Saturday, December 02, 2006

Sheep Shearing

This is a short movie of our two pet sheep, Blossom and Lucy, flat on their backs being sheared. Thanks to Christopher for helping with the filming and our shearers Don and his Son.

And on a side note, compared to some of the hair cuts I've had up here in Blackheath, Don the shearer is looking pretty good... and I don't mind being thrown on by back by a big muscly guy... just a trim thanks mate.

The quality is not as good as I would like - as much as I love Your Tube (check out some of my other videos) it really strips the data down to its bones. I'm getting some new software soon, so hopefully it will improve things. Anyway enjoy.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Fire update & photos

The smoke is so bad I feel like we live in Beijing - The fires seem bit more under control in our area at Blackheath and its a bit cooler today. Unfortunately the misty rain prevents the backburning work from progressing but does not put the main fire out - It is still active and remains uncontained at 14000ha... that's a lot. Here are a couple more photos, taken in Blackheath where we live.



Thursday, November 23, 2006

Blue Mountians Fire Update

So the fires have circled out little town of Blackheath like a band of indians. There are helicopters everywhere collecting water from the local golf course in front of our house and the river just down the valley. The hoses are all out and we have made exist plans for our animals if the need arises. Here are some more photos, the first one is a satellite image and the last image is a map of the burn out areas. These are care of the NSW fire service.








Monday, November 20, 2006

Blue Mountians Bush Fires

We live in Blackheath on the top of the Mountain, at the moment the air is thick with smoke and ash falling from the sky.

The fires are still quite away from our home, but close enough to see from up the road a bit. Here are some photos. As bad as the fire is it's also quite beautiful in it's own way and some australian plants actually need fire to germinate. To bad about all that additional C02 (Greenhouse Gas) we defiantly don't need any more of.

Unfortunately though as the planet heats up, it will just get drier in Australia and that in turn means more fires and even more C02. Damn we really need to do something more serious about our coal plants (electricity), cars and other greenhouse gas producing companies.




Friday, October 27, 2006

Dare to be honest

Asking The Question aspires to end the conflict between who you are and what you do.

There is nothing more brave than filtering out the chatter that tells you to be someone you're not. There is nothing more genuine than breaking away from the chorus to learn the sound of your own voice. Asking The Question is nothing short of an act of courage: It requires a level of commitment and clarity that is almost foreign to our working lives.

Dare to be honest with yourself, people who faced up to it, armed with only their weaknesses, equipped with only their fears.

They didn't wonder where they belonged in life.

Your calling isn't something you inherently "know," some kind of destiny. Far from it.

Most of us don't get epiphanies. We only get a whisper -- a faint urge. That's it. That's the call. It's up to you to do the work of discovery, to connect it to an answer. Of course, there's never a single right answer. At some point, it feels right enough that you choose, and the energy formerly spent casting about is now devoted to making your choice fruitful.

Is your choice something that will stimulate you for a year or something that you can be passionate about for 10 years?

The relevant question is not What will I do? but Who will I become?

You'll be a lot happier if you aren't fighting the value system around you.

Find one that enforces a set of beliefs that you can really get behind. There's a powerful transformative effect when you surround yourself with like-minded people. Peer pressure is a great thing when it helps you accomplish your goals instead of distracting you from them.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Gardening Tips and a bit of fun.

Conditioning Soil with Barley Grass... What's that boy doin now!

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Friday, August 11, 2006

Christopher Bunnies


Yep, they sure are cute. These are Chrisophers Bunnies. Sam in the hay, Charlie eating and Curly with his toys. As far as pets go Rabbits are probably number one in our books. They are very affectionate and loving and don't bark unlike our dog... he's cute too but can be a bit naughty. Sam and Charlie live outside in this amazing hutch Christopher build them with a big out door area for during the day... Photo to come... Little Curly lives inside as we rescued him when he was still a tiny kitten and he became a house rabbit,. I don't think he would have it any other way.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Alex's Pottery


Thought I'd start posting regular photos of my finished pottery. Everybody keeps saying that they have not seen any of my work, so here ya go. I do sell my pottery so leave a comment and your details if your interested in anything.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Pottery Garden Urn



So I've been had building a Garden Urn, fancy name for plant pot really. Anyway its made from coils of earthenware clay, which I then pinched together. I had added feet.... yes feet (see detail) I'm really pleased with them and now I have applied an black oxide.

