman, I have been constantly doing stuff in the house, and the Granny flat where dad lives, and usually, when I am finished a job, I am too worn out to put the stuff away properly. So it’s all a bit of a mess, but now the big jobs are done, i am going to sort it all. Hopefully tomorrow, if I eel well enough to do it, or, more to the point, if I can push myself through the constant pain and fatigue to do it. I normally do, even though most of the time it is a struggle.

Well I might leave it here for now, I am barely awake, and the pain is pretty high, so I need to lay down, and hopefully, get a bit of sleep.

Andy.

Weirdness

I haven’t been bombarding the airwaves for the past couple of days, it’s been a bit of a whirlwind of days. Last week ended as it does, on a Friday, hahahaha, yes I know I’m funny, well dad joke style, and then on Saturday we had a day off. Well, sort of.

I managed to sleep in a bit, although 8 to 8.30 am is about the best I can do these days, even though I still wake like a zombie, and feeling like I need 3 years sleep. It’s just the way it is all the time now. We had breakfast, Jack actually made himself an omelette all by himself, with a little guidance from Mum, and he was really chuffed. I had a bowl of my usual cereal, one of those full of grain things with dried cranberries and tropical fruits. I don’t always eat breakfast now, like I never did before, but because I was trying to set an example for Jack, I started again for a while. I just don’t seem to feel like eating until around 10am, and if I don’t eat until then, I lose weight.

After breakfast, we headed down to Babinda Boulders, a really neat swimming hole, on Babinda Creek, a few kilometres from the little town of Babinda. I had been there before, and funnily enough, so had Jack, although in his mothers womb at the time, it was one of the places we went when she was suffering from the pregnancy. The swimming hole is at the joining of Babinda Creek with a small side branch waterway, and the water is mountain cold, and crystal clear. It is surrounded by rainforest, the bed of the waterhole being course sand and smooth rocks with no silt, so really nice on the feet. Green Birdwing and Ulysses Blue Butterflies float around without a care in the world. Mum came too, and she has fallen in love with the place as much as I have been, since the first time I went there over 9 years ago.

After about an hour of just floating around in the beautioful cool water, we got out and changed, and then went back into Babinda for a little walk around to see what was about, before we headed up to Belenden Ker Cafe, a non-descript little cafe in a 2 storey house next to the highway. We had heard about the amazing pies they make, so after finally finding it (it just has a sandwich board sign out the front advertising coffee and cake, with no other signage to even indicate it is even a business), we stopped in for lunch. All the talk about the pies was spot on. They were the best I have had for years.

After that, we took a drive down a side road, to Behana Gorge, just to see where the road went. It is not far from home, so it will certainly be another adventure soon. Apparently there is a waterfall there, although you need to walk to it. Then, we decided that going home was not an option just yet, so we headed out to Yarrabah, Mum hadn’t been out there yet, and took in the wonderful paradise once again that is this beautiful Aboriginal Community. After that, we were thoroughly tired, so a slap together meal was all we could manage to make and eat, before drifting off to sleep.

Sunday, we were out again, this time earlier, as we had heard about another fruit and vege market that is in Cairns city, Rusty’s Market. We hadn’t been in before, but after our Sunday morning visit, we have unanimously decided it will be where any fruit and veges we need will come from. It is open every Friday, Saturday and Sunday, which is great as we need to buy fruit and veges weekly. As our vege garden gets into production, we won’t need so much from the shops, but we will not be growing everything, we just don’t have the space, so we will still need to go there.

The rest of Sunday was a blur, even though it was only yesterday, I can’t remember much else we did, I was suffering pretty badly with fibromyalgia, so that is probably why I don’t remember. Getting to sleep was an ordeal last night too.

Today my body has been a rollercoaster ride, Jack has been back to school, and I just pushed on, mulching the vege plants, doing a bit of weeding, some cleaning, fixing some of Mums furniture that got broken by the removalists, and what ever else happened. Yes, today was bit like yesterday as well.

I started this post with the title, weirdness, and this is the part where I explain it. With everything that’s been happening, and the fact that since just after Christmas the main living areas of the house have been some form of construction zone, I have not felt settled.

