Friday, May 25, 2018

may be

Hello my friends,

How are you feeling?

I haven't had a great week. The sleep thing really got to me and on Monday when I couldn't handle it any more and went to see a doctor and she asked me how I was feeling, I told her I felt broken. My body wasn't doing what it was meant to do, my brain felt full of mush, my emotions were turned all the way up to 11, and I didn't trust my responses, I couldn't remember words, I felt off balance and teary and cold.

I didn't cry to the doctor which surprised me, we chatted for a while, we made a plan for the next few weeks and I left with a prescription for melatonin that I promised to persevere with for at least a week.

For the first three nights nothing changed. I lay in bed all night in a tangle of bed sheets, headphone cords, podcasts and meditations and tried not to let thoughts of all that I wanted to accomplish the next day sit in my stomach. I lay there. And lay there. And lay there. Staring out into the darkness listening to the sounds of the forest at night.

Late yesterday my friend Kate suggested I mix drops of frankincense and lavender essential oils with some fractionated coconut oil in a roll-on bottle and before bed apply some to the back of my neck and the soles of my feet. Just before bedtime last night I made up my potion and remembered how Tara Westover in her book Educated described passing her mother's homeopathic remedies through a circle she made with her thumb and forefinger 100 times to activate their healing potentials. So just for fun I did the same. Then I visited each of the four members of my family in their beds and applied it to their feet and necks and then I did my own. (Actually that's not quite true - one member wouldn't let me near her with the oil despite my pleading).

Last night I fell asleep at midnight and this morning I woke up at 6am!! That's the longest I've slept for all in one go for months. Today I feel relieved and happy and a little bit giggly. The sun is shining and the world feels full of possibilities. Obviously I'm not confident that one good night's sleep is the end to my problems, but at least I do know that it's possible. And who knows why last night was finally the night, all I can tell you is I'll be applying my magic oil again at bedtime tonight, that's for sure.

Let's get back to the photo-a-day, okay.

may nineteen

Last Saturday we fired up the splitter and made a huge pile of firewood. At this stage we still haven't decided where to stack it neatly to cure for the next few years, but I'm tempted to borrow Norwegian Wood: Chopping, Stacking and Drying Wood the Scandinavian Way by Lars Mytting from the library again and to learn how to make some fancy stacks.

may 20

On Sunday, feeling particularly awful, I went for a long walk around the farm in the rain trying to find the beauty. These echinacea that I planted from seed so many months ago are only just starting to flower now despite the low temperatures and lack of sunlight. They feel particularly precious blossoming long after almost everything else has finished.

may twenty first

I feel like I take a lot of photos from inside looking out. Here are some out looking in. Stripey tee-shirts, chrysanthemums, potted colour.

may twenty second

The very last of our dahlias. 

And the coriander that I am desperate to pull out so I can replant the bed but I'll need to collect the seed before I do, so I haven't.

may twenty third

On Wednesday the ceiling went up in my studio and the boys made a start on the roof. I hid inside only popping out at the end to admire their work and take photos. Watching them with their power-tools up those ladders was a bit much for me. But how pretty does it look up on the bank, nestled in amongst the trees.

may twenty fourth

Bren's sitting next to me as I type this explaining the process they went through yesterday to finish the roof. He's using words like rafters, ceiling, battens, insulation, sisalation, roofing and ridge capping. I feel grateful that he's fascinated by the process and I'm pretty confident that if I took the time and listened then I'd find it interesting too, but it's enough for me that it's pretty, that it'll keep me dry and warm and protected, and that it fits into its surroundings. Late last year we pulled the car-port that sat in front of our house down. I really, really love the fact that they used the rafters, the tin and even the screws from that car-port for my studio roof. That car-port roof travelled 10 meters to the east where it shall sit above and shelter the prettiest little studio for ever more.

Yesterday I pulled the very last of the tomatoes out and planted garlic in behind them.

