On the road.

Well we are on the road as I write this.  A full week off and our longest period of time off togeather in-interrupted in 7.5years.  Fancy that huh?

We took the ferry to break up the long driving - the kids loved it! 

We have 3000-4000km to cover this week as we visit dear friends and family in Mt Gambier and NSW.  The old land cruiser has had a good clean, and we found a beautiful set of practically new pure lambs wool seat covers on gumtree specifically for our model of land cruiser with a bench seat for $50!  RRP is up around the $800 mark - SCORE!  We are travelling in luxury, with comfy seats, ipads with Netflix, audio books, air-con, home made sandwiches and double layer chocolate cake and a thermos of coffee.  Fit for the Queen!

On the road....

I remember when we used to travel to NSW when I was a kid in the old Ford Falcon station wagon and we had no air con, I was jammed in the middle of my two big brothers who would give me a dead leg if I dared cross on to “their” part of the seat and I had a little am/fm radio to listen to when it was in range, a book and a few toys.  Oh how times have changed!

The reality of having sold the shop has begun to sink in, Grant is looking more relaxed.  This week marks the end of our official hand over duties that Australia Post requires us to do to ensure the post is not interrupted.  Grant has decided he no longer needs to look neat and tidy so he is embracing his future as a farmer and growing a beard.  I reckon he should go Ned Kelly style, wear a flat cap and embrace his inner hipster which I’m sure is lurking somewhere deep inside.  He however does not find me nearly as funny as I find myself, but alas “such is life”.....Geddit?!  Ha!

................................................................................................................................................................

Tilba lookout.  

Well I started writing this post on the road but had trouble with photo uploading so I’m now back home.  We had a wonderful holiday and saw so much country.  We started off in Adelaide, went to Mt Gambier to see Great Pop, stayed a night at lakes entrance, and off up the coast to Kainga where our friends were.  We loved visiting all the little towns around the region.  We fell in love with Tilba as I think everyone does!  The boys then spent a day with “Auntie & Uncle” surfing at the beach and relaxing while Grant and I visited the Snowy Mountains and did a little farm hunting about various places.... I do think Jindabine may just have my heart.  The country around there is ruggedly beautiful.  Within three hours from Canberra the terrain changes from coastal to bush to rainforest to mountain country.  I do not think I have ever seen such drastic and impressive scenery changes in all my life in such a comparatively short distance.  The boys imagination ran wild as they decided the huge rain forest country might just be home to dinasours still.

Kainga Beach

All in all it was a wonderful trip, and we plan on heading back that way in winter to perhaps do a little more “research”.  What is life if not an adventure right?

Much love,
Emma
Xx







SOLD!

Today is the end of an old season and the beginning of a new.  The shop has officially changed hands.

Aggie sends her love.  

It has been such a long time coming I am unsure what I feel, a lot of things I guess.  To think we are actually going to do all those crazy things we have been talking about and dreaming about for years.  Well it hardly feels real.

I am looking forward to this new season, of hopefully a slower time.  But I am grateful for all the things the business has brought us.  For now I'm going to enjoy spending more time together as a family, of slowing down, camping and simply being together, just being.  

Much love,
Emma
xx 

Nearly sold.

Hello there dear readers.

Well where to start......The shop is due to settle in two days, if everything goes well.  It was supposed to settle two weeks ago but there was a hiccup with the buyers bank.  Can you believe it?  I cannot quite believe it myself after owning the business for the last 7 years.  It has been a good business, our children have grown up behind the counter, chatting to customers and generally causing mild chaos amongst helping with small jobs here and there.

Angus turned 7 and we had a family birthday at home, a visit from friends and a trip to the zoo with our zoo passes.  Introducing the "LEGO head cake"

Angus is fully recovered from his nasty burst appendics and I am still recovering from my heart problems at the end of last year.  Though recovery has been slow and often frustrating I am slowly improving.  My energy is beginning to return bit by bit and I’m beginning to be able to manage more which is truly wonderful.  I’m far from my “normal” but life is getting easier again around here.

