And then she was one!

Dearest readers, I’m sorry this post is a little delayed. I have been oh so tired and keeping things afloat in the real world has taken every ounce of energy. We are good and well, I have just been a bit worn out. But with the change of seasons and Autumn upon us, I’m feeling somewhat rejuvenated and refreshed. 






But somewhere in amongst it all, it seems Elsie turned one! I cannot quite believe it. She has filled our lives with love, laughter and sweet cuddles. It feels as though she has always been here with us and each and everyone of us adores her. She is such a funny character, sensitive but cheerful. Always looking to her family for connection and love. She remains not a great sleeper, but we muddle through just fine. 

And what a time to come into the world, her first year of life has been through the covid pandemic. We have spent much of it at home in our own little bubble, safe and snug in the yurt.


Her birthday was held over the span of a weekend. There was time spent outside, quiet time inside watching the Frozen movie (she loves singing) church and her favourite meal of a roast chicken, with veggies and gravy. There was a simple butter cake with naturally coloured pale pink icing, adorned with tiny seaside daisies from the garden. It was lovely and without too much fuss, just as her entrance into our family has been. 

I made her a jointed Waldorf/natural fibre doll which she loves to snuggle, and found a little cane bed for it on marketplace. I named the little doll Bonnie and she will get long hair when Elsie is a little older if she wants that.  I intended on making her clothes and I have some lovely fabrics popped aside but I ran out of time. No rush though, I found a little pair of dolls flannel PJ’s in amongst the teddies which will do until I get to sewing a dress for her. Elsie also received beautiful new clothes and a little basket with some tiny cloth dolls which she also loves.







 Once upon a time I would have worried about her gift being unfinished. Worried that I was not being a good enough mother, or that I wasn’t showing her the same level of organisation as I would have Will on his first birthday. Which is only natural now as there are 4 children’s needs to consider at any one time. But with each child I have learned there is no ‘perfect’ and that children are very capable of showing their parents grace if things are a little muddled, as long as we too show them grace in return. Life is a bit messy and imperfect here. But it is full of love which is about the most important thing. 

Much love to you all,
Emma
Xx    

Yurt Frequently asked questions

I often get messages and emails asking various questions about our yurt. Recently a reader asked if I had a FAQ post specifically on the yurt, which I thought was a brilliant idea. I don't remember doing one so so here we are. 



Why did you choose a yurt? 
When we bought our farm it had zero infrastructure. Because we wanted to live on it immediately we looked extensively at numerous housing options before settling on a modern yurt. They can be fully erected within a few days, there is no further insulating/plastering to be done on the external structure, they offer a comparatively large space which can be sectioned off, (compared to a caravan/tiny home) they are affordable and when we do eventually build a home it will become an interesting and unique B&B.

How big is your yurt?
It is a 30ft yurt. We have it roughly divided in half and downstairs, we have two bedrooms and an upper loft which is divided into two spaces. We built a small walk-in pantry underneath the central half spiral staircase. The other half is an open kitchen/lounge/dining area. We are really happy with this layout and feel we have maximised every inch of the space we have. You can see a floor plan below and there are built-in shelves in the boys' rooms in the mezzanine which are above our wardrobe and the other one. 


What yurt company did you use and why?
We did a lot of research into various yurt companies, yurts are far more common in the USA then they are here in Australia and we settled on Pacific Yurts. They have a long and reliable history of producing good quality yurts, an excellent and comprehensive website and were brilliant to deal with.  

Here is their link Pacific Yurts  

Pacific Yurts came highly recommended and had clear customizable options. They have a history of excellent customer service and utilising the best materials available, which is why we choose them. We felt we could trust them with our money and that they would deliver what they promised. 
Blue Mountain Yurts are an Australian supplier of the American made Colerado Yurts. They are worth looking into, though I have no personal experience with them so with anything, please do your own research. It's a big cost item! Sometimes we talk about putting a second smaller yurt for more space for the kids as they grow and if we decide to do this we will look more closely at them, purely due to the import costs which we were caught out by. 

