Saturday, December 30, 2017

almost hourly

Hello sweet peas!

Well here we are on the second last day of the year, on my 56th blog post of the year, which also happens to be my very last of the year. 

Truth be told I'm a bit astounded that I made it. I posted on every single Friday of 2017 plus a few extra. There were a couple of times when Friday wasn't possible so I wrote it on Thursday and published on Friday, there were more than a couple of times when I questioned the validity of the exercise, and there were plenty of times when I sat down with not much to say and ended up saying plenty, but sitting here almost 56 posts later, I'm so very glad I persevered.

My 2018 blog posts are a wonderful record of the year that was, they're filled with stories and insights from you guys, they've been great therapy, they've been good photography and writing practise, they've gotten me two jobs, and they'll be such a great gift for my girls in the years to come.

And each Friday as I've sat down to write my blog I've had a few tricks up my sleeves to fall back on in case the words didn't come; I could list 10 things happening in my life right now, I could do Pip's Taking Stock, I could talk about books and podcasts and TV series, or I could take photos and write descriptions...I did all of those over and over. 

But the one that I never used and always thought about was taking a photo each hour for a whole day. And it's funny that I've never used that one because people often ask me about a normal day in my life and this would show just how varied and abnormal my days can be. It would also be such a great snap shot of a season.

So yesterday I woke up and decided that the last Friday of the year was the day.

One photo every hour on the hour...

I took the top photo of the market garden filled with zinnias at 8am. 

I took the next three photos of the cat's new sleeping place at 9am, after I'd drunk coffee, eaten muesli with berries and yogurt and hung some washing out.

Bren's made me a washing line in that new bit in-between the sun room and the new deck. I have to stand on my tippie-toes to reach it but it's right outside the laundry, it's under cover and everything dries so quickly on it rain or shine. Imagine how much of a game changer it'll be come winter when I don't have any laundry hanging inside. So good.

At 10am I took the flowering bean tee-pee while waiting for the girls to get ready to go down to the orchard.

At 11am we were all ready for apple tree netting day to begin!

We had Indi in the tractor, Bren and Francis pulling out the nets, my parents, Jazzy and I were on cable tie duty, and Pepper and Neve were on crafts.

By 12 we were a well oiled netting machine. Everyone knew their job and was doing it well. My phone alarm was going off on the hour and I'd snap a few pics and continue tying.

But by 1pm we were feeling the heat and the damp and were losing steam. Time for lunch.

Unfortunately I wasn't quick enough to get a photo of my Mum's freshly baked sour dough but trust me when I say it was beautiful. We gobbled it up with scrambled eggs, sautéed silver beet and chats about pregnant Kardashians (!).

I forgot to bring my phone down to the orchard with me after lunch so I had to guess at the times. Later when I saw the time-stamps on each photo I laughed at how wrong I gotten it.

At 2.44pm I took these photos of the girls crafting up a storm in the orchard next to where we were working. They made bracelets, rafts and apple dolls, they played with worms and grass-hoppers, and for some reason they called each other Margaret.

At 4.28pm we were heading towards the finish line. The conversation had slowed down and it was getting harder and harder to stand up in between trees.

At 4.55pm farmer Bren sliced a granny in half!

And at 5pm, on the very last row, I thought I'd better take a photo of everyone doing their job before we finished and it was too late. Francis pulling the nets out and my parents tying each bit of net to a tree to stop the birds getting in.

For some reason I didn't take any of pictures of the orchard all finished. I will soon.

At 6.18pm Jazzy and I walked down to pick some currants and gooseberries even though the birds had eaten most of them.

At 7.12pm I put the finishing touches on yesterday's blog post while Bren put together a survival kit for Jazzy's camping trip.

And just after that we picked and podded broad beans for dinner.

I love those days that are filled with family and friends and farm jobs and food. I certainly found myself laying in bed last night exhausted but with a big smile on my face.

Hopefully I'll get a chance in the next few days to do a bit of a run down on the year that was and my hopes and dreams for the year that will be, but in the meantime this feels like a wonderful place to finish. Full of love for where we've come from and optimism for the upcoming season.

Thank you dear readers for coming along with me this year for the ride. For sharing my ups and downs. For your suggestions and encouragement and wisdom. And really, just for being there. In a world filled with so many opportunities, it means the world to me that you spend some of your precious time each week visiting me.

Until we meet again next year, I hope you and yours have the most fabulous 2018! I hope it's filled with love and passion and fun opportunities and flowers. I hope you find something you love to do and get to do it often. I hope you have lots of fun!

I can't wait to get started!

Happy 2018.

Lots of love,

Kate x

Friday, December 29, 2017

salmon rose

Hello honey bunches!

