Friday, October 6, 2017

a few days ago

A few days ago we walked down the path at the back of our farm to collect armfuls of daffodils from the forest floor. Every year we visit this patch to admire the golden flowers and yet we have no idea who originally planted them. They're just outside our back gate and across a forest track with no other house or property in sight. Just miles and miles of Wombat State Forest. Sometimes it feels a bit eerie being in the middle of the forest, just on dusk, with the wind whispering through the trees, but then it also feels quite comforting to know that someone once lived there or passed through there in an autumn gone by and planted fat bulbs to flower for ever more.

We picked three bunches and left the rest for the forest. The girls laugh about how they'll one day tell their kids how they were always being photographed for my blog, but I know they love it. Moments like these feel like a gift to our future busy selves; laughing, dawdling, exploring, wondering, bickering, dreaming, singing.

A few days ago I filled up the tank of the brush cutter, pulled the cord at the top of the driveway and started making my way down. Usually I listen to my headphones while I do this type of work but this time I didn't want to waste the time it would take to find them. As I swept down the hill and around the bend I started remembering the story of a family of a boy on the autism spectrum who spent his days running around his backyard dragging a belt. It was strange but I could almost hear the father's voice telling his story and I could feel all the emotions I had connected to the story, vividly. 

It took me a while but eventually I realised that the story was a podcast interview I had listened to the last time I had cleared the gorse and blackberry and bracken from the same spot. My brain had connected the podcast to the position without me even knowing it. As I continued further down the driveway I remembered another story about a family of girls whose father had died. Without thinking I could feel their love for him and their great loss. Another podcast, another place.

I often worry about my brain. Coming from a line of Alzheimer's disease sufferers I guess it's inevitable. Sometimes I give myself little memory tests, sometimes I panic when I forget words or even how I've arrived at places, and then mysteriously my brain does something quite remarkable like connect entire stories I've heard to the places I heard them. What a mysterious organ.

A few days ago Miss Pepper got on a bike and taught herself to ride. I do know that ten is pretty old to be learning that particular skill, but somehow living on an unmade road in the middle of the forest way out of town, it just never happened. It did amaze me how quickly she took off though. It was like she decided, she wobbled a bit, fell off and grazed her knee and elbow, and then that was it, she was off. And has been riding around tractors and cars and mowers, up and down the driveway, ever since.

A few days ago Facebook told me that this time last year Indi was in Montenegro, this time last year I was swearing about all the rain and desperate for some sun, this time four years ago we caught a bee swarm, and this time four years ago I was on ABC radio's Life Matters promoting my book Vantastic and talking about life on the road.

A few days ago I had my hair cut into a long bob that just touches my shoulders and I love it. It feels fresh and easy and while it doesn't quite all fit into a pony tail anymore - I was so sick of wearing a pony tail every day anyway.

A few days ago we finished watching series four of Transparent and while I definitely didn't love it as much as I loved the first series, I really enjoyed it. 

A few days ago we started planning the celebrations for our Jazzy's fourteenth birthday. The year I started this blog she turned six and had a cupcake party and my dad wrote this comment that included an email Bren wrote just after Jazzy was born, under my post;

Here is an email I received on 13.10.03:

Hi all,
I'm sitting here with my beautiful baby girl on my lap, listening to her tiny hiccups and watching her wonderful facial expressions.
She is just divine, an angel, a fairy.
She is 5 days old now.
She was born at 2.40 on Thursday 9-10-03 and was 7 pound and perfect.
Mum and baby are doing really well. They got back home last night and we are getting on with life with 2 kids.. WOW..
Indi is coping really well and will make a very good bossy sister..
If you didn't realize from the subject of this email we have named her
Jarrah is the Aboriginal name for the majestic Eucalyptus marginata, native to western Australia.
Hoping you are well and as happy us we are..
All our love
Bren Kate Indi & Jarrah.

If Jarrah brought joy back then, now she brings a million times more. To every one who knows her. Happy birthday to you, darling Jarrah. xxxxx

Gosh the other comments on those 2009 birthday posts bring back so many memories of sweet blog years gone by.

