Tuesday, August 31, 2010

My Favourite Photos of the week

Taken by me for your enjoyment

Hen - Taken with a Nikon D3000 (20100725)
This photo has NOT been cropped

Cat - Taken with a Nikon D3000 (20100728)
This photo has NOT been cropped

Bird House - Taken with a Samsung L730 (20081112)
This photo has NOT been cropped

Storm - Taken with a Nokia N-70 (20060225)
This photo has NOT been cropped

Please do NOT copy any of the photos on this blog - if you would like to use any photos, please leave a comment with contact details, Photos will be supplied without watermark and at full size. All comments are moderated and won't be shown to the public. Thank-you

Please note that no photo has been photoshopped on this blog, cropped yes, photoshopped NO!

Enjoy all of natures beauty!

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Monday, August 30, 2010

My father taught me

As some of you might be aware – I lost my father recently.

I was thinking, after a conversation I had with my son about Grandpa, that my father (my sons grandfather) taught me so much and from the sounds of it my son also.

Some things were way out there, but many things have stood me in good stead over the last 40 years.

Some things my father taught me (in no order)
1. Dynamite when handled with bare hands will give you a headache!
2. A Mattress is a good blast suppressant!
3. How to ride a bike
4. How to turn off mains water supplies without cracking pipes further up the line.
5. Gravity-fed water is the best water you can have in an emergency
6. How to saddle a horse (when we finally got a saddle!)
7. How to light a wood heater
8. How to read house plans.
9. How to spell accommodation (& many others, but that has its own story)
10. How to problem solve if something wasn’t working
11. You can wrap a horses feet in hessian and stop snow ‘balling’ in the foot
12. How to fish and tie the right knots and which rigs to use for where.
13. How not to cook fish on an open fire!
14. How to steer and moor a boat.
15. How to drag a flathead home (hook & line still in place) It was bigger
than the pan (I think I was 7 or 8yo)
16. How to enjoy eating seafood.
17. How to set a rabbit trap and how to hide your smell

And so much more – how do you count in point form what you father (or mother) taught you?

I do miss my father, he used to call about 10pm at least once a week and ask for help with a computer problem. I’d always be able to fix it.

After the fires, the roles changed somewhat and I think he relied on me more and more. Help to sort out some problems with the town, contacting various people in leadership roles and I’d act on his behalf.

Then the stress of everything got to him and he had a massive stroke. Thankfully it was quick and over within minutes. For that I am grateful even if I do miss him.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

My favourite photos of the week - Bees in flight

Bees in flight in the almond blossoms


Please do NOT copy any of the photos on this blog - if you would like to use any photos, please leave a comment with contact details, Photos will be supplied without watermark and at full size. All comments are moderated and won't be shown to the public. Thank-you

Please note that no photo has been photoshopped on this blog, cropped yes, photoshopped NO!

Enjoy all of natures beauty!

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Friday, August 27, 2010

Busy parents, home-made meals, how can it be done?

Having home cooked meals ready for when you get home is really easy, doesn’t even require much preparation – believe it or not.

There’s not need for it to be expensive either.

Essential ingredients:-
1 x freezer
?? x single serve or multiple serve freezer containers
WASHED potatoes (very important – the washed bit)

After that the world is your oyster

I’m the first to admit it – I’m no masterchef, even if I do have a cookbook to my name Marysville Cookbook It’s amazing what generational education can teach you. These recipes are from my grandmother and mother and some I've collected myself

Simple recipes are the key to any success in the kitchen, simple ingredients, simple instructions, little stirring, little time consuming sautéing, little standing in front of stove type recipes. That is the key to healthy home-cooked recipes for the family.

