Thursday, 30 August 2007

Dead Wallaby

When we came home from town today, there was a big surprise awaiting us... a wallaby had gotten itself stuck under a pole and died :(

We had just missed the show, but Belle said it was quite dramatic. Anyway, it had a little baby in its pouch, about 1.5cm long. poor thing. Here you can see a picture of how the Joey looked in the pouch.

Anyway, the girls were very interested in looking at it, we showed them in its pouch, the teeth and claws, and everything. Then we buried it. Well, we took it a bit of a hike from the house and left it under a bush, and the girls threw camelia flowers on it.

It was quite an 'educational' experience, anyhow, I learned some things. I'd never looked into a marsupial's pouch before. Even though I know its not really like that, I still have this cartoon image of a kangaroo's pouch being like a big pocket stuck onto the outside of her belly. But really, from the outside you cant see that the pouch is a seperate part of the belly, and the opening is almost closed. It did stretch very wide open though.

After all the excitement, we settled down for Purple's birthday dinner, which I wrote about in a seperate post, somehow feeling that the death of a wallaby and his birthday... didnt quite go together. Well, maybe they did ;)

Purple Birthday

Today was Purple's birthday. He's 37.

When Littletree woke up, I told her that it's Aba's birthday and she replied excitedly; "birthday!? what about sharing? I like cake!"

We didn't really do anything to celebrate, and the day started out with the gas bottle running out, so we had to go to town to have it filled.

Belle and Ana came over for dinner, I made a yummy curry. For a birthday cake, I made a stack of pancakes layered with strawberries and maple syrup whipped with coconut cream. As we dont have a proper oven so I cant bake real cakes :(

Of course, the birthday cake was really for the benefit of the girls, and since we didnt have any candles, I lit some sparklers for the girls. They sure loved that!

Wednesday, 29 August 2007


Littletree is in the bath!

You might wonder why that is a cause for celebration, but that would be because you dont know that its her first bath in (I think) 16 days. at this point, I start to lose count.

She doesnt want to have a bath. I shrug. We comment on how grubby and stinky she's getting. she shrugs. Until this afternoon, after a day of playing naked in the garden, she had some itchy hives on her legs. So, she agreed to get into the bath. With all her barbies.
I hung the Barbies on the line to dry, I think it makes quite a nice image...
Of course, now she doesnt want to get out of the bath.
I shrug.

Monday, 27 August 2007

Spoiled Bumblebee

Someone sent me the link to this video on YouTube... I actually applauded my computer. This guy has some other great songs too, check them out!

Sunday, 26 August 2007

Be a Good Mama

I just shouted at Littletree :(
I immediately apologised and hugged her. I said it was wrong of me to shout and I'm really trying to be the best mama in the world.
she said:
"I dont want you to be the best mama in the world. I just want you to be a good mama to me"

[sniff, sniff]

Saturday, 25 August 2007

My New Baby


This is the moment you've all been waiting for! My New Computer!
Its an HP dv2305tu. Its very SHINY!

For you tech geeks out there who know what it means, she has
1.86GHz Intel Dual Core,
LightScribe 8x DVD WR+ dual layer
14.1" widescreen WXGA brightview HD screen
1.3MP built in webcam
Wireless, Bluetooth, 5-in-1 card reader, QuickPlay with remote control,
some other cool stuff.
and its shiny :D

I'm slowly getting to know it. It's much smaller than my old computer, well, maybe about the same size, but thinner and much lighter. and faster. definately faster. My old faithful, Jasmine, was about 6 years old.

I'm not too excited about running Vista, but I'm getting used to it. Vista is very pretty, at least. If it doesnt work out for me, I'll give Ubuntu a try.

Anyway, there are many things I like, many things I'm not excited about... mostly, its just comparing the new one to the old one, which, while old and not so fast, was an IBM ThinkPad T30, and therefore very good.

Like, the screen is one of the glossy kind. I'm used to matt. Glossy is supposed to be good for better brighter colour, good for gaming and watching movies. But it reflects. You can see in the pic how much it reflects. The viewing angles are okay though. not quite as good as the ThinkPad, but better than many.

Same with the sound. Its loud enough, though not as loud as the old one. However, I shouldnt compare; my old computer had a really good speaker; we could easily listen to music and stuff. I was surprised in the flood when Naughty put a movie on his Toshiba laptop, but it was so quiet we couldnt hear it from just a couple of metres away and he had to use the speakers in his van.

