Friday, January 5, 2018

becoming a #flowerfarmer

A few days ago I was sitting eating my breakfast, minding my own business, scrolling through my facebook feed, when I came across a link to this post I wrote back at the end of December in 2014. Three years ago.

The post is called Finding Balance and it's very obviously coming from a place that's not.

Back then I felt completely overwhelmed by the needs of the girls on holidays, by the ridiculous amount of farm work, by the never ending house work and by the fact that there were so many demands on my time that I felt stifled and uncreative and uninspired. Gosh I remember that feeling so well.

Three years and 10 days later, at the start of this sparkling new year, the picture looks quite a bit prettier. 

This year so far, although busier than ever, I feel like I'm living a life that truly expresses who I am. 

While I did love parenting little kids, I feel like I'm much better with older. Parenting now mostly feels intuitive. It must help that I remember being their ages. And that they almost always sleep through the night.

Because they are gradually becoming more independent I feel like I've got a bit more head space and therefore more patience and time. I'm so interested in their issues, and watching them grow, and explore and become. And while there are definitely times when I would love to ship them all off to boarding school, at the moment the good times far outweigh the tough, and for that I am very grateful.

Yesterday I sent two of the three stories I'm writing for a publication off and got such lovely comments in return, with exclamation marks. Although I really badly wanted to write more this year, it's been such a long time since I've written anything other than this blog and I had lost a little bit of my confidence. To get such a lovely response back has really motivated me to write more. It's such a great feeling.

The next thing is that while this time of the year is still not conducive to getting big chunks of knitting or sewing done, somehow I feel like my creativity is woven into my whole life now and I do feel like I'm expressing that part of myself.

On Wednesday our friend Lou at the local nursery threw that purple leaved plant at us when we were leaving her shop. It's not going to survive here she called. Give it a big, long drink and it should come good.

Yesterday in the heat of the day I grabbed some cord my farmer boy had picked up at the hardware a few weeks before, some sticks from the forest, and macraméd up a plant hanger for it.

It's not quite the same as a pair of intricate colour-work socks or a lacy cardigan, but it feels a bit more practical and earthy and it fits right into my life and makes me happy every time I walk by it.

The changes we've made to our home over the past few months have also changed my life. Having a beautiful, sunny spot to sit in, walk through, and work in, is so good for my peace of mind and sense of self and how I want to live that I can't believe we didn't do it years ago.

Right now we're making some long tables and benches for a small gathering we're having here to celebrate my farmer boy's birthday. All the wood was milled on our farm from trees in our forest late last year. And where that table now stands used to be our carport and will soon be more garden, but until then...feast.

Which brings me to this morning.

This morning I picked my first ever order for a local wedding florist!! (And my farmer boy captured the moment!)

A few months ago I had a mad craving to start growing flowers. Me, who had only ever grown edibles in the 17 years I've been farming, became madly obsessed with pretty, colourful blooms.

So I bought a bunch of seeds online. I had no idea what would work in our climate, what would work as a cut flower, what would grow from seed, or where I really wanted to go with this flower farming thing. But slowly those seeds germinated and I planted them out. I still didn't really know how flowers like to be watered or what sort of soil they need to flourish, I just treated them like vegetables and hoped for the best.

And as each of those blooms started to form buds and then open their petals, I fell more and more in love. The colours and the shapes and the flowers and their leaves obsessed me. I want to know more and grow more.

Imagine my delight when I got that text yesterday asking for a bucket of zinnias for a weekend wedding!! I'm so excited I may have skipped up and down the rows.

I picked them this morning before the day warmed up and popped them in buckets of cold water in the shade; that's what flower farmers do I've read.

This Monday morning I'm starting a six week online flower farming course.

The work life balance thing is starting to feel like it could just be balanced.

And there's me again. Feeling fine and inspired on the fifth day of the new year. Wishing that I could hug that overwrought and overwhelmed Kate from 2014 tell her the stories I just told you. I wonder if she'd listen or if that place she was in was just too crowded to take on anything else. I'd offer to do her dishes and hang up her laundry but I'm ignoring my own so that doesn't make sense. Maybe a bunch of flowers would be better.

And one for you too!
Wishing you all a wonderful 2018!
May it be our most healthy and creative and peaceful one yet.

How are you feeling five days in to 2018?
Can you imagine giving up some of your veggie garden for blooms?
Is it HOT or COLD where you are?
Do you know what it is that really makes you happy?

