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The pleasure of being grandparents:

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A big, heart melting grin from Elliana
A big, heart melting grin from Elliana

This was the longest break we’d taken in 2 years.
I wanted at least 3 weeks away but Chris was already anxious about getting back to the farm, as back there he’d have uninterrupted time to finish the Farm Manager program he is currently working on.
I had things planned… a lot of things!

We didn’t get away from the farm until 11 am and finally reached David and Lacey’s at 9.30 pm that night after stopping along the way to do a few things and encountering the never-ending road works which held us up for over an hour along the highway. David was at work and Lacey was at her mother’s so the procedure for putting the van away at David’s went like this.
• Park the van over the road
• Get the spare key to David and Lacey’s house, open up and find David’s Toyota keys.
• Take off cover from Toyota, (luckily David had already hooked up the boat to the Toyota.)
• Park Toyota and boat out on the road
• Reverse Caravan into the back yard, unhook car then park Nissan in the driveway.
• Reverse Toyota and boat back in the yard. Put the cover back over Toyota.
• Level up the van and lower stabilizer legs.
• Hook up water, sullage hose and electricity.
• Shower and finally bed.
WHOA!
All this while trying to keep quiet so as not to wake the baby asleep next door at Casey and Catherine’s place.

It was back on the road by 8 am the next morning, this time I was going away with the netball girls for a few days down the coast and Chris was staying with Barry and Christine. The last time we girls went away was 6 years ago so it was differently overdue. Talking, laughter, wine and food were the order of the day. Even the rain didn’t dampen our moods. The spa was hot, the pools heated and enough restaurants within walking distance that the car was not used. It was a great way to start our break.

Chris as usual loved catching up with Barry and Christine, as well as catching up with Emily, Wayne and Ang.
Remember the first time your children said Mum or Dad and the thrill it gave you? Well, that thrill comes back when you hear your grandchildren call you Nanna and Pa. I would hear Elliana awake in the mornings and I would go inside and as soon as she heard me unlocking the door she would start calling out “Ah Nanna, Nanna” and I would be welcomed with this huge smile.
Grandpa would get the same attention. Elliana would handbooks to Chris, and then climb onto his lap while he read her stories. Look out if he sat in the wrong lounge chair!  “Pa” as she pointed to the “correct chair”. Swimming lesson walks along the beach and shopping days are completely different with grandkids. I loved every minute of it.

We visited an Aquaponics seminar while in Brisbane as we were thinking of adding fish to our hydroponic system. The one we visited was a large setup but I asked the most vital question for us, “How long can you go away?” The answer – is “1 week at the most in winter as the fish don’t need feeding as much then”. This system recirculated the water and still required other nutrients added to the fish water. We have looked at this system before but after experiencing the Autopot system it seemed to us it would be a step backwards. The Autopot system can incorporate aquaponics and we might investigate this more whenever we’re in Melbourne again, but for now, this system is out of the question. The closest Autopot dealer to Brisbane was in Hervey Bay, so one of our days was spent on a leisurely drive up the coast. We met with Ross at his home where he happily showed us his set-up. He had fully grown, producing pawpaw trees in the 12in pots and this made us change our fruit trees from the grow bags and report them in our 12in pots when we came back to the farm.
We picked up a window box and 10inch pot for David and Lacey while we were there. Lacey would like to have fresh herbs growing but she is on her 2nd try so far and they don’t survive. At the point of writing this, it’s been 5 weeks with no maintenance from Lacey and the plants are doing extremely well in the Autopot system.

We also got to visit the Caravanning and Camping show in Brisbane. We hadn’t been since 2010 and thought it had shrunk in size since then. One thing we bought was a remote-controlled Jockey wheel so we are able to maneuver around the two trees we have at either end of the shelter that we store the van under at the farm. We had bought it off the inventor/ owner and he guaranteed us he would replace it if we weren’t satisfied. We like the idea of a man, similar in age to us, still inventing and producing items. This product had only been on the market for 3 months.

So after 3 weeks, we headed back to Koramba to experience the farm with no distractions…yeah right!
We were in for the biggest life lessons we have experienced in a long time.

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