Here you can see them side by side. You can see how HP is smaller, and shinier.
And below is how they look closed. Yep, Jasmine is well-loved and personalised, HP is just shiny.

The keyboard isnt quite as comfy as the old one, though I daresay I'll get used to it. I just need to type a teensy bit harder than before. I'm getting used to the touchpad mouse, which I think is a very good one. Though I do sadly miss my old TouchPoint mouse :(
I took a few photos sids by side, to make comparisons. It seems to be the thing to do ::shrug::
Here's the side view and below is the rear view. Yep, Jasmine was a port-monster!

Sometimes it does strange things that I dont know why. Mostly, its just lots of fancy high-tech stuff that is a little too space-age-sci-fi for me. Like it has all these media controls that you just brush your finger over gently, rather than pressing.

Also, the screen only opens to 130 degrees, rather than Jasmin's 180. and all the weight is at the back. So, its a nice computer. There's nothing actually wrong with it, I'm just not used to it yet. and I've yet to discover all its ins and outs.

Big thanks to the people (no one) who donated to my fund! LOL

Friday, 24 August 2007

A Brief Moment of Hilarity

Okay, so I stumbled onto this auction on eBay, its getting pretty famous now, but if you haven't heard about it, its HILARIOUS. seriously, check it out.
As I dont know how long item descriptions are kept on eBay after the auction ends, I've copied the description here... anyway, its a pack of Pokemon cards that ended up selling for $142.50US...

Everyone keeps asking me about my new computer... I spose I'll get to that later.

Wednesday, 22 August 2007

Purification by Fire and Water

I've been away for a couple of days... I didnt plan to be.
I went on another scouting mission for the Rainbow Gathering.
For those who didnt read about the last time I went scouting, I ended up fighting a bushfire with no shoes on...

This time, we went to a site near Washpool National Park, I went by myself, leaving Littletree with Purple, planning to stay overnight and return the following afternoon. It had been raining steadily for 2 days, and forecast for more, but everyone else was still going, so I went too.

I drove in the driving rain, sticking to the major highways, because of the weather. When I got into the area of the park, the paved road ended and the mud began. Some of the hills were a bit hairy, my van slipping sideways down the sloppy roads. But I made it fine, and turned onto the track that I thought would lead me to the meeting place.

Puzzle Road was a pretty rough bush track, and clearly no one had driven on it for a good long while - it was basically 2 overgrown wheel ruts going through thick forest. There were 1-2Metre tall saplings growing in the middle of the road, and it wasnt too long before I was stopped by a fallen tree blocking the road. A bit of heaving and slipping in the mud and rain, I got the road cleared and went on... about an hour and 6 fallen trees later (cursing that I'd forgotten to bring my bowsaw), I came out to the end of the road at a junction. I had no idea where to turn, but it was starting to dawn on me that Puzzle Road was maybe not the way I was supposed to go.

Thank goodness Mark and Naughty drove by at that point, wondering what I was doing there. Turns out Puzzle Road was just a loop that leaves the main road, goes around for a ways, then joins back onto the main road not very far from where it starts!

The meeting place was not far down the road, and we arrived there to find Foc' and Nic' already set up with a tarp and fire going next to the river. Thank goodnes Foc' had brought his chainsaw so we had lots of wood :)
We sat around and chatted as the sun set, had dinner and went to sleep...

7am Naughty tapped on my van window to wake me up. though Foc' and Nic' had set up their camp a good 30 Metres from the river last night, this morning it had moved to just one metre from the water's edge. Or was it that the river had risen just a bit? We packed our stuff quick smart, as the river was still rising, and rushing fast.

In convoy, we drove up to the site we planned to scout, Naughty and I parked our vans and we all piled into Foc' and Nic's 4WD. We drove into the site, it was fantastic - everything we need for the gathering. But as the river was just a tad swollen, we couldn't cross it to check out the details. No problem, we could clearly see that it was the site, and agreed to come back in a week when it was dried out.

