Sunday, November 28, 2010

We Need Medical Assistance!

We are 40km from the nearest hospital. I should add that THAT hospital doesn't have the facilities to support child birth or pretty much anything that requires an x-ray either. However, they ARE very good at triage (well, not bad anyway) and diagnosing the flu, calling the Flying Doctors or offering a pregnancy test, and that's about it. The nurses are all lovely of course, and it's a fantastic social occasion when you get there, but it's not my hospital of choice. The next closest hospital is 100km away.

This would all be well and good, except that Olivia is accident prone.

When she was 11 months old, she fell onto the sharp edge of a can holding nails (we had building extensions going on at the time) and split her bottom lip 7mm (gaping). I know that it was 7mm gaping, because I later learned that Doctors don't like to stitch a lip that is less than 1cm gaping. It was a close call. Bottom line is that when it happened, she was like The Exorcist. Without the turning head. Blood was going everywhere. I put a washcloth onto it, carried an ice pack with me and we flew into the car and raced her into the hospital. There were tears; hysterical crying fits and squeals of pain - and that was just from me! Olivia was considerably calm. I kept seeing the fall over and over in my head. And even to this day, it makes my skin crawl. Ultimately (after calls to plastic surgeons and consultations with other nursing staff) it was decided that Olivia really only needed a hit of Panadol and a rest. I however, might need something a little stronger. We were told the lip should heal quickly enough and that all we could do was wait. Over 4 years later, her lip still has a vicious scar, but it is fading, and it doesn't seem to bother her.

Several months later, Olivia was jumping on a bed. She's not allowed to jump on beds, but she got up on that thing so quickly, took one flying jump (probably knowing she would get into trouble for doing so anyway) and then slipped down beside the bed (head first), splitting it about 2cm across at the back of her head. At least she wasn't concussed. So off we went to the hospital again. (Insert Benny Hill theme music here). This time they glued it back together. The wound healed quickly enough (and now Olivia and her father have matching his/hers scars at the back of their heads), but the glue took a long time to get out of her hair!!!

Then this time last year we were getting ready to drive into St George to collect Yv and her sister from the bus. I'd left plenty of time spare before her bus arrived, hoping to get some grocery shopping in first. 5 minutes before we were due to leave, Olivia split her head open (just above her eyebrow) whilst spinning like a top in her bedroom. Apparently the dressing table got in the way of her head. Off we flew to that little hospital again...
"Hi Jess, we've saved Olivia's room for her..."
OKAY, so we're not that bad. Yet.
Luckily they could fix this one with some magic glue as well.
Nurse: We could probably glue this you know... or maybe we should stitch it? Hmmmm....
Me: Um. I don't mean to interrupt, but we've got a bus to meet soon. Could we just do SOMETHING. QUICKLY?! I mean, QUICKLY, but not TOO QUICKLY. Do a good job too - that's more important I guess. But just do it sort of quickly. Thanks. If you don't mind.

And then we drove to pick up our guests. This is the Olivia they saw...

Except that she wasn't wearing that. Or dancing like that. But the bandage is what I'm all about...

And then a week later it was like this...

And then when she started school it was like this... Just the smallest little scar left under her hair. Phew.

Thank goodness scars heal. They make me feel bad, when I look at them.

I've had my fair share of stints in the local hospital too. Mostly when I was pregnant and had morning (all day) sickness, and was hooked up to a drip keeping my fluids at a healthy level. And let's not forget CP's time there as well. So this little country hospital has certainly served it's purpose for our little family!

When I was pregnant with Sam, we weren't even sure we would make it to either of the hospitals close to us, in event of me going into labour. But it was nice to know they were SOMEWHERE close by - just in case.

Because of the distance, I have become a devoted '13HEALTH' caller.
"Hi, it's just me again... yeah I know it's probably nothing, but I hate the thought of doing an 80km round trip for Panadol..." And it's nice having a second opinion. I wasn't joking when I mentioned the pregnancy testing earlier in this piece. One Doctor would pretty much give anyone a pregnancy test... just to rule it out.

"Hi Doc, I'm not feeling very well."
"Can you just pee on this stick for me?"

And that's all well and good if it's, say, ME. But not if it's my hubby...

That may be an exaggeration. He's never given CP a pregnancy test. I think.

Where is that Benny Hill Theme Song again?

