2 hands for Ellie

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

A little over 10 years ago a sweet baby girl came into the world.
This little girl was our Ellie & recently we celebrated with her the milestone of 10 years since her birth!

Ellie (& brothers) were so excited &  woke us up in the early hours of the morning.  Night still lay thick in the air so we got to watch the sun slowly rise across the valley in the eastern sky...
...except that really wasn't why Ellie had us up so early. 

She was excited about her celebration & our tradition is that each birthday begins with a birthday 'hunt' in which I write clues & the birthday child ( with the assistance of their excited siblings) finds the gifts & then opens then before reading the next clue.

Because we live so far away from family, the birthday hunt includes gifts from them that have been delivered & secreted away in my special 'hiding spots' only to appear after the birthday child has gone to bed on the eve of their special day!

 Ellie received a ring from her grandparents in celebration of this important milestone!  Yes, she got it stuck as she tried it on the wrong finger (she is my daughter after all), but thankfully some dish soap & a bit of tugging by Dad got it off (this is her first experience with a real ring)!  It fit perfectly the finger it was meant for though!

We gave her a camera.  I received a camera for my 10th birthday & treasured it.  Ellie has taken very good care of her camera.  I will admit that I have never had so many photos taken of me though.  I tend to prefer to be the one behind the camera, not in front, but at the moment it feels like I have  paparazzi following... 'Mum, look here...'  

Ellie & I went into town & snuck in a special 'girls only' morning tea together since Dave had the day off work!  It was so much fun & the ladies at the cafe we went to made a fuss over the birthday girl!  Dave also built her 'new' (to her, but one of my favourite op shop finds) bed.  I will show photos soon as it really is the perfect girls bed & I know some of her aunties will LOVE it (as does her mother!)!

The cake....Oh I'd rather not talk about it really.... It just didn't work & I didn't have enough time & it completely flopped.  Thankfully Miss Ellie pronounced it 'perfect' & ' her favourite cake she's ever had'.  I'm glad she is so thankful with whatever I do even when it goes so wrongly ( & let's face it, it all tastes the same).  I have friends who are amazing cake decorators.  I am not ~ enough said!

We celebrated with an evening meal of her favourites ~ lasange, potato bake & salad.  We had friends come over who we love & are our adopted family here since we live so far away from our actual families!  They are good enough to come to all our birthday celebrations!

Ellie is such a beautiful person inside & out with such a heard for the hurting & lonely!  I couldn't be prouder of my girl as she reaches out to everyone around her & brings cheer into their lives! 

Happy Birthday Precious Girl!!


Sunday Psalms

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Come, let us bow down in worship,
    let us kneel before the Lord our Maker;
 for He is our God
    and we are the people of His pasture,
    the flock under His care.

Psalm 95:6-7a

Family fun...

Monday, March 24, 2014

Our family fun day, which occurred a couple of weeks ago, involved so much more than seeking out wild apples, although that was the primary reason we packed everyone into the car & took off for a day away from the farm.  Just spending time together as a family is so important & Dave had been so very busy with working lately that it was nice to have his undivided attention.  He does an amazing job with everything he has to juggle & the good news is that the chaotic start of the year has calmed down into a moderate rhythm once again.  


We visited a park & enjoyed the early autumn weather which on this day retained it's coolness ( to be once again followed by another heatwave, but that's the very nature of this time of year).  

 Ellie & I decided to follow a walking track & leave the boys to their giggle-inducing swinging.  Sometimes tracks  just beckon to us & we can't help but explore them!  I love to be outside & explore & my favourite place to be is by a stream!  Sadly we were not allowed to go wading, but we certainly enjoyed the freshness of the gentle breeze that blew over the waters.

We weren't sure what the fourth sign meant.  We giggled with our ideas ~ no synchronised swimming ~ or maybe it's allowed since it's not crossed????

 I am enjoying playing with my new camera.  It's taking a while getting back into the habit of photographing our life.  How much I enjoy exploring the world through the lens, yet I have so much to learn.  Every time I pick it up I am overwhelmed with the many options it gives me. I promised Dave however that I would master this camera & I fully intend to fulfil that promise.  It's going to take a while though...

 We skipped the final part of the walk & went through some bush to cut through the playing field.  I will admit to taking off my shoes & wiggling my toes in this lush, green grass!  Then we tried to identify the bugs that seemed to be everywhere.   

As we left that town we decided to take an alternative route that took us past some of the town's beautiful old buildings, including the convent that originally housed our wood fired oven (that is still being redone).  It looks as if it's going to be an outdoor only oven for safety's sake, which is unfortunate, but still will be lovely to use! 
Looking back across the town!

A lazy, fun family day...
...Filled to the brim with memories made & relationships strengthened!

Have a lovely day friends

Sunday Psalms

Sunday, March 23, 2014

The heavens are Yours,
and Yours also the earth;
You founded the world 
and all that is in it.

Psalm 89:11

Apple - ing

Friday, March 21, 2014

It all started with an op shop visit...
I fell completely & totally in love with this basket....

Eli, upon surveying the basket, declared it " Perfect for apple~ ing"!  
So now it is termed apple-ing!
( & if you're wondering about the spelling, neither appling or appleing looked correct ).

Apple- ing ( our family definition): 
The process of locating one of our favourite wild apple trees & picking as many apples as we need & then coming home & making a years supply of apple sauce!

