Taking Stock

Returning home and taking stock. Thanks to Pip at Meet me at Mikes for the word list.

  Making :

time to stroll around outside before children wake up. counting leaves and flowers and feeling that everything is really happy I’m home

and fantasise about all the gardening I will do… I have some cheeky plants that went ballistic while I was away and still a few gaps to plant in….

Cooking : snow pea, red capsicum and pineapple sage flower salad with lemon and mandarin dressing, also young broad bean and leek sauted in lemon juice. Mmm

Drinking : mango smoothie, mangoes foraged by Jesse. What a man, he brought in about 300 mangoes last season! Now we enjoy the last frozen cheeks…

Reading: our ash grove blog, beautiful and creative and wondering how does life look homeschooling with 5 children?

Pondering: how to grow with the children and stop my default repeats.

Wanting: a massage, a shiatsu or a kahuna therapist to knock on my door right now…

  Looking: at cobwebs. Lots of cobwebs. Overflowing suitcases, washing and general debris of returning home. Flowers! Lots of flowers!  Also looking at some of my favourite things. Is this really my home?

Playing: a game where i am employed by this house for domestic duties and I get paid holidays and good hours… And other perks…

Wasting: time searching for cherry red flannel sheets on the internet. I know winters over right, but  maybe for next year… 

Sewing: lots in my imagination! Like a whole new rack of simple stylin lady fashion. 

Wishing: spring was 6 months of the year, I could teleport and whistle really genuine bird calls. Not at the same time.

  Enjoying: the reward of planting bulbs at Easter and seeing a bed full of freesias bursting with colour and fragrance in spring . No instant gratification involved. Patience. I think I’m growing up!

Waiting: to grow up and be more patient. To get a hold over this overactive mind. To visit  my newly moved mama and papa in Tasmania!

Liking: the morning sun as I meander the gardens and check on the fruit tree buds and seedlings and the caress of the cool breeze and bird song. Spring mornings in Bellingen are delightful. 

Delighting: in the wild creatures, on the night of our arrival home we are greeted by the first cicadas, the fire flies and a python on the verandah. Welcome home!

Wondering: if I will be able to do all I dream of in one day.

Loving: gathering my family for a home cooked garden dinner by candlelight, at home, at our own table for the first time in a long time. Sweet.

Hoping: the children will have a great swathe of warm memories from their time in our care.

Marvelling: that Cedar has just had his first doctor visit! I was a bit out of depth for this cut and am grateful for the medical help when needed and to Jane for holding my hand and standing up to the pushy Dr. And so grateful he has been a well boy thus far. I know dr help is a big part of some families reality and it’s fantastic when you need them and there they are! 

Needing: to practice to say what I think even if it might be uncomfortable. 

  Smelling: something delightful on the air, floral, springy, mystery blossom.

Wearing: daggy old clothes and feeling ok about that. 

Following: my own adventures on my own blog. Now that’s good for perspective!

Noticing: sometimes I write something I’m proud of. Sometimes I take a photograph I’m proud of! 

Knowing: I need to practice believing in my gifts and talents.

Thinking: about the simple gift of a safe home to go back to and all the people who don’t have one right now.

Feeling: a bit helpless to make a difference right now on a global scale and remembering to practice peace at home.

Bookmarking: hmm. Any suggestions?

Opening: an illustrated envelope, with a handwritten card containing old photos of myself and friends from another life, a gift from a dear friend today to make me smile!

Giggling: at the sweetness of being seventeen.

Feeling: incredulous that it’s only 6 years til I have my own sweet seventeen year old child! 

Quoting: family life is like music, some high notes, some low notes, but all together a sweet melody.

All photos from my springy garden! I didn’t shoot the crazy bits.

The BlueForest (Blueberries in the BlackForest) or When nothing goes right, go left.


This fellows shirt said it for me!(apologies I don’t remember your name….if ever you see this post, email me!) 

It’s taken me a while to pull this story together because some days are painful and ugly and Who wants to hear about that right?.  Even when I awoke that day  determined to be optimistic and cruisy, my effort does not stand up to the challenges of the day. A story about needing to go left. When the small things in life are not going right! And trying to maintain humour and gentleness amidst trials. The blessing is that all things pass and I’ve learnt to just hang in there, do what I can, drop what I can and tomorrow is new.

Many days ago now, We left Switzerland on another stinking hot day. Paused in Basel to busk (unsuccessfully), parking was very hard to find but we ended up near the river so kids and I could swim, by stalking a shady parking spot . The water was gratefully crisp enough! I heard later that even 15 years ago the Rhine was too polluted to swim, now it’s very popular with people dipping and floating along.

