Friday, October 27, 2017

when the orchard blossoms

Hello blossoms, how's your week been?

I'm sitting here fresh from a morning of digging trenches and planting potatoes. My finger nails are full of dirt and the knees of my overalls are filthy, but it's certainly nice to have an excuse to sit down quietly for a bit.

It's funny, all winter long I felt like I was blogging about the same thing over and over again. The weather had closed in and it was dark and wet and nothing was really happening here except for the knitting and the reading. I yearned for spring when the sun would come out and things would start growing again. And I couldn't wait for a time when I would be spoilt for choice of subjects to photograph and stories to write about.

And all of a sudden here we are. Two months into spring and my world is filled with action and activity. Celebrations, flowers, seeds and seedlings, farm activities and renovations. There's been so much going on here in the past seven days that I don't actually know how to narrow it down. Where do I start? How do I choose?

I guess I'll start at the main event. The day that had been circled on the calendar and counted down to for the last few months, Miss Pepper's Slime birthday party! And then write a list of other week happenings from there.

Led by these two, the girls decorated tee-shirts, played party games, ate, drank, giggled, sang and made slime. 

I have to tell you that after all these years of hosting little kid's parties, having two 14-year-olds to run things was a game changer. I don't think I've ever been so relaxed with a house full of girls.

And even though the day was wet, so the party had to be held inside, and the slime had to be made inside, which I was dreading, they all loved making and playing with it so much that I forgot to care.

And the mess was pretty contained...until they had to make slime blindfolded...that was a whole different story.

Our birthday girl had a ball and kept making and playing with the slime long after her guests had left.

Unfortunately though the birthday joy was short lived as on Tuesday, her actual birthday, she woke up with a temperature and spent most of the day lying floppy on the couch. It broke my heart when we put her to bed that night shivering and crying over a wasted birthday.

Three days later and she's still not 100% but we've promised her a picnic in the apple orchard to make up for it as soon as she feels well enough again.

One late afternoon we were wandering through the old orchard checking for fruit set when we noticed our first bee swarm of the season hanging on a thin, low branch. I love how calm and full of energy a bundle of bees is when they're swarming. I put my bare, flat hand out so close to them and could practically feel their humming vibrations.

Quietly we placed a bee box full of frames underneath them. Because this swarm was in such an easy place to get to without disrupting them much we didn't even put our suits and gloves on. I held the branch they were hanging onto and Farmer Bren carefully cut through it. Holding the whole weight of the swarm in my hand I slowly lowered it into the box and as they rested on the bottom of the box the swarm collapsed and almost rippled like water. (I made the most amazed looking face which Bren caught on camera but I'm too shy to show you.)

We've successfully caught two swarms so far this season. We've been there at the exact moment a swarm has left their hive, flown up in the air and landed on a branch which was terribly exciting. And we've made the mistake of opening the lid to check on a swarm we'd just caught in their box only to have them leave again.

It's such exciting and interesting work, I only hope our eight hives are up to the job of pollinating our orchards to ensure a good fruit set this season.

When Bren's parents came and stayed for a few days this week him and his Dad spent a few hours making frames for the bee boxes in case they swarm again and for when they need an extra box on top. I love watching the two of them working together. 

Also this week we've mowed and mowed and mowed some more. Sometimes it feels like the grass and the weeds are growing so fast I can almost see it. It does frustrate me when I have a whole bunch of things planned to do but I have to put them off to mow or this place will end up looking like a jungle. But I do love that feeling of looking behind me at an area I've just mown and seeing how beautiful it looks in the mower's wake.

I used to write on my blog about my wish for a fairy to darn in the ends of my knitting after I'd finished something, these spring days I'd LOVE nothing more than a mowing fairy to take care of things. Imagine how great that would be! If you see her please send her my way won't you.

This week the green-house extension has continued along the front of our house. Little by little more windows and doors and walls are being built and I can't begin to tell you how exciting it is to love the look of where we live after all these years. And how beautiful it is to look out on our old familiar garden and see it framed in a whole new way. Having that sun filled indoor/outdoor room is going to change the way we live. I just love it.

It's been another busy week in the garden as I've pulled out the last of last summer's carrots, beets and leeks to make room for potatoes, lentils, leeks, peas and flowers.

This past week we've done everything we possibly can to immerse ourselves in the fleeting blossom season. We've walked amongst it, we've breathed in its perfume, we've danced in it as it's rained down upon us, we've photographed it, and we've watched as the bees fly about in it gathering its pollen. And then we've stressed as the days weren't kind and the wind lashed at it and the rains fell down on it. But then the sun came out again and everything felt alright. It's difficult to think that it'll be another whole year before our orchards turn white again.

