Friday, December 15, 2017

in the forest at dusk

The other day I got an email from Goodreads with my 2017 reading tally. The year's not finished yet, there are still pages to be turned and books to add, so I'm not going to link to it just yet, but it did make me think about all of my 2017 accomplishments. All those seeds I've planted, all those miles I've driven, all those weeds I've pulled, all those lunches I've made, all those podcasts I've listened to, all those words I've written....

2017 feels like it's been a productive year. Despite my wish for a simple life, growth just happened. I guess that's what being alive is all about. Moving forward, trying to do better, trying to learn, trying to teach, trying to grow.

I look forward to thinking about and blogging some of the tallies and some of the things we achieved in the past 12 months over the next couple of Fridays as the year comes to a close, but for now these photos are of the girls modelling the two wraps I knitted this year.

I took these photos to add to my Ravelry projects page to try to work out my knitting tally for 2017. (My desk might be a crazy mess, but at least my Ravelry page will be neat and ordered.) These photos were taken last Sunday evening straight after a trip into town to the supermarket, but a bit before the bugs started biting. One of the wraps was knitted for Indi and worn to school all through last winter. And the other was knitted for my mum and only given to her last Monday.

I love that my Mum saw her granddaughter in skinny jeans, Blundstone boots, a linen shirt and her wrap and decided that she wanted one of her own.

These photos make me so happy because they remind me of the origins of this blog when it was purely a craft record. Each time I'd finish something I'd get the girls to model it for the photos. Long before high school and long commutes and homework and boyfriends.

The details for Indi's wrap are here.
The details for my mum's wrap are here.

As well as traipsing through the forest at dusk snapping photos of girls in knitwear, this week I watched and really loved My Mother's Lost Children.

I also watched and cried my eyes out at this short film called I have a message for you.

On Tuesday we celebrated 18 years of marriage!

On Tuesday while mowing the middle apple orchard I listened to all three parts of 36 Questions - a musical in a podcast. A few years ago I'd heardModern Love podcast about those same 36 questions and was somewhat intrigued.

So on Tuesday night when we went out for dinner to celebrate our anniversary we asked each other and answered Arthur Aron's 36 questions. Well most of them anyway. It's one thing to use them to fall in love in the first place, and quite another to ask them of someone you've loved and lived with for almost 21 years.

This week I've been reading Roxane Gay's Hunger and thinking a lot about my perception of my physical body and also about how much space people take up.

I just cast off my tree socks, ravelled here.

And I ate strawberries, and salads, and broad beans and peas.

This week we're celebrating our three girls who have had wonderfully successful school years.

We're loving the thought of six weeks off from the school commute.

We're planting and weeding and watering.

And while I'm hiding in our bedroom typing this Bren and Jobbo are putting the finishing touches on the deck that comes out from the sun-room and goes all along the front of our house (photos soon), Jazzy and Pepper are painting on face masks and Indi is vacuuming the carpet for her birthday party tonight. I'd better hurry up and publish this so I can go and help her with the preparations.

I hope you have a beautiful weekend my friends.
Can you believe there are only two Fridays left for this year?
Are you starting to think about your bests, and worsts, and tallies for 2017?
Do you want to come and help me make a flower crown and string up the fairy lights?

Big love to you lovers!
See you next week.

Love Kate x

Friday, December 8, 2017

let the sun shine in

It feels a little superficial and silly to say that a living space has changed my life, but our new sun room really has. When it's wet and windy outside - it's protected and warm inside, when there are dishes in the sink and the laundry waiting to be hung - you can literally close the door and turn your back on them, when it feels dark and gloomy in the house - it's bright and airy in the sun room, when you want to jam with your sisters, clean and sharpen your knife collection, darn in the ends of your socks, drink your morning coffee, make plans for your birthday party, grow plants that are a little fragile, read your book, do your homework, practise your instrument, chat on the phone... the sun room is the place to be.

Bren promises me that he'll never get sick of me gushing about how happy I am with that space, but surely 50 plus times a day must be pushing his limits.

This past week Bren and Jobbo continued paving outside the laundry. Hopefully by next week there will be an undercover clothesline and a big door at the end to close it all off.

The paving also continued to make a landing out the front door to to welcome you from the garden into the house. It's almost time to plant some grass seeds out the front and plan where the new veggie gardens will go.

This week I spent a lot of time weeding the garden, staking some plants that got knocked over in the storm, planting and harvesting.

