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post #2471 of 2490 Old 02-04-2020, 11:03 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Feb 2014
Location: Australia
Posts: 7,662
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Thanks for your anniversary cheers, all of you! Please let us all know when your significant days are this year so we can all cheer for you too!

Originally Posted by lb27312 View Post
@SueC - I'm thinking Djokovic will probably win, but I like Nadal so kinda hoping he does. But really time for some new blood...
Well, unfortunately we were right. And I was so going for the young fella in the final, and he nearly had Djokovic. Had it been a best of 3 he would have won it. I was actually talking to the television! Yelling, "Go, Dominic! You can do it!" but alas, one of the big cheeses won another one. I am so looking forward to the day someone other than the Three Big Cheeses wins a Grand Slam...

SueC is time travelling.

Last edited by SueC; 02-04-2020 at 11:10 PM.
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post #2472 of 2490 Old 02-06-2020, 05:41 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Feb 2014
Location: Australia
Posts: 7,662
• Horses: 3
A friend from Europe recently asked me why my family went to live in Australia. Here's my reply. I decided I should stick it on my journal as an antidote to the sanitised version I used to tell when I first joined this forum.

...wrought topic. I'll attempt to sketch it.

It started with my parents taking an extended overseas holiday together in 1981 (something they'd never done before). They did it during school term so we stayed home and our grandmother came to look after us (I was in Year 5, my brother in his final year, Abitur, different school to me oddly). And their destination was - Australia. In part I think it's because they had been introduced to some travelling Australians by a work colleague and they got an invitation to "come to our mango farm in the Northern Territory if you ever come to Australia."

They took up the offer, visiting the mango farm, as part of a round trip of the continent. I can't remember how long they were gone but I think it was four weeks. They couldn't have got around the country in less than that. You can't even get around Tasmania in less than a week (they didn't do Tasmania - offshore island state).

When they returned, my father was obsessed with the idea of emigrating to Australia. I think he was having a midlife crisis. He was the only person in the family interested in doing so, and he basically said, "I'm going, the rest of you can come if you want or stay behind." My brother had been noncommittal - and he was the first to say he was emigrating too - I think he saw it as an adventure. My mother and I didn't want to leave - friends, animals, places we loved. We had a dog and two horses and friends in two countries. My father applied to emigrate and I think in those days the income earner could do it on behalf of their family, without interviews that would have revealed that half of us didn't want to go. He earnt very well, which means he got granted his wish by the Australian government (and that's still the case, people can buy their way into this country even today).

He then started telling me that if I didn't go, I wouldn't keep my horse anyway because my mother would be unable to afford to keep the two horses we had at the time, and that we would be poor if we stayed behind. (Nice, no?) But regardless, there were too many other things to lose so I still said no. He then changed tactics and said if I consented to go he would fly both horses out to Australia. I didn't want to lose my horse - she was more of a parent to me than either of my parents, it's a long story, she basically adopted me and you could have made a cheesy TV series out of it like Lassie - so I agreed to go to Australia. I wasn't told I'd lose my dog until arrangements were already made, and cried all the way to the airport - my grandmother ended up taking him. I never saw him again, or any of my friends and extended family - other than my grandmother, who came to Australia for a visit when I was 15, so I saw her one more time.

Once we got here, my mother cried all the time and sank into depression and I saw my father slapping her face when she was catatonic in bed. I didn't want my face slapped, and anyway young people sort of look at the environment around them and explore, and I made a friend across the road - we lived in Perth for the first year, because the farm my father had bought had no house on it yet. It was an apartment my brother then stayed in during the week after we moved, as he was starting university.

My mother stopped being catatonic and went back much to her usual self with me - we'd never had a warm relationship (I only had something like that with my grandmother and my animals). She spent the rest of her life loudly declaring she wished she'd never come to this country - which is true. She had the means to go back to Europe for extended visits over half a dozen times - I did not. By the time I'd scraped the money together, when I was 26, my grandmother had just died. She'd not been able to visit beyond that one time due to heart and circulation problems, which meant she wasn't supposed to go on long-haul flights.

