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





Monday, March 2, 2015

digging spuds

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Today we ate porridge with honey for breakfast.
I did a Pilates class and learnt how hard it is for me to balance on one leg with my eyes closed.
My farmer boy surprised me and took me out for an early lunch.
We came home, got the eggs, fed the animals and watered the garden.
Then we took out our map and walked through the orchard and it occurred to me that it is my job, my occupation, to wander through hundreds and hundreds of fruit trees and taste the fruit to decide what's ripe and needs to be picked.
After that we gave the farm gate stall a clean up and a fruit shuffle.
While we were at the stall a dad from school came past for some apples and a chat and then a lovely couple who read my blog and had driven an hour to get to us pulled up. It was so gorgeous to meet them, hear a little bit about them and then just as we were about to leave and drive on up to the house the woman gave me the most lovely letter she'd written on the drive out. She had been planning to leave it at the stall but gave it to me instead. The kindness and love in that letter totally made my day. Thanks Pauline xx
Then I baked this cake - which has had rave reviews.
And I hung some washing on the line.
I picked up the girls from school and from the bus stop.
Jazzy went off to dancing, Bren went to training and me and Pepper left Indi inside with her guitar teacher and we went out to pick apples, tomatoes, potatoes and other odds and ends.
Bren came home and made a spoon, the girls did some homework type stuff and I made soup and garlic flat bread for dinner. Everybody loved it. It's the best when that happens.

The second day of autumn was a lovely day indeed.
And now, after a mad scramble, all the girls are in bed and my farmer boy and I are going to sneak an episode of House of Cards. Shhhhh don't tell the girls we're breaking the no TV/movies during the week rule.

So what did you get up to today?
I hope yours was lovely.

Love Kate xx

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

our farm gate stall!

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Our farm gate stall is one week old!

Sitting at the very front of our farm, built by our friend Jobbo - @thebuilderrecycles - made entirely from timber and tin found around our property, it is exactly what we had hoped for.

I can't tell you how much it pleases me to know that the apples we've been picking are going straight into the shopping bags of our lovely customers. There are no trucks, no cold-stores, no middle-men, no retail markups - just fruit and vegetables and flowers grown here, picked by us, certified organic and DELICIOUS!!!!!

I feel so very grateful for the support we have been shown so far. I love that Miss Pepper's BPOD (best part of day) each day is collecting the money from the tin. And I feel like this little farm stall is something we have spoken of and wondered about for so many years and now she's here - and isn't she gorgeous!!

If you are local, if you are passing by or if you've been dreaming of a day-trip to our lovely area - please pop by. We are Daylesford Organics - 19 Foxs Lane Musvale.

(That's not our postal address though.)

But speaking of postal addresses Reannon and Nell please email me yours so I can make and send you your cupcake motifs, yay!!

And to everyone else - I hope you find kindness and generosity when you share your dreams with the world.

Love ya's!

xx

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Hooked - a blog hop


This is pretty cute!!

It's a new book celebrating the crochet motif in the most gorgeous way. Hooked! by Michelle, Cecile and Sylvie Delprat is filled to the brim with all kinds of sweet motifs, there are hearts and flowers and cupcakes and mushrooms and apples and birds and skulls and so many more. Seriously, I want to make them all. And my girls want me to make them all for them too. They've already started designing brooches, decorations for their school books and patches to sew on their jeans.



I think it's a really great book; the styling, the patterns, the photos and the ideas are all beautiful.

But where to start??

Miss Indi has been begging me to make her some love heart bunting for her bedroom for ages, so I pulled out the cottons and started hooking.

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And then just because they were too cute not to, I made an apple, a mushroom and a strawberry. I really want to make the cupcake next too.

If you are into cute and quirky and crochet, then this book is for you.

If you want to follow along on the blog hop - then this link is for you.

If you'd like to win a copy of Hooked!, six balls of yarn, and a crochet hook - then this link is for you.

