2009 in review

My intentions to blog regularly started off well, but died a slow death. Ah well, they were good intentions.

Front Yard Nov09

Front Yard Nov09

We started the year with mum here. We thoroughly enjoyed her visit but it was inevitable that she’d go home – as she did in mid-January. Then in February we got the not-unexpected news that Stephen’s job would move to Brisbane. Most people in the technical department have been given a ‘move to Brisbane’ ultimatum. At first we were told we’d have to be gone by the end of financial year, then it was by the end of the year. We decided we’d better take a look at BrisVegas to see where we’d like to live. We spent a nice 2 weeks in Redcliffe and decided that we’d like to live in Sandgate. You can read all about the trip here. Of course, the type of house we’d like in Sandgate would be ridiculously expensive so after we came home we settled more on the area between Caboolture and Burpengary. We could get a nice house on and acre (or more) in that area for what we could sell our house here for. As it turns out we won’t be moving – at this stage anyway. Stephen will probably have to work fly-in/fly-out of Telfer as a result. It’s a price we’re not very happy to pay, but our choices are limited, so we’ll give it a try. We wouldn’t mind living in Brisso, but we’ve only been in Perth for just over 2 years now, so it’s a bit soon for a move – tho’ I would prefer to live on the east coast.

In April I started going to Tai Chi.  I used to do Tai Chi many years ago and I’m really enjoying it again. It’s far more challenging than most people think, especially as you advance though the levels and the moved become more complicated and take more coordination and balance. Bev, the instructor, is great. She’s very patient and very encouraging to everyone.

Back Yard Nov09

Back Yard Nov09

Our garden has grown like crazy. It’s been a great success. The native plants have flowered and grown and given us a great deal of joy. Oh sure, there’ve been a few failures, but not many when you consider that we’ve planted over a hundred different varietes on our small suburban block. We think that both front yard and back yard are looking pretty spectacular. Our attraction of birds into the yard progresses slowly, but it does progress. Hopefully over the next year we’ll see more differing varieties as the plants get larger and offer more shelter. Of course we overplanted so the spaces would fill in faster so we have to keep on top of the pruning if we want things to keep looking nice and not get too tangled and woody.

Veggie Garden Nov 09

Veggie Garden Nov 09

The veggie garden has been both abundantly productive and challenging. There’s always something ready to harvest. We grow organically with no chemicals. The only things we spray are Bt for caterpillars, soapy water also to combat caterpillars, occasional horticultural oil on the citrus and pyrethrum for aphids on the roses. Ok, that’s roses, not veggies, but we keep it all organic. oh, and there are the mousetraps we’ve had to use recently to catch the rats who’ve been competing with us for our veggies. We are not growing veggies to support a rodent population. We’ve caught a few small ones, but not as big as the large rat I found dead in an empty water bucket! We’re not using greywater at this stage. I have doubts about the true safety of ‘greywater safe’ detegents and have heard many stories of deaths of trees, roses and shrubs thanks to the mid-long term use of untreated greywater that has supposedly only had ‘safe’ detergents added. Installing a greywater treatment and dispersal system isn’t an option for us in this yard. It would mean digging up the yard to install and is a very expensive option. And of course you can’t use untreated greywater on food crops, so it would be no use on the veggie garden, which is where we really need the watering help. Perhaps by next winter we’ll have some rainwater tanks put in. We just have to figure where we’d put them. We really have very little room for a realistic size of tank capacity. There’s not much point in putting in a piddling little tank that’s going to fill in a shower or two.

Rose Garden Nov09

Rose Garden Nov09

The Brisbane trip was our only holiday this year. It has been almost 3 years now since we had a ‘real’ holiday. I wasn’t working for much of the year, thanks to the economic downturn, but now have a quite good, if somewhat frustrating, job as a technical writer, writing training manuals for a company that does training for the mining industry. The people are nice and I’m close enough to walk from home if I really want to, though riding my bike is the planned option.

