Tuesday 31 January 2012

Baby Doves...

...in the back garden. They must have hatched nearby and are sheltering in our safe garden as they grow. Their flight feathers are fully developed and there's no sign of Mother so I assume they are fully fledged now.

This is the first photo I took, they are almost invisible! I've cut the grass since then too lol.

We know them as Indian Turtle Doves and they are quite wide-ranging now but pose no threat to local birds. Hopefully they will "grow into those beaks!"

I hope you have a Terrific Tuesday one and all,

PS A quick message from Priscilla regarding how she will spend her Tuesday....
"Portacath installation is tomorrow.go in at 8 am and get sedated and pain meds. Should be released by 1130 am. No lifting for 7 days." This scan is also happening very soon  as well as a bone marrow biopsy.

Hope it goes well and you are soon home again

Monday 30 January 2012

Feet Treat

I go barefoot most of the time I'm at home, in the house and garden, so my feet are pretty grubby by the end of the day. Here's how I get them really clean and refreshed again.

I gather about 2 cups of fresh herbs from the garden, last night's medley included rosemary, basil, mint, thyme, sage, hibiscus flowers and geranium leaves. Place them in a large bowl or bucket with 1 teaspoon of sodium bicarbonate and about 4litres of cold water. Add feet and relax for 20-30minutes while watching TV!

If we had a bath I would pour boiling water over 3-4 cups of fresh herbs and let them steep for 15mins, strain and then add to bath-water....bliss and free too ;)

Some older garden photos here...it never fails to amaze me as to what can grow so happily in pots and I can move them out of the sun or into the rain with relative ease.

Priscilla's latest news is that she will be starting a 5 week course of chemotherapy, pre-surgery, once she's had a bone biopsy and portacath installed in this coming 2 weeks. She will also need very expensive injections to keep her white blood cell count up so a social worker may be able to help with that. The side effects from the chemo will be rough and they'll be using 4 different drugs in all; Doxorubicin, Cyclophosphamide, Etopisode and Carboplatin. Needless to say she's very concerned about how she will cope with these treatments as well as her 2 babies so please keep Priscilla in your thoughts and prayers. We love you Priscilla, so much.

Love from Sue

Wednesday 25 January 2012

Soft Cheese From Sour Milk

I guess it's the original cottage cheese.....yesterday morning our last litre of milk was "turned" enough to curdle in our morning drinks so I left it on the draining board uncapped until the whey had separated from the curd. I lined the large sieve with cheesecloth, set it over a large bowl and poured in the milk. Overnight the whey dripped through the sieve leaving us with about 200gms of soft creamy cottage cheese. It is 'dry' enough for me to use in lasagne etc but you can also weight/press it to release more of the whey as in the following link.


My cottage cheese...from waste to good food!

Yesterday was the start of the heatwave forecast for Perth, at 6pm it was still 36C in our back garden and even being so close to the sea didn't help. Despite the minimum only being 25C overnight I still slept until 8.30am lol I must have been very tired but I feel great now!


So stay cool my friends in WA, stay dry my friends in Queensland as floods threaten for the second year running. Every-one else? Stay happy.

Love from Sue

Monday 23 January 2012

My Hibiscus

With Austin on the mend and now breathing on his own we are all so very relieved. In Gerry's words,

"Our little man's finally had the tube removed from his mouth! :D He's just breathing with a simple oxygen supply to his nose, all on his own. All his stats are looking good and he's sleeping comfortably!"

Let's hope he's off home soon and stays away from viruses forever!

We're expecting a really hot week with temps up to 40C on 2 days and high 30s for the others :( Even going down to the mid-20s at night doesn't help much. Ah well! In the garden this beauty is enjoying the heat...it measures 8inches or 20cms in diameter...

These moisture lovers crowd together for a Tropical ambiance....

and Mr Honey Bunny enjoys the cool mornings but brings himself inside to sleep as the day heats up..

It's Australia Day on Thursday and many will celebrate with BBQs and fireworks. Do you have special plans for the coming week?

