Tuesday, April 29, 2008

wings wheels and wine

The weekend brought another major Ormiston catering event at the Mudgee airfield...Wings Wine and Wheels, an airshow with classic car rally and the usual Mudgee wine tastings. On the menu were sausages and roasted pork loin. The 8 loins were serially pre roasted in a friend's kitchen ( where we were house sitting) then rushed to the food stand for crisping of the crackling on the barbecue and carving to order. I was chef for the day and I do not think I have ever worked so hard since my days of emergency weekends at the RSPCA...... total insanity!

Three thousand people attended and the event was seriously under catered, so instead of a leisurely sale and cross promotion of free range pork, we were faced with long queues of hungry people getting grumpy when chef kept running out of pork.

The RAAF roulettes team ( equivalent of the Red Arrows ) all turned up for sausages in their smart red pilot suits, making me somewhat concerned about their ensuing dare devil aerobatics should I accidentally undercook their pork. Fortunately all went without a hitch, and by 3pm all 350 sausages and 8 loins had been cooked and served.

On the home front Harriet the hateful pink pig decided to farrow early outdoors at night in the dry sow paddock before she could be moved to the maternity wing. Running around in a field at night in the wind and rain illuminated only by the ute's headlights trying to locate 11 piglets and build a temporary shelter out of hay bales while Harriet tried to kill us was entertaining.

Debra farrowed today and has produced the most incredible mongrel litter.......leopard spotted ginger and black piglets. No idea about the genetics of that one- pics coming as soon as she lets me close enough.

...always take the weather with you

All weather reports advise us that the conditions are 'unseasonably cold'. There has been snow in Orange and Lithgow, both pretty close to us, and the last 2 nights have been nippy to say the least. The pic is real time, showing my current garb as I type this. Not quite scraping the ice from the inside of the windows but pretty close.
The best comparison I can make is a holiday in a campervan in Scotland in April a couple of years ago, and the Isle of Skye was warmer.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

pamper your possum ( possibly)

We have taken freeloading to a higher level and are currently house-sitting....very luxurious after 6 months in a van to have so much space, and hot baths and a large tv a real novelty. James dog is umbilically attached to the sofa, venturing out only to bark at neighbouring dogs or chase the chooks.

Meanwhile we are gobsmacked by a current tv ad showing pretty girls carrying around identical small furry creatures and pampering them in hairdressers, beauticians, and restaurants. Why have those girls all got possums? is one's first reaction. Only when the tag line is reached does the realisation hit. Apparently even over here it has upset a few people.

So ladies...you have only got one beaver 'down there' so look after it.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

buzz the comedy chicken

The Ormiston livestock collection is getting more and more ridiculous. The silky rooster and his 2 girls provide many a comedy moment.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

forty and fishing

Vanessa had a landmark birthday at the weekend, and to celebrate we all went trout fishing in the Cudgegong river with Bluey.


The pic below shows Ness bravely up to her wader tops in the river, in pursuit of a wily trout, with Bluey sensibly up a tree.

Georgie was somewhat squeamish about the handling and releasing bit and refused point blank to kiss her first catch for good luck. Ness's lure became very familiar with the vegetation on the opposite bank.
It was a great afternoon, the final tally of fish being Georgie 2 , James 1, Ness 2, Fiona 0.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

health care

No posts for a few days because we have both been stricken with a nasty cold virus and have been convalescing and feeling sorry for ourselves.

Had to go to the local practice this week to have a skin lump looked at with a view to removal. Saw a doctor who spend the entire (brief) consultation chomping vigorously on chewing gum, possibly the most unprofessional encounter I have ever had. The upshot was ' I ( chomp chomp) do not know ( chomp chomp) what that is ( chomp) or what ( chomp) to do about it. I know, I will make notes on my computer.' (clack, chomp, clack,chomp)

At reception it transpired that she felt removal was 'what to do'. The reception staff looked rather shifty, with asides along the lines of 'has she done that before?', 'is she doing surgery?'. I politely pointed out ( in a somewhat strangled voice full of panic) that I would not consider that woman coming anywhere near me with a scalpel blade. Not the best $26 I have ever spent, at least she did not sting me for a detailed examination.

