its true. i’m moving

I haven’t been on the blog for ages. Some of you may have noticed. For those that didn’t, not to worry. You didn’t miss much. Mainly cause I didn’t post for months.

Well, I’m back. At least I’m sort of back. In a whole new direction.

While I was in Greece I realised that my heart was on Paros, with my mom and my family. I missed them and I missed Paros. I’d always dreamed of living on Paros and now I’m ready to make it a reality.

I’d always planned to retire on Paros, but I realised that I really didn’t want to wait that long. I want to spend quality time with my mom and more time with family. I chose to live far from my family from the age of 23… its time to be back with them.

I knew I was in trouble when I didn’t hate Athens the way I usually do…

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When I got back from Greece I had to make some really hard decisions, have some really hard conversations with Wayne, and look into my heart and make the decision which would be best for me.

Its been a really stressful and difficult time, hence the blog silence. I just didn’t know what to write. Things were confusing and I couldn’t plan anything since every single move depended on something else to fall into place first. It was like the goalposts were constantly being moved. Exhausting. Depressing.

Yet also exciting.

I love Paros. My heart has been there for years. Paros IS Greece to me… to all of us in our family. So the prospect of living there full time is like a dream come true.

Most of my family and friends in Athens have their doubts… Paros? In winter? There’s nothing to do there! You’ll be bored and lonely!

Ha. They obviously haven’t lived in the country in Tasmania…

I look forward to spending a few quiet months ‘finding myself’… making friends, reconnecting with my creative side… living quietly and just being. I believe its the right decision for me at this stage of my life. A new life.

Of course it won’t be easy. I need to earn a living so I’ll have to find a job. I’ll do anything till I find my place.

Then there are the heartbreaking bits to moving. Mom doesn’t want me to take a dog over. Montana is too old for such a trip but I had planned to take Romeo – my living, breathing, poodle security blanket. My support. My very own family.

But with mom not wanting a dog in her house, with me not having my own place (yet) and no job (yet) and not knowing where I’ll be for the next few months… I had to concede that she has a point. It will be better for the dogs to find a new home in Australia and not have to face change after change.

I’m heartbroken. I never planned to be without my dogs…

Ok. Well. I’m trying very hard to think positive right now.

We sold our house. That in itself was a horrible experience. It was quick, but it wasn’t without a ton of stress. The buyers from hell. That’s all I have to say about that. But its done now. And we have a settlement date of November 16.

30 days.

Can you say RUSH?

Can you say exhausted?

I’ve been photographing and listing stuff for sale for weeks but now I’m stepping it up a notch. Or four. I’m having a huge garage sale on the weekend (part of the garage sale trail) and of COURSE today its been thundering and pelting down with rain.

Always happens. I’m a weather system all of my own. Need rain? I’ll move there and bring it with me. All I need to do is plan an outdoor activity. Guaranteed to bucket down.

So… I have 4 weeks to pack up, sell up, clean up and move out.

I’m getting there but there’s still so much to do.

The plan is to move out of here, find a home for my babies (the poodles!), go to Melbourne for a while, visit family and friends in Canberra, maybe even Sydney, sell the car, go to Greece.

You know what plans are, don’t you? Those things we make which we have to change again and again.

I’ve moved back and forth from Greece to Australia and back many times but it never seemed so hard before. Maybe its cause this time I have my own home and years of accumulated possessions to sort through. The last times I’d been a student or living in rentals so never had so much.

Whatever.

Its happening.

Stay tuned for the new adventure.

z

 

i love my mother, i really do…

A typical little cobblestone street in Old Parikia, Paros

But seriously…

This is how conversations with her go:

“Have you seen Yianni yet?”

“Which Yianni?”

“Your cousin Dimitris son. He works at the bar next to the chemist owned by Fragisko’s daughter.”

“No. I haven’t had a chance to see him yet.”

“The poor thing. He’s suffered so much these last few years.”

“Who, Yianni?”

