wings and things

Galloping Gutsy9!

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Gutsy9 is now over 3 months old (photos are from beginning to now). When we go outside he literally gallops after me, despite his crooked leg. This morning I left him inside while I filled the outside ponds because he could easily drown at this age. When I turned the hose off I heard this unearthly howl from the house – quite guttural – and it was him! His voice must have broken because usually, when he can’t see me, he just cheeps forlornly.

What an interesting experience!



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Anthony’s wife is Julie.
Anthony’s son is Ming.
Julie’s husband is Anthony.
Julie’s son is Ming.
Ming’s father is Anthony.
Ming’s mother is Julie.

We are each others’ apostrophes.

And Gutsy’s mine.


When things go wrong

This morning, on our way to town, Ming and I had a ferocious argument, with him yelling and me shrieking and both of us swearing and me crying.

Our first stop was the chemist so I left Ming in the car, slammed the door, wiped my eyes and went in to get a few things with a big fake smile on my face. It took awhile for a couple of prescriptions to be filled so I went back to the car to find Ming with silent tears rolling down his cheeks. I got into the car and sobbed an apology which was reciprocated, then we just sat in silence for a few minutes, staring dully though the windscreen.

Then we began to talk:

Ming: There is something wrong with me. I’m ruining your life.
Me: There is nothing wrong with you and you are not ruining my life.
Ming: Then why does this keep happening?
Me: Because you keep losing your temper with me and I keep overreacting.
Ming: I just want to make things perfect and it never works.
Me: Yes, and that includes me?
Ming: Yes, well, no – I just want you to be happy.
Me: Well I just want you to be happy too. But you are a bully!
Ming: I think we should go back to counselling.
Me: I agree.
Ming: Sometimes when I wake up, I just want to go back to sleep.
Me: Same here.
Ming: I want to be a child again.
Me: So do I, sort of.
Ming: Am I really harder for you than Dad?
Me: Physically, no, mentally, yes – emotionally, about the same.
Ming: But I’m only trying to help.
Me: By nagging me, reprimanding me, trying to control me, yelling at me?
Ming: You said we’d leave today at 11am.
Me: So we left at 11.10am – was that a tragedy?
Ming: No, but you’re always letting me down – you never want to leave the house.
Me: I’m having a bad time with lethargy.
Ming: Same here.
Me: So we need a plan of attack. From now on we will make a daily plan for each day. We’ll do one chore together and one separately, schedule it into the day and allocate a definite time. Neither of us is allowed to renege or be late. We’ll write tomorrow’s plan tonight and sign it like a contract.
Ming: That’s what I’ve been saying for ages, Mum – teamwork!
Me: Okay, I don’t particularly like that word but yes, you are right.
Ming: Shake hands then?
Me: Okay.

We went on and did the rest of our town errands and got home smiling. I feel terrible about the horrible, cruelly sarcastic things I said to Ming, and for screaming at him like a psycho, and he feels terrible for his control-freaky temper, but maybe we had to have this crash in order to wake up.

I am hopeful.


Oh the joy of cycling!

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Now don’t get too excited. I haven’t jumped onto the bike yet but I am dressed in my bike riding clothes (an old tracksuit I found which seems strangely snug but it will do.)

Okay, so the plan was to get up at 4.30am and follow Ming to the dairy (around 3kms away) but two things prevented this. Firstly, I didn’t wake up and, secondly, even if I had woken up, it was too dark.

I forgave myself and decided to ride around the block (around 7kms) later in the morning but Ming reminded me that I still didn’t have a helmet. And then I got a terrible attack of hayfever and I didn’t want to contaminate my new bike with nose drippings.

So now that it’s nearly noon, I will probably leave the ride until later when the wind dies down (yes, we are experiencing those awful easterlies that make cycling so difficult.)

In the meantime, here is a picture of Gutsy9 first thing in the morning, just before I get him out of his cot/cage and take him outside to play.

Tomorrow, I will go into town and buy a helmet and a basket to put Gutsy9 in on the bike. This afternoon I will do a few laps of the driveway again. I promise!


