Wednesday, March 4, 2015

A Smile of Sunflowers

I have a confession. I don't really like yellow flowers. However, show me a field of glorious yellow Sunflowers and I will profess my love for them in a thousand different languages. I love them so much I walk down to them everyday and just stare at them for ages. It may be a case of 'housework aversion" but I'd rather call it "choosing to put myself in the way of beauty" as said by Laura Dern in the movie "Wild".  I think there's something in that.

It was my only non negotiable request with the farm project. "Can we please just set aside a patch for some Sunflowers?". Although we are trying to use every square meter of land for productive uses who can argue against the value of a beautiful field of Sunflowers? No one. As it turned out, there were two wedges of land between the 3 sections of Orchard and it had "Mel's Sunflowers" written all over them. Flynn calls them "pretties" and everyday he says "more pretties t'day" as the number of yellow happy faces increases in the paddock.

Sunflower fields are in the photo albums of my childhood, stemming from visits to my Great Grandparent's home in Idaho where there were fields of Sunflowers and Black-eyed Susans dotted around the countryside. And then there was Anne of Green Gables, my favourite childhood book which was then turned into one of my favourite childhood TV series. When I lived in Canada I took a trip to Prince Edward Island specifically to visit Green Gables and walk the fields that Megan Follows had done in the series. There were Sunflowers all through the garden of "Anne's" cottage which left a lasting impression on me. One day, I thought, I will have a garden with Sunflowers.

I was trying to find the collective noun for Sunflowers but had no such luck. A "chorus of Sunflowers" or a "happiness of Sunflowers" perhaps? Watching their sunny heads bob from side to side in the breeze made me think a "jive of Sunflowers" would be a pretty apt noun for them until I spotted "A thousand splendid Suns" by Khaled Hosseini sitting on the bookshelf and thought "a splendour of sunflowers" would describe them even better.  I then went back to how they make you feel when you see them and decided it would have to be a "smile of Sunflowers" for the title of this Post. It was either that or "Are you sick of my Sunflowers yet?". If anyone is following me on Instagram, I truly apologise for the Sunflower spam. I'm ready to move on now.

Whatever the collective noun may be, I love Sunflowers. A lot.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Notes to self

Note #1 Practice sales pitch before every market.

"Would you like to taste my nuts?"
Oh dear.
"Er, would you like to sample our nuts?"
Not much better.
"Care to try some tasty nuts. We have 2 nuts available. Er, Hazelnuts and Almonds. They're roasted and then caramelised......"
A bit too long.
 "Nuts. Nuts. We're nuts over here! I mean we have nuts over here"
Good grief!
"Would you like to try...(commence hand gestures to tasting plate)"

Note #2 Pay special attention to seemingly mundane conversations with children in the car. 

Eleanor: Mum are you wearing that skirt again today?
Me: Yes, why?
Eleanor: It's got a split up the back of it.
Me: It's part of the design honey, it's meant to be there.
Eleanor: Really? I only just noticed it yesterday afternoon.
Me: Yes, well it has been there forever.
Eleanor: Oh ok.

Upon my return home from running errands some 6 hours later I was mortified to catch a glimpse of my skirt in the bathroom mirror. Of course I was wearing hot pink underwear that day.

oh THAT split!

Note #3 Be prepared to discuss the male anatomy and correct terms for reproduction to children and friends of children at any moment.

Upon collecting Rocket from the vet the following conversation was overheard in the car

Friend: Why do we need to be gentle with Rocket?
Son: He had his penis cut off to stop him from spawning*.

Note #4 Asking your child if their friend liked the birthday present they gave them and getting a reply in the affirmative doesn't necessarily mean the friend actually received the present.

I opened the child's school bag this morning and found the birthday present that was meant to be given to his friend last Friday. Apparently he thought he did give it to his friend. We are still trying to get to the bottom of this one.

Note #5 Don't put car-parking dockets in your mouth, especially if parked above level 12.

