Weekend Reads and pizza pockets

I'm getting the hang of baking in the wood Aga, after a couple of spectacular failures.  I have moved back to baking an ordinary bread over sourdough for a while, I'm frustrated I can't consistently make an excellent loaf, so I have moved back to what I can do well.  


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Finding our new normal

Life is getting so much easier now we are in the yurt, and as a family, we are far more settled and relaxed.  Each night as I tuck the boys in, I am so thankful they are in warm, clean, dry beds surrounded by their beloved stuffed toys.  It is such a small and ordinary thing but by golly, it makes me happy. 


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A close encounter

There have been a few comings and goings in our family recently.  My beautiful Max the cat is gone without a trace.  I suspect a snake might have got him as he was such a homebody and never strayed far.  Gosh, I loved that cat, he was the friendliest most patient cat I have ever met.  The boys miss him terribly, especially Henry.   



Max, the sweetest cat I have ever known. 
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Getting the Aga working

The boys caught this morning for the first time and goodness it was lovely to quickly nip down the driveway and back again.  I was home an hour and twenty minutes earlier than usual. 

I can't believe the difference having the yurt up has made.  We are no longer constantly running into each other and everyone has their own little space.  It rained all Friday night and Saturday, and I was so very thankful that we were tucked up warm and dry in the yurt, able to watch movies and play board games.  If we had of been camping, it would have been utterly miserable, cold and muddy.  This place is slowly beginning to feel like home.  Routines are becoming established and that feels really good.  



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A holiday catch up!

As I sit and look around I can hear the generator humming in the background, broken up by little birds singing and the occasional, distinctive call of the whip bird.  The forest leaves are glistening as the sun rises above the hills and catches the remains of last nights dew.  Aggie is curled up on the couch, and she lets out the occasional contented grunt.  The yurt looks like a whirlwind has torn through it.  The beds are unmade, the floor needs a sweep and there are dishes stacked haphazardly on the table waiting patiently to be taken to the sink. 
The yurt just set up.  There is sorting and tidying to do, the tents to pack down but we are in and she is up!
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Yurt progress and weekend reads

I’d like to be able to write and say the yurt is up and that we are in it but alas I can’t.  But we do have the frame up and the roof is on roughly which at least offers a little protection to the deck.



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Yurt progress and weekend reads

The deck will be finished tonight and the yurt will go up over the weekend!  Just a couple more pieces of board to go, then the edges will be trimmed into shape.  We are all super excited, and the weather forecast is looking good.  It will be a big weekend that's for sure, but hopefully, it comes together.     

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the path less travelled

We see examples of what modern success looks like everywhere.  The multi-billion dollar advertising industry drums it into us and so does social media, our jobs and the people we know.  We are expected to get a good job, marry, have kids and buy a nice house on a good street.  As the family grows and we become more successful we are expected to buy a bigger house.  This house should have all the trimmings, with enough bedrooms so that each child has their own, plus an extra bathroom or two and perhaps a games room.  Then there are the extravagant holidays, brand name clothing and new cars to prove to the world and ourselves how successful we really are.
   

The little old cottage.


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meal planning and our year of less challenge update

A month or so ago I discussed that our family was going to embark on a year of less so we can experience more challenge.  Inspired partly a reduced budget, and a to-do list on the farm that really doesn't bear thinking about unless we can help it.  It was also inspired in part by the desire to explore all the free beauty that our new district has to offer and to move away from the idea that consuming equals entertainment.

Making a veggie lasagne in the little old cottage.  If in doubt add cheese.  I find adding cheese tempts kids to consume more veggies. 
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Build it up, build it up, build it higher!

Apologies for my silence last week.  I was not feeling well, and my head was a cloudy jumble.  But I'm feeling much better now thankfully and back ready to keep on blogging.  

 
But whilst I might have been out of action, the boys have been in fine form and we have some serious yurt progress!  The deck is well on the way to being completed.  


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Weekend reads and a drama

 Goodness.  What a messy week it has been.  I’m so very glad its Friday.


