Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Ping gets a friend

I couldn't get a definite answer about whether ducks get lonely or not. People were usually too busy laughing at me. Anyway I found out that one of Ping's siblings was available so Jack and I got another box and went and picked up Pop (Jack's choice of name). Of course my mother suggested we should call the new duck Pong and S didn't even get a look in. Actually he just came home and found that instead of one duck we now have two. That's two very happy ducks.

Monday, 20 September 2010

pods, jude and books galore

mark dapin and I in the pod

Last tuesday and wednesday at the library we had an outdoor reading room. Well we would have if the weather hadn't been so inclement. So the reading room got moved inside. At 9am on Tuesday morning it looked fab and all we needed was the people.

the reading room ready for readers

Why have a reading room at the library? It's part of a campaign that is run every year to promote literacy in Australia. It was called Books Alive and is now called Get Reading and there's a free booklet that is produced with '50 books that you can't put down'. This always creates some interest/heated discussion amongst readers about the choices, but I'm still not sure if it hooks the non readers. You can also get a free book if you buy one of the fifty and this year they started doing outdoor reading rooms starting in Sydney, Brisvegas and um...Wagga.

the lovely Amy - so clever to match her shoes to the pod

They had bookshelves with the books as well as groovy chairs (love the pod chairs) tables and throw rugs. It's a great idea but sadly not many people turned up (come on people of wagga get off your substantial asses and do something).

some of the books - vampires featured prominently (sigh)

Even an appearance by Judy Nunn, author and actress, failed to attract many people, though one woman upon hearing her on the local ABC (also broadcasting from the reading room) ran the whole way from her house. I'm hoping it was close but am not sure - she was very puffed and just panted at Judy and waved one of her books at her to sign. Judy was very patient, doing interviews on air and posing for photos. Then after our can can lineup photo she took off for another author event.

my t-shirt: get hooked - Amy's get fresh - luckily we didn't score the get comfy one

Even though we didn't get as many members of the public as we would have liked staff made good use of the facilities and the free coffee (mmm...chai).

Jeannie using the RR - pretty sure Barry the Fish with
Fingers was not one of the fifty books but maybe it should be

you can lead a duck to water...

For anyone worried about Ping's wellbeing, she is fine. She still has all her feathers (because apparently this pecking order stuff can be full on) and even when we let her and the girls out to free range she tends to stick pretty close to them. I'm not sure if she has learnt to speak chicken or if they can speak duck but things are relatively peaceful. Well, except for yesterday when a friend of Jack's pushed a truck at high speed whilst yelling at the top of his lungs (and they are impressive lungs - he gets lots of volume) straight at Ping.

Today she had a quieter day. Sort of. Jack and I filled his clam shell then Jack said he would catch Ping and put her in the water.

Wait! Ping!

come back!


Not very successful - ducks (and chickens can walk surprisingly fast). While this doesn't look very relaxing for our birds it's progress for Jack who used to run screaming from the girls if they even poked their heads out the door of their henhouse.
Today I made a sponge cake using duck eggs (not Ping's she's still a tad young I think) and leftover whipped cream and some of Diane's apricot jam. It will be morning tea tomorrow at work. I hope I get a piece this time!

Thursday, 16 September 2010

a new addition

Yesterday at playgroup someone casually asked if we would like a duck (mmm...a l'orange? Peking? confit?) and after running it by S Jack and I said yes. We went to the shops and got a box and then picked up our new friend. Jack wanted me to drive with her on my lap but I'm glad I didn't. Duck's do very smelly poos.
I was concerned about how she would integrate with the girls. I distracted them with lots of lovely scraps then opened the box. The fattest of the girls immediately flew at her and pecked away in a most inhospitable fashion. I was unsure what to do, especially as Jack was watching and looking worried so I yelled, "Bad Chicken! Bad Chicken!" and flapped my arms which did the trick. Well actually all the chickens and the duck stopped and looked at me as if to say,"what's she on about?" Then there was a bit more pecking and such. I was worried that the duck might not last long but when I went back a little while later an uneasy truce had been declared.
And so we have named her. Well, I call her Ping which she responds to but S is still pushing for Daffy (please!). We haven't named the chickens because they are well, chickens and are just known as the girls. Apparently duck eggs are very good for sponge cakes.

