Thursday, November 26, 2009

A serious health issue for our children

I have been wondering whether to do this as a request and finally decided to take the responsibility as it is such an important issue.

Mountain locals may have seen in yesterday's BM Gazette a story about a couple of children suffering health problems due to the unflued gas heaters in Blackheath Public School. While the article outlined their personal story, I thought it was a real shame that they didn't mention the campaign that has been running for a while trying to raise awareness and gather signatures on their petition.  (Campaign Opposing Unflued Gas Heating).

I am concerned personally because my children will be attending Blackheath school next year, however the reality is that many schools across the Blue Mts and NSW have unflued gas heaters which are posing a threat to our children's health. It is a particular problem to us as we have more cool days requiring heating than schools in many other areas.

There is a huge amount of evidence worldwide linking health problems with this type of heating- and it has been BANNED for many years in most other countries, and in every state of Australia except NSW. W.A recently ordered complete removal of all of these heaters from schools by Christmas this year - (ironically due to this NSW campaign) but yet our own schools still have them. (It is not a decision of each school, but of each State's Dept. Education and Training). There is a load of info on the COUGH website if you want to know more.

OK, I've stood on my soapbox long enough, thank you for reading this far!! Now some ACTION---

Whether this affects your children directly or you just care about other childrenPlease take 2 minutes to sign the online petiton here --

It is very easy - just your name and email and they send a confirmation email to make sure you are genuine. (And if you have more than one email address both parents can sign it) I'm not asking that you stand outside protesting with banners (!) just a quick online signature .... and if you know anyone else with young children- please feel free to pass this on.

We need to ensure all of our children are safe in their schools.


Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Lost my mojo...

LOST - One Blogging Mojo. Energy to get stuff done.

LAST SEEN - Looking very flat and tired, wandering aimlessly. Doing half jobs.

If anyone knows how I can find my mojo, or how to tempt it back I would be most appreciative of some advice.

REWARD? Well maybe I can finally write again (if I manage to get anything done worth writing about). Maybe even stick a few nice pics in there too.

Friday, November 6, 2009

My new (old) sewing table

I've been meaning to blog this for over a week, but chicks seem to be dominating everything at the moment! I found this table by chance at an op shop last week, it was sitting outside, shouting out to me! Apparently it had just been donated, it certainly wasn't there the week before when I called in. At just $30 I bought it straight away, luckily hubby was with me to do the heavy lifting :-)

Its an old Janome table, same brand as my sewing machine, and its really sturdy! Lovely solid timber except for the veneer on the drawer fronts, with only a few marks on it, great condition for an old table I think.

The top has 2 hinged 'arms' which fold outward, really smoothly, 4 drawers and a little flip out bit at the front, maybe for pins etc? Strangely reminds me of the old school desks we used to use in England (minus the inkwells- yes, I really am that old!) I don't know how old it is, I'm thinking maybe 70's because of the veneer?
I emailed Janome asking for any info such as how I might be able to fit a new machine to it, but no replies :( 
I do know that they don't even make tables now though.

Of course, these impulse buys are not always thought through perfectly .... mmmm.... I assumed I would be able to fit my machine in the space but unfortunately not.....

I think it would have once had it's own machine fitted, and thanks to some knowledgable folk over at ALS I am told there would have been 2 hinges at the back holding the machine in, and it would have folded down into the table. No way that can happen with my machine, firstly its the wrong size for the hole and secondly modern machines are way heavier than the old ones.

I am thinking maybe just filling the top in with a board so my machine can just sit on the top, that way I can still open the top parts up to spread fabric out etc. Or even easier, just stick it on the top like this !!

But still, I am very happy with it. I think it's a great old table and just what I need. Now, I just need to actually DO some sewing to justify my investment!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

And then there were five .....

We said goodbye to tiger and boss chick last night, it was very sad and a very unpleasant job but they weren't getting better and their hock joints were looking very painful and swollen. It would be more cruel to make them suffer, and they weren't happy, they were just existing.

The five survivors .....

"No, I will NOT smile for the camera. This IS my best side!"

.... and Blondie's new trick - she jumps up so easily onto the top of the water bottle to get a better view! She is the smallest of the lot and the others look at her like "how the ? did you get up there?" LOL!

"Oh, I just KNOW I can fly out of here - if only she would leave the lid open...."

Monday, November 2, 2009

Chicky Update

Well, our little chickies were 2 weeks old yesterday, and I've had a few requests for an update- so here it is!

(I had intended to do an update earlier, but our household has all been hit by coughs, colds and horrible croaky throat germs for nearly a week now, hubby having a week off work and trying to make the most of it, having a crisis about the non-building situation (long story) and the usual chaos that is our daily lives here. And I still don't have my own voice back!)

Bad news first - 2 of them have developed a 'slipped tendon' in the hock joint, which basically is a dislocation in the main leg joint. This is a fairly common event in young chicks (particularly wyandottes I recently found out) and although there is some disagreement amongst the experts about how it is caused the outcome is the same. It is not able to be fixed and the long term prospects are not good. Most breeders or experienced chook keepers will cull the chicks as soon as this happens.

Of course, we are having a hard time dealing with this. The two chicks I am sure are both hens which makes it worse as we would have kept them.

The first to have the leg problem was 'tiger' - our daughters favourite. She has the most beautiful feather patterning, all stripes and gorgeous colours, really stood out from the others. She has adapted a little bit by hopping around but often loses balance.

The second one was 'boss chick' the first born who helped all the others out of their shells and has a beautiful nature, and after the first few days I started to realise she was much more of a mother hen than a rooster.

We still have them, but probably not for long. As they grow it will be more difficult for them to have normal chooky behaviours such as scratching the dirt and foraging for food, perching to sleep and making themselves dust baths etc. Already they are last to get to the feed and sometimes get pushed out. I am trying to see that it is more cruel to keep them than to let them live but it is so hard!

So, of the 5 remaining I am convinced 3 are roosters now.

Big Grey has been confirmed by the breeder as a cockeral due to his colouring (they way his breeding program went he can tell this for this chick only) He is a gorgeous fluffy silver chick, very gentle for a cockeral.

Big Red  - I am sure is a cockeral too, he stands so tall, wide comb, very confident and bigger than the girls.

And Racer Boy- the most aggressive by far, likes to pick a fight with Big Red and let everyone know he is the top of the pecking order- literally.

BTW- they still don't have real names - I thought that would be be good so we wouldn't get really attached to them yet. That idea didn't work :)

Little Blondie (my sons fave) is so cute - the breeder thinks she is a pullet (young hen) and I am sure she is a female too. Silvery blonde and has tiny gold bits coming through on her wings, she will be a beauty. Apparently she is a Blue Laced Gold 'Sport'- a much lighter than usual colouring.

Goldie - hmm, not sure about this one. I'm thinking hen, I'm hoping hen, but not 100% sure. Comb is narrower than the boys. Size between hens and roos. Lovely chick all the same.

So we may end up with 2 good hens and hopefully keep 1 of the roosters too (I have a soft spot for Big Grey already!)

They are all showing off big wing feathers now and some are starting to show their shoulder feathers and spiky tail feathers coming through.

And they can fly. Did you know chickens fly? Oh yes, they can definitely fly. Blondie especially is a flightly little thing, leave the smallest gap in the brooder lid and she'll have a go. It's like having budgies! Ok they don't get very far, but they are quick. I'm hoping this will lessen when they get bigger and heavier....

They moved into their spacious new residence yesterday- Jacqui's rabbit hutch! Still indoors for a few weeks yet, and still with an infra-red heat lamp on at nights, and days when it is cool.

Hopefully will post another update when they are a month old. :-)