Saturday, August 15, 2015

The Coonara

We have a Coonara wood fired heater in the farm house.  It is our main form of heating the house, and it is just marvelous.  You light the fire, close the glass door, turn the fan on, and watch it blaze and heat up the entire house.

Naturally, the Coonara sits in one room, and we found that this room would heat up to 27 deg. C in the middle of winter, while the rest of the house was pushing 17.  So we installed a heat distribution system.  There is an air intake in the ceiling close to the Coonara, which then distributes the warm air to three different regions in the house.  Each region is controlled by a switch in the wall.  The regions are the bedrooms, the bathroom and laundry, and the master bedroom with walk-in robe and en-suite.  Each region has three outlets.

Before we go to sleep we pack the Coonara as full of wood as we possibly can and turn on the Coonara fan.  We turn off the distribution fans and turn the burn rate on the Coonara down to minimum, so the wood burns nice and slow.  Depending on the wood, and how well it's packed, a full Coonara can burn for up to 6 hours.

As the wood burns down to a handful of ashes, and the Coonara cools, it goes "bing" like a single sound of a gong.  This bing usually wakes me up.  Sometimes at 3am.  Sometimes at 5:30am.  Or anywhere in between.  I jump out of bed, re-stack it with fresh wood and boil the kettle.  If the embers have burned down really low, and the wood is a bit poor, I'll leave the Coonara door slightly ajar to suck in more air and get the fire going again.  I'll grab a glass of hot water and watch the fire re-light, then shut the Coonara door, and head back to bed.  Some nights, it means heading back to sleep.  Other nights, it merely means lying snug in bed for half an hour before needing to get up.  It doesn't matter - there's nothing nicer than getting dressed in front of a chugging Coonara.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Cancer Survivor

Five years ago I was diagnosed with breast cancer.  It was in its early stages at the time of diagnosis, which means it hadn't spread beyond the breast, but it was the most aggressive type of breast cancer.

Today, I have been declared as "Cancer free", as having beaten the disease, as being a "Cancer Survivor".  One.  Big.  Fat.  YAY!

Am I excited?  Well ... yes and no.  Of course I'm excited.  I'm mega excited.  I might even have something naughty like a piece of cake to celebrate.  That's like uber excited for me.

So, why is part of me "not excited"?  Because the five year mark is a mere medical milestone that now discharges me from my breast surgeon, back to my GP.  It allows me to get various forms of insurance that will cover me for cancer.  It's a formality.  And quite frankly, chemo has taken so much out of me that I'm not sure it's worth wasting my energy on "getting excited".

The truth is, the real war on cancer for me rages on, and will rage on for the rest of my life.  It's about walking a fine line between eating right, sleeping right, exercising enough, and yet still enjoying life to the fullest.  It's not easy and it takes a lot of thought, planning, correct information about nutrition, and an abundance of good habits.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

The Hay Harvest

Picking up 500 odd bales of hay (small squares) out of the paddock is no easy task.  Especially in the summer heat.  So already from the time of our first harvest we have learnt to start in the early evening, and work into the night.
Back then our attire was also rather amateurish, what with bras, shorts, sneakers and all that.  And of course our daughter was much younger then - we used to put her to sleep, and take the baby monitor with us in the truck.  But if the baby monitor was inside the cabin, it would lose contact.  So I drove the truck, holding the steering wheel with one hand, while holding the baby monitor outside the window with the other hand, all the while watching that the bales would get picked up by the loading arm, and making sure the crew on the back was ok.

What a relief it was when my parents offered to help.  Even just having someone at the house to look after our daughter was a huge relief.

Since those early days, we've also invested in some serious harvesting clothes.  It wasn't a financial investment per se.  More a rummage through the cupboard.  Long sleeved collared shirts, farm boots, long pants that hang over the boots - strategically vented in my husband's case - and good leather gloves.  And all of a sudden you've got a team that's just as ready to go boot scootin, as picking up hay.

