Monday, January 27, 2014

Our backyard…and what happens when you deprive your children of TV!

I promised a few pics of the little book I made at Trace Willans’ workshop, so here it is. Not entirely completed, I’m still undecided quite how to finish the cover off, though I do have a couple ideas about what to put inside.

And some pics of the string the kids and I have been making. This has so much potential, and it’s so much fun experimenting with different kinds of material scraps.

Littlest Munchkin's very good first attempt

Probably won't do this stuff again...VERY fiddly!

Some sample pieces, and a small red dog poking her nose in.

This is a small part of our vast ‘backyard’, the great and stunning southern coast of Western Australia. Madfish Bay and the magical Greens Pool to be more specific. We plan to do a lot more exploring, and discover all the special spots to camp, fish, picnic, or just sit on the beach, or under the incredible and majestic Karri trees and listen to the wind.

Greens Pool Panorama

Greens Pool Panorama and Moi

Munchkins in their 'survival shelter'

Madfish Bay

The track between Madfish Bay and Greens Pool

Walking down to Greens Pool

Munchkins swimming

These rocks always make me think of ancient Dolmens and Standing Stones.  
I want to know what their story is.

Slightly chilly water at Greens Pool

Remember I mentioned that we have no TV here? This is what happens to your loungeroom, when the munchkins can’t plant themselves in front of the box. OK, it’s rather messy, but a small price to pay (and I do get them to pick it all up at the end of the day) for the sheer delight of watching their creations come to life, and not hearing a SINGLE “Mum, what do I do, I’m bored!” these whole Summer holidays. Some of these ideas they’ve got from a website they used to like, but they’ve spent almost no time online since we moved, so a lot are all their own creations, with no help from mum or dad apart from occasional wielding of a Stanley knife. This has been going on for about 3 weeks now, and they’re still at it! Paper Mache is next, apparently.

Pop-up Lolly Shop for the freaky dolls.

Including a Menu, and tiny Toffee Apples and packets of Tim Tams and 'Chicken-in-a-Biskit'

Still to be completed Tree House for an Owl family

I love this File Binder

The next phase.

Yesterday, we went to the Denmark Arts Markets again. What a fantastic day, brilliant markets full of handmade creations, wearable, edible, hangable and many other kinds. Great food too, much better than the usual ‘fair day fare’. Seafood Paella, Quesadillas, Wood-fired pizza, Thai curries, and more. Not a boring bun with a red sausage in sight. And fantastic musical entertainment. Sadly, I completely forgot to take camera or phone with me, so no photos…guess I was just having too much fun!

The small beginnings of a garden.  We can't do much here, we're only renting for a while, but it's something.  And it will expand...I'll see how many pots I can fit on the decking!

Right, time for bed!

Friday, January 10, 2014

A Whirlwind tour of Wooshwood.

One of the 'big' trees.

The internet is rather flighty at Wooshwood. We are 15kms out of Denmark, and on the wrong side of a hill, so it has been a challenge getting woven back into the web sufficiently well for Beloved to do his work. The best we can do, apparently, is the ‘smart aerial’ purchased from Telstra (DON’T get me started on Telstra!), with a ‘dongle’ attached, and a pre-paid 15GB per month maximum download. As Beloved does all his work via the web, this may be a ‘tighten the belt’ situation when it comes to ‘non-essential’ internet usage. So…blogposts may be fewer and farther between, which is rather frustrating because I have SO much to show and tell! On the up side, it may also mean that I have to think a little more carefully, and craft a little more carefully when it comes to posting. But I think it’s time for a first ‘proper’ post, even if it’s a while before the next one. 

Out the front of 'Wooshwood'.  You can see the verandah couch where we've been spending a lot of time (despite the large aerial, there's no TV)!

