Wednesday 3 February 2016


January was a wet month and we felt the full force of living in a water catchment area. Two weeks after moving into our Treetops house, and the night after receiving our first visitors, we were flooded in. It was just myself and the children as their father was in Sydney continuing work on our former house. And when he tried to return home he wasn't able to make it through the flood. As it happens he had hired a car for a few days but it was was only a hatchback and not able to pass the deep water. At one point another driver in a 4WD diesel ute with a snorkel tried to get him through the floods but after crossing several sections, they reached a point where the water was fast-flowing and up to the windscreen. They had to turn back and he spent the night in a room above a pub in the closest town while the children and I were low on food supplies. As it happens, that day we had run out of milk, eggs and cheese as well as bread. We hadn't bought any as we were expecting him to bring them on his way home. That night I scraped together a meal and we read a stack of books from our Christmas advent book calendar and hoped the news would be better in the morning.

We woke to a blue sky and I was excited to hear cars on the road below. But when D tried to come through a section about 5km away, it was still flooded. So he had to loop around to another entry point. Two-hundred metres in front of our driveway though there was another stretch of water that was too deep to cross in the hire car. He was about to walk through as it wouldn't have been more than waist height, and was still water. Fortunately, someone came through in a 4WD and drove him through. We had never been so happy to see him walk up the hill towards our house.

That day the sky cleared and slowly the waters receded. We started work on our herb garden, and later went for a drive to see how our neighbours had fared in the flood. Along the way we spotted a turtle crossing the road. It was incredible to watch. Moss and ferns were growing out of its shell, and as soon as we got close, it retracted its head. We moved it to the side of the road so that it wouldn't get run over by a car. It was another strand of experience that made us realise that we certainly weren't in the city anymore.

While we had a few good days of weather, it seemed to rain most of January. The children found many ways to occupy themselves, though. When we first moved in they spent hours playing with rope - rigging it up onto the ceiling beams creating swings with skateboards, making a pirate ship and later when I hung a rope ladder for them they spent hours every day swinging from it. They also built a teepee from bamboo in the garden. More strands were later used to create a tent in our son's bedroom over a bed that he helped to assemble. And the skateboards have seen much use over the long stretch of slate that runs from the "front" to the "back" door - this is not a conventional house.

Towards the end of the month we explored some of the local beaches - including Umina and Pearl Beach. We also visited Somersby Falls - a beautiful spot. Often when we drive through the surrounding countryside we stop and buy fruit and vegetables from roadside stalls. And we always have an eye to see how other properties have utilised their land.

On the flip side, we saw a snake slither past our front door - moments after the the four-year-old had stood at the front door with it open, waiting for her dad to walk up the driveway. However, we (hope and) believe it to be a harmless yellow-bellied brown snake.

One highlight for all though was getting a new sofa. It is our first new piece of furniture for the house, and first non-secondhand sofa. When it arrived the children spent hours turning it into a fort. It feels as if we are slowly making this place our own. A new chapter is dawning.

images the indigo crew

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