Monday, November 19, 2012

"Stop trying and it will happen"

So.  I'm trying to have a baby... and having difficulties.

My difficulties stem from losing a tube to an ectopic pregnancy, and having some hormonal issues following an extended period of breastfeeding and chronic nightwaking with my child.

People genuinely don't know what to say when you are trying to get pregnant and its not happening.  Mostly they want to be the one to say something to make you feel better.  However some things, although said out of love, can be hurtful to someone with fertility issues.

Today I had someone literally berate me for "trying" to get pregnant!  It was someone I barely knew, who knew nothing about my story, and who already had two children of her own.  She kept saying how you "can't" try for a baby, that you have to relax and just let it happen.  It wasn't just that she said it, either.  She was very condescending, and went on and on and on.  And later on in the day she brought up the subject again to emphasize to me how important it is that I stop trying.

I could barely get a word in to defend myself.

I understand this way of thinking.  My two pregnancies both happened when I had booked overseas trips!  I understand the mind/body connection.  However, it is not fair to tell someone to "stop trying to get pregnant".  I want to be pregnant.  I want to have another baby.  And I have the right to go after what I want.  I could have just "stopped trying"... but then I would never have gone to Sharkey's  Healing Centre and would never have made the progress I've made.  I can see and feel the improvements to my health and wellbeing since I went.  I'm no longer tired or cranky in the afternoons.  I no longer crave sugar, or have trouble falling asleep.  It has given me hope that my fertility is improving and when I get a negative pregnancy test I think, "oh well, things are improving, maybe next month is it".

Instead of telling someone to "stop trying", maybe ask them how they are coping with it all?  Just because someone is actively trying to get pregnant, doesn't mean they cry like a dying wolf every time they get their period, or a negative pregnancy test.  It IS possible to work on your emotions without stopping the "trying" process.  Don't get me wrong, I do have times when I get sad, and frustrated, and it sucks.  But mostly, I am OK.  Sharkeys encourages you to work on how you feel emotionally, not just physically.  I used to get very upset thinking that Butterfly was getting older and, at 3, there was already an age gap too large for my liking even if I gave birth today!  I have gradually let that go, as something I cannot control.  People telling me to let it go didn't help, I had to do it myself.

Maybe what someone needs is some support.  If they ARE having a bad time emotionally, there is some reading on the Sharkey's website about it... hang on lemme find it... HERE.  Try listening to them, being there for them, and try not to offer advice unless you have been in their situation.  If you know that taking one's mind off the process can help, why not organise something to do together?  Girls weekend?  Spa pampering trip? (Don't any of my friends try that on me, I'm too much of a tomboy to enjoy that shit!) Lunch date?  You don't have to mention that its a "forget your fertility woes" thing, probably best you don't.  Just be a good friend.

I don't think I could "stop trying" even if I wanted to.  I am in tune with my body, I know when I am ovulating and therefore the best time to try to have another child.  I always said before I had kids that I would never "try", I would just go off the pill and see what happened.  What happened was I started to try!  How could I not, when I wanted a baby in my life?  And I want another baby now.  The only way I could ever "stop trying" was if I decided to give up on my desire to have another child, and its not something I can turn off.

Everyone is different, and what can hurt someone might not affect another.  And some things upset me some days and other days it rolls off my back!  In my experience, there are some things you should never say to someone trying for a baby, whether its been a month or four years (and I apologise to everyone that I myself said these things to along the way!)

*  "I know it will happen for you"  Actually, you don't.  It sounds like a comforting thing to say, but since I know you don't have a crystal ball, it isn't all that comforting.

*  "Maybe we can be pregnant together!" This is another reminder that you can get pregnant any time you want and I can't

*  "Just stop trying!" as above :)

*  "Try waiting for (insert more time than you have been currently trying)!" Any woman knows that every negative test sucks, whether it is your first or your 45746th!  It amazes me that people can say this when they have obviously been through the same thing. 

*  "you have plenty of time to have more kids" True.  But we all have a plan for our lives and it sucks when you have an idea of how you wanted your family to be and can't make it happen.  I don't just want one more, I want lots more.  And my husband is 10 years older than I am.  Time is a factor.