I have had several friends who live out here who have had children who have had to be rushed to the nearest hospital (either by them or by an ambulance), only to then have to be flown out to Brisbane or Toowoomba for further treatment. Terrible - but lucky we even have the facilities for Flying Doctors to land really. But most of us (who live on properties) have air strips for this as well. Sometimes it's just much quicker to call the hospital and have them send Flying Doctors out immediately, while ambulance drive out to look after things on the ground. We have an airstrip. To my knowledge it's never been used... but it's there, just in case. And it's not a fancy concrete thing either. I hope that if someone ever does have to land there, they have practised long and hard before then. That goat track is peppered with pine trees and large stones. They'll earn their stripes landing out here, that's for sure. But touch wood, they will never be needed anyway.

When I see this all spelled out here on this page, it's hard not to cringe. It can be scary living so far from the nearest hospital. Touch wood we never have to deal with a snake bite. Or a major accident. Cuts and bruises and fevers I can deal with. The rest is just too scary. But if all that fails, there's always The Benny Hill Theme Song. Everything seems funnier when you put the Benny Hill Theme Song to it.

And if I didn't laugh, I would probably cry.

Friday, November 26, 2010

You've Got Mail

I spend so much time on the internet these days, emailing, facebooking and chatting with friends and family, that sometimes I forget what 'keeping in touch' (with friends and family AND reality) is all about.

I was at the local Post Office this week with my neighbour, Leesa. The 'local' Post Office is approx. 40km from my door step. But nonetheless, we were in there, picking up mail. Actually, Leesa was waiting for a swimsuit to arrive. The same swimsuit I had recently purchased, and several other women in the district were also purchasing, based on my solid recommendation. The best swimsuit ever. That's beside the point. When you are on to a good thing out here, you want to share it with everyone you come into contact with. We are all in the same (isolated) boat. We all know what it's like NOT to know what's out there. So when I came across this swimsuit, I told everyone about it. And this summer, if we all meet at the same beach at the same time, we will be one coordinated ensemble!!! So anyway, we were in at the Post Office. Leesa asked the 'post office lady'(Rae) if there was a package in there for her. There wasn't. But there WAS one for me. A short conversation followed:
Leesa: Jess - you always have packages! Rae, does Jess receive the most packages in this district through the mail?
Rae: Pretty much! Her and Jacqui... they both always have something in the mail.
Jess: In my defense, I spend all year buying gifts for Christmas, birthdays, and that's how I do most of my other shopping too.

I feel like I need to justify myself.

We normally get mail delivered (twice a week). Tuesday and Friday are invariably the best days of the week. We get a stack of mail, and if there aren't many with 'windows' on the envelopes (usually bills), then the catalogues, actual hand written mail (snail mail, just like the old days) and packages are great fun to receive. I am buying 'gifts' all year round, and by July I usually have my Christmas shopping completed, and have already started buying gifts for the following year. I love Ebay. Sometimes I wonder how on Earth people ever survived out here (in terms of buying gifts) before the internet was invented. You must have had to have been super organised with gifts, and bought them on your once annual trip to the big smoke, or super clever and been able to make gifts yourself. Because goodness knows that if I had to buy gifts solely from out here, no one would ever get anything. There's only so many Dirran frog "stubbie coolers", "fridge magnets" and postcards a person can use. And even though there ARE lovely little gift items to be found, I would hardly call any of them 'personalised'.

Some of the best packages I have received in the mail (or most exciting) have been:

1. The girls' Quad Bike (we are giving it to them at Christmas). It was a huge box that clogged up extra space at the post office for weeks until we could be bothered driving in to town to collect it. It seems the post office delivery person isn't keen on carrying a box of that magnitude (if it were indeed at all possible for one person to do alone), and then definitely not comfortable leaving it out on the road for us to collect whenever we could be bothered.

2. My iPhone. A much smaller package that has revolutionised my life.

3. And any package from Yvonne in Holland. Invariably it contains a bottle of Pisang Ambon (an alcohol you can't purchase in Australia, but I gained a taste for during my time in Europe).

The other thing about mail out here, is that I get a lot of 'thank you' letters and cards. It seems like common courtesy, but it's honestly something I never really thought of until I moved out here. If I host any kind of 'party' at my house, I usually receive at least one 'thank you' card out of it. (Obviously not from friends I see every other day, or speak to on a semi-regular basis). This week I received a card in the mail from CP's Aunt, who was wishing me a happy belated birthday, and just wanted to pass on general news and good wishes. I frequently receive one from CP's granny when we have visited her or had her here. Admittedly, neither of those people are on facebook. Which also serves a purpose. But it is only since I moved out to the farm that I stated sending thank you letters of this nature, myself.