We where right by the historic bridge which is beautiful and in the distance could spot the spires of the cathedral and old city. It was strange to be looking at buildings with barely a gap between, facing the rivers edge. I guess the parks are elsewhere. I really wanted to go to the old Paper Mill museum but it was just too hot to walk around. I felt thwarted in my educational efforts and bizarre to come all this way and not be able to do more than keep sane and do nothing really. Have I mentioned yet my family calls me a grumpy polar bear when it’s hot? Hot hot. Im not averse to a bit of whinging about the heat… Really it’s such middle class western  luxury to have the options we do and I’m very grateful.

We pulled into Freiburg late that evening after a disappointing detour past Bad Bellingen (should’ve realised by the name!) bad means bath in German.  I was hoping for some natural place to bathe but it’s a turquoise pool set up. There’s a lot more happening in the Australian Bellingen! Lovely in winter I guess. 

Anyway, disorganised, tired and hot, past dinner time, we got busted for jumping on the tram without tickets! We didn’t want to miss it and wait longer to get to some dinner! They showed us how to function the in tram ticket machine and let us off thankfully! Ignorant travellers I guess. I get anxious in the face of authority and doing something wrong!

A treat to eat out in the old city. Mexican in Germany? Freiburg has a very pretty inner city and good vibes in the evening, lots of people about and delicious foodie smells.

Back to our hot van late to get some rest. Camping in a hot tin can is so difficult!Especially with tired hot kids in the city which does not cool down til dawn. Jesse saved the day by putting their bed outside under a tree and sleeping with them. We found a mobile home campground for 9euro a night near Bissier strasse park and ride. Cheap but noisy from the railway. Thank goodness for earplugs.  The next night was more pleasant at the Hirzberg Campground. It’s 1.2km from the enchanting old City centre. Also green and shady. It can be really tricky coming to a place you don’t know and looking for a place to stay. I ignored my intuition about going straight to the campground the first night unfortunately. 

The next day we met with friends who guided us to nearby lakes and the day was easier. There are a lot of man made lakes along the autobahns, dug out to make the road beds. Another late hot night in the city. Jesse Was busking and we walked in to meet him for dinner. Some moments I am thinking wow this is crazy! Cosmopolitan culture in Europe, dinner at 9 pm and some crazy gigantic ice cream and berry dessert! strolling old cities (600+ year old buildings) balmy summer nights, wonderful and romantic and different if only my inner mama voice could be quiet! My kids where in bed at a wholesome 7.30pm before we left Australia!  This life has such diverse moments. It’s challenging and reallY good also to let the restrictions drop a bit. ItS so temporary. Soon we will be back in home rhythms. I have little resilience for lack of sleep unfortunately. Blessings come though in the form of kind hearted folks and hilarious storytellers in the dark city streets.

From Freiburg we are invited to go berry picking and then swimming in a forest lake higher in the Black Forest mountains. 
Yes please. My days in the city where hot and bothered and I was stretched to breaking. But I hung in there! Not too many tears! Me, not the kids…. But As lily says, ‘it’s not really a holiday because we are doing everyday life. And why can’t we do more holidayish things anyway?’ Memory making.

 My spirit was so renewed by this afternoon tramping the woods and having the warmth of friends. Being outside is my greatest gift at present. Soaking in the different greens of the broad leafed woods and the unfamiliar bird calls and wind whispers and rock songs. It’s fresh and new still and the foreignness leaves me a little thrilled. I really am far far from home. If you have read Ronja by Astrid Lindgren you would see the grey dwarf holes in this wood and Ronja running about and giving her spring yell. 

this handy little rake catches the  blueberries for you, but be careful you don’t strip the leaves off also.    I loved this moment! The papas with their matching picnic baskets! Beautiful masculinity in motion    Cedar said he could stay here forever, well, until it snowed…   There where few berries left and small this season, despite that, the reward of gathering something deliciously tart and sweet from the woods filled me with happiness. It’s so simple.   Tiny finger staining treasures. A worthy hunt! I hear the wild blueberries in the US are enormous! I would like to experience picking there one day…
The lake water is stained amber by leaves and tannins I guess.  The trees surrounding shade the water green. Be brave it’s very cold below the surface! The skin feels soft and wonderful after swimming here.     I was excited to see this small orchid growing in the ditch as we left the forest. Another tiny wonder. 

And thanks goodness we where off to visit dear friends after this. The last challenge of travelling in the unknown was done and from here on we are sheltered by good friends until we fly home. Phew. We did it.

Uracher wasserfall

So, just like that, not once but twice, a beautiful post vanishes! Gahhhh!

Just some photos then.