However, we remain incredibly happy with our Pacific Yurt and highly recommend them. 

What is your yurt built on?
Our yurt is built on a timber platform. The platform is built from hardwood turpentine stilts, felled from our own property with treated pine joists with yellow tongue flooring laid on top. We have hardwood flooring laid on that. The platform plans are included in the yurt instructions, and you can get them emailed to you prior to your yurt arriving. 


How much did it cost?
We paid about $30k for the yurt itself. Though this will fluctuate depending on what the Aussie dollar is doing. However, we got caught out with shipping which added an extra $12k on the Australian side of things. This included things like GST, import taxes, handling fees, storage space, customs manager etc. 

How did you import it?
Pacific Yurts crated our yurt up brilliantly and it was packed into a 20ft shipping container.
You will need to hire a customs manager who will liaise with the company to organise shipment.  
You also need to be aware of the brown marmorated stink bug when importing timber from the USA. Fumigation and then a quarantine period may be required depending on the season. We were fortunate we didn't need this as the already high import cost could have skyrocketed. 

Australia's borders are highly regulated and at this time, Pacific Yurts had not imported many yurts into Australia so they were unsure themselves on how to ensure they were following Australian protocol. We worked it out together, and I know they had a couple more yurts being built to ship to Australia so no doubt they have their procedures in place now.   

What is the yurt made from? Our yurt is a modern yurt, made with modern technology and materials. You can read about the construction and materials here


What is it like living in a yurt?
It's good. The yurt linings are very thin compared to a conventional building so the temperature fluctuates quite a lot. Though with the windows open and fans on we do ok in the sub-tropics. I feel like the temperature is easier to manage in the winter with the wood oven on. Due to condensation building on the windows when it's cold, it's important to keep airflow moving to help dry out the condensation to minimize the risk of mildew forming. Fans can help this. Though we have not had this problem, I have read of others struggling. 

Due to the yurts thin walls, the dome and many windows, we feel very connected to nature. We can hear the winds shift, the leaves rustle and the birds sing with clarity. Which we love. When I go into a conventional home I'm often surprised by the feeling of disconnect to nature. Perhaps it is also the yurts exposed timber and gently curved walls that help make it feel like a peaceful building. When it rains, however, it is very noisy! 








Would you choose a yurt again? 
Grant and I have talked extensively about this upon reflection. Though long term perhaps it might have saved a little money to build a shed home or something similar, we didn't want to be living in a dusty building site with a young family for many years to come. The speed and simplicity of erecting the yurt was the biggest appeal for us, and all things considered, it has given us a comfortable little home. We still feel we have made the right decision for our family as the yurt has given us the chance to think about what kind of home we want to build on the farm in the future. When that time comes, we will be able to do much of the work ourselves which can save a lot of money. We will not be forced into rushed or sub-optimal decisions due to needing to get into it quickly, as we are quite comfortable here.   

Let me know if there are any further questions and I can edit this post to include them for future reference. 

Much love, 
Emma
xx




a trip away and birthdays galore!

As the Landcruiser rumbles down the track, silence descends over the yurt. School is back. I am always torn at this time of the year. Thankful for the headspace to be able to focus on my own projects but aware that three of my very favourite people will be spending their days away from me once again. 

Catching up with Sally and Brian from Jembella Farm. We forgot to get all of us in the photo though! Doh. 

I'd like to say I'm one of those mothers who has everything well organised, labelled and in order two weeks prior to school returning but alas, I am not. I'm more of a fly by the seat of your pants mother. But despite that, we muddle through with black dress shoes scuffed in mud and me shoving old school hats re-labelled with permanent texta and hastily scrawled initials inside the brim in their bags as they file out. Late on day one. But there are new school bags, clean uniforms, fresh-packed lunches and drink bottles filled with cool water so I'm sure they will survive.    

It's quiet here without them though. 

Will and Tucker on the road. 

For the past week and a half, we have been interstate and we were finally able to introduce Elsie to friends and family. It was wonderful, emotional, challenging and joyful all at once. 

