SURF IT!!

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Surf it!

 

Couchsurfing is a world of fun!!

This, friends, is geography, social studies, LOTE and (ahem!) socialization all in one glorious, rich, natural learner package. And it’s free. No expensive curriculum required. But you do need a.. ah.. couch.

If hospitality is your thing, it’s easy to set up a profile at couchsurfing.org.  There is space to describe skills you have to share and things you’d like to learn.  Someone in your house learning Spanish? Mention it in the skill share space, and you could find yourself with a native speaker to practice with. Have a passion for music? Mention it, and play with musicians from around the world.

After writing a profile, you can either sit back and wait for people to ask to stay with you, or you can browse people who have posted requests to stay in your area.

Here is Max. He spent a long, long time learning all about biology.  He came to stay with us for three days; three very fun days of sharing our culture with a first time visitor to Australia. Did you know Germans don’t eat banana and walnut sandwiches? Or how they feel about the world wars?  We know things now about Germany that you won’t read on Wiki.

 

Here we are at the Daisy Hill conservation centre: Max is meeting his first koala.

Max

 

 

 

With Juls and Daniel, two German musicians with lots of personality!

juls and daniel

 

 

While there ARE baddies out there, there are also a lot of interesting, gifted, generous people in the world.  This is a wonderful way to meet them, and to share a little of the Australian way of life with an international visitor.

 

Go on.. be daring! 😀

 

 

couch surfing

 

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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

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. 😀

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! 🙂

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

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!

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! ♥

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! 😀

 

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? 😀 ) 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.  😉

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

I really like chickens. 😀

 

Here’s one being adored by Miss 9.

 

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

I am very blessed!

 

 

 

A Great Big Adventure

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Hello Bloggy friends!

You’ll never guess where I’ve been, never!!

Not Scotland. 😀  (Or those poor chaps in the photo wouldn’t be nearly so sunburned… )

Do you give up?

I’ve been farm sitting.

Yes!  A  Very Brave Person left their farm in the hands of the (completely uninitiated and citified) Bluestocking household.

Here’s what we’ve been doing…

Loving Angus.  Isn’t he beautiful?  He’s a mere youngster yet, and we are all smitten.

Feeding the goats and sheep.  Why was Blossy feeding the goat in her pj’s?  Because it was FIVE am.  (Yawn!)

She just couldn’t wait.

Feeding Cows. Cows, friends, are Very Scary Characters.  I may have mentioned here before that I have uncomfortable feelings about cows.

Geese! I want one. Or maybe two.  Aren’t they pretty?  Heidi, though, (yes!  It was Heidi’s farm, but more on that later) said that perhaps something less noisy would suit our very close neighbours.  But… but… geese are so pretty!  And goslings are very, very special indeed.

And because she is such a thoughtful dear…… Seedlings!

No, we didn’t have to feed them, we planted them in Heidi’s vegetable garden.  😀

Doesn’t that sound delicious, Bloggy friends?  It was.  And there’s more.

We went to a Scottish music festival during our time at Heidi’s farm.  And a great bookstore (joy!).  But even more delightful than either of those was the opportunity of meeting up with a lady from the Aussie homeschool board that I have known on line for years.

I didn’t actually get to meet Heidi, but certainly kept in close communication with her over our stay, as farming is trickier than I thought.

Friends, I may have said it before once or twice, but.. I really, really do have the best bloggy friends in the whole world. 😉

Royal Spring Garden Party and Grand Ball

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Hello Bloggy friends!

I’ve asserted over and over that I have the best bloggy friends in the world.  That’s indisputable. But I have mentioned that my IRL friends are among the sweetest God ever made?

 

Two of that number laboured tirelessly (and ceaselessly! and creatively!) for weeks to make this season’s ball spectacular.  Here is a sample of the day…

 

At 3pm guests arrived at Windermere Estate – five acres of the most beautiful gardens you can imagine, designed by a lady with an eye for the aesthetic.  Afternoon tea, introductions and the distribution of programs followed.

 

Of course, some poor little girls didn’t have much chance of afternoon tea.  They looked pretty, it was a beautiful garden, and their cousins were there.. so.. circumstances kind of begged me to drag them off for photos…

At 3:30pm the ladies and gentlemen divided company for a talk on etiquette.  We thereafter wore the social restraints of the era as well as the clothes.  😀

4pm found all in preparation for the Royal Tournament, and this involved a waltz. How those two things related is as much a mystery for me as for you, as I was driving my little people  home to Grandma’s and missed this part.  However I came back in time to catch part of the waltz, and I have to share one of my favourite photos of the day with you..

The composition is not ideal – it was shoot it where I was standing when I saw it or miss out, but I love the light, and the expression on the Chicklette’s face.

Next – The Royal Tournament.  See the squares on the ground in the photo above?  I can’t explain the rules of the game, but it was in part a game of Living Chess.  It involved a great deal of sword play and hilarity, the result of which was Mr BB being put to the sword (see below), and a young Knight winning the hand of the Chicklette, and the two of them being crowned as a result.

At 6pm it was time for high tea.  We sang the Selkirk grace in rounds, no less! (did I mention the MC of the evening was a conductor?)

As evening fell, it was.. freezing.  At this time of year one might expect to have been perishingly hot in formal evening wear. But it could easily have passed for August:  the wind was sufficiently gusty to blow over the marquees! Picnic blankets, spare jumpers, and rugs began to appear..

Have you ever read the Ukrainian folk tale, “The Mitten”?  I couldn’t help thinking of it when two girls huddled under a picnic blanket, and then they admitted another, and another, and another…

It was easier to bear the cold when the dancing began.

 

Supper was served at 9pm, followed by more dancing, and at midnight a Finale March, and then all gathered to sing a farewell anthem.

 

Friends, it was enormous fun.  Imagine having darling friends who would work so hard to produce such an evening for you.  I am blessed indeed.

 

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