Friday, September 15, 2017

forest dancing

Hello honey bunches,

How are you feeling? How's your week been?

It's so gorgeous to have you here. I'm imagining you sitting in a comfy chair with your shoes kicked off. I'm imagining you've made yourself a hot drink and grabbed your lap top and have claimed these next few minutes for yourself. It's quiet, you're warm enough, nobody needs anything from you, there's nothing to do, you're here with me.

I've been sitting here scrolling back and forth through these photos wondering what I'm going to write about today. I feel good. I feel like my week's flowed from one thing to the next and I've kept up with it.   No major breakthroughs, and no major breakdowns (on my part anyway).

Maybe I should take you through the highlights...

I had my car serviced in Ballarat, we took the girls to Melbourne to buy overalls for Jazzy, we watched and fell in love with Given the movie, I drove the girls to school a bunch of times, I baked bread twice, and I went to gym three times.

I almost finished and have LOVED reading a book called Lab Girl: A story of Trees, Science and Love, I was emailed by lots of businesses wanting me to create content for them for free, I collected kindling from the forest, split lots of wood and kept the home fires burning and I started knitting another Guernsey Wrap for my Mum.

I planted peas, lettuces and leeks in the green house and broad beans and onions in the garden, I watched Bren and Jobbo build the most beautiful open shelves for the kitchen wall and I started to fill them up with jars and plates and bunches of flowers and I spent the most magical time in the top orchard picking daffodils with Miss Pepper.

I comforted all three of my girls who were upset at different times. I also woke them up in the morning, cooked them food, listened to them, laughed with them and kissed their sweet cheeks as they went to bed at night. I tried my hardest not to let the incessant rain bother me too much, I froze my toes off and I listened to and loved the Reply All podcast - The Case of the Phantom Caller.

I had an accidental coffee with my Mum, we had a pizza dinner reunion of the cast of Pepper's play and we remembered that this time last year we were flooded in and so even though it feels wet, it can't be that wet.

I watched the garden finally start to show some growth again, I saw so many joeys in kangaroo pouches and I felt optimistic in my heart for this growing season. I lay awake a lot in the night, I listened carefully to the sounds of the night, I tried again to meditate and I hoped that none of my girls inherit the bad sleeping gene.

We waved Miss Jazzy off on a five day hike, we waved Miss Indi off on an overnight trip to Melbourne and we picked Miss Pepper up from school a bit early because she had a tummy ache.

I counted five days for Pepper and nine days for the big girls until the end of third term, I dreamt of a break in the routine and of all the extra things we'll be able to fit into our days. I found chewing gum all through a load of washing, I hid in my bedroom in a grump and I felt grateful when Bren and Indi helped me scrape it all off.

I voted YES for marriage equality, I bought the sweetest Love is Love pins from My Bearded Pigeon, and I wished for a world where everyone feels equal to be who they want to be, love who they want to love and marry the person they love. It's that simple.

How about you? What have you been up to?
Have you listened to any good podcasts?
Have you had any great ideas?
Have you needed to hide in your bedroom in a grump?
Or dance to loud music in the street?

And with that I bid you farewell so I can go and look after my sick baby girl on the couch.
I hope your weekend is wonderful.

Love Kate


Friday, September 8, 2017

when instagram disabled my account

Last Saturday morning I was lying in bed, loving the fact that I didn't have to be anywhere anytime soon, sipping my coffee and reading the last couple of pages of my book. If I listened carefully I could hear the sounds of the girls slowly waking up, Bren and a friend using power tools in the shed and the birds calling to each other through the forest. I was warm and content in my little bubble as I reached for my phone to have a look at what the rest of the world was up to.

I started with the comments that had come through in response to my blog posted the day before. Thoughts on sock knitting, bowl carving, dealing with difficult shop keepers... I love the way your comments keep the conversation going. Like my blog is not a static piece of writing but an ongoing collaboration, a conversation.

And then I read a few asking me about my Instagram account. Where was it? Had I decided to have a break from social media? Had I deleted it?

Of course I clicked over straight away sure that my photos would be right where I had left them the day before when I'd posted a picture of a little tea party we'd shared in Bren's shed amongst the wood shavings and tools.

