The year of the big wet

Friday, September 30, 2016

 I'm fairly sure that in future years we'll remember 2016 for all its rain. (Well that, and the wild lawns & gardens...)  While winter was abundantly wet, spring has surpassed even that!   Roads are closed, creeks are overflowing their banks, paddocks are covered in water & even here up on the hill, everywhere you walk is accompanied by a 'squelch'! It's such a contrast from those drought years we had when we first moved here and I am oh, so thankful that we will be going into the hot, dry summer this year with dams full!

Farm work has been tricky with all the rain.  That, and it seems every weekend has been filled with plans.  But we have lambs that are in desperate need of marking & the boss (that would be Dave -ha) has declared tomorrow THE day (weather willing)!  We are going to have to bring up the sheep on foot & then draft the lambs off & put on the rings (tails & testicles) & give them their needles before we send them back to their mothers. It's my job to put on the rings & I get very good at counting to two by the end of the day ;) !

We also have piglets down in the pigpen!  2 litters - which is a first for us as we've never had them overlap before.  Delores had 6 surviving piglets a few weeks ago, and Miss Piggy had her very first litter with just three surviving (sadly one had crawled off & drowned in a mud puddle).  Our other sow Pompei is also pregnant, so in a few months we will have lots of little pigs running around!  The older piglets are desperately in need of castrating.  Dave holds them, I do the job - counting to two again.... (This is probably my least favorite job of all on the farm).  It will be lovely to have some fresh pork in a few months time as we are almost out of it.

We've had new chicks hatch, just today!  It's always so exciting when you hear their little chirps from the incubator & know that another little bundle of fluff is there!  The children love them & Mr. Preschool gets so excited every time we have a new batch.  It's such a miracle that you put in the eggs & 3 weeks later there are chicks.  I'm not sure he fully comprehends it all, but he is learning fast about farm life!

And finally, another birthday has come & gone for me!  We celebrated with good friends over & it was lovely & relaxing & the children were loud!  Both our families have added 2 more children in the past year through foster care & so we laugh at how much busier our get togethers are.  It's great though & we wouldn't have it any other way!  

Well rest time is coming to an end & the sun is beginning to peek out from behind the clouds which means I will send all the children outside - at least until the next rain shower travels through!  I must close here...

Have a lovely weekend friends!


Spring rains here on the farm....

Sunday, September 11, 2016


 Spring has sprung here on Sunnyside! 
My white Bearded Iris' have popped in the garden.  Last year I separated one large bunch into many throughout my flower 'half circle' .  This year they have rewarded me for allotting them the extra space with a stunning display!  I can only hope that the purple ones I also transplanted will be equally as extravagant!  The canola crops ripple along the bottom of our valley with their bright yellow flowers. I can't help but admire their beauty each time I step outside.  I am so glad the neighbours decide to plant canola as I couldn't imagine spring without these pretty yellow patches intermingled with the varying greens of the pastures & grain crops that fill the other paddocks.  Spring is in the air & beauty lies all around.

We've had some rain.  Actually, we've had loads of rain. Our paddocks are very wet - far too wet to drive on (read: far too wet to bring up the sheep for lamb marking - & we have some BIG lambs already).  Friday night, for the very first time since we've been here, the highway that our little farm fronts onto was closed due to flooding. Zai & I snuck out the next morning to try & get some photos, but already the water had receeded.  We did manage a few photos of flooded paddocks & water rushing through streams that generally hold just a trickle.   The forecasts are telling us that the rain will return.  I'm not going to complain because the beat of raindrops on our tin roof is one of my favourite sounds & I know come summer that we will appreciate the overflowing dams! 
The twins helped me to start our seeds for our summer garden last weekend.  This year I am experimenting with peat pots as well as the normal pots I generally use.  We shall see how they go.  I grabbed them by accident as I was running through Masters after arriving back from Brisbane a couple of weeks ago.  I'm sure my foggy, 'I've been travelling on two plane flights with a toddler ' brain wasn't thinking properly when I picked the pots up.  Since I have them, I thought to give them a go.  So far the seeds have come up in those & not the others.  I know that I am late starting the seeds.  I always like to have them in by mid-August, but this year it just didn't happen.  Thankfully they are in now.  Actually, I'm late with everything this year.  Taking on our two precious youngest children has sure meant I've needed to extend bucket loads of grace to myself as we work out the new logistics of family life. I'm learning to relax just a little about the less important things such as starting seeds at a particular time.

I had to include a photo of Eli and his blow gun.  He designed this thing & had loads of fun shooting clay pieces everywhere.  Once his brother built one, I relegated the clay shooting to outside.  I'm still finding clay everywhere.  Of course then the other boys each needed one (4 sons... 'nuff said) & they've even been making them for friends.  Boys.....

The hammock is finally being used again as the weather warms a little (well when it's not raining that is).  Ellie will spend her time happily laying there doing schoolwork.  I'm not sure that's normal school protocol, but hey, we homeschool & hammock schooling is allowed! 

The big children have just finished their movie & its time for me to say goodnight here & become switched on Mummy again (the little ones have been asleep for a good hour as they were TIRED)!

Have a wonderful week friends!

This week...

Friday, August 19, 2016

A flock of Ibises have visited Sunnyside Farm this week.  At least a hundred birds meander effortlessly around the crisp, blue skies and then land on the grass, enjoying seeds from the winter pastures.  Two days ago they made the small 'cow' paddock their home, but this morning I noticed them in the front paddock.  Eli has particularly enjoyed watching them & he only laments that his video camera (that he would pull out almost daily & take footage of the birds around the farm) went for a swim recently.  Poor boy was filming ducks from the side of the dam when the dog nudged him & he dropped the camera into the water.  Sadly, it no longer works.

This week we had our BOSTES homeschool registration visit.  Our last one was two years ago.  I was ridiculously nervous knowing this was coming up.  I do know that I ensure we do the work & tick the boxes, but I was still unsure how it would go as this visit included assessing my proposed learning program for Stage 5 (years 9 & 10).  I had heard they were particularly picky with this older stage. Needless to say, my almost sleepless night before the visit was unwarranted.  We were given two years registration (& the inspector didn't read even half the paperwork I had prepared)!  This is the maximum we could get, so it was quite the relief after it was done.  

Olympic fever continues with much cheering of our Aussie athletes.  That, combined with the beginning of the Little Athletics season, has meant the boys have been busy training.  Javelin is their current choice as the twins are only beginning javelin this year.  Should you visit, please watch out for flying sticks....

Life continues to fly along.  Adding two extra children has certainly made life a little busier. After so many months, it is finally beginning to feel a little more natural having these children around.  People ask how we are going & I tell them that some days are good & some are hard & then occasionally there are those days that are really, really hard & these make us wonder why we are doing this.   Thankfully those days are getting further apart & more good days are filling the gaps. Please don't get me wrong, we do know these kiddos are amazing blessings, they've just been so hurt that sometimes its hard for them to get past that.  Time & God....

The sky is clouding over & the wind has risen signaling that rain is near.  I'd better go & feed the lambs before I get stuck getting wet.  I'd rather stay by the fire, but duty calls....

Have a wonderful day friends

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