Of course every family fun day includes food.  Dave spoilt us by taking us out to lunch...although he did make us eat in the courtyard (which we had entirely to ourselves).  It was a perfect day & we enjoyed a delicious meal in the great outdoors!

OK so I really added this picture for Grandma :)

We have a few wild apple trees that we pick from during our apple-ing days.  One was already picked bare, but this one still had some fruit left on it. 

These are rather small, sour apples with a floury texture.  Certainly not eating apples.  However I have found that they produce delicious apple sauce!

One of our favourite parts of this kind of day is travelling small country lanes.  We enjoy exploring new terrain & finding new 'favourite hideaways'!  
This day we found the cutest little farm tucked way away in the shadow of a hill.  I hope to go back & see it when it's all green as I'm sure it will be a picture!

The day was rather warm, but autumn was beginning to announce itself with the obvious absence of the intense heat we've had during this past summer!  In fact the temperature is truly perfect for an ex-Queensland girl this time of year!

I got to try out my Fowlers Vacola canning jars.  I had  purchased a couple of boxes of these jars a few years ago when I found them hidden in the back of a tiny second hand store. Since I had already used my screw top jars for the extra canning I have done this year ( I have doubled the amount this year ),  I decided to locate the rings & clips that I would need to use them.  I found these accessories were very reasonably priced so I purchased enough for all my jars & even some extra lids as some were a little worn.

  I have always frozen my apple sauce before, but am acutely aware that butchering time is almost upon us & I have to find enough room for one large cow, 2 pigs & possibly some lambs as well.  I need every cm of space I can find! Defrosting all 4 freezers is on my to-do list for the next week ( I told the children we would have  snow!)!

I was really impressed with this canning system & look forward to filling the rest of the jars I own ( & now I know the price of the jars new, I'm going to look for them in all my favourite second hand shops ~ I can't believe how much they are brand new)!  
I had 100% of the jars seal which is much more successful than the screw top jars I've previously used.

We are so blessed to not only enjoy a day together as a family foraging for wild apples, but being able to enjoy the fruit of our labour all year round ( the children helped me with every step of the apple sauce making)!

How have you been enjoying your autumn/ spring?

Have a wonderful day friends!

Sunday Psalms

Sunday, March 16, 2014

When I consider Your heavens,
the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars which You have set in place,
what is mankind that You are mindful of them,
human beings that You care for them?
Psalm 8:3-4

A random assortment...

Saturday, March 15, 2014

I'm fairly sure that the title of this post could describe my life in so many ways..
...A random assortment of activities that keep us running hither & thither ....
...A random assortment of thoughts constantly revolving around my head...
...A random assortment of animals that I care for each day...

Today I'm sharing a random assortment of photos that have been sitting here waiting to be posted for quite a while.  Life has been busy lately & I'm looking forward to the 'quieter' season coming up.  Swimming stops this week & although it's been fun, I think everyone is ready for a break.  Homeschooling is going well, but I've been pushing the children extra hard with the knowledge that I can get so much more out of them in the first half of the year than the second.  I've been so pleased with their progress and they seem to be coping well even with the increased workload.  Dave's spent a few weekends away on various work trips which has meant the farm has been left in my hands.  Amazingly nothing has escaped or died this time!  

This is a dam mussel.  I had no idea that mussels grew in dams.  I always thought they preferred flowing waters.  When the boys came back from exploring a dam with friends & had some of these I was very surprised!  It was a well timed find as we have just studied mollusks in Science!

Bessy is still going strong.  Actually a little too strong as she is still feeding Beefy.  That would be like feeding a grown adult if they were human.....which really we would rather not think about.  Beefy is booked in to be butchered at the end of March, so very soon her condition will improve as we are drying her off.  Early April she is going to visit the bull again after a cameo appearance at the local school fete to be the starring character in their 'cow pat lottery' (only in the country....)!  Let's hope she fulfils her role well! 

I cannot get a good photo of her close up as she just loves me too much.  Unfortunately this night she had a runny eye.  I checked her for a grass seed or other irritation, but couldn't find anything.  By the next day she was all better!

This is the reason I had my camera out that evening... the evening moonlight leant a whimsical appearance to the thirsty paddocks! (This was taken about a month ago, before any autumn rains had come & the much anticipated green tufts which are finally making an appearance).

This little toy is a humidifier & we purchased it so we could maintain the humidity in our 'cheese/ meat' fridge which at the moment has a lovely slab of prosciutto hanging in it ( don't worry, we don't keep cheese & meat in it at the same time).  We all enjoyed trying  the humidifier out!  The fridge now has temperature & humidity control which allows us to experiment with even more products!   

This garden kart has been so very handy as it can be towed behind the quad bike which makes hauling feed around for the animals so much easier.  Of course when it's not being used for work, the children have utilised it for many an imaginary vehicle.  It has been a downhill bobsleigh, a boat & this time an Amish buggy.  Ellie loves reading Amish books (just like her Mum) & gets her brothers to join her in her Amish games whenever she can get them to oblige!  This time they were up early & we were checking the chickens (which are now located over here instead of next to the pigs for obvious reasons if you read this post) & so they were all in pjs!  

Here they are being towed behind the quad bike.  I wish you could hear the giggles that accompany each ride.  It can't help but bring a smile to your face ~ even before your breakfast coffee!!!!

Summer has finally filtered into the coolness of Autumn.  It was certainly a difficult summer, but it makes us appreciate more so the other seasons.  Our farm, while far from perfect, continues to thrive & grow!

Have a lovely weekend friends

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