Oh Rufous! Poor sore paw!

“If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went.” 
Will Rogers

Poor Rufous had an accident on Saturday. While out mustering the cattle in cold, wet and muddy conditions he ripped a toenail almost off his front foot and cut it badly.

We only noticed when he started licking his foot later, as he was warming up in front of the fireplace. So it was off to the vet who had to operate to tidy his foot back up again.

Oh dear, what a dopey pup came home to us on Saturday night. Full of drugs and anaesthetic and too wobbly to walk Ben had to carry him into his bed.

His bandage stayed on for all of Sunday. And then suddenly it was off!

I resorted to a sock taped onto it to keep it clean.

But that didn’t last long either. We didn’t want him to lick it and infect the wound so now we have resorted to a bucket on his head. Poor Rufie!

Poor Harry is hiding from Rufous because Rufie keeps bashing his big brother with the bucket. Ouch! Our shins know it too…

If there was a more miserable dog than Rufous right now I wouldn’t believe it. But I’m sure he’ll be back to his bright-eyed and happy self again in a few more days. Meanwhile, we’ll give him and Harry extra pats and cuddles,

Hugs to you all, Nicole ❤ xx

 

Trapped by Dog!

“Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand and for a talk beside the fire: it is the time for home.” 
Edith Sitwell

Winter arrived overnight at our farm. Brrrr! So cold this morning.

And this morning after my meditation I popped back into bed to warm up and a small dog jumped up on the bed and snuggled down right on top of my legs. He was warm so I left him there and went back to sleep. But when I woke up and was ready to get out of bed he refused to move. ‘Too cold, Mum,’ he protested, grizzling at me for disturbing him. Too cold even though he is dressed in his winter coat, and should be toasty warm. Poor Rufous isn’t much of a tough farm dog. He’s a cuddle sook!

I managed to ease my legs out from under him and he stayed put. He’d still be there now except for Ben yelling the magic word…

Breakfast!

In a flurry of fur young Rufous was at the back door, ready for the happiest part of the day – food.

So I’m late blogging today because of puppies, comfort and life.

Now for me a day of acupuncture and self-care, friends sitting around the fireplace writing with me over cups of tea, and cauldrons of soup on the stove. I’m still recovering from this wretched flu but I’m making progress back to being well thankfully. I’m sure puppy cuddles have helped immensely.

Wishing you a day of cosiness too! Much love, Nicole ❤ xoxo

No Blog Because…

“Daily dawns another day;
I must up, to make my way.
Though I dress and drink and eat,
Move my fingers and my feet,
Learn a little, here and there,
Weep and laugh and sweat and swear,
Hear a song, or watch a stage,
Leave some words upon a page,
Claim a foe, or hail a friend-
Bed awaits me at the end.” 
Dorothy Parker

I’d be writing a decent blog post this morning but for one important fact.

Ben had a missed call on his phone from last night. A transport company telling us that our new bed will be delivered at 7am this morning.

Which is awesome except that our old bed is in the spot where the new bed needs to go, and it has a mountain of stuff stored under it, it needs to be pulled apart and then everything vacuumed and the walls washed down. And we only have an hour.

Wish us luck.

Also…

NEW BED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

See you tomorrow, after a good night’s sleep.

Nicole  xx

It’s a Fairy Forest here at the farm!

“Few humans see fairies or hear their music, but many find fairy rings of dark grass, scattered with toadstools, left by their dancing feet.” 
Judy Allen

We’ve had a furious amount of rain here at the farm these past few weeks. Everything is damp and waterlogged, but green green green!

On my morning walk I marvelled at the fungi forest in our paddocks. Mushrooms of every shape and size.

The one in the picture above is the size of a dinner plate.

And these tiny delicate ones are covering the trunk of the fallen coral tree like lace.

Soon enough they’ll all be gone, so I am enjoying their magic while I can.

How about you? Can you slow down a little today, or over the weekend, and take yourself for a walk in nature? Who knows what you might find, what inspiration could come to you, or what you might learn about yourself and your feelings.

I can highly recommend walking. After our retreat I rushed straight into a busy week of medical appointments in the city and the stress of supporting family members. It was so good to come home yesterday and decompress by spending some quiet time in nature. Walking helped me come back to centre, release my stress and reprioritise what truly matters so that I don’t get caught up in external dramas. Maybe you will find that kind of peace too, if you walk long enough. If long walking’s impossible a short gentle stroll or even sitting outside in nature with a quiet and watchful eye can be enough.

Biggest hugs and love, Nicole ❤ xx

A miniature city of mushrooms

There’s almost nowhere to walk – with mushrooms everywhere under my feet

Perfect umbrellas for fairies!

Lace-like and delicate. For fairy dresses perhaps?

 

 

 

The Taste of Freedom

“When a man is denied the right to live the life he believes in, he has no choice but to become an outlaw.” 
Nelson Mandela

We always clip our dogs onto short leads on the back seat of the car when we travel. It keeps the dogs confined to their positions (otherwise they’d both be on our laps in the front) and also helps us control the behaviour of young Rufous who is only just one year old, and still a delinquent.