Hooroo for now,
Love from Sue

Friday 20 January 2012

An Uplifting Gift...

...from the lovely Sherri....she of the "step out of your comfort zone"...and I've certainly done that this week...very reluctantly though! Our niece, Jennyfer, tells us it is minus 49C in Alberta where both she and Sherri live...it certainly hasn't cooled Sherri's beautiful heart at all!

A beautiful card of a Mother and Daughter....by Mary Cassatt

Sherri's encouraging words and explanation of the star, I knew she was making them for Priscilla and her girls so yesterday's post had me in tears before I even opened the large envelope! Priss cried too when she opened hers.

The star on our kitchen window where we can see it most often,

It's 36C out there, Sherri...what a difference from your current weather!

So dearest Sherri, Priscilla and I and our families thank you from the bottom of hearts for your wonderful gift, these words are not enough but we know these stars and your friendship will sustain us all through the coming year.


Wednesday 18 January 2012

I'm Really Struggling

It should have been a really happy week with Phoebe turning 30yrs of age on Monday. We both hope you had a happy day despite the stress you are under, let's hope this year becomes very special for you.

Instead, Austin(b.21/12/11) has been in the Ottawa Chn's Hospital since last Saturday with severe a respiratory virus...here are Gerry's words from yesterday...Austin was moved into the ICU Unit....

"Poor little guy's really struggling to breathe now, hardly drinks at all, losing weight and losing complexion; you can see he's exhausted :( Doctor came in to see him and said he wasn't looking good: ya think?! So she ordered an IV to get him hydrated and blood work, urine sample (which means catheter) and a brain fluid sample to make sure we're just dealing with the RSV gettin worst and not an additional infection or other hidden problem. So the poor little guy, much to Shawna's dismay and near horror, spent a couple hours getting poked and prodded with needles and tubes while all this happened... Unfortunately, I couldn't get a replacement for me at work so booking off might've caused more trouble than I care to deal with, otherwise I'd gladly be there thru the night for Shawna and Austin... At least Austin's sleeping now. He rally was exhausted. It's really sad to see him struggling so hard just to breathe - keep hoping he can stay strong and doesn't get too tired or too weak for the effort it takes him to breathe :(
Funny how 4 days on 4 hours sleep doesn't matter to me right now: I just wanna be there for my son. Hoping he can somehow feed off of my strength to keep going, to make it thru this."

This was Gerry's text message 8 hours ago...

update: he hasn't reached the worst of it yet n he's already getting too tired n weak to keep going so doctors will put a tub down his throat along with the CPAP to basically give him artifical breathingand they will sedate him for 36 to 48 hours to let him rest a little bit of strength while he goes thru the worst of the virus which is estimated to be in the next two days :( SENT AT 1:13pm

Please keep Austin and his parents in your thoughts and prayers.

On the same day, Priscilla had to drive to Toronto (6hrs each way) to a 10am appt believing she was going to be told she has Gorlin's Syndrome. The truth is jaw-dropping, she actually has a children's cancer, a neuroblastoma which is the same type of cancer that young Cassie(4) has just been treated for over the last 2 years. Cassie is a distant cousin of Joe's. Looks like chemotherapy will be the preferred treatment and a meeting will be organised in Ottawa which is so much better than travelling to Toronto. The x-rays Priss had 2 weeks ago weren't conclusive to Gorlin's Syndrome so she will have blood tests too. She was also told she needs home help around the clock from now on. 

Life certainly takes quick turns at times, doesn't it?

Will be back when I have more news or have settled a little...it sure doesn't feel like the time for recipes and chit-chat.

Hope your week is going much better,
Love from Sue

Sunday 15 January 2012

That White Lining in Commercial Tinned Foods

For quite some time we've been aware that the nice-looking white lining in cans/tins of tomatoes, beans, baby foods, fruits etc contains something called BPA or bisphenol-A which has been linked to many modern day diseases such as cancer, heart disease, obesity and diabetes...it is an endocrine disruptor and mimics our hormones :( I honestly don't understand how these things work but I do see that they should be avoided.