“No, Fragisko. His daughter got married and divorced and her aunt got sick and now they’re all living out of town. But he’s lost all his money you know.”

“Who? Fragisko?”

“No. His aunt’s son.”

(names have been changed to protect the innoncent)

The Evinos bar overlooks the water

How on earth am I supposed to follow an entire conversation with the woman?

Firstly, she knows everyone on Paros. Secondly, she’s related to half of them by blood and the other half through marriage or divorce or proximity. Which means I’m related to them all and therefore I should not only know them all, remember them all, but care about what they’re doing, what their children and grandchildren and cousins and neighbours are doing.

While some houses have been restored, some are falling apart

Sigh. My father had his own way of dealing with it. When out with mom and she’d start her extensive explanations:

“Did you see that guy over in the corner with the blue cap on? That’s Anna’s husband. You remember Anna, she brought us some figs last week. They live on the same street as Marina, opposite Vassili and Filio, you know, the big house with the blue windows and the palm tree in their yard. Well… Strati, Anna’s husband had heart surgery last year and he was forced to retire. Now he spends his days fishing. He gave Artemisia the biggest fish to cook for dinner last night. You remember Artemisia, she’s the one you met when we got married, of course she was only a girl then, now she’s got grandkids. Two of them are studying in university now. I think one is studying to be a lawyer, like his father. Artemisia’s oldest son. He’s the one that helped my brother Nicko with his troubles with the land he owned. The land on St Peter’s, next door to the area where my 2nd cousin Stellios grows olives. And they’re such great olives! I must remember to ask his daughter Maritsa for some. She works at the bakery on the top road. The one next door to Babi’s shop…. you know the one…

Dad would say “may god be with him” before mom could get too far into her ramblings and cut her off. Yeah, rude, but I think I get it…

The Castro in Parikia

I swear I can’t keep track of the people and its impossible to follow cause she jumps from one subject to another, from one person to another without warning.

I’ve always been able to talk “woman”. That’s when you get together with girlfriends and you talk incessantly, changing subjects back and forth as you go. No problem. But even I can’t keep up with mom.

Taking the boat across the port to the beach

But… she IS my mother and I love her. And she makes me fried red peppers, which I love, and she bought me the best home made cottage cheese (mizithra) in the world. I really wish she hadn’t. I just ate a ton of it on Elite rusks (a greek brand) with honey. I’m so full…

Sunset at the Meltemi Bar on Paros

My favourite beach, Krios

And another thing. Its been 5 years since my last trip, and 8 since the one before. My blog from that first trip has disappeared cause it was with Shine and I wasn’t able to save it. But there was a whole section on that about the clothes being on the line.

Mom loves to remind me about things. Like the clothes I washed and left on the line to dry. She’ll tell me to put them on the line. Then she’ll tell me to take them off the line later. At least 5 times.

“Don’t forget to take the clothes off the line” must be one of her favourite sentences in the world. Well, at least it was 8 years ago.

I’m happy to report that its still her favourite sentence. I washed one load of washing yesterday and heard the sentence at least three times.

Good to see mom is still in fine form!

z

step by step, we’re getting there

Our home may not be beautiful and neat, but one thing I can say for it… it has character. Like the side of the garage where some previous owner thought ‘what the hell, you can’t see this side from the gate’ and stopped painting it blue. And all the rusty bits of metal leaned up against the corner to stop the dogs from excavating all my plants in pursuit of some critter burrowed under the shed.

The foxgloves Ginny gave me are so tall I’ve had to stake them, and the lobelia and alyssum are looking great…

I hadn’t posted for a few days as I haven’t really had much to share. I’ve been busy with work and haven’t put any time into doing anything creative worth sharing. However, things are slowly moving along. I’ve had my trusty helper come out and do some of the heavy lifting for me so things are coming together in the yard.

For one thing, he’s put a brick border along the footpath to stop the blue metal (gravel) from falling onto the path and then into the ‘lawn’.

(I use the word loosely.)

