It’s a day of Family First for me!

“I don’t care about whose DNA has recombined with whose. When everything goes to hell, the people who stand by you without flinching–they are your family.” 
~  Jim Butcher


Ben drove us to the city yesterday so I could finally have some decent internet connection. We’d planned a million things for the next few days but suddenly that’s all changed.

Just as we arrived at our front gate we had a phone call to say that Ben’s mum was vomiting, confused and about to be transported by ambulance to hospital.

And Rufous our young pup has taken a tumble and hurt his back leg, which now requires a vet visit.

So last night and today and perhaps the days ahead for us will be family first. Ben’s mum is 92 and frail. I need to pop around to her home early this morning to clean. We need to take Rufous to the vet. We need to go up to the hospital. We need to be with our family.

Hugs yours today, okay? Or give them a call. Whether they are blood-relatives or animal friends or people who’ve come to mean as much to you. We’re all each other has, and in the end, we’re all that matter.

Much love to you, Nicole  xx

Violet’s New Baby

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Violet’s new baby calf takes its first steps

“Good girls go to heaven, bad girls go everywhere.” ~ Mae West

One of our cows, Violet, gave birth yesterday morning. But instead of a snowy white calf, she produced a deep burgundy baby with blotches of white all over its head.


That baby didn’t come from our bull.

Earlier this year, during bad weather, Violet went missing. We drove down to the river looking for her, and when we called we could hear her distinctive moo. We kept yelling and suddenly she appeared on the other side of the very swollen river. Thinking we had some kind of tasty food treat she ran down the hill towards us.

To our horror she launched herself off the edge and into the water, a drop of about six feet. It looked like a very inelegant cow belly flop. The flooded river carried her rapidly downstream and past the bend, where we could no longer see her, but about half an hour later she turned up back in our bottom paddock again, mooing loudly for some hay or molasses.

Naughty Violet!

Three years ago her very first baby, Blackie, was by that same neighbour’s bull. Here’s a picture of them, being watched by another young Murray Grey calf. Can you see the resemblance between Blackie and this new baby?


Violet’s very first calf, in 2010, was also an unusual colour – black with a white head. Her baby should have looked like the little white one who is looking on.

Violet had only just given birth when I took these latest pictures. The little calf had just stood up for the first time, and been licked clean by mum. Violet is now busy eating the afterbirth.

The calf is a girl. In the final picture she is licking her lips after her very first drink of milk. Cute, huh?

So, we need a name for this new girl too. She’s got a very independent, feisty kind of nature. Incredibly brave and outgoing. Mum kept trying to stash her baby in long grass to keep her safe yesterday, but this little calf ran after the herd all day on her wobbly new legs.

I’m looking forward to spending some time with her today.

If you have any suggestions for a name, let me know!

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Baby, licking her lips after her very first drink of milk!

What happened to the Sisterhood?

Image from

Image from

“Nobody objects to a woman being a good writer or sculptor or geneticist if at the same time she manages to be a good wife, a good mother, good-looking, good-tempered, well-dressed, well-groomed, and unaggressive.”  ~ Marya Mannes

I briefly thought about titling this post ‘Sisters, don’t be Bitches!’…

It is somewhat surprising to me – as a child of the eighties, growing up with the work of the suffragettes and feminists behind me, and my future status as an equal citizen in the world presumed – that now in 2013 I am writing, not about men, but to other women.

Sisters!  Wake up!

Feminism and the Women’s Movement was about giving us choices. We can vote or choose to become an elected representative of government ourselves. We have access to education and we can choose a path of study.  We can choose to marry. We can choose to have children or not.  We can choose to go to work or stay at home with a family. Or we can do both. We can choose to be a florist, a pole-dancer, a bio-physicist. We can choose high heels or sensible flats. Cosmetic surgery or au naturale. That’s the whole point. We get to choose.

Duh, I hear you say.  I know that, Nicole.

