lockdown blues

It seems we are in lock down again in rural NSW and not a moment too soon. In fact one could say it's possibly several weeks too late. It was planned to be a one week lockdown to get on top of the highly contagious DELTA variant. However, it's already stretched out to two weeks and considering it has escaped into various regional communities and numbers are continue to grow I suspect we will be in lockdown a long while yet. 

It's all becoming a little Lord of the Flies here. With shelters being built and dirt bomb wars counting as play. Will is in the second shelter. In typical Will style he wouldn't come out for a photo. But I tried.  

Last week home educating in lock down was a bit rough, if I am completely honest. I was tired, Elsie was ratty, the boys took a bit to adjust and it all, trying to meet everyones educational needs in a tiny yurt while tube feeding a sick calf several times a day, who later died was all a bit much. It came to a head on Friday when I pinched a nerve in my back and in an overwhelmed, teary fit of anger I declared the week over and issued a free for all on screens after basic chores and reading time was done.  

Grant being a steadying hand, brought home some seedlings from his work for my new garden area, pizza and chocolate for all and a plan of action to ensure this week was smoother. 

So, the weekend began with shuffling Will out into the old vintage caravan which sits just a few meters from the yurt. That way he has some privacy, a quiet place to study and attend his classes online in peace as necessary. We have sorted through a bunch of things to chuck/donate which will always accumulate with a mob of growing children and turned his old loft space into a much needed storage area. This has freed up the little down stairs room for Elsie and we set up her little toddler bed and moved some of her things which were taking over our tiny lounge space into there. It needs paint, the flooring laid and maybe a little rug yet but it will be a sweet nook for her. One I hope will tempt her out of our bed and into her own at some point. But I'm not holding my breath for that.       

Elsie is a great help in the garden. She refuses to wear shoes and likes to collect any boots left on the porch with dirt. 

This week the boys have chosen their own projects to work on and much of their weekly reading/writing will revolve around that. Angus has chosen WW2 and Henry wants to learn about Mexico, primarily because he want to cook tacos and Mexican food which I'm more than happy to encourage. There will be a bit of geography, history, politics, art (displaying their findings) along with plenty of reading, writing, watching and of course cooking to do. Angus is hoping to cook a meal made with war time rations. I confess to being a little less enthused at the meal that comes from his project then Henry's but I'm sure it will be interesting at least! 

With our tiny yurt having a big re-shuffle, a new garden being planted out and home learning being dictated by us in a way the school is happy with and that works better for our family, I feel more prepared this week. 

But it is only Monday. (Well, it was when I started writing this post. Clearly it is now Wednesday.)

It seems rain is on the forecast and it has settled in which is a bit of a pest as I have approximately eleventy billion loads of washing to do and no dryer to help. But we have had a dry couple of months so it will be good for the creeks and the pasture no doubt.     

But there will always be ups and downs in life, I think they can act as a reminder to take stock of our situation and what we can do do make our lives work better for us, father than moving forward blindly doing the same old thing.

When I sat and thought about why the week had spiralled there were a few issues that arose. Some were the practical challenges of having a big family in a tiny space, which Grant helped to address in a way I feel is now utilising our limited space better. I also felt frustrated that the time I had finally found in my days to pursue some writing/vlogging more regularly, was taken away by suddenly having 4 children underfoot 24/7 with no end in sight. And the fact that those 4 children were being very naughty in not bothering to pick up any of their things, clear away dishes or wipe up their messes despite knowing how and constant nagging. This meant my daily work load had increased to an overwhelming level while still living in a pigsty. After some a tightening of routine around meals, (they cannot graze all day because they are bored) setting clear expectations around daily chores and dishing out consequences when they act like I'm their maid. The boys have picked up their slack and thankfully, are towing the line again.  

They are really beautiful kids, but most of us will try it on at some point or another. I mean if there is someone willing to do your chores, wouldn't you take it up? Holding people and children into account for their behaviour and choices is important. I believe it's a big part to having a happy, balanced home where everyone can feel valued. As is having reasonable expectations of what kids can and should be doing. Kids are capable little people, it doesn't do anyone any favours to not treat them as such. 