I'm very excited about the first bisque firing coming up. Jane and I are planning a wood firing in the backyard for the final stage, so that's going to be heaps of fun....

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Our chooks


So the new new chickens 'chooks' are all laying now and very happy scratching around the backyard, bottom of the property and in the little creek.

Some chook lingo:
A baby is called a chicken or chick.
A male under 12 months is called a cockerel.
A female under 12 months is a called pullet.
A male over 12 months is called a rooster or a cock.
A female over 12 months is called a hen.
Poultry is the word to describe domestic birds such as chickens, ducks, and turkeys as a group.
The word 'chook' is Australian & New Zealand slang for chicken!
A bantam is a very small chicken that produces smaller eggs.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Covered garden boxes



It can be hard to get vegies to grow in the winter frost, hale, and cold winds. Last year we built these covered boxes for our plants over winter, they where cheap to make and are really effective. We used fence palings, plastic and tacks.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Gus our wooly dog

So I have not done much blogging over the last few weeks, its been a crazy old time, big computer crash, works been busy - late nights so I have not really felt sitting in front of a computer for any longer than I had too. I also find winter a bit depressing so its hard to get motivated. Anyway I'm feeling a bit better about things and I have a little more time, so here goes.... any eazy post to start with.

In winter our little spaniel 'Gus' gets very thick, long wooly fur and is very cute - you just want to hug him all the time. 'Wooly' is also his nick name, he normally gets called that in winter, he seems to know both names. These are photos of him in the paddock playing soccer and against the fence asleep in the dirt. It seems the longer his fur gets the more he likes mud and dirt. Its a dog thing I suppose.


I think he looks like 'Wokie' from 'Star Wars' in this photo.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

The Truth about Pigs


"I like pigs. Dogs look up to us. Cats look down on us. Pigs treat us as equals."
British politician and Nobel Prize Laureate Winston Churchill.


Most people don't have the privilege of getting to know a pig. For most of us, the thought of pigs conjure images of dirty, greedy animals living in their own waste. We couldn't be more wrong! Pigs don't perspire, and so wallow in mud to keep themselves cool. They are naturally very clean animals and, if given the choice, they prefer to cool themselves down in fresh water. When in a natural environment, pigs build communal nests and toilet areas away from their sleeping area.

Smarter than Dogs?
Pigs are remarkably intelligent creatures thought by many to be smarter than dogs. They can be trained to respond to simple voice commands, and are easily toilet trained. Studies have revealed that pigs have a long memory and are able to focus on specific tasks even better than some primates... read more click here!

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Left over tomatoes

We had a pile of left over Tomatoes and Herbs from our garden, so I have been busy in the kitchen making sure nothing went to waste. We died our herbs, made Green Tomato Pickles from the un-ripened fruit and Pasta Sauce from all the red ones. The Green Tomato Pickles recipe comes from my grand mother, they are really tasty and never last long. This is a photo of the jars still left. Click here for the recipes

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Snow Garden


So as you may have already figured out its been quite cold and snowy this year in Blackheath. The only vegies that are doing much good are the seedlings in our new covered garden bed. So glad we made it and will probably have a few more built for next winter.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Where we live


We live on the top of the Great Dividing Range and our part in New South Wales (Australia) is called the 'Blue Mountains'. Its about 1.5 hours from Syndey CBD. (Central Business District). The photo shows our town 'Blackheath' on the plateau.

The range comprises a well-dissected sandstone plateau that rises from an eastern escarpment. Its slopes are generally precipitous and scary. Blackheath is 1100m (3600 feet) from sea level and sits pretty much on the very top - its kinda cool.