I love how the view changes seasonally. A whole bed of cherry tomatoes on tall trellises stood in front of the greenhouse for the past six months, it's lovely to be able to see inside again.

may twenty five

I never ever thought I would post photos of a roof to my blog and tell you how much I love it and how happy it's making me, but here you go. Big wide hardwood offcuts that became dark stained ceiling boards. Rafters that came out of a factory in Sydney, went into a building at Docklands studio in Melbourne and now are on their third use in my studio roof.

I imagine I'll spend many an hour gazing upwards, tracing the lines with my eyes, smiling at accidental hand prints and remembering the process it took to design and construct it.

And my Merricks shawl. I think I'm probably two thirds of the way around the edging. Hopefully I'll have some finished photos for you next week.

And that my friends is that. The roller coaster of one week of my life. And that's not even telling the story of the grumpy teenagers and the tears on the way to the compost heap.

I'm grateful for all of the wonderful sleep remedies and suggestions you've been sending me.
I hope you've been sleeping well.
I hope I haven't put you off with the roof photos.
I hope you know how much I appreciate your visits and your comments.
I'm wondering if I should continue this photo diary format for another month.
What do you think?
What have you been up to?
What can you tell me?

Got to go and make soup.

Love y'as!

Kate x


  1. A night's sleep can be magic - it brings hope with it! May you have many more.

    You could never put me off, I've never read about roofing and been so enthused ever in my life. I'm happy you're happy! Have a bangin' weekend, my friend xo

  2. Oh Kate, your photos are always so beautiful and isnt your hubby clever, the roof looks great! Goodluck with the sleeping, stay positive! Its a beautiful day here so Im washing my windows so I can see my garden better! Hope you have a lovely week. xs

  3. I read your blog every week and although it usually resonates in some way, I rarely post a comment. I usually just reflect on what I'm feeling and sit with it. I'm always calmer after I read it, probably because of the beautiful photos, but because you make me think on things, in a good way. So thank you for that.
    I adore your sun room and hope to have one of my own one day. I am thrilled to see how your studio is coming along and look forward to seeing the finished masterpiece (as I'm sure it will be.) And I'm so happy that you finally got some sleep, and hope that blissful slumber comes to you on a regular basis from now on.

  4. Hi Kate. When my youngest daughter had trouble sleeping when she was little I used lavender all the time. She is now 19 and she still uses it, in fact I dab a little on my pillow after a stressful day. I must try your recipe, sounds great. I hope it continues to work for you. Lack of sleep is the worst thing. Enjoy your week.

  5. So pleased you had results with the essential oils, I've been hearing amazing things about EOs. Sleep is sooo important and soo frustrating when we lie there in the midst of the night longing for sleep.

  6. I believe that lack of sleep perpetuates its own lack of sleep, it forces us to think more about sleep than one should, about whether you'll get it, if it will come quicker than last night. It forces us to dream up rituals in the hope they'll work or for how long they'll work .Insomnia is a bitch in other words :-) If only we could erase our memory so that each night was a new night. When one has insomnia, NO night is a new night. it can't be because we are our history. The studio is coming along so nicely and those rafters are beautiful. I love timber so I could stare at them for days too. Don't put too much stake in the studio being the solution to the problems you often face on a daily basis or you will set yourself up for failure. The problems you have are deep seated and keep thrusting their ugly heads in your way week after week despite having a beautiful husband, divine flowers, a successful (if hard working) flower and apple stall and a farm where you can say, I DID IT MY WAY. No, look at the studio as a haven but not the answer to whatever it is that seems to cloud your view and make you sad. Have a GREAT weekend, know that you are loved and safe and I'll look forward to the week with you in it (on Instagram and the blog) Love always Lu x

  7. I love that roof! I'm so pleased you showed us. I understand your sleepless nights because I suffer from insomnia too - after being able to fall asleep easily all my life. Melatonin works for me, I take 5 tabs every night and even though I still wake up twice and stay awake for an hour or two, when I fall asleep it's deep and restorative.

    I'm looking forward to seeing your studio. I HAVE to have alone time. I think that your studio will give you sweet solitude and many hours of quiet contemplation.

