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,

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
clary sage
aloe vera
coriander (finished, I'm waiting on seed to form to collect)
spring onion
seaside daisy
lambs ear
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.


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, 

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,


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, 

Goodness, how time flies! 

We have recently come back from a wonderful week away in Canberra where we were able to finally introduce Elsie to Grant's family. Gosh, it was lovely!  We ate out, took the kids to all kinds of interesting things and generally did all the kinds of "town" things that are hard to do here.  Also, an indoor bathroom was a huge luxury. I'm not going to lie, I miss the indoor bathroom. 

A birthday and goings on

Firstly I'd like to thank all of you who sent us kind wishes after the passing of Ronnie.  We really appreciate the time it took to comment and your thoughts.  This is such a wonderfully kind little corner of the internet.  xx

This weekend our firstborn Will turned 13.  Officially a teenager.  Oh, how time flies!  Though in truth he has been a teenager in spirit for quite a while.  It's a pleasure to watch him working out who he is and to see him delve into and pursue his own interests.  He is still working away on his little log cabin, felling the trees with his axe, dragging them to the site and slowly notching them out.  It is slow, hard work but an excellent project for an energetic young bloke. Grant's promised him some time out there to give him a hand and keep him company for a bit.   

An unexpected loss

It was a dreadfully sad day yesterday.  A few days ago we found some fully engorged paralysis ticks on Ronnie our border collie.  We treat all our animals routinely with Bravecto a reliable tick/flea treatment but with one thing or another we were a little late with his next dose.  Not terribly late, but clearly late enough. The poor fellow must have collected some on a bushwalk and though we pulled them off and rushed him to the vet who gave him antiserum and various other medications it sadly wasn't enough. He has now been laid to rest alongside old Tessa.

Hug your pets a tightly tonight dear readers.
Much love,

Clothing a family for less

Clothing a big family well can be an expensive prospect.  Cheap clothes throw up serious ethical and sustainability questions and better quality clothing quickly adds up, especially when you take into consideration how quickly children grow. 

Elsie in her vintage duds, 50c op-shopped onsie and homemade bib from fabric offcuts.  

But it is possible to meet everyone's clothing needs on a limited budget, it just takes a little more effort, time and foresight.

on saving money

Unemployment rates in Australia are high, higher then they have been for decades and sadly the statistics we read are inaccurate.  The true rate of unemployment is much higher.  The current statistics don't take into consideration those who have left part-time/casual work and are not eligible for job seeker due to their partner earning too much.  They don't take into consideration the small home-based business that rely on local markets to sell their wares, markets which in many states are not currently running.  These businesses may not be big, but for many families, they can make the difference to being able to make ends meet.  

podcast chat with Allie from The Decluttered Home

Recently I went on my dear friend Allies new podcast, The Decluttered Home to talk about our simple living journey and the events which set us onto our simple living path and fundamentally changed the way we live. 

                                This scruffy haired bloke reading the paper on a weekend with Elsie.  

On the farm

Hello dear readers,

It’s been a little while between posts and I do hope you’re keeping safe and well.  Things are fine here on the farm.  I have been trying to sleep when Elsie sleeps and between one thing or another, my days keep disappearing the way they inevitably seem to do with a small baby in your arms!

A new arrival!

Meet Hagrid, the newest addition to the farm!

Our year of less: An update

The woodfire burns most days and every night now as our little valley moves into winter.  Splitting wood is Wills job which he enjoys and the little boys usually collect the kindling.  We don't use fire starters here.  Just a bit of newspaper and twigs do the job.  There is a pot of chicken broth simmering on the Aga at the moment using the bones from last night roast chook.  It will be the base for a minestrone soup for a warm comforting dinner.  Elsie is next to me snuggled up having a kick and a little chat.  

A little while ago I wrote about our new year of less project.  

I thought I would write an update on how we are going with it.

Finally, an indoor kitchen!

Note: this post was started on Monday but not finished until Friday.  Such is the life of home educating with a new baby!

Today all three boys are back in school for the first time since the Covid 19 restrictions hit and goodness it's quiet.  The yurt looks like a tornado went through after trying to get everyone ready, last nights clean dishes are waiting to get put away, the kitchen table needs a good wipe over and don't even get me started on the boots and muddy thongs dumped in the doorway.  However, I'm going to ignore the mess while Elsie is sleeping and catch up with you!

farm ventures

Things have been moving along here on the farm since my last post.  Term time has started again and the boys are settling into a home learning routine.  Will is enjoying face time with his mates and the little boys will have face time with their classmates later this week which they are looking forward too.  Elsie is going beautifully.  She's growing like a mushroom and engaging more and more to the world around her.  Everyone in the family dotes on her and shes constantly snuggled or carried around.  

The knitted vest and beanie are a part of a beautiful gift from my friend Becci.  

uncertain times

I have been thinking a lot about how to use my voice in this space during the Covid 19 outbreak.  Initially, I thought it would be nice to write about our ordinary life, and be a space which is mostly Covid 19 free seeing as its all any of us are hearing about.

