Down on the Farm.

I am feeling like this blog of mine is slipping away. It is meant to be a record for the future, for myself and my kids but I’ve been leaving so many blank holes in it, that I have decided to fill in some spots.

There are things I want to remember, so I thought before I get carried away with posts like the one to come for Sophie’s birthday in a few days that I’d re-capture some events of the past few weeks and also how life is right now for us.

Freeze frame up to this moment.

So that when the next months begin to move along nothing is missed or lost.

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Firstly I wanted to write about the best day I’ve had in a long time! A couple of weeks ago my brother Matt and I went to help dad out on his cattle farm. Glen’s mum Gwenda was staying and very, very kindly watched all the kiddies which is a brave thing to do!

I hadn’t helped dad out on the farm for years. I’ve always wanted to and always offer to help out but having kids sometimes means I can’t do all the things I’d like to all that often.

It’s just not safe having little people running around when there are big, beautiful, sometimes unpredictable beast getting about.

Matt and I arrived and Dad was in the middle of getting the cattle back into the yards. We watched, I in awe of his new working dogs. They’re beautiful girls, young and sleek and fast. Very fast. There is Gemma, she’s quite meek of personality, black and white border collie with one blue and one brown eye. And Opal, such a pretty little thing, a bit more feisty than Gemma. She also has one brown eye and one blue, she’s also black and white but has such unique coffee coloured patterns. The name Opal suits her perfectly.

They got the cattle into the yards and then Dad suggested that I stay in the car and wait for him and Matt to sort the cattle from their calves. I was utterly disappointed. He wouldn’t budge on it either, even though I declared I was far tougher than Matt. I think perhaps he was trying to protect me. To ensure my kids still had a mother at the end of the day.

Well I consoled myself with that notion.

I sat patiently waiting while they took the babies from their mothers. It was kind of weird to see this process now as a mother myself, it’s been so long. The noise began to get louder and louder as the mother’s bellowed for their babies. The calves pacing back and forth along the fence line searching for a weak point. I wanted to just tell the mother’s it was all ok, they’d be reunited very shortly and it was all for a good cause.

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I knew I’d feel just as distressed if it were me.

It made me feel even more love towards those creatures.

Cows are such beautiful animals.

Once Dad and Matt were done I was called over to help.

Finally!

The calves needed to be vaccinated and a majority of the young bull calves needed to be castrated. Not for the weak of stomach! I very proudly got to vaccinate most of the young calves, I didn’t like the thought of giving them an injection but knowing that it could save their very life made me see the importance of a small amount of pain.

Matt took photos of the process and Facebooked most of the time in between herding calves into the crush, holding tails for dad to do the operation and opening and shutting gates to allow the babies back to their worried mothers. He asked me to pose with some testicles to show Glen. Then said he was going to post to Facebook.

“Wait, wait!!! Do I look alright?”

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Dad burst out laughing at how my biggest concern about being photographed holding bloody balls was whether or not I looked good.

Yes, true….a little bit gross.

I grew up with things like that so I guess it just seems normal to me.

At least dad got a laugh. We don’t see that much anymore.

There was one moment when I thought I was going to be badly damaged. I was in the yard behind the crush and herding some claves…some, my shoulder height, into the crush when one decided to have a bit of a tantrum, kicking out and jumping, bashing himself against the fences. He threw himself around and was headed at me.

“This might hurt.” I thought and squeezed my eyes shut waiting for impact, expecting to feel that weird slow motion sensation of being slammed into the dirt. A second later I opened them and apparently he’d changed his mind.

Phew….there wasn’t much else I could do in that moment except close my eyes, no point in trying to run or scream, it would have happened anyway. He must have decided he liked me. I thanked him for not hurting me and also apologised for the pain of loosing his manly parts that would soon ensue.

Matt and Dad both exclaimed “How would you know how much that would hurt?”

