Sunday, 20 May 2012


I was hoping to post about my Mother's Day present, as it's been slow going.  Now I finally can.  Soon.

This last few weeks have been slow.  Stressful.  Wishing I could just curl up and disappear sometimes.  Some of you may know that a particular part of my work, shipping, is a real stress factor for me.  And it's getting to be a much bigger portion of the job.  I hate it.  And I can see no end to that.  I cannot do anything about it, but it sure does make the job horrid.

Dobby has had some personal issues, too, which as a parent are particularly stressful.  As a parent, when your child is cranky, you wear it.  It's hard.  But, she seems to have hissy fits and gets over them rather quickly.  She just has them regularly.  Sigh.

Mother has also been in hospital.  She experienced pain and shortness of breath on Mother's Day.  You can imagine what sort of flack we gave her about wanting more attention on Mother's Day, can't you?  She had fibrillations of the top portion of her heart so they kept her in for several days while they did tests.  I think that place stressed her more than being at home though.  Terribly understaffed they are.  Anyway, although she still has flutters and the occasional pain, she is much better, although terribly miffed at being put onto rat poison for the next few weeks.  Fingers crossed it settles down anyway.  I need her around for a bit longer yet, never mind everyone else!

Things with Fluffy are going very well.  He's such a lovely person sometimes.  The week before Mother's Day, just before I was drifting off to sleep, he rolled over and said "I'd like to get you something very special for Mother's Day".  Really?  "Yes," he said, "Your frogs."

If any of you know me personally, you know how long I have wanted to keep frogs.  In Queensland, where I am from, they are so plentiful that when you step out your back door, you literally step on several of them.  They are everywhere.  But here in Adelaide they are very rare.  Some of the remoter areas have them, and I am told that you can create water features in your yard that encourage them.  But I am not sure how, in built up areas, that would happen.  Probably up in the Hills but not here.

So, anyway, as I always do, when I go to pet shops I price the kits or frogs or just generally have a look.  Recently I had gone to the pet place down the main road from us, and told him that they had the terrarium all kitted out for $320.  You just needed a few other bits and bobs to put it in.  I jokingly said I'd have to save up a bit more.  Previously we had priced this set up at $600 complete.

Anyway, on his day off he went for a look.  He also spent some time on the internet.  He found a place that had the set up, including a waterfall background, for about the same price, but you had to buy other stuff for it.

He decided that was the way we were going, and on the Saturday before Mother's Day he took me down to purchase one.  The tank, water heater, light fitting, extra greenery, and water pump, cost him $355.  But the water pump and cover had to be ordered in.

We came home and set it up, and just waited for the extra bits.  I couldn't get the frogs until it's all done.  Then, finally, yesterday we were able to pick up the water heater and cover.  We discovered, after wandering around a couple other places, that we had too much water in the bottom, so we drained off some of that, and added more gravel.  It looks fantastic, but I am worried the heater isn't working properly.  Then, I figured, that it will probably just take some time for all the water to heat.  After all, it has to work it's way through the gravel.

One place had a wonderful big tank with about 4 huge green fellows in there.  they also had white pebbles in the bottom, with a well dug out as a a water holding area.  We used brown natural gravel, and river rocks for ours, and left a small area as a natural pool.  The picture doesn't do it justice.

Oh, we also bought a couple boxes of crickets and a bag of the stuff to keep them in.  What we didn't realise is that you need a container to store the crickets in as well.  We had one big enough that they can't jump out of.  In they went, with some fresh carrot.  Now my house has the sound of running water and chirping crickets all through it.  Nice!

A friend has several frogs she was selling for $35 each.  I got a message the other day to say I can have two for $50.  They are only 5 months old so I am taking her up on that.  Might see if she'll give me 4 for $100... worth the ask I reckon.

The shop that had the white gravel in their tank also said that you should handle them as much as possible while they're small to get them used to it.  I think I just night do that!  Of course, you have to have clean, wet hands to do it.  But it will be fun.  The 'un-funest' bit will be feeding them the crickets.  Need some little tweezers for that I think.

This afternoon I got the message that I can go have a look at the frogs.  Wow, they are so cute!  About 2" long perhaps.  

This one is not actually this pale.  They have changed colour several times.  One of them is lighter green, one more grey and the other blue-green.  But apart from a couple of spots on the lighter one, tis difficult to tell them apart.

Fluffy gave them a couple of crickets today, just to see how they would go.  Man, they are quick!  Feeding day is going to be fun!

All 3 are in this photo.  You know what we find amusing?  Everyone has a different theory on what to do with them.  Some say you definitely need a heater, some day they don't even use one.  Another says just a small dish of water, they don't go in it anyway, yet we have found ours are never out of it.  Still, I think they will like their new home.  Haven't got any names yet, except Larry, Curly and Mo...

Suggestions, anyone?

On another note, see the stick?  I had said to Fluffy that I really wanted a stick in the tank, just so they had something other than the waterfall or the stony bottom to sit on.  When they were all in and settled he disappeared for a minute, then came back with this one.  Well, you know what?  They love it, and it's just exactly what I was thinking of.  He cut it off some old tree branches that have been lying in the back yard for ages.  

Anyway, that's my exciting couple of weeks.  I hope I haven't bored you too much.  Thanks for reading!

Monday, 7 May 2012

Okay, so I know winter is almost here, but...

that doesn't mean I want it to be that cold yet!  According to Fluffy, a couple of areas around Mount Pleasant are ranked amongst the coldest in South Australia.

