Guess what? It is still winter. I know – who would have thought? We are deep in the midst of the short days, frozen mornings, thick fogs, and wood fires. There has been a significant investment in thermal underwear, ski jackets and gloves – and that is just for around the farm! Although, much to the disappointment of the children we haven’t had heavy snowfalls on the property so far, there have been some in the area, and the snow on the mountains around the area certainly makes for icy winds. It is that time of year when finding a spot in the sun, behind glass, warms your bones and makes it hard to leave. And when the sun across the ground in the late afternoon makes everything glow golden.
The number of livestock on the property has grown. No more dogs (yet) although we have been introducing Dottie to a friend’s Labrador who is quite obliging and lets her be in charge and boss him around, so we will see how that goes. No – we have progressed to horses. Even better – they aren’t ours! We have leased our big paddock to our neighbours who have quite a few horses, and they are keeping some in the paddock (which helps keep the grass from simply feeding the kangaroos). The artist-in-residence is beside herself with joy, and goes to visit them several times a day on the holidays and weekends, and every afternoon on school days. She will have a riding lesson with the neighbours tomorrow and could not be more excited! Dad has great plans for collecting the manure for the garden. The boy thinks that he might learn to be a blacksmith so he can make horseshoes for them. The eldest is a bit bemused by all the fuss, and I just like the sound of gentle neighs and harrumphs across the night air when I am lying in bed – true country life!
The 11 chickens are now all sharing one coop and run, with little drama so far. The white and black (unknown breed) speckled ones should start laying soon, which is good as our original brown girl is coming to the end of her laying life. The shells of her eggs are getting more and more fragile and she only lays one every few days now, rather than one a day as she used to. She is healthy and spritely though, so I am sure that there will be great debates about what should happen to her once she stops laying. (Dad being practical and farmer like, and me being sentimental and protective like!)
The big news is that we are having a party to celebrate Mum and Dad’s 70th birthdays (which are about 6 weeks apart). Apart from the obvious Pinterest frenzy that I have gone into (decorations, drinks, presents, signs, more decorations…..) it has also turned my mind far more sharply to re-decorating. As I type I am sitting surrounded by swatches of carpet. YES! The ugly multi-coloured casino style carpet will be replaced soon! I have found the carpet I want (seriously – anything with a 25 year guarantee on wear, stains, colour, etc will get me in) but the colour? Boy that is a tough one! And why is the carpet so important? Because once we choose the carpet we can choose the paint for the walls……. etc, etc, etc! Grey, beige, greige, mushroom, oatmeal, silverfern, koala, chirp – these are all names I have been considering. Really – what colour is ‘chirp’?
I am not sure how much will actually get done before the party, but it has turned everyone’s mind to the topic. The boy has asked to trial sleeping in the spare room to see if he likes it better than his room. He wants dark blue walls, which to be frank is an improvement on his previous request for black. The artist in residence has created her own Pinterest board with decorating ideas and has settled on a colour scheme (aqua, pale pink and gold). We have spent quite a bit of time discussing how to best carry out her ideas. (There will be recycling, freezer paper stencils, a staple gun, and fabric involved in the current iteration of the plan!) The eldest is just desperately trying to avoid any suggestion that she might have to change rooms (hers is the biggest by far!)
We stayed home for the school holidays. This time last year we had our spontaneous trip to Hawaii. This year life and funds are significantly different, and the weather was horrid, so we stayed home. We had friends come to visit, and family! My nephew managed an evening with us whilst in town on a school trip (he lives on the other side of the country) and my cousin and his wife came to stay for a night, which was so much fun. The kids caught up with friends, had pyjama days, and we played cards, watched movies, went to appointments, etc.
I took the artist-in-residence, the boy and one of his friends, to the theatre to see the Flying Fruit Fly Circus performance ‘Under the bed’ at the Canberra Theatre Centre. (The eldest declaring that she was too old for such things.) It was the first time I have taken the boy to the theatre and it was the perfect performance for it – it started at 6pm, and went for one hour. He enjoyed it, although he and his friend talked non-stop through it. Their commentary was amazing at times – where adults might cringe at a mistake like a dropped hula hoop they were marvelling that it was only one that had been dropped. At other times it had nothing at all to do with the show. I tried to shush them without stressing them out but it had little effect. At the end of the performance the people in the row in front commented that they might be the two biggest chatterboxes in town, but it was mostly good natured. I was a bit amazed at how I coped and didn’t let it stress me out. I explained afterwards that they weren’t misbehaving – they were just coping with this new experience by talking it through.
By the end of the holidays I was exhausted, and sick. Having the kids back at school was a relief on one level, as it meant that I could sleep and recuperate, but stressful on another level, as the boy has not coped with the return to school. I am learning more each day about how to work with him, and by Thursday night had got to the bottom of what was bothering him, so today was actually a good day for him. I feel like it is one step forward, two steps back at the moment, but then I look back at where we were a year ago, and have to recognise that we have come a long way. Learning more about how his mind works, and how he interprets the world around him helps, but then trying to convey that to his teachers, my parents, his father, etc becomes exhausting.
For now though, carpet swatches and Pinterest boards are calling my name. (Yep – its Friday night and I am partying hard here on the farm!) I hope that you are well, and that your weekend is full of creative moments.
Oh – and if you want something to cheer you up and entertain you, check out the page called ‘My Awesome Life’ on Facebook. Very clever stuff.