Friday, June 2, 2017

winter's here

The week that was:

When autumn became winter a tiny part of me felt relieved that that thing that I had been dreading had not only arrived, but was one day closer to being over.

The kind people at Harper Collins Australia sent me a copy of Eliza Henry Jones's new book Ache. It's weird, although I've never met Eliza in person I feel like I know her. After I read and fell in love with her first book In the Quiet, my sister Abby introduced us on twitter and over the years we've chatted about all the important things: sock knitting, cable knitting and accidentally knitting two right handed gloves instead of a right and a left - oops. Later I found her on instagram and admired the photos of her horses and farm life on the other side of Melbourne, but in the background I was always hoping for the announcement of her next book.

And lucky for me Eliza came through with the goods. Ache is the story of a family coping with the aftermath of a horrific bushfire that ripped through a mountain community, killing the main character Annie's grandmother, traumatising her young daughter, and threatening her marriage and the stability of the life she has built for herself. Ache takes us on a journey back up into that mountain a year after that fire, where the devastation is still everywhere, the trees are blackened, most of the houses are still in ruins and the once close community is divided and angry.

Eliza'a writing is beautifully descriptive:

The mountains had always been quiet, but it was like the unimaginable noise of the fires had sucked all sound from the mountain along with everything green. There was no sound of clattering leaves in the wind now. There were no birds. No sigh of grass.

Eliza has qualifications in English, psychology and grief, loss and trauma counselling and has completed an honours thesis exploring representations of bushfire trauma in fiction, which makes me trust her with this sensitive subject. I like it that I can believe it when the characters display symptoms that were caused by their experiences with the trauma of surviving a bushfire. Even though it's fiction, it feels real and true and the title Ache feels completely fitting. 

Recently I was talking to my girls about how one of the reasons I love reading so much is because it answers my what if's? For me, living in the middle of a forest makes bushfire a very real threat. Ache takes me into some of those what if places as well as back to February 2009 when a bushfire was coming through our forest towards our house, and at the last minute the wind changed and swept it alongside, 10 meters from our house instead. We were so lucky. No one was hurt, no property was damaged, I'm sure there were wild life deaths but we didn't see them, and our community bonded together to help and support one another. All these years later many of our trees are still blackened, and sometimes I can still smell that charcoal, smokey smell, but the girls were so young they hardly remember it and we've got a story to tell. I hope it's the only one.

The same way In The Quiet has stayed with me over the years, I'm sure Ache will too. Eliza's simple yet dear characters, the calls of the birds, and the way the landscape heals. 

Now that I've read it I guess I'll have to go back to watching her twitter feed and waiting for the release of her third book.

Oh and Eliza I know that I don't know you in real life, but if I did I would totally hug you and congratulate you and tell you that I LOVED it. I loved the cover, the writing, the characters and the story. Yay you, well done. xx

I bought Miss Pepper a couple of the sweetest cat things from my friend Manda's online shop.

We waved our Jazzy off for a week of hiking and camping with her class.

I planted a few more beds of garlic.

Jobbo started building the shelves into the hot-house.

I made a start on the pile of beanies I hope to knit and send off to the ASRC soon with this pattern.

Our organic and local communities lost one of its greats and we mourned the loss. Vale Rod May, you will be missed by many. xx

We drove down to Melbourne to listen to our farmer boy make a speech about questioning the world. About holding onto the fire you felt in your late teens and early twenties and turning it into activism now. He made us name things we are frustrated and angry about and implored us to do something about them. It was awesome.

I bought a new lens for my camera but still haven't taken it out of its box. It's so weird, I've been wanting a 35mm for so long but now that I have one I'm scared I won't like it, or be any good with it. Hopefully next week I'll have something to show you. Fingers crossed.

I listened to Richard Fidlers podcast conversation with Bill Hayes - An unexpected later in life love story, set in New York City - and fell in love with it.

We watched and loved the first season of Billions, have you watched it yet?