It looks like the first of the zinnias might burst into bloom any day now which excites me no end. I've actually enrolled in an online flower farming course starting in the new year. It's something I've been thinking about for a while now and when the opportunity arose I took it. At this stage I have no idea what it means for the future of Daylesford Organics but I do love the thought of growing rows and rows of colourful blooms. I also really love the fantasy of dressing my girls in linen aprons and sending them off down the rows to pick armfuls of flowers at dusk for my photo shoots. Watch this space...

In the meantime that wild jungle of a self-seeded corn flower bed that I've been threatening to pull out for weeks now is a vision of green and blue and providing us with the prettiest posies.

The cat is still playing hide and seek and jumping out at me from all the most unexpected places.
I've been knitting up a couple of child sized socks for my master class at the Soul Craft festival.

In my class I'll be showing you how to knit a sock just like this. Using a circular needle we'll cast on the toe (pale blue), knit up the foot (red), increase for the gusset (navy), turn the heel (pink/green), knit up the leg (grey), rib for the cuff (yellow), and finish with a stretchy bind off. 

If sock knitting is something you've been thinking about trying for a while, if you've knitted socks cuff down and want to try toe up, if you want to ditch the DPN's for circs and the magic loop, then this class is for you. Imagine the fun we're going to have. I'm so excited.

Please click on this link to check out the amazing program of speakers and demonstrations and masterclasses on offer. (If you book into my class on Saturday the 9th June, your ticket includes entry to the festival, the speakers and demonstrations, a curated market, community projects, craft dating (I'm not actually sure what that is - sounds interesting), lots of spaces to sit and make, delicious food and opportunities to connect with other crafters. Sounds cool, right!

And other than all of that I've been planting cucumbers, eating broad beans, going to all of the end of year performances, reading Morris Gleitzman's After, counting down til the last drive of the school year, wondering if we should pull the rest of the garlic out, hoping for a bit of weekend sunshine it's freezing today, looking for some inserts for some old wire hanging baskets, feeling all of the feels about our girls going into grade 5, year 9 and year 12(!!!!!) next year and listening to my tummy grumbling I think it's time for lunch.

I hope you're doing really well my friends.
Has a space ever changed your life?
Do you ever feel like you're on top of the weeding?
Are you going to come and hang out with me at the Soul Craft festival?
Do you have plans to start something new next year?
Do you have something fun planned for this weekend?

I hope you have a great one!
See you next week.

Love Kate x

Friday, December 1, 2017


It's the first of December and the first day of summer and I have a head ache. I went to bed with it last night and woke up with it this morning. I'm not somebody who usually suffers from headaches and I'm unsure if this one is due to pmt, to the stress of the past few days getting prepared for the crazy amounts of rain forecast to fall this weekend, to some sort of barometric pressure (?), or if it's just here in my head telling me to slow down and have a quiet day on the couch. In any case it's really making it impossible for me to think straight, let alone type coherent sentences.

So it's another post that's heavy on photos - light on words from me today.

This week we pulled out a bunch of old tea pots that we inherited when we bought our farm. We filled them up with herbs and flowers and popped them outside the front door.

I spent a lot of time this week shuffling plants around the new green-house space. I made big colourful groups of pots, then I thinned them out a bit, then I stuck to the same colour scheme, and then I changed my mind and started all over again. I'm definitely a 'the more the merrier' type of plant lover, but I also want it to be easy on the eye. I guess I'll keep on moving them until they feel right and then I'll move on to a different corner of the room.

This week we found out that due to the impending heavy rains, our big girls were coming home from school camp a day early. Because I'd been busy in the garden, I'd left all the usual jobs I do for the girls when they come home from camp to the last minute, and so they wouldn't be returning to fresh bed-sheets and their favourite meals. Instead I made a mad dash around and picked them some posies for their bedrooms. Luckily they loved them. 

This week we finally made a start on the tomatoes. I forgot to take a photo but you can just see the patch between the bean tee-pee and the cubby. So far we've planted over a hundred plants with more to go in next week.

This week we tied up all the tall, gangly plants so they don't fall over in the rains.

This week our over-wintered carrots went to seed. I offered them to a local wedding florist who might use them for her functions this weekend, how gorgeous would that be.

This week we started eating peas from the garden.

This week I spent a lot of time looking out of these windows into the garden, and in these windows to the green-house. I still can't believe how much I love it every time I see it.

