Tag Archives: australia day

Farm stay

9 Feb

Every year, we go away with a particular group of friends for the Australia Day long weekend.  We’ve been doing it since I was pregnant with Hannah.  We go somewhere different each year.  This year, we decided to do a farm stay and chose Honeycomb Valley Farm as our destination.

We arrived to two immaculately clean cabins, OJ, milk, butter, jam, and bacon in the fridge, fresh farm eggs on the counter, and a bunch of different single serving boxes of cereal in a basket.  I was kind of expecting the cabins to be dusty and farmish, but they get professionally cleaned after each guest leaves, and there wasn’t a bit of dirt of grime to be found.  Our family got one cabin to ourselves, and our other friends stayed in the other one.  No one else wanted to be woken up at 6am by little kids who don’t yet know the joys of sleeping in, no matter how tired they are or how late they stay up.

One of the goats at Honeycomb Valley Farm thinks it's a person.  She even came up on our porch when we first arrived.

One of the goats at Honeycomb Valley Farm thinks it’s a person. She even came up on our porch when we first arrived.


We spent most of our 3 days there outside.

Daniel playing in a big hole in one of the paddocks.

Daniel playing in a big hole in one of the paddocks.

Each morning, guests can (but don’t have to) help feed the animals.  You can do as little or as much as you want, but we helped every day and the kids, especially Hannah, enjoyed it immensely.  Farmer Andrew started with different animals each day we were there so that we got to experience something new each time.  I asked lots of questions and learned heaps.

Selfie with an alpaca.  She was very cooperative :)

Selfie with an alpaca. She was very cooperative 🙂

The first morning, he took Hannah and I around some of the far away paddocks in a trailer (with a mattress in it for comfort) attached to a quad bike. Daniel was constipated (I guess he gets holiday poo shy just like me), grumpy, and didn’t want to go on the trailer, plus Aaron was minding our friends’ daughter so they could do a beekeeping lesson, so the three of them went back to the cabin for a nap/quiet time while Hannah and I had all the fun.

Chickens chasing the trailer we were sitting in

Chickens chasing the trailer we were sitting in

We especially enjoyed seeing the chickens that day.  One of the flocks (is a group of chickens a flock?) anyway, there are a few of them.  Andrew converts old travel trailers that were destined for the tip/scrap yard into mobile chicken coops and moves them around the farm every couple of weeks.  During the night, the chickens are safely tucked into the converted trailer that has a wire mesh floor, and during they day they are let out to free range.

Hannah with the chickens in front of the "hens on holiday" moveable coop

Hannah with the chickens in front of the “hens on holiday” moveable coop

Hannah liked collecting eggs and watching all the interesting, unusual breeds of chickens eat the kitchen scraps we brought them.  Some of the chickens even laid green eggs!  Some eggs were big, some were small, and one from an older hen was even quite wrinkly.  All were delicious though.

Some of the different eggs we collected

Some of the different eggs we collected

We also got to see our friends in their bee suits at the bee hives.  One of the other mornings, we saw the native australian stingless bee hives and the bee motel (where solitary bees lay their eggs).  Then we walked up and down hilly paddocks with Daniel on my shoulders and Hannah on Aaron’s to get to the cows.  We didn’t have to do that, of course, but we wanted to see the cows and there were too many of us to fit in the trailer since all of us were helping feed the animals that day.  It was also good exercise, and practice for the Spartan race.  A 7kg bag of sand on my shoulders while I trek up a steep hill is nothing compared to a 12kg boy on my shoulders for at least a kilometer.

The bee hotel

The bee Motel

The morning feeding routine takes a couple of hours (at least), but Hannah didn’t get bored at all.  When it wasn’t feeding time, we still had plenty to do.  One day we went to the dam and rode the paddle boats.  Aaron wanted to have a race but was flabbergasted when I smoked him.  He claims his boat was faulty. HAHAHAHAHA if only.

Aaron and Hannah in one of the paddle boats

Aaron and Hannah in one of the paddle boats

We were allowed to go in any of the paddocks at any time, so we spent lots of time just running around pastures with the kids.  Daniel was quite fond of jumping up and down in poop piles.

There was also a solar heated pool to play in after all that running around, plus a swing set, balls to kick around, a fire pit and bbq area, and a kids pedal tractor, although the pedals didn’t work.  They didn’t seem to care though, and pushed each other around in it, or got me or Aaron to push them.

The kids enjoying the swingset

The kids enjoying the swingset

Daniel on the pedal tractor

Daniel on the pedal tractor

They have honey and tea tastings on a big covered deck attached to the converted shipping container shop.

Honey tasting

Honey tasting

And Hannah got to milk a goat.

Hannah milking a goat.  She was quite good at it.  I gave it a go, but I failed.

