Thursday, September 10, 2009


One night in hospital last week looking over Fynn asleep after three days of worrying, being vomited, peed and pooed on, and sleep deprived yet strangely not feeling that tired, one of the lovely nurses that looked after us came in to the room and we got talking about motherhood and the importance of acceptance. We both agreed that once you begin to accept things the way they are or for what they are life becomes easier and happiness naturally falls upon us. I started thinking about the things that initially seemed hard or difficult to accept in some way and some really irritated me a lot and caused arguments between Dan and I but once I begun to accept them and I admit that this didn’t happen all at once – it all became easier and we were all happier. Acceptance that:
  • I will never have a good nights sleep and never sleep in beyond 7
  • I will cook the majority of meals with one hand and child attached to my hip or leg
  • I will never go to the toilet or shower alone
  • There will always be more than two in the bed
  • That some days go to shit
  • That they are going to climb the highest tree with the most precarious looking branches and I'm not always going to be there to hold them steady, but I will damn try to tell them which branch is the strongest and less likely to break
  • And lastly that I can be wrong.

Now reading back over this list some seem so insignificant and now I wouldn't want it any different. We change as parents and we adapt and I now cant imagine life any different and I suppose there will come a time when I will have to accept that all these things I now love will change and I will have to begin accepting those changes.

Friday, July 24, 2009

As a part of the Environmental Journals project I did with Myles’ class last term - I decided to end the term with a fun project for the kids to do that would reward them for their efforts. After reading the Charlie & Lola Book: Look After Your Planet - I was inspired to put my own recycling challenge together to let the kids have a hands on fun experience of recycling. So I started by painting a massive tree and cutting out leaves from newspaper – the kids were told that they had to bring in 5 plastic, 5 tin and 5 paper/cardboard pieces of recyclable rubbish from home and would each get 15 newspaper leaves to stick on the tree. If they all completed the task within two weeks they would win and avocado tree for their vege garden. The task was met with great enthusiasm and before we knew it we had a lot of recyclable material piling up at the school. Not wanting to just put it in the recycling bin we decided that we could utilize the materials brought in for another recycling challenge - An ‘Art-from-Waste’ competition. Our little project even made it to the local paper. And yep they won the avocado tree.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009


It was with fond memories in mind that we camped out in the yard with the boys a few weekends ago. We pitched the tent early in the morning wishfully thinking the boys would use it as their cubby and play in their all day. They played in there for a short time, just long enough to collapse the tent and learn a good lesson –when somersaulting in a tent ensure to not hit the sides so hard you collapse the tent on yourself. Later in the day we gathered wood for the fire, ensured we had a good supply of marshmallows, rugged up and gathered all the blankets we had – it was a cold night.
That night as I watched the boys and their excited and fascinated little faces with red cheeks staring at the flames of the fire, daring to poke a stick in there and get it alight, burning their tongues on toasted marshmallows, and sending smoke signals I started thinking about all the times I used to camp out with my brother and our friends in the backyard.
I have the best memories of camping out when I was a kid in our backyard. Not in the bush or by the lake or sea but in a 750sqm yard, surrounded by the noises of the neighbours, distant music from the pub around the corner and barking dogs. When we were allowed to camp out on our own and as we got older and our confidence grew the further the tent got moved away from the house and the further our nighttime adventures would go. Dressed in black, commando style we would scale the fence, army crawl along the neighbours lawn to the next fence being sure to stick to the shadows, climb their fence into our neighbours vegetable garden and grab fresh supplies for camp.
Thinking now about this yard and the man that lived there I realize he was doing what people used to do in their yards and what my mum and dad’s generation weren’t doing when I was younger and what so many of us are trying to do now– trying to be self sufficient in some way, growing fruit and vegetables, raising chickens and composting. His yard was always producing and I remember you always knew when he had just fertilized as the smell of fresh compost would linger in the air for days. Writing this now I remember another neighbour on the other side also grew his own food and about 5 years before he died he told me about the local market gardens that used to be around the corner, where an oval now sits with its high maintenance lawn and occasional use.
Anyway, with a good supply of fresh potatoes and onions - perfect to cook on the camp fire, we would scamper back, ensuring to cover our tracks and cook up a feast of onion and potatoes. Whilst the billy was on the boil we would climb up on the garage roof, lay there and look at the stars smoking eucalyptus leaves.
So as I lay there in the tent with the boys and Dan attempting to warm up on a freezing night and thinking how it really wasn’t the best time of year to camp I stopped and listened and all I could hear was frogs, a distant owl and the sleepy breathing of my three favourite boys.