I would like to show you inspirational simple living photos.  I would.  But frankly our lives have been about paring back, sleep, and sanity.  Cooking good food when we can, and doing our best with basic thrown together meals when we need.  Seasons and all that.

Our family has certainly learnt to embrace “slow” these last few months!

The boys have turned into professional cubby house builders.

I have been so very tired, and have embraced my introverted side fully.  Simply managing the small day to day stuff has taken everything I have and often more.

We have been looking at properties recently, and researching various aspects of off-grid living and affordable building options so we are ready to move once the little old cottage is finished and on the market.  Things are going to be very tight if we are going to do it all in cash but hey ho, we are always up for a challenge!

I have been too tired to even get out in the garden much, so here is my newest collection.  Indoor plants!  

I’m not going to lie, I am certainly nervous about being unemployed.  Grant will have his trusty wood roach farm which he has been madly expanding in preparation to move and that little business is still going very well.  The roaches even got an air mist fan over the heat of summer to ensure they were at the ideal temperature!  Money is very easy to spend and hard to save, so deciding to live off savings while we finish renovating the house will mean we watching every penny closer then we have ever before.  But challenges are all part of what makes life interesting, yes?

Well my coffee mug is near empty so it’s time I toddled off and got started on my day.

Much love,
Emma
Xx

When it rains it pours, but we are greatful.

Well, apparently when it rains it pours.  It appears this year had one more curve ball to throw at us.  I'm not going to lie when I say hope this was the last one.  

Firstly I would like to start by saying thankyou to all those who commented on my last post, I have not replied to them all but I appreciate your well wishes very much and thankyou all for continuing to follow along.  

On the night of Sunday, the 17th little Angus started screaming in pain after being mildly unwell with what seemed like a slight gastro virus two day prior.  After giving Panadol and Nerurofen with little effect I bundled him into the car and quickly drove him to the hospital 30 mins away.  Once we got there after being assessed and his pain treated with IV fentanyl, IV fluids put up and bloods taken he was transferred via ambulance to the large Women’s and Children’s hospital in the city.  

Angus in the Ambulance.

Once there he deteriorated further over night with appendicitis, they tried to manage his pain, gave strong IV antibiotics which he had a bad allergic reaction too and transferred him to the ward to await emergency surgery in the morning.  Once on the ward they called in the surgeon on call, who debated calling in the on call surgical team to rush him through overnight.   In the end due to the hour, it would have only saved 30 mins or so and the decision was to put him first on the emergency surgery list in the morning.

He came through surgery well with a very good team, but his appendix was burst and the found it was necrotic/gangrenous and that he had a belly full of pus.  My other boys were shipped to their grandparents who are three hours away for the week while Grant managed the post office 1.5hrs away, making the 3hr return commute every night to visit us.  I stayed in hospital with Angus for the 6 nights he was in, and needless to say it made for a long and stressful week.  At one stage I was awake for over 36hours with him.  We were in a share bay of 4 which was not ideal for privacy nor rest but the nurses and staff at the Womens and Childrens were absolutely first rate.  They were thorough, astute, kind, attentive and listened to any concerns I had taking them very seriously.  His bowel was sluggish from surgery and threatened a couple of times to go on strike but we managed to avoid that hiccup.

Recovering post-op.  A DVD offering a good distraction.

At one stage we were unsure if we would make it home for Christmas as Angus was recovering slowly so we prepared to be in the city.  But much to our delight once he turned a coner he picked up very fast and we were allowed home. We were discharged late on Saturday the 23rd and were oh so grateful to be able to go home.  Grant met family and collected the other two boys which was lovely.  Though we would have made the most of where ever we were over Christmas.  For us, if Angus was getting better and getting the care he needed, the rest was secondary.  The reality is Christmas is not special because of the food, nor the place, nor the fanfare that goes with it.  It is special because of the birth of Christ (if that’s your thing as it is ours) and also the people whom we get to remember and share the day with.  

