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Vena McGrath

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Member Since: Feb, 2004

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29 December 2007 - 1302
12/28/2007 6:02:26 PM

Christmas comes but once a year - in some ways it's good it does but in other ways it would be nice to have that 'feel good' feeling more often.
It's all over for another year and 2008 is hurtling towards me. The tree had a mishap on Boxing Day evening when my sons were readying our two doggies, labrador Lizzie and Golden Retriever Shaye, for a walk. They were of course very excited and trying to harness Shaye up can be difficult even when I'm with him and no one else is about. Trying to do it with company is almost impossible. My sons were in the loungeroom, sitting near the tree, and Lizzie became entangled in the leads for the lights on the tree. She took off with the tree crashing down behind her. Needless to say, the tree looks very much the worse for wear, and indeed looks like it had a bit too much Christmas cheer lol.

I haven't had the incentive yet to pull it apart and pack everything away again. I liked it with the lights on as it looked very pretty. A job yet to be done, probably when the visitors have left.

We had a wonderful leg of ham this year. I really don't care that much for ham but this is sure one hell of a nice tasty ham. The butcher shop at the shopping centre near here has hams out for half price today and yet Woolworths Supermarket still has them at $40 plus for a leg. My daughter bought a leg from the butcher today for $27 - a steal really at $7.50 a kilo. Not many people out shopping this morning and I imagine a lot have left Sydney for their annual holidays on the north coast of NSW, in Queensland and on the South Coast where there are some truly beautiful small beaches. I always think that the south coast is much prettier than the north coast, where the beaches are mostly quite lengthy stretches of sand and water. I prefer a beach with a bit of character, a small one with rocky edges that go out a little way into the sea.

The weather has been, until the last two days, overcast and showery on and off. It't heating up though and the pool is at around 28C which is quite warm. Any hotter than that and the solar has to be turned off because it becomes too hot to enjoy. Shaye loves the pool and swims like a retriever should. The trouble is that being a long haired dog he loses a fair amount of hair in the water and it's not a good look floating on top of the pool. My son allows him in the pool occasionally and poor Shaye barks frantically when anyone is having a swim and he isn't allowed join them. It's very annoying and a shame, but keeping the pool clean for humans to enjoy takes a bit of effort and dog hair isn't smiled at. I figure once my son goes back to work that I will sneak Shaye into the pool every day and then spend the time it takes to skim the hair off.

I thought about trying to find some kind of doggie pool for him for the yard and might still look into that option. He loves to be wet and when it rains will find any water lying around the yard that he can and lays in it. Whenever he has a drink he stands in his water dish, even though he can only fit his two front feet in it. I'm constantly emptying the dish out to get rid of the dirt he tramps in there. Even as a little puppy he would mess the water out of his dish in the laundry and lay down in the wet. He needs a paddock and a dam and I'm sure he would be eternally happy just lying in the water most of the time.

Shaye, Lizzie and my daughter's little dog Benny, all had presents under the tree and had fun ripping the paper off. Of course I missed out on taking pics because at the time my granddaughter took the pressies outside to them I was getting food organised. Oh well, maybe next year :)

No plans for New Year as it's really just passing out of one year into the next and with daylight saving, midnight isn't really midnight anyhow. I imagine I will just be here at home with Shaye and my cat safely inside where they can't be frightened by people with nothing better to do than roam around throwing crackers about. They are banned in Sydney and yet people still have them and abuse them.

I grew up in a Sydney where we had cracker night every year in the winter and we always had a bonfire in the backyard and bags of all kinds of crackers to let off. My kids grew up in that world too, but times were already changing with letterboxes being blown up by crackers made with copper pipe, and animals were being tortured by people shoving crackers up their rear ends and in their mouths. The cruelty of the last few generations made it necessary to ban crackers so that the only way you can legally enjoy them is to watch displays on TV or find a vantage point around the harbour to watch, or pay to go to different sporting and entertainment venues to see them. However I believe that they are sold in the city in Chinatown and that the Asian population are permitted to have them. Kind of makes you wonder.

It appears the rain has moved away again with no forecast for any for the next week. January may prove to be like most years, so hot that it's hard to go outside and do anything, even hang the washing on the line. You no sooner hang the clothes out and they need to be brought back inside. Gardening is a nono except very early in the morning or later in the afternoon as the sun drops away in the west. Fortunately I decided to get my finger out last weekend when it was cooler and wetter, and did the weeding then. I swear that weeds grow better here than plants do :) There is now grass in the yard where there hasn't been any grass for years as all the brown dirt patches have finally been covered in some nice green stuff.

A bit of research on Sydney Catchment area water levels in dams shows that we have just under 61% capacity over all the dams. This is a marked improvement to even this year when Warragamba Dam, which is located in the Nepean catchment near Penrith, was edging to below 30%. We have had some decent rains over the last weeks and hopefully the tides have turned and we many now begin to receive the rain we need to keep the dams at a workable and safe level. The desalination plant planned for Sydney will apparently eat up a lot of electricity so it's been stated that it should only be used when the dam levels become a concern. I believe that in spite of the improvement in our water storage supplies, this plant should be built so that it is there ready when needed.

