Monday, October 29, 2007

Silkmoths continued...

The silkmoths are certainly worth their weight in entertainment value. They are mating left, right and center and the kids have been watching them with wide eyes!

This morning as we came down for breakfast we actually saw a moth emerging from the cocoon. It was very exciting. We were convinced it was in some way damaged because it looked more like a silkworm than a moth. Over the next hour it dried off and started pumping its wings and by the time the kids went to school it was starting to look more like the other moths. By the time I came home from the school run it had found a friend and "fallen in married" as Gareth calls it!


Another pair that had "married" yesterday had started laying their eggs.


The question is now "What do we do with them?"

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Cocoons are opening!

The kids are very excited.


The cocoons that have sat so quietly for the last couple of weeks are just starting to change. Three silk moths have emerged last night and are sitting on the mulberry leaves drying their wings. We were nervous that they would fly all around the house but have found out that Silk Moths cant fly. They will just mate and lay eggs in the box before dying.


It has to be said, they are a very strange looking creature!

Friday, October 26, 2007

Happy Birthday Myan!

It is Byron's Mums Birthday this weekend. We started the celebrations early at the kids tennis class this evening. After the normal snacks and drinks while the kids played we produced a cake with some sparklers instead of candles. No matter how hard Myan tried she wasn't going to be able to blow them out but it made the kids laugh watching her try!


Saturday, October 20, 2007

Sailing Lessons

The girls have started a sailing course.

It is an introduction to sailing for total beginers that runs for six weeks.




They are learning on "Sabots" which are small two man boats.

They are being paired with another child who has progressed on to intermediate level. It is a bit scarey to watch your young kid get into a boat with another child and take off on a gust of wind into the middle of a large lake!


The girls think it is great fun. Gareth had fun paddling around the shallow edge of the lake with his friend Kayla.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

"Leg of Goat anyone....?"

Our friend Kel went off shooting in the bush a few weeks ago with a couple of friends, Peter, who is of Aboriginal descent, and another friend who is a butcher. Imagine our delight when Kel presented us with a fresh leg of goat on his return.... Peter said it would be fantastic if it was roasted in the oven or BBQd.

Not having ever cooked Goat before I decided to do a search on Google. Lets just say that I learned a lot about Goats from some varied and interesting sites but was still in the dark about how to cook it...! After ringing Anne, who rang Peter, who rang me, it was agreed to put it in the oven like a normal leg of lamb. A couple of hours later and the aroma of roast Goat was tickling our noses a treat.

Anne, Kel, Myan, Den and Byron were looking very dubious about dinner but as we all tried a small piece off the carving tray we agreed it was not vastly different to lamb, just a bit tougher and a bit of an after taste. I cant say it was one of the nicest roasts I have ever eaten but it wasn't the worst either.

When it came to cleaning up afterwards we looked at the left over slices of Goat and tried to work out if we should keep them to use again tomorrow or whether to just call it quits and say enough Goat for one week. Somehow the idea of Goat sandwiches helped us to make up our minds pretty quickly!

Cocoons, Continued.....

Our silkworms remain in their bright yellow cocoons but the box they were in was getting very stinky. The last remaining Mulberry leaves were starting to break down and the box was getting soggy so we thought for health and safety reasons that the cocoons needed to move home!

We got a new box and gently disentangled the cocoons from their old leaf litter and transferred them onto some fresh leaves in the new box.

We have been told that it takes two to three weeks in the cocoons before the Silk Moths emerge.

I am trying to gently suggest to Gareth that when this happens we will let them go free into the garden in search of a Mulberry tree to start the process of eggs, silkworms and cocoons again. One lot of pet silkworms is more than enough for now - unless any of you fancy us passing along the second generation? Joe? Rhonda? Carrie? !!!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Rhiannons World Record Attempt.....

Rhiannon is fascinated by the Guinness Book of Records. She loves finding the most bizarre and unusual facts in it. Last night she showed me what appears to be a tiny tooth growing out of the side of her gum. It is small and narrow and sharp, almost like a pin.

At first I thought it was the tip of a larger tooth growing at the wrong angle but it wobbles and seems to be a real tooth, just a tiny one! Minutes later Rhiannon was on the Internet searching the Guinness World Records site where she found out about the worlds smallest tooth.

A primary tooth (tooth E) extracted under local anaesthesis from Colton Laub (USA) on October 30, 2002 by Dr. Scott Harden (USA) at Fountain View Family Dentistry, Acworth, Georgia, USA, measured 3mm (0.1 in) long. The average length of a microdont tooth is 13 mm (0.5 in).

Having had Byron measure her tiny tooth at just under 2mm above the gum line she is sure she stands a good chance of being in the 2008 Edition! We are off to have a check up at a local dentist next week and for now Rhiannon has really high motivation to scrub her pearly whites and keep them in tip top condition!