So, only 9am, and we were already heading home :D
only, we didnt get very far before we came to this:



We all got out of our cars and stood looking at the rushing water. Mark waded out into the water, got to knee high before declaring that it got MUCH deeper after that, and even at knee deep, the current was too strong. I watched in dismay as a huge tree floated past us at an alarming rate.
Just then, a car drove down the hill on the other side of the river, and pulled up at the water's edge. A local guy got out of the car and we waved frantically... he shouted "I HOPE YOU'VE GOT ENOUGH FOOD FOR FOUR OR FIVE DAYS!!"

A chill went down my spine. Mark grinned and waved at the guy, he drove away. We were stuck. Nic' and I were worried about our kids; she'd also left her son with a baby-sitter, and we had no way of contacting the outside world. The guys weren't worried; we had our vans, and enough food to last a couple of days. downhearted, we went to find some high ground to make camp on.
We parked the vans parallel, with about 7 metres between them, and hung a tarp over the space, with the 4WD supporting on side and poles at the other side. Foc' cut some wood and got us a good fire going...

We spent the day drying stuff out, chatting, and walking back and forth to the river to see if the levels had dropped at all. but mostly, we just prayed for the rain to stop.

Praises be! the next morning, the water was under the bridge, in its proper place, and we could get out :D soggy and tired, I made the journey home to find that no one had even missed me.

and my new computer had arrived! :D :D :D more about that tomorrow...

Saturday, 18 August 2007

Lost in computerland

Where have I been, you ask?
searching for a new computer...
man, its a mission!
I've been spending several hours a day reading notebook reviews watching ebay auctions, reading notebook reviews, trawling online computer stores, reading more reviews, searching user forums, reading reviews, browsing manufacturer websites, and yep, reading reviews.

turns out, I still havent found the exact computer I want. probably it doesnt exist.
It has to be not significantly bigger/ heavier than my last one - an IBM thinkpad T30. I want something with not less than 1Gb ram, 2GHz processor speed, reasonable battery life (or equivalent dual core), DVD writer, on XP, not Vista... for less than $1000US. If spending that much, I'd expect a good warranty, though I dont mind if its much cheaper and second hand.
The mouse is a big issue for me - I'm used to a ThinkPad with its little touch point mouse (the little eraser head thingy in the middle of the keyboard). I HATE those touchpad laptop mice, but if it was a very good one, i'd get used to it, on a computer that is in other ways the "right" one. I need a scrolling function too.

We found computers that really fitted all my specs, but many of the reviews commented on annoying mice, or low screen viewing angles (not good for watching DVDs with more than one person), or were new but without warranty, or had deplorable battery life, or on Vista... well, ALL of them had some problem.

In the end, I tried to bid on one that seemed "good enough", but something went funny with my eBay account, or something strange. I ended up bidding on another one, just to see if I could bid at all. Only I'm -so far- winning the bid. I might not in the end, so its a wait and see till 8pm tonight. If I get it, i'll be happy with it... i hope. Its an HP DV2500 variety, the main downfall is that its running Vista. what to do. Though I'm not 100% sure this is the computer I want, I'm afraid of not winning it - that would mean starting all over again!

Meanwhile, the computer stress - me not having one means I'm not online much; I dont get the support of the many forums I inhabit, Littletree cant watch videos; I dont get any mental 'downtime', and I'm spending all this stressy time searching for a new computer. I think I was online for 8 hours on thursday! Its having a detrimental effect on our family; we're all stressed and depressed.

Monday, 13 August 2007

Where in the World is the Majikfaerie?

Its no secret that I've been travelling a lot. Just how much? well, for several years, I've been keeping an updated location going on a site called Where Are You Now. But I never told anyone about it. and it just occurred to me that I should. so I am.
If its interesting to you to see everywhere I've been in the past 9 years... click here

Sunday, 12 August 2007

Thoughts on Parenting Philosophy

While pretending to work - I'm supposed to be writing NEWS, I stumbled across this quote.

"Next to the right to life itself, the most fundamental of all human rights
is the right to control our own minds and thoughts." ~ John Holt

I think it speaks for itself, but it's worth dwelling on for a moment, and on what that really means. What that really means for us as a culture, and especially what that really means for our children.

It somehow fit in with the discussion that started my day. In a thread on MDC, discussing a child who is spending a lot of time on the computer, I said this:

It just occured to me; children come up with something that really grabs them, it develops into a passion; often its dinosaurs, or spiders, or nintendo. So then the kid spends "ALL his time" deeply engrossed in X.

