It has been a busy couple of weeks on the farm and in the studio. The school holidays have ended, the weather has been steadily improving (in other words getting warmer) and I have been continuing to prepare for my first market.
The return to school was not as smooth as I would have liked with one child struggling to get there at all and another excluded for two weeks on the first day, which means that I have spent a fair bit of time in conversation with various professionals, providers and support people, looking for yet another new strategy. The search for the strategy isn’t over yet but some ideas are starting to come together and some further meetings this week should help to finalise a new plan. Until the next crisis hits and we need another plan. The life of a special needs parent – constantly looking for the next plan, idea, strategy or support. Sigh.
Of course this all eats into my ‘making’ time but I have still been able to work on a few new products over the last couple of weeks. I decided that attending markets means that I need a broader range of price points (because, you know, I am taking my own advice!) so I have produced a range of earrings that are all centred on teacups and tea pots! They have been really well received and I have some further ideas in the pipeline so that is a bit exciting.
I also decided that I needed to express my support for the LBGTIQ community while the same sex marriage survey is going on here in Australia. I have a number of friends who are part of this community and am conscious that the conversations being held in the media and online are hurting people that I love. One of my friends shared a picture of her family making the word ‘yes’ from stones on a beach, as a positive way of expressing how they were feeling. It got me to thinking, and the end result is a rainbow ‘yes’ tea cosy, because that is my way of sharing my feelings.
I managed to get some more candles made, using some new tea scents – chai latte and a rooibus and mango fragrance. The house still smells good!
Then we hit Tuesday. Tuesday was my birthday and I had quietly thought I might take the kids out for a treat, get a bit of time to myself and then go out to dinner with my parents and the children. A gentle, slightly self-indulgent, plan. But nature had something different in mind, so when I woke early on Tuesday it was to my Dad telling me that there were two new sets of twin lambs born. We all rushed down to the paddock and could see one set with their mum , very obviously only just delivered.
Then there were two other babies wandering around amongst all the ewes, being headbutted out of the way quite roughly. Some investigation showed me which ewe was their mother but she was very disinterested in looking after her babies, so we settled in to watch for a while. After a few hours it became obvious that she wasn’t letting them feed – each time they tried to attach to her ginormous teats and udders she kicked them away. This set the pace for the rest of the day – we had to separate her and the twins from the rest of the flock, to pen them and see if she would feed, then to try and help the babies to attach (which involved Dad holding the ewe in a headlock, me holding her back legs, and my mum holding the lamb to the teat. When she continued to push them off we resorted to milking her to get some colostrum for them, and had to make the decision to take the babies and bottle feed them. I second guessed and questioned every decision I needed to make, rang the vet, took advice from others and worried and worried and worried. But we got there in the end – two baby lambs who were tired and hungry were warm and snug in a crate in our house. It took two days before they could attach to the bottle teat themselves – we had to pry their mouths open to get the teat in, but on day 4 I can report that they are happily drinking without aid, and are full of beans, bouncing around on the grass in the outside run and sleeping in the crate inside at night. It has been a little stressful, with middle of the night feeds and worry about their health but we seem to be through the worst of it. Although their mother still has a giant udder she doesn’t seem to have developed mastitis and is wandering around the paddock with the others quite happily. Now to wait for the rest of them to have their lambs! I am quite glad that they didn’t all arrive at once – four was quite enough for one day!
My birthday was sort of lost in all of the lamb care and we didn’t go out anywhere but the day ended quite nicely. I had a gin and tonic with my parents, sitting outside enjoying the evening air, then defrosted a curry from the freezer and the children and I sat and talked and laughed while we ate it, then played cards together and went for a walk. That hour together was magical and was the best gift I could have hoped for!
Since then we have had the middle chick’s birthday – she is a teenager now! I finally gave in a bought her a horse for her birthday. The fact that it is plastic and stands about 20 cm high doesn’t seem to have bothered her too much!
I had another cake fail/rescue for her birthday when I discovered that the cream that I had planned to whip for her birthday pavlova was ‘non-whipping’ cream. Gulp! So a batch of thick vanilla custard was made, and cooled down in an ice bath, and served very well as a substitute. It would be nice to make a birthday cake that doesn’t require custard to save it though!
As so often is the case, my week looked nothing like I thought it would, but it has had some lovely moments of joy even though it was completely off script! I hope that your week has had moments of peace and joy too.