I love the neat new look. Maybe it needs a brick border on the other side too?

You can see the tyre wall is coming along too.

Another view of the tyre wall from the garage to the front gate and our wonky wood shed. We figure about 3 more loads of tyres and we’re onto the next phase: soil and pinebark. I’ve already got some plants in the tyres down the front end, I need a whole lot more to fill the whole wall.

I’ve had my trusty helper put carpet down along the path between the house and driveway retaining wall. That area has always been a problem. Some of it has blue metal and the rest had weeds… almost impossible to mow with all the gravel mixed into the grass. This way no more weeds and I can buy more gravel to put on top of the carpet. You can’t really see it in the pic but there’s another brick border to hold in the gravel at the far end of the walkway.

We put carpet skirts around the trees we planted in the paddock as well. I told Wayne I was over weeds and planned to carpet the entire yard. He was not impressed.

We also put up a bit more wire for the potato vine and sweet peas to grow up. The garden is beginning to look really nice.

Well… except for the weeds where the lawn should be and the bare patches where I poisoned weeds…

I got a pleasant surprise the other day. This plant grew in one of the garden beds and I had no idea what it was. I wasn’t even sure if it was a weed or not. But since I didn’t recognise it as a weed I let it grow and voila! Its a delphinium!

I’d bought delphinium seeds a couple of years ago and not a single one grew. I think I tossed the soil from the empty pots in this area and look what grew!

I’m loving the way gardens can surprise you like that. This is a new thing for me. Mostly things I put in the garden surprise me by disappearing.

Meanwhile we had to do an emergency operation on the hardenbergia and azalea corner… another critter living behind them I guess, cause I came home to find dirty dogs and the plants almost ripped out. Its a pity cause both of them had just started to take off.

When I bought the azalea Patrice was all ‘oh, you’ll kill it’ and I was on track to prove her wrong. Hopefully no permanent damage was done.

A rickety cage made of a dog pen side, some old trellis, bits of wood and tied together with hay bale twine… add the tyre wall… a bit white trashy huh?

Oh well.

I’ll just call it the ‘Make Do’ culture. I’m recycling and using what I have on hand.

And I have a LOT of hay bale twine…

z

we have goslings!

For the last few weeks Anabelle (our goose) has been sitting on a nest. We had no idea how many eggs she had as she wouldn’t let us near her. And the boys, Hank and Jethro, were really protective of her.

Yesterday Wayne came back from feeding the ducks and told me we had goslings!

This morning I went out myself, to see them. There are three little guys. There are three eggs as well.

The boys and Anabelle circled the little guys and tried to hide them from me. I hope they do as good a job with the crows and hawks. At least the goslings are bigger than the baby ducks are when they first hatch.

Hank and Anabelle told me in no uncertain terms that the babies were theirs and I had to keep my distance.

A very muddy Chipmunk kept an eye on me in case I dropped some grain that he could scoff up.

Isn’t the little brat a disgrace? He hates being brushed. I think I’ll corner him and brush him anyway… and look at that tummy!

z

romeo and juliet

 
This is Romeo with Juliet.
I did mention that an old friend and her family visited us on New Year’s day, right? Well I’ve finally got around to sharing the photos.
The girls are gorgeous, but best of all was the look on Juliet’s face when I introduced her to Romeo. 
It was a match made in heaven!
Of course Montana and Barney got their share of cuddles too!
Our kids. Mine just happen to be furry!
z

life, death, dam!

 

Yesterday morning we had a rude awakening.

Its not like we didn’t KNOW Kevin was coming over with his diggy-diggy to do our driveway and fix the dam… its that I was so wiped out I’d been in bed since 7.30pm the night before (I should  say afternoon before) and Wayne was living in denial or something. He’d woken up, got a coffee and come back to bed with a book.

When the truck arrived the dogs went bezerk. I was up, running around trying to put some clothes on, get to the door, keep the dogs in all at once.