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A bargain find and beginning our garden

I received a lovely surprise from my dear friend Sally from JembellaFarm last week in the form of beautiful homemade shortbread, a letter and a copy of Grass Roots in the mail.  The biscuits were made with butter from Lavender and they were utterly delicious.  It was like receiving a little piece of home and on Friday night Grant and I sat with a mug of tea each, the boys each had a cold cup of milk.  Together we savoured every mouthful.  (I'm a such a Nanna, I know.  But I embrace my Nanna like tendencies with gusto!)




 I am a little homesick for my lovely old cottage and dear friend and familys, but I know things will get easier with time and as we set up 'home' here. 

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A goal!

Thank you for your kindness after my somewhat downer post on Monday.  Mondays are hard here as we have spent the weekend together and Angus's anxiety spikes at the thought of going back to school. 


But guess what?

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the other side of the coin

I'm struggling at the moment. 

I'm oh so tired.

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A walk

I thought I would show you a few pictures today from a recent bushwalk we took around the farm.  

Most of our property is bushland studded with gums, but we have a couple of small pockets of rainforest.  When we get livestock stock we will fence these areas off to protect them.  They are incredibly pretty and here are a few things that caught our eye on our walk.   

Henry was facinated by this 'hairy moss'.
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What we have come to realize

Since taking on this new adventure of ours we have been forced to live oh so simply.  So much so, I look at how we used to live and doubt we will ever go back to living in quite the same way.

The little boys tent.  Cosy swags and a few of their very favourite and most precious toys.  

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Weekend reads and our year of less update

I am a little slow in recording all the details for our Families Year of Less Challenge, due to being in a season of setting up the yurt and getting our feet on the ground here at the farm.  But this week will be an average sort of week for us and so I have been carefully saving all our receipts and I set up a spreadsheet with our rough budget and then a detailed record of what we actually spend and where for those who are interested.  Our weeks until now have not been "normal" with trips to Sydney and various other bits but now we are about back on track.  So, from here on out I plan to do a Weekend Reads post on a Friday as well as share week to week about our challenge progress. 

I'm not sure if this is of any real interest to anyone?  But if it is, do let me know and I shall share away in as much detail as you're interested in

Going forward there will be a stack of costs I will be able to record associated with up-cycling and salvaging second hand goods in which we will be using to set up our yurt into a lovely comfortable, off-grid two bedroom family home,  I hope this will eventually act as a resource to other Aussie's hoping to make a similar transition or changes in their lives.  The fact is we have a stack of stuff to do here on bugger all budget, so it will certainly require some resourceful problem solving!


14

Yurt progess

The yurt building has oficially begun.  Thank goodness!

Clearly, Little Puss (the grey one) And Max are super excited about the progress.  Can't you tell?

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Is it valuable?

I have been reading a bit lately about the push to be successful and about the art of the hustle.   It seems there so many people feeling the pressure to capitalize on every element of their lives, even their hobbies.  That if we are good at something we should promote it and work out a way to value add to it and build it up.

Grant is the king of the pancake making here.  A title I'm happy for him to have if it means brekky in bed.  Ha! (photo credit to Will.)

I'd be lying if said I didn't at times feel the pressure too.  I think many of us do. 
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Weekend Reads

NOTE:  Thank you to all of you who leave comments, they really mean a lot and help me gauge what people are engaging with.  I may be a little slower than usual at replying at the moment due to the whole off-grid thing and internet access is often limited to day time hours when the sun is shining and the solar battery is charged.  

Well, it seems the rain that is well overdue is finally beginning to hit us here.  There have been varying amounts of rain on the farm over the last three days which is absolutely wonderful.  We are managing to stay nice and dry with our camping set up which is fortuante.  No leaking tents!   (Always a bonus.)

Remember when I had an actual kitchen?.....*sigh*


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Camp cooking and meal planning

Our cooking facilities are basic here, but we do ok considering.

Our little caravan table, little fridge and kitchen area.  The BBQ and gas burners outside, with a trestle table nearby which adds to the cooking area.  
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The same, but different.