Monday, October 15, 2007

Australian Citizenship

It's a bit of a mouthful : "Australian Citizenship"

Try saying that after a few Cascade premium. I've had a good night, steak and "snags" on the old "barbie". Knocked back a couple of "cold ones" in my Aussie stubby holders. Whipped up a quick salad with a few "avos" thrown in for good measure. Sat the "relos" in front of the TV with a glass of fine Aussie red in their hands. C'mon. Give a "Sheila" a chance... Why is it so bloody hard to apply for Australian Citizenship? I'm doing my "true blue" best to assimilate myself into your culture? I've even read the "Guide to Common Aussie Slang" (as you might have noticed from my clever and copious use of it so far!)

There are a few good reasons for wanting to gain citizenship here. The first being that we would cement our Permanent residency visa into a truly watertight document. At the moment if we leave Australia for more than a certain amount of time in the next few years our Visas get taken back. Residency guarantees the right to come and go at any time in the future.

Another good reason would be the ability to vote. Always a good thing if you are paying taxes. Its good to be able to have a say how they get spent.

The rules for Citizenship have been shaken up here over the last few months. Generally it is becoming harder to qualify. Anyone arriving in the country prior to these changes is allowed to apply under the old rules. We tried applying for our citizenship on September 30th and took a while to work out why we were being turned down. We didn't qualify until October 5th, two years after our arrival here! Another big change is the Citizenship test. A written exam based on your knowledge of Australian Geography, History, Politics and beliefs. It was brought in on the 1st of October this year, five days before we were eligible to apply. If we could have applied before October 1st we would have paid $240 each. now the cost will be almost $600 each, Ouch!

OK. We know we need to sit the test, We know we need to get out a second mortgage to pay for it. Lets just do it....

Not so easy. Many phone calls later I was left frustrated by the lack of places to sit the test. It looks like for the foreseeable future we will have to travel to Sydney for the 20 minute exam. A general Election was called last night for November 24th and Mr B thinks it would be good to sit the exam asap before any further changes get made. So we are booked in for our exam in Sydney at the end of this month. All we need now is all the documents we used for our original Visa application. Passports, Birth certs, Marriage cert etc.

Not a problem. I have them all in front of me.... All except Mr B's birth cert...? Searched the house and it is no where to be seen....

Mr B if you dont hurry up and find it this "Sheila"s gonna "spit the dummy" and that's "Fair Dinkum"

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Our weekend away.

Byron and I have just arrived home from a wonderful weekend away together.

My Mum and Dad gave us a voucher for a two night escape as a gift for our 10th wedding anniversary in June 06. This has been our first chance to use it while we have live-in babysitters in the house.

It was a really relaxing few days and we enjoyed every second of it. This is my favourite photo of the whole weekend. It is Mr B walking along the jetty, sunglasses in one hand, cold beer in the other.

What more could anyone want!

Friday, October 12, 2007

Cocoons...

The silkworms ate so many Mulberry leaves they practically looked ready to burst!


They have all spun themselves into bright yellow cocoons and we are now lifting the lid of the shoe box nervously wondering when a load of moths will fly out at us!


Watch this space......

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

"Does my bum look big in this?"

We spent the day today at Redhead beach.

Most kids get a kick out of making sandcastles with a bucket and spade. With seven of us in the car we have to travel light as we have barely enough boot space for the towels.



The kids decided to use their imagination and were inventive with their choice of sand sculptures...

They packed the sand into their own swimsuits so that they looked like they were vastly larger than normal! The end results had them howling with laughter (along with most of the people on the beach around them!)

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Another day on the boat.

Last week we went on the boat and Myan my mother-in-law got soaked. We all had a good laugh at her expense. Today was quite choppy and this time it was my father-in-laws turn to get absolutely soaked to his skin!


Of course I didnt enjoy seeing him dripping with salt water... Just listen to Myan screaming laughing in the background! She laughed enough for us all!!!


video

Monday, October 08, 2007

Silkworms

Our friend Monica asked us recently if we would like some silkworms?

All we needed was a shoe box and we would be given some easy maintenance worms that just needed a ready supply of fresh Mulberry leaves.

A few days later and our shoe box was returned to us with 22 thin little silkworms.





They looked like small off cuts of knitting wool. The first lot of Mulberry leaves lasted a week and the silkworms filled out a little.

Over the last week these little worms have consumed box full after box full of leaves and have grown enormous! We are making daily drives to Carey Bay where there is a huge Mulberry tree and as fast as we put the leaves in the box they are being eaten!

The kids are facinated by them and Gareth has been keeping the box in his room. If you put your ear near the box you can hear the sound of munching! This morning one of them has started to spin his silk cocoon. I take a deep breath as I open the lid each morning dreading the day that a whole load of moths fly out! I am also dreading any of them escaping. I better go check on them again....

