Monday, August 31, 2009

RIP Harley

Some years ago I worked at a vet clinic and one day I came to work and heard something wailing loudly from the point I entered the staff entry downstairs. When I got up there, I discovered all that ruckus was coming out of an absurdly tiny, filthy waif of a kitten in a carrier in our treatment room.

Gods what a MESS it was... full of ear mites and grunge, a snotty nose, gunky eyes, fleas, worms, dehydrated and so covered in rotten garbage and faeces from not being able to move when he defecated we initially weren't sure what colour he was precisely. I tentatively stuck my finger up to the cage, half expecting he may be feral when he butted his mucky head up against my finger and burst into an astonishingly big purr for such a tiny kitten. His purr was later to earn him the name of Harley.

As it turned out he'd had a very nasty broken leg and some damage in the pelvis in what was believed to be an attack by a baseball bat or similar object before he was thrown in the dumpster he was rescued from. Initially it was assessed the leg would have to come off but in the end he kept it. Cade, my Italian Greyhound, 'adopted' and fussed him like a clucky hen. If the kitten went where he shouldn't in the clinic, Cade trotted after him, nabbed him by the scruff of his neck and carried him back.

I got an e-mail this morning to let me know that he had been attacked and killed by the family dog and the damage was so bad there was nothing for the vet to patch together. He was the most placid cat, not always the brightest - we rather suspected he'd sustained a bit of brain damage from his attack - but sweet as the day was long. I can't even fathom him meeting that kind of end. Unfortunately this is not the end of the bad news for this week either but that's another story.

RIP Harley, I'm sure Cade has found you in heaven and you've both found a sunny patch to snooze the days away in.

Sunday, August 30, 2009


Remember the little swatch of knitting from 12 Aug, that was showing the colour of the yarn from 02 August? Well here's the update... after a hefty interruption courtesy of the windstorm, I got to play with it today at the ASCV herding trial and finished up all the seperate pieces!

You'll have to use your imagination a bit as nothing is seamed together yet so I just sort of laid the pieces approximately where they'll go. I also have to weave in the ends, pick up stitches along the cast-off edges to create the shawl collar and ribbing going down the front edges still, add buttons and block it. When it's done, it will look more like THIS. I'm still rather excited though! :D

Monday, August 24, 2009

The windstorm (update with pics)

We've always gotten a lot of wind here. It's ripped a 3 x 3 m colourbond/steel frame door straight off it's hinges on the shed and into the neighbors paddock, flipped over aviaries, sent all manner of toys flying and felled "branches" in the paddocks big enough to qualify as proper trees. Last Sunday morning we woke up to find a tree had come down and taken off the front of the house, some gutters, some fencing and along with it the electric lines, water and phone lines.

Normally the insurance would put us up at a hotel but with bottle lambs, dogs, the cat, the birds etc it just wasn't going to be practical so we asked them for a generator and Telstra has rigged a temporary phone line a few days ago but the insurance has done very little else, so we've still got tarps over the hole, the wall propped, no electricity and no running water.

The view from inside the kitchen

The SES helping to secure things - nothing but the best to say about them, they were great! After the electricity was off and it was safe for everyone, they were able to put a prop up, as once they removed the tree and branches the front would have fallen. From there it had to be tarped up as we're continuing to have windstorms and rain almost every day.

The good news is that it only took out the house, rather than taking out any of us, so we're all safe. The bad news is the insurance company has to go through twenty billion bits of red tape before they do much and the front of the house will have to be rebuilt and an electrician come out to fix the damaged wiring before they can re-hook up electrics, phone etc so we've got no real time frame for how long that will be... it's been a week already and all they've done is send out about 15 different assessors, which have all done the same thing as far as I can tell and we're supposed to have another one coming in the next few days. In the fine tradition of bureaucracy, I got a phone call the other day to let me know I'd be getting a phone call in the next few days. What about? Dunno. Why I needed a phone call to inform me I'd be getting it? Equally mysterious. As far as I can tell essentially the hold up is that they've got 9 tons of red tape to go through, the left hand doesn't know what the right is doing and in my more cynical and over it moments I suspect that both hands are busy wanking.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Online briefly at internet cafe again, will have to dash soon. We have a temporary line on the homephone. Insurance estimate is 1, poss 2 weeks? till power and water are able to be restored basically because they send out a dozen different people who all seem to be assessors and all do nothing more than look at the damage, squint, grunt, and go "hmmm..." As far as I can tell essentially the hold up is that they've got 9 tons of redtape to go through, the left hand doesn't know what the right is doing and in my more cynical and over it moments I suspect that both hands are busy wanking.