Yesterday we drove to Brisbane. Both Harry (our Cafe Dog) and Rufie were very quiet and well behaved.

Or so we thought.

Rufous spent the first part of the journey in what we call the Parrot Position. If he strains himself to the full extent of his lead he can rest his head on Ben’s left shoulder while Ben drives. It’s Rufie’s favourite position until he gets tired and goes back to lie down beside his brother and take a nap.

But Rufous wasn’t quiet when he lay down yesterday. He was busy.

First he chewed through his lead, nibbling neatly along the seam until it was severed.

Then he quietly chewed through Harry’s lead too.

 

One minute Ben and I were alone in the front of the car, discussing global warming and American politics and all the other stuff you talk about on road trips, and the next minute Rufous was madly licking my ear as he balanced on the compartments between the two front seats. Harry thought it was marvellous too, and managed to go back to sleep with most of his body squeezed between the two front seats and just his tail and back paws on the seat behind.

After a stern talking to they skulked back to their lair for the remainder of the journey, and then both of them pranced out of the car and in the front door, flaunting their freedom for all to see.

There will be no new escape. Ben bought wire cable yesterday – impossible to chew through.

Were your dogs chewers when they were pups? I wonder how long before Rufous grows through his chewing stage? Soon, I hope!

Hugs and love to all of you, from all of us!  Nicole xoxo

 

 

 

My Magical Magnolia Owl Tree

“Have you ever looked at the bud of a magnolia flower? It’s a tight little pod that stays closed up for a long time on the end of its branch until one day, out of nowhere, it finally bursts open into this gigantic, gorgeous, fragrant flower that’s ten times bigger than the bud itself. It’s impossible to imagine that such a big beautiful thing could pop out of that tiny little bud. But it does.” 
~  Joanna Gaines

We have a magnolia tree here at the farm that sits on a little mound of moss and soft grass in the back garden.

The tree is small, and right now it is covered in tiny furry buds that will open up to dinner-plate sized flowers that are so impossibly fragrant that I swoon for days over their beauty.

This magnolia is also a favourite night-time perch for owl visitors. I have never understood why they prefer this tree to others, except that the tree and the area around it have amazing energy and maybe the owls sense that too.

Right now I’m charging up a crystal grid under the magnolia. The stones have been there since January, soaking up the full moons and the lunar eclipse, the starlight and thunderstorms, the raging sun and the peaceful rain. They are almost buried in the soft thick grass now and scattered with leaves and fallen flowers.

Two more weeks and I’ll break the grid down, taking out some of the stones for the participants on my two retreats this year.

I know these stones will hold the energy of our farm, of the owls and the magpies and crows and fairy wrens and finches who have perched above or hopped through the stones too.

Our magnolia is also festooned with a harmonic wind-chime, and hand-crafted wooden owls and hearts – all gifts from dear and precious friends.

I’m feeling very peaceful this morning as I tend to the grid. I hope you can feel some of that peace too. Go gently today, and look after yourselves and each other,

All my love, Nicole  xx

 

Ah, the Romance… (sob)

“Romance is the glamour which turns the dust of everyday life into a golden haze. ” 
Elinor Glyn

Thank you so much for all of your anniversary wishes. Ben and I are very grateful for your love and support.

I’d like to tell you that yesterday was truly romantic – the stuff of dreams and novels…

But I can’t because it wasn’t. We’d planned an early walk on the beach and then breakfast at the Mullum Farmers’ Markets with friends, but it was raining and Ben is only just getting over the flu, so we cancelled that part of our day.

Then our internet went from bad to non-existent at the farm. A decision needed to be made. Ben would bring me back to the city so I’d be all set up to work with clients in the next few days, and he’d head back to the farm. We scrapped our lunch plans and decided that we’d have a romantic dinner in the city instead. It was raining heavily so we crammed our clothes bags, computers, work bags and groceries into the back seat with the dogs and off we set.

On the road trip home our youngest dog Rufous became ill. Think projectile vomit. Think total coverage of back of car. Twice. How could so much grossness come out of one medium-sized dog??? Then Harry, our other dog, started farting with the stress of it all.

So special.

When we finally arrived in Brisbane (after lengthy delays due to traffic jams and rain) it took the two of us 90 minutes just to clean the car. (God, it was even in my hair…) Then we had to clean everything that had been in the back of the car. And the dogs. Then ourselves. I almost needed to call the HAZMAT team.

That was our afternoon gone. By then we were too tired and grossed out to even contemplate a romantic dinner. So we ordered in some Thai and made plans to reschedule our anniversary for another day.

Rufous was feeling much better, so that was something good. And in the end we spent a day together anyway; Ben, me and the dogs. Weird circumstances and nothing like what we’d planned, but that’s how love rolls sometimes.

I wouldn’t trade a single one of them for anything! And gee we laughed. Certainly a memorable anniversary anyway. 😀

Waking Up In My Own Bed

“I used to dream about escaping my ordinary life, but my life was never ordinary. I had simply failed to notice how extraordinary it was. Likewise, I never imagined that home might be something I would miss.” 
~  Ransom Riggs

 

This morning I woke in my own bed.

