Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Macy, come home

This is not how I imagined we'd bring you home, sweet girl of mine. When we left you with my mum all those years ago (she had a fence to keep you safe behind) I imagined we would keep our promise, and build you a fence at our new property one day, so you could come for a visit...

Dear Sweet Macy, home at last

I knew I couldn't take you from my mum permanently, because you two had become such close friends and she needed you. You kept her safe on her property, just as you had kept us safe as a family in suburbia - watching the back door, always protecting. But I always hoped too, one day, you could see what we were doing here at Gully Grove.

Before I got the call on Monday, that you weren't well, I was in the garden on Sunday, moving rocks. Something told me to start the second wall. I don't know why, as I didn't have the energy to start another rock wall. Yet I started to pull weeds to dig the trench nonetheless. By the end of that day on Sunday, I stood back and saw how close we were to the top. One more tier up, until we could start fencing the back of the house. I thought of you sweet Macy, we all did. But it was Sarah that mentioned your name first.

So how was it on Monday afternoon, we discovered you were so close to the end? Mum was upset over the phone, and I knew we had to come. David called work to let them know he wouldn't be in the next day, as we were going to collect you for your last visit to the vets. But Macy, your time had come. Within the hour we received another call. We were told you walked up to your favourite place in the world, your camp bed, and tried to get up. You didn't quite make it though. You fell asleep for the last time, beside it.

Mum lovingly placed you on your camp bed afterwards, wrapped you in your blanket, and we brought you home the next day.

Over an hour's drive away, when we made it down the last of our winding streets, I couldn't hold back the tears. I had imagined this day would come, the day you would see Gully Grove for the first time, but not like this...we tried girl, and I know you don't blame us.

Rest on, faithful friend
1999 - 2012

We buried you under the mulberry tree, with your camp bed. Your ear poking up in that way it always did. We cut off a lock of hair from each of us and buried it with you, along with some nasturtiums and mulberry leaves, which would be your companions at Gully Grove for ever more.

The sun that lit your grave at 2pm on Tuesday, the time we finally lay you to rest, came from the West. We had faced you to the east, so you could see the sun rise every morning, and hopefully touch some of the beauty we have seen here, every day. The sun passes through the tall gums in winter, and peppers the ground with light.

I visited your grave this morning, and saw the light had greeted you (as I'd hoped it would) because you always found the first patch of sun in the morning, to warm yourself with. How could we point you in any other direction?


We did get to see you that one last time, on Mother's day recently. You pushed your whole body into me (as you always did for a pat) you licked Dave's hand (as you always did for a scratch) and you covered Sarah in dog kisses, to hear her squeal in delight, as you always loved to make her do.

How is it, five years passed by so fast, and you were twelve and a half? Not a bad innings, but still hard to believe the part we loved most about you (your infallible heart) is what finally gave up in the end. Now, every time the mulberry leaves fall in late Autumn, we will remember your last journey home.

You are finally here, girl, and we love you.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Kreativ Award

I was recommended for an award by LindaM, over at her blog "Hello, it's me!" I was really thrilled to receive it. What do awards really mean though - I wanted to know, because sometimes I look around my small part of the world and wonder why what I talk about, deserves any kind of mention? Especially the lovely things LindaM said. :)

When I got to thinking deeper about it though, blog awards are really about the relationships between different bloggers and how we each have a unique story to tell. We each speak something unique in our own way. We speak our voice to others, even if that sound seems all too familiar to ourselves, LOL. And I love listening to LindaM's voice over her side of the equator. Camalids, chickens, bees, plants - all my favourite things!

The Kreativ Award has also introduced me to other blogs, such as Rubye Jack, who originally nominated LindaM for hers. I guess, even though I got nominated by Linda in return, I think the real fun is in passing it around - so we get to discover other unique voices we may not have come across otherwise. In this way, I really do feel honoured to receive LindaM's gesture.

So onto the seven things you absolutely cannot leave this world, without knowing about me...

