Monday, September 1, 2014

bits and bobs

Hello!! How are you? Happy springtime!

Long time no blog hey. Possibly the longest time since this blog began, possibly too long for me to even remember where we've been and what we've been doing.  But that's OK, I'm here now with twenty minutes before I have to go and pick up the girls from school, and that's all that matter's right.

So a little while ago the clouds finally parted, the sun came out and we've been busy bees in the garden, in the kitchen, on the farm, at school and everywhere else in between - ever since. I've barely opened my computer in weeks. But I have been taking photos here and there and so I thought I'd just catch you up quickly on some of the highlights.

We've been picking daffodils. Always one of the very first signs of spring around here.

One sunny day Miss Pepper woke up very early and wrote a list of everything she wanted to do that day. It looked like comic strip with a drawing of her doing the thing and a description underneath. Pick a basketful of daffodils was the very first thing on that list. So we did. And now we have jars full of yellow happy flowers throughout the house.

I'm so excited that spring is finally here. Last night it occurred to me that I've now survived 14 Daylesford winters. That is a lot of very cold, dark months and I am so relieved to see the back of this past one. Phew!

I'm reading another Miss Mogantosh book suggestion.

It's interesting to read a book that is so similar to the one I always thought I might write. Leaving the city for a life of organic farming, the steepest learning curves, the never-ending jobs lists, the dirt and mud, the cost of things, the joys of farming, the taste of food grown with love, the interesting characters along the way, the live-stock and dead-stock, the love of a farmer's all there. But in this case it's in America with the added bonuses of real deep snow, encounters with the Amish, maple syrup and draught horses.

Our stories are so similar and yet vastly different. I'm really enjoying Kirstin's tale and bookmarking so many bits to chat with my own farmer boy about when I get the chance.

I'm still loving my wool craft classes at the girls' school.

I've been thinking a lot about holding some workshops here on our farm over the warmer months, teaching, making and sharing. I love the thought of passing on the knowledge and skills that we have to people who don't necessarily live the same sort of life as we do.

We've been making our coffee on a little burner out in the paddock in the sunshine, eating snacks of dried nuts and fruit and knitting a few rows here and there. Ahhhhhh there's nothing quite like the feeling of breaking after a hard morning's work, sitting with the sun warm on our backs, counting how many different bird songs we can hear, while sipping sweet cardamon coffee.

I worked out that every Saturday for the past few Saturdays, I've cast off a sock and cast on another sock. Last Saturday I finally finished Miss Indi's fairy bread socks and she loves them! She actually took them off me and wore them straight away!! It has been a long time since my teenager has worn anything I have handmade for her and seeing her love those socks as much as I loved knitting them for her was the biggest buzz ever. Hooray!!

Socks ravelled here.

That same Saturday I cast on a pair of socks for my farmer boy.

A few weeks ago he was on a boy's only trip to Melbourne when he popped into a wool shop, asked for a ball of sock yarn that would be knitted on size two needles with graduating colour and chose this. Amazing right?!

I could hardly wait to cast them on.

I should probably mention that when our local craft shop didn't stock the one meter long, size two circular needle I'd need for knitting two socks at the same time, I was forced to shop online and by accident lost my web-shopping virginity on these beauties.

I bought them from Tangled Yarns who had the best customer service and I can highly recommend.

I always thought that I needed to actually squish the yarn myself before buying, but I've been proven wrong. There is something so exciting about getting a parcel of delicious wool in the mail, it's almost like a present. I'm pretty sure I'll be online buying again before too long.

Of course we've been taking advantage of the warm, windless days by spending time in the kitchen garden, the market gardens and the orchards weeding, forking, tidying, planting and getting ready for the growing season.

IMG_0965 And we've been planting bucket-loads of this gorgeous looking mix of Burrum Biodynamics green manure seeds. Giving back to the soil that gives so much to us.

And that brings us up to now, to this week when the weather has closed in and is cold and wintry again. At other times this might have made me miserable but instead I'm feeling glad for the opportunity to slow down for a bit, to catch up on some inside jobs and for the rain that is watering in the seeds and hopefully filling up the dams and water tanks before summer. It feels like a big, deep breath.

So tell me, if you feel like it, what you've been busy with. What you're making and baking and growing and reading. I'd love to know.

Be well my friends, I hope your shoulders feel strong enough to take on your load.

Big love



  1. Love these little catch-up posts of yours Kate, little snippets into life on your farm - I feel all refreshed and like I've caught up with an old friend after them! I have lost my blogging mojo too since becoming a mama - I'm not sure what to blog about, surely people aren't THAT interested in my days of feeding, feeding, feeding a little human, poo, spew, repeat...
    Your wool looks absolutely delicious - falling down that rabbit hole of online shopping is d a n g e r o u s! I'm a shocker for it. Happy Spring time to you and your family, I can't wait for the sunshine and some time spent in the garden with our blossom babe!