The children wanted their portrait taken on every stump! I soon started distracting them so they would walk past them…

    Above photograph by Lily.
  The fairies who live and play here are this big!  If I was a fairy I would live in this hole and that would be my slide to your house…
Well, maybe a few words because the walk to the Bad Urach  waterfall really is beautiful and an easy path of about 1.3 km. the woods are enchanting, the creek you walk beside burbles merrily and my children where so entertaining (and cute in that outfit Cedar) it helped lift me out of the mental mud.  Walking is good therapy. Especially when it’s somewhere gorgeous. Even though the forest Wass being loped that day, it’s shocking to see these beautiful mature trees cut down! Perhaps they are weed species like the camphor laurel on our area.

Things where really compressing for me, in our last days in Germany. The end of a four month chapter in Europe and beginning transitions towards home, tying up threads and feeling all the feelings. Hey, you’ll be happy to hear we sold our van the evening before we  flew  ! I know I know!

Keep calm and knit! I reconnected with my knitting pins to make lily this Little Sallops beanie. I enjoyed the pattern and have made it before, and will again no doubt. It’s satisfying to see something I have made, loved and worn, Cedars shorts I made from this pattern, and his wool/silk blend sunny yellow shirt is from Engel. The Engel factory is nearby and I relished seeing the origins of these wonderful clothes and the bargains in the seconds outlet! 

I’m so irritated my original words vanished, this is a mere ghost of it. Anyway, i guess it’s practice for non-attatchment…

I love this apply cherry berry part of Southern Germany and we are so blessed to have friends to stay with. I realised just before we left there is a thermal spring bath in Bad (bath) Urach, something to go back for…..

Oh my god. Do this again? I need a long time for the challenges to fade and the good memories to take the front seat! For all you sitting at home and wanting to travel abroad with a family! It’s amazing to soak up other cultures and history and be inspired for our own home and garden and community and education and speak other languages and see my eleven year old conversing in German with the village kids and eat wonderful fresh cold climate produce and visit nearly every living relative I have and eat ice cream and play croquet with my 93 year old grandfather and hold hands with my Grandmother and observe Cedar soaking up every element of Opa’s farm education and walk and walk and walk and sniff mountains and flowers and watch your children blossom and find their place in family and soak up stories and places and wonder at this big beautiful world and live into how other people live and be inspired and expand ones reality and mind and overcome difficulties and be more capable and resilient than I ever thought I was and cherish friends new and old and be courageous and be kind and and…. 

And far out! It’s exhausting and over stimulating and challenging and difficult to meet four peoples needs and live in a 2.5×3.5 m space and doubt your choices and wonder if there’s a darn good reason most people don’t do this and and to be ungrounded and find your way when you know nobody and no one is inviting you in and you are lost and can’t speak the language or find a decent cheese, I mean camping place…. 

So yes, maybe one day we will make a trip to Europe again.

Because really we didn’t get very far….

Have you travelled extensively with your family?

Where would you go if you could?

Travel well friends.


Geometry playground

Class 5 geometry lessons are underway! It’s exciting for me to revisit the beauty and symmetry of compass art, Learning about polygons, prisms, pyramids, solids, quadrilaterals, angles, lines and circle language. I enjoy the artistic focus in presenting this work with Lily through the Waldorf curriculum.

On an adventurous day out recently we were happy to find this playground in a small village. (Neustadt near Metzingen) Soon there where exclamations about how this whole place was framed on polygons, prisms and even a quadrilateral pyramid supporting the tree! We are all looking at the world through geometry glasses now!   

I hunted for four leaf clovers (unsuccessfully) and enjoying watching while the two spent half an hour cleaning the sand out of the water play basins and creating waterfalls. I know Lily gets lonely for friends her own size when we travel and I cherish the richness of her relationship with Cedar and their ability to play together despite 6 years age difference. 

They where really engaged with the water pump and this initiated more conversations about living in historical times, continuing on from visiting Lichtenstein Castle earlier in the day. Shall we detour there right now, it’s a lovely late summer day in Southern Germany….

    We took the tour so we could snoop around inside the castle. I was especially enthralled with the detailed paintings on walls and ceilings. Photographing strictly Verboten! So you will have to go there yourself.

Afterwards we sought out the Easter Egg museum, decorated not chocolate !unfortunatley closed but the glimpse in the door was inspiring for our own Easter festival. After studying ancient Egypt lily was taken with the egyptian artwork eggs in the centre. 

 Anyway back to geometry!

We have been playing with toothpicks and modelling clay to create a sample board. It began with lines, which naturally flowed into the exploration of what can you make with lines.   

  glimpses from Lily’s main lesson book.

 It is fascinating the different polygons and patterns which are made when you follow the times table…  

Draw a dozen intersecting straight lines, then identify and color the various types of triangles.

