How to Love…

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I’ve had an idea! A cute one.  Want to see?

screen-shot-2016-10-31-at-1-22-18-pm

We had a family meeting, and I asked everyone to list the things that make them feel loved. My family are very tolerant of my goal-setting, list-making, live-on-purpose crazy ol’ ideas, so they got right down to it.

There were a few surprises in there, and I’m excited that we can display this little list and start consciously checking that we are all doing the things that make others in the family feel loved.

This is not the ACTUAL list, obviously, because I didn’t want a mutiny when I posted everyone’s private stuff on the internet.  But examples of the things I wrote include; being greeted at the door, having cups of tea made for me, being listened to, hearing “thanks” for things done for others, offers to carry things, and .. there’s a thing the Chicklette does when I’m really undone and beyond consolation. She melts dark chocolate and brings it to me in a bowl with a spoon and a mini spatula. I wrote this on the list of things that make me feel loved, and I’m thinking about going over it with one of those fluro highlighters..

I created the doc in Pages, but I’ve put it here as a Word doc as I’m guessing it will be more accessible. If you download it, you should be able to insert names instead of “Child one”, and fill in the proper list of what your people come up with. If you have boys, go up to  “edit” when your file is open, scroll to the bottom of the options, click “emoji and symbols” and choose something that excites them more than a pink flower 🙂 🐲🐳🍭🍕⚾️🎸🎯🎨🚜⚓️

Let me know if you try this with your crew 🙂

how-to-love

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Lies People Tell About Chickens, and the Joy of Good Friends

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Hello Bloggy friends!

 

I hope you are well and hearty 😀

 

Today something delicious happened to me. Yes, delicious.  I have to tell you!

 

But first, do you recall back in January, the very dear Heidi ( alias: Super Secret Agent Chicken Little), surprised the BB household with four chickens?

Chickens generate an enormous amount of fun.  Chickens make great pets (here’s Bloss having a ball with them..)

 

 

They are relaxing to watch, they keep down weeds in the lawn, they eat your left over veggie scraps and if all that weren’t enough for you, they also lay eggs.

But friends, there is a dark side to chicken ownership.  At least, there is if you believe every thing you read  about the purported benefits of chickens.  I have read times without number that chickens will keep down pests in your garden. That they will help fulfil your permaculture dreams. (Yes, I can hear everyone who has ever owned chickens, snickering.) And I am going to expose that claim for what it is: chicken propaganda.

Let me tell you the truth.

 

Chickens, those dear, sweet, relaxing-to-watch creatures, will wait until you are out, and they will EAT your garden.  They will DIG in your garden. They will DESTROY your garden.

Yessssirrreee.

Those sneaky girls will betray you.  If they survive that, they will openly defy you, and right under  your very nose,  will waltz up to your lettuce and eat it clean up.  Just. like. that.

And if that isn’t insult enough, they will abscond to your neighbour’s yard, the neighbours who haven’t given you a moments grief in all the years you’ve been neighbours, and decimate their pride and joy flower garden.  It will happen.  You can take it to the bank.

So, what’s a chicken owner to do?  WELL.  Cue the joy of having The Best Friends in the Whole World.  And I do.  And two of them came over today, and, in an act of something between mercy and insanity, they undertook to fence my chickens in.

 

 

With the help of five members of the BB household, I’m sure you can imagine what a task it was to achieve.  As a bit of a hint… we are so accustomed to doing useful jobs such as fencing, that three of our number were wearing ankle length skirts. (Yes. We have never put up fences before. You live and learn!)

 

Not only did my very dear friends fence in my chickens and in many other ways improve my yard, but they came bearing gifts.. There were little butterfly cupcakes baked fresh this morning, and enough cut jasmine that every room in my house is perfumed.

 

I may have mentioned once or twice before, but it bears saying again…

 

I have the best friends in the world! ♥

Hear Ye, Hear Ye! …or… Dead Easy Rag Curls.

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Bloggy friends!

Rejoice with me!  My life just got easier. 😀

I now share with you the rag curl method that will make Regency Ball preparation fast and painless! (Um, painless for me.  That’s what counts. 😛 )

Ready?

Tear (or cut, if you feel civilized) a sheet into strips twice as long as the hair you want to curl.  The Chicklette has ridiculously long hair, so my pieces were.. ridiculously long.