Monday, August 17, 2009

For anyone who isn't on facebook, just to let you all know we are currently not able to get online because a large storm took out the front of our house. Along with the front of the house it also took out a fence, the electricity, the phone and the water. We're still at home as we've got the dogs, cat, birds and two bottle lambs to take care of so leaving isn't really an option but we'll be hard to get ahold of.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

4 months old

24 Aug 09 - I meant to post this 2 weels ago now but other things got in the way of posting.

"She's Illie Lilypillie, the pilliest of pies! My little pretty pillie piekins, illie lilypie! Chubba-bubba-boo, my Lily-cockatoo, my pretty little possom, a dandle bird baa-bu!"

Pure, sheer nonsense... nauseatingly silly, really I know. It gets me the biggest grins, gurgles and baby belly laughs though!

"You so FUNNY momma!"

La of course wants his picture taken with "his Illiepillie" and affects the most horrible cheeseball grin he can, much to his my annoyance. (He has such a beautiful natural smile... must we really do the obnoxiously fakey one?)

"Here Lily, let me impart to you my most dastardly of superpowers - the ability to make something blurry in every shot mum takes no matter how quick she is!"

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

I lufs my new car!

I got my beautiful new car today and to celebrate the freedom of having my own car (without having to either hike 9 km to the bus stop or get the kids up at 5:30 to drop Nic off at the train station in order to have our other car) we went to take a ride to a fibre and bunny demo. I was a bit naughty and bought this, 150g of Navaho Churro and Bunny tops... but really it's so divine can you blame me???

And this is a peek at the beautiful way the Hawthorne Cottage BFL/Corriedale is knitting up! The colours are more vibrant than the picture shows, they just glow!

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Newfound admiration for mums of multiples...

Well after the enthusiasm of having new lambs, there is also the reality and that reality is that sometimes things go wrong. Last night Soot, mother of Stella and Luna, was attacked and killed. It was horrific and I'm undecided how to deal with it, so that's all I'm going to say on that topic atm.

My vet Dr. Cook is one of natures good souls. It took me 2 years to find him after moving but he reminds me why I love him every time I deal with him. I rang him first thing on a Sunday morning on his mobile to query about milk replacer and better ointment for Luna's eye since our stock store is closed on the weekends. Bless him he just said no worries, he'd meet me at the clinic in half an hour. When I got back Stella and Luna were hungry enough it didn't take them anytime to figure out the bottle and are doing well being a few days old and having had the benefits of colostrum the first few days, small blessings.

Our morning wasn't over yet though. Checking in on the ewes DH discovered Rommie, Boo's lamb, cold and unresponsive. Her mum is a first time mum and hadn't been feeding her. So Rommie got bundled in a towel with heat packs near the fireplace as we coaxed her to take some milk replacer.It's amazing how they can go from looking like they're at deaths door and after a few hours and a bottle they seem almost normal. With three bottle babies and a 4 month old human pretty much someone is always hungry... but as they say necessity is the mother of invention...

Looks like it's set to be a busy few days until they're doing well enough to put on a bucket.

Saturday, August 08, 2009

An overdose of cuteness

We're in the middle of a lamb explosion at the moment... as predicted, Boo wasn't far off dropping her lamb. I spotted her off from the group this morning and we watched through the window as her lamb arrived over breakfast.

After Astra was born I'd written Cadbury's breeder as I suspected he was throwing the black and white babies and if so, the 'black' and white babies might actually be moorit (chocolate) and white, which would be fabulous for me because I LOVE choccie sheep! That'd also mean Star was black carrying moorit for Astra to be moorit. Raylene kindly confirmed my suspicions as moorit babies can be nearly black looking when born and the fleece lightens up as they grow into dark chocolate, then milk chocolate, carmel and finally a pale cafe au lait colour.

Boo had her lovely little girl this morning and double-confirmed everything though... her baby, Andromeda, is a stunning JET black. (And as an aside - GO CADDY... all these little ewe lambs!)

Here is little 'Rommie taking her first steps with her mum Boo snuffling her. Boo is a black ewe but the outside of the fleece gets quite brown from the sun. The sheep behind the wire are young moorits.

If you look close, you can see the umbilical cord, freshly severed.

Aw... too cute!

And here is where you can really see the difference! Rommie on the left is black, Astra on the right is definitely NOT... she's self patterned moorit. :)

And just because they're cute... Astra 2 days old

Luna and Stella, 3 days old

Now we're just waiting to see what the other two English Leicester girls do. :D

As far as my knitting, I'm finding I really like the challenge of something new or different. It's a bit odd for someone who spent the better part of a year too intimidated to figure out some of the very basics but there you have it. So for my next few projects I've chosen things that, for my experience, are going to be a challenge. For my sockyarn, I chose this - the "Spring Forward sock". It is more difficult and fiddly than anything I've attempted before. My Ixchel Laceweight is going to become the Cashmere Merino Energy Wave Shawl. As it's my first time with true laceweight yarn, I wanted something I could take back easily if I flubbed. (I still suck at fixing my mistakes.) I've been looking at cast ons for that and I think I might use the one which is like a normal cast on except there is a crocheted chain between each stitch. Sounds weird but it looked nice and stretched well when I test knitted one on fatter yarn today.

