January is usually my favourite month of the year. A chance to slow down and recharge before hitting the new year at work and school. Not so much this year though. Although we have certainly had some fun, slowing down hasn’t really been on the agenda. We spent a fabulous week on the central coast with my family. Lots of swimming, playing board games, eating good food, and time spent together. After seven years staying in the same place, there was a certain amount of nostalgia as we remembered our kids when they were little, and all the things we have done together over our years there. The house is being sold, so we will have to find somewhere new for future holidays together.
After we got back from the coast, it was straight into moving out of our house so that it could be gutted. Despite swearing I would never again move in December or January (I’ve done it several times before!), we packed up our house and moved it several kilometres up the road to the farm house we are renting from family friends. We managed to move in the middle of a heat wave to a house without air conditioning. A couple of afternoons we went for a drive in the car just to enjoy the air conditioning, but we survived. I did feel sorry for the asbestos removal guys wearing their protective suits and breathing apparatus in the 40*c heat.
Our new abode is providing some new fodder for me to photograph, and I have grabbed the camera several times after dinner and run out to snap some pics in the evening light. Old farms are full of interesting gates, fences and sheds just begging to be photographed.
Last week, I took the kids up to the Blue Mountains for a week. They did swimming lessons and we all enjoyed time with my sisters and parents. We managed to get all the school shopping done (Hannah is off to high school this year!!), so I am feeling very smug! We visited a few second-hand bookshops and found some Trixie Belden books (remember those??) which Meg loves and has been looking out for a long time. She has been lying in bed reading them each night!
Our extension is going along full steam ahead now. The inside has been largely gutted, and the frame walls are going up. My goodness, there are lots of decisions to make. Doors, windows, cladding, decking. In the middle of the heatwave, we realised that we hadn’t included an air conditioner for the main room, and added that to the list as well. We see this renovation as setting up the house for the next 30 to 40 years so we want to get it right. Some things I know immediately what I want, while at other times we spend quite a bit of time deliberating over the best choice. Boy, are we looking forward to moving into our new (to us) home!! I keep telling myself that it will all be worthwhile in the end.
The garden and orchard are beginning to bear us some produce. I didn’t realise how much I had come to rely on the garden being just outside my door until we moved up here. Several times I’ve gone to duck out and pick some herbs or see what’s in the garden for dinner, only to remember the garden isn’t here. Country Boy goes down to the farm each day to feed the animals, check on the gardens, and do whatever else needs doing around the farm. So far this season we have harvested a few peaches, lots of mulberries and sour cherries, and four tomatoes. In the next few weeks I’m sure we will be inundated as usual. I need to go through the cupboard and freezer and work out what I need to make this year. I know we need some more peach chutney. It is one of our favourites and we are completely out of it. I’m also keen to give my new dehydrator a run. The kids love dried apple and apricots so we will give them a try.
I’m not really someone who sets new years resolutions or intentions or even picks a word for the year, but 2017 is the year we make a concerted effort to slow down. When I say we, I really mean me. 2016 saw me just about hit the wall with work. Being a teacher can be all consuming, and despite my love of teaching, something has got to give. I’m planning on stepping back a little. Not doing quite as many extras as I have been, and accepting that I can’t always do everything at the standard I would like (slight OCD perfectionist tendencies here!!). I’m not great at stepping back or saying no, particularly when I enjoy something. I’m reminding myself that my family deserves to have my attention, and that I need to not be physically and mentally exhausted at the end of each week. Lets see how I go!
What have you been up to over the summer? Have you read Trixie Belden? Do you set new years resolutions?