We have named our new home “Wonderland”. The whole property is named something else, yet we have decided to dub our part of it Wonderland because of a white rabbit that led us up the path to our home a couple of weeks ago, just after we’d signed the lease, when we brought the outlaws around to have a look.
We were driving up the bumpy, gravel driveway when we had to stop for a very white (obviously escaped domestic, not wild) rabbit in the path. The rabbit hopped off rather slowly, but we knew we were turning off the main driveway onto the track leading to our new place soon & thought it would continue along the main driveway. Just as we thought we’d be able to get past the rabbit it dashed across the front of the car & hopped up the path to our place. WONDERLAND!
So Wonderland is an owner built place on 12 acres about 15km from Albany and 40km from Denmark. A very beautiful spot. The part of the property that Wonderland is on is native bush, surrounding properties have paddocks which make good firebreaks so I feel more comfortable about having bush so close to the house. There’s 3 other houses on the same property. So far I’ve only met the caretaker, who lives closest to us, and Bean has met one of the people who live in the other house. The owners now live closer to Perth, and come to stay at the property for a few days each month. Wonderland used to be their family home. I’m told there’s quite a community aspect here. There is a shared vegie patch & there is a sweat lodge not far from the house we’re in. I’m hoping to see evidence of that soon, I’m craving a bit of community.
The house is pretty amazing. There’s a lot of little (& not so little) bits about it that I don’t like so much. There are a lot of energy guzzling downlights which can’t be changed to a lower energy light very cheaply & heaps of single glazed glass making the place cold which make it quite unsustainable, I find this challenging because we’re really keen to limit our environmental impact & I worry that we may actually use more electricity here than we did in Perth!
It’s also not as “safe” as I’d like, though we just have to learn the hazards and behave accordingly (children included). There’s decks on 2 sides of the house which get slippery when wet (which is often!) and Babyman fell backward off the lower deck into a bush yesterday morning & again off another part of the deck trying to navigate some outside stairs today. Inside, there’s stairs to a loft (baby gate already in place so that’s less of a concern now), there’s a tile fire, the kitchen is wide open which we’re not used to (getting cupboard locks for the glass containing cupboards tomorrow). I feel like I’m spending all my time at the moment saying “no” and “not safe”, or nursing an injured child. The Bubble split her lip open last evening, that was a production, she went as white as a sheet Last night she woke up in hysterics 4 times, taking at least 30 minutes to console each time, she was in a lot of pain. She was trying to ride the wheely bug from the kitchen into the sunken lounge. I’d told her so many times yesterday that the wheely bug isn’t to be at the top of steps in case it falls down the steps while someone is riding it, it always has to be on the low side because that’s safest. Each time she’d snarl at me & I’d tell her I’d take the toy away if she kept playing with it dangerously because I didn’t want to see her hurt. I put it in the lounge but last evening she got it up into the kitchen again while we were sorting out dry nappies for Babyman & she rode the it off the step at a fast pace and hurt herself. There was a lot of blood & she was clearly in shock. I suppose she had to learn the hard way though, she’s that kind of person, she often hurts herself doing things I’ve suggested she not do. I gave her a lot of homoeopathic arnica (after years of studying & practicing herbal medicine I still don’t know how much I believe in homoeopathics to be honest, but the pillules give an injured or sick child something else to think about for a short time so they’re effective as distractions if nothing else), & she eventually settled for the night with Bean in her bed cuddling & consoling her. This morning her lip looked much better already & she didn’t seem bothered by it.
Anyway, back to Wonderland… There are other things about the house that are amazing. I love the tile fire for being beautiful in the same breath that I don’t like it for its inefficiency & dangerousness! The bush surrounding the house make it a beautiful environment for a home. The loft looks out into the tree tops, which is simply beautiful and it has a window in the roof which is nice for star gazing, I will certainly do this when I build my own place although I’ll use double glazed glass. There is some beautiful stained glass about the place too. I’ll take some pictures another time & upload them to the blog, for now there’s no use because it’s night time & there is no sun streaming through the stained glass. The toilet is separate from the rest of the house (combined bathroom, laundry, toilet area) which I have wanted for ever so long because Bean is smelly! The water supply is from a spring fed dam, and is amazing to bathe in, I’ve noticed we all have softer skin & hair since being here. Dave loves it here too. There are other dogs for him to play with & with all those unsustainable windows he can see into the house well so he doesn’t feel so isolated from us when we’re inside. He needs a kennel though, he’s currently got a cardboard box with a sheepskin in it for a bed, which is warm enough now but it’ll get colder. He’s also slowly chewing the edges of it, so he’ll end up without a home soon enough at the rate he’s going!
