Perhaps it’s because I’ve been absolutely hibernating like a bear inside with a wee little newborn for so long, or perhaps it’s because I haven’t experienced a South Gippsland in a few years, traveling up north and then living in South Australia – but this Winter seems extra Arctic, extra dreary, extra long, dark and cold. Yesterday gale forced winds hit, the big gum trees swayed and bowed beside our little farmhouse. Today the air is icy and still, the forecast is for snow down to 500 metres. That’s us.
Our driveway is a quagmire of sloshiness, probably due to an increase in traffic with visitors for Eleanor, but everywhere I turn there seems to be mud, mud, mud. Our poor chooks are living in a mud pit and the short trip to the woodshed to re-stock my wheelbarrow requires gumboots.
In the past week we’ve had sheep grazing the paddock around our house, newly sown down to pasture after three years of growing potatoes in the red soil. Nice to have ewes and their lambs bleating away nearby, not so convenient having to open and shut gates now on the driveway (a cattle grid is high on my wish list). The lambs are not so little anymore, feeding hungrily and often violently on their weary but patient mums – somehow I can relate. When Eleanor was born the paddocks were full of tiny helpless lambs, little white dots on the green grass of our rolling hills. I think every year now as lambing begins I will be reminded of those early days of Eleanor’s life – lucky for us we’re inside sheltering against that icy chill, and each year Eleanor will share her birthday with lots of lambs!
And so, we bunker down, still waiting patiently for that Spring sunshine to break through the long, cold, dark Winter that this year has brought us. I’m daydreaming about sunny afternoons in the garden with our blossom baby girl, days when I can dress her in short sleeved jumpsuits or not worry about her cold little hands. But in the meantime we’ll be right here by the fire, wearing many, many layers and looking out the farmhouse windows at those lambies growing bigger, just like another Winter babe comfortably nestled inside.