The Geek has the noted practical skills of his tribe. "Beware of programmers wielding screwdrivers!" he tells me. He didn't grow up with a vegetable patch, as I did. Apart from these flaws, and the fact that he is not a millionaire, he's pretty good value. His outdoor jobs include the mowing, and hunting out snails to offer to the chooks.
The Twig is in Year One at our wonderful local public school. His ambition is to be a professional lawn bowls player and train driver, or perhaps an archaeologist. His school recently brought in some speech therapists to work with the children. We want a silence therapist.
The Sprig is very like The Twig at the same age: unusually verbal, and very sweet-natured, but more single-minded than his brother. I do like two-year-olds! Except for the way they keep picking unripe strawberries. The plants are flowering in troughs on the back porch, but I expect another season of low yields. Perhaps I will be able to redirect him to the cherry tomatoes.
Our two guinea pigs, sisters Lilac and Millie, live in a Cubes-and-Corflute Piggie Palace in the kitchen. Very handy when I'm peeling the carrots, and the right height for the children to see them without being able to accidentally hurt them. They spend sunny days in a movable outdoor run.
The two Isabrown chooks came from Rentachook. They're in a run under the lemon tree at the moment, and they get any household scraps that guinea pigs refuse, as well as other things. Only Penny lays eggs. Rusty is our $100 chook: the cost of two trips to the vet, plus antibiotics, after an egg broke inside her and became infected. She probably will never lay again, but as she still cultivates, kills pests, and manures the ground, that's all right. I'd like to get a heritage breed bird that lays white eggs so that we can make pysanky at Easter -- and to provide us with eggs to give away.
I work part-time as a TAFE librarian. I'm also active in my church (we're Sydney Anglicans), the Australian Breastfeeding Association, and a (very inactive) member of the Australian Plants Society.