Itchy feet, restless heart.

Hi guys – it’s been a while since I’ve blogged. But life’s like that, isn’t it? It’s like you blink and weeks have passed while you were just getting on with the ‘routine’.

The ‘routine’ has me a bit bummed lately. I mean I dont want to sound ungrateful – Im so blessed that my life is routine enough to be boringly comfortable, and not ravaged by war and uncertainty! And the grass is always greener, isn’t it?

But I’ve been catching up on Kate’s blog and their family’s trip overseas, and feeling a tad envious! Sometimes I want a bit of escapism! …But then I look at our animals and think “Omigosh I coudn’t possibly leave you for all that time, you smooshy fluffy Collie….*smoochsmoochsmooch*”

*sigh*

Still, next weekend, we’re off to McCrae to stay the weekend in a friend’s beach house, so Im looking forward to that! (AND the dogs get to come too!)

What else?

Oh yes – we finally got our spring seedlings in! We took the trailer and bought some market boxes for this year’s garden! The bales were great last year, but eventually they do start to decompose and fall to bits, and you find yourself with a bit of a mess of plants going to seed and sinkholes and twine. We’ve planted Choy Sum, Broccolini, Peas, Strawberries, Beetroots and I got one tiny tiny tomato to pop up – so fingers crossed it takes! Today I’m going to pop out to Mt Evelyn and grab some Zucchini and Leb cucumber seedlings. The cucumbers were prolific last year!

The apple trees are blossoming, the apricot’s looking good, the plum is… not as ‘fruity’ as last year. And the Hill Shadow Feral Bees are hard at work each day, you can hear the hum of them wokring all over the farm. Bless them x

Our 2 new goats got a haircut last week, and now they look like skinny little drowned rats! Poor boys! Their fleece hadn’t been maintained at all, so they were quite matted and dread locked round the chest, and I just didn’t have the heart to try to comb and pull at them. So we rang a mobile shearer and he popped out one day between jobs and now I have 2 cashmere fleeces in bags and two tiny skinny goats. I had high hopes of selling/using the fleece, but have found removing the guard hairs an absolute nightmare. Commercial cashmere gets dehaired by machine, and because this is shorn and not combed, some of it is a matted hairy mess. Still, when Im feeling patient, I clean up enough for me to use, and blend it in with something else.

This is our cashmere, blended with some alpaca I dyed orange and yellow, and plyed with the softest 16 micron merino – turned out ok, huh? Im planning on knitting this into a little beanie for my friend’s baby girl.

Currently on my needles is Ben’s birthday present (I’ve got til Dec 31!). It’s a v-neck jumper in TARDIS blue, with a pattern of Daleks and the TARDIS round the bottom. I spun all the wool myself – it’s half alpaca, half merino, indogo dyed by the Shepherdess herself, Niki – and Im hoping I’ll have enough… :S And Im kinda thinking about more socks… socks with cables… mmmm.

ok, I’ve ground to a halt. Time to go shower and get these girls dressed for the day. And feed the horse and let the goats out and break up the fights and put the washing on and tidy the breakfast things and…

*sigh* Oh well, at least it looks like being a beautiful day. And Im going to meet my friend Tash to check out the Lilydale Psychic Expo and have a coffee.

What are you going to do to make this day fun? Where are you travelling to next? What are you putting in your garden? What’s on your knitting needles? Who’s blog are you loving?

Tell me everything.
xx

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Rejection, regression, refusal, and remoteness.

It’s Friday afternoon of Kate’s first week of school, and I have committed the cardinal sin of putting on a movie to occupy Kate (Hey it’s hot and she’s had a big week! Well that’s my excuse…) and I’m shirking the washing up/cleaning/cooking in favour of this. Ben and Tara are asleep.

I’m feeling exhausted.

It’s been a big week.

Ben has ups and downs, so we really cant plan anything. Most of the time, he’s lying down or asleep. So im shouldering much of the driving/organising/parenting/farming/cleaning at the moment. Also I’m getting up in the night to the girls, and getting up with them at 6 or 6:30 each morning. It’s full-on. And it’s actually a bit lonely. When Ben is not asleep I try to take the girls out to get them out of the way and give him some quiet to work or rest, but it means when I come home, he goes to bed and I start dinner or bath the girls or feed the horse or watch tv on my own.