Last year we got new neighbours, and they offered to help.  Kar-Lee rocked up, gazed at me sitting in the drivers seat of the truck and commented "Oh, I didn't know you had a trucking license."  I gently rolled my eyes up to the sky, pouted, and muttered something about a few rounds in a private paddock.

Last year must have been easy work because this year the neighbours have offered to help again.  Richard is away fighting fires in the Grampians, so it's just Kar-Lee and kids.

When picking up the bales from the paddock, three people makes up full house on the back of the truck, so the other two kids just run along ahead of the truck, trying to fix up the bales so they align better for pick up.  But when it comes to unpacking the truck, and putting the bales in the shed, it's all systems go, and everyone's in the game.
The younger kids don't have much experience behind them, and at times they are like little mice, dashing across the hay bales here and there, and no matter where they go, they are always in the way.  And of course we're working into the night, so they are getting tired.

But they never lose their spirit, and keep going like little duracell drummer bunnies.  By the end of the second truck the hay stack has grown high, everyone is sneezing, the bales are starting to feel heavy and Kar-Lee's youngest son is swinging from the rafters.  We're in stitches.

Then Kar-Lee and the kids drive off to pick up Richard from two towns down the road.  All merriment vanishes in a puff of the dust they kick up as they drive off, and the night darkens somehow.  We load up the third truck in silence, interrupted by the occasional "slow down" from the truck tray.  We're half way through the unloading when Kar-Lee returns with Richard.  Kids are safely tucked in bed, dreaming of huge hay stacks.

We joke and laugh again, as the hay stack in the shed grows, and grows.  I line up the last four bales on the tray of the truck, and start boot scootin.  Then we're all back in the field picking up the last truck load for Bob.  There's still more bales left in the paddock, but we've run out of room on the truck.  We park the truck, and break open the beer.

Friday, October 25, 2013

The pump

We have two water tanks, and hence, two water pumps.  One tank is up at the house, while the other is at the big shed.  The water pump at the big shed was originally at the house.  However, soon after moving in, we bought a new tank, installed it behind the shed, and the house water pump got relegated there, while we bought a new pump for the house.

So the pump at the shed has been reliably pumping water for goodness knows how long.  When you spend time at the big shed, you can hear it's whirr and whistle as it periodically turns itself on to re-pressurise.  Of course, you can hear it when you turn on the tap too.  It grinds along, while the water comes out of the tap with as much pressure as you want.

The other day I turned on the tap, and watched as the water poured slowly into my bucket.  There was an eerie silence.  The pump had gone.  The whirr and whistle no longer accompanied the flowing water, and there was no pressure to speak of.  It was a bit like the absence of a good friend, who always talks a little bit too much.

When I told my husband about the broken pump, he gazed at me and asked "Do I need to fix it today?".  Well, the water still pours out of the taps albeit slower, but it's far more than a trickle, so I figured there was no hurry.  But I am hoping that it will be replaced by Christmas.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Tour de France

My husband doesn't watch T.V. - Tour De France being his one and only exception, when he sits up half the night for three weeks, transfixed by two hundred guys on bicycles.  On the odd occasion I watch the beginning with him, hoping to poke him in the ribs as they show off some stunning chateaux.  I'll be honest - I also enjoy the culinary segment presented by Gabriel Gate'.

Well the other day, Gabriel Gate' dished up a recipe for leg of lamb, Normandy style.  With sheep grazing in the foreground, and Mt St Michel in the background, who could resist?

So I told my daughter that tonight Gabriel Gate' was coming to cook dinner.  "Gabriel who?", she asked.  So I explained.  She gazed at me.  So I dug out my best French accent, and tried to impersonate the famous chef.  Aha ... now she understood.  Except that she forgot his name.

So, all afternoon she kept asking "So, when is Master Chef coming?"

When we finally made it into the kitchen, I impersonated Gabriel again, just to set the scene.  By now she memorised his surname - well, sort of.  So, every time I turned my back it was "Hey, Gateaux!"

And if I turned around and spoke normally I was heavily reprimanded that "you are not Mama any more, you are Gateaux, speak like Gateaux!"