Well, considering it's Wednesday morning and this post was planned for Monday I had best hit enter despite it feeling utterly haphazard and it not being my usual style of writing. Also Elsie has learnt how to empty her bottles on the floor into giant puddles and then lay in them. Which is what she has done as I have been attempting to finish this post.....Please send chocolate and wine and any spare sanity you have lying about. 

If you are lockdown trying to juggle balls you never expected to have to juggle, I send love and my best wishes. Go gently in these weird times we are living in.

Much love,

P.S. Just to add to the joys here, my iPhone which is only two years old appears to be broken. So please excuse any old photos that appear with my posts. It is the best I can do! 

Cultivating a sense of thankfulness within ordinary days

It's easy be thankful when things are cruising along, there is money in the bank, everyone is healthy and you're in a job that is reliable and pays well.

But what about when things aren't great? 

We all have those times, when we feel like we are facing a mountain of impossible-ness and life is falling down around our ears. Or we might be so damn tired from wrangling small children and doing the same thing day in and day out that we feel like we are loosing ourselves amongst the daily grind. We might be facing economic uncertainty, health challenges or significant life changes. All of which we have experienced ourselves in one form or another, as many long time readers will know. 

How do we cultivate a sense of thankfulness when it seems there is really not a lot to be grateful for? 
I'm afraid I don't have any hard and fast answers, but I do think cultivating a sense of gratitude among our ordinary days can help us keep momentum in the hard times. It can help us to keep moving forward and take the next step.  

Sometimes when we are feeling sad or disheartened, the first thing we can do is to stop and acknowledge those feelings, to give ourselves permission to sit in it a bit, to process our reality and to hopefully shuffle forward, even if it's just a little shuffle.

Thankful for healthy home grown organic veggies and more bought from some friends market garden. 
If you're in the mid-north coast of NSW check out The Vicars Blend Currently they are growing lovely organic veggies, but soon they will be getting started on a boutique winery too. 

As a christian woman, sitting in prayer is important in helping me adjust my focus from my immediate situation and emotions to looking at the bigger picture. I find prayer quietens my mind and heart which then helps to reconnect me to purpose and place. It reminds me I am loved and never alone. Perhaps people who meditate find a similar kind of peace.

Some days, when we are in the thick of a difficult season the idea of finding joyful moments in our days might be too far a stretch. But, often we can still look for small moments of pleasure or peace speckled throughout our days. Below are a few things I find help me to cultivate a sense of thankfulness, even when things are not OK.

Savouring the pleasure of a hot, strong cuppa in a favourite mug.


Breathing in the top of Elsies head to fill my body with love endorphins, even when she's not sleeping and I'm completely and utterly exhausted. 

Thankful for an unexpected afternoon nap. I was catching up on Glady's daily NSW COVID update and I think Elsie found it a bit much that day. As did the rest of NSW no doubt.  

Laughing at the silly YouTube clip My teenager has shared with me. Even if I don't think it's particularly funny myself, watching him laugh is lovely. Taking a moment to bask in others happiness can help us remember ours will return.

Holding my family tight after an argument as we talk out how our communication process broke down, or in fact, exploded with loud voices and angry words. We are only human after all.

Touching base with family or friends, even if they are two thousand kms away and I miss them like crazy. I'm thankful for technology that allows me to share photos, videos and hear their voices at the press of a button. Can you imagine going through these covid times without it? 

Giving thanks when folding the never ending pile of clean washing. Stay with me here, I know this one sounds a little bonkers. But I give thanks for having good, warm, comfortable clothes to wear. Though I admit I find it much easier to be grateful for clean washing rather than wet muddy washing....It's not to say I don't ever resent the washing or the chores, but resenting them isn't going to make them any easier to do, so I may as well try to do them with a thankful spirit. The chores reflect that I have a safe secure home to live in and a family to love.  

