Friday, December 30, 2016

the friday foxslane

Hello and a very happy Friday to you dear friends of Foxs Lane.

It's funny, now that Friday blogging is a thing, it's amazing how the pieces click together to make it so. I've started carrying my big camera around with me again (you should see how grubby it is); I've started looking at things as they happen and turning over phrases in my mind that I might use to describe them; my girls often refer to my blog and ask me if I'll be posting about this or that; you guys leave comments which delight me and inspire me to continue; and then, because they know it must be done, come Friday, my family leave me alone for the writing - which is no mean feat in week three of the summer holidays. I guess the fact that I now know that I blog on Fridays removes the guilt and the yearning from the rest of the week too.

Right now Bren's taken the girls into town to give me space, I'm sitting up on the daybed in our studio and I'm wondering what this blog should be.

I could do a rundown month by month of what 2016 looked like and felt like to me: including crafts, farm life, books, and family stuff. I could talk about the fact that we don't do Christmas and how much I love those few days of living in a bubble of exclusion. I could write about how some of my girls struggled with the no Christmas thing this year, and how we dealt with that and what that made me think about ritual and belonging and culture. I could tell you how much I've adored this past week -  it might have even been my happiest of the whole year - when all five of us worked together as a team to plant the tomatoes, cook the meals and clean the house. And then when the jobs were done, all five of us took walks around the farm, played music and sang songs, watched movies and just hung out.

Okay I've decided, after a quick check of my posts from this time last year, I think I'll go through what I wrote back then, about what I hoped to achieve in the year to come and see how that looks now in retrospect.

As well as blogging more regularly, this year 
Haha I guess I didn't exactly win in that department but at least I pulled myself up before the end of the year with my five Friday posts.
I'd love to buy a flock of sheep for land management and wool
That one I definitely tried but unfortunately rather unsuccessfully. We do have a lovely local farmer/fencer booked in to visit soon and hopefully put in some tougher, permanent fencing so we can try our hands at being shepherds again in 2017.

I'd love to play with natural dyes
I bought a book, I bought some natural sock yarn and I bought some mordant, but for some reason I never got to it. I'm not quite sure why. I'm thinking I might book into a class one day though as I might just have confused myself with all the options and possibilities and not know where to start.

 I'd love to work hard to find balance between work and play
Yeah, nah.

I must say though, that the house renovation and creation of our studio has helped with this one as it has made a space completely separate from the kitchen and garden where I can sit comfortably and read and knit while the dishes in the sink, the crumbs under the table and the unweeded garden are out of sight and out of mind.

I'd love to design a piece of knitwear
While this one is probably still a no too, I feel like I have made headway by taking a plain sock pattern and knitting a bunch of fair isle motifs into it. Counting stitches, choosing colours and selecting all the patterns hurt my brain at times, but gosh I loved knitting them.

What I didn't quite love was the sight that greeted me when I turned them inside out yesterday ready to darn in the ends!! Who would have thought there'd be such a hairy mane hiding inside. And there I had thought that they were practically finished when I cast them off. Goodness what a mess.

I posted a photo of them on instagram last night with the caption - the secret life of fair isle socks - because seriously, who knew?!

I'd love to work on being kinder to myself in my head
Let's just say I still have a lot of work to do on that one. I don't understand it and I don't like it and it would upset me so much if my girls grow up to be so self critical - but it's there and it's my truth. For now.

I'd love to find ways to get more involved with the causes that make me cry
Honestly I almost deleted this one because it makes me feel guilty that I haven't done enough. Not nearly. 

I'd love to knit a Lopi Icelandic sweater
I'd love to unfollow a few people on social media who are not kind
I can tick this one off because I remember following through with it at the start of the year and how great it felt to have them disappear from my life. Out of instagram - out of mind. It's weird the way I let some very unkind, very preachy, very condescending, people dominate my feed for so long out of some form of misguided loyalty. On the very rare occasion that I come across their negativity now it is instantly obvious how little has changed for them, while over here I no longer have that sick feeling in my stomach and that tight feeling in my chest.

 I'd love to find some new recipes to add to our tired collection
Oh 2016 was not adventurous in the kitchen by any stretch of the imagination.

I'd love to play with some botanical embroidery
I love that I wanted to but I feel like these days posting beautiful botanical embroidery pictures to my pinterest page is much more realistic.

I'd love to teach
In 2016 I was asked by so many people to teach sock knitting, knitting in general, crochet and crafty classes but it never happened. Looking back I feel like 2016 was a year where I needed all my energy to gather and hold my loved ones with not a lot left over to spare. Hopefully next year?