Of course the dogs hadn’t been out to pee cause that’s my job in the morning… so they needed to go out and pee and not eat Kevin before he did our job for us.

So here I am, running around pulling on track pants with one hand, boots with another, breasts bouncing cause who has time to pull on a bra at a time like this, with dogs frothing at the mouth around me, barking at the machine wielding murderer who’d obviously come to massacre us as we slept.

I rounded the dogs up, heading them out into the paddock where I thought I’d release them so Kevin would be safe for a while, get to the gate and what do I see???

Three tiny ducklings in a little pile right outside the gate.

SH#$*#^#T!

Can’t let the dogs out. Those tiny things are like squeaky toys to them!

I go out the gate, grab the ducklings, yelling “WAYNE!!!! WE HAVE DUCKLINGS!!! I NEED YOU! HURRY UP!”

I mean, this is the end of the world.

I have a handful of tiny ducklings.

Again…. its not like we didn’t KNOW they were coming. We just thought we had another week or so.

And yet, this last week I came home one day and saw crows hanging around. One had something in its mouth. I knew we had ducklings…

Wayne and I had discussed this whole plan in detail.

We were going to get out into the area around the dam before Kevin came over. We were going to remove the electric fence which used to protect the willows I’d put in there (which we moved a few weeks ago and which seem to be doing fine in their new spots thankfully), and search the reeds for duck nests.

I’d already found one with about 10 or more eggs in it. We knew there were more cause we hardly ever saw about 3 of our female ducks… we knew they were sitting on eggs.

The plan had been that Wayne would fix up the old dog pen, line the bottom with bird wire to make it duckling proof, then we’d go out, grab the eggs and mothers and move them into the pen to safety.

Because:

1. Every year we have tons of ducklings and none survive unless we can catch them and lock them up. The crows eat them all. Its heartbreaking.

2. Kevin was going to work around the dam and might squash the nests, eggs, ducks….

Right.

Good plan.

So here we are, yesterday morning, running around like jumping beans on speed. Cause we had a plan!

A mother duck hissing at me with her ducklings under her wing.

First nest was the one I’d found first time around. It had no eggs left, just a few ducklings. About 6 of them I think. I put them in a basket and started fixing up the pen. The mother duck was going crazy. We left the gate open and she eventually came in and sat near the basket. Good. When the pen was finished, we put the basket inside and she followed.

All’s well.

Well. Not all.

One duckling was dead at the bottom of the basket. I don’t know if I killed it when I was catching them and it wriggled and I dropped it… It wasn’t high. But it was dead. sigh.

Later on, I found another one dead. Both the dead ones were fawn coloured…. probably girls.

Then I went out and found another nest. Right next to the first. It had an egg with a hole in it but nothing was happening… dead duckling. Sigh again. 6 unhatched eggs and 8 ducklings. We got all of those, picked up the entire nest, and put it all in the basket.

This mother didn’t seem to care that much. She didn’t come for the ducklings.

Mind you, they were much quieter (younger) than the others. They weren’t squeaking for mom.

Plus the excavator makes a lot of noise. And our neighbour was brushcutting on the other side of the paddock. Even if they were squeaking, she probably wouldn’t have heard them.

I covered them with a blanket to keep them warm.

Then I spotted 2 ducklings, most likely from the first batch, on the dam.

SH#$*#^#T again.

No way I could catch them on the dam. They were on their own.

I hated that.

I saw a magpie flying over…

Anyway, after about 2-3 hours of no success enticing the mother to come after the ducklings, I made an executive decision. These nests were really close to eachother, maybe ducks raise ducklings in a kind of ‘village’ approach.

I put the nest, eggs and ducklings in with the mother duck and her remaining 4.

She sat on the nest and covered all the ducklings.

Success!

I felt so much better.

This morning there were 2 casualties. Wayne found one outside when feeding them, I found another in the nest when mom and babies were out paddling in the playpool. Darn. Down to 10 now.

Still… its better odds than they’d get out in nature.

