Little Moon

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Clouds fuzzy up the moon (not the camera focus). I stood in my pyjamas and waited for a gap in the thick clouds. The moon has long been my friend and I was disinterested in the optical effect last night but longing for a drink from its silver light.

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The moon slid into a gap in the clouds and I started clicking like a mad thing. I feel like a little moon sometimes. A satellite, wedged firmly in a position of observation. Bracing against the brushing glances of determined asteroids but unable to do anything but tread a pattern.

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Bright flares and dark shadows, scars from gravitational abuse. Just like fire, water and topography, I never grow weary of gazing at the moon.

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The gap closes and the moon fuzzies back up before disappearing permanently for the night.

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Frost in the sunlight. It takes a truly cold sunlight to leave the frost. The pouring rain, freezing winds and overcast days look to stay.

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Frozen spring. A bulb sneaks under the fence from the years abandoned garden next door. Despite the apparent cancellation of summer spring has still dressed up and is waiting, with sparkling determination, for her ride to the ball.

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The roses are late this year and our sunset coloured one is flowering madly because (as you can tell by the black spot) it never receives any attention, except for an accidental pruning when we shift the bins around it.

Mum Smiles

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The brown paper bag the Calendula seeds were in is finally empty. I watch the cleared patch of ground for weeks and am overjoyed to see the simply shaped leaves pop through. Then there are tight, green buds of promise. One morning I stand with a cuppa and gaze lovingly at a proud orange flower. These flowers are the simplest flowers. Like Daisies, they are not show offs. They are the first flower form every child draws, everything about them round edges. They are so bright in the dim, lingering winter that I can’t help but see them a sass as a plant. I perch on the edge of the garden bed and sit with them. They are like my mum’s smiles in my garden, company as we wait for summer.

OFG sounds like a lad in a club, making me explode with laughter. He has collected lady bug/bird (beetles) off of the trees and put them in a box habitat. The previous evening he’d put a roof on for them to keep out the rain, lifting it off in the morning and greeting them with “hello laaadies”.

I fall ill for the first week of the school holidays. Truth be told, due mainly to our shack and stress levels, I never got well but got worse. Shuffling around like a snot zombie I was heartened to see my Gurus have the imagination to entertain themselves. Garden snails were collected and habitats created – rescued from the storms that are battering our part of the world. Snails were raced, fed and hung out with. TFG sat reading, snail moving sedately over her head, leaving silver trails that shone like disco glitter in her reading light. I warn her that they must go back outside before bed as they also devour literature but in an entirely different way. After a shower to remove the snail messages she sadly bid her slimy pals goodnight. OFG is slightly less co-operative. I go in to check on him in the night to find constructed apartment buildings for snails (all of whom have chosen to venture out and stick over things like ancient dirt baubles). When well enough to start a tidy up I am snail taxi, returning found friends to their wilderness in the garden.

The husband takes them out for bike rides and they return home triumphant and tired. Both Gurus have mud all over them and the husband tells me they felt it was unavoidable. Neither of them feeling inclined to change, they spend the rest of the day decorated with evidence of the fantastic side effect to living in wetlands and having a long winter.

Children in a neighbouring garden are visiting their grandparents. The Gurus climb a tree and all four spend the afternoon chatting companionably – despite not knowing each other before then. I think about how adults are so difficult to befriend, with so many social rules. I imagine for a moment if it was a given that if you could see someone over the fence, you chatted with them. Possibly the world would be a better place if children taught grown ups about the importance of friendship.

We are playing a board or card game every night over dinner, right up until it is time to brush teeth. It is a grand time at the kitchen table, with much laughter. It was going to be just during the holidays but we own enough games it could become something we do every night we feel like it.

I am a little awkward in the shop. It is full of breakable knickknacks and OFG is unable to refrain from touching things. The lady in the shop gives him some packaging cushions to jump on and pop, then a sheet of bubble wrap. It lasts him through the breakable shop and the post office (where he usually sits in the passport photo chair to read one of the books they sell). I am very grateful to her and her ability to redirect his energy. In the butchers I am worried again. OFG is a big fan of laying against their glass counter to watch them through its curved surface. They have run out of stickers (OFG has lamb and beef sticker collections) but  they give him some temp tattoos for their fundraiser for Breast Cancer research. He returns home feeling like he’s had the best day and I didn’t end up getting flustered at his enthusiastic shopping style.

Bool and Hacks Lagoon Game Reserves

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We took Joey Scouts and Cub Scouts out to the reserves at sunset yesterday.

It was beautiful.

There was so much light that I am sure proper photographers are looking at these shots and saying ‘over exposed’ and other such proper photographer type things….sorry.