This kid gathered an impressive lego haul from visiting family and friends!

I sent Grant into town on the 24th to face the masses and wrangle up some kind of Christmas fare and we threw together some delicious but simply prepared food on Christmas.  There were oysters and prawns for lunch as a treat, a simple roast and veggies for dinner, a Christmas pudding bought from the shops with homemade custard and gingerbread baked and gifted by dear friends.  It was haphazard and imperfect.  Gifts were wrapped at midnight and stockings stuffed.  We were tired, fragile and worn out.  But it was none the less a beautiful as we were together.


Since being home the last 4 days I have spent a huge amount of time in bed, watching Netflix resting and napping.  I cannot express the love I have for my own bed!  I did not realize it was even possible to feel the kind of exhaustion I felt, still recovering from my own heart problems not even a week prior.  It was not at all the low stress, restful environment the Cardiologist recommended.  But by the grace of God, a wonderful medical team and modern medicines we are both home and slowly beginning to recover.            

On the upside 2018 has gotta be a better start then 2017 ended right?  Also, we managed to get good usage of our ambulance cover this year, so that was very frugal of us.  

Anyway, dear readers, I hope this finds you well and that your Christmas was filled with love, peace and joy.  May 2018 be full of good health for us all!

Much love,
Em
xx    

  

An update

Well, what can I say?

My blog has been very quiet I know, but things have not been here.  Where to start?  I guess I should start with the bad and move to the good.  For we must always look for the good, yes?

We have all been unwell with various viruses/infections/asthma.  The crops here are bad this year.  It has been a stormy start to summer and the storms have broken up the pollens into tiny particles which have badly inflamed everyone’s airways.  All of us but Angus are on preventers, we have all been on antibiotics for one thing or another.  We are chronically run down, one of our staff members has retired which means Grant is now working 12 days straight with two off....ugh.  

I have been particularly unwell, and I was constantly sick at the end of term with one thing or another and not being able to get on top of any of them.  The latest being endocarditis which landed me in hospital with acute chest pain, troponin rises and ECG changes.  I spent 4 nights in hospital while they worked out what was going on and sorted me out on the cardiac ward being monitored.  The staff and the care at the Lyle Mac hospital were wonderful, I was lucky to have a single side room and wonderful friends and family checking in on me and sending their love.  I am home now, though very, very tired.  My chest is still a little achy and I’m on meds for the next few months while the inflammation in my heart all settles down.       


Me looking stunning in hospital, hooked up to the heart monitor.  In my usual form of keeping it real.  Ha!

So, what does that mean?  Well I have been told to reduce stress, apparently my heart is fatigued and weak now though fortunately I will make a full recovery….I’m not sure how to do that with three small boys home on school holidays, a business being sold, a husband working long hours, and a half renovated house.  We cannot bring in more staff as there is no time to train them before hand over at the end of February, so we are simply in a tough season we need to move through the best we can.  I have hired a cleaner weekly for the next couple of months to do the heavy work.  My focus will be on preparing nourishing food, the maintenance cleaning and caring for the boys.


Beautiful flowers given by a dear friend.  

But there is always good among the bad, college is finished and miraculously despite the challenges our family were facing I managed to get distinctions!  Which I was SO proud of.  It got mighty tough at the end but the work I did earlier in the semester held me in good stead.  The boys are mostly on the mend health wise too.  The sale of the business is progressing well, and the buyers finance has been approved.  They are now awaiting their Australia Post training, they have got themselves a good business there and I'm sure they will be an asset to the town.  Family and friends as ever have rallied around us and held us up, I am always astounded and humbled by the beautiful people who surround us.  They are the real gems in life, priceless and precious.  All will be well in a couple of months, it’s a matter of just going with the flow and adapting to the challenges we have at hand.  Taking time to nourish our bodies, our relationships and our souls and letting the rest simply drop away.  Lots of sleep and healthy food are on the cards and a little gentle exercise.  

Diffusing essential oils.  

