Letter 19 / 11 / 84
We are all getting over a virus, even Jo, and the freezer, generator, and washing machine are doing their various jobs saving us so much time and energy while we are so tired. I even put together a few of my 'rest' moments to do some sewing. If I try to sleep I usually get disturbed as soon as I drop off, which makes me feel lousy for hours, so I try to do something relaxing for an hour or so after lunch rather than let myself sleep. I put together some material scraps in rather hurried, rough-and-ready form and came up with a nice bright patchwork bedspread for our bed. I do enjoy using that treadle machine, I find it most relaxing.
The kibble wheat is lovely, but most of it just seems to melt away in the bread, only occasionally do we get a crunchy bit. Even though we now have a freezer I can't seem to keep my bread fresh - its only really nice for the first few hours. In the freezer (which is the absorption type and therefore very slow to actually freeze anything) it just goes dry very quickly. Is there something one can put into bread to stop it going stale so quickly? Would wheat germ keep it moist? - not that we have any.
Our garden plot
The doldrums are trying to come, we keep getting really calm patches, the turtle season is well under way, and we can often see whales splashing about and spouting water out in front of our place out in the deeper water. We are longing for rain to grow a bit of greenery, fill our tank with non-scummy water, and try out Peter's new rock-wall on the drain!
We've taken possession of our piece of family garden land up on the hill. Its about half an hour's walk away, only the first bit is very steep. Its a fairly barren looking patch, with just scrubby lantana-type bushes - hard to tell what they are as its all been recently burnt. And there is one tree which will have some leaves later. The soil is red, but our section which has not been previously cleaned islander-style is covered with lovely brown humus - dry now, but will be beautiful when its wet. Peter got up there early the other morning and poked a few seeds in ... and now we wait for the rain and hope we don't get a big rain followed by a big dry so that the seeds don't germinate then just die. We live in hope.
We've got James going to kindy again after some weeks away sick. He even takes himself there on his bike. Its still a constant struggle to keep him on an even keel, he's so emotional and over-sensitive. Next year's school principal (as far as we know) has a six year old boy and a baby about six months old. That information may not be correct, but it would be nice for James to have a real boy to play with!
Alison, today, had half a dozen successes in her potty. I've been sitting her on there every hour - it seems to be taking a lot of my time, but I'm trying to think of it as an investment. Her chatter goes on and on, she's game to try repeating anything she hears.
She misses James when he's at kindy, but when he is away and Jo is asleep she rather enjoys being the only one for a while. Her hair is looking fairly respectable at last and I've been clipping it back or tying a little bunch rather than cutting a fringe - makes her look very cute! Her hair is quite blond, but not white like James.
Jo's hair is still brown (such that there is) and looks like staying that way. James's eyes have remained the same dark grey, but Alison's are a much lighter grey/blue. Jo's eyes are very dark, grey but tending towards brown. Her skin is slightly more sallow than the other two too. James and Alison both look very fair, but neither of them seems to burn easily.
We are celebrating James's birthday sometime next week, just so his little friends will still be here. Nerissa had her birthday this week and Danielle's birthday is a few weeks away so I think they are bringing hers forward after James's so she can also have all her little friends (James and Alison) for a little party.
A big mob (about 6) of white chaps turned up on a plane today. Heard on the bamboo line that they are from
We still haven't managed to get the whole translation team together at one time. We had two meetings and only two out of four came ... reckon they'll all make it on Sunday maybe. Peter wants them to work in pairs for the initial part of a translation. We think we'll do the Parable of the Seed in story book form, and also dramatised for video. To get the women thinking in terms of literacy and realising that books do have something for them too, I'm working on a cookery / health book - haven't got very far yet, the women are so scared, or shy, or just busy.
Chooks and Ducks
Our two chickens are still laying, one each most days, but the two big ducks have gone broody - they don't do anything, hardly even eat, but sit on their nests and hiss at anyone who comes near ... and if we are not quick enough to collect the chickens' eggs they roll them out of the drum where the chickens lay and into their duck's nest and sit on them too.
The ten little ducks are doing well. One has a black spot on her forehead, one has two spots, and one has three. There seems to be only one drake, which we may keep this time. The three black ones are supposed to be magpie muscovies, but we are suspicious that they may not be muscovies at all - maybe that's why the big duck kept rejecting them. The black feathers they have grown now have a greeny sheen.
Uncle Kakam over the road has one black duck - strange looking bird, though - and he keeps it outside the run presumably because the others pick on it all the time.
We went up to the garden early this morning, managed to leave about 6:30am - not bad with that many kids to get ready! - and we planted a few more rows of corn. James managed to walk all the way up and back by himself - though a lot of the way down was on his bottom. Alison walked most of the flat bits by herself, and for the rest of the way Peter had to struggle with her on one arm, back-pack on his back, and mattock and cane knife in the other hand.