Friday, April 20, 2018

endings + beginnings

There's a change in the air, can you feel it? The days are growing shorter, the shadows are lower, the mornings smell smokey and damp, my workboots are always wet and muddy no matter what I've been doing, the granny smith apples are edible even if they're not yet quite ripe and our hot water bottles have been pulled off the shelf and lined up on the bench for filling. I'm trying so hard not to get caught up in the day to day minutiae, but to live in the moment and notice all the endings and beginnings.

This week Bren and Jobbo put the finishing touches on the sun-room extension just in time for us to catch the autumn rays. It's hard to believe that a few months ago this part of the house was my least favourite; all ugly brown bricks, overgrown lavender and blackberry, in the shadow of the carport. Over the past few days we've started filling the end bit with fire wood, we've brought in some furniture and I've potted up some plants. Now it's my favourite spot to eat breakfast, to drink coffee and read, and to sit with my farmer boy in the late afternoon and admire the view while we discuss the dreaded 'what's for dinner'.

My studio build is next, watch this space.

Last weekend a rain and wind storm threatened so we tied up the flowers with star stakes and bailing twine. Overnight an inch of rain fell and the heavy, water-swollen flower heads drooped to the ground and broke their stems. The next morning while I wandered from bush to bush cutting them off I wondered if perhaps our dry season had been a blessing. Being our first flower growing year I have no idea if December and January stems are stronger and hold weight better than these tail-end bendy ones, or if it's always a problem. But I filled a wheelbarrow and hoped that all the buds that I left on the bushes would get a chance for another show before the frosts start and finish off our season.

While I know the time for colour in the garden is slowly fading, I'm desperately filling up the green-house and sun-rooms with pots of colour, hoping we can keep some things flowering in these protected spaces all the way through.

We've been picking Jonathans, Red Delicious and Braeburn apples for us, for the farm gate stall and for the new Daylesford Sunday Farmer's Market.

We've been loving all the very late season blooms that have decided to burst into flower just before the season ends. Hello Breannon!

I'm still amazed by this view and by the fact that this time last year this space was still occupied by two long, very ugly, poly tunnels. All too soon I know that the flowers will die down, the potatoes and pumpkins will come out and it won't look nearly as gorgeous, but until then there's still this picture that stops me in my tracks every single time.

And looking in the opposite direction (shame about the blue bailing twine).

And the zinnias! The gift that kept on giving all season long. I spent a few hours with them the other day; snipping off the dead-heads, cutting out the powdery mildew and tying them up, and look how they're rewarding me. New buds and fresh blooms every day. The beginner flower farmer's dream.

Although we're still picking crates and crates of tomatoes out of the field, their smell and texture has changed. They're still great for eating raw, but the smell of the sauce they make when cooked makes me gag. In order to overcome this problem we've started separating the varieties as we pick them so we can experiment, but still I feel like the season is ending. I think we'll sell the round tomatoes at market this week and sit happily with the 112 bottles of sauce on the shelf.

Chrysanthemums are another type of flower we've never grown before and I'm completely smitten with them. Every time I go out to the garden I find myself standing above them checking on each unfurling petal. I'd love to pick a bunch for the house but I don't want to interrupt their natural growth. Such beauties.

And as this growing season draws to a close we're thinking of the next. Collecting seed, ordering seed, starting to germinate seed and thinking about what worked and what didn't, making plans for next year's garden and being amazed by how much more interest and patience I have for the flowers than I ever had for the vegetables. I look forward to watching what happens to each plant as winter draws near and then to start all over again next year. Imagine how exciting it'll be when all the bulbs start popping their heads out of the ground in spring. 

I'd better get off my bum and go and plant them.

I don't have a photo of my knitting but it's interesting to note that as the seasons change so have my interests. For a while I've been skipping past all the knitting and yarn pictures on instagram and focusing on the gardens and farms. It even occurred to me once not long ago that I might not be a knitter anymore and may need to sell off all my wool. But all of a sudden this week I had a burning itch to cast off my Mirehouse sweater and cast on something new. I logged into Ravelry account for the first time in ages and I started dreaming of all the snuggly knits I could get onto my needles. I guess knitting for me is seasonal too. Hopefully I'll get some pictures of my Mirehouse to show you this weekend. It's pretty cozy.

And that my friends is where I'm at. Finishing one season and starting the next. Although I just had a look at the weather forecast and it seems that these bright, sunny days are set to continue for at least another week.

Tell me what it's like where you are. Are you busy planting your garden or pulling it out? Are you piling on the clothing layers or pulling them off? Are you eating salads or stews? Picking the last of the tomatoes or planting them out?

