Friday, March 1, 2019

sunshine in my soul

Over the past few months I've settled into this new sort of sleep pattern. After I have a shower and go to bed I read my book until I'm so bleary eyed and sleepy that I can hardly see the words on the page anymore. Sometimes I try to read past this point if I'm up to a good bit in the story, but mostly by now I recognise the peak tired point, I turn off my lamp, pop my ear plugs in and within 15 or 20 minutes I'm asleep. This is new for me, I used to find the getting to sleep part agonising.

Then I generally sleep to anywhere between two and four in the morning when I wake up, get up and go to the toilet and then repeat the reading bit. I can be awake at this point anywhere from half an hour, to the rest of the night til morning. 

I practise mindfulness, I practise good sleep hygiene, but I've never been a good sleeper and I probably never will be.

But the other night, about a week ago, I woke up in the middle of the night and had this realisation that everything right now is good. Now is one of those rare times in life where there don't seem to be any dramas. Everyone in my family is healthy and doing well. There are no big issues, no overwhelming stresses and nothing to keep me awake in the middle of the night. I went through each person in my mind and when I'd convinced myself it was true, I turned the light off and went back to sleep.

And somehow this sense of well being has stayed with me throughout the week. I feel like I've had sunshine in my soul.

On Friday after I wrote my blog we picked little tomatoes to toss over pesto pasta for our dinner, we picked cucumbers and nashis and sunflowers, and we spoke to our Indi while she decorated her kibbutz room with flowers in vodka bottle vases.

On Saturday we picked apples and plums and hazelnuts and tomatoes and cucumbers and flowers. Late in the afternoon I took a basketful of tomatoes outside, laid them out on the ground then stood over them and photographed them. 'Just like I used to do when I was an olden days blogger' I told my farmer boy. He laughed and asked me what exactly I thought I was now. Okay true, nothing's changed there.

On Sunday we strolled the aisles of The Daylesford Sunday Market trying to decide if we should have a flower stall soon, I bought some new kitchen knives and then we came home and celebrated them with super thin slices of tomato, cheese and pickled cucumber on toast. After that we picked huge bunches of straw flowers to hang upside down and dry, we picked tomatoes and cucumbers and we visited our bees to see how they were coping with the heat and if they were making any honey.

On Monday we spent time in the garden deadheading, weeding and harvesting. When the sun went down and it got a bit cooler I started stacking firewood in the woodshed - as much as I hate to think about it, I'm sure the first fire of the season can't be too far away. And I made the most delicious cauliflower and freeka salad from Julia Nishimura's book Ostro for dinner.

On Tuesday I started ceramics lessons and I LOVED it!! The first lesson was all about hand building - pinch-pots, coil pots and slabs. I made a few different styles of vases. It's so interesting to think that I've never enjoyed ceramics when I've tried it in the past and now I love it. Why the change? Why now? My teacher Kim sent us home with a chunk of clay to play with over the weekend and I'm hoping to have time on Sunday, I'm so looking forward to it.

On Wednesday we covered a few of the rows of the apple orchard with nets. It's been an incredibly hot and dry summer and despite the fact that we've been irrigating continuously, this year's crop has been small and disappointing. I blame the dreadful cold, windy and wet weeks we had last year when the blossom was out but the bees couldn't leave their hives to pollinate. If you've been waiting to see us at market or to pop into the farm gate stall, it doesn't look like it's going to happen this season. We're sorry and we're disappointed. But we do claim to be seasonal growers and some seasons are just crap.

This morning when we drove past the orchards to take Pepper to school the trees were FULL of white cockatoos holding apples in their hands eating them. The ground is littered thick with half eaten cores. We didn't feel like it was worth the cost and effort of netting the whole orchard for a disappointing crop, but hopefully we've saved a few rows of our family's favourites.

On Thursday apart from driving Jazzy to school, picking tomatoes, cucumbers and flowers and going to gym, we spent almost the entire day in the kitchen. We squished tomatoes and made an enormous cauldron of sauce and I made some more pickled cucumbers.

Every year just before our tomatoes start to ripen I have a panic and fear that we'll never have enough and end up buying a box from a local organic farmer to get me started and stop my worrying. This year I made a decision to be patient and to trust and not to panic buy.

Last year I made somewhere between 100 and 120 jars of tomatoes sauce and there are still around 15 jars left in the cupboard. That means I'd better get busy and fill that cupboard back up. I'm sitting on zero right now but I do feel so happy that I waited and that they'll all be ours.

To make - fry up an onion and some garlic, stir in the squished tomatoes, add loads of basil, bottle, seal, water-bath.

Rather than just bottling tomatoes by themselves, we add lots of other summer seasonal ingredients from our garden that we won't have growing later in the year

Which brings us to Friday, today. I took Pepper to school early, I picked bunches of flowers, tomatoes and cucumbers with Jazzy, I hunted through the dahlias for the grasshoppers that have been munching my flowers, Bren had a meeting with Dave and another guy about fixing our house dam and now I'm writing my blog.

Over the weekend I hope to start bottling the tomatoes (I'll keep you posted on the tally), keep knitting my socks, continue reading Abby's copy of Inappropriation by Lexi Freiman, start listening to the latest episode of Who The Hell is Hamish podcast, take Jazzy to the orthodontist, maybe speak to Indi, hopefully crochet something that's in my head, go to gym, fill baskets and vases with produce, and hopefully, hopefully, hopefully continue this streak of family wellness and wellbeing-ness.