A few days ago on a long drive somewhere we stopped at a petrol station to use the toilet. As I passed through the fast food restaurant and saw the huge, plastic playground to the side it occurred to me that unusually, I'm okay with the approaching birthday season this year. I'm okay with everyone growing that little bit older and I'm okay with not having babies and toddlers anymore. I spent years and years in those toilets with my little girls, trying to distract them on the way back through from the sugary treats and then waiting for tedious hours while they yelled at me to watch them as they climbed up the plastic structures and slid back down again. Although I adored those chubby little toddlers, and although the teenage years are anything but straight forward and simple, I do feel better equipped to deal with them. I feel like a better mum for them. I really enjoy parenting them. And most of all I love closing the door of my own service station toilet cubicle on them.

A few days ago Bren and Jobbo pulled down the ugly carport that's been shading our house. They then took all the wooden beams from it, put them through the thicknesser and then bolted them to the kitchen wall. Since then we've been pulling things out of the pantry and filling up those shelves. Our clever architect friend Annabel has been trying to convince us forever to pull down our pantry next to let even more light in, but I'm just not sure if we're neat or minimalist enough.

A few days ago we spent the entire day clearing up around and inside one of our old sheds so we can use it again for storage and shelter. All day long we pulled the long vines of blackberry from the rafters and burnt them in the fire, dragged old treasures out, sorted through them, neatly stacked some of it back in again, gave some of it away and took the rest to the tip. Some seasons it feels like we're so crazy busy that we're only ever running trying to catch up, for some reason this year feels different. The orchards are looking good, we have lots of seeds planted, a new renovation under way and still time left over to catch up on long forgotten bits of the to-do list and maybe even tick some off.

I love how during the cleanout we all found own roles. I was in charge of blackberry removal and burning &%$#, Bren took charge of all the old farm bits and pieces inside, Indi was away, Jazzy came out occasionally and sang to us, and Miss Pepper made musical instruments out of old bits of pipe and built the cart above.

A few days ago I looked at four skeins of wool that Hannah from Circus Tonic Handmade sent me about a year ago and cast on a cardigan. My thoughts were that 400 grams probably wouldn't be enough yarn, but I could always make it a bit mixy matchy with something else once I ran out. So I downloaded a pattern that only went up to an eight year old size, cast on, added a few extra stitches here and there to try and make it a 10 year old size and off I went.

Looking at it now I think the front could fit well once the button band is knitted, but the back seems all kinds of boxy and baggy. Now I can't decide if I should continue and hope for the best or pull it apart and knit something more risk free that is graded to her correct size. Ahhhhh what would you do?

And that's me from a few days ago all the way through to now. About to post this and then take the girls to get haircuts, about to grab a couple of rice crackers for lunch on the way out, about to swap my gym clothes for town clothes - not in that particular order.

How about you? How have your last few days been?
Could you get rid of your pantry and live with open shelves?
Would you continue knitting something that possibly may not ever fit?
Would you feel sad if your long haired girls wanted to be medium haired girls?
Do you have anything fun planned for this weekend?

See you next week.

Love Kate x


  1. I love those new shelves in your kitchen. How I would love to be able to go somewhere and pick a huge bunch of daffodils. Your girls are growing up so quickly, (but then my children are too). Happy weekending to you all.

  2. My long hair boy shaved his head this week. He looks like a completely different person & im still getting used to it. He loves it, says it feels fresh. He’s happy so I’m happy.
    We are off to a country show this weekend. I’m looking forward to wandering through all the exhibits. But it’s still really cool here I wish it would warm up. My bones need warm sun.
    Happy Friday Kate x

  3. My last days were in Barcelona, listening every night to the people knocking on their saucepan to express their independence and identity. Caring of my daughter more than pregnant -- due for last week! Caring for my gran-son in is first days going to school. Well, as stranger commenting your blog, that's enough told, no!? I realize that I follow and love your blog and Instagram for a very long time looking at your daughters suddenly so tall! Bravo for the reclaimed open shelves; would pursuit the knitting because the baggy look is interesting... always be avant-gardiste! And, well, daffodils are magnificent -- near to my house, in France, we have a fairy carpet of cyclamens covering the under-wood, it became famous and now it's an annual rendez-vous. I would really continue the knitting keeping it short. It's a pleasure to read your posts.

  4. Hi Kate. I really enjoyed your post today as I do every Friday. I would keep going with the knitting it might sit better at the back once it's finished.My girls have really long hair and I wish the were brave enough to get it cut shorter. You are lucky to still have daffodils still growing mine flowered really early this year and then disappeared too quickly. Enjoy your weekend.

