Thursday, August 30, 2012

When life gives you lemons...

Sometimes things don't turn out exactly as you'd hoped and planned.
Sometimes people don't behave as you'd expect.

People can be strange.

Today I'm holding my gang as tightly as they'll let me.
I'm wearing stripey tights.
I'm focusing on the great people in my life.
I'm filling jars with daffodils.
I'm walking the farm and its almost springness.
I'm taking deep breaths.
I'm looking for silver linings.
I'm trying to ignore the feral weather.
I'm counting my blessings.
We're making lemon cakes and preserved lemons.
And we're making plans for lemon curd and lemon cordial.
And lemonade.

Be good. x

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

On a sunshiney morning.

A couple of days I ago I was reading a photography tutorial that encouraged it's readers to take photos every single day. To carry their cameras where ever they went. And to photograph their every day. Their usual. Their nothing special.

This was our Tuesday morning.

We sat outside in the almost spring sunshine and sorted seeds. She caught the sunlight in her hair. We stepped out the size of the new green house. We watered the hothouse. She watered into the window onto the kitchen floor (oops!). We listened to our new/old Play School record about farms. We laughed about living on a farm and listening to a farm. We heard recorded chickens and real life chickens. She played with farmer Liam's dog Gem and took a pretend trailer ride. We had a snack and then she told me stories while we waited for the boys to finish collecting the eggs. When they had, we joined them in the shed for the egg packing. She sat on my knee in the dark room and we watched all the eggs roll past lit up from underneath so we could check each one for cracks. She made up funny little games and competitions while we were working. She sometimes let me win but then she'd change the rules so she'd win more. She declared herself the champion. We sorted and packed 213 dozen eggs which made us believe that spring was really springing. Hooray!! She wore her vintage button brooch that came with a bunch of sock monkeys all the way from Jessica in Hamburg in Germany. She sang and danced wherever we went.

We had a gorgeous morning, nothing special but special all the same.  The sun was shining and I tried to kiss her all the time. The outside air felt fresh in our lungs. And I felt full of plans and inspiration for the coming season.

Then it was time to come in for lunch and to write a seed order.

That's us, what have you been up to?
What would you do with a crate of lemons?
Do you carry your camera with you wherever you go?

I'm off to check the salt situation for a bit of preserving.

Later potata. x

Monday, August 27, 2012

Monday musings...

As the weeks and blog posts roll on by, I've started to notice the pattern that is the Monday morning brain full of stuff overload. There are numbers and thoughts and recipes and ideas and appointments to remember. There's stuff to plan and to wonder about and to make. 

Some weeks I have let the speed and the amount of stuff overwhelm me and get me down. Other weeks, like this week, I just go with it, enjoy it, notice it and try to make some sense of it.

Here's some of what's going on with me right now...

Firstly, I AM AN AUNTIE!!!!!!!
Last night my sister Meg had a chubby little boy baby called Blackwood (Woody).

Ohmygoodness, a baby boy. So rare in these parts.
I can hardly wait for my turn to snuggle him and give him his little heart baby Milo (ravelled here).

My nine square sampler is slowly growing. The squares above are Alice's Grandala pattern. I love the way the charcoal makes the colours pop.

We grew and picked and salted and rinsed and salted and rinsed...and bottled our own olives. Certified organic Daylesford Organics olives. How ace is that!!

Some say they are still too salty. Not me. I am loving them and gobbling them up by the bowl full.

I keep going back to this post. I am so rarely happy with the posts I write and the photos I take, but this time I was. I think that's the reason I haven't been able to blog since last Wednesday. I just loved clicking on my blog and being reminded of that glorious daffodil picking morning.

The knitting and the seaming of the Jazzy Fan Stitch Jacket is officially finished and all I have to do now is choose a ribbon for the closure or perhaps crochet a little trim. And then she'll try it on and hopefully it'll fit. Fingers crossed.

Spring at the end of this week. Please!!!

Making the most of this year's rhubarb crop with crumbles and muffins and jelly and chutney and maybe even some champagne.

Making a camera strap out of this vintage trim. Have you ever made a camera strap? Have you seen a tutorial for one? Do you think it's silly to use white?

Making and baking and bread and trying to use up the jam we made two years ago and never sold. We made this roly poly on the weekend but I'm keen to have a go at Jamie's recipe next.

Book week costume today, choir costume tomorrow, excursions, projects, forms, library books...I need to get on top of it all and be prepared. This night before panic is killing me.

And then there's the September road trip to plan, seeds to look through and order, a Melbourne trip, this week's meal plan and shop, a photo shoot to clean up for, a hot house to agree on, a guest post to write, the laundry to hang out, the meeting at four, the test knit to knit, the soup to cook, the invoice to send...

How are you going this fine but icy Monday?
Is it Monday there?
Have you got a head full of stuff?
Are you on top of it all or is it swimming around splashing at you?

Later lovelies. xx

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Signs of springtime.

We walked through the daffodils, my smallest and I. We held a basket and a pair of scissors each. We were on a daffodil mission. We had seen some blossoming on the way into school and we wanted some for ourselves.

We were all rugged up but the winter's day was mild, sunny even.

We skipped along. We found lots of daffodils with swollen yellow heads yet to burst and we squealed with delight when we found a few flowers amongst them. Big, golden, star shaped heads with their long, thin, green stems swaying and dancing in the breeze.

She danced from flower to flower reaching down to the bottom of the stem to make her cut so it would sit well in a vase.

She got impatient with me for taking so many photos instead of helping her. But I couldn't help it. The moment was magical and I wanted to capture it and hold onto it forever. The light was just right, the shadows so pretty, the colours so bright and we were happy. Nearly springtime happy. Coming to life after a long, cold winter happy.