But, instead of finding my photo stream or my profile, there was a log-in page asking for my details. Ahhhh that's easy enough, I thought to myself while filling in my user name and email address, I've been logged out, easily fixed. But instead of resuming normal activity, a little square came up advising me that 'Your account has been disabled for violating our terms. Learn how you may be able to restore your account.' Then a blue Learn More box underneath which I clicked on quickly. The next page it took me to asked me all sorts of questions about what sort of account mine was, where I was posting from and my personal details.

I think at this stage I was still thinking that I had been logged out accidentally and that once I'd filled in my details I'd have my account back in no time. Obviously I couldn't have violated any of their terms or conditions so nothing bad could happen, could it?

Initially I was texted a six-number code and asked to use it to verify my account, but I couldn't find anywhere I could enter it.

Then I received an email asking me to confirm that I am the owner of my account by taking a photo of myself holding a hand written sign that includes my full name, user name and a code supplied in the email. The photo had to be well lit, include both my hands holding the sign and my whole face. Unless I fulfilled their requirements they would not be able to help me.

Although by this stage I was starting to realise that my account wasn't just going to reappear, I didn't trust the 'Hi, Thanks for contacting us. Before we can help we need you to...' email either. It felt like some sort of scam.

Maybe I'd been hacked!

I fully remember the first time I ever heard about Instagram. It was 2011 and we were about a week away from heading off on our caravan adventure, having coffee with my sister Emily in Fitzroy. She, who had originally introduced me to the period tracker app that changed my life, showed me through an app that allowed you to put filters and frames on the photos you took on your phone. She said it was possible to then go on and share your edited photos with the world, but she chose not to. Before this we'd played with the Hipstermatic app that made our photos look old school, but Instagram felt a bit more user friendly and natural.

I also remember the first time I shared an Instagram photo for the world to see and I promptly tweeted that I hadn't realised that Instagram was actually a social media, complete with comments and likes and follows.

And there began the slippery slope:Travel around Australia in a vintage caravan, take pictures, geotag the pictures, explain in the caption what we were doing, post, follow friends and family back home as they caught on, look at their pictures, like their pictures. Repeat. And it was simple and a bit messy back then. We used lots of filters, posted everything unselfconsciously and often, popped our photos in frames and liked everything we saw.

When we got home and I wrote a book about our travels I used Instagram to publicise it, I started seeing our farm differently as I posted it in squares and people liked them. And then one day I posted a picture of a cute, yellow vintage caravan I saw and got a notification that it had hit the popular page. I still have no idea how that happened or what it meant, but it sent a truckload of followers my way and that felt good.

In 2014 I got an email telling me that I was one of Instagram's suggested users which again sent 1,000's of new followers my way. But as I clicked on many of their profiles and saw that they were sexy models wanting followers, scary guys posing with weapons or cash, and buy-lots-of-follower accounts, I started blocking them and feeling icky about my life being so public and accessible.

On July 6th 2015, Instagram published a short story about us on their blog called 'Growing food with love and integrity'. That felt very exciting and brought with it a lot of interest from all over the world, including a follow and a post from Jamie Oliver!! (I still get a kick when he likes my photos and watches my stories.)

Instagram sent me Christmas presents for a few years in a row and last September we attended a party they threw with a table laden with food that looked like a garden, boxes of fancy doughnuts, stickers, badges, speeches and a photo booth.

Basically, apart from a couple of spikes, my Instagram life has been pretty low key and full to the brim with photos of farming, knitting, mothering, travelling and other family adventures, sometimes slightly filtered, often rambly-captioned, occasionally hash-tagged, mostly taken on my phone, never sponsored, never stolen, and never sexy.

And although over the years I have questioned the algorithms, the designerness, the use of proper cameras, the fact that people have several accounts, the dodgy ways people go about accumulating followers, and the fact that it feels much less friendly and much more businessy than it used to, I feel like I have stuck to what works for me and been true to that.

Which brings us back to last Saturday and all the awful thoughts that were starting to run through my mind. Had my account been hacked? Had someone reported me? Would I ever get it back? Could someone else use my profile? Did I have all the photos saved? How would I let people know? How would I ever find some of the profiles again? Was this the end of @foxslane?

Eventually Bren came in, I filled him in and he started googling. There were stories about some celebrities being hacked but nothing yet about the little people.

I posted to twitter, I took the photo with the information Instagram had asked for and sent it to them, I posted on Facebook and then I waited.

