Howe Happenings

Hi All

I thought it was about time that I caught up with some news again. Things have settled into something of a routine here over the last week or so. The kids are getting schoolwork done again and the house is reasonably organised, enough to not feel any urgency about doing any more anyway. Kim’s to-do list is getting down to a manageable size now and our creek has returned to babbling brook status. Things seem to be going okay with the settlement of the block as well and the boys have set out a mini soccer pitch in the paddock to play games with Josiah in. Life rolls on.

Last week we took a quick trip down to Hobart. Unfortunately we didn’t get to visit Cadbury this time! There was a lot more to do there than we had time for, but the kids enjoyed having a bit of a look around. All the houses perched on the hills look rather nice, and the suburbs stretched a lot further north than I expected.

Last Friday evening and all day Saturday we went to a homeschool conference in Launceston. I was particularly hoping to connect up with some local homeschoolers so that we can go to some of their outings.  As it turned out there were not as many people there as I expected, and those people who I did chat to were not from Lonnie but from further north west. Also the talks were mostly favouring unschooling or natural learning, which is not the form of teaching we are doing, and so were not that relevant to us and some of the workshops were a bit ho-hum too. However we did have a great talk with the principal of Australian Christian Academy, he was discussing the topic of his PHD thesis with us and was bouncing ideas around and using Kim as a subject to assess his ideas with which was fun. We also had a good talk with another Christian guy who was a part of the trade fair, he was a builder and rather fascinating. He has built 2 strawbale houses in his home town of Queensland, one was 500sqm and the other was 220sqm, the first cost him $100,000 and the second $18,000. He gave us a lot of ideas. I also got to speak to a fellow who was on the homeschool council here, he and the rest of the council have to recommend our teaching plan to the education minister so we can be officially registered as homeschoolers here, so it was good to find out what sort of things they expect.

Julia told me that Launceston was one of the most polluted cities in Australia, mostly due to wood smoke, and we have now had the opportunity to experience that first hand. When we left home at 8am on Saturday to go into Lonnie for the conference there was such a fog down our 5km of gravel road that we were in first gear most of the way and could only see about one car length ahead for most of the drive. When we got down to the main road we were able to go somewhat faster, averaging about 80kph for the trip – it took a bit longer than normal! We expected the mist to clear as we got closer to Launceston but instead it became more pink tinged and smoky instead. It did clear a bit during the day but the city remained smoggy and smelt strongly of smoke the whole time, we were glad to finally leave.

Kim, Josiah and myself are all suffering from a cold today, with Sam and Lydia feeling some possible symptoms too, so if my email sounds a bit vague in places a lack of health is my excuse. Last Sunday we went to a church called the Branch, and I think we will get involved there. It is a smaller church than Albany Baptist but they have similar beliefs and were very welcoming.

Lupo has discovered that our spring fed dam is a fun place to swim when the boys are out playing soccer, though why she would want to get wet when it is so cold is beyond me. We also had a fun experience when Josiah had an upstairs bath. We discovered that the bathroom is not actually sealed when he splashed a bit too vigorously and we got water pouring through the ceiling into the kitchen and onto the carpet (who puts carpet in a kitchen – really?). It was just like a TV comedy, water running down, me shrieking for someone to run upstairs and stop the flow while hunting madly for bowls and buckets to catch the leaks. Josiah now mostly has showers!

We have seen pademelons, red necked wallabies, possums, wombats and deer, but still no sign of the elusive platypus who is supposed to live in the creek. There is a lot of road kill in Tassie, which after driving at night we find not all that surprising. Pademelons tend to make a break from the pasture side of the road back to the bush while possums are just plain daft and sit dazzled by the lights or meander aimlessly back and forth across the road trying to make up their minds which way to run. The deer we have only seen from a distance, they were halfway across the paddock and were very flighty. Wombats seem to vary, some largely ignoring us while others wander slowly away. There is a smallish one who comes near our house but it runs away quite fast when it sees us.

Anyway, I guess I better finish up for now and get Josiah off to bed. Take care all.



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