And this week we watched a few more episodes of Ozark, I started reading my sister Abby's review copy of Fen Stories, I finished turning the heels and began knitting up the legs of my tree socks, I was humbled and excited and slightly terrified when The Soul Craft Program came out and my talk and class are included, I picked and ate loads of strawberries, I didn't listen to any podcasts because I've lost my head-phones, I sat by the lake and watched the Daylesford kids swim, I hilled the potatoes and weeded the onions, I pulled some of the garlic and left the rest, I listened to Bren's tractor working in the apples until late every night, I loved Pepper's class play, I missed our big girls and I felt exhausted but oh so happy with the choices we have made that have bought us this life we live.

I hope you've had a lovely week.
Tell me a couple of things you've been up to. I'd love to read them.

Until next Friday...(can you believe there are only four more left for this year??!)

Love Kate x

Friday, November 24, 2017

the sun room

I think I'm going to let the pictures speak for themselves this week...well mostly.

I've been sitting here for the past little while scrolling up and down waiting for a first sentence to jump into my head and get me going, but I've got nothing.

This week we laid the last red brick in this section of the build, we grouted them and then washed them down. Since then I've been standing and sitting all over the room, all through the different times of the day, trying to watch the light and the shadows and the views. I am obsessively in love with this space and I still can't believe it's real and it's ours. Every time I walk out the front door I get a happy surprise and then again when I walk back in.

Every single ingredient is recycled, every bit of the build was done by Jobbo, Bren, Francis and me (if you could see the state of my grout ruined hands you'd believe it) and every single brick is perfect, except for the last one which they let me lay and by accident I banged it too hard and it's a bit lower than the rest. Oh well.

It is everything I dreamed it would be and I can hardly wait to fill it up with plants, to make more dangley macrame plant hangers and to build a chunky farm-house table and surround it with old mismatched wooden chairs.

Bring on the early morning coffees looking out over the garden, bring on reading pages of books underneath the shady table in the middle of the day, bring on homework spread out over the table, cocktails at the window bar, big dinners with family and friends filling the space, winter warmth as the low sun hits the windows and it becomes a sun-room...the list goes on.

Thanks heaps for joining us on this build so far. Next week we're continuing down the front of our house with some covered decking and who knows what else. We're pretty good at making this stuff up as we go along.

And just to keep things on track and not veer to far from my usual bog post...

I'm reading my Mum's library copy of Manhattan Beach and loving it. It's beautifully written historical fiction that keeps me up way too late at night.

I'm one and a half episodes into Jon Ronson's The Butterfly effect podcast and so far so good. Gosh I love listening to Jon's voice, and what a great story teller.

And in the tiny bit of knitting time I have during these crazy busy late spring days, I'm turning the second heel of the tree socks, I'm eating lots of strawberries as they ripen, missing our big girl who's been hiking since last Saturday, enjoying our middle girl's obsession with botanical painting and loving our youngest's garden potions and fairy rings. I'm eating lots of salads with feta and lemon juice, trying to drink enough water, contemplating buying a pair of shorts to wear to the gym, smashing the laundry basket, watching Ozark, remembering to stop and smell (and dead-head) the roses, worrying about snakes, and weeding, weeding, mowing, weeding.

I'd best be going, I'd love to mow a few rows of the orchard before it gets too hot.

Are you watching/listening/reading/growing/making anything exciting lately?
Do you have a favourite place to sit and watch the world go by?
Do you think it's crazy that we still don't have our tomatoes in?

I hope you have a wonderful weekend filled with whatever it is that makes you most happy.

See ya next week.

Love Kate x

Friday, November 17, 2017

when it rains

Some weeks trickle along. Little moments propel us forward: packing lunch-boxes, weeding the garden, listening to podcasts, mowing the orchard, going to gym, driving the girls around...until all those little meetings and moments and musings gather together to form the week that was.

And then other weeks feel like a gush. If you're not careful they'll knock your legs out from under you and carry you down the flooded stream, feet first.

This past week feels like the latter. Each day felt full of change and development and motion and emotion. Some days I found myself grinning like a clown and on others hiding in an overgrown patch of the garden pulling up fistfuls of weeds trying to remember to breathe.

