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Hello, my name is Sandy.

Of fun times and fresh starts

The sun set strongly on the year. We spent Christmas week in Sydney, with most of the days down at the farm. I've never been there in the summer, and it was remarkably green versus what I was expecting. We spent the days eating and drinking and giving each other shit, then kicked off the evenings with tranquil hill views.

This is the first Christmas I've been away from my folks (not counting the year we went to Japan cos we still had a family Christmas a couple days before) and I missed them terribly. But I can't complain too much. I have three families now, and they're all pretty rad. Getting to hang out with the family with brothers was a rare treat I'm so grateful for.

rifle targets set up along a fence

We played with an air rifle on Christmas day. I bloody loved it. I have great plans to visit a gun range sometime this year and learn the art of marksmanship.

And I played heaps of Avernum: Escape from the Pit. It was exquisite to sink my head into a game and decompress - and get a strategy RPG fix to tide me over until my next D&D session. It was a bit surreal playing computer games and surfing the net at high speed in the sticks.

You know what was awesome, though? Writing. I only did a bit, but did it under a tree surrounded by birds and nature sounds. Is it the most productive way to write? Probably not. But wow, it felt good and I hope to make writing holidays a more regular thing.

a street performer squeezing herself into a tiny box

Back in the city, we saw a contortionist squeeze herself into a little box. I don't usually stop for busker shows, but I couldn't help it for this one. It was odd and unique, and kind of amazing to see what the (someone else's) human body can do.

giant Sylvanian Chocolate Rabbit

Also saw a giant Sylvanian Chocolate Rabbit, which, after spending the last few months following @forest_fr1ends, was utter perfection. Merry Christmas, tw*ts.

planner, notebook and pen

Aaaaaaand now we're home and ready to start 2017 with a bang. Already, I've been rock climbing (bouldering), geocaching, karaoke-ing and gaming with friends, and it's only been two days.

I now have a navy blue Hobonichi Weeks and a cheapo little notebook to keep me on track, along with clear, achievable goals and some strategies for accomplishing them. I have felt like I could be doing more, working smarter, working harder... I wrote some thoughts about it in Soft Signal.

I've started asking myself, "What do I want to get out of this X?" Where X could be the day, the week, the month, the quarter. Let me share a couple of things I hope to get out of this week:

  • Working on my novel
  • Gaming with friends done 2/01
  • A crafternoon done 2/01
  • Working on my Pico-8 game
  • Visiting the Ninja Academy done 7/01
  • Visiting a shooting range (or at least finding a good one to check out)

What do you want to get out of this week/this month/this year? Find me on social media and let's chat about it.

Postcards from the country

dog in a box

We are home from a lovely Easter weekend trip to rural New South Wales. As always, getting away from normal life and the usual haunts makes me think about what I leave for and come back to.

For the first time in ages, I did not come home feeling the need to make big changes or start giant projects. We're in the midst of flux, of movement; I don't feel the raging turmoil that comes with being stagnant and not realising it yet.

Today, I'm taking time to settle back in, with a little drawing, a little writing, and reminiscing about peaceful country getaways~

flowers on the breakfast table

flowers in a vase with a painting in the background

kitsch country decor

glass botle shelf decoration

profile of cute King Charles Cavalier spaniel

a garlic braid

butter on a toasted hot cross bun

flowers in a vase

patterns on a couch cushion button

carpentry with wood planks

a bent nail in a wooden pillar

a brass tap with cobwebs looking out across a field

wire sculptures between trees

fog over a paddock

foggy roadside

a tree in the fog

a path leading into the fog

a labrador x kelpie relaxes on the lawn

a cow peers at you

clouds of fog over land

a quad bike with a farm-made box

pink flowers in a country garden

rose and rosehips in a country garden

lavender silhouettes against clouds and sky

more beautiful country roses

roast pork dinner

a cosy fire before bed

Little farm adventures

view from the living room

We have spent the last few days on a beautiful farm in rural NSW.

chainsawing a log

I learned some basic chainsaw.

demonstrating what not to do

We all had a go at chopping wood.

roast lamb, crackling

There was very fresh roast lamb with chewy, salty crackling.

alpacas and sheep

We tracked a small herd through a paddock...

peeing paca

...much to their chagrin.

boop!

The miniature donkey was friendly, though. I got a boop!

enough boop

Okay, go away now please.

lopsided fire

We built a bonfire as the sun set.

scrumpy cider

Enjoyed scrumpy cider at Sully's Cider House. They do rhubarb & ginger beer, blackberry wine, and walnut wine too. So good.

quad bike in the paddock

We went for a quad bike ride out in the paddock.

heifers are cows who are pregnant for the first time

Visited the cows.

steers are neutered male cows

And the steers.

chestnuts roasting on an open fire

Roasted chestnuts on an open fire.

dog chewing stick

While enjoying the company of dog.

dog with blanket

Who seems to like his blanket. :D Yay!

We're back in Sydney now, chilling out before dinner. It's great to have stable internet back, though I didn't miss it at all with all those things to see and do. I did, however, miss being able to look up plants.

The weekend gave me many seeds for dreaming. What kind of 'farm' we would want for ourselves, what we would do with it, and how we might live one day. It's still a long road before we get there, but it's nice to have an idea of where we might go. I think the real teller would be at the height of summer. Can we stand working in the blistering heat? Could we still love a land that's barren and dry? I think if we could, we'd know it's for us.

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