Monday, October 29, 2007





Four days before we are set to go on our 'very anticipated' first family camping trip last weekend, a bout of gastro went through all four of us. Myles was the first to fall victim followed closely in matter of hours by Fynn, myself a day later and finally Dan the day we are meant to be leaving for 'the' camping trip. After concluding that night we couldn't be bothered going camping, we woke the next day and strangely decided that it was a good idea to go, and even stranger got packed within two hours. I think from an entire week of four people pooing and vomiting in the one house we were desperate to get out of what felt like a germ ridden house. I look back now and actually can't believe we went, however I'm so glad we did. Although, Myles and Dan got a slight relapse of the gastro, Fynn vomited an entire bottle of milk on our bed, a bush turkey ate our potato's, forgetting lots of essential items (thank god for our understanding, organised relo's) and finally a tick embedding its little head in my tit (which later became infected and had to be removed at the doctors) it was a great weekend.

As long as you are prepared to be dirty, not shower as frequently (no difference for me) and smell like a camp fire it is one of the best things you can do as a family. I loved the sound of the birds first thing in the morning, catching fish on the beach, amateur bird watching, walks on the beach alone and/or with the kids, having a quick dip in just your undies and singlet, sand crumbed kiddies, the smell of sunscreen and more than anything everyone enjoying being together and singing songs around the camp fire you never thought you remembered the words to (eg. Tie a yellow ribbon round an old oak tree, Hello Dolly...well hello dolly).

We were extremely privileged that we had Dan's brother there who is a chef and he cooked up a absolute storm - a'la gourmet camp style. And not to forget the 'hunter's who provided fresh fish to eat daily. Dan very bravely and successfully took our car on the beach. It was scary particularly when cars ahead were getting stuck and we had to push a couple up hill, but it was also exciting and the kids and adults alike loved it.
It was interesting to see how the kids kept themselves occupied, and Myles (spiderman-less) only had his cousins dolls to play with. It was so cute watching them play with them, putting them to sleep, Myles going for a walk, baby on his back just like uncle Shane. The other really special (and grateful) thing was that Dan's mum and dad each morning would take the kids into their truck (where they slept) and tell them stories. I couldn't help but think that these stories and other special moments of the weekend would be cherished by them forever.

Thursday, October 25, 2007


After being inspired by the images from this book, Myles and I went for a wander around the neighbourhood, basket underarm, shoes off, dodging the summer time bindi's and did some collecting. We gathered bark, leaves, gumnuts, rocks, pebbles, palm fronds and seed pods, brought them back home and began constructing what was initially, 'the fairy' house but inevitably became (after some convincing that its wasn't Spiderman's house) the fairies/knights/goblins house. Doing this little activity didn't take long and I felt like both of us for a moment, although brief (in my perception of time) entered into a magical world where macadamia nut shells propped on sticks lite the way to the house for visitors that only came out at night and the little red mushrooms would provide shelter for baby goblins or a landing spot for incoming fairies. We knew the next morning that the fairies/goblins had visited that night from the amount of fairy dust (hundreds of thousands) left behind.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007


When Daniel and I agreed to get chickens he specifically said that he only wanted two. However, since Happy Feet's very happy arrival she now has three new friends, Mrs Peck, Penny and Mrs Tilly. When we arrived at the hatchery, I realised very quickly that Happy Feet, had been spoilt over the past few days, being carried around, hand fed and living in the laundry. There were so many little chooks, it was impossible to choose one and it was a bit of a lucky dip as to what you got. They were literally fished out of there enclosure by the ankles carried upside down and placed in a box. I wish now that Myles hadn't seen them carrying them by the ankles as he has since tried to retrieve a very reluctant Mrs Peck from her new house by the ankles. After explaining to him he could have broken her leg and to be more careful he very promptly told me I could have broken his and Fynn's legs when I carried them both upside down by the legs from the bed that morning.
Daniel and apprentice Myles did a great job getting the chickens new house finished and the girls seem to be enjoying their new home. The chicken tractor however has now become a chicken coop that will more than likely not be moved from its present location for a while. Apart from some door hinges it was made from recycled building materials and has turned out to be a lot larger and heavier than we had initially planned, therefore to heavy to put wheels on. All it needs now is a coat of paint and some eggs.

