Cleaning up and preparing for Christmas

13 December 2017
Our days have been full all this week. We did our grocery shopping yesterday and drove to Beerwah for the first time since the storm. Oh my, it's much worse than I expected it to be. The trees and rubbish have been moved off the road but is still waiting to be picked up. The railway line to Brisbane is still closed and maintenance crews are going along picking up what they can and cleaning the tracks.  I think it will be another couple of weeks before it's all done. Back here at home, Hanno cut up the storm damaged trees and branches and someone from Airtasker will haul it all away to the council tip this morning.  Now I've seen the rest of the neighbourhood, I think we got off lightly. There are areas just down the road near the Steve Irwin zoo that look like a tornado has ripped through and parts of the local forest will take years to recover.

But I have good news too. We're getting some new chickens next month! A few of our girls have booked themselves into the retirement village and some days the egg supply is beginning to look pretty grim. We have nine girls now and three or four of them have stopped laying so I think a small flock of six new girls will get things on the move again. We often have non-laying hens here because we let them live out their lives just swanning around looking beautiful. I'm always excited when there is the promise of new chickens. They are a big part of our backyard, they give us the best eggs, provide entertainment and laughs and they're great insect hunters.

 Drying oregano in the oven.
You'll probably remember I've been having problems sleeping.  Well, more good news! Although I can't say I'm having a normal night's sleep I'm sleeping well and feeling better when I get up.  I had a checkup at my doctors recently (all is well) and she told me about Melatonin. It's a natural hormone which we all produce in our bodies and it seems I've not got as much as I should have.
This is the Melatonin I'm taking. It doesn't state a strength. It's called Melantonin 6x.

So my doctor told me to buy Melatonin from the chemist and see if it worked for me.  It does.  I chew four tablets before I go to bed and usually feel tired about 30 minutes later. I still wake up once during the night but my sleeps are deep sleeps, I'm dreaming again and I feel it's doing me good. I'm so pleased my doctor told me about this gentle therapy. I don't take any prescribed medication and Melatonin does clash with some drugs.  If you want to try this, please check with your doctor first.

As I said earlier, Hanno and I did our shopping yesterday and bought our Christmas ham and a few Christmas treats as well as our normal weekly shop.  It was a big effort going to Woolworths and Aldi but we got exactly what we wanted.  The job of putting it away saw us overflowing out of our fridge and into Sunny's. Luckily, she only had a tray of mangoes in her fridge in the shed. All we have to do now is return to the shop late next week to pick up milk, cream, fruit and vegetables and we'll be set. I'm looking forward to watching the Boxing Day cricket match - it's a tradition here to spend the entire day watching the cricket to recover from Christmas day and the build up to it. I love knowing we have cold ham and drinks, good bread, salad and leftover pavlova in the fridge, and that everyone can help themselves.  There a few of us here (I'm not naming names) who sit watching the cricket while we knit or sew. I hope you've all got your projects ready. It's just the best way to spend Boxing Day.  Sales, what sales!

And finally my friends, I've had two enquiries about blog courses next year.  I do them online - a mixture of my notes sent out to participants, setting up your blog in your own time using the notes, then two face-to-face conversations with everyone in the course, on Skype.  All the blogs are shared around the group so you get feed back from a few people. The cost is US$100. Along with the usual topics such as layout, keywords, blog titles and style, we discuss how to set up a blog and how to build it up in the following years. I think there are three keys to a successful blog and they are good content, a clear and simple layout and a spirit of generosity, tolerance, inclusion and kindness. The Skype sessions we did on the last course were much better than I expected them to be and everyone seemed to get a lot out of them.  Not only could we talk to each other in real time, questions were asked and experiences shared.  I'm happy to do two separate courses if there is enough interest: basic blogging and blogging to gain a following or a book contract. I'm thinking we might have a course in mid-February if there is interest.   Let me know.