Saturday, January 10, 2015

Taking Direction

When we are in the car together, The Farmer and I are a formidable team. I am an ace when it comes to giving directions, reading maps and following instructions (slash, giving instructions). Ie. I am a control freak. The Farmer is more comfortable at the driving side of things, and is a better listener when we are in the car. Ie. He knows better than to argue with me.

I've spent eleven years living on a farm that I am still known to get lost on. I have drawn up new and improved maps over the years, and have a ballpark idea where most things on the farm are, but when The Farmer says 'Can you come and pick me up from the water trough in the ‘L’ paddock?' there is still that moment where I suck my breath in sharply and feel the rapid beat of my heart quicken.

 Many moons ago, I heard the slightly panicked voice of my mother-in-law (MIL) over the two way radio. I was the only person left at home at the time.

 "Are you on channel Jessie?" I rushed to the receiver.


 "Oh good. Your FIL and I are out in the lane way. We're just west of the sorghum, and we have two flat tyres. Would you be able to come and get us?"

 "Ummm...." A long pause... "Yes..."

 "Okay." There was still an unconvinced, slightly concerned, tone in my mother-in-law's voice. "Do you know how to get here?"

 Again, the quickened heartbeat. "Ahhh... I think so. I've been there with The Farmer before." (In the winter, when the sorghum hadn't grown and the grass was dry). I had a huge job ahead of me, finding my way amongst paddock upon paddock of long, green grass and sorghum, tall and thick surrounding me. I didn't really have a choice. I only knew one way to get there and I'm sure it was 'the long cut'. I hoped my in-laws weren't in any great hurry.

 "I'll be there soon!"

 As I headed out in to the first of many paddocks, I realised how utterly futile this was going to be. I drove past the first shearer’s quarters, and then the shearing shed. I opened several gates, and wound my way through a myriad of green fields. Kangaroos jumped haphazardly around me. Emus scattered as I meandered around them. I had found the sorghum and knew I was close. After a good 15 minutes of driving, I heard the two way crack into life again.

 "We can see you! We're west of you, south along the fence line." Was that relief in her voice? "The gate is just west of you."

Yes, but I still had no idea which way west was. I took a wild guess that it was in front of me. Thankfully it paid off, and in seconds I had located their vehicle and was making my way along the fence line.

 My in-laws were sincerely grateful that I was able to assist them. I felt nothing but relief.

Now I make sure I keep a map of the farm in my car and in the house at all times. I have become more familiar with where certain places are, and am coming to terms with the fact that ‘near the eagle’s nest’ is a valid direction. It’s a tough pill to swallow given my obsessive need to be in control.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

New Year Celebrations

As a side note, we arrived home this New Year's Eve after 8 hours in the car. The last thing we wanted to do was head out for a late night! As it turned out, there was a huge party up the road that saw the sun in on a new year, and part of me wishes I'd had the inclination. The other part of me was happy to hit the sack early. Here are my thoughts of the end/start of New Year Celebrations...

Back in my younger days I was a big fan of ‘ye old New Year celebrations’. In the city I could be found dancing on tables with hordes of friends and strangers, having paid an excessive amount of money to enter a non-descript bar, singing at the top of my lungs and partaking in a drink or two. *wink wink nudge nudge* I had all the energy and stamina in the world, and New Years Eve was the best night out in the calendar year.

After I moved out west I found it harder to really relax when I was out. I had become more anxious about the classic small town concern, whereby parents of students (or god forbid even students themselves) could see what I was like after a few drinks, and as such I always erred on the side of ‘less is more’, much to my friends’ disappointment. Once bitten, twice shy I guess.

One New Year I even found my way to Nindigully. I spent my first night in an actual swag (I had no idea what one even was before I moved out west), and saw how crazy a New Years party could actually be. It was hot (like STINKING hot), crowded and loud. There were cars and bands and so many people. And even more flies than there were people. It was a huge culture shock for me.

Now that I am old (er) with young children, New Years celebrations are like an elusive friend. I’d like to catch up again and reminisce, but life seems to keep getting in the way.

The irony is that now I have the money and ability to afford to head out and have a big one, I have less inclination to do so. “We live so far away…”, “I can’t be bothered driving…”, “But who will mind the kids…” You name it, I’ve probably used it as an excuse. Mostly I find myself fighting the urge to sleep and finding that by 10pm I have reached my limit and trot off to bed for a full night of sleep. I don’t even remember the last time I was awake to see the New Year in.
Perhaps this year will be different. My children are all old enough to get their own breakfast in the morning. They know how to work the television. Maybe a big night out is on the cards after all.


I was fortunate enough to head away this Christmas (another blog to follow). It meant I have become a bit slack on the blogging front. Here is my Christmas edition! (With pics).

The silly season is almost upon us. There is so much that I love about Christmas. I like to get as much done as I can before December or else my blood pressure worsens and I go into a little meltdown. This year I think I am actually ready for the onslaught.

A thousand rum balls have been made and are waiting to be consumed. Nectarines, plums and cherries are about to be digested at rates fast enough to guarantee we all stay regular until well after New Years. I am still happily anticipating eating enough M and Ms, chocolate, mango smoothie, pavlova, trifle, ham and salad to last me a lifetime. And I have two big family functions coming up faster than I can say 'loosen that button please!'

Our Christmas Tree is up and decorated – I did it earlier last month and am thankful I did because my Christmas mojo is slowly fading. The tree will probably stay up until school goes back. We have adorned our house, and it will stay decorated. Indefinitely. Several years ago, my mother bought us a fake Christmas tree after I whinged and moaned about the ongoing clean up that a real tree necessitated. This is why I feel justified in keeping it up for about three months of the year. The clean-up is always minimal. Eventually I will come to look at it as a giant pot plant; only without the pot, or water, or soil.

We also decorate our mailbox...

We try to alternate Christmas between our families, and this year we are having Christmas away.  This means my entire family will all squeeze into a house, stock up the cold room with drinks, fruit and meat, (in that order), and sit back by the pool and beach to relax. The day will begin at 4:30am; thank you children.

 As far as tradition goes in our family, it's always about food. I ALWAYs glaze a ham. We ALWAYS make a potato salad. We ALWAYS make a pavlova and trifle. We ALWAYS eat about 4kgs of prawns. And we wash this all down with a cool room full of alcohol.
We always leave Santa a selection of goodies.

Thankfully the children are still buying into the man in red. This is no mean feat, given how many parcels have arrived in the post in the lead up to the big event. Online shopping can be both a blessing and a curse.

What I love most about Christmas is being with people you love. It's family that makes Christmas, 'CHRISTMAS'. It's the love, the laughter and the happiness that I love; that, and the 'Christmas play' the kids put on every year. Yes, Mr 6 is in a dress. Yes, Miss 9 bossed everyone around and told them what to do and say. Yes, Miss 7 is Lady Gaga. And not because Miss 9 told her to be.

I love Christmas. And I am actually, definitely, possibly, maybe ready for it this year!

 And now it's all said and done for another year. And I'll start the online shopping frenzy right after New Years. Only this year I'll have to hide my presents in better places. We had a few close calls this year...