This Kind of Day.. .

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Trompe-l'œil

Which kind?

The deliciously girly kind!

There are deep, deep doings in the Bluestocking household, friends.   The Chicklette is having a graduation ball.  Not just any old graduation ball, but a period costume ball.

And what is extra, extra special?  We have wonderful people helping us!

Today we settled on a venue. We went to the nurture-my-need-for-pretty Tea Rooms and discussed Important Ball Details over coffee. We shopped for ball dresses.

Today, friends, was blissful!

bask copy

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Whoo Hoo! Happy 2012!

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Hello Sweetest Bloggy friends in existence!

Happy New Year!!  😀

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

We spent the Christmas week at Baldersleigh –  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. 🙂

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! 😀

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!

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.

Bang! It’s 2011.

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Hello Bloggy friends!

 

Happy 2011 😀

 

I hope you all have had a restful time over the break ( though holidays are not so conducive to rest, are they?)  We generally school straight through this time of year, but so far we’ve been.. too busy!

We enjoyed  a farm stay on the Clarence River.  It was great, despite flooding and window-licking cows, and is definitely somewhere I would go again.

It was full of pretty places,

 

and did I mention… cows?

 

 

We battled home through flooded roads, landslides, and traffic backed up for miles – an adventure I’m not in a hurry to repeat.

I know it’s blurry, but after nine hours in the car – and then only being half way home – my brain was blurry, too.

We made it through in time to  attended our first ever Regency Ball.  It was a LOT of fun!  (But more on that later… 😉 )

 

 

 

This morning our first ever Wanderer/Monarch butterfly emerged.  The three previous had all been stung, so we were extra pleased to see this one survive.

In a short while one of my dear internet friends and two of her children are coming to stay at the Bluestocking abode, and we are all looking forward to that event.  It’s an especial bonus that there is an entomology student in their number!  😀

 

That sums up our holiday activities, and then it’s plunging back to school in earnest.  But that can wait for just a bit longer… we’ve too many things to do to have time for serious study just now!  😉

 

 

Possums, and Divine Retribution, and the Last Laugh

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Possums are cute.   Here’s some being cute now…

We saw these while spotlighting over the weekend.

Until recently, I have had a possum living in my ceiling.  Mr BB (font of wisdom that he is) wanted to get it removed.  “Oh! No… ” I said, “Possums are so cute, and it’s not so bad, the way he wakes us up three or four times a night.  I can bear that, to have a possum living with us.”  Mr BB kept making threatening sounds about getting it removed.  I kept pleading for our possum, in the hopes that one day we would be friends.

Dear readers, it’s happened before that I’ve been wrong about wildlife, and Mr BB has been right.  Just once, though  😛  😉  But now it seems it’s happened again. (I hope this is not a pattern developing.)  May I just show you again how adorable possums are?  Check these out…

Here’s one having a little something to eat:

A mother and her baby try to pretend they aren’t there, while I photograph them:

Now imagine if one of these dear little critters wanted to live at your house? Could you truly object?  As it happens, I now understand (Oh! understanding can be unpleasant!) why Mr BB wanted to move our little friend on.

He died.

In our roof.

And he smells.

Last night, as Mr BB was preparing to brave the manhole, wearing his rubber gloves and old clothes, was I sympathetic of his nasty chore?  No. Mildly sorry to have not listened to him first? No.  (I am a bad wife!)  What I actually did, was start to laugh.  You know how sometimes (often at the most inappropriate times) you can have a fit of the giggles?  Like when you are getting into bad, serious trouble, and you know you’ll make it worse if you laugh, but…. somehow you can’t resist?  (please tell me I’m not the only one?!)

Well, I laughed, and then I laughed some more, and I told Mr BB that it was a rare day that I was so glad to be the lady of the house, and that  I was glad that he, being the man of the family and so endowed with all the privilege that goes along with the job, was now the one facing the nasty business in the roof. I told him I believe in the Sovereignty of God, and not coincidence, that it was Justice, and that it was his destiny to deal with possum bodies.  Truly, I really did laugh at my poor husband who was facing his third dead possum dilemma in a week, after removing two from a drain at another property.  (Heartless of me!)

Who had the last laugh?  Sigh.  It seems the possum has crawled in between the walls, or some other inaccessible place, and I will just have to live with it.  Yes, the “aroma” of decomposing possum in my kitchen, it seems, is my destiny.  And God is Sovereign, and there is no such thing as coincidence.  Friends, it’s so not funny.

I’m sure there’s a moral here somewhere…

 

 

 

 

 

The Mysteries of Kefir, and Other Cute Things

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Hello Bloggy friends!