1. I'm naturally cautious around others, but don't let that put you off. I'm really quietly in love with the world and all it's unique beings I haven't gotten to know yet.

2. I'm still discovering my voice and I'm learning new things about myself every day. Two years from my forties, and I'm just starting to accept it's okay to be wrong, to change and be someone you told yourself in your 30's you'd never be!

3. I really admire my husband. He's everything I shouldn't have picked in a partner (LOL) and that's what makes him absolutely perfect. He opened my eyes to the beauty of others I don't inherently understand. So for that, I really admire his stamina and unashamed confidence in being himself. :)

4. It may surprise others to learn I'm a Christian with no subscription to any particular version of Christianity. I just read my bible and listen to the spirit within. It's often what gets me through those times I cannot handle reality. I figure if God can have trust in people, knowing what we're capable of, then there must be something very important about learning to trust others.

5. I'm an artist, even though my biggest works to date, are found in the garden. It's my 3D living sculpture that will constantly be a work in progress, LOL. I also believe dirt has healing properties we are yet to discover. 

6. Most of my family (both sides) have direct connections to the United Kingdom. 

7. My great, great, great grandfather was a Missionary to Australia, and wrote a lot about the social needs of minority groups of his time. He often made a lot of recommendations about the benefit of keeping family connections in-tact, even though the religious norm was to separate and assimilate back into white society. I'm proud to know this voice of mine, which instinctively questions "norms", came from such a legacy. And I was doing it before I even knew what the family tree branches extended back to. Way to go, Triple G!

Now to the blogs I nominate. It probably won't surprise you, most will have a gardening or building theme of some variety! But all very creative blogs in my humble opinion.

Happy Earth, to me is a wonderful blog about change in your own backyard. They didn't move away from the suburbs to live the way they wanted to. I love their info about edible plants and how they've gone about designing their garden. Happy Earth, is a happy place to visit.

Abdallah House, takes others on the journey of building a house (and subsequently living a life) centred around the permaculture principles. I love how they've fashioned their own niche of Victoria, according to what they believe in. They also want to help shape the perception about their community, with other community builders.

Our Old Miners Cottage, is another home building adventure which I really want to nominate. I know how hard they are working and probably wonder if their blog is of interest to anyone. I just wanted to recognise them as very creative people, at a time in their lives with so much work to be done! What they cannot achieve with lime plaster, I honestly don't know. Keep up the good work guys. :)

Life in the Dome, just has to be my absolutely favourite chicken themed blog in the entire universe! Jacqui, you're one of a kind!

Joyfulhomemaker, is a busy (former Queensland) family that upped stumps and moved to Country Victoria. They are making a new home for their family, while home schooling all their children. MaShelley (I hope I can call her that, as it's from a discussion forum we are familiar with) is a unique person, extremely creative in all that she does and someone I'd bake a cake for and invite around for coffee! If only she lived closer. I will have to settle for reading her blog instead. I know you will love their renovation pictures. :)

Plain and Joyful Living, really says it all! They are another home schooling family, living in the US. I love how their home business centres around making things from wood, with no preservative treatments. They try to live lightly, on less, which isn't always easy. But Tonya is faithful and honest about the process as she can be.

Eight acres of eden, brings me back to Australia again. It's one of my favourite reads. Ann doesn't always have the time to write on her blog, after all, raising a large family, home schooling and renovating a home (snap!  I've got a lot of those in my list!) takes up a lot of time. When she does write though, it's worth sitting down and reading.

Phew! I wasn't sure if I had enough in my blog list to nominate, as seven is such a large number to come up with. But I'm surprised how many quality blogs I would nominate for such an award. They really are quality reads and I'm glad I took the time to share them with you all.

