Showing posts with label farm. Show all posts
Showing posts with label farm. Show all posts

Sunday, July 13, 2014

the strangest meal

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I still get so excited when I see my work published in a magazine. I mean it's one thing to write and photograph stories for my own blog, but it's something else entirely when an editor or publisher chooses me. It feels validating, like I'm on the right track. I love it.

Last week the winter edition of Slow Living Magazine came out and along with a story I wrote and shot about life on our farm in The International Year of Family Farming.

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There is also a story about my sister Meg and her bike riding, foraging, adventuring family,

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A story written and photographed by friends of ours Sahm and Andrew about locals Wayne and Chris.

IMG_0262And one of my favourite photos I've ever taken of my farmer boy's hand holding a tomato he just picked on the editorial page. Yay!

Of course Slow is filled with loads of other articles written, shot and about amazing people and places that have nothing to do with me too.

Before the magazine went to print Tim Baker, the editor, sent out an email asking all the contributors to write a three or four line bio that included a brief description of who we are and what we do, followed by an account of the strangest meal we've ever consumed and our current favourite dish.

Mine never made it into the magazine so I thought I'd include it here;

Kate Ulman is an organic farmer, mother of three and wife to her handsome farmer boy. One Autumn evening a few years ago while they were walking around their farm admiring, discussing and smelling the soil, Farmer Bren suggested she have a taste. She hesitated, but then wondered who was she to question her husband's precious soil, his life's passion. So she ate a bit. It tasted like gritty earth. Luckily it grows the most gorgeous fruit and veggies, including the Mutzu apple which is her favourite fruit in the world.


I hope you are having a glorious, slow weekend folks, and if you have the time I'd love to hear about the strangest meal you've ever eaten and/or your current favourite dish. It's such an interesting one.

Big love!

xx

Monday, July 7, 2014

these two

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You'll have to excuse this post that is heavy on photos and light on words, but we are half way through the winter school holidays and all sense has flown out of the windows and all that is left behind is silliness and chatter. And song and stories and descriptions and instructions. So many words and yet none left to use here.

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There was this day last week where Jazzy stayed inside and stripped her room for painting, my farmer boy and I walked up and down the hill doing the farm chores, and these two played together in the forest for hours. Climbing and laughing and sliding and telling funny stories.

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There certainly are times when I wonder about living on a farm, when I worry about country kids and I hope that we are giving them enough. But at times like these I feel confident that this farm fresh world is the best world for us. It is more than enough.

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I don't know if they know it yet.
But I do.

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I love the way these two play and love each other fiercely.

I'm so glad I had my camera to capture them and their muddy knees.

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Happy days friends. Happy days!

May the chatter that fills your head be kind and funny.

Bye!

xx



Tuesday, July 1, 2014

On a wintry Tuesday

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It's Tuesday and I haven't left our farm since last Friday. It's been too cold and really, there's nothing out there in the big wide world that I need.

I guess winter is the season we have been preparing for during all the others: we have a freezer stacked to the top with containers, our pantry is groaning under the weight of filled Fowlers jars and there are piles of kindling and firewood ready to burn to heat our house, dry our clothes and cook our food.

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It's Tuesday and for the first time in days it's not rainy or windy or both. Today feels like one of those days where winter stops for a second and catches it's breath. It is still freezing cold but it is calm and it's still. We'll rug up to go out to feed the animals and collect the eggs, but then instead of rushing back inside to shelter, we might venture further.

We might check on the crops growing in the market garden, make plans to mulch the garlic, weed the beetroot, spray the orchard, whipper snipper between the trees, bring in another load of wood, move the chickens, pick the rhubarb and start pruning the apples.

The winter jobs might be fewer but the days are shorter and mostly nastier, so we'll study the weather forecast and work when we can.

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It's Tuesday and although it's only the second day of the school holidays, I think I might get the girls all rugged up in their winter woollies and make them come outside with me too. They've been crafting up  a storm all morning but I know that a few big gulps of fresh winter air will do them so much good.

We'll run down the hill, watch the water streaming past us, listen to our boots squeak in the wet grass and chat to all the animals. It'll be so cold that our eyes and noses will sting but we'll feel alive in the iciness and it will make us run faster and scream out and sing.

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IMG_0015 It's Tuesday, the first day of July and the second month of winter.

I am not a winter person. Not at all. But I am a person who loves coming back inside after being out. I love getting the fire cranking, putting the kettle on the hot-plate, stripping off my wet weather gear, making a soup and settling in with some knitting. That I can do. That part I am good at.

Happy Tuesday lovely friends out there, what have you got planned for the day?

xxxx

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

fire, feast and song

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There's this little clearing in a piece of forest on our farm that I've had my eye on for a while now. It's a funny little spot in between two paddocks and behind the windmill dam that looks thick and bushy from the outside. It's the type of spot you could easily walk past without giving it much thought at all. But a while ago, possibly even years ago, my farmer boy took me in through the trees and showed me how there was a lovely space inside and a big pile of wood and sticks in there that needed burning. I've been thinking about lighting that bonfire ever since.

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I love the feeling of walking through the little foresty bit as it opens up into a clearing. It's like our own little secret garden. And this autumn it's been particularly beautiful in there with streams of sunlight and dappled shadows.

Most weekends I've been suggesting that we head down there with a picnic and a box of matches but this past Saturday we finally did. Us five and farmer Bren's folks, my knitting, some tools, and a box of ingredients to make a bonfire feast.

