Friday, April 24, 2015

The Ulman Files

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Happy Friday you guys!!

Firstly, thank you all enormously for your kindness and your care in the comments and texts and emails you sent me after my last post. I have read every single one and they meant the world to me, your support and your community is the best medicine of all. And I'm happy to report that I feel like I'm on the mend. Finally. Thank goodness.

OK, now on to much more fun stuff. This is a post about my family, my Mum and Dad and us four girls and what we are doing right now. Just for fun and because I am so very proud and I think you might be interested in our goings on too.

Firstly is sister number three Emily Ulman, that's her at the top.

Since the middle of last year Emily has been recording her third CD, Wear It Well, and to help her get it over the finish line and pay for things like mastering, artwork, a publicist, the tour, a film-clip and pressing the actual music to vinyl and CD, she needs our help.

Emily has launched a pozible and it would mean the world to her, and to me, if you could chip in a few dollars. The rewards are many and awesome including having coffee and cake with me and my three sisters - which could be fun!!??

Being a creative person although highly soul enriching is not always enriching in the dollar department and it makes me happy that there are things like pozible campaigns that make it easier for us to support each other and get our dreams into action. It makes me doubly happy to know that people are supporting Emily who always, alway supports everyone else. And it makes me tripley happy to think that hopefully soon, we will have a new Emily Ulman soundtrack to our lives. Yippeeee!!

Click on the possible site here - http://www.pozible.com/project/193712 And thank you!!

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My youngest sister Abigail Ulman has recently published a brilliant book called - Hot Little Hands!!

There are some beautiful reviews of Abby's book on the Penguin site here.

I loved every word on every page of Hot Little Hands, Abby is an exceptional writer and I feel as proud as proud can be. But I do have to mention that for me, being eight years older than Abby, in a way she'll always be about twelve to me, and reading about some of the things that some of her female characters get up to made my eyes almost pop out of my head. My little sister shouldn't know about all that sexy stuff, should she?

You can buy your own copy of Hot Little Hands here - http://www.readings.com.au/products/18856456/hot-little-hands.

I've got another post with a HLH giveaway coming up soon too.

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While Meg Ulman, sister number two, and her family are busy putting the finishing touches on their book - The Art Of Free Travel due out this October - they are holding workshops each Saturday.

The workshops Learn To Forage Like A True Locavore are held in Daylesford and include a two-hour walk, instructions on how to identify and safely harvest edible weeds and conclude with a foraged and homegrown meal. Just look at that beautiful feast, how inspiring and gorgeous and delicious does that all look!!

To book for the workshop call - 0418523308.

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Our mum, Vivienne Ulman, in between looking after all of us and writing her own novel is caring for her own father, our grandfather, and trying to make sure that he leads the best, most dignified, love-filled life that he possibly can.  Our society doesn't seem to be all that well set up to honour our elders in a time when they need more and more care and my mum is making it her job to find ways to keep him comfortable and happy and safe.

You can read my mum's blog The Writing Hive here and read about her first book Alzheimer's: A Love Story here.

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My dad, Ross Ulman, when he isn't driving his electric car as discussed in the latest issue of Renew magazine, he's walking 14,000+ steps per day, volunteering at my girls' school, working at a Ballarat hospital, baking and delivering challah to each of his Daylesford daughters each Friday, selling tickets at the local cinema, helping out in the local kitchen garden program, doing maths homework with my girls, pole-walking around Daylesford in the early morning with a bunch of people not scared off by the cold, and supporting and loving his five Ulman girls. What a man (or an honorary woman as we used to call him when were growing up)!


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Which brings us to me, the oldest and bossiest Ulman sister.

Right now I'm madly picking apples, I'm printing and stitching apple bunting for our stall at The Lake House Daylesford producers day this weekend, I am mothering and lovering, I am taking photos and writing my article for the next issue of Slow magazine,  I'm knitting the second sleeve of my Amanda cardigan, and I am trying to play catch up with everything else.

I'm feeling proud and happy and inspired.

Are your friends and family doing ace things too? Care to share?


I hope you guys have a gorgeous weekend.


Big love!

xxxxxx



Oh and Carol @ Perennial and Mara Macs, please send me your postal addresses, you've won Michelle Mackintosh's Snail Mail book. Hooray!! x

Monday, April 20, 2015

under the weather

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I think this is one of those posts that I'm writing more for me than for you. I'm writing it for future reference, as a record and to try and get it out of my head and into my computer. So please, feel free to skip this one, it's not going to be very exciting or uplifting. Hopefully I'll be back here later in the week with something a bit more fun.

