Monday, April 25, 2016

broken hearted + blindish

It's funny how some weeks go by and when you look back on them after wards it feels like nothing much has changed; we made food, we drove the girls around, we dug in the garden and we wrote some things on lists and ticked other things off. Then there are the other weeks where something happens that make us feel like we will never be the same again. Although we might look similar on the outside, it feels like every atom inside us has been altered. Although we still do the same driving and digging and feeding, somehow even those actions feel different.

Since I last wrote my blog one thing happened that has changed me forever on the inside, one thing happened that has changed me on the outside, and lots of other littler stuff has happened, not as significant but still part of the picture. Truthfully my mind and my heart are a bit messy. I find myself tearing up at the drop of a hat, I'm finding it difficult to focus on anything for a prolonged period of time (that might be the end of a month of school holidays) and I'm feeling a bit unmotivated despite the incredibly glorious autumn days.

I think perhaps the best way to explain myself and to obtain some sort of order is to channel my farmer boy and write a list. I'm hoping that as well as giving me some clarity and recording this moment in time, it'll also help me feel better. It's worth a try anyway.

one - Not last Wednesday but the Wednesday before, our beautiful grandfather died. As well as being an amazing man, he was the most wonderful grandfather. I feel that at some stage I should honour him with a whole post of his own, but for now it feels too soon, too raw.

My Zeida Saul Same lived a life filled to the brim with all the most important ingredients - love, family, friends, success, love, travel, recognition and then more love. Even though he lived whole-heartedly for 97 and a half years and slipped away peacefully when his time came, I still feel devastated by his loss. And losing him has brought back the best memories of my grandmother which Alzheimer's had stolen until now, which is in part a blessing and in part just adding to my sadness.

I feel so incredibly lucky to have loved and been loved by him. I have zillions of amazing memories to cherish and I'm pretty sure our girls do too. But I no longer have my Zeida, I no longer have any grandparents and that is incredibly sad.

This article ran in the Australian newspaper that week.

two - (ugh it's hard to move on to two, my eyes are filled with tears and everything else feels little, but I'll try). About a week ago I had my eyes tested and now I wear glasses. All my life I have felt proud of my perfect vision. I could read far away signs, thread the finest needles and spot the tiniest louse in the thickest jungle of hair. But a little while ago things started to change and I found that I could no longer see which emoji was making what expression on my phone, it became difficult for me to focus on the tiny sock stitches I was knitting and I found myself with a head ache on some days for no reason at all.

So now I wear glasses. It's early days and I'm still getting used to them and feeling a bit self conscious but I'm hoping they'll be good.

Glasses wearers I'd love to know your tricks for cleaning them, it's driving me a bit crazy actually.

three - a few days after my beloved grandfather died, our girls went to stay with their cousins in Melbourne for two days. Even though we had organised their stay a few weeks before, the timing couldn't have been more perfect. Our country girls spent a couple of days having the best city adventures and we had uninterrupted time for mourning, for looking after each other, and for just being.

Thank you D, M, S, D, R and R we love you xxxxx

four  - After I finished the seven Tomorrow When the War Began books which I loved, I reread my Mum's book Alzheimer's A Love Story.

Although it was quite painful at times, reading my grandparents' histories, reading about my grandmother's gradual decline into that horrible disease and remembering their great love story was a such a precious gift to me. A treasure.

I have no doubt that I'm biased when I say that my Mum tells a story so beautifully, that it will have the reader laughing and in turn weeping as she turns its pages, but I'm not the only one - this book was chosen to be published before it was even completed. I'm so proud of my Mum all over again and I highly recommend this book for others caring for friends and family struggling with Alzheimer's and those just interested in stories of family and love and Australian history.

five - I cast off a pair of socks for my farmer boy. Nothing new or ground breaking here, just a reminder of that deep feeling of satisfaction and joy that comes from making something for someone I love.

The Ravelry details are here.

six - Tomatoes. We're still picking them by the crate full, preserving them by the jar full and drying them by the tray full. It's getting to that time in the season where the birds and other critters are making a bit of a mess of them and that deep tomato smell is making me hold my breath as I reach under the sticky vines, but I'll keep gathering them until the first frost does.

seven - We've been listening and loving my dad's radio program - Track of the day! -  each week day morning on the breakfast show at 8.05am on Hepburn Community's radio station. One song each day relating to the date is educational, fun and often unexpected. Yay Dad!

eight - It's funny that even though we have been growing stuff here for fifteen years, until now we've only ever really been interested in growing plants that will feed people or animals. For some reason I can't remember, this year we decided to grow a few beds and rows of flowers and although they are feeding the bees, the main reason for their planting was their prettiness.

There is no underestimating the happiness that a row of swaying blossoms brings as you spy it through the forest. There is nothing quite like watching Miss Pepper pick herself a bedroom posy every few days. We've pressed them, we've given them, we've drawn them, we've photographed them, we've made fairy houses from them and we've absolutely felt that they've fed our souls if not our hearts. We're hooked! Flowers forever!

nine - We closed our farm stall. It really has been a wonderful season. People have come from near and far to visit our pretty little stall and stock up on delicious apples. I feel grateful for how well supported and loved our stall has been, but also a little sad that it'll be so many more months until we throw open those cute doors again and fill her up with goodness. But next year is our biennial on year and it's bound to be huge - so watch this space!

ten - After it was damaged in a storm and lay in a pile of wood for many, many months, my farmer boy rebuilt his pole lathe. Often as I drove past the pile I did wonder if he'd ever have the time or the memory to rebuild it again, but then one day he decided to and then he did.