The horse that had been the bargaining chip in getting me to Australia was taken off me within two months of her release from quarantine. My father used her to start breeding racehorses - so that was the end of my riding her. She had been bought specifically for me as a child's riding horse back in Germany - a French Trotter mare who'd raced and had six foals, and had been so well ridden during her time as a broodmare that she was an ideal kid horse. The reason she was sold specifically as a child's riding horse is that she'd had a difficult birth with her last foal and the veterinarian said it would risk her life to breed her again.

But my father bred her again, and she died shortly after giving birth, of internal bleeding, as predicted by the veterinarian back in Germany. I had just come home from a school camp, in time to sit with her head in my arms as she was dying. I had just turned 13.

It sounds like a horrific soap opera, and really it was. We had farm cats and my father threw bricks at them. He kicked the dogs, and everyone else in the family, but my mother and brother were also that way inclined and doing plenty of it themselves to anyone smaller than them, so it would be a misrepresentation to suggest we were a family cowering under the control and abuse of the father (as does commonly happen here as well; domestic violence is at epidemic proportions in this country along with depression and suicide). It would be more accurate to suggest that it was a family with three sociopaths warring with each other. It's just that one of the sociopaths had all the money, and therefore all the financial control.

I was for much of my childhood too small to hit anyone, and I was not the type to go find smaller things to hit - I was not a bully, not to smaller children or to animals, which would have been the obvious targets. When I was 14 I started defending myself by attempting to restrain my mother etc when she was hitting me, and by going to the police because my brother kept abusing me (and going to the police got me huge repercussions at home, as you can imagine, because they failed to send in a social worker, which is what would have happened nowadays). When I was 16 I left home with the help of a university guidance counsellor, who felt the circumstances I was living in were totally unacceptable and did the paperwork for my legal emancipation from them.

If you are wondering why I ever went back to see them at all, it was because they still had my Arabian mare, whom I was unable to afford to keep because I didn't have the means, as a university student. After I had left home, the hitting stopped - that never happened again when I went to visit them, although they still hit each other. I think it was clear to them that I'd sell my horse if anything like that happened again, rather than come back. So I started visiting my family - and horse - with this uneasy truce. Eventually I removed my horse from there.

The really interesting thing is that my parents got here in their early 40s and neither of them ever worked in Australia, as employees. My father went back to Europe for face-to-face time on computer contracts for his old contacts - he'd been self-employed at that in Germany. He did most of that work on the farm in Australia and then would just go over to Europe for the implementation phase. And he found his new obsession - racehorses - which by the way never made him any money, if you take into account the time and money that went into keeping a stable full of racehorses (which is significantly cheaper in Australia than it would have been in Europe, but still). He lived off contracts for his old stomping ground in Germany, and investments.

It is impossible to say what exactly the motivations were for moving the family to Australia (some arguments cited to me at the time were the nuclear threat in Europe and that young people had a better future in Australia). The side-effect was definitely that it became easier for my father to isolate and control my mother and me. Had we stayed in Germany any longer, I would have started talking to my grandmother about some of the things that were going on in our family - I already sort of made a start, when she was looking after us the four weeks my parents were in Australia, because that was the only time I'd ever lived under that roof without insults, threats and hitting - my brother wasn't allowed to hit me or be mean to me when my grandmother was around, either. I don't think she realised that my parents did the same. Anyway, it was lovely and relaxing to live with her for that month, and you can bet I would have eventually asked to live with her. (I couldn't do that once I got to Australia, because of the distance and that I lost German citizenship.)

And she would have said yes. I'd bet on it. We were very close and I was her only granddaughter.

So that's our Australia story - with a side story that you don't normally get asking a question like that. But, one of the problems is that when you sanitise stories like this (as I did for years), it gives a false impression of reality, and also it drives what is actually quite a common thing - family dysfunction, abuse etc - underground, and helps hush it up. I think talking about it honestly is necessary for the social conversation and for general mental health, and for other people in abusive situations to feel they can get out, and for people who aren't in those situations to get some insight and empathy for those who
are. I made the decision to be completely open about all this once I'd worked through my PTSD diagnosis five years ago, and I've had so much feedback from people since I've done that, to say, "Thanks for talking about it, this really helped me come to terms with what happened to me / my daughter who married a sociopath / we took custody of our grandchildren because our daughter abused them and reading your story just tells us it was the right thing" etc etc.