It feels like we have been here longer than a month now.  Places are becoming a little more familiar, we are getting used to the very different weather, the boys are settling into school.  Angus, helped by the wonderful care and support of the school, is slowly finding his feet too.  The familiar routine of homework, packed lunches and forms to sign has come flooding back.  


It's the same, but different.  

12

weekend reads

I thought this year I would use Friday to both highlight blogs, books, articles or links I have enjoyed this week which I have been doing, but also as a time to reflect and share some of our challenge year of  'Our Families Year of Less So We Can Experience More' on a week to week basis.  As a kind of accountability/reflective post.

Bedtime rituals.  A snuggly blanket, a good book, favorite 'Bunn-Rabbit' and a cup of milk.  
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camping

It appears Grant is taking our frugal year challenge very seriously.  He found an old cattle trough on the farm he has dragged to the back of the caravan and is converting it to a bath/shower trough.  I'm yet to be convinced it is a particularly good idea but perhaps after it has had a good long scrub I will see his plan a little clearer....

Going for an early morning walk with Aggie and Ronnie.

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Challenge: Our families year of less so we can experience more

Last week I floated a challenge idea for our family I thought I would name "Our Families Year Of Less So We Can Experience More."

The Landcruiser loaded up as we moved our family, three dogs, two cats, and Squirtle the turtle 2000kms across Australia to our new farm.  

In many ways we are pretty good at buying second hand, buying only what we need and embracing a simpler lifestyle.  In other ways, we could do better.  More importantly, I WANT to do better. 
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Weekend reads


Happy Friday!  I hope you have time to sit and do something you love with a cuppa or a glass of wine in your hand this weekend.  I think Friday night here calls for a chilled bottle of sav blanc and pizza for dinner after a long week.

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School, childrens anxiety and ideas to ponder

Hello there, shall we sit and have a cuppa?

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a little tour

I promised more pictures of our camping set up on the farm so here it is.  In the aim of keeping it real, I'm going to show it all.  It is not fancy and its certainly not a glamorous camping set up but it is enough.  As with most industries, the camping and off-road industry is full of beautiful fancy things you can spend an absolute fortune on.  Clearly, we do not have them but our camp is neat, clean and tidy and it provides us with all our basic needs.  

14

Camping at the farm

Slowly but surely we are beginning to set up camp at the farm.  Though we have a little way to go to get things properly comfortable and functioning in a manner which will suit us longer term.  (Well a couple of weeks is longer term.) But we have solar fairy lights strung up now, so that counts as civilized, yes? 


This is our little makeshift camp as of a few days ago.  Its not pretty, but it does the job.  We are yet to put up a washing line.  Our last one was rigged from the Landcruiser to the timber shelter!  I meant to take a photo as it was pretty funny, but this heat is draining and I keep forgetting to photograph things!  Next week I promise to have more pictures.  


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Arrived

*Thanks for following along as I share our families journey to off grid living and farm life here.  We are waiting satellite internet to be connected to the farm next week, so I may be slow in replying to comments and emails until then as it relies on my getting to town.  But I will endeavour to reply the best I can when I do get internet service.  I appreciate and read everything that is written in this little corner of mine and I thank you for taking the time to visit and reach out.  xx


The river we have legal access too.  Its shallow at the moment as its been dry, but apparently it makes a great swimming hole.

Well we are here, though perhaps a little worse for wear!

What an epic trip.

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On the road

Well, we well we are officially on the road.  It’s been a huge week and we will be glad to get to the farm and process it all.  


It’s damn hot today, we are expecting about 43C in Hay, and I’d be lying if I didn’t say I’m a little concerned about crossing the Hay Plains with a fully loaded old land cruiser, the kids and the animals.  But as is always necessary when travelling through rural Australia we have plenty of water, RAA cover and the cruiser has been carefully checked over and recently tuned and serviced.  

Due to the heat we have a smaller day planned today, only expecting to get to West Wyalong tonight. Tomorrow will be cooler thankfully.  


Just a quick update today dear readers, I hope this finds you well. 