Well, that’s good.  But there’s another part to this equation. We get to choose but the flipside of this is that feminism won’t work if we then judge each other’s choices.

We need to stick together here. There’s no right or wrong, only choices. We need to support each other, and our right to make choices, to be individuals, and to forge our own paths.

A woman is not a better woman because she stays home with her children. She is not a better woman because she works. She is not worse for having no children, or for having six. She is not lesser for being a bad cook, a poor housekeeper, or ambitious in the workplace. She is not more because she has a trim figure, sex appeal or fashion sense. A woman is just who she is – an individual making choices.

The media is full of judgments and statements about women, and what a ‘good’ woman, an ‘ideal’ woman, a ‘healthy’ woman, a ‘sexy’ woman should be like. That’s a dangerous thing to buy into. When we start saying this is ‘good’ and this is ‘bad’ we erode each other, and we undo all the work that was done to enable us to have these choices in the first place.

Stepford Wives image from

Stepford Wives image from

The truth is that women still do the lion’s share of child-raising, housework, care-giving and looking after elderly parents. On top of careers. On top of personal interests, relationships and friendship maintenance.

We all take different paths and there are many more paths available to us now, but one thing needn’t change. Traditionally, women have supported each other. Grandmothers, elders, aunties, mothers, sisters, friends – they’ve come together to help each other with child raising, families, relationships, nursing the sick, cooking, creating, connecting and grieving. They have shared their wisdom and skills with one another, and enabled those with particular interests or skills to shine, while holding up those who are walking a difficult path. That is one of the magnificent things about being female – this long tradition of support, emotional connection and caring.

It costs nothing to give encouragement or kindness. Respecting each other and our individual choices makes the journey easier and more satisfying for all of us. And it sets an important example for future generations.

We’re living in extraordinary times. And so much of what we enjoy and take for granted has come about from the efforts of strong and determined women who wanted more for themselves, their sisters, their friends and their children.

Our society is made beautiful through this amazing tapestry of diversity. And that diversity is created from the right to choose.

Choice is important to all of us. It’s a basic human right.

Men make choices all the time and are not greatly judged or examined by their peers for their actions.

So why should women treat each other so differently?

Sisters, I’m asking you – support each other and our right to choose.  Celebrate that diversity and the many options we can take in our lives. And if what another woman chooses is different from you, that’s okay.  In fact, it’s wonderful. We are not just women – we are people.  Individuals. No two the same.

Most of us wish for more support and connection in our lives. It starts by suspending judgement and extending kindness and respect, especially to other women. Imagine the world we can co-create founded on that energy!

Happy Birthday, Mum!


It’s my mum’s birthday today. I can’t pop in and see her, take her flowers or make her a cake because she’s visiting with my brother down in Tasmania. (And yes, they are all safe from the fires, thank you!)

So instead I thought I’d take a moment to say thank you to my mum for some of the ways she has enriched my life.

Thank you mum for teaching me manners, and helping me understand that the feelings of others are important.  Thank you for teaching me to be considerate and compassionate.

Thank you for letting me follow you around the kitchen, for fostering my love of cooking, and for letting me make dinner – even when I did use every herb and condiment, and every pot and pan just to make one very strange-tasting dish.

Thanks for letting us spend so much time with our grandparents.  I am only now appreciating what a gift that is in my life.

Thank you for all the sacrifices you made to make sure we got a good education.

Thank you for teaching me that we should celebrate the important occasions in our lives.  In honour of this last one, here’s cake.  (BTW – You were the one who taught me how to make the chocolate leaves…)

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I hope you get to indulge in some fabulous tasty treats today. I love you.  {{{HUGS}}}

Happy Birthday Mum!

And if any of you would like to make this delicious Celebration Chocolate Mud Cake for yourself, my easy-to-follow recipe is here:

Celebration Chocolate Mud Cake Recipe

PS Don’t feel you have to wait for a special occasion to make this, because there is always something to celebrate in life!