|The Shearing Shed up North Last Year|
So I’m a little bit cranky at the local council. About 12 months ago, before my Muddy Organiser started school, we started talking to the chief engineer at council about whacking a load of gravel opposite the end of our road so that the bus could pull off the road safely and not get bogged (it would also save our shoes from getting too sandy or muddy when it’s wet, but you can’t use that excuse with council). The engineer said just tell me what the bus company needs and I’ll make it happen. The bus company said ‘we need not to get bogged and to have enough room to pull fully off the highway’. The engineer said, yes, no problem, there’s a few we need to do so we’ll put it on the list, it’s important especially as you’ll be using it each day.
The start of school came and went (and it was WET), and still no gravel. The bus has slowly been wearing tracks in the dirt and sand, when it’s wet it will spin it’s wheels a few times before grabbing traction and pulling away, much to my relief. By the time the bus gets to us it’s pretty much full, there’s about 30-40 kids on it, and it needs a tractor to pull it out if it gets bogged (yes it’s happened the Muddy Pa has pulled it out once before). I have recurring nightmares of having to ferry kids down in my car to where the crossroads are and they change to the next bus into town.
Yesterday morning on my way to town I got a little excited as I approached our bus stop, the council workers were there, I started to do my little happy dance, then realised they weren’t there for the gravel. They were replacing a perfectly good black and white sign with a new bigger black and white sign. Given our road only has two houses at the end of it and we are the only people (other than visitors and the postman) who use the road in my opinion it’s a waste of time and money. Maybe there’s a new law I don’t know about that says the black and white signs must be a certain size, maybe it’s an RTA thing, but for 2 council workers to come out, remove the old (perfectly good) sign and bang in an extra 2 new posts and hang up the new sign, to me it’s a waste. I’d rather have my load of gravel! My preference (if council cared to ask) is to do everything possible to avoid getting the school bus bogged, to help get the kids to school and to avoid me being a taxi for those 40 kids when it does get bogged so they don’t miss the next bus! I know if it does get bogged it won’t be council workers pulling it out it will be Muddy Hubby on the tractor!
I know it’s a small issue, I know I shouldn’t get so worked up about it. However when you have a council that is continually crying poor and telling us they need to up our rates by 50% (I kid you not) then it really makes me wonder why they would spend money doing something like this. I can cope with muddy shoes and the fear of the bus getting bogged and go without the gravel, but did they really have to make me cranky by replacing a perfectly good sign.
|Our flash new sign|
|View from the bus stop on a warm summer morning|
For AGES and AGES I have been struggling with the girls craft and drawing, struggling with it being spread from one end of the house to the other, struggling with their individual craft boxes they were given as presents by a well meaning family member. These boxes, while much loved, have finally given up the ghost, with sides ripped and lids lost. Their loss has given me the perfect opportunity to bring some order back into at least the colouring in stuff.
On my last trip into the largest town nearby I popped into the Bag a Bargain $2 shop (you know the ones I mean where you can find anything from feminine hygiene products in brands you’ve never heard of, to really tacky ashtrays with the Australian Flag plastered all over them) to see what I could find. The pencil tins and pots I had been thinking of were all gaudy with decorations that would quickly fall off and annoy me no end. I then happened upon these lovely ‘mini champagne buckets’ as they were labelled. They were just what I was looking for and the Muddy Kids love them. So much so, that next time I’m in town I plan on picking up a couple more to further organise the craft area.
The added benefit has been it has kept the Muddy Girls entertained for hours (literally hours) sharpening pencils and sorting crayons, deciding which ice bucket to put them in, and ‘Is it sharp enough’ as they sharpen them to within an inch of their life. They’ve been re-inspired to get back into the colouring in, and it has been a daily activity ( several times throughout the day). I’m now looking for new storage ideas for the rest of the craft paraphernalia and am looking for any suggestions as to how you keep order in the chaos of craft.
There’s something about the local show that makes you feel a little like you’ve walked back in time. It reminds me of when I was a kid and went to the Sydney Royal Easter Show, back when it was at Moore Park, it was a bit dingy, a bit old fashioned, smelly, loud and so much fun. Our showground in town is old, I don’t think it’s moved in the 96 years we’ve had the show, the pavilions are the same, some with a coat of paint and some repair work, but still original buildings. The animal yards are probably not as old, but still are not modern by any standard, and the competition categories are still largely unchanged, including pieces of hand embroidery and hand sewn pieces of children’s clothing, fruit and veggie growing and my personal favourite for the kids ‘decorated fruit or vegetable’.
|Muddy Girls with Muddy Pa’s Prize Winning Sheep|
|Checking out the Wool Pavilion|
The Muddy Girls had been talking about going to the show for days, we’d put our entries in and they were so very excited to see what had transpired. I am so very pleased to say we had some winners! I had limited the girls to 3 entries, they each got to put in 6 brown hen eggs, 6 iced and decorated arrowroot biscuits and one drawing. Lucky for me the prize winning was spread around.