Divide the hair into five or six big sections.  Brush, smooth, and spray each section as you go with a little styling lotion.  No need to wet all over.  Leave enough rag out to allow you to tie it off when you  finish winding, and ask someone to hold it firmly in place.  You can see I have borrowed the hand of the Miss 13 to hold the rag in place for me.

Wind the hair smoothly around the rag. By not overlapping the hair on itself, it will dry faster and produce an even curl.

Wind all the way to the end.  Smoothing the hair around the rag (you don’t want the very last bit crinkly!) flip the end of your rag back around the part you have just been winding, and commence winding the rag around the hair.

Keep going all the way to the top.  This gives you the two ends to tie together, and the rag wound back around the hair stops it getting all ruffled while your poor petal sleeps in it.

When you get back to the top, tie the two ends.  You don’t have to tie it in a bow, I just couldn’t resist. 😀  Because… how cute is this?!

Leave in over night.  When you take them out, unwind carefully.  You can separate each curl into two for a “more curls” look. If you attempt that and get a big, foofy, fuzzy disaster, don’t panic.  Brush the end of the particularly disastrous curl, and then wind it around your finger, encouraging it back in the direction it was wound the first time, and it will behave nicely.  A little Anti-frizz serum or ends shine, or similar product, will help, but don’t over do it or your curl will soften too much.

This method doesn’t curl right to the roots of the hair, which is easier if you’re going for an upstyle – hooray!  We weren’t as this was only for experimental purposes,  so I added a bow.  High is cute for little people, low is more suitable for older girls.

And that’s it folks.  Toooooo easy!

No Dig Garden

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Hello Sweetest Bloggy friends in the world!

I hope everyone is surviving end of year activities?

Yesterday I received notice that a certain visitor has found, and I quote, ” just the same tired looking Scotsmen…” each time she checks in.  (When did my blogging audience get so saucy?!?)

So here it is, the post I threatened you with .. oh.. ages ago, on my gardening experiments, with an update on other happenings.

As we are built on rock with just a lick of topsoil, we opted to try a no-dig garden.  It is a lasagne of hay and manure, with topsoil or compost as the final layer.  And because I like to do things just so, (the “so” part being exactly how the instructions read!) what actually happened in my yard caused me just a little concern.

Mr BB did the blokey construction part, so I can’t tell you too much about that.  It’s railway sleepers stuck together man style – lots of bolts and pieces of metal and such. Very sturdy.  Cyclone proof, I don’t doubt. Because while I like to do things just so, Mr BB likes to do things thoroughly.  😛

A thick layer of newspaper goes down first to suppress the weeds.  We didn’t have nearly enough newspapers, so cardboard was the next option.  It needs to overlap so there are no gaps for pesky weeds to sneak though.

Each layer must to be watered before the next is applied.  Of course, if you have very young helpers, you need to make it abundantly clear that they have to wait for their siblings to complete the layer and exit the garden before the watering starts.  I forgot to make that clear to Blossy.

Here is where my garden deviates from the recipe.  Instead of having layers of hay and manure, mine was a jumbled mixture.  The farmer offered to bring in loads of old hay and manure mixed together.  Old is good.  And I have to tell myself that it would eventually have mixed anyway. I guess. .. .. (It would, wouldn’t it?)

There are no pics of that stage – it was all shovelling from the ute by flood lights, in the dark and rain, and it was no time for photos!

Mrs Fivepeas generously shared some of her heritage seeds with us, the farmers shared seed with us, and we browsed the local nursery.  If you are thinking of gardening, check out the  heritage seed site  – too, too much to choose from!

Hopefully in a few months I will be sharing fresh produce and homemade pesto with my sweet friends who have so generously shared their bounty with me this year!

On other happenings..

Remember the Chicklette’s list?

We’ve been canoeing with friends. We’ve baked pecan pie.  We’ve been to a ball, and there is another coming up just after Christmas.

I’m ticking off the veggie garden, and the next few weeks will see the BB household hit the tents for a camping escape.
Um.. yay?
There’s nothing like camping in the wet season.  Not that it will be a shock, considering, because just about every camping adventure has been wet, wet, wet!  (Still grateful to my dear friend for giving us a meal and a dry reprieve during our 10 day-camp-through-a-cyclone holiday at the rock pools…)
Think of me friends, when you are dry, air-conditioned, and ..dry. 😛
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Hope you all have a wonderful Christmas!
.

