Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Adventures in Packing

Things are a bit frantic around here, with us working like mad to get all packed up to go to New Zealand for the World Rainbow Gathering, and getting the house cleaned for our house-sitter to arrive.

Littletree was “helping” me pack, but mostly getting in the way ;)


In the end, she was thankfully distracted by the arrival of presents in the mail


Then I went down to the basement with her so she could try out her new (hand-me-down) rollerskates


When that got boring, we got out Littletree’s latest project – drawing with a feather in ink.

33 ink and quill

And while I’ve done a great job on playing with Littletree today, the packing still has a ways to go – somehow there’s a huge pile of things to go into the backpacks, but they’re both full already! WAAA!

This will no doubt be my last post till after the Rainbow, so long till then!

Monday, 14 December 2009

Christmukah Party

This weekend was the Christmas party in our village. It was a lovely picnic – lots of fun, everyone was hanging out in the park, singing carols, there was live music, and kids running everywhere

34 xmas party

Santa arrived, on the village fire truck, of course.

35 xmas santa fire sleigh

The kids crowded around him while he gave out presents, and poor Littletree was the only child standing there politely with her hands out.

37 xmas santa

All the other kids were yelling and pushing and grabbing, while Littletree stood patiently waiting… and in the end, “Santa” passed her over about a dozen times giving little candy bags to the louder kids, and she missed out all together.

Littletree was so sad – it was the first time she’d ever seen a Santa :( She didn’t even really want the lollies, but it really sucked getting passed over like that when she was the only child not jumping around and pushing.

We sat down together for a hug, and she told me that he wasn’t the real Santa; just a man dressed up, and the real Santa is just something people believe in.

She got over it pretty quick, and went to play with her friends until it was sunset - time to light the Hannukah candles

39 channukah

I really enjoy the ritual of lighting the candles, and singing songs. 

40 channukah 

We thought it was pretty funny to be lighting Hannukah candles at a Christmas party, but no one else seemed to know what it was. The Hannukiah did draw some interested guests though

42 channukah

Merry Non-Specific Holidays to everyone!

Saturday, 12 December 2009

Scrambled Egg

Littletree came home in the morning after a sleepover at her friend’s house, and announced that she wanted to make breakfast.

All she needed help with was finding the appropriate pans from the shelf.

She broke eggs into a bowl and beat them up

28 scrambled egg

Added milk and salt and pepper, and poured it into the pan (not spilling too much)

30 scrambled egg

Then we all sat down to a yummy breakfast – scrambled eggs on toast

32 scrambled egg

Pretty awesome stuff! and it looks like my plan of breeding my own tribe of servants is coming to fruition! Bwahahahahaa!

Thursday, 10 December 2009


It’s been really hot here this week, and we’ve been going swimming a lot, both at the local creek and the pool in town. Littletree has been improving her swimming so much, and is even putting her head under water and doggy paddling around.

The other day she started practicing to jump into the pool; I feel so awed by her achievement, and her journey with fear of water. :)

23 dive

Littletree is getting a lot more independent in general, lately. A new family moved in next door with a 5 year old girl, and Littletree has been walking out to play with her several times a week. Then she started venturing 100M further down the road to our neighbour’s where they have a son the same age as Littletree and a 3 year old girl. The kids have a great time. Occasionally, Littletree even rides her bike down a further 200M from there to another family, where a 7 year old girl lives.

I love it that quite often all the neighbourhood kids get together and play around, riding bikes, climbing trees, running around. I love the sense of community, and that we don’t really have to worry about cars, and everyone knows everyone, and that I feel safe for Littletree to go out for walks to friends’ houses on her own in the afternoons.

Life is good :)

Monday, 7 December 2009

Technical Littletree

Littletree has been getting into more intellectual pursuits lately. She has a little notebook she calls her “homework” book, and spends lots of time writing things in it, copying sentences from books, writing out sums and stuff.

I bought her a wall chart of the multiplication tables and she loves it to bits. It’s so cute, not only does she spend hours reading it and telling everyone the times tables, she snuggles with the chart like it’s a security blanket and carries it around with her all the time.

22 times tables

Purple started to teach her more about computers, and the two of them sat drawing turtle graphics pictures with LOGO (Logic Oriented Graphic Oriented) language. I remember spending hours programming LOGO when I was about 8 or 9.

18 logo

We’re reading our first chapter book without any pictures! I’m really enjoying it, and I love the idea that now we’ve opened up our story-time possibilities dramatically. Previously, we could only choose books that had at least a picture every few pages.

The book is fantastic, a story about a hunter faery, called Knife (the US title is Faery Rebels which isn’t as good a title or cover – try to get the UK edition if you can).

Friday, 4 December 2009


Química came up for another visit this week; she’ll be staying till we go to New Zealand for the World Rainbow Gathering.

Littletree has been really bonding with her… well, really bonding with her iPhone anyway!