Mind you. We found another nest. It had eggs and ducklings. Some totally newly hatched. We watched some of them hatch right in front of our eyes. It was amazing. I’d only ever seen something hatch out of an egg on TV before.

I almost feel like these are MY babies…

I so want to save them as well, but we just can’t catch those other two mothers. I think they’re older and wiser. I can’t expect that one mother to hatch and raise all those babies, can I?

Someone said a chicken can raise up to 20 young… dare we try? Or do we let nature take its course and see what happens? Its almost certain death for them if we don’t try.

We don’t need a million ducks on our dam, but it would be nice to raise some more… I figure we’ll probably end up with 6-7 of the current 10 making it to maturity. I hope. Should I grab the rest and up the odds? Or not interfere?

When we moved here we had 12 ducks. We’re down to 7-8 now. Maybe less cause of the mothers on nests I have no idea how many we actually have. If we only raise the ones we’ve captured now and all 10 survive, we’ll have about 16-18 ducks. Surely thats enough for anyone, right?

What am I trying to do? Convince myself that I shouldn’t go out and catch the rest of them?

We have 2 geese coming next week. I’ve always been against geese cause they can be aggressive, but Wayne loves them. I decided a while ago to find him a couple for Christmas. I couldn’t find plain white goslings when I looked, but I found a pair who’s about 18 months old. Probably better. They can have their own young here. Then we’ll have to worry about catching goslings…

Meanwhile, one of the two ducklings on the dam yesterday disappeared. They wouldn’t get out of the water while Kevin was working so it may have been a fatality of the work. This morning the other was gone as well. Maybe it got out and joined the nest. Maybe not.

On another, related note… while looking for duck nests I found a wren nest. Darn. I picked it up and looked inside. Tiny unfeathered babies, alive but seemed asleep. I put the nest back further over cause I knew we’d be disturbing it when we went for the duck again.

I checked it later, they were still alive. Hopefully mom found them and went back to them. I dread looking again… I may be responsible for more deaths.

So, here are the ducks yesterday afternoon (minus the mothers) looking over the dam works.

And here is the dam this morning, finished. The lower side has been reinforced so it won’t leak (hopefully!!!) and we won’t have the swampy problem we’ve always had below it. The top side has been lowered to allow water to flow into it when it rains.

 In theory, any excess water in the dam will now flow out on the other side, into the paddock and away from the house. That fence is the house yard fence. The house is only a few meters from there. That’s how close to the house the dam is…

Meanwhile, Kevin has been working on the driveway.

This is yesterday morning when he’d first started. The plan is to make it so that water running off the hill doesn’t just stream down the driveway, under the house and into the casita. Seriously, whoever designed this place had no brain. The house is at the bottom of a hill and in a valley… all rain runs off under our house, our lawn and down under the casita. We hope that with Kevin’s help we can change things and direct the rain towards a drain, down the side of the driveway, into the drains on the side of the road. And away from the house.

Barney oversees the work being done.

I’ll have more photos and updates after the work is finished.
Its been a very expensive project but one that really needed to be done. I really hope it works.
z

