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!!


  1. Each one of your posts exceeds my recommended daily intake of lovely.

  2. I've missed you too, Kate. It sounds like life has been very full of very big things for you.
    I read Tomorrow When The War Began a few years ago, and LOVED it. My heart raced in fear and excitement and anticipation and hope, and planes or helicopters that fly over at night still scare me. It's not a usual thing here.

  3. Welcome back to blogland, it's nice to have you here again!
    I always envy you for living on a farm. I know that it's hard work - my grandparents have been vegetable farmers as well, though of course it was way harder 50 years back!
    I got the news that we will be able to move into our own house come next year which means our own little garden. It will be really small, but I definitely will start a small strawberry field and a little herb garden! I'm so excited already! :)

  4. Firstly - yay for 1000 posts! I was so glad to see you pop up in my feed once more.
    All those pumpkins - wow! I hope you've found some recipes for them :-) I'm a little jealous of them actually, I harvested our first pumpkin for the year the other day, and up until this week it's been the only female flower our vine has produced. But now it's popping out in heaps of flowers, so like your tomatoes I fear my pumpkins will be "the last first pumpkins in Australia" :-)

    I'm really glad to hear that you're ultimately happy with Indi and Jazzy's school. It's so important. And you know this time of their lives really isn't going to last that long, either.
    I've always though of spinning as a winter craft. I'm sure you'll get into it when the time is right.
    The most recent thing I have been up to is filling a wheelbarrow with passionfruit from our two vines. I've given some away and am wondering what to do with the rest.

    Sarah xx

  5. Yay for 1000 posts Kate!!! Lovely to catch up on your news. Your girls are growing up. I think Jazzy has changed the most lately, looking at your photos. You certainly have three beautiful girls. Love the pumpkin photos. xxxooo

  6. Congratulations on your 1000th post. So glad you had a quick pop back always lovely to read your blog. You have all been so busy and the girls look really happy and healthyright decisions all round I'd say. Don't beat yourself up about the spinning it will come but life is too short to be worrying about things that we don't really have time to do. Life gets in the way sometimes but life is for living. Glad to hear that you have had a good harvest. Those pesky birds but Mother Nature has a way of evening things out. Jackie

  7. Yay, I've missed your posts... so nice to catch up and read about your wonderful reading, and farming days...and look at all those amazeballs pumpkins! And you know, the spinning will come when the time is right, when so much else is happening like all that farming and preserving it's hard to put the time into a new slow love and really slow into learning it...
    We've been settling into our new place and tonight I have to pinch myself yet again at the fact that not only did we pick fresh mushrooms for dinner from our paddocks, but we have paddocks! Still feels surreal. I'm starting to get used to the driving, and although it's a huge chunk of time that I no longer have, every time I pull in the drive I know it's worth it. And podcasts have helped me enormously in that I don't feel I'm 'wasting' that time.
    So happy for you getting that feeling of it being the right decision with your girls school - wonderful that you see a difference already. Congrats on the 1000th, what a fab achievement!

  8. I love your blog. Congratulations on the 1000th post!

  9. Congratulations on 1000 post's looking forward to many more!

  10. Oh so worth the wait! What a lovely post! And what lovely photos!
    Now, John Marsden. Tomorrow When The War Began. Oh My. I can't even tell you how I adore these stories and this brilliant author. I read them in the beginning and many times after and I still wonder how the hell John got into my head. I've always dreamed of doing his writing courses. I hope your girls get the chance. I wrote to him once and he wrote back! The most wonderful little letter on a postcard. I adore him Still. Obviously.

  11. It is so nice to read your blog again, I always enjoy it! I can imagine how busy you must have been lately. Here (in the Netherlands) the summer is coming now, but you are in the fall, funny to realize;-). The pumpkins in all their sizes, so lovely to see, just thanks for sharing your pics!!!

  12. Wonderful news that schooling is working great! The girls look very happy, other than health what more could we want?! Spring has sprung big time here and I'm elbow deep in either dirt or bees at the moment. Three swarms caught already and the potatoes need hilling, the green house is full of freshly potted seeds of tomatoes and peppers (too many for sure). lol I too can get lost in a book and the world falls away.

  13. Always a true delight to see the family and the farm. The new school sounds just perfect. And yes, reading can draw us deep into a story and leave us drained on the other end. I love reading-it's my favorite thing to do.

  14. Loved the tomorrow series, but the Elle chronicles didn't live up to them. And don't even watch the movie it was terrible!

  15. Congratulations on your 1000th post!!!!! So very happy to have you back and read more on your shenanigans. You were missed here xxx

  16. Mmmhhh, pumpkin! I love, love, love making pumpkin soup and I try to freeze cut up pumpkin in fall when it is in season. I missed out last year (my dad was dying/died and thus I had no time) and I really miss having ready made pumpkin in my freezer!

    Take care
    Crochet Between Worlds

  17. Wow! 1000 posts. Good on you! I've enjoyed catching up on all your doings. I can understand you not getting a chance to blog. You have been just a tad busy. I hope as Autumn closes in things mellow a little for you all.

  18. The Ellie chronicles is deleted from my brain, i loved the original series and i didnt like what happened in the others. I do not recomend them, stick with the serie and let it end like that - I was happier that way

  19. Happy 1000th post ❤️ So many beautiful pumpkins!!

  20. Oh kate so excited to see another post. I had checked and checked again and again. Promised myself that nothing bad had happened and that you were busy with the girls school and picking a gazillion apples. I was thinking of you today one of the children in my class brought in a home grown apple from her neighbor's orchard and it was like no apple i had seen before. It was how you imagine the apple in the story of Snow White. It was so richly red on the skin and so crisp white inside with little pink veins in the flesh. It was a gentle sweet not at all tart in flavour. Such a beautiful thing i hope she brings another and can tell me what variety it is. Amazing apple. Glad to hear the girls are doing well. I teach at a school where i see that exact thing happen. Children taught to be curious and creative and open to the world. Quite different teaching to some i have done in my early days. It is incredible to not feel as if you are filling little folk with information but fostering a love of learning an excitment in the next generation to find things out for themselves to be creative in the way that they look at life and confident that they are learing skills for life that they can use to go anywhere they like. Wow those pumpkins are fabulous. We are planning for our autumn festival. There are lanterns to make jackolanterns to carve soup and pie to make. I am making pumpkin pies on friday for our school stall at the local farmers market. Looking forward to singing round the fire at school with warm coats hearty soup and lots of laughs. I would love to know what variety are the beautiful orange pumpkins. They look spectacular. Are they an eating pumpkin? My mum speaks of pie pumpkins that look like that from her childhood in america. I would love to plant ones like that in my school garden next yr.

  21. I was thinking about your blog today. And so I wrote this:

  22. Spring is just beginning here, so I am growing... peas, beans, nasturtiums, radishes, buying more seeds, being outside in the sun more.. it is lovely. And I love how your blog provides me with seasonal balance, as whenever I am starting something in the garden, you are finishing it and vice versa. :)

  23. The pumpkins look amazing!


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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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