Once bitten Aquos not shy…

For those of you who don’t know me, I’m Aquo. I’m outgoing, impulsive and straight down the line – most of the time. Two years ago, I started the blog Once bitten Aquos not shy… where I write about my accident, injuries, how I’ve rebuilt myself (into a freaking awesome human being if I must say so myself) and more recently about the wonderful businesses, places, people and history of the Hinchinbrook Shire.

I had a horrific quad bike accident on 14th September 2013, maybe you saw me on the news, in the papers, or maybe you were following Aquo’s Page on facebook. I would love to be a support system for others that have similar struggles to me, or those that are going through a hard time that need a bit of respite.

Fast forward five odd years and my speech & language skills have developed in leaps and bounds. My behavior has advanced in leaps and bounds – because I had a traumatic brain injury (TBI) as a result of my accident, it took me back to being like a 12 year old child. My speech, my behavior – everything. It was hell to say the least.

Throughout this journey my family and I lost the support of our extended family and most of our friends, personally & collectively. I guess they just couldn’t deal with the dramatic changes that were happening at the time, depression, anger, you name it. Thank you to these people, you have taught the six of us to be better people, and you have showed us how strong we really are. We are now the closest we have ever been, it’s an amazing feeling.

I personally have lost 75% of the people I called ‘friends’ before my accident and I’ve come to realise that that’s ok. I have rebuilt myself up and I’m now a better person than I was before, I’m stronger both mentally and physically and I’m a hell of a lot more successful. I’m so much more mature now, and thinking about it, the people I did call friends before my accident, I wouldn’t have anything in common with now.

Now – I’m a positive influence in the Hinchinbrook Shire – I hold no grudges, malice or anything like that to my past, present or future – I’ve been given a second chance and I’m going to use it in the most positive way I can to make the Hinchinbrook Shire a better place for the greater good.

I focus more on the Hinchinbrook Shire to do my part (and hopefully more!) to make this b.e.a.utiful part of Australia flourish again – for the greater good! I understand everyone is ‘doing it hard’ – trust me I understand fully – last week my marriage was about to crumble like dry dog poo; this week Andrew and I are stronger than ever! BUT… If we all actively try to improve our district, start to work together and put all the negative BS in the past, we can do incredible things!

If you choose to follow me and a post catches your attention, please, please drop a comment, I’m not going to hide behind my blog. I want to be involved with the people, the community. On the main page you can also sign up to receive updates on my blog.

I’ve started dropping business cards around Ingham so that you can contact me and we can catch up and discuss the History, people, places or events held in the Hinchinbrook Shire. I would love to hear from you!

“Successful people do what unsuccessful people are not willing to do. Don’t wish it was easier; wish you were better.” – Jim Rohn.

Help me to make this adventure great!

Aquo Xx

Aquo pre accident, 2012.

Aquo was almost not even a thought… Almost…

My great grandfather Bertie Peri, my great grandmother Carmelina Peri and my grandfather Jack Aquilini and my grandmother Beattie Aquilini went up to Innisfail in the ute to look at purchasing a farm. They stayed overnight in Innisfail where they were ready to do the deal. In the morning when they woke up, my great-grandfather said something wasn’t right and he didn’t think they should go ahead with purchasing that farm. My grandfather agreed with him and they decided to come home to Ingham and forgo the 2000 pounds they put down to secure the deal.

Not long after returning home, Peter Alali rang to say Marcus Johnson wanted to sell his farm on Bruce Highway just south of Ingham. Something told my great grandfather not to buy that farm in Innisfail. Both grandfathers went Down to Mackay with their were looking at buying a produce agency.

While they were away, Peter Alali rang nanna and informed And informed her That Marcus Johnson wanted to sell his farm, it was late in 1960 and nonno and nanna moved into that MASSIVE farm house in January 1961 – nanna still resides there to this day! it’s been remodeled inside since those days, And my father and his brother built a big silver shed right beside it.