tackling the tack room

Last weekend I tackled the tack room.
Actually I continued tackling the tack room – a job I started the weekend before. It was a mammoth task. Till now the tack had been scattered around the property: some in the small timber shed which we planned to use as the original tack room, some in the garage, some in the casita.
Every time we needed to do something with a horse it was like “Where’s the halter?” “You had it last. Where did you put it?” “Behind the door.” “What door?”…
This is what I’d like the tack room to look like:
Instead it looks like this:
Eh. We work with what we have.
(The saddles are covered to keep bird poop off them as well as to protect them from the sun streaming in through that window despite its liberal coating of grime. Yes, we have birds living in the casita. And mice, and rats. And a black possum named Siegfried.)
At this point I should explain. The casita is the original old cottage on our property. Not technically a shed, but a home in which a family once raised 14 children. When the original owners sold it, the new owners ‘built’ a new (relocated) house about 5.5 inches away on the other side of a tiny yard cause it made better sense than putting it further up the hill to have a view of the countryside and not of the old house…  But hey, its Tasmania.
Anyway, the council apparently said “sure, you can put another house there, but you have to make the old house unlivable”. So they did. They ripped out half the ceilings, removed some doors, exposed stud walls, then put in a fence, gate, sheep grid flooring in the big room, a stock ramp on the porch and made it into a shearing shed.
When we bought the place we replaced the sheep grid floor with flooring, which I sealed with white undercoat/sealer and never painted, and we’ve been using it for all kinds of things. There’s a toilet no one would want to use without a tetanus shot, a laundry, a chest freezer for dog food, the hydrobath and my grooming room, plus a musty dark room we avoid, a feed room for horse feed and the big room which used to be the shearing shed.
The right side of the big room is my workshop. I had to re-organise that side as part of my ‘tack room makeover’.
You can see Romeo keeping an eye on me over the gate into the big room as I shifted things around.
I’d been using the left side of the big room as a hold-all area for things I was going to get to one day. One corner was being used as the spray paint spot. Horse rugs would got tossed on the floor, feed buckets thrown into corners… It was ugly.
Last week I started by clearing it out and sweeping it clean. I think the feed room yielded a full bag of chaff from the floor… In order to clean and organise you first must make a bigger mess. That’s the law.
I started by sorting out the workshop area, took down the trestles and door I was using as a work bench which I never used as it was always covered in stuff, and moved the cabinets to different walls to allow access to the dividing fence rail. That rail is a built-in horse rug airer! I added a slat of timber between the posts to create a 2nd tier of hanging space.
I used the trestles to hold the two heaviest saddles (my stock saddle and Wayne’s western saddle). Then I used an old ladder and a post to hold a second hand hybrid Wintec and some very old saddles.
Another timber slat between the far posts holds the rack I bought to hold our bridles. That’s the only new thing in this makeover.
Another slat became a spot for girths and older tack, not so regularly used. Since I have no idea where the studs are behind the masonite wall I thought it’d be safer to put a slat of timber on the wall for my hooks. I used anything I could find as hooks. More photos of those later.
I had something which looks like the side of a playpen so I attached it to the dividing fence, its now another spot to hang a horse rug. We only have 2 horses right now but we have something like 6 rugs. They’re all in varying degrees of repair (or disrepair).
We’ll be buying new winter rugs for them soon, we try to recycle and re-use old rugs as much as we can. At least Wayne does. He’s the rug stitcher in this family.
Cas will be joining us soon, this weekend I hope, and I’ll finally be riding again.
Have I mentioned Cas? She’s an older girl, a 16 yr old appaloosa who I met a few weeks ago. She belonged to the family who bought Ben. We went down to meet her and Chester, I rode both and I decided I liked Cas best. I loved Chester. He’s such a gorgeous boy, but Cas was so comfortable to ride, sweet natured and, really, she’s what I need… an older,  sensible, quiet horse I can get my confidence back with.
I can’t wait!
z

a post about nothing

This is a post about nothing much. Things have been going on as normal around here: busy and busier.

We get up at the crack of dawn every day (actually we get up before dawn these days as winter creeps in) and get home as the sun goes down most nights.

My office still looks like a team of burglars went through it. Even the dogs avoid it these days, no room for them to lie at my feet any more.

I do plan to tidy it up. I do. I have big plans for it. Once I list a million things I need to get rid of on ebay.

As part of the tidy up and organise project I got rid of an ugly set of plastic drawers I had and bought this groovy little cabinet from Shiploads (a cheap and cheaper store). Its only chipboard but its so darn cute. I can forgive it being a fake. I made little labels for the drawers and sorted things into them, like ‘pens’ and ‘more pens’ etc. I love my little cabinet.

Now to bring it out of hiding by actually getting rid of a ton of crap from in front of it.

