We headed for Mackay for the first weekend where Fixit Guy attended a lay preachers workshop. I did a little bit of sewing, a little bit of shopping and a lot of catching up with 3 lovely old friends. We were all Australian Breastfeeding Association counsellors together. The 4 of us had first a coffee and then lunch together whilst we chatted and caught up with what each other had been up to over the years.
After church on Sunday FG and I headed for Townsville where we caught up with 3 more of my former ABA counselor friends for dinner (and one husband)
Monday we spent the morning doing some shopping and messages before heading up to the older of FG's 2 younger brothers. We spent a week with them at their property. FG got busy helping with life on the property as well as fixing a variety of things for them. On the property some jobs get left till they have time and when you are into your 4th year of a drought there isn't much spare time. So ... there were a good few jobs for him.
And then on his 2nd day (I think) he managed to scold his leg with boiling water whilst helping them slaughter a couple of pigs. That put a bit of a dampner on things for a few days for him but it didn't really slow him down. He was back on his feet helping where he could.
The next weekend we had our niece's 21st birthday... 80 people aged 4 months to mid 70s celebrated in style over the weekend. Most people slept over night - camping in their cars, tents or stashed all about the house, workers quarters etc.
FG and I didn't know a lot of the people there, or at least didn't know them very well but there were various family members and some old family friends that we enjoyed the opportunity to catch up with them.
The second week of our holiday we spent at the other brother's place. His wife had hurt her shoulder and so I was able to do a bit to help her - hanging out clothes and cutting up vegies etc.
Both properties like much of inland Queensland is incredibly dry. They are in the grip of a 4 year drought. There is no grass left on the place and they are feeding the cattle salt lick, molasses and cotton seed to keep them alive. In the week we were there 6 cattle died as a result of the drought.
I helped out in the house where I could, cooking a few meals, making biscuits and cakes for smokos (morning and afternoon tea) and I spent a day doing the mending.
We were really hopeful when we saw some storm building up but unfortunately they went around us.
Because the property is so isolated our nieces and nephews did school by correspondence till high school and then went to boarding school in Charters Towers (as did my husband and his brothers although they went to boarding school for a couple of years of primary school as well) The kids are weekly boarders coming home on the weekends. There is a bus that brings them to the turnoff from the highway, an hour from the house Each Friday my sister in law drives to the turnoff to pick up our niece K (in year 11) and nephew A (year 9) and they have the weekend at home. Then Monday morning she drives them back to the turnoff where they catch the bus back to town at 7AM.
It was great to have the kids home and be able to spend a bit of time with them. We had seen A at the party the weekend before but K hadn't come to the party as she had prior engagement.
We came home Tuesday this week getting in rather late. It wasn't really a holiday that we had but it was great to have the time with family and to be able to help out. It was also a change from home and our commitments here.
Now we are back and into the swing of everything already. The dog and cat were glad to have us back, although they had been well cared for in our absence.