28.3.17

After the rain...

After all the rain we’ve had last week, we were hoping for a couple of dry(ish) days. Didn’t happen.
Washing took a week to dry resulting in kids dancing in puddles without it. 
The mighty Clarence went up for a day to a minor flood, back to normal the following day. The Orara River behind us went for a moderate flood, cutting off many people for days. School was rather quiet.
Fungi and flowers are popping up everywhere. Tim finds it hard to sleep with the ruckus the frogs are making. And more to come I’d say, just going by the frog eggs, turning the dam into a fluffy merengue...
Laura aka Casper the friendly ghost.
Just like 4 years ago, the prolonged rain gave way to horrendous swarms of biting flies. It drives everyone absolutely bonkers, washing gets hung up inside, collecting eggs becomes and egg run, weeds get out of hand but you just don’t want to be outside. The copious flies and mozzies might be bad, but this is the stuff for horror movies. Especially when you’re a horse... I couldn’t get her rug on fast enough, while both horses are marinated in insect repellant...
Hopefully all those frogs get their act together soon...
All the citrus trees are heavy with flowers. Fascinating how they can have fruit on them while blossoming for the next run.
After a couple of weeks with sick kids, countless trips to school for Sophie and bad nights. Last week I could hardly keep my eyes open. A virus knocked me down too. With tray weather and drizzles, bed was a nice place to be. I’m back on my feed again, too much to do. With the exception of granola, cooking and baking has been on low for the last couple of months, too hot, just didn’t feel like it either. Since the weather has started to cool (still 30 degrees today though!) and the nights are getting considerably longer I’m tentatively putting the oven on a bit more often. 
Last weekend that meant cooking with Quinces: a bunch of rock hard, inedible, fuzzy, pear like creatures.
That magically transform into these soft, delicious and aromatic beauties wanting to be bottled for the winter months. They go well with just a little yoghurt, but also with salads and roasted meat.
5 hours in the oven on 160 degrees, with vanilla sugar, water and aluminium foil to minimise evaporation.
Quilting is also back on the menu. The reason I got into quilting 6 years ago were all the beautiful fabrics with gorgeous colours and patterns. They tempted me enough for me to want to learn to sew.
I picked this fabric up months ago, the print is as pretty as a painting and I couldn’t resist it. I’m turning it into a table runner for my mum, it suits her so well.
The baby quilt for my niece is ready to post, just waiting for her safe arrival.
A friend’s 40th turned into a 3 day music festival. We had a wonderfull time listening to many different bands and styles while the kids had a ball with glow sticks. At least they were easy to find!
The veggie garden is loving all this rain, especially since its now combined with sunny, 30 degree days. Many plants and trees are going for an extra flush. More asparagus, I’m not complaining and I’m loving all these fresh herbs! 
The focus stays mostly on permanent plants, with salvias for colours, strawberries, capsicums and chillies while I’m contemplating if I could squeeze more fruit trees in.
Cyclone Debbie is creating havoc in Queensland. She’s a category 4, about to be upgraded to a category 5 ,which is as bad as they come.
Thinking of all of our friends and old colleagues that are still in Mackay and Sarina. 
From the years and cyclones we did encounter while living in Sarina, we do know one thing: they grow them tough in Queensland...

Meanwhile friends in NSW are becoming a little worried if Debbie comes down. She would be downgraded to a Tropical Low once she reaches us, but another 300mm of rain is just not what we need right now! With dams and waterways already at maximum capacity, they’ve started uttering the F-word (Fl**d) and getting their pantries and medicine cabinets stocked.
Sander has been working on a plan for the front deck, when we couldn’t find the (pebblecrete) tiles we had in mind. 
Having made one himself, we now know how much time (months) and money goes into every tile (we would need about 100). It’s now doing a time and cost calculation, while considering a quote to get a concrete truck delivery.
Since Alex has been using the still wet setup as an obstacle course with his bike, twice, (%#$&*@), getting some quotes (and some duck-tape) is becoming a mighty fine idea...
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19.3.17

This week: water fun

Two little piggies found themselves a puddle.
Last weekend was a Tim's birthday bash.
From us, all Tim wanted for his 9th birthday, was playing Lastertag with his best mates.
All spending the night, in the tent, pillow fights, playing spotlight by a full moon, running off all those pizzas. The big stack of pancakes was gone just as quickly and off they went with their bikes, finding all the new tracks in the forest. Enjoying the beautiful sunny weekend in the pool.
So lucky to have such good mates, they bonded in kindergarten and are still going strong in year 4.
Sophie has her best friend living next door, they’re only two weeks apart! Her younger brother and Alex have a year between them, but are finally starting to find each other. So nice to have good mates, it’s even better when you can ride your bike to visit them.
 The rest of the week was wet, very wet. David loves going on Puddle Patrol.
 The rain is bringing up all these creepy crawlies. Going for a walk includes at least one bite by one of these bull ants (or bully ants as the kids call them), ouch!