Breakfast in the Bluestocking household  is not what it was.  I’ve made kefir 😀  And the Chicklette  has made  Hootenanny pancakes.

One very dear, obliging, and live-dangerously type bloggy friend sent me the starter culture through the mail.  I researched, I rinsed, I cultured.  A beautiful batch of sludgy, milky, good for you stuff came to life.

It was a true test of Mr BB’s commitment to me.  His reaction, when presented with a glass overflowing with gut healing goodness, made with the health and well-being of my family in mind,  was.. (to say the least) not.quite.enthusiastic.  In truth, his response was (and I quote), “I do love you, but I have never felt the least inclination to be a cup-bearer.  You go first.”

Why he was reluctant to try something that had grown out of lumpy ingredients forwarded through the mail in a specimen jar, floating in raw milk, is beyond me.  I’m not calling Mr BB chicken livered, yellow, or cowardly (exactly), but it does call into question his knight-errantry.  I tried explaining to him that I was creating an opportunity for chivalry, but.. he was immoveable.

So, I went first.  And I lived. 🙂

Since then, we have been merrily culturing milk and turning it into smoothies with fruit, and the occasional raw egg.  Boldness and daring have reached new heights at the Bluestocking breakfast table.  If you’re interested in horrifying your spouse with a weird and alternative breakfast, you might want to visit Dom the Kefir man’s site. He is the recognised Kefir guru of the internet (maybe the world?).

I’d love to hear  your thoughts and ideas if you are an old hand at trekking the Kefir path 🙂

On to other, cutsie happenings…  it’s gosling season!

Aren’t they desperately adorable?!?

The farmer hatched them in the incubator, as there are foxes wreaking havoc on the farm.  We were able to watch several hatch.

They are a little bedraggled looking when they are first out.

But I forgive them being born ungainly, as they soon are irresistibly thick and fluffy and soft.

That’s what we’ve been up to.  Hope you’re all enjoying school holidays! 🙂

Argh Har, Me Hearties! (or.. Henty v’s Strang)

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Herbert Strang, that writer of rousing books for boys, is a phantom of the ilk of Carolyn Keene, and Franklin W. Dixon.

Just in case you didn’t grow to adolescence on a steady diet of Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys, Carolyn Keene and Franklin W. Dixon were pseudonyms for a team of writers hired by the Stratemeyer  Syndicate.   I was very disillusioned, later in my reading career, to find two of my favourite childhood “standby” authors were not, actually, two authors.

So before I begin extolling the virtues of Herbert Strang, I will undeceive you as to that character’s true identity.  George Herbert Ely (1866–1958) and Charles James L’Estrange (1867–1947) were members of staff at Oxford University Press, and put their hand to the task of writing adventure stories for boys, under the nom de plume, Herbert Strang.

With that shocking revelation out of the way, I will share with you some of the newspaper reviews of the time:

“Boys who read Mr Strang’s works have not merely the advantage of pursuing enthralling and wholesome tales, but they are also absorbing sound and trustworthy information of the men and times about which they are reading.” _ Daily Telegraph.

“He has won for himself a reputation at least as high as that of Mr Henty by work far more earnest and sincere”. _ Speaker, Dec. 8, 1906

“Herbert Strang tells a story as well as Henty told it, and his style is much more finished”. _ Saturday Review, Dec 8, 1906

How does he compare to Henty?  Not being a boy, I am perhaps not the best judge.  However, there were no passages I felt compelled to glaze over, and I confess that Henty’s tendency to describe in detail the strategies of war are sometimes trying to me.  In fairness, none of the five stories I have read of Mr Strang’s were about war, so it hardly seems a fair remark, though true.

The main characters, in line with Henty’s, are stout hearted, honourable boys of courage and daring, and I have found nothing in the stories to make a conservative, homeschooling mama flinch.

While there is historical detail to pick up in any story written during a different time period to our own, I believe Henty wrote more to the purpose of education than what I have so far sampled of Strang.  Still, if you are after an out and out adventure story, with arresting language and no boring bits, Stang is worth hunting up.

Before you do a used book search, you may want to visit project Gutenberg and have a read online to see if the writing style is to your taste, but if you have a boy who is a confident reader, and has enjoyed Treasure Island, or Henty, or that style, then these books should be appreciated.

After reading several of Strang’s tales back to back, entertaining as they were,  I am so ready for a girl-themed book. It might be time to dig out a copy of Pride and Prejudice, and leave the buccaneers, freebooters, shipwrecks and cannibals for another day..

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