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Today is my 29th birthday.  For me, birthdays seem to be less significant as I get older, just another day with the normal work and chores to be done.  The anticipation of presents that I had as a child is not as important now that I just buy things when I want them!  However, I do want to reflect on a few birthday presents that I consider to be the best presents I have ever received (so far).  In chronological order, as there's no way I could rank them :)

The first was the gift of a new sewing machine from my parents for my 21st birthday.  It wasn't really a surprise, because I did ask for it, but I didn't know what kind of sewing machine I was going to get.  I actually told them to just get me a second-hand one.  Having grown up using mum's Bernina, I would have been perfectly comfortable with an old model.  However, knowing that I wanted to travel, my parents decided to buy me a new Brother.  Its only 7kg, compared to the Bernina's 20 kg (it feels that heavy anyway!).  It has moved around with me from house to house (I've kept the original box, just in case). Its so light because most of it is made out of plastic, so its not as robust as the old metals ones, but I haven't broken anything yet, so its not too bad!  It also has a clever 'self-threading' device, which negates what is usually the most tedious part of sewing!  Recently it hasn't had much use, as I don't have a sewing room in this house :( so it has to be unpacked from the cupboard every time I want to sew, which takes so long to do, I really need a few hours of dedicated sewing time (at the dining table) to make it worth the effort.  I did use it more when I was living in the city and had more free time, I sewed lots of skirts and tops, just to entertain myself!  And I would still rather sew something than go shopping.  I used to spend far too much time in Spotlight picking through the remnants bin as well!  In our last house I bought curtain material on special at $2.50 a metre and sewed 3 long curtains and 14 short curtains for the porch, its easy but boring just sewing straight lines all day!  This sewing machine has saved me money and provided hours of entertainment and a creative outlet.

My fabric collection!  No excuses for not sewing!
 The second best-present-ever was the garden at 'eight aces' that my husband built for me as a surprise the first birthday after we had moved in.  We had discussed where to put the garden, but didn't want to rush into anything until we had other things sorted out.  I was still maintaining my garden of potted plants that I had rescued from my previous garden.  It was a total surprise when I came from work (and my husband had been on a shift day off) to find that he had started cultivating the garden area and building the fence!  Over the next few days he constructed the fence and shade structure and then went back on shift that weekend, leaving me to spend my birthday arranging the garden beds as I wanted them.  This was better than anything he could have bought me!  Again, the garden has saved us money and provided hours of entertainment!

My temporary garden while we were getting the new garden ready

Early days in my new garden (looked very tidy back then!) 
The final present is little Molly our heifer calf.  She was born on my birthday last year when Bella was still living on our friends' dairy farm.  She wasn't really a present, we did have to buy her and Bella!  But she was born on my birthday, so she feels like a present.  That means that Molly is one year old today.  She has no idea how lucky she is to have spent her first year with her mum.  Most dairy heifers spend only the first couple of days with their mum to make sure that they receive colostrum, and after that they are bottle fed with all the other calves, and weaned at 3 months.  Molly is still suckling, as we don't need to wean her until Bella is a couple of months away from having her next calf, and it means that we can keep milking when we want to.  Molly is nearly as tall as Bella and having trouble reaching her teats, but she still loves her milk.  We can see that it has helped her to grow big and strong, compared to calves that we have bottle fed, or bought as weaners at 3-4 months old.  This will influence how we raise calves in the future.  Having Molly and Bella at our farm has allowed us to drink raw milk for nearly a year now and learn to make various dairy products.  They are both gentle and tame, with jersey cow 'difficult personalities' at times.

Baby Molly (about 1 month old)
Molly now (one year old)

And just for fun, this is a photo of me on my 8th birthday, with my best ever birthday presents
- pink drink bottle, lunch box, bum bag and sun glasses - it was the early 90s, I think flouro was still fashionable!
And I think I was still doing ballet lessons - notice the pointed toe :)

 What presents have stood out as favourites in your experience?


  1. Happy birthday! I also got a sewing machine for my 21st - a little Elna Lotus which folded up beautifully and was very light to carry. That was many many birthdays ago...

  2. A very happy birthday to you, some great birthday presents there. I hope you have some time to just enjoy the day today.

  3. Birthday wishes to you :)

    (PS Molly is so cute - still has that 'little kid' look about her!)

  4. Happy Birthday
    It was our son's birthday last week and he was 37 and next week is DH's birthday he'll be an old fart 60 LOL

  5. Happy Birthday - I hope you had a wonderful day.

  6. People who can sew are very talented.

    My best gift was my automatic solar gate my mum bought me for my birthday. After a winter of opening the front gate in the rain and cold it changed my life!

  7. Sorry I missed this yesterday. I hope you had a great birthday! I also sew at the dining table, and once I've set up, I don't want to pack away in a hurry. The result is that we lose our dining table for a couple of weeks. Puts you off doesn't it?

    Wonder what you got THIS birthday?

  8. Happy Birthday to you .

    y best birthday present was a set of garden tools.

  9. Happy Birthday Liz!!!!

    What a neat idea sharing your favourite presents.

    I know what you mean about birthdays feeling less important as you get older.

    I'm turning 30 this September, and still trying to decide whether to have a party or not. I feel like I "should" because I'm turning 30, but wouldn't mind just letting it slide under the radar.

  10. Thanks for all the birthday wishes!

    And thanks for sharing a few interesting presents of your own, I think we are all practical people from the sound of it!

    This year farmer pete bought me two dwarf citrus (a lemon and a lime) in pots, so I can move them to the new property when we get the orchard organised. Will write a post about them soon...


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