In addition to the big news that my creativity has returned, you might well ask what else has been happening here in the nest! This year is, once again, flying past and we are more than half way through it!
Autumn was colourful and not too cold and then winter hit with a cold snap that hasn’t really lifted yet.
For me the year has, as usual, had its challenges. Learning to accept that I can’t do all that I once could, because being a parent has to come first, seems to be a long lesson to learn. I still forget and agree to do something that sounds great, only to get to the date and realise that it just won’t work for the family for me to be absent for an afternoon, an evening, etc. I seem to constantly be cancelling plans and letting friends down, but, in one new step forward, have learnt not to carry that guilt with me. Phew! On the up side, following a series of linked events that saw my parents absent from the farm for the majority of a couple of months, my independence has grown significantly and I no longer have to rely on them to help me get things done – although it is still nice when I get home to find that Mum has folded my washing or tidied my bench! I have managed to finish two crochet blankets – one started two years ago – and am enjoying their warmth during this cold winter. Keeping life simple seems to be my motto in order to survive!
This year has seen new schools for two of my chicks. After many unsuccessful attempts to have my boy placed into a learning support unit within the school system he was enrolled in, I made a phone call to the Department of Education for New South Wales. What a different response! As a result he now attends a school in Queanbeyan where he is supported beautifully and where he feels safe. He is still only attending school for 2 hours a day, but he is engaged in active learning when he is at school, which is a big step forward. Throughout this process I have, again, had to learn some new lessons about changing my expectations for his future, and accepting that the role of a special needs parent is a different one from parenting non-special needs kids. You would think that after 5 years of advocating and supporting him I would be on top of this gig but it turns out that there is always more to learn!
My artist-in-residence started high school this year. I am still not sure how I missed that this was going to be a big deal for her and why I was so surprised when she struggled with the transition! All the signs were there, so I am not sure where my head was at that point! 6 months in we are making progress at supporting her to attend school, and to cope with the change of class every hour, plus the different people she has to see, but we are well and truly at the beginning of this journey with a lot of work to do to keep her supported and safe. In the meantime she has made great progress with training her kelpie Buddy, and is continuing to produce amazing works of art on a daily basis (along with a whole lot of teenage attitude).
The eldest chick has really hit her stride this year. She is (more or less) on top of her school work and has chosen electives that she is really enjoying, especially Engineering. She has recently joined Army Cadets and is constantly amazing me with her drive, determination and organisation. She has been working on her fitness and can be seen many mornings running around the paddocks in the freezing cold, weaving in between the sheep and kangaroos with her headphones on!
The farm is producing food for us! We have a freezer full of lamb, and with a new ram (named Gordon Ramsey) we hope to have more lambs in the spring. Our free-loading chickens went to new homes (no really – they did) and our new ones are producing eggs a plenty, which means baking is happening, along with egg and bacon breakfasts. (Now to think about getting some pigs…..)
It has been a dry, cold winter and the dam is at a very low point, which means that it freezes around the edges overnight quite often! We have also had some impressive fogs.
How’s that – summarised 6 months in less than 800 words! I hope that you have been well and that life hasn’t been too complex for you.