Thursday, September 4, 2014

Paddle boarding

One would think that living 450kms from the nearest beach might put the stoppers on paddle boarding but where there is a will there is a way. Invited to attend the a joint Frontier Services/RFDS clinic at Barenya Stn, we drove around 120kms from us, paddle boarding was on the menu. With some community drought funding, the paddleboarders with their blow up paddle boards, flew in with the RFDS for the day. The other small school in the district swelled the number with their 3 students.

Let me preface this image with the reminder – this is what drought looks like. You see grass in my pictures around home, and it doesn’t look like we have a lack of feed but its goodness is minimal. But this… this is drought encapsulated in a photo.

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Remember a while ago – we took cows to agistment nearby on the downs? The green knee deep grass? well this paddock is part of it. Very different now.

The RFDS plane landed on the dirt strip at Barenya. This strip is maintained year round and is often used by the RFDS and bigger planes.

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Back to the paddle boarding. The hole in the bore drain that our host used as a swimming pool in summer (with a sand base for comfort!) was deemed a little too small, so off to the nearest turkeys nest they went.

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The kids took to paddle boarding like ducks to water.  The instructor was amazed at how quickly they were on their boards – but these are all fit bush kids that love their swimming and water.

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If that doesn’t say paddle boarding in the bush, then nothing does.

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Meanwhile, while the kids were getting wet and muddy and slightly burnt (someone’s children thought it a super duper idea to not done their swim shirts for the first boarding session) the adults weren’t being left out of the fun.

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Yes, there’s two blokey blokes sitting there getting a foot scrub and a massage (and really enjoying it). A hairdresser was also brought along by frontier services, and Georgie begged for an overdue fringe cut (before paddling). There was no shortage of tucker  - as usual at bush events…

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(last two images borrowed from fellow attendee Jenny Underwood, thanks Jenny)

And then, with our feet scrubbed and massaged, our bellies very full, our souls a little lighter, and with sun kissed wet, muddy children waving, the RFDS plane took off back to Cairns. The kids were handed a backpack each as we left – sun shirt, cap, t shirt and other fun things contained within. I was handed a brown paper gift bag – a pamper pack lovely shower gels. How lovely and unexpected! We piled back into our cars and weaved our slightly weary way home.

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Where at that point, having had a good hour at least of peace with snoring kids in the back seat, I discovered that I had pretty much lost my voice in that time period of unuse.Yay. Fun times indeed.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Ten

The pace of life seems to have picked up like a runaway truck hurtling down a highway, whilst brain speed and creativity levels correspondingly seemingly have slowed right down, and paradoxically, at the same time we are in a holding and making do pattern waiting for it to one day rain. During the midst of all of this, the kids keep on growing and Dodgy Birthday Cakes need to be made.

Ten whole years we’ve had this kid. Without argument she’s the loudest personality of our offspring, the one that lives life from one extreme to the other, sometimes in mere minutes. She’s the one that gets her name yelled at the loudest and most often, the one that’s in strife, but also the one that can suddenly decide to clean the bathroom just because she feels like it (she likes cleaning stuff!) She adores animals. She’s loud and opinionated – she came out that way, quite indignant about being born. Her mind is quick; her body is twitchy (dear lord is it ever) even in sleep. She’s a master debater and will go back again and again from a different tact to try and get her own way. She drives her brother bonkers but he adores her. She fights with her sister over clothes and yet they chatter well after bed time every night even thought Dad has threatened to send them separately to dog and chook pens to sleep if they don’t bloody well shut up and go to sleep.  

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The request this year was just that the horse had to be on the cake. Of course when it comes to birthday cake baking, the never fail recipe turned out a little dodgy on the day, but nothing that a fair application of butter cream icing with the magical cake icing thingymemob didnt sort of fix. And really when you are TEN, there’s not much room for anything else on the cake other than candles which hides a lot of flaws!

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Ten is a pretty good age. Double digits but not so cool and grown up that you cant be super excited about presents and a day being about you.

Most favoured gifts have been cool retro headphones; lego (of course) water coloured paints from grandma (the real deal) and BY FAR, a pocket knife complete with pink pouch from a little mate.

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I look forward to seeing how long it is before injury occurs – or it gets left somewhere and becomes lost. The boy, reminded of his own small carabineer-style  knife with the pink arrival, was recently devastated to loose his when he thought tying it to his shoe via shoe lace would be a great place to keep it. And then run through some long grass. Of course the inevitable happened, given his poor shoe lace tying skills and the fact his shoe laces are pretty much always undone no matter who has done them up in a triple knot. Such a boy.

But this isn’t about him, its about Georgie!

Ten whole years huh. Holy smokes. We now have two kids in double digits.

Excuse me whilst I go have a bex and a good lie down. I am not mentally prepared for teenagehood.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Campdrafting

Its rather liberating to be no longer the secretary or admin support for the local campdraft. Which is a good thing too, the amount of time and energy that is required to transport and strap horses for the girls! Georgie decided that she would like to have a go at campdrafting, and much thought went into choosing which of the three horses she might ride in her first ever campdraft.

Red we decided might get too excited, Chester we decided might be too excitable and distracted and so it was left to Old Ben to carry the load. Very much feeling his age and the dry weather, we started feeding him a special potion in order to help with his arthritis.

We rocked up the to campdraft and saddled up.  Little friend gathered around and off they went to “warm up”.

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The two kids on foot at this point suddenly realised that perhaps a horse might have been fun (and in the boys case, knowing how to ride would have been handy as well)

Three hours later (slight change to programme) the horses were WELL and truly warmed up, or in Ben’s case, nearly worn out.

Mum was quite nervous for the jockey. Handed the camera over to the person standing next to me and said TAKE PHOTOS.

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I realised after the fact that she was riding far too short on this horse (but needs to ride at this length on Redman normally). She got a “full” outside score – 17/32/2 which is a pretty good score for her first time out. Poor old Benny looked like he needed some go go juice but he only goes as fast as the rider so guess she was happy!

The next day we went back in for the horse sports which I was helping coordinate. No photos. Ben was left in the paddock for a spell, Georgie on Redman and Kate her first time on Chester (sink or swim girl). Angus on foot again was wondering if this horse business might actually be fun.

And then we went home and were exhausted!

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