Kate has handled her first week of school really well and has made a few friends, but it has seen the return of her Encopresis (which I thought she was getting past!) – which if you’ve never been through it, is just HELL and RUNS YOUR LIFE. We’ve been battling it for a bout a year and a half now, pretty much non-stop, though over christmas it looked like she was over-coming it: Taking her self to the toilet without prompting and staying clean most days. Then she started school, and BANG. (As if I need that!) I dont really know if it’s cureable, but I pray every day that it will be!!! It’s just horrible: Disgusting, humiliating, frustrating.

When I’m not dealing with poo inside, I’m dealing with my animal poo outside, and that is the perfect segue to the garden. (See what I did there?)

Look at the corn-babies!

I didn’t have much time for the garden this week and last (Ben’s full week of chemo), but it has not suffered for it! In fact, the basil and tomatoes have taken over!

And it looks like the capsicums and cucumbers are going to be a success!

No success with the wheatgrass however! Sickly, little shoots or nothing at all! WTF?! I cant win! Oh well, not that it matters – I seem to have jammed part of my new juicer anyway, rendering it useless, until I can work out how to un-jam it.

(It’s really been a spectacularly bad week.)

The blackberries are going MAD, which is both good and bad: Bad for the fact that it is a nasty weed, but the fruit has been abundant and has made some great jam and muffins!

Also I grew come tiny stunted carrots (NEVER had success with carrots!) Which the kids liked pulling up and nibbling on anyway.

One other thing that I’ve found REALLY frustrating this week has come from trawling the internet for animal shelters, looking for a dog to adopt. I really wanted to adopt another dog after Henry. I miss having a dog, and Cookie is very much ‘Ben’s girl’. So, of course I have been looking at shelters and websites for almost 2 weeks, and let me tell you: The whole process has turned me RIGHT OFF adopting a shelter pet. Which is sad, because I know the idea is to encourage people to adopt rather than buy from backyards or pet shops. But the process is repetitive, intrusive, frustrating, and very expensive!

I have filled in countless forms justifying myself as an intelligent human being. I have given histories of previous animals, estimates of income, details of may daily routine including how much time I am likely to spend away from home, aquiesced to ‘home inspections’, and most of the time have received nothing but a computer-generated automatic response.

As soon as I say the words ‘we have a run, but no fence yet’ (My husband has cancer ok?!) and ‘small children’, I am often instantly dismissed.

And the animals I am deemed not fit to care for are often older dogs – 9 or 10 years old – of questionable breeding, but are still priced at $400 – $1000. (No: Im not kidding). WHERE IS THE INCENTIVE TO ADOPT? Some agencys even had the gall to tell me that “if” I was “shortlisted” they would match “ME” to a dog! Yep – I wouldn’t even get to choose!!!

I feel disillusioned, scrutinised, dismissed and frustrated. And sadly, I’m not sure I will continue down the avenue of looking at animal shelters. They seem to have waiting lists and an over-supply of people looking and not that many needy dogs (which is not the impression you get from the media and all these ‘adoption drives’ etc!). My illusions of going to the RSPCA and walking up and down the line of cages and finding the perfect mate who would jump into my arms and who would become my constant companion for ever seems really far away. Which is sad. Just look at the life we offer:

Yup. Clearly cold, neglected and miserable. (And just look at the TRAUMA life with our young children is bringing her!)

So I’m not sure what will happen from here. I know we have an amazing, loving, experienced home to offer a dog. But unfortunately, we just dont appear that way on an automated pdf form.

The search continues.

Any ideas? Have you ever adopted a shelter dog before? (Did you find the process completely intrusive/impersonal/offputting?!) 

We’re not THAT weird are we?!

Dont answer that.

Big love all, have a beautiful weekend. (It’s a bad week, not a bad life. This too shall pass.)
xx


Snippets, sunscreen, seeds, soil and sunshine.