It's not a mission, just one part of who I am and what I talk about these days. The part I didn't talk about for such a long time!

Silence is deadly.

Anyway, that's how we ended up in Australia, and despite the difficulties, I had great experiences and very fulfilling employment here and love the Australian landscape, flora and fauna - I couldn't live anywhere else now, and of course now we're right in the wilderness! Also I am now in a decent household. We're neither of us perfect, but it's very good 99% of the time, and we're working on making that 99.5%. We've been improving the percentage for years, after having a rough time around two to three years into marriage. Relationships are never easy, you always have to work on it, but most of the time, it's work you enjoy doing.

And now, it's time to cut up more plums...

Indeed! I've made six cauldrons of plum sauce already, that's over 30 kg of plums processed, and both plum trees have at least as much on them still as I've already harvested... I'm also making slab plum cakes which are our standard breakfast, afternoon tea and anytime snack this time of year - a wholemeal yeast pastry with a little butter which you roll out on a tray and arrange plum quarters on, sprinkle with cinnamon, bake, and then eat by itself or with custards and/or cream. Yummy...
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Last edited by SueC; 02-06-2020 at 06:00 PM.
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post #2473 of 2490 Old 02-12-2020, 01:34 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Feb 2014
Location: Australia
Posts: 7,662
• Horses: 3

I'm sitting here with a glass of home-made soft drink: Juice of one lime and one orange, two teaspoons of sugar, stir well, top with ice-cold soda water. Why is it that on hot days when you've been outdoors all morning, you can drink glass after glass of water or diluted juice and still have your tongue hanging out, but then you follow that with one glass of cold home-made lemonade or home-made dry ginger ale, and then you feel OK?

I'll put a green tea on now for good measure, as the sort of dessert course for all the liquids I've already had, and then hope to get up to date on my journal. My clothes were so soaked in sweat they're all in the washing machine as we speak.

I'm going to start with some nice photos we took at the beach in Bornholm the other day. If it's too hot and / or we're too tired and / or busy to go hiking on a weekend, we at least take a sanity outing of a couple of hours to a beach. Cosy Corner is our nearest beach, 20 minutes away on part sealed, part unsealed roads; Bornholm is a little further on, but very pretty. We don't swim (we can, we just don't like to, the Southern Ocean is freezing), but we do wade, and we definitely walk a fair way and investigate little coves etc.

These are the steps down to Bornholm Beach from the car park:

Jess and yours truly making our way down:

It's mostly a granite landscape, but Bornholm has limestone cliffs on one side:

There's a little stream that comes down to the beach. The iron in the water (because the hinterland is full of ironstone) makes a really striking colour:

The white granitic sand makes a nice counterpoint to the orange-brown water:

Jess was ecstatic - the day we went to Bornholm, we did that at the tail end of a 4-hour walk through the coastal dunes parallel to the shore - which I will post details of later. So she was really happy to cool her feet in the water:

She also loves to roll (and looks like a Lamington if she does that in white sand):

Brett was extremely relaxed after walking for four hours:

The dog decided upside down was the way to be:

On the beach:

When we were sitting on the rocks, the dog decided to do more upside-down antics near us, trying (successfully) to get her belly scratched.

Very nice outing!
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post #2474 of 2490 Old 02-12-2020, 02:00 AM
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Seattle, WA
Posts: 47,535
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what's a "lamington"?

Is that beach also hot? it's often hard to tell from photos. If I showed you photos of our beaches, in summer, you might think it's warm . . . but it's not.

I admire your stamina; walking 4 hours in sand dunes. That's amazingly challenging. I couldn't walk 4 hours on a treadmill!

