This week has seen a distinct lack of much happening. The Little Fulla has been sick and somewhere along the way that merged into exponentially increasing behavioural challenges of grizzly and raging tantrums over almost anything, throughout the day, to get attention or sympathy or just because he felt like testing us. Who knew a not-even-two-year-old could be so manipulative with the extra attention he had gotten from being sick? What have we wrought? Suddenly, I’m comparing myself to the late Lydia, with her son, Mr Collins, which is hilariously unfair, and thinking, how did I not know that I would produce a child that is as wily and independent as me? How am I supposed to keep up with this level of intelligence?
The climax involved The Little Fulla stuffing large chunks of food in his mouth while crying, head thrown back, in a raging manner and almost choking. Fed up and almost at my wit’s end, I grabbed his plate and said “Eat your food nicely or I’m going to take your food away!” Well, that scared the pants off him and he snapped right out of it. He calmed down, finished eating very nicely and then played under the table, complete with a happy game of boo while I finished my lunch. This was the light bulb moment of shock that my small child had been manipulating our behaviour in weird, ragey ways while we worried about what sort of sickness he might have. He is doing a lot better now, although I’m sure he will continue to test us for quite some time and I am pondering whether I’ve mislaid some IQ points. Right, I need more strict bedtime routines. For myself.
Needless to say, for much of the week it was about getting the minimum done. Getting the washing and dishwasher done for the day was good. Getting the chicken coop cleaned as well was excellent. One morning I got to whizz up a packet of wholegrain oats, which I use for porridge. That was pretty exciting. And you know what else I did? I sewed on two buttons that had come off my pyjamas. Two buttons! Wow.
I am still knitting The Little Fulla’s jersey. Really! Just imagine a sloth, sitting, half-asleep knitting a beautiful green jersey. That’s me. I have almost finished the back section. Sort of. I had to order more yarn. But that cannot be related to my knitting speed. Also, did I mention that we lost The Little Fulla’s green hat that I knitted? The one made from the leftover green yarn that almost never found a purpose until I made that hat? Well, when I say ‘we’ lost it, what I mean is a certain family member put it in the back pocket of his jeans while we were out and IT FELL OUT. I was NOT AMUSED. Then again, it was only days before that that I lost a knitted hat too. A cobalt blue hat that The Mother-in-law knitted for The Little Fulla to go with a matching jersey was lost at the exchange point, along with a pair of my circular knitting needles and a packet of oat milk, by me. The exchange point just happened to be the cinema, and the movie was Pecking Order, a New Zealand documentary about chicken breeders, which has set off all sorts of wild imaginings within me, so it’s fair to say that I was a little distracted when I left the mysterious bag under my chair.
There aren’t any wild imaginings taking place with the chickens at the moment. I have been getting Kitty back to health from impacted crop and, happily, she got to rejoin the flock this afternoon.
Frodo went broody again, but despite two bouts of broodiness in June she still managed to end the month with a tally of 25 eggs out of 30 days, making her the most productive layer of the month. Go Frodo! Getting her into the broody breaker soon after her broody behaviour starts and before she stops laying seems to be the key to avoiding prolonged broodiness. If only I could find some purebred Australorp eggs to give her! Soon, Frodo, soon. Eggs have become scarce with Kitty off the lay whilst sick and Lizzie and Georgiana taking more days off in the short-daylight months. But the shortest day has passed so things can only get more hopeful from here for both egg production and gardening.
Garden? What garden? Oh, how I miss you, garden! For most of the week my one small delight was watching the onions seeds that I sowed last week germinate and grow. At least some of them are growing… On Saturday I was delighted to actually get some gardening time. Before the next rainy period arrived, I made the most of the drying ground by planting the almond tree in The Cedar Pen and put chicken wire around it to protect it, which was a good thing, as Mr Bingley escaped into there that very afternoon, on a mission to rescue Kitty.