I'd love to reacquaint myself with my sewing machine and sew some garments
Well, due to the renovations my sewing machine was stored in a shipping container up near the shed for a lot of 2016, but now it's set up on my desk ready to use. 

and I'd love to find a way to do a bit of housework regularly rather than leaving it until it's overwhelming
This one will forever be an issue for me. As anyone who knows me knows - tidiness and cleanliness are not exactly personality traits that I express liberally. Why clean when there's so many more fun things to do? Why scrub when its only going to get messy again? Why neaten - unless guests are coming over and I all of a sudden have a panic and see our house the way they will?

Yesterday morning though we tried something different. We divided the house into areas, allocated each area to a family member and spent the next three hours cleaning. Someone put on some loud music and we all scrubbed and vacuumed and mopped and washed and wiped. It was awesome. The fact that everyone in the house was working meant we weren't resentful at doing the job ourselves. The fact that we had time meant we could get into the nitty gritty. The fact that John Marsden allocates time each day for the students at his schools to clean their school means that our girls know how to clean and put value in the process. And the squeals that could be heard for the rest of the day as we each discovered another sparkly clean area were priceless. I hope to repeat the process each week of the school holidays and see how we can continue it into the school year.

I'm sure there's more but that's a start
Haha that's more than enough, wouldn't you say.

I guess the thing to do now is to repeat the process for 2017.

I'd like to be kinder to myself, to find one thing that is mine and pursue it, to learn how to drive a tractor, to learn how to spin and knit a garment from the yarn I've spun, to knit an Icelandic Lopi sweater, to fence some paddocks and keep a flock of sheep, to continue getting physically fitter and stronger (arm wrestle anyone), to push my photography further, to entertain more, to get involved with some of the causes that make me cry, and I'd love to write something other than this blog, imagine if my Fridays could be a whole day for writing...

I guess now I have to decide if I'll blog every day in January like I have for the past two years, or if I'll stick to the Friday blogging which feels like it's working a treat.

Happy last few days and hours of 2016 my friends.

Are you where you thought you'd be this time last year?
Do you know where you want to be this time next year?

See ya in 2017!

Lots of love,

Kate xx


  1. Your 2016 sounds much like mine. Great intentions but life happens to get in the way. I wish you well with your 2017 aims, but be kind to yourself if they aren't all achieved......that will be one goal achieved in itself.

  2. I think your blog is just fab. You are so real and so easy to relate to. Good luck with your aspirations for 2017. For myself I'd like to continue to live more gently and to be kinder to myself.. I have very critical self talk when it comes to me. Have a gentle journey throughout the coming year lovely.. Michele x

  3. Your Friday posts are one of the highlights of my blog feed. So glad you are back. What a fabulous idea dividing the house up in sections for family members to clean. Think I'll try that these holidays. I had a foal of trying more new recipes this year, I was actually reasonably successful too- the link below explains what I did.

    Wishing you and your family a wonderful New Year.

  4. Those socks, I did think about the ends when I saw you were making fair isle socks but shock of that photo was even more than I expected. Good luck and I hope the recipient really appreciates them.
    I'm not one for new years resolutions but in 2017 I would like to be so much kinder to myself, read a lot more novels, knit more socks (but probably not fair isle ones ;)) and crochet more blankets and get back on my bike. Golly that looks like too many changes in one go.
    I love the family cleaning blitz too, what a great idea. Wish my family would go for that idea. sigh.
    I am having an extended break from instagram as it wasn't enhancing my life, but gee I miss your stories and pictures.

    Happy New Year
    May it bring joy and love

    cheers Kate

  5. I think you did really well. Lots to look forward to in 2017. x

    PS - need to know more about the Christmas thing. It's my favourite!

  6. My list of intended achievements never fits into one year. But one thing I have managed is 'playing with natural dyes' (at the Handweavers' and Spinners' Guild in Melbourne, on the third Thursday each month). Some of our group come by train from Ballarat, Healesville, etc. Your welcome to join us!

  7. That's such a great review and wrap up of the year. Don't beat yourself up about not doing more for the causes that break ya heart. They'll still be there in 2017 and I know my colleagues out there will welcome whatever you choose to do, whenever you choose to do it. In the meantime, growing a strong, caring, resilient family is enough. Happy new year to you and yours.

  8. LOVE your Friday posts, Kate. You sound like me in that you need to create a self-imposed deadline otherwise it's tricky to fit it all in! I can do it with blogging but I find it challenging to schedule in time for self-care, yoga classes, etc. Happy New Year, lovely one x

  9. Hi Kate, 2016 has been a remarkable year full of challenges for both of us. It is a pleasure to read that you are making progress in different areas of your life. I hope that 2017 is easier and builds upon your achievements of this year. I see a bit of myself in you with many items on our lists of things we want to do. I see the list as just a guide. It is no failure to have items outstanding as long as you have attended to those things that are most important priorities.
    I popped by to see how you were going and hope that you did not receive too much damage from the weekend storm. I desperately hope that your beautiful part of the world did not flood. Enjoy your January and Friday blogging. I'm finally catching up on blog reading at this holiday time. Wishing you a happy new year and all the best for 2017.

