Up the tree and down the creek

 

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One of the things we love about our new house is the beautiful big fig tree in the front yard. It provides shade for Lotus’s swing set and trampoline and is also home to lots of little birds that are always chirping away in the background. Just yesterday we met a possum sleeping in one of its hollows. Ryan plans to eventually build a tree house in it but for the meantime has set up 2 rope swings, a tyre swing, a hammock and 50 m of marine rope strung through out the tree which is helping Lotus branch out in her tree climbing capabilities.

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If Ryan and Lotus are not tree climbing, swinging or jumping on the trampoline then they are usually off down the creek which is just at the end of our street….

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The creek was pretty dry for much of the year but since we have had regular rain over the past couple of months there has been a decent amount of water for paddling in. The best place to cool off on a hot day is actually under the bridge where it is surprisingly deep even though the bridge appears so low. Whilst the creek near our house is a great place to cool off it lacks a nice flat shady patch of ground for stretching out, relaxing and picnicing so we sometimes adventure further a field to other local swimming spots where we can picnic, play, explore, read books and colour in for hours on end…

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How are you staying cool this summer?

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Its been quite a while…

Its been a quite a while since i last posted and of course a lot has changed over the past two years. The biggest change of all is that in March this year we moved to a new home. There are lots of wonderful things about our new home and the location is definitely one of them. Although we are much more car dependent out here in the country it is very beautiful and peaceful. Our lovely big verandahs look out onto green rolling hills  and the main sounds we hear are cows mooing and lawn mowers mowing. verandah

Our block also has a few already established fruit trees including passionfruit, paw paw, lime, lemon, orange and a pomegranet. We had heaps of passionfruit a few months ago so were making passionfruit muffins, pies, yoghurt, cordial and iceblocks! I didnt get any photos though but did take these of Lotus and the pomegranets:

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lotus pomegranet

We have been a bit slow on getting a veggie gardening established but are already starting to enjoy some brasilian spinach, parsley, tomatoes and cucumbers!

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Eventually we will put in more fruit trees, natives and veggies but in the mean time we are a bit too busy enjoying lots of other things about our new home – but i will share some of those with you next time ūüôā

 

 

 

 

 

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Puzzles


DSC00413 DSC03440DSC03537DSC04499DSC04474DSC03616Over the past few months Lotus has become increasingly interested in and adept at doing puzzles. She can now do some 12 piece puzzles all by herself and enjoys doing larger ones with assistance. Here are just a few of the many puzzles she has been working on. Some of them we have bought new, some we borrow from the library and others we have found second hand in op shops.¬†Lotus is very much into “trucks and diggers” at the moment so the transport puzzles are a favourite that she can accomplish on her own. She also enjoys doing the children of the world puzzle with assistance as she loves hearing us talk about all the different children when it is finished.¬†

What are your children’s favourite puzzles?

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Strawberry lane

DSC04427Over the past few weeks we have been enjoying picking fresh strawberries from a local farm on Strawberry Lane in Eumundi. It has been a wonderful experience being out in the beautiful countryside and seeing first hand how strawberries are grown on a large scale. Its amazing to see how many workers are involved in picking, packing and maintaining the strawberry plants. Paid pickers use curious three wheeled bicycles to carry multiple trays of strawberries and to have some where shady to sit whilst they work. 

Although the farm is not spray free I appreciate that they try to spray as little as possible and do not allow people to pick strawberries for a few days after spraying. I still prefer to wash my strawberries before eating but Lotus is free to eat as many as she likes out in the field. Then we take the rest up to the packing shed for weighing at $10 per kilo.  DSC04275DSC04392DSC04310DSC04400

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Snow Pea Teepee

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About two months ago we made Lotus a Snow Pea Teepee.  We used some old pvc pipes and string to make the frame and Lotus helped plant a combination of snow pea seeds and home grown snow pea seedlings around the base. I initially put some pavers in for stepping stones to avoid trampling the plants but Lotus did not take any notice of them so now we have some planks of wood to walk on. Lotus seems to really enjoy the wooden paths as they are a bit like balancing beams.  About two weeks ago the snow peas started to flower and now over the past week we have been snacking on fresh crunchy snow peas!  It has been such a success that I am already planning to make a bigger one for next year!

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pee teepee 2 pea teepee

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Going for a little wander…

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Lotus often asks to go for a little wander down to the dam. She will happily spend a long time there: climbing on the rocks, squelching in the mud and throwing sticks and stones into the water. Its a lovely place to spend time together talking about what sinks and floats and watching how even the smallest stone sends ripples out far across the water.

Sometimes the guinea fowl like to follow us on our adventures…DSC04021DSC04004Near the dam there are lots of fruit trees that Lotus is always keen to check on and find out what is flowering or fruiting.¬†Recently we have been enjoying star fruits and hill gooseberries. The hill gooseberries are very different to the cape gooseberries. In fact they are a lot more similar to a blueberry only with furry skin and lots of seeds. It took Lotus a few visits to the hill gooseberry bush before she started to enjoy them.¬†hill gooseberry 2DSC03970DSC04047

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At the library

DSC02295We love our local library and try to visit regularly to stock up on piles of books and generally just enjoy the cheerful child friendly space.

DSC02777Usually the very first thing Lotus wants to do is head out into the courtyard for a drink and a play with the child sized water fountain. The courtyard is also a favourite place for having a picnic, running around and balancing along the garden wall.