On Wednesday our Indigo turned 17. SEVENTEEN!!! That little baby who turned us into parents all those years ago. What a gift it is to be her mother. To watch her, to listen to her, to guide her and to be guided by her. We celebrated her with chocolate bullets, with cards and presents, with mangos and chocolate covered strawberries. What a gift you are to us Indigo Apple, our wishes for you are filled with music and passion, with love and learning and indoor plants. It's so exciting to watch the world open up to you and your sparkly eyes. xxxx

This week I was offered a great new writing job. Funny how these things happen. Ever since Slow Living magazine closed earlier this year, I've been wanting to write something more than just my blog. Not being quite ready to close myself off to the world and start work on a book, I thought that some articles and stories would be perfect. And then one day last week I got a message, had a meeting, and now I have a new job. Yay! I'll fill you in on the details when it's all official.

And then, not long after the first job was offered, I got a phone call about a one off speaking/teaching job. Again I'll fill you in on the details when I'm allowed to, but let's just say I'm very excited about this one.

I wrote a blog a few months ago about being okay with my simple life and not wanting to always be looking for and hunting something bigger and newer and more exciting. A few days ago I was driving home from school and had to pull over several times to talk to different people about the details of my new jobs when it occurred to me that I hadn't hunted it but here I was moving forward and although it is scary and new, I think I'm ready for this new stage. I think my self confidence needed it. I'm excited.

Also this week we had to pull out the first of our garlic, even though the cloves haven't separated yet. On Wednesday an earth mover came to do some work at the front of our house and the garden beds they were in were in the way. It's been wonderful to have the garlic flavour back in our meals this week. And it'll be amazing to landscape what's now a mud pit, with grass and garden and a deck.

The next thing was the rain. On Thursday morning on my drive out to school it rained so hard and there was so much water that I hurt my wrist gripping the steering wheel so tight. I had to drive so slowly but still it was scary. And it was LOUD! When I finally got home I was completely rattled and it took me ages to calm down enough to focus on the jobs I had to do. But ever since then I've noticed that the garden has exploded; colourful flowers have popped, plants have germinated, thickened up, grown tall, started climbing. And the roses!! Wow!! What a show they're giving us this year.

And then of course the green-house build continued. It took a while to convince my farmer boy that we should pull up the perfectly good (but oh so ugly) concrete that was there already and use old red bricks to pave it instead, but gosh it's going to be worth it. Even though we're not allowed to walk on them yet and have to play hop-scotch every time we leave the house, I'm head over heels in love already.

And I'm ever so grateful to Frobden, (Francis, Jobbo, Bren), for making my dreams come true and not whinging too much about your sore hands and backs. xxxx

After a long discussion recently about the fact that craft in our family and on our farm is a seasonal thing, I feel okay with the fact that I've only knitted a couple of inches this past week. When you're working outside from morning to last light, when your hands are so dirty you can't wash them clean anymore, and when your arms and legs ache from the weight of the day, knitting often gets left by the way-side. But when I do have a crazy week like the one that's just been, all action and full of decisions and brick dust, then a few rows of sock knitting feels just like home and is exactly what I need.

For those who have asked about sock knitting recently, please forgive my lack of personal response.

I swear by Wendy D Johnson's book - Socks From The Toe Up. I use her basic sock pattern for every single pair of socks I knit. I use everything in it from the cast on, to the slip stitch heel, to the cast off. I love it and highly recommend it to everyone from beginner to advanced.

Ravelry details here.

And lastly is the cat. She's not particularly great at snuggling on the couch but whenever I'm in the garden she's always with me. Creeping up and then jumping out on me making me scream, rubbing against my legs or back, making me laugh with her antics and then plopping herself down for a bath and a nap exactly where I need to be working. Love that funny kitten.

Love that first red strawberry of the season picked and eaten this morning before school, love the way the big seeds pop out of the soil with their seed hats on, love finishing great books (Bella and Chaim) that stay in my thoughts for days afterwards, love picking armfuls of flowers from the garden, love flexing my biceps and seeing actual muscles for the first time in my life, love binge listening a great podcast series, love thinking about the approaching summer school holidays, love getting a text message from a friend asking me for a beer, love hearing the sound of the tractor coming up the hill and knowing that my farmer boy is coming in for lunch, love you guys and the beautiful and insightful messages you send me, love that Australia voted YES for same sex marriage and that love is love is love is love.

Hope the view outside your window is a pretty one this afternoon.
Did you have a good week? Did anything exciting happen?
Are you reading a good book? Planning a feast? Stopping to smell the roses?
I hope something unexpected and quite wonderful is right around the corner.

Lots of love,

Kate xx

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