So basically I've been feeling crappy for quite some time now. Crappy physically but not emotionally. About six or eight weeks ago, almost exactly a year to the date of my left breast saga, I got the same infection on the other side. This time it was quickly diagnosed and treated and within a few days of starting an antibiotic course it was history.

But I mustn't have started taking acidophilous in time because next thing I knew I had a rather itchy situation. Too much information? Sorry.

All of the above knocked me around a bit but after a few days I was back to running around like usual. Until one Saturday evening I discovered that everything I ate or drank tasted like poo. This went on for a few days resulting in a complete loss of appetite, many conversations about what poo actually tastes like, me having to convince the girls that I am definitely not pregnant, and of course lots of googling.

I think the poo-taste thing lasted for about two weeks and then gradually disappeared. Only to appear in the mouths of a couple of school parents who must have asked google much better questions, I know they used the words battery acid rather than poo, and discovered a little thing called pine-mouth. Pine mouth!!!!! After all that pesto I'd been making and all those pine nuts I'd been sneaking, of course it was.

The diagnosis brought relief but also the feeling that we have to stay truer to our only buy organic and Australian grown or don't buy it at all rule. Pesto filled with dodgy Chinese pine nuts? No thanks. From now on I think we'll use almonds.

After that was cleared up for some reason I stopped sleeping. For what felt like three years but was possibly only a week or two, I just stopped sleeping. At the start I didn't mind so much. The nights are so quiet and I got lots of reading and thinking and looking at Facebook done, but unfortunately the days after the nights spent awake were a disaster. I was fragile and impatient and shivery and felt like my brain was full of a ton of wool.

Are you sick of me yet? I am.

Then of course I got a shocking head cold that two weeks later I still haven't completely shaken. Blah!

Then not last Saturday but the Saturday before as we were doing the rounds visiting our bee hives, I was stung four times. This in itself is not such a big deal, we keep bees and occasionally we get stung. But the fact that I got stung in my suit is weird and has never happened before and also I had some sort of reaction to the bites that I've never had before. In the past they've stung for a few seconds, maybe a minute and then nothing for a few days until they've itched like crazy and then disappeared. This time my bites swelled up until they were enormous. The ones on my ankle were so big I couldn't put my shoe on and the one on my thigh was the size of a small plate. And they burned. The only thing that calmed them down was a bicarb paste. Gosh they were nasty. A week later and you can still see the shadow of them like they are bruises.

And lastly, gosh how I hope it's the last of it anyway, my old shoulder injury has flared up and is travelling right up my neck, into my teeth and all the way up to my head. What even??!! I'm having a treatment with my pilates teacher in the morning and I have a whole range of exercises to do, so I'm hopeful that this will be short lived.

I know they're all just little things and I'm trying to see the bigger picture and not let them get the better of me, but sometimes it's just trying. I accept that I'm run down and my immune is low but I can't work out the reason why. I live on an organic farm, my work is pretty active, I eat a fresh and organic diet, most of which we've grown here, and I love what I do, who I do it with and how we're doing it.

I hate to complain partly because I know there are so many who are doing it so much tougher and I hate to complain because I HATE BEING THE SICK ONE!!! It's driving me cuckoo. Like I said at the start, it's just boring.

Lucky I have the apple picking, the preserving, the farm stall, the girls, farmer Bren, my knitting, stripey tights, a big pot of lentil bolognaise on the stove, linen sheets on my bed, a great book, big travel plans and the kitchen garden to take my mind off it all.

I hope you are well and happy and have lots of nice things going on.

Big love xx





Thursday, April 16, 2015

Snail Mail - the book, our day & a giveaway!

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The other day my Mum told us that she thinks Michelle Mackintosh's new book Snail Mail is the most beautiful book she's ever seen. Except for books written by Ulmans, my Dad added! Only Michelle was the designer of my book Vantastic too, so I think she's clearly the winner.

A couple of years ago when I was deep in the exciting phase of signing publishing contracts and working out exactly what my book would be, I remember looking at my phone and noticing that Michelle Mackintosh had just followed me on instagram. Guessing what that might hopefully mean, I promptly burst into tears and called my publisher. She confirmed that she had just signed Michelle as my designer. I hung up the phone and did a mixture of every single silly dance move I could think of all around the house.

Michelle Mackintosh has designed so many of my favourite books; like Beci Orpin's and Pip Lincolne's and Louise and Margaret Fulton's and The Little Veggie Patch Co's.