So this is how it goes in my neck of the woods...

I use facebook for day to day contact with friends and family. I leave small messages there, which has cut back a lot of my telephone contact with people. It's probably also affected my ability to sustain lengthy conversations with people on the telephone, however I still cherish those times when I do speak to people face to face or for a 'proper catch up' over the phone. 

I send thank you cards whenever and wherever is appropriate. Thank you for the lovely lunch/party/get together. Congratulations for organising a fantastic function. Happy Birthday. Thank you for the lovely gift. You name it, I have it covered.

I send packages to people overseas, and to friends and family on the coast as they need it. Baby gifts, books, photos. Whatever.

I shop online FREQUENTLY. There is a chance I'm compulsive, but if you consider that I probably only enter a 'real' shopping centre 4 times a year, I justify the purchases that I make online. I use Ebay for the majority of my purchases, but also a handful of 'regular' online shops for other things. I am a firm believer that anything you can buy in real life, you can get online cheaper. And I truly get the same buzz from online shopping as I do from shopping in real life. I used to LOVE real life shopping (and I still do), but considering that I have children with me 99% of the time, online shopping is far more practical. I have located a few 'tried and true' internet clothes stores, and I buy many of my clothes online these days too. 

So there you have the justification. But having said that I need to now tell you the truth.

Sometimes I drive out (3 km) to the mail box before my in laws can get to it first. Sometimes I want to get to the number of packages I KNOW will be waiting before anyone can count and roll their eyes about it. Sometimes I don't want people to make their own assumptions about what I'm buying, because they probably don't understand why I do it. Sometimes I just know I've been naughty, and bought something I don't want anyone to know about. But honestly, mostly the things I buy aren't even for me. They are for people I love. If I didn't buy them, heaven knows CP wouldn't. And only one person (aside from me) REALLY knows the truth about my purchases anyway. And that's Rae, the Post Office lady. But I don't think she's going to say anything anyway.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Births, Deaths and Notices

Hubby missed the birth of our first baby. I'm not kidding. Obviously I didn't give him enough notice of the due date. 

I'm being sarcastic of course. Nine months is more than enough time, but when you live on a farm, things like shearing and harvest tend to take precedence over everything else. How incredibly foolish of me not to better organise something like a BABY to fit in with the farm schedule!

When hubby and I found out we were expecting baby number one, we couldn't wait to share the news. We promptly headed over to the in laws (Hubby's parents) to share the good news with them. The conversation went something like this.

Me: "So... CP and I are expecting a baby!"
Them: "That's wonderful! How exciting... and congratulations! When is it due?"
Me: "Ummm... I think the first week of May."
Them:"Hmmm. That's during shearing. Busiest week of the year." 

Of course, I'm paraphrasing.

And YES - and we definitely did this deliberately. We wanted to put everyone out as much as we possibly could! (At least, that's what I wanted to say. But of course I didn't.) So we made a few jokes about it all and went on our merry way. But the seed had been planted. Clearly we should have thought about this a little better. Maybe this was going to be a huge inconvenience to everyone? Maybe we should have had a family meeting about this and identified a better time of year to have a baby? And given Hubby's depth of devotion to the farm, what would this really mean for us? (All from the point of view of a hormonal pregnant woman).

Two weeks before baby was due, I was already in Brisbane, getting settled with family in preparation for the imminent arrival of the baby. I was relaxed and calm. And I mean REALLY relaxed and calm.

The night before baby was born (2 weeks early) I had spoken to CP, who was busy preparing for shearing. In fact the whole farm was abuzz with pre-shearing excitement. I had asked him to pack his bag in case he got a phone call, so that all he had to do was walk out the door... He assured me that he would. Hmmmm. Surely 7 hours of travel time would be ok given how long labour could continue for?

As soon as I knew I was in labour I had called home to let CP know. I caught his mother, and in between contractions I got the following information across.
"Ann! I've gone into labour. My water has broken. Can you tell CP he needs to get here QUICKLY."
"Oh hello, Jessie. How are you? CP has just headed up to the shearing shed. I'll try to reach him there."
"OK, just tell him to HURRY!"

