Friday, March 2, 2018

two autumn hours

It's autumn, the sky is white and overcast, there is a sticky fruit smell in the air, and I'm wearing a cardigan.

This morning on the way home from dropping Pepper at school I had a little panic about the fact that I had no idea what to write my blog about today, and not one single photo from the week on my camera. What to post about? What to say?

For so much of the year we're looking after the plants and trees hoping that eventually they'll look after us. For so much of the year we're waiting and watching. For so much of the year being a farmer feels like just another word to describe a problem solver. And for so much of the year we're dreaming of arms and baskets and crates full of produce. Of compot, and pesto and fritters, oh my.

And then BAM we're here! Harvest-time!

In one day last week I found myself picking hazelnuts, tomatoes, cucumbers, basil, apples, plums, nectarines, nashis, grapes, zucchini, cabbages, onions and a bunch of flowers. On another day I squished hundreds of tomatoes and made sauce, I halved and froze plums, I stewed a crate of nectarines, fermented some cucumbers, made dried apple rings and plum leather. My head is spinning.

It's crazy. There's a queue of black crates filled with produce by the front door waiting for me to process them and the overflow is covering the kitchen table.

I keep thinking about how great it would be if the harvest was spread out over the whole year instead of just a few weeks. But it's not, so I'm running with it; trying to remember that for the next year I'll dream of picking a sun warmed plum straight off the tree, I'll wish for a nashi grabbed in a rush on the way to school, a lunchbox filled with garden goodness, afternoon tea picked greedily off the vine. It's a crazy and colourful and sticky time of the year, it feels bountiful and lucky and I'm so happy to be here at long last.

So this week my blog is a two hour view into that crazy. I took each one of these photos between 9 and 11am this morning and I think they can give you a little  glimpse into our world.

While we're picking and preserving like crazy, we're also preparing for winter by filling up the green-house with vegetable and flower seeds.

We're watching the decline of our amazing zinnia crop and noticing that the bees don't seem to mind. Hopefully we'll collect lots of seeds for next season's flowers before we pull the whole row.

We're always watching and learning and admiring.

I bought a bag of mystery dahlia tubers from our local fruit and vegetable shop last spring, I'm so excited that they're finally flowering.

There's a row of perennial flowers right up the top of this garden that doesn't have its irrigation connected yet. I love those few minutes every day when I can stand hose in hand giving them a drink, checking on their progress, pulling a few weeds and then standing back up again to look at this beautiful, colourful view.

I don't know the proper names for most things in our garden, but I've been with them from the time they were tiny seeds, to a few leaves, all the way through to their buds and flowers. I've watched them and encouraged them every step of the way. And now I'm so proud of them. I really am.

When we first started talking about growing rows of flowers I dreamt of taking photos of our girls in the late afternoon light, wearing sun-dresses and carrying armfuls. I'd better get my act together now it's autumn, while there's still sun and colour and a bounty of blooms.

I'm obsessing over our nashis. Gosh I love them. I think I ate about eight yesterday.

I'm loving all those baby scarlet runner beans.

We're always cutting big bunches of flowers.

You know it never occurred to me that the art of flower arranging may be a little elusive to me. I think I thought that the flowers would lead me, as would all the millions of pictures of arrangements I've looked at in my time. But I'm here to tell you that it hasn't been as simple as I'd thought. Sometimes it does come together quickly and looks like the beautiful posy I'd pictured in my mind. But other times have found me pulling bits out and sticking them back in so many times that the stems get bent and the leaves start to droop and I wonder what made me think I could do this in the first place.

I've found the best way for me to practise is to have a few vases on the go and to add and subtract over the day each time I walk past them. It's been fun to try my hand at round posies as well as the more asymmetrical, sprawling arrangements. 

I'd love to do a flower arranging class or 10 at some stage. Maybe later in the year.

And of course we're picking apples.

Galas this morning.

Picking bags full.

And crates full.

While watching the other varieties carefully.

Coxs Orange Pippins will be next and shortly followed by Red Delicious.

We picked Abas yesterday.

And we're finally filling the little stall at the front of our farm. Yay! It's so exciting to throw open those doors, fill the shelves and invite the people in.

I can't tell you how much it pleases me to know that the apples we've been picking are going straight into the shopping bags of our lovely customers. There are no trucks, no cold-stores, no middle-men, no retail mark-ups, no-one to notice if you're in your pyjamas - just fruit (and hopefully flowers soon), all grown by us, picked by us, certified organic and most importantly DELICIOUS!!

If you are local, if you are passing by, or if you've been dreaming of a day-trip to our lovely area - please pop by.

We're at Daylesford Organics - 19 Foxs Lane Muskvale

All the apples are $6kg, please bring correct change and your own shopping bag.

And that's me for the week!
I'd better get dressed now, we're off to a picnic at the big girls' school.

How have you been anyway?
Have you had a good week?
What are you picking from your garden?
Are you a good flower arranger?
What were you up to between 9 and 11am this morning?

I hope you have a gorgeous sunshiny weekend.

Lots of love,

Kate x

ps. thanks so much for all of your sleep remedies, support and suggestions,  I've made a list and am slowly working through it. x


  1. Hi Kate, don't do a class, just keep playing with your flowers. They already look lovely as they are. I have always put flowers wherever I work - in the classroom, sneaked in by the sink in the restaurant kitchen, at the entrance to the archives' reading room, my bathroom, the kids' bedroom... I even took a pot of iris to the birth centre with my first baby (They made me put them outside). Flowers are life's great luxuries and I wish I had the energy to grow them properly again. Your pictures make me very happy.

  2. Beautiful home and garden, I look forward to your Friday updates!

  3. I am wondering, do you have a favourite apple? Or is that like asking if you have a favourite child?
    Cheers Kate

  4. Hi Kate, greetings from a snowy England. I really love reading your posts and feel I am right there on that farm with you. I just wanted to recommend something for your sleep issues and general well being, a product that I have had much success with is Ashwaghanda. It is an Indian herbal remedy and great for stress and sleeping. Lots of Love, Amy xx

  5. Oh your apples! And your flowers! They look delicious and beautiful respectively and gosh would I love to be able to pop by your stall on Fox's Lane and buy a few kg of your organic bounty! Between 9 and 11am this morning I was packing our suitcases for a weekend trip to the Cotswolds that we might not make because of the heavy snow which our UK infrastructure cannot handle! We are staying cosy and waiting patiently for Spring! Have a wonderful weekend Kate. Lots of love, Lucy xxxxxxxx

  6. You have the most beautiful photos. And bunches of flowers arranged as they come in glass jars are my favourite flower arrangements.

  7. Thank you, Kate, for your gorgeous blog. Every Friday when I am tired from a week's work with many thoughts running through my head, I find such pleasure in reading about your adventures. May your flowers continue to bloom.

  8. Hello, I loved your pictures.
    Are beautiful.
    Nice to meet your blog.

  9. beautiful beautiful beautiful.... i wish i were closer.


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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