“I’ve given birth 5 times. Naturally. I think I know what pain is. And as far as I know, both of you still have your bits.” I said with a bit of a finger wag towards their gentlemanly regions…..

I love how simple little sentences like that silence men and occasionally cause them to blush just a tad.

We laughed so hard. And got hurt so bad. But that’s the exciting part. I love the idea of possible danger. Not deadly…well possibly deadly, if you’re not sure what you’re doing. Like everything, cattle give off vibes. You can, well I can…generally tell if one is in a calm state or in a rage.

Simple rule…..stay away from an angry cow.

I loved how their bellows sound like prehistoric dinosaurs….I figured that movie makers use the bellowing of cattle in their dino movies. It sounds so similar. Plus there are no dinosaurs around now….makes sense to me.

The dust clouds that stir, the stiff white palms from holding on just a little too tight. The stink of blood and dirt and used up grass.

That slight quiver in your guts at the thought of almost being trampled by beasts almost 4 times your bodyweight.

So animal like and wild.

I love it all.

I came home with black feet. Blood stains under my finger nails and on my dress (what I wear dresses while doing cattle work?!) a tupperware container full of testicles (for dad’s retired dogs of course) and dirt on my face…..stinking of sweat and all I wanted to do was shower and sleep.

A satisfyingly exhausting day.

I hope to have more chances to work on the farm with dad again soon.

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Our animals at home are slowly deciding they want more freedom. Mango our lorikeet for example became restless sitting in her cage watching and listening to all the wild birds in the big apple gums around our house, so I went about creating her own tree for her. She loved it for a couple of weeks and didn’t stray from it but now she is wanting to get closer and closer to the outside world. She’s been casing the mesh that surrounds our back deck and her tree, for openings and this morning she found one. I woke to find her missing and Violet informed me that she’d seen a friendly bird down on the pool fence.

Sure enough it was Mango.

Such a long way for her to go on foot as her wings haven’t grown back in yet (I’m letting them) she was half way from the house, half way to the trees of the wild lorikeets. I picked her up and brought her back, gave her some extra nice fresh fruit to convince her that she should stay.

As much as I love her and know that if she comes in contact with the wild birds that she could possibly get sick from things they haven’t been vaccinated against like she has, I’m not sure if I will stop her.

Especially when her wings grow in.

Even though she was raised as a domesticated pet, she’s meant to be free. It’s in her nature. These birds flock together and pair for life, and here she is alone and trapped. I can’t imagine anything worse than being a bird and stuck locked up with your wings cut.

She comes and goes and maybe one day won’t come back, it would be a sad day for us but I know she’d be so happy. Just to soar and sing with the local birds even for just a day would be like a dream come true.

Rosie too, Molly’s rabbit has now a free range life. She roams eating grass by the chook house where she was bunking with them. I knew they annoyed her. She’d just randomly chase them away from her little wooden hut she lives and burrows in and the other day Rosie refused to be put away with the chooks, so I moved her hut outside of the chook house. She sleeps in it but is off eating grass in the open again of a morning.

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I like how our pets know where they live but have a bit of freedom to roam.

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Victor and Loch my dad’s ex working dogs have got a new lease on life now too. They went from ragged old dogs who didn’t do much else but sleep, to now wanting anything but! Victor has grown hair back in places he’d been bald for a couple of years, he’s now spending 70% of his time up and about stalking our house looking for cats or chooks to round-up. He has weird stand off’s with our cats, I thought he wanted to eat them but now I realise he is just fascinated and a bit scared.

SONY DSCHe’s now got this kind of lazy dog grin and a perkiness that is unusual for a dog of 16 years. Loch too, he’s so much more playful, he and Ollie, Matt’s 12 months old pup who miraculously survived 4 paralysis tick bites is his new play mate. Loch trying to ‘play’ after 14 years of ‘not playing’ is funny. He tries so hard and has a good time…but it seems awkward somehow.