I have others but I won't list them, because I know my friends would be horrified to know things they said had me in tears (yes, catch me in a hormonal moment and it will happen!).  I also realise that no one ever says anything intentionally hurtful.  I don't even consider these things to be insensetive or thoughtless.  Because on paper these things don't seem at all offensive!  Its just things you can't understand until it happens to you.

Its funny, I can't speak for everyone who is trying, but pregnancy news doesn't affect me.  I can be happy for my friends around me who are falling pregnant. 

It may not be rational that the things above can create a pang in my heart.  Emotions are rarely rational.  Like I said, I have said most of these things to people myself!  I think that the best thing to do is listen, and try not to "fix it" or "empathise" if you have never been in the same situation.  We all want to make people feel better, but as a parent I have learnt that sometimes you have to let the people you love hurt so they can begin to heal.  Giving advice can sometimes make people feel misunderstood or unheard. 

I would like to finish by thanking all of my friends for their support and friendship, for putting up with my texts about how "I really feel pregnant this month!" and never are!  And for saying the above things and trying to make me feel better, even if you suck at it ;)

Bahaha who could not want another one of these?  I love you Butterfly!


Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Unschooling is the choice for us!

Right now I am sitting here with so much passion in mah belly that I can physically feel it!  I haven't felt this way since I discovered Attachment Parenting!

So this is it, my family have made the decision, we are unschooling! And I am SO damn excited!  I can't wait to get started... oh wait, thats the whole point of unschooling, we HAVE started!

Recently I came back to facebook (for a while there I deleted all friends except immediate family).  I joined up with an unschooling group on facebook, and felt what it is like to actually have some support on the issue.  Because, lets face it, support is hard to come by for homeschooling.  I am pretty open about my choice, yet mostly refer to it as "homeschooling" because "unschooling" comes with a million more questions (and homeschooling arouses enough, dammit!).  I've had people say to me outright "oh, I don't agree with that at ALL.  I'm a teacher and have found that kids that go to school take direction from other adults much better than homeschooled kids" and have not really spoken to me since.  Its interesting, but "ability to take direction from adults" is not high on my priority list... I'd rather have a free thinking individual who is confident enough to ignore a direction if they disagree with it!

The questions surrounding homeschooling can be really rude, and irritating.  It depends who is asking, and their reasons for asking. Some are truly curious, and I don't mind expanding a few minds.  Others just grind my gears. 

What about socialisation? How will they get into uni?  Won't they get bored?  How will they function in the "real world" (is school really the "real world?")

I'm writing this knowing full well many of my audience will be sending their kids to school.  Most people do.  How would you feel if an unschooler grilled you on your decision to send your kids to school?  How would you answer?  The same questions apply... What about socialisation? How will they get into uni? Won't they get bored? How will they function in the "real world". 

But, for the most part, people who choose to school aren't required to answer for their choice.  After all, the majority of the world have made the same decision as them.

So before you shoot off questions, remember that unschooling is not a default choice.  Its a parenting philosophy that has developed over time, and much research has been put into the decision (books, blogs, the experience of parents on both sides of the fence).  So do what an unschooler does, and TRUST. Trust that the parent is making the best decision they can for their child.  Trust that the parent has, at one time, had all the same questions and gone seeking the answers.  And still, they chose to unschool.  Trust them.

I have been through periods of doubt, of questioning, of reflection.  I've done a lot of thinking about my own schooling.  I kicked the school systems ass, I got an OP of 1, with A's in almost every subject.  Plonk a bunch of grade 12 exam papers in front of me today... and I would probably fail the lot of them.  Truth be told... I would probably not pass them if they were grade 8 papers!  That is the school system, to me, in a nutshell.  On paper I am Smarty McSmartpants.  In reality, the knowledge I have actually retained is the few small units within subjects that interested me.  Or on weekends or school holidays, when I learnt by doing something.  I used to be able to solve differential equations.  Ask me to do it today?  I'd have to google that shit.  The only head start I would get is knowing they were called "differential equations"

So I don't worry about what Butterfly will learn.  I trust that what she does learn will be relevant to her and therefore she is more likely to retain that information.  I will foster and encourage her passions, and if she needs to attend university to make her dreams come true, I trust that she will work to make it happen.  Now that I have finally "unschooled" myself, I can relax and trust the process of life!  And I am SO excited!

