Saturday, 24 March 2012

Saltbush Lamb

I'm not very gourmet savvy, and when we were at the Orange Grove Organic market today picking up our usual favourites (saffron and squid ink pasta, and pork and black pudding sausages), hubby said we should get some saltbush lamb.  I have no idea what that was, I thought it was just the name of the company or farm it came from, but it turns out that saltbush lamb is something unique to Australia.

What's so good about Old Man Saltbush? This is a native plant supplying lambs with a rich source of minerals and nutrients not readily available from other plants. It is a deep rooted perennial that assists with sustainable land management as it helps to prevent salinity.  It is hardy to the outback and requires very little water to grow, so needs no irrigation or watering.  Lambs grazed on Old Man Saltbush require no drenching which means they are much healthier animals.  Old Man Saltbush is environmentally sustainable as it allows a diverse array of native wildlife to co-exists with the lambs.

Lambs grazed on Saltbush have full flavoured, juicy and tender with an enduring after taste.  The CSIRO even did some research - you can read it here.

So how was the lamb we bought today?  It was YUM.  It was meatier and quite tender.  It didn't smell as much as normal lamb does.  But it may because it was marinaded already.  But I think I'm sold on this Saltbush lamb stuff.

Friday, 23 March 2012

Another Irish Joke

An Englishman, a Scotsman, and an Irishman are all to give speeches to the Deaf Society. All are keen to make an impression on their audience.

The Englishman goes first and to the surprise of his colleagues starts by rubbing first his chest and then his groin. When he finishes the Scotsman and Irishman ask him what he was doing.

“Well,” he explained “By rubbing my chest I indicated breasts meaning Ladies and by rubbing my groin I indicated balls and meant Gentlemen. So my speech started Ladies and Gentlemen”.

On his way up to the podium the Scotsman thought to himself I’ll go one better than that English bastard and started his speech by making an antler symbol with his fingers above his head before also rubbing his chest and his groin.

When he finished his colleagues asked what he was doing. “Well,” he explained “By imitating antlers and then rubbing my chest and groin I was starting my speech by saying Dear Ladies and Gentlemen.”

On his way up to the podium the Irishman thought to himself I’ll go one further than those mainland bastards and started his speech by making an antler symbol above his head, rubbing his chest, and then his groin, and then masturbating furiously.

When he finished his colleagues asked him what he was doing. “Well” he explained,” by imitating antlers, rubbing my chest and then my groin and then masturbating I was starting my speech by saying – Dear Ladies and Gentlemen, it gives me great pleasure…….”

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Childhood doesn't wait

I was sitting on a bench
while in a nearby mall,
When I noticed a young mother
with two children who were small.

The youngest one was whining,
"Pick me up," I heard him beg
but the mother's face grew angry
as the child clung to her leg.

"Don't hang on to me," she shouted
as she pushed his hands away,
I wish I'd had the courage
to go up to her and say...

"The time will come too quickly
when those little arms that tug,
Won't ask for you to hold them
or won't freely give a hug.

"The day will sneak up subtly
just as it did with me,
When you can't recall the last time
that your child sat on your knee.

"Like those sacred, pre-dawn feedings
when we cherished time alone
Our babies grow and leave behind
those special times we've known.

"So when your child comes to you
with a book that you can share,
Or asks that you would tuck him in
and help him say his prayer...

"When he comes to sit and chat
or would like to take a walk,
Before you answer that you can't
`cause there's no time to talk.

"Remember what all parents learn
so many times too late,
That years go by too quickly
and that childhood doesn't wait.

"Take every opportunity,
if one should slip away
Reach hard to get it back again,
don't wait another day."

I watched that mother walk away
her children followed near,
I hope she'll pick them up
before her chances disappear...


Sunday, 4 March 2012

First day at School

Erika turned 4 this year, which means she will be in Kindy next year.  Her cousin was starting swimming lessons and it was on a Friday and we thought it would be great if they could go together.  So an agreement was made for my sister-in-law (SIL M) to take them to the pool.

Unfortunately, Erika was very distressed to be at swim class.  She was afraid of the teacher.  Her cousin, O, was reticient to start but he was OK by the end of the class.  She would cry when asked to do anything by the teacher, and not do it.  She did however enjoy the water.

I hoped that it would settle by the next week but it was much of the same.  SIL M mentioned that of all the children at the pool, only Erika was the one who was crying and wailing and you could hear it all throughout the swimming complex.  Every other child was enjoying themselves in the water.  I was ashamed, and started to worry because if Erika doesn't obey her teacher in swim class, what will happen when she goes to school?

On the third week, my other sister-in-law took the kids to swim class.  And Erika refused to get into the pool, so SIL J sat with her the whole time outside the pool letting her dangle her feet into the water.  SIL J said that Erika just needed more time to get used to it all, but I felt like she was going backwards rather than forwards.  I made the decision then that Erika had to go to Pre-school.

I searched around and found that there was an opening in the preschool/childcare not far from my place - the one that had dropped flyers in my letterbox before.  I went there with Erika to check out the place and enquire about their facilities - I met the teacher, who was a lovely gentle looking muslim girl with two kids of her own, who encouraged me to put her in the class and reassured me that even though there would be crying, it would be best for Erika to learn now to cope.  I signed up and Erika was going to start the following week.

The first day, I took her and Erika cried and cried.  She cried for a long time, and refused to eat her lunch and only very reluctantly let the teacher, Miss P, take her to the toilet.  All the other children had nice little photo journals of their first day with about 4 pictures, Erika only had 2 because she refused to participate.  Miss P told me that at rest time Erika refused to lie in her cot, but come time to get up she refused to get up, saying she was tired.  My contrary little daughter, oh dear.  When I came to pick her up she started crying and we went home and Miss P told me it would get better.

On the second day she was a little better, ate her lunch.  My hubby said he felt bad leaving her there, but it had to be done.  And when he picked her up she was playing with the other children, but she still cried when she went to school but didn't cry for as long.

Then at swim class that week, Erika was different.  She let the teacher do things with her and she actually laughed.  That was a big difference from the week before.  And she was in the pool at least trying to follow some of the instructions, but not very well - yet.

So the next week at school, I took her again and she complained all morning saying she didn't want to go to school.  When I took her, she cried but as soon as I left she stopped.  I keep forgetting to sign her in, a habit I have to improve.  She was good, Miss P said, except at tea time she took her biscuit and threw it on the floor and stepped on it.  When I came to pick her up, she was playing on the floor with the other teacher with some other children.  She was stacking and lining up model dinosaurs.  So then I took her and asked her to wave goodbye to her teachers and she did.  Miss P said that Erika has not yet greeted her, and I hope that will be remedied in a few weeks.

In swimming this week, she had improved in leaps and bounds.  SIL M has videos of Erika not only floating on her back, but also said that Erika allowed the swim instructor to pick her up and put her in the water, which she would never have done before.  And Erika was doing all sorts of activities with the teacher (there are only 4 students per class, and each has their own turn with the teacher) - such as floating, using floating devices.  I even asked Erika about swim class and she told me she didn't put her head inside the water, she was too scared.  But looking at the videos I was so amazed, that my little girl had come so far.

So in the end, I think that going to preschool made a huge difference for my daughter.  I never realised that she would change so much in a few weeks.  Now I am not worried about her attending school anymore, I think she'll be ok.