Friday, November 30, 2012

My 'what makes me happy' to-do list.

Hello day before summer and very last day of November!!

What a crazy time of year you are.

I don't know about you, but I'm finding my days are disappearing in a sea of pick ups and drop offs, final this and preparing for that, make lots of this and rehearse for that. There's costumes and projects, and food shares and transitions and meetings and excursions and parties and inspections and reports and dead-lines and concerts and dances and assemblies...and there are three, tired, fragile children.

Yesterday I drove in and out of town nine times!!!!

And so being the disorganised person that I am, I've often found myself feeling like I am drowning. Overwhelmed and out of control. And that all the stuff I love doing, the stuff that makes me-me, gets stuck right down the bottom of the list.

So this morning, when I stepped back into my house after the first drop off of the day, and I contemplated the mess that needed sorting out and the list of housey chores that needed attending to, I decided to make myself a what makes me happy to-do list.

On that list I wrote things that I love doing, but that aren't exactly priorities. My happy stuff. The stuff that makes me feel passionate and inspires me.

I'm hoping that having this list will keep me more focused and motivated and on task. If I hang and fold all the laundry, then maybe I can do something for a little while that I love, like crochet a coaster or plant out some of the basil.

Like make a new type of bread or sew a dress.

Like thin out the lettuces or sew some bunting.

Like soaking and blocking my just cast off cardigan.

Like taking photos and writing a blog...

And you know what? It might seem small but for now I feel like writing that list has made all the difference to my day. I feel like the shoulds will be more doable if there are some loves in amongst them.

Oh after a bit of contemplation, I just deleted all the games off my phone too. I reckon I could have crocheted an entire blanket in the time I've been wasting lately.

OK here I go, off to tackle the kitchen with my rewards well in sight.

I hope you have the most fabulous weekend.

But before you go, I'd love to know a few of the things that would make it onto your what makes me happy to-do list.

Bye! xx

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

See ya spinach!

If picking and eating vegies straight from your garden is the very best thing, then preserving a portion to eat in later months is second, and saving the seeds to growit again next season is the third.

Yesterday, after three or four months of spinach eating. After pasta pocket fillings, pasties, pies, stir fries, triangles, salads, pizzas, pestos, lasagne's, frittatas, on toast and in soups, we decided that this season's spinach growing days were over. 

So we pulled up all but one bed of spinach.

Then we stripped the leaves and composted the stalks.

And then we steamed, squeezed and froze the rest.

While pulling a spinach portion out of the freezer over the next few months wont quite be the same as cutting a few leaves out of the garden, it will still be spinach that we grew with love and care, in great soil, organically, in our own garden. And it will still be delicious.

And the one bed we left we'll collect spinach seed off to store and plant next year.

I do love growing and eating seasonally. It makes us appreciate what we have when we have it so much more. And the preserved stuff is just icing on the spinach cake.

Is your spinach going to seed?
Or perhaps you are just putting yours in?
What's your favourite way to enjoy the green stuff?
What have you got going on in your garden right now?

Bye. x

Monday, November 26, 2012

the one where I was painted...x

I really, really, really do love blogging. I've been thinking a lot about it lately. How many amazing things have happened or are happening to me because I keep this online journal. I feel incredibly lucky, I do.

 I have had an outlet to catalogue my thoughts and photos and moments in time. I have received such fabulous feedback in the form of comments and emails and letters and in person. I have been inspired beyond belief. I have felt like part of a wonderful community. I have made the most wonderful friends some now in real life and many on screen. I have had my work featured on your blogs, in magazines and on websites. I have been given gorgeous presents and compliments. I have a journal of sorts of this period in our lives. I have felt connected and involved despite living rurally. And somehow I feel like my blog has really helped me define who I am as a person, as a mother, as a writer and as an organic farmer.

I know for certain that my life is better, fuller, more well rounded, since I have been blogging.

Blogging really is the most wonderful thing.

But one thing I NEVER EVER expected to come from writing my blog is to have been painted by a wonderful, talented artist.

A few weeks ago a gorgeous reader asked my permission to paint me and Miss Pepper from a few of the photos on my blog. I agreed and asked her to send me some photos of her paintings once she was done.

How good are they!!! She really got us don't you think. From the stripes, to the gum boots, to the crocheted collar she found on my ravelry project page and then made herself and added. Wow!

What a wonderful and unexpected gift.

Thank you SO MUCH for sending them to us Zannah!! We all really love them.