Thursday, June 11, 2009


As a child, even though I lived on a typical suburban block with the hills hoist, concrete driveway, garage, picket fence, pool and maintained lawn I think I was always a natural observer of nature. From watching ants tediously build and then rebuild their houses after a storm and intimately knowing the snails and their secret hideouts in our front fence, the best tree to find caterpillars in and rescuing snails from storms, I always had an innate curiosity of the natural world.
I always loved digging up sections of the yard, pretending I was a landscaper and designing new garden beds for mum and dad; and my little brother and I always fancied ourselves as archaeologists and would climb through our bedroom window, set up our dig sites down the side of the house (where nobody ever ventured) and pretend we were explores on a great excavation dig. A couple of time we actually did find some rather unique things like old glass bottles, a beautiful blue and white bowl- all remnants from a past civilization, centuries old and from a time long before us - or so we colorfully imagined. We would hoist our finds in a basket tied to a rope back through the bedroom window and carefully clean them before we presented them to our museum’s audience - mum and dad.
Now as an adult and particularly as a parent I’m still a natural nature observer, constantly pointing little things out to the kids that fascinate me, and looking for the beauty in all things. Even as I work I find myself distracted on a site visit to a beautiful old house built in the 1800's by a tiny tea set sitting on a window sill in a bathroom and I can’t stop thinking how beautiful it looks, the contrasts between colour and texture.
But most of all these days the farm is my place of constant inspiration. With the onset of winter and the picking season about to begin I have been enjoying walking through the farm in the mornings, with the heavy fog of the evening just lifting, leaving behind its mark on the morning like a snail leaving a shining trail. As the sun slowly warms the icy air, abandoned spiders webs look like tiny strands of pearls intricately laced from leaf to leaf, small shinny jewels of morning dew gather on the tips of leaves and steam appears to come from the trunks of the iron barks as the sun hits them and thaws their skin.
As I walked through the Macadamia nut field last week with Myles and Fynn I was filled with a quiet delight after pointing out to them how beautiful the yellow flowers on the grass were that spread between the rows of the orchard when Myles agreed and told me it looked as if a carpet of flowers had been laid down just in this field. And I couldn't help but feel blessed as Fynn pointed out a "Kite Hawk" circling above how lucky we are to have such a beautiful place to raise our kids. I hoped that they end up having beautiful memories of this place as I had from mine when I was a child and that they also grow with a deeper knowledge, understanding and appreciation for the beauty of our natural world.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

The holidays in summary

I know I'm late but whilst the rain came down and the wind blew ferociously in the last week of the school holidays and we were stuck indoors, the craft books emerges along with the art supplies and I let go of any cares for getting anything done or anything staying clean. Here are some of the more successful crafts we did these holidays:

We melted all the bits of old crayons and made new rainbow ones,

We made puppets after reading "The Wild Thing" (that's Myles Max above)

and made bird feeders from cheerios and salt dough beads.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

A Moment

Tonight I overheard a little conversation between the boys that made my heart sing.
Myles: "Come hear my little mate (Fynn)"
Fynn: "Nooooo"
Myles: Yeah come on, I love you! Do you Love me?"
Fynn: Yeah
Simple sweet words that made me smile and feel warm and fuzzy inside. I so needed to hear them after the escalating fighting between them lately, and when I peeked over the kitchen bench there they were - Myles with his around a Fynn.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009


The boys and I have been enjoying wandering, exploring, and enjoying time at home over the last few days - getting out into the sunshine before it disappears behind a cloud and it begins to rain again.
The fungi's are in bloom on the farm and have provided an opportunity for us to go out exploring, observing and letting our imaginations take flight. They are appearing in so many different colours, shapes and sizes. So naturally beautiful in their form and colour some look like seashells hanging from a rock, or perhaps they are imitating a penny wart leaf, and yes you wouldn't believe it - a fairies staircase climbing to the top of the timber fence pole. The last image didn't come out very well but it shows the colours of these three I found together, all in the brightest of autumn colours.

