As we bore through the heart of mid-winter, lots of things have to be done.
My sister married last year, an American from North Carolina. Everyone asks me where they are going to live, but I have no answer. At the moment, Julie and Gene are dividing their time between US and Australia, trying to fit in various commitments to the satisfaction of both sides.
So I'm a bit busy, keeping an eye on her farm (farmlet if you want to be precise) -- I have help feeding the livestock most days, but it takes a bit of time buying feed, making sure the house is secure, and keeping the cats company for an hour or two.
Days when I am feeding, I go over twice a day and go in the front door. Change into boots and go out the back door. Start with going into the hen house and feeding the chickens; check for any eggs. Then go down to the creek and feed the ducks and geese, a noisy business.
After that I go across the creek and feed the horses - the big one Shadow and the miniature breed Trouble - before I hike up the hill in the back paddock with a carrot for Rosie, the donkey who lives next door. This isn't too bad if it hasn't just rained, it can be pleasant with the sun on your back and a slight breeze blowing down Lenah Valley. But I always take the hiking stick that Julie brought back from NC for me.
Then, carefully cross the creek and back to the house. By the time I feel ready for a cup of tea or coffee, to be consumed while I keep the cats company for a while. Silk likes to go outside afterwards; Kes prefers to remain indoors, but she is almost 22 years old so that's quite reasonable.
And in the evening, repeat. With the main difference that I lock the chickens up instead of letting them out into the run. And I will probably watch the news on Julie's television set, since I don't own a working TV myself at home.
So the time ticks away, and one day I look at the calendar and notice to my surprise that they will be returning in less than two weeks.
And just when I'd got into a routine...