Sunday, December 28, 2014

finding balance



Where to start?

I feel like I need to preface this post with to be honest, because although I like to think that I am always honest here, I am also aware that I like to have an undercurrent of gratefulness on my blog, because when all is said and done I do know how lucky I am to be living this life.

Ten minutes ago my farmer boy left with the girls to visit some friends. I am alone in my house for what feels like the first time in months. There is a possibility that I may have the next one to two hours to myself. Thank goodness. Big exhale.


To be honest I am struggling a bit at the moment. Although I am certainly and ridiculously grateful for my way of life, right now I feel overwhelmed by it. Right now my whole instagram feed is full of people on summer or winter vacations relaxing by the beach, reading in bed, knitting a few lazy rows over lunch, while our house, garden and farm to-do lists are so long that we had to slot bits of them into calendar days to try to even make sense of them all. Right now to combat the guilt of sitting here writing this blog, I'm interspersing each paragraph with a trip to the washing machine and washing line, or from the washing line to the girls' wardrobes. I feel less guilty and more productive this way.

Right now instead of doing this I could whipper snipper another few rows of the orchard in preparation for netting them this evening when it cools down, I could wheel hoe the market garden, plant some carrots, leeks, lettuce and parsley in the home garden, I could mow around the house, I could think about dinner, I could do some fire prevention, I could start trellising the beans and that's just the start and that's not even thinking about the housework or computer work. And that's when the girls aren't even here to tell me every detail of their dreams, ask me to braid their hair, watch their show, remind me that I still haven't taught them to sew, ask me to find their sandals, drop them at the pool, cut them another mango, help them with this, watch them do that and then that.

We had our three week holiday in winter, this is our busy season I hear us repeating to each other and the girls like a mantra.

And it's true. Winter is the slow season on our farm and now we are go, go, go. And that would probably be OK except that I feel like I'm not doing anything at all creative. Instead I'm being yanked through my days doing task after task after task. I feel completely out of balance. I often call our farm The Hungry Beast because of it's capacity to gobble money but it is also hungry for my time. Gobble, gobble, gobble.

It's possible that I always feel like this at the start of the summer holidays until I find my rhythm, but this year it's making me feel cranky and tired and unaccomplished and unmotivated. And I don't like feeling like this at all.

IMG_2340 I know The only way to fix this is to do something for me, regularly. I need to make time for something creative so I can get back to feeling the love in the other, more demanding parts of my life.

So I've decided that in order to get through and on top of this I need to make some resolutions, change things up a bit for myself without putting more pressure on. So far I've come up with two things I'm going to put into place as soon as possible.

The first one is to blog. I really, really love this blog yet for some reason I never prioritise it. I find the photography and the writing so fulfilling yet it's always the first thing to go when I'm busy. Pretty silly hey! So my first resolution is to try to blog every, or almost every, day in January. Even if it's just a photo and a paragraph. I just know that I'll feel so much more creatively fulfilled if I stick to this plan.

IMG_2522 I also feel like it would be really great for me to stretch myself and learn something new. To take something I love and push it further. So my second resolution is to do an online Lightroom course. So far I've been able to teach myself how to take photos for my blog and have been lucky over the years to have been published in some cool publications, but there's always been this point where I've hit a wall and haven't been able to progress with my skills any further. Hopefully this course will teach me about post production, about sorting and filing my photos and give me a bit more confidence with my photography. Maybe it'll even inspire me. It's online and I can do it in my own time, I'm really excited about it.

And you know what? I feel better already.

So anyway how are you going these last few December days?
Are you slowing down or speeding up?
Are you feeling creative, are you coping, are you feeling overwhelmed or calm as a cucumber?
What do you do when the world feels a little off balance?
Do tell.



Tuesday, December 9, 2014

a week in our kitchen garden


Remember when I posted my blog last week and I said I had lots to show and tell you and so I'd post again soon? Well here I am eight days later and not only has time flown - but my garden has grown, making me all out of date. But rather than ditch that garden blog idea and move on, I thought I'd quickly snap a few pics of what it looks like tonight and bring you right up to speed.

Make sense? I hope so.

So just over a week ago we removed the protective covers off the peas because they had grown as tall as their roof. We'd finally made those covers after losing the previous three pea plantings to mice or birds or possums. It was so great to finally see those leaves emerging out of the soil instead of the soggy seed shells. We weren't so successful with the pea plantings in the beds behind that we'd covered with black crates.

And now a week later we've made trellises for the pea plants to climb up. My farmer boy made them out of the old bit of fence that closed my parents' block opposite ours.

Oh how I love to see those little pea tendrils reaching out and climbing up and wrapping around as the vines grow taller.


A week ago we were cutting and eating big rocket leaves.

One week later the succession planting has popped its head up between the rocket rows and we are madly picking and eating the overhanging leaves to give the little baby leaves light and space to grow.