Well wouldn't you know it? We've spent the very last blog Friday of the year netting the apple trees in the old orchard and I haven't had a chance to write my blog.

I've thought about it all day, and I've even taken some photos for it, but sometimes the stars just don't align and the farming has to come first.

So if it's all the same to you, rather than push through and start writing now at 6.52pm, I'll post these photos of Jazzy with the zinnias that I took the other day, I'll go and make the girls some dinner, and I'll post a proper blog post tomorrow or Sunday.

Thanks for being so awesome and understanding.

What did you get up to today on the last Friday of the year?

See you so very soon.

Love Kate x

Friday, December 22, 2017

mid summer meanderings

This is always a funny little time of the year, don't you think?

The girls are on school holidays, the days are warming up, things seem to be speeding up and at the same time getting ready to slow right down. There are parties to go to, jobs to finish, gardens to water and weeds to pull. Finally the veggie garden feels like it's starting to give back to us, but we're still a long way from fruit. Part of me feels like I'm on holidays - reading in bed in the mornings, watching episodes until too late at night. And part of me feels like it's time to gear up - this is the beginning of crazy time on the farm and the more I get done now, the better I'll feel later on.

So in order to capture this moment in time and make some sort of sense of it all, I'm going to borrow an oldie from such a goodie - Pip at Meet Me At Mikes - the Taking Stock List.

Here we go.

(photo at the top is of Indi's 17th in the new sun-room)

(Indi's 17th once they had left the table to go and dance on the deck)

Drinking: iced coffee with lots of ice and no ice cream...right now even...yum! 

Reading: The Woman Who Fooled The World: Belle Gibson's Cancer Con, and the darkness at the heart of the wellness industry. Gosh what a crazy story.

Next read: My Mum's library book - Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward. And then maybe Indi's VCE literature books.

 (the corn flower crown I made for our birthday girl)

Waiting: for some lettuce seeds to germinate. I've had such a bad lettuce season this year.

Disliking: cabbage moths and caterpillars. Leave my veggies alone!!

Playing: the best of 2017 play lists that Spotify is making me.

(our birthday girl)

Bookmarking: ideas to investigate when I start my flower farming course and have more knowledge.

Opening: packets of flower seeds and getting butterflies in my tummy.

(here comes the packing crate deck)

Giggling: at the study timetable on Indi's wall and wondering where she came from.

Enjoying: long sunny summer days and feeling a teensy bit sad that after today they start getting shorter.

Questioning: whether I've planted everything, and enough of everything, and if there's still time for more.

(the first of the two bits of the deck)

Feeling: that old familiar guilt that arrives on school holidays when the girls want to play with me, but I have so much farm work to do.

Looking: at the new deck along the front of our house and wondering where I can find some beautiful outdoor chairs for lounging about, reading books and sipping cocktails.

Admiring: the new deck and feeling so proud of my farmer boy who saw some old packing crates on an instagram page and had the foresight to imagine them as something beautiful. 

(my parents celebrating 50 years of marriage)

Making: knitted crowns for my Mum and Dad. The Ravelry details are here.

Deciding: on my next knitting project, either a pair of socks or a cardigan.

Considering: buying myself some sock blockers. Should I?

Wondering: if I should start a new macrame plant hanger instead.

(my sisters and parents at our golden 50 year anniversary party)

Wearing: my uniform - work overalls and a tee-shirt

Needing: to write up the notes from the interview I did yesterday before I forget the context and can't read my writing. 

Pondering: recording my next interview, so I can capture more detail.

Knowing: that I have four stories to write and that despite my best intentions, I'll probably leave writing them til the very last minute.

(the zinnias start to pop and add some much needed colour to the market garden)

Thinking: about how beautiful the garden will look when it is filled with colourful flowers.

Buying: geraniums for my hanging baskets.

Liking: mowing the orchards and getting ready to net them.

Hoping: for a really good apple season.

Waiting: to open the farm gate stall again, it feels like it's been forever.

(oh my goodness! oh my goodness!)

Following: lots of flower farmer accounts.

Cooking: broad beans in butter, with garlic and herbs on toast.

Hearing: the crash of cutlery being put away and hoping that it's one of the girls doing it and not Bren.

Snacking: on the fresh currants we picked a few nights ago.

Wanting: to go and pick more before the birds discover them.

(the prettiest little dahlias I bought from our local botanical gardens plant sale recently. I should have bought more)

Marvelling: at the magnificence of the flowers as they open up in the garden.

Watching: last season of Australian Survivor - don't judge me.

Cringing: at having to admit that's what I'm watching. I'm calling it research tho as we have a few friends who are auditioning for the next series.