Well, either last year, or the one before, we had a rally in Mount Pleasant.  And it was the coldest we have ever experienced.  There was ice on the windscreens and dog bowls the next morning, and another family couldn't bear to camp out again and left the next afternoon.

This time we were pleasantly surprised.  It was quite as cold.  But it was still cold, and very moist.  Fluffy drove up Friday morning, but as I had to work Dobby, Lawsy and I followed later.  I left the servo up the road at 4.15 pm to be precise.

It drizzled on and off most of the way up.  We arrived just on dark, about 5.20pm then did a couple of laps of the main strip to find somewhere to buy dinner.  I found a bakery that did take away, and bought hot chips and a couple pieces of fish.  I also bought dessert.  Hey, it's a bakery after all!

When I found the park, Fluffy said he thought we were supposed to be joining the rest of the club for dinner at the pub.  Oh.  I must have missed that portion of the conversation.  Last I heard I was to pick up dinner and we were to go out Saturday night.  Oh well.  He had the place set up lovely, with the girls tent up and their stretchers in already.  He had, I also found out, served several cups of coffee from his new you-beaut coffee machine.

It was his (very) early Father's Day present - he didn't want to wait.  He loves it because it's a one-touch machine.  So, from the next rally, it will be gold-coin donation to cover the cost of the pods and milk.  And from the feedback, people are going to be happy to pay that.

After dinner we joined the rest of the group as they wandered back from the pub, around the camp fire.  Wouldn't be a SAPI rally without the camp fire.  This time, we were under a huge tin shed, with wooden grandstands, where they hold sheep sales.  There are several of these sheds, and they also hold dog shows and horse trials here.  And, on Saturday mornings they hold a farmer's market.

At the fireside, Crate, one of my favourite members, presented me with my very own pair of fluffy fleece lined croc shoes.  We are now the Croc Club apparently!  There are a few of us, whose standard uniform is one of those beanie hats with the ear covers that tie under the chin, (although any beanie will do), fluffy crocs, and often pajamas.  It's a lot of fun.

Camped next to us was also a new family... with a teenage boy.  Talk about laugh.  On the way up Dobby, who has just discovered the opposite sex, was lamenting there needs to be more boys in the club.  The family joined us at the camp fire and I met their son, who is almost 17.  I had to go find Dobby and tell her.  Next thing, she's donned some make up, fluffed up the hair, sprayed herself and joined us at the camp.  It was so cute to watch because all the men of the club were teasing her mercilessly.  Hilarious.

She took it in good faith and had some fun.

Saturday morning, as I said, it was foggy and cold.  I took a few pictures, and wandered back to the warmth of the van.  

I gathered the girls and we walked over to the markets.  I didn't have a lot of cash on me, so I bought us cupcakes (choc orange), and some popcorn for the girls.  There was lots of fresh produce, and local condiments to choose from.  But I just stuck with the cupcakes.

Then, a little later we had morning cuppa, followed by the counting of the votes for the club name change.

Fluffy was a bit upset, as the name he put forward lost by 4 votes.  It was very close and rather exciting.  We did it publicly, with the president of another club reading out the votes, and our secretary keeping tally on the whiteboard.

Once the count was done our new name, which still has to go before the AGM in August to be official, was announced.  Unless something drastic happens, we will be known as the Family and Friends Caravan and Camping Club.  Exciting.

We then had some quiet time, so I chilled out catching up with some of the other members I hadn't seen for awhile.

Just as we were playing club game after lunch, another member Wenz came with her two girls Minnie and Akkers.  They are either side of Dobby (14 and 16).  They are Dobby's favourite kids to hang with.  Lawsy likes to hang with the younger boys of the team (Crate's sons).  They had fun.  Oh, and Crate's husband was home for a very brief leave from Afghanistan, so it was so lovely to see him. Crate's parents are from Bundaberg in Qld and they have been staying with her, helping her out.  So they have been to a few rallies as honorary members.  They are so funny.  They presented me with a lovely "prum" pudding (yes, prum because it has a lot of rum in it, although this one is not as strong as the pudding that penned this name).

While we were at Club Game Ozzie and his dad shared some close time...

Oh, and while I think of it, while waiting for the food on Friday night, I looked about the bakery.  It was an old house, with lots of little bits and pieces to look at.  Here are a couple.

After club game we retired to the hall for Happy Hour (drinkies and nibblies).  Then, as I overindulged, I didn't feel like going to the pub for dinner.  Neither did Fluffy really, so much to the disgust of Dobby, he took her and Lawsy back to the bakery for tea.  She was placated with wedges and a container of lollies.  Doesn't take much...

Back to the hall for social at 7.00, and this time we played some unusual games.  First we were split into 4 groups, with a mix of kids and adults in each.  One game involved runners (kids) from each group taking items up to the adjudicator, such as drivers licences etc.

We had to guess a lot of local places, sing songs with key words (like valley, river etc), we had to tie all our shoes together, we also had to put all our shoes in the middle and the team who collected all theirs (relay style) won, we also had to make mountain ranges out of people (our team won that one).

Overall it was... interesting.

Then, back to the fireside.  The new teen boy in the group thought he would see how many marshmallows he could get in his mouth.  15 apparently.

He ended up spending a lot of time with Dobby, Minnie and Akkers.  Hmmm...

Then, Sunday it lightly rained.  We all packed up and as a lot of the group had to rush home for various things (sport, jobs etc) we didn't even do farewell morning cuppa.  But it was still a lovely weekend, and it's always nice to be home in one's own bathtub and bed, yes?  Specially with prum pudding and home made custard.