The following is from 2002...10 years ago and it's still here! It is a US report and I am having great difficulty finding out  about brands available to us here in Australia.

"Fredrick Vom Saal, PhD, an endocrinologist at the University of Missouri who studies bisphenol-A, gives us the scoop:

The problem:
 The resin linings of tin cans contain bisphenol-A, a synthetic estrogen that has been linked to ailments ranging from reproductive problems to heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. Unfortunately, acidity (a prominent characteristic of tomatoes) causes BPA to leach into your food. Studies show that the BPA in most people's body exceeds the amount that suppresses sperm production or causes chromosomal damage to the eggs of animals. "You can get 50 mcg of BPA per liter out of a tomato can, and that's a level that is going to impact people, particularly the young," says vom Saal. "I won't go near canned tomatoes."

The solution: Choose tomatoes in glass bottles (which do not need resin linings), such as the brands Bionaturae and Coluccio. You can also get several types in Tetra Pak boxes, like Trader Joe's and Pomi."

I rarely buy tinned soups, perhaps 2 tins of tomato soup per annum but we use a lot of tinned tomatoes and beans so I'm going to start a list here of "safe" brands and add to it as I try different products. I've noticed that most of the Italian brands don't have this lining. The ideal situation would be to switch to only using these products when they come in glass jars/bottles but that's not always a financial option and even though I have a electric Vacola canner I can't get enough cheap tomatoes to use it!

The List Of Brands To Avoid

Coles own brand tomatoes(at 80c a can a great deal but not with the added extras!)
Coles Smart Brand Mushy Green Peas
Aldi Organic Tomatoes
La Gina Tomatoes
Black and Gold Tomatoes
Carpeccio Chick peas have a 1cm line of white inside the can, over the join

White Lining Free Brands

Riviana, 2.5 kgs
Ardmona Crushed Tomatoes

Will post this now and edit it as I find out more.

Bon Appetit!

Cute As A .....

Button...I think 11 week old Twitch brings a whole new meaning to this phrase. Look at his Widow's Peak and chubby cheeks too lol

Hope you're enjoying your weekend too, I've planted an eggplant and some Roma tomatoes, fertilised the other tomato plants and done a little weeding in the cool of the day, Although it's "only" been in the mid-30s the humidity has been very sapping and being indoors with the air-conditioner on has been the only option!
Love from Sue

Thursday 12 January 2012

The Big 'Uns

Good Morning every-one...thank you for your comments about Twitch...newsflash, I suspect(after closer observation) that she may be a HE but it won't make any difference to us! I  had to laugh when I read Joy's comment on her Sunday morning kayaking!

I've had 2 busy driving days...On Tuesday Joe had his appt in Fremantle...come back in 6 months...and while waiting for doctor I spotted a former classmate, a Russian Bride and a long-time friend, Kaye with whom to share a few jokes.

Yesterday I left home at 1.50pm, 36C, to drive my DIL, Kristie to the Domestic Airport. Plan A was for her to fly to Adelaide to meet up with Gordie who flew to Port Macquarie to collect a new car and drive it home. He loves long drives but really needed a co-pilot to share the driving and/or keep him awake. It's just over 4,000kms and Gordie does enjoy these driving adventures! Anyway when I got to Kristie's she was struggling to keep the pet rabbits cool and 3 baby Lops had just died...it was just awful and made us late to leave. I dropped her off 10minutes before the flight and then drove through the pick-up zone for the next 25minutes and when she didn't come back out I assumed she'd caught her flight! Wrong. Very wrong.

Now then, when we were in Fremantle on Tuesday we walked over to Wray Ave to Galati and Son's Vegie shop and the first thing we saw was this enormous cheese...I have never seen one this size or shape, not even on TV or on-line...it smells delicious and is going to be cut up on January 21st in the shop. We bought some fresh fruits, coffee, grated pecorino cheese and cold meats and then went next door to the Italian Butcher. Wow! What a variety he has in store...30 different sausages at least, duck, goose, quail, chicken, lamb, beef, buffalo, kangaroo, crocodile and rabbit from memory.