Next watch: I don't know. Do you have any suggestions?

Noticing: the soil on the leaves and petals of the flowers in the market garden and wondering if watering them from above might not be the best thing for them.

Smelling: the next flush of roses.

Coveting: the fabulous photos of dahlias coming up in my instagram feed and wondering how the 20 tubers I planted are going to perform.

(farmer Bren's favourite thing in the garden at the moment - the leek flower!)

Loving: the flowers on the vegetables in the garden; the tomatoes, the potatoes, the leeks, the beans, the peas, the cucumbers and the rocket. It's such a beautiful and exciting time of the year.

Sorting: the seeds and pulling out those that need to be planted in mid summer.

Gettingready to start braiding the garlic harvest.

Wishing: for a safe, exciting, inspiring and love filled new year for us all.

And that's that! 

If you want to make your own list you can find all the prompts on Pip's blog here.

Or if you feel like telling me what you're snacking on, hoping for, marvelling at, making or any of the other ...ings, you can type your answers into the comments section of this very blog. I'd love to read them.

Wishing you and yours a fabulous summer/winter solstice, a merry Christmas, a fabulous weekend, and enough time.

Lots of love,

Kate xx

Friday, December 15, 2017

in the forest at dusk

The other day I got an email from Goodreads with my 2017 reading tally. The year's not finished yet, there are still pages to be turned and books to add, so I'm not going to link to it just yet, but it did make me think about all of my 2017 accomplishments. All those seeds I've planted, all those miles I've driven, all those weeds I've pulled, all those lunches I've made, all those podcasts I've listened to, all those words I've written....

2017 feels like it's been a productive year. Despite my wish for a simple life, growth just happened. I guess that's what being alive is all about. Moving forward, trying to do better, trying to learn, trying to teach, trying to grow.

I look forward to thinking about and blogging some of the tallies and some of the things we achieved in the past 12 months over the next couple of Fridays as the year comes to a close, but for now these photos are of the girls modelling the two wraps I knitted this year.

I took these photos to add to my Ravelry projects page to try to work out my knitting tally for 2017. (My desk might be a crazy mess, but at least my Ravelry page will be neat and ordered.) These photos were taken last Sunday evening straight after a trip into town to the supermarket, but a bit before the bugs started biting. One of the wraps was knitted for Indi and worn to school all through last winter. And the other was knitted for my mum and only given to her last Monday.

I love that my Mum saw her granddaughter in skinny jeans, Blundstone boots, a linen shirt and her wrap and decided that she wanted one of her own.

These photos make me so happy because they remind me of the origins of this blog when it was purely a craft record. Each time I'd finish something I'd get the girls to model it for the photos. Long before high school and long commutes and homework and boyfriends.

The details for Indi's wrap are here.
The details for my mum's wrap are here.

As well as traipsing through the forest at dusk snapping photos of girls in knitwear, this week I watched and really loved My Mother's Lost Children.

I also watched and cried my eyes out at this short film called I have a message for you.

On Tuesday we celebrated 18 years of marriage!

On Tuesday while mowing the middle apple orchard I listened to all three parts of 36 Questions - a musical in a podcast. A few years ago I'd heardModern Love podcast about those same 36 questions and was somewhat intrigued.

So on Tuesday night when we went out for dinner to celebrate our anniversary we asked each other and answered Arthur Aron's 36 questions. Well most of them anyway. It's one thing to use them to fall in love in the first place, and quite another to ask them of someone you've loved and lived with for almost 21 years.

This week I've been reading Roxane Gay's Hunger and thinking a lot about my perception of my physical body and also about how much space people take up.

I cast off my tree socks, ravelled here.

I opened a box full of information for my flower farming course starting early next year.

I ordered some cord to further my macrame obsession.

I bought and planted a couple of rows of flowering plants.

And I ate strawberries, and salads, and broad beans and peas.

This week we're celebrating our three girls who have had wonderfully successful school years.

We're loving the thought of six weeks off from the school commute.

We're planting and weeding and watering.

And while I'm hiding in our bedroom typing this Bren and Jobbo are putting the finishing touches on the deck that comes out from the sun-room and goes all along the front of our house (photos soon)(check my instagram story if you're too impatient to wait til next week), Jazzy and Pepper are painting on face masks and Indi is vacuuming the carpet for her birthday party tonight. I'd better hurry up and publish this so I can go and help her with the preparations.

I hope you have a beautiful weekend my friends.
Can you believe there are only two Fridays left for this year?
Are you starting to think about your bests, and worsts, and tallies for 2017?
Do you want to come and help me make a flower crown and string up the fairy lights?

Big love to you lovers!
See you next week.

Love Kate x

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