Easter at Ironbark

Add seven children to seven adults and put them in the bush with the cows, chickens and pigs – what do you have? A memorable, Easter experience of joyful chaos, happy screams and outdoor adventure. I was lucky enough to travel out near Crows Nest to St Peters Ironbark where the family gathered to sleep in dormitories and share the cooking/ meals. It was fun. It was noisy. It was full on.

Where did we gather? Well mostly in the boy’s dorms choosing the top bunk or the bottom. Not as rough as real camping in tents, it was nevertheless, protected from the cold as we snuggled up into the sleeping bags ready for a good night’s rest.

Daily feeding of the farm animals was a hit with the children.

Learning where the milk comes from was fun for curious eyes.

Rides, Easter egg hunts and Sunday chapel service allowed the children to enjoy the meaning behind the cross and the risen Lord. We enjoyed a prayer, songs and a Scripture reading.

Snorting and squealing pigs were not only smelly but kept the children and adults fascinated. The huge noise was too much for some.

Collecting eggs and chasing the chickens was a morning ritual. Climbing was easy for some and not for others. In moments of quietness, some of the weary parents enjoyed doing cross words or collecting fire wood, or sleeping. There were quiet organised times of colouring in, craft, riding bikes, hiding and playing pirates. At night after dinner out on the deck, the children danced to the loud pop music. Believe it or not, all lights were out by 7.30pm with nearly all of the cousins asleep. Peace. Chocolates, debates and coffee for the adults. And the warm blazing fire.

Boys in their boots shovelling up pig poo ! Now that’s special. I think what was nice about getting away for 2 nights was catching up with most of my family, spending time getting to know one another and creating great memories of farming and bush life. From the hay bales, to the orchard, the good tucker including berry damper, and milking the cows, life at Ironside was terrific. I am sure to mark it on my calendar for next year. Mind you after the BIG clean up and drive home we were ready for a little slice of peace.

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M.J. Gibbs
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