Capturing the death of a day means extremes.

That last blinding light that reflected off of the silver water everywhere and made it scorch your eyes, creating a profile of each bird.

The birds and frogs were in their thousands….we even saw an Eastern Long Necked Turtle trotting over the path.

We saw Magpie Geese, Ibis, Superb Blue Wrens and the hilarious Shoveler duck and the always disapproving Black Swans, just to name a few. We were lucky enough to have a parent there with a bird book and wonderful knowledge of birds.

When the last light died as the sun dipped, the smoke haze from the burn offs created an orangey purple light that stained everything. It was breath taking and if it weren’t for the also very healthy population of mozzies, we would happily have stayed until complete nightfall.

I will put up the photos, in all their ineptness because it is all I have to show you of this wonderful hour spent on a boardwalk, drinking in the beauty.

Today it is literally dumping down rain so a complete turn around in weather but it has not dulled the beauty around us…..or perhaps I still have sunset sleep caught in my eye so can see it where others see plain water.

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Post update as I wanted to ask permission first – If you would like to see some absolutely beautiful shots from Bool Lagoon (and many other places) of the birds in particular, do go take a look at Margaret Smith Photography.

There are amazing photographs of our whole region, including Bool, taken by Ockert le Roux Photography. The aerial photographs and footage are my favourites.

 

When

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When you keep waiting for that little sliver of time to post to your blog.

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When you are thinking ‘if only I’d brought the camera’ but so glad you didn’t as you get to immerse yourself in the moment. Walking with the Gurus to and from school the air is dozy golden waking up sun. Heady blossom perfume and papery tree tears fluttering to confetti the streets.

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When you know you should mow the wild paddock of flowers and spring green plants that was a lawn but you are waiting for a bulldozer to come and scrape a clean space for a house – a home. Glad that you have an excuse to find treasures that were previously mowed flat.

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When you see your house plans for the first time in three dimensional sketches of what it will look like as a real building. Trying to imagine ever taking it for granted and knowing that living in a shack through another winter means you won’t…..ever.

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When you make an engineer laugh by telling him you found most of your fixtures and fittings in the garden.

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When you fill an entire ‘scratch’ book with poetry, short stories and chapters of novels over a term of pick up waits at school – and even more romantic is that they were written sitting on a worn railway sleeper under a plum tree humming with bees and stained pink with inky blossom.

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When spring strawberries spray zesty, sweetness on your fingers as you pack lunches before school.

Specs, sleep-ins and the odd roo

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OFG has invented numerous ways to mess the kitchen up. I think it might be his school holiday goal. He and TFG decided to create cups out of oranges – the result of which is a kitchen covered in sticky juice and slippy bit of pulp. Wait till I show them how to bake cakes in orange skins!

TFG has been on a mission to build a Lego tower taller than the husband (six foot four) and may even have done it, will have to check back with her.

Both begged to go to the library, which was entirely appropriate for winter school holidays. We greeted the librarian with more noise than is probably proper for a library but she doesn’t seem to mind. Both kids stagger out with piles of books and there is a silent afternoon, marked only with the roar of rain intermittently tantruming on the roof.

We all jam into the bed like the family out of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and watch ‘Fixer Upper’. The upbeat quirky family makes us laugh and the ideas we get from the interior decorating are discussed for our new house.

I finish the pile of documents required for the build application and we are just waiting on the word from our builder – then off they go. It should be the first of the bigger steps in getting the building up. We have made a goal of no more winters in the shack and I am hoping, really hoping this Christmas will be in our new house.

As I look at tile samples and windows I wonder that anyone ever builds anything. Wow but it is a complicated process. Thank goodness for Pinterest and kids who aren’t afraid to tell me if something doesn’t look right. Then again, when I look at all the ideas together I’m not sure four different tile types is the go in one small bathroom!?

An enormous jacket my mum brought me back from New Zealand (there is a nation that gets the real meaning of ‘cold’) becomes my permanent home for a while. I manage to convince OFG it can convert into a sort of polar fleece igloo, and that the head hole is for the fire smoke to come out. He thinks that is brilliant and suggests it is big enough for me to share?

We were big enough to seek out advice from our GP, who referred us to a family helping type person, about how to handle the behaviour we have struggled with from the kids. OFG is particularly in a place of struggle. i am hoping she turns out to be  a nice person, rather than someone who picks holes in our fragile web.

Mum got me two permaculture books for my birthday and I’ve been reading them every chance I get. It is one of those immediate click things where I feel like I’ve found my gardening style. I am in the process of designing the garden, post-build, to provide us with everything we can possibly jam into it.