Trick Number 1 – Always cook more than you need, Freeze the left-over for meals later.
Trick Number 2 – never peel another potato again
Trick Number 3 – want roast vegies? – Cook them in the microwave (about 20min) before transferring to oven and lightly coating with Olive oil to complete the cooking.
Trick Number 4 – a slow cooker is a brilliant thing – learn to use it
Trick Number 5 –next time you need a microwave, buy one you can pre-set the start and finish times – a wonderful invention
Trick Number 6 – Saturday/Sunday when I’m doing other things around the house. I’ll cook a meal or two. Not just 1-2 servings but multiples of, soup/stews/casseroles are a wonderful thing to cook copious amounts of. You don’t have to eat them all at once. That’s what the freezer is for.
Trick Number 7 – Failures more often than not, taste the best.

The 7 steps to success (in my kitchen)

Here is my freezer, a little light on ‘stock’ but plenty of single serve meals, single serve because of family dynamics have changed and this allows for 1-2 or 5-6 quick meals to be on hand at ANY time.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

EFTPOS usage – do you spend more money without cash?

Oh boy, here we go again, another blog post because of another interesting conversation. Why does this happen to me?

Someone made the comment they spend less if they use EFTPOS only. I disagree and the banking system disagrees with me also.

Let’s go back to the start of the use of EFTPOS. The banks and government wanted it introduced to reduce the cost of money handling. Yes handing money costs money, the damaged bills need to be sorted and destroyed. Coins need to be counted and damaged ones recycled. Tellers needed to be present in the bank to receive and distribute said money. See the cycle? It all costs money. So the businesses of the world thought that removing cash would remove the cost of the handling.

ATM’s became a common sight in the Streets of Melbourne in the early to mid 1980’s. The Commonwealth Bank Branch at the corner of Bourke and Russell Street installed theirs in 1986. People were quite confused by it, a staff member was rostered on to handle the number of queries raised in relation to it.

We all know how an ATM works, so no need to cover the ins and outs. People were encouraged by banking institutions to get a plastic card and a PIN number and use the machine in preference to using a teller inside the bank. The bank could see the financial benefit in reducing tellers and pushed hard for people to set up new style accounts and move people away from passbook style accounts. They did this using a variety of methods, from reducing passbook account interest rates, to penalizing people for using tellers with a fee per use charge.

Eventually ATM/EFTPOS usage became the norm rather than the abnormal.

The problem with this is that people actually forget how much they are spending on the plastic, be it their money or on credit. They honestly have no idea where the money goes.

The banks now ‘sell’ EFTPOS machine to retailers with recommendations like:-
“Typically customers will spend more with EFTPOS payments than when using cash, giving you the opportunity to maximise sales revenue”
“and your customers will be able to spend more and make more impulse purchases because they're not limited by the cash they're carrying with them.”

Now as a user, you should be made aware of the following:-
•Getting cash out at the same time you’re paying for goods using EFTPOS is a budget-friendly way to transact. The two transactions are only counted as one by your bank, so you pay a single fee instead of two.
•There are no fees for using cash, and you can't get into debt as easily using cash as you can with a credit card... but at the end of the month a credit card will allow you to see (and remember) where you spent your money. Cash does not (on it's own) have this same advantage
•It's easier to track spending using a card, where each purchase is recorded, than it is with cash for this reason.
•It’s easier to impulse buy when you don’t actually handle the cash. With the push a few buttons the money is gone.

Some people are really good with spending (or not spending) money, others……. Well……… they don’t manage as well.

I can be a bit of both, they do say that nothing beats a good shopping binge to brighten ones mood!

As a re-cap we have the banks pushing to retailers the benefits of a ‘cashless’ society where the customer will spend more, because they can’t handle and therefore miss the cash.
We have the banks pushing customers away with fee for use banking, where using a teller, sees some customer penalized.
We have the banks reducing interest rates on passbook accounts, to push people towards electronic banking.
We have banks removing face-to-face service in an attempt to force people onto electronic banking

Some retailers have shied away from using EFTPOS, some because they are wary of the fees, some discourage its usage by charging extra fees for each transaction or setting a minimum transaction costs and the customer sees no perceived benefit with either. Some retailers avoid EFTPOS because they perceive it all to be too hard. The benefits to retailers of using EFTPOS actually outweigh the inconvenience of not having EFTPOS. There is less cash to be counted at the end of the day, fewer trips to the bank, reduces the risk of theft, reduces the risk of burglary or armed hold-up.

