Sunday, January 17, 2016


Over the past few day I've had a bit of a funny feeling in my tummy. Indi is away, Bren and I have been working like crazy, and the little girls have been pretty much left to work things out by themselves.

Admittedly they've done pretty well, they've played every board game in the house, they've choreographed an entire show and made invitations and costumes, they've written songs and laid around talking and eaten us out of house and home. But every now and then when I kick off my dirty boots and come inside I feel guilty. Everyone they know is off doing fun things and they are stuck here.

Bren likes to talk about the fact that traditionally kids got these long summer weeks off school to help with the harvest. Summer is busy times on farms and we just can't get away.

This morning we walked through the forest, pulled some fences out, and picked some wild flowers on the way. I tried to make both of the girls join us but only one was interested. The other stayed home and wrote a poem. The guilty feeling returned. I carried it around for hours. It was silly I understood, but it just sat there uncomfortably.

And then the strangest thing happened. I got a message from my past self. My self of exactly one year ago, in the form of a Facebook memory. 

Last year on this date I wrote a blog about this exact feeling. This is what I wrote;

The other day, before we went to the beach, we were out somewhere when I overheard someone asking Miss Pepper if she was enjoying her school holidays and what was the best thing she'd done so far. I heard her hesitate and then tell this person that she hadn't really done much at all, just lots of hanging out with her sisters on the farm, playing and doing jobs. 
When I heard her say that I felt a bit guilty. I imagined her in a classroom full of students on the first day of school listening to stories of big fancy adventures and cool outings, and of her sitting there quietly, feeling like she had nothing to compare, nothing to share. Pretty much the same way I cringe inside every time I hear a grown up ask my non Santa visited children what Santa brought them for Christmas. 
When we came home they resumed the game they'd been playing for days. And as I watched them in the golden light and listened to them giggling with sister glee, it occurred to me that all busy year long, these are the times we dream of. These slow days that meander along from one activity to the next, going to bed late and waking up later, eating when we are hungry, getting dressed in dirty farm clothes, wearing yesterday's braids, reading an entire book in one day, listening to an album so many times that you know every single word by heart, playing games that go on for days and days, picking fruit still warm off the trees, eating berries and plums until the juice runs down our chins and our tummies ache, walking through golden grass to feed the animals, spending time together without the demands and responsibilities of the school year. 
These are our summer days. These days are golden and just right.
Amazing right! Can you believe I'd even started fretting about what they'd tell their classmates about their holidays?!

So here's to the next two weeks of golden slow days. Here's to sunshine and games and kitten cuddles and letting our minds wander. I feel so much better now.

I hope things are settled and smooth and sweet in your world.

Lotsa love,


PS Photo credit to Miss Pepper for the one of me and Bren!!


  1. Ah, this is what I like about blogging. Those little reminders from your past self. Past self is always so wise! Your summer days sound just about perfect, Kate. Adventures can wait!

  2. That's really lovely! I find myself feeling very similar about our kids most school holidays. Always the guilt! But actually they seem to have found a pretty good groove and maybe need this time to just do very little. I think my own memories of school holidays, especially these summer ones, are more of a feeling than really of doing anything specific. Stretches of time and bikes and hoses on lawn and warm concrete. Yep, two more weeks of slow days (mixed in with work and all) here.

  3. Lovely Kate, when all the other kids were doing school stuff and chores and all that weren't you and Bren and your kids back packing around Europe? Adventures come and go and if if we didn't have down time we would not appreciate the awesome times! X

  4. You know as I started reading this post I was remembering that post from last year. How funny that it is on the same date!
    Remember you went adventuring last year overseas - and how amazing that would have been for your whole family! They are going to have those memories forever and no doubt it won't be the last adventure they have.
    So spending these summer holidays is perfect I think, and they'll have just as many wonderful memories of these holidays as the fancier ones.

    Sarah x

  5. All will be fine Kate. We have worked almost everyday of these holidays too. Like you, summer time is our most difficult time to leave our property. But, the 'work' is fun when we are all together, the light is pretty, our schedule is flexible and our kids are learning amazing things x

  6. This is lovely. I think to a certain extent we all second guess ourselves in this parenting business, because the stakes are so high and we don't want our kids to feel like they're missing out. Whils I don't live on a farm, we try to grow food in our backyard and have ducks and chickens, all cook most of our meals from scratch. We've also made the conscious decision to try and avoid busyness to enable our boys, 9 months and 3 to have plenty of down time to enjoy their home and the life that we have created here, as well as each other and (hopefully) us as parents. We quite often get other people comment about how bored they must be, or how they're missing out, but for us when we see your children playing with each other and the way they adore each other's company, and the company of friends and family we know we've made the right choice. You're doing just great! Just look at how wonderful your kids are turning out!

