Today I had a beautiful pink cashmere turtleneck jumper on. So of course it would be the day we needed to move the alpaca shed into the front paddock. Mandate and Blackadder watched with amusement and made derisive alpaca jokes as Sean, Mark and myself hoisted the canvas shed up the hill and bumped into multiple low hanging tree branches along the way. Glamorous Pink Turtleneck is now covered in mud, eucalyptus bark and the curious little spiky burrs that the kids call “Bidgy Widgys”.
Some of my country friends suggested that I wear “gardening clothes” around the house, but I find that idea a bit… blergh. Life is short. Wear the fancy stuff!
My mum tells me that when I was little, she tried to stop me from wearing my party dresses every day but I told her sagely that I was maximising their value, given that I’d grow out of them soon enough. Who could argue with that logic?
It reminds me of this story about Nora Ephron – apparently a reporter asked her if it was really true that she used her silverware everyday, and she arched an eyebrow and said “Every day is all there is.”
The winter sun is an elusive thing, but when it comes out, it’s so dramatic and beautiful with its low slanting beams. Our mudbrick house has a vine covered trellis running down the perimeter of its three wings .
During the Summer, the vines are full of lush palm sized leaves, the sun is high and the trellis provides a rich, dappled shade to the verandah.
During autumn, the trellis turns a stunning beautiful flame red. And then in winter, the leaves all drop off, exposing the stark twisted vines, and letting the sun beams flood through the french doors and the sunlights in the roof, drenching the house golden.
The birds are getting desperate for food now and the beautiful Rosellas, Cockatoos and Galahs forage around our lawn endlessly. Sometimes you might see a heron fishing near the dam or a pair of kookaburras sitting high up in one of the tall trees at the edge of the forest.
I’m not a very arts & crafty type of person, so we have other indoor pursuits like cooking (today I am testing a Ramen-crusted Buttermilk Chicken recipe ahead of my cooking class at the kids school tomorrow), reading lots of Roald Dahl classics (Finn is addicted to the BFG now) , playing “Hotel” (a game which involves pretending the house is a hotel, checking the guests into each room and bringing them milk and cookies for room service. A very useful way of making use of all those random hotel keycards we’ve accumulated!).
I must also admit that we’re running up quite a lot of iPad time as we are an internet and social media loving family. The iPads and Nintendos are getting a bit out of hand though so I shall have to get the scrabble board out this week. Btw, Dylan and I are addicted to that Iggy Azalea video “Fancy”, Dylan struts around the house singing to herself random Iggy-isms “Whodat whodat. I-G-G-Y… Dodat do dat…. You already know… From L.A. to To-ki-O!”
The kids still love walking in the bush, their gumboots cracking the dead gnarled branches that line the forest floor. There’s always something to do – a bit of rusty old chain that needs to be removed from a paddock, a patch of deadly nightshade that needs to be ripped out, a sheep that needs to be wrestled down so that it can have the brambles picked out of its wool.
Sometimes there seems to be no trajectory to our Winter days, just an ebb and flow of normality. I used to get depressed every time Winter rolled around in Australia.
No big social events, picnics, hanging out at the beach, impromptu barbecues, long outdoor dinners, but now I can really appreciate the quiet.
Hanging out with our family, being grateful for a perfectly ordinary day, appreciating the simple fact that our house is filled with love and light. Nora was right, every day is all there is, and it is enough.