As a consumer you need to be aware that you will spend more hard-earned money if you can’t actually pass the money over the counter. The risk of fraud is increasing with the number of compromised ATM’s and EFTPOS terminals. There is nothing more embarrassing than being caught with no cash, and no money in your account.

Personally I love electronic banking, saves me time, I can bank and pay my bills at anytime without concern for when the banks are or are not open. I can control my cash flow by withdrawing a small amount with each EFTPOS transaction and use that cash for smaller transaction, like coffee and similar.

Everyone is different and everyone has different needs. Some people can budget, some cannot. Life would be pretty boring if we were all the same.

Credit Cards are a completely issue and I won’t even touch on them. That one’s WAY too complicated for me, suffice to say yes I do have a credit card and I do use it, but sparingly and with balance paid off each month

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

This time it is my life!

A road trip in my life............................

In the fog that is my mind

Delays can certainly be expected................

As the speed picks up - you realise.........................

The downhill side is a bit rough......................

The climb out seems a bit rough............................

The boogey man lingers............................

But the beauty on the upside ride is well worth it......................

Even the mountains only look like hills.............................

And that is my life in pictures, the road trip known as my life

Friday, August 13, 2010

The green vote - the upcoming Australian Election

I have some pretty interesting conversations sometimes.

The topic of the ‘green’ vote came up after a comment was made about the Melbourne Electorate and that more than likely the vote there would go to the Greens and thus they would hold the seat.

It went something along the lines of:-
The polling indicates that the Seat of Melbourne will be won by the Greens
Yeah, the seat with the biggest Air Conditioners and Plasma TV’s – talk about cynics

Did you know that the Seat of Melbourne has a protected electricity supply? Meaning that if the power goes down state-wide (just saying), that the Melbourne CBD and surrounds would be considered the most urgent and important to get re-instatement.

So the tree-hugging, soy latte types, living in the concrete jungle, get preference, over those actually planting the trees, growing the crops, the meat and trying to survive.

These are the same people that are trying to block the use of cars in the suburbs and saying public transport is the only method of transportation allowed. All fine and well when the nearest bus stop is 500m, but when it’s 5000m OR greater, we are penalised because we use our cars.

Train stations? – Most people in the country don’t have access to trains, because the lines have all been shut. Why? – because transport users stopped using trains because they were unreliable, they were costly and difficult to get to, let alone, try and park and use the train. There is no parking.

Not everyone wants to live in the city, not everyone can live in the city.

The ‘green’ vote although idealistically sound, there are many policies under that green vote, that can’t work for the ordinary man and woman.

I’m all for solar power, I’m all for recycling, reducing and recycling. I’m all for planting trees, and vegetable gardens.

Picking out a few of the points located in the ‘The Greens’ website:-

Health - the public health system is the best way to deliver health services.
Education - ensure the viability and diversity of existing public schools is not endangered by the development of new private schools.
Economics - the Goods and Services Tax (GST) is unfair, regressive and places an unfair burden on individuals and small business.
Climate Change and Energy - facilitate the rollout of smart meters with real-time communications technology and information display with measures to ensure that people who are on low incomes, unemployed or aged are not unfairly penalised.
Immigration and Refugees - house asylum seekers who arrive without a valid visa in publicly owned and managed open reception centres, where entry and exit to these centres are unrestricted except where prohibited for medical or security reasons specified in clause 28.(AAV = asylum application visa)
Sustainable Planning and Transport - increase the tariff on imported four-wheel drive vehicles from 5% to 10% except for primary producers.
Childcare - childcare should be a not-for-profit service.
Environmental Principles - develop and adequately fund fuel reduction burning strategies based on the latest research on scientific fire ecology, fire behavior information and indigenous fire management practices, in consultation with experts, custodians and land managers.

These are just some of the points located at

I’m not going to pull apart each and every point, in fact I’m not going to pull apart ANY of their policies. I just want you to stop and think before you put pen to paper and think ‘Is this what I want for my future? Is this what I want for my family? Is the cost of implementation too high socially and economically?

