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


44 comments:

  1. Oh Kate, please don't do this to me, how I long to have moments like that. You are truely blessed to have those times and to realise, notice and appreciate them.

    cheers Kate

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  2. It's certainly the season for it! We've been having little bonfires for the past few weekends too. http://www.ladylunchalot.com/autumn-fire/ . Love your blog. You sound like, maybe, the spring is back in your step today after feeling a little flat for a while? Hope so.

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  3. Perfection Kate. These are the best moments in life, thank you for sharing it with us xx

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  4. What a special moment! Sometimes it is the simplest of things that can bring the most joy.
    Thank you so much for sharing, it looked truly beautiful x

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  5. Absolutely gorgeous Kate. I love this post. x

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  6. Thanks for these glimpses into your perfect imperfection. :)

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  7. What a lovely spot, what a lovely time you had!

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  8. Oh, really, you are blessed! This sounds amazing and the pictures are lovely! And what exactly did the dough turn into?

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    1. We rolled it onto sticks and cooked it in the fire and then when we pulled it off it was like bread and we filled the hole up with jam. yum!

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  9. you are always inspiring me to pause and look at what I have and be gentle with myself. thank you.

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  10. so beautiful, thanks for charing this special moment :-)

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  11. It sounds absolutely magical. Linda. x

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  12. Some of my best childhood memories are of bonfires and the bread be roasted in the fire! I am sure your girls will remember this day for a long time too! Thanks for sharing these pictures! They brought a huge smile on my face!
    Take care
    Anne
    http://crochetbetweentwoworlds.blogspot.de

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    1. My thoughts exactly! I was going to say that along with the damper and songs, memories are being made.

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  13. Beautiful! And I wonder Kate what you are knitting. xxoo

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    1. I love the way you think Julie, I was knitting slippers for Bren. I'll blog them as soon as I can get them off his feet long enough to photograph them. xx

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  14. Kate what wonderful memories your family is creating.........there is something so therapeutic about a fire. Your photos are beautiful and your story is beautifully told as well. Good for the soul.... Have a good week. Regards Kathy A, Brisbane, Australia

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  15. Gosh... I'm so jealous! It all sounds so beautiful, and yummy!

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  16. So amazing......I'm jealous too! Just amazing x

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  17. How lovely!
    How do you cook the damper? In a tin? Wrapped over a stick?

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  18. I love reading your blog and all you do. Yesterday we planted some evergreen oak trees in our garden, giving a little bit back. x

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  19. How fun! I love when work and play coincide! And I love hearing about your fall when we are just fixin to begin summer. Secret clearings in the woods are a wonderful thing!

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  20. Sounds bliss! Some of my favourite childhood memories are camping along the Murray River and putting on some sort of act, song, dance with my sisters, cousins and friends and cooking on or just simply sitting by the fire each night. You are creating beautiful memories for your girls. x

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  21. Sounds delightfully wonderful !! We have been savouring similar fire-sitting-watching-family time at my hubby's recently pased on grandmothers - although we have waves in the background as it's on the beach. There's something magical about the dancing flames. :) x

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  22. I am planning a big bonfire in the next few weeks. Ours in not too far from the house so each year I find myself the one going back and forth and back and forth to get food and drinks for everyone. I would like to have a blog post that was just what you had in the food box - exactly what I will need to take and not have to head back for supplies.

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  23. Oh my, I can almost smell it! I haven't had campfire damper for years - must remedy that the next time I'm at Bruny Island!

    I've been wanting to do a Solstice bonfire for years too, I hope you get that chance this year.

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  24. What a wonderful, magical experience. Thanks for sharing it with such beautiful detail.

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  25. What a nice experience. I wish we had space to do this at home but it's not easy in the city. We do have a small portable firepit that we use for hot dogs and marshmallows.

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  26. Sounds just wonderful. I am full into the nursery rhyme/singing silly song stage and while sometimes I would like to be able to hit the "off" button, I know this time will pass quickly.

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  27. What a wonderful day you had! I love bonfires, too and staying outdoors. Hope you have a wonderful week. Greetings from Romania!

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  28. Money can not buy this......how wonderful to have awesome family time, the memories will stir when you smell the woodsmoke in your knitting : )

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  29. I have tears streaming down my face, don't ask me why, just do. Beautiful picture you painted of a very special moment in time, a time that I think so many of us want for our families too.
    Keep it up, make it your special place :)

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  30. What a lovely thing to do! We often go and light the fire in our backyard, it's such a lovely way to remove yourself from the day to day stuff and refresh.

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  31. Oh Kate this is a wonderful post because wee can delight in your family's happiness but also it brings to mind similar happy memories from many, many years ago :-) Gosh, it's a long time since I made and cooked a damper...
    Tracey xxx

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  32. This is absolutely beautiful. What a wonderful moment you shared with family, immortalized in words and photos. Just lovely.

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  33. Thank you, thank you, thank you for this beautiful blog. I have been reading you for years and years. While we were living in France it was the gorgeous snippets from your world that made me feel okay about coming back to Australia. A big BRAVO!

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  34. Wow. Sounds like a WONDERFUL day and evening! I love that you baked bread over the fire. We did that when we were in Ukraine, but no one does that here in the States.

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  35. This sounds absolutely wonderful and a night your girls (and you) will probably remember for the rest of their lives!

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  36. Love this post Kate - I had this feeling this morning when we walked down the beach. x

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Thanks so much for stopping by...

I do read every single comment you leave and appreciate it very much, but I should let you know that I can be a wee bit on the useless side when replying to comments, that's just me, everyday life sometimes gets in the way....so I'll apologise now, just in case.

Kate XX

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