Wednesday, June 24

Rodeo? Me?

A Rodeo, me?  I will look out of place. As it turns out, I cannot attend, but perhaps one day when I am available I will venture to the Queensland Equestrian Centre to see what a Rodeo is all about.  I know it focuses on horses, and bulls and a whole lot of stuff that is Rodeo - but it is not familiar to me.  I am a "city slicker" really, though I occasional lament that perhaps many years ago I should have hooked up with a farmer and not the city slicker that I did!  And I think it is more of a "boys" thing.

It does look exciting, and I do love animals but I suspect I will feel very sorry for the animals involved in a Rodeo.

There is one being held in the Equestrian Centre on July 4th, but I am off to a friend's 80th Birthday Party, and to hear the Caxton Street Jazz Band.  Now that is something I am more comfortable with.


Neighbours and Fences

Fences and trees are two of the issues that upset neighbours.  Frequently on the news there are stories about neighbourhood spats because someone has built a fence that the neighbours don't like and often are required to help finance, or trees that overhang a neighbours property - and that the neighbours end up in a fight over the issue, often ending up in court.

My issue with fences is different.  The developers of the estate where I live have a caveat on the properties that home owners must not erect fences in the front of their properties.  Two owners have done so - which is not bad out of 40 properties I guess - and I don't know if there have been any complaints about it.

What I find amusing is that the developers reasoned that with no front fences, the neighbours would not have a "barrier" between them and that they could form friendships easier.  Does it happen?  No.  Quite the contrary.    There appears to be no interaction between neighbours here.  Why, you might ask.

I think it is because all the living areas are at the back of the house.  The only windows that overlook the front of the house are bedrooms, and these rooms are seldom visited during the day.  We don't see our neighbours come and go.  We are "isolated" to some degree in the rear of our houses.

I can walk up and down the street almost all day (though I don't) and you never see a neighbour.  If you see them, they are generally in their car going somewhere or coming home.

Would the front of the house be used more if there was a front fence?  Maybe, maybe not.  Few of the neighbours are gardeners and the properties nearly all are 2 metres higher than the road (above flood level), so the front yards are not a gardeners paradise at all.  We mow, and that is about all.

I'd like to tell the Developers that they concept failed miserably.

Monday, June 22

A Writing Competition for My Writing Friends

This is a fun competition that is the first for the Caboolture Historical Village.   You can find out all about it here. 

So get writing.

I love entering writing competition but as I am the co ordinator for this one, I shall have to just wait for the entries to come in and send them on to the Judge.

Elly Hoyt - Remember the Name!

Elly Hoyt is a great Jazz Singer.  I'll explain more later.   Caboolture is a "Country" community - surrounded by farms, with the State Equestrian Centre and Showgrounds, it is a sort of "cowboy" country.  The most popular music is "country".  So when we introduced Jazz at the Caboolture Historical Village it was with a little trepidation.

And so it was on June 20th, 2015, that we held a Jazz event at the Village with the trio Jazz Australis, and singer Elly Hoyt.  The crowd was not as big as hoped, but some folk whose knowledge of Jazz was nil attended. There were some jazz fans, but many were country music fans.  One was a country muso, who approached the event with caution - saying he had no idea of that music genre.

I am the Jazz fanatic - and was most keen to learn how the locals would react.

It was overwhelming.  At the end of the event, there was nothing but positive responses.  Some of the crowd approached the musicians and singer, heaping praise.  One guy, the "country" muso was gobsmacked and I was gobsmacked at his reaction.  In fact, he came and hugged me as he thanked me for arranging the event!  Others just raved!!!

I was asked to thank the audience and the entertainers at the end of the event, and I asked everyone to remember the name Elly Hoyt.  She is an amazing singer, and has won an extra ordinary scholarship, and is off to Boston USA shortly to continue her career in a country that is a much greater jazz community than Australia.  I get goosebumps when I think of the potential.  When she sings I get goosebumps.  She is amazing.

Remember the name, Elly Hoyt.  I am sure we will hear a lot more of Elly, as she makes her career in the USA.

Saturday, June 20

A Little Green Frog Causes Trouble!