It's your vote, make it count. Remember food comes from somewhere and it has to be transported to you, how much more will it cost?

If the public health system is the best way to improve our health, why are the hospitals struggling now, when private health insurance is almost mandatory?

If the cost of electricity is already high, how much higher will it be with the implementation of 'smart' meters? - Can you really financially afford it?

On the 21st August make YOUR VOTE count.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

When I was growing up.......and modern communication

I was thinking about a conversation with my darling Mstr13 – He wanted to visit some friends, I said ring them and find out what they are doing. He said I don’t have their phone numbers. I said, then how do you contact them? –Internet, was the response.

I thought back to when I was growing up, when I was 13yo. I grew up in a small town and we’d ring friends first thing in the morning (not before 9am) that would be rude, and we’d organize our day that way.

Then we I grew up and left school, same thing, you’d ring the house and organize something, if you were lucky they had an answering machine. If they didn’t, you’d try again later.

Then pagers were invented. Great for working people, great for people contracting, you worked out with family and friends codes, that when the number was sent through, you’d add and extra digit at the start or finish of the phone to signify something. 0=out, 1=in, 2=home soon

Then pagers had text capability – WOW – it was heaven, no more trying to remember what meant what. Mobile phones were around, but they were far too expensive for the average person to have. Mobile phones were for corporate type people.

Eventually the cost of owning a second hand mobile outweighed the cost of a pager and returning phone calls etc. So many people switched over to mobiles.

Now if you don’t have a mobile (or don’t answer it on the second ring) you are a luddite .

Technology has gone far these last 20 years, now it is common for people not to have access to a landline, to only have a mobile phone, everything is wireless and far more cost affordable.

The internet for those under the age of 20 years, is considered the norm, in fact life didn’t exist prior to that apparently!

I think what scares me, is that in an emergency, people won’t be sitting by their computer waiting for you to contact them. How will kids manage if there is an emergency and they don’t have access to a computer?

Mobile phones are great for 12-24hours and then after that you need 240v power to recharge them.

I suppose what I am saying is get something other than an online user name from people you considering friends, imagine putting out a call for “deep_throat”, whom you haven’t spoken to in a month. You know they live in Timbuktu, you know they go to “Prince School of the West” You think their name is Tom, but you have no idea what their surname is. Get their phone number! It would make life a little easier!

Take care out there

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

A Cowboy named Bud

A cowboy named Bud was overseeing his herd in a remote pasture in New South Wales when suddenly a brand-new BMW advanced toward him out of a cloud of dust.

The driver, a young man in a Brioni suit, Gucci shoes, RayBan sunglasses and YSL tie, leaned out the window and asked the farmer, "If I tell you exactly how many cows and calves you have in your herd, Will you give me a calf?"

Bud looks at the man, obviously a yuppie, then looks at his peacefully grazing herd and calmly answers, "Sure, Why not?"

The yuppie parks his car, whips out his Dell notebook computer, connects it to his Cingular RAZR V3 cell phone, and surfs to a NASApage on the Internet, where he calls up a GPS satellite to get an exact fix on his location which he then feeds to another NASA satellite that scans the area in an ultra-high-resolution photo.

The young man then opens the digital photo in Adobe Photoshop and exports it to an image processing facility in Hamburg , Germany .

Within seconds, he receives an email on his Palm Pilot that the image has been processed and the data stored. He then accesses an MS-SQL database through an ODBC connected Excel spreadsheet with email on his Blackberry and, after a few minutes, receives a response.

Finally, he prints out a full-color, 150-page report on his hi-tech, miniaturized HP LaserJet printer, turns to the cowboy and says, "You have exactly 1,586 cows and calves."

"That's right. Well, I guess you can take one of my calves," says Bud.

He watches the young man select one of the animals and looks on with amusement as the young man stuffs it into the trunk of his car.

Then Bud says to the young man, "Hey, if I can tell you exactly what your business is, will you give me back my calf?"