17 kimi seq iphone

Purple has been getting back into practicing his Flute, much to the admiration of all the local wildlife (lucky his code was compiling).

15 mod flute kookaburra

I get a new bookshelf for my midwifery books – about time, coz they were totally taking over the kitchen shelf.

12 bookshelf

The books and folders I use more regularly I have lined up on my desk, which is at a comfortable level of clutter

14 desk

I’ve been getting lots of free time to study lately – Littletree has been exploring new levels of independence, and a new family moved in next door to us with a five year old girl. Littletree walks over to her house to play almost every afternoon.

Wednesday, 2 December 2009

Littletree Life Drawing

This week we had Life Drawing class again – classes were off for the past 6 weeks or so because the teacher was having her baby (a beautiful water birth I attended), but we thought we’d try having another class and Littletree agreed to “babysit”.

03 seq ayla

Which meant that Littletree sat with the baby at the mama’s side, bouncing her and being cute. We managed to have a good class, despite regular breastfeeding. Here’s my fave picture I did:

07 life drawing

It didn’t really take Littletree all that long to get bored, and she decided to join the class and do some pictures. I was slightly reluctant, because usually when she draws pictures she get very perfectionist and cries that she needs help if she doesn’t get it “right”.

But this time I was amazed. She did really well and came up with some fantastic pictures.

04 life drawing seq

Honestly; how many schooled children get to do life drawing? I think it’s such a great learning experience.

10 life drawing seq 

11 life drawing seq

Now the problem is going to be getting to go out for Life Drawing on my own, because Littletree will want to join! I’ll have to find another class I can do on my own. LOL

Saturday, 28 November 2009

Nature Experiments

Littletree borrowed a book from the library this week called “101 Nature Experiments”. It’s pretty much what it says it is – step-by-step instructions on doing fun experiments that are somewhat educational.

She’s taken to reading upside-down lately

70 reading upsidedown

We’ve been having fun going through the book and doing the experiments, and incidentally, Littletree is learning a lot from it.

71 experiment

Littletree has also been reading a lot to her dolls, which is very cute.

76 reading

And we’re learning about architecture and form with a boxful of carpentry off-cuts we got from a neighbour – Littletree has been working on building castles for the faeries, which is loads of fun, and it’s great to see how she works out the logistics of fitting all the different shapes together and balancing them. Unlike regular kids blocks, they’re cut unevenly and have odd shapes.

85 block castle

Meanwhile, Purple and I are still hard at work improving the garden, here’s me mowing the lawn with my machete. It’s effective, good exercise and uses no fossil fuels :)

89 mowing 

Tuesday, 24 November 2009


We’ve been working on our garden a lot lately, Purple has been building retaining rock walls and reinforcing the beds, and I’m starting a new herb patch with valerian, motherwort, skullcap, plantain, pennyroyal, sage, chamomile and room for more.

63 garden herbs

The garden is quite long and narrow, we have cassava,

61 garden

Chilli, aloe vera, comfrey (and potatoes under the matting)

64 garden aloe chili comfrey

Pineapple, cherry tomatoes, mint

65 garden tomato herbs pineapple

The frame I built for the spinach to climb up on is made with only natural materials – bamboo poles and cat’s claw vines to hold it together.

83 garden frame

Littletree has her own flower bed that she takes care of

69 garden flowers

And a strawberry patch!

74 strawberry

Littletree got to eat the first one yesterday!

75 strawberry

I’ve also planted a few trees – a blueberry bush, a japoticaba, a red raspberry bush, a lemon myrtle, and a lemon tree.

Friday, 20 November 2009

Homebirth; Australia Spits on Human Rights

I’ve spent most of the last week since we got home from camp dealing with a nasty cold – Littletree was feeling pretty sick and feverish on the day we came home from camp, and spent most of the next 3 days in bed with a yucky, wet cough. But we took good care of her, and she got better, only for me to catch the cold. I came down with a sore throat, and lost my voice completely, so I wasn’t really up to blogging.

Not to mention, I find the topic on my mind somewhat depressing. Most every other birth-blogger in Australia already said something about this, so I can probably leave it alone, but it is on my mind, even though I have a tendency to procrastinate on thinking about it.

Essentially, the federal government is proposing new laws that will essentially make independent homebirth midwives illegal, and put women’s birthing choices securely in the hands of the medical institution.

Bruse Teakle at The Maternity Coalition put out this press-release, which pretty much sums it up:

Doctors to gain veto powers over midwives and birth choices

Doctors to gain veto powers over midwives and birth choices

On 5 November the Government announced that the “Medicare for midwives” Bills would be amended to require midwives to have “collaborative arrangements” with “medical practitioners” before being eligible for professional indemnity insurance or Medicare rebates.

Doctors must approve each midwife’s entry to private practice:

- Midwives will be required by Commonwealth law to have “collaborative arrangements” with “one or more medical practitioners” before being eligible for Commonwealth-subsidised professional indemnity insurance (PII).