Do you write a blog?
Do you read blogs?
Do you feel like blogs have changed your life?
Do you adore Zannah's work as much as we do?
Do you know where we can buy a 12 year old, white or cream petti-skirt?

I hope your Monday is a funday peeps.

Lotsa love.


Sunday, November 25, 2012

blackberries and all...

One day last week I found myself in a taxi rushing through peak, city, lunch time traffic on the way to an appointment. Actually rushing is probably the wrong word to use because although I was in a rush to get there on time, the streets were crazy busy and we weren't going anywhere fast.

I felt good though, happy to have escaped the farm for a while.

But we were stuck in traffic, so we started chatting, the taxi driver and I.

He told me of his family back in India and of how poor his village was. He told me how he and his brother had come out here to Australia seven years ago to seek their fortune and how they had spent six of those seven years working in an Indian restaurant. And he told me of his dream to get out of the city, away from the traffic and the hustle and bustle and live a quiet life in the country.

And then he asked about my life. Where I live, what life was like here and what it was like to be an organic farmer. It sounds beautiful he told me. Like a wonderful life. Like an easy life. Is it?

And at that moment, sitting there in that taxi in my city clothes and city shoes, with people and cars and buildings all around me, my life back home looked pretty sweet.

For a second I forgot all about the constant irrigation issues, the squawking of the fire scanner on farmer Bren's tool belt, his stained and rough hands, the weeds, the endless to-do lists, the fire-prep, the little bits of black spot on the apples, the troublesome dog, my fear of snakes, the stink of the sea-weed spray and the foxes.

And instead I remembered the incredible beauty of our farm at the moment. The green and luscious look of the veggie garden, the tiny apples, and plums and quinces, the water lilies on the house dam, the sound of the banjo frogs, how happy the chooks look in the orchards, our amazing customers, the twilight walks, the taste of our certified organic freshly grown produce and how proud my farmer boy is of his compost.

And I told him that no, it isn't exactly an easy life but it sure is a beautiful one. One that we are very proud of and are grateful to be living.

And then I felt a bit desperate to get home. And I think he felt something similar because he asked me a lot of questions about the three Indian restaurants in our town.

I wonder if I'd recognise him if I saw him down the street one day.

It'd be nice to thank him for reminding me that there's no place like home, prickly, overgrown blackberry bushes and all. Gosh it is a wonderful life and we are so terribly lucky.

Are you having a lovely weekend?
Are you loving where you're living?
Sometimes do you need a stranger to remind you?
Me too.

I'm off to supervise Miss Indi's lava lamp making and then to check out the elevator being made by the others in the shed.

I hope you have the best week EVER!!

Bye. x

Friday, November 23, 2012

Following my Friday...

Most Fridays I have a chunk of time where I am all by myself. Alone! The girls are out and away, farmer Bren is off being a farmer somewhere and I have the house all to myself. It's quiet. I can think.

Sometimes I have something urgent to attend to and get stuck straight into it, but most Fridays when I come back home after drop off into a quiet house, I notice the luxury of a few hours of time stetching ahead of me. And that time feels like opportunities. It feel precious.

Time to spend as I choose. Time to think thoughts all the way through. Time to start, comtinue or finish things. And time to breath.

I love Fridays. I feel like they prepare me for the craziness of the weekend ahead and give me time to do what I want to do. Fridays feel like a luxury.

This morning after I came home and put the breakfast dishes away and a load of washing on, I walked around slowly contemplating my day. I could do so many things...

I could could attend to that pile of fabric scraps that have been calling out to me all week. I could draw a pattern on them, cut them out, and stitch them back together again into some bunting, or a quilt, or some curtains or a dress...

I could spend some time in the kitchen garden weeding and watering and thinning and planting....

I could sit down and knit a few rows of the second sleeve of my red cardi. I am so close to the end now and I just want to wear it...

I could plant some of these guys in the poly tunnel and some down in the market garden....

I could write. Oh I have so much I need to write...

I could rush around and vacuum and sweep and mop and launder my house and make it look all gorgeous and sparkly for the weekend.

Or I could make a cup of tea and stop for a while and smell the roses. Roses my gang gave me for mothers' day this year. Roses from rose bushes that are the only non edible, not useful, just pretty, things we have ever planted on our farm....

Or I could bake some bread...spelt and wholemeal and rye...maybe...

Or I could sit down and load some photos and write a blog about all the things I might do, I could do, I want to do...and then I can decide...