Wet lens

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I was given a telephoto lens for my camera by the husband. It is the birthday present that never ceases to fascinate me as it is almost too big for me to hold and it (like the camera itself) often seems to have a mind of its own. I laugh, growl or love the result of it actually focussing on something different from what I aimed for.

Here is some playing with it to get to know it – based on my favourite things; texture, contrast and detail. Again, apologies to actual photographers…you may feel an overwhelming urge to donk me over the head with this new lens!

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Blossoms in deep winter. There is always colour splashed around the garden, if you take time to look for it.

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Rosemary flowers. Not often I look at them this closely. They are actually almost snapdragonish in structure and rather beautifully speckled. These old bushes flower all year round and are always a-buzz with bees, hungry during winter.

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I have been wanting to take this shot for a while now. The old walnut trees against the winter sky. I just love their textures.

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Blackberry leaves are a deep red purple and have defied the direction to drop and sleep. They contrast so warmly with the cold, crisp greens around them.

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I was going to take a photo of the jonquils in the foreground of the picture but the camera disagreed and fixated on the dew sitting on the leaves behind. Who am I to argue…it made a beautiful shot.

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The old fencing is all texture. Rubbed by numerous seasons into soft ripples and gaps.

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These noisy little fellows love to eat off of the she-oak in our garden. They hang in pendulous bunches like strange fruits of the tropical variety. They certainly seem over dressed in this muted winter landscape.

Hot coffee and cold socks

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My birthday was marked with a warm, proper house – borrowed for the weekend. A wood fire, a massive RC unit and the warmth of friendship. There was simply sitting and talking, eating. My demands were not exactly partyish but I was so thankful to those dear friends and my ever lovely husband for meeting them.

The following weekend found me trembling with cold and terror as I attended a residential course to finish off  my Scout Leader training. Again the blessing of good people softened a weekend away with lots of laughs and plenty of kindness. The trainer who determinedly pushed me forward with good humour and the Patrol I was in making me feel part of a team (which is not something I experience a lot in my Scouting journey as I am the only Leader in my section and always have been, being in tiny country groups) created a feeling of security. I came home with my certificate clutched in my hand, my eyes drooping with tiredness and a whole new bunch of friends.

July and August are the aching months. Their cold bleeds into your very bones, wet and icy. Even the sheep have their woolies on. Walking to school is crisp, crunchy and gnawing. It is beautiful.

I am up to the third draft of the book. I am strangely shy about asking people to proof for me, indicating the sincere lack of confidence I still have in my writing (even at my age!). I had to stop working/writing for the ten hours a week as the house chores started to pile up, showing me my skills in house keeping were more valuable. The pull of the manuscript sometimes wins over though and I find myself doing clandestine editing in my morning tea break. Writing is now measured in how long it takes to drink a cup of tea….which I have managed to blow out to thirty minutes by mini-sipping.

 

Relative humility

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Roads are filling and turning into rivers.

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This is rain, not mist – it is hammering down, non-stop…probably until about October.

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The wind gusts create squalling, even in the heavy rain fall.

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Tracks and drives are becoming muddy water holes.

It is a bit wet.

It is meant to be.

Winter is our wet season down here.

But with the extreme weather we now get, they are putting money on extreme wet.

For us this impacts in a couple of ways.

No dry clothes.

A house that sinks into the mud, causing further damage to the structure.

I know, I make it sound such a downer.

Don’t get me wrong, I am a winter girl – being born in the winter means I have always had an understanding of the necessity and absoluteness of it.

It would just be so much easier to accept it in a house.

I think that if you have to wear wellies out to go to the toilet, it is a bit much.

So, as I  weed the bedroom (the massively aggressive grass has grown through the walls to pop up where the skirting would be in a normal house) I decide to come up with a way to regain my sense of relative humility.

Here it is:

 

Where my tired old eyes start to blur

As various misfortunes occur

Their bright eyes shine in delight

Their imagination roars alight

Gumboots, bikes and mud pies

And snails of enormous size

Icy showers from cheeky trees

Hot drinks and books in bed please

Celebrating favourite clothes that dry

Cold stars clear in the frosty sky

Dragon breath and floating leaves

Roaring wind and angry seas

Warm soup and wooly hats

Frogs, dogs and delighted splats

Curled up in the library, dreaming

Hot stew and fresh bread, steaming

Empty streets and sleeping trees

Wet kisses from an icy breeze

Snotty sickness does abound

But old movies are found

Yes, despite my aching cold

My Gurus live their winter bold

It’s time I made a cup of tea

And joined them and remembered my winter me.