I felt like I'd been punched in the guts but I didn't cry or make a fuss. In fact I think I was quite calm. When the girls came in and we told them they weren't all that empathetic which annoyed me, considering how hysterical they have been known to be when they close all the tabs on their computers by accident or think they might have deleted an essay. But they eventually came around.

Later that Saturday afternoon reports started dribbling in that other people had lost their accounts too, including this blog post, and that this was quite a wide spread thing. Somehow, once I was aware that it wasn't only me, I felt more secure in my faith that order would eventually be restored and that I'd get my account back in due course. It might have been naive faith but it helped me move on and enjoy the rest of the weekend in any case. Including a switched off, unphotographed fathers' day which I can't help but think might have been farmer Bren's best present of all.

On the three days that I was locked out I noticed that I posted to and read Twitter for the first time in years, I posted thoughts, videos and photos to Facebook that weren't related to my blog and I enjoyed the interaction, I left my phone in the charger for long stretches of time, I checked every few hours to see if my account was back, I worried about how I would ever contact some of the people I chat to in instagram daily but have no other way of finding, when people wrote to tell me they missed my feed, checked to see if it was back, or had written to Instagram about me it meant the world to me. People wrote me the kindest messages. I was in the dark but I didn't feel like I had been forgotten.

I seriously wanted to be the type of person who didn't care so much about being locked out of an app. My life is dirt under my finger nails, knitting cabled beanies, cooking food my kids won't eat and cutting myself a crooked fringe, I live in the real world. But I did care. I do care.

I thought a lot about how much power we give over to our personal lives in social media. How we can spend years building up these beautiful profiles and relationships only to have them deleted with no warning or reason. How much care we put into our photos and responses only to have the apps dictate algorithms that feel random and sometimes cruel. And how much I take for granted that what is there will always be there.

More than once over those three days I wanted to refer to a photo to remind me of the date or of how something looked, only to remember that I couldn't access the information. I have the photos saved in my library, but I need to find a way to back up the captions and comments and to be able to contact some people who I feel like I know so much about but don't even know how to contact in real life.

On Saturday Miss Jazzy informed me that she was upset that I'd had my account disabled because it meant she'd lost a follower!!

On Sunday I posted to Facebook -
things i didn't get 2 post on instagram this weekend - sock knitting, wooden bowl carving, bundt cake baking, daffodil picking, organic farming - pretty controversial, no wonder instagram blocked me
On Monday I heard that people were slowly getting their accounts back and so I had confidence that it was only a matter of time until I had mine. On Monday it also snowed which was a bit mean considering I couldn't post videos and photos of the beauty. And seriously, if it snows and you don't post it on social media - did it even snow?

And then on Tuesday morning it was there! Everything exactly as I'd left it. Phew.

I had an email from Instagram informing me that it was back and 'we apologise for any inconvenience caused' but no reason for the inconvenience.

And aside from lots of lovely comments on my photos, that's about it. I'm happy to be back but I'm slightly more wary too.

So there you have it. That's my locked out of Insta story. If you're reading this because it's happened to you and you've found me through googling it, I hope it brings you some comfort - you are not alone.

So how about you?
Are you a social media addict?
Do you feel like you control your social media or does it control you?
Have you had a scary app moment?
Is all your online stuff backed up?
Do you ever wonder about all that data out there and what happens if it all disappears?

Have fun out there!

Love Kate


Friday, September 1, 2017

10 spring things

Hello honey bunches,

How're things looking from where you're sitting?

It's early Friday afternoon here. Bren has taken Miss Pepper to the orthodontist in Ballarat, the big girls are at school, the cat is asleep on a cushion next to me, the dog is by the front door, and I'm sitting up against the heating panel in the lounge room with my computer on my lap.

It's been a funny old week where we each took turns having an awful, sneezy head cold, but at the end of it everyone is feeling better and brighter than at the start. And that's got to be a good thing, right?

And of course it's the first day of September which means we've left winter behind (officially) and are bursting into spring. Hooray for that!!

So in order to commemorate one of my favourite days of the year, I thought I'd do a 10 things about right now blog.