Something that is said often about homeschooling "oh you are brave, I could NEVER do that!" 
A very wise, unschooling owl said to me today, "they send their kids to school? They are so brave, I could NEVER do that!"

Every parent has the right to choose what they believe to be the best for their child.  Are you sure school can provide your child with as much as you can?  If you have doubts, then unschooling might be for you :) I welcome questions from people who are seeking information to make a choice for their own family.  I do not welcome questions from people who are intimidated by my choice and seek to trip me up.  So if  you have love in your heart, ask away :)


Wednesday, October 24, 2012

I've had Butterfly... WHY can't I get pregnant again?

So its been over a year since my ectopic pregnancy and we have been trying ever since for our second child.  Its just not happening!  Finally I took the advice of my friends and went to Sharkey's Natural Healing Centre

I have been SO impressed at what I have learnt and how far my body has come since I went! 

The atmosphere at the centre is absolutely wonderful, everyone who works there is friendly and accomodating.  The last few trips I've had to the doctors to talk about my fertility I've felt that they were very condescending and dismissive of my concerns or symptoms.  So Sharkey's makes a wonderful change!

One thing I have learnt about my health is that I was putting too much pressure on myself as a mother.  When it was suggested that I was stressed I was like "no I'm not!  I'm a pretty chilled out person"... but I was told that although I have a high emotional tolerance to stress, that my body was under stress.  I had never even CONSIDERED that!  Having breastfed for almost 3 years, and having Butterfly wake hourly from 6 months to 2 years old had thrown my body out of whack.  I have a very loving and supportive partner but I still shouldered a lot by myself, and neglected giving myself any down time, to be alone or do something I enjoyed.  It never occurred to me that "me time" was necessary not only for emotional health but physical health as well.  So, being finally given permission to put myself first for once, I started going for a run in the afternoons as a way to get healthy and take some time out from being "Mum" (I've since been told to cut down to every second day with my running!)  I have also set some boundaries for Butterfly (especially as I plan to homeschool this is important)... I'm a person too, I deserve to do things I enjoy during the day, whether she approves or not! 

It is so fascinating to me how naturopaths can tell so much from listening to you!  Simple things I barely thought worth mentioning, such as having trouble falling asleep or being moody before my period, told them so much about my body!  At Sharkey's they make up a herbal concoction specific to each patient, and soon after I started the herbs I had so much more energy, my cycle started shortening (its usually 38+ days long) and I no longer had trouble falling asleep!

My doctors had tested my thyroid recently, and I was told I was fine.  However, at Sharkey's they gave me a different referral (I wish I could remember what the difference was, I think it was testing FT3 as well as FT4?).  Based on these results, and my temperature chart (my temps were so low pre ovulation that they were below the limits of the chart!), it appeared my thyroid wasn't functioning properly after all!  So my herbs were tweaked and I was put on Thyroplex supplements, and the following month my temperatures had already improved! 

As part of the fertility plan, I started eating gluten free, which is actually not as hard as you think it would be!  I mean I was also trying to eat more healthy, fresh foods, and when you aren't eating much that is processed its pretty easy to avoid gluten.  I thought I already knew a lot about health, but it turns out health is not as simple as eating fruit instead of chocolate.  2 servings of fruit a day is the maximum you should consume, because although it contains natural sugars, they are still sugars.  And I thought a banana made a perfect morning tea snack, but I was advised to eat them with some protein because of the ?glycaemic index.  So now I have a small handful of nuts if I eat bananas or strawberries, or eat them at the end of a meal.  I also make sure I have some protein if I am eating something with lots of carbs (although I no longer have massive carb meals like home made potato and sweet potato fries!)  Apparently apples are fine to eat alone.

