Sunday, 30 October 2016


a portrait of my son, once a week, every week in 2016

Jimmy: Driving a prime mover...

Not a truck, but a prime mover. Trust the 3 year old, and don't suggest that the designers had other ideas - it's a prime mover. And this prime mover drove us to the Kansas City airport, from Warwick, and then later drove us from Manhattan, KS, to Warwick via Samoa (parental input...). I love his imagination, expressiveness, and how he grasps some concepts (like travel and moving from one place to another) but misses some of the finer points (like how does one drive through the Pacific Ocean?). I love this kid.

Sunday, 23 October 2016


a portrait of my son, once a week, every week in 2016

Jimmy: A happy fossicker...

We went to the Toowoomba Gemfest and Jimmy tried his hand at fossicking. He had a blast sifting the sand to find little rocks, thanks to the Toowoomba Lapidary Club. One day, he'll be big enough to go to some other Gemfests with Granny.

Friday, 21 October 2016

Bicycle! Bicycle! The trailer edition!

So, with many thanks to my parents, we now have the means to go for family bicycle rides! And in case you were wondering, Jimmy loves going for rides in the trailer.

The trailer in question is a Torpedo 7 2in1 bicycle trailer, which is currently sold out (sadface?) but given that it's a nice, easy to assemble and use trailer, I'm thinking it will be back in stock soon or a newer (and nicer?) model will be available in the near future. As for my bicycle, I'm very happy to be riding my old 2012 Vivente again (I swear it didn't cost as much 4 years ago), which has lovely low gears that are perfect for pulling extra weight. 

From a user, not traveller, perspective, the trailer well constructed and reasonably lightweight, but it does add weight to the bicycle, which is fine. Jimmy is a few kilos shy of the upper weight limit for a single passenger, but he's far too young for most other alternatives and we're more comfortable with him in a trailer that doesn't tip over when our bicycles take a tumble - we have only had our bicycles fall over while stationary and are not interested in finding out what happens when we're moving, so we ride as carefully as we can.

The trailer has a double attachment to the bicycle pulling it - yay for double attachment points!! And the trailer came with two hitches, so Michael and I can take turns pulling the trailer (the hitch is that black thing (I know...) between the bicycle frame and silvery handle part of the rear quick release in the picture below. The pin that attaches the trailer to the bicycle was initially a little stiff but has loosened up enough for easy attachment and detachment of the trailer.

The reason the trailer doesn't fall over when our bicycles do is a really good spring (hidden by a black cord that links the hitch pin (not a technical term) and the main part of the trailer arm - yay for another double attachment point!). The spring the heavy duty and bends readily and looks like it will hold up really well.

Another thing about the trailer is that it's off-center so that the trailer sits a little to the left. For Australian roads this makes perfect sense to have more trailer between the bicycle and the curb, but even so it took a little getting used to the extra width I was pulling. Michael has had a similar learning curve and Jimmy has been very good about it all.

Speaking of Jimmy, he seems to really enjoy the rides we go on. He may not appreciate how much extra effort goes into pulling him along, but he's good company and he appreciates the fresh air and lovely scenery around the town. He's seated in a hammock type of seat with a five point harness, so he's secure and I think the hammock/sling seat might help with a comfortable enough ride. He doesn't really complain if the ride is a bit bumpy but we all acknowledge the bumps. And so far, he's not too cramped, but he could do with a different helmet, something with a flat back. Given Jimmy's age and height, we're probably only going to be able to use the trailer for a year, but we're think about that later.

Right now, if you're looking for us, we'll be out riding.

Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Spring in Pop's garden

Ok, so it's not just Pop's garden at the back of the house - there's also the back of a friends property (1/2 acre block or something). I should clarify that over the years my parents have contributed to both the garden in the front yard (now mostly "Granny's garden") and garden in the backyard (now mostly "Pop's garden") and, as a family, we all benefit from both gardens. The biggest thing this spring is that I have never seen so much produce coming from gardens in this area.

It could be the spring rains (or climate change?), because I do not remember spring being as wet and productive as this back when I was in high school. Granted, that was more than 15 years ago (and that makes me feel old!), so my memory of spring around here might be wrong.

But it's hard to shake the memory of years of drought, water restrictions, and vegetable gardens let go because of the dry conditions. I would never have guessed that there would be so much flat leaf parsley growing in our friends garden that we could have massive bowls of tabouli week after week after week.

And then there are the sugar snaps! With about 8-10 plants between the two gardens we're able to snack to our stomachs content AND bring home plenty for lunch or dinner. (Since writing this sentence, the sugar snaps in Pop's garden have been pulled up, because they producing fewer pea pods and were developing a white fungus-type thing on the older leaves. Their removal now makes way for something new.)

