After thinking this day would never come, we finally ended up back at horse riding again!! The weather was….. well, not very accommodating, and we thought the horses might be a bit silly like they can tend to be in that kind of weather, but all was good.
Molly has a desperate desire to live on a farm. It may have something to do with having been birthed during our “Bourke Days” (when we were living in the Australian Outback) but for whatever reason, farm life is in her blood. She dreams of living in the country, owning a horse, a ute, and at least one dog. Our current living situation has us living near great friends in a lovely beachside city, and at this time it isn’t going to work for us to move to the country, so I seek ways to fulfil her love of animals and farming by taking her to places where she gets to experience some farming thrills. We recently went for a visit to a great little place near us called Oakvale Farm, taking the opportunity to make the most of some cheap vouchers we’d bought. One of Molly’s friends came with us, and they had the best time playing with all the animals, especially the baby goats. So I guess I could say the kids really enjoyed the kids? 🙂
But today was the ultimate experience: HORSE RIDING LESSONS!
Together with about 30 other home ed kids, we descended on a local equestrian centre and had us some horsey fun! Molly was grinning from ear to ear the whole time, and she is already dreaming about next Friday. She didn’t get to ride the horse she had really wanted to ride, but she fell in love with her designated steed nonetheless. His name is Selwyn and I believe he has definitely won his way into Molly’s heart. She had to wait quite awhile until it was her turn to ride, but it was still interesting to watch the other group while we waited. The instructor could have been better in some ways, but I’m fairly confident she did a much better job than I could have done! 🙂
We recently had the awesome privilege of visiting a Shark and Ray Centre with a large number of home educating families. It was amazing to see the initial hesitation in the children as they first put their fingers in the water, and then their toes, and finally their whole bodies. The longer we were there, the more their confidence grew, and soon they were literally swimming around with the sharks and rays. It was such an incredible, sensory, intriguing experience for us all, and definitely one that we want to repeat!
Late last year, Declan had the awesome privilege of attending a “Boys’ Bush Adventure”. It was a 5 day camp for boys, in the bush, learning survival skills, building wooden things using only hand tools, finding and making food, etc. It was organised by our good mate and home educating dad, Tim Schloss. They all got dirty, muddy, smelly, and exhausted. They also built and created things, bonded over shared challenges and adventures, created their own bases in the bush to sleep in, and basically just had a fantastic time. It was such a wonderful experience! Some of the mums, girls and younger children went up at the end to check it out and say g’day.
Last year (catching up on blogging!) we had the opportunity to do a tour with a bunch of home ed families to an awesome place called Purple Pear Organic Farm. It’s an amazing place that provides food to about 40 families every week, as well as feeding themselves of course. The provide work for WOOFers, and also run permaculture courses. The vibe was so amazingly friendly and informative, and I was amazed at the attentiveness of the kids. They soaked it up, mud puddles and all. 🙂
I have some blogging to catch up on!!
Last year we went on a trip with some other home ed families to Timbertown, a few hours north of where we live. We had heaps of fun exploring an historical village with all the trimmings.
One of the things that really stood out to me was how many of the people who worked there are incredibly passionate about what they do. It was a great reminder of how the children’s interests, now matter how seemingly abstract, can become a source of income. For instance, when I was walking back to the car to get something, I stopped to chat to the man who was working on the steam train we’d previously ridden on. I ended up standing there for about 20 or 30 minutes while he raved … and raved … and raved about the train, how he cleans it, the work involved, the methods he uses, etc. Even though it’s not something I’m personally interested in, I was enthralled by his level of passion for the train! 🙂
The guy working with the draft horses and carriage was equally passionate about his field of expertise and kept us thoroughly informed and entertained as we did our little trip around the town behind his prized horses. He seemed to have the perfect ability to inform us without talking for too long, which I was relieved about, since we were a captive audience! And…. he had a whip! 🙂 Molly was quite concerned about his use of the whip, being very compassionate towards animals, and he didn’t belittle her or talk down to her about it. He patiently explained his use of the whip, the purpose behind it, and the fact that he wasn’t actually touching the horse with it. Then he went the extra mile, stopping the cart and letting the kids have a turn of the whip!
The kids enjoyed the hands on opportunities!
All in all it was a really fun day with friends, and we thoroughly enjoyed immersing ourselves in an historical village, and absorbing some of the enthusiasm of the workers there.
After Timbertown we all went back to our accommodation, and then that evening we were treated to a talk at The Observatory, and got to look through the enormous telescope, with the sky clear enough to allow a viewing of the rings of Saturn. Obviously, I was unable to get a photo of that!
Next time we head up to this beautiful part of the world, we’re really hoping that the Bago Maze is operational!
We’ve finally done it! The no dig garden that has lived only in my imagination for so long has finally become an actual thing in real life! Like most things, I learned a lot by researching on the internet and in books, but I topped off that learning by actually DOING it. I’ve now realised a few things I’d do differently next time, but like they say – live n learn!
We’ve just returned from such an amazing, wonderful adventure! First, we enjoyed a MUCH needed holiday break at beautiful Rainbow Bay on the Gold Coast. The people who were in the unit we’d booked prior to our arrival had requested to stay an extra few days, so we were moved to a different unit from the one we’d booked. As we walked in to the unit, we just kept walking…. and walking…. and walking! There were absolutely massive, beautiful living spaces including two kitchens, plus there were 4 bedrooms & 3 bathrooms, and all up there was pretty much 360 degree views since we had the entire floor to ourselves!!! We quickly checked to make sure that we were in the right unit, and were delighted to find out we were – for no extra cost! What a blessing! After having so much stress & busyness over the past few months, with Geoff working multiple jobs and studying his masters at the same time, it was such a blessing to be upgraded to such a beautiful place. And for no extra money!
To our delight, we have discovered that the the little green figs on our figtree have become large-ish, more colourful, soft, ripe fruit! Yum…… 🙂
Of course, the trick was getting to them before the birds. Mind you, I’m figuring that the ones the birds get to first are at least going to a worthy cause! However, in an effort to try to keep at least SOME figs for ourselves (I know – how incredibly selfish of us!), my good friend Melissa came to the rescue again, this time with some bird netting. Unfortunately, there isn’t quite enough of it, so the birds still get under it and eat all the blessed fruit they like! At least they manage to get back out again, rather than getting stuck. Me thinks the bird netting might as well come down, and next time we’ll get a larger piece!
So…. today was the day we bit the bullet, went for a beautiful country drive, and bought ourselves 6 little day-old chicks! SUCH an exciting moment. We’re really nowhere near ready for them, but my friend Melissa was going out to this great breeder to buy some ducklings and suggested I come with her and get started on our chicken adventure! Nothing like a bit of pressure to get those weeds & asbestos removed, and a chook house built! At least for now they can live in our laundry at night and in a spare rabbit hutch during the warm summer days! They’re SOOOOOO cute. We got one for each membe of the fam, although at this stage T & B are insisting they’re not at all interested. But I’m sure the girls will win them over with their charms.
And I have to say it’s also a little bit exciting to have the power balance change in the female direction, in this formerly-testosterone-fuelled household! Molly’s been wishing for a sister for a long time, so now she gets SIX!! That makes eight girls in the family now, in a funny kind of way. Actually, twelve if you count the mice. But then I suppose we’d have to count the male rabbit & dog, but I still think the girls win. Hang on while I add it up…… YES! Girls:12 Boys: 6 🙂