And if you feel like it, just for fun, tell me which motif you like the best, or what you'd like to do with them, and I'll choose one or two from the comments and make them up and send them to you.

See ya later crochet potata!

xx



Monday, February 9, 2015

All the little bits

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Hello and happy new week honey bunches!!

Although it's only just begun, my week got off to a pretty shaky start this morning when I lost and then found my car keys in the garden where they'd been hiding overnight and are now soaked through so the clicker won't let me in and the car won't start. Then I couldn't to work out what Indi with braces could eat for her school lunch, couldn't find socks for Pepper and then I turned up to school to find that I'd totally missed the grade six parents' meeting. Oh well, onwards and upwards eh.

So although I'm still feeling a bit rattled by the morning and by the wind, I'm sticking to my appointment with my blog before I head off to my appointment with my beautiful Chinese doctor, the housework can wait.

Why don't we have a little catch up on what's going on around here.

Lately we've been;

Picking/Preserving/Eating/Marketing - APPLES!! Hooray for apple season. So far we've picked our Jersey Macs, Gravensteins, an unknown variety we call Daylesford Delicious and some Blenheim Oranges. All year we imagine the time when we can walk through the farm plucking apples off trees and taking big crunchy bites of them, I can't tell you how great it is to be here, now. I couldn't possibly count the number of apples I ate over the past weekend either, yum!

As well as eating them fresh we are also making dried apple rings, apple leather, apple pie, toffee apples and apple crumble...so far.

And this year we've decided that instead of sending all our apples off the farm to shops and markets, we're going to try to sell them from here. Right now, as I type this, our friend Jobbo who built our cubby-house is building us a cute little farm-stall at the front of our property. Hopefully in the weeks and months and years to come people will pop in and buy their apples here. Hopefully we'll be the local apple farm and rather than buying apples that have travelled in trucks and been stored for goodness knows how long, people will choose apples grown bio-dynamically, sun ripened, picked here by our hands, and stored no longer than a few days at most.

If it works well we might even sell other fruit and veg we've grown here too.

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Picking - As well as apples, we've been picking and eating plums, lettuce, peas, beans, broccoli, beetroot, basil, cucumbers, potatoes, parsley, onions, carrots, tomatoes and shallots. I love summer!

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Watching/admiring/photographing/writing - about wooden spoons. These salad servers were made from both sides of a branch off a pine tree. We've been using them in our kitchen for the past few days but I still love this photo with one finished and one cut but not yet sanded.

I am so inspired and enamoured with my farmer boy's passion and his design and his direction, using the spoons in our kitchen is the icing on the cake.

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Reading - a book about grief has been tricky because I have found myself totally immersed in it and finding myself grieving along with Joan for things past and imagined. I'm loving this book but finding it emotionally exhausting, terrifying and intriguing all at the same time. I think this is one of those books that will hang around and haunt me for the rest of my life.

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Missing - my school girls.

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Winding and knitting - a pair of socks in the most gorgeous golden sunshine colour. These will most likely be the slowest pair of socks I will ever knit  - in purl with all these twisty cables - but they are a challenge and I love them already.

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Feeling grateful - every single time I step outside.

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I need to go now and walk down the hill to my parents' house where my girls have been making yogurt with their grandparents, auntie and cousins. I need to remember to change my shoes because clogs are no good for gravel or hills. We're having beans and cous-cous for dinner. I hope Indi can eat it too. Hopefully I'll get a chance to walk around the big block tonight. And then maybe I'll do a bit of the cute crochet project I've been making for a book review blog later this week. Phew!

So how about you, what are you reading, growing, loving, writing about, obsessing over right now?

I hope you're wearing the right shoes for the job.

I'll be seeing ya!


Love Kate xx



Thursday, February 5, 2015

How to make dried apple rings

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Make hay while the sun shines.