I made it to the hospital with only an hour or so to spare! Olivia arrived safely (and quickly) in the presence of  my mother and I. Sadly, CP was the last one to know about the birth of his first daughter. And he even managed to score a speeding ticket in the process. An ordinary day all round, by anyone's standards. Ever the farmer, CP had received the message from his mother stating "the water has broken" and gone to check all the dam pipes, thinking something was wrong on the farm - not with his wife. I can laugh now. The whole thing was just so absurd!!!

But there really is something to the whole "births, deaths and notices" thing out here in the bush. Perhaps there is actually something about the dual meaning of 'notice'. Maybe that's why Charlie missed Olivia's birth!!!!

A country friend recently shared with me that her in laws regularly reflect on how the death of a family member (and the subsequent funeral) could not have come at a more inconvenient time. Harvest waits for no man. Even a man on his death bed. 

I don't mean to make farmers sound harsh and uncaring. In fact it is the exact opposite. Look at bush kids. They grow up understanding the natural cycle of things. We are born, we live, we die. Hopefully we have served a purpose, and then life goes on. That's not a negative thing either. When I was a kid, Mum and Dad used to indulge us with keeping pets, because it helps you understand 'life' better. This is the case on farms too. It's just funny how often the farm comes first. 

I have struggled with this over the years. I can be selfish. Actually, I am the Queen of Selfish sometimes. So when CP has tried to explain to me that without the farm, we don't have a whole lot, I get it. Farming relies heavily on uncontrollable forces, like the climate. You do what you can, when you can. Even if someone is having a baby, or dying. You sort of just try to pick up the pieces and keep going as quickly as you can. 

When you live in the bush, it's important to remember that your personal business is often the personal business of everyone in the district too. Mostly thanks to the local paper and of course, the bush telegraph (which is often faster). When I got engaged, there was a notice in the paper. When our children were born, there were notices in the paper. That's the way it goes. 

Everyone likes to 'know things'. Even country people. Even if it means they can't accommodate the new information because of work commitments. When you live on a farm, it's not just a job, it's your life. And I'm learning that more with every passing year. 

The Nanny - Part 2: And Then There Were Three

It was only a month or so into Yv's stay with us, when I learned I was pregnant. This is him. The first pic of our little Sam the man.

One day I will blog on the nature of my pregnancies, and how the devil I survived them, given how horrible they were for me, but suffice to say I do not do pregnancy well (or rather, the first 20 weeks of the pregnancy well).

When I learned I was pregnant, I told Yv immediately after I told CP. She would find out soon enough anyway. The conversation went something like:
Me: So Yv, it turns out I am pregnant again.
Yv: That's great news!
Me: Yeah, umm... it is. Eventually. But right now it's not all that good for a few reasons. You need to know that I get really sick when I am pregnant. In the next few weeks, when the nausea hits, I am going to be reduced to a blubbering mess, curled up in the fetal position either on the lounge or in my bedroom for the next 6 months. I won't be able to handle the smell of anything. I won't be able to care for myself, let alone the people who have come to depend on me. I won't be able to do anything. I will look like death warmed up for the foreseeable future.
Yv: Ohhhhh....
Me: And that's kind of why I need to tell you this now. When we hired you, in all fairness to you, you only signed on to 2 children. This isn't in your contract. So I won't be at all surprised, and I truly don't mind, if you choose to leave at Easter. Having said that, I would really love you to stay. If you want to stay, and can put up with doing a bit extra for a few months, it will totally pay off down the track. We'll give you more time to yourself in terms of hours to compensate for the overtime you'll be doing for me during the day...
Yv: Sure, that's no problem at all. I want to stay.

Could she be real? She would stay, even though I had just told her she would, in essence, become my slave, as much as I would become a slave to my own body? Nice!

And that's how it went. As I hovered precariously beside the porcelain bus in the bathroom, Yv helped cook, clean, feed and bath my house and family. I could not have planned it better. She spent the quality time with my children that I could not. She became the Mum. I often joke with CP about that time in our lives. The time when he had "2 wives". Two women who could nag him and make demands of him. Ad only one with benefits... except that there were no benefits from either of us, as one worked slavishly to maintain the family routine, and one slouched wearily over the toilet. It was far from a happy family at that time.