And completely unrelated... I went and looked at what I'm hoping will be my new car today! I'm waiting on the RACV inspection but pending that I'll have wheels of my own again! *excited squeak*

Thursday, August 06, 2009

3 year old Musings

My little man reaches over as we're cuddled up in bed this morning, looks speculatively at my stomach and pokes it.

"Mum?" he says, poking it again, "Your tummy is flat now. Lily came out."

Well... yes, Lily did come out but calling my tummy flat is a bit generous - two children have left their mark on what used to be a toned tummy. The frequent cups of sweet tea I indulge in during the winter have left their calling card as well...

He curls closer into me, snuggling into the covers and I enjoy the moment with my two little people warm and cozy, content to ignore the morning a little while longer. I'm a bit bewildered by the sudden fascination with my stomach though. He leans over and peers into my belly button intently.

"Mum, I can't see." He looks up to me, "Are you going to grow another baby like Lily in your tummy and hiccup her out when you're full?"

Hiccup her out... I can't help myself and laugh. He's certainly got an interesting idea of labor and birth!

Another new lamb!

Early this morning "Star", one of my black Corriedale ewes had her sweet little girl who has been dubbed "Astra".

We knew Domino would be the daddy to Mocca-Chocca and Latte's lambs Macci, Cino and Verona because they were black and white. Moorit is recessive, so if Cadbury was their father they would also be moorit coloured. Since Star and Peekaboo didn't lamb at that time we figured it was likely they'd been bred by Cadbury after we bought them though. However little miss Astra is black with a big moon shaped white marking on her rump and a sprinkling of snowflake markings. Interesting!

Star is one of my favorites even though she is a cheeky piggy brat (okay, because she IS a cheeky piggy brat!) and her daughter looks to be as sweet as she is.

First little steps, still wobbly on our feet. Awww....

And a picture of the white marking. It's a little hard to see but the white saddle is uniform over the rump creating an almost perfect black moon. Gee there should be some lovely soft wool coming off these guys coming sheering time! :D

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

New little lambies! :D

Meet "Stella", with the spotty face

and "Luna" with a dark face but white freckles all over her ears!

These are our newest residents, their mum is Soot the English Leicester ewe and their daddy is Cadbury, my chocolate Corriedale ram who can be seen watching in Stella's photo. These are Soot's first babies so I'm quite happy with twin ewe lambs! Cadbury being their daddy, they should carry the moorit gene. Their fleeces ought to be quite interesting when it comes time for their first sheering. :)

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Our "calling card" letter

Dear Ms Roxon

My name is Amanda Orbitani. I am a mother, a wife and an Australian-by-choice. I have two children, my first was born in a hospital, my second at home. The quality of care, the outcomes, my treatment and follow up could not have been more different. The birth of a child is a deep and profound experience, one we carry forever and which impacts upon the start of the relationship between not only mother and child but the family as a whole.

I am certain you are aware of the many reasons women feel strongly about homebirth, the importance of the right to choice not just as women’s rights but as a fundamental human right, the consequences of removing the ability to access quality medically trained professionals and that women will not cease to homebirth. I am certain you are aware of the many studies on it’s safety and benefits in terms of intervention rates and the unnecessary complications these can cause. I am certain you are aware of the midwives whose livelihood are at stake, who deserve the right to practice other medical professionals enjoy. I am certain you are aware of Australia's overburdened hospital systems, the importance of utilizing resources wisely and the financial benefits of not hospitalizing those who do not need to be hospitalized.

I am certain of these things because women like me have raised these points to you, as we will continue to because of the importance of what we bring before you. We are deeply grieved of the impact if the legislation goes through as it stands.

While I applaud the many positive outcomes that will come from this, I respectfully submit eliminating private practice midwives is the wrong choice for Australia. Please consider amending the legislation so that my future children can have the high quality start in life that my daughter had and my son deserved.

Thank you for your time and consideration,
Amanda Orbitani, Laurent and Lily

Anyone who couldn't make it today should still consider writing up something similar and posting, e-mailing or faxing it to her saying that while you were unable to attend in person you fully support the rally and urge her to consider amending. If you want to e-mail of fax it, or you can fax it to 02 6273 4146. By post it would be to Nicola Roxon, 1 Thomas Holmes St. Maribyrnong Vic 3032

Homebirth rally at Nicola Roxton's office today

Today was the rally protesting the legislation which will make hiring a private practice independent midwife to attend women at homebirths illegal if it passes as it stands. Around 300 people gathered outside of Nicola Roxton's office to protest as well as to leave calling cards with her. For anyone who doesn't know, Ms Roxton is the Health Minister. All in all it was a very positive gathering, with Family First senator Steve Fielding pledging support to the rights of women to homebirth. Apparently before the rally he had spoken with a group in one of their homes - how is that for government who cares! He was also set to have a meeting with Ms. Roxton after the rally, so hopefully that has further positive impact as well.

