Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Quilter, Seeking Quiet Place To Recuperate Mentally

 What do all these things have in common and why are they driving me crazy?  Read on and find out.

Ambrosia is trying to drive me crazy.   I don't know why she's set herself this goal, but the evidence is irrefutable.  The trouble is I think she's succeeding.

For those of you who haven't met Ambrosia and her sister (by adoption) Nefertiti, you can read about them here.

My granddaughter Claire has moved into her Big Girl's Bed and of course needs a quilt to go on it.  On Saturday night, when I was frantically trying to get Claire's quilt finished to give to her on Sunday when we attended her baby sister's Christening,  I searched for my thread conditioner in the little blue box (Thread Heaven it's called).  I knew that the chances were pretty good that Ambrosia and once again failed to resist the lure of the little blue box and pilfered it.  I finally found it under the chair I sit on to hand sew my quilts.  I put it on the table beside my sewing chair in the lounge room (I was watching television while sewing) and got back to what I was doing. I needed to go get the cream thread from the sewing room to sew on the label.  I was sewing the label before I'd finished all the binding because it would be more difficult to sew down the label  in the car as we travelled up to see the grandchildren on Sunday.  I knew there was no way I'd get the quilt finished on Saturday night.  If I'd known the whole night would turn into one unsuccessful treasure hunt I may have given up there and then and gone to bed with an icepack on my head.  I put the thread on the table near my chair and then had to go do something else (I can't remember what - I was doing a number of things at the same time as usual).  When I returned to my chair I couldn't find the thread anywhere.  I checked under the chair, inside the chair, back to the sewing room in case I'd absent mindedly put it down in there.  I looked everywhere it could possibly be and some places it couldn't possibly be, but it was nowhere to be found.  I spent a lot of precious sewing time looking for the thread and finally decided it would be a lot faster to just go get another spool of a close enough colour.

I got another greyish cream thread, settled down to sew the label on and turned to get the thread conditioner from the table.  It wasn't there!!!. Holding on tightly to the spool of thread (I wasn't going to risk losing a second one!)  I searched all the places I'd just searched for the thread with just as much success.  By this time I was sure I was going mad.  I told Graeme the sad truth about my sanity and he mumbled something I couldn't hear - most probably that I'd been mad for years in his opinion, but as I couldn't hear exactly what he was saying and I was preoccupied with planning a nice long stay somewhere quiet while my brain recovered, I didn't take issue with whatever it was he said.  I just didn't have the time at the moment to debate the exact date I'd lost the plot in his opinion.   Besides he might have mumbled something complementary about my mental state.  Yes, that was obviously what he was doing right?

Even though I remembered putting both the cream thread and the Thread Heaven on the table, the table was definitely cream thread and Thread Heaven free.  Luckily I had a spare unopened box of Thread Heaven I'd been saving for when the one I was using was all used up, so I opened  that and finally got the label sewn on.  The rest of the night's sewing remained uneventful.  I didn't leave my chair for anything though, I wasn't going to risk coming back and finding some other sewing item had fallen into the black hole located somewhere near my sewing chair.  Neither missing object appeared throughout the night.

When I'd finally decided  that it was bedtime and I couldn't possibly sew another stitch, I put Ambrosia and Nefertiti in the bathroom for the night as usual.  I usually just pop them into the dark room and close the door quickly so I don't end up chasing them around the house after they've escaped.  We've had quite a few rodeos lately when they've managed to see my intent before I picked them up.  They bounce off the walls, skidding along the kitchen floor, scoot into the lounge room to hide under furniture and generally manage to evade my attempts to grab them.  But I digress.    

I went to bed still thinking about mental therapy options.  The next morning when Graeme was in the bathroom he came out with a spool of cream thread.  He told me that I'd put the thread on the vanity unit last night and walked away without it.  I was 100% sure I didn't go into the bathroom after I'd picked up the thread last night, but who can tell.  When you are going crazy, blank spots are as common as hallucinations.  Ambrosia, who was sitting on my lap at the computer, assumed her most innocent face and changed the subject as soon as she could.  Then it was my turn to visit the bathroom and there, beside the cats' bed, was my little blue box of Thread Heaven.  All was explained!  