When its something the parents approve of, like dinosaurs or mathematics ([Purple] for example was a math freak-kid), they are encouraged, books and materials are bought, lots of smiling and nodding goes on, parents recount with pride their LO's achievements. BUT something "bad" like computers, and the folks are right away worrying about too much screen time, that they want to be on the computer "all" day.

IMNSHO, this just sets the kid up for feeling that his interests aren't worthy; that he's only "good" and "lovable" when he shows interest in the "right" things; that the stuff he's really interested in is 'bad'.

I talked about it with Purple, and of course we got onto Barbies... there's so much hullabaloo about how Barbies are bad, and they set girls up to have negative body images and low self-esteem. But I'm realising more and more, that its not Barbie that gives us the low self-esteem, its being led to feel that our interests/ thoughts/ feelings are worthless. It's not Barbie that leads to negative body images, because any child raised in a TRULY supportive, and open environment, loved unconditionally for who they are, just wont feel that way.

Saturday, 11 August 2007

There's a Goanna in my Kitchen making Falafel!

Perhaps the sequel to There's a Hippopotamus on our Roof Eating Cake

Ana slept over last night while her mama, J, went out dancing. The girls had a great time :) The got out the food dye again and made more 'potions'. we found out, interestingly, that if you mix all the colours together, until its black, and then hold it up to the light, it's actually RED - the same as coca-cola is. BUT when you pour out a bit into a glass, its GREEN!!! We spent lots of time pouring green liquid out of a bottle of red liquid. it was very trippy.

This morning, we are making Falafel. I mixed up some yeast dough and left it to rise in the sun, for the pita bread. Purple is grinding soaked chick peas (garbanzos) and herbs for the falafel. The girls are making a mess in the middle ;)

Meanwhile, I heard a rustling at the kitchen back door, and looked over, thinking one of the bush turkeys was there, but no... it was our Goanna! We went out and had a good look at it, I snapped photos, of course.

Friday, 10 August 2007

Koalas, Haircuts and Dead Computers

Well, that's it! My darling computer is rattling her last throes. Yesterday we came home from town and the screen didn't work :( She seems to be working anyway, but its hard to tell with no screen. so I drove back down the mountain and took her to the computer shop. I'll know on monday if there's anything I can do. Of course, I knew the end was coming soon, and I spent the whole of the day before on the computer backing stuff up. and of course, I didn't finish. I hope I'll get to save the last of my files!

And now! I begin researching what kind of computer I will buy next. I really just want my old one back, in perfect working order. I love that computer, and without it I feel a little like my hands are cut off.

On the lighter side of the news, last night Purple came back from the toilet all excited - there was a Koala in a tree right outside our back door!

I guess that makes up for the snake having left us, after several days on our back step. So I grebbed Littletree out of bed (she was very close to falling asleep, but it was worthy to wake her up!). We snuck quietly out and marvelled at the Koala, which was, amazingly, in a palm tree, rather than a eucalypt. I had no idea Koalas ever go up in other trees. I snapped some photos, while Koala posed, and Littletree awed. It was a pretty special moment. Yesterday we searched for books on Koalas in the library...
Purple is also now sporting a new haircut, thanks to Littletree and Ana...

Tuesday, 7 August 2007

Bare Foot Fire Fighter

Yesterday was a big adventure!

I left Littletree at home with Purple and went off with Mark to scout for the Rainbow Gathering on the other side of the Border Ranges National Park. On the way, we drove past a property belonging to a friend of Mark, but we weren't going to stop; we wanted to get some scouting done.

Only when we drove past, there was smoke billowing up from the middle of the property; a big fire burning. Mark suggested we stop in at the house, and make sure the owners knew about it and it was under control.

Turned out they did know about it, but it was out of control; they had just called the Fire Depertment. We went over to have a look, and found the fire spreading fast, threatening a house and a yard full of chickens. No one seemed to really know what to do, and they were all just standing around. I asked if there was water in the rainwater tank, or a hose, or buckets...
Blank stares, but Mark and I went down to where the fire was licking towards the dry lantana brush behind the chicken's enclosure.

We managed to get a hose running, but it wasnt long enough. There was an Austrian WWOOFER there and she found some buckets. Armed with a bucket of water, I crashed into the lantana and threw the water into the flames, and went back for more.
We started a bucket line, the wwoofer filling the buckets and Mark carrying them down and me dragging them in to the fire.