Giving thanks that I have nourishing food which I can prepare into a tasty meal for my family. And when I'm just too tired, the house is a mess and I have a cranky babe to juggle while trying to connect with the boys, wrangle goats or the multitude of other things that need doing, I'm grateful for pizza that Grant can pick up on the way home from work. Or two minute noodles or baked beans for that matter. I'm thankful that we go to bed each night with full tummies.

Washing to do reminds me we have enough clean, warm comfortable clothing for our family.

I'm thankful for Grant's work where he is treated well and he enjoys being, even if finances often remain stressfully tight.  

I'm thankful for books and the ability to escape to another world. For the warmth from the sun after a stint of cold days or the relief of nightfall in the midst of a scorching Australian summer.

I'm thankful for my little garden and the progress we are making in expanding it. Even if that progress seems painfully slow. There is something about being in nature that is soothing to the most weary soul. Whether it be the bush, the beach, the plains or the forest. Each possess their own kind of beauty. 

It would be nice if life was a smooth as an Instagram reel, but that's just not reality. We all have ups and downs and seasons we don't know if we will be able to bear. But for me, cultivating a sense of thankfulness in the small pockets of peace or pleasure throughout even the hardest days is what keeps me looking forward.     

So dear readers, Id love to hear what do you find helps you when things are tough? 

Much love,

Thankyou and some Housekeeping

Hello dear readers! Just a quick thank you post today and some blogger housekeeping I thought I should update you on. 

Firstly, I would like to take a moment to thank everyone for continuing to read here. I know blogging has gone out of fashion for the most part, with people preferring the instant-ness of Instagram, but I appreciate those of you who still visit here and persist with me through the sometimes sporadic postings! 

As Elsie gets older, we are finding a better rhythm to our days and as you may have noticed blogs are becoming more and more frequent again. I am greatly enjoying having the time and headspace to write and share our life on this platform. I also love blogs as they are a way of writers sharing their lives more deeply, and I feel authentically. 

When I’m here I don't have to worry if the little Instagram squares look balanced or appealing, what hash tags are trending, or trying to make content the algorithm likes. I don’t think about whether or not I should pay to boost posts so they don't get lost among the masses. (I currently don't.) I'm trying to understand that side of Instagram, but between you and me, I like it better here.   

But within that, for people to actually find this blog and the other things we are trying to create (like the YouTube channel) I have a small favour to ask. If you are on YouTube, Instagram or Facebook please consider taking a minute to like and subscribe to my page/account or just hit hit like on the things you enjoy reading about. The links are all in my sidebar so they are easy to find.
I know it seems small, but it really does help send the message to the internet powers that be, that there is interest here, and that the simple living message is worth sharing to a broader audience. And hence, it helps this little corner be found by those searching for a different life. A simpler life. 

And finally, to those that do like, subscribe and take the time to email or leave lovely comments....


Thank you for continuing to read and visit. Thank you for taking the time out of your day to connect and let me know that something I have written or shared has resonated with you long enough for you to stop and actually let me know about it. The comments are the thing that has kept me going over the years. The kindness shown and the ability to meet like minded souls in a world that seems intent on looking everywhere but within our homes and our families for pleasure, contentment and beauty. This kind of life, though perhaps not glamorous nor showy matters. It's important. Perhaps more so now than ever. 

For those that were subscribed, it seems the email subscription on this blog is no longer working and that particular gadget has since been discontinued. Being the technological numpty that I am, I have no idea who was subscribed, nor where to find such a list, or even if such a list was available to me. Unfortunately, there doesn't seem to be a new way of adding one.  But I always add new posts to Instagram and Facebook so if you follow along there, you won’t miss out. 

Much love dear readers. 

sadness on the farm

We are struggling with our goats. They are rotated every 1-2 weeks on fresh, rested ground and have a really diverse diet of grasses and woody weeds. They look strong and healthy but a couple of days ago one gave birth prematurely to still born twins. She retained some placenta which we thought had been passed in full and sadly, she died overnight.