I knew Ambrosia had turned into a sewing tools thief but I'd thought I'd checked all the likely places she'd hide her ill gotten gains.  The bathroom never occurred to me.  I am continually pulling pins out of her mouth as she tries to make a get away with a mouth full of glass head pins.  She will steal my scissors if she thinks she can get away with it.   The reason the Thread Heaven was under the chair is that she loves to lift it from my table, jump to the floor an bat it around in her spare time and my thimbles are number her one great game.  She climbs onto my chair and delicately picks the thimbles up in her teeth, drops to the floor, spits out the thimble, and the game begins.  Nefertiti will then join in the improvised football (or is it hockey, I can't figure out the rules so I'm not sure) game as I chase them through the house trying to get my hands on my thimble before it disappears under the fridge or some other large furniture item.  Ambrosia and Nefertiti are happy for me to join in the game as long as I don't actually manage to get hold of the thimble.  I just don't play by their rules and they know if I manage to snag the thimble that will be the last they see of it until Ambrosia can sneak up and steal it once again. They are very fast and very talented kittens when it comes to thimble football (or hockey as the case may be) and I now have three thimbles missing in action.

Hmmm, there seems to be a trend here.  Is it possible that Ambrosia is stockpiling sewing notions because she's planning a quilt of her own?  I'll have to keep an eye on her.  After all she knows where I keep my stash!

Monday, March 08, 2010


Spring Rock all bright and shiny after the rain.
As I may have mentioned a few times in the last few years, we are in drought.  Well hopefully that is no longer true.  We have had RAIN!!!  Well, we've had more rain in the last 24 hours than in the past five years if you ask me.  Four inches of it yesterday alone.  We had an inch the day before and considered ourselves lucky. Bec, Grant and their three boys were visiting this weekend and when the huge storm hit yesterday we all stood at windows just admiring the views of the water falling out of the sky and running along the roadways towards dams that really needed the water.  

 Our driveway just outside the gate to our carport.

Thankfully we are not in an area that ever floods.  There are no creeks or rivers close by.  Yesterday our paddocks made rivers of their own and they are still flowing this morning.  There are serious floods throughout Queensland at the moment and my heart goes out to everyone affected.  You can read about the Queensland flood here

Being a country girl through and through, I've always loved rain and all my kids have the same happy feeling whenever rain happens.  Bec was once flooded in after a camp in Queensland.  She told me everyone was depressed or worried about getting out and driving home.  All except her.  It was raining so Bec was feeling happy.

All our dams are full and overflowing.  They form a continuous river from dam to dam and then onto the neighbour's dam and then across the road out of our farm. The dirt road from our farm to the tarred road into town is badly washed away.  It's more just rocks and potholes now all the dirt and grit has been washed away.  Our own farm roads are in a dreadful state as well.  I doubt the road that leads out to our neighbour's farm is usable any more because it was already in a bad state pre-rain.  Graeme will do a tour of the farm and assess what needs fixing as soon as the rain ends and he can move around the farm.
 The dams are full.  This dam was all but empty yesterday.

Having said all this, I'm not complaining.  The rain will give our crops a big kick along when they are planted later this month or early April.  The soil will hold a lot of this moisture until then.

We had to drive to the next major town (normally a two hour drive from Spring Rock) last night to deliver a Suffolk ram to a truck driver who will take the ram onto the farm where he is to live and love from now on, this morning.  We travelled through a lot of flooded roads on the way there.  On the way back we were stopped by various emergency services to check which way we were going because the highway was impassable in places.  We go to our turn off and we were stopped by another emergency crew who almost caused an accident themselves.  They were parked on the side of the road facing the oncoming traffic with ALL their lights on.  High beam, driving lights and emergency lights plus their blinking lights on top of the car which we could hardly see with all the other lights. to make matters worse, I could just make out the reflective bands on the men's coats and they were wandering all over the road!!  Graeme was blinded by the light and had to navigate his way through flooded sections of road with the lights blazing in his eyes.  When he finally reached the car and crew he suggested (rather strongly) that they turn off the majority of the lights.  The fellow talking to Graeme was very good about it.  He realised their mistake and told someone to turn off the lights straight away.  I felt so sorry for all these men and women through out the district standing out in the weather that alternated between rain and downpours stopping every car and working so hard for the safety of others. 

