So we’re on the road again, but we are still finding our groove. The addition of homeschooling in particular seems to be affecting the rhythm I recall from our last trip. We didn’t leave our camp here at Scottsdale in the Tassie’s Northeast until after 12.00 today. It took until that time for breakfast to be eaten, the dishes to be done, for Emma and I to work out what was to be taught for the day and then to actually go teach it.
It’s still early days for us on the homeschooling front. Emma, fortunately has done lots of reading and gathering of curricula and other necessary material. I, while educated to a higher level than Year 3 am rapidly learning that teaching Year levels 2 and 3 involves far more than knowledge of what you actually learn in Years 2 and 3.
Working out what Amy and Oliver have learnt thus far, what they ought to know by the end of the year and then breaking that down into bite size portions that can be fit in between breakfast and a tour of the local attractions is, in its own right, almost enough for me to grapple with. Throw in, ‘where are we’ and ‘what could / should we go and see’, and ‘how far away is it’, and ‘what will need for the day’ and ‘what is the weather doing’ and life at home is starting to look a whole lot more simple than our simple life on the road. Not to mention my occasional bouts of, ‘am I a good parent or am I totally screwing my kids up?’.
Perhaps it’s just the weather. Where did the sun go the last couple of days?
Anyway. For all that we have still been out and about. Yesterday we visited the ruins of Australia’s first hydro powered flour mill, situated on the Supply Creek, a tributary to the Tamar River. Not much left there now, but in its day it was enough for two fellas to have an 89 ton schooner built to take their flour to market. Unfortunately just two years after they had built the ‘Dusty Miller’ it sank, taking with it £1400 worth of product and sending the two fellas broke. Bugger. Not sure what became of them after that, but I reckon that would have been a bit harder to cope with than teaching Year 2.
We have been camped for free the last two nights in Scottsdale at a lovely little park. It has a great little reserve complete with ponds and little waterfall. The ponds have all manner of wildlife in them including platypus, rainbow trout and as it turns out a cannibalistic duck. Some other kids, that ours had befriended, were unfortunate enough to witness the bad duck attack a duckling and rip its leg off (we were doing our school work at the time).
Poor kids didn’t know what to do. They took it to their mum who took the view that this was an ideal lesson in the harshness of nature and told them to put it back. Some other kids found it right where it had been left, as instructed, and also took it to their mum. This mum took the view that the duckling needed rescuing. She gathered it up and found a local animal shelter that was willing to take the one legged duckling on. I presume it is there now, in intensive care.
All of this left me musing over how there really is very little in the way of right and wrong when it comes to parenting – just different paths.
After the great duckling rescue, we took a drive out to the Bridestow Lavendar farm. I enjoyed it more than I thought I would. It would be stunning to see just before harvest, which we missed by about three weeks. Still the kids enjoyed the lavender icecream. No the colour is not natural (see photo). They add the purple to make it look more lavendarish. The poor girl serving didn’t quite know what to make of Emma’s commentary on the futility and pointlessness of adding food colour to otherwise perfectly good food.
Before visiting the lavender farm I had asked the two ladies at the Scottsdale Visitor Centre was there anything good there for kids. The first lady looked at me and said they had ice-cream, clearly suggesting this was all I needed to know. The second lady said ‘yes and they sell lavender fudge’. The first lady looked over at her and declared, ‘you’re an idiot’. I was highly amused by the exchange. I wonder though what others would have made of it.
Our last stop was at the tiny town of Legerwood. Legerwood’s claim to fame is something of a tragic story. Seven young men from the town went off to World War One. They were all killed and so the town planted seven trees to remember them plus one for the ANZACs and one for Gallipoli. Many years later (cause the trees were huge) the trees were becoming a safety risk and had to be removed. But because of their heritage the town came up with a better idea and commissioned a chain-saw wood carver to set to work on the trees to honor the purpose for which they were planted. The results are something else (see photos).
Emma here: On the return from Legerwood, I had Greg and the kids drop me off with my bike at the start of a Rail Trail which would take me the 25km back to Scottsdale and our camp spot. It was an amazing ride through beautiful forests complete with tall tree ferns through narrow railway cuttings, and the bonus was I’d chosen the right way to ride it and it was all down hill! About 2.5km into my ride I was going at a fair pace down the hill when I ran over what I almost immediately realised was a snake! I managed to glace back and see it slithering away… seems two wheels right in a snakes middle don’t do too much damage. I did slow somewhat after that and dodge every stick and piece of bark along the way, and I’m pleased to report there were no further sightings. I did look into it when I returned and most likely it was a tiger snake, since Tasmania only has 3 species of land snake, and the other two didn’t seem likely.
Greg again: So that’s it for now. Tomorrow we are off to Mt William National Park at the northern end of the Bay of Fires. But not until our school work is done. Which may or may not mean we get away before the sun is setting. Oh and yes the do actually sell lavender fudge at the lavender farm.
Conversation of the day
Emma: I have to tell Oliver that I saw an Eagle earlier today.
Emma: No. Jayco.