My absolute favourite bit about Wonderland though, and this is very daggy, is that our street runs off a road called “Old School Road” – there’s a place for sale on Old School Road and if I was rich & frivolous I’d buy it just for the address (and the fact that it’s an alpaca stud & alpacas are quite awesome).
We’ve not connected with any homeschoolers down here yet, I have sent countless emails to the Albany group co-ordinator but had no response, and Bean’s spoken with her on the phone but she was pretty non-committal, & just told him to email her! I think the homeschool network in Albany is largely made up of curriculum homeschoolers, & the fact that we’re natural learners/unschoolers/life learners/whatever makes us not really fit the mould for that particular group. No matter, we’ve got a plan to write a little homeschooling “personals” note out & put it on noticeboards around Albany & Denmark calling for people to network with. If there’s a natural learning network down here I’ll find them & if there isn’t already a regular natural learners meet up in the Great Southern I’ll do my very best to get one happening!
I did run into an old friend at the petrol station last week, and she’s given me her phone number so I’d like to tee up a catch up with her. She homebirthed her children, co-slept, full term breastfed, & carried them in slings (except when performing her whip-cracking show) & though I have no idea of her approach to education (bearing in mind I’m looking for playdates during the weekdays), I always felt comfortable with the way she treated her first daughter when we hung out before I had children so I’m excited to have seen her so soon after we moved her. I knew she was living in Albany, & had hoped I’d run into her sooner or later.
It’s taking time to find our feet, and I feel like I started with my cup already empty after our stressful 2 week stay with the outlaws, so with no way of filling my cup down here yet I’m finding myself feeling pretty low and questioning the sanity of this whole move.
The children aren’t coping so well. Babyman is ok really, although he’s feeding VERY often, every time he comes near me he pokes my chest and says “more”, he’s very insistent. It’s doing my head in actually, it’s no secret how much I hate breastfeeding, and without exaggeration he’d be feeding every 20-30 minutes during the day with the longest night time breaks being about 2 hours. The Bubble is really struggling, she needs kids to play with. She’s such a social child, and she hasn’t been to a playgroup for over a month now! She’s been doing attention seeking things like drawing on the furniture & the floors after Babyman drew on the walls. She tells me she doesn’t like me, she snarls at me, she tells me her Daddy does everything better than me & that she doesn’t want me to live with her anymore, she yells & rages and then she cries, tells me she does like me and asks for a cuddle. She’s needing Bean in her bed most nights. Her bedroom is lovely, I’ve made a point of creating a safe space for her to play & relax, hers was the first room to be unpacked and set up when we moved in. She’s gradually telling me she likes her new house so I just need to organise some playtime for her.
My sister and her 2 children came to stay for a couple of nights last week, which was wonderful, the children had playmates & I had a likeminded & beautiful person to chat with, although it wasn’t really for long enough unfortunately. They have recently moved from Perth to the Margaret River region (they have lived there before) so she understands the stress of a long distance move. We ate such amazing food, my sister is a fantastic wholefoods cook & I think it’s such a treat to eat meals prepared by her. She has such a flair with flavours & she’s not afraid to try something bold, where I’m much more conservative with my cooking. It was quite inspiring.
Speaking of food, we’ve found a gorgeous little organic food store in Albany, organic fresh produce is more expensive here than we were getting it for in Perth, the prices for certified organic at the farmers markets are outright ridiculous & the other stalls don’t sell organic so it’s good to find the store which is open 6 days/week. The bulk produce is often cheaper there than in Perth. Rice is $8/kg there & it’s $10/kg minimum in Perth. The people who run it are lovely, they used to run an organic orchard in Perth & were involved with the City Farm farmer’s market from its inception. They sell Jersey bath milk that is at least 1/3 cream, some weeks it’s been 1/2 cream, it’s just divine!
Bean was officially signed up for his apprenticeship again today. No idea where he stands with Tafe stuff & how long until he’ll have his licence sorted out, but he’s getting closer to it every day obviously.
That’s about all the updating I have energy for tonight, it’s already getting late again.