Friday, June 22, 2018

light my fire

I always find the blog that follows an exciting, milestone, life-event blog difficult to write. The words don't flow as freely, the subjects are harder to choose and the 'who even cares' voice sneaks into my brain and makes itself comfortable.

If the lead-up to Soul Craft was 'the before', then the past week has most definitely been 'the after. And the after is filled with things we have to do before true winter sets in and the paddocks are too wet to drive in, the wood splitter has been returned to its owner, and everything that grew in summer has been pulled out, pruned, or cut down, and everything that needs to go in the ground before spring has been planted.

People talk about how lovely winter is because it's a time for bunking down inside by the fire knitting and drinking tea, but we are so not there yet. We are still outside. Most of the time we can't feel our fingers or our toes, our work pants are wet up to our knees and our boots are so caked with mud that we appear inches taller than we really are. But we are ticking things off slowly, so hopefully by this time next week or the week after, we'll be able to admire the blanket of frost covering everything from inside the house.

So let's get back to the photo journal shall we...

june sixteenth 

I made these Uppsala slippers as a gift for my farmer boy to say thank you for always taking care of us and our many details. They're the perfect project to take on when you want to make a present but you can't commit to a pair of 4ply socks. Someone on instagram suggested I stitch a piece of leather to the sole to protect them against all the little bits of wood, but I feel like that would make them slippery, and the truth is I only asked him to wear them in the wood shed to make my photos look good, and he held them in his hands and only put them on once we got there.

Here's the link to the pattern on Ravelry. It's a quick little knit but be sure to go down a size because they knit up bigger than you think.

june seventeenth

I've spent so much of the past week splitting wood. Now that that job's almost done I just need to find some time to stack it.

june eighteenth

Late one night last week, with nothing to read, I crept into Indi's room and took the two books off her bedside table. One was Heart of Darkness, which is one of her English Literature books and the other was her philosophy teacher Skye's copy of The Little Paris Bookshop. I didn't make it past page four of the first, and I stayed up until way past four reading the other.

“There are books that are suitable for a million people, others for only a hundred. There are even remedies—I mean books—that were written for one person only…A book is both medic and medicine at once. It makes a diagnosis as well as offering therapy. Putting the right novels to the appropriate ailments: that’s how I sell books.”

I love the concept of a literary apothecary, an encyclopedia of emotions, shopping on a floating book-barge. And I love the characters in this book and the story so far. I always feel rich and relieved when I have a book I am loving to go to bed with, because then it doesn't matter as much what happens sleep-wise in the night.

june nineteenth

That's a photo of my scrappy sock blanket that I have been knitting since November first 2014. From time to time I consider turning it over, darning all the ends in and marking it as finished. But then I remember how comforting it is to have a project on the go all the time. It's always there. Whenever I cast off a project but before I cast on something new I pull it down and add a few squares, I love the mindlessness of it, I enjoy the weight of it on my lap and I reminisce about all the socks I've knitted over the years to make the scraps to make the blanket. It would look so good on the day bed in my new studio though...

june twentieth

And speaking of my new studio, on Wednesday while I was on my hands and knees in the freezing cold mud trying to get the rest of my garlic in before the winter solstice (see the very first photo), Bren and Jobbo were putting the finishing touches on the door and starting on the shingles.

Oh and just in case you get excited about those shingles like I did the other day, whatever you do - do not search up #shingles on instagram. Let's just say I made that mistake so you don't have to.

june twenty first

On Thursday we had our first true, crunchy, frost of the season.  And I ran around taking photos of everything before retreating inside to try and warm my fingers.

And Bren and Jobbo made frames for and inserted two triangular windows in the pitched roof at the back of my studio and finished and hung the door. I don't think I have ever been so excited about a door in my life.

june twenty second

Today. We spent the day crunching through the frosty grass, and then later the wet grass, in the orchards pulling the nets off the trees. We're late to the job and you can almost feel the trees stretching their limbs out in relief and wondering why it took us so long. Which is why it's so late at 5.24pm for me to be writing my blog. Which is why I'm rushing it to get it done before the girls get home from school. Which is why I haven't even taken my wet socks and clothes off yet which feels awful, but I'm also okay because my farmer boy just brought me in a hot cup of tea and a hot water bottle. The best thing about wearing overalls to work is that you can pop the hot water bottle in the chest bit, like a baby. The best bit about hot tea is that it's hot.