Upshot is, said lump being removed at end of month by a GP within the practice who has been recommended.

Meanwhile we have a brief change of career next week...a friend of Georgie's is going on holiday for a week and needs a house-sitter to attend to the cat and chooks. A week of hot running water and heating, sheer bliss.

Transpires the family we are doing this for belongs to a non chomping doc from the same surgery...small place Mudgee.

Friday, April 4, 2008

the IT girl

The Great Escapade bike ride from the Blue Mountains to Newcastle hit town this week.


Fortunately for the Ormiston Free Range crew the Mudgee rest day brought over a thousand hungry cyclists into town, and hot pork and sausage rolls were sold out within hours.

Meanwhile I have developed a snotty cold so decided to do some computer maintenance, back up and general decluttering of the hard drives. The regular laptop now a lean mean speedy machine, as I was brave enough to use some online hacks and tweaks to enhance XP performance, defragmented the drive, cleaned up the registry,and generally felt smug about regaining 7 GB of space ( there was some serious old crap on there).

Not so successful with the little portable eee pc though. With the tiny 4 GB hard drive all applications are portable versions installed on a separate SDHD card and space saving is imperative. With my newly found computer 'expertise' I fiddled with Skype and managed to induce a non stop cycle of blue screen of death/automatic reboot/blue screen of death.

In my previous life, such an event would lead to a short trip to our lovely neighbour Dick, wearing a convincing expression of helplessness and clutching a bottle of wine. This method of IT troubleshooting always resulted in a fast resolution of the problem.

The Australian method was somewhat more challenging, but I am happy to report that with the help of the eeeuser forums and a bit of good luck all systems are now go, although I have still not plucked the courage to try Skype again as yet.

** footnote**- got back to van last night after a late night Scrabble and drinking session with James and his parents (visiting from the UK) and picked up laptop bag from my bed.Bag was not fastened, laptop scudded across the floor, bits of plastic fell off. Too scared to investigate the machine this morning, fear it is now a lean mean broken machine.

Thursday, April 3, 2008


I am still finding it very hard to get my head round the reversed seasons in this hemisphere. Now April, so autumn is here. With no deciduous trees, no clouds or rain, and daytime temperatures in the high 20’s it has been difficult to comprehend. However the last few nights in the van have been very, very cold, and last night there was a hint of a frost (first one we have seen for over a year!). So we have developed a system of layering clothing…..wake up in alluring flannelette pyjamas with bed socks and long sleeved top, don a fleece and huddle round the gas cooker as you boil the kettle.

Venture outdoors (van now positioned to catch the morning sun, whereas a few weeks ago it was positioned for maximum shade), drink coffee and warm up, start shedding layers. By midday back to shorts and T-shirt. Around 5pm, batten down the hatches to preserve warmed van interior and start the layering process again. Bed socks mandatory by 9pm, about the same time as the kettle is boiled for the ginger dog’s hot water bottle.

So, our procrastination has led to yet another revision…head south for the summer has been replaced with head north for the winter.

Ness has been playing with her new eco gadget….a 5 gallon black rubber water bag with a shower attachment. Astonishingly after 3 hours in the sun the water is hot shower temperature. There are logistical problems with how high we can hoist it in the Winnebago bathroom…… very nice shower if one could become accustomed to showering lying down (or indeed have the room to do so). Need to work on that one, or shed both inhibitions and clothing and string bag up in a gum tree and shower al fresco.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

James ginger dog has fully recovered from her gastritis, so was well enough today to receive visitors.

We are hoping to set off soon, just a few loose ends to tie up here first. There may be a bit of vet work at the end of the week for me, and Ness has the offer of a practice manager job which I suspect she may not consider for too long!