I had thought that somehow this year it would be different, that someway I would be able to carve out a time a few times a week to share as I have in years long past.
Only this evening as I was working on my study programme for one of the online courses I have been completing that I accepted that my life is so incredible different to what it was a few years ago.
In many ways it is the same and yet in many subtle ways it creates a different lifestyle that has changed who I am and what I can do - and tonight I am finally able to accept that and move on.
So what is new and what is old in my home and in my heart?
Well lets begin with what is not changed- the essence of who I am and how I live my life.
Firstly I am still blessed and will be blessed all the days of my life to be married to my childhood sweetheart and the mother of our 12 beautiful children here on earth and our two precious souls who we did not get to have live with us.
I have been able to live my vocation of wife and mother at home for most of my mother hood. We have had the privilege to have our children learn from birth to 'graduation' from our Home Education programme and become better and stronger as a family because of that, it is essentially our lifestyle......our very LIFE!
Within that though there has been change. We have 'graduated' from our Home Learning 7 students to higher education and the workforce. This only leaves me 5 students at home which was a very heart wrenching experience for me as I prepared the 'new school year' supplies and I only made 5 small piles of those supplies.
In the last 5 years we have moved from our 'perfect home' on 5 acres we built 95% of with our own hands, learning many skills we had never thought we would need, to a rented home we live in, while we try to sell that outgrown (not in size but lifestyle and dreams) house so we can put down fresh roots in this place we now call home.
Here though on this rented property we have done more of the 'dream' life than we did while on our own home territory.
Our children are older and let me tell you that in itself means VERY LITTLE time for alone time.
I think it is something that many an older parent probably has said to those with lots of little children running underfoot through the ages, and those younger parents probably believed it little.
When we had just young children, when everyone was under the age of 12- 13 we lived a much simpler life! We lived a lifestyle revolving around our family, learning and our home. We had 'control and order' in our day because, I believe we had all we needed in those simple lives.
However the wheel of time turns whether we like it or not and we all age, parents and children alike. Children leave the nest and start their own lives and some fly a long way away to the delight and sadness of those left behind.
The reality of the children becoming young adults means that there comes added changes and responsibilities for both parent and child. These change the WHOLE structure of the family, it changed the whole way of life of our family, one in which the older children do not see in the same way.
Older kids and young adults have entirely different needs and desires that take much more time from you as a parent that can not be understood until it is experienced. This of course can not be structured into the day but is often a late night event or overlapping some other crisis in life.
Now do not think for one moment that this is a whinge or a whine. I LOVE my 'big kids.' I love the relationships I have had develop with them. They are truly the people I love to spend lots of my time with. Life is different is all because of the 'time travel' of our family.
Other changes in our family have been the 'homesteading' and preparing for a more 'self sustaining' life style.
We have started here in this home that is not ours, the makings of our future self sustaining lifestyle.
We have been growing in many ways as we follow this long awaited dream, a dream that even now is evolving as we grow in this lifestyle.
We have been growing our homestead from our very first arrival of 2 chickens that were a gift from friends to where we are now with a very nice beginning for our future plans.
Are you interested in our little homestead and what we do here? Well I am going to share anyway. I am really proud of where we are now as well as where we are heading. Our children at home are a huge help in keeping this going and some are very active in wanting to utilize the space we have to the maximum out put of what we can have here.
* Chickens- we have gold lace wyndottes, buff orpingtons, an australop rooster we are crossing with Isa Browns to produce a chicken that lays 'everyday' for its life time.
* We have Pilgrim Geese- 7 geese and 3 ganders (one will be our Michaelmas dinner this year)
* Peking Ducks- 1 drake and 5 ducks and two Saxony ducks ( 2 little ducklings)
* Turkeys- 2 Toms and 6 hens with 4 new hatched chicks
We have Anglo Nubian goats that we breed for milk and meat if we don't sell the offspring. We have yet to actually eat one of our goats, but that's the plan if they don't sell!
We started with 2 does and 2 bucks for breeding and had a successful birth of triplets from one of our does. The other one, my favourite, has yet to produce a kid yet.
We plan to milk our does but we were unable to do so with our first-time mum of triplets, and plan on making cheeses and soap from our own goat milk.
These are a new addition ( we have raised potty lambs before for meat) but these are Suffolk Sheep that we have for breeding. We will raise the lambs for meat at this stage as we don't have room to increase our herd here. We also plan on milking the sheep and making cheese from the milk.
Pigs- We have again a breeding pair. These are Large Blacks an old heritage breed that are fairly docile and sweet.
Meat Rabbits -
Dogs- a cocker spaniel as a family dog and our two older boys (at home) have a border collie pup each they bought
Cats- we have some lovely barn cats that have been very excellent at keeping snakes away this year.
Guinea Pigs- a couple of girls and a boy
Our other main part of our homesteading is growing as much food as we can in a temporary state.
We have quite a few fruit trees and 'Aussie bush foods' and I try to grow edible weeds and flowers to add to our supply.
At the moment I grow these in large pots and try to establish the trees so that when we move to our own home again we can plant these straight away. We did this year have some successful fruiting from our trees and of course our various berries.
This past Spring and Summer we have attempted our first major vegetable growing season. We planted three 'trampoline gardens'- again we have had to do this in a temporary way as we cant invest in the major requirements of a permanent garden.
We have just started to re-prepare for our winter gardens :)
As we try to treat our illnesses and injuries naturally I am increasing our herbal plants to add to our dried stocks for medicinal teas and home made cleaners and body care products.
In our growing knowledge and skills of this lifestyle ( I do teach our children that REAL Learning happens your whole life not just in school or even school hours) I have been following an education programme as well, which again does not allow a lot of free time.
I have completed a short Homeopathy course and a Family Herbalist Course.
Currently I am working on a Foraging Course, Medicine Making Course, The Art and Science of Plant Medicine Making Course, Confident Family Herbalist Course and a Permaculture Course.
Blessings to you and your homes,