Thursday, July 27, 2006

Hooray!! Pictures!!! Err too bad for the tree

A week and a half ago, it was a pretty grey and drizzly Saturday. Our friends from Cowra Mick and Deb were staying over Friday and Saturday night. A pretty exciting thing happenend in our backyard while I was at work. Here are some pictures that tell the tale, will elaborate on more tomorrow.

I called home when I finished work at about 1 pm from the surgery as I forgot my mobile phone. Deb picked up the phone and I asked if they wanted to meet me in town for lunch and she asked me "Haven't you recieved your sms? Half a tree in your garden fell on the shed and flattened it. The SES (State Emergency Services) have been here cutting it up and everything!"

Wow I thought, I hurried home and by then, the stuff in the shed (which was holding it up) was already cleared out so the shed just lay like a flattened card house. Amazingly, everything in the shed (bike, mower, whippersnipper, extra chairs etc.) was unharmed except for a few scratches on my bike. Apparently, Ricahrd, Mick and Deb were at the breakfast table when they heard the sound of a sheet of tin dropped a few houses away. It was quite soft and muffled so they didn't think much of it. About ten minutes later, there was a knock on the door. A man identified himself as the guy on the block behind us. "Umm are you aware that your tree has come down?" The blank look from the 3 of them confirmed to him that they were blissfully ignorant and enjoying coffee and thick cut raisin toast. (This is a mostly food blog ... had to mention food in here somewhere).

Richard contacted the real estate and everything moved quite quickly after that, them contacting people to cut up the tree and organise for people to take away tree bits during the week etc. Insurance assessors also came out so hopefully we will get a new shed soon.

I am so glad we didn't try to climb into the treehouse! It was pretty tempting but I think it might have caused a pre-mature crash. It was raining pretty heavily for the couple of days before then so it might have weakened the tree.

This is the picture of the neighbour next door to us. The 4 corners boundary that the fences shared was flattened and there was tree in everybody's yard.

Umm wonder if this large wood grub had anything to do with the tree's demise. Look at how big it is!!!! Eeew.
Here is a pic of the neighbours behind us. Today, most of the tree has been cleared up but the fence hasn't been fixed yet. Our neighbours have just leant the broken pieces of fence up to form some pseudo wall. The dogs are extremely happy as they can't stay outside during the day now. They much rather snuggle inside where it is warmer. Here is a pic of Raven soon after grooming a few weeks ago. The pet salon we send our dogs to make them all nice and pretty before they are picked up. Last time they had ribbons on the head and this time they have bandanas.

Raven really didn't like it as you can tell :D Hence as Deb said in the comments, the Bandana went to her dog Missy, a cute beagle type cross, instead.

Well goodbye tree, although we didn't really know you very well, I know it was the end of your time. A few weeks ago, us and all the houses in the surrounding area made urgent calls to plumbers. There was gurgling noises coming from the toilet and the level was going up and down. I told Richard there were alligators in the sewer but he didn't buy it. The council people came knocking on our door an hour or so later and said they needed to access our backyard as it was the nexus of all sewer pipes in the neighbourhood. They cleared the blockage and informed us that the tree (yes that same one) had roots that started clogging up the sewer and getting into the system. He said he would suggest it get removed to the council. However, nothing more was done. The owners told us that they tried removing it in the past but the council wouldn't let them as they were trying to preserve trees. Guess now they don't have a choice!

Thursday, July 20, 2006


Just a quick note to explain why I have been MIA. Apart from tearing my hair out over the lack of pictures and difficulty in uploading them, wild country weather caused a branch of a willow tree in our yard to absolutely flatten our garden shed, (pictures to follow, that is if I can ever get it working again), and my extended family in S'pore has been going through a few crises. Hence, will be going back to S'pore again in a few weeks. We were supposed to be going on a holiday to Shanghai however, it looks like that is not to be ...

Anyway, hope things will return more or less to normal soon. Meanwhile, will work on the picture issue.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Mudgee holiday

First, my most exciting news of the day is that I have a new mouse! I had been using my old ball mouse for about 6 years now. But recently, I read in a geek mag about the Razer diamondback which is a high precision gaming mouse. I couldn't find it while I was in Singapore but lo and behold, my hubby pointed it out to me today at the Electronics Boutique and it was 25% off. So I am now the official proud owner of the official mouse for the World Cyber Games. All future opponents in RTS games such as Warcraft 3 should fear now!! ok ok I shall stop rambling on now :)

Now onto a subject which I wanted to share that is almost a month old. June 12th was Queens Birthday holiday. Australians love long weekends so even though is it not the current Queens Birthday (it is the previous) and I am not sure if it is the exact date either but they try to make it fall on a Monday so Aussies can go on their beloved mini-breaks.