Friday, April 10, 2009

happy easter

Recently I put up my prayer flags and have been consciously SENDING LOVE.....SENDING LOVE TO THOSE THAT NEEDED IT.........and found myself this week immersed in love with the surprise visit of my beautiful nieces from Dubai. We had the most crafty two days with them ever..... full of colour and imagination, concerts with bongos, drums and tambourines, dancing and a hilarious version of Little Red Riding Hood. When we said goodbye to them tonight and got in the car, Myles was reading my mind and said.."I'm going to miss Mia and Chloe so much".....and so will I - they have such a connection these kids and I'm certain they will for the rest of their lives - no matter what the distance between them. Love is strong and will keep them bonded.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009


This is the newest member to our clan - BOB -a cross cattle dog saved from the RSPCA.
I decided about a month ago to attempt a year of not buying clothes, and wear only the clothes I have or purchases from op shops, or made myself. Someone suggested to me that every time I saw something i wanted to buy that I place this money into an account. So I did and instead of spending it on a much needed holiday we decided to rescue a puppy from the pound this weekend. Bob has had a really rough time, after being dumped at the pound with his brothers and sisters all of them contracted a near fatal disease that killed a couple of his siblings and then he broke his pelvis - all in the first 12 weeks of his life. After all he has been through he is the sweetest little guy and just so cute - and currently growling at Dan's snoring - clearly he is terrified.
I wish more lovely people would adopt a pet from the RSPCA - I don't really know why more people don't, all these little guys need is a nice home and lots of love. Sure there are lots of things to consider but really.......I could get on my soap box about this issue but will leave it.
Sure, we have had our dramas with having a dog and I'm sure we will have many more with two - but really I think that no mater what furniture/shoes they may eat, no matter how much hair they drop, how many poos I have to pick up, the holes dug, having another mouth to feed in the morning, keeping them in etc...etc.....the benefits of having a pet that you potentially saved from being put down and giving it a warm and loving place to live and having a beautiful relationship develop between your pet, you and your family - outweighs it all.
Kooly, Bob and Myles
My boys benefit so much from having a dog, teaching them the responsibility of caring for a living creature, gentle handling, animal behaviour and death by living with a pet. Kooly is a loyal friend to the boys, following them where-ever they go on the farm, running with them, and playing ball games with them. The other day I caught Fynn laying face to face with Kooly on the verandah - talking softly to her, gently tracing his finger around her eyes and nose and Kooly responding with a kiss (lick). It was such a special moment between a boy and his dog. Kooly the unquestioning confidant and valuable companion for a little boy when his big brothers at school and his mums cooking dinner.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Goosing around

The geese have proved to be excellent weed mulching machines and in their movable house (made from a trailer), they were initially doing their intended job very well. However, now we have loose geese on our hands as they have found a way out of their run. We were penning them in an area with chicken wire during the day, their house at one end where they are locked up at night to stop them being the foxes dinner and moving them around the orchard every two weeks. This was quite labour intensive, but in my eyes well worth the extra work to not have to spray weed killer all over the place. So we have decided it's time to invest in a solar powered electric fence to keep them in a concentrated area.
They are such a beautiful bird and apart from being difficult to herd into their house each night (every now and then), and escaping their run, they have been a worthy investment to the farm particularly in our pursuit to have this place producing organic avocados one day.

This weeks agenda also includes planting out a newly tilled plot with winter vegetables and loads of garlic. This area has been really interesting as the soil requirements for growing avocados is quite different to growing vegetables. The condition of the soil has to be changed and improved by adding compost, chicken manure, potash and a layer of lucerene on top - so it can hold water better than the sandy soil we have (avocados hate having wet feet). I have built the chook house in this area so once one plot is harvested I can place the chooks in their to do what they do best and fertilise the area - and eventually rotate them throughout each subsequent plot.

However, before we get to this - it boules and BBQ at the farm this weekend for friends. Its going to be a busy but fun weekend on the farm.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

finding a rythm

I cant believe how busy I have been since Myles began school. I'm finding it difficult to find a rhythm to the days, weeks, weekends and the pages of our monthly calendar seem to be turning quicker than ever. I'm totally disorganised and out of balance. There just aren't enough hours in the day and I think I would like a couple of more days added to the week just to give me time to do all the things I don't necessarily need to do but want to do. I have begun making a list of all the things I'm going to do in retirement that I cant see myself getting a chance to do within the near future, they include learning to ride a motorbike, parachute out of a plane, learn pottery, be a famous artist...etc...etc.... Wanting to contribute to Myles' school in some way, and not knowing how to other than canteen duty, I decided to put an idea to his teacher about nature journaling with the kids during their weekly gardening time. I had started a journal with Myles before we moved and it still gets pulled out to be added to constantly. His teacher loved the idea and has taken it on as part of their weekly routine - they each have their own folder to record the things we do and we added a weather tree for them to update each week. It has created so much discussion and I'm a little scared now to go in without preparing something before hand. This little part of the week is becoming part of our rhythm and as I talk about the changing seasons and observe with the kids the natural surroundings it sounds, smells, and songs of the birds, it has made me more aware and have a better understanding of my new surroundings, its rhythms and the things that keep it in balance.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

