Friday, June 16, 2017

some green for the green-house

Hello honey bunches!

How's your week been?

Mine's been one of those weeks where there was often so much going on that it felt like we were juggling our hours. Like a lot of the time I was looking beyond the present and trying to figure out how the next bit was going to work. And then the bit after that. Who was going to go where? Who was going to pick up what? How we were going to remember? And even then we almost ran out of toilet paper on Wednesday night.

But the in-between moments, when we caught them, were lovely; A quiet coffee before school pick up, a sit on the wood pile to listen to the birds, a few chapters of my book before bed, hide and seek with a four year old, a favourite record playing while I chopped the onions for the soup....nice.

This past week the doors went on the green-house, the walls were lined, the gaps were filled and it was declared open for business! That is finished until I've had a chance to spend some good planting hours in there and I can see if any changes need to be made. In this cold climate winter's pretty limiting as far as growing things is concerned, but I couldn't resist planting some trays of onions just to see, and so far the spaces, and heights, and light, feel just right.

It's such a beautiful space to spend time in and look out over the garden at the leaves flittering in the cool breeze, and feel safe and protected and warm inside. We've drunk our coffees in there, farmer Bren has carved a spoon in there, I've read chapters of my book out loud to whoever's listening in there, and of course I've knitted more than a couple of rows in there. Our aim for the future is to always keep a corner cleanish so we can still use the space even when it's in high production and covered in soil and seeds.

Meanwhile, we visited the local nursery yesterday and bought a bunch of potted colour and herbs to put some green into the green-house. Hopefully I'll get a chance to properly pot them in tomorrow, but I love the difference they make already. An espaliered lemon tree is next. The winter frosts have killed every single one we've tried to grow here over the years, but we're optimistic that this feels like a pretty safe, protected space. I'll keep you posted, hopefully with photos of lemons dripping from branches trained up to the roof.

This week Ms Pepper dressed up as Ray from Star Wars for a birthday party. She took it so seriously researching on-line, making shopping lists, taking her dad on an after school op-shopping adventure to hunt for belts and sheets and pants, putting it all together and then showing me a YouTube clip so I knew exactly how her hair was meant to go.

I have never been any good at dress ups. Book days and themed birthday parties have always been a bit of a challenge for me, so it makes me happy when my girls get to the age when they can pull something together themselves. 

After last week's pictures of our nine year old spending hours up a tree, I thought it was important to be transparent about the fact that this week she spent a few hours on her iPad researching ways to put together her costume. Everything in balance I say.

Then there's the olives we picked with Bren's folks. Well actually they picked most of them I just came in at the end for the last row. The frost damaged some of them, the birds ate their share of them and the remainder are stacked neatly in crates on our lounge room floor.

So here's the thing; most years our olives get pressed into oil but this year that's not going to happen and instead I want to turn them into eating olives. I put the call out on instagram but I'm wondering if any of you might have a favourite olive recipe? Do you cut them or squish them? Do you leave them in jars of dry salt, or fill them up with salty brine? DO you rinse them daily? Shake them weekly? Keep them in the dark? The fridge? On the shelf? Ahhhhh I'm me please.

I happily continued knitting beanies to send to the ASRC using this pattern until my friend Tania told me of how she'd auctioned off a tea-pot she'd made with proceeds to be sent to the ASRC and I wondered if my efforts could be better used by holding an auction myself. A couple of beanies will warm a few heads but I wonder if I could raise a bigger chunk of money and make more of a difference if I auctioned off something of my own. 

I've started thinking about knitting a pair of socks which usually take me about three or four weeks. I could start the auction as I cast on with a photo on instagram and take bids in the comments on that photo, and then over the weeks post updates, accept bids on them and then close it on the final cast-off photo. There are a few issues with that method that I'd have to work my way around, but it's worth thinking about I think.

Meanwhile we're having our first crochet lesson here this weekend with my dad, Indi and Pepper as my students. I haven't crocheted for the longest time and really miss it. Watch this space, I'm dreaming about a ripple blanket for the end of our bed...

I'm reading my sister Abby's copy of Colm Toibin's latest book House of Names which I couldn't quite work out until my Mum filled me in that it's a retelling of a Greek tragedy. With the very first words 'I have been acquainted with the smell of death', the story continues with so much violence, seduction, revenge and lust, that it almost feels like an episode of Game Of Thrones. (I mean that as a compliment.) I look forward to getting lost in its pages over the weekend.

I'm afraid I have to end this here as Miss Pepper is on her way to a costumed disco tonight with the theme of 'my hero'. She's chosen to dress up as her big sister Indi and needs my help. (I might need to wipe away a few tears in the process).

I do hope you have yourself a lovely, peaceful weekend wherever you are.

Do you have anything fun lined up?
Do you have a good book on the go?
Are you good at putting together costumes or baking fancy cakes?
Do you have some olive advice for me?

See ya later alligator.

Love ya's!