Right now, we don’t have a functional kitchen, it’s nearly there, but we are having to use the laundry tub as our kitchen sink, and the BBQ, which fortunately has a gas ring burner as well, is our stove and everything else. The great big 8 seater table I made years ago is inside, currently being used as our kitchen bench. It really is too big to use as a kitchen table inside, that is why, up until the kitchen benches were removed last week, it was outside. It will go back out there once the bench tops are ready to pick up and I’ve installed them. Thankfully all the tiling is now finished and we have our house a little more normal. But it’s not quite there yet.

When I came up the street on Saturday after our day out, and saw the house, I had this sudden feeling that I wasn’t coming home just yet. It doesn’t quite feel like home. I am not sure what it is, I put it down to the fact that things haven’t settled down yet because of the renovations, but yeah, I don’t know, it’s just not quite home yet. How long does it take for a new place to feel like home?

I spoke to Mum about it today, and she agreed, she feels the same way. That is just how things go. As we make more of our own mark on the place, as the gardens get fuller, and everything settles down, it will feel more like home. I get these feelings sometimes, at absolutely random moments in time, that I almost have to pinch myself that we are actually living here now. Only last Friday, when I was stopped at the traffic lights on the way to pick up Jack from school, this wave of disbelief that we are really here rolled over me. It’s just so random when it happens, but so unreal. I guess once life returns to normal routine again, it will be alright.

Thursday, I will be seeing a new doctor, for the first time here. I am getting low on medications I need to stay mainly okay, and don’t want to run out. I have been procrastinating over it, but now with only about 8 days worth of Tramadol left, I really need to just get on with it. I really hope the new doctor is as good as my old one. I will find out on Thursday I guess.

Anyhow, I should get myself off to bed, I need sleep as always, and I have to be up early for the usual school day stuff. Goodnight.

Andy.

Ticking along.

Somehow or another, I have managed to get through another day. Yippee for me !!! I know, I know, wow wee, but when you are battling against your own body, or is that your body is battling against you, every single day, getting to the end of the day, having achieved anything at all other than getting up, and going back to sleep, is a big deal.

Talking about achievements, today I have managed to sort a few more things out, although I haven’t been able to spend much more than 5 minutes on a job before I’ve had to rest again for a bit, but I planted all the tomato seedlings we got on the weekend, finally hung the 2 hanging baskets with the Cucumelons in them, and, I have managed to fix the teeny little rust spots in the roof of my car where stone chips had started to become something else.

I used to be a car detailer for quite a few years, and learnt about fixing paintwork at an automotive refinishers as part of my qualifications (yes, car detailing is technical if you do it right). Even though I have the skills, and have also had the materials to do these little fix it jobs on my own car for at least 12 months, it’s either been my body against me, too many other things going on in life, or the weather hasn’t been conducive to doing car paintwork repairs. Now I live in a better climate, and life is starting to settle down a bit, I decided to push back against my recalcitrant body, and get on with it. The little chips had started to spider out from the original chips with little lines of rust forming under the paintwork, and the recent heavy rain had accelerated it a little bit, so it went from being a get to soon job, to a little more urgent. I also have a set of roof racks coming for my car, I bought them on Ebay, so I wanted to get it sorted before I fit them, otherwise the job would be harder with them in the way.

Right now, I have probably 2 more coats of paint to go on to them, and a little bit of cutting and polishing, and then it will not even look as though I have had to do anything. The paint is so well colour matched that it will not be noticeable in the slightest. I am so happy that I still have the skills, and am able to actually do it. There is a lot of other stone chips to fix, and a few small scratches as well, ( The roads in Victoria, Australia are not good for car paintwork, actually, they aren’t real good for any part of a car !!), but none were as urgent as the roof, and for now, they are only stone chips, they haven’t progressed into the more problematic rust as yet.

Apart from those tasks, I have also managed to do my washing, and changed the bed linen, which I am probably a bit anal about, I have to do it every Wednesday. Luckily, Jack is now old enough to help me strip and make the beds, so it’s not as big a task as it was even 6 months ago.

Well, for now, that is the little update, I am not great, but trying to get on with life, what else can I do ?

Andy.