Thursday, January 31, 2013

Who farted?

This is not a back to school post, an Indi goes to high school post, or a Pepper's first day as a preppy post. Nope, I'm much too fragile for that.

This is not an end of a twelve year with small girls at home era post either.
I think I've already cried enough for one morning.

This is not even a post where I talk about what I want to do with my time now that I have some. Right now I have no idea. All I want to do is go back to bed and watch episodes of Breaking Bad. It's a shame we haven't got enough water in the tanks for me to have a long hot shower.

I have no idea what this post is. I feel lost and a bit empty. I guess I'm blogging because it felt like a bit of a comforting thing to do. Load photos, type text, publish.

I think I'll leave you with these words of wisdom my crew gave Miss Pepper on her first day of school;

Farmer Bren - Be nice to others and they will be nice to you.
Miss Indi - Shine bright like a diamond.
Miss Jazzy - If you fart, don't let anyone know it was you.
Me - Have fun.

I hope you and your gang have loads of fun too.
I think I'm going to go and get my hands dirty in the garden.

Bye! xx

ps. I don't know what's with the caravan tees. I printed them the other day when I should have been working on my book. They're in theme but I'm not sure how I'll use them. Maybe I need to reopen my shop. Hmmmmmmmm so much to think about.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Learning curve

'Here's a remarkable thought: Among the world's children starting grade school this year, 65 percent will end up doing jobs that haven't even been invented yet.... 
The certainty of change, coupled with the complete uncertainty as to the precise nature of the change, has profound and complex implications for our approach to education. For me, though, the most basic takeaway is crystal clear: Since we can't predict exactly what today's young people will need to know in ten or twenty years, what we teach them is less important than how they learn to teach themselves.'
From The one world school house by Salman Khan pages 179-180.

This week my girls will head off to school.
This week will be Miss Indi's first at high school.
And Miss Pepper's first few days at school (sob).

This week I am questioning the school system like never before. The methods by which we are taught, the hours and hours spent in a classroom, the time wasted on discipline and admin, the classes grouped by age, the stresses that routine puts on my family and probably most importantly, the lack of not-tired hours left over for things like farming and family.

It seems that we are too far into the system to get out of it for now. My girls want to go to school. I guess it's up to us to find creative ways to deal with these issues and get around them.

I can tell you one thing for sure, and that is that my kids will not be the winners of the iPad prize for best attendance record.

Wishing you a wonderful learning year my friends.
May there be lots of time for getting our hands dirty and learning by doing.


Wednesday, January 23, 2013

The small girl & the tiny frog

 Late one summer's evening a small girl and her mama found a tiny frog in a leaf of a basil bush.

After several failed attempts to catch the frog the mama gave up and watched it jump away out of the door of the hot house. But the small girl was eager and quicker and caught the tiny frog between the palms of her two hands.

And then she just stood there with her face so close to the frog's face, chatting and singing and asking it questions.

His name is Sammy! she announced after a bit and then took him inside to meet her sisters and her dog.

And after a while, although Sammy frog was a very polite and friendly house guest, the small girl decided it was time for the tiny frog to go home.

So the tiny frog, the small girl and her mama popped their boots on and walked down to the house dam to set the frog free.

Very slowly and carefully the small girl put her frog filled hand in the water.

But the frog jumped out of the water and up her arm.

Very slowly and carefully the small girl lowered her arm and the frog even deeper into the water.

But the tiny frog just climbed further up her arm.

That's it! cried the small girl, Sammy frog wants to live with me forever!
And she allowed herself to dream dreams of a wonderful, happily ever after with a water-lily filled aquarium in her bedroom and meals of freshly caught flies and bugs.

But as soon as she started to have those dreams, Sammy the tiny frog changed his mind and took a huge leap off the small girl's arm, up into the air, and then down into the dam.

He was a great swimmer too, kicking his legs in big froggy kicks all the way to the side bank.

And although the small girl said she would miss that tiny frog, it was probably just as well he'd gone home because it was getting dark and close to bed time and his froggy mama and family were probably getting worried about him.

I bet that tiny frog slept well after his great big adventure in the hands of the small girl, I know she certainly did.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

what we've been up to X six


We've been letting the garden decide what we eat.

Lots of salads, freshly dug potatoes, baby beets, pestos, plum cakes, pullet eggs, berry sorbets...still no red tomatoes though.


We've been heading out after dinner to turn pumps and sprinklers and taps off.

As the sun slowly sets over the hill, the temperature drops a bit and it's the perfect time to explore, to throw rocks in the dry creek bed, to catch naughty runaway dogs, to pick berries and carrots, to swing under the big Blackwood tree and to feel a bit wild and free and crazy.