And I told you I was excited about my door, but just in case you didn't believe me here are a few more photos of it. Bren is going to turn me a couple of door handles this weekend.

And that's it! All caught up and into a hot shower I go.

But before I leave tell me some things about you.
What are you reading/writing/playing/watching/growing/crafing?
What are you loving most about the season you're in?
What are you getting up to this weekend?
I want to buy some charcoal yarn with a fleck through it, do you know where I could get some?

See ya's next week okay!

Love, Kate x

ps Did you get my door joke in the title - Light my fire - by the DOORS!! 


  1. sigh...just beautiful,
    Is it hard to take the net off the trees? Have the trees grown through the netting at all?
    Can you reuse the netting? So many questions, sorry
    cheers Kate

    1. I love your questions Kate, they always make me see things in a new way.
      This is the post I wrote when we put the nets on (ahhhh summer), taking them off is basically just doing the same thing backwards (and in the depths of winter).
      Taking them off is so much easier than putting them on.
      The holes in the nets are tiny (to protect from wildlife) and so the trees don't grow through them but sometimes they still manage to get a bit stuck on bits.
      We try to reuse as much of the netting as we can but the kangaroos have made a big mess of it this year, tearing holes in it to get to the apples. We're going to talk to the manufacturer to work out a way we can mend it.
      I hope you have a beautiful weekend. xx

  2. Your studio looks so beautiful. I have a birthday party, and a solstice festival here n the farm this Saturday and then hopefully rest on Sunday. We don't get much of a rest over winter it just doesn't get cold enough. We just keep on growing the whole year, but I love the shorter days , it feels like a bit of a rest.No idea where you can get the yarn but it sounds delightful.

    1. I can't even imagine growing things all through the year. Our growing season is so short and limiting. Your weekend sounds wonderful, I hope you have the best time celebrating and then the best time relaxing on Sunday. xx

  3. Hi Kate, the frost looks so beautiful, but I know it must be freezing. Here in SA I wait for the winter rains to weed our property, so that the weeds are released more easily. I love winter sun - cold, crispy mornings followed by sun that warms you, but only if you stand in the right place. I have just finished reading The Elegance of the Hedgehog which I loved and can readily recommend. Thank you for your blog posts and all your beautiful photos, I do so enjoy reading them every Friday and I am grateful that you choose to share them with us, Emma xxx

    1. Standing in the right spot to catch the winter sun is my favourite winter past time. Ahhh how precious it is. And thanks for the book recommendation, I'm going to write it on my list right now. Happy weekend Emma xx

  4. I read This Is How It Always Is this week and it's SO good. Read it, I think you'd love it too. I've moved on to The Female Persuasion, not loving it so far but will keep going for a bit longer.
    I love that we've had a good mix of grey rainy days and bright sky cold days so far. For the first time ever the grey rainy days are not comforting me like they normally do....strange.....I also wish my chooks would start laying eggs again.
    And this weekend I'm off to see some dear friends I haven't seen for months and months. I'm excited!
    And The Doors Light My Fire takes me right back to being 17!

    1. I always, always love your book recommendations thank you so much, I can't wait to get it and start it already. I'm sad and surprised that you're not enjoying winter so much this year. I hope it grows on you. Have a beautiful weekend with your friends honey. Lots of love xx

  5. Thank you for your Friday posts. Reading your posts has become an end-of-week ritual for me which I thoroughly enjoy.

    As far as books go, I can highly recommend 'Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine'. Great read.