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Our chooks are getting quite big, Maggie is our favorite laying hen she’s got almost all her adult plumage now and La’Fonda (Glen named her?!) is our second favorite laying hen. Number One is also our favorite which is a little unfortunate. He’s a meat chook which means he will soon be beheaded and placed on the dinner table.

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I told the kids not to name them. I told them if anything we could call the white chooks ‘dinner’ but Number One got so big so quick that soon he was called ‘Dinner Number One’ and it kind of has become a name in its self.

We pat him and talk to him and thank him for the dinner he’ll provide us with.

Chapman has finally settled in. For a little while I actually considered returning him to the animal shelter. I mean he was so lost, and out of place. He’d spent his whole life there surrounded by all of the other homeless cats. I didn’t think about it from his perspective. I just thought I was being all super hero-like saving his life and all. Though it turned out that I was taking him from the only home he’d ever known. I gave him so much time and attention, needless to say so did the kids, anything covered in fur or feathers is never lacking in love around here! He now rests happily in the sunshine on a special spot in my room and sleeps between my feet every night.

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I’m glad he finally likes us and is finally happy in his new home.

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Our veggie garden is going great, we’ve had a constant growing stream of fresh veg. Everyday we’ve been able to go and pick a couple of things. It’s fun foraging in your own garden for lunch or veggies for dinner.

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Glen’s herb garden is picking up also and I’ll be using them in our dinners soon too.

We’ve been weeding and tidying it up, getting rid of spent plants and replacing them with new seedlings and seeds. We’ve got masses of rockmelon, honey-dew and watermelons popping up everywhere.

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School is creeping closer and closer, Violet’s very first year of school and Bella’s very last of primary school, I am still considering home-schooling her for highschool and adding some outside of school activities for her. At least trying it for a year. Her current school is great small and she gets plenty of help and attention but her highschool will be much bigger and I know she needs that bit of extra help.

Anyway…thinking it over for 12 months at least!

Molly doesn’t want to go back to pre-school and I am totally fine with that, I like her funny company. She had a hair cut this morning. A major one. I’ve posted before about the trouble I have when brushing my girls hair. I’d always loved the idea of having girls, long beautiful hair I could brush all day long and put into beautiful braids and special do’s, I was sadly disappointed. All my girls hate having their hair done, none more so than Molly.

To brush Molly’s hair I must sit on the floor wrap my legs around her and either spend hours brushing ever so slowly as to never ever pull a single hair OR brush like a mad woman furious and fast to get the ordeal over with.

I dread it.

I hate it.

She runs from me the moment I hold a brush in my hand. The moment I pick up a hair band, the second I claim ‘Hair time!’ on a school morning.

She’s been hiding in cupboards or running off into the bush.

So for the past week she’s had it her way, I haven’t brushed it. We’ve been busy and had family here and I really truthfully, honestly couldn’t be bothered showing off her ‘other side’ to everyone present, it really is a traumatic event.

So today after asking her for the past 5 days “Brush it or cut it?”

She finally said “cut it.”

I picked up the scissors, handling them for a little wondering if I could really go through with it, I deciding that her pretty golden curls would grow back eventually I began to hack it all off.

I actually don’t think her curls will grow back which is why I bundled them all up and packaged them away with a little note with the date.

Yes she looks a little funny, yes she didn’t stay still and it really is hacked up throughly.

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But she actually smiled when I brushed it afterwards without a knot in sight.

I am hoping that I can wipe the slate clean, that as a 3-year-old she can now learn to like having her hair brushed now that it can not get any tangles.

I am also hoping that it will grow back before she starts school!

 Looks cute in an ‘I feel sorry for you’ kind of way don’t you think?

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It was either cut it off or one big dread lock, and with a mother with dreads people would have thought I’d done it one purpose.

And we wouldn’t want that!

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Glen working away sucks. Yes it does. Sometimes I don’t mind, but mostly I do, it’d be nice to have him home each night for dinner, but I guess we’re lucky in another way to have him home for an entire week straight when he is.

