Friday, July 6, 2018

from winter

Although I would never consider myself a 'writer', it occurred to me a few minutes ago that most of the writing I do in my life is from my own perspective: the how I'm feeling, what I'm reading, what I'm doing sort of thing. But over the past few days I've been writing a bunch of stories that have nothing to do with me. They're general informative pieces, written to a deadline and a word count. And now here I am sitting down to write about my own life and even though it's my usual thing, it feels a bit strange and personal.

I feel like I could easily describe the picture above in terms of the arctic bite of the winter air, the white skies, the thin slices of frost to be found in puddles, the bird song that breaks the silence, the sting of the icy coldness in your fingertips, the clothes you should wear for protection, the steam coming from your mouth as you breathe, the sound of the slither of frost as it smashes into thin glass-like shards against a tree, the smoke drifting slowly from the chimney reminding you of the warmth inside...

But I want to get back to last Saturday morning, and to me. How I lay in my warm bed and put off getting up for as long as possible because I dreaded those few seconds of feeling the wintery chill on my skin before I got dressed in my hundred layers. How I tried really hard not to bang the lounge room door so as not to wake up my sleepy teenagers, while at the same time resenting them a tiny bit for their sleep-ins. How I tried not to feel disappointed at the fact that we aren't going to be able to run away from the farm to the beach this winter. How I opened all the curtains, put wood on the fire, washed all the dishes in the sink and cleared the place up before I ate my breakfast of cut-up granny smith apple and muesli and yoghurt and drank the coffee my farmer boy had brought in to me in bed. How when I finally did get outside and found Miss Pepper playing with the pieces of frost, I got swept up in her winter joy and for a little while I forgot about all the bits that annoy me and enjoyed all the bits that she loves.

june 30

Last Saturday I cast off my second pair of Uppsala slippers and took them round to Bren's dad. I remember reading something in a magazine years ago about how if you give someone a gift of jewellery and they put it on straight away then they love it, and if they leave it in the box then they don't. Well it made me happy to see Bren's dad John take the slippers out of the bag and put them straight on his feet. They passed the jewellery test. 

july 1

We painted the first coat of black paint on the big window wall of my studio. We plugged the heater in so it was nice and cozy and we played music through the speaker and danced and sang, but still I'm finding it hard to imagine it being anything other than a work site. I don't think the reality will hit me until the tools have been cleared away and I'm sitting in there with the door closed in complete silence all by myself. 

july 1

On Monday we went back into my studio and painted another coat on the wall and I painted our names for one of our great, great, great grandchildren to discover sometime in the future when they're doing repairs on the ancient studio. Then we pulled off the tape and admired how much the black makes the wood and the window pop. 

july 2

We drove to Ballarat for studio lights and supplies and I knitted a beanie. The details are here.

july 4

On Wednesday I struggled through a bit more of Heart of Darkness. I remember feeling the same way when I read As I lay Dying, another one of Indi's literature books, last year. I can't work out if I'm finding it so difficult to get into because I know that it's a school book and I'm reading it extra carefully for the themes and meanings, if I'm just not the literature type, or if it is a difficult book. It doesn't make me feel great that the main character in the film of Tim Winton's Breath, a 14 year old boy, was seen reading HOD on more than one occasion. But someone on goodreads mentioned that HOD is one of those classics that you have to read if you want to consider yourself a well educated adult, and I do. Also it's very short at 100 pages. And best of all, I had Indi put a book mark in the spot where she thinks the book gets really good and I'm only about four pages away and I can feel it starting to pull me along and that's promising. Don't tell her but goodness I'm ridiculously relieved that I won't ever have to write an essay deconstructing the prose, or discussing European colonialism or racism. My brain hurts just thinking about it.

And Jobbo gave Bren a lesson in how to shingle a wall.

july 5

Jezza came and hooked up the electrics, fitted some power-points and put some lights in my studio. Bren and Jobbo constructed the mezzanine for the bed. I admired the light from every angle, the silhouettes it creates against the big window and the glow it casts on my knitting when it is held or worn against the wooden wall next to it. And I started to get a better glimpse into my future creative space and its endless possibilities and I got EXCITED!

July 6

After a busy week of digging up and storing the dahlia tubers, loading and stacking firewood, planting seeds, tidying up the garden, running on the treadmill, looking after emotional children and writing articles, today I'm pleased to say that I haven't yet gotten dressed or left the house. Instead I've been sitting here with Bren and Jazzy watching Friday Night Lights, drinking coffee, eating last night's leftovers and knitting this beanie that I'm pretty certain I won't have enough yarn to finish. Oh well, I'll just have to deal with that when I get to it.

And now I have to rush off to pick Indi up from the train station.

How have you been anyway?
Are you on holidays?
Does the weather sometimes make it hard for you to get out of bed?
Do you sometimes dig around where the daffodil bulbs are to check how far from spring it is?
Have you read Heart of Darkness?
Can you believe that it's 4.48pm here and we're almost in darkness?

See you next Friday!

