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Hooray for Holidays

I started this Blog as a personal diary for our family of our time in Tabulam. One day, we hope to print it out for us to remember what we did and what fun we had. I can’t believe that it’s been almost a month since I last wrote a post. The last couple of weeks of term were crazy busy with me working full-time in the office at the school.

I missed out on a lot of things the girls were doing at the school but we are finally starting to see some money being saved and getting that step closer to paying off the mortgage. The girls had their school athletics carnival and both did so well, receiving ribbons for almost every event they entered and Alice being named Junior Girls Champion. She was so proud of herself. They will compete in the District Carnival next term with the other local schools.

We’ve celebrated a couple of birthdays since my last entry. Alice turned 10 and Linden turned 40. My Mum (Nanny) came to stay for Alice’s birthday and we had a lovely time with her. At least the weather was kinder to her this time around and not as hot as her Summer visit. Alice chose to spend the day in Byron Bay and while the sun was out, it was a bit too windy to spend much time at the beach so we wandered around town, visited the lighthouse, had afternoon tea at a lovely café and then drove home for dinner.

While Nanny was here, I took her to visit Tooloom Falls which had a heap of water flowing after the recent rain we’ve had. It was looking much better than the last time I visited a few months back.

The girls and I have started a beginner’s Archery course in Lismore on Saturday afternoons. I’m loving learning something new and we all get so excited when one of our arrows hits the gold in the middle of the target. Admittedly, our target is pushed pretty close to us but we are just learning technique at the moment. I hope to get a bow and arrow for us to use at home, we have a huge paddock out the back that we could set up with targets. The girls are enjoying it too, though Alice has a hyper-extended elbow and it gets bruised by being hit with the string each time she shoots (even with arm guards). We have been given some exercises to help her twist her elbow without twisting her wrist which will hopefully help.

We are so happy for two weeks’ school holiday and are waiting for one of Lucy’s best friends to arrive this afternoon for a visit. Then tomorrow we are going to go over to Byron Bay for two nights with them. A girls trip away sounds perfect. We are so excited to see her and her Mum and we have lots to show them. The cows up the road all have calves and we have a beautiful big python down by the river that suns itself on a tree. Linden even saw a platypus a couple of weeks back but I’ve not seen one yet.

Next week we have another adventure planned – Sea World for two nights with one of my dearest friends and her two girls. Stay tuned for the updates.

Until next time.

Tabulam Campdraft

Today we got to watch a sport we’d never heard of 6 months ago. I have no idea of the rules or classes of Campdrafting but it was so exciting to see these skilled riders and horses working the cattle. They’re so fast! I just wish the weather was better so we could have stayed longer.

I came home and searched the internet for some explanation – Campdrafting is a unique Australian sport involving a horse and rider working cattle. A rider must “cut out” one beast from the mob of cattle in the yard or the “camp” and block and turn the beast at least two or three times to prove to the judge that they have the beast under control; then take it out of the yard and through a course around pegs involving right and left hand turns in a figure eight, before guiding it through two pegs known as “the gate”. The outside course must be completed in less than 40 seconds.

It’s been a busy weekend down at the racecourse with trucks, horse floats and caravans driving past our house. When we drove down this morning I was surprised at how many people were attending and competing.

There will be another Campdraft held in a neighbouring town next weekend and another in two weeks. I’m hoping the weather improves for those ones so we can stay a bit longer and take more photos.

It’s a complete different world to what we were used to back on the Central Coast and I’m loving that we are seeing so many new and different things here. The girls were really interested in watching the cattle being loaded on and off the big trucks and watching the competitors. Lucy even found herself an old horseshoe in the mud that she’s brought home to clean up as a souvenir.

Everyone Loves a Parade

Who doesn’t love a parade? Casino was a bustling town during Beef Week and we stopped by to watch the Parade a couple of Saturday’s ago. Sawdust and hay bales were scattered on the main street and prizewinning cattle were paraded up and down followed by various colourful floats. There were amusement rides, music and market stalls. I love how stylish the farmers are with their shirts, hats and boots..

We had to stop the car on the way to our horseriding lesson the other afternoon as a farmer was mustering his cattle along the road. I don’t think I’ll ever tire of watching them herd their cattle on horseback with 3 or 4 dogs working. I was surprised how quietly it happens too.

I celebrated a birthday last week – 46 years old now. It was a quiet day at work as I hadn’t told any of the ladies I work with in the office but as I was walking past Lucy’s class, she told her teacher so the class stopped and sang to me. It was so beautiful. We are now preparing for Alice turning 10 and Linden turning 40 in a couple of weeks.

School photos were last week and I had to sit in the staff photo. I think it’s been around 30 years since I’ve had to have a school photo and I still get put in the front row being one of the shortest!

It’s getting pretty cool around here now and the locals are saying they are expecting a very cold Winter after having a mild one last year. Typical, Summer was crazy hot and now they say Winter is going to be crazy cold. Just my luck. Thankfully our fireplaces were all checked yesterday so we can now have a fire to keep us cosy at night. We even had a campfire and toasted marshmallows down by the river last weekend which was fun.

Mum is coming to stay for a week soon so we are all looking forward to that. She’ll be here for Alice’s birthday and we hope to go to Byron Bay for the day to celebrate.

This weekend coming is going to be another busy one, we’ll go to Lismore on Saturday as usual but after gymnastics the girls and I are going to have an archery lesson. I’m excited to learn something new. Saturday night there are some fireworks for a fundraiser for one of the local schools and on Sunday we are going to watch a Campdraft (a horseriding sport working cattle) down at the local racecourse.