In 1788 the Blue Mountains were originally named "Carmarthen Hills" and "Landsdowne Hills" by Governor Phillip, (really bad names). The Blue Mountains is densely populated by oil bearing Eucalyptus trees. The atmosphere is filled with finely dispersed droplets of oil, which, in combination with dust particles and water vapour, scatter short-wave length rays of light which are predominantly blue in colour. It wasn't long after 1788 that the distinctive blue haze saw the change in name to the Blue Mountains.

The first Europeans to cross the range were the explorers Gregory Blaxland, William C. Wentworth, and William Lawson in 1813. We have towns named after them.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Snow Dog

Well it's not the most exciting podcast in the world, but we only get a few days snow a year, so to us its pretty exciting!

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Chicken Cam

Yes its a little Podcast / Chicken Cam so you can see our new new girls. Its all a bit silly really, but I had fun doing it.

Friday, May 12, 2006

The Chronicles of Narnia




We went out and brought the DVD 'The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe' last week. I had just finished reading the books and was keen to see the movie. Although it has a stolen story line from the bible, I enjoyed it anyway - the messages are still positive ones, even if you are a non beliver.

Anyway as for the movie, I was more disappointed than a disappointed thing is disappointed.

I'm not a big fan of talking animals movies, but the talking animals where probably the best part of this movie and the kids where pretty good too. I liked William Moseley as Peter the best. The CGI was really bad in places and the story line dragged. I did not get that feeling of magic, excitement and wonder that I got from the book. My biggest gripe is probably with Tilda Swinton as the White Witch - she was so not scary at all and I thought her acting was dreadful in this movie and as for her castle, talk about dull. I expected something more imposing like Mordor but with ice instead of fire.

Maybe I was just expecting too much. I give it a 'luke warm' rating, It was just too disney.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Chicken x 3

Yep we have some new chooks (3). The Black one is Charlotte, the Red one in the middle is Veronica but the other girl, who looks like really expensive wood grain, on the left, still has no name.... If any one has suggestions please leave a comment, I would love to hear them....

PS: Chicken Video Podcast coming very soon.

Friday, April 21, 2006

LETTER TO THE EDITOR

Robbie Swan is a good friend of ours and is always fighting the good fight, this is a letter he recently sent to the The Mercury, Hobart (Sat 15 Apr 2006).

And violence?

Senator Guy Barnett's push to block children from having access to explicit sexual material and extreme violence in libraries (Letters, April 11) is laudable but will not work, mostly because he does not believe his own rhetoric.

For sure, he has sex in his sights and he will pursue erotica and pornography with the zeal of the morals campaigner.

But when it comes to pursuing "extreme violence" it's amazing how often this aspect of his crusade seems to fall off the agenda. If he is serious about stopping access to extreme violence then he will have to include about 3000 gruesome R-rated films that show people being decapitated, disembowelled, raped, murdered and tortured that are displayed on the websites of the nation's major film distributors.

He'll also have to filter news broadcasts which show people blown to pieces in car bombs in the Middle East, extreme right-wing hate speech sites and a host of other extreme violence sites of varying shades.

Oh, and while he's about it will he have the courage of his convictions to ban children's eyes from Mel Gibson's gruesome religious spectacle, The Passion of the Christ? Or does he see this as "religious instruction" and quite OK for 15-year-olds in the local library? Pornography, like violence, is often in the eye of the beholder.

Robbie Swan
Eros Association inc

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Diggin!


Alex diggin
So the Summers over and the chill is in the air. I've been busy digging up all the old garden beds for our winter crops. Broccoli, Brussel Sprouts, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Beans, Spinach, Rocket, Garlic and Onions.

Christopher screwing on the roof panels
We also build ourselves a new garden box over the weekend with a roof to keep the frost and snow off the lettuce.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Bunny!

Well I hope you all had a nice Easter and did not eat toooo much chocolate. Its been real quite up here on the mountain top, I'm a bit borrrred today and not really sure what to do with myself, I get like that sometimes... to much quite. This is one of Christopher's bunnies, his name is Charlie cute ay!