One of the awesome signs!

A few shots showing some of the crowd

And a bit more, including one of the cameramen (in red on the left) who was filming for television

The senator receiving a lot of applause for what he had to say.

Laurent wanted to get in on the action... including his biggest fakey "I realize a camera is pointed in my direction" cheeze wiz grin!

The box full of calling cards, being taken into Nicola Roxton's office

And being handed over

And these are a couple of shots of our primary midwife, Andrea, having a cuddle with miss Lily. ;-) A rather good advertisement for homebirth if ever I saw one!

Monday, August 03, 2009

First lace project

It's only been about 5 months since I was a one hit wonder (garter stitch baby scarfs/dish/wash cloths anyone?) but lace has been on my list of things that I want to do but found somewhat (totally, completely and utterly) intimidating.

I've been slowly expanding my list of skills. I really want to do the beautiful projects on my mile long project pattern queue. But lace? Eep! Okay, so that's what I thought about casting on and off. And scarfs. And hats. And knitting in the round. And socks. All easy-peasie once I got past how tricky I thought they would be and did them.

So I went as simple as it gets, for a scarf for Lily. The yarn is handspun corriedale/merino/silk I'd bought awhile ago and dyed. It's not perfect, it came out a bit chunky as the yarn was spun thick-n-thin, from lace to almost-but-not-quite DK.

I finally got to blocking it tonight, I'm not sure I did that right but here it is drying... will add fringe and get good photos tomorrow! Oh and for the record, I think I'm going to love lace! I've got a shawl in the IxChel laceweight yarn I'm going to cast on tonight!

Sunday, August 02, 2009

our day out

It's been a very long, really rather craptastic week here for various reasons and I was feeling rather sorry for myself. Totally aside, I had to include this pic of La in a happy moment - I'm told that this is a "Very Tall Dinosarus Rexus!"

At any rate, this weekend instead of staying here and doing what I ought to be doing (cleaning, repairing, pruning, sorting out the gate between our property and the neighbors etc) I decided we really needed to get out, blow it off and forget it all for awhile.

A few weeks back at Ravelry, I'd stumbled across a Gippsland group of knitters and spinners and among this I'd found a link to a woman who'd had a stall of lovely yarns at the Gembrook market when we first moved in and I'd not been able to find since as I didn't recall her name. As it turns out she now has a stall at the Melbourne Art Market which I'd not been to in awhile so it was a perfect excuse - especially as we didn't get to go to the Bendigo show as Nic had 'found' a kangaroo the hard way with my car the day before!

So we went and enjoyed the market and a nice day, aside from La having a meltdown tantrum because Nic insisted we didn't need to bring the pram for him to ride in and then was annoyed when La wanted to touch things and grabbed his hand. Of course any excuse for pictures is a good one, so...

Lily wanted a feed we sat down and watched the little water birds drying their wings after diving in.

And I spoiled myself a bit...
(bottom) 200g 8 ply Hawthorne Cottage English Leicester/Corriedale in lovely flame colours which will make a nice pair of pants for Miss Lily
(middle) 100 g 4 ply Ixchel Bunny sock yarn hand dyed Blue Faced Leicester and Angora with natural dyes for socks for myself
(top) 55g Ixchel Bunny lace weight hand dyed australian Cashmere/Merino lace weight for a lacey wrap for myself
I also got a nice contact for spinning classes and hopefully can make it to one of the nights where they sell second hand spinning wheels, so I can try a few out and decide which I want before I buy.

After we stopped in Fed Square and split a smoothie. La was most impressed with the later, being a rather rare treat and was so engrossed in it he wouldn't even look up for a picture. I also spent most of the day thanking heavens for slings because Lily was able to snooze, people watch and feed in it without trouble or having to stop.

We'd initially planned on training it in which La was very excited about but took the car as we'd gotten a late start on the day. So we ended up taking one of the city circle trams to China Town and having some nibblies instead. La was ever so slightly thrilled and even Lily was quite amused with the lattice and lights on the ceiling of the trams.

Unrelated to this I've joined a KAL for cloths which is fun. I've churned out two independent of it - this one of a duck in green for La and a white one with a bunny I've not been able to get a good picture of yet, as well as plans for this breastfeeding logo one. They're quick, easy, practical knits to turn out while feeding Lily and watching tv in the evenings. :)