Wednesday, December 23, 2009

So nice to be back at the farm although with temperatures soaring this was probably one of the few pleasant weekends we will get over summer. Hazey has really grown up over the past three months, happy now to venture off on her bike with her big sister.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

I called my husband the Anti Christ in front of the children. I meant to say "anti-Christmas", but it came out wrong, saddest part is I think he took it as a compliment! I love Christmas, I love Christmas, full of festive cheer and family tradition ( too much alcohol and screaming at the kids). Well this year I determined to change all that. It is going to be about lovely family memories, togetherness and simplicity. I just don't feel that Daryl is totally with me on this but I'm pushing on, starting with a nice night of carols while we put up the tree. So the sound system, after 23 years, decided to fail us just when we most needed some background music ( mostly to drown out the sound of "Thats mine I want to hang it"), but finally the tree was up and decorated with our very eclectic mix of ornaments, many made with loving little hands over the years. Then for the introduction of my new tradition (always risky but they have to start somewhere), the Advent verse and lighting of the candles. Daryl also found some Advent stories on his iPhone (I'll embrace technology if it adds to some old fashioned family fun...hmmm?), but the first paragraph contained the word "bosom", so through peels of laughter we decided to wrap it up and send the kids to bed. I feel a bit defeated. How do you make Christmas about meaningful things, not necessarily over the top religious but just about togetherness and gratefulness and family without Mummy screaming "fine, stuff the lot of you, I give up, I'm going to bed! It has happened.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Home feels flooded with memories of newly weds and dinners with friends and shopkeepers I know and much treaded paths and first baby bumps that I can barely believe and art I've made and hung around here and my own old tea towels and a cup of tea in my old mug and dropping in and the warmth of Summer reminding me to put up the same tree with the old decorations that too are part of many years with the man I love and now the children who bind our family and run around inside our home. It is just that, it is the history of our life that swims around us here that makes it so nice to be back........

Wednesday, November 18, 2009


Well, maybe New York with five kids wasn't the best laid plan and now I am obsessing over the flight home. It's like going to be two days or something of commuting! Is that child abuse? Anyway, I'm in New York, I love love love New York. I even love the grimy basement of our apartment block where I've just been doing the laundry, little bit crime scene potential (Mum insisted on coming down there with me), it just so New York! But I do admit the last three days have had their ups and downs. It was a pretty busy and emotional week of goodbyes in Santa Barbara. I was dreading those last few days of school and was avoiding eye contact with everyone but still managed to weep all over the place. That school is so wonderful, I can't imagine I have done my last drop off there. Maybe not. 

So we arrive in New York, fairly late, bit hungry and tired, only to discover that the apartment is booked for six not eight (Beryl is with us), and so Daryl, Lucinda and Phemie have to stay somewhere else because it is illegal to have so many people in an apartment this teeny. Anyway, blah blah, all got sorted and somehow we are all back here together and it's legal (weird), and we have gotten used to the faint smell of gas and I would actually go as far as to say that is a cosy and I love the noise (really), and lying in bed looking out at all the other thousands of apartments around us. I really really love New York. Then of course there is the ice skating at Bryant Park. When I glide onto that ice my tired whining children are a distant sound, drowned out by the whoosh of blade on ice. And after a few hours they too managed to stand and then to skate so we went back again today because we all agree (finally), that it is the best thing to do here. 

But I'm starting to feel homeward bound and yes I'm quoting Simon and Garfunkel  but then I am in New York! There really is someone playing the sax under a stone bridge in Central Park so the music drifts up and through the trees that are those absolutely perfect autumn shades. It really is just like in the movies. But home is just a week a week away and I can feel the shift and I think the girls need to be there. But in the meantime, Mum and I look forward to our glass of red around the little kitchen table at the end of the day and tomorrow we will meet Greg and Sam up and FAO Swartz (toy store), and then we head off to Boston to visit our dear friends and I can't wait to see them. So there is still adventure and travel but soon there will be our home and familiarity. 