Friday, October 12, 2007


Our first chicken has arrived and is appropriately named by Myles - "Happy Feet". As you can see from the photo Myles was beaming. I don't think I will ever forget the look on his face when he came up the driveway in the car and saw the chicken on the front verandah. The realisation, shock and pure excitement that she had actually arrived was so clearly expressed on his little face. He leaped from the car, ran down the driveway, arms going at one hundred miles an hour and picked her up straight away without hesitation or fear. Any initial anxieties I had about getting the chickens have disappeared. I'm so pleased with our newest addition to the family, and I have observed behaviours in everybody that I really didn't expect to see. Firstly, was Myles' lack of fear and the tenderness and love he has shown towards her. I thought at one point that 'Happy Feet' was literally going to be loved to death on her first night. She was chaperoned around the garden in a trolley, pushed on the swing, and was very nearly put in a plastic bag to be carried around the house. Even more surprisingly has been the strange behaviour from the very reluctant dad who I clearly remember saying that "I don't want chickens...the lice....the mice...something else to look after........." Now all I hear is, "she loves me....she thinks I'm her her follow her jump up my shoulder.....she's so cute.....let her inside......" .

Fynn the usual curious observer who loves to experience everything he touches by putting it in his mouth has thankfully yet to put 'Happy Feet' in his mouth and is happy to just follow her around the garden and see what noises she makes when he pats her or grabs onto her tail feathers.

To keep Happy Feet company in the chicken chariot on wheels we are getting another two tomorrow. The disputes over names and who gets to name them have already begun. I'm betting that we come home with three so everyone gets to name one.

Monday, October 8, 2007


Having a one year old that loves to pull every leaf off every tree in hands reach, who likes the taste of those stinky marigolds, loves to face plant in the dirt and eat rocks my new challenge in the garden is to create a place where the kids can safely touch, eat and smell everything without ruining an entire tomato tree or potentially eat something that will poison them. So I have begun planting herbs in little concrete blocks that smell good and when touched leave a heavenly scent on little paws. The best little plant I have found so far is Chamomile 'Anthemis nobilis' because it actually does best when it is stepped on. Walking on it releases the herb’s lovely apple fragrance and does not hurt the plant. Even better is that it is considered to be the “doctor plant” in gardens because its mere presence revives the ailing plants around it. I'm finding that having a little sensory spot like this in the garden just for the kids is a great place for them to actively learn about different plants/herbs, their uses, smells, touch and taste.


It's taken me a long time to accept, understand and finally appreciate boys play. Its rough, its energetic, its pulling things apart to see how they work and using all dads tools to do so and as hard as Ive tried to discourage it, at age four its all about superpowers, superheros, and super villains. Their little imaginations are exploding at the moment - I love to sit somewhere where he can't see me and just watch him play, interact with his friends and enter into a world where the garden hose becomes a snake tied around your friends body and the swings are the spaceship and your friend from school who is trapped in a dungeon is being rescued from the jaws of a rainbow coloured dragon that lives under a rock and breathes fire that only you can see. One of the great things about boys is that at one moment they're friends, the next they're "not being you bestest friend anymore" and literally seconds later they have forgotten about whatever upset them and they're friends again, flying to the moon in a cardboard rocket.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007


After a slow start to the long weekend we finally got moving on the construction of the chicken tractor and (after deliberating for an annoyingly long time about location, type and size) I installed a small pond in a shady corner of the yard for the frogs/tadpoles. I ended up making a very basic pond from an old dog bed and tried to make it as frog friendly as possible for its inhabitants and added some water plants and rocks. I also fenced it off so the kids can't get in and scare the frogs to death and from the dog whom we know from past experience enjoys drinking the water and its inhabitants.

I cant explain the sheer joy and excitement from Myles when he put the frogs from their small bowl into their new 'luxury' home. I swear one of the frogs was doing laps round the pond and quietly I was imaging it shouting "I'm free, I'm free". We sat for ages just watching them and Myles tried so hard to resist scooping them up for what would seem like a long time for a four year old until he couldn't resist temptation any longer and just had to hold them and have them leap from his hands. Its been such a great experience to watch them develop from tiny tadpoles to frogs. I remember as a kid having tadpoles and being fascinated with them and sitting and watching them eat the mosquito larvae and being so upset when they disappeared into the yard and when dad found one dead in the pool. However, we could always hear them in the yard for years to come. I think its these kinds of experiences as kids that make us value and appreciate nature, its intricacies, fragility and beauty.

My husband who at first was very reluctant to get chickens has agreed to getting them as long as we only get two. This weekend his enthusiasm grew once it came to the construction and designing of their new home which has gone from a small chicken tractor that could be picked up and moved to a chicken mansion on wheels. I'm loving his new found passion for designing chicken houses. Will keep posting updates of its progress.