Autumnal anxieties.

Waking up for the school routine today was just a bit greyer. A bit darker. The butter was unspreadably hard on the bench top. Katie asked where her school jumper was.

Autumn is here.

And I was over reading Kate’s post today, and it made me crave my ultimate warm comfort food: Avocado, Vegemite and Tomato on toast.

Unfortunately our Grosse Lisse’s aren’t doing so great. There’s SO many on the vines, but the minute one of them starts to show a hint of colour: BLOSSOM END ROT.

Ive brought a few green ones inside to see if I can ripen them on the window sill. So disappointing.

Sticks and Dip

The cuc’s are going gangbusters! Growing fast than I can pick them! Katie has cucumber in her lunch everyday, and luckily, Tara’s favourite lunch is “Sticks and Dip”.

Taking the lead from my fellow thrifty homesteading bloggers, Ive attempted to preserve some, and make some lacto-fermented cucumber pickle. (I used the same method I used here.)

Soon it’ll be time to plant seedlings in our winter foam planters for our next bale garden. Which we haven’t got the bales for yet. And to finish our dog fence. Which we haven’t got the wire for yet. And stack our season’s firewood. Which we haven’t got the chainsaw fixed, or started collecting yet. Or cleaned the chimney.

Ive been losing a fair bit of sleep lately.

Winter Foamy Seedling System!

Time’s just flying by. Proof of this: Katie our big school girl is 5 in a few weeks!!! I’ve knitted her these cute slippers from Ravelry. Purple by request!

Cookie knows how to stay warm.

Our plans for Autumn:

More Ex-batts – we’re down to 11 girls, so we’ll be adopting 10-15 more.

Hay stockpile – for the bale garden AND to last Will the winter! We currently have about 15 bales, but I’d feel much better with a stockpile of 30 or 40 more in our barn.

Finish the dog-proof fence – to enclose a new four-legged addition to the family we’ll adopt soon… saty tuned…

Firewood stockpile and service the chimney -it’s not working so great. we’ve been getting a fair bit of smoke in the house and it doesn’t draw very well.

Blackberry Jam – The blackberries are finished, and I have a freezer full of berries ready for pies and jams! I found a Slowcooker Jam recipe (Is there ANYTHING they cant do?!) – I HAVE to try it!

Cast on some beanies and winter woolies for us! –  Winter is coming! Time to get knitting!

…It’s not such a big To Do list, right?

Plus we have to workout what we need to plant now, build a new bale garden, sort out our finanaces, plan and hold Katie’s 5th birthday party, mow the lawn, prune the fruit trees…

*BREATHES HEAVILY INTO PAPER BAG*

At least I’ll be less of a One Woman Farm in the next few weeks: Ben had his last scheduled chemo session today! HURRAH! Hopefully this means he’s on the road to recovery. we’re very grateful that his prognosis is so positive, and we’re fairly certain he won’t need too much more treatment after this. Others are not so lucky, and cant be that certain of a positive outcome. For them there’s no end in sight to the chemo/radiation nightmare. My heart goes out to all those people. I’ve reminded myself of that often over the past few weeks, and it’s how I’ve stayed grateful and positive (even on the days I hit rock bottom. And there were a few of those too.)

Livestrong. Be grateful. Winter is coming, but so too is Spring.

Big love 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


Storm warnings, gale force winds, big trees and fences don’t mix.

Kate and I have just trudged round every fence line after our first really windy night at Hill Shadow. The weather here under the mountain is truly wild, and though I LOVE a good storm, the wild winds do make a bit of a mess of the place!

Especially when you need good solid, safe electric fences for our horsey-charges! We always do a fence/tree/pony check after a windy night, just to make sure everyone’s still got a fence and 4 legs!

Fortunately everyone is fine and fences are still standing! Just one medium sized tree down, but in the creek, away from any fences and buildings. Phew!

Someone who definitely wasn’t affected by the weather (in a negative way) was Henry the orange mongrel, who spent all night in sleeping infront of the fire.

And so, to finish off this post – here’s a joke:


Why did the chicken cross the road? ;D

Proof the Hill Shadow Farm hens have nothing to fear! Our hens have free rein of the property all day, so they often pop up in the yard or at the window to visit us during the day. They have absolutely no fear of people, our dogs, or our children! Why would they?!

Peg Sorting: Tara’s favourite activity at present. I do wish she wouldn’t post them all down the holes in the brickwork though! Fun for her, but annoying for me to retrieve for the washing! X(

Any Spring ‘storm-age’ in your area?
Storms: Love em or hate em?
Do your animals make themselves at home like ours do?

Check your fences!
x

A childhood dream come true.

I’ve always wanted to look out my window and see my horse in his paddock. 

(Or being a sticky-beak at the front door!) 
This view will never get old ❤️ 

We puttered around today and did some jobs. Pulling rubbish out of gardens, shovelling mud, and checking fences.

I went walking and checking fences with my little Buddy 🙂 It was the first time I had walked the entire perimeter of the property.

It’s such lush beautiful bush land. And we took our dogs, who went crazy with the mud, smells and freedom! 
And I had my first cuppa at Hill Shadow. The first of many! 

What did you get up to this weekend?

Listing The Day Away

OK so I did get a few jobs done over my two days off… yes you heard that right TWO DAYS OFF in a row no less…

So the list thing worked – I did all the jobs yesterday and I put up one side of the fence – ran out of materials for the other side but my Dad dropped around and made some suggestions on that side as to how to do it properly. So next week I have another assignment… darn I should get a picture of the great fence… it is almost like the great wall only smaller and more insignificant!

I’ll grab a shot in the daylight and post it real soon!

Just got back from taking the terror (aka our puppy- Cookie) for a walk – thought I would go to the park where I can let her off the leash and try to persuade her to not only chase the ball but bring it back to me. Alas it is soccer training night and I didn’t want her to be off leash will all these kids and balls and stuff flying around. We did find a quite spot and do a bit of training and she is a good girl – just too much else going on around her. She is now crashed out in her computer room bed between Anjels and my computer, such a sweetie…

Well must off be I have rehearsal for another play I am in at 6:30 and then I think we are meeting friends from the Big City for dinner – prop some kind of takeaway – and then work starts again tomorrow, oh the joy of it all! (bitching about work here not all the fun things)