  5. Hi Kate, gosh, I always love your posts but this post is all kinds of wonderful. The pictures of your lovely girls are beautiful. I love the pops of hello from the daffs! Oh and that email that your farmer boy sent when Jazzy was born is so special as are the words from your Dad. Happy Birthday to your girl! I too ponder my brain and it's workings at points when I enter a room and wonder what brought me there and when I can't find a word in it's murky depths! But I love that some smells brings stories and memories flooding back. I love your new/old kitchen shelves and I love that you can pick up knitting and wing it a little bit (I hope it's ok that I said that). I am too much of a 'what if' person and very much a beginner at knitting so I will always (probably) follow a pattern to the letter. It looks great so far! I'd be nervous if my girls wanted really short hair but medium is just fine. This weekend I am off on a screen printing course which I am looking forward to. Have a happy weekend and thank you so much for your gorgeous posts! Lucy xxxx

  6. Hi,
    I am a blog buddy of Julie's. She introduced me to your blog. Daffodils are my favorite flower. They were my wedding flower.
    I enjoyed your post.

  7. Loved reading your blog today. Lovely photos of the daffodils, so weird as in the UK we head into autumn and our daffodils were around Easter time. It's lovely to see them again, I always buy a few bunches when they're in the shops despite seeing them growing in gardens.
    I'm really not sure about the knitting, sorry.
    We are fortunate to have a walk in pantry in our house that was originally 2 houses. It would have been an actual room or part of a room I imagine. I often think about making it part of the kitchen but my kitchen has lots of cupboards and it'd be totally different. I'm not convinced we'd gain anything by changing things as the kitchen has 4 door exits (1 being into the pantry), it's narrow and impossible to have a table in it. The pantry itself houses a deep chest freezer as well as deep shelves, a worktop with cupboard and open space underneath it. There are many things stored here.
    Have a good week, hope you manage to sort your knitting.
    Cathy x

  8. Reading your blog is an important part of my Saturday. Thank you for sharing. The mornings are still cool here, no rain at all for over a month, my daffodils forgot to flower this year which was disappointing, love the shelves. Have a wonderful weekend Julie (a different one)

  9. Looking at the photos of the hand knit sweater, it looks like the back is too wide for your lovely girl. I'm not sure if that is a pattern issue or just a continual fit issue that will have to be adjusted. I know for me, my cross back (the distance between my shoulders along my back) is much narrower than many other people, so I often have to make adjustments to make sweaters fit. There are several options. You could make the whole sweater smaller by taking stitches out of the back. (It's hard to say if the front doesn't fit well without a button band or some serious pinning. It may be that the whole body of the sweater is too big even if the sleeves fit.) Seeing how it is a raglan style sweater, you could increase more slowly along the portions that touch the back. I have also occasionally found success by decreasing some stitches around the back of the neck when knitting up the button band.

  10. Those shelves 😍. I love the idea of you working together to clean up the shed too. We couldn't live without our pantry because there are too many of us who can't put things back neatly and it would drive me insane if the shelves didn't look neat.
    No help with the knitting, I'm very much a follow the pattern kind of girl. Actually that sums me up really.
    The email was beautiful.
    As usual I love this little story of your week.
    Cheers Kate.

    1. Ps. I'd love to see a photo of your new hair cut.

  11. Well just a few days ago it seems like the girls were all so much younger, now they are all morphing into beautiful young women. Time flies when you’re enjoying yourself. The shelves are superb I love them. Seems like you are all very busy getting ready for the new season. It feels so good doesn’t it to clear up, out and tidy, such a mind clearing task. Enjoy your week.

  12. Kate
    Just wanted to say how much I love your blog posts xx and how much you are encouraging me. I've been blogging for 12 years now and haven't written for the past two months, the longest break ever! Mostly I think cause I listened to all these experts saying, " focus on one area, be an 'expert' and Ive frozen, sucked my marrow of blogging joy around. And then I read you blog and you're still doing a fantastic job being you, and sharing and blogging the 'old way' really the best way. I'm sick of 'experts' I just want to go back to sharing, here you are still doing it, so think I just will too :-) xxx

    btw wanted to send you an email but the best I'll get to at present is a message here, thank you, thank you for your support for my girl. she went to Jeff's workshop and really enjoyed herself xxx Things looking way up for lots of reasons. I will send an email soon, promise.

  13. Great post ! I love that huge clearout phase in the year. The cardy will fit at some stage...and you have knit so much of it. She is going to grow, so Id keep working on it as is.


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

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.

Visit my other blog.