Home safe

We are relieved to share we are home, and that we still have a home (well yurt) to return too.  Sadly not everyone is so lucky.  Including people just a little further up our road.  

But by golly, it has been a long, exhausting and stressful week.  The fires are still burning, though the ones near us are considered to be 'under control'.  The firies have been doing an amazing job of fighting the fires, back burning and building fire breaks.  Working in crews around the clock.  Hopefully, these fires will now begin to burn themselves out though everyone remains on high alert for spot fires.  

 Home, it was good to see this little place of ours.  

Devastating bushfires at the farm

Hello there dear readers.

Some of you may be wondering if we live in an area which is being impacted by the horrendous  bushfires in NSW.  We do.  In fact the edge of the fire as I write this is 1km away from our property.

A map of the fire zone.  The black shaded area is the fire ground, the red is the predicted burn area today.  Our property and home sit well within the red zone. 

As a result of horrendous weather predictions for today (Tuesday) we have evacuated into Wauchope.  We are grateful all our animals are safe with loving people in emergency care.  Aggie remains with us at the motel as does Bear who is not great with strangers and of course Squirtle the turtle, who is currently living in a rather unglamorous Tupperware container.

We are expecting a hot north-westerly which is going to swing the fire around.  This well mean the edge which is currently burning away from us is going to swing towards us, bringing the fire onto our property in no time.  The fire is predicted to burn hot, move fast and leave a wake of heartache and devastation behind it.

The firies have been working around the clock setting up containment lines and back burning in preparation.  They are amazing.

Frustratingly, we had extensive fire protection plans for the property.  We intended to get large galv header tanks, a big pump and install a substantial sprinkler system by next summer, but we didn’t have the funds to do it yet.  Our little yurt is in a large green clearing, with a good road in and out.  If there happens to be a truck in the right time and place it is defendable.  But the fire zone is huge and resources are stretched beyond capacity.  As a result it is highly possible there will be no firies available for our place.  There are simply too many properties to defend and the fires are too big.  We know from the Pinery Fires in which we nearly lost Grant, just how bad things get and how fast conditions can change.

Like many others, we don’t know if we will have a home to return to tomorrow.

I feel sick to think we could loose it all again, whilst pregnant.  Again.  (There is a post here about the time we were displaced and lost everything in a flood when I was 34 weeks pregnant with Angus, you can search for it but I can’t easily link from my phone). We know that road and it is brutal, heartbreaking and exhausting.

But tonight as I sit wondering how the hell we are going to be able to piece back our family and our lives if the worst happens, I’m here ask you this; If you have a little spare cash, please donate to the NSW Rural Fire Service.  These men and women are legends, working huge days around the clock.  Literally fighting to save lives and homes.  Real life actual superhero’s.

If you are a person of faith please pray for the safety and protection of the brave men and women who risking it all for us.  Pray for the weather conditions to be milder then expected, for roads to remain clear and for the safety of the people, homes and animals in the fire ground.

Then act.  Please consider donating what you can, however big or small to the NSW Rural Fire Service or a charity that is helping with recovery.  The recovery process is going to be huge, complex and long.  It will take years.  Some people won’t ever fully recover both  physically or mentally.

I ask you to please donate money over goods.  Money gives people back some choice and power to purchase items they want, rather then make do with what ever they get.  It may seem small, but when you have no choice about what has happened to your home and your future those little things like choosing a brand of toothpaste your kid actually likes and buying your favourite brand of coffee make a huge difference.  They begin to return a persons sense of control and autonomy over their lives which is something that is taken away when you loose your home to a natural disaster.

I’m not sure when I’ll be back in this space.

Much love,
Emma
Xx

PS please excuse my typos, this post has been written on my phone as I’m currently unsure where my laptop is amongst our belongings gathered together in a hurry. The dark, poorly taken phone photo is the edge of the fire from our place the night before we evacuated.  It was still this night and the fire was burning more slowly.


Cauliflower and bacon soup

I love a good soup.  They are simple to make, require only one pot, can use a variety of ingredients and are deeply nourishing while having the added bonus of being the perfect dish to use any slightly dodgy veggies that have been left in the back of the crisper.  They make the ultimate thrifty family meal.

Being a homemaker is a valid life choice

Sometimes I hear the phrase;

"But what do you DO all day?"

Or

"I find being at home so boring, I could never only do that."


Our previous garden in the little old cottage.  Creating a nice home makes it all the more enjoyable to be in.  Home should be a place we feel comfortable and can be our true selves.  

cooking on a wood oven

Like many people of my generation, I had very little experience cooking on a wood oven prior to getting our Aga.  There was a small one in our little old cottage back in SA, but I mostly cooked on our electric stove.  My mother cooked on an electric stove, as did both my grandmothers.  I had rarely even seen anyone cook on a wood oven, which meant getting one was a great learning curve.  Especially as it was our only way of cooking and heating in the yurt over our first winter.

A simple meal of pork sausages and mash.  Always a hearty winner on a cold winters night. 

And then there were four

I have not been here quite as much as usual over the past couple of months, and here is the reason why.  Introducing our littlest bean who has been taking up more than his/her fair share of my energy!    
Ultrasound at 12 weeks and 3 days

A bit of a yarn and weekend reads

What a week!

It’s been a week of first world disasters here at the farm.  First, the solar controller died.  It was getting on in years as we had moved it from the caravan to the yurt, although it’s an easy problem to solve by ordering a new one online.  It's inconvenient, to say the least.  Then our back up generator died out of the blue, leaving us with no power, and no satellite internet this week.  The generator is under warranty, but still a major pain while it gets sorted none the less.  It means we need to use a laundromat for the washing which is an expensive hassle.  If I'm a little quiet here over the next week or two that is why, though I will pop on when I can.  

I have mentioned this year about how challenging things have been financially since we moved here.  Part of that was because Grant was working casually.  Though his hourly rate was fine, it meant he didn't get paid public holidays, had no holidays, or sick pay and when it was quiet he got sent home or was given a day off.  Each week we would work hard to get ahead, and then a quiet week would put us two steps backwards.  It was frustrating and stressful.

This sweet girl has been tucked into my sewing box, forgotten about.  This weekend I'll be spending a little time working on her clothes.

Weekend reads and our year of less update.

We have been continuing with our year of less project and it is going well.  We have a new clear budget for our lives here and identified some areas we need to reduce.  Our budget is still too tight but we are getting there slowly.  Fortunately, our tax return has allowed us to pay off some things in full, which will free some money.  Grant has also received a small pay rise which finally gives us a nearly workable budget.  Just.

Grant built this gate out of free salvaged hardwood.  The latch is a simple block of wood that slides in and out of the strainer post with a bolt attached as a knob.  Taking the time to DIY these kinds of things saves a lot of money, though it does require patience and time.    

hello there

Hello there dear readers, how are you?

5 out of the 6 kids balancing on an old stump.

school holidays!

It's been cold and wet here at the farm.  Our tracks have turned into a slippery mess, the washing was mounting up in front of my eyes and we were all feeling irritable and fed up by the constant mud.  Throw in all 5 of us coming down with a nasty flu, and the yurt was beginning to feel very small.

The boys watching a movie on a cold morning.  

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