Did I mention that I turn into a heinous beast when I am pregnant? My hormones do strange and unusual things to my mind. So it was lovely having Yv to 'look after me' and 'listen' to my ravings. She was the 'wife' I needed at that time. I began to rely on her more and more.

Around the time I learned I was pregnant, we were also going through the initial stages of Darcy's treatment for her turned eyes. I was a mess. I was hormonal and being worried about Darcy didn't help either. It became obvious very early on in Darcy's treatment that she would have to undergo surgery on both eyes. This bothered me terribly. Whenever I was having a 'difficult' moment, Yv was there to help me put things into perspective. When I talked about the possibility of Dars wearing glasses for ever, Yv would remind me that it was possible to have quality of life even with restricted eye sight. She had survived quite nicely with sight in only one eye, after all... We all developed a soft spot for Darcy while she was going through her eye treatment. Yv did especially. I think they had a common bond over their eyes. This bond only strengthened as Yv stayed on. This is Darcy not long after she was first prescribed glasses. She was just over 1 year of age. Fun fun!

At some point near the mid point of my pregnancy (when Yv was due to leave us), she approached me about the possibility of staying on. Yv felt that she was still needed, and that (even though I was improving rapidly, and was a fully functioning adult female again) she was happy to stay until baby number 3 was born, just to make sure we were all ok. It sounded wonderful. And so it was decided, that Yv should stay until after the baby was born.

Yv was with us for other key moments too. She was there for Olivia's first day of Kindergarten. She helped wave goodbye to my biggest baby as she ventured off into the big wide world.

By the middle of the year, Yv had become a good friend. She was more like a sister to me, than someone hired to help look after the kids. We talked my way through my pregnancy (which was the most difficult pregnancy on my marriage). I am certain that without Yv there, things would be very different today.

Did I mention that Yv is one of the fussiest eaters I have ever met? No? She likes potatoes - but not mashed (because the butter and milk interfere with the taste), but will tell you (honestly) that my baked potatoes are the best she has ever eaten. She isn't a big fruit and vege person. She loves peanut butter on everything. She loves cruskits. She loves toast with that chocolate sprinkly stuff that dutch people dig so much! She likes meat, but not the stuff we've home grown. She loves sausages. But I never went out of my way to cook for her. In our house, we have a rule that one meal is cooked, and you either eat it, or get your own. (Unless you are a kid, in which case, you eat it or go hungry). Anyway... back to my story.

On November 3rd, at about 1am in the morning, I went into labour with my baby boy.  Yv came over to the house and stayed with the girls, while CP and I drove to the hospital. She stayed to help look after the girls for the days following, while I rested up in hospital. Upon my arrival at home, Yv told me that she wasn't very good with little babies. But she did just fine with Sam.

The day Yv left the farm was just horrible. We knew that leaving Darcy would be hard for Yv, so we arranged for their goodbyes to be done early in the morning, and then my in laws took Darcy out, so that she wouldn't be there when the actual departure occurred. It was going to be difficult regardless. As my in laws drove Darcy away, I sat in my room and cried. I cried for the real goodbye that Yv and Darcy would never have, and I cried for myself. For having to let go of Yv. We took Olivia to the bus with us. It was a very quiet  hour in the car. If I tried to speak, it would have betrayed my feelings. It all came spilling over as I hugged Yv goodbye one last time. And CP, Liv and I all stood waving at the bus. Crying. So very sad.

When Yv left us to go home, I wrote her a 'thank you' letter of sorts. I reminded her of the time Olivia asked if Yv loved her, and how Yv had said 'no'. I also reminded her that I knew that wasn't true anymore, because you don't feel so much sadness at leaving children you don't love. And she admitted it was true. So even though she started the year being the 'Nanny', she definitely finished the year as part of our family.

I know Yv loves our family. She was exactly what we needed in order to make it through 2008 in one piece. In 2009 she came back to visit. And she sends Christmas and birthday presents for the kids and hubby and I. And when I can remember, we send her token gestures too.

So Yv - sorry about some of these pics. Just wanted you to know that you are missed, and dearly loved too. And you are a big part of who we are today. You just have to look at Darcy and peanut butter to figure that out.

Friday, November 5, 2010

The Nanny - Part 1: Settling In To The Hut

This is Yv.

Sorry Yv - (she's probably going to hate me for this)...