  2. Your classes in school sounds awesome! Such a nice way for the kids to connect with the creativity!

    Take care

  3. i LOVE so very much that Bren's hands make a heart..

    Love the sound of Foxy Workshops- you're the best.

  4. Hey HAPPY SPRING day to you Kate !! How CRAZY is today
    s weather after SUCH gorgeous weekend?Its ok though hey ,filling up rainwater tanks is not something to be grumpy about ! Those socks are amazing, now that i have a tiny bit of time i might even give them a go .GULP.NOT looking at the woolley website though *fingers in my ears lalalalalalala* - Have a cosy evening xx

  5. The socks look amazing and I love the wool that your farmer got when he was on a boys weekend. What a great husband you have. Have a good week. Regards Kathy A, brisbane

  6. told you I was a face book stalker....:-)
    images are delightful xx

  7. Life looks lovely as always Kate.
    I know I've told you before I'm a Winter gal through & through but I am welcoming Spring with open arms this year. I'm not sure why but I need the warmth & the sun & the blue skies like I never have before.

  8. SNAP! I blogged today for the first time since June. June! I've been busy with boring things like work, and faffing around wasting time doing I have no idea what. And running.
    Like you, I'm also welcoming Spring. I reckon you deserve a medal for surviving 14 Daylesford Winters. Surely there is such a thing! No wonder you knit woolly socks! Love those speckly blue ones. x

  9. Life's been a bit like that around here lately too. We've got baby calves and little lambs, and fluffy little Silkie chicks. It's still cold enough at night for a wood fire but I'm sure that will soon pass and before long I will be wishing for the coolness of Autumn again! But right now I'm loving this sudden warm change and relishing the sunshine - and like you the wind has dropped off here and being outdoors is SO lovely!!
    Sarah xx

  10. Happy, happy Spring Kate!!! Such gorgeous weather we had today.
    Oh how I wish I lived closer so that I could join you for coffee and knitting in the paddock, it sounds wonderful. As do the workshops........ Have a beautiful week, Lovely xxx

  11. Kate...I always smile when your blog pops up in my reader, regardless of time between post. Quality over quantity, right?

    Daffodils and daughters, what could be prettier? Wool craft at school, why didn't someone think of that when I was at school? Go the workshops, I just know people would be queuing to learn some skills from you. I want fairy bread socks too! Your man would have far more knowledge than me when it comes to knitting and wool, very impressive.

    Do you know what is in that green manure mix? It looks good enough to eat. I have just planted chickpeas to follow on from my brassica crop. They are just showing their sprouts above the surface...very exciting times I tell you! Strong shoulders to you too my friend.

  12. You might like to read The Call of the Farm by Rochelle Bilow? It's published at the end of September by The Experiment. I've got it to review, but it looks good. I've just finished Torch which was lovely - got Wild to read next (at some point). Seems so strange that you are welcoming spring whilst we are welcoming autumn - my favourite season! x

  13. Yes its nice to see the first signs of spring. You are a true champion surviving all those winters. Love the fairy bread socks. The book sounds interesting too. Hope the sun keeps shining for you x

  14. I have never heard of tadem sock knitting! We are also glad to see the back of winter, it's tough living in a cold region especially in an old uninsulated house and especially when it snows! The daffodils, little joeys and a big crop of organic garlic growing (for our personal use) have brought us much joy. Yes to farmy foxy workshops!

  15. Happy spring! My heart jumped for joy at the sight of picking daffodils. It is the first day of autumn here, in south-western Norway and even though the air is still warm(ish) and the dahlias are in bloom, there is no denying what is ahead of us. I don't mind the winter SO much, as long as it doesn't last too long. To me, the seasons ebb and flow is what makes life so enjoyable. Miss Indi's socks look lovely and so does your new wool - happy knitting and enjoy springtime.
    All the best,
    Line i Alvehagen

  16. What gorgeous photos - the signs of spring look beautiful, it's a long way off here!

  17. Knew you would love that book Kate! That makes me happy. And I adore those fairy bread socks. Happy Tuesday.I just got up to do some early morning writing but my stupid back is killing me so am going to have a quick bath instead. x

  18. I love all miss pepper's woollens, so cute! We are heading for winter, boo! Spent some of Saturday morning pruning the jostaberry tree which seemed to be taking up about quarter of our allotment! I think it is probably sea now...... Only kidding! I definitely need a book called "the dirty life" in my life ;)

  19. I enjoy reading your blog whenever I get the chance. You are so creative. It is still funny for me to think of you heading into springtime when we are heading into autumn. Tandem sock knitting sounds addictive.