We picked daffodils and then we walked along the road to see what other signs of spring we would see. There are new leaves on the apple trees in the orchard, pink blossom buds on the almond tree, the swollen daffodil heads along the driveway, rhubarb in the paddocks and Daphne and Camellia flowers on the bushes. We spoke about how the days are getting longer now too and how the chooks are starting to lay more and how there is daylight when we get up in the morning.

As we walked she used a daffodil as a wand to turn me into a stone. I wanted to be a princess or a bird but she would not budge. I was a stone.

And then we came inside to feed the fire to heat the soup for lunch. The day was already getting colder and greyer.

But we have a gorgeous vase full of daffodils on the dresser now to remind us of a glorious morning and that spring is not too far away.

Are the seasons changing where you are?
Are the days slowly getting longer or shorter?
Are you dreaming of the new seasons' fruit or vegetables?
Are you dying to get out of your gumboots and into your sandals (or vica-versa)?
Are you feeling impatient for what's next like I am?

It's ballet time - gotta fly.

Bye bye blossoms. xx

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

I'm a wondering...

If too much barley is the difference between a soup and a stew?

If not quite set jelly can be called syrup?

If a person's essence can really change?

When winter will be over already?

If I would be a quicker knitter if I held the yarn properly?

If I could cut my own fringe?

When the asparagus will pop up?

How to choose six instagram pics for the exhibition?

Why we ever moved to the iciest, coldest place in Australia?

If there is a good, ethical, environmental, not too pricey flooring solution for us?

How I will fill my time when Pepper goes to school next year?

If I could grow stuff on my studio roof?

If I should change my blog banner?

If the dough I just made is a bit dry?

If farmer Pierre and his family are having a good time in France?

How we ever thought a poodle could be a good farm dog? (Think mud and fur).

How to photograph my gorgeous stripey Esse pipes?

If I drank too much coffee today?

What the blogless do with all their rambling thoughts and distractions?

When my smallests will recognise that soup is a real dinner?

That's me-how about you?
Do you have any answers?
Any wonderings of your own?

Later lovelies.

Monday, August 20, 2012


How great is the start of a new project.

I love that bit. It's all full of new materials and patterns and plans and ideas.

Today I spent the day alone with my farmer boy and now I feel a bit new projecty. We talked and planned and walked and really nutted some stuff out. It's been a while since we've had the time to really concentrate and focus together. Not on any one thing in particular, but on our life and our family and our farm.

I was feeling really stuck on a few details. Like I couldn't get past them. Like I was giving them more attention than they deserved. Like they were dragging me down.

And now I feel inspired. Excited. Happy. Free.

Ready to take on the new week.

And ready to spend every spare moment hooking up my new nine square sampler blanket. The theory is that I'll keep the new project feeling right the way through because I'm only doing nine of each block. Well that's the idea anyway.

Ravelry deets here.

I hope you feel inspired and full of exciting plans.
I hope the sun peeks through those pesky clouds.
And I hope you are cozy.

Have you started a new project lately?
Are you planning/reading/cooking/planting/making anything exciting?
What's inspiring you right now?
How are you feeling about the new week?

I hope yours is happy and wonderful!
I really do.

I'm off to have a bowl of barley and vegie soup.


Thursday, August 16, 2012

Three fails!

It started off as a great foodie plan, filled with so much winter goodness. Miss Pepper ordered pumpkin soup. She was desperate for it. She would eat four bowls full if we made it.

Not being a pumpkin eater myself, I hid my concerns and I asked for advice on choosing a good one. 

We came home with a fine looking Jap, we sliced it in half and she scooped out the pips. She saved them in a bowl so she could plant them in the ground. She was careful to get them all so she could plant HEAPS!!! She would grow a life time supply of soup pumpkins she announced.

And then we found a recipe and followed it to the gram. I would not be tasting it, so I had to trust it.

Then we chopped and peeled and measured and seasoned and boiled and simmered and finally we blended.

Then I sat her down for lunch with a steaming hot bowl of pumpkin soup. 

And after one mouthful she declared it was waaaaaaay too spicy. She put down her spoon and left the table. And that was that.

Failure number one.

While the soup was cooking I considered the big chunk of orange we had left over and decided to make pumpkin scones. I googled and started assembling the ingredients for the first recipe on the list.

We weighed and mashed and measured and mixed. Then we rolled out the dough and cut the circles and popped them in the oven.

But for some reason, no matter how long they spent in the oven, they came out like small, hard orange rocks.

Failure number two.

And then the mandarinalade.

You can probably guess what happened to that.

It was all going to plan. I was already standing next to the stove, so I decided to finish the batch I'd started the night before.

I blended, I weighed, I measured, I stirred. And it boiled and boiled and boiled.

After about 25 minutes, it was finally at that stage where the jars were warming in the bottom of the oven, the plates were in the freezer ready to start testing for readiness...when Miss Pepper started screaming at me from the bathroom to come and wipe her bum....

Burnt mandarinalade.

Failure number three.

I felt awful. Three strikes and I was out. My cooking morning had been a waste of time. And a waste. And I still had to make dinner. And do the dishes!!!!

But then the boys came in and loved the spicy, hot soup after their freezing, cold morning. The girls ate the pumpkin biscuits when they came home from school (anything with a bit of sugar). I gave the family tastings of the burnt mandarin marmalade and they didn't hate it. Maybe I'll cook with it, maybe it'll make good compost. And my farmer boy saved the scorched saucepan with the help of some bicarb and vinegar.

And then the 500 day-old chicks arrived. Eeeep, so cute!!!

It's all good, just a little bit different than I'd planned.

And no more orange in my life for a while I think.

So how are you going this week?
Are you winning in the kitchen?
Could you cook something you don't eat yourself?
Do you do orange?

Check ya chickies. xx

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