Thursday, October 31, 2013

still making…x

This afternoon I spent a while in the tee-pea.

The sun was shining for the first time in days and it was actually warm when I was standing in it. Farmer Bren was reading seed catalogues out to me for our orders. And I should have been doing a million other things but I wasn't.

At first I felt a bit silly as I climbed up on the chair, reached over the little pea plants and started to wind my wool. Wouldn't my time be better spent weeding the garlic, or planting out the leeks, or pricking out the tomatoes, or cutting the spinach, or mowing, or, or, or….?

And if I had listened to that nagging voice I'm sure I would have felt great when I crossed something off my mile long list, but I'm still glad I ignored it.

And the entire time I was making something that would never be worn, or eaten, or used in any way, my heart felt happy. 

I was making, just for making and it felt great.

And my world was still for a while. For the first time in the longest while.

It's funny but I think this afternoon was what I had thought a lot of this year would be like. All three girlies at school and so much time to create. 

And even though we're so close to the year's end, I'm hoping that now I've started I wont be able to stop.

I feel really happy!

And I'd love to know what made you feel happy today?
Or what you made just for fun?
Do tell.


Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Miss Pepper's cupcake party

When I was a little girl, at every school fete I would have a stall called Katie's Cupcake Kitchen. My Mum and my Grandmother would spend the weeks before baking and freezing cupcakes and then on the day we would lay them all out and my customers would pay for the pleasure of painting them with colourful icing and sprinkling lollies and 100's and 1000's on top. It became a bit of a family tradition.

These days our family cupcake tradition has become all about the sixth birthday party.

Last Saturday Miss Pepper had her eight besties over to celebrate with her.

We decorated cupcake bags, played pin the candle on the cupcake and all other manner of cupcake themed games.

And of course we decorated cupcakes.

I used Cathie's recipe and made about six batches.

The littlies had a ball. They sang and danced and spun and bounced. Miss Pepper kept telling me it was the best party ever!

We followed most of top 10 rules from last year and marvelled that this was our 28th kiddie party.

Our family's tradition for age seven is having your ears pierced. I'm a little glad that's a whole year away.

I do love to celebrate my kids and I love a kid's party but I'm not sure about this growing up business, how on earth is my baby six already?? It's crazy.

I hope you are having a sweet day wherever you are?

And tell me, do you have any special family birthday traditions?
A kind of cake, a funny song, a theme, a way?



Monday, October 28, 2013

The day I thought I killed a rooster.

Last Friday my farmer boy and I spent a few hours in the bush with the chickens.

We moved the boundary electric fences, shifted their houses, collected the eggs, fixed their waterers, fed them and spent a while watching them enjoying their fresh ground.

Watching the chooks fly out of their houses onto a new patch of farm is such a joy, so exciting, I took heaps of photos and will share them with you one day soon.

But the story I want to tell you today is about a rooster. A big, white, intimidating, beautiful rooster.

To be honest, I am always intimidated and wary of our roosters. I have more than a few scars up and down my legs to explain why.

But biodiversity is incredibly important to us here at Daylesford Organics and we don't believe that it's right to keep 200 females with no males.

Also we feel that it is our responsibility to provide a good life for our hens, a life that is as close to their natural life as we can facilitate while protecting them from predators and the elements.

So we must keep a few roosters. And I must always, always be on the look out for their attacks.

But let's get back to last Friday...

We'd just finished all the jobs and were getting ready to head back up to the shed, when I decided to snap a few shots of the chooks on the bright green grass before we left.

The chooks were calmly exploring and feeding, the dogs and alpacas looked happy in their new surroundings and even the roosters seemed preoccupied and content.

So I let my guard down and got lost in the beautiful moment.

Until that big, white rooster came at me, all puffed up and ready to attack.

I jumped up and screamed and kicked my leg in his general direction a few times. Generally this is enough to put a rooster off his attack, but not this time. This rooster was insistent and came at me over and over again, standing as tall as he could, with his feathers on end, trying to get me with his sharp spurs.

Each time I'd kick at him he'd jump back and then forward at me again. And again. And again.

I couldn't see any way out and was terrified, of him and of the thought that another rooster might attack me from behind while I wasn't watching.

I needed a new plan and looked around desperately for help. A stick! Slowly I bent down to get one at my feet and he tried to jump at my arm, but I was quicker and struck at him with the stick. I think I meant to hit his body and scare him away but somehow the stick connected with his head and the rooster fell down and didn't get up. He just lay there, still.

I waited a few seconds and when he didn't move I screamed and I lost it. I thought I'd killed or injured him. I could not stop crying. Bren reached me, my face wet with tears, thinking I had been attacked.

But I was distraught. That poor creature lying there dead or in terrible pain and there I stood, huge, with a stick, the attacker. I cried and cried and cried.

Eventually Bren went and got the rooster back up on his feet. He stood there in the same spot for a while visibly shaken but OK and then after a while he walked slowly away.

I couldn't shake that terrible feeling for the rest of the day. It felt ghastly.