As the dinner preparations went on, and our conversation continued - me speaking with ze sexy French accent, and flirting like a true Frenchman, while the little girl batted her lashes, blushed, smiled and encouraged me to go on, we eventually moved onto first name basis.  Except my female form must have cast an influence, and so it became "Hey Gabriella!".

Eventually, dinner was served.  Given how much play acting and French talking oozed over it anything could have been forgiven, but it was not only edible, but delicious!  I was allowed to become Mama again as long as Gabriel made the odd appearance.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Cows are not light footed

Before we bought our cows, everyone told us how destructive horses are in a paddock.  They wear paths, they cause soil compaction, and they eat all the yummy grass.  And God forbid should they somehow get out of the paddock.  Not to mention that you need two acres per horse, but only one acre of land for each cow.  Cows are so much better than horses ... so we were told.

Well we've now had the darling cows for over one year, and my husband, who uses the purest language, summarised it "The horses are pussy-ie...cats compared to the cows!"

The cows have managed to jump out of our makeshift crush.  (Ok, it was a poorly made crush, but we never believed that a cow can jump 90cm (3 feet) from a standstill until we saw it with our very own eyes).  They've jumped the fence to the next door neighbour's multiple times.  And don't even get me started on compaction.  Horses make tracks in the paddock, and then they gallop along those tracks.  Cows gallop everywhere, leaving deep indentations of their dainty forked feet here, there and everywhere.  They eat like there is no tomorrow (why has there been no blog updates all winter?  because I've been too busy feeding the cows!), and if you are thinking of an acre per cow you're kidding yourself.

I am glad we have a dam, so at least we don't have to watch in horror how much they drink.

I am not saying that we haven't enjoyed having them.  We've certainly enjoyed having them, and when this lot go (and the land recovers) we will definitely get some more.  It's just that they haven't been the dainty, goofy little creatures we expected.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The Cattle Yard

The cattle yard site, before work commenced.  (The logs in the background are not the building materials.  They are left overs from the previous owners.)
While the cows appear to be all ready for the winter, I cannot say the same for our cattle yard.

The cattle yard became a "work in progress", at least on paper, the minute the cows stepped onto the property.  However, it takes a while to finalise the design.  My husband worked on the design, but at the end of the day it had to pass by me for approval.  In general, I am not overly fussy, but I do know a thing or two about horses.  Cows are similar enough, except that you can't lead them, and they are more fearful because they don't get handled.  So the original design was rejected.

We also played around with the concept of making a round yard double up as a cattle yard, but in the end we decided that wasn't as smart as it sounds.

At long last a suitable cattle yard design was approved, the materials were orderd and work commenced.

Building a cattle yard is hard outdoor yakka.  So while the weather was fine, progress was made.  But the recent bursts of rain, which seem to come mainly on the weekends - the only time we can make progress on the cattle yard - have ground the project almost to a stand still.  It's not that my husband minds working in the rain.  It's that you actually can't dig the holes for the posts in the rain.

If we don't get the cattle yard done in time, then we actually can't take the cows to the market when the time comes.  If we don't take the cows to the market at the right time, and end up taking them later, then we won't get as much money for them.  The cows' value will peak when they are about 18 months old.

So now the pressure is on, as we have about four months to get this project finished.

The current state of the cattle yard.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The Cows

Winter is almost upon us and the cows have grown a nice long winter coat.  We've started feeding them hay.  I think there is still a lot of grass left in the paddock, as the horses only nibbled the hay, then moved on.  The cows made more of a meal out of the hay, then turned it into a nice warm bed.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

The Barrista's Perspective

Every morning that I get into work, I put my things down at my desk, and promptly head back out again, downstairs, to get a coffee.  The barrista sees me from a distance, and by the time I get to the counter, my coffee is work in progress.

You see, the barrista doesn't know my name, but he knows that I have the same coffee every day ... as do most of his patrons.  So, when he spots me on the horizon he thinks "Ah, here comes 'small cappuccino'".