Thank you LindaM for nominating me - I love visiting your blog and pondering new ways of looking at the world. :)

Hit by a loogie

It was bound to happen, sooner or later, but I have caught the change of season loogie. Only it's not what I'd consider a classic flu. It started with a blocked nose, then a runny nose, small headaches arrived, and then all my strength suddenly left me. Consequently I haven't been at the computer beyond paying bills. 

I think I caught the loogie from Sarah, who I think caught it from school. I honestly believed she was putting on a sickie at first, to get out of school, because she didn't have what I consider classic flu symptoms.

Now it's hit me, I realise the insidious nature of it's deceptive infection. It leaves a trail of very minor ailments which culminates in feeling as weak as a baby. I've been sipping lemon balm tea on a regular basis, to help with the sore throat. It seems to clear up my sinus too.

The good news is, I think Sarah is nearly all better and I'm finally seeing light at the end of this tunnel. I still feel like I met a steamroller during my sleep, LOL, but the fog in my head is finally lifting. Sorry for being out of the loop a bit.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Knit wit

I have some cause for celebration today, as I've reached a stage in my knitting project I can distinguish what I'm actually making! Can you guess what it is?

Two sleeves (1 folded, 1 flat) with the back in the middle

If you haven't guessed, I'm going to reveal it anyway: it's a shrug! What's a shrug? It's like a cardigan, only shorter and normally comes without buttons. It's meant to be worn in those "in-between" months, when it's too warm to wear winter woolies, but too cool not to wear something extra.

I got the free pattern from here. You may need to join Lionsbrand website to read the knitting instructions.

From the book Glam Knits by Stefanie Japel

You will notice my design is a little different, as I'm going for the full sleeve by adding extra ribbing rows. Not sure how it will look when it's finished, but worth an experiment!

I actually just wanted longer sleeves. Now I'm off to start the collar!

SIDE NOTE: I started this on Good Friday (Easter) and has taken this long to get to this stage. I had to take a few weeks off from knitting however, as I was so enthusiastic I knitted non-stop and got RSI or Repetitive Strain Injury. That's why I'm a Knit wit, or just some witty banter to be had about knitting instead.

Either way, "Knit wit" works, LOL.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Mum's the word

So it was Mother's Day here yesterday, but we celebrated ours the weekend before! We just never know when Dave gets a weekend off, so we took the opportunity to visit my mum when we had one.

Click on image to enlarge

Can you tell we're all related, LOL? Mum, me and Sarah, about to tuck into a mud cake I made - it says "Fat Rules!". I'm not making a body-image statement here, it's just that Sarah requested an "Adipose", which is a little character created in the Doctor Who TV series universe. It has the unique ability to be able to eat people's fat.

What else would an Adipose say, but "Fat Rules", LOL?

To all the Mothers, including my own, happy Mother's Day! :)

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Garden love

It's probably no secret but I really love my garden. It's not necessarily what it looks like that I love, but more I get to spend time there and feel connected to something real. We all need something real to interact with in life.

The family spent some much yearned for time in the garden on the weekend. It was a lovely sunny autumn day. We soaked up the rays, moving dirt and making new pathways. The dry stone retaining wall we've been working on for quite some time now, is nearing the planting stage.

What better than a "garden", to go searching for appropriate plants? What I love about my garden, is if I stick a small plant in the ground and let it grow - I get bigger plants for later! Which is exactly what happened when I decided to move these dwarf mono grass from under the clothes line.

It seemed just like yesterday, when I first put them in the ground. Holy Mac! Did it ever look that neat and tidy?

Thanks to these deep concrete blocks, the mondo grass has enormously long roots now! It was in the plans to move the mono grass anyway, because when we had the deluge of 2010 and 2011, the area around the clothes line became completely flooded.

Hardy little munchkins, those mondo's!

So we need to raise the area under the clothes line, and widen where the water runs away. I've got a few ideas for that, but will report on progress later. For now, just think bridges and rock ponds! I am.

I love pottering in my garden on warm autumn days like this. I think about the next growing season, I dream about the plants I will plant, and I soak up the ever shortening days of sunlight. Winter will soon be here.

