The Sweetest Thing

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Augustine suffers the indignity

Hello dear bloggy friends!

You know this already. ¬†But I still have to say…

I have the best blogging friends in the world. ūüėÄ

The Bluestocking household were invited to spend Christmas at the farm of a certain blogging friend whom I will call¬†Ms H. ¬† Ms H invited us to stay a few days so we¬†could be woken up each night by dogs and roosters and frogs, oops, no.. um.. It was so we¬†could be waterbombed and shot at by small boys with nerf guns,¬†¬†¬†(It’s awful when posts¬†will¬†write themselves!) One more try… ¬†She invited us to stay so we could grow corpulent and happy eating delectable baked chocolate cheesecake and roast dinners and homemade caramel slice… ¬†(That is the honest to God truth.)

While I’m tempted to tell you a bunch of funny stories about things that went on during our stay, ¬†and the many fun activities Ms H involved us in, I really want to share something that I thought was as sweet as pie.

Christmas in Australia is hot. ¬†(That’s not the sweet part!). ¬†Children were in the pool, or stalking us with water-bombs, grown-ups were sitting in the shade in that lazy, Christmas-arvo kind of mood. A fellow guest brought out a red, wrap around skirt her husband had made for her, with the view to embroidering flowers around the hem. And here’s the sweet thing: she invited everyone to join her. ¬†Can you imagine?! It was so lovely of her to share her new skirt! A bunch of little girls felt ten feet tall being able to help in such an endeavour, and of course conversation flowed more easily because we were working on a project together.

The experience was so¬†inclusive.¬†Coupled with Ms H’s ability to entertain eight overnight house guests without developing a nervous twitch, it has caused me to re-think how I try to make people feel special. ¬†When I entertain, I plan and plan and stress and stress about it being perfect. Why? Because I want it to be special. ¬†But this visit has shown me that being relaxed, and allowing people to be a part of your life is what actually makes an experience special. ¬†Happy realisation! ūüôā

Thank you, Ms H and family for opening your hearts and home to a bunch of city folk! ‚ô•

sewing cirlcle

And now, friends, I offer you ¬†Lies People Tell about Chickens and the Joy of Good Friends…. The Sequel! Yes. ¬†Because there is a lot I have to tell you about chickens (and good friends), that the unwary ought to know. ¬†For example: have I told you I have geese? ¬†I do. ¬†Adorable things, geese. Lookie…

goslings

A dear friend gave these to me, and when they are good, they are very, very good, and when they are bad.. well, they are certainly naughty. ¬†Just like puppies, they get bored if you don’t play with them. Then they find something to play with that you’d rather they didn’t. But as my geese are well¬†¬†loved¬† and frequently cuddled, I had opportunity to notice giant, prehistoric looking insects crawling on them. Really, really big insects. ¬†Horrid looking things.

I looked on-line. I rang the vet. I determined to rid my geese of what turned out to be (shhhh…. they are still embarrassed about it.. ) lice. Uh huh. ¬†My geese had nits.

I turned to my trusty, farm wise friend, Ms H.  She informed me that a dunking of the geese AND the chickens was necessary, told me what to buy, where to buy it, and blithely instructed me to fill something with water and pop the birds in.

Well.  This is where I tell you the truth about friends, AND birds who need to be dunked.  Friends who give you chickens, and say that those chickens need to be dunked, and imply that the process is not going to endanger your very life or at least your sanity, are Not Quite Being Truthful.

chook dip   my day

After repeating this process on three geese and four chickens, I spent days wafting the aroma of ¬†freshly washed puppy wherever I went. ¬†Fleas, lice, and probably man-eating crocodiles if I encounter them, will melt before me in a three mile radius for weeks to come, I’m sure, so saturated was I in the “kill any baddies” wash. The moral of this story is that friends who lead you to believe that your birds getting lice is no big deal, are telling whoppers, and that should you ever find yourself in that lamentable circumstance, wear a raincoat! (and goggles, and gumboots, and… )

And that’s it folks. ¬†I hope you are all enjoying ¬†time with family and friends over the holidays. Stay safe!

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The Bright Side

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Bloggy friends..  I have many things to tell you!

 

Does anyone recall (ahem!) me mentioning in a previous post that I have the best bloggy friends in the world? ¬†You may…. vaguely recall..me asserting such a thing?

 

It’s true! ūüėÄ

 

Last week I had the enchanting, amusing, charming experience of meeting Mr Richard Stevens. Richard is associated with the dainty Rustique Rose tea room at Laidley, the scene of one of our adventures last year.

What’s so special about Mr Stevens? ¬†Well! ¬†Apart from the pleasure of listening to his well modulated voice, (though we couldn’t convince him to sing for us!), and apart from his wit and sparkling conversation, Mr Stevens came bearing gifts.

