Taking Stock

So, where did that two weeks go?

It seems only moments ago we were anticipating a fortnight of chilling out with no real time constraints (apart from empty goat bellies), and now here we are searching out the gym top (how did it end up scrunched behind the vacuum cleaner in the linen cupboard?), stockpiling chocolate muffins in the freezer  and generally gearing up for another school term. While Farm Girl is excited about reconnecting with all her Nova buddies, even she with her liquefaction truck-load of youthful enthusiasm can’t quite raise a buzz about the re-emergence of the school morning routine.  All that scrubbing up to face the world first thing tests even her utterly enchanting or unbelievably irritating (depending on where your head’s at) exultation of spirit; her joie de vivre, if you will (check us out!   Oh là là)

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But there is no escaping it; the time is nigh.    All that remains is to kick back and make the most of the weekend; that, and maybe take a moment to explore how well we’ve done in ticking those holiday jobs off the list.

So, here goes:

After observing how the professionals in the magical Kingdom of Johnsonia do it (see Up and Running Again), we then set about ignoring all that to assemble a new animal shelter in the goat paddock.  It took The Bean Counter and The Goat Herd the best part of an afternoon and a rather substantial amount of nails, but The Train is now up and running and has received the ladies seal of approval.  Miss Geraldine can enter and exit the new structure without contorting her statuesque, ever-expanding bulk and Leia has already worked out that she now has enough room to surreptitiously nudge her food bowl to the absolute midpoint and curl around it thus concealing from her bottomless pit of a paddock mate that last, delicious few centimeters breakfast she likes to save for smoko .   Poor Geraldine is currently at the power-gorge stage in her pregnancy that those who have been there, done that will well recognise: life is just one never ending buffet.  

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The Renovator has not been idle either, utilizing a good dollop of his “non-contact”  time to clear out The Farmer’s room.  Next on the list is to remove the old chimney and fire place and patch the Homestead roof, a job which requires supervision from the old guard.  All that is required is for a sunny day to coincide with Pop’s availability.  He’s a pretty popular chap, so wish us luck.

In the garden, the frontyard is starting to look productive again with a good amount of compost having been distributed around the various beds and a load of  seedlings planted out.  We may have gone a tad overboard with the broad beans this year but The Milk Maid, who tends to oversee these things, is rather partial to baby broad beans on toast.  Blame Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and River Cottage.  Most of the time we don’t even bother fiddling about with frying bacon for it, and just slam a knob of butter and some parsley into the drained beans, salt and pepper, swirl, and bung the lot onto a piece of home made bread: Truly the best ever Spring-time lunch.

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Speaking of which, the saffron is now harvested too.  Okay so it’s not going to endanger any self respecting lucrative world saffron trader, but we’re quietly looking forward to creating some New Brighton style paella in the near future.  Wonder if  Saffron Duck Paella would be a winner?  We must consult our friend, Hugh.

"I'm Just Mad About Saffron"
“I’m Just Mad About Saffron”

So while we’ve been kicking back and eating out way too often for people pretending to be self sufficient, we haven’t exactly been letting the grass grow under our feet  – which brings us back to the mucky ducks again (and a job for another day).  We’ve done a decent job of knocking the holiday tasks for six and are rightfully (we reckon) feeling a bit smug. 

Generally, while tackling those jobs, holidaying Farm Girl has not been far away from the action, generally mucking in sporting her trademark pink gumboots.  Just as Miss Geraldine’s imminent birthing has quietly snuck up on us, so too has our resident six year old’s Wonder Woman leap in development.

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 The physical stuff is easy to notice: suddenly there is not a clean glass in the house as she is now tall enough to reach the required cupboard and the cold water tap or our days are punctuated by the percussive thud of her head on all those cupboards and shelves she used to fit under a couple of weeks ago;  Jeans are at half mast, skirts are indecent and tops all invite those chills in the kidneys so foretold by Nana’s everywhere.  However, it’s the conversation comprehension and input that is blowing us all away.  Yes, we know she’s not exactly spent the term off Homestead loitering at the ends of the earth in some Hogwart’s style dorm, but we’ve just had two weeks of her undivided company and let us tell you something: our baby is growing up! Where she  used to be content, in fact prefer, to busy herself with drawing, colouring, doll attending, lego assembling tasks while the rest of us solved the problems of the universe or argued about the English Premier League (the Homestead houses both an avid  Liverpool supporter and an equally fervent Chelsea one; the atmosphere is currently not electric.  Atomic is probably understating it) she’s now weighing in with her two cents worth, aforementioned pink gumboots and all.  

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“I think you both need to just take a breath and listen to each other, you’re both saying the same thing,” The Goat Herd and Milk Maid were sagely advised during a recent heated discussion over the planting of just-one-more-row of broad beans.

Over the holidays she’s had valid input into discussions on subjects as diverse as ANZAC Day and wars in general (“just because little countries like us don’t have so many soldiers die, it doesn’t mean it doesn’t hurt”) to tail-gating drivers (“it’s really just no respect”).  Her enthusiasm for discussion has become such that we have had to revisit the rules of courteous, polite, respectful conversation.  

No interrupting, no shouting, listen politely, speak thoughtfully, be open to other opinions…It’s testing us all!

 

© Copyright Union Homestead, 2014. All Rights Reserved.

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