The Perfect Curl, or.. Socks, Chux and Handkerchiefs

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 WARNING!

*:•.♥.•:*Seriously*:•.♥.•:*¨Girly¨*:•.♥.•:*Post*:•.♥.•:*

Here it is, Bloggy friends, the “How to Curl Your Hair with Rags” post.

There is a multitude of “how to” videos on you tube, but they all miss something that I think makes a huge difference to your result.  But I’m jumping ahead.

First decide if you want tight ringlets, or loose, soft curls that will drop into a wave.  If you want softer curls, use large sections of hair in each rag, and a larger rag (socks are great for soft curls). Tighter curls need smaller sections and a thinner rag.

Here’s a comparison on the Chicklette’s hair: socks above, chux below.  Keep in mind that her hair is thick, straight, and past her waist in length. In both pictures, it is straight out of the rags, with nothing done to it yet.  You can separate the curls to get a fluffier look, and in time, both will relax to a looser curl than they show here.

Decide if you want sausage curls, or spirals.  See (directly)  above how some of the Chicklette’s hair is in long sausage curls the same as Miss 13 in the first colour photo in this post?  The sausage curls are NOT twisted while wound.  The thinner, more open looking curls that look like springs in amongst the Chicklette’s hair were twisted while winding.  You can choose to have all of one sort, or in the case above where I was putting her hair up, I chose a mix.

Timing is everything.  Truly, don’t believe all those people who say to damp your hair and leave it overnight, or a few hours.  If you take the rags out while your hair has so much as a lick of moisture left in it – the curls will drop out before you can say, “Now, wasn’t that a waste of time?”  And what’s more, if you want those curls to last all day and night for your big event, you want to have them damp to start.  So.. you can either sit under a dryer, or use a blow dryer with a diffuser attachment to boost the drying process, or do it sufficiently early for them to dry naturally.

If you have very hard to hold hair, if it doesn’t normally stay in when you use hot rollers, or your hair is very long, you may want to start with clean, DRY hair, and use a pump hairspray to damp each curl as you wind it, or have almost dry hair and add plenty of mousse or setting lotion.

First collect your medium.  You can use Chux cut into pieces about the size of a handkerchief.  Or you can use a bunch of handkerchiefs (just visit Gran and clean out her draw).  Or you can use socks (the thin sort), or strips of paper bag, or cut up sheets, towels, t-shirts, stockings, or …. I’m sure you can probably think of something else to add to the list.

You will need also:

a fine tooth comb

setting agent (gel, hairspray, mousse, etc)

clips to keep hair out of the way while winding

and….

end papers.

What are end papers, I hear you ask?  Well.  Let me tell you, folks.  They are the part everyone leaves out that I think makes the huge difference to your results.  Here’s what they look like.

The difference is that the ends won’t crumple up.  Let me show you what I saw over and over when watching the video responses to the how to curl your hair tutorials on you tube.

See this curl below?

See how the end is all crumpled?

Nasty!

It should look like this:

See how the end sits in a circle, with no fish-hook effect?  That’s what you’re aiming for.  One or two little fish hooks can be remedied with a curling iron, but to have them all over is a disaster too monstrous to contemplate.

Once you’ve decided what kind of curl you’re aiming for, and you have all your equipment ready to hand, it’s time to begin!

Section off the top of the hair and clip it out of the way.  If you start from the top, you will have to delve under the already tied hair to get your sections, and that will get old in a hurry.  Apply your styling agent, or if it’s dry, remember to spray each section with hairspray as you go.  Use a towel to protect the back of the neck (because all that hairspray is going to feel terrible on the skin, not to mention the possibility of it causing a reaction: so for little children, it is better to use a mousse that you can control the application of better, and avoid the scalp.)

Starting at the bottom, take a section of hair, hairspray the entire length of it if it’s dry, and apply an end paper.

Fold it toward you as shown in the next image or when you wind the hair up, it will constrain it too fiercely.

Wind it on the rolled rag the same way you would a conventional roller.

Wind so the hair doesn’t overlap:  it will take longer to dry if you pile it on top of itself; it will mean a smaller curl at the bottom and looser toward the head; and the curl may come out wonky if you slip first one way, then the other way, when winding.

So.. avoid that calamity and wind it each loop of hair sitting next to the last one you wound on the rag.  At this stage, twist the rag a few times if you prefer a spiral curl, then keep winding.

When it’s all wound, tie a knot.

