Saturday, April 14, 2018

message in a bottle

Indi told me she liked last week's lessons learnt post a lot more than she likes the ones where I talk about what I've read, watched, listened to etc. I can't remember if she told me why she liked it. We were in the kitchen at the time and there were all these other things going on around us. But I remember being pretty happy that she did.

A little while ago when I sat down to write this post I remembered her words and wondered what she liked about it and thought about being onto a winner and possibly just repeating the same. But for some reason it didn't feel right or like enough time's passed. Like it would just be taking the easy way out, cheating.

And then I thought of the tiny glass bottle with the cork lid that she has sitting on her bedside table. Her environmental studies teacher handed them out to her students at the end of last term and asked them to fill them with whatever their holidays were full of. We threw a lot of ideas around when she showed it to us after the first week had gone by; apple pips, pencil shavings, crushed up matza, tomato seeds... By the time we saw the bottle again a few days later it was full of tiny little zinnia and dahlia petals. All the colours making patterns against the glass as she'd pushed them in.

I don't know if the cork sealing out the air will protect the petals from fading and shrivelling up over time. I'm not sure if her tiny collection will keep the memories of these flower saturated months vivid in her memory as the long winter steals the warmth and sunshine from the sky. But I do love this bottle project and I look forward to hearing what the others were filled with.

You know what's coming don't you? I know it's a bit cliche but I can't help it. And because it's my blog I'm making the rules and giving myself 18 little tiny bottles to fill with the things that filled our last week. I like the thought of them all lined up on the kitchen window sill, so I can watch them and think of these beautiful Autumn school holidays days while I do the dishes.

Just like Indi's, my first bottle would be filled with flower petals from our visit out to Country Dahlias on Tuesday. Jenny's two acre garden has Australia's largest collection of dahlias with 2,250 different types and over 20,000 bushes. At one stage I looked over a row of pom poms swaying in the breeze and found Miss pepper crawling on her knees under some low hanging stems that had given up under the weight of their dinner plate sized blossoms in the next row. 'My heart is so full of love and happiness and beauty and magic that it almost hurts' I told her. 'That's exactly how I feel about a room filled with cats' she replied. Exactly. I think the photos  in this post tell the story of our visit far more eloquently than I ever could with words, it was just magic.

The next one would be filled with the seeds of all the autumn produce we're bringing in from the orchards and garden; apples, cucumbers, tomatoes and strawberries. Tiny shavings of potato, beans, cabbage, basil and lettuce too.

Tears from the nights I spent reading The Lost Flowers Of Alice Hart, Holly Ringland's beautiful, devastating and heart filled first novel. Although the theme of domestic abuse running through it is devastating and painful, somehow Holly's book still manages to feel like a magical fairy tale. From the magnificent floral cover artwork, to the drawings and descriptions of Australian native flowers and the language they speak, the story of Alice Hart that spans two decades, to the writing that is so descriptive that at times made me feel like I was right there with Alice on the windsurfer, or running through the sugar cane fields, or swimming in the river, I couldn't put it down. It's been a few days since I read the last page but still I've found myself thinking of Alice from time to time and hoping that where ever she is, she's doing well.

Little bits of bark that stuck to our work clothes as we brought in piles of fire-wood and stacked them in the new wood shed. We're so far away from being prepared for fire burning season, but I do feel relieved that we've made a start.

Leaves from the brassicas I've been planting in the garden.

Sweat from the gym work outs I did with my old crew.

Scraps of yarn that I'm using to stitch up my Mirehouse sweater. I've got one sleeve to sew in and then I'm done. Then comes the nerve wracking time to try it on and hope that it not only fits but actually suits me too.

A little scrap of Pepper's water colour painting of a fairy that I found on the kitchen table one morning.

A splatter of the white paint I'm using on the old doors in the new bit of the green-house extension.

photo that Indi took of Jazzy for her art folio that captures her personality exactly.

A lock of Jazzy's hair just before it was cut so much shorter

Screen shots of different cute text message conversations between my sisters and parents and Bren.

A couple of tiny coins from the apple stall at the front of our farm.

Metal filings from farmer Bren's new love of knife sharpening.

A teaspoon of the coffee that my farmer boy has brought me in bed most holiday mornings.

Rain that is showering on the roof as I type. It feels like such sweet relief for the garden, the orchards, the forest and for our water tanks, thank goodness.

A golden autumn leaf off the grape vine on the deck.

I guess the last bottle looks empty to the eye but it represents my blog writing time. The indulgence of sitting alone, mostly uninterrupted, on the daybed in our studio tapping out words and thoughts. Some days putting aside this time in an otherwise hectic life doesn't feel right, but today it means everything to me. This bottle makes me remember myself and my own needs in amongst those of my family and farm. This bottle reminds me of my love of photos and words. I hope this bottle sets a good example to my three girls about the value of personal space and creativity, this bottle makes me happy.

And there are my 18 bottles all lined up in a row. There's no beach sand, or aeroplane ticket, or road trip dust like holidays of years gone by, but I've really loved these two weeks. I've found them creative and productive, I've loved having the girls around, and I've really enjoyed the break from the school routines and stresses.

I'd best be off now, those tomatoes aren't going to preserve themselves.

So how would you fill your tiny glass bottles?
What would you put in each that would represent this time for you?

See you next week.


Kate x


  1. My bottles would include:
    -The puke from my 4mth old granddaughter as I had time with her
    -A sample of the weeds I pulled, branches trimmed and new plants planted
    -The me time spent wondering around a vintage recycled centre
    -My hubby’s scent after preparing for a Baptism
    -A piece of something from each of my 4 kids
    -Holidays.......cause the only time I get to reflect......and enjoy the sbove

  2. Thanks so much for your inspiring post. It made me think of all the things I would put in my imaginary bottles...and those fabulous flowers - they cheered me up no end on yet another dull, grey day here in the UK.

  3. Your last bottle is the best of all! When I went to the Squam Lake creating camp, the most wonderful gift of my teachers was the time beyond the class to stay and finish my projects. As a mother of four, time to see a project through from start to completion with no interruptions was utter bliss. Giving that time to ourselves is much harder to do. I found a collection of little bottles at my op-shop a while ago and planned to use them to make a centre-piece with a flower in each, but now you have inspired me to make them into bottles of time to send to friends as reminders.

  4. Those dahlias! Just an ocean of beauty, I have to go and see them for myself! And i love the idea of the bottles, i think that will be my new "putting myself to sleep" routine, thinking about all the the blessings in my life. Thank you.

  5. Oh my those flowers. So beautiful .The bottles are a lovely idea.
    Cheers Kate

  6. The Dahlia's look Amazing! I can see why you loved visiting them so much. Our school hols are just starting so I will think about my bottles as they unfold.

  7. Beautiful, Kate. The dahlias are stunning.

  8. OMG, those dahlia's. So beautiful. I could just sit and waste many hours there among the pretties.


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.