We got that bit stopped fairly quickly, and the owner of the land was confident that it wouldnt go any further, as there was a creek at the bottom of the field that would stop it. Only it didn't.
The fire jumped the creek and raced up into the other field. Mark and I scrambled over with the buckets and I filled them in the creek, ran up the steep embankment to give him the buckets and he went to throw water on the fire.

The smoke was intense, and Mark soon needed a break, so I swapped with him.
At this point, I should mention that I didnt have any shoes with me, so I was running through a smoking field of burning grasses barefoot!

A couple of other guys who live on the property, and a neighbour came to help, but the fire spread up into the the next paddok (field). We chased it, but by then it was too far to bother hauling water from the creek. One man cut a bunch of branches from a green tree, and we beat at the flames with those.

It was really effective; smothering the flames, but HARD work. And of course, the paddok was all dry grass and thorns and prickles, thrashing my poor, already burned feet :(
Anyway, we stopped the fire on one side of the paddok, but it raced up the hill on the other side, and into a neighbour's property. We chased it, keeping it at bay...

Around that time the fire department arrived, first a helicopter that circled around, and then a few fire trucks. The first truck came up to where we were fighting the fire, but it got bogged up to its axles in a ditch! So then they had to get the tractor to tow it out.

By that time I couldn't walk so comfortably, and that side of the fire was pretty under control, but I could see up the hill on the other side of the valley it was getting bigger. So I headed back down over the creek and up the other side. I stopped at the house to drink some water (thirsty work!) and spied some gumboots lined up inside. So, duly gumbooted, I trudged up to the other side draggin my blackened branch. The people over there were getting to the point of deciding to stop chasing the fire; we had stopped it on 3 sides, and the fire department had arrived, and it seemed like it was just burning dry grass that wasn't worth saving.

Everyone went inside for tea, and I got some Aloe Vera to put on my foot.
Mark and I left to continue on our scouting mission. The local TV news crew arrived as we were leaving, so I dont know what happened.

We continued over the mountain and checked out the rainbow site. It was a magical place, perfect for a gathering, but the owners we're really not into the idea :(

Exhausted, and with the sun setting, we headed for home, the valley was still full of smoke when we drove past where the fire had been burning, and people in the general store were gossiping about the fire.

So now, I can officially call myself a Bare Foot Fire Fighter!
(and I have the blisters to prove it!)

Friday, 3 August 2007

Why Not Shout, Snake!!!

Lah dee dee, Lah dee dah. Just another ordinary morning.
We got up, ate some brekkie, (leftovers), played a bit on
I had to go visit our lovely composting toilet, so duely stepped out the back door...

I didnt even make one step out the door when I almost stepped on this:

I stopped my foot literally 10cm from standing on its HEAD!

Yes, that is my water heater you see in the frame, it is 40cm from my door frame.

A second passed, me, standing with my foot in the air, Mr snake staring me in the eye. an involuntary shudder escaped my lips and I stepped back and shut the door.

Of course I immediately opened the door again to see if it was still there and really real.
Check and check.

Did I freak out?
Did I call for help?
Did I rush my defenseless daughter out the other door to safety?

I called Littletree to come have a look, and got my camera ;)

By then the snake was turning around, and slithering up the side of the water heater. We watched it fascinatedly. On the left, you can see its full length; it was about 2.5M long, and the thickest part of its body was about the thickness of my arm (and I'm not that skinny!)

It wiggled around the pipes at the back of the water heater, twisting in and out. It was mesmerising, watching it go back and forth... Finally, it was totally tangled up around the pipe; I guess it was warm there, and looked like Mr Snake was going to sleep.

He seemed like he was going to stay there for a while (right next to my bathroom window, mind) so I ran next door to see what to do about it. Well, N next door was quite un-interested in it, except to say that its not poisonous and it used to live in the house.

I went over to Joy, to get moral support. She came over and we prodded it and picked it up (and dropped it down the steps - it was HEAVY) until it slithered into the veggie garden. At this point, I could see that while it was a massive and intimidating snake, it was actually old and slow and docile, and could potentially catch the mice that have been keeping me up at night.

So, I let it stay. He curled himself up into a tight coil and went to sleep. Me, being me, I went right to Google my new friend; he is a Carpet Python and not particularly dangerous. As long as he stays out of the house!