It's possibly a bit silly to write up a recipe for something so straight forward as dried apple rings, but this afternoon as I was making up a batch they looked so pretty that I couldn't resist snapping a few photos and then I thought - why not.

So here we go - this is how we make dried apple rings at our place.

Gather -

  • a basket of apples
  • half a lemon
  • water
  • a knife
  • an apple peeler/corer thing - if you don't have one never-mind, you can do it the old fashioned way with a peeler and a knife.
  • a colander
  • a dehydrator 
  • air tight storage jars

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Gather your apples. Just like there are different potatoes for different meals, there probably is a an apple variety that is more suited for dehydrating, but our Jersey Macs were first off the trees this week so we used them.

Peel, core and cut your apples into rings. Actually, only peel if you feel like it.

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Add one tablespoon of lemon juice to four cups of water and mix well.

Dunk all the apple rings in the lemon mix and leave to soak for a few minutes.

In theory the lemon is supposed to stop the apples from browning, but we just do it because we like the taste.

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Drain the apples in a colander, give the colander a shake and then lay the rings on a clean tea-towel to dry.

I usually press another tea-towel over the top to get all the excess water off.

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Then load your apple rings onto the dehydrator trays making sure there is space between them for the air to circulate.

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After a couple of hours in the dehydrator, test the apples to see how they're going. Ours generally take between four and six hours.

When your apples are leathery or crunchy, just the way you like them, take the trays out and leave them at room temperature for ten minutes or so.

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Then load them into a glass air-tight container and store them out of direct sunlight.

I dare you not to gobble them all up at once.

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Now if only I could work out a way to crochet the peel....


Wishing you a word in edgewise.

LoveLoveLove

xoxo

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Thirty first

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Happy last day of the first month of the new year!

Happy thirty first blog post of the new year!

Last year, in 2014, I posted 74 blog posts and here I am in 2015 with 31 up my sleeve already, I'm pretty happy about that.

In truth taking on the blog-a-day project over the summer holidays has had its pros and its cons. The pros being that the girls have been around making my photos prettier, we've done a lot more fun activities to blog about, and the routine has been more relaxed allowing for more time for photography and writing. The cons are that my blog ate up a chunk of time every night often making bed-time very late indeed and the fact that the girls are always flitting around me during the days chatting and distracting me meant that the only time I could ever put aside to focus on my blog was after they were in bed, which was never any earlier than 10.30. And while I am a night person, I don't think I am necessarily an articulate at night person. So often the great and wordy blog posts I had planned during the days, would end up simplified and shortened. I'm hoping that I'll be able to carve out a chunk of time a few days a week when the girls go back to school to write during the day and I hope to see the difference.

I think the fact that the blog-a-day made me take photos every day has been a great thing for my photography. There were some days that I panicked at dinner-time that I hadn't shot anything yet that day and made the girls come out walking with me, but most days I captured what was going on in real time and that makes me happy. It also makes me happy that I didn't break my own personal - no Instagram photos on the blog - rule.

Late last year when I did make the commitment to balance my life better by writing a blog a day in January, I also made a commitment to try and start an online Lightroom course. I did the first class the day I made that statement and haven't had a chance yet to get any further than that since. Hopefully that will change when the girls go back to school too.

I guess there were only about three days that I really struggled and almost didn't follow through but now that it's done I'm really am thrilled that I persevered and I'm pretty pleased that I have the record of this chunk of time too.

I'm grateful that you guys came along with me, encouraging me, joining in with the conversation and never letting on that you found my posts tedious or annoying. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, your kindness means the world.

So what happens to my blogging from here? I guess only time will tell. I just told farmer Bren that I have a few photos that I haven't used in this post that could easily be a blog tomorrow and he just raised his eyebrows. I'd like to post a blog two or three times a week from here on in, but we'll just have to see where this year takes us to see how that goes.

So, see ya soon, and thank you, and love.
My first new year's resolution - tick!

xxxx


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