semi-retiring, work life balance, lifestyle block living


June 2020

Making do

My maternal grandmother, Emily Elizabeth Biddick, was born in 1902. In her 83 years she lived through World War I, the Depression that followed and World War II; times of great economic challenge. I would be lying if I said she was hard up – she wasn’t. Regardless, like most of her generation, she bought what she needed and replaced things only when they couldn’t be repaired anymore.

I guess marketing wasn’t so persuasive back in those days, and planned obsolescence hadn’t become an art form.

Which brings me to a phone call I received during lockdown from the nice woman at the bank. Turns out there was $1300 sitting in an account I had forgotten about.

I decided I would spend this windfall replacing my sewing machine. Now to be truthful, this 36 year old machine has languished in my cupboard unused for about 15 years, but the itch to sew was there again. And to scratch that itch I needed a new machine, didn’t I? And the old one? Well, the dump, of course!

I allocated $600-700 for my new toy, figuring I would get a basic machine suitable to my (limited) talents. A bit of internet research confirmed my budget was right. It also threw up the fact that new sewing machines at this price point have plastic casings.

Plastic! My old one had a sturdy metal one.

Meh, I thought.

Perhaps I should buy second hand? But why would I replace my 36 year old sewing machine with a second hand one that I did not know the history of?

Meh. Again. I thought

So I got my old West German-made sewing machine out. I opened up the case. It was like meeting at an old friend.The man and I spent the next hour pulling it to bits and oiling its parts. I then threaded it up and gave it a spin. It went perfectly.

Trusty sewing machine

That day I ordered material and a pattern online. When the items arrived, I sewed my granddaughter a skirt. It goes with the jumper I knitted her in lockdown.

The money is still sitting in the bank.

Making do.

My grandma would understand

Competing for the ladies

We have sheep on our land.

When we first arrived here the paddocks had not had stock on them for a while and the fields were covered in knee high carrot weed.

This was a bit of a surprise as the former owner had offered to mow it for us, but this had not transpired.

To city refugees, such as ourselves, how we were going to get the paddocks sorted and what to do with them was quite a headache. Yes, we had no idea. Luckily, new neighbours put us right, ” Just put a sign up that says grazing available, and whomever takes the land on will sort it,” they said.

And that is exactly what happened. A local herd manager took it on: hay was made and sheep were delivered. Three years on and this arrangement is going well.

And us? We are quite the pros. No longer do we run around like headless chooks when a lamb breaches the fence. We know it won’t stray far from its mum. And we can get it back into the paddock with (limited) drama.

It is June now. The ewes are pregnant. We know this as we have been party to Mr Ram’s amorous attempts to have his way with his ladies in February/March.

This year he had a keen as adolescent ram to contend with. That young ram didn’t get a look in.

But his jealousy wasn’t just reserved for the young ram.

The man dared to wander into the paddock. The ram charged, stopping short a few inches from the man. His message loud and clear ‘Nobody, but nobody, comes near my ladies!’.

He is forgiven. In a month or two, we will have his lambs playing in our fields. And they are gorgeous.

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