We were able to continue home - the road straight ahead  was impassable - and again had to navigate through flooded water with small logs floating by.  We got through all that and found the final tar road to our farm (the tar road that our dirt road leads off) was closed.  The way was blocked with those saw horse like things that road crews use and the sign said closed. There was just no other way home because our only other, very long way home was impassable as we'd just learned.   Graeme thought about it for a second and then drove around the barricade very slowly checking for problems all the way.  We went through some more flooded sections, but with our four wheel drive and the ability to raise the car higher with air suspension, we didn't have any trouble getting through.  The only danger was getting stuck in the water if the car stalled.  It wasn't fast flowing water across the road, or even really deep water.  It was run off from overflowing dams just like ours on the farm. Graeme is an ex rally driver so I wasn't worried.  He had lots of experience driving through shallow water both still and flowing.  We finally arrived home at 10 pm which means a four hour drive had turned into a six hour drive.  Not bad we felt.

 I had trouble getting out the back gate to take the photos.  I could only open it a few inches.  All this dirt has travelled down from the ram paddock behind the house.

While we were involved with all this, Bec and Grant were stopped on the highway heading for their home by an overturned truck on the highway.  She ran about 6pm and the truck had overturned at 11.30am so you can imagine the size of the traffic jam!  Their four and a half hour drive turned into an eight hour drive by the time they got home.  I really pitied them.  When I rang Bec to check she said Grant had heard about the road block on the two way radio so they stopped early and fed the kids at McDonald's.  She said the boys inhaled their cheese burgers and looked around for more food.  When I rang her they were stopped along the highway along with many, many other cars and the worst news was - she'd run out of food!!!  Bec always packs fruit and nibbles for the boys for these long journeys but they'd cleaned her out long before they reached home. Five year old Michael is going through a growing spurt and eats a phenomenal amount for his age.  Three year old Ethan is pretty good and putting food away too.  Bec rang and left a message on the answering machine at 10pm to tell me they'd arrived home safely.  We must have just missed her call when we arrived home.

Meanwhile Justin rang to tell us that he had stalled the car in a flooded area of the road near where he lives.  He'd been driving through with no problems when a log floated by.  He had to slow down drastically to avoid hitting it and he'd lost his bow wave, causing water to get into his engine.  He was ringing to see if Graeme could tow him out.  We were well and truly on our way in the opposite direction so we couldn't help out.  I rang him back later and he didn't answer the phone so of course I started to worry about him (along with worrying about Bec and family locked in a huge traffic jam with three little boys in the storm).  I was also worried about leaving the Suffolk ram all by himself in a yard designed for cattle rather than sheep and Tristan the ginger cat who was out and about when all the storms hit.  I sorted all my worries, prioritised them (I'm nothing if not organised!) and decided Justin was the major worry at the moment.  I rang Bec, who had texted me to tell me she was stuck in the traffic jam, so I could give Justin time to do whatever he was doing (hopefully not floating away in his car).  Bec and I chatted for a short while and then I rang Justin again.  He had been towed out of the flood but he couldn't get his car started.  He and Graeme discussed various ways of getting the car started again and later Justin rang to say he was home safe.  So my two biggest worries were allayed.  Now just the ram, Tristan and getting home safely to go. 

As you can see we arrived home safely, Tristan almost met us at the door and spent the night inside wishing he was outside (Tristan can't stand to be on the other side of any door) and we haven't heard from the truck driver to say the ram escaped, so I believe all is well there too.

I just hope that everyone else in our district fared well too.

The sheep are enjoying the sunshine this morning.