Hopefully I’ll have lots of photos and stories to tell for my next post.

Until then x

Horseriding and Blueberries

I take my hat off to Mum’s who work full time and keep a house in some kind of order. I’ve been working 3 or 4 days a week for a few weeks and I’m already feeling like I’m drowning. Today is my first free day in a couple of weeks. Though I must say, I am really happy that I’m able to contribute to saving money now and paying some of the bills. I might even book myself into their hairdresser now that I have some money of my own – it’s way overdue.

The girls are both loving horseriding lessons and the horse they are learning with is so gentle and calm. I’m sure their gymnastics skills have helped them with their balance and core strength on the horse. It’s great to watch them learning something new and beaming with excitement. They look forward to every Monday now. We are hoping to go and watch one of their friends compete in a Gymkhana on the weekend and there’s a local Campdraft coming up soon so we’ll check that out as well.

Tabulam hosted their first Blueberry Festival a couple of weekends back and I was the official photographer as well as helping out with the CWA jam stall for the day. It was a long day and I was exhausted by the time I got home but it was a real success. There were market stalls, information stands, SES and RFS and a jumping castle to entertain the children. While we had a bit of drizzly rain to start the day, it fined up by lunchtime and it didn’t seem to stop people visiting and walking around the stalls. The CWA sold out of all its cakes, biscuits, jams, conserves and compotes with only a few scones left by the end of the day. My blueberry monte carlos were a hit as was the blueberry and banana bread I made. I’ll have to make double the amount for next year’s festival!

The new season harvest will be soon ready for picking and I can’t wait to get my hands on some of those delicious fresh blueberries.

Lucy competed in the District Cross Country carnival last week and came third so she made it onto the next level which is Zone to be held tomorrow in a town outside of Lismore. Apparently it’s a real cross country track with a big hill. Alice unfortunately dislocated her toe two days before the District carnival so couldn’t run. She should be okay to compete in the school Athletics carnival in June though which she’s happy about.

Casino Beef Week is on this week and there are celebrations in the town all week. The girls and I are looking forward to the street festival and markets on Saturday afternoon. We’ve heard they lay sawdust down on the main street and parade cows through town. It should be a fun afternoon with lots of activities and cattle competitions. It will be yet another ‘first’ for us. There have been so many new and exciting things for us to experience here.



A Quiet Life in the Country?

Why did I ever think I was going to have a quiet country life while living here? I should have known better. I have never been able to sit still and relax so I don’t know why things would be different. I have thrown myself into everything and anything I come across and have been so busy lately. Not that I’m complaining, I am really enjoying being busy.

I’ve been getting the odd casual day here and there as a Teacher’s Aide when one of the regular staff call in sick and that has been awesome. I love working with the students and helping them with whatever task they are doing. Any kind of work is difficult to find in a small country town so when I was asked to work on a more regular basis in the school office I didn’t hesitate to say yes.  I will be working every Tuesday and Friday and every second Wednesday in the office and the ladies have been so friendly and helpful teaching me the job.

The Tabulam Blueberry Festival is on Saturday and I’ve been busy baking for the CWA stall. I’ve baked Blueberry and Banana Breads to sell and today have been busy making 60 or so Blueberry Monte Carlos. Last week a journalist from one of the local papers came out and interviewed ‘Bluebelle’ our Festival mascot. I had a great morning with her taking photos around town with some of the local businesses. It sounds like it’s going to be a huge day with lots of market stalls, information stands and kids activities. Fingers crossed the weather is kind to us.

Talking about the weather, it has cooled down a lot during the nights and early mornings but the days have still be beautifully warm. It’s a really nice time of year, not too hot but not too cold either. It’s warm enough still to go for a swim in the river and we took the inflatables down late Sunday afternoon for a play. We spent a couple of hours playing in the water and the girls have made a ‘club house’ down in the trees where they make slingshots and just have a great time playing. It’s so good to hear them getting along and enjoying the outdoors.

Last week was Minnie’s first birthday and we celebrated with a special dog friendly cake for her and a new stuffed toy to play with. She’s certainly one spoiled dog. She loves going to the river and fetching sticks, though she’s still not good at bringing them back. She’s not afraid of the water and jumps straight in without hesitation.

We’ve been trying to arrange a horseriding lesson for a couple of weeks but every day we have planned, the weather turns on us and the lesson gets cancelled. We have our fingers crossed that tomorrow after school will go ahead. Lucy is so excited to ride a horse, she has friends here who have their own ponies and do Pony Club, Campdrafts and other competitions so she’s really keen to have a go too. She even wants me to buy her the lovely shirts and boots her friends wear.

I haven’t had a great deal of luck in photography competitions and don’t enter many as it gets expensive with entry fees and printing/framing etc. I decided to enter our local show though and was very happy to come away with two first place and two second place prizes. Though I did enter 15 photos!

I also decided to enter the Wyong Exposure Photographic Prize and was very excited to find out I am a finalist. They have chosen 145 images from around 700. I now have to get the photo printed, mounted and delivered to them before the cut-off date. It’s a shame I don’t live close by anymore so I won’t see it hanging in the gallery but I’m very happy to have it on show.

Now that mental image of my quiet country life of lying in a hammock on the verandah reading a book is a distant memory. I guess that’s the just my nature, never one to sit still long enough though I do enjoy a good book when I get time.

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