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Sky

I was laying in the park yesterday under a lamp post and noticed just how beautiful the sky was, so I took a heap of photos, here are three. If you would like a larger copy for your desk top send me an email or leave a comment. Alexxx



Thursday, April 06, 2006

Simon and Lee



Pictured Jeff, Me, Lee, Simon and in the middle Sheba the dog - Winter 1972

When I was a little kid I had a best mate Simon, we lived across from each other on Calander Street. Our dad's where in the same navy squadron at the base in Nowra - HMAS Albatross, and our mums being navy wives became best friends... and still are.

When I was about 15 his family moved away to Queensland and I had not seen Simon since.

I saw his mum Michele and bother Lee in 1986, we had a picnic at Moony Monny Creek... (do remember that Lee?) I have warm memories of that day, most of my strongest memories include days at the beach.



Pictured above Lee, Michele, Arna and Barry - Summer 1986 - Moony Monny Creek

I finally got to catch up with Simon after these many years and it was really great to see him. It felt like a blind date at first, neither of us knowing what to expect after all this time.

Simon stayed with us for 3 days and I'm happy to report he's a cool guy and was a great house guest. He's actually very similar to my child hood memories of him. I'm sure we will be both much closer again.



Simon With our dog Gus Blackheath NSW 2006

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Vegitable Garden


Today's photo of the vegie garden, looking through the arbour.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Buffy


It was a hot summers day. Christopher, Gus (our dog) and myself where in town to have coffee. We dropped into the real estate where our friend Sue works. We brought Gus in as Sue and everybody else thinks he's adorable - he gets very spoilt and laps up every bit.

So there we where having a lovely chat to Sue about pretty much nothing, as ya do - when a old lady wonders into the office, she was wearing a knee length floral dress and has big hair that's a lovely shade of light purple and kinda on the thin side - that's the hair not the lady, she was quite ample - No, not the breasts, (I try not too look at old ladies breasts) more like her thighs.

Anyway I call Gus so he's close, as he can be a bit boisterous with the ladies. This lady walks up to the front desk and very properly asks to see so and so about something or rather. 'Just a moment, take a seat, she'll be right with you.' She took a seat - and a bit. Damn it was hot, and so was she, that's all I'm going to say on that subject, I doubt you need extra details and my memory is already too vivid. Anyway there we all where.

Gus being Gus and extremely excited by the site of this not so little old lady, now sitting, legs slightly apart, well it was hot, did I say that.... Anyway Gus gets away from me, runs and jumps - nose right into her 'special spot', sniff, sniff, sniff.... We all froze horrified! 'Oh my lord, he can smell my buffy' the old lady exclaimed!. Yes he could, I had to use all my strength to pull Gus out of the depths of her giant panties. Sniff, sniff.

We where all doing the best to keep a straight faces, not so well I might add, but I don't think the lady noticed. Sue quietly mentioned, Buffys' her dog boys... Yer we knew that.

We quickly said goodbye to Sue and stepped out of the real estate office, dragging Gus along with us. Burst out laughing and keep laughing for about an hour.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Video Blog

A cute and funny tour of our hobbie farm and animals, plus a big hello to my Friends Deb and Matt in NZ!

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Our Summer Garden


Well summer has just ended and we've had a pretty good season. (although the excess rain has made it a bit difficult for some of our vegetables, like Squash which mostly rotted... sad.) Heaps done in the yard though, new sleeper steps and paths, fixed up the grass (dust bowl), put in some new fences and gates, added onto the vegie patch and done heaps of planting.



This year we managed to grow our selves a good supply of organic vegies - very tasty - and as you can see from the photo the gardens still bursting at the seams. We are now eating our own potatoes, onions, garlic, chilies, tomatoes, lettuce, beetroot, corn, zucchini and a variety of lettuce and other greens. Winter seedings will be going in over the next few weeks.