The drive is hard. It's roughly 2000kms each way which we tackle over two days on either side of the trip. Being the middle of summer, crossing the Hay Plains gets hot and the airconditioning in the Landcruiser struggles to keep up.  It's the first time Elsie has done the drive and considering the long days in the car, she did brilliantly. She got to meet met her Aunties, Uncles and cousins and we had a wonderful time catching up with them all. We also managed to catch up with a couple of dear friends though sadly we couldn't fit everyone in. Hopefully next time our trip will be longer. Despite that, my heart is full and I feel re-rejuvenated to keep going here. A change of scenery is good for us I think. To have a break from the endless to-do list, reflect and re-prioritise the next couple of tasks at hand. 

But still, it is good to be home again and back to our familiar daily rhythm.  

Elsie didn't sleep well while we were away, she's happy to be home and back in her own bed. 

Elsie turns one in a couple of weeks. Can you believe it? I'm contemplating sewing her an indoor swing or making her a 14" Waldorf doll. Either way, I'll be pulling out out the sewing machine and taking over the kitchen table for a bit. I have been keeping my eye out for some wooden building blocks on Facebook marketplace, but I am yet to find some that are not overpriced. I mean, they are not expensive but I don't understand why people are asking $25 for blocks I could buy new for the same price. Marketplace can be weird like that. Sometimes there are good bargains to be had, and other times people price items far too high and they sit there for weeks. But, in our desire to buy second hand where possible and utilize items that already exist rather than continue the demand for "new" we shall wait. 

Aside from that, there will be a simple homemade meal consisting of a roast chicken, veggies and mashed potato for dinner which is her favourite meal, and a pale pink iced butter cake. If it's hot we might take her to the river for a dip. She loves the water!

While we were away Angus turned 10! He requested tacos, homemade mud cake for dinner. As well as a play with his cousins and a swim for the day. He also discovered sparklers at his grandparents' place which made for a happy surprise.  

Anyway, I had best get on with the days jobs. There is sourdough to feed, dishes to do, biscuits to bake, washing to hang, a dirty load to put on and two big loads to fold, floors to mop and a suitcase still to unpack. We are having butter chicken for dinner so I should get the chicken thigh out of the freezer before the day completely escapes me! 

Much love,
Emma
xx


What simple living means to us

Since starting our budding YouTube channel, I have spent a lot of time contemplating the ways we are living simply and what simple living means to our family. We have been on this path for quite a while now, and it's become our normal. I sometimes get a reminder that not all people live like us. Particularly when someone emails me or messages me on IG asking for advice or thanking me for helping them see how they can make simple changes in their own lives. 

Our kitchen dining area in the yurt. Though the yurt is only 30ft or a touch over 9m in diameter, there is always room for everyone. 

I have also been watching YouTube to see how others are living simply, and the stories they are sharing through their channel. There are some people who have big families often share quite practical videos. Then there are people who are trying to live and maintain the old ways of doing things. These tend to be both informative and beautiful. There are people who use their unique sense of creativity to express their lives with beautiful filming and music. There are some people who appear to live a more ecologically conscious lifestyle than others, and people who live simply in towns as well as those who live on smallholdings or farms like us.  

Which raises the question, what do we have to offer in this space? 

For us, simple living is a continuing journey, which fluctuates depending on the season of life we are in. But the thread that seems to connect everyone who is trying to live simply is a sense of mindfulness and consideration for each other and the world in which we live. 


Recently a friend of ours who is gluten and dairy intolerant went to a party. Quite a fancy one at that. However, despite that, he was shown little consideration. Rather than the hosts quickly frying him a steak and tossing together a simple garden salad with a shop-bought loaf of gluten-free bread, he was tossed a bag of plain corn chips and told that was his dinner while others feasted. While listening to his story it dawned on me it was a sad reflection about how many people choose to live their lives. Not bothering to consider how their choices impact others and make them feel. (I say this as a white woman of privilege. Who makes imperfect choices due to budget constraints and from living withing a consumerist model society.)