Here is Joe next to The Big Cheese... 

 ....and that reminded me of this photo of myself, 12 years in London outside the Teddy Shop with what must be the Biggest Teddy ever...my hands must have been very cold!

Today 36C is forecast again but we don't have to go out(hurray). I'm going to make moussaka for our main meal with the huge, glossy eggplant I bought in Fremantle, I love the yogurt and beaten egg topping on it :D

Hope you have a Tremendous Thursday, lots of sun-screen Mum if you're playing golf! Dad was unwell yesterday so I hope you're much better today(it didn't stop him cracking jokes, mind you)

Love from Sue

Tuesday 10 January 2012

New Photos of Twitch

You may have already seen these photos of our lovely bunny, Twitch, on Facebook but here they are in case you haven't. Yesterday I (tongue in cheek) promised proof of Twitch's genius....well here it is.....she toilet-trained herself! I place some sheets of newspaper where she generally went to the toilet, topped them with a piece from her cage that she'd already wet and it was instant toilet training! She always uses it now when she's inside, which is most of the day. I leave the back door ajar and she comes and goes as she pleases but I do go outside with her just in case a cat comes calling or she gets into the basil pot again!

After a nap she needs her lunch, note the 2 feet in the bowl holding it steady, she needs a heavier dish...

and I need a rabbit-proof fence....

Twitch's words were,
  • "it was a Learning Journey. First I stood on my tippy toes and nibbled what I could reach. Next I hopped into the tomato pot on the right and could reach lots. Last of all, caution to the wind, I hopped into the basil, was photographed(for my 21st) and then lifted back onto the grass. One to Twitch. Zero to Mum"

I do hope you enjoyed these photos of our Little One, she almost 3 months old and a delight to have around.
Have a terrific Tuesday,
Love from Sue

Monday 9 January 2012

A Sunday Walk

With Sherri's challenge to do something different everyday still ringing in my ears I picked up Joe's good camera yesterday morning and went for a 35 minute walk------without so much as a cup of tea inside me! It was a bright cool morning; I could smell breakfasts being cooked in the houses I passed, cyclists and walkers were enjoying the early calmness and kayakers were paddling across the still sea.

"Millionaires Row", 4 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms etc etc...

This is more interesting, Safety Bay was once a small fishing village and the original houses are gradually being  replaced by mansions...can you see the old water tank in the back garden of this Old Timer?

Footprints in the sand, I see a seagull has walked this way too :D

My favourite house is up for sale, built in 1980 from limestone blocks it always look deliciously cool with it's wide verandas and shady trees.

This is the view across from this house, a small boat-ramp and car-park..

These stately Norfolk Island Pines are a real feature of the foreshore, very shady and they provide food for the corella and cockatoos...

The birds enjoy these pine cones...

On the way home I spotted this long-billed corella and galah foraging side by side in the park...

So thank you Sherri for making me step out of my comfort zone...I really enjoyed my walk and have some lovely photos to remind me.

Shopping day today and then a medical appt in Freo this afternoon for Joe, just a check-up so nothing to worry about there.
We're still waiting to hear the results of Prisca's latest MRI and X-rays, later this week I assume.
Tomorrow I have new photos and news of Twitch's genius!

Hooroo for now,
Love from Sue

Friday 6 January 2012

New Tests for Priscilla

A wee kink in the road...

Now that Dr Gladdy knows Priscilla's Dad, Grandma and brother have Gorlin Syndrome she is going to test Priss for it too. Gorlin's ppl are very susceptable to skin cancer and sarcomas.....radiation will cause skin cancer for them so perhaps Priscilla will have to have chemotherapy instead if she has Gorlins. Dr G thought it explained why the sarcoma has appeared in such a young woman, it's usually a mid-40s thing.
The good thing about having chemo is that it will be done in Ottawa so she won't be away from her family all week in a strange city.

Thank you all for your support, it really helps

Friday On My Mind...