  7. Kate, you've taken your girls on the most amazing adventures, around their own vast country, and around some of the most amazing countries in the world. Most children don't get these experiences. Please don't stress, your children are just fine :) xxx

  8. I sometimes forget that as a kid it was not my parents job to make my fun, plan my activities or arrange things for mento do, that was my job. I often have to remind me of this fact with my own kids, the big ones & the small ones. They are all capable of entertaining themselves very easily, as can your girls. I think we underestimate how much the slow , non school, at home days matter to our kids. And to is too x

  9. Oh Kate, your girls have the most amazing lifestyle. They have all the old fashioned values and health benefits of fresh air and exercise, lovely home grown and produced food with no preservatives. Parents that are always on hand to help out with daily problems. They all get on well together in the main (they wouldn't be sisters if there wasn't some falling outs). They will look back on their childhood as the most wonderful, happy and fulfilled time with parents that love them and always have time for them even if they are busy. More power to you and your family.

  10. You're living a dream! I have fond memories of my youth living out of doors, similar to how your children are. The giggling, sewing, climbing trees, riding horses, making forts in the barn loft, watching polliwogs grow to frogs. We had a pond which we ice skated on, full of frozen bubbles. We were out of doors almost all day and summers were the best since we weren't cooped up in school. You're living a dream and it brings me great joy to read your thoughts and see your beautiful family and farm.

  11. Much of your life reminds me of my childhood in the Midwestern U.S. We spent summers just "being". No grand adventures but my goodness I had a happy childhood. Outdoors all of the time. Dirty and undo bed as we rode our bikes and made mud pies. I would love to go back to those simple days. Your children are making memories.

  12. After experiencing such amazing adventures in Europe last year, I don't think you really need to feel guilty about a quiet summer at home. It sounds as though they are happy end are probably enjoying the lazy days of summer doing what they want to do.

  13. In today's busy, busy world I do believe these meandering days are precisely what we and our children need to recharge. In fact these are the days I remember from my own childhood and I remember with pleasure.

  14. Kate, it doesn't matter whether children grow up in the city or out in the country - they will all at some stage complain of being bored or feeling like they are not doing much. That's just childhood where they haven't yet appreciated the calm of long, unscheduled days which teach them self-sufficiency. Your girls are fine - look at all of the imaginative ways they have amused themselves. I would much rather have children playing like that than glued to a screen being inactive.
    On the other hand, as a suburban mum, I come across families where they are running around like mad things all week taking their children to sports, dance, drama, art, music, etc. which is all well and good if everyone is enjoying it but frequently I observe parents (and children) who are overly stressed and frequently getting ill. I see families where the children's timetables are so jam packed that I feel exhausted as an adult and wondering "when do these children get time to be children and just play freely?"
    As your children get older and the wider world beckons, they will begin to truly appreciate the freedoms they have now, the freedom of unscheduled days and following their whims. There is more to life than living on a treadmill! You are giving the girls a great start in life and a healthy lifestyle; throw away the guilt, Kate! The girls will thank you in years to come. x

  15. Enjoy the golden slow days of the next two weeks. Sounds perfect to me and it sounds like your girls are experiencing a wonderful childhood, which will remain with them all of their lives.

  16. Love this post. We are doing the same thing here in our New Zealand summer - long days spent reading in the shade of the tree, pottering in the garden or roaming the paddocks, playing on the swing, swimming at the river....out of interest I asked my 3 what they would say they spent the summer holiday doing and they replied 'playing'. Just the thing for a wonderful summer. Love the way you put this into words - I needed this reminder too. x

  17. Oh wow... I hadn't even realised u had been carrying your words around inside me for a year. I often look at my daughter and think of the phrase "yesterday's braids" and smile at the luscious pace of a slow life. Thanks for giving me these words... I hadn't realised they came from you, but now I remember your post.

  18. My girls are older, but we too had more stay-cations than not while they were smaller (and much guilt feeling from mom and complaining from them at the time). They tell me time and again now how they are glad for those slow times at home just with family in their hustle and bustle filled days of now. I think as long as we do our best and share our time and love with them the rest doesn't matter in the long run.

  19. Inspired to slow down by this post. Thankyou Kate x


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