One of the biggest shifts for me in trying to live more simply has been the conscious consideration about how the choices I make affect others and make them feel. I want as many of the daily actions I undertake to be kind. Kind to the earth, and kind to the people who have been a part of the process of getting an item in my hands.

On a small scale, I want those that visit our little home to feel welcomed. I want to feed them nourishing food which they enjoy, prepared with love. When they leave the table, I want them to feel as though we have shown them love. 


When it comes to purchasing food, we aim to buy Australian made independent brands because we feel the farmers and producers are often paid a fairer price for their produce. If there is an option packaged in cardboard I'll choose that as it will leave the smallest environmental impact on the earth as it will be composted or burnt in one of our regular campfires. The ash then gets tossed back into the bush as organic matter.

We choose second-hand items where appropriate. Shopping at local op-shops is not only utilizing other peoples unwanted items, but it also put the profits straight back into the local community, supporting vulnerable people. However, we don't buy everything secondhand. When we buy new we first try to shop local to support the local economy and jobs. We then look online to support an Australian business and if the item is still something we need but can't get in Australia, then we will buy from overseas.     

We cloth nappy and use white cotton flannels as baby wipes. Our clothes are line-dried. Though we have a generator, we don't own a dryer.

Elsie is perfectly happy in her cloth nappies. Despite expensive marketing strategies that aim to convince us that disposables are better, Cloth nappies are perfectly absorbent, easy to care for and leak-free when washed properly. 

There is always washing either being hung, folded or patiently waiting to be put away. It's a perfectly normal on-going reality of family life.

I want my children to know the comfort of clean warm clothes and warm cosy beds that smell like sunshine when they hop in. To be excited when served their favourite foods just because I wanted to see their pleasure. To see their delight when they open the sweets tin to discover an abundance of their favourite homemade biscuits has appeared while they were at school.


The consumerist model in which we have become accustomed to living within belittle these kinds of tasks. It tells us that things should be fancier, bigger, newer. That we should buy foods for convenience and that making these kinds of items is a hassle. That housework should be outsourced if you can possibly afford too, that it’s dull and uninteresting. Even menial. Whilst cleaning a house might not be a particularly complex task, the feeling of coming home to a safe, clean home where the members of the family feel loved and valued is powerful and not to be underestimated. 

So I wonder, what does simple living mean to you? And what aspects of simple living would you like to hear more about, or personally explore this year?

Much love,
Emma
xx

moving forward and adjusting plans

It’s 10:30 am and already it’s hot and muggy.

I have caved. Although it’s early, the generator is humming away, drowning out the sounds of the bush.  The cool air from the little air conditioner is blowing on me, whispering to me I’m a fraud for not being able tough it out without some modern conveniences. 

But by golly the Australian summer is tough. There is rain predicted this afternoon and the air is heavy and still, without a cloud in the sky. In the few short minutes it took me to hang out a load of washing, sweat dripped down my back, causing my dress to cling to me uncomfortably.


The kids are playing monopoly at the kitchen table, breakfast dishes are piled up in the sink, the Wheetbix setting like glue.  I should do them, but that would require moving away from the cool of the air conditioner so they can wait. Our air conditioner is too small for the space due to needing to run off the generator, but it’s something. At least for the person sitting in front of it.   

Elsie is shuffling about in her cloth nappy, happily flicking through books.  Every few minutes she comes up to me wanting a cuddle, contemplating her morning nap and then pulls away just as her eyes begin to droop.  She is not a fan of naps. Which is unfortunate, as I‘m rather fond of them.

Elsie loves sitting in front of the screen door watching the world

On the farm, things are moving along slowly. We are itching for progress but everything takes longer then we expect. The last few weekends Grant has been laying the timber flooring which is a fiddley job due to needing to work around the lattice walls. Ideally, it would have been laid before we built the yurt which would have been quicker and easier, but that's just not the way things worked out. It seems to be a common problem we experience here. We don’t have the funds to do something straight up, so everything takes infinitely longer as we work around whatever systems we have had to put in place to make do in the meantime.   