We have had 3 goats birth now and have no living babies to show for it which is heart breaking.  The first birthed unexpectedly and we had made the mistake of not separating Hagrid off from the pregnant girls. Being young, it seems he was over excited and licked the baby goat to death after birth. There were no signs of trauma or damage to him and Hagrid was quite distressed when we had to remove the dead baby goat from his flock. He is excellent with the goats generally, it was entirely out fault for not separating him and actively teaching him how to act around baby goats. It was a hard lesson to learn. 

Next was a runty little goat rejected by its mother. I took it in and tried to save it, but sadly it died too. Its mother is not the best frame but we are hoping next time she does better. 

Aggie keeping watch over the sick goat. In this photo we are trying to warm her up in the warmer of the Aga. The warmer is exactly that, warm, but not hot. They have frequently been used on farms as an incubator for cold, sick animals. 

We are researching and doing our best to provide them with everything they need. When we bought them they were weaners and a they were a bit runty and struggling with worms. The farmer had just drenched them with a new drench that seemed to be working better, but they have remained very susceptible to worms since. This wasn't helped by the serious floods we experienced a few months ago. Like much of this region, we had a very difficult outbreak of barbers pole after the floods and the ground was sodden. We couldn't move the goats to higher ground as we couldn't get them across the swollen creeks and they spent a couple of weeks knee deep in mud. They lost condition, perhaps that impart has led to increased difficulties in maintaining healthy, live pregnancies. Perhaps our soil/feed is deficient in a nutrient. We will up their pelleted feed to daily as we have only been giving it as a treat, in the hope of filling any potential dietary gaps. They have apple cider vinegar in their water to help with gut health, are vaccinated and a lick block available. I'm unsure of what else to do. 

As all the issues have been different, perhaps it is just that they are first time mothers and we have had a run of particularly bad luck. Perhaps we need better genetics, or a different breed of goat entirely. Perhaps their next births will be more successful. 

What I do know is that I am finding very disheartening. Since I am home most, it is me finding the dead animals and having to remove them. Grant having extensive livestock experience, is much more matter of fact about these things. He’s confident we work it out in time and all will be fine. He's on the look out for a few proven mothers to add to our small flock at a decent price, which is proving difficult to find at the moment. 

A poor photo of the new garden beds in progress and the sand pit to the right, ready to be filled. 

In happier news, we have two new garden beds nearly built and mostly retained. There is just a small retaining wall along the yurt to finish off. Between them is a pebble path to the caravan and outdoor laundry area. This area will be fenced off with a recycled timber picket style fence like my other little garden and it will become a dog-free play area for Elise with a little sandpit and plenty of sensory plants. The sandpit is built and waiting for a load of sand to fill it. The new garden beds will be a combination of veggies, herbs, flowers and a couple of small shrubby trees. There is a crape myrtle in one bed and there will be an Elderberry in the other, once I can lay my hands on one locally.  

When it comes to planting we are going with a kind of no-dig method which means laying a thick layer of cardboard then bringing in a load of mushroom compost/mulch to plant it out. Though clearly one bed has been built up with the retaining. The cardboard will suppress weeds which is a big struggle in such a warm, wet area. We also have two raised beds to find a place for in the yard. One we brought with us from SA and the other I bought of market place for $20. The kids are in the process of collecting sticks and small logs to turn them into hugelkultur beds. I think I'll be sticking to thrifting second hand raised beds from here on out. Building fences around each garden bed to keep out the dogs is very time consuming and raised beds are a natural deterrent to dogs digging and trampling. Also I can place them and fill them myself which frees up Grant for more important jobs like building the shed and building up his wood roach business. 

We are working on a garden update YouTube clip at the moment, which will show our garden plans. I hope to get it out in the next couple of weeks. You can see the last one Grant and I did HERE

Well, the sun is shining and its a beautiful day so I'm off the pop some washing on, tidy up and enjoy the beautiful day. I hope things are well where you are. 

Much love,
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