- PII will be a prerequisite for a midwife to enter private practice, under new national registration laws, being enacted state by state.

- Doctors will be able to unilaterally withdrawal from collaborative agreements with a midwife, rendering her uninsured, and legally unable to practice in a private professional capacity.

- This legally mandates medical control over midwives’ ability to register and work in private practice.

- This will be set in Commonwealth law, which can only be changed by Commonwealth Parliament.

- These provisions are contained in the Health Legislation Amendment (Midwives and Nurse Practitioners) Bill 2009.

- Medical practitioners will control the registration status of midwives, despite their being a discrete, separately regulated profession.

- Medical professional organisations could set guidelines for collaborative arrangements, potentially forming defacto regulatory standards for midwifery endorsement and practice.

This gives doctors right of veto over women’s choices in birth care.

(this is an abbreviated quote, the full synopsis can be read HERE)

It basically means that no one can be a midwife; midwives have to have an agreement with a practicing doctor and all clients and births will have to be approved by the doctor and there’s pretty much no reason or incentive for doctors to ever approve anyone for a home birth, even if we thought we needed doctors’ approval. It means that women will not have the right to choose a homebirth without the approval, sanction and control of a doctor – which is hardly a choice at all.

This basically contravenes one of our most basic human rights. I’ve pointed out before that one of the Rights of Women as set out by the UN is that women have the right to have control over, and decide freely and responsibly on all matters relating to their sexual and reproductive health.

Which means that it is a human right for women to be able to make their own choices about how, where and with whom they birth. The Australian government is blatantly spitting in the face of the rights of women!

Oh, that’s right. Australia doesn’t have a bill of rights in its constitution. Which explains how the Australian Medical Association can get away with lobbying parliament to secretly make and pass laws that deny Australian women their human right to have control over their own bodies and their own birthing. Not to mention holding refugee children in detention centres for months on end, or the shocking treatment of Australia’s native peoples. And don’t lets forget that the whole of Australia’s federation was essentially based on wanting to push the White Australia policy, which is the crux of our nation’s love for abusing human rights.

Heck, Australia isn’t even a true democracy; it’s one of only a handful of nations where voting is compulsory. How is it democratic if you can’t even choose not to vote? Easy – you don’t have to actually cast a vote, you just have to show up on polling day and register that you voted. A clever way of controlling and keeping tabs on the population, indeed.

So complaining about the the crime of refusing rights and controlling birthing women is petty when you think about it.

Do I sound angry? Funny about that.

Sunday, 15 November 2009


Purple got the idea to do a big puzzle; something fun to do together that isn’t watching DVDs. We found some good ones at the store and set to work.

The first step is spilling out all the pieces…

32 puzzle

Then sorting them in to colour groups and edge pieces.

31 puzzle

Start to get the edge all together and begin filling in the details (note Purple wearing the very appropriate XKCD t-shirt I got him for his birthday)

34 puzzle

We got all the picture done, and then set to doing the sky, which is the hardest, since all the bits are just plain blue.

35 puzzle

Littletree really enjoyed the project – it’s the first time she’s done a puzzle that isn’t meant for little kids

36 puzzle

The finished product!

38 puzzle

This was only 500 pieces, but now we’ve done that, we’ve got a 1000-piece puzzle to work on :)

Friday, 13 November 2009

Lush Liberated Learning Camp

This week Littletree and I were away at the Liberated Learning Camp – there was about a dozen families and around 30 kids all camping at Thunderbird Park on Mt Tambourine in southern Queensland.

It was awesome to see everyone, many of the people I only know from the forum, so it was cool to meet them “IRL”. It was also really cool to see how a big bunch of unschooled kids interact together. Ages ranged from 12 months to 15 years, and all the kids were playing and getting on really well, running around, riding bikes, throwing frisbees, climbing trees, swimming in the pool and in the creek, fossicking for crystals...

We spend a lot of time hanging around the campsite, chatting while the kids played

52 camp hang out

Here’s Littletree having a snuggle with some friends

40 camp tent

There were a bunch of activities, someone brought a parachute

42 camp parachute

And dress-ups

46 camp dressup

And facepaints

48 camp face paint

Valleysprite spent hours and hours painting all the kids faces

51 camp face paint

They played twister and some other board games

53 camp twister

Evening storytime

54 camp storytime 

After the kids were asleep, the grown-ups hung around the campfire chatting about unschooling, life, the universe and everything

55 camp fire

There was horseriding that Littletree loved

58 camp horseride

And we went on a few excursions around, including going into a mine to dig for thundereggs, and we went on a bushwalk to Curtis Falls, and the kids went into a glow-worm cave (while the adults went tasting at a local winery), I taught some Capoeira, we saw possums, and heaps more!

We had such a fantastic time, and can’t wait to do it again next year. A big thanks to Valleysprite for organising it!