Im gonna use a prompt from Kate over at Foxslane (I blog I adore – check it out!) and do a snippets post today. Maybe you can do one too? I’d love to check out yours…

enjoying
GLORIOUS spring Melbourne days. Today is a clear, sunny 26 degrees celcius.

playing
Nothing at the moment. The sound of the rainforest birds here, with the occasional neigh, “Mum!”, or cock-a-doodle-doo is all the sound track I need 🙂

smelling
My coffee here at my desk. Hazelnut! Yum!

wearing
Summer clothes and sunscreen! Already! Plus if I’m in the garden, my trusty Akubra, always. If you don’t know what an Akubra is, here you go. If you’re an Aussie and you don’t know what an Akubra is: SHAME ON YOU 😉

reading
Jackie French’s ‘Backyard Self-sufficiency’. The beans and peas are in in our new bale garden. Now FINGERSCROSSED they grow! (pleasepleaseplease) Gardening seems simple – plant a seed, good soil, water, sun. But my track record isnt great. I wish I knew why I have such bad luck with vegetables! Hopefully my luck will start to change! And soon!

crocheting
Ive been meaning to start a coffee-plunger cosy for my Stepdad… but… *sigh* Tonight! I swear!

flicking to
Not sure what this means (?) but im always flicking over to watch Dance Moms on You Channel. It’s my guilty pleasure *blush*

enjoying
Days outside in the sun NOT unpacking the few last boxes I should be getting around to… It’s just too nice out! I’m sure there’ll be more grey days like the one pictured below I can get around to those boxes.

not loving
Washing up. Does it ever end?!?!

knowing
I’ve got a horsey-girl on my hands. It’s only a matter of time before she asks me for a pony, I just know it. I’ve always said the girls can choose their own interests, and I will happily drive them to karate/soccer/art/dance/chess-WHATEVER. I am quite happy for neither of them to be horse-mad like Mummy. But I can see Katie’s interest in the horses already, and she’s always keen to hop on Will anytime I’m off for a ride. Daddy: just giving you an early head’s up… 😉

 

wondering
What the HECK Henry is barking at in the blackberry thicket!!! He keeps going up there and he just stares into the brambles and barks, and barks and barks!

dreaming
Of getting my sewing machine set up and my sewing table set up and making some new summer dresses for the girls! (And maybe me!) But that means getting in amongst THOSE AFORE-MENTIONED BOXES…so…

hoping
To adopt some ex-battery hens at the end of September, and give them a new life in free-range chook heaven! With this handsome devil-

Lennon

knitting
Last thing I did was a beanie for Ben. Actually, i did 2, because the first one turned out ridiculously small. It looked like a Jewish Kippah. We both nearly wet ourselves laughing and I gave that one to a friend’s little boy, and made another!

laughing at
Black Books. We’ve just watched the whole series again!

casting on
Hmm, what’s next? Im thinking of starting a school cardigan for Katie’s first year of school next year. The uniform is Red, Green and White, some I’m thinking a red one…

grateful for
This new childhood I can now provide my kids with! They are always outside now: Climbing, creating, exploring. The TV is hardly ever on during the day now. I love that they’ve got the run of this whole farm ‘playground’, and they absolutely love it!

adoring
Tara’s first pigtails!!!

 

smiling at
Kate’s antics on her trampoline, andhearing her talking to herself as she plays some involved imaginary game.
“…hey sister, we need to go to our house! No you cant until the fires have gone. We have to stay in Queensland…”

Your turn! What are you enjoying, playing, smelling, listening, wearing, reading crocheting, flicking to, enjoying, not loving, knowing, wondering, dreaming, hoping, knitting, laughing at, casting on, grateful for, adoring, smiling at?

Have a beautiful week. But, blog it later – get out an enjoy this gorgeous weather while it lasts!
xx






I wonder if I’ll always feel like this?

I’m wondering if my romance with this place will end shortly after we move in and the novelty wears off. Once day-to-day drudgery sets in, will its wildness start to irritate me?

