Monday, October 31, 2011

The Left Hand Side

OK, so we live in Australia and in Australia we drive on the left hand side of the road, even on dirt country roads, you might drive up the middle (or the least bumpy track) but if another car comes along you move to the left hand side. I'm pretty happy with this arrangement. It's ordered, it's law and everyone knows that when you're on the road you drive on the left hand side.  Because this works for me (and I do like order), I apply it to all other parts of my life. If I'm walking on the footpath I walk on the left hand side. If I'm walking towards someone and we're going to collide, I automatically move to....the left hand side. Most importantly in the grocery store with a trolley I stick to the left hand side!! For me a trolley classifies as a vehicle, it's got four wheels and often has to carry all my children at once, so of course automatically I apply road rules - stick to the left! Unfortunately I don't think everyone shares my view on this, as countless times I have come round the corner into a new grocery aisle and collided with someone coming the opposite way on my side of the aisle!

So for some this might seem petty, but for me with 4 children loaded onto, or next to, the trolley I need some order to follow. The trolleys are generally a bit wild and hard enough to push, so then trying to swerve across to the other side of the aisle, because someone wasn't considerate enough to stick to their left hand side creates a mighty challenge and often results in collision between the trolleys or even worse, one of the kids and the trolley, neither of which are very fun!

Now I know everyone has a right to choose where they walk, and where they push their trolley, but for me, I think there should be an unspoken agreement that if you're pushing something with wheels, be it a pram or trolley....stick to the left hand side! It would make mine, and I'm sure many other mum's lives just that little bit easier!


Sunday, October 30, 2011

The Rogue Sheep

Living where we live we run Sheep, quite a few sheep. I have soon learned as a farming Mum that they are the best thing for us to run, do you know why? Because we can take the girls and 9 out of 10 times the eldest Muddy girls will fall asleep. They have both long since given up their day nap, as much as number 2 still needs it, so rather than battle with them inside the house, on a weekend we go and do sheep work, either shifting the sheep, or checking the sheep or checking the sheep have water, all sheep related tasks can provide Muddy Hubby and I with some respite from 3 chatty voices.

Of course to expect that all 3 Muddy Girls and Bub would sleep at the same time is ridiculous, so there is always one awake taking it all in. Yesterday it was Muddy Girl 3 who was wide awake (she'd had her nap before we left). Hanging out the window, banging on the door to help get the sheep moving, making barking like noises along with the dogs.....she was in heaven!!

Muddy Girl 3 hard at work
Yesterday we were granted some extra time in the ute thanks to some Rogue Sheep. These 3 cheeky lambs had been left behind in a paddock when we bought the rest in for lamb tailing, so yesterday we extended 1 and 2's rest time by shifting the Rogue Sheep, and they were rogues. Taking us this way and that way, doing everything they could to avoid being bought into the mob. While Muddy Hubby cursed and swung the ute from one side to the other I really couldn't complain, because we did it with only one chatty voice, 2 sleeping girls and 1 sleeping baby, which when you're used to 3 chatty girls and one screaming baby is pure bliss.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

A Rainy Morning

In our household it is rare for us all to be home and inside on a Saturday morning, generally Muddy Hubby is off working and has one, two or three of our Muddy girls in tow. This morning was one of those rare mornings, and it was all because it rained (8mm if you're interested). For Muddy Hubby who grew up on the farm a wet and rainy day meant one important thing.....his Muddy Mum would cook something special for morning tea (according to Muddy Hubby it was always scones, but I think he just says that because they're his favourite).

Often I'm not up for a morning of cooking, as it's hard to get all my  jobs done and also share the cooking amongst our 3 Muddy Girls. This morning though I was feeling in the mood for some cooking, so we dragged out our recipes and we made pikelets. Of course everyone has to take a turn in adding ingredients into the bowl, so we also take turns on who stands where on our kitchen step to be able to reach the bowl, it is an ongoing battle and balancing act. Also a bit challenging for me to try and remember whose turn it is before I hand over the precious ingredients! BUT make pikelets we did.