And indeed Michelle did design my book and I adored working with her and we became firm friends. And I can honestly tell you that seeing Michelle's name proudly stamped on the front of the cover of a book instead of inside the front cover, makes me as happy as can be.

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Last Friday we invited Michelle and our friend Chanie and her three girls, Ponie, Nancy and Honey, to come and Snail Mail it up with us at my Mum and Dad's house across the Lane.

First we ooooohed and ahhhhhhed over every page of the beautiful book and ate cake.

And then Michelle led us step by step through a few projects from her book.

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First we learnt how to make envelopes and then we spent ages decorating and writing to our loved ones.

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And then we folded Snail Males.

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Since last Friday my girls have been snatching every spare moment to rummage around in the recycling and in the craft cupboard for old stamps and pretty papers and stickers that they then use to create and decorate Snail Mail for their friends.

From the back of the book -

Snail Mail is here to bring back hand written communication - and more - in one beautifully illustrated and perfectly proper little package.

Learn how to improve your handwriting (and your manners) make your own paper, envelopes, wax seals and pressed flowers; put together care packages for loved ones who need a bit of TLC; romance someone the old-school way; and craft beautiful mail art for any occasion.
I love Snail Mail big time!!

And I'd love to pass on that love to you guys - I have two copies to giveaway thanks to the cool people at Hardie Grant. Leave a comment on this post telling me who you would most love to find Snail Mail in your post box from? 

Australian residents only - sorry.
The two winners will be chosen by me and my girls on the weekend and notified in a blog post and by email.

Yay!! You gotta be in it to win it - so get commenting lovelies.

Until then - you can buy Michelle's book from Readings, and follow Michelle on instagram - @michellemackintosh.


Laters xx


Monday, April 13, 2015

What makes your heart sing??

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And then this amazing thing happened.

One beautiful February evening, I interrupted our family dinner and asked everyone to grab something from the house that they LOVED doing, something that made them happy, and then we filed out the door. One by one I checked to make sure no-one had food in their teeth, everyone was dressed appropriately and then we headed to the steps of our cubby-house.

It was a gorgeous evening and we were happy just to hang out together doing what we love to do.

And then I made some comment about a ridiculously enormous fart, everyone cracked up laughing, I snapped my shot, I started laughing and fell back into the herb garden and got a wet bum, the girls laughed some more, I kept snapping, and then we hung out until it slowly got dark and cold and we went inside to clear away dinner.


A few weeks later I was standing in our local newsagent first thing on a Monday morning hassling them to undo the piles and piles of new magazines that had just been delivered - because one of the photos that I took that evening was on the cover of the Autumn issue of Slow Living Magazine!!!!! My family are on the cover of a magazine!!!


I've had a copy of that magazine sitting on my desk for about a month now and I still get a happy surprise every single time I walk past it. I still can't really believe it.

There are certain things that I have gotten used to over the five or so years that I have been a blogger - a lot of people know a lot about my life, some people respect my opinion, I can take good blog photos and write good blog text, I've taken photos and written articles for some other publications, I've even written a book!!!! But never in my wildest dreams did I think I would take a cover photo.

I'm thrilled.

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I also wrote an article and took some pictures for the inside of the magazine. All about farmer Bren's spoon carving and how it's changed his life.

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You can get all the information you need about Slow Living magazine here - http://www.slowmagazine.com.au.

And if you do have your very own copy and would like to win a subscription - take a photo of the cover in your home/in your garden/with some of your favourite creative things, upload it to instagram, hashtag it #slowlivingmag and Slow Magazine will choose their five favourite images and reward them with a subscription each. Cool huh!! Better get snapping.

And until next time - why don't we all do a bit more of what makes our hearts sing!!

Love ya's!!

xx

Monday, March 16, 2015

it's all about the craft

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Hello honey bunches!!!

My how time flies at this super busy time of the year. There's so much going on, so many stories to tell, too many stories to tell. I've been wandering around for a few days wondering where to start. So this is my answer - one short blog story at a time.

So this one, as you have most probably worked out by now, is all about the craft.

And let me tell you straight up, there's not an enormous amount of crafty opportunities on our farm over the harvest months, but still one snatches a moment whenever one can.

I knitted the socks at the top for Bren's Mum Rene.

I want to tell you about the yarn though. A few years ago, on our annual pilgrimage to The Sheep and Wool show in Bendigo, my farmer boy and I met a gorgeous girl called Jess who sold wool under the name sofTrope. I was completely smitten with all of Jess's wares but particularly a chunky hand-spun wool that we bought several skeins of and I came home and knitted them up into farmer boy beanies. A few months later I got an email from Jess letting me know that her friend had showed her my blog and that she in fact knew us, or rather her boyfriend knew us and had worked with us here at Daylesford Organics for a few years. Small world hey!