I don’t like that he comes home and treats it like one big weekend and then heads off to work and I’m spending the next couple of days scowling while picking up his dirty clothes and general ‘stuff’ from around the house.

We need to work out our odd routine a little better. I kind of feel dumped with all the work once he’s gone.

It sort of feels like when he’s home we’re in holiday mode, not too worried about the cleanliness of the house, out and about doing things, having a good time and then when he’s gone I’m the mean mum who is busy trying to get things back into order and a normal routine only to have Daddy come home again and be all fun.

We’re working on it.

I still miss him after a couple of days, and glad it is only a week a part. Not too long to be painful and not too short to be annoying.

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Me, I’m highly considering beginning a Bachelor of Education degree, I’d love to work with kids, specifically kindergarten. I figure after 4 years of study Buddy will just about be ready for school himself. Perfect timing in my eyes. Plus I love kids, plus I think I’d have a lot of fun, plus I think I’d have a different approach to educating kids, plus I figure it would be the perfect career when we have a big family who’ll all be in school soon too.

If I could get a job, dreadlocks, piercings, and tattoos….that is.

I’d also love another baby, as non-shocking as that may be.

It’s kind of a toss-up between self-education or further self-sacrifice. I think I will still do the degree regardless though I knew a lovely lady who teaches Ballet to young kids who was also a mother of 5, she always talked about how she’d have loved just one more.

6 was her number.

I don’t want to be that woman wishing.

I know it must be hard for those who don’t have kids, or who haven’t got as many as I to understand but it is in me, this mothering thing. It wakes me up at night with longing in my belly.

I’ve heard everything from “Once you’ve got one you don’t need anymore. They’re all the same.” to “I’ve only got 3 and that’s a handful, how could you have more?” And the normal things like “you’re mad/crazy/insane/glutton for punishment.”

I guess I don’t have an answer for those who say things like that except perhaps unless you are the one comforting my babies in the middle of a night from a bad dream, temperature, or illness…..unless you are the one breast-feeding or changing nappies, toilet training or attempting to brush their hair…..unless you are the lucky one who ends up babysitting, then perhaps it doesn’t affect you?

I mean, I more so than some know exactly what I’d be getting myself into and weirdly it actually makes me happy. Toddlers should be feared. It is true, but being the one to comfort a crying baby gives me comfort. Smiling my child’s frustration at not being able to put on a shoe and being able to understand how badly they just want to be able to do things for themselves, that first urination on the toilet, first steps…nothing could beat being the one your baby first smiles at….

The pain, the tears, the pooh they feel the need to smear in strange places, the happiness and all that toughness I find very appealing.

And to add a fear factor to those already in shock from my confessions…I think my number is 7.

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(Who wouldn’t want 10 more of this?!)

I don’t know why, but it is.

Some people dream of only having 2 kids, or 3, some stretch and aim for 4 or more….but for some unknown reason to me. I’d just love 7 beautiful, wild small people in my life.

Perhaps it is a throw back trait, my grandmother was the youngest of 13.

Now 13 sounds crazy to me, but 7 sounds just fine.

Perhaps I should talk to Glen about this desire?

Perhaps I will still be that wishing woman.

So educating everyone elses young now? Or creating more of my own and educating others later?

Choices.

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Hmmm…..right now, this very moment I’m avoiding housework. It’s taken me 3 days to slowly climb back on top of it all, unfortunately meals need to be cooked, children need to drench the bathroom while being bathed…(???) and other normal life things need to be taken care of which top up the mess fight I’m battling.

I’ll win, always do, then I’ll probably melt down the very second something is out-of-place.

Right now life is good. I’m feeling like this string of positive things are occurring and I hold my frame of mind to blame. I believe that positive thinking can create wonderful things. I also think negative thinking keeps us stuck in ruts and places we don’t want to be.