DSC02793Back inside there is some very important shopping, cooking and dishes to be done…

DSC02308…and lots of books to be read.

toy libraryThere is also a small toy library we can borrow from.¬†We really appreciate this as it adds a bit of diversity to our at home activities without the extra expense or clutter.¬†¬†We have enjoyed some lovely wooden¬†peg puzzles, pound and roll balls, a caterpillar lacing apple and even some aboriginal animal art matching cards and dominoes sets. However the wooden snail was Lotus’s favourite for many many months. She always chose it – even if we had only just returned it! I felt like we were stopping other children from enjoying it too so Grandma Rikki kindly gave Lotus another pull along snail for christmas.

snailLotus’s very own pull along snail has been much enjoyed and now Lotus is happy to borrow other toys such as this magnetic pen and ball train.
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Wrapping presents

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This morning Lotus reminded me of another of her favourite indoor activities: wrapping presents!  She often gets out our boxes of recycled wrapping paper and gift bags to wrap up around the house items such as pieces of lego, pencils, crayons, animal figurines, books, gum nuts or shells etc to give as presents to herself, Ryan or me. She does not use any sticky tape but just scrunches and rolls the paper around her chosen object. Wrapping paper and gift bags get strewn across the floor but I think it is worth it. It makes me happy to see her get so absorbed in her work, to hear her sing happy birthday to herself, to receive her sweet little gifts and to see her delight as she opens her own simple presents.

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Favourite indoor activities @ 2.5 years

icecream shopAs much as Lotus loves being outside in the garden or helping around the house with practical life activities there are many creative indoor activities that she enjoys again and again.  The little ice cream shop above has been a big hit for a number of months now. We made it out of recycled toilet rolls, an egg carton and some scrunched up old tissue paper. With a little purse, a cash box and some money Lotus enjoys selling us ice creams almost everyday!

Here are some of her other favourite indoor activities…

DSC03678Watercolour painting – This is currently Lotus’s most turned to indoor activity. The paints are always available to her and she will often do some painting soon after she wakes up, again throughout the day and also some time during the evening. Crayons and pencils rarely get a look in whilst these paints are around.

DSC03102Lotus also loves these stamps. They have a picture of an animal on one side and a roller with the animal’s footprints on the other so you can make animal tracks. We have one set of farm animals and another set of native australian animal stamps.¬†

DSC03145Lego – a few months ago Lotus inherited Ryan’s old lego. Lotus loves it and it is something that Ryan still really enjoys playing with too!

ball gameRyan also recently rediscovered this wooden 3D noughts and crosses game that his brother made for him many years ago. At two and a half Lotus isn’t interested in strategy but she loves filling up the posts with beads.

DSC03588We have also been using the beads for other activities such as posting them down cardboard tube slides. Lotus also recently decided that they were eggs and proceeded to ‘cook’ the ‘eggs’ according to colour.

lotus bakingPretend cooking is an ongoing imaginary play theme for Lotus. She loves making chai tea in the bath, samosas in the sand pit, soup in the garden (using a bucket and freshly picked herbs and leaves and some water) and cakes, cookies and pies with play dough. So, I was thrilled to find a mini wooden kitchen hutch in an op shop for only $20. It makes a great pretend oven and a place to store all Lotus’s play cooking supplies including jars of various natural objects which are used as extra baking ingredients. The little wooden timer which is used to decide¬†when her baking is ready. It really captures Lotus’s attention as she loves watching the sand fall through it.¬†

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Chickens

DSC03689When we first moved here over three years ago there were seven chickens to look after. They lived in a dome cage inside the big permaculture garden. We moved the dome evey few weeks to give them fresh ground and to make a circular garden in the place where the  dome had been so that all the mulch, compost and chicken poo would enrich the soil to help vegetables grow. This worked well before Lotus was born as we had a lot more time to give the chickens attention, let them out under supervision and even use all sorts of recycled materials to extend the dome and give them more space. ramshackle chicken houseAfter Lotus was born we had much less time to let the chickens out, chase them back in and fix up the damage they did to the gardens. We also could not go on building ramshackled extensions to the dome every time we moved it so although we came up with a simpler solution: a tunnel to a second smaller dome that was easily transportable we still were not satisfied with their living conditions.

Over time the chickens slowly succumbed to illness and died. When only the beautiful black Bella was left we let her roam free as she did not do much damage on her own. Although she appeared very healthy, she was clearly lonely as she loved to spend time with us. When we were inside the house she would often try to perch on a window sill or sit on the door step looking in at us. We considered getting more chickens to keep her company but decided not to unless we could improve their living standards and let them roam free.lotus feeding bella

Fortunately a kind friend offered us her two red chickens and her chicken house. We happily took her offer and set up the new chicken hutch close to our house for the chickens to roam freely outside the permaculture garden. It took Bella a full week to adjust to her new home and companions but now the three of them are good friends and are almost always together. chook houseSince then the chickens have been getting into lots of mischief around our fruit trees and kitchen herb garden but we are still glad to have them roaming freely around the house. They feel more like part of the family now and Lotus sometimes even calls them her brothers and sisters! Lotus especially enjoys caring for them and often spontaneously busies herself with letting them out, collecting greens for them to eat, cleaning out their food containers and topping up their water. She also loves checking for eggs, helping to move the hutch and putting new hay in their nesting boxes.
chook house 1DSC03181More recently our flock of three has expanded to a flock of five as we purchased two little Pekin chickens from our local markets. They are the sweetest chooks ever and often run up to greet us and eat from our hand. DSC03301Sari, the small red chook, especially loves to be held and will even let Lotus hold her! DSC03231

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