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We got the fire going and then we spent a while cutting down gorse bushes and blackberry plants and neatening up the space. I love being part of the whole family team that cuts down, drags over and feeds the fire. I love the roars of excitement as the branches of gorse catch alight and the flames seem to shake the high tree branches and touch the sky. I love that feeling of being burning hot on the front and freezing cold on the back and rotating to keep myself evenly warm.

And I love how after we had been working a while, the girls got to work on the feast. Working together to measure, mix, roll and cook.

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IMG_9688We took turns making and baking. We discussed old cooking techniques and invented new ones. We cut and sharpened the longest sticks we could find, so we could reach the hottest fire. We ate jacket potatoes with rosemary and cheese, toasted marshmallows, and damper with Vegemite, or butter, or jam. We burnt our fingers and spilled things on our clothes and gulped down water. We went from hard-working hungry to full as bulls in not very long time. And we dreamed and told stories of the parties we would throw in the clearing now it is clear and planned to bring in stumps and slabs of wood for future furniture.

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IMG_9705 And it was all delicious and wonderful. But my very favourite part of all came after the sun set, when it was pitch black except for the fire. It felt like midnight but was possibly not long past six when the girls started singing. And for the next few hours we all sang and sometimes danced and laughed and laughed. One song after the other just voices in melodies and harmonies.

And it occurred to me as I sat up against my farmer boy watching their glowing faces and listening to their songs that finally after years and years and years of entertaining them with nursery rhymes and silly games, that they are finally entertaining us. And I felt blessed beyond measure.

I'm sure that that night when we all went back up to the house that we all dreamed exhausted, smokey, secret garden dreams.

I went down to that same space yesterday in the late afternoon to check if the fire was still burning, to see what the newly cleared space looked like a few days later and to have a few minutes of silence for myself and I could still feel something special there. I've got plans for another visit soon with a pot of soup and some Turkish coffee. Hopefully winter is kind and allows it.


I hope you are having a gorgeous day.

Lots of love

xx


Monday, April 21, 2014

these days

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A little trickle of an idea; a thought, a whisper.
The trickle gathers momentum as it builds up speed and becomes a plan.
The trickle idea, now a fast moving stream, flows over or around obstacles, picking up and carrying stuff as it flows along, getting bigger and wider and more river like, more exciting.
The stream becomes so wide it is almost impossible to wade through and the plans and adventures become so real they must be believed, must be acted on.
These days are filled with adventures.

There are fairies in the forest. There are fires to be built. There are unusual snack combinations to try out. There are chicken relationships to contemplate. There are jokes that nobody else understands to laugh and laugh at. There are little secret notes to be written and stashed in odd places. There are songs and dances to be practised and performed. There are early, early morning adventures down the hill and there are nights crashed out on the couch fully clothed. There are episodes to watch in order. There are times spent making new friends, making clay, making gods-eyes, and there are times spent with old friends, with family and at home.

These days are chilly and long. Layers are worn and discarded as the sun hits. Boots are pulled on and off. Crazy messes are made and then tidied. Snacks are mostly eaten on the run. Hair becomes a birds nest and hidden under a hat. Games are played and to be continued.

Two weeks of adventures down and another to go.

I love these days.
I hope yours are filled with fun times too.

Big love,

x

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

blogging bits & burning sticks

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I'm afraid my blogging has been getting away from me. Where my monthly average used to be 13 or 14 posts, these days it is down to four or five. I don't know what's changed. Maybe I have less time these days, maybe facebook and instagram are to blame, maybe it's because I feel like I've said it all before, maybe it's because I just got out of the habit, or maybe it's because each post seems so big and overwhelming that often it's simpler to let it go.

But I miss it. I miss taking the photos and telling the story. I miss watching the post come together. I miss that feeling of satisfaction I get when I press publish. And I miss your beautiful words and stories in the comment section. And someday in the future I know that I will desperately miss the gaps in our family's illustrated history.

The other day Miss Jazzy sat down to do a timeline of her life and there the last five years were, every birthday party, every major event and so much in-between. She had a ball scrolling through remembering her life.

I've been thinking about ways to make blogging easier for myself ever since.

And I've come to the conclusion that I need to make it simpler and quicker for myself. So for the next little while I am going to aim to publish a blog post every, or every second day. Quick little stories with only a couple of pictures that tell the tales of where we are and what we are doing right now.

I've said it before and I know it to be true; the more I blog - the easier and better I blog.

Look out for stories in the coming days about what I've been knitting, what's growing in the garden, what we are doing with all those tomatoes, what we are reading, how I'm going with the whole kind thing, what's bringing me joy and anything else that pops into my head. Feel free to offer me any suggestions you might have too.

Yay! I'm excited.

IMG_8844 IMG_8848 IMG_8843 This particular story above is one that began yesterday morning when I bumped into a friend who was taking her family away camping for the holidays, and left me feeling guilty that all our plans are for home. But then when I came home to our little farm and had a good look around I realised that our home, and all the adventures it holds, is a pretty incredible place to holiday in too.

And once I'd realised how much we all really need a holiday at home, we set about collecting sticks and building a bonfire where we spent the day cooking and pottering and playing and experimenting and getting absolutely filthy.

I love that despite the cold and rain, I found Jazzy and Pepper back out there in their wet weather gear first thing this morning wanting to keep going where they left off. I can remember doing that so clearly when I was little. The sign of a great day I think.


I'm going to sign off now and go and stir my bubbling pots of tomato sauce and quince jelly, but I'll be seeing you real soon.

Big love and happy holidays!

xx

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