The weeds are overtaking the gardens due to the combination of rain and sunshine. The harsh summer sun and lack of shade around the veggies mean I can’t plop Elsie on the ground while I work to keep on top of them. The sun is in the middle of the sky a 9:30 am at the moment. With Grant back in full-time work, everything is looking rather wild and I have been feeling a little disheartened. 


Like with anything that's not working, we have had to re-assess and simplify our expectations. After some conversation and looking at where each of our interests lies, I think we have made a mistake with the initial garden designs. Both of us have limited time, for Grant, it's due to work, for me it’s due to Elsie. Grants first passion is livestock. He loves the goats and woodies so his priority is rightly those at the moment. Getting the fencing up and his shed built is necessary infrastructure because without decent infrastructure, everything is significantly slower which is wasting both precious time and money. With 4 young children and one of us in full-time work we just don't have the time to dabble in too many directions and have different projects on the go. As much as we would love too, this is simply not the season for it. A lesson we have perhaps learnt the hard way. But adjusting expectations and shifting how we are doing things is possible. It just takes a little reflection and humility to say we made a mistake and move on. Afterall, we love this place and hope to be here for the long haul. We will get there eventually. 

Plants from a neighbour

Aside from blogging, vlogging and cooking our family nourishing meals, I really enjoy gardening and I am impatient to get chickens again. But the current veggie garden as is too far away from the yurt and due to its layout I'm unable to do incidental maintenance on it when I happen to be outside. So, once this season's veggies are picked I’ll build a few small beds and plant a couple more trees for shade/fruit in the yurt yard, to create a very simplified food forest style garden. The big veggie patch will just need to be put to rest for the next year or two. Since the yurt yard is already fenced, it will mean there is one less job for Grant and hopefully, the chooks can free range in the house paddock. 

Grant, however, is not remotely convinced by this idea, but he admits he doesn't have the time at the moment for everything so he has agreed he will do his thing and leave me to do mine. He’s also not convinced my beds won't get dug up by the dogs but it's only Aggie who digs and jumping isn’t her strong point. I figure the kids and I can make some little 45cm garden edging out of weaving sticks or something similar, it doesn't take much to deter her. The thing is we don't have to agree on everything. We only have to agree to respect each other enough to let the other explore the avenues they are interested in, within reason of course.      

But seasons and all that. In a year or two, he can re-instate his big veggie patch to his hearts desire if that's what he wants. 

However, I did manage to find him a rather handsome boer billy goat recently that the kids have named Bob. Bob has moved in with Esme, Vicki, Shirly, Maggie, and the rest of the girls. Hagrid has accepted him as one of his mob and we hope to hear the pitter-patter of little hooves in the middle of the year.  


So, that’s where we are at in the beginning of 2021. Are you doing any adjusting of goals this year? If so I’d love to hear about it. 

Much love,
Emma
xx

P.S. I’m having a little trouble responding to comments and I apologise if I havn’t responded recently. I can assure you I have tried! Blogger wont let me reply to each one but I can often reply as a whole new comment. Hearing about what others are doing is one of my favorite things about this little corner of the web. 

 

     

A new year, a drama and a new vlog


Happy new year dear readers! 

We have had a few weeks of good summer rain now. The creeks are flowing beautifully, and everything is growing before our eyes. And the Cicadas are deafening. The cacophony of birds that usually sing and call out in the mornings is quieter than usual. I’m not sure if they have gotten fat from feasting on cicadas and all the other insects that seem to have come out with the rains or if the cicadas have given them a headache and so they can't be bothered singing at the moment. 

I have been away from the blog longer then I intended. I got caught up with the goings-on of a busy young family and everyone being home for school holidays.  Which is wonderful but it always takes a few weeks to shake down into some kind of rhythm. Well, for me anyway.  