The young man thinks about it for a second and then says, "Okay, why not?"

"You're a senator in Kevin Rudd's Labour Government", says Bud.

"Wow! That's correct," says the yuppie, "but how did you guess that?"

"No guessing required." answered the cowboy. "You showed up here even though nobody called you; you want to get paid for an answer I already knew, to a question I never asked. You used millions of dollars worth of equipment trying to show me how much smarter than me you are; and you don't know a thing about how working people make a living - or about cows, for that matter. This is a herd of sheep. ...

Now give me back my dog.

**as arrived in my inbox tonight! Enjoy it and have a giggle

Saturday, August 7, 2010

I don’t listen to music

Just the other day – someone said to me – what music do I like – I replied nothing. They asked what do you mean nothing? My reply I don’t listen to music.

I don’t get any enjoyment from music, nor do I find it annoying – I just don’t get it.

I suppose this comes from my formidable years of upbringing being raised in a valley that didn’t have TV for and certainly no radio for quite some time after my parents moved there – unless you erected a 40foot aerial.

I remember having TV, certainly in some areas of the township, but mainly ABC and later on a Shepparton Television station. Some nights you could get interstate radio stations, when the cloud coverage was ‘just right’ But mostly you just did without!

I remember getting my first horse at 7 years of age. I remember dad teaching me to ride a second-hand pushbike (at least I had a pushbike!) We spent most of time outside, roaming the streets, the bush, the neighbours houses, camping out more times than sleeping in.

You didn’t need music.

I do remember owning and listening to audio cassettes of the Bay City Rollers, but that is the only music I remember. I could take it or leave it.

Later on in life, my first car only had an AM radio – So there wasn’t much choice to be had. I didn’t get rid of that car until 1989. So I think the pattern of no music had been well and truly established by then.

That is why I don’t listen to music! – I do like radio and certainly listen every opportunity I get – but it is talkback and news stations. The dial in each and every car reads:-
1. 3AW
2. 1026
3. 774
4. (music) for hubby
5. 3RPH
6. 3MTR (a new station)

That is the AM – and I don’t think the FM has been programmed in my car, just goes to show!

Am I mad? Or am I just different?

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Discovery Campervans ripped me off

My husband and I decided to book a campervan holiday, it was mid 2009 that we decided we needed a break. With the stress of the bushfires and trying to get a cookbook up and running for in support of a bushfire affected town, we really needed a break.

We booked the holiday, we booked airfares, everything for the four of us as a family just to get away for a week. We had booked to leave March 2010.

Two days before we were due to fly my father died. We hurriedly delayed everything and re-scheduled what could be rescheduled. Paid the penalty fees and thought no problems.

I haven’t been terribly well these last 18months, most likely due to stress. We re-scheduled for September School Holidays (way back in March 2010). Then thrown a curve ball that my son is going to New Zealand with school for hockey, My daughter doesn’t know if she is coming or going and I just threw my hands up in the air and couldn’t manage with re-scheduling again.

We paid $547 (plus 2 x $100) for re-scheduling.

The email I received from Discovery Campervans clearly stated “If you decide to take a campervan holiday in the next 6 months or so – we will gladly transfer the deposit over to your new booking”

I thought this deposit to be transferred was $547.00 – I was wrong – our deposit is apparently $79 – the rest goes swinging in the wind.

I’m sitting here crying at the moment because everything is just too F*** hard

Monday, August 2, 2010

Some more photos from the Backdoor Step

Photos Taken March 2010 - In the Whittlesea area.

Here is the morning sunrise.

Here is the Sunset

And the city lights!

Please do NOT copy any of the photos on this blog - if you would like to use any photos, please leave a comment with contact details, Photos will be supplied without watermark and at full size. All comments are moderated and won't be shown to the public. Thank-you

Please note that no photo has been photoshopped on this blog, cropped yes, photoshopped NO!

Enjoy all of natures beauty!

Please visit Redbubble, perhaps there is something there you would like to purchase. Refer the photos below!
Buy my work