Here goes;

Last week I got the most wonderful comment on my blog's Facebook page;
Shemmariah Beth - You know I was just wondering why I love these Friday arvo reads SO much, and I think it's because in a world full of blogs telling me what to eat, what to do and 12 steps to be what I need to be, this lovely little blog 'just is'. It's just about life, just as it is. And that is Bloomin' refreshing. Thank you Kate 😘

The second I read it I copied it and sent it out to everyone in my family to read. It meant the world to me. That is EXACTLY what I want my blog to be. I get so annoyed when social media tells me how to behave; how to raise my children, live a more meaningful life, style my home, set my priorities... I don't like the way everyone's an expert these days complete with hashtags and like Shemmariah said - 12 steps you must follow in order to get there. It makes me incredibly happy to think that I don't come across like that and I am so grateful that I am being seen and read the way I hoped I would.

Thanks again Shemmariah xx

When the sun came out yesterday I took full advantage and snapped some pics of the socks I cast off a few weeks ago. Shame my model wasn't feeling well, but you know, sometimes we just have to get rugged up and head outside in the name of our mother's art. I didn't keep her long though don't worry.

The Revelry details for the socks above are here.

I've been spending a bit of time in Bren's tiny workshop watching as he carves spoons and bowls in preparation for a local craft market that will hopefully be starting soon. Each piece of the tree holds its own story and it's such a privilege to watch him learn how to transform the wood while being true to its shape. I talk often about working with nature rather than against her on our farm and the way Bren is doing exactly that with his knives and pole lathe is humbling and so very beautiful I think.

Number four thing about right now also comes from a blog comment. Jane, author of one of my favourite blogs The Shady Baker, recommended a podcast episode of The Food Podcast called Wooden Spoons, the back story. I listened, I loved, thanks Jane.

It really is a lovely podcast filled with interesting stories on the topic, great music, and is bound to have you smiling, perhaps wincing in pain and definitely reminiscing about your own wooden spoon memories and thoughts.

I look forward to listening back through some of Lindsay's older stuff.

Since casting off all the socks I've been knitting lately I've been knitting beanies from the most beautiful hand-spun yarn. I just love how close to the source it feels, how it is so thick and then so fine and how greasy my hands feel after a session knitting with it. I must get some sheep and learn how to spin, I simply must.

Two days ago while waiting anxiously for a phone call full of news, I cleaned the cobwebs off the roof of our lounge room and kitchen. Partly because it was a job that had needed doing for ages, partly because it was starting to look like we live in a haunted house and partly because apparently I clean when I'm anxious. The reason really doesn't matter though because my house looks so much brighter now, I cannot stop looking up and smiling, and cleaning above my head is so much easier since I've been going to gym. Maybe it's a cliche but my house could certainly do with a full spring clean and hopefully this'll spur me on to bigger and better and more.

When you haven't made your beanie wearer a beanie for a very long time and then you do, the amount of gratitude they show you is immense.

Signs of spring: last night it was still light outside at 6.15, there are bunches of daffodils on the kitchen table and on the coffee table, Miss Pepper is planning her tenth (!!!!) birthday party, the proteas are about to flower, the daphne bush and almond tree are blossoming, the bees are flying, I wore a tee-shirt while weeding and forking a garden bed yesterday, I feel like life is full of possibilities.

A couple of days ago a shop keeper was quite abrupt and dismissive of me and it made me feel awful. Especially since I've been a loyal customer of this shop for quite some time. Once I got home I told my farmer boy the story and of my plan to write her a message letting her know how she'd upset me.

He gently talked me out of it, reminding me that that is her story and not to make it mine. Of that old chestnut - Be Kind - Everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about. She could be struggling with something herself.

He was right of course, although it did take me some time to shake off that ugly feeling.

I'm reading my sister Abby's review copy of The Red Haired Woman. It is a dense and slow story set in Istanbul of fathers and sons, a well digger and his apprentice, living with the past and uncovering its meaning.

Although it is only the beginning of the book, it's full of descriptions of digging a well by hand, and that's reminded me of the journey we've taken on our farm to find and access water underground. We started by borrowing a bore from the property next door, then we had an old water diviner walk our property complete with a metal wand that he held out in front of him to feel for ground water. Following his instruction we dug a 40 meter bore that we soon discovered wasn't deep enough. And finally we had a drilling company dig another bore, 100 meters down in the ground in a few hours. Definitely not nearly as romantic as a man with a pick axe down a hole sending up bucketloads of dirt, but much safer thank goodness.