When starting a healthy eating plan it can be daunting, but its actually not as hard as I thought, especially when I am doing it so I can have another baby.  I have been off sugar for so long now, I no longer crave it... that is MASSIVE for me!  I was such a sweet tooth. 

I highly recommend going to Sharkey's if you are having trouble concieving.  They are located on the Gold Coast, but do skype consulations to all over the world!  They can ship the herbs to you.  At the very least I would recommend seeing a naturopath, and taking your basal body temperature every morning when you wake up to show to them.  You can get apps for your phone where you can enter your temps and they will give you a graph!  I love iperiod personally.  Another option is to buy the Fertility Bible from Sharkeys, which will help with the necessary lifestyle changes you can make to help you concieve.  I know, I know, there are plenty of drug addicts who live on processed food who fall pregnant with no worries.  But everyone is different, and although it may not be fair, some of us have to make serious changes in order to fall... and doesn't everyone need to be healthy? 

Honestly, I don't think I would have ever fallen pregnant without Sharkey's... I know I haven't fallen pregnant yet but I have been able to FEEL the improvements to my health and my cycle!  Maybe my thyroid would have evened out after another 5 years?  But seeing improvements the first month with Sharkey's was AMAZING! 

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Outdoor Kitchen!

We at the footprint farm are eagerly awaiting Spring!!  We have been getting busy in the garden and ordering our organic seeds for the new season!!
Hubby built me a vege garden bed along one side of our patch!  Yay for more space to grow!  I bought some Chia seeds to grow a chia bush, looking forward to seeing how that goes
Butterfly's Flower "Bed" is growing and we have flowers!

Our two new male ducks (Tutti and Plex) get their dance on to impress our three duck girls!

We bought two poodle x bichon puppies from our neighbour!  They are Bindi (major Irwin obsession at our house!  So nice to have an idol for Butterfly who is an earth ambassador AND is home schooled!) and Chase, and they are brother and sister.  This is Chase in the photo.

Puppy LOVE!

They my babies too!

This picture says it all!


Butterfly chose this serving plate at the op shop, it makes a great fairy garden pool!

We FINALLY have our outdoor kitchen!!  We were given this spare sink ages ago.  Today hubby screwed it to 2 upcycled panels that used to make up the back "cage" of his 1940's truck.  He hammered in star pickets and wired the panels to those for stability. It helps that he had a sore throat today and so was not in the mood to argue with me or lament about our garden looking like a junk heap! 
OK so I admit this IS a grog dispenser... but it was rotting away in a cupboard since we had Butterfly, and this is perfect for dispensing small amounts of coloured water for making mud pies!  Butterfly also pushes her hands under them to squirt out a small amount so she can "wash her hands" :) Trust the child to think of an imaginitive way to use something!

I'll have a "lerrow" on the rocks please, sweetheart!

It was a major hit!  My next project is to add some hanging hooks to hang spoons on, and on the other wall I plan to attach some funnels etc to make a "water wall" to flow into the sink. 
 If you look closely, you will see Butterfly is wearing a See Sam upcycled shirt :) Check them out on facebook!

We also added another wooden panel to her garden to add some interest, and shade!
I always feel so fulfilled at the end of the day if we have spent an adequate amount of time outside "creating"!
I would love to see your proud gardening or playspace achievements, old or new!  Post them to the wall :)
Don't forget to check Gumtree, Ebay, FREECYCLE, Ziilch, your local tip, etc for cheap or free items for your garden! One persons trash is another persons upcycling opportunity :)

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Living the LIFE!

I've been pretty quiet on the blog since we moved towns, but I've been so busy being happy!  We bought 1.6 acres and it is just enough for us to grow our own fruit and vegetables, keep animals and create a generally awesome space to be home schooled in!  I'll just upload some photos for you to update you on the footprint farm happenings...

This is a 1940's truck my husband bought!  I was not impressed at first as he didn't consult me, but it will be dead useful for picking up larger items/moving animals around town, and look at that elevated playspace for Butterfly! 

