Saturday, October 17, 2015

on seeds and words

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A few days ago I bumped into a dear friend at pick up time at school. It was a bit windy and I blurted out how frustrated I was that I had all this writing to do and couldn't seem to do it. Physically I was having a very difficult time sitting still long enough to write more than a couple of sentences and then when I finally did, the words just wouldn't flow. I told her I was worried I couldn't do it anymore, that I'd left it too long and now it was gone.

She laughed and saw right through me as only a good friend can. She told me that from what she could see, I am just deep in farmer Kate mode at the moment. That I am wearing my overalls as a uniform. That I am slashing and planting and weeding and watching and irrigating and mulching and planning. That maybe being so intensely engaged in one means that there's not quite so much room for the other.

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And she's right too of course. After three months away from this place we've returned just in time for the spring explosion. I'm seeing everything as if for the first time. I'm making lists a mile long of all the veggies I want to plant. And slowly I'm planting them, labelling them and watering them.

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I'm celebrating all the little leaves that have poked their heads up through the soil since we've been home. Hello!! Welcome!!

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And even though we are behind this year, I feel like I'm loving it more than I have for a while. And I'm seeing it with fresh eyes and I'm noticing all the details. Grow little babies grow.

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Before we left I would sit in the orchard waiting for the kettle to boil and notice all the work that needed to be done. Now we're home I am more interested in the feel of the warm breeze on my cheeks, the tiny bird with a yellow mask across its face, the path the bees take from one blossom to the next, the way the fruit is setting on varieties that aren't always so bountiful, the scratchiness of the bits of straw stuck inside my bra, the way my farmer boy runs his fingers along a piece of wood imagining the spoon that could be, that my new kettle is slowly being charred black from use...

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And when we're not working out on the farm, it's a pleasure to be using our own freshly picked produce in the kitchen. That was the thing I found most difficult while we were away and now we are home eating what we've grown makes me happier than any European meal ever could.

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And we've started a new starter, Steve. Baking bread feels like such a good measure of a kitchen's health I think. At the moment we're still feeding, smelling and admiring Steve's bubbles, but soon we'll be back to kneading and shaping and baking fresh loaves each day and I can't wait.

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In the end, after giving it a bit of thought and realising that my friend's words were true, I decided I needed to find a way to trick my system. Farmer Kate is great but writer Kate still has deadlines and responsibilities. So yesterday morning, for the first time in the three weeks since we've been home, I got dressed in town clothes. I wore a dress, tights and clogs and wore my hair out, very unfarmy. Then after I got home from school I sat up at the computer. I brainstormed a page full of sentences and then fitted them into a story. Then I did it again. And then I submitted my stories, changed into my overalls and went out to water my seedlings. Ahhhhhhhh...

I love my life as a farmer and I love that I get to write about it too. I feel relieved that I can still do both. But I think I might need to carve out a bit of regular time for my writing though so it's not quite so hard next time. Maybe a morning a week? Maybe two?

In the meantime I'm going to go and hang out the laundry and then sit outside in the sun and cast on another pair of socks.

Then we're going to Melbourne for a party!

Have you got something fun planned for this weekend?
Do you make time for all the different parts of your world?
I wonder.

xoxo

Yellow socks ravelled here.


17 comments:

  1. This is a really beautiful, and encouraging post. Sometimes it's hard to turn on all the different parts of ourselves! I love the way you tricked your brain into making the switch. Your farm life, with the bread and the fresh produce, sounds glorious! Good luck with your writing!!

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  2. There's always so much to do. So many m"more important" things for me, as my writing doesn't make me any money. I do think dressing the part really helps, and putting aside time is a great idea for me too. Maybe I could spare an evening away from the t.v and in front of a blank page instead? Hmm... perhaps I'll add it to the list. Meanwhile I'll daydream about being in front of that fire with a cup at the ready.

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  3. What a lovely post. You are so favoured to lead an amazing outdoor life, although I am sure it is incredibly hard work at times. I'm glad you found the author in you again :-) x

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  4. I feel very much like you, balancing between being out in my well worn insulated overalls, its fall here :), gardening, and sitting warm in my studio and write in order to be able to say something interesting at seminars, both things makes life and we will probably miss The other thing if we only were out or inside , I enjoy your blog, mine is bibprofessor.Wordpress.com Niels

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  5. To be honest I find it hard to fit everything in, it is a juggling act to say the least in my life. I must say you are very productive and I love those socks xxx

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  6. I find it hard juggling at this time of year too. Our last lambs were born today - so that's lambing and calving over for the year, but there's still chicks hatching and obviously with the lambs and calves on the ground the work isn't going anywhere, it's just changed. I like your idea of trying to make a writing routine, I think I'll try it too.
    Hope you're having a lovely weekend Kate,

    Sarah x

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  7. I do try and make time for each part of my life. But it has taken me a long time to enjoy 'that' part I am on rather thinking what else I could be doing at the same time. I try and think - ' this is my hour at the alottment and everything else has to come later'. Right now I am enjoying this activity/chore/job/time and likewise for family time, crafting time, sleeping time. Jo xx

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  8. I am very full on in teacher mode at the moment and there is very little left for the reader, crafter, gardener or girlfriend or daughter. It can be a bit frustrating, but then rediscovering the other parts of yourself is very rewarding and happy :)

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  9. Oh God, there's a question Kate! I'm bloody terrible at making time for all the different parts of my life...... But I do tend to think of writing as a muscle, the more we exercise it, the easier it gets...... Something I really need to do more of... We are moving this wkend for the second time in two months (we just moved to the middle East and r moving into more permanent accommodation) so it might not b this week, but...... Soon! I am making a promise to myself! I hope you write more, too I do so love reading your blog. Hope you had a great party x

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  10. Oh God, there's a question Kate! I'm bloody terrible at making time for all the different parts of my life...... But I do tend to think of writing as a muscle, the more we exercise it, the easier it gets...... Something I really need to do more of... We are moving this wkend for the second time in two months (we just moved to the middle East and r moving into more permanent accommodation) so it might not b this week, but...... Soon! I am making a promise to myself! I hope you write more, too I do so love reading your blog. Hope you had a great party x

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  11. Oh Kate...we cant be everywhere doing everything all of the time no matter how hard we try. Please feel free to take my advice...I'm not using it :) Hooray for Steve, keep me updated with your bread adventures xx

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  12. I completely get your feeling like maybe you've lost your mojo - and your friend is so right, as you know. I need to listen to those words myself.
    P.S. Love that your starter is named Steve. Ours is called Bob :)

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  13. Sourdough, isn't it an amazing thing Kate! Your starter 'Steve' is looking gooey and delicious already. xx

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  14. It's so hard to make time for all the different parts of our lives. I struggle with it every day.

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  15. I constantly question how to find balance in my life. I'm trying to find the time to experiment with sourdough - it's been on my wishlist for a long time. Can you point me in the direction of a great sourdough starter and bread recipe?

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    1. Hey Bron, we have a heap of books here but always seem to go back to Hugh - The River Cottage's Bread Book. It's full of great recipes and info. I highly recommend it. x

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  16. This post reminds me of another song (not Tracy Chapman, though):
    "For everything, (turn, turn, turn), There is a season (turn, turn, turn) ..." recorded by the Byrds I think.
    I am glad you are finding a way to take a turn of farming and a turn of writing etc.
    It looks like all is how it should be in the world if you can find a bit of this and a bit of that and somehow after days and months, it all fits together and you will have done all you need to do.

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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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