The egg house

Ok here it is..... my first house designed and constructed by me - it may be a chook house, but it is a house providing shelter from the elements and most importantly from the cunning fox for my lovely hens and most handsome rooster.
The inner scavenger came out in me on this project as I went through the sheds on the farm that had been left full of building materials and tools. Oh the treasures I was a recyclers dream.
From a very sketchy design that evolved as we went, the little hen house was completely constructed from recycled and scavenged materials from the farm, with my own hands. urghmmm..cough...urghmmm... I would love to say that I built it entirely myself, but I did need some instruction, technical advice and assistance from Dan's dad, who taught me how to use a nail gun and power saw, put on a roof, cut joints, skew a nail, and succeeded in not taking over to much (as dads can and usually cant help themselves from doing), but kept it rudimentary in construction, just as I wanted it. It even has a skillion roof so rain water can be collected, since water can be scarce round here.
I enjoyed building it so much and it was really rewarding - physically being able to do the work and more so seeing the process of something that began as a rough sketch in my mind form into something tangible. It has inspired me to learn more about building and particularly carpentry so I can get some of these ideas/dreams for furniture, garden sculptures, and cubby houses out of my head and into reality.
The kids had a lovely time helping me select a colour and eventually paint it a lovely shade of blue. The Chickie's seem to be enjoying their new house, providing us with a lovely supply of eggs and many chases around the farm catching escapee chicks. Yep, the next building project is to construct a more adequate fence to keep them in the yard during the day.

Thursday, February 26, 2009


We have been appreciating this beautiful watercolour painting a friend did for us taken from a photo I took of our Geese. Its perfect and captures the light of the area they reside perfectly. It will be something that our family will treasure forever.

Monday, February 23, 2009

What does one do with an entire afternoon when the other half takes the kids to the circus. I had so many things I wanted to do and there were so many things I needed to do. So with the washing pile spewing out the laundry door and looking like a monster that had climbed from the depths of our septic tank, I decided on the want list and began on the sewing projects that had been sitting waiting to be to be finished and those that hadn't began such as the pencil scrolls for the boys. I ended up finishing Fynn's and got a start on Myles'. Being a total inexperienced sewer I used corduroy and it was fraying so badly, that I ended up fraying all the edges and it ended up looking great. and then ended the evening as follows: Magazine, a glass of wine and swinging in the hammock in the quietness of the early evening.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

The sun is out and its time to play - off to paint the hen house and look for a run away rooster.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

True Blue

I have felt sadness, tears have flowed and I have been speechless over the past week about the tragedy of the bush fires in Victoria, the trauma and loss people have been through is unimaginable. But now I feel hope and inspiration with the overwhelming support and generosity of the people - its been extraordinary and magical. There is light in the darkness and may we all remember to tell our loved ones just how much we love them everyday, every night, every moment we can.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

This new chapter

What a week it has been with Myles starting school. He has taken it all in his stride and is loving it, not a grumble, not a tear in sight.
However, for me, it's been tears and anxiety, and I think I have broken down all the feelings and thoughts racing around in my head to the one fact that 'I'm no longer in control and I can no longer protect him every hour of the day', I have worried about the choice of school as all parents do. But really what is there it protect him from that isn't going to make him stronger, that isn't going to make him more inquisitive, that isn't going to give him the insight into what the real world is like - he is in a loving environment, surrounded by loving teachers (2), a bunch of great kids and a beautiful environment with chooks running wild and a vege patch, a dedicated principle, and a community of parents wanting to support the school. I figure with his school environment and the choice we make to live our life...he is going to be fine and he is going to get the eduction, the creativity, the passion and zest for life, that we wish for him.
On the subject of changes, I have started wearing an apron (odd but very practical), have baked banana bread for him when he gets home from school, offered with a glass of Milo (just like I used to have) and have heard my mum in myself every afternoon, telling him to 'take his bag in his room, get his lunch box out and put it in the kitchen and get out of his uniform and out play clothes on'.....OH how it hurt to say those words...but yet so damn practical and how right she was ...and how it didn't really seem that long ago I heard her saying them.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