That’s how happens. 😀

Keep going all over…

When it is time to remove the rags, unwind them: don’t pull at them. Leave them as they come out, or separate them for a fluffier look. The image below was taken at 11am, and contrasted with the image taken at 9:30pm, will give an indication of how much the curls will relax.

 If you have to take them out some time before your event, buy a hairnet from the chemist, and gently collect the curls up in it.  Remove just before you arrive. Miss 13 remained in the glamorous state below for hours while travelling, to preserve the curl.

The result will depend on how much product you used on the hair, how small your sections were when winding, what size rags you used, how long and heavy your hair is… there are many variables.  The image below, taken ten hours after the rags were out, shows how much the curls had relaxed in that time.

If you have an important event, it is worth having a trial run of setting your hair to see how long it takes to dry, how long the curls last, and if what you’re doing achieves the result you are after.  It will also tell you if it is worth having bags under your eyes.  Because I have it on good authority (thank you Fee),  that it is a special kind of torture to sleep in them.  I haven’t done so myself, having hair that curls all by its lonesome, but when I mentioned Fee’s comment to my own children (who have all worn them to bed on several occasions) they confirmed it is, indeed, remarkably uncomfortable.

Happy hair curling, folks!  😀

Shiver Me Timbers!

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The Chicklettes’s growing up.

Bloggy friends, folk warned me: they did!  They said to treasure the time while my children are little, because it is over so soon.  At the time, buried under mountains of washing, changing nappies, pureeing vegetables, and teaching ABC’s, it was hard not to look forward to when I’d see a little more independence.

Those same dear folk were just as likely to mutter dark sayings about, “If you think this stage is hard, wait until you have teenagers – then you’ll know what hard is!”  Which, I might add, is about as constructive and encouraging as those who share horror birth stories with you in the last week of your pregnancy.  (And what’s more, I so far maintain that it is not true.  Little children are hard work.  Big children are hard work.  Parenting is hard work!  But each stage has its joys. 🙂 )

What has been on my mind lately is how to make the most of the sunset of childhood for my eldest girl. Opportunities for memories I want her to have of childhood that are yet unfulfilled, need to happen in a twinkling.  🙂   I am a goal setting, list writing sort of character, and early on, aimed to create a firm sense of family, and to provide some of the experiences that I loved as a child. We’ve camped, explored creeks, been to the beach, holidayed on farms, walked the rain forests, held baby animals, planted edibles, been canoeing, read glorious books together, and had spontaneous adventures.  It’s been a lot of fun, and we are blessed to have  had family and friends who are  keen to share these experiences with the girls.

As I witness the beautiful thing that is dawning womanhood in my first born, I still long to cram in any last experience that childhood thrills to.  So… we went to the rock pools last weekend,  and this week we bought a couple of up-in-an-instant little tents.  We have a serious, heavy duty  monster one, but it makes me shudder to think of the effort to deal with it, particularly as it always seems to rain on the day we pack up and it has to be pulled out and dried at home – no mean feat.  And just as we have the new facilities for more spontaneous happenings, we find ourselves invited out this weekend for a bonfire and camp out.  Just the thing! 🙂

There is of course the obligatory stuff that needs to be accomplished before I launch her out in the world – education, domestic management, character: and all those things are important.  But it’s the delight in simple, natural things; the things that we no longer make time for when the cares and distractions of adulthood press in, those are what I want to do while I wring the last vestiges of opportunity from this period.

Here’s my list to accomplish in the next 12 months.  There are other activities I would like to do, but these I think are most likely to happen, and some have plans already in the making:

Two short camping trips

Boating

Vegetable garden.   Vegetable garden?  Yes, the Chicklette loves to grow things, and so far we have been reluctant to plough up the lawn (we have established trees all around the perimeter of the yard and only the very middle gets any sun) leaving her to garden only in pots.  But what’s a bit of lawn, yes?

Fossicking

Fishing

Medieval fair and museum

Heritage festival

Period ball

At least one trip to visit our dear friends at Marigold Cottage

When I asked the Chicklette what she thought should be added to this list, her response was instantaneous: “Bake a pecan pie!”   (Insert bemused mother face here.)  She has not long had braces removed, but who would have thought that a two year deprivation of sweet, sticky things would still be so fresh in her mind?  Stay tuned for reports of our next adventures, and .. ah.. pecan pie.

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. 🙂

 

 

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! 😉

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