Lots of love,

Kate x


  1. Love your macrame pot hanger. So glad you feel you are in a happier space. Renovations look great as does the garden. Happy New Year. X

  2. I feel like I am in two very hard parenting stages- teenagers, one who is very nearly an adult & im not sure how to parent an almost adult, coupled with little kids who still rarely sleep through the night & demand so much time & attention. I regularly question our sanity for having such a huge gap between kids. Would it have been better to have them all close together? Will I ever be patient again? When will I stop being tired? Am I doing an ok job raising them all? It’s been a hard few months ( years!) so whenever I read about mums coming through the other end it reminds me that I will too.
    And it’s been stinking hot here but today is lovely & cool. Such relief.
    I feel good right now. The year has kicked off slowly & nicely so that makes me happy.

    1. As a Mum of teen boys, one of which will be 18 yrs in a few months I feel I can understand that part. It's tough, emotionally tough and really hard at times. Where did my obedient child go? He's still kind and thoughtful and reasonably helpful but refuses to keep his room 'to my exact standards' his words. So clean clothes are kicked into dirty etc, but we survive. I wish I had all the answers but with his stressing over all sorts and still in college, it's still the same as younger kids really, love him, tell him you love him (low esteem many have today), pick your battles and though I don't abide rudeness to parents, some things are just not worth fighting over. We try our best to eat dinner together in the evening before the teens disappear and encourage them to talk - after dinner if it's very important. And sometimes I just ask them (imdivually) to sit and chat about how they're feeling and ask them to 'think about' how I feel when eg the older one blasted me recently. Usually they understand and thinking about their emotional angry outburst they are calmer (later) and appologise and agree to talk more rather than bottle frustrations.
      My youngest is 15 yrs but still likes childish type fun though he's very quiet.
      All the best, it does get easier but growing into an adult is hard work for the parents. I've asked my son to write down one positive thimg about himself each day and read it a few times a day preferably out loud and particularly first thing in the morning before he thinks of a new one. It's helping already, a calm boy atm lol. Cx

  3. 5 days into 2018 and 5 days into a month long break from social media and I'm feeling good! Congrats on your first flower order, I've never grown flowers before but I think after seeing all your beautiful photos I might get some seeds and give it a go - there's some space among my veges. Its been raining all week here but its been a nice excuse to stay home and recover from the rush of Christmas.
    Did you end up doing the Lightroom course you mentioned in your post four years ago? That's one of my goals this year while I work on learning to use my camera in manual mode!
    It's nice to hear a reminder that things change even though I know it, I have a 1.5 year old and at times find myself quite overwhelmed by how much she needs of me and how much mischief she manages to get into!
    I don't comment often but always look forward to your posts on a Friday xo

  4. Gosh those flowers look so beautiful. What a wonderful job to have and a wonderful title for paperwork requiring your job title: flower farmer 😍.
    I love reading how happy your renovations have made you.
    My baby is 17 and I've noticed a huge decrease in the parenting required from me this year, that doesn't mean my emotions and brain space are having an easy time, just that it's so very very different parenting young adults.
    Cheers Kate

  5. Another lovely reflective post from you and so interesting how you have looked back and compared your feelings from an earlier year. How lovely to branch out into flower farming. It seems to be an organic development for you (if you'll pardon the pun, and it feels so perfect to complement your food crops. For me, I have to have flowers in the veg patch. A row of purple, golden and green climbing beans interspersed with morning glories and sweet peas is now a permanent fixture in my veggie patch. Happy New Year to you and your Kate, wishing you a year of fulfilment and flower filled journeys x

  6. Do you know what it is that really makes you happy?
    What a great question. I'm not sure I do but I have some idea and I'm planning to find out more.
    Love your blog. It's really special. Congratulations on your first steps as a flower farmer!

  7. those blooms are stunning! im so happy and excited for you to start your course. i think i feel a bit like your 2014 self, im just going to try the ole fake it til you make it and in the meantime live vicariously through you! those flowers!!! x

  8. Oh, zinnias! I grow them in my garden and I think they are the happiest flowers. I'd love to be a bee and wallow in among those brightly coloured petals a while. Lovely that you are flower farming! Meg

  9. You make me wish I could grow things, but I'm so bad at it. But you know what? Maybe it's that bad attitude that's holding me back. So stuff it: I'm going to put dirt in pots and seeds in that dirt and see what happens with some regular application of water. Thanks for the inspiration.

    Katie @ Katie Writes Stuff

  10. I really like your zinnias. I grew them as a child and they flowered in spite of my neglect/overwatering at times. Yours look absolutely lovely. Good luck on your course, I hope it's really interesting.

  11. Wow, these flowers are so beautiful! I moved to a house with a teeny-tiny garden last May and can't wait to plant some vegetables and flowers in the spring! I want to grow my own tomatoes (we have the perfect climate for vegetables here in Eastern Austria) and salad and some beautiful roses...Can't wait to have fresh flowers from my own garden at the dinner table!
    I loved the first days of 2018, I'm spending my last days at my work and then I'm home because we're expecting our first baby girl in March! Exciting times ahead.
    Love to read your blog!
    Greetings from Austria


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.