Love, Kate x


  1. Too many emotions to comment.
    Cheers Kate.
    PS just wanted you to know I read it.

    1. Thanks honey, means the world to me that you do.I hope you have a lovely weekend. xx

  2. Lovely how winter wraps us in a cloak......winter is usually a slower time for us but i find we have many jobs still on the go and we are still preserving...mushrooms mainly from our forages, but also freezing lemon juice, salting olives...the garden is a place of solitude and peace until the sound of hundreds of wings beating in the winter sky herald flocks of birds flying overhead......the noisy frogs at night, the sliding of my wind screen wipers across morning ice.......thank you for your blog Kate, your unfinished beanie is resting on a mighty fine piece of love xx

    1. Beautiful Lisa, except for the windscreen wipers sliding across morning ice, that dives me cuckoo. I hope you have a lovely weekend with just the right balance of productive and peaceful. xx

  3. Love the studio and beanie too, oh! and the slippers. X

  4. Beautiful pictures. What is your studio going to be for you?

  5. Hi Looking for your Beanie Pattern, I joined Ravelry but couldn't see this design. Hundreds of others, but not this one! Can you help??

  6. I can imagine this blog post being in a shiny Cofee Table Book. Just beautiful and full of depth and emotion. Thank you ❤️

  7. Goodness - I dread winter and am trying so very hard to soak up every bit of summer I can here in N. Ireland. My hubby and I are going on lots of hikes and this week coming we are thru hiking and camping for a few days. Winter throws me into despair and I hygge like crazy to cope. I recently read The Heart of Darkness and found I liked it but it really isn't worth all the hype. I read the study notes online to try and get more out of it but the thought, like you said, of writing essays about it - goodness those days are long gone - where to start!

  8. Every day this week, the first one of the holidays,after I've packed Tim off to work I've climbed back into bed to muck about on my phone or computer, read my book, snuggle my kids.It has been EVERYTHING I have needed!

  9. "July 2nd....and I knitted a beanie"!!! LOL. You can't imagine how long it would take for me to knit a beanie! At least a month, you clever crafty lady, you! Here in England we are melting in the unusual heat. I think we must be using up about 19 years worth of our allowance of sunshine all in one summer...I even left the garden parasol out overnight, and IT DIDN'T RAIN!! Totally agree with the comment about your photos could be in a beautiful coffee-table book xx

  10. The joy to have the space and the expertise to create your studio. My heart sings for you and Friday is my favourite day because of your words. Julie

  11. I have been reading your blog for a while and I really enjoy it. I rarely comment, but I wanted to tell you that. I love your pictures and your stories of farming, and I am a little bit envious of your new work studio. It's very hot here in Texas and I am knitting some little cotton wash cloths. It's a very simple and cool project for these hot days.

  12. Hot dry summer here in the uk, as farmers it's getting hard, no grass for the cows means reduced milk, worrying if we will have enough forage for the winter, disappointed when a promised cooler overcast day is just as hot and clear as all the rest. But feeling guilty that I'm enjoying the sun.
    And loving your winter story. Nick

  13. I'm loving the slightly milder days we have here compared to you, I find it the time of the year that I want to get outside and do all the jobs I can't in summer when I wilt so quickly in the heat. Almost all my days off from work are spent in the veggie patch and I have plans for a large flower bed after reading your adventures in flower farming this past year! I'm more than a little in love with your studio.

  14. Is Bren a nickname for Brendan? I like the name and I was wondering. Sending some of the humid Boston summer your way so you can thaw a bit. Thank you for a beautiful blog.

  15. HOD is an oppressive read but I think that's kind of the point of it. You just have to be in the right frame of mind for it! I've become so much fussier about books as I've got older - I will abandon them now if I'm not enjoying them. Before, I would never give up! What are you planning on using your studio for? It looks fantastic. Mine is still a few years away.Maybe by the time my youngest goes to school! Xx

  16. Heart of Darkness is not an easy read and I never actually finished it. I can promise you I am still a well educated adult. It is possible to learn about the horrors of colonialism and racism without reading that book.

    I used to stick with books I'd started even if I didn't like them and then about five years ago I realised our time is precious and we should read things that please us, interest us or stoke the fire in our hearts and bellies. Having been a student and now a teacher, I appreciate there are some books that have to be read so my approach to reading only applies to my free-time reading. I applaud you for reading your daughter's texts - I wish the parents of all my students would do the same as it offers support to the child and insight to the parent.

  17. Hello, I have been reading for ages but never commented. I look forward to your Friday blog and love to read it. I wanted to tell you that I have read Heart of Darkness and found it to be one of the most difficult books I've ever read. I did my honours degree in English Lit and Heart of Darkness was going to be one of the main texts of my thesis. After struggling through it a couple of times I abandoned it, and replaced it with Voss by Patrick White. Little did I know that Voss was almost as impenetrable as Heart of Darkness, but alas, it was too late to change again. So take heart, it's not just you. I'd hazard a guess that the 14year old in Breath hasn't read Heart of Darkness, and the appearance of the book would be symbolic of the themes, I couldn't imagine a 14 year old making any sense of it (particularly if a 4th year uni student could - although perhaps I'm trying to make my self feel better!). Thanks for sharing all that you do, your posts always leave me with a little bit of longing, and a little bit of wonder. xx

  18. I read Heart of Darkness as a senior in high school and hated it! I wonder if I would still hate it just as much now that it's been 13+ years, but I don't know...I just remember that I basically didn't understand hardly any of it, and I was a pretty smart teen! Good luck getting through, and let us know if you discover any breakthroughs about life from it :)

  19. I am becoming a 'fan girl' of your photos. They are so beautiful. You capture your families life so well. (I also really want your slippers!!!)

  20. Please do keep blogging :) The little routine you have here gives me a lot of joy and peace. My current busy life of work and children's commitments, while also supporting my husband with his teaching career means that little snippets like your posts really is like a boost to my soul... I love to see your garden and to know what you are reading.

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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 I'll apologise now, just in case.

Kate XX

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