September School Holidays Start Now
Today hails the start of the September school holidays. For those of you past having kids of school age, this won’t necessarily cause a bump on your road. Except, perhaps, if you’re a grey nomad travelling around and all of the sudden everywhere you want to go is booked out, jam packed with screaming kids or even – woe forbid – the local Dan Murphy’s or IGA has sold of out of your favourite wine (#mumsinneedofliquidtheraphy).
In my house it means I have to come up with ‘The Project’. Yes, living three hours from Melbourne means those dinky little lists in daily newspapers entitled ‘20 things to do with the kids on school holidays’, will not work out here. We don’t have a zoo (well, maybe an ‘onfarm’ native fauna one …), nor a fun park to turn to when things get tough. And I might add, that awful word BORING is not allowed to be mentioned or even breathed up here on the hill. (admin - when I was a kid say BORING and you'd be cleaning venetian blinds quicker than you could think "whoops I shouldn't have said that!")
Despite the fact, in most cases, the kids find heaps to do around the farm, it usually involves that torrid thing called, ‘Work’. Hence, The Project’. I figure if I call it ‘The Project’ maybe they won’t twig what it really is!
For example, these holidays, H has time off from his ‘other job’ and we will be building those ongoing cattle yards that I keep banging on about. (Maybe we might get them finished?) The Farm Boy is excited because he gets to drive the tractor, use the post hole borer, learn how to weld, and so long as we don’t mention the word ‘work’, he’s as happy as a boy let loose in his Dad’s machinery shed.
The Princess on the other hand is a little trickier and this is why I have another ‘Project’, just for her. And that is … (Ta Dahhhhhh …) painting the mailbox. Yes, I know. Sounds boring already, BUT we have decided to turn our very mundane ‘cream with a brown roof’ roadside mailbox into a bathing box. Are you excited? I’m excited. (Can you hear my joy resonating through these words?) We have chosen the colours; bright pink walls (LOVE pink), turquoise roof, yellow trim and have even been on the hunt for one of those little round vent things that usually sit above the door. (I have no idea what they’re called.) Unfortunately we can’t find one, so I think H has been co-opted by the Princess to make one instead.
After they have exhausted themselves from all this work activity, we might take a day or two to find other things to do like a trip to town to the movies, or the pool. They’re always good standbys. And then there’s the bonfire or camp-out night where they have mates over, cook and then eat half-raw sausages and try to toast a decent marshmallow. (The dog usually gets quite overloaded with charcoal and sugar at this point.)
"We will get through" is my mantra.
Whilst I DO love having the cherubs home, I will have to admit, my dear readers, that I am the mother who, on the first day back at school, will wander around the house and garden in a dazed state just picking at weeds and playing with my dogs, wondering at the peace and quiet that has FINALLY returned to my world. For at least five days of the week, anyway, and until mid October when the world starts to go mad with the ‘End of the Year’. (I sighted Christmas decorations last week in Spotlight! In September!! True Fact!!!)
A couple of great links I came across this week.
Over at Dolly Henry, Megan is having a wonderful chat about ‘Why being “too busy” to reply is damaging your small business”. This was a wonderful, thought provoking post particularly relevant to this day and age of constant availability. Emails, texts, messenger. Everyone is available in the here and now. A lot of people manage it well; they LOVE having all this technology at their fingertips and prefer an email to a phone call. Me? Well, I’m of the old school. And sometimes, I get overwhelmed. This post was a little reminder, that despite how I’m programmed, I need to move with the times and this is an excellent post on etiquette in dealing with modern communication.
Across at Best Recipes, they had these ‘Muffins that taste like donuts’ and O.M.G. are they going to shoot my no sugar diet to hell. Take a look and if you make them let us know how it goes. (Repeat after me: I AM NOT MAKING THEM. I AM NOT MAKING THEM.)
Rural and women’s fiction author, Rachael Johns, has also been twittering and facebooking that there are now MINT MALTEASERS available in the supermarket. If my diet didn’t go down the gurgler with the muffins, it sure will now. I will have to be physically restrained from picking up a box next time I’m in IGA. Only thing for that will be avoiding the lolly isle completely and that’s going to be difficult seeing it’s school holidays (#mumsinneedofsugartheraphy)
On the book front, I have just finished reading a FABULOUS book by Jane Harper called ‘THE DRY’. Set in northern Victoria it’s a crime/thriller novel that started a publisher bidding war, the likes of which is unusual in Australia to say the least. It’s a brilliantly executed novel where the joy in reading lay in the minute details of country life. Harper pegged this small country community under the stress of drought and other more sinister things (cue spooky music) perfectly.
On the rural romance front, Nicole Alexander’s latest novel RIVER RUN, has hit the shelves. I bought this for H for Father’s Day as he loves Nic’s books and am now waiting VERY impatiently for him to finish. It sounds like another fabulous read from an author who is at the Heart of Australian Storytelling.
I also have the spectacular Liane Moriaty’s TRULY, MADLY, GUILTY on the go, along with HOW TO FIND LOVE IN A BOOK SHOP by Veronica Henry which I was drawn to by its gorgeous cover. I haven’t been able to get into it yet, so no comments until I find a nice slice of time to devote entirely to the book.
Barbara Hannay’s latest, THE GRAZIER’S WIFE, has also made it to my TBR pile. Barbara’s sweeping historical and contemporary dual narrative saga’s rarely disappoint, so I’m looking forward to dipping into that one. At the moment though it is with my Great Aunt, who LOVES reading these kind of books. It also serves the purpose of H not seeing just how many books are sitting on that TBR shelf :)
Podcasts have also become a recent addiction. After putting the kids on the bus, the dogs and I tramp up and down hills (my ‘lets check fences/weeds/cattle and get fit at the same time’ routine) and I have taken to listening to all kinds of brilliant interviews. Unfortunately yesterday while getting particularly immersed in one such podcast, I lost one dog - the Kelpie, Ange. After retracing my steps, in the pouring rain (down the hill which meant I had to go back UP the hill AGAIN) I found her. Off home we went, where I found I had now lost the OTHER dog - Lucy, the pint sized Jack Russell X. Back I go again (still raining) cursing. I found her sitting under a large tree obviously taking refuge from the deluge. Not happy Jan (or Lucy, as the case may be). Off I trudged again with BOTH dogs and I made it home albeit soaked but having finished the podcast AND with TWO dogs (or the real working dog and the one who just thinks she is). So be warned. Podcasts can be addictive and all-consuming. And cause you to lose your canine mates. Let’s hope that doesn’t translate to misplacing my kids over the next two weeks!
Until next time.