I LOVE CHICKENSSS!!!  I. Love. Chickens!  They are awesome for eating scraps, fertilising the yard and are bloody entertaining!  This is our Silkie girl, Sookie, with her first baby, Bickie.  Bickie only lived for a day but we will never forget him.

This is Bindi (yep, my daughter has a Bindi Irwin obsession!) She is a poodle x bichon and she and her brother Chase will be coming to live with us in a few weeks!  Butterfly lives and breathes dogs so we are very excited to be able to finally give her some

This is our vege garden!  One day it will be full of vege beds, and I plan to grow the climbing plants all around the edges :)  I'm open to advice, I'm wondering whether or not to plant a hedge along the left side, to protect against wind and the first morning sun for frost damage.  Good idea or bad idea?  I don't want too much shade in there but I found some of my plants did better when we had corn shading them... Also, if I did plant a hedge it would be awesome if it was productive... does anyone know of a hedging plant that also produces something edible or useful?  I've heard tea plants can be used as a hedge... but I'd have to start drinking tea...

Our very first broccoli is growing!  Our family eats broccoli almost every night so this is a big deal for me.  It is so interesting to see how vegetables grow, I didn't realise how big broccoli and cauliflower plants grow!  We have planted purple carrots and purple cauliflowers for fun

Our first carrot!  Butterfly loves pulling carrots out, its very exciting! Having a vege patch has been really good for Butterfly to learn about nutrition, she loves being able to eat things straight out of the garden... yesterday she was in there eating lettuce!  Very unlike her but very welcome! 

This... This is the compost.  Exciting huh?  To me it is!  I added to it for about 8 months and not much broke down, then when I started getting lazy and throwing everything to the chooks and forgetting about the compost... I opened it up and it was surprisingly decomposed!  Lesson learnt... you have to give it a rest if its going to decompose! 

This is Butterfly's craft stash... she is not the kind of child who will tip all this out!  (OK she might have done it a few times, but generally she doesn't) She is very creative and loves craft!

This is our dam, which is now full due to recent rains!  And these are our ducks.  RIP Floyd, our drake and first fox casualty...

This is my mini orchard!  So far I have oranges, cumquats, lemonade, peach, ice cream bean tree, mulberry (white), lemon, dwarf mandarin, 2 x dwarf apples and a dwarf lime tree!  I still have a bunch of dwarf trees I hope to get... macadamia nuts, avocados, plums, nectarines, cherries, almonds, pecans, pears and a black mulberry!  I'm sure there's more I've forgotten!  I have started with the dwarf varieties to avoid getting TOO much fruit, and also so I have room to plant more of a variety :)
PS that white seat is a 100 year old seat from a Tasmanian horse tram.  I'm a little bit in love with it!

Pea plants! Butterfly eats the peas as they grow, raw and straight from the pod!  So far none have made it to the kitchen but whatevs, I'll plant more next year!

This is Butterfly's secret garden!  One day the trees will have grown into a living wall around the edges :) Since this photo was taken we have added a sandpit boat that her Grandma and Pa found second hand and restored for her :)

We really love living here!  Yes, we had to move 3 hours away from our families to be able to afford this lifestyle.  But I haven't regretted it for a second!  When I visit the Gold Coast I miss the sky.  Out here, you get SO MUCH SKY!  As far as the eye can see.  It is beautiful and relaxing. 

I love that we get birds in our yards I'd only ever seen in pet shops or zoos before!  I love the flocks of galahs and cockatoos that come around.  I love the cranes and spoonbills that visit our dam.  I love hay bales.  I love shovelling dirt... or manure!  I love how excited Butterfly gets when she sees a new red strawberry or a new flower!

There are downsides... like the WIND!  Farking hell the wind!  We back onto farmland and sometimes the wind is extreme!  And there is usually some form of wind.  Its pretty good in summer though ;) but not so good when you are trying to hang stuff on the line! 

Also the fencing isn't 6 foot high like in the city.  People can see into your yard.  My neighbours have just had to get used to me running around in PJs and my dressing gown... yes sometimes still at 3pm!  They should just count themselves lucky I don't do nudy runs to the clothesline.

