Tim is going to preschool for two days a week. He loves it there, he very much needed that challenge. He speaks very well in Dutch and has started making great improvements on his English. He spends a lot of time outside on his bike, but it also means that when he comes inside, he has burned enough energy to sit down just to read some books or to make a puzzle.
Sophie has started family daycare for a day a week and loves it, she is such an easy and happy child. She can potter around in the garden happily by herself and can just sit on the first step to see what the chooks are up to. She is starting to talk more and more, although we were very surprised to hear "kangaroo" this morning.
Sander is still very happy at his new work. He goes to work by pushbike it's an easy 10k's in, but a bit more challenging ride back ending with a very steep hill. He is playing volleyball and rebound volleyball in Grafton and keeps himself busy around the house in the weekends trimming trees and fixing things.
I'm very much out of shape after almost a year where my only exercise contained of keeping the kids entertained in small units. I've to get back into doing yoga again, but I'm lacking the discipline to wake up at 5am before the kids are awake. I have started riding my bike again, up and down the road I go, not having dared to race down the hill with both kids, because I don't think my legs are strong enough to get up again!
My head is buzzing with so many ideas, it's a challenge to get them all worked out in a way it all makes sense. Trying to take my time thinking it all over and don't rush into things. For now I'll keep my focus on the basics.
Safety: a tree lopper will soon get rid of a couple of trees, a fig tree that is threatening to create havoc with the septic system and trees very big and very close to the house that will do damage with a storm and are filling the gutters with leaves. A couple of stumps will also be removed to make sure termites stay far away.
Water: With a plumber I have looked at possibilities for the storage and re-use of water. A very big rainwater tank will soon be installed to use for the garden, toilet and laundry. For now grey water won't help us much, we'll leave it for a later stage, we're still brooding on some very creative ideas there.
The land: with 25 acres (101.000 m2 or 15 soccer fields) there are countless possibilities. In the last couple of weeks we have looked at what would work best for us.
Close to the house: I have marked out where I want the veggie garden, orchard and a play area for the kids. It will take quite some time to get the soil ready for planting veggies and to create a decent windbreak for the orchard. The chooks are helping with number one, I have started plantings shrubs for the second.
A bit further from the house: we have marked out where we want a grazing area. I would love to keep horses there at a later stage. We'll look at a couple head of cattle or maybe even alpaca's until then. They should keep the grass short and save us mowing. By extending the current paddock until the gully, I suspect this cleared area should also work as a good fire break to keep the house safe in case of bush fires.
Furthest from the house: we already have a lightly forested piece of bushland. This will make up for 50% of our block. A path goes along the outer boundaries, we try to walk it every morning, the best start of the day.
I invited a conservation specialist over who in turn brought along a wildlife expert. Last Sunday we have spend a couple of hours mapping out what is already growing and living on our block of land. They were both very impressed, they've found a couple of almost extinct scrubs and flowers which are getting a chance now the area is no longer grazed by cows. Also the abundance of wildlife was a good sign, they were very happy to see the rosella's and king parrots and we're getting to the point that the right trees are getting established enough for the local koala's. The conservationist will make a list of the current trees and a list of recommendations to plant if we want to help to speed up the process already occurring. I'll probably wait until Spring when the rain can help to give them the best start. The gully looks promising to create a chain of dams and would bring even more diversity. Something else to explore...