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Good thoughts manifest into beautiful happy things and Bad thoughts manifest into not so nice things.

Our mind affects our health, our love life, our relationships our creativity and everything that flows around us.

I felt it was even more true when I scored a free piano. I don’t like to place too many emotions into objects but it really was quite odd how I ended up with it.

Well to me it was.

When I was a little girl I played piano. The moment I touched the yellowing, aged old keys of this beautiful antique piano of the sweet, little church going lady who gave me lessons, I knew one day I wanted one all of my very own.

But they’re expensive. I stopped playing when I was around 12 years old and the dream slowly slipped away, I still always wanted one of my own, but never thought it would happen. A few weeks back I’d been thinking how nice it would be for my girls to learn a musical instrument. I got on Facebook one day and saw that a local woman had advertised an old and beautiful piano, for free on a buy, swap, sell page.

Free?

Piano?

I checked out the add and already 8 people had claimed they wanted it. Why not? Free. Piano!

I decided to mention that I was interested. I didn’t get my hopes up, I mean I was 8th in line and who the heck wouldn’t want it?

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A week later I got a message from the lady who owned it saying I was next in line if the lady before me didn’t want it.

I gave a polite thanks and was at peace feeling that I wouldn’t get it as the lady before me seemed to want it badly. The next day I was messaged again, being told that it was mine should I want it.

Um what?!

Of course, the next day my dad and brother helped me to go get the massive and very heavy thing to our home.

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I love the thing. I never imagined it would be mine. The woman explained that everyone else simply changed their mind or simply didn’t turn up.

8 people?

Changed their mind for a free piano after all claiming that they wanted it?

I find it weird. My brother on the other hand finds it weird that I wanted a piano.

Not the point.

Point is, I felt positive about it. I let it be.

Maybe I was just lucky, though I felt it was meant to be.

I now have a vintage old piano just like the one I was taught on all those years ago, sitting in our dining area waiting for my chubby little childrens fingers to play it.

Well they play it alright…just nothing that sounds remotely like a song, but still I love that plunk, plunk sound that can only come from MY free piano.

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Good thoughts manifest.

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I’ve gained weight again. Not surprising, it is after all the eating season. I’d lost some while dragging logs around for the chook house and from generally spending time outside and away from the fridge, but it’s back again and I don’t mind so much. I’ll no doubt lose some again in the warmer months to come but if not I’m not too stressed. I’m probably over doing it with the ‘what will be, will be’ notion but I truly believe it.

It doesn’t mean I’ll sit around waiting for it to fall off, it means I’ll go back to my original habits of whats good and bad for me and it doesn’t only cover food. All choices in life have effects.

A consequence for every action.

I actually have never felt more beautiful and content within myself and how I appear to the world than I do now, perhaps I’m getting old.

I’ve never really felt beautiful or confident enough to say that about myself but I feel like I am a beautiful person, not just appreance. And I am proud that I have reached a point where I feel safe in being able to say it about myself as well as about others.

I feel so womanly when I dig in the garden, sweat pouring from my forehead from under my bunnings hat, sun glittering from the crystals in my dreaded hair.

Looking in the mirror at my rounded shape, slightly tucked in waist and extra tummy ‘softness’ a gift from my babies which will always be there. Those silvery lines where my body couldn’t contain the new life growing and needed to expand a little more.

The whiteness from a lack of tan.

The wrinkles around my eyes which are easier to see when I smile, it’s all so lovely I’ve been thinking lately.

I know I didn’t appreciate my pre-baby body, I think I was too young to, but now 5 babies down, extra few kilos hidden away I’m feeling quite naturally a woman.

We’re not meant to be tiny things, we’re meant to be bold and brave inside but soft and round on the outside. I may lose weight, I may not, though                         either way I am happy in my being and in turn gives everything outside of it a new perspective.

Let’s love being ladies!

I’m rambling.

Bye.

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Pepper Loves you.

😀

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