Thursday, February 12, 2015

A Mere Meter Away

I'm paranoid about snakes in Australia.

My first year living here, I had several encounters with them. (You can refresh your memory about them here, here, and here.)

So I look out for them when I take Simon out. And we go outside every day, weather permitting. Being that its summer, we're outside quite a bit taking walks under the gum trees, sometimes down to the (dried up) stream.

But I look. Closely. And really, snakes don't like people. They don't WANT to be around people. They're probably there, watching us walk, I'm sure, all the time. But they want to stay out of the way, and that is good for both parties.

Except yesterday.

Yesterday, even though I was watching for them, immediately after set Simon down to walk on his own, I saw it.

A meter away from me. Camouflaged perfectly in the gum bark strewn across the grass.

A meter-long, jet black tiger snake.

And my child only just out of reach, apparently having just walked past it!

I called him to me (and have never been more grateful for the training Phillip put in to teaching him to come when he's called while we're outside!), grabbed him by his arms, yanked him up, and started to gently run backwards.

Sounds weird, yes. But I'm trying to get my child and myself away from this snake in as non-threatening yet quick a way as possible.

The snake flattened out it's neck almost cobra-style (yes, they do that), glanced at me, and quickly slithered in the opposite direction into some brambles surrounding a nearby tree.

I ran into the house, sat down, shaking, hugging and kissing Simon, crying.


Friday, February 6, 2015

The Berry Patch

It wasn't too long ago, really, that we decided to try and do monthly family outings.

Nothing special, just a few hours where we could get out of the house and not worry about work, cleaning, schedules (other than nap time!), and just BE. Just our little family.

That kind of went on hold when Ben died. Partly because I was still recovering from my c-section. Partly because we let ourselves get wrapped up in "what needs to be done around the house" again, because that was easier. Combine that with Phillip having the busiest work schedule in nearly four years and then being so tired on the weekend he wasn't in much of an attitude to go out and do something. We just haven't gotten out for much more than grocery shopping in the past almost 4 months now.

But our friends (who also happen to be Phillip's employers... I have probably mentioned that at some point...) invited us to go berry picking with them last weekend.Somehow, the men ended up with a Monday off work (after having to work Saturday). So off to The Berry Patch we went.

It was the nicest day we have had in so so long.

The children's play area.
Large straw bales to climb on!
Relaxed, anxiety free (my first in months!), FUN.

And Phillip and I have no clue what the recipe for it was. Because we left late. Got a little lost finding the entrance. Didn't even get to spend all that much time with our friends and their kids (because we were late).

But it was wonderful.

Simon enjoyed tearing up and down the rows of berries, running full tilt and yelling. And QUICKLY discovered what a ripe blackberry looked like and (according to Phillip who was watching him at the time) grabbed several quicker than could be seen and stuffed them in his little mouth, running away quickly so he could do it again. He was pretty well covered in juice, and we had a fun time trying to teach him to NOT pick and eat.

We ended up with close to 3 kilos of strawberries that we have slowly been eating our way through, and about 1 of blackberries. HUGE blackberries.

Those blackberries? Half got turned into some fantastic blackberry pie bars (halving the recipe and cutting out 1/4c of sugar in the filling). If we don't eat the rest of the berries very soon, I might be making an apricot and blackberry cobbler again.

The day was finished with a short trip to the beach for some wading and digging in sand, heading home, and getting there JUST in time for a LOOOOONG nap for Simon, and some relaxed lounging for Phillip and me.

We also forgot Simon's swimming gear...

Simon remembered a spoon though.
He rarely goes anywhere without a measuring spoon...