Upon paying for my parking and retrieving the docket from the machine I always place it in my mouth between my lips whilst I drive down the levels of the parking lot to the exit where I hand it to the man and continue on with the rest of the day. If I don't put the docket in this spot it gets lost in the car or left on the roof of the car. It was a particularly warm and dry day when I was parked on the top level of the parking lot so when I finally got to the exit and ripped the ticket out of my mouth to give to the man, half the skin of my lips came off as well. There was an unsavoury word uttered along with blood dripping all down my front. It was very embarrassing but it looked like I brightened up the man's day. It reminded me of that one time I licked an ice tray.....

Note #6 Do not lick ice trays.

When I was 8 I was playing at my friend's house and it was so hot that I opened their freezer and licked the ice tray whereby half my tongue got stuck to the ice. I then had the embarrassing job of explaining to my friend's family how I cut my tongue and why there was blood all over the kitchen floor. But I digress. Back to other items this week...

Note #7 Shopping for toilets is quite awkward and toddlers should be left at home.

I was toilet shopping recently and was completely taken aback when the salesman told me to "have a seat and try them all out. See which one you like the feel of best". Sitting on toilets with fellow customers walking by, despite being fully clothed, was a less than fabulous experience. Having Flynn yelling out "Mummy wee, mummy poo" every 5 seconds added to the mortification nicely.

Happy Monday! I hope I don't collect too many notes to self this week :-)

* "spawning" is a term regularly used in Minecraft and is well known by parents of 8 year olds.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

2015, let's do this thing!

The year never really starts for me until the children start the new school year, which was last Wednesday for us in Tasmania. They've all settled in well into Years 1, 3, and 5 with the only difference this year being that we put the Twins into separate classes. We did this purely as we had the option to do so and we thought it would be awesome for them to be able to be identified without everyone having to look at the colour of their shoes first. So far they are loving having their 'own' classes and, well, they are pretty much joined at the hip for the other 20 hours a day that they are not in class so it's really no hardship. 

The beginning of the school term is also the time I feel a tremendous urge to get the house in order after the school holiday chaos but I usually give myself a week or two to get my head into gear before the cleaning frenzy commences. To that end, I decided to make another of Alicia Paulson’s Miss Maggie Rabbits. These Rabbit's are so cute with their knitted capelets, boots and rosy cheeks that I just want to sit and make them all day long. It’s the same one I made two years ago for Eleanor but this time I bought my own materials and used a vintage apron from my stash for her frock (see, I knew those 40 vintage aprons would come in handy one day!).  I finished her in record time – 3 evenings and 3 nap times - so that Daniel could take her up to Sydney with him yesterday and deliver it personally to our new baby niece, Frankie. 

In other news, our building application was approved last Friday, yippee!!!!! This means the builders can finally get on with building the project. 2014 was a very frustrating year with all the delays, amendments to applications and then whole new applications needing to be submitted and I didn't cope so well with all of the stress. I finally feel that things are moving ahead and feel all the more lighter for it. We’re told it will be 16 weeks until we are open and after waiting for what seems like an eternity to get this show on the road suddenly the prospect of opening a business in just 16 weeks fills me with total fear and excitement in equal measures. Breath. A lot of the ground preparation was done over the Summer and the kids have loved living in a real life Tonka world, watching all the machinery in action and using the site as a playground when the machines weren’t in use.

We had a lovely visit from Dad and Diane. I’ve seen them a lot these past few months with my trips to Sydney for the School Reunion, Ballet Weekend and the funeral last month but it was great to have them here to show them all of the work that has been going on around the farm. It was also nice to have the extra pair of hands on deck with the kids, the markets (we are doing 2-3 every weekend) and to have someone go through the house fixing things, thanks Dad! On one of our walks I just happened to have my camera with me and was able to capture Rocket chasing a Hare. It’s always thrilling to see a Whippet racing at full stretch and I think we all held our breath wondering what he’d do if he actually caught the Hare. Luckily for the Hare, Rocket lost him in the apple orchard.

And so, with the Kids settled into the new school year, a building application approved and a completely finished Rabbit, I’m feeling refreshed and positive and ready for whatever 2015 has in store for me, just as soon as I make a dent in Mt Washmore. How are you feeling about 2015?