Sunday, April 27, 2008

Camping with Ant and Nee..

Yesterday Vin, Van and I went out to Ant and Nee's block for our first camping session. Ant and Nee met Matt (Ant's bro) out there earlier in the day and got their bore water pumping around the block. They also got a new bath too. The place looks great and we had loads of fun. We arrived late afternoon and set up. There was plenty of wood from the clearing Vin and Ant had done a few weeks previously - so we were ready to have a blazer! It was a pretty perfect night really. Kangaroo stew in the camp oven, plenty of beer, marshmallows for dessert and a bath in the bush by firelight... The weather was beautiful, not too many mozzies and we can't wait to do it again!! Thanks Ant and Nee for sharing!!

Matt enjoying a bath after a days work.

Bath and shower! Matt and Ant (protecting his beer).

Aunty Nee teaching Van about the flora and fauna of their land.

Matt clearing the pathways from Base Camp 1 to Base Camp 2...

Beer time - the boys are happy...

Gathering the wood.. Note the bath in the background..

Van watching everything happening...

Nee bathing by the fire..

Camp oven action.

Hmmmmmm. Towards the end of the night.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Head down...

Checked on Van the other afternoon and was interested to see how he'd managed to sleep?!..


Must be?..

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Fenced In/Out

Installed a child safety gate in the kitchen archway today. Over the last week Vance has been getting in under the computer desk and pulling out the cords, trying to pull the rubbish and recycling bins off the shelf (they were raised so he couldn't fulfill his obsession with rubbish and glass bottles), trying to pull stuff off the kitchen bench if they're left too close to the edge (think knives and glassware), and beginning to open cupboard doors (we have used the safety locks over the handles, but we use the cupboards more often than Van tries to open them, so they've become a pain in the a**). So we took the step of getting the gate. I think I'll just be stepping over it, but Jodi might find opening and closing the gate very annoying eventually!

The safety gate across the kitchen arch.

Van can just see over the top - he's getting pretty tall/long now.

Let me in!

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Camping with a Toddler...

After much running around and umming and ahhhring - Vin and I decided we would go camping for a couple of nights these holidays. Unfortunately we weren't able to make it with any friends and not at an ideal camp site (a lot of places are still closed as it's the end of the Wet season), so we kind of knew it was gonna be hard work with Van. We went to one of our old stomping grounds - Buley Rockholes in Litchfield National Park, where at least we could swim anytime we wanted (no showers or running water there). There was plenty of stuff for him to get into and he decided it was so much fun that he wasn't going to sleep during the day (much to Mum and Dad's disappointment). It was kind of amusing watching him deliriously tired at times, though I think we'd entered the same kind of state.

Anyway - I shan't go on.. It was good to get out of Darwin, and in some sort of sadistic way it was fun with Van. Let's just say that the days of kicking back with a carton for the arvo are on hold.

There was much that Van marvelled at (he took a shining to a dead log submerged in one of the swimming holes), and also lots that got him a little freaked out (he knew someone was leaving when the tent zip made that hideously loud noise). So here are some pointers for those who are yet to have children but enjoy camping:

1. It's much easier with friends/family around.
2. Go camping as much as possible when your baby isn't moving.
3. Get them used to a tent zipping noise while they are sleeping so they don't wake every time the tent is opened or closed.
4. Don't worry if they get dirty (like - REALLY dirty) it's the only way you'll get your hands free for 5 minutes - but DO keep an eye on them, Van took a real liking to the fire place!

The 'family tent' and shade set up.

Vance initially fascinated by the tent netting.

Looking a little grubby from crawling around in the dirt. Things got a lot grubbier though - we just didn't have the opportunity to take the photos.

Dad doing his best to try and get some food into Van. It seems that when new stuff is around - food takes the back seat...

Vance swaying in his portacot.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Boys Bobcat Action on the Block

Yesterday I went out with Ant to his and Nee's block at out Herbert (near Humpty Doo). They bought it last year and have progressed to clearing a bit of space for some living quarters. They're planning on putting a couple of shipping containers there to live in and get the place ready for building a house in the future.
Ant hired a bobcat - the smaller model - so we could clear the land of trees and other plants and level out the ground as best we could. After a bit of a go, Ant handed the controls to me and we ended up doing a full day in the sun, knocking trees down and pulling out roots. Once I'd gotten used to the controls (two levers for steering and two foot pedals to control the bucket) it was pretty easy after a while. The NT is apparently one of the only, if not the only, place in Australia where you operate a bobcat without a license - as long as it's on private land. Sweet! It was like a couple of kids in a candy store...

Sizing up the job (and the machine)

What lay ahead - this "tree" was right in the middle of the space that needed to be cleared.

Bobcat through the trees.

Nearly done!

Ant giving me hand signals. The bucket was hard to see from inside the cab, so we resorted to sign language to get the job done. Worked well once we understood other!