  6. Hi Kate,
    My goodness your studio is looking stunning and I simply cannot wait to see more photos as it continues to progress :)
    I love reading your blog every Friday night... it's become a part of my evening routine and I look forward to it very much. Thank you for sharing your beautiful and honest life with us xx Many times I've read your blog and found comfort in your words and pictures, and I'm so thankful for that.
    Winter is my most favourite season of them all... there is just something so cosy and magical about it. I always plan to stay tucked up inside, and I try to relax and unwind a bit but life is so often busy and demanding, that quite often those warm and cosy plans don't always happen. However, on Tuesday this week I had surgery to remove my tonsils after years of sickness. It has been a bit awful... and I feel guilty for feeling all sad and sorry for myself and the pain I'm experiencing, because there are so many people who are doing it even tougher than me and my 30 year old tonsils. But I'm also actually really appreciating the time that I have to slow down and let my body take over and recover. As big as my to do lists may be... I have almost been forced to slow down and stop for just a while... and it's nice. So this weekend, and for the next couple of weeks, I'm going to let myself get better... ignore the busy demands... hide those to do lists out of sight for just a little bit... and I'm going to pick up my crochet hook and work up a sweet baby blanket for my new nephew due very soon.
    xx Lots of love to you Kate xx

  7. Fabulous blog as usual lots of lovely photos. Loving the lovely warm sunshine here in the U.K. but not the very windy cool breeze. Am rereading Written in my own hearts blood by Diana Gabaldon in the hopes that there is a follow up out by her later this year. Am taking part in a KAL doing a top down cardigan. This weekend we are entertaining my elderly aunt and uncle who have been with us for a fortnight and going home on Monday.

  8. I was really hoping to see your triangle windows, but the door is just fabulous and how wonderful your farmer will make the door handles.

  9. Two books about books that I hope you'll love as much as I did (I've just finished reading both a 2nd time)
    Lost for words by Stephanie Butland and The Bookshop on the Corner by Jenny Coglan. Both wonderful reads.
    That studio is looking magnificent. Make sure you film Bren turning those door handles please - I'd love to see it happening!!
    Stay warm x

  10. The Little Paris Bookshop is one of my all time faves. I have just read The Little Breton Bistro by the same author. I loved love loved it. Both books are such a delight!

  11. Hi Kate, can you please advise what yarn you used for the socks. I have downloaded the pattern and can’t wait to make these. Loved your blog, as I always do!!

  12. I love your fifth photo in the series - the one of the frosty landscape after the two pink flowers. I recently visited an art exhibition of impressionist paintings and your scene reminded me of the Monet painting "The Pie" which is a snowy scene. The sun was sparkling on a white landscape.

    I have been nurturing brassica seedlings indoors and need to get them acclimatised to the cooler weather before planting them out. I'm worried I've missed my chance to harden them up properly. My patch is overrun with nasturtiums because it has been too cold and wet to get out there! I'm not as hardy as you or maybe I need to get myself some overalls with a built in bib warmer! :-) so when I can get out to make some space in my tiny urban patch, I hope to have a crop of broccoli, cauli, tatsoi, lettuce and bokchoi to go with the rainbow chard, rocket, silverbeet & spinach.

    Wishing you all the best with your winter planting.

  13. HELLO!!

    What are you reading? I just finished Lost for Words by Edward St. Aubyn and I hated every minute.
    writing? My blooowwwg
    playing? A 90s playlist I made on YouTube and the Shipping Forecast on the BBC World Service
    watching? Three Countryfile episodes where they visit all the Queen's houses and the farms surrounding them
    growing? basically nothing because I think this house is cursed. Nothing survived.
    crafing? a blanket I'm probably going to pull apart anyway, and a doll's blanket for the girls.
    What are you loving most about the season you're in? Ummmm I do like the golden light
    What are you getting up to this weekend? ABSOLUTELY NOTHING
    I want to buy some charcoal yarn with a fleck through it, do you know where I could get some? Not a clue but my talents lie elsewhere!

    I love your door and your garden and not your frost. <3

  14. A lovely post, as always.
    I've had The Little Paris Bookshop on my wish list for ages, I shall go and buy it now!
    Your studio looks wonderful, can't wait to see you in it.
    Stay warm xx

  15. Hi Kate this is the first time I've left a comment but I have been enjoying your blog for ages. I live in the UK and it's lovely to follow your activities through the seasons. Thankyou

  16. Hey, I'm reading you! I'm trying to catch up on your blog as I have been super absorbed in my own, in my copy of Anna Karenina, hiking lots and photographing all the things! I'm not so good at the old crafting anymore as my double vision has gotten worse but I am determined that come winter I shall do a cross stitch or maybe pick up my knitting needles! Hugs from Ireland x


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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