Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Last days of December '15

With Christmas postponed this year until Grandma and both children are with us on Friday, I've had a little extra time to finish Beau's viking costume. We declared a hand made Christmas earlier in the year, with the very best intentions but not quite enough time in the end to make it happen. Me thinks we ought to start NOW for next year. I would love to make the children a quilt each, and they alone may be a year in the making. Abuelo is making my gift -  a beautiful glasses case out of leather and felt. The kids have plenty of skills to offer - knitting, crochet, woodwork, copper shaping, baking, felting, drawing.... I will try to get organised with some regular craft sessions over the year.

In general I have so many ideas for our home life, that I need to  tackle them one by one, put some ideas in motion. One thing I am determined to do is change the way we shop - for food in particular. More and more I feel my heart sink when I enter the supermarket. I would like very much to never have to set foot in one again. I'm talking about the big chains particularly. Mostly I shop at our local organic store, whose owner and staff I have known for years, and the produce is fresh and lovingly tended. I am determined to reduce our consumerism to the most minimum amount of packaging. 

Of course the best part of all this is contemplating how to grow more, produce more on our 1/4 acre block. We have plenty of fruit that with netting, will give us a bigger harvest. Our vege garden is rockin' this summer and we have only just reached the end of our year's supply of honey. The salami will have lasted 6 months, so a double quantity should technically cover us and allow for gifting! We have lots of big jars of preserved olives left, and 4 new beautiful bantam chickens. The last team meeting out in the chook run should surely result a one for one egg count!


We borrowed our friends' dehydrator, which despite debatable energy issues, has allowed us to dry 50% of our apricots (the ones the birds and bats graciously left us!). The other half we preserved, thanks to the wonderful gift of not one but two Fowlers Kits, from a like-minded work mate. Given we have apples and pears and plums to come, a dehydrator would be a great investment. Where we shall store it all I do not know. Perhaps a second fridge. IS it worth the power cost? There are quite a few things to consider. Were this our place we could consider a cold larder under the house.

KNITTING - I haven't been knitting as much as I normally would this time of year. Really we have only just gone on holiday as of this week. I love knitting in Summer - for the obvious reason that everything is ready for where by winter! I finished another Milo vest for little Rosa, from a stash of wool that my sweet sister-in-law brought to me a few months ago.

READING - This beautiful book by Kara Rosenlund, which for a family who are deep in the search for a little plot of their own, is the perfect feast of inspiration. I also received My Brilliant Friend for Christmas, by Elena Ferrante and am already half way through, content in the knowledge that three more books follow in the story.

I don't do New Year resolutions because I'm a Sagittarian and it's my God-given right not to follow through, but there are a few things I would like to bring into 2016, like more writing and drawing which are good for my soul. On the cusp of the New Year I am mostly giving thanks for what has essentially been a very good one, and looking forward to the next.

Goodbye Old Friend



Here is my sweet pooch Flash, in his prime some years ago, when I imagined he would be with me forever. And so it has seemed as he forged ahead on his 19 and a half year adventure. Three weeks ago I had to make the decision to send him on his way, realizing that in the last few months I've kept him going more for myself than his own comfort. It was the hardest thing I've done and so sad to say goodbye - what a wonderful friend he has been. He's traveled the country on trains, planes, boats and automobiles; dined on the finest road kill between here and Perth; he has gotten me into trouble with housemates, shop keepers, goat farmers and random pedestrians; he's humped everything from woolly jumpers to outraged kelpies; he has fallen in and out of love; moved house too many times and hardly ever done what he was told; he has protected fiercely and loved devotedly. Some part of his white shaggy body is present in pretty much every photo from 1997 to last month. Happy journeys Flashy boy.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

All the Pretty Horses

We delivered bees to our friends near the Murray River yesterday and before the ladies were installed in there new spot, Kay took us out to the State Forest. We drove further and further inward, past the campers, through soft bushland, and to our amazement came upon three separate strings of Brumbies, roaming wild and free. They were so healthy and beautiful and there were one or two foals in their midst! 

We drove home via small country towns, circling the residential streets in curiosity as we are now looking for a land, a wee house, a shack...some spot to stake our claim and dig in. Who knows where we will end up but it's lovely to be seriously looking.


November closing

I've quite lost my blogging stride, unsteady as it generally has been anyway. I still feel like I need a focus in order to keep this up regularly.I am keeping you alive dear blog that I have had for 8 years, in the hope that inspiration may come.

For now, here is a glimpse of November as it fades slowly into December. Our garden continues to delight us, and feed us - the animals and plants we have gathered here. I am about to go out and plant basil among the tomato plants. The sun is shining on this beautiful mild spring day. 

Bread baking is such a lovely routine now - haven't bought bread for months now, except the odd pack of Lebanese bread which we love as pizza base. What gift Mara gave me upon leaving Melbourne - the bread making bug and a fool-proof recipe.

My studio is a lovely, cosy place to teach from. I love being in there, especially on a sunny day. It could do with insulating - very hot on a summer's day and very chilly in winter - easier to warm than cool, but a perfect space otherwise.

The socks finally came off the needles - my word they took some learning! I can't wait to knit the other patterns in the book - and discover the secret to knitting two at the same time! I'm on a Milo vest now for a friend's daughter. 

The photos of my wee laddie's room are just because it was sun filled and colourful and as I often do when he is at his Dad's house, I found myself tidying and picking up his trinkets and thinking of his beautiful self and the things he loves; just hanging out in his space to absorb a little of him in absentia. And yes I have now and then stuffed my face into his pillow for a whiff of him but don't tell him - he'll probably say "Mum....that's embarrassing geez".


Tuesday, September 29, 2015

All about water

It's calling us on the spring air. River, creek, briny ocean....the promise of a swim any day now...


Monday, September 28, 2015


Oh Tasmania, you temptress. I know we haven't seen each other for almost 20 years but you are still as wild and beautiful as I remember.

My wee laddie and I spent 5 days with our lovely friends on the coast. It was action packed and relaxing all at the same time. Our accommodation (see top photo and weep)had views of trees, bay and mountains and is still being decorated as I write.

We looked at land that Abuelo and I have contemplated buying; spent hours there imagining inhabiting it - a great thing to be able to do.

We explored an abandoned mine tunnel - there's Alan giving the kids a Heads Up and answering important questions (If you see a spider bigger than your head, don't poke it etc...)

 We celebrated Jo's birthday - a most delightful and generous hostess and friend.

We skimmed rocks and marvelled at the creatures on the pebbled beach near their house; oysters, mussels, star fish...

We drove through bucolic pasture land and ate fantastic cheese.

We had a beach picnic in a little cove with rocks for three rambunctious boys to scamper over, and sheltered sunny sand on which the ladies could knit and drink tea. We did do some rock climbing ourselves though I would hardly call it scampering....

And we let the kids throw themselves down acres of sand dunes which was one of my boy's highlights - that and flying over the ocean, which yes, at 47 I still find a wondrous adventure myself.

And now back to the city and the remainder of the school holidays, which are warm and slow and free of routine.

May you too be thawing out after this long winter, and sleeping in a bit longer than usual and drinking plenty of tea.