As I sit in the yurt before first light with little Elsie grunting away in her rocker next to me, the birds singing and the creek babbling in the distance, it is hard to comprehend what kind of Australia we are waking up too.  What I do know is the Australia which awaits us is a very different from what many of us have ever known.  The weight of the PM’s stage one and now stage two announcements about the closure of non-essential business has settled upon me and I am unsure for how much longer Grant will have work.  The company he drives trucks for is in the recycling sector and they mostly deal with building waste.  So far the building industry sounds to be staying open but as thousands of people face losing their jobs along with a plummeting stock market we have no idea just how badly the building industry will be affected, or if it too will be shut down over the coming weeks or months.    

We have gone through tough times before and the skills we learnt will no doubt help us navigate these uncertain times.  This week our children are home from school until further notice.  Henry has started his preventor again and as a household of asthmatics viruses usually mean acute and sometimes severe asthma flair ups.  I also worry about little Elsie, so we are playing it as safely as we possible can.  As a full-time parent and home maker I'm aware of my immense privilege to be able to keep our family at home and socially isolate.  I feel it is my responsibility to do our bit to maximise social distancing.  It is essential we each do what we can as individuals to flatten the curve and slow the spread of this damn virus, whilst doing our best to support the local economy and preparing our families for a tough time ahead. 

So our days here will consist of pottering about, online learning, reading books, doing the washing, playing games and doing yard work in preparation for vegetable planting and some hopefully getting some goats and chickens in the coming months.  I’m not too fussed about formal learning for now.  These are uncertain times and our focus will be on rest and connection.

What I do know is this - division weakens us.  We are stronger together.  Physically distancing ourselves to reduce the spread of Covid 19 does not need to mean social isolation.  Don't forget to utilize this amazing technology at our finger tips to reach out to those you care about.  Post on your local Facebook page, drop a note into the neighbours letterbox offering to pick things up for them if they need.  Try to find things to chat and even laugh about when you can.  Be inventive.  Have skype coffee dates with friends, let the kids facetime their friends.  If your feeling alone, reach out.  We are all in this together, and together we will get through it.

Elsie sends you all a cuddle.  

Below I have included a couple of links about cloth nappies and family cloth for those wanting to save money or who are struggling to source nappies and toilet paper.  

Sending love and gentle hugs dear readers.  Go gently in these uncertain times and I will always try to respond here, though sometimes it may take me a little while I usually get there.  

Much love,

YouTube: Family cloth 101
Finding yourself out of toilet paper?  Here is a families cloth toilet paper system.  We don’t use family cloth, but have not been able to get toilet paper for weeks.  It may well come to this, but it’s not such a big leap as cloth nappy users.

Cloth Nappies: The story of a converted mama!

Simple home made indoor washing line.

Washing, it's a never-ending job.
The actual washing part is simple enough, it's the drying part which can be a struggle if it's too wet outside for the washing to dry.  Living in a small space trying to maneuver around numerous clothes horses was not only tedious but they didn't give us the line space we actually needed for larger items such as sheets and towels.  

A new addition

Introducing the newest member of our family.  Elsie Rose.  Born on 17th Feb 2020 at 2:15pm.  She weighed 7 pounds and was 49cms long.  

Elsie is oh so sweet, she came into the world calmly and has remained that way since.  She is 1 week old now and it's hard to imagine life without her, it feels like she has always been here.  The boys adore her and together we pass many hours snuggling and fussing over her.  She is doing beautifully.  Breastfeeding like a champ and sleeping as well as a newborn sleeps!  

I'm slowly recovering from a planned c-section which was a little more complex and longer than expected due to adhesions from my hernia that needed dealing with.  Elsie's part of the procedure went smoothly, the rest was a bit rough.  But we are home now and getting plenty of rest in our little yurt.  The Port Macquarie Hospital was absolutely wonderful, the midwives were brilliant, some of the best I have ever come across and the Drs were thorough, kind and professional.       

Much love,

Yurt and baby projects on the go

Since being on light duties as per Dr's orders I have been pottering away at a couple of little projects.  In sorting out the babies room, I stumbled upon a row I had sewn for the big raggedy quilt I made HERE but somehow managed to leave off.  To ensure it wasn't wasted I whipped up a couple more squares and made a little bassinet quilt.  I also made a sweet velour Waldorf doll which is suitable from birth up.  She is super soft and snuggly.  One of these days I'll publish a free pattern for a Waldorf doll, it's just I tend to measure some things as I go!  Perhaps that will be my next blog post.       