As you know we went to a wine growing region known as Mudgee with our dear friends Casey and Clare of Eatstuff. The first two days it was incessant dripping of rain, however, it did not dampen our spirits. We were there primarily to have a good time and also to do stuff like tasting the food and wine of the area. The area is also a popular one for olives. Hence we also got to sample olive oil and products such as various tapenades.

The town of Mudgee is pretty historical and thus their buildings are quite pretty. The photo shows an example of their architecture. The building on the left used to be the Town Hall (looks like the one from back to the future, I reckon). It is now the city library and the other building is now a law firm.

There are lots of cafes and boutique shops to explore. This photo shows the archway leading to a cafe and a shop or two. I love the cobblestone path leading up to it.

An exciting discovery was a vietnamese bakery which made see (sp?) mi. This is a vietnamese pork sandwhich similar to the beloved banh mi found in vietnamese bakeries of the big cities such as Sydney and Melbourne. The difference is that the pork is a steamed pork ball which is that warmed and smashed slightly into the roll. All the other condiments are similar such as the pickled grated carrot, shallots, cilantro and sauce. This was the first time I had tried it and had to ask about its name from the lady. It is interesting that she chose to make it as most vietnamese bakeries in country towns stick to Aussie things such as the meat pies, apple pies, cakes and slices. Nonetheless, I enjoyed it very much and we returned the next day for another one.

We stayed in some cabin style cottages. The original plan was to stay at a Bed and Breakfast but there was a shamozzle with our booking. Fortunately Richard found us this place that was about 20 minutes out of Mudgee. However, it was only 10 minutes to the wineries. It had one bedroom and an attic. C & C who had thier cat kiri with them took the bedroom (as it would be impossible to confine Kiri to the attic). And we took the attic which was warm and cosy.

The first day we visited a winery as well as a cheese factory and ate out at a local pub for dinner. The cheese factory had a great selection, of mostly fetta style cheeses as you can see in the picture. The best thing was that they talked you through each and every cheese and you got a small sample on a paddle pop stick of each. Those who have read my blog last year know that I have confirmed my aversions to blue cheese so I skipped their blue selection. Everything else was very tasty and it was hard to make up our mind what to buy. I decided on a hard goat's cheese and the pesto fetta.

We then went back to the cabin that night and shared our spoils as well as played Taboo until the wee hours.

More about the next day in my next post. I am having problems with blogger again to upload the pics but hopefully they will be up soon!

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Weekend Sheep Blogging

This weekend was spent trying to rid myself of the last few evidences of my bad cold and flu. It struck me that it was exactly this time last year, before our great USA/Canada trip that I fell just as ill. I guess this means that next year I should get a pre-emptive flu shot sometime in May. I guess this also means I am getting old :/

Richard had a surprise for me as he told me last night that the Agricultural teacher at the school he teaches in, said we could go and visit their lambs. This is one great thing about being in the country - the schools are large enough to have lots of land. His school has a few paddocks and even stables and a riding ring set up!

I love all creatures great and small and it is nice to be able to pet animals you usually only see from a distance. We got up close to the paddock where they were grazing peacefully.

We had filled a bucket with what is called "sheep nuts" (err oookay I thought... poor male sheep wandering in pain somewhere) It turned out to be a mixture of molasses, soghurm, wheat germ, hops and other sheep goodies. The sheep instantly recognised it and came baa-ing in great excitement to the gate. We were mobbed!!!!

I tried to spread some out on the ground, but yet I also wanted to get close enough to pet the lambs. They were really skittish though and came close enough to sniff at you but if you even moved a muscle, they went galloping off... and half a dozen other sheep would gallop off in great panic as well, without ever knowing what the matter was.

This cute lil lamb was trying to muster up some courage to come closer. Baa ram you!!
Here lamby lamby lamby....

In the end one lil lamb did come up and nuzzle some food from my hand! Its nose felt soft and velvety. I noticed that there wasn't any strong smell which was quite nice. One big sheep (the one you can see in the foreground in the last picture) was so brave that he just come up and allowed himself be petted so he could eat straight from the red bucket. We called him Einstein for he was truly a genius among sheep!

Sadly these lambs will be chops at christmas time ... it has made me consider not having lamb anymore as they are such gentle creatures. Well, perhaps until someone else makes a nice roast ;)