I'll put mice in the downside... they have ruined a mattress we had in the spare room.  But I won't lie... they are cute and I do love seeing them in the compost or the chook pen!

Uber lameness = me seeing my neighbour spraying chemicals all over his yard >:( Tis too close for comfort to my organic paradise. 

I have people telling me all the time how lucky I am.  I guess we are fortunate.  However all of this didn't just fall in our lap.  We had to go out and grab this opportunity.  We had to make sacrifices, we had to take a chance.  And it has well and truly paid off!  My advice to anyone wanting to get out of the city is to just look around.  Even if you think its not possible for your family, you might be surprised!  It truly is a wonderful way to raise kids! 


Tuesday, February 28, 2012


I had planned not to wean Butterfly at ALL.  I was dead set on letting her self wean when she was good and ready.

And yet here we are.

I did nightwean her out of desperation for some sleep a few months ago.  That was hard, but we managed. 

Then, I guess about a month ago, breastfeeding was suddenly too hard.  And I mean suddenly.  Its not painful, or draining.  Its an aversion.  Its like her suck changed overnight, and I could actually FEEL her sucking.  That might sound weird but breastfeeding has never felt like that to me.  And I can't STAND it!  I dropped her feeds to one a day, and one to go to bed at night.  That worked for a few weeks, but then it got worse.  I stopped being able to handle breastfeeding at ALL.  So I cut her back to one feed to go to sleep at night, and for a few weeks thats been OK.  Some nights I can hang on until she's asleep, other nights I have to detach her after only a minute because I just can't grit my teeth through it.

Tonight she barely got 30 seconds.

It has been REALLY rough on Butterfly.  She is such a booby monster!  If she had her way she would feed every hour around the clock.  At 2 years and 8 months old!

Its extremely hard to try to explain to her at night.  She bursts into tears when I stop the feed, and tries desperately to convince me to keep going... "but my need Mummy milk cos my don't feel very well!" "but my is hungry!" "how bout we dust try one booboo?" 

It breaks my heart.

People who don't breastfeed, or wean their infants, have no idea what I'm on about.  "Well its about time anyway.  She's probably gotten all of the nutrients she can out of it anyway!".  Ummm... no.  Breastmilk is as good for a child on the day they wean as the day they are born. 

I feel like, despite my good intentions and my grand plans, my body has decided for me that enough is enough.  In my mind I can recall nature documentaries where mother elephants start walking off on their offspring when its time to wean.  So nature does not always let the child choose.

This makes me feel a little better, but I'm still very sad about it.  I've put so much time and energy and effort into breastfeeding Butterfly for almost 3 years, I never wanted it to end like this!  The tears and the grief on her part are difficult to deal with.  All I can do is try to explain to her that I would feed her if I could and hope she understands.  Something that has always been so bonding, relaxing and wonderful is suddenly causing misery.  This sucks!

I've breastfed Butterfly through a c section recovery, with added cracked and bleeding nipples.
I've breastfed Butterfly through periods of intense hormonal feeding pain.
I've breastfed Butterfly through recovery for a life threatening ectopic pregnancy.
I've breastfed Butterfly through periods of hormonal aversion.

This is just... different.  There's no curling my toes and suffering through it this time. 

Its time to let go.

And I just might cry...

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Garden on WHEELS!

So the other Butterfly and I pooled our money and splurged on a GORGEOUS concrete owl planter, sorry I'm too lazy to go take a picture of it right now!  Anyway it is amazing, but I've actually found more excitement in upcycling my own planters this week!

Here is what I've come up with:

Planter on WHEELS!  I bought this old truck (?train) from an opshop a year ago.  Butterfly never was that keen on playing with it.  I just drilled drainage holes in the bottom and filled it with organic potting mix and some organic flowers we had grown from seed!
UPDATE: This totally just rotted and fell apart in the weather!  LOL

My Op Shop SCORE today!  $5 old dolls cot! Its quite large, I plan to remove the bottom and pile up dirt underneath it and plant in the centre.  I was going to do a full bed of flowers like this one, but I think this will be cuter!  What would you plant in it?  I'm thinking strawberries?  Lavender?  Just flowers?  I'm keen to know your opinion! 

