First weeks of Winter

The upside of doing an on call weekend with clinic duty: you get the following Friday off.
With all the kids at (pre)school we made the most of it and spend a day at Red Rock, with it’s glorious walking tracks along the beach and Corindi River it's a great way to recharge the batteries.


Traffic jam, 
(just a friendly, rather sleepy python)
Cold mornings,
4 degrees demands rugging up, a novelty for our kids...
My friend Erin send us one of her daughters, to babysit, we got to have a night out!
Tullara is such an amazing talent, grateful to have seen her live.
Sunday morning walks...
Life is so much better with mud...
Checking out the waterholes
And the fences
Our teddy bear horse, so fluffy in her winter coat.
Sophie is thriving at the moment, she has started drum lessons, a dream come true for her. 
The reading bug has bitten her, something that makes my heart sing. 
Even caught her doing the book walk (read and walk while you go to the toilet, get a drink,... too enthralled to put the book away). 
With increased alertness and energy she’s making the most of it, even took up aikido again!
We’re letting her set the pace, we never know how long this period will last.
Alex his turning 5 next year, that means he could start school. 
However, he’ll only be just turning 5 when the school year starts, which gives us the option to hold him back another year. It has been going around and around in my head, what is best for him?
Kindergarten is hard, with the curriculum demanding so much of these still very young children. Reading, writing and maths, including homework and sitting still for long periods is a lot for them. 
I hesitate. But have seen with Tim (also from February) that he needed that challenge and now in year 4 is still thriving on it. 
For now, we’ve decided to take the middle road. Next week, Alex is going to start the pre-kinder program, that our school offers for one school day a week. While keeping with preschool which is all play based. We’ll decide at the end of the year what we think he’ll need: another year of play, or “big school”.
Morning with warm porridge (and pappa).
Tim’s creation
The Grafton bridge, the only crossing for cars, pedestrians and trains over the Clarence River. 
Traffic has been increasing for years, to the point that it has become a huge bottleneck, while the bridge quickly deteriorates under the strain.
Work on a second bridge has recently started, working from both sides of the the river, country town Grafton has now the novelty experience of four cranes and a barge at work. 
Our kids are mesmerised and closely following the progress.
Climbing wall in action, some people just don’t seem to be hindered with gravity...
Rain, rain, rain, the garden is looking like a bedraggled jungle. 
Even though the surrounding area has had frost, our veggie garden doesn’t, I’m still picking chillies, while the king parrots feast on a sunflower, very surreal for a winter garden!
Another Full Moon Gathering. With countless weather and flash flood warnings it was a small one, the kids didn’t seemed to be bothered too much with the rain. Getting a couple of hour of spotlight in, only to shelter in the treehouse when the rain picked up to torrential again.
The quince trifle was a hit.
David got bitten again, the last time that ended with surgery after two horrific weeks. Not knowing what bit him, we were on high alert straight away. The swelling has come down, no raging fevers, so it has probably “just” been a bull ant, opposed to the overnight spider bite in our previous episode. 
Having a cuppa at Big Oma’s Coffee House, where they serve many Dutch specialties (kroketten!), taking a break from running errands in Coffs Harbour. Managed to stock up on (real) liquorice as well...
Wet Spotted Gum Tree
Welcome to the jungle... (without Roses)

Wondering if this rain is ever going to stop, the rivers are coming up, roads are going under.
It has given “a long weekend", a whole new meaning... ;-)

Our house, serene on the outside
 Chaos on the inside
The pool filter split a seam and needed to be replaced (under warranty), the new filter has different connections and heights so Sander has been holed away in the pump shed playing with cutters and glue.
The upside, with all this rain we can use rainwater galore to refill the pool and clean the new filter medium.
All baked out, I’m hogging the best place in the house, 
right next to the fire.
Making great progress with my quilt (and blogging). While Sander is playing with his new mitre saw,   Tim’s build-in-wardrobe coming up soon.


Final weeks of Autumn

Rain, gorgeous rain. It is keeping everything so green, 
while most days, the skies are like paintings.
It’s good to see David monkeying around. He’s been catching so many bugs this season! We’ve had a rough couple of weeks. And of course the week where everyone was well, I did something to my neck and just could not move! Heavily medicated I slept most of the week away until bit by bit mobility returned, very glad to have that behind me now!
 My heroes
Soccer is on twice a week, Tim has such a great team this year, they’re still getting to know each other, but they’ll do awesome in the future, kudos for the coach.
 The downside of a good team, it makes for quiet games if you’re playing defence...
Mothers Day.
Making cupcakes with Sophie.
I’ve started a new quilt, just for me. I still feel a little indulgent about that...
For years I’ve been collecting pieces of fabrics that I love. The colours, patterns or just the feel of them. New or rags, large or small, all have been squirrelled away in a separate box. Last week I decided that there is enough for a quilt large enough to keep me warm with a good book.
I’m creating a quilt to corporate the eclectic mix of fabrics, while giving those with pretty patterns place to shine. It’s a quilt (and design!) as I go. No pretty symmetric design, no themes or colour. Just patching it all together, cutting rough strips and extending where needed to create enough length. The plans is to get all the finished blocks together with rails. I’ve got no idea how this is going to turn out, it’s looking rather chaotic at this phase, but I’m having fun...
 We had our first Full Moon Party, just a casual get together with friends at our place.
It turned out really well. I’ve been craving a bit more social time, babysitters are hard to find and take a lot of organising. This way the kids entertained each other, running around under a Full Moon, playing spotlight for hours (until a bag of marshmallows came out).
While the adults kicked back with a glass of wine, a potluck dinner and great company.
We’ve decided to make it a moonly event.
Another garden bed planted, more brassicas, herbs and peas. We’ve been harvesting lots of cabbages and broccoli. The peas are doing great, the cucumbers are finishing up, the tomatoes are growing rampant but haven’t turned red yet. While the zucchinis are becoming quite the glut crop.
 I still haven’t cooked any of eight different peas growing, the kids keep pinching them!
Our first crop with decent size broccolis, all off them eaten by now, but I’ve kept the plants in, hoping for broccolini offshoots...
 A present from Oma for Tim
Very pleased to see the sparkle back in Sophie’s eyes. The medication changes are panning out.


Pecan Farm

We scored ourselves an invite to a friends family farm where they’re currently harvesting pecan nuts.  Morning tea by the fire while the rain tinkled on the roof. And then a walk through the paddocks, along the river and into the orchard with our buckets to collect nuts. 

 The shaker, making it rain leaves and nuts.

The Clarence River, the day was a bit cold to go swimming, but great for skimming tossing rocks.
 But when the sky cleared the canoes came out of a shed for a paddle on the dam.
Tim would love a kayak for our own dam. He was very keen to try out different models and paddles, while happily peddling the smaller kids around the island.
Such a beautiful day!
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