Friday, November 26, 2010

Do my ears look big in this?

I had forgotten a few things about a little German Shepherd puppy:
  • they go through a teenage stage with big paws and ears!
  • how sharp their teeth are,
  • how they want to try to eat everything, rocks, tow balls, Nigella's tail,
  • how they are really messy when drinking water (she sticks her whole face in the bowl),
  • that first 15 minutes of whining when we put her in the laundry to sleep,
  • that they're all action for a while then they just fall over and have a power nap.

But I haven't forgotten how they just make you smile for no reason, that she really does want to please you and that she wants to go everywhere with you.

I'm afraid both Rob and I (and Nigella but she won't admit it) are totally smitten.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Introducing Claudia

Some of you may have heard (twitter & facebook) that there will be a new addition to our household.
Continuing on with our theme of picking a name from our favourite cooks, Stephanie Alexandra (Rob's daughter), and Nigella, we have chosen Claudia after our favourite middle eastern food writer, Claudia Roden.
Steph was a little worried that I would name the puppy Abla!
She is 4 months old, very sweet and of course, adorable. She also turns out to be Nigella's half-sister.
We pick her up Thursday, only 2 more sleeps.
Two days to puppy proof the house & garden. It's amazing how fast you can forget what they like to chew and play with!
It might mean a little readjustment for Nigella, but she has always loved the company of other dogs, I realise it might be a bit different if it's a new addition to her pack though. More photos to come soon.

Friday, November 19, 2010

The hut starts to take shape

The living end of the hut.

Looking through the bi-fold door.

Looking out of the window seat window.

A visitor's first view of the hut.

Looking into the hut

Our bedroom.

The long view- you will be able to see down the entire length of the hut- through the living, breezeway, hall and bedroom.
Busy times at the Hut building site.
Walls. Eek.
Didn't know that frames could be this exciting.
Hopefully they will fill in the middle today.
Don't know why, but the view through a window looks different when it's framed?
Next week, the trusses are on their way!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Happy Birthday me!

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So I've been so busy that I didn't realise I had passed a significant milestone here at the Hut Chronicles, my 1st blogging birthday. The last year has gone by in a flash, a cliché I know!

So what have we been up to?

Hut wise, it’s been a little dull, just waiting for the slab to cure, but it has been fun to walk around on it. Imagining the space. Lying down where our bed or the window seat will be. The wallabies are quite taken with it too and have taken to decorating it with their clay covered paws and tails. The builder took the formwork off the other day, so Nigella had to pose for the obligatory photo.

Gardening at the block is another story. Things have been happening. Last year we started the garden at the block. I don’t think we realised what we were in for. We thought we’d just turn the soil over. But then we developed our plan into having two terraced gardens, my (flower) picking garden (15 x 16m) and Rob’s vegetable patch (21 x 16m). We had some time off last year so attacked it with gusto, by hand. Certainly makes you feel you’ve achieved something! But then we wanted to create some ag drains so that our gardens didn’t turn into a boggy mess in winter. We purchased some of the ag pipe and gravel, but only got half way finished before we had to start saving seriously for the hut. So it kind of went on the back burner.

Having a half finished job was irritating for Rob. So a couple of weekends ago we bought the remaining pipe and gravel, and shifted another 5.5 cubic metres of gravel into all of Rob’s carefully hand dug drains. It does seem a little crazy that we spent quite a bit of money on something we will never see again (well hopefully). But we both know it has been a worthwhile investment! Now we just need to fill in the paths that will be over the top of the drains with extra soil and the excavations will be complete.

I could pretend that the Veuve was to celebrate my 1st blogging birthday, but it was really for Rob’s father’s birthday, which we headed up north to Launceston for. We took up 2 dozen oysters to have with the Champagne (which disappeared quickly between four of us) and ocean trout to poach with leeks and carrots, and served it with steamed pink eye potatoes and salad. Graham was terribly indulgent and provided a Burgundy with dinner and then Sauternes for dessert. The Sauternes was amazing, although sweet at the front of your mouth; the acidity cleansed your palate, so it didn’t feel cloying at all. The wine was 3 years older than me! A real treat.

Finally I’ve been a little busy shopping on the internet and managed to get to exciting parcels on the same day. One contained a replacement handle for our Canadian ice-cream maker, the Donvier. I can’t wait to start trying some new sorbet and ice-cream recipes, as well as our old favourites, so bring on summer! I had also found a cake recipe in Maggie Beer’s book “Maggie’s Harvest” that called for dried cumquats. There is a special birthday coming up next year for someone and I think this cake would be perfect for him. I contacted Noelle Tolley at the Kumquatery and placed an order. They arrived too, they are so beautiful, like tiny perfect sweets, I can’t even begin to imagine just how many cumquats it took to produce 500g of dried cumquats!