Tuesday, 14 September 2010


It's been raining so much this winter. Great deluges of rain and then last week it seemed to only rain a little bit and there was water everywhere. Actually where we are (on top of a hill) wasn't too bad but the Murrumbidgee in Wagga (built on a floodplain) was the highest I have ever seen it. Not Benalla high but impressive enough. Cars were stopped all along the roadside near the river so obviously lots of other people hadn't seen it that high either. Jack and I detoured for a few photos when the novelty wore off.

the chop

Last Friday Jack had his photos taken at preschool so last Wednesday I booked him in for a haircut. He was pretty excited (though let's be honest more about morning tea afterwards than the actual cut) and was very good at first.

Then he got a bit fidgety,

and itchy from the hair and then he looked like this.

And all I could do was laugh and then I took him for the promised morning tea and he was much happier. He was actually very good. Apparently some kids run screaming from the room as soon as they see the scissors. Maybe they shouldn't have nightmare on elm street playing on the DVD player at the salon. (haha).
Sorry the pics are a bit foggy - they looked much better after I cleaned Jack sized fingerprints off the camera lens.

Sunday, 5 September 2010


'Jack and Justine'

I've been doing some sewing again recently. Most of my stash is packed away in storage (still) but I managed to keep a few bits and pieces aside in case I felt the need to whip up an owl or a doll. The professor (Jeans) is starting work at the library today so I made her a little owl to make her new desk more welcoming and added a monster drawing from Jack. Jack liked her owl so much he asked me to make him one so I did. For one day they played together till I cruelly separated them taking 'Jack' to the library and leaving 'Justine' behind. (Jack named them).

Jack's new friends

The other thing I made was an Olive doll or another Olive (Jack already has one). Olive II is for Miss Evie, the beautiful daughter of a friend who recently had a christening.

I made Evie some red Mary Jane booties with ladybug buttons so I gave some to Olive too. S told me he thought she looked good (Olive that is) except for a mild case of encephalitis and she does indeed have a wonky head. That just shows that she's handmade or unique or something.

Snot Block

There's a place in Victoria called Ouyen where they have an annual Vanilla Slice day. Apparently judging is an onerous task as by the end of the day many snot blocks as they are known have been consumed and may not be consumed again for a long while. Maybe about a year.

We don't have a vanilla slice day here, we don't even have a silo kick competition like Mirool though there was talk of erecting a Ray Warren Statue (sigh). We do however now have a grower's market once a month which is tres exciting. I've gone all french because the french baker (who does make french bread but also happens to be french) is there and I make sure I stock up on bread and croissants. Lately his range has expanded (like my waist measurements) to include tarts and yesterday there were some delectable Mille feuille aka Vanilla Slice, though no one would ever dare to call it a snot block.

Jack and I polished one off last night, with Jack eating the icing component and me tidying up what remained (ahhh custard or should I say creme patissiere).

The french baker is also making these little brioche men and Jack was very excited about his, particularly the head.

Thursday, 2 September 2010

the zoo

As soon as Jack knew we were going to Sydney he kept on saying that he wanted to do two things: eat pizza and go to the Zoo. For weeks he made me draw a map showing how we would get from Ganma and Nonno's house to the zoo and specifying our mode of transport. Luckily they live in the same suburb so it wasn't a large map.
Quick Ganma! To the Zoomobile!

Mum and I had discussed just seeing certain animals and seeing the rest another time but we saw the whole lot. Lions, tigers and bears (oh my) as well as gorillas, seals, elephants, meerkats, goats, chickens, turkeys, frogs, lizards, penguins and well you get the idea.

hello down there (don't you just love goats?)

your Highness?

the elephants

and a Fennec Fox (don't tell Paris how adorable
they are she'll want one for her handbag)

The southern oceans animals are always a big hit with Jack (although the seal show despite some preshow excitement was not nearly as fascinating as expected). Actually while I was taking photos of these sea lions playing/fighting/canoodling Jack put on a song and dance show of his own on some very stage like steps.

sea lion ballet ( you may need to enlarge it)

a fairy penguin

the mermaid enclosure

there's a ring in in that police line up

We walked, caught the train and the sky safari which was timed brilliantly so that we got an aerial view of the elephants playing soccer. Jack and Mum were very brave as we took off up into the sky.

We paused for lunch, which was very civilised in spite of some tourists being terrorised by kookaburras and lorikeets (no really). At one stage Jack took off buzzing around in circles yelling out, "Dottywot!SpottyWot!" When my mum looked puzzled by this behaviour I explained that Jack was pretending to be a WotWot. This didn't really make things clearer but it certainly wore him out.

Every time we thought we'd had enough Jack would beg to see another fifteen animals or so and we'd be off again. Finally we staggered back stopping to pick up a cupcake for Jack before our Nana naps.

For anyone who doesn't know what a wotwot is look here