Wednesday, November 27, 2013

The bee movie

Finally, finally the days are growing warm and long.

We start them each morning in clean white business shirts and work pants, and end them grubby and sore.

In the garden the lettuces are bolting, the broccoli are finishing up, the leeks and onions are slowly swelling and our summer faves like basil and tomato are finally safe(ish) to be planted out.

We've been weeding and planting and mulching and staking.

We've been slashing and mowing.

And irrigating.

And I've had a bee in my bonnet about making the garden more user friendly this season and have been marking EVERYTHING!!

Speaking of bees, my farmer boy made a cute little film of us in our bee gear visiting our bees a few days ago.

Check it out.

Bee good.


Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Who influences you?

 A little while ago I was lying in bed the night before a magazine interview trying to guess the questions and plan my answers.

It was a magazine I have a lot of respect for so I wanted to make sure I knew what I was talking about and sounded a bit interesting, a lot thought out.

But, as almost always happens, the later it got, the harder the imagined questions got, the more rambly my answers got, the more worried I got, the less I made sense, the less chance I had of getting to sleep, the more pointless this middle of the night exercise became.

But I kept asking, and answering, and stressing. For hours.

And for some reason one of the questions that kept popping up in my imaginary interview was: Who and what are your main influences?

Sounds simple right? But over the course of that over-night interview I discovered that I don't have main influences. I don't have one place, or person, or style to turn to to turn me on. Did that make me shallow?

And the more I thought about that fact, the more worried I became. 

My influences come from everywhere: a quote in a book I'm reading, a song we listened to on the radio on the way to school, the way Pepper's teacher tied her scarf, something that we did when we were kids, a link on Pip's blog, the colour pallet in a shop window, the recipe I hear someone describing to someone else at the fruit shop, a picture of a garden layout on pinterest, the angle or exposure of a photograph, what needs to be picked or planted or preserved in the garden, the colourful balls of cottons in the corner, the pattern in the bits of honeycomb scraped off the roof of a bee hive yesterday, a skirt with cute pockets I saw and a pile of pretty vintage fabric I thrifted, a washy painting Indi did and the water colour pencils she left lying around, this season's stunning shiburi dyeing and all my stained whites, an instagram picture of a mini quilt and mine half made, the new and varied patterns I am learning while knitting my way through Nicki Trench's 201 Knitting Blocks, Projects Ideas, a salad recipe I saw somewhere and my rumbling tummy….

My influences seem to know no bounds and are ever changing. Often changing.

And as the sun came up I finally became comfortable with my answer.

But of course the question was never asked.

So now I'm asking you.
Can you name your influences?
Do you have people, places, times or  quotes that guide you? That you turn to? That fill you up and help make you you?
Or are yours ever changing like mine? Like the weather? Like the days of the year? Like the patterns the wind makes as it blows its way over the long grass in my parents' paddock?

I wonder.


Thursday, November 21, 2013


We were sitting outside enjoying our lunch; Bagel with feta, spinach, beetroot, olives and pickles.

We were looking around at the garden and all the work we'd put in that morning.

He was feeling pleased. He told me so.

I was feeling overwhelmed. We had done so much but there was still so much to do. I told him so.

He told me to try to re frame it in a positive way. He borrowed that off me as it's something I often say to the girls when they whinge.

So I stopped looking at the weeds, the too long grass, the empty beds that needed filling, the winter veg that still needed preserving, the transplanting, the watering and the cabbage moths.

And instead I noticed the surprise sunshine that hadn't been forecast, the beds we had freshly forked and composted, how lucky I was to be working alongside my farmer boy, the almost ready broad beans and the spring veg finally showing signs of growth.

And I felt better.

And after we shoveled two more loads of compost into garden beds I sat down and painted a mural. I hadn't planned to paint anything but as soon as I dipped the paintbrush in the paint and held it to the wood, I knew what it would be.


Our garden, our lives, our inspiration, our plans, our love, our passions, our dreams.


Tuesday, November 19, 2013

we're not getting goats

We're not getting goats.

I'm not sure that I ever mentioned the fact that we thought we were getting goats here, but now we're not.

In the very beginning of this story, the goats were cows.

As part of our homesteading plans, we decided we needed milking cows, probably three. A mama and her calves.

We wanted to stop buying treated milk in plastic bottles, we wanted to stop outsourcing another food that we could produce ourselves, we wanted the cow's poo, we wanted the relationship with another animal and we desperately wanted to experiment with making our own cheeses and yogurt.

So we started researching house cows and while we were in the process of reading and googling and asking around, some gorgeous goat farming friends of ours suggested a milking goat instead and the plans changed.

The cows became goats.

A mama goat and her two kids would provide us with everything a milking cow would but be smaller and more manageable, would help us with our blackberry problems, and would milk less but for longer.

And so we drove out to their farm, met the lovely pregnant Giselle and went home to wait until springtime when she kidded and could come and live happily ever after at our place.

In the meantime we made plans, read lots, spoke to some experts and had some milking lessons.