And that's me. I messed up the photo a day in May thing in the last few days. One day we weren't here at all and another rained non stop and the sun never came out once. But I enjoyed it when I did it, letting the pictures mostly tell the stories and capturing a month on our farm. (Ahhhhh those poly tunnels are still there!!)

This June I'm hoping to knit some more hats for my pile and send them off to keep some heads warm. I'm hoping to plant some stuff in the hot-house and put the rest of the garlic in the ground. I'd like to fill a sketch book with botanical drawings and maybe branch into paint. And more than anything I hope to catch the sunshine when I can and to keep warm and positive.

Wishing you a wonderful season whether you're just starting to unfurl your leaves and stretch out towards the sun, or drop your leaves and turn inwards to the hearth. May it be productive and nourishing.

I'd love to hear about what it's like where you are, how you're spending your days, what you're reading, watching and listening to.

Lots of love,

Kate xx


  1. I love Billions. I've seen season two and it only gets better. :) What I love the most about it is the feeling that the cast are just having the best time making this show. It really comes through loud and clear.

  2. You've done it again Kate, brightened my friday night. I love, love the frosty photos of the flowers and the leaves. And the new hot house shelves look gorgeous.
    I'm interested to hear more about where your farmer boy was speaking, how wonderful to have a partner who is still passionate and inspired and hasn't become jaded and cynical over the years. Sigh, being the motivator and the driver gets tiring.
    Thanks for the book recommendations I have placed them on hold at the library, now to just allow myself the time to read.
    Bush fire terrifies me and while I don't live in the bush as such I do live in a rural area with plenty of bush corridors all around us, every summer it's on my mind.
    Have a fab weekend, stay warm and keep smiling
    cheers Kate

  3. I love reading your blog on Friday mornings. You always have a busy week. Here in New York we are getting ready for summer. It's been unseasonably chilly Then I will complain that it's too hot lol Bush fires would scare me to death. Too uncontrollable. Have a great week xo

  4. I've just finished watching Nobel that you talked about a few weeks ago. Soooo good. Thanks for the recommendation. I'm going to have a go at billions and the books you've recommended​xx

  5. That sounds like a good book. Thanks for the recommendation, Kate.

    I love your icy photos. They make me feel cosy despite the icicles. Despite being worlds apart in almost everything, we have so much in common. I wish I'd heard your farmer boy's talk, I wish I had a corner of pumpkins like that, I wish I could watch Twin Peaks but I've never heard of Billions. I will listen to Richard's podcast though.

    Remember that day we ran into each other in the lobby of Penguin in Melbourne. I wish I'd had my wits about me then and invited you for tea. I would have enjoyed that very much. Take care, love. xx

  6. South East Qld - finally nice and chilly! Had a bonfire tonight and the kids roasted Marshmallows. They stayed up way too late. I knit by the fire. A Beear Cardigan for my almost 2 yr old. Now I'm about to snuggle up in bed and start my new book Ora's Gold by Charlotte Young (Aussie author!)....

  7. Great photos the frost looks fantastic on the leaves and still in glorious colour. Don't you just love Mother Nature. We haven't got to summer here in the U.K. yet although the last few days have felt like it. Enjoy your days and snuggle up when possible with the knitting.

  8. I read those words of Eliza's and they took me straight back 2 months to the floods we had here, just swap out fire for water. I love the sounds of her books, but don't think I'm ready to delve into someone else's natural disaster trauma just yet. And I cry when I see your vegetables and your garden growing beautifully, mine and all my staggered seedlings, seeds and the rest....gone, washed away. A good thing is the days here in northern NSW are warm and sunny, evenings just cool enough to need a blanket while watching tv and knitting hats and mitts to keep homeless heads warm.

  9. I recently found your blog via Instagram; love it. I completely understand why you hate the poly tunnel in your pics but I think it adds its own bit of charm. Good luck with your winter botanical drawings; that has long been on my list to practice but always for another day. I look forward to having a just a little of your winter in my summer days.