My Muddy Organiser won a Second Place for her 6 Iced and Decorated Arrowroot Biscuits.
My Muddy Pixie won a Highly Commended for her 6 Iced and Decorated Arrowroot Biscuits.
My Muddy Puzzler kept up the Prize Winning Eggs, gaining a Second Place for her 6 Brown Hen Eggs, not bad given there were 18 other entries.
I limited them to two rides and one game and no showbags, my theory is if I let them start too much this young I’ve got nowhere to go as they get older. We shared one bag of fairy floss and their Muddy Grandma treated them to an ice cream. I did my bit by manning the Preschool Animal Farm for a stint and we finished off our outing with some hot chips, which Muddy Bubby was most excited about, even trying to steal as many as he could from his sisters. It was such a lovely afternoon, and the Muddy Girls were so excited to call Muddy Hubby to tell him all about their afternoon and their big wins!
One of the things I am not loving about living where we live at the moment is my Internet access. We’re on satellite Internet, which means we have a big dish on the roof. This also means that it’s nowhere near as fast as some other Internet options. It also means that when it’s overcast the service sucks, when it’s windy there’s often no service, and sometimes for no good reason the dish on our roof stops talking to the satellite in the sky and we get absolute zilch, zippo, nothing. Now the Internet service provider flatly denies any of this, says weather and wind do not affect the service. I disagree.
But rant now over, for all the little things that drive me batty living out here or give me cause for utter frustration, there are so very many more good things. My good thing for this week has been the complete turnaround from sunset to sunrise.
This was the sunset on Monday night, breathtakingly beautiful. The Muddy Kids and I went outside to feed the dogs, pigs and chooks and dawdled for ages just watching the beautiful sunset and chasing the animals.
The next morning we woke up to this awesome Fog. The first fog for the year for us, not a pea soup fog like I can remember growing up in Sydney, but a hazy, ethereal fog. It didn’t last long, by the time I’d dropped the Muddy Organiser at the bus stop it was almost gone, chased away by the sun.
It’s these little things that remind me how I love living where we live, and help stop me yelling at the Internet service provider in frustration. Just don’t ask me how long it took to actually upload these photos!
Yesterday I had my second last Bootcamp session. It was a killer. Every part of my body hurts, my knees are feeling especially sorry for themselves. You know what though, I feel good. I feel really good.
9 weeks ago I wouldn’t have been able to do as much as I did yesterday, I would have been walking between sets after only a couple of sets, whereas today I ran between most of them, it was only the last few where exhaustion was starting to win out.
Over the last 9 weeks Princess Pain has mixed up our sessions, no two have been the same, there’s been cardio, strength, boxing, lots of sweat, some very red faces and at times a bit of swearing. Yesterday’s session was all about the pack of cards.
Princess Pain had a pack of cards, she shuffled it at the start and that set our plan for the session. Each card had an exercise on it, including Burpees, planks, push ups, step ups, mountain climbers, dips, and the number on the card determined how long you would do that activity or how many reps. The first one she pulled out was step ups on a 6, this meant we had to start with 60 seconds of step ups. Not a great start to the session! As we groaned our way through Princess Pain simply replied ‘it’s not me, it’s the cards!’.
And on and on it went, through 14 jump squats, 15 dips, 60secs of plank etc, etc for a full hour. It was a major workout. Each time she turned over a card and read out the set I groaned, but sucked it up and did it. At the end of the session I even asked what the session times were for next term, I’m that keen to keep going.
You see I’ve always had a thing about exercise, it’s not my favourite thing but I know I need to do it and once I’m in the groove I secretly love it, I love the endorphin hit is gives me, I love the small changes I start to see in my body and in myself, I start to have more energy, more happy moments and if I keep it up I get to go shopping for new clothes!
One added benefit over the last few sessions is the positive message that my Muddy Organiser is picking up, she’s come to the last few sessions and seen me exercising, she’s been asking questions about why I’m exercising and what it does and what each activity does. I feel great being able to set a nice positive example about exercise for my Muddy Kids, one I hope to be able to continue. I’m not sure how we’ll go through winter with the late evenings and the cold air, but I’ll give it a shot to make sure I keep going, because the benefits far outweigh my grumbles and groans!