Very pretty photos. It's great how you make thoughtful and purposeful self care a regular part of living.
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post #2475 of 2490 Old 02-12-2020, 02:48 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Feb 2014
Location: Australia
Posts: 7,662
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Hello, @tinyliny !

The beaches are usually much cooler than the hinterland, and because of the direct evaporative cooling, also a fair bit cooler than the backs of the sand dunes, though we chose a more temperate day (mid-20s, degrees C) with a little cloud cover to go on that hike. There wasn't any loose sand to contend with on that 4h walk, so it wasn't so bad. In fact, it was like walking in a botanical garden - one of the prettiest sections of the Bibbulmun Track we have done so far! The trail is quite firm because it gets foot traffic only, as you will see when I post the photos later. It was the uphill-downhill that kept our heart rate up, but even that wasn't that drastic, just pleasant, and so you knew you were working!

You've got gorgeous beaches too, I remember! Do you go much? Is it far from where you live?

Terrible Music Merchandise

I was going to post something silly we are doing at the moment, and I may as well do it in this post, since you are an arty person yourself (and much more talented and practiced at painting than either of us!). Brett trained as a graphic designer, and he's currently doing some Photoshop stuff on the topic of "terrible music merchandise" which we're inventing for a post-punk band both of us like. We're doing this on a music fan forum, but I wanted to show everyone Brett's post-punk toothbrush. Please remember, the object of the exercise is to make something truly terrible that a sane person wouldn't want to buy!

Cure Eco-Toothbrushes

Toothbrushes to rock your bathroom!

Environmentally friendly bamboo that you can whittle, Burn or compost after your toothbrush wears out. Charcoal-infused bristles, now in distinctive styling - because it never was just about hair, it was about an aesthetic.

Dental Health Awareness Poster

And the goal was achieved - it's a truly hideous product. I'd never brush my teeth with something like that, just like I'd never brush my teeth with a live fish. It just feels totally wrong. The face on it - well, you just don't put something like that in your mouth. Whereas what I saw in my mind when we brainstormed it, people might conceivably have used because it was kind of cute. But Brett said, "No, it has to be something so terrible you'd not want to use it!"

The first image is very cleanly done. He just composits stuff from different sources, like doing a collage but the programme allows you to shift, magnify, reduce, change, erase, add all sorts of things. Swapping out the background on the packaging to a piece of album cover was really fast, for example.

The poster is what he calls "rough work" - you can see where he's cut stuff out, there's mistakes on it, hair grows out of space, the date is wrong (for the picture), etc. He says it's because it's just a gag and not meant to be perfect, and that he hopes having some rough work like this would encourage others looking at this to say to themselves, "Well, I can do that too!" and submit something!

By the way, I came in halfway through the poster design and Brett had used "nudie" toothbrushes in his image, which come in his and hers, with cartoon wedding tackle and cartoon breasts respectively (google it!). At that point the breasts were still on the toothbrush, and the toothbrush head was still normal, and I couldn't stop laughing. Brett said to me, "Well, the breasts are going, because that's just wrong!" It was extra funny because at that point the guitar body was still visible underneath the toothbrush, and it was like a toothbrush - guitar chimera, with cartoon breasts.

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post #2476 of 2490 Old 02-12-2020, 04:14 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Feb 2014
Location: Australia
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Originally Posted by tinyliny View Post
what's a "lamington"?
It's an Australian cake that looks like this:

And that's what a black dog looks like after rolling in white sand. Also a dark horse! Both Jess and Sunsmart looks like Lamingtons on a regular basis.
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post #2477 of 2490 Old 02-12-2020, 08:37 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Feb 2014
Location: Australia
Posts: 7,662
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I spend most of my outdoors time melting, because we have a lot of heat and humidity these last couple of weeks. The UV in unbelievable (even in the morning and later afternoon - I avoid 10am - 3pm by going indoors) and the tip of my nose looks like Rudolph where the brim of my hat didn't reach - so I have to get a hat with a wider brim. I actually have and use a sombrero as well, but when it's windy, it nearly lifts me off the ground by the chin strap, or flies off backwards and then the string chokes me.