So far he's made me three chop sticks to wear in my hair and a single spoon but I can see by the way he takes every opportunity to run outside and play with it that he's hooked. I'm excited about all those little wood curls, I'm excited about the possibilities of spoons, bowls, chair legs and even knitting needles. And of course I'm thrilled that he's fallen in crafty love. That he has that addictive feeling of wanting to make all the things. And that he has an escape, a way to run away from the have to's and get into the zone.

And that dear reader is that. Perhaps a little more than you bargained for but still...a little slice of my life.

I hope you are travelling well my friends.
I hope you are reading a great book and have yummy things to eat.

Sending love, love, love

Kate xoxo

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

pumpkin patch

Hello dear reader, how are you?

I'm afraid that it's been so long since my last blog ramble that I don't know where to start.

In the past month since I've popped in here we've harvested hundreds of crates of fruit and vegetables, we've preserved jars and shelves and cupboards full for winter, we've pulled crops out and put more crops in, we've weeded and irrigated and forked and fenced. We've felt elated with our successes and grieved our failures. We've felt proud of our beautiful produce and I've cried when I've lost the fight with the birds over the spinach and cabbage.

We've put a lot of stuff off but we're getting there.

We've thought and talked a lot about what being certified organic means to us, the future directions of Daylesford Organics, farming and living an even more sustainable life, an environmental building project, passing on our passions, more ways to be generous, our eating habits and ways we can grow as a family, as a couple, and as individuals.

In the past month since I've been here we've driven hundreds of kilometres back and forth to the girls' new school. Although the school days are much too long for my liking, our girls are thriving and growing and being inspired and challenged and I feel so happy with that decision.

Although at times it felt exhausting learning the culture of a new school, dealing with difficult personalities, too much homework and not enough time with Pepper, the pros definitely outweigh the cons. I often tell people that I feel like our girls have been switched on. That their minds have been opened and that they are looking at and engaging with the world in a whole new way.

Over the summer when we were making what felt like an enormous decision to rip our girls out of their community and send them to school almost an hour away I kept saying that I'd make my mind up for sure after one term. Sitting here now 10 weeks in I am relieved to discover that there is no question.

In the past month (and a half) since I've blogged I've read and loved Ilka Tampke's Skin. I got so swept up in the story and Ailia's journey that I didn't really think about how complicated it must be to write historical fiction until I'd finished it. Researching and then keeping the languages, the culture, the religions, the traditions, the stories and the costumes accurate for the time in history makes my brain hurt.

After that I started Lauren Groff's Fates and Furies but got interrupted when my Mum leant me her library copy of Tegan Bennett Daylight's Six Bedrooms that had to be returned by the Friday.

Next I read Olga Lorenzo's The Light on The Water which I read quickly and liked a lot. I mostly gobble up those stories that offer me a what if version of my own life. What if I lost one of my own precious girls? What sort of mother would I be to a child with autism? How would I deal with living alone? Divorce? Parenting a uni student? Gaol?

After that I started the John Marsden's Tomorrow When The War Began series and this morning I opened the sixth book. I seriously cannot stop reading them. Many times I've made excuses to go into my bedroom to get a jumper or put something away, only to return 50 pages later with no jumper and no memory of what I'd gone in there for. I'm not a great lover of short stories because I love getting to know characters intensely and follow them through their stories slowly, it makes me happy to know that I've still got another book after this in the series and then two more in The Ellie Chronicles.

Deep inside these books I am looking at the world a bit differently at the moment too. Last week I saw a story about a petrol tanker spill in the news and couldn't help but think it might be the work of Ellie and Homer and the gang, and I must admit that I do have a tiny freak out for a second every time a chopper goes overhead. I also feel like our girls need to learn to drive lots of different vehicles, and survival techniques, because you never know....

And most of all I really, really hope that my girls get to learn story writing from John in the years to come, what a genius story teller.

I'm afraid that even after all your brilliant, generous and thoughtful messages on my spinning post, I haven't had another go. Crazy Autumn just doesn't feel like the right time for me to learn this new skill. So I've given my borrowed wheel back and I hope to have another go when the days turn cold and wet and windy and sitting by the fire turning a handful of fleece into yarn is the only place in the world I have to be.

I haven't really knitted much either. I finished my Bracken sweater but haven't had a chance to photograph it properly yet. And I'm up to the cuff ribbing on a looooooooooong pair of socks for my farmer boy.

And other than that I've been waiting patiently for this very moment that is now. The big girls are on holidays and doing their own thing, Farmer Bren is outside carving a spoon, Miss Pepper is at school and I'm sitting here on the couch for a bit, typing these words to stop the little voice in my head that's been telling me that the longer I neglect my blog the harder it will be to get back to it. And it's right of course.

The days are getting shorter but I can feel that the season is slowing down and it's time for me to get going on some of the things that I've been putting off for so long.

I've missed you my friends and it's so very gorgeous to be back.
I hope you've had a great month, what have you been up to?

Hopefully I'll see you SOON!

Love Kate x

PS I just realised this was my 1,000th post!!

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