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

My scenery snaps over the years…

Something many people take for granted is how beautiful their hometown is until something serious happens. Take me for example – I just lived in the Hinchinbrook Shire fishing, camping and riding – living subconsciously – kind of like I was on autopilot. I never really considered how beautiful this area, The Hinchinbrook Shire was until the inevitable happened.

I say inevitable because before the 14th September 2013 came around, I lived life in the fast lane. A fast-paced, full of life, don’t care what anyone thinks of me but kind of cares what people think about me, loved Bundaberg Rum, loved to party, loud 21 year old female. P.S – I still love my bundy rum!

I had four near misses before my accident, the most serious being coathangering myself on an electric fence in the dark – I’m super lucky that the big fella upstairs had bigger and better things for me in life. Luckily it wasn’t turned on and must of been old because it snapped as I rode through it. I did fracture my wrist though, my mate at the time took me up to ED, it hurt so bad!

It wasn’t until I had my second child 6 years down the track that my mother said “There comes a time in life when you need to stop requiring validation from others and simply live your best life.” Ever since then I’ve started drinking, eating, living consciously, and it has changed my life for the better.

I went back on all my old photos and decided I would post unedited scenery snaps that I have taken over the years in the Ingham district. I would love for you to share one of your scenery snaps that were taken in the Hinchinbrook Shire!

My friend and his boat down Taylors Beach – Boxing Day ’07’
Bronte Beach
Bronte Beach
Gentle Annie
Broadwater Lookout
A farm up Stone River
Whale season – Gentle Annie ’13’
Early morning down the main headland on the Aquilini farm
Driving home from Forrest Beach
Gentle Annie
Gentle Annie
Gentle Annie
Bronte Beach
Bronte Beach
Bronte Beach
Beautiful sky down Kirkwoods Rd, Blackrock
Clement State Forest Beach
Mr Perserval (Storm Boy) down Lucinda Beach
Early mornings on the farm are the best!
Angry Skies are so pretty!
Beautiful night down Taylors Beach…
How nice is a fire on a cool night? so mesmerising…
Whale season down Lucinda…
Maxi’s at sunrise out Bamberoo…
There’s nothing better than the old school cane fires in the Herbert…
Pretty Sky down Bronte Beach…
Chillin in the harvester with dad…
I love sunrises that are this gorgeous!
When you need a change of scenery to write something great! Forrest Beach…
Sunrise Townsville Rd South…
Angry skies in the Hinchinbrook Shire…
My ‘Renee Vine’ looks amazing when it flowers!
Sunrise down Taylors Beach…
Sunrises down Taylors Beach…
Sunrises from Clay Street, Ingham…
A lovely day down Bronte Beach…

Aquo Xx

Dear: – The Residences of Hinchinbrook Shire…

Photo by tyto.com.au

It has recently been made apparent that there are literally so many small and not so small things we can do to improve our beautiful little rural shire. I’ve decided to make a list, as my limitations are currently preventing me from pulling them off – CURRENTLY. Give me a bit and I’m a million percent positive that I will be able to accomplish everything that is put in front of me in one way or another.

One of the biggest problems this shire faces is how the kids aren’t receiving the stimulation they require so they are creating havoc around the place because they are bored. That’s not to say it’s 100% their fault, I believe as a parent you should want to know the whereabouts of your kids – It’s instinct for all parents isn’t it? My two year old goes next door but I follow him until he goes inside – it’s maybe, maybe 10m. They need more to do in this shire, I’m more than happy to work with any Hinchinbrook Shire committees to pull this off.

I have the best idea for a carpark party – for the grown ups! I’m thinking ‘the races’ without the horses – the atmosphere is awesome! – Every year. Setting the scene:- A casual mixer for business houses to network. Imagine the car park behind JK’S Deli, with a stage and run it as a professional event, laid back, but professional. Have a dj, a barbecue and drinks. It would be great to have more events a year for the business houses to attend. Possibly hold a workshop focusing on advertising their own businesses?

We could host a neon party in Rotary Park. Include a sausage sizzle and a little canteen. Focus on attracting the youth of the town (10-17) to reduce the crime that occurs because there’s nothing in place to provide them with the stimulation they require. We need to be able to make things exciting, to give the youth in our shire something to look forward to – but if they misbehave, get into trouble with the police etc, these events we plan for them get taken away. The youth in the Hinchinbrook Shire need to respect that these events are planned for them and we’re not going to waste our time if they can’t do the right thing. That’s not ‘the bottom line’ however… THE PARENTS also have to be accountable for their children.

Photo by Crossfit Sanitas

The rest of these ideas, they’re just ideas – I have no plan or clear direction for them, but I believe they can be developed into something great!