Wishing you a wonderful weekend.

See you next week.

Love, Kate x


  1. Oh to have your green thumb... and your new sunroom! Just lovely. x

  2. Oh your Sun room...a room for all seasons but especially balm for a weary soul in winter. An interior designer is another notch to your belt. Those colours everywhere are like Jewels.
    Happy days to you x

  3. I love all the flowers and the produce. I live in a tiny townhouse with a small courtyard. I would love to have a sunroom [ without the sun ] I'm looking forward to our very short winter and hope it is cold. I could eat one of your apples right now.

  4. Hi Kate, I read your blog all the time, and thoroughly enjoy all the changing of seasons, and beautiful pictures of your wonderful family. My favourite flowers are chrysanthemums along with fushias next on my list. I have only got a small courtyard here in Cornwall u.k. So no vegetables for me, but I have pots of flowers. Because of all the very wet weather here, my bulbs are only just peering out, but we are just coming into our spring here. Your sun room looks so lovely and cosy, what clever people you all are. Have a great week, sue x

  5. Oh Kate, your sunroom, how perfect. As for that green couch 😍, I'm surprised you were able to get a photo when it was empty. How I would love a space like that, you must be so happy.
    Those flowers, such joyfulness and happiness in them all.
    Can't wait to see your studio, I am jealous but so very excited for you.
    Thank you for sharing your home, flowers and family with us.
    Cheers Kate

  6. Hi, yesterday I sowed my Zinnia’s. Hope they will bloom as beautiful as yours do. Here in Amsterdam Holland spring Just started. Sooo happy with this season. And always when you blog about your spring I’m always a bit jealous I remember. Are you also a bit jealous now your autumn starts and we have spring? But there are a lot of nice things so as there is knitting and inside cosyness... Enjoy your new season! Love, Carola

  7. I'm starting a flower garden right now, preparing the soil and looking at my shopping cart groaning with beautiful flowers to grow but too scared to buy them. I love what you are doing.

  8. Oh those colours are so rich. How lovely to look over them.
    Chrysanthemums are a favourite of mine too. I even like the smell. Not everyone does.

  9. I'd want to sit in that sunroom every day too and I don't think I'd ever tire of a view filled with flowers. Even when the pumpkins took over, I'd still be seeing flowers in my mind's eye. Meg:)

  10. I love your sun room. Here we are hoping that winter will finally surrender to Spring. It tried really hard to snow yesterday and while the white stuff fell from the sky it melted shortly afterward. Still it just can't give over to Spring.

  11. Woo hoo we have finally got some sunshine here in the UK the blessed rain has gone away. It always seems so strange to hear about you getting ready to hunker down for the cold weather when we are just stripping off for the sun. The daffodils have lasted a long time this year (probably because of all the rain) but are now going over. The sunglasses have come out and the sun hats ready. Go one Kate pick a bunch of Chrysanths for your new sunroom they last quite a long time if they are kept watered and look simply stunning and any way you’re worth it.

  12. As always, I love, love, love your posts.

    It is snowing here.
    Yesterday it felt like the first day of spring....
    and today,
    it's snowing.

    But really, I should be used to this by now.
    This is life in PEI.

    Loving the sunroom. Soooooo pretty! :)

  13. I feel like I need to try growing zinnias because I doubt I'll ever move beyond a beginner grower!
    And my hobbies are very seasonal too, although I doubt I'll have much time for hobbies this winter. My assignment load is about to amp up in the most horrible way but I am delighted to have found my reading mojo now that I am I giving myself a month of good health, which includes using my phone for phone purposes only ( with the exception of WhatsApp & goodreads). amazing how much time I have when not mindlessly scrolling/googling/looking up nonsense....
    Have a great market tomorrow Kate x

  14. Ahh, and relax..
    Your blog is always a fabulous place to visit and today, as it is cold and grey here in Northern Ireland, those warm orange-y tones of autumn are a pleasant, cosy sight.
    We wait, impatiently, here to get cracking on the allotment. The soil is too wet still and there may yet be a frosty night or two to come.
    I had a flower plot for 2 years but was too ill to tend to it and in the end we had to give up; Zinnas were by far my favourite easy, fresh and colourful blooms.
    I admire your lifestyle too, very much and you are a powerhouse of a girl (though I know it's a family affair!). Thanks for this place of escape! x

  15. Here in South Africa, knitting, or in my case, crocheting is definitely a seasonal thing. It's just too too hot to do it in summer - unless you have air conditioning. I am also starting to cast an eye at my wisp and ponder beginning again with them, trying to finish.
    Your photos are beautiful and your words thoughtful as always :). Thank you.


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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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