Nanna has been alone in that house for the last 10 years nominal passed away in 2010. My great grandfather passed away in 1974 and my great grandmother passed away in 2002. In all the years that Nanna has lived there she has done 37 years of fundraising for the Hinchinbrook Shire. Mainly for the Queensland Cancer foundation and the nurses quest The Endeavour foundation.

So there you go. Aquo was almost not a thought – ALMOST. How much sadder would this world be without me, like seriously!

Aquo Xx

Our Stories – Part 2…

After many years of having the horses pull the plow, the family had enough money to buy a D2 Caterpillar tractor from the United States. My great grandfather, Bertie Peri, was proudly driving his new tractor up and down the paddock when a big black car comes driving in from Master’s Road, Toobanna towards him.

A Government Official got out and nonno Peri thought they had come to intern him to the camp as he was an Italian refugee, he said to the man, “I’m already packed, just come up and the wife will fix you a cup of tea and I’ll have a shower and get ready. The Government Official replied “Oh no Mr Peri, we’re not here for you, we have come to commander your tractor for the war effort.” Nonno Peri replied “Oh no, please take me, but not my tractor! As he started to cry.

The Officials didn’t give Nonno a piece of paper regarding the war effort, but returned a week or so later and they told him that it was going up to Papua New Guinea to flatten the forest to build air strips for our planes.

Nonno never saw his beloved tractor again, nor did he ever find out what had happened to it. It was back to using horses for quite some time. At this time, my grandmother, Beattie Aquilini, was seven and Nonno decided to sell the farm and bought a general store and bakery at Toobanna.

When my grandmother was eight, she learnt to drive the only truck they had – a 4B2 army truck that my grandmother had to drive to deliver the bread to the railway station to be bought further south.

Gosh! I love all of nanna’s Stories, she seems to have a never-ending list that she enjoys telling the world.

Aquo Xx

My son – the farmer…

Farming has been apart of Jack’s life since he was born. Both myself & his father, as well as most of his grandparents and some of his great grandparents were also born into the farm life in the Hinchinbrook Shire – Being Townsville Road just past Andy’s Road House (BEST Hamburgers ever!), the Aquilini farm then out Warren’s Hill, Blackrock the Irvin farms. So yeah it really does run in our blood. I believe that’s why I personally, have an enormously large passion for the sugar industry in the Hinchinbrook Shire.

This may be the reason why since a baby he would sit in front of the TV and watch harvesting videos on YouTube and if you were to turn it off – God help you! Whenever we have gone out to mum and dad’s if dad is mowing Jack HAS to go mowing to. Dad still has the little 90 quad bike that he bought my sister and I when I was five years old. It has never been rebuilt and it still has the original tires on it – Jack just thinks it’s the best thing. There is no way I would ever let him ride it himself after everything that’s happened, but I have full trust in my sister and my brother, even though my sister is wayyy too overconfident at times, she’s always safe with Jack.

Jack can tell you what every switch and button does in dad’s harvester (John Deere 3520), he watches everything! He watches where dad’s hands are positioned on the sticks (and sometimes when nobody is looking the harvester mysteriously moves) and he makes sure the elevator flap is positioned correctly. I have no doubt in my mind he could do a full day in the harvester with Nonno. He loves it!

During the sugar cane crushing season, my boys go wild! All I hear is Harvester, Train, Haulout, Train, Bins, Units, Mill, sometimes it drives me insane… BUT I love it! This season when Andrew is in one of the Greaves, I take both the boys for a ride and they both don’t want to leave. It’s pretty cool how we can fit all four of us in there – AND there’s still room.

My dad has had Case Maxi-hauls since the early 2000’s and I’ve always thought they are the ducks nuts, they go faster however there is no way you could fit two adults, a toddler and a baby as well as all the crap you have cart along. AND THERE GREEN! Jack says “Greaves – not a Deere” Deere being for John Deere., it is possibly the cutest thing ever!