 
At the moment I love the cold crisp air that burns my cheeks. I love the bubbling creek trickling over the weeds and stones. I cannot get enough of that mountain: I cant wait to explore its trails and rainforest darkness. Today I pottered down to the back of the paddock to remove some branches that were over hanging on the fence, and I noticed a little trail snaking off deep into the bush. And I was itching to explore.
 
I wonder if after a few months I will be completely ambivalent to it? If it will be just more mud and inconvenience, trees and work, the way I’ve heard people talk about their farms (and inwardly cursed their luck at having such things to complain about!). I’ve waited and dreamed and waited and prayed for a property of my own ever since I can remember, and I wonder if this is the beginning of a beautiful love affair, or a big culture shock.
 
Or maybe both!

What blog? Why blog? How blog?

Its a weird thing, blogging. I find myself with such mixed feelings as I write this. 

What if I can’t write? 
What if it sounds like a wank? 
What if no one reads it? 
*omg* what if SOMEONE READS IT?!
I’m not that interesting. 
Should I make it personal? 
What if it’s TOO personal?
What if I get criticised?
What if I get stalked (pfft – that’s a little up-yourself, don’t ya think?) 
What if I get in trouble with the law? 
What the hell makes me think my blog will be any different from the millions of other ones out there? Or any good?
…no idea.
Here’s what I do know: if you spend your time doing what you’re passionate about, you can’t go wrong. 
Here’s what I love:
My girls: My wild, crazy, kind-hearted-messy haired, lick-the-bowl, dirty-face, snotty-nosed, vanilla-cupcake-smelling girls.
My husband: my warm-hearted, fearless, funny, happy-go-lucky, best friend.
Our menagerie: our 2 mongrels, our arrogant sod of an ex-galloper turned trail horse, our cheeky pet rat.
Books, baking, knitting, creating. Being outside, being warm by the fire, appreciating the small things, reconnecting with nature & the simpler life. Being kind, being real, being honest, taking joy. 
So that’s what I’m going to do. We’re going bush. And I’m gonna write about it. I’m feeling the doubts, but I’m doing it anyway. And I’ll see where this goes. And you can read it if you want. But I’m not writing for you. 
I hope you enjoy it. 
X

6 weeks!

We’re on the countdown!!! Yippee!

We’ve been told the current mountain house residents move out on the 1st August – which means moving day is getting closer!

As it’s such a blustery, windy, squall-y day out today, I’ve been inside with the biggest pot of tea you’ve ever seen, my Grass Roots magazines, homesteading books & blogs, and my imagination. Here’s some things I’d like to do in the new place:

  • Honey

I’ve been told a swarm of bees regularly returns to the old shed. I don’t know if they’re native or feral. I know NOTHING about bee keeping. But the whole idea has my imagination going wild!

  • Vegetables & Fruit

We’ve got visions of using recycled windows to make mini green houses, upcycled brick pallets as fences and to grow herbs and strawberries in. There’s already established mandarins, oranges, lemon, lime, grape fruit, pumpkins and tomatoes. Im having visions of berries, zucchinis, beans, peas, spinach, beetroot, caulis…. *oh my*

  • Chickens

There’s already 8 Isa Brown hens and a very handsome rooster of unknown breeding in residence, and whom we will inherit upon moving in. Free range eggs!!! Baby chicks! Meat…???? (Don’t know if I could bring myself to… you know…)

  • Yabbies

Already in residence in the dam!

  • Goat

Firstly for weed control. But maybe milk? Meat? (Again…. *cringe*)

  • Rabbits

Already in residence, and kept in check by fox family (Also already in residence!). Wouldn’t want to mess with the population too much as it might encourage Mr & Mrs Fox to look further afield to feed their babies (ie, our chickens!). However, maybe we can trap(?)/shoot(?)/lure humanely into a pot(?) one every now and again…?

  • Interior decorating

Think open wood fire, patchwork quilts, crochet throws, eclectic recycled furniture, bunting, vintage greens, miss-matched tea cups and dinnerware, huge plaited rugs, and the smell of freshly baked bread. Mmmmmm….

  • An outdoorsy life style for my kids

Digging, swinging, treehouses, sunflower tepee, bonfires, damper, bushwalks, worm farms, strawberry binges, picnics, ponies….