  10. Hi Kate, thank you for your blog and your photos. I am harvesting delicious rhubarb, strolling through the garden looking for errant greens for a salad - dandelion, wild rocket (is all rocket wild?) broccoli leaves, coloured with borage and calendula flowers, thanks to The Growing Abundance Project have preserved some local olives and apples, foraging for saffron milk caps on Mt Franklin, and making kraut with our local community....setting our stores right for winter. Such a lovely time of year and your blog reminds me of how blessed we are in this region. Reading or should i say re reading The Natural Health Book by Dorothy Hall...just watched Search Party - and loved the dark humour with stellar subtleties in the performance of the 4 main characters. Gratitude for you and you blog, gives me the warm and fuzzies when i read it......Vale Rod May xxoo

  11. Dear Kate, lovely pictures, and I love read your words. well I finished now "The muse" and tomorrow I will start... I don't know I have three different books ready to read. I hope to finish my lace too. Have a great week.

  12. Your photos are always so beautiful, I'm sure the 35mm will only add to that. It's lovely seeing the frost when it's so hot here, our spring was very wet and dark. It put most of the planting behind so, more bugs to deal with for it. During all those wet days I've been doing a lot of de-cluttering indoors. The things that accumulate! Have a great day. x

  13. Thanks for the reminder about ASRC I have a pile of hand-knits I'll send their way. We narrowly escaped a bush fire when we were living in South Africa came within metres of the house and daughter and I were evacuated while husband worked with the fire fighters to save the house. Daughter was 4 and she still talks about it.

  14. Gorgeous, frosty photos Kate. I would really appreciate your thoughts about the new camera lens. I am looking at new lenses but find all of those numbers so confusing that I am struggling to make a decision x

  15. I adore your photography and you will love using your new 35mm! I'd love to know if you work 'in camera' or use post production.
    I used to knit but I have permanent double vision and it's exhausting - your work is beautiful in that area too.
    Take the Hygge practise to heart this winter - it will make it much easier xx

  16. قم بالتواصل مع الشركة العالمية الموجودة في مصر حتى تستطيع طلب خدمات صيانة الكتروستار لاصلاح جميع اعطال اجهزتك الكهربائية المتنوعة في اسرع وقت

  17. الآن من خلال التواصل مع شركة كشف تسربات المياه بالدمام المتخصصة التي تقدمها شركة ابراج دبي ستتمكن من التخلص من مشكلة تسربات المياه في اسرع وقت و بدقة عالية

  18. الآن من خلال التواصل مع شركة دليل الصيانات ستتمكن من الحصول على خدمات صيانة فريش المتكاملة بأقل الاسعار ، و ذلك بجانب خدمات صيانة يونيفرسال التي تقدمها الشركة عبر مراكزها المعتمدة بمصر

  19. يمكنك الآن الحصول على كافة خدمات مكافحة الصراصير و الحشرات المتنوعة مثل مكافحة البق بإستخدام افضل المبيدات الحشرية التي تساعد على ابادة النمل و التخلص من جميع الحشرات بفاعلية كبيرة

  20. احصل الآن على اقوى الخصومات و العروض على خدمات تركيب قرميد بأنواعه المختلفة التي تقدمها شركة البدر مثل تصميمات قرميد اسباني المصنوعة من اجود الخامات

  21. للحصول على كافة خدمات صيانة معدات مطاعم المتكاملة و الفورية بأقل الاسعار مثل خدمات صيانة ايس ميكر و الكثير من المعدات الاخرى ، فلا تتردد في زيارة موقعنا الالكتروني

  22. قم بطلب خدمات الصيانة المتكاملة التي تحتاجها مثل صيانة فريجيدير من موقع دليل الصيانات الشامل الذي يقدم كافة خدمات الصيانة التي يحتاجها العملاء ، حيث تقدم ايضًا صيانة جنرال اليكتريك بإستخدام قطع غيار اصلية


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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