Saturday, 16 June 2012

The continuing pandanus saga

You may remember a bit over a week ago we started pulling out the pandanus plants in the backyard?  You know... the day I got bogged and then fell in the skip (thank you for that extra laugh, I know you needed it!).  Well this morning the Big Fella decided it was time to try to pull the rest of the roots and such out (now that we have our gardening tools back - yay!).

Here's what it looked like when we started cutting it down:

And after we'd cut it all down and left it to dry out a bit:

So we started with burning off the dry bits of the one on the far right (so that we could see the root system).  Then hosed it to stop the fire.  The Big Fella then started hacking into the root system and trying to remove it.  He had his crowbar and saw and shovels out, but the plant is actually quite soft and he was having a really hard time of it.

Then came the brilliant idea of looping some chain in and around the plant, and hooking it up to the Rodeo via a snatch strap!  That would make it heaps easier!

After the first attempt the chain pretty much cut through the roots it was tied around.  Attempt two pulled the root ball out (with a few tugs and some tyre tracks in the grass) and we were very pleased with ourselves.

We pulled out the rest of the roots then moved on to the biggest - the one in the centre.

After the successful use of the ute and snatch strap, the Big Fella decided to go straight to that idea and hooked it all up.  A couple of pulls and I thought it looked like it was just going to go through the top of the plant, not grab it properly so it could pull it all out.

Just after that thought occurred, the chain snapped!

Thankfully it just went under the car and didn't seem to do any damage.

We unhooked the chain from the plant and saw that it had pulled through some of the roots so decided to try again.

You guessed it!  The chain snapped again!

Not willing to give up, the Big Fella decided to have another go but this time when the chain snapped it swung up and hit the back of the tray and took out the number plate and the little lights that illuminate it at night.

We decided not to continue with the ute at that stage.

Here's the dint in the tray after the Big Fella had pushed the number plate back in place (can you see that little bit of yellow paint under the stick?  That's from the shackle at the other end of the snatch strap!):

We decided to do another burn and get rid of the dry material so that we could see the roots properly.  After the burn and hosing we did a bit of hacking and the Big Fella used his crow bar to pull out a little sleeper log that we discovered (I'm guessing that didn't help our cause earlier).

Perhaps stupidly we decided to have another go with the snatch strap.  The Big Fella found a bigger chain and hooked it through the root ball a bit better. After several attempts it finally sounded like it was moving and then... success!  It was out!  Yay!!!!!

We were both knackered by this time so we did a little clean up and decided to leave the rest for tomorrow... or another day ;-)

After a little rest (and a chat on Skype to my mum) we decided we needed to do some baking.  A week or so ago the Big Fella heard about red velvet cake and wanted to have a go.  So I got the ingredients then he didn't want to make it.  So today we got around to it.  It didn't have enough red so we added some more :-D

Here's the Little Big Fella enjoying the fruits of our labour:

And the Big Fella tried some too (which is weird because he doesn't normally like cake much).  Notice the spot on the side of his mouth?  He didn't and I left it there for about an hour before I mentioned it (tee hee hee).

And here's the end result with some orange cream cheese icing.  The recipe had us cook it in two round tins and then we were supposed to stack them on top of each other with a layer of icing in between.  We decided to make it as two separate cakes so the Big Fella could take one to work and we could have one at home.  I think it looks better than the photo shows.  I was surprised that it didn't taste more chocolate-y given that it's basically a chocolate cake with red colouring.  It was yummy though :-D


Well, the baking didn't end there.  The Big Fella asked me to make some scones using the leftover buttermilk.  I did a bad job of them though!  Not enough liquid so I over mixed them and they came out pretty tough.  Oh well! I guess I'll have to try again tomorrow :-D

And then we'd decided to make pies for dinner using some leftover beef roast that the Big Fella put through the mincer, mixed with some veges and leftover gravy. So I made the pastry and rolled it out and didn't think it was that great.  They turned out yummy enough though - especially because the Big Fella made the filling quite delicious :-D

And then (because the day wasn't full enough already), the Big Fella went to work and the Little Big Fella and I went to our first local footy match.  We rugged right up because it's starting to get a bit chilly around here at night (down to about 5 degrees C).  He loved it!  To start with he wasn't interested in anyone or anything else - he just wanted to sit down and watch the match.  He was fully engrossed in it!

At half time he kind of realised that his friends were there and they had lollies so we went and bought one for him.  We ended up finding our next door neighbours and the people who puppy-sat for us and spent the 2nd half of the game with them.

Besides being cold and needing our beanies, it was a good game!  Our local guys played against the guys from the next town so there was some obvious rivalry in it.  And our boys played well!  There was one young fella who really booked it a few times and raced down the field!  It was very exciting :-)

About 7 minutes before the end of the game the Little Big Fella started to get seriously tired so I bundled him onto my lap and hugged him and rocked him.  When the game was over I had to carry him to the car - he was so tired!  He was asleep by the time we got through the 3 minute drive home!

But then the puppies got all excited about us being home and woke him up a bit.  They ended up coming inside and jumping all over the place and finished up on his bed with him.  They definitely won't like it when they have to go out when I go to bed, but I guess them's the breaks when you're a dog!

So there goes another big, productive, fun day!

I'm finding it amazing that we're busier and much more social in this little town than we were before in a larger town.  I think it has a fair bit to do with living with the Big Fella again, but I think it's also the flavour of this place too.  On the one hand there's not much to do, but people have created a great community atmosphere and everyone joins in with what others are doing.  I love it!  It feels like the way community ought to be to me.  Everyone living life together and helping one another through whatever happens.

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