However, I have been working on our second vlog which is now up on YouTube. I apologise for the sound quality, there is no escape from the cicadas here and the mic has picked them up over me. I do hope you can muddle through with me while I learn the ropes and next vlog I will tweak a few things and see if that helps. Also, Grant has promised me he will be in the next one, so there is that. He is rather camera shy. If you want to watch it you can find HERE. If you could take a moment to like, subscribe or share it will greatly help the algorithm to recognise my little channel to suggest it to others. 


Along with the explosion of cicada numbers, its also been a terrible year for ticks here. A few months ago long time readers will remember we lost dear Ronnie, our tan and white border collie to ticks. We routinely treat our dogs for ticks but with the arrival of Elsie their cover had lapsed a little and despite treatment, Ronnie didn’t make it. We were utterly devastated. Grant was hit especially hard by the loss of his best mate, so I went on a search and I found him Tucker. A beautiful failed farm dog who is an utter delight. 

All our dogs continue to be treated with Bravecto, but now with multiple alarms on our phones to ensure their treatment never lapses again.  However, despite being well with the treatment window and checking for ticks nightly, a few days ago we woke to find Tucker partially paralysed. 

Tucker sedated and resting at home after tratment. 

Here he is, on the mend but still weak and flat. 

My heart sunk. 

I looked over him again quickly but I couldn’t find anything, so I swiftly bundled everyone into the car and took him to the vets. The vet found two small ticks on his neck I had missed. Because of the treatment they were dying. She told us that even with the treatment the ticks will release a small amount of toxin before they drop off. Normally a dog can process this but seeing as this year is so bad the toxins had built up in Tucker and made him sick.  Fortunately, the tick treatment had stopped the full dose of the toxins being released and with good vet care which included tick anti-serum, antibiotics, IV fluids, antiemetics to stop him vomiting and choking, and sedation to keep him still and calm he is back home and well on the road to recovery. Though we are significantly out of pocket from the experience and he will be flat and weak for a while yet.
 
Tuk is now spending his days inside and seems to have claimed one of the couches as his own. But he is here, and we are deeply relieved. 

The vets suggested in wet years like this that the chewable tablets are more effective. Though they need to be given every three-months compared to the six-month treatment of the drops. There is also a tick repellant collar available the vet recommended that works in conjunction with the medicated chews. So we have made the switch and hopefully, that will be the last of the ticks we see. I have included a photo of the products we have chosen to use, we are not affiliated with the companies at all. I just wanted to share what has been recommended to us in the hope no one else has to learn the hard way. 


Well that's all from me today, if there is anything you would like to see on the vlog please do let me know and I will see if I can answer your questions!

Much love,
Emma
Xx

surgery update and a podcast

Hello dear readers, I just wanted to pop in and let you know that surgery went well and I am home recovering. I'm a bit flat feeling, foggy-headed, tired and sore but all went well and I feel a little better every day. I'm not supposed to lift anything heavier than 5kg for 6 weeks, which is proving very difficult with a baby who just wants her Mum. But Grant and the boys are all working together to make things as easy as possible.


Aggie my ever loyal little Sidekick. Happy to have a kip too. 

Before I went into the hospital, I did a podcast with my dear friend Allie from The Decluttered Home. If you're up for a listen you can find it HERE and check out her Facebook page HERE


I have started working on the next vlog, but each morning I intend to get up early to film the birds and the beautiful sunrise but my bed keeps calling me back. Perhaps tomorrow morning I will get there. I hope to have it out next Friday so I had best get cracking. 


Well aside from that, things have been quiet here. Elsie is sound asleep so I might join her in bed for a little kip. 


Much love,
Emma
xx

Surgery, goats and gardening

It's been heating up here and summer is well and truly on its way.  



I have surgery this Friday which will leave me out of action for roughly 6 weeks, which is annoying but it needs to be done. Grant will be able to bring Elsie into me whenever she needs a feed so that is reassuring at least. They have booked a room not far from the hospital and I'm glad to know everyone will be close by. 