But whatever I choose to do I'd better get to it quickly because these monkeys of mine will be home with all their fun and chaos before I know it. My quiet Friday will be over for another week...

And as I am about to press publish I can hear my washing machine beeping at me telling me to hang out it's load. Maybe I'll just let my day lead me where ever it wants me to go...maybe...

Are you leading your day or are you following it around?
Are you sewing or cooking or cleaning or gardening?
What are you up to?
Are you happy?
Is the sun shinning over there?

I hope you have the most fabulous weekend.
Ours is a bit hectic but should be lots of fun.

See ya's! xx

Monday, November 19, 2012


Because it is killing me that Miss Pepper, my colourful, stripey tights, odd gumboots kid will have to wear a school uniform soon.

Because I have a very full on dead line coming up.

Because I would rather sew than have a clean house. I wish it weren't so.

Because I've never sewn her a size 5 dress before.

Because I was embarrassed when my studio builder asked me how much fabric I actually have.

Because there are 4820 things ahead of 'make a dress' on my to-do list.
Because I can.

Because I know she'll love it.

Because it is a mix of old and new fabrics that have sat around in my stash forever.

Because our 11 o'clock appointment didn't show up and I had some extra time in my day.

Because every five year old girl should have a colourful twirly dress, don't you think?

Because after a weekend spent looking after four 12 year-olds, it was such a treat to do something just for me.
Because listening to The Moth podcasts and cutting and sewing bits of fabric together is one of the best ways I know to spend some time.

Because some times when I wonder how I will fill up my time next year, I think I might sew and I had to be certain I still like to.

Because it's spring time and there is hardly any sewing time.
Just because.

How about you?
Are you a justificator?
Should you be doing something else right now?
When was the last time you said 'stuff it' and did something just for the fun of it?
Do you think I could pull off a mixy-matchy dress too?

I'm off to pick broad beans for dinner.

Later. xx

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Alpaca shearing.

So it turns out Mr Cloudy and Mr Meatballs, our resident alpacas, aren't so good at doing their job as chook protectors after all. They are great lawn mowers, they add biodiversity to our farm, their poo is fertilising our paddocks, we think they are doing well keeping the foxes away and we really do like having them around and watching their funny ways. But they are hopeless at protecting the chooks from the resident eagle family and there are feathers all over the olive grove to prove it.

But having the alpacas with us over the past six months has made me realise something about myself that I didn't really know before. Visiting them and watching their wool grow and being amazed by how thick and deep it got, made me realise that I want to expand my love of wool craft further. I want to go back a few steps in the yarn chain. I want to produce, process, spin and then knit and crochet our own wool. Our own certified organic, Daylesford Organics wool.

Let's face it, if we are trying to make and grow and preserve as much of what we eat and wear and use ourselves, then it's the logical next step for me, don't you think.
Last Friday afternoon a lovely alpaca shearer called Tim came over to shear our woolly friends.

In the past I had heard awful stories of terrified, bucking alpacas being tied down on their backs so I was a bit nervous before hand, but I was also excited never having seen an animal being shorn so close up before.
But as it turned out I had nothing to worry about. Tim was gentle and calm and our alpacas were too.

They struggled a bit at first and I'm sure they didn't exactly enjoy being restrained, but they seemed to understand and respond to Tim's actions and the whole thing went smoothly.
And it was wonderful to watch Tim at work. After years on the job he knows the alpaca anatomy so well and the wool came off smoothly as the razor glided over their skin and under their fleece.

And that wool was so thick and there was so much of it and it was so clean underneath next to their skin.

We kept the wool off their sides and neck in one bag for spinning, and the rest, the shorter more scruffy wool, in another bag.
And after he was done and our alpacas looked like scrawny goat like creatures, he clipped their toe nails, checked their teeth, gave them a vitamin D injection and spoke to us about what to look for in case of sickness and how best to look after them.

I feel like last Friday was a great day in my life as a wool lover. My next step is to find myself a drop spindle and to watch a whole lot of YouTube clips.

I have butterflies in my tummy when I think of knitting something with my own hand spun. I can hardly wait. Eeeeeeeeeeep!!!!

I hope you've had a bit of excitement in your life too.
I hope you've felt passionate and inspired and excited.
And I hope if you have any spinning wisdom to pass on, you'll do so. I want to know everything.

Have a happy week my friends.


Oh and I apologise for my lack of interneting lately. We've had all sorts of issues that have only just been resolved in the last day or so. Hopefully we are all back online drama free now. If you've emailed me and I haven't replied, maybe try me again.

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