While the garden will rest during those winter months, Dave and I will be working hard outside. Just like we did on the weekend. Time for some time-elapsed photography, to make it look a heck of a lot easier than it was.

In the beginning there was a dry-stone retaining wall...

Then some strange carbon-based lifeforms appeared out of nowhere!

They decided they liked it so much, they would move in for a while...

This made the dry stone retaining wall, very happy.

And they all lived happily ever after in the garden of love.

~ The end ~

Well...almost the end...I swear if this romance with my garden ever ends, I want to be compost by then.

More on Wordpress

Please take a look at the thread I opened on the help forums.

Moral code of conduct

I hadn't planned on linking it to my blog, but they've now locked me out from replying. No notification as to why, just informed when I sign-in, that I don't have permission to access any more. This is the only thread I've contributed to, so it's why I'm assuming now I'm locked out.

I guess I have my answer - Wordpress doesn't have a moral code of conduct to consider on behalf of account holders.  I should have anticipated if I asked a question about moral conduct, it would be answered with my own moral grounds for asking the question.

I quote the final response to the thread I opened: 

"I see what you want. I see what you signed up for. I see that, originally, you were insisting WP cling to what you signed up for. Now that you find out you signed up for soemthing you dislike, you're insisting WP give you a break.
Come on. Seriously, come on"

[Bold emphasis is mine.]

I still maintain people should be allowed to change their minds - whether I found out now, or ten years from now, it doesn't change the fact Wordpress still doesn't provide an option in their current policies, for account holders to cut ties from their branch of internet social networking. Their Terms of Service suggests, using their services is approving of their "changes", yet I cannot comment on other Wordpress sites without them forcing me to use their service.

Before I could comment as a "Blogger" user, now I am forced into commenting as a WP user, when I comment on a WP blog. It would be nice if it was just a matter of walking away, but that darn Wordpress sign-in box, just keeps popping up.

I'd like to leave - want to - can't - Wordpress policy says so.

So the only option left to me now is not to comment on WP blogs any more. I now have to go through all my bookmarks and delete all those Wordpress blogs I read. Because if Wordpress forces me to choose, I won't be supporting their products in any way. As I DO NOT approve of Wordpress as an internet social networking site, forcing me to accept new policy changes in regards to old Terms of Service. That's not choice, it's called strategically being locked-in behind the gates that were once open.

I say this in the interests of full disclosure, I did not have the luxury of receiving at the time I clicked "I approve" back in 2008. The policy structure had not changed at that point, in fact, the WP policies then, allowed comments as a Blogger user on Wordpress blogs (and vice versa) without any discrimination against what email addresses were used.

So just be warned about Wordpress blogs...they aren't easily accessible to the wider blogging universe now. All that trouble to create a blog with a limited audience allowed to comment. Doesn't seem fair to the members currently pouring their hearts into their WP blogs.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Down with Wordpress

I used to have a Wordpress Blog, but found the features on Blogger better. I have full control of what my site will look like, without having to pay every year for the benefit. The exchange I suppose for a free service is, Blogger (aka: Google) gets to trade my personal information (marketing analysis) with buyers I don't know about. I'm assuming they do, I don't know they do, but I'm sure there's something in their policies which allows them to, without infringing on my personal rights.

After all, I have to click "I agree" with the terms and conditions before they create my account. Hence, they aren't infringing on my rights if I agree, right? But what we are agreeing to, can change I suppose, and that's little advertised.

Back to Wordpress though. I didn't have anything against Wordpress - until now. I have a few blogs I like to read which are hosted on Wordpress. But I won't be commenting on those blogs any more. Why? Wordpress made a change to their system, whereby if you have a Wordpress account and you want to comment on someone's Wordpress blog, you have to sign in (Wordpress) first.

I thought it would just be a matter of finding ways to get around it. After all, I've worked years as "Chris" from my Blogger account, and authors of those Wordpress blogs I read, know me as that. Now I suddenly have to be commenting as "herbatious" from Wordpress???

