Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Snow in Summer attack of the Cherry Slug

Every year the little varmints arrive, sliding around looking gross, turning our lush green tree leaves brown and eventually causing them to drop. It starts on our enormous pear, then moves to the cherry, but this year they are also on the plums, quince, and nashi. 
Cherry or Pear Slugs are not a welcome guest at our home.

One of the control methods I have read about is dusting them with baking flour (ash and lime can also have similar results).  

The kids were armed with 1/2  kilo plain flour and sent to work. 


Food fight! Flour throwing is really good fun, especially with a foe that can't defend itself.
Of course the food obsessed little Bowerbird had to try eating some, and there was much coating of clothing in the process. The trees looked rather magical all dusted in white.

The following day there were many dead slugs, although clearly many in the land of the living. Any that were properly coated were dead but this is hard to achieve over such a big area. I would recommend the treatment though, as it is simple and a fun activity for the kids, and the pest have definately been slowed down. These photos were taken just before xmas (when days were blissfully cooler than the current heat wave) and I think a follow up treatment would be beneficial.

Anyone had success in getting rid of Cherry or pear Slugs? - any tips would be warmly welcomed.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Christmas 2012 - the epic adventure

For the family who were too far away to share Xmas with us. 
Christmas eve - the CFA Santa comes with his siren calling, it is blaring all day through the neighbourhood as the children's impatience to see him grows.
He is generously baring bags of lollies and heralding exciting things to come.
 I pay a visit to Santa as the little Bowerbird is not so keen, she needs serious encouragement  lifting to climb the stairs - note the forced smile. 

 Santa and the reindeers are left some treats and sparklers are lit so they will find us.
 Stockings are left out, a friend has hand sewn beautiful ones with the children's names on them, they jingle when touched.

We wake up at 7am to sparkling smiles and cries of joy.
Santa has been! Santa has been!
There is the tearing of presents and appropriate shouts of oohs and ahhhs as we watch smug and bleary eyed from our pillows.  
Sibling loving at its best with much cuddles and shared present elation.
Croissants are crunched with freshly made raspberry jam.
The opening and playing with toys begins.
Giant nano block creations are patiently constructed.
Too much chocolate is eaten.

 3D Figures are painted and coloured, pictures are painted. 
Op shopped toys are tested for functionality and puzzles made with missing pieces. (Not cool opshop donaters - the puzzle is no good unless all the bits are there)
Zibits chat to each other in our lounge room, zipping here and there and waging wars.
New clothes are donned
 Rice paper rolls for lunch - effortless and delicious.


 A few games of Frisbee and a ride on a new bike.
Drinks with the neighbours, a roast chicken for dinner and stuffed mushrooms for dad.
Bed too late.
And then the festivities begin all over again with a Boxing Day extended family celebration.
There are baby cuddles
Cold meats and salads
More presents
Games in the garden
Divine deserts: Plum pudding, 3 layer ice cream cake, and meringues with a mango mojito sauce
 much wine, beer, champagne and merriment

 The killing of a beautiful owl pinata that the big Bowerbird made brought much excitement. The littlest one who could only watch, laughed and laughed at the destruction.

Then the following Saturday there was more delicious food and wild laughing with friends and the next day a special Christmas dinner with my brother and his family.
So much quality Xmas action. It will require some physical action to undo.
There has also been a vegie group celebration at the pub, a wicked lunch at Mr Carsisi,  a wonderful Summer Solstice BBQ in the forest, a New Years Eve Celebration and a resplendent mountain picnic and stroll.
Phew - no wonder I haven't been blogging, it has been far more of a social life than I am accustomed to.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Zef and a Happy Jar

I have had a little blogging hiatus.

Merry Xmas and a very Happy New Year!

Summer is such a lovely time to be away from the computer, I have simply not felt like blogging. It has taken some scorching heat to drive me back indoors.

I heard of a great idea to celebrate the new year, and remember the old. A memory jar - filled with happy memories - you can see some great examples here. A jar of happiness brimming with good times, breath taking moments, little nature moments, acts of kindness, goals achieved, hilarious, big belly laughs, things that made you gasp and joys that filled your eyes. I might see if I can convince the kids to start one.

I think my blog is somewhat like that, a memory jar, with mostly the good stuff in it. I'm not sure really who it's for, or what it's main theme is, it is a little direction less, as I am wont to be. I really admire blogs that talk about everything and can be brutally honest, it takes talent to write about sad and dark things. A jar to look back on is still a fine thing, and so I am inspired to write again.

It would be fun to make a nasty jar too, perhaps one to burn at Halloween, filled with shades of brown and black. Perhaps it would be cathartic to notice the crap moments, acknowledge their shittiness, and put a lid on them. The beauty of this is that you needn't have shared the gloom with those around you.

Filling our lives with happy (and sometimes not so happy) memories is our new canine companion.

Meet Zef, or the Zeffalump as we sometimes call him, especially when he's stretched out luxuriously on our shag rug. The shag rug that we recently took outside and gave a thoroughly good beating, so much more satisfying and thorough than a vacuum, and very necessary after a few visits from a dog losing his winter coat.

The name Zev, is Hebrew for wolf, we started calling him that, but it ended up coming out more often as Zef. We also use Zephyr. He looks very wolfy. He's a Norwegian Elkhound. I kind of feel a little bit silly getting a pure bred dog, but we were at the Kyneton Show looking at all the breeds and doggy antics, and fell in love. He's around 10 months old and has been keeping us on our toes since December. We changed his original name to one that suits our kooky sensibility, it is such a long time that you use a dog name for, and he didn't come when called to his original name in any case.

We are dog people, and really pined the company of our old dog Sam. I thought it would be longer before we went down that doggy road, but here we are again - a dog to see our children turn into adults. They adore him.

The Norwegian Elkhound is the National dog of Norway. It is an ancient breed once used by the Vikings, and kept to hunt elk, bear and moose, hence the name. We knew of no one else who owned a Norwegian Elkhound so have gone into this doggy adventure a little blind.

The good -

  • He's very loving and not barky as the breed can apparently be. 
  • He is very gentle with the children and takes food from them shyly.
  • He is getting along well with other dogs and looks the other way when yappy dogs are around. 
  • He's very playful and goes silly when we throw a bone in the air for him. Still working on the ball, he will fetch it a couple of times but quickly loses interest.
  • He doesn't smell, and his coat feels divine.  He is currently "out of coat", so will get twice as fluffy. He is happy for us to brush him, and his coat is far easier to manage than our old dogs, which was prone to matting.
  • He is very light on his feet and has a prance like run.
  • He's quite calm for a puppy, and will happily lie around at our feet for most of the day.
  • He seems clever and trainable, we have taught him to sit and are now working on stay and come.
  • He's got personality.
  • He thinks we're awesome and gives us the best greetings.

The bad -

  • He doesn't come if it doesn't suit him, and he likes to run free - he's very fast so this is a big problem. This morning he was playing a game of dodge with me after escaping out our front gate - good exercise for him and me no doubt, but not my favourite start to the day. There has been a lot of fencing work going on around here.
  • There is quite a bit of dog hair around, I'm hoping this is a temporary thing.
  • There has been a little digging in my garden and he is very keen on making a cool spot to lie in our sandpit. This involves a lot of flinging of sand and destruction of sand castles.
  • He is a little keen on the guinea pigs - in a not so happy way.  We think we may need to find them a new home.
  • He will pull on the lead if we are not firm with him and he likes to bolt out the door before anyone else.
It is lovely to have a dog around again, warts and all, our family didn't feel quite complete without one.