24 March 2012

No Lights, No Problem

Romantic dinner for two
Yesterday we had heavy winds, naturally followed by a power blackout at around 1:30pm. Immediately Ariel and the crew at the shop followed our "Blackout Action Plan".
1. Plug in the old un-powered phone. Now we can field calls from customers.
2. Get out the manual sales book and record sales so we can input them into the system later.
3. Get the generator from home and connect it to the main milk fridge and public freezers and computer.
4. Put a pot on the stove and fill with water so we can provide tea and instant coffee, and
5. Light the open fire to get a fully romantic experience.
As the majority of our cooking is gas we could still run the restaurant. The Energy company confidently told us they would get power back by 4:00pm. We found this impressive considering they had not yet discovered the location of the actual fault. This estimate then moved to 5:00pm, 6:30pm and eventually 10:00pm.
Friday night is our restaurant night at the shop and a little power failure wasn't going to stop us or our regular customers. We had candles romantically set up on all the tables, buckets of water in each bathroom for toilet flushing and washing of hands, camping lights in the kitchen and we were in business.  There were a lot of take-away (eat out) orders from customers who only had electric cooking facilities or as one explained it, "I had the meat but it was frozen and we normally use the microwave to thaw it out.  So I told my husband it was either macaroni and cheese or burgers from the shop.  It was not a difficult decision."

20 March 2012

Girls making dolls

The Girls and their dolls
Clare and Rose have been insisting I take a photo of the dolls they entered in the show, so they can start playing with them.  About 2 months ago the girls discovered a sewing book in the mobile library which visits our village every fortnight. So naturally they wanted to start making ALL the projects contained in this book of treasures.
Clare completed a knitted bag, a knitted cat, a few other things and the ultimate project - her own doll!
The outline of the dolls were traced onto quilters muslin/calico. Clare hand sewed hers, and Rose started by hand sewing about a leg and a half and reckoned it "was too hard" so used the sewing machine to finish it off under Lana's guidance.
Grandma helped the girls stuff the dolls using her experience making teddy bears.  The eyes, mouth and hair were sewed using back stitch and running stitch.  Rose used felt for the hair.  Buttons were used for ear-rings. Grandma supplied ribbons and Clare hand sewed, while Rose machine sewed the dress and top.
Clare entered her doll "Lady Daisy Chain" in Hand Sewn Article for children 10 and under.  Rose entered her doll "Daisy" in Machine Made Article for children14 and under.  Rose did well for a 7 year old.

18 March 2012

Prizes! Prizes!

Clare's Jewellery Box - for Mum
The last two weekends have been show season in this part of the country.  Once more we entered lots of items in the "Pavilion" which contains all the arts, crafts, vegetables, eggs, photos, cooking and other items of interest produced locally.
Each of us entered a number of item according to their interests. I put in some photos, Lana entered much cooking and cross stitch, the other children entered cross stitch, photos, painted figures, and so on.
For example, Peter entered a zucchini we grew in the backyard and won first prize for the largest zucchini.
We all won prizes, which we will show in the next few posts, but here is Clare with a jewellery box she made for Lana.  On the lid were decorations with Lana's name and a butterfly.  Clare made the box with some tutoring from Opa, then painted the box and lined the interior with felt.  She screwed in each of the hook screws (mostly in a straightish line), and then I had the hardest part.
My mission - which I chose to accept - was to find some appropriate decorations in the department store.  This involved multiple phone conversations with me trying to describe the various decorations and hoping that I had translated the requests correctly.
Clare then applied the decorations in her own artistic fashion with some help from Grandma and Opa (as Lana was not allowed to see it before her birthday).  Initially Clare wanted to use EVERY decoration we had purchased.  But that would have made the box completely "Bling".
Clare wanted to put the words "Lana's Box" on the lid, but she agreed that "Lana" would suffice.

16 March 2012

Helping out

Height is no barrier
We try to operate as a family unit as much as possible.  Although Lana takes the lead as Home Maker, the rest of the family pitch in based on their appropriate skills.
"Getting the clothes off the line" some would consider a job for only the taller children or adults as the clothes line is well above the reach of little people.  But this photo shows you how it can be done.  Rose (7) uses a ubiquitous milk crate as a stool and can just each the pegs.  Martin then assists by being a clothes horse.
And if we are really lucky, the clothes make it inside without any dropping on the ground.

15 March 2012

Twinkle Toes Times Two

Are you looking at me?
Clare and Rose are having a great time learning some ballet.  A local lady wanted to teach ballet but the insurance costs were too stupid to contemplate.  So we offered the use of the shop shed for her to train Clare and Rose.  No cost all round and the girls and the lady are having a marvellous time.

The girls wanted to give the family a test concert the other day so created tickets ("Ballate Ticick for Dad") which we all had to present to the usher who validated the ticket using a hole punch.
This was a lot of work for a 2 minute concert to a shortened version of The Dance of The Sugar Plum Fairy.

(BTW - Later tickets were spelled correctly)

Have you drunk a Spider?

Mmmm - a Creaming Soda Spider
At the shop we have brought in many traditional food and cafe items like milkshakes with 2 scoops of ice cream served in old fashioned tin cups, Sundaes with plenty of topping, cream and real ice cream.  One item we introduced is "Ice Cream Spiders".
Basically, all you do is have 2 generous scoops of vanilla ice cream in a fancy cup and then add your favourite Soft drink (soda pop).  The drink foams up to the top - and if you did this step properly - not go over the edge.
Many of our older customers wanted to recreate a favourite drink of their past and have a Ginger Beer spider.  Cool!

Meet our Evil Overlord

Armed and Dangerous
We have not posted for some time as life has been rather busy.
The shop has developed greatly over the last 3 years and is now profitable (just) for the first time in around 100 years.  Also, my consulting work has kept me away from home many nights each week and I also now lecture on business at one of the major universities (colleges) in Sydney.
While those activities have been happening, the children continue to grow.  Zach is now 2 years old.  He has mastered the art of water guns and loves to use them on hot days, laughing with a great "evil overlord" style laugh as he targets his victims.