And if at all possible I would absolutely love to order another week of this sunshine in my soul feeling. I'd love to order one for you too.

So how's your week been?
Did you get up to anything fun?
Are you making anything interesting?
Deciding on anything important?
Dreaming about something wonderful?

See ya next Friday.

Lots of love,

Kate x


  1. Lovely to hear of your sunshiny feeling. My week has been interesting. We are renovating our bathroom, so I am currently listening to the sound of a jackhammer, jackhammering up floor tiles. It's not so great - but when we get our new bathroom, it will all be worth it. Have a wonderful weekend!

    1. That's so true, living in a renovation zone is so exhausting, but how fabulous will it be when it's all finished and cleaned up and you have a brand new bathroom!! I'm excited for you. x

  2. Kate, at my first quick look at the tomato sauce recipe, I read 'bath-water' rather than 'water-bath'.
    The brain, or at least my brain, is a weird thing!

    1. Haha I love that! Although I suspect the girls would be less likely to eat their dinner knowing that my bath water was one of the ingredients. xxxxxxxxxx

  3. Hmmm would love some summer in my soul. Was thinking about how to make life so happy and free again as I watch my daughter of nineteen travelling and starting University soon. What happens in the years between 19 and 46?

    1. It's so interesting isn't it. I hope you find a way to get a bit of that free and happy feeling back. xx

  4. I have just planted some tomato and chilli seeds. We've had unusually warm and sunny days this past week in the south west of England, in fact it's a little concerning as there were days in February that were the warmest since records began. Love visiting your garden and seeing all the flowers and lushness.

    1. I love the start of the new growing season, the seeds and the dreams and the ideas. I hope you have enough rain and sunshine and that everything produces beautifully. x

  5. Your flowers look so beautiful, especially the dahlias. Gardening has been such a struggle in SE Queensland this year. We have had a really long hot, dry stretch when we should be getting tons of rain. It is not as hot now but it has been very windy and still no rain. Usually we'd be wishing it would stop raining by now! I haven't read your blog for a few weeks now so I'm glad I dropped in - it is so uplifting. Now I'm grateful that we at least have loads of basil so I will do something with that for dinner. I signed up for a ceramics course years ago but it was just painting pre made things (greenware?) - I should have pulled out as I just ended up with a vase that I didn't like. I'd still like to learn to make ceramics - one day... Today I made an orange cake as the oranges we bought a week ago look like they have lived through a drought and weren't too great for eating. And then some Rosemary bread so I now I am reminded to be grateful for the toughness of Rosemary! What sort of dehydrator do you use for your plum leathers? I am thinking of getting one for bananas as we have gluts of them when a bunch is ready.

    1. I'm sorry you've had such a challenging season, it's been pretty crazy here too - very hot and dry. I bought a second hand Excallibur dehydrator a few years ago and I absolutely love it. x

  6. Your pictures make me so long for summer here. Although as Jacqui has already said we've had a tiny taste over the last week. Just hope that isn't our lot this year! My hubby is so envious of your hollyhocks. Each year we try to grow some in deepest darkest Lincolnshire and each year he is so disappointed. We did manage a few last year but not as beautiful as yours.

    1. Oh thank you! I've never actually grown hollyhocks before and almost gave up on them so many times over the season but now I'm so grateful we persevered. They really are a magical plant. I hope you get some great ones this season. x

  7. We have a solar dehydrator so have semi dried 4 batches of tomatoes . i have had a quilting disaster so having a regroup in that department

    1. Oh Pam, I'm so sorry to hear about your quilting disaster. I hope that by now, a week later, you've got it all fixed up and you've forgotten all about it. xx

  8. Hi Kate
    Thank you for the great pictures...from your sweet ..tomatoes...colours...
    and the story you told us from you and your great summer feeling
    Its a difficult time now in our space..spring is not here...but also
    its not even winter.Sometimes the sun is shining...than the weather is
    rainy and stormy..not very nice
    When i look at your pictures and what you wrote about your summer feelings..i know the best time
    is coming...its not far...i have only forgotten the feeling about summer
    during this long and strong winter .
    I am glad that your sleeping is a bit better now!!!
    my Week: i try to do my best with the not so nice weather...staying outside
    a lot of time..despite the bad weather..then drinking coffee in the warm
    kitchen...visited a friend
    celebrate a birthday...friends visited food..looking after
    spring flowers...
    dreaming: its difficult at the moment..during the strong wintertime
    my dreams seems to sleep....i hope my dreams are coming back again with spring:)))
    deciding: Although we life in a little town...on one side of our house we have wonderful
    wood...but on the other side we have a road with a lot of traffic
    In this year we have decided to build a wall with our neighbour on this side of
    our house
    The wall will protect us from the traffic noise and
    on the other side we will store our firewood

    best wishes from germany

    1. Thank you for your beautiful words. I can feel the cold in my bones just thinking about the deep, dark winter. Your week does sound lovely despite the cold and I love the idea of the new wall. I hope the sun comes out soon and warms you up. I hope ours hangs around for a while longer. xx


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Kate XX

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