We've been starting to think about our trip to Israel this year.

The sights, the smells, the tastes and the culture. I thought cooking our way through Jerusalem might be a good way to prepare the girls. We started with the Krantz cakes the other day, deeeeeeeeeeeeeelicious!


We've been gathering bucket loads of seed off the blackwood trees to regrow and replant and make wind breaks and reforest this place. There is something very wonderful about collecting seeds and growing plants from them. Magical. Sustainable.


We celebrated wonderful behaviour and filled sticker charts with a trip to the water slides with friends. Every single time I saw my girls yesterday they giggled excitedly at what a brilliant time they were having. And they totally deserved it. I am such a fan of the reward chart. I wonder if it's too early to start new ones.


And I've been making and photographing. Now that I've pretty much finished with the words for my book, I'm on to the making it pretty bit. I'm writing lists, collecting ingredients, making stuff, setting up scenes and photographing it all. It's scary and overwhelming and exciting and fun. I wish I knew more, had more time and owned some vintage suitcases.

So there's my second last Tuesday of the summer holidays six.
What're yours?
Care to share?

Later potata

Sunday, January 20, 2013

the old bottom shed

Slowly but surely my book grows.

The number of words written, projects made and photos taken grows. The pile of washing on the laundry floor grows. The number of times we have eaten pasta and toasted sandwiches since I started grows. The amount of cobwebs around the place grows. The number of times my farmer boy has calmed me down and reassured me grows. The amount of times I've locked myself in the office while he's played happy homemaker grows. The number of times we've all squealed with excitement about the prospect of our family being in a book grows.

And on the side, the book blanket grows. Square by square, by square by square.

36 in and I love this project as much as the day I started. She's portable, she's interesting, she's colourful, she's a great stash buster, she's my reward for good book behaviour, she's snuggly, she's been claimed by my biggest farmer girl and one day she'll be a reminder of this book writing time of mine.

She's also super photogenic don't you think?

And funnily I've had no urge to cheat on her; no ravelry pattern searches, no wool shop trips, no dreams of cardigans or beanies.

The book and the book blanket and me are in this together. Til deadline or bust.

Is there a special project in your life?
A project that is making you happy?
Do share.

Wishing you a rad week, yo.


Friday, January 18, 2013

Oh summer garden

After four days away from our farm, we jumped out of the car eager to explore the kitchen garden and the changes we had missed in our absence.

In winter, four days' growth might not be so obvious; plants generally sit still in the cool soil like they do in the fridge. But in hot, bright sunshine-filled days, things move quickly. Plants blossom and grow tall and fill out and make fruit overnight. Blink, or go away for a few days, and you'll miss it.

We returned to our garden yesterday afternoon. We dug deep and felt the moisture in the soil, we tied up droopy limbs, pinched out excess foliage, commented on amounts of growth and harvested some greens. 

The rocket we had planted a few days before we left has burst forth from the soil to create a vibrant green spiral. The tomato plants have grown tall and filled out and are flowering madly. There are green bulbs of fruit on some of the earlier varieties, but bruschetta time still feels a while away.

The onions, possibly the only veg that me and my farmer boy disagree on, are finally bulbing right up and looking ready to harvest. All spring long he complains that they are taking up valuable garden space and should be planted down in the farm's market garden where the longer term plants grow. 

But to me onions are worth their weight in gold. An onion is the starting point of every hearty meal. If we can grow good onions then we have taken care of one of the most important staples. I am happy to patiently wait for the onions. I am pleased to give them space and time to grow. I adore watching their bulbs form and fatten up. 

The second succession of carrots is coming along nicely after the first didn't have such a great strike rate. We laugh that I planted this lot so terribly thick, but I know that thinning them out will be a delicious job we'll all enjoy in a few weeks' time.

The basil in the ground, and the basil that has yet to go into the ground is growing huge and bushy and calling for the first pesto of the season. Can you smell it? Mmmmmmm summer...

And the peas and beans are still fruiting madly, rewarding us with their crunchy fresh burst of flavour whenever we pass by.

Miss Pepper's sunflowers are still squished up closed but look just about to burst into bloom above our heads at any moment. Just as the potatoes nearby are doing their thing under our feet. 

And the lettuces...oh how I adore the summer lettuces. Salads for two out of three meals a day, green leaves poking out of sandwiches and leaves cut off and gobbled up right there on the spot.

Oh summer garden, I feel like I've been waiting for you all year.


How does your garden grow at the mo?
What are you planting, harvesting, noticing, eating?

Wishing you the most scrumptious weekend.


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