Which brings me to now. The heating panel behind me has gone cold so I'll need to go and split some more wood for the fire, the washing machine is beeping at me to hurry up and hang out the laundry and it's time to start thinking about dinner.

Wishing you the most wonderful new season wherever you are, whatever you're expecting. May it bring  all that you need and all that you desire.

Do you prefer autumn/fall or spring?
Do you prefer apples or oranges?
Are you an anxious cleaner? Or does the amount of cleaning needed make you anxious?
Do you have anything fun planned for the weekend?

I hope the sun shines warmth on your face whatever you're up to.

Happy days.

Big love,



Friday, August 25, 2017

the hungry gap

Hello dear reader and welcome to my last blog post of this year's August, this calendar's winter. I actually can't believe we've only got a week to go. And although I am realistic about the fact that winter here can last at least another month, there's something psychologically exciting about the official season change. It feels optimistic and full of opportunities and sunshine.

At this time every year on our farm, in our garden, and in our kitchen, we talk about the hungry gap. That time in late winter when the last of late summer's plantings have been picked and consumed, the last of autumn's preserved harvest has been eaten, and the first vegetables of the new growing year are still weeks away.

The low soil temperatures and the extreme crunchy frosts that we're still getting make it pointless to plant anything in the ground yet, and apart from a few rows of carrots and beets, some straggly leeks, spring onions, kale and brussels, and some lettuces and herbs, the garden is sitting still. There's nothing new out there to get inspired by; winter still has a firm hold on things.

I feel like we're in the middle of a hungry gap for blog content too.

While there are most certainly signs of spring out there, the almond blossom is budding, the daffodils are about to burst open, the wattle is about to explode any minute, the days are still icy cold and grey, the girls are all tired and fighting off colds and I'm at this point that I get to every late winter when I question what it is we do and why we do it.

I mean obviously I know that we look after the land and animals, we grow things and we prepare for other seasons but at the heart of the slowest season, it gets hard to sit still and wait.

Every year in late summer and early autumn as we are rushing about like crazy people madly hoping to fit all our jobs into our days, I remind myself that we have the winter months to slow down and rest and replenish, and although we most certainly are, I'm starting to feel impatient for what's to come.

I can't wait to blog about picnics and bonfires, baskets of produce, rows of colourful blossoms, bees, fruit laden trees and other sunny day adventures. I can't wait until buzzing activity fills the blog again. Until the hungry gap is over.

But in the meantime I am taking advantage of the rainy days by sitting by the fire and knitting rows of my colour-work socks. I'm on the home stretch now, four more rows of pattern before I start the navy rib at the cuff. I tried them on just before and they fit me perfectly, but I still haven't decided if I'll keep them.

I bought some yarn grown and spun locally to make my farmer boy a bunch of new beanies. I used to make him some new ones every season but somehow this year he's done without. So far.

I'm reading this sweet children's book that a friend recommended. His friend wrote it and he spoke so proudly of her that I had to get my mum to order it from the library that afternoon.

This week I've fallen in love with the 99% Invisible podcast. So far I've listened to the Person in Lotus Position, and The Stethoscope  and I've downloaded a bunch of others for when time permits.

We finished watching season 5 of House of Cards.

Farmer Bren made some bowls out of apple wood and sycamore and experimented with drying methods. He also got excited when he spotted a pole lathe in the latest episode of Game of Thrones; did you spot it too?

And I'm still loving the four classes a week I'm going to at the gym, waiting for the cabbage sauerkraut we made to be ready, feeling irritated by the cold in my head, dreaming of a day when we don't have to light the fire, thinking about baking a cake for the weekend, wearing hand knitted socks that don't fit anyone, (they're baggy but they do the trick), yearning for the return of hanging washing outside days, wilting at the sight of another indoor plant that hasn't made it through the dark depths of winter, wondering what we should make for dinner tonight, watching the white smoke billowing out of the cubby house chimney, listening for the kettle so I can refill my hot water bottle, sniffling...

and hoping that your weekend is filled equally with cozy restful times and productive fun times.

Do you have anything fun planned?
Have you watched anything good lately? (My mum and dad LOVED Mr Gaga.)
Have you snacked on anything yum lately? (I just made myself four corn crackers with cheese and saurkraut.)
Have you ordered anything fun online lately? (It seems I have a flower seed addiction; bring on springtime).