Honeyeater in Grevillea Georgiana

Honeyeater in Grevillea Georgiana

We have explored the Perth surrounds a little. The day trips haven’t been frequent, but have been enjoyable.
We visited Yanchep National Park, which is a small park close to home.

Yanchep National Park

Yanchep National Park

We drove up to Toodyay and then home via Gingin. A lovely day wiith WA’s famous wildflowers starting to come into bloom.

Toodyay

Toodyay

We spent another long weekend at Margaret River where Molly and Kaz had a ball chasing rabbits.

Chasing Rabbits

Chasing Rabbits

We spent a pleasant day in New Norcia, the Benedictine monastery town. We’d been planning to visit for a while, but it’s definitely not a place to go in the summer – it’d be way too hot and there’s very little shade.

New Norcia Monastery Gate

New Norcia Monastery Gate

The biodynamic festival at High Vale Orchard was very enjoyable. It’s easy to see that in another couple of years that will be huge.

High Vale Biodynamic Orchard

High Vale Biodynamic Orchard

Our girls are still healthy and happy at 9 years old – loving the beach and digging holes in the back yard. They are dogs after all!

Quinns Rocks Beach

Quinns Rocks Beach

They do have their own digging patch but prefer to dig the lawn just outside their sandpit. Molly has developed a particular passion for hunting bees – she does love flowers in the garden. Kaz still has to be as close as possible to a scratching hand or a rubbing foot – she does love attention.

Kaz

Kaz

Molly

Molly

We’ll be spending a quiet Christmas at home and then we’re off to visit mum for 2 weeks in the New year. – the only holiday we currently have planned. What 2010 has planned for us is anyone’s guess, but we do know that it will be interesting!

Deb and Stephen - RMS Christmas Party

Deb and Stephen - RMS Christmas Party

Merry Christmas to all!

Walk this way…

I’m making an effort to get out and get a bit more exercise. There are a couple of reasons for this.
1. I need the exercise – and don’t we all!! While my weight hasn’t really changed it the last year or two, I’m way above the weight that I’m happiest at and my waist measurement/waist:hip ratio is above the healthy level. Some of the photos Stephen took of me when we were in Brisbane were pretty horrifying. Admittedly it probably wasn’t a good idea to wear that top with those shorts, but I’m sure it wouldn’t have looked so bad without the spare tyre.
2. I find that when I’m exercising regularly I eat a lot healthier. I really needed to cut back on the chocolate…and the quantity of food I’ve been eating. Being at home all day certainly doesn’t help me maintain good eating habits.
3. While I’m not working, I need to be doing something outside the house or I go stir crazy.
4. I simply feel better if I’m out and about doing healthy things.

And these are the healthy things I’m doing:
1. Attending pilates classes twice a week. WOW!! This is very challenging. Flexibilty and core strength have never been my greatest strengths and they are two things I’ve really let go over the past few years.
2. Attending Tai Chi. I first started doing Tai Chi almost 30 years ago. I enjoyed it then and am enjoying it again. I’ve only done a couple of classes so far, but the people in the class are nice and it’s a social group. They get together for a cuppa after the class so not only am I getting the benefits of ‘moving meditation’ I’m also spending time with people. And for anyone who has never done Tai Chi, it’s considerably more challenging than you might think, though in a very different way to the pilates. The Tai Chi classes are held at beachsidelocations, which is very nice.
3. I’m walking again. Fitness walking, that is. I wear a pedometer every day from when I get up to when I go to bed. Stephen has been walking to the train each day, so I walk with him and then walk on, exploring different streets in the suburbs around us and sometimes walking down to the shared pathway along the coast. Last week, between Monday and Friday I walked 65km. A long, brisk walk is a great way to start the day. I keep a record of my steps walked at Walking with Attitude. It’s a site I really like. I’m not currently enrolled in any challenge, just walking to the beat of my own drum.