The cherries and nectarines are harvested, and I'm more than halfway through harvesting our two Japanese blood plums. I have made eight cauldrons of plum sauce. It's just plums concentrated down in their own juice with 10% added sugar to draw the juice out at the start. I can fit 7L of plum quarters into each cauldron - over 6kg of fruit, each time.

When it's properly concentrated, you're left with around 3L of stuff to bottle. This plum sauce is superb on pancakes and waffles, or on toast with ricotta, or on rice cream. We eat lots of it in winter. I've simmered down nearly 50kg of plums so far, and will do more yet. I'm also making slab plum cakes - roll out wholemeal brioche-type yeast pastry on a tray, and cover with plum quarters. Dust with cinnamon and bake in a moderate oven for half an hour. Eat with cream or custard, for breakfast, morning tea, afternoon tea or anytime you need a snack.

These are the Satsuma plums, of which I harvested around 8 buckets:

On top of one of the buckets are also some Youngberries and Cox' Orange Pippin apples, which are the first apple variety to ripen in our orchard, in mid-summer. Jonathans are just starting now as well, and the Granny Smiths and Sundowners will start soon.

The Mariposa plums are in full swing now.

We lost our new yellow nectarine tree, and it looks like our 7-year-old peach is also dying. Their fruit was therefore bitter (they dropped all their leaves at early fruiting stage) and I'm taking their nets off and letting the birds eat that stuff. Their spots near the tank are too wet for them. I'll have to plant new trees further up the slope in winter. It's probably too late to shift the trees.

The Morello cherries looked like this:

I made Cherry Clafoutis several times, and froze many bags of cherries so I can make more Clafoutis, and also Blackforest Trifle, later on.

The white nectarines were lovely - we had a lot of them fresh, and I also stewed some for later.

There's lots of salad tomatoes like this:

So lots of tzatziki, and tomato/basil/mozzarella salad etc. Here's what a typical meal looks like:

We bought the fish, but the potato wedges and tzatziki are all from our own ingredients. Also the dill on the mayonnaise.

These are Mariposa plums, and also some of our first pears ever:

Pears take a long time to fruit (7 years +) and this years we got our first crop! So last night I made this, for the first time, with our own pears!

The pears get poached in spiced wine, hence the colour.

Tomatoes are ripening indoors where the birds don't peck at them:

They get soaked and frozen for winter. I find that easier than doing bottled tomatoes at this stage. The freezer is rapidly filling...

This pumpkin is making tonight's pie topping - Kangaroo Bourguignon Pie with pumpkin topping.

A bag of stuff I came in with today:

Five-colour silverbeet, to go into spinach & feta gozleme tomorrow:

More pumpkins: that's keeping things very busy (and tasty...)

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post #2478 of 2490 Old 02-12-2020, 09:28 AM
Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: Vermont
Posts: 6,541
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I know jelaousy is frowned upon, but wow, that produce
The white nectarines especially- those are in my top 5 of favorite fruits (a list mostly dominated by berries). They are very hard to get locally because we don't have great conditions for growing them, so they often come from at least a few states away. Our favorite farm stand brings them from Pennsylvania (a couple of states away) for a few weeks in the summer, and they're so delicate you almost have to eat them in the car on the way home because they are so prone to bruising.

Everything looks so delicious! Hope you get some relief from the heat though.
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post #2479 of 2490 Old 02-12-2020, 10:47 AM
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Join Date: Apr 2015
Posts: 2,903
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That dinner looks amazing. We are in the last throes of winter here and I truly miss my garden produce. My freezer is now bare of all that I froze and my canned apples are also gone. Thank you for the beautiful pictures. I do not have near the same amount of fruit trees or the drive to can as you do but I love the pictures.
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post #2480 of 2490 Old 02-12-2020, 12:58 PM
Join Date: Apr 2018
Location: Missouri farm
Posts: 31
• Horses: 2
Mmmm... red plum jelly. home canned tomato juice. PICKLED everything! nice to dream about when the snow is falling here.
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