Photos to come....

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Ailee ended up with a stitch in her head, it was bound to happen sooner or later, probably worth it considering the hours of fun the girls have had on that rope!

No, I still believe that letting the girls decorate their own birthday cakes is less stressful than me trying to make something beyond my ability...and it isn't my house. Happy third birthday Hazey!


Halloween just got busier and busier with costume making and pumpkin carving. I was seeing black and orange in my sleep, even my morning Starbucks had Halloween potential but quite frankly a pumpkin spiced latte just sounds disgusting. The needle felting finally got finished, probably not quite to the standard I had in mind but really, whose is going to see any of this in the dark anyway? Poor old Hazel ended up in a nasty acrylic koala suit that was a couple of sizes too small, next year I will start on hers first. And as with every family event that has "build up", the moment we were all ready to get in the car had the usual melt down possibilities (me), but tears dried and a few deep breathes, off we went......

The Halloween Journey at the Waldorf School is really something special. The teachers set up these amazing vignettes at the school and you are lead around to one and then the other. The woman on top of the black structure is the moon and as it got darker you are less aware of the structure below her. To us she looked like she truly was hovering in the sky as she sang a song about the moon. The girls were mesmerized as were the parents. There are about eight vignettes and after each one the children are offered a small gift such as a crystal or a little bell or some fabric. The final vignette was a puppet of a young Chinese girl in a boat. She was so life like I could have watched her for hours. I think Chinese puppetry might be my next obsession!

Sadly however, after all the lovely needle felting, pumpkin carving and the gorgeous magical Halloween journey, this is in fact my final memory of the day.....

Wednesday, October 28, 2009


Tuesday, October 27, 2009


When Daryl was fifteen he headed off to Lake Tahoe in the US with the Rotary Exchange Student Program. Then due to some amazing twist of fate (stuff up but let's put a posative spin on it), young Daryl ended up at the home of Glen and Carleen Lewis in a smallish agricultural town in the heart of The Central Valley named Tulare. Glen was at the time Principal of one of the local high schools and Carleen a teacher, but they also happened to live on a "walnut ranch", and so the love affair with that particular nut began!

Glen and Carleen embraced Daryl as if he was their own son, and so began a thirty year friendship that has seen many harvests, our own walnut farm up and running, marriages, babies and sadly losses with Carleen's passing this year. 

But the relationships formed through this one chance meeting are so far beyond just Daryl, Glen and Carleen and too complex and interwoven to go into here on my blog, but I picture a tornado where the relationships that began all those years ago still whip and weave around each other. I have to give an example.... After Daryl, Glen and Carleen had another student stay. His name was Pale and he was from Spain. Daryl and his brother Don visited Glen and Carleen
 during that year and met Pale. A couple of years later while visiting Spain, Daryl catches up with Pale and is introduced to Pale's friend Maria. Some time after that, Daryl's brother visits Pale in Spain and also meets Maria. They have now been married for about 16 years and have two children. That is just one example!

So back to our road trip to Tulare. I don't know why I love Tulare so much. It is a little run down in parts, it is flat, there is a strange haze like the sun is slightly filtered through smog coming up from LA, it is true farming country where the dairies are huge and the cattle barely see sunshine or grass, the cotton fields stretch on like a sea of white fluff and the walnut orchards are big and lush and shady. Must be the farmers wife in me. Of course the outlet shopping is sensational so that also hooks me! But I think this town had a big effect on Daryl, it was life changing and character forming. I imagine him there, working out in the field with Glen, playing high school football and asking Jennifer Sae to the Graduation Prom. 

It was my (and Phemie's) fifth visit to Tulare and I will never get tired of that amazing drive through the Sierra Nevada Mountains and then suddenly the mountains are behind you and the vast never ending plains of the Central Valley stretch before you. Until next time....