Chooky La La

“What are you guys doing in there?”

Grassy, Daphne and Feathery are laying three eggs a day. They plonk them down together in a little box in their Chooky Home. The kids barge out the door in the morning and juggle/snuggle/drop/roll the eggs back inside.

Daisy, two years younger than Zoe, is feisty enough to claim her share.

A small slice of Backyard Farming Bliss.

…until the day there was only two eggs.

We upped the hippy ingredients in their food. Still two eggs. Stopped Daisy from chasing Grassy.

Still two eggs.

Nearly two weeks of two eggs.

…and then I found a hidden stash!

A frosty ground is good for walking…

I pulled the car over to listen to a song. Dougie MacLean was playing live on Radio National. He introduced the song and mentioned that he had been singing it for 20 years. The song is Caledonia on my Mind.

I had to stop and listen because I had heard him sing it at the Longford Folk Festival in Nth Tasmania some 20 years ago. I stumbled onto the festival during a 2 year teenage ramble around OZ. I had no idea who Dougie MacLean was then, but half way through this song, in a small wooden hall in Northern Tasmania, I was in tears. I was alone and young, a long way from home.

Hearing the song again I was both grateful to him and melancholy. It was a momentary bookend to my life until now. Family, friends, hopes, dreams… you know the story.

Strangley, only a few hours after, I got to hear an Interview with the singer Rodriguez on ABC radio 774. He spoke of touring with Midnight Oil in the early 80s. He remembered playing at Tanalorn Festival in Oct 1981, held Nth of Sydney.
On the bill were Split Enz, Men At Work, The Church, Sunnyboys, Mi-Sex, Moving Pictures, Goldrush, Billy Thorpe, Midnight Oil, etc and of course, Rodriguez.

I was one of a pimply crew of 19 year old friends who got there. We camped out amoung 28,000 hippies and stoners. I lost the keys to my Dads car in a pit toilet – as you do… We got to see a wilder slice of life than our St Marys existence. I suspect it helped spin me off into more untrodden terrotory … but that is another story. I remember that Rodriguez was either sick, or out of it, or very shy. He mumbled and had to sit, and referred to lyrics that he fished out of his back pocket. Having said that, hearing him was mesmerising. The Oils were next. I remember a young Pete Garret climbing the scoffolding to belt out an anthem – steam coming off his wild scone. (Geeez mate, what happenned?)

….and as a nod to the maxim that things come in threes. I got an email the other day asking me for a copy of tune that our band used to play. Again, this was maybe 18 years ago. The email quoted remembered lyrics.

Some of them are:

A frosty ground is good for walking
A bottle of wine is good for talking

And outside there’s a wind from the north
And in the heat, spray the kids with the hose
And at the railway, there’s a train with a stranger getting on
And she’s gone….

I wrote the song when I was travelling, alone. I now have a home and a warm, beautiful family. However, my spirit is still on a journey, a long way from home.

Monkey Bar

Daisy didn’t have her daytime nap.

Run!

She didn’t have it yesterday either.

I have been having some fun minding the kids the past two days but I really should have nailed the nap thing. Her poor little Doe Eyes were bugging out of her head by the time she did go to bed.

We played at home inside and outside *gasp* this morning. The three of us made a Volcano!

Dramatic pause…

Paper maché. 30 cm tall. It is still drying. Sadly, it will take a wintery while.

The arvo saw us at Gymnastics. We are new to this. The hall was full of serious stuff. All the equipment that you might see at the Olympics. Zoe was in Monkey Bar heaven.

The afternoon rambles on towards diner. Friends come over. Four kids in the bath.

Neigbours drop by.

There are 8 girls to one bloke – me.

*treading very carefully*

On yer bike, Mate.

Thursday and Friday are non Boat Building days. I hang with Zoe and Daisy whilst Beth works. She works two days a week and provides our income.

We are bears of little need.

I bottled the kids into the bike trailer and rode to a dance.

How very old fashioned of us!

A few daggy kids songs, a parachute and some other lazy props are all you need to get 20 kids skidding and falling and dancing.

Daisy was stunned by the mayhem. She was into it by half time. Zoe was buzzing.

Dropping by the library for Storytime then home for a lunch of peaches and cream (and a nibble of cheese).

I squashed them into a pram and headed out into a light rain for a wintery ramble around town. A cafe, the Library (yes, again :).

Made it to a friends place for a coffee. She has kids the same age. Easy fun for everyone.

Daisy didn’t sleep at all today… crikey.

Escape

Dry fitted the Escape Hatch today. I know it may be used in anger and is set up for that purpose but what a cool spot to sit and gaze into the sea. The hatch is in the kids cabin. They are going to love it. I will install a light under the water below the hatch for fish finding at night. I imagine the hatch will be used for passing up groceries and passing out beer… :)

Got home just as Zoe was going to bed but being the bad influence I like to think I am, I took her up the street to do the supamarket shopping with me. Couldn’t help but speed, twirl and crash the trolley. What is it about blokes and kids and trolleys? Who can resist?