And ever since then I've been trying to reconcile the feelings I have for an animal that I don't particularly like, with the awful, awful feelings of hurting another creature, a creature that is so much smaller than me and who is reliant on me.

It feels big. I feel more wary than ever while collecting the eggs these past few days. And I feel more in awe of Mother Nature, and life cycles, and food chains, and our role as animal keepers and protectors than ever before.

Phew, I feel a bit better now that's out.
Thanks so much for reading.
I hope you have a gorgeous new week.


Thursday, October 24, 2013


Today my baby girl turned six.

This morning I wrote 700 blog posts in my head about what that fact means to me and how I am feeling about it.

I struggled through it all morning.

After I dropped her off at school it almost swallowed me up.

My baby. A big girl. My littlest. Getting so big.

I came back home and went for a run, fast. And then I sewed her a birthday dress.

And then I felt much better. Happier. Calmer.

We celebrated her birthday with presents, pancakes, candles, cards and shots on her new bow and arrow. She smiled the whole day through. She does that.

She is the brightest, funniest kid. She makes me so happy.

I wish for her so many good and sweet and wonderful things.

I'd love to know what she wished on her candles for herself.

Happy birthday our beautiful Pepper Berry, to the moon and back.


Wednesday, October 23, 2013

saving spinach

So we are half way through spring, and although it is almost impossible to believe considering the wintry weather outside, the race is on to get the kitchen garden summer ready. To pull out the last of the wintry crops, to dig some compost into the soil and to start planting out the new season's seeds.

On our farm the market gardens are almost always too wet to work the soil until mid to late November, so it is nice to have a bit of a micro climate to get a head start in.

The first thing that needs to happen up here is we need to make some room. Out with the old and in with the new. This almost always involves us walking around the garden a few times working out what flowers need to stay for the bees and seed saving, what plants are looking like they are past their peak and need to come out, and what can stay in the ground for a bit longer.

We plant loads of spinach every year and although we've enjoyed it in almost every meal for the past few months, the start of the warmer months means it will soon be bolting and we need to pick it at it's peak now and save it for future eating.

So I've been wandering around the garden picking big boxes of spinach.

Then I wash it and place it still wet in a deep frying pan on the cooker for a few minutes to wilt.

(Gosh, I wish I wiped down the cooker before I took that photo.)

Once wilted, I squeeze as much water out of the spinach and then use scissors to chop it quite finely.

Then I make tight little spinach balls of about a handful of mixture each and pop them in the freezer on a plate. Freezing them on the plate ensures they don't stick together and are easy to separate when I need them later on.

Once they are frozen, I pop them into a container all together and back into the freezer.

It never failes to amaze me that the contents of an entire garden bed can fit into a small tub.

I'd guess it is completely safe to keep the spinach balls in the freezer for four or five months although I'm sure I've used ours up to eight months later.

I use some of the stalks for the balls and we juice the rest and freeze it for stock.

I did drink a glass of straight spinach juice just because my farmer boy thought it would be good for us, but I do not recommend that at all. Ew!!

And then I repeat the snipping, washing, wilting, squeezing, snipping, shaping, freezing until there's no more spinach to be seen.

And the garden gaps are filled and a new season of growing begins.

Are you preserving? Planting? Gobbling?

I've missed you.


Tuesday, October 15, 2013


So my computer is not happy and is going off to the fixer-upperer's.

It's a bit funny how stressy the thought of being without her has gotten me considering how stressful her behaviour has been lately. Naughty Miss Mary Mac.

It's made me think back to a time before we had Indi, probably about 14 years ago, when my farmer boy told me he was buying us a computer for our home. For real, I challenged him, what on earth for? In my head a computer was just another one of those boy toys, like the frisbee and the stunt kites and the mountain bike. What on earth would we possibly do with one at home??

Hilarious, I know.

And I'm probably the most computer addicted in this entire house. In fact I recently added the house rule that anybody who has written a book is allowed to look at their computer at dinner time. Makes sense, no?

So here we are 14 years later and the last laugh is at me. No computer for five or six days. Hopefully, all going to plan.

If you want to contact me text me, facebook me, tweet me, instagram comment me, or you could even old school call me. I might even answer.

If I get completely desperate and computerless, I might try to remember my passwords and usernames and hack into the big Imac on the other side of the table. I could possibly return emails from there, if I can work out how.

Or I could use this time to detox and get out there amongst it.

I'm not sure how long I'll last without.
Could you do it?
Have you done it?
How long's the longest you can go without checking your facebook/emails/ravelry/pinterest/blog reader/photo editor.......?

I might see you spoon.

I might not.



Monday, October 14, 2013

Our Jazzy is 10

It's funny that thing babies do when they grow up. Women in waiting rooms warn you about it, books prepare you for it, sometimes you even think you notice it. And then there it is, she's 10.

Our Jazzy is 10.

A decade old. Double figures. Two hands full. Indeed.

Happiest birthday Jazzy bear our archer.
We adore you.


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