I went searching, but apparently the only way I can comment with my Blogger account now, is if (a) I don't have a Wordpress account in the first place, or (b) I put a bogus email address in my WP account details. From what I've been reading, this is not working with some unhappy Wordpress Account holders either. I'm not going to try to work a way around it though, because basically I think this infringes on my right as a Blogger to say who I am to other bloggers.

Basically Wordpress has removed the right for me to be a "Blogger" commenter on a Wordpress blog. I can be anonymous if the WP blog author, knows how to do this on their Settings layout, or I can have a bogus email address. But what I cannot do however, is comment as Blogger "Chris" from Gully Grove any more. Why? Because I have the same email address for both WP and Blogger accounts. I only have one email account, I only need one email account - why do I need another? Apparently, if I want the option to comment as "Chris" from the Blogger universe, WP says I need a second email account - a bogus one.

Whatever reason Wordpress want to give for this new change in their system being necessary, I'm not going to run through the new hoops generated. Because when I went looking for how I could delete my WP account entirely, I found this.

Basically what the WP moderator was saying on the WP forums was, when you agree to supply your information to an internet business, you lose your right to control your information from that point onwards. So why would I want to generate a new bogus email account with a new internet business, when it's just to gain access to comment on WP blogs, when their policy clearly stats, we lose our rights to control how our accounts are used.

Confused yet?

It's made me think twice about opening accounts anywhere else on-line - discussion forums, etc. My apologies to anyone who has a Wordpress blog that will now lose long-standing commenters. I regretted opening my Wordpress account not long after I realised, I couldn't change the layout without paying for it. Now I regret it even more, I can never remove the "I agree" click. They changed the system but apparently (I agree) remains.

To quote from the link I supplied above:

...We are under no legal, ethical, or moral obligation by ANY law, US or foreign, to delete your account. We have no policy in place to delete accounts. Nothing you, nor we, have done is in violation of policy, law or anything other than annoying everyone. Go away and be happy :)

When servicing customers human rights is annoying, that's a business I don't want to do business with any more. Yes, it is a policy issue it seems, so I stopped researching at that point. Wordpress had built into their business structure, choice is not an option (only sarcasm) for it's Wordpress customers.

It got me thinking about all the other places online, I give information to (Blogger included). I won't be signing up to anything  new out of curiosity any more. That's MY new policy change thanks to my WP experience. After all, that's how I came to sign up with Wordpress in the first place, I will spare you the story though. What I will share because it's related to the theme of this post, is I learned what Blogger advertises BEFORE you sign up, is more accurate than what Wordpress advertises in there Features You'll Love.

You only learn once you create an account with Wordpress, they make you pay for stuff you get for free on Blogger. Sure, you can have as many blogs as you want (as advertised) but you can only have two free ones - you pay for the additional ones you want. If WP were aiming for honesty they would say only two blogs are free, then decide how many you want according to our prices.

I guess that should have been my cue, but I didn't listen. Well, not that I have a choice, as I cannot delete my WordPress account anyway. Just bear that in mind if you haven't signed up to Wordpress yet. In fact, ignore most of the Features You'll Love advertisments, because unless you have insider experience you won't realise the false perceptions they generate. When it says, "No can leave any time you want and your content isn’t locked in."They aren't saying "YOU" the creator of your account, even though it gives that impression it goes along with, "your content isn't locked in".

You see people make the association because they have no other choice - why wouldn't they be able to leave with their content when they decide to leave at any time?

Buyer beware with Wordpress. What they advertise for free is not anything you'll remotely get compared to Blogger. Blogger also doesn't discriminate between who can comment on your blog either - they leave that up to you to choose.

EDITED to add:  I thought this was a good article about the sites that range in difficulty to delete accounts. Because the sites that won't let you delete your account or make the process difficult, won't advertise this in the sign up process.