  10. Blogging just on Fridays, this has really got me thinking. I miss writing in my blog...maybe will give the weekly thing a go this year. Lovely to hear that cleaning story too. Lotsa love xxx

  11. That was a refreshing blog Kate! You nailed it when you said "I guess the fact that I now know that I blog on Fridays removes the guilt and the yearning from the rest of the week too." Goodonya. I do enjoy the read on a Friday - but I also really enjoyed your blog a day in Jan this year... Just do what works for you eh. Thanks for sharing. xx

  12. Aha! Now all of a sudden I see why you drive your girls such a long way to school. I am off to the Nature Play conference in Melbourne in March to hear John Marsden speak (and our kindy is presenting two workshops) - I bet the education your girls are getting is worth every minute of the drive!

  13. i just wanted to say i loved this post and i love all your posts. thanks so much for blogging!

  14. I found hiking this year which has become a need, haha. In the coming new year we have a 4 day hike in Scotland planned - never would have dreamt of that this time last year. I want to keep up with my yoga practice and reading classic books and particularity biographical ones about overcoming adversary. Plus more allotment!
    I want to say I'll treat myself kinder but I say that every year and it never changes..
    I love your blog, your life, your honesty - so reading blogs that inspire, that's a must do :)

  15. You are so lovely Kate. I love your pics, family and the place where you live. I wish you a fantastic 2017.

  16. Wonderful blog, Kate. Thanks for sharing so much of your lives – gives us vicarious pleasure. Wishing you a great new year.

  17. 2016 seems like a good year for you. Look at what you achieved and made a start at. Anything not done is just moved through to 2017. Well done you. I'd say stick to Friday blogging it's manageable for you and gives us something to look forward to. Happy 2017 go team Foxslane.

  18. Lovely pictures and I really enjoy reading your blog. Happy New Year Kate and very best wishes for 2017. I'm going to try to live in the moment more and take pleasure in each day rather than stressing about tomorrow - that's the plan at least.

  19. Such a great review, Kate! Thank you for sharing all of that, and I wish you all the best for your hopes for 2017. Selfishly I do hope you blog every day in January, but totally understand if you just stick to Fridays. Always love reading whatever you have to write! Hugs to you and yours for a wonderful 2017.

  20. Well done, Kate. In so many ways. For me, I'm inspired by your ability to pinpoint and articulate areas of your life you want to work on.

    I have a hard time with that as I've lived my life simply going from one thing life has thrown at me to the next. 2016 seemed like a year of grief, but it was actually March of 2015 when my father died. But my mother had cancer at the same time, so I wasn't really able to grieve with focus until she was finally on the road to cancer recovery and her own coming to terms with the loss of her husband. My mother-in-law died in late 2015 as well. But, our granddaughter was born right about then too. A very tumultuous time, for sure, full of great highs and horrendous downs. So, a lot of grieving this year, which I've allowed myself room to do. And so much joy in rediscovering life through the eyes of a new little one.

    One of your desires foe 2017 resonates with me, that of finding one thing that is mine and pursuing it. May it be so for each of us!

  21. I am extremely jealous that your kids get to go to John Marsdens school. That was my dream when I was a kid... And even now! I adore him!
    I have no idea where my year is headed. I feel very uncertain at the moment... A very uncomfortable feeling.
    Hope you find a comfy rhythm this year... I look forward to reading all about it.

  22. I love the blogging on Fridays idea...great plan! This first year of single mamahood has been a desperate scramble to earn money, to be everything at home and my blog has gotten lost in there somehow. It's been going since 2009 and I need to re-vision it and decide whether to keep going or not. I COULD manage to blog once a week though, I'd really look forward to that. always, I appreciate you sharing your world. x

  23. What a list! Maybe more of a 5 year plan...There are definitely a few in there that I have thought about too. For me, this year, I just decided to keep it simple and write every day, whether it's fiction or a blog post or a little rant to myself.xx

  24. I used to wite resolutions but I have stopped now, tring to embrace life as it comes without trying to force it into something that it's not and then feeling bad about the fact that I couldn't do it. I completel feel your pain when it comes to cleaning (and I had a cleaning da with my husband and it was nice - there definitel is something about cleaning int andem that makes it more fun than doing it on our own) and about being overl critical to yourself in our head. There are so man expectations in the world around us that they got into our brains and the don't want to let go of them no matter how hard we try. God luck in the next year and do not let unfinished things let you down. That's just how life is. x

  25. Ooh I too want to write something other than a blog... perhaps I will reserve some Fridays too.

    Looking forward to hanging out sometime soon <3


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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 I'll apologise now, just in case.

Kate XX

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