And, that short, dark skinned man over there - well he is a "tall latte".  The blonde haired tall bloke - "small machiato".  The two giggling ladies - "regular extra strong cappucino" and "regular latte".

Having said all that, I have recently changed work locations.  With that comes a new coffee shop and a new barrista.  The coffee is as good as ever, but this barrista insists on being on first name basis with all her regular customers.  Mind you, she still knows what your regular choice of coffee is.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012


On Saturday, while I was unpacking the float and Sabina was merrily dancing around me, my husband came over with a little box.  Inside was a tiny baby mouse, still alive.  It's eyes were still closed and it had just enough hair to stop looking pink.  He'd found it in the old compost bin.  (As opposed to the "current" compost bin, which is where all our food scraps go.)

Sabina was fascinated.  I wondered whether the little fella could be hand fed.  So we went back to the house, got a pipette out and tried feeding him with cows milk.  Sure enough, the little fella was keen to drink, and while he probably bathed in most of it, I was pretty confident that he'd had a good drink.

Then we put him to bed in a box, with a hot water bottle.  He shivered for a couple of minutes, then settled down and went to sleep.  Sabina was ecstatic.

When Papa came in she ran over to him and said "Charlie has had a feed and now he's sleeping in his bed.  Do you want to see?"

Papa gazed at me with concern.  "You've named him?"

I gathered that the baby mouse was intended as an interesting farm exhibit, rather than a new pet.  Hmmm ...

As I had no idea how often and how much a little 5 day old mouse needs to be fed, I fed Charlie whenever I had some spare time.  But in the evening I warned Sabina "I am not getting up in the middle of the night to feed him.  He might not make it.  Ok?"  She nodded.  But Charlie made it.  He was a bit cold in the morning, but he made it.  And he had a good feed for breakfast.

For the next couple of blissful days we fed Charlie as often as we could, and he seemed to be thriving.  Sabina had a go at feeding him, and it was wonderful to see just how gentle, careful and patient she was with him.  We stroked him, and massaged him, just the way his mother would.  He grew stronger, and more vocal, and sometimes wriggled with great force in our palm.  He was happiest when held in a gently closed fist.  And he loved having his stomach massaged - he would lie still on his back, with his feet curled up.  Sometimes he had a mind of his own, and it was obvious that one day, Charlie was going to be fast.  Very fast.

We probably spent hours with Charlie.  But they were all blissful hours.  Hours that we looked forward to.  All other tasks got done in half the time, so that we'd have more time with Charlie.  Charlie became our family time, our time out, our escape from the real world.

Then it was time for me to go to work.  While I was very tempted to take Charlie with me into work, and I could even potentially justify that while feeding Charlie for the umpteenth time I was actually thinking up the latest and greatest architecture, it was going to break some serious security rules.  So, Charlie, together with Sabina (who happened to have the day off school), went to my Mum's.

Now my Mum has a huge affinity for all things living.  Everything thrives in her hands and under her care.  But somehow, Charlie didn't survive the day.  All I can say is that my Mum was more interested in the well being of her granddaughter than her granddaughter's baby mouse, and she didn't have enough energy for both.

The little guy got a proper burial in our backyard, and we decorated his resting place with petals.  This certainly gave Sabina a positive way to move forward, and soon she had wiped away the tears and was gratefully hugging her guinea pigs.  But I must admit, that the little guy has left a gaping hole in my day.  Lets just say that the massive enthusiasm to get up in the morning is gone.

I am grateful for the experience; Charlie will be missed.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Captain Hook

Recently we took a holiday at the sea side.  The weather was foul - it poured most of the time we were there, despite being the end of summer.  On one of those pouring days, we nevertheless went down to the beach to see if we could manage a swim.

There was only one other car in the car park, and while my husband and I were busy getting things out of the boot, the couple from the other car were, so it seems, doing likewise.

Slowly, I became aware of Sabina.  She was holding, no wait, more like gently gripping my elbow, while intensely eying off the other car.  There was this edgy feeling coming from my daughter that something wasn't quite right.  I glanced across at the other car.  Indeed, the man was missing half his right arm.  From the elbow to the wrist he had a nice enough looking prosthesis, which ended with ... a hook.