In December 2007, when Darcy was not even 1, I decided that I would be needing a little extra help around the place in order to do more things for me. I should really explain that by "doing things for me", I don't mean reclining on a sun bed in a bikini, sipping Mojitos from a glass with an umbrella in it...  I mean doing things like getting back into my Masters (studying), and doing the odd bit of work here and there. So I started looking for a Nanny or Au Pair or In Home Carer to come and help.

Because the nearest town (where I do relief work) had no day care or child care facilities at the time, I had to consider my options. 

Option 1: My Mother In Law - She is amazing. She is always my first port of call,but it just isn't feasible to suggest that every time I want to do something for me, she would need to drop everything to help. So even though she could always be my 'back up plan', I needed something a little more permanent. 

Option 2: Friends - See Option 1 explanation. 

Option 3: Nanny or Au Pair - They would need somewhere to stay (living in our house wasn't really a long term solution. But aside from the logistics, it seemed to be the best option. 

And so the redevelopment of 'The Hut' began. This is 'The Hut'.

Before it became 'The Hut', it was used as a workshop for CP and my father in law. It was covered in grease and dust and housed spare tyres, bits and pieces, machinery and assorted junk. The first step was emptying the contents and finding a new home for everything. CP moved an abandoned caravan on the northern end of the property down and this became the new 'workshop'. Once The Hut was empty,it needed to be scrubbed down and cleaned properly. A coat of paint was next, and one of the smaller rooms was transformed into an ensuite. We had the floors polished, and then furnished the rooms. 

Inside The Hut, on the left, is the bathroom. The centre room is the 'living area'. It houses an oven, fridge, microwave, appliances and all cutlery and crockery. There is also a table and chairs, and a single bed (where we will one day put a fold out bed/lounge). The room on the right is the bedroom. There is a bed, a wardrobe, dresser and desk, as well as a television. There is an air conditioner too. It is fully self contained. Even better, it is only about 50 metres from our own house. Incidentally, The Hut was only completed a month after Yv arrived at our house. But nonetheless, it has become a valuable addition to our 'home'. 

But back to Yv...

Once I had decided to find an Au Pair I set about finding the right person. I was looking for someone from January 08, until July 08. This was bound to be difficult, because I was looking for someone who would be capable, someone who would love my kids, someone who had their first aid certificate, and someone who could drive (amongst an exhaustive list of other worthwhile assets). On top of all that, I needed to find someone who would be happy living in such an isolated part of Australia. Someone who would be able to stick it out for more than a month. I designed a questionnaire for potential candidates. The questionnaire narrowed it down to two 'possibles'. It was going to be tough. Long story short, I ended up selecting Yv (who is from Holland). Having spent a year in Belgium myself, I understood enough Dutch to be able to help her settle in if language was to be a problem, and also had some English-Dutch Dictionaries on stand by if that would help.

Shortly after I selected Yv, we received an email from her, telling us about an accident she had had as a young child. She had lost her eye in a sling shot accident, and had a glass eye in place of it. She wanted us to know that it hadn't stopped her from doing anything (such as driving a car), but that if this made us change our mind about having her, she understood. It didn't bother me at all. If she could drive, I really didn't care.

I picked her up in Brisbane at the end of January, after she had been travelling around Western Australia for four weeks. We headed home immediately. On the trip home it started raining (REALLY raining). At one point I thought we wouldn't make it, and swollen creeks became flooded and dangerous within hours. That's just how it works out here. But after a very adventurous drive and a detour of 'the long way home', we made it. I apologised for the last several hours of the drive and assured her that if she wasn't happy I completely understood. We had previously agreed on a trial period of 3 months. That way if either of us weren't happy we could walk away at Easter, and that would at least give us both time to work out new arrangements. Yv assured me she was loving it. I couldn't believe it. I kept expecting her to pack up and leave at any moment. 

On her first day, we took her lamb marking. 

I thought for SURE that would be enough to scare her off, but she loved it, and didn't seem in a hurry to go anywhere. 

We spent the first month settling in. Yv was in our house with us. We made her watch "Wolf Creek" and still she wouldn't budge... When Yv moved into the hut, she found her stride. She had her little place, and she well and truly made the farm her new home. 

Very early on in her stay, I once overheard Olivia ask Yv, "Do you love me?" To which Yv replied, "No Olivia, I like you very much, but I actually only love my family." I smiled, because I knew that would change. It was just a matter of when it would change...

(Stay tuned for Part 2)...