One of the many things on my today is this very messy room...long over-due for a good tidy!

What's on your mind today? Do you have plans for a busy weekend or a lovely relaxing one?
Make it a good one,
Love from Sue

Thursday 5 January 2012

Priscilla's Latest

Priscilla and her foster mom, Donna, went by bus to Toronto yesterday to meet Dr Gladdy and Dr Catton, the 2 specialists that will be treating her. Their plan, to be confirmed next week, is 28 days of radiation treatment given on weekdays only so that she can be at home with her family at the weekends. Then she will have an 8 week break and then surgery to remove the tumour which will hopefully be much smaller after the radiation. Priss has to go into Ottawa for another MRI of the tumour on Friday, Jan 6th.

Hopefully the Canadian Cancer Society will help cover the transport costs but I don't know about her accommodation costs at this point. I have just found this link for ppl needing to travel lond distances to Toronto for treatment  http://www.uhn.ca/Clinics_&_Services/services/pmh_lodge/index.asp

Here at home we've just been pottering this week. There's so much sport on TV that I can't resist so a lot of knitting is getting done at the same time. Twitch comes indoors during the hottest part of the day and is most entertaining and amusing too...she love to sit on Joe's knee and be stroked, so much so that when he puts her down she tries to get back up!!

The Christmas tree etc has been packed away, next Christmas's cards bought at half price and last year's saved to make gift tags. Now's also the time to pick up reduced cost decorations, crackers(bon-bons) and Christmas fabric to make napkins and gift bags in place of wrapping paper. The tablecloths and napkins have been washed and ironed and stored away.

Deb and I went to Fremantle on Tuesday, Kakulis Sisters for a few goodies(including liquid smoke) and then a relaxing cuppa in the Woolshed cafe....not frugal but really nice! We also went into the Chinese supermarket for noodles and edamame beans(green soy beans in the freezer).

Nothing to do with anything I've just said but here are a few of my favourite houses in St Jude, Quebec where Joe's brother and sister live with their families!

Bye bye for now,
Love from Sue

Monday 2 January 2012

A Challenge

Over at the forum, Mommy5, aka Sherri, has challenged us to do one each day that is unusual or outside our own "comfort zone". Her idea is to encourage us to try new things and stretch ourselves beyond our daily routines, thus becoming a stronger and more capable person.

On Day 1 I gathered up gifts to be posted and walked up to the Post Office. Posting anything overseas is a real carry-on! 3 postage bags needed to be chosen then filled in back and front, customs declarations completed(where the description of the contents gives away any chance of surprise) and I added to the excitement by choosing 2 cards that had to be written in and paid for before they were sealed in the packages! While I was doing these things the Post Office filled up with others who had lengthy transactions to attend to so in all I was there for 30minutes BUT it's done now and it is a weight off my shoulders.

Day 2 Twitch and I got busy gardening before breakfast which is something I haven't done for years! I dug out several metres of grass runners that were encroaching the beds and Twitch nibbled the edges and some weeds for me. I watered all the pot plants while she took advantage of my business to nibble the tomato plants...she finds them irresistible even though we all know they're toxic and I chase her away every time!

I'm not sure what Day 3's challenge will be but I am open now to looking for something unusual to do, something to push myself.
How about you? Are there areas in your life that are becoming a little dull, can you challenge yourself to do find something different to do?
I'll leave you today with some photos of Twitch and wish you a wonderful week

What a girl she is...we've been discovering just what she likes best to eat and green leaves are a clear favourite, celery leaves, pak choy leaves, cabbage, silverbeet, grass, dandelions and nasturtium etc. Hibiscus flowers, carrot, apple, basil and chives are appreciated too. When she's out in the garden I leave the back door open and she comes in and out on her own now and she loves to have her hair brushed every morning. This pic is blurry but Twitch had scrambled up here by herself and even looked as if she was going to climb the Christmas Tree at one stage!

  One very relaxed rabbit appreciating the air-conditioner when it was 40C outside last week!

Christmas Day, posing for Nana
 Bye bye!