And then something weird happened.

On the Wednesday before the Friday we were to go and pick our new goats up, I decided we couldn't. I am hardly ever definite when it comes to big farming decisions, but this time I was. It came out of nowhere and I knew it was the right decision.

If we got goats we would be tied down. Every single day, twice a day, we would have to be at home to milk the goats. Every single day, no matter what.

Yes, we could share the goats but that would take time to sort out. Yes, we could probably let the kids drink the milk if we weren't there to milk, but then would they make enough milk for us when we wanted it again?

All of a sudden there were more questions than answers.

All of a sudden it felt like those three goats were going to tie us right down just at the point in time where we have given ourselves some freedom. All of a sudden it felt like those three goats would gobble up more of our time than we have to give. All of a sudden it felt like those goats would drown us in our to-do lists. All of a sudden it felt like we couldn't be 100% certain that those three goats would come here and live the very best lives three goats could live.

And most importantly, all of a sudden I felt that this is the wrong time for us. Our own three kids, with all of their activities, with their three separate schools, with their stories and homework and games and songs and friends and needs. Three extra kids would take our time away from them.

So we made the call. And we grieved for a little while.

Maybe when they're older? Who knows.

But for now I'm happy with following my feelings. With trusting myself.

I'm still buying milk but I can stay out all night if I want to (ha!).


Thursday, November 14, 2013


Today our Indi is 13.


It's such an odd thing. On one hand it makes complete sense, a teenager, of course she is. On the other hand it's the strangest thing ever. When did this happen?

All those years ago when it was just my farmer boy and me, and we would talk about making babies, we never ever thought about making teenagers. Never! We planned for chubby little cherubs that we would dress in cute tie dyed onsies and wrap in woolly blankets. We never ever chatted about kids who would buy their own clothes, and have their own styles.

And yet here she is, thirteen years later, filled to the brim with her own styles and opinions and ways. Almost as tall as me. Desperate for more independence and at the very same time for big strong boundaries.

She's a joy!

She's going to challenge me.

I adore her.

I feel incredibly proud of her.

I now pronounce the next stage of parenting open!!

Happy birthday Ind.


Sunday, November 10, 2013

notes to self...

Dear Kate,

When it feels that big, leave home.

RUN don't walk.

Leave the dishes in the sink. Leave the unanswered emails. Leave the shoulds and the have-to's and the musts and the endless to-dos. Leave the feelings of inadequacy. Leave the laundry in the machine and the dead flowers on the kitchen table. Leave all that crap all over the lounge room floor. Leave their spelling words and maths-mates and projects. Leave the pile of games that fell out of the cupboard. Leave the worries and the overwhelm and the deadlines.

Leave it all!

Walk out of the door and choose a direction. Any way will do.

Breathe deeply. All the way in and then all the way out. Even if the freezing air burns your nose and chest, get it in there.

Shake your arms and legs about and get the blood back into them.

Notice the tiny things. The oddly shaped things, the magical things, the new season things.

Admire. Respect. Love. Cherish.

Climb up on top of anything you can.


Hold hands and trust.

Shout! Laugh! Dance! Sing!

See it for what it really is.

And when you get back home you will see that everything looks different. Everything IS different. But still the same. The same but more manageable. More beautiful. More everything.

You'll be so glad you/I did.


Thursday, November 7, 2013

and then I sewed her a dress

This morning Miss Jazzy announced to the breakfast table that she had no dresses. Not a single one. Miss Pepper has a whole cupboard full, Miss Indi has a few special ones, but not her, none.

To be honest, I had thought she was done with dresses. I had thought she was at that age where she would live in her jeans. But no, apparently not.

It might have been the warmer than usual weather. It might have been the new school. It might have even been just to make a middle child point.

But I heard her.

And this afternoon, after we had done most of the chores but before we gathered the girls from school, I pulled out some bits of fabric I thought she might like, and I got to work.

I cut out a dress that I make for Pepper often; Mixy-matchy sleeves and bodice. But I don't think I've ever made a 10 year old a dress, and the entire time I was just guessing. Wider here. Longer there. Bigger all together.

When she came home from school I showed it to her and she said she loved it, but she would try it on later. And then later, she said even later. And later.

Until it was almost dark and it just had to be then.

So she left her role as dress maker in the game she was playing with Pepper and put it on.  She looked in the mirror and turned this way and that. Then she made a funny face and stood there tugging at it.

Finally she declared that she liked the back better than the front and that she just wasn't sure. But she gave me 10 minutes in the forest with my camera, so I was happy.

I'm hoping to make her another, a bit bigger, with less pink and maybe a bit more of an a-line style, some time very soon.

But the sewing, I really, really loved the sewing. And now my mind is racing with summer sewing possibilities…twirly skirts, flowy dresses, crochet details and maybe even something for me…yay!

I love, love, love that creative buzzy feeling. I reckon you probably know the one I mean. It's the best!

What have you been making?
I'd love to know.

Big love

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