1, 2, 3, 4, 5 ........


video

P.S. I've been asked if this video has been sped up? No, It's realtime!

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Fishing

It was a hot day today and we spent the day pottering around the house and getting in and out of the pool. When it cooled down in the afternoon Rhiannon went off fishing with Byron and his Dad.

Rhiannon was really independent putting her own bait on the hook and casting off without any help. Despite Grandad having some fancy "spinners" he had bought this week she was the only one to catch a fish! When they were finished we joined them and handed out some cold beers. It seemed like a good idea when we were leaving the house but the temperature had dropped and they were all looking a bit blue when we got there. There was a slight bit of drizzle but not enough to need an umbrella. An older man that was passing by stopped to chat to Byron and gave him following three pieces of advice...

The three times you should never go fishing....

1: When it's cold
2: When it's raining
3: When you've got kids with you!

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Guitar, Gareths helping hand.

Gareth came with me to the workshop today. I wanted to try to do a quick bit of gluing and the humidity has been too high for the past week. Today the humidity was perfect so we ducked into the workshop together. I though Gareth might keep himself busy playing in the saw dust but he wanted to "help" me so he put a few of the clamps and clothes pegs in place. He thought it was very exciting and brought a few wood shavings home in his pocket to make something with!

Friday, October 05, 2007

Happy Birthday David!


It was Davids Birthday today. John and Maree hatched a plan to throw a surprise party for him at their house. He thought he was going to their house for a cold beer but before long a big group of friends had arrived in with plates of food and cold bottles of beer and bubbly! It was a great evening and we called it quits about 8pm (We knew it was time to go when Byron's Mum started doing the Conga around the food table!) Some of the more seasoned party goers managed to stay until 11pm and we are looking forward to seeing their photos of the end of the evening!

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Guitar

I've not updated the blog much on my guitar making in recent months. I have been going religiously every Thursday night since the course began and am making good progress. I have the sides, neck and soundboard all attached together and have made braces for the back. It has been slow but steady progress with some weeks seeing big change and some weeks passing by in a row making tiny wooden braces that were tedious and not so "wow factor"!



I am in the last month of the course and Strato has optimistically set a date for a party to celebrate the end of our course! He thinks I am about two weeks away from the guitar body looking complete and then just needing a few aesthetic tweaks.

Although I can see the shape of the physical guitar forming in front of me it is still a complete mystery as to what quality the sound of the guitar will be. I thought that I would not know until the strings went on but this week Strato revealed a "magic trick" taught to him many years ago. He got out a tiny old fashioned wind up music box. When he sat it gently on the soundboard and turned the handle the sound magnified and exploded around the workshop. It sounded 100 times better than just playing the music box into the air. It showed how the soundboard vibrates and creates amazing sounds from a simple note. I am not an expert but Strato certainly is and from the look of excitement on his face and the twinkle in his eye as he listened to my guitar amplify the music I think this is going to be a great guitar!

Swimming Pool update

After much thinking and advice the pool is definitely staying in its current position. Although it is not quite what we planned it is still in the best position in the garden, just a little higher than expected. The concrete skirt has not been poured around the edge of the pool yet so although the kids can get in for a quick dip it's just a little messy and they have to take care not to splash too much water over the sides.




It has been a really hot week (38/40 degrees!!!) and each day we have gone out and about to leave Mr B a quiet house to work in. The kids have come home hot and sticky, peeled off their clothes at the front door and raced to the pool to cool off! I think we can safely say we are going to get tons of use from it. Roll on summer!

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Posh Morning Tea.

Morning Tea is a snack you have mid morning to keep you going till lunchtime. I thought it was a childish term reserved for pre-school but it seems even grown ups can do morning tea too.


It is the school holidays and the kids wanted to bake something. They aren't daft. Its a sure way of having something nice to eat!

We decided to try and make white chocolate and raspberry muffins. After downloading a recipe from the Internet we got to work mixing and licking spoons etc. As the muffins baked we decided we would get the kitchen cleaned up and make invitations for Dad, Nanny and Grandad to join us for a "Posh Morning Tea" The kids went to town setting the table, putting little umbrellas in the drinks and lighting candles (even though it was only 10am)

The invitations were delivered by hand and the kid showed their guests to their chairs (complete with name settings) Gareth asked what sensible food we needed to eat first and his eyes lit up when I told him there was no sensible food at posh morning tea!

We tucked into our warm muffins and some carrot cake, fizzy orange and tea and coffee. It was great fun and we were stuffed when we finished. Gareth was the only one who looked like he had spare room in his tummy and asked if we could do "Posh Afternoon Tea" later......