We do have some huge news actually. I went shopping today. (Nothing new there) Only this time I bought a car.

Ok. I didn’t just go out and buy a car. Its something we’d planned to do over a year ago. The plan was: when I sell my house we’ll buy a new car. Of course, who can afford a new car? We sure can’t. At least not the kind we wanted. A dual cab ute (truck to my american friends), preferably with a canopy, diesel, 4×4, powerful enough to tow a horse float and carry wood from up the hill on our property.

I always do my research. We found that the Mazda and the Ford Ranger kept coming out at the top of the comparisons, too close to pick a winner between them.

I don’t know what the price of a new Mazda ute is, but the Ranger was somewhere in the vicinity of $45,000-$poop-your-pants range.

So we decided to do what any sensible person would do if they have a healthy respect for their hard earned money… we decided to buy 2nd hand. Something newer than my car and with considerably less klms (wouldn’t take much. I think my poor old car went around the world a couple of times according to the odometer reading).

We looked around. We compared what kind of prices we’d be looking at. We looked online. We looked locally.

Then on Thursday we went to a dealership in town which had 3 cars in the lot which fit our requirements. Two Mazda’s and one Ranger. We test drove them all. We took one home one night, one home the next night.

Freaked the dogs out no end, coming home in a different car every night.

We talked about it. We talked about it more. We weighed up klms vs year of manufacture. We compared the minute differences. We compared the added extras or lack of. We discussed practicality and our needs. We looked online some more.

Then we decided that everything aside, we could NOT live with a brown car. That narrowed it down to two, one Mazda and the Ranger. Same engine, different cars.

This morning we were no closer on making a decision than we had been on Thursday evening.

Basically the Ranger was cuter, sexier. I love the look of the Ranger. Its ME. Its a newer model but it has a lot more klms on it. And the seats are lushious. Its more expensive by a couple of thousand and it doesn’t have a canopy or a cover on the back, both would mean spending more money as we need at least a cover – we carry stuff in the back all the time. Moisture sensitive stuff like horse feed.

The Mazda is not so cute. Its the difference of a ute that looks like a ‘ute’ and one that looks like a truck. I’m all for the truck look. I like chunky. Big. High. Tough.

Nice.

But the Mazda had a canopy. It was cheaper. Older in years but less in klms. It has spotlights that can blind oncoming cars 5 towns away. Exactly what you need when to spot wildlife when driving at night. Its a smoother ride, quieter inside…

This morning I left home with Wayne’s blessing to pick the one I wanted. Either one would suit us. He’d be happy with either.

I had no idea when I got to the dealership. They offered me tea with ‘say yes’ juice in it they said. I was planning to say yes anyway, but not sure on which.

In the end practicality won over my heart. I love the Ranger, but the Mazda is what we need. I called Wayne and he was surprised. hehehe. I can still surprise him. 🙂

So, next week we do the paperwork and get a new/old car. Maybe not the sexy one I hoped for, but one which will suit our needs better right off the bat.

Gotta share this as I still laugh when I think about it. Both Wayne and I are clowns which may be why we get along so well. Well, most the of the time…

Anyway, whenever I answer any questions of the “I need to ask you some questions before we can sign you up to a 224 month contract on a new phone” or “I just need you to answer these questions before you apply for this job” type, I channel the Blues Brothers:

“Do you have any convictions?”

“Convictions? ………..ummmm………….. No.”

Wayne did way better than that.

When asked if he had any photo ID on him he asked, “Will the Wanted poster at the Post Office do?”