The precious step

Bubbling away
A big pile as the recipe was doubled at Muddy Hubby's request
Jam and Honey make them even more yummy!
It is these rare moments when every Muddy girl is happy and gets to take their turn that can make the difference between a nightmare of a rainy morning stuck inside or a delightful morning of Muddy Family time!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Our Sacrificial Snake Dog

We are the very proud owners of a very handsome Jack Russell (almost sure he's 100% Jack Russell, but in a country town you can never be 100% guaranteed). When we were first getting him we asked daughter number 1 what she would like to call him. Being 2 and 1/2 at the time she resorted to the only dog related thing she could think of and she proudly said to us 'NGO, I want to call him NGO'. Now for the life of us we could not initially work out what she was talking about, when finally, while listening to the Playschool CD it clicked 'There was a farmer had a dog and Bingo was his Name-o B I N G O'. Daughter number 1 could only remember a few words in the only song about a dog she knew.

We did try to call him Bingo for a while, but Muddy Hubby persisted with NGO, as did daughter number 1, and it has just stuck ever since and it really kind of suits the handsome little guy

NGO hard at work shifting sheep
The other name NGO goes by is 'Our Sacrificial Snake Dog' which is the whole reason we got him in the first place. One warm summer day I was walking past the front door with the girls and I heard a noise just outside the door, I turned and saw a nice big brown snake slithering across our front step to go under the house. Needless to say I did what any real girl would do, I slammed the door shut and rang Muddy Hubby, who was not much help at all as he calmly said 'yeah , I saw some snake tracks around, there are a few about'. I immediately started looking into snake deterrents, most of which Muddy Hubby would roll his eyes at, like those sonic posts you put in the ground, but when I suggested a sacrificial snake dog, he slowly came round to the idea. Because really, wouldn't you rather sacrifice a dog to a snake than your children?

Now NGO has become a beloved member of our family and this spring in particular he has already proved his worth, baling up two snakes and one echidna. It's going to be a long hot summer out here for us and due to the lovely mouse plague we had earlier in the year snake numbers are in abundance, so I'm thinking our investment in NGO is the best we ever made. He loves our little family as much as we love him, he is VERY patient with our exuberant girls and very protective, he is the best little sacrificial snake dog a Muddy Family could have!

Daughter Number 2 talking to NGO about the benefits of Mulberries

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Thankful for Thursdays

When my number 2 daughter was born my eldest was 15 and 1/2 months old and my world was turned even more upside down. I had only really just mastered looking after one child, let along looking after two, especially when number 2 was not a good sleeper at all. Every day and every night was a battle, at the same time as trying to give my eldest the attention that she needed herself, still in nappies, only just starting to put words together and very unsteady on her feet. Needless to say I felt very overwhelmed and felt that neither of my girls were getting the attention they deserved, but especially I was missing out on that beautiful and special one on one time that I had with Baby number 1. There was no respite, no break from the two together, other than Muddy Hubby taking number 1 for short periods of time.

So, when I fell pregnant with baby number 3 I was very worried about how I would have any time for the new baby with two little ones under my feet. I was back working a few days a week in the lead up to number 3's birth and my two girls were in day care. I sat Muddy Hubby down and explained that it was all just too much, so we agreed to leave the two girls in day care one day a week, once I went on maternity leave. Man, was it the best move we ever made!!!

In the week and a half of maternity leave I had before the baby was born I slept and I nested and I enjoyed the precious ME time. Then once daughter number 3 was on the ground I loved it even more! My eldest 2 girls got time out of the house, time with their friends and time without a tired grumpy Mum. Baby Number 3 and I got bonding time, time to just sit and get to know each other, as well as time for me to sneak in a nap once a week.

And so, on the birth of baby number 4, I am very thankful for Thursdays, for they are my Daycare Day! The 3 girls know 'Thursday is Daycare Day' their day together to play with friends and different toys and be away from the house. It's my day with baby to get to know him and race around and get my jobs done, before trying to sneak in a quick nap before it's time to pick up my beautiful girls. It may not be politically correct to put your kids in Daycare to have a day to yourself, but you know what, it works for me and my family and I'm sticking to it! Without it, I know my house would be a messier house, my bookwork a great big mess and my brain would just be scrambled.