Harry is only six months old, but because his brother is, he will probably be sugar industry mad also. I’m unsure what the future holds for Andrew and myself, but he has always just wanted to be a farmer – so I guess that makes me a farmer’s wife.

Aquo Xx

Aquo’s famous Sunday Sesh…

Aquo’s famous Sunday Sesh…

The Urban Dictionary defines a Sunday Sesh as being short for “Sunday session”. The act of getting together on a Sunday to socialise and drink likely large amounts of alcohol. That’s not even a lie – it actually says that!

For me, Sunday Seshs’ became somewhat of a tradition of mine just before I had my accident in September 2013. There is just something about the atmosphere I absolutely love, the relaxed feeling of sitting outside, listening to some tunes, drinking a water – common be honest they say! a cold beer or in my case a dad rum. And who could forget – ADULT CONVERSATION!

Nowadays everybody is super busy but I feel if we don’t make time to catch up we never will (unless it’s at the Annual Race Meet). I’m not too worried about who does come or who doesn’t, I’m just giving the option to catch up for a few hours. I’m thinking I’m going to make it once a month or once every few months and make it pretty awesome for the kids, with different activities each time.

Now, my Sunday Seshs’ are all about the kids (Because most of my mates have kids). There is nothing better than watching all the kids playing together and having fun. Not everyone gets to spend a lot of time with their kids and it’s good to see your kids interact with other kids apart from daycare etc.

I have recently invested in some pretty cool water toys for the kids – today Ingham Travel dropped off a little kid pool with a palm tree and a slide, now I just need something for the big kids! But hey – I’m more than happy to just sit under a sprinkler with a coldie haha.

Catch ups like this don’t need to be expensive – have a bbq, even just a sausage sizzle and a few nibbles and your set. Ask everyone to bring a dish and everyone gets fed, lifes good. Here is a link to one of my favourite websites – Frugal and Thriving, check it out for some awesome ideas!

The following videos have some pretty cool activities for the kids. Mr Carl annoys me (Sorry Mr Carl!), but some of these activities are easy to pull off and for most of them, you will have things at home so you don’t have to spend a cent!

Aquo Xx

Our Stories – part 1…

My great grandfather Bertie Peri, who’s Italian name was Giovanni Batista Peri (John the Baptist) came out in 1920 when he was only fifteen when he wanted to come out to Australia, but being so young he needed a guardian to travel with him.

Mr Pino Cominadi (whose descendants are still in the Ingham district, as is nonno’s) was his guardian and they came over to Australia together and their first job was cane cutting on the Adam’s and Blackburn family farms at Macknade in the year 1920.

The residents in the Ingham district at the time consisted of a few maltese a few spanish but mostly those with Italian heritage. Those who became cane cutters out at Halifax ended up living in a barracks together. Many stories have come from the Adam’s and Blackburn families especially how nonno loved Mrs Blackburn’s corn brisket and when nonno got married, he took his wife – Carmelina Toirrisi to the local butcher’s and he made sure his wife could make corn brisket like Mrs Blackburn did every Saturday. Still to this day, corn brisket became tradition amongst many families. In 1924, 

One famous story of nonno’s was how Halifax at the time was busier than Ingham And the cane cutters all flocked to  the area and had barracks to live in out there. One day nonno was riding a horse into Ingham when he came across a big suitcase in low grass and he didn’t know what to do, so he hid it better in long grass and didn’t say anything.

He came back to his home, It was a Saturday and he didn’t let on about his findings. On Sunday morning, he made an excuse that he had to go back into town to visit somebody. All the other cane cutters were asking why he had to go back to Ingham so soon after his return.

He said he had to go and went and picked up the big suitcase he had hidden in the long grass which proved to be quite a challenge to get on the back of his horse. He tried many different ways, pulled it up a tree even, and he finally got it up on the back of his horse and he took it into the Ingham Police Station.