Zombie Slow

Work on the Catamaran has become Zombie Slow. All 19 hatches and portlights (yes, yes that is a lot) need flat bases to sit on. This job has taken me 2 full days. It is so tempting to whack everything together and just go sailing but I really want to continue to tweak everything and bugger, i think I might be a perfectionist. Mind you, it is good to see the hatches sitting in place, even temporarily. Bling!

Home by 6pm to my adorable girls. They have been up the bush in the caravan for the past two days. Zoe and I had a good exchange of gossip. Seems she fed a possum out her hand. The sleeping bag I pimped to her was cold. Our tree house is still there. Daisy, climbed all over me and I flipped her and somersaulted her until bedtime.
Beth has the country calm about her. Nice.

Fünfzig

So, i’m 50.

Crikey.

No aches or pains. Three Beautiful girls. Stuff.
Some dreams fulfilled. Happy.

Raises bat… just.

A low key ‘Drift into 50’ birthday. I keep the boat at the dock for a few days. Friends camp in the backyard for a few days.

Drifting into 50 is my way of testing the water…

“Easy. Easy, Ahhh. That’s nice. Now its time to get out. Bugger, i’m stuck. Help.”

Zoe, aged 4, and I slept on the boat for a few nights.

Zoe was strangely casual about that. She has never slept on the boat on the water. In the driveway…, but not on the water.

Actually this was the first time she had ever been away from her Mum.

The first night was quite wild. 25 knots of wind.

The rigging was humming and whistling. The sun went down – as it does.

I rugged Zoe up well and truly Dadda Snug. Down below to play Snap and clean our teeth ready for bed.

Zoe has a über cosy bed up forward.

It is a crawl space that opens out into a tiny room. She dragged a herd of dinosaurs in there along with her torch, declared that “I dont want any books tonight, Dadda”, turned off the torch, and went to sleep.

I mean straight to sleep. Out like a light.

I couldn’t take it. It was a bit weird. Had she been bitten by a White Tail Spider???

So i woke her… yep, I know. Dumb Dadda.

She woke and told me, “I was asleep”, “You woke me!?”.
Then *phew* went back to sleep.

I went on deck and surveyed the Salty World. For some reason, that I don’t want to know about, the sea is it for me.

A Philosophical Birthday Beer then bed.

I love Zoe and Daisy so much, it hurts. How strange that two kooky little feisty creatures have come in to my life… although I am becoming aware that it is me that is dipping into their lives.
Hmmmm, Philosophical Beer.

We had breakfast at sunrise. Ouch. Philosophical Beer.

After snugging the boat back at the dock, we noodled home via a small forest where we played Dinosaur hide and seek. It never ends when you are Four.

Our good friends were staying in a tent in the backyard for the weekend of my birthday. I had declared that my 50th birthday would ramble over four days. Somehow, in the most beautifully sincere and sinister way, Beth agreed.

The actual day was spent at a kooky farm with Zoes’ kindergarten. The size of the signs warning that ‘Emus will Peck!’ were only matched by the size of the holes in the Emu fence. We had a coffee at The Merricks General Store. Site of our first prenancy test results celebrations… Good timing still, as Daisy slept in the car, outside the cafe window, as we slurped coffee and tea.

(Look Away – birthday swill below)

I scored some ace pressies. A new 4/3 Ripcurl Dawn Patrol wetsuit!! Boots, Tevas, a very bling Coffee Machine. Cases of wine.
I am blissed out by the loot… So shallow :)

On the last day of my ‘Drift into 50’, five of us went on a somewhat bent out of shape adventure to the remote and beautiful Sandy Point in Westernport Bay. Beth and Daisy stayed home as the gorgeous small Daisy Creature is too much of a live wire to enjoy being on a boat for a day.

It took years to sail there. The motor broke down so we were well and truly doing it 1890s style. Sails only.

I sailed close to a submarine to extract the maximum glee from the four year old Z.

She caught a Barracouta!

We had to tack into light winds all the way to the beach. Not getting there until 2pm. Rie steered nearly all the way. Which is no easy thing – steering a fickle trimaran into shifting flukey winds. She is a natural. They have inherited a boat that I am helping to trick up. Oh yes, they will be Loyal Converts to the Dark Ways of the Sea…

Sandy Point is remote. It has no road access.

The beach is pure and clean, no footprints.

Driftwood. Shells.

Soldier Crabs.

Dave stayed on the boat and landed five Flathead. He was in “Here, Fishy, Fishy” heaven. Being the fishing tragic that he is i could only be insanely and unreasonably happy for him!

The rest of us fossicked.

The trip home was all downwind. The Trimaran slid along ‘wing to wing’ and we took only an hour to get back. I cooked ‘boat flavoured’ Toad in a Hole for Jack and Z. We sailed right up to the dock.

It was fuzzy and warm to have good friends camping at our place and to have a very low key birthday. Daisy grinned all weekend. Bouncing from person to person. Squeezable. Impossibly cute with a bent sense of humour. Zoe put herself in another gear and laughed and raved her way through each day.

Thanks Beth. You are my partner in crime. My love.

I am feeling tired. I need a shave, a hair cut and a good sleep.

It’s late, i’m 50.