I pretended not to notice anything, and kept myself busy with grabbing towels, boogie boards and other what nots for the beach.  Sabina stepped in closer and closer, ever so gently molding into me, until there was barely enough room for our clothes.  When the man finally moved away, and went for a walk with his partner, Sabina dared to ask.

"Mama, was that ... was that ...", she stumbled.

"Who?  Captain Hook?", I said casually.

Here eyes widened with a stunned, fearful look as she nodded.

"Of course that was Captain Hook!" I responded boldly.

"But Mama, where is his ship?!", the little girl found her voice again.

"Well, no one, not even the pirates, can sail in foul whether like this.  So they've probably dropped anchor somewhere just out of sight, and the pirates have come ashore", I explained as though this was common knowledge.

"But Mama, why didn't he take me and hold me for ransom?", asked Sabina.

"Pirates aren't silly you know.  I was here, and Papa was here, and the life savers are here, and even the Police are here.  He can't exactly grab you and get away with it, can he?  You're very lucky, you know.  You're probably the only child that has seen Captain Hook and got away with it."

On and on it went.  For the next two days.  Captain Hook this and Captain Hook that.  We got a lot of mileage out of Captain Hook.  And I believe that Sabina, now back at school, is still getting plenty of mileage out of Captain Hook.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Run Guinea Pig! RUN!!!

My daughter received a DVD of "White Tuft, the little beaver" for Christmas.  The DVD is fantastic, filmed in the Canadian forest, with no visible human intervention whatsoever.  That's right, a real river, with real beavers, wolves, owls, lynxes, you name it.

Living in Australia, my daughter had never heard of beavers before.  So the start of the movie was littered with questions.  What are these animals?  What do they do?  Where do they live?  What do they eat?  And of course, what are they called again?

Then the part came in the movie, when White Tuft, the little beaver is being chased by wolves.  Earlier on, we were told that White Tuft's father was taken by wolves.  So the danger was obvious.

And, what are they called again?

At first Sabina tried to run off the couch in fear for the little beaver.  But, curiousity drew her back to the screen.  Yet, she couldn't watch the little fellow being followed by these wolves.  So in the end, she just screamed "Run guinea pig!  RUN!!!"

(Come to think of it, there are many similarities between the beaver and the guinea pig.)

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Two arenas

My husband and I cannot agree on where the arena should go.  You see, our land is undulating.  Steep in some places.  And the main hub of activity, the house, the shed and the driveway is up on top of the ridge.

Initially we planned for the arena to go on top of the ridge too, next to the driveway.  Opposite the shed.

Then we lived at the farm for a while, and we realised that we live in a really windy place.  The wind really howls on top of the ridge.  In fact, just where the arena was supposed to go, there is a bit of a saddle, and the wind is just merciless through there.

On one cold, windy day I headed down into the amphetheatre paddock - so called because it has steep sides, that surround a flatish area at the bottom.  Up on the ridge it was winter.  Down in the amphetheatre it was summer - balmy warm with a mild breeze.

So it was decided, that maybe, the amphetheatre was a better place for the arena.  We had the area dug out and flattened.  Then it was left to rest and settle.  It cost us a small fortune.


Then, my daughter started riding, and I got thinking.  How could I possibly be riding down in the amphetheatre arena, while my daughter was fiddling with her ponies up near the shed?  Or, how could I possibly let her ride alone in the arena (down in the amphetheatre)?  Then of course, should I ever teach people at my place, how could I have them arrive, while I was teaching a lesson in the amphetheatre?  And even if I didn't teach anyone, but I had another child, how could I ever walk a pram and a horse down to the arena?

It became quite obvious to me that the arena needed to be on the ridge, next to the driveway, opposite the shed.  By this stage I had got over the wind.  It turned out that the "top" arena (as it started being called) was better for riding in the early mornings (as it got the sun earlier).

My husband, on the other hand, is still gazing at the small fortune we have spent on flattening the area in the amphetheatre, convinced that the "bottom" arena is the "right" spot.