When he got there, there was a man sitting there – once he saw nonno he ran towards him, he was a travelling salesman who had lost his suitcase. Nonno took it into the Police Station and they worked out the case belonged to a Mr Stevens – a commercial traveller.

Mr Stevens wanted to take nonno for a beer but nothing was open – Mr Stevens never forgot how nonno found his suitcase. He knew if he took his suitcase back to where he was staying with all his cane cutter mates in the barracks, they would want the stuff he had in his suitcase so he hid it.

I love sitting with my nanna and listening to the stories she has told us from when we were young… I think secretly she was impressed that I remembered some of the story… I love my nan and don’t have much free time but when I do I take the boys to see her. We have always been and will always be close.

Until next time 😘

Aquo Xx

Struggles of a stay-at-home-mum during the Sugar Cane Harvesting Season

So I started writing this article on the 19th August 2019, when the Sugar Cane Harvesting Season had only been running for maybe two months in the Herbert River District, I chose to write a little bit about the lifestyle and the struggles I have as an impaired stay-at-home mum. But, the truth is, every mother, whether they are fully functional or not, whether they work or not, struggle.

My Nonno – Jack Aquilini…

I grew up in a household where it was the norm from the get go. The 2019 season will be my dad’s 40th season, I’m so ridiculously proud of him! I remember mum always taking us places or doing something fun with us – It wasn’t until I had children of my own that I started to understand that it wasn’t just for us, it was for mum too.

This season, my husband has had to push much harder to get things done. That means there’s little time for the boys and even less time for me. This season I’m not handling it very well, which makes me angry because I always knew what the season was all about. I knew that it was going to be hard, I just didn’t expect it to be this bloody hard!

I guess what I’m struggling with most is the lack of communication and conversation between my husband and I. By the time my husband gets home at night, winds down, spends some time with the boys, helps put them to bed, I’m tired…. Nobody likes a tired Aquo… She’s a snappy (for lack of a better word) b.i.t.c.h!

This has been a way of life for generations…

From right back when I could first understand the world, I knew that when the season runs, the wives become single mums. I don’t mean that in a bad way, the season is long hours, mixed with a lack of sleep, mixed with frustration, and the list goes on. The wives do everything with the kids, and that’s really hard work. Hats off to all the single mums out there! I don’t know how I would pull it off – and I have an absolutely amazing support system!

Yesterday I tried something I never had before – I took both boys to Mission Beach with my sister, I just thought about the boys, how much they would enjoy it – I didn’t think of myself and how much a big day like that isn’t the best thing for me. Today, I’m in so much PAIN! I also have the blackest rings under my eyes – My eyes have never been that black before! I’m just lucky my big boy went up to spend the day with Zia and I have an Au Pair here helping with the baby (who was up more than I would like to let on last night) who is teething next level.

I start to wonder what it would have been like if I didn’t have my accident, then I stop myself – Because deep down I know my accident was a blessing in disguise. It has made me appreciate my family and friends so much more as well as life in general. Who knows, living life in the fast lane, I may not still be here to tell my story if my accident didn’t happen.

Our big boy loves harvesting with his Nonno…

It’s not personal, on any level, but more times than not, that’s the way we let ourselves think. I’d love to think, ‘Oh there’s only 8 weeks left’ – haha I wish! not for us! Harvest finishes then the spraying starts. So really, a 6 month season turns into 9 or 10. I do love my own company, but there comes a time where those little voices in my head start to play off each other. Those feelings make me scared, angry, confused, defensive, negative – and I really really dislike being negative.

Sugar Cane Harvest is the only way of life I know, I have always loved it. I really don’t want something I’ve been so passionate about for so long be something I begin to dread. You know that song – wake me up when it’s all over… yeah that’s where I’m currently at and I don’t like it one bit!

I might have to go see the girls at Ingham Travel and plan a well overdue honeymoon – alone, on a secluded island, with unlimited bundaberg rum!

Bring on the 2020 season! Here’s to a more positive, successful, flourishing season in the Herbert River District.

Aquo Xx