The weeds are pretty too... Abundant because of the rain and warm weather, and some cause problems for people prone to hay fever, but the purples and yellows, whites and blues... All with a rich green background... (these yellow ones (turnip weed) are all over the place and I really like them, even if they might be the worst offenders for allergy suffers.) So, yes, the weeds are doing well, but so are the sugar snaps, carrots, cabbages, spinach, and parsley.

Then there are Pop's chickens - he has three Australorps. Worthy of their own post, they are excited to see us every morning when we go down to let them out of their hutch and when we arrive in the evenings, they run towards us, half expecting a treat, which they often get before being safely locked up in their hutch. They are good egg layers, laying 2 or 3 eggs most days, which is perfect for us so long as we're not eating eggs every day. 

The eggs are pretty, with each chook laying a distinctive size and shape (that pale one was a one-off and before we were able to identify which chook laid which egg).  A little while ago, Pop, Daddy and Jimmy moved the chicken coop and as I may have mentioned, Jimmy really enjoyed helping with the move - he generally enjoys taking part in whatever activity is happening in the garden.

One thing Jimmy wants to help with, but has trouble doing so, is hanging out the washing. The hills hoist is just too high and handing out pegs loses its novelty pretty quickly. I don't mind. He has years of doing his own washing ahead of him, but he may not have a set of navel orange trees providing an intoxicating aromatic experience a few weeks a year. The smell of orange blossoms is part of my childhood and spring in Warwick, along with wisteria, jasmine, and honeysuckle. (Can you spot the cute little spider?)

Currently I am looking forward to the broad beans (they're just starting to produce pods and I'm hanging out for enough to make this for breakfast soon), tomatoes, zucchinis, and the coming crop of basil that will become (a year's worth of) pesto, while still enjoying carrots, parsley, and more lettuce and spinach than I have eaten in a very long time. I'll post some photos of Granny's garden some time soon.

Sunday, 16 October 2016


a portrait of my son, once a week, every week in 2016

Jimmy: Stomping in a creek, in the wrong boots, his PJ's, an awesome jumper, Granny's badge, and a bandaid covering some self-inflicted carpet burn.

And if you ask, he'll demonstrate how he had his hands on the carpet and how he was dragging his face on the carpet. We hardly noticed it until about 30 minutes after he had done it, even though we had seen him in action, and by the time this photo was taken the scab was starting to come off, so the bandaid was there to stop the scab coming off before it was all healed. Michael took these lovely photo - thanks!

Sunday, 9 October 2016


a portrait of my son, once a week, every week in 2016

Jimmy: This is the best thing ever!

This is happening! I spent some time laying out the cut pieces of fabric, with a little help from Michael and Jimmy, and it's wonderful chaos and Jimmy loves it - as he said, it's the best thing ever, even in this unfinished form. Love that boy.

Tuesday, 4 October 2016

No! Don't take a photo of me!

And the inevitable has happened. Actually it happened a little over a month ago - Jimmy got upset when I pointed my camera in his face and he said "No! Don't take a photo!". It's not the first time he's told me not to take his photo, but it's becoming firmer and firmer and the response to a lack of respect of his wishes results in a rather upset, agitated, and no-longer-focused-on-the-task Jimmy.

So, we now have to ask him for permission to take his photo. He knows what happens to them, he knows we put photos up on the internet for our friends to see. He knows we do it because we think he's awesome and want to share his awesomeness as well as we can, but I think he's had enough of the near constant photos.

We have been taking a lot of photos of him since he was born, so I think it's fair enough that he wants some control over this situation. It's cool. He's exerting control where he can, and being photographed (or not) is one thing he can control. It's also not worth the effort to press him for a photo when he says "no".

It's a matter of respect and trust, and we get much nicer photos when we ask him if we can take his photo than when we try to sneakily take his photo. It's just not worth it.

This is not the reason why I've been erratic with the 52 Project posts, but it is in part the reason why I wont be continuing with it next year. There are other reasons why Jimmy will be here less and less, that have nothing to do with his interest in being photographed (or lack thereof), but I will save those reasons for another post.

Sunday, 2 October 2016


a portrait of my son, once a week, every week in 2016

Jimmy: Feeding the chooks!

There is an art to it. There really is. It's about getting the cous cous or rice or whatever chicken appropriate leftovers out of the tub and onto the ground without getting it on the chickens themselves. Jimmy has been getting plenty of practice - it's basically his job, along with carrying the eggs home (and yes, he has broken some but only two in three months).