Life has been flying by in the way the days tend to do (after you are past the age of about 10 that is - before that I remember time going very s...l....o...w...l...y)! In an effort to keep this blog semi-up-to-date, I am going to endeavour to record here some of the little things that have been missing - the things that time hasn't permitted me to write a separate post about (I actually do plan each month far more posts than I find the time to write - I would love to have everything recorded nicely here, but then, I wouldn't have the time to actually live this life & that would be terribly unfortunate indeed)!
* We were blessed with almost 2 inches of rain recently over just a couple of days. It rained constantly day & night & reminded me of living on the coast. I will admit that even after 7 1/2 years of living here in the west that I still long for the coastal climate
all the time at times. Our average annual rainfall here is 22 inches and some years it's been as little as 12 inches. 2 inches all at once seems very extravagant! Such a blessing to our pastures, gardens, & water tanks!
* Dave went to the USA for three weeks for work in May. Did I mention that it was while we had the extra children? Not only did I get the chance to be a mother of many, but I got to experience what being a single mother of many was like..... (hats off to any single mothers of many!) Thankfully my Mum came down for 5 days in the middle of it to give me some adult company.
I survived, the kids all survived & Dave survived (Ha! I think he actually enjoyed it, for all his carry on about wanting to be home...) He did come home with some tummy issues as the food is very different from our more natural diet here (and he ate out almost every meal).
Oh & apparently the coffee is very different from ours.... not as strong...
* We have just begun our winter holidays, however I was thinking of only giving the children a week off, instead of our normal two, as we took time off schoolwork when my Mum was visiting. Then I thought that would be really mean as they have been working really hard. So I told them that for the first week we will do 'modified school' - in which we only do the review products that we have to do. Then we will completely take the second week off. I have school planning to do for semester two & the tax to do for our teeny, tiny farm business (which seems far too big when you leave all the tax to do until the end of the financial year...) over that week. So I'm sure I will find some kind of project that is absolutely vital to work on instead.
* We have had more & more successes with the chicks that we've been hatching (actually I do have some cute chick photos that I have to post one of these days). The last two hatchings we had 6 out of 9 eggs hatch (& the chicks live). Previously, our most successful hatching was only 4 chicks, so we are very happy with this increase. Sadly, the first day I sent the older lot of chicks to the henhouse, a nasty crow came & took three of them while they were free-ranging. After that we decided to lock them up in half of the henhouse ( we designed it so we could separate chickens off if need be) until they are fully grown.
* We had Cadbury (our beef heifer) butchered ( I actually DO have a post on the butchering as I want a record of it). As she was still drinking from Chocco, Zai & I decided we would try milking Chocco. Last year after Bessy's calf as butchered, we were able to finally have her let down and we milked her, with wonderful success, until we had to dry her off. Anyway, while Chocco was a good girl & let us milk her without any fuss, she would not let down. We tried & tried & she just wouldn't give us more than two litres a day. Slowly she just dried herself off. As we still had extra kiddos at that point, I didn't have too much extra time to spend milking her numerous times during the day. Now I am looking around for another milk cow ( & another jersey girl is my first pick....). I'm not sure what to do with Chocco. (Can I justify keeping her because she produces exceptionally delicious calves? hmmm... The only plus to her being dried off is that I can now send both girls out to the bull together or have them AI'd at the same time (we're still tooing & froing about what to do there).
* We have FINALLY cleaned up the front circle
mess garden!!!!! YAY!!! While we had our friend's front end loader here on hire, we thought we would take the opportunity to clean the circle out. Dave had both 'Old Blue' our faithful old tractor & the bigger (newer) tractor working on this job. It is almost done now & looks A LOT better (no more hideously ugly rocks everywhere). We all spent time moving rocks, but all the aches & pains & banged fingers were definitely worth it! Now I can relax when I look at the front window without this eye sore there. (Yes, it's been bugging me since we moved here).
* Zai trained Bolt to 'shake'. He did it while he was meant to be helping me clean out the side garden. It seems procrastination is a genetic trait , but then I knew that (hey Mum!!!).....
Of course you would know all of this if you are friends (friends/ followers/???) with me on Instagram as I actually put up a video of it!
* Talking about Zai...he is looking more & more like Dave when I first met him! Sometimes, when I see him out of the corner of my eye, I do think he is his father. But then, everyone is saying that Ellie (who is only about 2cm shorter than me now) is looking just like me! People are remarking all the time that they think she is me! I happen to think she looks very much like a couple of my sisters do!
One from one side, one from the other - Fair is fair :)
* And completely off topic, but the wattle trees are ready to blossom! I love it when they do. It all seems to happen overnight. It seems the world is suddenly coloured green & gold for a time! It is a lovely boost on a dreary winters' day!
It won't be long now...
* Winter is here with a vengeance. While it's been very cold lately, it's also been lovely. The days have generally warmed up enough so that we can spend a couple of hours outside in the early afternoon. As I think it is important for children to spend time outside every day in free-play, this has worked out well! On those days which have been too cold, we've extended out our read-aloud time around the fire! Early this year I moved that time from just before bedtime to after lunchtime. It seems to work really well & it means the children have more 'free reading' time before lights out ! We are avid readers around here (& own far too many books, but I just can't get into the whole ebook thing...sigh...it would save us so many messy bookcases to tidy each week)!