I just loving being in it, so quite and peaceful I spend hours just walking around planting, digging, pruning and harvesting... Its my gym as welll as my retreat. Such a change of life from a few years ago when we lived in a city apartment on Oxford Street Sydney.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

a little furry friend

I have had a new little friend for a while now.... a beautiful possum. She/he always comes down from the tree when I come down into the garden to visit the chickens and sheep. Yesterday I found her in the chook house sleeping and today just looking out the window, like she was in an apartment. It seems I'm so trusted now I can just pick her up and put her back in the tree when its time for the chickens to go to bed. How wonderful is that.


Christopher


Christopher sure does love his bunny 'Curly' and our cat 'Fluffy'... is this cute or what!

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Hi Rosie

Hi Ya Rosie. Thought I'd do a little and very silly video online to say Hi this morning, thought it might just make your work day that little bit cheerer... and yes that's actually our house from Satellite... Its amazing what you can find on the internet.
Love Ya heaps, Alexxx

Thursday, February 16, 2006

First online movie



This was a little movie we shot when we first brought our house in the Blue Mountains. Its a bit low resolution because I did on our old camera last year, it's short but cute all the same. The first of the movies on this blog, but just the beginning now I have my fancy new digital camera that Christopher brought me for my Birthday.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Valentine's Day


I've been reading a lot about Valentine's Day today. It seems to be a resounding we 'Bah' from the single quarter.

My boyfriend (Christopher) and I decided a long time ago not to celebrate it. Valentine's Day is basically one big marketing strategy working away on your emotions and your wallet... "If you don't buy the person you love some stuff' today, then you obviously don't love them" what crap.

Gifts don't = love but it does seem that guilt does = revenue.

That does not mean we don't give each other little gifts of go for romantic dinners, we do, but not today!

We should not need marketing and advertising to tell us when we should show someone we love them. I'm sure that roses would mean more if you thought of the idea yourself.

So I say 'SAY NO TO VALENTINES DAY'. Go for dinner, send a card, buy a gift, MAKE a gift, ring a friend to tell them how important they are too you... but do it when it comes from YOUR heart not a poster.

Oh and that goes for Mothers day, Fathers day.

Happy Tuesday.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

My two favorite boys



Our Dog Gus got a Hair cut yesterday, he gets a bit hot in summer as he's usually very wooly. These are photos of Gus sleeping with Christopher on the deck (so cute) and Gus after his shave.

Its a quite day up here on top of the mountain, not much to tell. Today I'll probably read a little, write a little, plant some veggies we just brought from the markets and lay in the sun... if it comes out again.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Gay Union - a natural right


I say the heterosexual community can have marriage, personally don't want it... Bah! - I'm tired of the churches religious rhetoric, they have lost their way spiritually. I don't need organized religion to recognize my commitment, which is based on love, understanding, trust and compassion. Something organized religion don't seem to be able to muster. I know I'm not perfect and sometimes I fail on some of these pillars, but at least I try because I know how important they are. Always striving to have a open heart and open mind.

Want I do want is civil unions or a form of legal recognition for gay couples... as any other couple who have committed themselves to a loving relationship might want. It's a natural right ALL people should have. I can understand religious reasons against gay marriage (all though I disagree) but I can't understand why civil unions/ legal recognition seems such a threat to some people, fear it seems travels deep.

If only people could open their hearts... and that's a all inclusive comment.

Our Prime Minister Mr Howard (he makes me soooo cranky) is also totally against this concept as well. John Howard yesterday branded civil unions for homosexual couples a "cop-out", putting a stop for a push by Liberal backbenchers to follow Britain's lead and legally recognize gay relationships.

The Age reported:
Liberal MP Warren Entsch, a rough-edged, Harley-riding former crocodile farmer from far north Queensland, yesterday ignored the disapproval of some of his colleagues in the Coalition party room and argued it was time they tackled the "long overdue" issue of equity for same-sex couples.

But Mr Howard told the meeting he disagreed, saying a civil union was a "cop-out" and that would remain his view.