So on the one hand, it appears that we cannot agree where to put the arena.  (Just like we cannot agree whether to cook with gas or electricity).  On the other hand, one could say that we have two arenas.  Unfenced and unfinished, but two arenas nevertheless.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Chipped tooth

I have chipped a tooth.  About a quarter of one of my molars has come off.  It's a big chunk.  As big as one of my daughter's milk teeth.

There is no doubt that chemo has been a major contributor to this occurrence.  I feel totally depressed.  Not "tears" kind of depressed.  Just depressed.  For a while I feel like I'm in a bubble, removed from the outside world.  The sounds have gone dull, and life is moving in slow motion.

I tell my daughter about the chipped tooth.  She looks in my mouth and exclaims "oh mama!"  I don't even have to point her to the tooth in question.  It's that big.

"Mama, do you have the chipped bit?", she asks.

"Yes."  I show her the chip, and she examines it with great interest and care.

"Well mama, you can put the chip next to your bed, and the tooth fairy will come and take it, and give you a dollar for it."

I give her a doubtful look.

"The dentist bill to get this fixed is going to be much more than a dollar", I whinge.

"Mama, but that's always a dollar more", says Sabina with enthusiasm.  "A dollar, is always a dollar."

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Tooth fairy runs out of time

I went up to my daughter's bedroom to wake her up.  I opened the door, and slowly crept in.  The sight of the slightly bloody tissue made my stomach sink.  Oh no!  My daughter had obviously lost a tooth last night, after we had bid her goodnight.  And of course ... the tooth was still there, waiting for the tooth fairy that never came.  We (as parents) were about to be in big trouble.

I quickly averted my gaze, as my daughter stirred awake.  Immediately, she looked at her bedside table.  She saw the tooth still lying there.

"Mama!  Look!", she screamed with disappointment.

"Oh sweetness, what's that?  Did you lose a tooth last night?"

She nodded.

"Mama!  But the tooth fairy didn't come!  I stayed awake waiting for her to take the tooth, and she never came.  And then I got bored and fell asleep.  I really wanted to see the tooth fairy!  Oh mama!"

(Oh dear!)

"Well, you know, I'm thinking, maybe the tooth fairy ran out of time.  I suppose she's got a lot of teeth to pick up, and because you lost your tooth so late in the evening, she just couldn't fit you in any more.  I think you should leave the tooth just there, and maybe the tooth fairy will come tonight", I responded, hoping it will be good enough.

Part of me wanted to scream "there is no tooth fairy, get over it kid!  You're seven now.  Reality check!  Hello!"  But I just smiled, holding that thought to myself.

"Mama, I really wanted to see the tooth fairy", the little girl said sadly as she got out of bed and headed down for breakfast.


That night, after my daughter fell asleep, the tooth fairy picked up the tooth and left a dollar.  The little girl was all smiles again the next morning, still believing in the tooth fairy.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Still showering

I would just like post an update - I am still showering in the garden of the Gods.  Yep, come around at the right time, and you'll see me starkers under the outside shower.  (This almost happened to one workman!  He should be so lucky ...)

The thing is, I keep trying to find weather situations that will make me hate the outdoor shower for ever.  But I can't.  So far I have showered in rain, wind, cold weather and warm weather, and I've always walked away feeling fantastic, and loving the experience.  Which might just say something about how indulgent the simple shower really is.

I have actually found that showering on a warm, but windy, day to be the worst.  Cold and windy was fine.  But warm and windy ... I don't know.  Not my cup of tea I guess.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Famous Five

When I was young, about 10 or 11, I read the Famous Five series by Enid Blyton.  I loved it.  I loved the books so much, that I spent my own hard earned pocket money on the books.  Then I kept the books, hoping one day to read them to my children.  That time has arrived!

After reading two of the Harry Potter books to Sabina, I decided she was a bit too young to continue with the rest, and we needed to veer off at a tangent.  I reached for the first Famous Five book, and coaxed Sabina through the first chapter.  "Mama, it's boring!".