The image above is from an autograph book of ¬†a young lady attending teachers college in (British colonised) India in the early 1900’s, and was one of the treasures Mr Stevens has left in my charge. ¬†Among other things was a scrapbook of collected “pretty” things – poems, cards, pictures etc.

But by far the most exciting discovery for me was the following pages..

 

 

 

 

 

The first time I read about the funeral for the “Unknown Soldier”, I cried. ¬†I, generally something of a stoic, wept at the thought of the collective pain of the families whose menfolk were left on foreign fields, but more so at the astounding beauty and mercy of the idea of a state funeral that could be, for each person attending, ¬†in honour of their lost.

 

Imagine my wonder at finding newspaper clippings on just that very subject among the collections of  fancy dress plates and society pictures the young lady had pasted into her book.  My very own source of primary history on a subject dear to my heart!

 

And because all the joyful happenings of my life seem to come in bundles, just a day later I met with another bloggy friend, who also came bearing gifts!

 

Super Secret Agent Chicken Little (alias, Heidi: ¬†some of you may remember Heidi? ūüėÄ ) came with her family to visit ours! ¬†After staying at her house, swapping all sorts of interesting things through the mail, and having her as part of my blogging community for some years, I can finally report that she is real. ¬†Yes, folks, Heidi is no longer an invisible friend. ¬†ūüėČ

And in a conspiracy that only girls with pluck would attempt, we managed to surprise Mr BB and the Chicklettes with … four chickens! ūüėÄ ¬† Have I mentioned Mr BB likes surprises? ¬†He (cough!) certainly looked surprised.

I really like chickens. ūüėÄ

 

Here’s one being adored by Miss 9.

 

It’s a joyful business meeting up with special people.

I am very blessed!

 

 

 

Whoo Hoo! Happy 2012!

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Hello Sweetest Bloggy friends in existence!

Happy New Year!! ¬†ūüėÄ

I hope you have all enjoyed time with people you love over the holiday period.

We spent the Christmas week at Baldersleigh Р on an eight thousand,  (yes! 8000!!) acre property, with 6 km of creek frontage, all by ourselves.  Delight!

At 4330 feet above sea level, it was sumptuously cool for mid summer days, and just plain cold at night.

We like to sing, and found we need to make a family song book. ¬†It was surprising how often we thought we all knew a song, only to find at least one or two members didn’t know some of the verses.

We listened to One of the Twenty-Eighth  by Henty as our read aloud. Next holidays I will choose the read aloud in advance and record it using Garage Band or Audacity, so I can still see the country flying by as we travel in the car, and taking the hard copy, can continue evenings around the fire.

We explored the creek (a vital, vital part of summer holidays!!)

We shot targets.¬†ūüôā

My camera, tripod, and I spent a lot of time in the creek. With Mr BB ¬†there to ensure no one drowned, or was run over by a stray cow, or any other such catastrophe, I took my own sweet time to experiment. Luxury! ūüėÄ

We drove the six hours home only to face a two-hour drive to the Chess Ball the following day. ¬†This, friends, is insanity, and will never happen again. ¬†To get home from hols in the evening, wash the 13 tonne of clothing that is the inevitable result of a week away, get the house into “overnight guest respectability” (Did I mention we also had overnight guests?!) deal with hair for the chicklettes, and be out the door at midday the following day meant I rather felt like crying (or at the very least sleeping! Actually.. no, I really did feel like crying!!) by the time we made it to the ball.

We live and learn.

Thank you, friends, for your encouragement and friendship over the past year. It is my privilege to have the dearest of bloggy friends!

I wish a joyful year to all for 2012!

So Much Beautiful

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Bloggy friends!

 

I have things to tell you! ¬†ūüėÄ

 

I can’t help sharing this story, because, because.. because it’s been such a delightful week, and I know that God loves me, and the world is full of good and beautiful things, and better, good and lovely people.

 

Last week we attended a regency garden party, and that, friends, is serious girl fun: ¬†hair curled in rags (more on that later), gloves, fan, reticule, lace and ribbons… and all with very dear friends. ¬†What more could a girl ask for?

(Please pardon my lens flare. : P )

 

Such an event would be quite sufficient to satisfy our need for ‘pretty’ for some time. ¬†However, Friday found us seated in a country tea room in particularly dainty surrounds. A long-established florist shop, the Laidley Florist has diversified. ¬†What could be sweeter than morning tea surrounded by beautifully arranged¬†roses, jonquils, and orchids, with soft classical music and collected¬†items designed to please the eye of the history lover?

