Sunday, 17 March 2013

As the days get shorter, the nights get longer

Today was the first time in months that I actually felt cold.  It was strange and I was reminded that Autumn was here in Australia.  Soon the leaves will start falling from the trees, I'll be dragging out the woolly jumpers and boots, I'll be cooking plenty of hot, 'comfort food', the kids will be so much easier to get into bed at night, I'll have a lot more trouble getting my laundry done because nothing will dry and the days will get shorter and the nights will get longer.  The funny thing about the change of seasons is that when the time comes along for this to happen, you're ready for the change, it doesn't seem so bad and you almost welcome the changes in the world around you and your routine and adjust quickly to it all.

Last summer was a whirlwind for me and my family.  We seemed to be on the go from start to finish and we all enjoyed the heat.  Plenty of sunshine during the day and warm nights meant that we could get stuck right into our outdoor lifestyle and had lots of nights under the stars, cooking, eating, drinking and laughing.  The beach was great and I have always enjoyed the feeling of swimming in the salt water and having the sand between my toes.  I enjoyed the warmth and the sun always makes me feel good.  It's a great time for family and friends to get together and we certainly did plenty of that.  Summer also means Christmas for us in Australia which I'm sure must be a pretty weird concept for many of you who always have snow at Christmas.  We managed to survive the festivities and get the kids back to school with not too much bother and now we welcome Autumn and the changes that it brings.

In my garden I have several big Silver Birch trees and they are now gigantic after I planted them 10 years ago.  We have watched them grow from less than a metre tall to now well over the top of our roof!  I often enjoy watching the leaves and fine branches blow in the wind and the sound this makes is very peaceful.  They are what I would call a 'pretty' tree and have survived the summer months well.  But soon they will shed their leaves and I'll have piles and piles of leaves to rake up off my lawn.  They'll lose their graceful appearance and will become nothing more than a tall trunk with branches as they stand dormant during winter, looking very naked without their leaves.  I have watched this happen for years now and then when Spring comes along, the leaves will all magically appear again.  But for now, I'll just watch as they 'shed their skin' and stand tall against the grey sky with just their 'skeleton'.

Don't know about you but I tend to rotate my wardrobe throughout the year.  At the moment it's full of T-shirts, singlets, thongs, sandals and plenty of light clothing.  I really need to have a bit of a clean out and get rid of those bits and pieces that I haven't worn for years!  I've also collected that many jumpers over the years that in the warmer months, they get crammed into another cupboard so I've got room for the summer stuff.  I had to put a long sleeved windcheater on today because it was a bit chilly and soon enough, I'll be bringing back all of the heavy, warm clothing into close reach.  The thongs will be traded for boots and the sun won't be around as much, or as strong, and I'll have to face the cold, dark winter.  This is kind of a downer for me in a way, but in another way it's also nice to be able to snuggle up on a cold night, so that's OK.

When it's warm, cooking is a breeze.  You've probably gathered that I'm a bit partial to the great Aussie BBQ and this is such a simple way to eat and have fun at the same time.  We've been having plenty of barbies and our menu has been light and easy.  Lots of fresh salads and vegetables barbecued, along with simple cuts of meat marinated and thrown on.  It's such an Aussie way of life when I stop to think about it, as we are blessed with such a wonderful climate and lifestyle.  Fresh summer fruits are also a big winner around here and the warmer months basically means 'light and easy' in the kitchen for me.  But today I was cold and feeling a bit miserable and the first thing I thought of was soup!  Nice, hot, hearty soup.  So I'll be getting right back into the meals that warm you up and make you feel better when it's cold and wet outside.  Plenty of thick stews, roasts and needless to say.......soup!

As the days get shorter and the weather is not so warm and sunny, night falls a lot sooner and in a few weeks time it will be time to turn the clocks back one hour because Daylight Savings will end.  There'll be no more playing outside until 8.30pm for the kids, like they have been doing, and we'll be inside, cuddled up, trying to stay warm by 6pm at the very latest.  I kind of think this a bit sad too, but the biggest bonus about this is that the kids are so much easier to settle at night and get into bed!  I'm sure that most mums out there do look forward to this aspect of the change of seasons.  Things get much slower and a lot more quiet and the kids unfortunately have to spend more time indoors......but at least it gives us mums a bit more time to relax because they're in bed at a decent hour!

With 5 people in our family, there is a never ending stream of laundry......aah, yes, I hear you sigh, a mother's never ending battle to keep everyone in clean clothes!  Sometimes I can't believe how much washing I do and I had to laugh the other day when I remembered that only a few years ago when I was doing the laundry for just me and David, that I'd have to do about 2 loads a week and could manage this all on a Saturday and fold it up and put it away in a matter of minutes on a Sunday night!  That's funny.....those days are nothing but a distant I do a full load nearly every day, am constantly sorting it and putting it away and it never stops.  This would have to be one of the most frustrating parts of my role as mum, just when you think it's all done, another full basket miraculously appears and you're back to square one again.  And to make matters worse, as the colder months approach, you need a good windy day to get it dry or else your clothes dryer works overtime and you have bits and pieces hanging up all over your house!  Mmm, have to say that I don't like this bit about the departure of summer but as I said earlier, I guess you soon adjust.....what alternative do you have?

As the days get shorter and the nights get longer, we all have to readjust to the changes around us.  Not only does nature act accordingly, but so do we.  The beauty of this world is that it is constantly running through it's cycles and we are all a part of it.  I have noticed that I tend to get a bit miserable when there is not much sunshine and as I get older, I really don't like the cold.  But then again, there are other things to look forward to like my kids' birthdays as they are all Winter babies (yes, Spring was good for me LOL!)  We'll all just keep on keeping on and change to 'cold mode' and it won't be so bad :) xxx