We are settled, temporarily, in a slightly wonky, slightly faded, but beautifully comfy ‘homey’ house, on a 5 acre block of mostly pasture, but with lovely big trees and a dam. We have a verandah all round the house (one of the things on my wishlist for my dream house is a verandah) so we spend a LOT of time sitting outside, just listening to the QUIET. Well, it’s not really quiet, there are birds of all shape and size singing, there is the rush of wind in the trees which gave the house its name, and on days when the wind is ruffling the waves at William Bay, but not quite making it up the hill, you can JUST hear the waves. I didn’t notice this at first, until Beloved pointed it out, and I had to sit for a bit and concentrate, but there it was. I’m living in a house from which I can (sometimes) hear the sea! I think my brain was so used to shutting out extraneous noise, that it had pegged the distant rumble as traffic and proceeded to ignore it. I wonder what other sounds and songs of the bush might become clear as I learn to sit and just open up my ears to it all, after they’ve been shut for so long against the assault of cars and trucks and planes and trains. 

A game of soccer (ok, I know it's an old basketball!) on the driveway.

We have no TV reception here, and to be honest, I’m loving it, though I was a bit disappointed to miss the debut of the new Dr Who on Boxing Day (no spoilers please, I’ll catch up when I can!) The munchkins were a little perturbed by this at first, but we have DVDs and so they spent a few days watching those, but the last week or so they haven’t shown a great deal of interest in the box, and have been playing cricket out the front, making elaborate dolls’ houses out of packing boxes, and inventing long and complex make-believe stories with their dolls. The last couple of days we did some sewing and made dolls’ trousers (biggest munchkin surprised me by making a pair of pyjama pants for her doll from a pattern I’d cut, but with no help from me at all), and hooded doll cloaks with ribbons to tie. This morning I took them along to a ‘Bush Survival’ workshop for kiddiwinks, and as I had to stay, I learnt some interesting stuff too. How to filter water, and how to build the coolest survival shelter…Bear Grylls eat your heart out (well, ok, it was more like a cubby really, but a little more time and it would have done the trick!).

Christmas Cricket, with an interesting bowling action from biggest munchkin, who desperately wanted to be able to play cricket on Christmas Day, because apparently (unbeknownst to me) this is a long cherished Aussie 'tradition'.

Flynn makes a far better spectator than fielder.  She is not the slightest bit interested in balls and absolutely does NOT fetch.

View DOWN the driveway.  I've always wanted a driveway like this one.

View UP towards the house.  The large green thing to the left is one of the water tanks (no mains water here, or postal delivery, or rubbish collection).

There is a very vibrant art and music scene down here, and I’m looking forward to meeting and getting to know local artists and maybe even find myself another guitar teacher to get me moving along. I took a plunge into this on Wednesday, and went and did a half day workshop in art book making with the lovely Trace Willans, out on her property in Kentdale. After knowing each other and following each other’s blogs for a while now (and meeting once, a while back) we’re now neighbours…well, there’s only about 25kms between us instead of 400! Trace works with natural pigments, dyeing textiles/clothing, stitching, book making and painting. Her work has the earth in it (literally), and each piece looks like an ancient sacred artefact with a story as old as time woven into it. There is some kind of old, deep magic there, and I could look at her pieces for hours. Typically though, I completely forget to take any ‘in progress’ photos, even after Trace reminded me! I’ve got some pics of the almost finished product, so I’ll upload those in a more detailed post! I also learnt how to make string…which might seem a trivial thing, but it is ADDICTIVE! I’ve now taught both munchkins how to make it, so there are random bits of homemade string made out of all sorts of different materials (experimenting!), all over the house. 

A little Red Dog in her element.  Flynn loves it here.

A morning cuppa on the couch with Flynn.  I love that it's so much cooler here than Perth...uggies in summer, can you believe it?!

Bonfire site.  Can't give this a go till the end of April, so I think (weather permitting) a nice bonfire to celebrate a) end of Fire-Ban season, b) Samhain/Beltaine (or maybe both, as you can't just swap it over by 6 months for the southern hemisphere, it doesn't quite work), and my birthday!

Christmas bunting.

I feel as if I’m unravelling here, but in a good way, as if I’ve been wound up tight in a protective ball, and now I can loosen and relax and open up to everything around me. The journey is far from over, this is a temporary home after all, and finding a block of land that suits us, and building that dream home (solar panels, strawbale we hope, old rayburn, wind generator perhaps, chickens, a little studio/gallery, big vegie garden) means a lot of hard work ahead of us, but the big leap is done, and we are here. 

A quiet corner.

Beloved and the munchkins are back from their afternoon swim at Greens Pool, so now it’s time to sit on the old couch on the west verandah, and watch the sun go down!

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