So for Thursdays I am very thankful, for a wide range of reasons, but most of all at the end of a Thursday I am thankful for when my girls come home and our family is together again, and we're all a little happier and very content after a lovely day apart.


Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Sweet and Juicy

When I first moved out to the farm 6 years ago, my Muddy Hubby told me we had a Mulberry Tree, he waved vaguely in the direction of some trees outside our house yard and told me there was a pipe running under the road that I could push the hose through to water it, if I wanted to. For the first year or so I didn't really take much notice, I was busy working full time and then I had a Baby number 1 which turned my world upside down. Occasionally Muddy Hubby would bring in a few Mulberries and it would remind me it was there and I really needed to water it. THEN......Muddy Hubby accidentally sprayed it with chemical and we thought the tree was lost to us, but low and behold it came back to life!

Daughter Number 3, and our resurrected Mulberry Tree
In the meantime we had also planted a new Mulberry tree in our Orchard, which over the last couple of years has really begun to fruit well. So now we have not one but Two Mulberry Trees, both of which are producing an abundance of Mulberries at the moment, and when I say abundance I mean it. We have picked buckets full of them, and that's not including the ones the kids and Muddy Hubby stuff in their mouth while we're picking. I have had to be a bit more easy going than I like to be when it comes to cleanliness and Mulberries, they go hand in hand with purple stains, and as much as I wince each time we go picking, Muddy Hubby reminds me 'we only have them for a month or so each year, and they're so much fun' and he's right, but he's also not the one doing all the washing!!

Our newest Mulberry Tree
My kitchen benches have taken a hammering as well (not that you'd really notice as they're  a bit old and worn anyway) as I rinse the Mulberries and dry them on paper towel and the purple juice runs through to the bench as I painstakingly cut off all the little stems before freezing or cooking with them. If anyone knows a better way to rinse or to remove the stems I am more than open to ideas!! But it's all in the name of a good cause and a full belly. My favourite recipe at the moment is the Mulberry and Cinnamon Cake which I have been making once a week which my BFF Lauzie put me onto she got it from this site: Morsels and Musings I didn't put as much ground Almond in and I added coconut and it is delicious! I burnt it a little bit (I'm not really much of a baker or a cook) but it still tasted yummy and wasn't as much of a disaster as my attempt at Mulberry Pie, so it's all good. And as my Number 3 Daughter toddles off for another feast of Mulberries I take another deep breath and remind myself they only last such a short time, Thank God for Napisan!

Mulberry and Cinnamon Cake

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Here we go.......again

About four and a half years ago when my eldest daughter was born I set up a blog for her. It contained updates for family and friends on what we were doing and photos of us doing them along the way. Then, when number 2 daughter came along 15 months later, I kept the blog going, admittedly a little less frequently than I had with just 1 child, but still going none the less. Then 14 months later I had daughter number 3 and my blog posts got few and far between, until my last post which was on Number 3's 1st Birthday.

I've thought a lot about why it kind of dwindled out (ignoring the fact that I had 3 kids, was working part-time and was very busy!). What I came up with, was that it's hard to keep a blog going when all you're writing about is your kids. AND that's all I was writing about, the mundane things such as needles and playdates and first steps, which are special, but not really newsworthy for everyone else. Now, I know that this is why I set the blog up initially, but really you get a bit sick of just thinking about your kids, well I know I do! Not only that but trying to think up things just about the kids to write about.

So, after much thought, mainly in the middle of the night when I'm feeding Baby number 4, I have decided to start blogging again, but blogging with a difference for me. It's not going to be a blog solely about my beautiful 4 children and wonderful husband, yes they will of course feature at times, because I can't exactly ignore the fact that I have a hubby and 4 kids and spend most of my time with them, but I want to write about things that interest me. Things that make me think or frustrate me or make me laugh, as well as my precious family.

I'm happy for people to follow my blogging journey as I put voice to my middle of the night thoughts, but again I'm blogging for me, to express my thoughts and opinions. This is something just for me a Muddy Farmwife. If it works and I can manage to keep blogging on a regular basis then I consider it an achievement, especially now I have 4 children. If it doesn't work I figure I've lost nothing by giving it a go!
My Muddy Hubby considers himself a bit of a photographer, there's not many photos of me.