Green frogs are common around Beachmere.  With all the bush and water from the swamps, the river and the sea (though green frogs avoid seawater), it is no surprise.  I have a family that lives in my air conditioner - happily, as I seldom use it.  I see them come out late in the day in the warmer months and hop around my yard.

I see tiny little ones frequently.  They live in my green house and behind the leaves of other plants in my garden.  I love them.  When I find them I chat in a friendly way to them, admiring their beautiful faces and bright eyes.

But this morning, one gave me trouble.

We have had a bit of rain this week and most of my plants have been watered by the rain from the heavens, but I have a problem with an overflowing pipe near the back of my house, so I have chosen to leave a large plastic rubbish bin in situ and collect the water, which I eventually use to water those plants that miss out on the rain.

Today, I collected my tin watering can from the greenhouse and lowered it, as I usually do, into the bin of water to fill it, which all went very well, but when I went to pour it on the plants the water dribbled.  Something had blocked the outlet. I peered in, as best I could, as it is small, and there I saw a tiny green frog with his eyes wide open and perhaps this little froggy was wondering what was going on!!

Was it stuck?  No, I was able to move it momentarily back the spout, but when I tried to water the garden again, it wedged itself in the spout and prevented any water escaping. I tried to gently poke it with a leaf.  It refused to budge.

So, now I wait.  I wonder if I go away and leave it, it will choose to escape.

Some time later I returned.  The frog was quite a deal bigger than I had estimated, but still a small one.

It clung to the side of the watering can, so I left it alone for a while hoping it would move on.  Cute though.  And I guess it does find safely in my watering can if I leave it in peace!

Thursday, June 18

So Many Photos....................

I have another box full of photos and other ephemera.  So many photos and newspaper articles going back many years.  My parents used to send them to me, and as many were about historical documents I kept them.  Sadly I will throw some of them out now as I don't think any family member will be interested in the articles.  Many were about Mount Gambier where I and my parents lived for several years.

The above photo was in the box - me at about 2 or 3 years of age in Adelaide.  I put it on FB and asked if anyone knew who it was.  Apparently my eyes and smile are the same.

Me a few years ago.  I have long hair now.

The bottom one is of me in Beijing, in Tiananmen Square, taken on April 3rd, 2010.  Another Aussie and I had travelled from Shaoxing, south of Shanghai, via Hangzhou Airport to Beijing.  We had two days there - two very full days.  As it turns out our hotel was just a few metres from the Forbidden City, which backs onto Tiananmen Square, so on our last morning we walked to the Square and had a good look around.  Would love to have stayed longer - there was so much to see.

And there is still so much to see in my big plastic box of photos and other papers.

Making Wontons

I know they are easy and one doesn't need fancy kitchen gadgets to make them.  It is a long time since I have made any, but recently I bought a pack of Wonton Wrappers in the supermarket and each time I opened the refrigerator door they beckoned me to create with them.  These are of course popular in China and the Chinese are fairly simple cooks as they didn't have fancy kitchens!!!

There are a lot of recipes around and even videos on Youtube to help, but as usual I created my own.  I'm not one to rush out to buy just one or two ingredients that I do not have in my refrigerator.  I create!!!

First of all I made my mixture.  I used chicken mince, finely sliced onion, finely sliced shallots (the long green leaf variety), frozen spinach, and shaved cabbage.  I mixed it in a bowl with some Hoi Sin Sauce, some Soy Sauce, Sesame Oil, and pepper and salt.   Most recipes say to add an egg, but I don't like eggs so I just mixed it together.  

On each wonton square I placed around a big teaspoon full of ingredients, and having "painted" all sides of the square with water with my pastry brush, I pulled the edges together and made little parcels.

I use a bamboo steamer and soon I had some tasty morsels.  How long?  Maybe 10 minutes.  I didn't check. Remember that using uncooked chicken you need to make sure it is properly cooked!

They froze well too.  I made quite a batch, so carefully placed them on a plastic tray and froze them.  I have had some since, and have some remaining.

Great to have on hand.  And as I live alone I like to have some "spares" in the freezer.

I don't mind frying them but prefer steaming.  Healthier I think.

What to put in them?   Have a look around at the various recipes online and in cookbooks and create your own.  Easy.