Another score today, $5 old glass lampshade!  Looks bigger IRL.  I'm going to line it, hang chains from it and hang it upside down and plant flowers in it :)

I am so excited to keep coming up with upcycling ideas for Butterfly's garden!  Ahhh I love op shopping!


Tuesday, January 3, 2012

DIY outdoor percussion instrument

My latest project on the footprint farm is to make Butterfly a "Secret Garden"!  I was going to plant her a "sunflower cubby house" but with the amount of snakes here, I thought it safer to go grander and have more space between walking area and garden :)

This is the view of the garden from the front (obviously the plants are all still very young as they were just planted!) The idea is that the plants will act as "walls" for the garden.  We have planted a green grape vine and a purple grape vine either side of the archway for a delicious living arch!

This is the view fron the other side... we scored the old square bathtub from our neighbour, it will be turned into a pond for frogs to breed in :) (you can get solar powered fountains for ponds!  Eee!) Those logs up the back are also from our neighbour, old bridge sleepers we are making a bench seat out of.

I bought a green and a red bowl from an antique store to make bird baths from (my MIL is a nurse and has witnessed a toddler who was crushed to death by a stone birdbath that the child pulled onto itself... a rare event but enough to warrant me searching for other options!)

In the photo above you may notice an old trampoline frame on its side... that is the frame for our outdoor percussion instrument!  I saw the idea here

To make your own percussion instrument like ours you will need:

An old trampoline frame
All weather rope (its no use if it deteriorates in the sun!)
A bunch of old pots, pans, metal cups, whatever you can find!  Ask your friends and neighbours or raid your local opshop (I just about cleaned mine out!)
Metal spoons for banging
Star pickets
Scissors or secateurs (to cut rope)
Food colouring
Freddo frog
(those last four are for entertaining your toddler while you work!)

First, we lay the tramp on its side...its surprisingly stable as is but we then hammered some star pickets into the ground and secured them to the frame, just to make sure it doesn't fall down on the children!

I lay out my pots and pans in the position I think I will hang them in while Butterfly investigates the flour packet!

Bang bang BANG! I strung the pots and pans in rows, starting from the bottom. 

I got hubby to drill the old spring holes right through so I could tie the rope through them.  I am no good at knots, don't ask me what "type" of knot this is!  Notice the vine, I planted a passionfruit vine in the hopes it will grow and cover the frame to make it look more purrrty!

I tied each item onto the rope so they don't slide around

Viola!  Upcycled percussion instrument! 
I intentionally made it a little "skew iff" to match my personality!  I don't like things to be inch perfect, thats no fun :) 

I tied ropes vertically to support the horizontal ropes holding the "instruments"

After I took this picture I used the leftover rope to tie onto the sides of the trampoline to give the passionfruit vine more places to climb.


This is NOISY!  I'd be wary of putting one in a suburban backyard.  If you do, be considerate of the times your children bash on it (I'd even ask neighbours if they have babies/work night shifts and need quiet at weird hours)

Try to hang your pots and pans in such a way that they won't blow in the wind and hit each other or the tramp frame... unfortunately this was an afterthought for me!  We have WICKED strong wind here and I don't think the neighbours would appreciate incessant banging in a storm :S So I may have to tweak this!

Make the rope as tight as you can, and make sure the "holes" are large... you want to eliminate any risk of strangulation

Try to pick up some coloured items to create an interesting look, and vary the "types" of kitchen implements you find!  This varies the look and sound of each "instrument".  Coloured tin cups would look amazing!  Why not also hang some metal spoons? 

Construction hazards:

Beware sharp metal peices at the back where you drill through!  (Yes you get the benefit of ME bleeding up a storm to let you know these things!)

Rope burn.  Just... owww

Do not construct in the middle of a scorching day.  You DUNCE!

Beware the toddler who is tired of playing with flour and water alone and is creeping up behind you with sticky, goopy hands...

Just let your imagination run wild!  A friend of mine has a round tramp frame and I'm so keen to see how that one turns out! 

(but no quiet!)