Rosemary and Saltbush Hedges

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It’s funny how life can change. Right now I’m sitting in the sun, looking over terraced rosemary and old-man saltbush hedges toward the stone shearing shed and rocky hills beyond. I just finished a coffee, and the kids are being taught by two generous and skilled volunteer Govvies. The dog is chasing lizards in the garden despite me yelling at her, and my ankle is twinging, reminding me of our emu egg hunt the evening before.

It was only a few short months ago that I was neck deep in a troubled classroom in Broken Hill, attempting to teach an overflowing class of kids amidst the horrific stories and pain they carried into school each day. It was difficult to see much hope for the future in that snapshot of the next generation, although the resilience that some of the kids demonstrated put me to shame. On the flip side, my son just ran past, jumped on a pogo stick while saying his times tables, then ran off to play with his pet lizard, grinning almost as much as the dog beside him. A visitor to the property once said to me before she drove away, ‘these kids out on properties are some of the most underprivileged kids in todays society.’  I have to disagree.

  1. Jane @ Shady Baker
    Jane @ Shady Baker08-18-2016

    Lovely Karen. I find it hard to image how anyone could make the comment about our children being underprivileged, living on properties. Especially knowing your family! Happy days to you and enjoy those teaching volunteers! Jane Smith

  2. Sue Lenney
    Sue Lenney08-18-2016

    How wonderful that you can take me away, just for a little while, from suburban living. December is my scheduled time to pack the trailer and take to the open road with my daughter and the dog. Can’t wait to sink back into the country experience once more to take heaps of digital photos for future paintings and memories. Thanks Karen for sharing.

  3. Clodagh Jones
    Clodagh Jones08-19-2016

    My own children were brought up in the wilds of the Suffolk countryside (UK). They are all now over 50 and are very resilient, know what to do in an emergency and care about natural ways of life. As teenagers they were much in demand as babysitters as they always coped with any situation, and my oldest son was a dab hand at changing nappies without out turning a hair.It was all part of the job! The three say they had the best upbringing ever!

  4. Your mum
    Your mum08-19-2016

    And somebody else said ‘they are a bit wild aren’t they?’
    Well my comment was ‘if they can’t be a bit wild when living in the desert – when can they enjoy life so very much!’ And it sounds like Mum and Dad are enjoying their lives just as much – a pleasure to behold.

  5. Susanne Mardi
    Susanne Mardi08-20-2016

    Country kids are smarter and far more in sync with the world around them Karen. I never understood the difference between townies and country kids until I went to a big city boarding school and got to know the girls there. I found that while the townies thought they were smarter than us country bumpkins, we had it all over them in the end because we knew how to ‘do’ things; fix things and had an affinity for the environment even as children.

    I found city kids to be more interested in the things we found superficial, like shopping and going to a cafe just for coffee and a gossip.( I learned all about gossip in the city), while we country kids knew all about making jam, bottling fruit and veggies, making pickles, sewing and knitting. I remember being laughed at for knowing how to grow things in the gardens, ‘invent’ things and fix things that broke.

    By the time I left boarding school 4 years later, I had a good understanding of the differences in living in both the city and the country. I went home to the country knowing that that was where I belonged.

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