It is a while, I realise since I wrote anything very interesting to you all. Sure, I've been popping in to update my blog most days, but it has all been pretty trivial - no real substance, I'm afraid, since my Dali post - and that was weeks ago. There's no particular reason - it has just been busy around here, that's all. Good busy, not crazy busy though. Most nights I've been flopping into bed exhausted. Tired and happy. And lets face it - that's a pretty nice way to flop into bed. Anyhow, today I thought I'd rectify things. I thought I'd write and tell you what's been going on chez nous. That's if you're still around waiting for me to talk to you. I'd understand if you weren't.
My dear mum and dad are here at the moment. Although their visit coincided with Father's Day, that's not the reason they made the 3 ½ hour journey. Actually, it took them a bit longer than the allotted time because they detoured into the marvellous Blue Pyrenees Winery on their way north. After a quick wine tasting, they ate at the excellent Café Bleu, overlooking the winery grounds - lush and green after the recent rains. Lush and green are not the sort of words you usually use to describe our region of Australia, but God has been good to us this winter, and the rains so far have been consistent and heavy - just what the farmers need after 12 years of drought. The hopelessness that some farmers feel, and their complete inability to govern (or even predict) the weather, has led to many of them suffering from significant depression. It would be so exciting if 2009 were a drought breaking year for them. Farmers are a naturally cautious bunch, but we are starting to see signs of optimism amongst many of them.
But I digress. Back to the meal at Café Bleu to tell you about my mother's observation. While eating their antipasto meal of salami, choriso, garlic prawns, locally smoked chicken and salmon, char-grilled vegetables , olives, semi-dried tomatoes and salad washed down with a Sauvignon Blanc chosen earlier, mum noticed that not one person in the whole restaurant - she and my father aside, of course, could hold a knife and fork correctly! She even saw two men licking their knives between mouthfuls. Eew err. There were open mouths, knives held like pens - the infringements ran the whole gamut, but nobody ate in an acceptable fashion. That horrified mum - and it horrifies me. Why is this so? Do parents no longer teach their children how to hold a knife and fork; to chew with their mouths closed; to not speak with their mouths full? Is basic table manners gone completely? Is it that out of fashion? I actually wonder whether this is a symptom of the TV dinner generation. If you always eat off your knee you'll never know how to eat at a table, will you? Jemimah has actual etiquette lessons, but then again, I'm a stickler for this stuff (I got it from my mum) so we spend quite a bit of time on it. What about your kids? Do they know how to eat out? A few pointers from mum and dad wouldn't take too long - would it? It would certainly make my mum feel better when she eats at restaurants. Thank you.
The imminent arrival of grandparents lead to a flurry of tidying on a certain young lady's part late last week. She managed to recruit both of her parents into the process, and we are able to give Jemimah's bedroom a thorough going over. I really should take some photos of it in its pristine condition. It generally looks pretty good, mind you - just lived in. At the moment there is not a book or a game out of place. Just the time to record it on film for posterity, I say.
If that wasn't enough to make me feel virtuous, over the last few days my dad and I have pruned the more than eighty roses that grace our garden. I can't say that they look terrific right now - rather spindly and denuded actually, but imagine them in a few weeks!! My dad is rose pruner extraordinaire. He keeps saying that roses are really forgiving and you can't really go wrong. He's probably right, but I realise that he, in fact, never gets it wrong, so how would he know!! We prune our roses late around here. We get heavy frosts, and if we prune much earlier the nice little green shoots get frost bite. Late August/ Early September works best for us. I'll give them a good feed of Dynamic Lifter rose food next week and we should have a wonderful spring flush of roses in late October - only a few short weeks really.
I get a great deal of pleasure out of my spring garden. I tend to give up on the garden during the scorching hot days of summer, but at the moment it is looking terrific. I am particularly enjoying the drifts of bulbs in the woodland garden. We also have great crops of broccoli, coriander, silverbeet, rocket and lettuce in the Kitchen Garden, and caulis, carrots and peas still to come as well as lots of herbs and a whole bed of strawberries. Well we'll get carrots if a certain young lady can resist pulling them up to see if they're done yet!!
I've planed swathes of kangaroo paw in the Native Garden along side of the paths as if the wind had blown in the seed and there it had landed. They flowered soon after we planted them and gave us sort of an instant garden effect, but the big test is whether they flower again next spring. I've put lots of salvias and penstemons into the English Garden too, so I'm excited to see what becomes of them. We have beautiful white tulips flowering in the white garden currently, in both single and double forms. The doubles and particularly lovely. I'll try to take a pic for you to see later. I'm also loving the scent of old fashioned freesias and daphne.
The reason for my parents' visit - as well as the aforementioned pruning - was to be present at Jemimah's End of Year Dance Concert. They always make an effort to be here for this much anticipated event, and Jemimah once again put on a grand performance in her five dances. We took lots and lots of photos which I might make you suffer through at a later date, but these are a couple of my favourites:
It has been hard doing school with grandparents staying but we've managed to get the essentials done. For us that means the Three R's, devotions, memory verses and our read alouds. She began geometry yesterday in MEP, and I put together a scavenger hunt for her, challenging her to find one each of about twenty geometrical shapes. She had a lot of fun doing this, and my parents were pleased to see her enjoying school so much. I think, mind you, that the highlight was getting her 'cone' filled with icecream as a reward for work well done!!
We've played a lot of French Uno these past few days as well. This is one of our faves, and it gives heaps of vocabulary practice in an enjoyable form. We've also done lots of cooking and gardening, so school's getting done, albeit in a more relaxed form than usual.
Spending time with grandparents is really important. I love to see Jemimah interacting with them one on one. She learns so much from them as well.
We'll be spending a week with them in early October actually. Last night we made reservations for the five of us to travel to Perth to see our good friend Warrick marry his beautiful Fiona. We'll be arriving in Perth on the 1st October, and will have about five days there before travelling south to Margaret River for another four. I am really excited about this trip. None of us has been to Western Australia before, and a holiday with my parents will be fantastic!! It's not far away either - only about three weeks or so!!
I'm reading lots of books, as usual. Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini for book club has got me pretty excited. Hubby and I are reading The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren for our devotions together before bed. This book has been on the New York Times Best Seller list for advice books for one of the longest periods in history, while also becoming arguably one of the best-selling non-fiction books of all time. There were 30 million copies in print by 2006. We felt like the only two Christians in the world that had never read this book, but we are pretty disappointed in it so far, finding it light weight and a bit peurile. Never mind, we will plough on. Maybe it gets better...does it? Hubby is reading Firepower by Gerard Ryle - subtitled The Most Spectacular Fraud in Australian History; Jemimah has almost finished Laura Ingalls Wilder's Little House on the Prairie. We've finally begun enjoying Five Little Peppers and How they Grew by Margaret Stanley. Thanks to those of you who encouraged me to keep going. It was worth it. We're also loving Tanglewood Tales by Nathaniel Hawthorne.
And now I'm going to stop. Have any of you stayed the distance? I hope if you have you now know a little more of what's happening around here in Our Peaceful Home.
We're having a heap of fun. Life is good. We are so grateful to our gracious God who gives us so much. We regard our blessings as gifts from a God who loves us and wishes us to prosper - spiritually, emotionally, and physically.
May He grant you the wisdom to recognise your blessings and to be grateful for them as I am.