Another little project has been keeping us occupied, but hopefully we'll have more news about that next week.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Slab = tick

The main hut looking from our bedroom end of the hut.

The laundry/shed hut, which will have a little west facing verandah- perfect for afternoon drinks!

The build continues on. We had a magic day of sunshine before 5 days of showery grey weather, so our builder took his chance and poured our two slabs.
The only disappointment was that we arrived too late to put our hand (or paw) prints in!
The next few weeks will be a bit quiet then the fun begins, I can't wait for the frame to go up, then our little hut will start to take shape.
We'll have to get Nigella a bright orange safety vest, she takes her role as site foreman very seriously!

My dentist has the last laugh

So yesterday was my annual visit to the dentist. Visits to the dentist are fine with me really. I remember as a child my parents would drag the whole family (I’m one of five children) to the dentist, a bit of an epic afternoon for him. I was pretty lucky; my teeth have always been pretty good so I had nothing to fear. But waiting in the room next door listening to my sister was a little amusing. You could hear her screams “what are you doing?’ “what is that” “ouch”, God only knows how she could talk with all the implements in her mouth.

Years later when visiting the old family dentist he got me mixed up with my sister, he was so nervous, so I had a look at the patient card and saw my sister’s name with the sentence “tends to be hysterical particularly about needles”. I quickly put him right and the appointment went smoothly after that!

Anyway I digress, yesterday; I headed into see my new dentist. He’s ok really, but I could tell he thought he was going to get lucky with my teeth. Rob is a frequent visitor; I don’t think he has any teeth that haven’t had work done on them. Earlier this year he had the pleasure of his first root canal. It doesn’t bear thinking about really. You could tell the dentist thought he’d find something. He looked at me seriously, “now we haven’t had an x-ray for 3 years, so I’d like to do some today”. So I agreed. He arranged some plastic device that almost got the gag reflex to happen then two snaps later it’s all done.

He looked at those x-rays long and hard. I turn around in the chair to look too. The teeth look funny to me, so I tell him that. He looks at me as if I’ve lost it. Dead pan his reply “What do you mean funny, they’re normal”, all I could manage was “oh they look sort of skinny, I guess you look at more teeth than me”. Obviously!

He still hasn’t said anything about fillings though, so I ask him. “No” he says, “nothing is showing up on the x-ray”. Before I feel too relieved he adds “but that doesn’t mean you don’t have any decay, sometimes it doesn’t show up and I will find it during the examination”.
So I lie back and try to relax. Looking very trendy with my groovy old people sunnies to protect my eyes from the bright light I assume. A few pokes and prods, is he trying to hurt me? Then the cleaning starts. Now this is the bit where I get a little worried. For some reason I lose track of where my tongue is. Does this happen to you? I have no idea what my tongue is doing during this procedure. Between that and the suction thingy that the nurse is using I get a bit nervous, I’m hoping my tongue is behaving itself and at the same time trying not to drown in my own saliva. Next stage is that awful hook, I swear it feels like he is about to yank some of my teeth out with that one.

He still hasn’t mentioned any fillings. Polishing is next. This I can cope with. While this is happening I look at the dentist, he’s looking unnaturally tanned for someone who has just come out of a Tasmanian winter. Then I remember my appointment was shifted back by a week because he was “away”. Perhaps he was on a holiday in Queensland?

Still no mention of potential fillings. All he offers is “I’d like to give you a fluoride treatment now”. Ok I say. A quick rinse and then he comes over to me with what looks like a pot of goopy toothpaste, he smears it all over my teeth then tells me to swirl it around for 2 minutes. Trivial I think. So I start doing just that, but then I think that I probably shouldn’t swallow this stuff, the more I think about it the more I feel like I’m going to. Then I think how ridiculous I must look and I get the giggles, I somehow manage to keep it together and not dribble the stuff everywhere. After I’ve spat it out, I ask him again, do I need any fillings. He struggles to hide his disappointment, “no your teeth are fine”. I‘m sure he really wanted to slip in an “unfortunately” at the beginning of his statement.

I have a moment of smugness before I come to settle the bill. Even after the (not so) generous private health insurance helps out I’m still $150 poorer. On scanning the bill, I find that the fluoride treatment set me back $40! Geez, it must be pretty special toothpaste! I’m now thinking his tan is the result of a Mediterranean holiday, perhaps sailing the Greek Isles?
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