Quick and easy raggedy bassinet quilt.  Made from 100% cotton and up-cycled Australian wool batting.  

weekend links

I mentioned in my last post that I had recently been discharged from hospital.  I was admitted with severe abdominal pain which they decided was linked to my umbilical hernia which seemed to be pinched, though fortunately not twisted.  With pain relief and rest, it has settled and I was allowed to go home with directions to return immediately if the pain comes back.  Baby remained totally fine throughout and an ultrasound showed she is doing well.  I can't fault the care of the Port Macquarie hospital, the Drs and nurses were all were professional, thorough and kind and I felt I was in very safe hands.  Each and every one of them took the time to listen and give excellent quality care.  

Aggie and old Tessa chilling out in the creek.

The weather is relentlessly hot here at the moment, much hotter than last summer where the hot days were broken up with regular mild days in between.  Our weekend plans are pretty quiet, there will be swims in the river, naps on the couch, board games played and church on Sunday between a few odd jobs.       

I hope you enjoy scrolling through this weekends links.  There are links for YouTube, a beautiful free dress pattern and some things I enjoyed reading.

Much love,

Climate change bushfires and cutting my carbon emissions

Two brilliant men.

Peppermint maxi dress
Free pattern!  I love the look of this dress and it would be an easy pattern to adapt to be breastfeeding friendly.

The Guardian: Is plastic waste crisis recycling consumption environmentally friendly?

our year of less progress

Our year of less challenge has forced us to carefully consider purchases as we enter the new school year.  Will starts high school this year, meaning he needed a set of totally new school uniforms.  I have been carefully sourcing these second hand, though there are a couple of things to date I have been unable to find in his size.  The school belt ($20) and dress grey shorts ($40) are items I'm still looking for second hand.  Specific emblemed socks I will buy new.  At $8.50 a pair, they had better be good quality.    

 We are lucky to have nature literally at our back door.  


When we moved in January 2019, it was during one of the dryest periods in living memory.  Two months ago we experienced the huge devastating bushfires that are still raging across Australia.  Our paddocks were brown, creeks had long since dried up and the river at the bottom of our driveway become stagnant pools of black water.  The river was contaminated by a film of fire retardant which back washed from fire trucks hoses as they filled up their trucks.  It couldn't be helped of course, the firies did an amazing job of bravely fighting the fires around the clock that raged in the hills.  

Until now. 

A new year of less

Last year we undertook a year of less project as a family.  Whilst we were quietly working things out and learning heaps along the way, I didn't share it as much as I intended here as it all felt kinda messy.  Finances were so tight at times which was incredibly stressful.  But throughout the year we adapted to a totally new-to-us way of living.  It requires more patience, it's messier and certainly slower.  The flip side is that we have grown in creativity and resilience tenfold.  The deep appreciation we now experience for small progress has added a greater sense of value to our lives.

I really wanted to buy baby a lovely vintage-looking teddy, then Will and I remembered he had this teddy in perfect condition which he never built an attachment too.  Will decided he was happy to pass it on so we washed her up, I pulled out a 50c op-shopped cardigan I had tucked away and sewed a little bow for her head out of scrap fabric.  Now she is all ready to be loved!  

DIY natural leather conditioner

Since deciding to live a simpler life minimising chemicals around the house is an important part of that.  Sometimes I fall back into the habit of using commercial products, but I try to buy a greener version when I can.  I do however prefer to make my own cleaners from scratch which is simple, satisfying and saves a lot of money.

Progress on the yurt front

Finally, we are making some solid progress on the yurt front.  We have a 10,000L header tank on its way which will be the first of a much larger water storage system once we have shedding built and the dam cleared out.  Grant bought a great, hardly used Honda generator that an older couple were selling after their trip around Australia.  They ended up staying at powered sites in caravan parks so they barely used it and we got it for 1/3 of what we would have paid new.  The Honda will become our main generator and the other generator will be for back-up.  We have extended our solar and battery system and although it's small it generates enough power to run everything we need all at once.  It will save a lot in fuel expenses and having good, reliable power brings us peace of mind.  It also means we will be living more sustainably which is hugely important to us.  We use 12V lighting and fans and we will eventually be purchasing a small 12V smart TV to help minimise the power we need at night.  We don't have TV reception here so we stream free TV and $10 of Netflix/Stan when the urge arises.  There is no contract with either Netflix/Stan so you can pay month by month.  We usually pop it on for school holidays.

The first stage of building the staircase is complete.  It is functional but it will be enclosed underneath to form a good-sized pantry and the centre log will be sanded smooth and polished.  

A new year and new goals

It feels wrong to say 'Happy New Year' while much of Australia continues to burn in one of the worst bushfire seasons in living memory, during one of the worst droughts on record.

Instead, I wish you all a safe new year.  May your homes, family and communities be safe.  May they receive much-needed rain this year and may we all band together, despite political differences to do the necessary work to make Australia's future a more sustainable one.

I'm not generally one for big new years resolutions but there are a few areas I would like to focus on this year, with a continued emphasis on simplifying life to give time to the things we value most being the main goal.  Living more sustainably and reducing waste is high on my agenda.

After a hot, tough and dry start to summer, we are already looking forward to winter and to firing up the wood oven again for homemade pizza's.
Powered by Blogger.