Rain, lots of it. Grafton copped 145mm on Saturday alone. 
Flash flooding galore.
 The garden is loving all this rain. In love with my new, funky chilli plant.
 Sander’s weekend project: new stairs to match the front veranda. Such a skilled handy man.
We could have filled 10 rainwater tanks if we’ve had them... We’ve already had 300mm of rain this month.
 Like a kid in a candy store, adding little pockets of happiness to the garden.
 Doing a little repair and diverting work on the first spillway. We had lots of practice as kids, we grew up Dutch after all. Taking it to the next level with the next generation.
Baby quilt in progress.
Seeing all the waterholes filling up, the make such a beautiful picture. This week I got to spend a lot of time with the boys looking for all those noisy frogs and counting all the different kinds of dragonflies.
 Before.
The cushions are machine washable, the frame not so much, spray just doesn’t work anymore ...
After.
The carpet cleaner had his work cut out... A cream lounge, what were we thinking?!?!?
(in our defence, we bought it 11 years ago, before kids)
We’ve talked about replacing the carpets, but with the kids still so little...
A professional carpet clean has given us a couple more years to decide.
Pretty bug
Highlight of this week was seeing the dam fill. Having dinner on the deck with lake view...

18.3.17

The dam project.



January ’17, dozer at work.

January ’17, dozer finished, the kids have a perfect BMX-track
Feb ’17, first bit of rain, a puddle!
February '17, another heatwave with a record 46 degrees, puddle gone.
March ’17, more rain, back to a good size puddle, we sow more grass seeds to strengthen the dam walls.
March ’17, a couple more rainy days, the crater is becoming full,
It’s still another 2 meters until the top of the spillways. From here on, the water will go outwards and backwards first, backfilling the gully before it can go up again.
March ’17, waterholes are filling and the gully starts to run.
The next morning, we wake up to this.
 80mm of rain falls overnight,
18th of March ’17, we have a dam at top capacity.
Both spillways in action as designed.
Rain keeps pounding, 110mm at lunchtime and not letting up, the erosion is starting to take it’s toll at this first spillway.
On the hunt for rocks in pouring down rain, trying to alter the flow outside. It holds.
More permanent enforcing on Sunday, rain keeps falling, more is predicted.

26.2.17

Happiness is...

Slowly seeing the dam starting to fill. It has become the highlight on my walks.
The boys safe back home, after a flying trip to Sydney. 
Three Dutch passports sorted for the next 5 years.
2 nights in the city, making the most of it. 
Sea Life being the highlight of their trip.
 Tim turning 9
 Weather predictions, sweet anticipation...
 It might even take care of all of these cracks!
I love working side by side with my hubby in the garden.
The Dragon fruit looks much happier.
 Laura kisses...
We’ll be starting basic training next month.
Quite sore after spending the weekend sorting the garden, in preparation of a good rain.
So much weeds pulled, seeds sown, mulch carted, frames build and trees planted.
So much satisfaction...
 David’s favourite place on a hot day when not in the pool, the horses don’t seem to mind....
We have a huge bookcase.
Tim: ”Mum, I’ve got nothing to read! Can you please go to the library again, today?”
Another 20 books “eaten” by our bookworm.
When you let Sophie decide what we’ll have for dinner:
Blue Pasta... (2 drops of food colouring added to the boiling water made me mum of the year)
Little Miss is doing great on her new medication, a girl showing initiative, wanting to do things and go places.
Enjoying a cuppa on the deck, preferably after a walk, with a good friend.
Thinking of organising a monthly potluck dinner with some nice friends, a bottle of wine, space for kids to run. Would be fabulous with a full moon. Hmmm....
 Sander, making the deck a little less bouncy on the corners after just having finished a roll-in spot for the pool cleaning robot.
A baby quilt project, waiting for a rainy day...
In another months time, we’ll be welcoming another niece to the family.
Home, looking forward to many garden goodies this autumn.
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