Saturday, January 23, 2010

Mumbling along as it should...

We have had a breakthrough here at Apple Isle Cottages.
It is in large part due to a book called Divas and Dictators by Charlie Taylor, a great book about behaviour modification techniques, specifically his 6 to 1 principle of using six pieces of praise to every one of criticism when dealing with your child and I am astounded how quickly his techniques are working.
We have not been having fun lately with two very demanding little boys but they have responded so quickly to the heaps of praise and specific treats that life has become easier in just a couple of days. Huzzah for Mr Taylor we say!! Some of what he suggests is forehead smackingly obvious, or at least it should be but that doesn't undermine its worth at all.
Today the boys "helped" me cook a fresh stripy heirloom zucchini from the garden, our first! Master Me Too (16 months) is very passionate about cooking and resents not being able to see the cooking action or take part in it.
Sir Talk A Lot (three years old) has been delighting us with his counting prowess, his little brother copies everything he does and has been found poking his finger at the counting book saying "two, two" in an adorable effort to be just like his brother.
The boys had a wonderful time being totally rapt in watching Nigella's Express and Gardening Australia today ... they really enjoy their gardening and cooking- I hope this sticks, I think it is so important for kiddies to enjoy "real" things like cooking, working the garden, fixing, cleaning, creating etc rather than things I consider "unreal" such as video games and obsessions with following (but not necessarily playing) sports.
When the boys were bathed, read to and tucked in bed I fossicked some compost out from the heap and fed the zucchinis, beans, pumpkins, borage, potatoes. I added some more scraps and comfrey to the heap which is breaking down well.
I had fun pruning some vigorous non fruiting "poky outy" bits of the wild blackberry bush we are taming out the back. I have picked enough for my first batch of blackberry jam now which is good as we are on the last jar of strawberry I made earlier in the year.
The library always provides us with wonderful treasures and apart from the Charlie Taylor book I am also reading a lovely little book called "four Tenths of an Acre" by Laurie Lisle which is an absolutely delightful read about the evolution of her garden and experiences of life.
Aren't Libraries wonderful?
I hope for many more days like today....

Monday, January 18, 2010

Ponderings on waste

I vaguely worry about becoming a fanatic, a zealot that noone listens to but it seems to me that my views on life are reasonable... maybe crazed fanatical zealots feel the same way.
Here are some of the thoughts I have had recently that seem to be out of the ordinary...
  • I expect people to do the job they are paid to do without me having to get all threatening...why is it that from panel beaters to the ombudsman it seems that most people simply will not do the job they are paid to do unless there are several follow up phonecalls and a nasty letter. Most service providers seem to think it is ok for them to vaguely agree-ish to something in principle- accept money for it and then do bugger all about it- if you are lucky- if you are unlucky they will do the exact opposite you are paying them to do and then charge twice as much as they quoted! Is it cranky and old fashioned of me to expect the paid professionals to do their job and a better job of it than I would do?

  • I think loo paper from virgin wood should be illegal or at the very least taxed like cigarettes so that it is prohibitively expensive.. for goodness sake we have plenty of paper to recycle so that the poor trees can at least be used twice- not just grow a dignified oxgyen producing physical being so I can wipe my bum on it and then flush it away to the ocean... I am not a fanatical greenie but c'mon people- growing trees just to wipe your bum at least we could print some facetious drivel on it- read it, then wipe our bums on it!

  • People are too wasteful these days, I was watching an old Scrapheap Challenge tonight and we were amazed at the apparent "Scrap" in the heap like you know, those pesky old tractors that still fire up and drive...sure I know that the show is a setup and the tractors are likely planted but it illustrates my point about waste! I read on forums about people thinking they are cutting things to the bone because they have a five year old Corolla and a ten year old kitchen and only one and a half bathrooms. People!!!! a Five year old Corolla is a lovely car to have.. I have several (for my business), kitchens used to last a lifetime and when I was growing up having two loos was a luxury only for the very upper middle class and rather indulgent. when I lived on the Gold Coast council cleanup time was amazing and I got some amazing stuff that needed one screw or a light bulb or a wash but was fine apart from that... hundreds of dollars worth of gear... you could also buy a car that was roadworthy from the council auctions for about $200...they had been left on the side of the road....some of my best finds have been from the inside of abandoned vehicles we have bought... such waste! No wonder we are "all" poor and the planet is choking in "stuff".

  • The Australian poor... I no longer believe in it. We live well of the equivalent of benefits whilst our business is building and I have had my time on student allowances... Poor choices such as spending all your money on drugs, alcohol and video games tends to be the reason most people are poor.. can't afford school shoes but McDonalds five times a week and always beer for the week. Easy handouts have created a multigenerational class of Bogans who expect to be spoon fed and given all they desire when they whinge and swear enough....
Ahhhh. that feels better.
A good vent.
I shall return much less angry next time.
Or perhaps I will have remembered more things that drive me so very batty!

Friday, January 1, 2010

Christmas and New years have come along in a whirl of activity and trying to keep everything down to a dull roar is getting trickier- I have just dropped into survival mode.
It is the busiest time of year for our little business and the wonderful community daycare my two boys go to closes for ten days over the Holidays.
Trying to juggle such a busy business with two VERY active toddlers in the heat is proving challenging to say the least!
I am amazed at how dirty the little ones get when they play out in the backyard all the time but having to do more washing seems to be an ok trade for healthy active kidlets (says me who doesn't do the washing for our house).
Christmas was subdued and I made a lemon meringue pie which I was delighted with and the little ones didn't want to touch as they were too busy playing in cardboard boxes their christmas presents had come in... Master Three spent several days sleeping in the box (just at the appropriate times, ie nap time and night time.. not the whole days!) and eventually we had to recycle the sad and sorry limp container!

The weather has been HOT and DRY so watering the vege garden has been high on the agenda.
My tomatoes are revving along and have long out grown their stakes.. I suspect the soil to be too rich in nitrogen from some ill fated pea plants who previously occupied their bed but the fruit is coming along merrily so we shall see...
The remains of an old apricot tree has determinedly survived the main trunk falling over about 18 months ago and I am bringing in almost ripe apricots everyday which the baby boy loves, those left on the tree are pecked at by birds but there seems to be enough for us all and the birds seems to keep the insecty pests down.. I have seen a few grasshoppers but they don't seem to be damaging so I can only suppose the well fed birdies around here are snacking on them.
I am working on a repertoire of "redeeming feature" snacks which the children will eat but have at least one redeeming feature such as whole grains, vegetables etc and am having success with a prototype of a carrot biscuit... when it is complete I will post the recipe. I know there are others out there but Master Three cares not for spices and I don't like a lot of them because the fat and sugar content is ridiculous....
The kitchen floor is filthy but at least we are all together and healthy...the floor can wait until things settle down again!