I also did a teensy bit of tidying in my garden shed (much more needed) and started digging the hole for the Billington plum tree next to the stump of the felled plum tree. Ok, so it kind of looked more like an archaeological dig site yesterday and looks more like a water trough today, but it is going to be a hole one day! I knew there were going to be roots there, right next to the recently felled stump, but it’s going to take a little longer to cut and dig through them than I cared to admit. That is where I want to plant the tree, so that is where it is going! Talk about stubbornness…
Wood and Paving Stuff
‘Proper winter’ suddenly took over from the ‘fake winter’ that we had before, with cold nights and mornings. One thing The Little Fulla could help me with was sorting out the wood and sticks in That Patio Woodpile Area Thing, sheltering under the semi-cover. The sticks that were too small or decomposing got put into the ‘garden box’ for mulch and the rest got put into the ‘firewood box’ and moved to the woodshed.
The highlight of the week was when The Husband brought home the $2 pavers. They are just what I hoped they would be and it’s still hard to believe I got them all for $2. We have stored them in a pile near the front door. Once the patio area has been cleared of all the wood, bark and whatever else is lurking around there, we can start preparing it for paving. I don’t suppose I can get the base materials for $2 as well…
The Husband also brought home a bunch of small, super-sturdy pallets made of very thick wood. He was rather excited about them, as they were destined to make great firewood. The Husband has since spent a lot of time breaking up and de-nailing said pallets. They were very sturdy. The Husband was motivated to get this big task done by watching Dragon Ball Z episodes on his tablet propped up on a piece of wood. It’s not my idea of outdoor bliss, but it seems to get the job done! This has seen the creation of more piles: a tower of pallets right in the middle of the garage carport, because it’s not like we need access to the garage or anything, followed by a couple of piles of wood pieces in the carport or on the grass in front of the carport. We are the pile makers.
Winter seems to be our gathering season. We are gathering all the things! The Parents have just moved house so we acquired a large amount of newspaper and cardboard boxes from them, which was a very convenient trade for both parties. The newspaper is for the fire and the flattened cardboard boxes I am going to use for weed suppression, since that has been working well for me. Yes, I know we got rid of heaps of cardboard boxes once upon a time, but we didn’t need them back then. This time, they will not be left in a pile visible from space.
Cleaning and Decluttering
I haven’t found time to clean any more windows this week. I removed the window fly screens from the other two bedrooms, but that is as far as I got. I have just finished a spontaneous, weirdly energy-charged re-organisation of the pantry. Weird because I’m not procrastinating anything! I don’t think. Maybe it’s because of all the lard we’ve been eating. Or maybe it’s because we helped The Parents with a bit of house moving stuff. Maybe it’s because I wish we’d been able to help them out more but we were isolated with sickness and a troublesome little boy and to compensate for the lack of moving tasks I subconsciously initiated my own household-organising task. Or maybe it’s because this week has contained so little productivity that I suddenly set myself a task that I was able to complete (as far as I can at this stage) in order to make myself feel satisfied. I’m guessing all of the above. In any case, the pantry needed to be re-ordered because parts of it were just getting items stuffed in there in a disorderly fashion and I wanted to get the gluten items away from all the recent gluten-free additions. I would like to acquire a few more large storage containers or vessels to make it even more efficient.
The Husband has been getting a bit precious about me throwing things away lately. I like to de-clutter a little and often, as that helps to keep things manageable. If I’m not using things and aren’t likely to in the not-too-distant future, there’s no point in keeping them. But why was I throwing the peanuts away? Because, Husband, they were a couple of years old and smelt rancid. There’s no place for that sort of nuttiness around here!
I am looking forward to a week of hopefully getting a little more done, but at the same time not setting my expectations too high. I really appreciated a very timely blog post that I read last week by Erica at Northwest Edible Life: Productive People With Young Children: A Message From Your Future. It reminded me that I’m not the only do-er person who struggles with the conflicting demands of needing to accomplish tasks and raising a small child. I need to constantly check myself to make sure that I am finding a balance between doing the good parenting things and doing the things that I want or need to do to run the homestead in a way that I am happy with and to allow myself enough me-time, social connection and rest. Tomorrow is always a new day, filled with possibilities.