Here, I confess that I was in almost mortal dread at the thought of confessing to Mr BB what the outing for six amounted to.  There were no prices anywhere (always a bad sign when you are paying for six.. ) and my  apprehension increased when the owner attempted to steer the younger children, in what I thought was an act of mercy, away from the fancier confections, and toward the gingerbread and scones.

Little did she know that Blossy, when faced with a dessert cabinet, is not steered by mere gentle suggestion.  Here is what she chose:

(Again, apologies for the photo: this and the tea room picture are from my phone)

When we made our selection, took our seats, and began cake and coffee, my Mama, sweetie that she is, tried to secret a fifty dollar note across to me, and claim it was her treat.  After some back and forthing (have I ever mentioned my Mama is persistent?!) I thanked her, and mentally considered it would go aways toward softening the reckoning.

Friends, you’d never guess? ¬†I have no idea whether the proprietress desired to treat us, or whether perhaps that the Tea Room is so reasonable because the florist side of the establishment is the primary focus, but either way the bill amounted to twenty-six dollars. ¬†Yes! For six very delicious desserts, four hot chocolates, and two coffees. ¬†Staggering, yes? ¬†If you live anywhere around the Lockyer Valley region, go post-haste into Laidley and visit the new tea room. ¬†ūüôā

Two such lovely outings in a seven-day period is¬†enough to keep anyone happy. ¬†And it did. ¬†But today I was at a garage sale with my Mama and sister, and was merrily hunting through¬†fine china (don’t you love garage sales!? I am not, no, not even a bit, going to derail this story by telling you about the Royal Dolton cups I purchased for a dollar each) when I got chatting with the lady who owned the cups, and the sweet little rose butter dish I had to have.

We were comparing notes on china, moved on to garden parties, came to the belated Queen’s birthday high tea she was holding that afternoon, found we were both Christian, both homeschoolers (though this dear lady has finished schooling her twelve {!} children) and before I knew it I was not merely invited, but warmly encouraged to return that afternoon and attend the high tea. ¬†Just imagine!

I (bravely, because have I mentioned before that I am a chicken?) returned in the afternoon, and was welcomed much as one might a favourite niece, or in this case, a sister in Christ one feels an immediate sense of kinship with. ¬†The table was laden with all manner of delicacies, and four tea pots with different varieties of tea, and the room was decorated beautifully. ¬†We sampled the fare, had a quiz on Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth (in which I felt I poorly represented homeschooling, dates being something I never can remember!) and some history shared, some scripture read, we toasted the queen, and went home. ¬†ūüėÄ

What a lot of fun. ¬†I just had to share. ūüėÄ

 

 

 

Please Feed the Ducks

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It was the first time I’d been to Colleges since the flood. ¬†I’m glad it was after they’d started to clean up. It was strangely disorienting¬†to be searching for landmarks that are no longer there. As I walked through the desolation, I thought¬†of Fee’s words¬†on how we are tied to places.

Birthday celebrations,  homeschool park days, days just to explore the river.. the place is choked with memories for me.  But what came closest to tearing me up was the ducks.  Yes, the ducks!  Those previously well fed and inclined to be haughty birds, who have led toddlers too close to the water, frightened my bird phobic friend, and eaten many a bluestocking crust, were hungry.

 

 

Ravenously hungry.

If ever a duck begged for food, these few sent a mute appeal that was undeniable, and I had nothing to feed them. ¬†How bad did I feel?! ¬†There is nothing like having something look to you for deliverance, and having to walk away. ¬†To make sure I left with my heart adequately wrenched, they proceeded to follow us up the hill as we walked back. ¬† It’s hard to say if the worse thing was to have them follow us, or when they finally gave up and turned back. ¬†Poor duckies!

 

Mr BB, not because he cares so much for ducks, but because I do, promised we could return next day with some bread.  Oh, happy ducks!

 

 

Fingers were nibbled, at times, ¬†by ducks whose manners were set aside by hunger. ūüôā

 

 

A loaf of bread vanished as fast as you can say “Who’s a hungry duck, then?”, and it was all over. ¬†We tipped the crumbs from the packet on to¬†the road, and walked back to the car.

Friends, if you live near colleges, and wander down to the river, you will be met by desperate ducks. ¬†Don’t leave home without bread! ūüėČ

A Little Flood Irony

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It’s a wet, wet world out there.

Too Much of a Good Thing

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It’s been raining cats and dogs.

Things are becoming dire, friends.  The city is evacuating, and  south east Queensland is in a state of emergency.

Still, I couldn’t help smiling at the thought of the two taking this video. ¬†If my car were parked at the front of this building, and I was watching this happen… stopping to take a video would maybe not be high on my priority list. ¬†But I’m glad someone did it. ūüôā

This shows how fast things can happen.

http://www.youtube.com/v/kYUpkPTcqPY?fs=1&hl=en_US

 

Stay safe, bloggy friends.

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