When you are building a house and have acres of land to maintain, you might dream of spending a couple of weeks relaxing on a tropical island while the kids are having a midyear break from school. And dream we do. The reality, however, is quite different. At the moment, we get our ‘tropical’ fix from a morning at the beach or some pineapple for a snack, which we wash down with a little bit of coconut juice. If we’re fortunate, we get a little memento of this beachside break and end up with some sand in our shoes.
Don’t get me wrong; this is a super way to spend a morning with the kids while they are on school holidays, but what then. Well, here on The Ridge we have several cleverly devised jobs, I mean activities, for unoccupied hands.
Seed Bombs are always a winner and can fill as many hours as you have resources available. Digging up clumps of lemongrass and vetiver and dividing them up for re-planting is another easy one, and always something that needs doing. This last ‘activity’ is great if done as a competition. Setting a kitchen timer with a fixed interval, both motivates and results in a lot more work getting done (I mean, fun). Pulling weeds can be made interesting if you tell the kids they can then launch them into the chicken pen. Luckily for us, recent experience with Shot Put at the school athletics carnivals has made this a popular pastime and helps provide a little entertainment to both chooks and children.
On a purely child-focused note, each holiday we enjoy renovating our ‘fairy gardens’. These are just large plant pots we have previously set up with cactuses or flowers, houses, plastic animals and the like. Depending on the particular mood and current interest of the children, we usually add some new plants, paint stones to resemble beetles or bugs and generally breathe new life into them.
Our favourite activity in the wintertime, though, is to collect sticks, leaves, pinecones and any other small flammable detritus to throw on our celebratory mid-year (let’s keep warm) bonfire.