Outside my window the birds sang. Dawn crept golden into the soft grey sky. Our dogs were pressed up against us, both of them awake and staring quietly at Ben and I as if they couldn’t quite believe we were real.

Is there anything more delicious than to be home after travelling and to see everything around you as if for the first time?

I meditated in my favourite spot, outside on the veranda beside Ganesha. After which I made a mug of tea and strolled through my early-morning garden; re-acquainting myself with everything, breathing in the cool fresh air, filling my ears with birdsong and the shrill of the cicadas, getting the feel of the place in my bones, grounding myself in home.

Today is a day of household chores and farm chores. Of settling back in. Of finding our rhythm again.

It feels as if we have been away forever, so I guess that means it has been a good break. Still, I’m grateful to be home again. I’m brim full of ideas and enthusiasm, and I’m ready for the year ahead. Can’t wait to share it with you!
Biggest love and hugs, Nicole ❤ xoxo

A Small But Positive Sign In The Shape Of A Snail

“Forgiveness is giving up the hope that the past could have been any different.” 
~  Oprah Winfrey

When we holidayed with a friend and her family early this year, her small children asked me what I had done to earn pocket money when I was little.

We didn’t get pocket money when we were growing up, but sometimes we would get paid for chores, and the one chore both my mother and grandmother would pay for was snail collection. Both of them were avid gardeners, and there were always so many snails threatening their annuals, vegetables and flowers. I would wake early each morning to silvery trails along all the paths, and of course all of the soft plants and flowers would have been nibbled voraciously. I’d be sent out with an empty ice-cream bucket (the family size!) to gather snails so they could be disposed of. I’d easily fill that bucket with perhaps half an hour’s work. They were everywhere, especially if you knew where to look.

Fast forward to today, and I have barely seen a single snail in years, except for the giant rainforest snails that we sometimes see around the farm. I’ve grieved and ached for that loss, and for my role in contributing to the demise of so many creatures. Our modern garden is so different to the gardens of my childhood. Where have all the snails gone? The bees? The insects? As a child I would amuse myself for hours catching small green grasshoppers or odd-looking beetles. There was an abundance of wildlife in my own back yard. Birds, dragonflies, stick insects, praying mantis, butterflies, Christmas beetles by the battalion, moths, all kinds of grubs and crawly things. And so many bees, especially when the summer lawn was full of clover.

Forty or so years later the skies and gardens seem empty. And I hadn’t seen a snail in my garden for a decade.

Until today. A tiny snail on one of my roses. Ben pointed it out to me. ‘Look, honey’, he said. ‘A snail is eating your rose.’ ‘Good!’ I responded. ‘I’ll grow more!’ If that little snail likes roses I will make sure she has an endless supply.

I can’t tell you how happy this one little snail has made me. I am hoping to soon see more.

A garden snail – courtesy of the Breathe Easy Project

Here in our little corner of the world, at our farm and at our neighbours, we don’t use chemicals or bug spray or any kind of pesticide. I favour companion planting. If bugs destroy a certain plant I make a note of it and either don’t grow it again or I grow lots of it so we can share it with the bugs, or so they can eat it and spare the rest of my garden.

Birds like to eat snails and bugs. So do lots of other critters. They are all part of the cycle of life, and I want for that biodiversity to continue. To that end we’ve planted lots of native flowering trees that are food for birds and butterflies and possums. We’ve placed birdbaths strategically around the garden. We’ve replanted species around the denuded areas of our farm to encourage biodiversity and restorative ecology. We farm organically. We use worm farms to enrich our soil and to compost all our food scraps. We do what we can to make our home a home for all.

Perhaps that little snail is a sign that we are doing something right.

Today I’m intending for you some small positive sign that you’re moving in the right direction too. Much love, Nicole   xx

 

 

My Favourite Morning Job

“Have you also learned that secret from the river; that there is no such thing as time?” That the river is everywhere at the same time, at the source and at the mouth, at the waterfall, at the ferry, at the current, in the ocean and in the mountains, everywhere and that the present only exists for it, not the shadow of the past nor the shadow of the future.” 
~  Hermann Hesse

 

Here on the farm my favourite morning job is checking our water points. I slip on my gumboots (still usually dressed in my pyjamas!) and then go for a little walk to check the cattle troughs. They all fill by themselves with float valves except one up in the orchard, that we only need if the cattle are there.

If the cattle are grazing in the orchard I will take the heavy farm hose and top up the trough for them before the heat of the day comes. While it fills I talk to the cows and watch the birds doing their early morning circuits. Our skies are always busy just after dawn.

 

I’ll flick the hose around the vegetable gardens and note anything that needs picking. And yes, a few stray strawberries or sweet little tomatoes usually find their way into my mouth.

Back down at the house again my last stop is the birdbaths. I fill them up, and the one on our front deck has new flowers placed in it from whatever I have gathered from my morning walk.

It’s a peaceful start to my day that never fails to put me in a good mood.

I’m wishing you a peaceful day and happiness too, much love, Nicole  xx