Apart from an hour of beginner macrame the other morning when it was too wild to go outside, there has not been one speck of craft action in this house over the past week. On one hand that makes me sad, but on the other hand I do know that it's a seasonal thing. The days out on the farm are long in springtime and the hours sitting on the couch are but a few.

A few days ago after listening to the Fat Talk episode of the Ladies We Need To Talk podcast, our family made a promise to stop talking about other people's physical appearances. It's just not necessary. There's so much more to a person than their looks which are mostly the luck of their genetics anyway.

Last night in the middle of the night I finished reading my Mum's library copy of Delancey:A man, A Woman, a Restaurant, A Marriage by Molly Wizenberg also author of the blog Orangette. I loved Molly's book, in its essence it's a bunch of stories about the time in her life when she and her then husband opened up a pizza restaurant. It is chatty and easy to read, it has loads of beautiful recipes (I must remember to copy out a few before I return it), it has beautiful descriptions of pizza, and it's an interesting portrait of a woman who chooses and then chooses again. I think if I ever get around to writing a book about our life on our farm, Delancey is just the type of book I'd like to write.

And lastly, but still very importantly, I had a realisation early in the week that I can sometimes take things personally when they have nothing to do with me. When I finally sat down and had a conversation with a friend of mine who I felt had been prickly, cold and dark toward me over the past few weeks, she told me it was something she was going through and had nothing to do with me at all. And that instead of keeping my distance if I feel that from her in the future, perhaps I could give her a hug. Of course I apologised and promised to, but I've felt awful ever since. I believe so strongly in practicing empathetic behaviour, I've seen and read all the quotes about being kind to people because we're all going through our own private battles, and I want so badly to be a good human, I guess I just need a bit more practise.

And with that I'm outta here!

Are you making/growing/reading/loving/dreaming/learning about anything exciting at the moment?
Are spring petals or autumn leaves falling from the trees where you live?

My parents have just walked up the hill with a freshly baked challah for us, I must go now and cut myself a slice.

See you next week!

Love Kate



  1. Your blossoms are truly beautiful and I hope good health is resored for all. Use your phone to take phtos of recipes. Saves a heap of time.

    1. Thank you so much Jan, and I absolutely will take photos of them right now. Now why didn't I think of that?!! x

  2. I have 8 mowing fairies, they are otherwise known as chickens. ;) But if they have their way there will be no grass left.

    1. I love that! That worked well for us when we had 3,000 chickens but now we are down to 20 they've got no hope. Might be time to revisit that sheep idea again...

  3. You are so brave , I would absolutely love to put my hand so close to a swarm of bees but I know myself too well . I would chicken out . It just awesome that you did that . I am so in love with your green-eyed windows and doors 😘. It's not something we'll ever need up here but maybe we will build an awesome cubby and use some. That can later become my oldest daughters art studio. Oh that's actually a great idea. Blossoms , apples , you do know how to tickle me. I'm glad you worked things out with your friend. Have a great week and don't work too hard. Xxoo

  4. Kate I just have to comment about the mowing! I have a big garden and for 7 years I mowed the grass myself, using one of these push along/self-propelled petrol mowers. It used to take me 4 hours, over the day and felt relentless. Eventually I got fed up of breathing in petrol fumes and had a couple chesty coughs. Fortunately I met a couple of guys who now do the mowing for me. One comes in and strims around edges and trees, while the other mows. It take them about 45 mins and it's done! I pay about 30 UK pounds for the task every 2 weeks, and it's been life changing...I make them tea and biscuits too, they love that, and we have a chat. If you can get help, it really frees your time up. Good luck, hope that's helpful.

  5. Just love the first two photos - the waratahs.

  6. What a full week you've had, all the emotions too by the sounds of things.
    The slime party looked great and how good are teens for organising birthday parties?
    Im sure those bees are very busily doing their magic on your orchard, what awesome workers they are.
    I listened to that podcast too, and felt sad and dismayed with myself as I've noticed just how often I do comment or think to myself about others appearances. It's something I'm working really hard to change. My comments aren't usually derogatory but still they aren't necessary.
    You have no idea how jealous I am of your amazing sunroom and of the fact that you have a husband who will do that for you and your family.
    I do have a question, how do you keep the possums and wallabies from eating all that you plant in your veg garden?
    Cheers to you
    Have a wonderful week

  7. Beautiful photos, Bren and his dad making together is lovely xx

  8. What beautiful photos, especially the orchard. And that bee swarm, amazing! I’ve just started maternity leave, so this week I’ll be sewing sewing sewing lots of bebe stuff.

  9. What a week !
    I have recently seen a couple of documentaries where the orchard and vineyard owners had geese to keep the grass down..... natural mowers, fertilizer, snail and slug eradication and eggs, win, win, win.


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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