I have been trying to get my little herb/medicinal garden sorted before surgery and though all the plants are still small they are establishing well and with this warm weather I'm sure will take off soon. In there I have
Rosemary
lavender
thyme
sage
clary sage
marjoram
parsley
aloe vera
calendula
echinacea
horseradish
mint
basil
coriander (finished, I'm waiting on seed to form to collect)
spring onion
shallot
leeks
rocket  
Borage
comfrey
daisy
seaside daisy
salvias
lambs ear
allysum
a few varieties of chilli


I'm planning a new garden bed not far from the kitchen door with elderberry which I'll prune up to offer a little shade to some bits and bobs underneath. I can't get the elderberry until the new year locally but I can get the boys onto clearing the grass and putting in a basic timber edge. It feels wonderful to have claimed my little garden back after Grant tried to turn it into an extension of his veggie patch. Ha!

Grant will have to be at home to help with any lifting of Elsie post surgery for a couple of weeks at least. Though he will need to be helping us inside, I'm hoping he can get the fence up around the veggies while Elsie and I are resting. It's the only thing holding us back from getting chickens, we have their portable chicken house all ready to go and I'm growing increasingly impatient. I keep insisting it’s not really a farm without chickens in the aim to hurry the fencing along, but my attempts at coercion seem to fall on deaf ears.

We are also on the look out for a boer billy goat. I thought they might be pregnant but apparently they are not. As I have shared before Grant is the one with lots of livestock experience out of the two of us. Me? Not so much. which makes for some interesting conversations.


Because I am new to livestock, I find owning the goats super exciting. I love them, perhaps a bit too much for something that is to be sold to be eaten in the future.
I have been watching them closely and the other week I swore their little udders were swollen. I took it as a sign they were about to kid as they had been in with a billy goat prior to us buying them. Although they were quite young at that point.

I, determined to be a good goat midwife, turned to google to research all the signs of imminent birth in a nanny goat. Swollen udders are good, as well as drippy vulvas. So I dragged Grant along as a begrudging side kick to hold them so I could inspect their vulvas. Were they swollen? Maybe a bit? I thought to my self. Definitely not drippy...hmm....what does a not pregnant goat vulva look like? I probably should look it up. Is it even legal to google images of goat vulvas or will it trigger some online warning system? Oh god, that would be awkward. I better not google it, just incase.

Meanwhile, Grant was trying to gently wrangle the goats into submission so I could hold up their tails to get a good squiz at their rear ends.

After a bit of wrestling Grant began to lose patience.

“Bloody stabby little creatures.....Em, did you even look at the date we got them to calculate their due date?” He said

“Oh yeah” I replied.

So, off I tottered to find the paper work. Only to realise if they had of been pregnant they would have kidded a 4 to 6 weeks ago.

Whoops.

At least now I know what a normal goat vulva looks like, I guess. 

The girls are otherwise looking wonderful, healthy and fat, living their best lives grazing on mixed grasses, woody shrubs and weeds to their hearts content. Hopefully in the new year we will hear the putter patter of little hooves. 

Well, I can hear Elsie stirring from her nap, best dash. 

Much love, 
Emma
Xx

A new job and a new vlog

Firstly I wanted to say thanks for everyone's kind words, comments and support to my first vlog. It was a really interesting process and I look forward to learning more and getting better at it as I go along. It was quite a daunting thing to put up. If you missed it you can watch it here HERE



For those of you who have been following along for many years know that roughly 3 years ago I became unwell with pericarditis, a virus attacked my heart and it became weak and inflamed. Usually, pericarditis is resolved relatively quickly but mine went on to become chronic and along with it I developed a kind of chronic fatigue. I was unwell for a good 18 months and I needed to leave my part-time chaplaincy work and theological study.  Prior to having Elsie, I had two miscarriages so my body has endured, and come through a huge amount in the last three years.  But as a result of it all, I have put on a lot of weight which at times I am incredibly self-conscious of. I am working on, and mostly winning at reframing my inner dialogue regarding my body shape. 