Hannah milking a goat. She was quite good at it. I gave it a go, but I failed.

Usually when we go away, we have to find things to do with the kids when it’s not nap time.  Last year during the trip, we even went to a shopping centre just for something to do.  At the farm though, we didn’t have to go anywhere else.  We could have stayed another whole week and they still wouldn’t have been bored.  We did end up going out one afternoon, but only because we’d never been to a winery before, and we were in the Hunter Valley.  It would have been silly not to visit a couple, especially since they were only a couple k’s down the road.

Aaron and the kids running between rows of grapes in a vineyard

Aaron and the kids running between rows of grapes in a vineyard

After the kids went to bed, we played board and card games with our friends.  I don’t know if you’ve ever heard of, or played Cards Against Humanity, but oh my, it’s hilarious.  I usually end up laughing so hard that I cry when we play it.  This trip was no exception, especially when I used the below white card in answer to the black one:

So wrong, but so funny

So wrong, but so funny. I won that round.

I am one of those weirdos who laughs at the very mention of the word fart.  Or poop.  Or anything of the sort, so with this one, I was pretty much on the floor laughing hysterically, and everyone knew who played the fart card as soon as it was turned over.

I was quite impressed with the farm in general.  Though they are not certified organic, they do farm organically, and make a huge effort to educate others about conservation and farming responsibly.  There is a huge solar oven that they make cakes and dinners in, plus a smaller one that they melt all the beeswax that they collect in. There are worm farms, a solar fridge, a shop made from an old shipping container (where we bought 3kg of raw honey), a native bee sanctuary, and they are even going to build an earthship (which I am particularly fascinated with and was shocked that they knew what I was talking about when I said something about them) shed.

Hannah riding a horse.  Maybe it was a pony, I'm not sure what breed/height it was

Hannah riding a horse. Maybe it was a pony, I’m not sure what breed/height it was.  It was either a big pony or small horse.

The kids didn’t want to go home, and Hannah keeps saying “when we buy another house, can we buy the one on the farm?”  She wants to move there, and both kids are still talking about the farm.  Pretty much every day, Daniel says something about how we went to the farm and saw all the animals.

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It’s hard being a lefty

4 Feb

Right before the citizenship ceremony. Too bad I couldn’t find a pink Aussie shirt over a size 10. A KIDS size 10.

Guess What? I’m an Aussie now. A full-blown, official, can-get-a-passport, Australian. At nearly 29 years old, I can vote for the first time in my life.  On the 26th of January, Australia Day, I got my citizenship.  The Mayor of the town I live in (which will remain anonymous, for our privacy) presented it to me himself.  And then he asked me what happened to my arm. Sigh.

“I broke my wrist.” I told him.

“How did you do that?” He asked me.


“Well, that’s a much better story than falling over.”

I must have looked an interesting site.  Everyone else was all dressed up, looking sleek and well presented.  Then there was me, thongs, too-short singlet, sparkly belt (because sparkles are clearly awesome) and useless arm in a cast.  I was dressed like an Aussie.  Come on people, it was AUSTRALIA Day!

Everyone asks me what happened to my arm.

I get some strange looks from people when I push the pram with my left hand and right elbow, my purple cast sticking up in the air like some sort of demented flag. You’d think I could use my fingers at least. They are mostly free of the cast, and my thumb is half free, but I can’t.  I broke one of the little bones in my wrist just under my thumb, so using any of my digits hurts.  And I’m not supposed to do anything that hurts or it won’t heal.

So as you can imagine, doing pretty much anything is hard.  I can only use my left hand and I’m not even remotely left-handed.  When the mayor gave me my certificate, I awkwardly held out my right hand (my left was occupied holding Hannah’s hand) and he had to stick the paper between my thumb and first finger. That’s pretty much the limit of function my right hand has right now.

It takes me ages to button my pants. At least I can actually put on my own pants, not like when I broke my leg and had a cast from my toes to the top of my thigh.  But that’s another story for another day.

I would love to be wearing my breastfeeding singlets to limit my awkward non-stealthy breast feeding.  But they have a bra clasp at the back and I can’t do it up with one hand. I’m not that swift. Instead, I wear a normal maternity bra (which I can fasten in front of me then turn to the back) under a shirt. When feeding time comes, there is no more putting Danny’s head in the general area and then pulling up the shirt, not showing any boob in the process.  Nope, now I have one useful hand, so it’s pull shirt up, free the boob for all to see, then position baby at boob. Hello indiscretion!

Have you ever tried to put your hair up with one hand? Hard. Impossible actually.  So while my boob is out for all to see and I’m trying to get Daniel in position, he’s grabbing huge clumps of my wild, non-restrained hair, which I can’t pull from his extremely tight baby grasp as I’m holding him with my one good hand and freeing my hair would result in a Daniel floor face plant.