  • Businesses could run drawing competitions that children can enter and the prize could be that they could be in charge (within reason) of planning a community event. The best thing about this idea is it’s free.
  • Have a movie marathon in a different park around the shire monthly.
  • Start a group of Ingham kids that meet once a month and brainstorm different ideas to improve the town – Sometimes, kids have some really interesting ideas we would never come up with.
  • We could easily use amazing scenery photos from around the shire to have printed on shirts and sell them at the Tyto Information Centre. This is a project we could possibly get the secondary schools art departments involved – this would cut costs whilst teaching the kids a different skill.
  • Make use of our empty store fronts. I know this is already being done but is there any way to improve this???
  • We could start our own car free day. Where there are no cars to be driven down lannercost street. It’s a great way to fight pollution, if only for a day. I think this could even bring fun back into business.
  • Get to know your neighbours – I know, it’s the Hinchinbrook Shire but there are so many new families that have relocated to the shire. we all need to look after each other and stop being so complacent – we do live in a small town but it’s not the same place as it used to be in the early 2000’s. That’s not a good nor bad statement, it’s the honest truth.
  • Set up a ‘community table’ something like speed dating but have it monitored and have rules about keeping it strictly community based conversation. I could see this being a proactive event that could be the early stages of some great ideas to boost our shire.
  • stage a scene – like they do on the movie ‘friends with benefits’. This could be a fun creative activity.
  • Shop local – Simple! Support local businesses so we all win! Possibly have a workshop teaching people how to budget their money properly.
  • Mobile produce market – kind of like the home ice cream truck.
  • Write a letter to council – If you’ve got a good idea, share it. If you want to change your neighborhood, start building a coalition. Explain your plans and help build grassroots support.
  • Smile – Smile all the time, about everything, at everyone – you could just change someone’s day!

This town needs more proactive, like minded, young adults, young parents like myself that want to see a better future for our kids. I want my boys to have the option to want to stay here when they grow up. People are probably thinking “bet she’s getting paid to boost her shire.” My response to that is “I’m not getting paid a single cent. If the opportunity one day pops up to make some sort of income – great.

I refuse to run affiliate marketing for something that doesn’t exist in our shire. I’m here, doing this, using my time that could be used playing with my boys, but – I WANT TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE!

FOR THE GREATER GOOD!!!

Aquo Xx


Cyclones and floods in the Hinchinbrook Shire since ’92’…

Video by Drone Guy – YouTube

I was born in 1992, since then, there have been 6 or 7 disaster events in the Herbert River District – being either a flood or cyclone. We have little tornados here, but their little wirley winds in cane paddocks once the cane has just been cut, but their not actually major disasters… Until it blows crap in your eye! Am I right!

Growing up, there was nothing more exciting being at school on days when it starts to flood – when the kids who go on the busses get to go early – First Abergowrie and Mutarnee kids, then all the beach kids – Taylor’s Beach, Halifax, Lucinda and Forrest Beach kids, than the kids whose parents pick them up in the same order.

Cattle Creek bridge – photo off news-mail.com.au

I was one of the last kids at school as we lived just out of town, on the south side of Ingham. The kids these days wouldn’t be able to get up to half the stuff our generation got away with. Riding motorbikes & quad bikes, driving cars and tractors up the highway as the highway is cut at Andy’s Roadhouse and Cattle Creek. It was the most exciting thing ever.

United Servo beside Honeycombs – Photo off cairnspost.com.au

I don’t think many kids understand how serious it could be, Cyclone Yasi in early 2011 was nothing compared to the 2004 Indian Ocean Earthquake and Tsunami – Not one, but two natural disasters in one hit! Those poor bastards! Yasi was a party compared to that. The story goes that a magnitude-9.3 temblor struck undersea off the west coast of Sumatra on December 26, 2004, creating a massive tsunami that killed people in 14 separate countries. The death toll is said to be somewhere between 230,000 and 280,000 people. I can’t even be able to think about something like that happening here.

Click here to check out the top 11 deadly natural disasters in history…

Welcome to Ingham sign on Townsville Rd – Photo off couriermail.com.au

There’s nothing like a good ‘safe’ flood party, where all the people in your area get together at a chosen house, kids play on their toys and stay up until they drop – literally. The adults drink till their heart’s content or until they are up on the table singing! Hey! there’s nothing wrong with that… Don’t judge if you haven’t tried it and don’t judge if you have! Because you know it’s awesome being the life of the party… That outgoing soul who’s hopefully here for a long time and they’re here for a good time!

Halifax bridge – Photo off bom.qov.au

The drive through and BWS must love that time just after a flood warning has been issued… I swear they would sell as much as they sell in six months if more! Make sure you go to woolies first but… there may or may not be any bread or milk. I’ve only lived in the center of town for one flood, I don’t know which I like better. We ended up at our neighbours and I had a ball! I guess you just need a good atmosphere surrounding you, a carton of Northerns and some country music! – Like the Spotify playlist Chillin’ on a dirt road…

In our district, it’s not unheard of for people who live near creeks or waterways, or anywhere really, to come across a crocodile or two! They are everywhere now! But… that’s another discussion – an anger fueled discussion we will have on a later date.

Video by Gaia Deliciosas – YouTube

Ingham’s the sort of place where the world stops… not often, but when it floods we reset. Businesses close down as many business people A break from work, you become a more laid back parent, you become lighter.

Aquo Xx