A week ago the hot house was full of little baby seedling ready to plant out into the kitchen and market gardens, this week it is emptying out and the spinach is going to seed.


Last week there were so many more roses in bloom than this week.

But this week Pepper's birthday flowers seem to be blossoming more brightly than ever.

Last week we were still picking and eating from those kale plants. This week those kale leaves are on the top of the compost pile and the beds are full of soil and ready to plant.

Last week the garlic was still looking tall and green. This week, maybe even tomorrow, I'm planning to pull it out.

Last week we noticed that the cos lettuces on the left hand side of that bed were not really thriving so we pulled out the silver beet triffid that was overshadowing them and now this week they are slowly on the move.


This week the onions are fatter and taller.


I love these three beds but I always forget they are there because they are that much further away from the house. Onions, garlic getting ready to be pulled and mega leek.


And future pesto growing new leaves every day.

Not pictured are the tomatoes in the poly tunnels, the veggies and flowers in the market gardens and the fruit in the orchards.

I had a little panic the other day that we aren't really harvesting all that much from the kitchen garden at the moment, that we are behind where we usually are in other years and that we might not catch up. And then after a few long minutes of hyperventilating and comparing and pulling out seeds, it occurred to me that panicking defeats half of the purpose of the kitchen garden.

One half of the purpose of our house garden is to feed our family, for sure. But the other half purpose is love and enjoyment and passion and therapy. Stressing about the garden is just wrong.

So in between the craziness of the end of the year I am squeezing in moments to plant and weed and thin and fork and dig and harvest and enjoy and breathe deeply and love. It's so much nicer this way.

Wishing you growth wherever you are.

And tell me, how does your garden grow at the mo, I'd love to know.

Biggest love!


Monday, December 1, 2014

a bit a this and a bit a that


Happy new week, month and season you guys!!

There's a crazy amount of stuff going on here at Foxs Lane at the moment, so I think that instead of inundating you with photos and stories right now, I'll try and get a few blog posts up and out there this week. Try being the operative word of course, but my intentions are definitely good and that's what really matters right? I hope so anyway.



So let's get to it.

Lately, I've been;

HARVESTING - and double podding and smashing on toast, frying into felafel and making fritters, out of broad beans. There are still heaps left on the plants but we probably should get to freezing some to eat later and drying some to plant later, soon.


READING - and adoring The Poisonwood Bible. I always thought I had read it before, but now that I am reading it I don't think I ever have. I'm not really reading a lot these days, eight or ten pages at night in bed before I can't keep my eyes open, but part of me feels happy because that will make it last longer. What an incredible piece of writing.

And I do have to mention that although I was excited to go back to a real paper book after my first on the Kindle, I do miss the back-light and the lack of weight. But I can read in the bath and that is a total winner in my book. Ha!


LOVING - our kitchen garden. The smells and sights and flavours of late spring/early summer are just delicious. Some evenings after dinner I pop out into the garden with no other purpose but to walk from bed to bed admiring the new growth. I have been known to compliment certain plants on their daily developments too. Such a luscious joy is the garden at this time of the year when the days are warm and long and there is enough water to keep things green.


KNITTING - the same pair of socks. There's not much sitting on my bum knitting time these busy days.


PLANTING - so many seeds in trays, seedlings in the garden and also this new market garden up near the house.


BUYING - other people's yarn on buy/swap/sell sites. How gorgeous will these guys be as socks and then in my sock left-over blanket.



STICKING - and swapping and chatting about stickers.

Maureen from Pipsticks runs a sticker subscription club and sent us a couple of packets to play with and we're having so much fun with them.

As soon as they got over the excitement of getting envelopes filled with stickers in the post, my girls spent ages examining each sheet, picking favourites, swapping them, sticking them on their own drawings and then organising them into collections.

There's something so simple and easy and fun about stickers. Stickers encourage kids and their parents to be creative. Stickers are great things to collect. An envelope of stickers enables a Mum to make dinner in peace. AND stickers totally take me back to my childhood and my carefully curated boxed collection of scratch and sniff, puffy, sparkly, Hello Kitty and hologram stickers.


WATCHING things grow. Grass, the fruit on the trees, the baby birds, the veggies in the garden and our own children. Pepper's tee-shirts barely cover her tummy these days, Jazzy is growing out of her shoes once a month and Indi started year nine today. Year NINE!!!!! It's all happening so quickly at the moment I sometimes struggle to keep up.


RELISHING - togetherness. I don't know how long this happy to hang out together stage will last, so I'm noticing and appreciating every second while it still does. Sisters are the best!

LISTENING - to our Indi's new song she recorded with her music teacher Geoffrey Williams.

So that's me mostly caught up, how about you?
What're you harvesting, reading, loving, knitting, planting, buying, sticking, watching, relishing and listening to?

I hope you find exactly what you've been looking for.

Lots a love,

Kate xx

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