I must admit, after Harry Potter, the first chapter of the series left a lot to be desired.  In fact the first entire book was littered with the overuse of certain words, as well as some strange sentence grammar.  Not incorrect, per se.  We just don't seem to "talk" or write like that these days.

By the second chapter she was hooked.

We finished the first book, and there were squeals of delight when Sabina discovered that we also own the second book in the series.

By the end of the second book, she had managed to defiantly hide her cousin in a "secret passage" to stop her from going home.  She was hoping that the grandparents and other cousin would happily leave without the hidden girl, and they would be able to continue playing together.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

New pergola

And ... did I say "pergola"? (see last entry)  Oh, my goodness, I have totally forgotten to write that we have finally torn down the old eye sore of a pergola,

and put up a new one.  Outdoor entertaining, here we come!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Garden tidy up

For 2 years I pretty much haven't touched the garden.  Before I found out I had cancer, a lot of things already weren't right, and I just didn't have the energy to jump in with the shearers and clippers.

Then last year I was all chemo.  Then this year has been all recovery from chemo.  And in the meantime we've had two bumper seasons of rain.  The garden grew, and grew and grew.

Today I finally decided to curb this growth.  To control it.  To bend it my way.  I jumped in among the shrubs with the shearers and went mad.  Wheelbarrow after wheelbarrow, full of clippings, departed the garden.

Finally, I straightened up and surveyed my work.  The wild jungle of shrubs now showed some semblance of order and manicure.  The pom pom trees were no longer submerged in shrubs.  There was a visible path between the bamboo shrubs and the ground covers.  The rock garden was no longer encroaching on the rose garden.

Neatness reigned again.  I put down my tools, took off my gloves, sat under the pergola, watched and appreciated.

Monday, November 7, 2011

The last treatment

Finally the day of the last treatment has arrived.  I rock up to Day Oncology armed with the usual survival kit - mobile phone and book.  In addition, I also carry a thank you card.  A thank you card for all the nurses and other staff who have looked after me, and treated me like royalty for over a year.  In a funny kind of way I know I will miss them.

The nurse asks her usual set of questions, then proceeds to find the vein.  I feel the little sting, and I know she's got it.  But then, she loses it.  Nope.  Second try.  All good this time.  Just a sufficient reminder why I don't want to come back.

Other than that, the treatment is as uneventful as ever.  Towards the end I get a funny feeling, as though my body has just had enough of the drug.  Before I know it, the drip has finished, and I'm checking out ... for good.  Yay!

I wish I could jump up, click my heels and depart in a whirlwind of celebration.  But I can't.  I feel tired and hungry.  I just want to go back to my mum's house, eat a nice lunch, and then flop into bed and fall asleep.

The celebrations will just have to wait till I have recovered from treatment.

In the meantime, I would just like to extend a huge thank you to my parents, my parents in-law, my husband, my daughter, and all my friends who have been extremely supportive, understanding, and helpful throughout this time.  You've all made the journey truly worthwhile.

Friday, November 4, 2011

The shower, the man on the moon, and me

As I have previously mentioned due to current bathroom rennovations, we are using a temporary outdoor shower.  The shower possesses a light, and tonight was my very first nighttime shower experience.

My expectations of this shower are now so high, that when I saw the slugs on the shower base I almost ran the other way.  Nothing a quick brush with a shoe can't fix.

So, I turned on the shower after all, and jumped under the hot water.  Remember?  The hotter the better.  Then I slowly looked around.

The garden of the Gods was consumed by darkness, and the shower light cast a strange, yellow glow.  The hot water, turned into steam, which rose mystically around me.  My gazed followed it up.  That's when I spotted the moon.  Half of it.  Pale.  Cold.  Gazing at me without a single blink.

I brought my gaze back down to earth, staring at the steam making strange shapes in the darkness.  It was a very peaceful, healing experience, full of meditation and contemplation.  Who knows, maybe a thousand creatures were watching me, but as far as I was concerned it was just the shower, the man on the moon, and me.