Bicycling beginnings!

I have now figured out the gears and settings of my new bicycle and tomorrow will be Day 1. I’m going to record my progress on the blog (nothing like blogging to keep a person honest!) for 5 days.



Everything else about today pales into insignificance compared to the hugs. I hugged Anthony when he was standing up and he let go of the walker and hugged me back. Then I hugged him while we were tackling his lunch and he pushed the food away and hugged me back. Then, as I was about to leave, I knelt down on the floor in front of his chair to kiss him goodbye and he enfolded me in his arms and gave me a bearhug. He brought my face into the hollow of his shoulder, kissed my hair, held me ferociously and whispered, “Jules, I love you so much.”

Usually the wasted muscles in his arms make hugging difficult, but not today! I am home now and can still feel that goodbye hug and I am trying very hard not to cry.


The difference between what matters and what doesn’t matter


– Ming began harp lessons.
– Anthony said on the phone this afternoon that he’d been kidnapped, but I calmed him down.
– Some lovely friends came to pick the dying figs.
– Gutsy9 (baby peacock) is thriving despite his wonky leg.
– We found a clock man who has now fixed three of Anthony’s clocks, so the house is chiming again.
– I finished delivering details to our accountant for our tax return from last year.
– I am going to purchase an ipad tomorrow so I can access the internet in Anthony’s room and show him stuff.
– Ming and I are getting on top of the housework/yardwork etc.
– I only cried a little bit today, instead of a lot.
– The blog community is amazing.
– Ming has stopped being so bossy!
– Lots of other good things.


– It doesn’t matter!


Farmboy 3

Don’t worry – this is not going to become a neverending series. It’s just that today’s incident was so funny.

An old friend of ours, who has a farm nearby, rang up the other day to see if Ming might be available for some odd jobs. Ming said yes so yesterday he had to drive a tractor (which he’s never done before but he learned fast) and today he was asked to come and help a cow who had just delivered a calf.

I think Ming might have anticipated patting the cow on the head or something but when he got back home after around two hours, he seemed a little shaken.

Apparently, the cow was unable to deliver the afterbirth, so Ming was told to reach inside and pull it out. So he did.

The cow is fine, the farmer is happy and Ming doesn’t want any lunch!


Farmboy 2

Ming was still in nappies when the dairy industry here was toppled by deregulation.

We were just one of hundreds of families affected by this and, without going into the politics, let me just say that it was devastating.

Previous to this, Anthony was a workaholic dairyfarmer (to me, those terms are synonymous.)

It was around this time that Ants was diagnosed with kidney cancer and had to have two operations. Our dairy days were over.

Ming never saw Ants in his prime, never saw Ants working, so he will never know the Anthony I knew.

And yet – and this is wonderful! – Ming is now milking for our beautiful neighbours and has been offered a full-time job as of July.

Like father, like son!


Farmboy 1

It was about two years ago when our lives (Anthony’s, mine, and Ming’s) altered dramatically. Here is an abbreviated list of events, in no particular order:

1. Anthony’s Parkinson’s became so bad that he required hourly nursing care during the nights.
2. I eventually got exhausted and was hospitalized for a few days.
3. Ming’s scoliosis required surgery.
4. I had to take extended leave from my university job as a lecturer.
5. Ming completed his last year of school.
6. We found that the farming family, whose property adjoins ours, was willing to lease our 100 acres for the correct rent.
7. We withstood the continuing verbal abuse from our previous lessee who we had already kicked off for negligence etc.
8. With Anthony’s approval, I contacted our lawyer to prevent the previous lessee from coming onto the property.
8. We accepted that Ming would have to have surgery.
9. We accepted that Ants would have to go into a nursing lodge.
10. Ming began his Certificate in music and, simultaneously, began milking cows for the same people we are now leasing to.

Our farmboy’s journey began!

Ever since Anthony went into the nursing lodge, and Ming had his spinal surgery, life-as-we-knew-it has altered dramatically.