  20. Lovely, lovely, lovely. All of it Kate.
    I'm wearing one of my graduated coloured socks knitted by my nana (well two actually :-) right now and that's probably the top thing about winter that I'll miss, it will be too hot to wear them soon enough.

  21. Dirty Life is one of my all time favourite books and gives me hope for humanity (and unrealistic notions of draught horses and sugarin'). I will see you soon Cute Face! xx

  22. What a lovely happy post. Great photos as always. Signs of spring must feel very welcome. Signs of autumn are here in the UK, I was making elderberry syrup yesterday, today I am going to work with purple fingers! I love it that your Farmer Boy bought you some yarn, how brilliant is that. Those socks look so lovely, wish I could knit like that! Thank you for the pointer to Strangers by the way I am hooked catching up on episodes! Have a happy day, Elaine x

  23. Love love getting back into the garden. I adore what you are doing at school. It looks like yarn bombing to me and so much more interesting for kids than when we went to school.

  24. I have to buy quite a lot of my yarn online as it's very difficult to get a good selction where I live. I love it when the parcel arrives!! I think it would be great for you to pass on your skills with some sort of class or workshop. I started running a crochet class in my town a few months ago. Everyone who comes really enjoys it. They all thought they'd never be able to crochet and you should see what they're making already! If truth be told, I probably enjoy it more than anyone. It is so rewarding! It takes time, of course, but well worth the effort.

  25. I believe I actually read this book a couple years ago, but it had a different cover then. Love all of the color in this post - such beautiful socks - your family has the best dressed toes!

  26. I read The Dirty Life last year, and I've always loved the similarities between her book and your blog. Although I do love that your blog just keeps going and doesn't have an end!

  27. You have trained your farmer boy well - isn't it every yarncrafter's dream for their spouse to be able to converse in woolspeak? I am most impressed that he knew precisely what to ask for in the wool shop. My hubby wouldn't know where the nearest wool shop is, let alone cross the threshold of one. Having your farmer boy choose the wool is a nice relief from guesswork as to what he might like. Now to work on the teen(s)... You are very lucky. Have a happy day :-)

  28. I love the photos, spring is my favorite season. I thought for days about the book I would recommend, I love to read, so the choice was hard. I finally came up with two books (that's a record for me): "The House of Spirits" by Isabel Allende and "Between Shades of Gray" by Ruta Sepetys (this young adult fiction, but I loved it).
    One last thing: today your book arrived in the mail. I totally love it!

  29. The summer is slowly ending where I am and it is getting noticeably colder and the days are shorter, too. I am in process of looking for a job, which means a lot of lazy lie-ins and cups of tea in the garden. Folling the birdfeeder and picking the fallen apples... Life is sweet :)

  30. Lovely post Kate and I am envious. I am getting pretty good at one sock on 2 circulars but am yet to master two socks on 1 needle.

  31. Your kids school sounds great. I'm so impressed by you knitting two socks at ones - does it make it easier? I'm still to knit my first pair of socks and worry that I'll never get to making the second one.

    1. I don't think it's necessarily easier but I think it's fun and and it does take the guess work out of how long you can make each sock and most importantly, you never have to worry about that dreaded second sock syndrome. xx

  32. What a wonderful peek into your life through this post! I love the fairy bread socks, those colors are amazing. I've been busy finalizing my new collection of handmade hemp accessories. It's almost fall here, but so far September has been sunny and mild and looking good. I hope your week ahead will be nice!

  33. A beautiful post, as always. I find your blog so inspiring, thank you!
    Here autumn is approaching and I'm happy for this. Looking forward to rainy evenings spent reading in front of the fire place and making mulled wine. I've been busy making pickled onions and printing some linens.

  34. So many beautiful things! I love seeing your world, especially in this moments when Spring is unfurling. I love the idea of coffee and knitting in the paddock too! How perfect. Wishing you a most beautiful week.
    Sophie x

  35. I've been a long time follower of you blog and thought today, after writing about how inspiring I find Foxs Lane over on my blog (, that I better comment to say thanks for putting all this out into the world. xx

  36. I haven't read "the dirty life" yet (but would like to read it after reading your post), but your post did remind me of a book a read earlier this year called "The dirty chef" by Matthew Evans which I really enjoyed. It's basically an autobiography of a Sydney based food critic who decides to have a career change and moves to Tassie to start his own organic farm. It's quite humourous as he had no prior knowledge of farming (like me) but the book is full of the trials and adventures of setting up a little farm from scratch with no prior knowledge and all the interesting characters that he meets along the way. I think you might like it. :-) I reviewed the book on my personal blog if you are interested in a more detailed overview.


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

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.

Visit my other blog.