I’ll leave you with some gorgeous antique poodle photos I found.

z

felted poodle hair necklace

 
Remember the Poodle National I went to at Easter and the dogs I groomed there?
Well, as I scissored I collected the hair and, instead of putting it in the bin, I felted it!
Did you know that poodle hair felts? Well, it does. I know someone who weaves it as well.
Anyway, I’ve never tried this before but a couple of years ago I did a workshop on wet felting and I love felt ball jewelery, so the decision to try it was easy.
The dogs I groomed at the show were all different colours: a black girl called Tango, a blue girl called Jackie, a blue boy called Tyson, a silver girl called Britany and a white girl called Zena. The necklace has a felt ball or two from each poodle I groomed.
Luckily I’d made plenty of felt balls so I was able to make a necklace just like this for Iris. Hers doesn’t include a black felt ball since the black poodle belonged to someone else.
I think this is the best way to honour and remember a poodle. I wish I’d made felt balls from Pagan, Scooter and Billybear’s coats. I will from Montana and Romeo now that I’ve done this, that way I will always keep something of them with me.
z

Shared at

Beyond The Picket Fence  

Homespun Happenings

why I wasn’t around

Yes. Its been a long time since I posted.
I have very good excuses:
I ran outta gas.
I had a flat tire.
I didn’t have enough money for cab fare.
My tux didn’t come back from the cleaners.
An old friend came in from outta town.
Someone stole my car.
There was an earthquake,
… a terrible flood,
…locust’s.
It wasn’t my fault!!
Ok. So you’re not falling for that.
Fine.
Actually I was out of town for a while. Then I was lazy. And busy. Having a life. You know how it is.
I went to Sydney over the Easter long weekend to attend the Poodle National and help my good friends Iris with their poodles.
Yes. Two Irises. And 5 poodles between them.
Iris No. 1 is a toy poodle breeder, the breeder of my beloved Billybear. Iris No. 2 is a standard poodle breeder. I did up her beautiful black Tango for the show on Saturday and ended up handling her in the ring. (Tango that is. Not Iris.)
That’s something I wasn’t expecting. I mean, I was flattered that Iris asked, I’m not fit and certainly don’t consider myself a good handler, but on the plus side I am younger than she is… Anyway, Tango went well for me and got 3rd in a large class which was pretty good.
The rest of my time up there I groomed toy poodles before, during and after the show. I was exhausted when I returned!
On the Sunday I did up 4 toy poodles which Iris handled to win two 2nd places and one 3rd place. 
To non-showing people that might not sound like much, but trust me, to place at a National is a big deal. Its a huge speciality show and people with poodles come from all over Australia. Most classes are much larger than you get at any local shows.
To be honest, I’m really proud (and flattered) that people admire the way I present poodles and want me to groom for them… so allow me to brag:
Meet the toys I helped with:
I don’t have a photo of Tango unfortunately. I didn’t have my camera with me. Hopefully I’ll get one soon. And maybe one day I’ll brag about some other poodles I’ve presented for shows…
When I got back I just needed to rest, but you know there’s no rest for the wicked. I had dogs to groom here too. That’s the problem when you’re trying to build up a business of your own. You can’t afford to say no and put people off.
I also re-designed Iris’ website. Have a look: Toniri Toy Poodles
Doing websites takes HOURS. I’m not sure I enjoy doing them any more…
I’ve basically done nothing but run on the hamster wheel since I got back from Sydney. I have so many projects that are unfinished or unstarted its not funny.
Its sickening really.
One project I started while at the National was a necklace I’m making out of felted poodle hair. Stay tuned when I figure out how I want that to go together… and when I find a needle to thread the felt balls with.
Another project is a light shade for the wardrobe room I started a couple of weeks ago. I found something I think will work and while trying to clean it up yesterday I cut my finger and remembered we don’t have any band aids.
Then we’ve had a fire nearby. This is the hill opposite us on Sunday.
Lucky for us this fire happened now, when its not so hot, after we’d had some rain, and on a day with no wind whatsoever. If this had started during one of our horrible heat waves with the roaring winds we’d have had to make a quick decision.
I guess I better go figure out what project I should work on today. This will be my last Monday off for at least 4 weeks as they’ve asked me to work 5 days a week for a while to help out. NOT looking forward to that.
Between grooming dogs and the zillion projects I have in my shed, house and head there’s not much room to move!
z