Much love, 
Emma
Xx
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Weekend Reads

Well, things are beginning to come together ready for our move to NSW.  Grant has had two interviews this week and has been offered a full-time trucking job, he will find out about the other on Monday.  At the very least he has a good job ready to go as soon as we do our final move next week, for which we are very grateful.

 I can't quite believe that in less then a week we will be loading up the essentials, our three kids, three dogs, two cats and Squirtle the turtle into the old land cruiser with a cattle trailer hitched to the back and moving 1700km's away.

It's going to be utter madness, I'm quite sure.  But then again what isn't a little odd, left of centre and crazy when it comes to this motley crew of mine?  But I do love them so.  Adventures eh? 



There were three in the bed and the little one said.....I'm not sure where Grant is intending on sleeping when he gets home from NSW.  Bahahaha!

Forest Man (YouTube)
The power of one person to make an impact.  Small tasks carried out over a period of a lifetime can add up to phenomenal changes.  This is an inspiring story, which really needs a Go Fund Me page as I'm sure people all around the world would love to contribute to such a wonderful cause.

Meet the Frugalwoods
I borrowed this book a while ago on Libby, and it finally came in this week.  It was a really interesting read about how a young couple have managed to essentially retire in their early 30's, move to the woods and raise their young family.  It's a book which combines humour, great storytelling and practical, motivating information.

Craft Is Not Trivial
I loved this article on the importance of craft and what it brings us.

Words By Ange
A new friend of mine is a writer who is in the process of working on her first books.  She has been blogging for a little while but after a great convo one arvo she is re-jigging her blog this year.  I look forward to following along!

The dirt on composting toilets
Oh yeah, because my life is that glamorous! (YouTube)

May you have a wonderful weekend!
Much love,
Emma
xx
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reflections on the end of a season

As this move which consists of 1763km or 1095miles half-way across this vast country of ours edges closer, the inevitable "goodbyes" have begun.  I'm not one for fuss, much preferring to slip away quietly with a quick "see you later."

But even those are hard.

Today my heart ached as I sat at my dear friend Sally's kitchen table for the final time for goodness knows how long.  Sally and I may be women of different generations, but the similarities in our philosophies about being homemakers, living simply and frugality are oh so similar.  She gently teases me for being a "funny old thing" who is just like her, which I take as the highest compliment.



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Being a homemaker in the modern world

Recently I have had a lot of people ask me if I am going back to work now that Henry is about to enter full-time school.  It has been suggested to me by numerous people that "you will probably really enjoy going back to work".  I began to think it was something that I *should* be doing.

And Grant and I discussed it.  At length.  Very seriously.  

I even printed off the forms to renew my nurses' registration and filled them out.  I chased up certificates I lost in the flood that displaced us 8 years ago to put in my resume. 

But for whatever reason, I couldn't quite bring myself to send them in.  Even though I told people I would be returning to nursing, I procrastinated endlessly.

It turns out my heart just wasn't in it.


A bowl of local, freshly picked veggies.  Look at that colour!

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weekend reads

The heat is scorching here at the moment.  Everything in the garden is getting burnt.  I send the boys out for a little bit in the morning, and again at night so they burn off some energy but our days are consisting heavily of board games, books and movies.  With the odd trip to the beach and runs through the sprinklers.  I do so love school holidays!  I have even learnt to play chess, which was a game I didn't have patience for growing up.  But this family of mine do love a good board game and we are discovering some beauties.  

I hope you are all managing to keep cool for those of you in Australia!  There is some good reads this week, and I have included a couple of books that I really love.  If your Australian and haven't yet, I highly recommend getting onto this free public library app Libby.  I think this might be the best app ever.  Endless free books at your fingertips! 

Ronnie and Henry, best mates!  This dog loves his boys.  

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blog maintenance

I have been doing a little blog maintenance, so if you have come over the last couple of days and things have been changing or missing I apologize.  I think I have it up and running now, if you see any glitches or elements missing do let me know and I will en-devour to fix them!

Gus is so happy to be able to go to the beach now his cast is off, and swimming is the perfect activity to strengthen it.  

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