    I have a little parcel ready to send to you on Monday. Prepare for incoming. Love xx.

  8. Ah that time of life.......and those sleepless night can drive you least when you didn't get sleep when the babies were young you were being useful feeding, nursing and getting a baby back to sleep. Would love to hear next Friday if the essential oils are working every night. I have been hearing heaps and heaps about oils recently it seems like everyone is into them.

  9. Love your studio, that roof looks gorgeous, thanks for sharing and inspiring. Maybe you will have lovely Nanna naps in there once it's finished.
    Sweet dreams to you this weekend, and happy tear free days.
    Cheers Kate

  10. I totally understand the restorative effects of sleep. I swear, for almost the last 5 years, I rarely got more than 3 hours in a row & then suddenly this year the hours got longer & longer. I felt like a new person! And then this week I went back to disrupted sleep & felt terrible!! Here's hoping this is the start of good sleep for you!
    This week I finished my 10 week work placement with rave reviews. Such a HUGE relief & a massive confidence boost for me. I feel like I've finally found my feet at Tafe & I'm kicking goals. Thank god because at the start I thought I'd never be able to do the things I've done.
    Have a great weekend Kate. I hope there is lots of sleep xx

  11. Life gets so hard when you can't sleep, as a fellow sufferer I shall try your essential oils remedy..I much prefer using natural remedies. Can't wait to see the completed studio xx

  12. I love your weekly posts, they’re a real highlight for me with their beautiful photos and thoughtful words and It would be great if your photo journal continued for another month. If you feel like it, no pressure!. I was so glad to hear you’ve had a good sleep. I have been spruking vitamin b lately. Within 3 days of taking it I’m completely motivated and energised in the day, plus sleep more soundly at night. I’m looking forward to a weekend filled with making pottery and gardening. I hope to have a lovely one too,

  13. ahh, how good is a solid sleep?? The studio is coming along nicely, as is your Merricks shawl. Looking forward to seeing both finished soon!

  14. So glad you were able to get some sleep! I must say, your blog is my very favorite. Roof photos and all! :) :) You write beautifully and honestly and I've thought at least a dozen times lately that I wished I could hang one of your photos on the wall. I can't think of any other blogs that are written like a letter or a journal, friend to friend. So please keep it up!

    My daughter just completed her first year of public school and so this morning I am sitting in my pink, fuzzy robe, about to get a cup of coffee. The garden is bursting, the birds are cheery, and I'm desperately trying to let it soak in deeply.

  15. That roof is so beautiful.
    I am going to try passing my oils though a circle too, I like that.
    Vetiver is a really really good one for sleep too, it's a bit stinky but I like.
    Have a lovely weekend xx

  16. So pleased you found sleep and your pictures are beautiful. Love the progress on your studio.

  17. Hi Kate
    That studio is going to be heaven! Can't wait to see the wonderful things that come out of it!
    Dealing with emotional male teens here as school finishes for one (along with big exams) and the same for the younger one, big exams (GCSEs, do you have them?) then many of his friends leaving to go to other sixth forms. That leaves one mum sobbing with all the emotion!
    Good luck with the sleep thing. Everything will be better with some sleep!!Love to Australia, still beautiful even in the rain xxx

  18. I listened to an interesting Podcast today about sleep...give it a listen, maybe it'll help. Feel Better, Live More: The Sleep Hacking Secrets of the World's Top Athletes with Nick Littlehales

  19. I have a sleep disorder and take Trazodone nightly. Over the years I've had to increase my dosage, but without it I'm a wreck. Have you looked into that?

  20. Your ceiling turned out beautifully! But now I need to know - what oil did you end up using?!

  21. Love your photos Kate. You may think they are every day mundane but to me it’s a window into another life. I love to see the change in seasons and progress on your different projects, whether that is building, gardening, crafting, apple picking and market selling, photos, knitting, family life, teenagers, holidays and birthdays or just watching the washing dry. Keep up the good work. So pleased you’ve had a decent nights sleep.

