I'd say that we've been busy, but I don't think that would even come close. If I threw the words "whirlwind", "exhausted", "mayhem" and "hectic" around, you'd start to get the idea. We've been away for a week for study. We've mustered. We've lambmarked. We've nursed injured lambs. We've cooked meals for up to 12 - and done the associated cleanup. We've weaned and sleep-trained Vicki. We've painted and decorated the sleepout. I could go on! The "we" includes Mum, who's been absolutely amazing (as usual). If she thought she might have a little holiday while visiting us, she was sorely mistaken - she had to go home for that! Poor Mum, I didn't even get the chance to take her into town for a coffee.
We went to Bingara for our course, and were lucky enough to find a farm close to town with little cottages available for hire. The price was reasonable, the cottages very comfortable, and it was the perfect arrangement - I dread to imagine Mum and the kids cooped up in a motel room for 7 days! Bingara is such a beautiful town, I love the ring of hills and mountains surrounding it.
It was a little frosty though, till I discovered the benefits of electric blankets - something I'd never had before. Cue my newfound addiction. All this time I've been getting up multiple times a night to kids, only to come back to a cold bed which would take an age to get warm - all to have to get up to a kid again. Not any longer. Electric blankets are the bomb.
We missed our kids like crazy while we were at school and thanked our lucky stars for Mum. If she hadn't looked after the kids, we wouldn't have been able to go. The days were long and intensive (for her too!), but oh boy was it worth it. Even if you'd been farming/grazing for decades, you would still come away with a whole new perspective, and I heartily recommend that anyone on the land do the course. Grazing for Profit. Challenging but very worthwhile.
Back home and it was straight into mustering.
We had a houseful, with every bed taken, plus extras during the day. While the kids are young I do the cooking, as it's not really possible to take them with me (not to mention I have no skills!) and I was lucky enough to have Mum's help this time - absolutely invaluable when you're looking after kids plus cooking to a schedule, which is not exactly my strong suit. We managed though, with up to 12 in for lunch and half that many for breakfast and dinner. The last day we took lunch over to the yards and kept it simple, which worked a treat. Harry loved it. He insisted on eating lunch with "the fellas" - lucky there was a spare pie!
We had lots of little lambs - so much cuter than their mothers! Unfortunately we lost some to wild dogs - we found some actually skinned, but still alive. So sad, and I tell you what, it makes you angry. They just "play" with the poor little things. Sickening. The one below is happy and healthy though!
The wethers were loaded onto a truck this morning - Harry was strutting up and down the side of the race, clapping his hands and pushing them up. Little champion!
It was lucky that Mum crammed all that bedding into her little car, and guess what else she managed to fit in? These!
They're birthday presents, and I adore them. They're perfect. I am such a lucky gal! The milking stool is perfect in the nearly-finished bathroom, and the bedside cabinet is just so beautiful - I can't wait to get it into place. Just got to put the hard word on hubby to help with some heavy lifting first.
Mum and I spent any spare time fixing up the sleepout, which was fantastic. I love how it's turned out. It was dingy and dusty and had become a bit of a storage/dumping ground. We cleared it out, painted, put up curtains and put 3 single stretchers in there, which will be perfect for when Harry's cousins visit, or for if we need an extra bed. I've also claimed it as a nanna nap or reading area for those lazy Sunday afternoons.
Here it is the day we moved in...
I think it was even worse than how it looks in this photo, especially with the assorted crap that had collected.
Here it is now.
I even found a place for this picture I drew a few years ago, which suits the space well.
There are still a few bits and pieces to do for it, mainly more pictures for the walls and I have a little table to paint, but other than that, it's ready to go. I love it!
I absolutely loved having Mum to stay, and I miss her lots now that she's headed back home. One of these days she'll come to visit and we'll do nothing but relax, rather than working her to the bone!!
The other significant event was weaning Vicki, and she was a little trooper. We combined that with a bit of sleep training - no more monitor, no more getting up unless it's really necessary, no more night feeds... yay! She did so well, it's like she just knew.
Such a big girl!
And I think that's about it! I'm exhausted just thinking about it...time to retire to the sleepout for a nanna nap, I think!