This Love

Between getting the uniform ready, finding the right coloured socks, battling my emotions about school and feeling like I have been a bad mother and haven't gotten him prepared enough for the day, what I should have done and what I shouldn't have done in these first five has all come to soon - Myles first year of school has crept upon me.
I feel proud of the young man he is - a vibrant yet sensitive soul with a beautiful heart, a kick-ass imagination and a wicked sense of humour. I cant wait to see him blossom at school and have a million more questions for me and a million more adventures to be had. I just don't want to let go. Most of all I'm going to miss him during the week, I'm going to miss his company, his curiosity, questioning and most of all lately I have enjoyed watching the friendship, trust, love and tenderness between him and Fynn evolve so beautifully. They are inseparable, with Fynn being Myles' shadow and echo. But with every ending there is a new beginning.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

another steamy day

to hot....cant talk...all that seems to be on my mind is how many ice blocks is too many on a day as hot as today. The heat has seemed to of zapped me of energy and it was all about finding some shade to get out of the sun and eating ice blocks till our lips turned the colour of raspberry or mango or pineapple ...whatever the flavour of the day may be.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

The natives and the domesticated

Myles painting of the Ibis
We have come to identify the native bird life, including the many ibis wandering amongst the avocado trees, the kite hawks having daily battles with the crows, the beautiful and noisy Rosella's (the only bird brave enough to venture onto our bird feeder), kookaburras calling out about the same time each morning and late afternoon, Kingfishers dropping by in the most magical of places, and a gang of the most beautiful black cockatoos enjoying the Banksia's early evening's.

So into the mix we have added our own domesticated bird life to observe, including the six geese and three 1 week old baby bantam chicks who are being loved literally to death. So firstly the geese, and I have been asked several times why I would by geese, apparently they are stroppy birds, attack and bite and the only thing they are good for is feathering our pillows and doona's. Well, I'm here to tell a different story, we have had no attacks and no unexpected stroppiness (now what animal wouldn't be stroppy after a 3 hour car ride to a new home). They have been bought purely for their grazing capabilities and after a couple of days doubting that they were even going to eat a blade of grass they are munching through the weeds so much quicker than we expected. This is fantastic as we have placed them in an area of the Avocado farm that we are going to trial with no chemicals. Our first step in setting this area up as a chemical free zone was to get something that was going to tackle the weed problem apart from just mulch. Chooks were no good as they would scratch up the surface roots of the Avo's, so geese it was. They are actually a beautiful bird and really easy to look after. Im looking forward to some goslings and writing a book on the misconceptions of geese.

Six geese are laying - three of which are boys have only been named (Leonardo, onslo and daisy)

I'm a sucker for a sign on the side of the road (very nearly bought baby goats 2 weeks ago) and when I saw "BABY BANTAM CHICKS FOR SALE" my mind instantly went into cute fluffy mode, I crossed over 2 lanes of traffic and pulled up to go and just......well... "check them out", you know, just see what they looked like, let the kids experience some actual farm wildlife, because damn it, we lived on a farm and had no farm animals (apart from 6 geese and a dog). Truly I knew full well I would be walking out of there with baby bantams and was quickly thinking up my reasoning/justification to make such a purchase. I actually pretended for some reason to the lady selling them that I was only there to look until I laid my eyes on the tiny balls of fluff, held them, the kids held them, was introduced to their mother and father and really after that, all it took was a "can we get one", please can we get one mum" .....that sealed the purchase.

So after a near death experience for the little black one under a two year old's gum boot and the near mouth to chick resuscitation that followed all is going well with the baby bantams. I have been keeping them warm with a hot water bottle in the evenings and the kids have been making sure they are loved "gently", yes "GENTLY", throughout the day to point they are taken into surgery when thought to be sick and rushed to the emergency award via the car transporter and given an oxygen mask (the plastic fake nose) when needing air. The love, the cuddles, the kisses, the "good morning Chickie's, goodnight Chickie's" and caring from the boys for these babies has made this purchase well worth it. Hopefully I can spread some of this Love with some baby bantams if one turns out to be a rooster.

Three baby bantams all in a row - Wendy, Blondie and Raphael