Mamas exploration.   Lily’s


  Practicing rays by imagining starlight that shines on forever.The city map practicing all different types of lines. See if you can spot them!  
  First freehand circle explorations before introducing the compass.  
    Cedar watched the above flower of life developing, later he sat quietly and recreated his own very beautiful version. I loved making and colouring this mandala as a child also.

  The hexagon creations are beautiful, followed by a dodecagon.
   The fun side of mathematics for us!

The truck house inspiration

These dear friends are in the project of rebuilding this fantastic old fire truck with an add on cabin. Alongside rebuilding a beautiful old house in Southern Germany. Creativity, laughter and lots of child cuddles to be shared in this family.  I thought you might enjoy a glimpse of their holiday home. When I met them 7 years ago they lived in another wonderful fire truck and I was very inspired for our own travel bus. Simple solutions, lots of hand shaped timber. maybe I will have a truck one day. So spacious! I’m coveting the windscreen fringe….

Clover luck

My luck is changing! 

I had never found a four leaf clover before this trip! 

While Lily has found over 25 in the last months, I found one, I really did!

She has her clover glasses on and this whole trip has accumulated and gifted quite a collection of four leaf clovers. 

I think it’s remarkable !

It’s rubbing off on Cedar also. 

Have you ever found a four leaf clover? 

Hope you’re feeling lucky!

The Treadle Machine

I am unsure how time passed so swiftly 

But here we are 

Thinking a lot of home and our return in a couple of weeks

What is happening in my garden?

Many stories not shared, I can’t claim I am a proficient travel writer!

Four people in a small space, so much outside to see and explore, where is the plug anyway?

Packing sorting packing

Being held lovingly by a friends home

Watching Lily make a travel bag for her birthday dolls and small things

The treadle machine is a new experience and has a gentle sound and rhythm

I am impressed with her independent skill revealing itself with sewing this project

She began as a wee girl sitting on my knee ‘steering’ fabric or ‘driving’ the peddle for me

Look at her now!

An alpine birthday

Now on this day we celebrate your day of birth 

And we wish you a good and happy life on earth!

(Alternative birthday ditty)        The traditional pancake breakfast substitutes for a cake when we are camping. Lush toppings, fresh berries, cream, yoghurt and maple syrup. I eat renegade savoury pancakes first, gruyere cheese and pesto.

  Craved farm animals from Werner reifentiere. Found at Pastorini in Zurich. Up up up on the cable car from Falkenberg to Oeschin. Summer tobogganing.       The ausblick/outlook is enthralling.     Postcard moments. Oeschinersee. The lake is turquoise. Crispy clear and cold, it is fed by the snow melt and glaciers.       I am enchanted by the alpine flowers and the children hunt out wild strawberries and raspberries. It keeps them busy and happy for an hour and I can soak up the incredible environment at 1500 or so metres above sea level. We are blessed with mostly sunshine and wonderful cloud pictures being sucked on by the peaks.       Another gift was a junior Opinel whittling knife . The end is round so not quite as perilous but just as sharp. There are sticks of softest pine to be found in the woods. This fellow hiked up with his alphorn! I opened conversation as we had all been guessing what was in his pack, and he willingly took it out and played for Us some folk tunes. The harmonic singing of the horn was beautiful to me. It seemed so fitting in this environment. I couldn’t have imagined a better spot to hear it for the first time since childhood.   The sound carried across the water and the long tones needed the space. Magic.   There are many carving and sculptures along the lakeside path. Cedar played his own little birthday Sansula and enchanted us.  


 The folk art and carvings on the buildings continuously impress me in Switzerland. I have been guessing they are winter arts to keep hands creative when indoors for much of the year. Strong traditions. The little model house had a barn full of cows like Cedars birthday cow Tulip.  

  Jesse dared to leave the signed pathway (incredibly practical signs for Wanderweg/walkway with distances and times, everywhere in Switzerland. I love the walking culture. This has been a focus of our trip) and despite our resistance ( I’m imagining lost on the mountain in the dark with hungry tired little people) found us a gorgeous place to have a fire for our traditional Swiss sausage roasting. 



Who loves chocolate and hazelnuts in fire cooked banana s? Have you tried this? Wait  until you have a bed of embers then lay upon it bananas with their side split and chocolate stuffed in. Yum.      Walking down the mountain is not always easier! I think the grade was about 16%. Sore knees and ankles. 

So happy to get to the playground at the bottom! We walked back to camp at 9 pm via the restaurant for slices of cake and warm milks. I took candles and we had a mini birthday celebration there. A super special family day! Hooray Cedar!

To you we sing

And happiness we bring

To celebrate your birth

An angel here on earth. 

Thanks to friends for this song