Christmas?  Well I’m not sure what it will look like yet.  We were planning on visiting family in the country, but I think we will likely have a quiet Christmas at home now.   Just the 5 of us, perhaps go to the beach in the afternoon with a picnic.  My shopping in incomplete, the tree only just up and our usual traditions are not done.  But such is life, all we can ever offer is our best and together we will muddle through.

I hope all is well with you dear readers, Sending much love to you all and Christmas cheer!  May it be a time of delighting in wonderful relationships, love, self-care and good health for you all.  

Much love,
Em
xx    

And we are under contract!!

I know I have been quiet here, too quiet.  But a lot has been happening behind the scenes at the little old cottage.

Princess Aggie tucked up in bed....Its a tough life for a little black bear of a dog!  

As many of the long-time readers will know, we own a small country general store and post office.  It’s been a great little business for us but a few years ago we put it on the market to sell and follow our dreams of buying a farm.

But, like with many plans it was not all smooth sailing.  The economy has been difficult, the banks tightened up their lending requirements.  We have been patiently and not so patiently waiting for the right person to come along. 

Finally, today was that day.  A lovely local couple have signed the contracts, they have already looked into all the ins and outs and we know we are handing the business over that we have loved and nurtured for the last 7 years to good hands.  They are getting a good, solid little business with room to grow as they please.  They are local, and they are lovely, hard working family people. 

So, what now?

Well, we finish renovating the little old cottage as fast as we humanly can and pop it on the market.  Then we buy our long-awaited farm, after a holiday.  

It is surreal. 

I am shaky, excited, terrified, proud, nervous and happy all at once.  I am allll the emotions bursting out of me. 

Since Grant was a tiny child he has dreamed of a farm, and now, finally after 10 years of ups and downs, and slogging our guts out we are nearly there. 

So, what does that mean for this little blog?  Well I’d say it’s about to get a whole lot more interesting as we finish up here, and start on a brand-new family adventure! 

And that my friends, is pretty darn cool.

Much love, 
Emma
xx



A quick reno update!

Here is a quick update on the house reno before the weekend.  The cladding is nearly on the new part of the old stone cottage, and the door is going in.  Its getting there!  We are going camping this weekend in our old vintage van.  Just a quick and easy two night get away, because I am going stir crazy from the same routine and a change of scenery will do us all good.    




I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend and I shall see you all next week!

Much love,
Emma
xx

happy friday!

Thank goodness it Friday.  I am more then ready for the weekend!  

I feel like I things are calmer this term.  My chaplaincy job working with women and children after the Pinery bushfires has come to an end, as it was a 12 month position.  I have picked up a couple of extra subjects this semester at college, meaning I am doing .75 and I am still working a few hours running a youth program in a neighbouring community.  But my days have taken on a more settled rhythm and I feel like pressure has eased.  

Blogging has been a bit sporadic recently and I thank you readers for hanging on.  We are here and mostly doing well.  I have an array of health tests coming up.  Blood tests, hormone tests, heart tests, sleep tests.......I am so very tired, no matter how much sleep I get and no matter how well I eat I can't seem to escape the tiredness.  I do my best to pull my socks up and get on with it, but the truth is I am completely knackered most of the time.  I have been struggling with this for the last year or more and whilst initial bloods and a once over months ago showed nothing concerning, the fact I cannot shake it means the Dr is going to explore it more deeply.  This is part of the reason my blogging posts have been a little irregular.   

So, we have been working on embracing simple living when life is not and really, isn't that when we need it the most?  

Grant is hoping to get the cladding on the house this weekend, which was delivered last week.  I cannot wait to see it all sealed up.  I'm not sure if he will get the doors and windows in also.  I look forward to sharing the progress shots with you!        

I will probably spend the weekend pottering about with a bit of cooking, a little cleaning, studying, playing games with the boys and hopefully spending some time in the hammock in the sunshine.  The garden is an overgrown mess, but I am turning a blind eye to it.  I simply don't have the energy to tackle too much of it.  I look after a few small garden beds and the rest I am letting go for whipper sippers and mowers.  