Women are consistently told that being slim is more beautiful, it is seen as perfectly acceptable to pass comment on a persons weight gain or loss, rather than first consider a person's overall health. It's an awful way of existing. Those values have been forced upon us by an industry that requires women to be filled with self-doubt and insecurities in order to coerce them into a consumerist model. Imagine if holistic health was celebrated and pursued. The world would be a very different place.




My focus now is on health, core strength and improving my gut health via following roughly along with a Nourishing Traditions style of eating. Which has a focus on whole foods cooked well, bone broths along with fermented foods and soaked grains. I have noticed recently I feel a lot stronger and healthier in myself then I have in the last few years. I can feel my body is healing although I still have bouts of extreme fatigue now and again.  Fortunately, they are usually short-lived these days. Mentally and spiritually I feel incredibly content and happy and I think in time if I continue along this path my body will settle into its own ideal weight when the time is right, without me forcing it or admonishing it along the way.  


So to stand in front of a camera and post my first vlog to YouTube was confronting, knowing the kind of cruelty that bigger women often have to face on a public platform. It was an experiment as such. For those of you that liked, followed and commented with such kindness on the channel your support means alot and as a result of that encouragement, vlogging is something I look forward to pursuing further.  


Things here on the farm are going really well otherwise. Grant has a new job which he can do around farm work and the morning school run so that's ideal.  The people he is working for are genuinely wonderful people who care deeply about their staff which is refreshing.  They treat their staff with respect and loyalty, knowing their staff will inturn work hard for them and show them the same kind of loyalty in return. A basic principle that seems to be missing these days in many workplaces, where the bottom line is looked at and making a quick buck overrides long term planning of having solid, loyal, reliable, hardworking employees. Looking after employees well will always cost less in the long run due to increased understanding of the intricacies within a certain workplace, fewer mistakes, more efficient systems being developed over time and less time needed to spent training up new staff constantly. I have surgery coming up soon and Grant will need a little time off to help with Elsie, his new workplace is very understanding and supportive of this and have assured him his job will be waiting which is a huge relief.  


It does however, mean the market garden will not be expanded any further at this point in time. Instead we will keep it as a family veggie garden with the aim of putting out a farmgate stall in the future for excess produce. There is so much infrastructure yet to build and the bugs to expand which is where Grant feels the hours he does have here need to be put at this point in time. Not to mention the yurt to finish. It doesn't mean there will never be a market garden, it's just due to Covid and Grant loosing his job we were pushing harder then we were really ready too, so we have pulled back a bit. Rome wasn't built in a day and all that.

 


Tucker has settled in beautifully, though he has a penchant for chasing vehicles which has been problematic while the sustainable logging has been underway. They have done a brilliant job of sourcing good hardwood from the designated areas without touching the protected areas or sullying up the waterways. We have roads established in the hills now which will help with future bushfire mitigation and seasonal backburning. The money raised will allow us to clear our personal debit, buy a small excavator with a post hole borer for fencing and some floor coverings for the yurt. Oh, and I promised the boys a new trampoline. Ours is currently sporting a giant hole which is not ideal. To the credit of the kids though, they have made the hole a part their games and usually manage to jump around it. Usually.


I keep pinching myself now. To think of where we are today to where we were 18 months ago is astounding. Life is certainly getting easier and although financially things are still tight, its not nearly as stressful as it was when we first moved and we were genuinley struggling to make ends meet on a day to day basis. Maybe we weren't so mad moving here after all. 


Much love,
Emma
xx

 

Vlog #1

In the last couple of weeks I have been working on a new project. I had been pondering for a while about starting a YouTube channel to share our story on a different style of platform. I’ll still be blogging of course, but some things are better or more easily shown on film. 

So decided to finally take the leap and I have been learning how to cut, edit and upload to YouTube. From YouTube, because where else does anyone learn anything new these days?! 

There *may* have been wine consumed as a result of said learning. Nonetheless, here is my first vlog. It’s a little rough around the edges but we all have to start somewhere, yes?  


Much love, 
Emma
Xx


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