Straight after the citizenship ceremony, we went on holidays to the beach (because it’s summer here…). My new cast  (I had to get a water proof cast.  After 2 days, the other cast had baby food, spit up, and what very well may have been baby poop on it.  I needed something washable…) may be water proof, but it’s not supposed to get sand or salt water in there.  If it did, it could irritate the skin under my cast, get infected, and then fester under there. Ick.

Bag arm. Note: someone else put my hair up for me.

And so I donned the plastic bag secured with packing tape. Stylish. It’s hard to make sure a newly sitting and sometimes forgets to hold himself up baby stays sitting up and keeps the sand out of his hungry little mouth with just one hand. Danny boy managed to eat handful after handful of the stuff.  Even when I laid him down, he sucked the sand off the towel. His nappieswere full of it.

Brown Medical SEAL-TIGHT Original Cast and Bandage Protector, Adult Long Arm

Daniel the sand monster

Changing a nappy with one hand is hard too.  Especially Danny’s.

As soon as those little tabs are unfastened, he thinks it’s kick-like-your-life-depends-on-it time.  Usually I hold  said kicky feet with one hand and remove the nappy with the other.  Can’t do that now. Kicky feet kick up a storm, of course going straight into the poop.  But then they still kick.  Baby poop is runny….You get my drift here people.  It’s not a pretty site.

I’m not allowed to drive with a cast on my arm, so I have to ride the bus everywhere. That’s fine, but when it’s raining I can’t hold an umbrella and push the pram, so I become a little drowned rat or get stranded places.  The kids are fine, they have a rain cover.

Oh well, at least it’s an adventure. 2 weeks down, 4 to go. Sigh.

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Sometimes, I get ugly

31 Jan

Usually we go away with I and M (who do not approve of being named on the interwebs, so I will just use letters) for Australia Day.  Of course, usually we get a long weekend for Australia day.  Not this year.  This year, Australia day was on a Wednesday.  So instead, we went to I and M’s  house with Hannah for dinner, games, sleep (for some of us) and then breakfast, lunch, and more games.

Being a mom, I can now no longer stay up past 10.  Fine, I’ve never been good at that, but whatever, that is not the point.  9pm rolled around (I put Hannah to bed at 7:30, FYI), and I was already struggling to stay awake.

It probably didn’t help that I don’t really like the game we were playing.  Games with lore checks, this check, that check, and what have you (where you roll a dice to see if you can or can’t do something), bore the pants off me (not literally, don’t get too excited).  Sigh, they are so slow!  And when you have 8 people playing, it seems like 5 hours of people rolling dice before they can actually do something before it finally gets back to your turn, where you roll some dice, inevitably roll a 1, can’t do anything (or die), and then it’s someone else’s turn again.  Ugh, no thanks.  And I like board games. Most anyway.

No one could remember whose turn it was to bring drinks, so 2 whole cases of beer ended up coming, in addition to the home brewed spirits that Johno and Adrian brought.  Oh goodness, recipe for disaster.  Not for me of course, I know that drinking with a bun in the oven is linked to F.A.S., which I definitely don’t want my future child to suffer with it’s entire life.

Alcohol, and being quiet, don’t mix.  A lot of the people there that night are loud anyway, but add spirits, and bang, it’s like being next to a bunch of hyena’s who’ve had way too much catnip.  Eventually, I was so tired that I fell asleep anyway. Not a good sleep, a fitful, restless sleep that ended abrubtly at 1:30am when loud banging woke me up.  Not just me, but Hannah too.  Adrian was so drunk that he was banging his head on the table in attempt to be able think more clearly for game playing.

Hannah didn’t seem to mind being awake, she just laid in her port-a-cot next to the bed, rolling around, singing to herself and reciting her name.  I, on the other hand, laid in bed tossing and turning, fantasising about what I would yell at these loud obnoxious people if it were my house they were being loud and obnoxious in.

I don't mean for Hannah to shut up, I mean the loud people

Of course, I couldn’t tell them to shut their loud annoying mouths if I and M were there because that’s just rude.  I, wouldn’t like it if they came over to my house, and told me how to behave.  No, instead, I stewed in bed.  And I went to the bathroom because I have nanna pregnancy bladder and have to go at least once per night.  I did attempt to glare at them on my way out, but I’m not sure if they actually noticed since I wasn’t wearing my glasses and can’t see my own hand in front of my face unless I do.  Maybe they were doing an obnoxious ha-ha-we’re-going-to-keep-being-loud-and-obnoxious-all-night dance, I don’t know, to me they resembled blobs of fuzz, all meshed together.  I couldn’t even slam the door in passive aggressive annoyance on my way back in because I didn’t want to upset Hannah.

