Hello and a very happy Friday to you dear friends of Foxs Lane.
It's funny, now that Friday blogging is a thing, it's amazing how the pieces click together to make it so. I've started carrying my big camera around with me again (you should see how grubby it is); I've started looking at things as they happen and turning over phrases in my mind that I might use to describe them; my girls often refer to my blog and ask me if I'll be posting about this or that; you guys leave comments which delight me and inspire me to continue; and then, because they know it must be done, come Friday, my family leave me alone for the writing - which is no mean feat in week three of the summer holidays. I guess the fact that I now know that I blog on Fridays removes the guilt and the yearning from the rest of the week too.
Right now Bren's taken the girls into town to give me space, I'm sitting up on the daybed in our studio and I'm wondering what this blog should be.
I could do a rundown month by month of what 2016 looked like and felt like to me: including crafts, farm life, books, and family stuff. I could talk about the fact that we don't do Christmas and how much I love those few days of living in a bubble of exclusion. I could write about how some of my girls struggled with the no Christmas thing this year, and how we dealt with that and what that made me think about ritual and belonging and culture. I could tell you how much I've adored this past week - it might have even been my happiest of the whole year - when all five of us worked together as a team to plant the tomatoes, cook the meals and clean the house. And then when the jobs were done, all five of us took walks around the farm, played music and sang songs, watched movies and just hung out.
Okay I've decided, after a quick check of my posts from this time last year, I think I'll go through what I wrote back then, about what I hoped to achieve in the year to come and see how that looks now in retrospect.
As well as blogging more regularly, this yearHaha I guess I didn't exactly win in that department but at least I pulled myself up before the end of the year with my five Friday posts.
I'd love to buy a flock of sheep for land management and woolThat one I definitely tried but unfortunately rather unsuccessfully. We do have a lovely local farmer/fencer booked in to visit soon and hopefully put in some tougher, permanent fencing so we can try our hands at being shepherds again in 2017.
I'd love to play with natural dyesI bought a book, I bought some natural sock yarn and I bought some mordant, but for some reason I never got to it. I'm not quite sure why. I'm thinking I might book into a class one day though as I might just have confused myself with all the options and possibilities and not know where to start.
I'd love to work hard to find balance between work and playYeah, nah.
I must say though, that the house renovation and creation of our studio has helped with this one as it has made a space completely separate from the kitchen and garden where I can sit comfortably and read and knit while the dishes in the sink, the crumbs under the table and the unweeded garden are out of sight and out of mind.
I'd love to design a piece of knitwearWhile this one is probably still a no too, I feel like I have made headway by taking a plain sock pattern and knitting a bunch of fair isle motifs into it. Counting stitches, choosing colours and selecting all the patterns hurt my brain at times, but gosh I loved knitting them.
What I didn't quite love was the sight that greeted me when I turned them inside out yesterday ready to darn in the ends!! Who would have thought there'd be such a hairy mane hiding inside. And there I had thought that they were practically finished when I cast them off. Goodness what a mess.
I posted a photo of them on instagram last night with the caption - the secret life of fair isle socks - because seriously, who knew?!
I'd love to work on being kinder to myself in my headLet's just say I still have a lot of work to do on that one. I don't understand it and I don't like it and it would upset me so much if my girls grow up to be so self critical - but it's there and it's my truth. For now.
I'd love to find ways to get more involved with the causes that make me cryHonestly I almost deleted this one because it makes me feel guilty that I haven't done enough. Not nearly.
I'd love to knit a Lopi Icelandic sweaterNope.
I'd love to unfollow a few people on social media who are not kindI can tick this one off because I remember following through with it at the start of the year and how great it felt to have them disappear from my life. Out of instagram - out of mind. It's weird the way I let some very unkind, very preachy, very condescending, people dominate my feed for so long out of some form of misguided loyalty. On the very rare occasion that I come across their negativity now it is instantly obvious how little has changed for them, while over here I no longer have that sick feeling in my stomach and that tight feeling in my chest.
I'd love to find some new recipes to add to our tired collectionOh 2016 was not adventurous in the kitchen by any stretch of the imagination.
I'd love to play with some botanical embroideryI love that I wanted to but I feel like these days posting beautiful botanical embroidery pictures to my pinterest page is much more realistic.
I'd love to teachIn 2016 I was asked by so many people to teach sock knitting, knitting in general, crochet and crafty classes but it never happened. Looking back I feel like 2016 was a year where I needed all my energy to gather and hold my loved ones with not a lot left over to spare. Hopefully next year?
I'd love to reacquaint myself with my sewing machine and sew some garmentsWell, due to the renovations my sewing machine was stored in a shipping container up near the shed for a lot of 2016, but now it's set up on my desk ready to use.
and I'd love to find a way to do a bit of housework regularly rather than leaving it until it's overwhelmingThis one will forever be an issue for me. As anyone who knows me knows - tidiness and cleanliness are not exactly personality traits that I express liberally. Why clean when there's so many more fun things to do? Why scrub when its only going to get messy again? Why neaten - unless guests are coming over and I all of a sudden have a panic and see our house the way they will?
Yesterday morning though we tried something different. We divided the house into areas, allocated each area to a family member and spent the next three hours cleaning. Someone put on some loud music and we all scrubbed and vacuumed and mopped and washed and wiped. It was awesome. The fact that everyone in the house was working meant we weren't resentful at doing the job ourselves. The fact that we had time meant we could get into the nitty gritty. The fact that John Marsden allocates time each day for the students at his schools to clean their school means that our girls know how to clean and put value in the process. And the squeals that could be heard for the rest of the day as we each discovered another sparkly clean area were priceless. I hope to repeat the process each week of the school holidays and see how we can continue it into the school year.
I'm sure there's more but that's a startHaha that's more than enough, wouldn't you say.
I guess the thing to do now is to repeat the process for 2017.
I'd like to be kinder to myself, to find one thing that is mine and pursue it, to learn how to drive a tractor, to learn how to spin and knit a garment from the yarn I've spun, to knit an Icelandic Lopi sweater, to fence some paddocks and keep a flock of sheep, to continue getting physically fitter and stronger (arm wrestle anyone), to push my photography further, to entertain more, to get involved with some of the causes that make me cry, and I'd love to write something other than this blog, imagine if my Fridays could be a whole day for writing...
I guess now I have to decide if I'll blog every day in January like I have for the past two years, or if I'll stick to the Friday blogging which feels like it's working a treat.
Happy last few days and hours of 2016 my friends.
Are you where you thought you'd be this time last year?
Do you know where you want to be this time next year?
See ya in 2017!
Lots of love,