Mr Entsch, who opposed the Government's ban on same-sex marriages in the lead-up to the 2004 election, vowed to pursue his push for Australia to follow nations such as New Zealand, Britain and Canada in allowing civil unions for gay couples.

"A lot of people would probably not expect anyone with my background as an ex-crocodile farmer and Cape York grazier would be supporting this cause," Mr Entsch told The Age.

"I've got no issue with my own sexuality - I'm fiercely heterosexual - but I will defend (homosexual couples') rights to any extent to ensure people in that situation are fairly treated."

While he views marriage as for heterosexuals, Mr Entsch said he believed the Government should allow civil unions or some other form of legal recognition for gay couples. His stance is backed by other Liberal backbenchers including Victorian Petro Georgiou and West Australian Mal Washer.

"Most of the gay people I talk to, all they want is to have an opportunity to formalise a commitment to each other and get the same sort of recognition . . . as any other couple who have committed themselves to a relationship," Mr Entsch said.

Dr Washer said he did not disagree that marriage was for heterosexuals, but he felt there was a place for some form of civil union for gays.

Mr Howard said in December that he was opposed to recognition of such civil unions and that marriage was for men and women.

He makes me soooo cranky... did I say that all ready!!

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Just like a gay boy


Our little dog is just like a gay boy. Young. Knows he's cute. Is a major flirt and when he over it, he's over it!

Monday, February 06, 2006

Bush and Monkeys


So what does Bush and Monkeys have in common... well a lot apparently, mind you monkeys are a great deal smarter.
> Clink on the image for a larger view.

Howard


Such a photogenic prime minister, no wonder he's so attacted to Bush, he's a looker to. Ha!

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Crappy Job


Next time you think what a crappy job you got, think of this guy.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Sealord and Whaling


Before you buy that next box of frozen fish at the supermarket, you might like consider whether the company is involved in commercial whaling.

Take the battle from the high seas to supermarket shelves. You will find Sealord frozen, canned and fresh fish products in Australian supermarkets, fast food outlets and restaurants. Sealord's parent company Nissui is directly linked to Japans commercial whaling, as it is a major shareholder of the company which owns Japan's whaling fleet. They also market and sell the whale meat throughout Japan.

So next time you shop send a message and don't buy Sealord products until they stop participating the needless killing of the whales... Consumer power really works.

What else can you do? Ask Sealord's boss Doug McKay to persuade their parent company Nissui to end the whale hunt.

Green Peace email action form

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

The Village 'Movie'


We seem to be having a good run of movies at the moment, this one has actually been out a while, but if you have not seen it, its so worth a evening infront of the box. Its NOT a slasher movie, just really really suspensful and scarrrrry.

At first glance this late nineteenth century village seems picture perfect. However, this close-knit community lives with the frightening knowledge that a race of creatures resides in the woods around them. The villagers share the fear of the evil and foreboding force that lurks outside.

So frightening that one dare not venture beyond "The Village" and into the woods. Despite the advice of his elders, a curious and determined Lucius Hunt has a burning desire to step beyond the boundaries of the town into the unknown.

The ominous presence of the unknown boils over into chaos for the town, with one's bravery being the only thing that can save them. The truce between "The Village" and the creatures is ending.... find someone to hold your hand for this one. You'll probably find it in the weekly section under thriller in your local Video Shop.... you'd think we call them DVD shops now! Go Figure.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Its all about Jane

A little History first. I met Jane when she moved to Nowra from Canberra, she was 13 and I was 16 and we went to Nowra High School. We where school friends and she was my first girl friend - we used to talk on the phone for hours and I was scared of her dad (still am a bit) she dropped me for my best friend Alan at Rosies' (aka Lee) 14th birthday party... If you know me and remember that party, I was not happy, but hey I SO deserved it. Anyway Jane and I have been friends ever since. I have a few friends from high school, a lot of great memories and they are all pretty damn special - I'm a lucky boy to have them.

Jane came to visit us for a week to hang out in the pottery studio, make candles, drink beer and eat yummy organic food and a bit of light shopping... and we did just that!