Friday, 19 October 2012

ducklings and butterflies

This week I finished knitting a sweet summer vest in the softest bamboo for a soon-to-be-born babe, and picked up two more balls of bamboo to knit another for a recent arrival. I am off to Perth in a few weeks time to see old friends and meet the babies who have been born since I last visited. Perth's summer is too hot for most knits, but this vest is so soft it can be worn on its own or layered over a long-sleeved top on cooler evenings. (And it is, of course, perfect for any spontaneous visits to the south coast!)

We welcomed three new feathered friends to our garden. Ping, Jemima and Puddle are Pekin ducklings who have taken to the chook's water bowl like ducks to...well, you know. We have  plans to persuade them into their bathtub this weekend to fulfill their future swimming needs.

They are only half-grown and have quickly bonded with the four Leghorn hens I brought home with them from Albany. The two nights they spent in transit at Grandma's house imprinted the rather indifferent hens on their loving duck hearts and they now follow them around the garden, falling into holes and getting tangled in the nasturtiums in an endearingly clumsy fashion. Their guardians had yesterday escaped their clutches and lay silently beneath the proteas while the ducklings peeped and piped with increasing concern. Enter Darcy, bird whisperer, who tried to gently shepherd them towards the rest of the flock. They panicked and jumped onto the slide instead, whizzing down on their tails while Quinn and I rocked with laughter from our seats in the sandpit.

And Darcy brightened up my morning cleaning the house with a butterfly from the garden he brought up to share. We stopped vacuuming to admire its delicate patterning for a few minutes before he set it free on the breeze and we climbed beneath the covers to snooze away a rainy afternoon. I am grabbing hold of sleep wherever I can find it now and waiting for this fog of nausea and fatigue to lift. Feeling very grateful for little people who still sleep most days and a bigger boy who is happy to walk home from school on his own so that I can sink into slumber on days such as these.

Thank you for all your kind words and wishes. Wishing you all a most happy weekend with your loved ones.

Monday, 15 October 2012

A cottage in the woods

Every so often I feel a deep yearning for absolute solitude. It is something I had in spades before having children - I spent two entire years traveling the world alone. These days it is somewhat harder to come by. Not wanting to tackle the spring storms on the track, I opted instead for a night away in a storybook cottage in the woods. After an early morning visit to the farmers' market, a massage, breakfast at my favourite cafe, a quick trip past the secondhand shops and some successful bidding at the poultry auction, I was ready to retreat. I read, scribbled in my notebooks, started knitting a singlet for a friend's new baby and sat on the verandah drinking cups of tea in the rocking chair with the pink geraniums nodding at my feet. And when I climbed into bed that night I felt my baby rolling inside me for the first time, arching again my skin in voluptuous waves.

After 24 hours of silence and solitude I was so happy to wave hello to all my boys again when they wandered up to find me in the pine trees. We climbed on board the tractor for a ride around the farm to feed the animals - the hand-reared cattle barreling up beside us to devour armfuls of hay. We ate fish and chips beneath the twinkling lights across the harbour and said goodbye in the happiest of ways to the holidays - waving Grant off when he left for work a short drive down the hill this morning.

Friday, 12 October 2012


I haven't been visiting this space as much lately, and there is a reason of course. It has a lot to do with this little person growing inside me. And looking after three little boys while their dad wades through mountains of exam papers. And writing several stories each week for the newspaper. And renovating a house. And taming a garden... I have been living it all, but there has been no time left over for recording each moment.

I am past the twelve week mark now and starting to feel my energy levels returning. I have also stepped back from my role at the newspaper to concentrate on home, family, and some more creative writing endeavours. We are so excited about welcoming this new baby into our family. All the chairs at the dinner table will now be filled. I have always wanted a big family. How could life ever be boring with four beautiful children in it to love?

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Down on the farm

We followed the sun north through the wheatbelt and pulled in at my parents' farm gate for a week of egg collecting, mulberry picking and riding bikes through the dirt. I read a big, fat and wonderful book from cover to cover whilst wandering from the sun drenched verandah to the couch and my bed. The boys circled the house at walking pace, heaped around their father on the quad bike - and went considerably faster on two wheels down the dusty hill track. We drove past the old farmhouse where we lived many moons ago, and stopped to play in the playground that time forgot nestled in the bush there.

It was a chance for us all to breathe out after a long term of work and not enough play. Months where it felt like we were just treading water to keep afloat. Now the sun has returned and we are swimming again - great leisurely strokes through these magical weeks of holiday.