  22. As someone who has had sleep issues forever, it seems, I find the worse thing I can do is lie in bed not sleeping. I turn on a lamp and read my kindle until I am sleepy again. A kindle or a book does not cause wakefulness like other electronic media do. If I was concerned about waking someone, I would and sit in another room to read. I used to worry that I wasn't sleeping, especially if I had to be up for something in particular, but now I figure that I'll either sleep or I won't, and I like reading, so I might as well enjoy the quiet. The more you worry about not sleeping, the more you can't sleep, or so I've found, and I would start to worry about not sleeping long before it's even bed time. Reading works for my like nothing else ever did. Melatonin helps, too, but not always. I've tried trazadone, but can only take it one day in a row, or I am walking into walls. It doesn't always work, either. Good luck, anyway. If we're meant to sleep, why is the body so uncooperative? I ask you.

  23. I don't often comment. I do want to say that you have the most amazing life! Your home, your family, your farm and all of its crops. Your gorgeous flowers and that lovely, new studio! Thank you for sharing all of it with us. I hope you can find a sleep solution that is permanent. Not sleeping properly is so stressful.

  24. Hi Kate, Sorry to hear you have had problems sleeping. It's not fun. There are so many nights I wake at 2 or 3am and cannot get back to sleep. I try for what feels like half an hour, then I get out of bed and use my time wisely. I crochet, knit, read, watch craft podcasts, Netflix or research topics I'm interested in online. This week, while visiting friends the subject of sleeping came up. She told me about Karma Rub. She said is works great. 100% natural Australian product in a little squeeze bottle. Contains liquid magnesium, lemon myrtle oil, zinc, iron, copper and lithium. I can't remember if I have commented on your blog before. I always enjoy seeing your message pop up in my email. I love seeing your beautiful photos of the farm, your family and your knitting adventures. Your studio is going to look amazing. It is in a perfect spot nestled amongst your trees. Hope you're feeling better soon, Julia xx

  25. Aww lady. So good to hear that Frank and Lav supported you for a restful night. Sleep is vital and a lack of it is the absolute pits. You'll need to try some Vetiver next. My nightly companion xx

  26. Hello lovely Kate, I'm so glad to hear that you got some sleep and I'm hoping you've had some more since too. I use essential oils and homeopathy before I use conventional meds and we've had such good results for all sorts of ailments. I am ever inspired by you, your way of life and what you are growing etc. This year, I have planted dahlias, gladioli, runner beans, chamomile, cosmos, tomatoes, nasturtiums amongst other lovely plants and flowers and we are watching them grow and delighting in the daily changes in our small city garden. Lots of love from here to there and from me to you, Lucy xxxxxxxxxx

  27. Yes, please do continue the photo diary format.

    Hoping you've managed to get some sleep - been there and it is horrendous.

  28. Kate, I rarely comment because I’m on a feed reader nursing most of the time when I do catch up, but I find the diary delightful. Actually, any format that keeps the blog going is great for me, because your blog gives me hope: that my younguns can, in fact, be fun when they are teenagers; that a slow life centered around family can be a good one; that I can grow my own food wherever I am; that families in opposite sides of the world can relate to each other and as we do, so the world.

    I’m so glad you got some sleep, and hope it continues. With 3 kids 5 and under, I don’t remember the last full night I had, but never because I tried and couldn’t. I don’t know that I could cope with that. I’ll pray that it gets better for you, and that you are able to figure out the root. Blessings on your family! (Also, the roof is gorgeous, and the reused oil-as-stain is brilliant.)

  29. I'm so grateful for your posts. I hope you've got a few more good nights of sleep this week. <3

  30. This made me think about when I started reading your blog, 6 years ago when I was pregnant and you wrote a lot about sewing your childrens' clothes. I never really got around to sewing the clothes but your blog has stuck with me and for that I'm grateful. Here's to the next 9 years!

  31. I really like your post good blog on site,Thanks for your sharing.



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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