Gorgeous poppies in Miss O's garden continue flowering both to our delight and that of the bees! The Leucospermum buds unfurl more each day, perched like bright orange crowns upon their tall stems.
Remembering my wonderful father who would have turned 80 earlier this month if Parkinsons disease and associated health issues hadn't taken him in 2010. The photo of him packing bananas above was taken over 25 years ago. We all spent much time working together as family in this old packing shed as a small independent farming family.
Miss E has completed her first ever game of team cricket. She is 8 years old and has wanted to join her cricketing siblings for a couple of years, we have waited until this season to let her join the Under 12s team. Miss V also plays in this team and Miss G is team coach. She had an amazing first game, taking four wickets while conceding only five runs (mostly 'extras') from her two overs. Her grandfather (my dad) would have been proud - he was an avid cricket player and spectator.
Yesterday I made myself a new skirt using rayon fabric. In recent years I have made a couple of cotton skirts however they have never softened nor draped well, despite much wearing and washing. Soft rayon drapes beautifully so it has been my fabric of choice this time. My two white lined cotton tops (which I made early in the year) are still going well, despite being worn nearly every day since making them (wear one while I wash the other by hand).
Some simple drawstring bags have been my fun sewing over the last week. To be honest much of my time and energy has been directed to assisting my husband with multiple weekly appointments and day to day followthrough/wellbeing (and homeschooling as usual). He has been off work again the last three weeks and only managed a few days work the two weeks prior to that. Uncertain times ahead once more, hoping and praying for improvement before his employment is threatened. Our pastor's message today from Psalm 32 was very relevant and encouraging, especially verses 7-11. :)
Yes, it's Spring. We welcome more bright flowers (thanks to Miss O's gardening endeavours) and birdsong fills the air. Although I must admit that garden flowers and birdsong are a constant throughout the year in our warm climate.
Kookaburras perched on our neighbour's clothesline, up to four at a time this particular afternoon, as they swooped backwards and forwards, and snapping up insects nearby. The beautiful orchid is also just over our fence, yet clearly visible, wrapped around her avocado tree.
A little hand sewing is my current 'making', using fabrics and papers I had previously cut for my now completed Peaceful Night quilt. I'm not yet sure where this will lead but I'm happy to piece with these low volume 'remnants', the pleasure of busy hands being satisfaction enough for now.
Smokey days and cloud swept skies are a great combination for colourful sunsets, reflected wonderfully in our wide river. I do enjoy the fullness of Spring, warm and bright.
Tamworth is the largest city in the New England region (see my previous post), but there is so much more to see on these cooler tablelands. On our way home we stayed overnight in Armidale, where Master J is currently in his third year of civil engineering studies. The next morning he took a couple of hours off between exams to lead us on a quick tour of New England University (see more here and here from a previous visit) and some other locations of interest including St Patricks. Our three youngest daughters had never been to University of New England and were quite surprised at how large it is.
We then headed home via Wollomombi Falls, Point Lookout and Ebor Falls before the long and windy descent to the much warmer climate of our river flats town. A day filled with family and wonderful locations! Yet it was a little conversation Miss E had with me which struck me most. As just the two of us walked along a track at the Wollomombi Falls my little eight year said to me "Do you know what one of the best things about life is?" My mind started racing, thinking it might be something about Australia, sport, family or motels (the previous two nights in motels were a 'first' for her since she was a toddler).
"No" I replied, not wanting to sway her thoughts.
"Things aren't perfect" she stated. "If everything was perfect life would be boring."
I was rather stunned. Yes, things certainly aren't perfect in so many ways, even within our family. Maybe she was making peace with expectations v's reality, a lesson which takes a lifetime to learn....
Early this week we had a mini holiday with a purpose. Tamworth was the location of our state Women's Country Cricket Championships, Under 15's and Under 18's, this year. With my husband's health improved on recent years, we made plans to attend as Tamworth is only a few hours drive away, closer than the Championship's location most other years. As Grace is now 18 she has been assisting with coaching and transporting her younger sisters to various training sessions around our region during the winter months. The North Coast teams were amongst teams from eight regions to play four 20:20 (20 overs a side) games over two days. They were delighted to win this year (again). The friendships established and encouragement they each give and receive have been wonderful to see. They all have so much fun!
Those of us not involved in the cricket took a little time for sight seeing while in Tamworth. Miss E (8), our youngest child, requested a visit to the Big Golden Guitar which she was familiar with from our Australian Monopoly board game. She was unaware that Tamworth is Australia's country music capital and the huge guitar is actually a replica of the miniature golden guitars awarded at the annual country music festival each January.
We had a quick visit to the Tamworth Marsupial Park (free admission), especially enjoying their free-flight avery and I would have loved to linger inside the avery longer but I soon discovered to my surprise that Miss E was rather anxious a bird might land on her and wasn't at all comfortable in there. I quickly snapped some photos of the King Parrot (top - we have had these visit our home garden), Princess Parrot (named in honour of Princess Alexandra of Denmark who married the Prince of Wales Edward VII and eventually became Queen of England on 1901) and the Red-rumped green grass parrot. We do have some beautiful Australian birds!
Thankfully we were greeted by the beautiful sight of a peacock and peahen roaming around outside the avery - another first for Miss E and a delight to the eyes. Then we came across the large cage of talking birds. Miss E thought I was making up stories about birds talking but then she listened and couldn't believe it! Several of our Australian birds can be trained to talk or mimic speech. The white Corella was very friendly and had a lovely 'chat' with us.
Gouldian Finches are glorious yet tiny while the emus, second in height only to ostriches, were taller than me. Loved seeing some emu eggs - what an amazing colour! We had hoped to see the newly hatched emu chicks but had trouble locating them and needed to head back to the cricket for the final game which was a very exciting win!