At 4am, they were really giggly and loud.  I wanted scream, yell, kick, bite, and scream at them some more.  How could they keep me up all night??  I listened in bed.  Hmmm….it seems I and M weren’t there anymore.  They must have gone to bed.  In the other house.  They would be sleeping soundly, with no interruptions from loud drunken people.  I could tell they were playing Telestrations (oh how I love that game.  So so funny).  Telestrations is always funny, but it sounded so much more funny when drunk (judging by the loud obnoxiousness anyway).  That was it, I’d had enough.  I put on my towel (it was 45 degrees celsius that day, there was no way I was going to sleep in clothes), went to the bathroom (nanna pregnancy bladder again), then I couldn’t contain myself anymore.

I marched up to the table (so I could see them a little bit) and let loose.  “Do you know what time it is?!”  I didn’t let them answer, I kept going.  “It’s 4am! FOUR AM!!! Do you have any idea how loud you people are?  Do you know how hard it is to sleep?  I went to bed at 10, and I have hardly slept all night!”  They all looked at me, like I was a lion and they were tiny little baby zebras, about to be devoured by me.

I pointed my finger straight at Aaron, “and don’t think that I’m going to watch Hannah all day tomorrow just because you stayed up all night!”

“Are you mad?”  He asked me.

“YES I’m MAD, I haven’t slept all night!  How can I sleep when you people are so loud and someone is banging his head on the table?!?!?!”  Everyone continued to stare at me like I was some sort of nutcase escaped from the asylum.

Then I huffed off back to bed.  And they packed up the games and went to bed too.

Sure, it seems really mean of me to point my finger at Aaron and yell at him like that in front of his friends, but at 4am after hardly any sleep and no good sleep?  No, it didn’t seem mean at all.

Hannah’s first toothy-peg

27 Jan

“Ok Bubba, time for a nappy change.” I put her on her back on the change mat. I took her nappy off, deflected wandering hands, and turned to get a new nappy. I turned back to find Bubba crawling away. She then sat just out of reach on her bare little bottom. That’s right, she can now crawl, and go from crawling to sitting and sitting to crawling. Today she followed me in to the kitchen a few times and then sat on the floor and watched me do the dishes. Sometimes when she cries after I put her to bed, I go in there to pat her only to find her sitting up in her cot. Lay her back down and she just sits up again. Ok, in all fairness, that was only one day, and she was teething and in pain. After I gave her some baby panadol, and a cuddle, she went to sleep. She won’t let me look at them, but I caught a glimpse once when I opened her mouth with my finger and then pushed her tongue back with my other hand, and saw her little tooth. Next to it was a crooked little tooth about to come through. I’m just glad that she (so far…) doesn’t bite me. I really don’t want a bloodied nipple. I read that some babies go off their food when they’re teething. I’m glad there is a reason why she hasn’t been eating her food properly. Hopefully she will return to her eager eating glory asap.

The three of us went away for the Australia day long weekend (which actually wasn’t a long weekend as the day off was Tuesday, but we made it one anyway). We went to the Abercrombie caves with friends. We went for a couple of long bush walks (3 hours) which Hannah absolutely loved. She was attached to Daddy by the baby bjorn, kicking her little legs, babbling away. The second day, we went to see the caves. I brought my camera to snap away, and hopefully get some good pics of the caves. As soon as we got to the entrance, the battery died. Unfortunately I didn’t bring the spare batteries on the hike, so I had to rely on the point and shoot and hope that Friend 2 got some good photos with his film SLR. As it turned out, he forgot to bring spare batteries for his flash, so I guess we all had to rely on the point and shoot. Clearly we are all awesome.

When we arrived, it was dark out, so we didn’t really see any of our surroundings. I heard some rustling when I woke up and went to the kitchen. I looked out the window and was surprised to see a huge hill right outside. I could have touched the hill if I could pry the screen off the window. There on the hill was a herd of wild goats, having their morning graze. The next morning we saw a family of Kangaroos on the hill, including a joey. Even the little joey was sticking his little head out of his mothers pouch grazing with his mum. We even saw a wombat run across the road in front of us (we were on foot) one night.

I bought a bottle of fake baileys (I was going to get the small $10 bottle of baileys but then saw the fake baileys large bottle for $10 and thought it was a no brainer) to have a couple of nice tasting drinks after Bubba went to bed, only to find it tasted horrible. I thought maybe my tastes changed after not drinking for so long. I took a sip, made a face, waited a while, thought I must be imagining it, took a sip, made a face. The others looked at me funny. Friend 1 tried it. “No, it’s not just you, this if off.” Friend 2 tried it. “yeah, this is off.” Glad to know it wasn’t just me. I only bought it the day before, so don’t you worry, that bottle-o will be hearing from me!

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