These rat bags were trying to show me grumpy faces, and they both failed miserably! 

I'm packing in veggies every where I can at the moment, chasing off the last of the winter bugs!



Making a double batch of lasagne, with garlic, onion, carrot, celery, zucchini, capsicum, and spinach.




A delicious dinner.  Though the boys were a little dismayed to find their favourite meal overrun with veggies! 

"A dog bed you say?........Why would I need that when I have a perfectly good couch?"  says Aggie....


I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!
Much love,
Emma
xx


A bit of a natter.

Goodness, well doesn't time fly?

I know I promised photos but I'm afraid I can't deliver.  The wedding was wonderful, but I got so caught up with seeing old friends I didn't pick up my camera at all!  But I felt so comfortable in my new dress and I really impressed my friends who joked about seeing me not in linen, actually wearing make up and not a pair of Birkenstocks in sight.  ;)

I'm not sure where the time has gone since then.  There has been assignments and mountains of reading going on.  That much I do know.  There has been washing, washing, and more washing.

So here are a few pictures of various things that have been happening around the place since my last post.....(See the washing?)

Will sitting with me composing a song while I worked on an assignment.  The wood oven was crackling away, and the sourdough was proving next to it.


Daffodils and Iris's fresh from the garden.

Chicken stew and dumplings for dinner on a cold, wintery night.  

Angus is continuing to see the ENT and work out his hearing problems.  He had another hearing test and after some initial concern it seems to be fine.  

A mud kitchen pulled together from some bessa bricks, and ply we had lying around, underneath the old grapefruit tree.  Will be a lovely place to play in summer!


I caught up with a dear friend and she surprised us with this Scottish Terrier inspired gift bought form an op-shop.  We are happily reading the May Gibbs book a chapter at a time. 

The Scottish Terrier salt and pepper shakers have been added to my little collection of porcelain dogs.  These are all figures that belonged to my grandparents and are very dear to me.  I am keeping my eye out to find an antique ceramic Scottish Terrier to add.  I also have a beautiful heavy antique crystal Labrador which is sitting with some crystal candle holders which reminds me of old Tessa.  Its funny how collections seem to randomly grow isn't it?

My car died an untimely death, and was sold on for parts.  I have ended up with a new-to-me car.  Meet "Suzi"  the Suzuki.  I really like her.  She's neat, and has a perfect service record.  Fits us all in, and a boot big enough for the dogs, all my stuff, and plants!  Because a car big enough to load up with plants is of upmost importance, yes?  It also has seven seats which will come in handy.  We bought in cash from a private sale.  We nipped into a couple of car yards but thought a cash budget translated to "partial finance" and kept trying to sell us care $5,000 above our budget.....seriously......



Anyway, it is time to get dinner on!  Home made chicken soup and toast is on the menu tonight.
Much love,
Emma
xx

A date!

Hello dear readers!

I'm so excited that tonight Grant and I are going on a real DATE!  Well its to a dear family friends wedding, who I have not seen for far too long as they live interstate.  Its one of the daughters who is very special to me getting married.

I even have a new dress!  What a treat!  Granny is coming for the night to care for the boys, and Grant and I get a whole day and a whole night together!  With time for lunch by ourselves between the wedding and the reception.

A sweet dress I found in a little boutique in the Barossa.  It's lovely and thick so it drapes beautifully. I just loved the pattern.  Pair it with a LS wool spencer, thick tights and a pashmina I'll be comfy and warm!  Win win! 

There is so much to do before we go, I have dinner to cook, and we have the old vintage van to pull around to tidy and make cozy for her to sleep in tonight. The yard needs a quick tidy up.  All of these things which should have been done during the week, but we had to go car shopping (I may have accidentally cooked mine....*insert curse words here*) so its been a hectic, long week with late nights driving around Adelaide looking at cars....gah!

But all is well now, and we get to unwind with a rare special night.  I had best go, but be sure I will come back tomorrow with photos!

Much love,
Emma
xx
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