  1. Hi Kate, sending love to you and your mob.
    I love your glass house. It's simple, practical and absolutely beautiful. I'm sure you'll all enjoy working in there. Love your beanies too.
    I had to make an "olden days" outfit for Jamie during the week. That took me back. I gave him one of my old gardening hats and made a black vest for him. He wore it with a button shirt and jeans. I'm re-reading The Fatal Shore and loving it.
    Rhonda xx

  2. Hi Kate,
    I so love your green house aka gathering place for whenever with whoever. It's a magic place.
    Whatever you photograph has such an atmosphere of calm. You are very blessed ....I know there is an amazing amount of hard work involved living on the land :)
    Your olive photos reminded me of olive harvesting when my husband and I were courting. I had never seen the process before and I don't know what was done with our friends olives. It was many moons ago!

    Love your always colourful knitting for the soul is colour I say :)

  3. Hello Kate. I've been told there are as many ways to cure olives as there are Greeks and Italians in the world! I wash my olives daily for a month and then do the brine thing. When you get to the oil stage I'd recommend a 50/50 olive oil and canola oil mix with the yummy additions. Good luck. Ali

  4. The only thing I know about olives is don't leave the enormous jar of them sitting on the fridge, with the lid not quite on properly, so that when someone pulls on the door too hard, the jar tips over and all that yummy olive-y goodness ends up running down the back of the fridge and under it. Takes ages to get it all cleaned up!

  5. Fabulous photos. Miss Pepper looks super in her fancy dress.

  6. My grandmother wraps her lemon tree with a strand of white twinkle lights (Christmas lights) and swears that the warmth from the lights is enough to keep it safe from frost. Plus it's very festive. Your greenhouse is LOVELY!!

  7. Knitting feels useful and knowing those beanies will be on the head of someone who needs them is a lovely thing to do. There's thought in knitting and time to consider the recipient. a beautiful gift of love, patience, acceptance, tolerance and respect.

  8. Hey Kate, I've pickled whole olives before and I'm still eating them years later. It was the best. They still are the best! When I popped them in a jar with the brine, I covered them with a bit of olive oil and a slice of lemon. The lemon infused into the olives and oh my - olive heaven! Here's a link to my olive adventure.
    Let me know if you're interested in knowing more and I'll gather more info for you. xx Michelle

  9. Lovely as always Kate. That hot house, *swoon*. As a brown thumb with a possum and wallaby problem, I would just be keeping it as a space for coffee, reading and contemplating.

    Do you have anything fun lined up? I've spent the last week fighting off the lurgy, so I'm thinking this weekend will be about more rest and soup.

    Do you have a good book on the go? I'm currently reading The Year of Living Danishly which I'm loving and I just finished In The Quiet which I also really enjoyed.

    Are you good at putting together costumes or baking fancy cakes? NO! Fancy dress is my nightmare. So glad my kids are old enough to do it all themselves these days, I have been know to decline invitations to avoid the costume saga. No fancy cakes here either I'm sorry, just basic ones.

    Do you have some olive advice for me? Sorry no help on this front, although I can eat them really well.

    Hope your weekend involves some slow time.

    cheers Kate

  10. Hello Kate, I have just found you via tinyhappy - and although it sounds so disingenuous, your blog is every bit as lovely as she says! I can't offer much advice on the olive front, but I do suggest looking up @loteight on Instagram as Nalini will have all the answers. As for books... have you read Life After Life by Kate Atkinson? And I've just re-read The Wolves of Willoughby Chase (Joan Aitken) which your girls might like, too. Hope you have a lovely weekend,

  11. Hi Kate, I thought I'd send some UK encouragement on the crochet blanket front. Like you I'd had a LOONNGG gap in crocheting (in my case several decades), and I sent myself a target of crocheting a ripple blanket that year. To my amazement I finished two that year and another the following year, and loved doing it. Along the way I regained my confidence in crochet and relearnt several stitches. Since then I've gone from strength to strength.
    I used the wonderful blog by Lucy - Attic24 for guidance, tutorials and patterns, and I would heartily recommend it.
    Good luck, and enjoy! (and thanks for your lovely blog!).
    (I've written about my crochet love on my own blog)

  12. What a lovely greenhouse! I am so jealous! I hope your lemon tree grows well. The olives look wonderful, unfortunately I have no recipe, I just buy the jars from the shop. I hope you'll enjoy the crochet lessons, just don't get overwhelmed, sometimes when family members try to mentor each other in stuff, things can get... interesting (like they start hating you and you want to slap them):D I haven't crocheted for ever either, because I am knitting a MASSIVE blanket.Hope all goes well!

  13. Love the greenhouse! I'm planning on moving my lemon tree into ours this fall. Cannot help you with the olives I'm afraid, good luck though! I've made dozens of costumes for my girls throughout their childhood and for Halloween still, not too not hard when they were kids but as young adults they're a bit No time at the moment for reading sadly, our garden is keeping me busy.

  14. Oh that greenhouse, I love it Kate x

  15. You don't mention what kind of olives these are. The best online resources on curing olives at home are by UCDavis - there are quite a few authoritative pdfs available with all sorts of useful information. I still have some Nolca olives from southern Italy in my fridge, which I cured in the fall following their instructions (for the second year), and I'm now keeping in brine. Now and then, I rinse some out, season them, and they're usually gone in a few days!

  16. Lovely pictures that warm my heart


  17. Your blog is very useful for me.I really like you post.Thanks for sharing.


Thanks so much for stopping by...

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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