Anyway, back to the matter at hand, I bought the most beautiful golden wheat coloured socks yarn, sofTrope sock, in a Facebook destash. It's even more gorgeous in real life.

Golden wheat - Bavarian Cable socks ravelled here.

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These socks are for my farmer boy.

The other day I found myself with half an hour to kill in the city and wandered up to Morris and Sons for some cable needles. I was feeling a bit funny after a rather unpleasant exchange with a camera shop guy who didn't really want to talk to me when I couldn't remember what sort of camera I used but showed him with my fingers the size of the card that I needed the card reader for instead. No, it can't be a CF (compact flash) card because it doesn't have a flash on it I told him (oops). Yes, it's for me not for a friend I tried to assure him. No, I don't want to buy a crappy cheap one. Yes, I've taken the photos off my camera before......

After that, when I got to the wool shop I exhaled. I strolled around, resisted grabbing armfuls, found what I needed, went to the counter and the gorgeous girl talked me through plastic versus wooden and helped me make a decision.

Then she told me how gorgeous I looked!!!! My dress, my basket, my hair up with a paint-brush, my clogs and green tights. I fell in love and asked her if I could have a job and stay there forever and ever.

And as I was about to pay and unfortunately leave, I saw a pair of socks on the counter just like the ones above. When she told me they were knitted from a single ball of wool with no joins I knew I had to buy a skein for myself.

So I did. And I positively skipped out of there and forgot all about that camera shop man.

The farmer boy socks are ravelled here.

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The cupcakes are for my long overdue giveaway winners Reannon and Nell. Sorry lovelies, they're coming soon. x

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And then this arrived!!!!!

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Remember that New Year's resolution I had to knit a cabled cardigan this year? Watch this space.


So that's me all craft caught up.

How about you? What've you been making?


Wishing for you a kind and random compliment, they're the best!!

xx



Thursday, March 5, 2015

harvesting the hazels

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Autumn, you might just be winning me over.

A sweet sunny day spent harvesting our hazelnuts. Speckled, sparkly shadows. All the twittering bird songs. A new spoon carved. A tiny nest found and admired. Blackberry scratches all over my arms and legs. Warm sun on our faces and backs. A bit of humming, some chats about plans and stages, a lot of silence and listening. Sweet, cardamon spiced, Turkish coffee brewed on a flame and served up in little cups. A chunk of apple cake unwrapped from its waxy paper package. Nuts cracked and eaten, coffee drunk.

One basket full.



I hope your season is the reason for your gladness.

xx




Tuesday, March 3, 2015

photos of tomatoes

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I took these few photos yesterday or the day before. Originally I had them loaded into yesterday's post, but at the last minute I took them out and decided to give them a blog of their own. I'm not sure why but it felt right somehow.

These photos tell me so many stories and make me feel so many things.

These photos make me sigh with relief that we will in fact have a tomato season this year. I should know by now that ours are the last in all of instagram and in all of the southern hemisphere but eventually they do ripen and redden.

These photos make me feel icky at the thought of that black tar that coats my arms and fingers each time I reach under a vine to pluck out a fruit and how hard it is to get rid of that stain and smell.

These photos make my mouth water in anticipation of toast and thinly sliced tomato, at chunks in salads, at passata, at semi drieds and at cherry tomatoes gobbled up on the spot.

These photos remind me that I'll have to pick fast and often and slightly under-ripe to beat the pesky mice.

These photos make me appreciate and adore the red in the garden for all too soon we'll be back to the green of spinach and kale and winter.

These photos make me feel a bit melancholy at that dress's last summer in our family. Even though it's already verging on too tight I'm finding it hard to let this piece of sister history go.

These photos make me feel bad because this tomato season I didn't plant nearly as many vines as other years, but then I try to quickly remind myself that what we lack in tomatoes this year we more than make up for in other areas of the garden.

These photos make me thank goodness for my little plaited tomato spotter and hope with everything that I have that she'll love hanging out with us in the garden for years to come.

These photos make me glad that we didn't buy one single out of season tomato last year because it makes these ones feel like prizes.

And these photos will make a lovely record a year from now when I'm madly scrambling through my archives trying to work out when we usually harvest tomatoes around here. March. Autumn. Phew.

So now I'm sending these photos out to you, wherever you are, whatever you are harvesting or eating, I hope they make you feel happy.

Love Kate xx





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