I remember being told a few years ago that in the future civil wars will erupt all over the globe as people fight over water and food. Forget weapons of mass destruction and nuclear weapons and oil and all the other things men fight wars over. There are 2 things that human beings cannot survive without - water being number on and then food. It's not hard to imagine that this could in fact happen in the future especially as populations grow far beyond the capabilities of water storage facilities and food storage. How many people have anything at all growing in their backyards or in pots on patios etc., that they can eat and survive on? Almost nil compared to when I grew up. Almost everyone then had a vege patch and chooks for eggs and the chooks to eat once they stopped laying. People even had a cow for milk.

It's a scarey thought when visualising how it would be if war broke out and there were no supermarkets laden with food anymore. We are, in the main, totally ruined as hunters and gatherers and farmers. We live in cities and work in cities and in order to keep the cities viable, we have been programmed to buy everything we need. Only those few with memories of how great backyard veges can be and how cheap they are to grow, still maintain those gardens. I have a lemon tree with no lemons on it and a few tomato plants growing that have a few flowers on them. I doubt that the soil in the garden is condusive to growing anything that thrives and in order to have worthwhile produce, one would need to build a garden from scratch with all the right soils and nutrients and mulch added before planting.

Someone should start up an advertising campaign pushing the idea of the backyard vege farm, encouraging people to try it out. Once you have eaten a grosse lisse tomato with that acid bite to it, you would never eat the lame tasting tomatoes that you pay a premium price for in the shops. Has anyone noticed how tough the skins are on tomatoes now and how hard it is to cut them up in slices? I suppose they have cultivated them so they are like that and can be packaged with less damage to the fruit because of the tough skins.

This started out as a big of a blog about Christmas and now I'm growing veges on the page. Think it's time I said farewell until the next time I am inspired to write a few hundred lines :)

It was very sad to hear about the Pakistan leader who was assassinated. What a crazy world of twisted souls there are out there that they can see right in taking another human being's life in such a cowardly way as to shoot her without giving her the chance to defend. It was especially sad to read that she leaves behind her 2 teenage children and a 4 y.o. Her passion for her country and its right to democracy must have far outweighed her responsibilities to her children. That I can't reconcile to but then I'm an Aussie and family is THE most important thing in my life and I am told constantly by the media and the Government that I do live in a democracy. Democracy is whatever it is to the person mouthing off about it at the time. Having to vote or paying a fine for not voting isn't democratic nor is conscription. But that's another story.

Take care and have a very safe and happy New Year.


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More Blogs by Vena McGrath
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• Saturday 31 January 2009 - 4.20PM - Friday, January 30, 2009
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• Wednesday 7 January 2009, 1.50 pm - Tuesday, January 06, 2009
• Tuesday 23 December 2008 - 1754 hours - Monday, December 22, 2008
• Monday 24 November 2008 - 8.48 pm eastern standard daylight saving time Sydney Australia - Monday, November 24, 2008
• Monday 10 November 2008 - 12.10 am - Sunday, November 09, 2008
• Friday 26 September 2008 - 8.30 pm EST - Friday, September 26, 2008
• Saturday 13 September 2008 - Friday, September 12, 2008
• Saturday 5 July 2008 - 10.15 am - Friday, July 04, 2008
• Trees - Tuesday, June 10, 2008
• Monday 9 June 2008 - Monday, June 09, 2008
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• Easter 2008 in Sydney Australia - Thursday, March 20, 2008
• Sunday 24 February 2008 - Saturday, February 23, 2008
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•  29 December 2007 - 1302 - Friday, December 28, 2007  

• Christmas Eve - 4.50 pm dst Sydney Australia - Sunday, December 23, 2007
• Thursday 15 November 2007 - When Death Calls - Wednesday, November 14, 2007
• Sunday 26 August 2007 - Saturday, August 25, 2007
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• Rain, rain, and then ... more rain! - Saturday, June 09, 2007
• MySpace - Tuesday 29 May - 9.27 pm EST Sydney - Tuesday, May 29, 2007
• Saturday 26 May 2007 = 8.16 pm EST - Saturday, May 26, 2007
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• Monday 26 February - 7.15 am - Sunday, February 25, 2007
• Thursday 22 February 2007 = 9,07 pm - Thursday, February 22, 2007
• Thursday 15 February 2007 - 7.17 am - Wednesday, February 14, 2007
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• Friday 2 February 2007 ... 9.34 pm Sydney Australia - Friday, February 02, 2007
• Today is 27/1/07 - Time 9.25 am Sydney Daylight Saving - Friday, January 26, 2007
• Sunday 14 January 2007 - 9.07 p.m. daylight saving time Sydney Australia - Sunday, January 14, 2007
• Tuesday 26 December - Boxing Day - Monday, December 25, 2006
• Christmas Eve in Sydney Australia - Saturday, December 23, 2006
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• Around the World in 26 Days - Saturday, October 07, 2006