And that's that, I'm outta here.

Lots of love,



Friday, August 18, 2017

blogging on an empty stomach

Late last Sunday evening I was happily sitting up on the day bed in our studio listening to a podcast and knitting rows of my colour work socks. It was the end of a busy weekend and the relief I felt at being able to sit in one spot uninterrupted, taking sips of a hot cup of tea in my favourite mug and knitting a bit, felt immense.

But then as I started to increase the stitches for the gusset it occurred to me that when I'd altered the pattern to knit from the toes up, rather than as the pattern was written - from the cuff down, I'd started the chart in the wrong place.

At first I thought I'd continue on and try not to think about the fact that I'd started knitting half way through a flower. No-one would know except me. Then I looked through the Ravelry gallery at all the other photos of these particular socks and realised that the whole reason I'd decided to knit these socks was because of how beautifully the design lay on the socks and to do it differently would ruin the entire effect. And then I decided that there was no way I could continue because I'd know, and I wouldn't enjoy the knitting as much and I definitely wouldn't be as proud of the final result.

So I started analysing the chart to try and work out if there was a possibility of rescuing any of it at all. And then as I was contemplating pulling out hours and days worth of stitches, I noticed that instead of feeling defeated something crazy was going on inside me. My heart was beating loudly and my breathing was speeding up and I felt a bit crazy.

First I slid one sock off the needles and started ripping at the stitches. Long strings of wiggly white wool and then blue wiggly wool started to make a nest in my lap. It always seems strange that yarn that has not long been knitted becomes wiggly so quickly.

It was almost fun pulling all those stitches apart until I realised that I'd better wind them onto their balls or they were bound to become one big knot. Which they did at a few points of course, and that nearly made me cry, but luckily I had nice pointy 2mm needles to stick through the knots and undo them.

Thankfully my farmer boy came into the room just in time to help me wind the balls of the second sock and to reassure me that it was indeed a very upsetting thing to happen and that it was okay if I wanted to cry. I thought I would but I didn't.

I had hoped to keep a couple of inches of knitting above the toes but in the end wasn't able to catch all of the stitches and ended up saving nothing but the two blue toes.

That night I couldn't sleep and lay in bed dreaming up the words for a book about life lessons, told from the perspective of the knitted and unknitted socks. All night I worked on the chapters in my head. Patience, focus, concentration, the ability to adapt, strength, the importance of appearance, turning things upside down, learning from mistakes, dealing with our failures... the list of things the socks could teach lengthened.

And as I tossed and turned I became more and more convinced that this was a brilliant idea. Knitters, crafters, hand-makers, hand made appreciators, Steiner folk, the audience for this book would be niche but strong.

As daylight dawned I must have fallen asleep because the next day the future of that book didn't look as bright....and the sight of those little blue toes looked a little depressing.

It took from Monday til Thursday to knit back to the spot where I'd pulled them off. This time I knitted the chart backwards and I'm thrilled with how they're working out. And although those four days are already just a blip in my knitting life, although the book idea seems ludicrous now, I still am interested in how my knitting humbles me and makes me a better person.

In other news, I had hoped to show you the slabs of wood we cut from our trees earlier in the week. Beautiful slabs that will hopefully become shelves for my studio before the year is out. I also thought you might like to see the hyacinths and almost flowering daffodils, the germinated broad beans and the budding almond blossom. But it's blowing a gale out there and is POURING with rain and it's just not going to happen.

Here are the only two outside photos I was brave enough to take today, just outside our front door, as we were coming in from moving the chickens to higher ground this morning (wet down to my undies). 

But crappy outside weather is the absolute best for sitting by the fire and reading and also for getting into the kitchen and making delicious and hearty food for the fam. And just my luck that Julia Busuttil Nishimura's  new cook book Ostro arrived at the post office this morning. 

In the inside flap of Julia's book it says 'My approach to food favours intuition over strict rules and is about using your hands, rushing a little less and savouring the details. It is food that slowly weaves its way into the fabric of your daily life - food for living and sharing.' Sounds pretty perfect right!

Ostro is also one of the most beautiful books I have seen in ages, each photo is more delicious than the last. I can't decide what to make first. In fact it kind of makes me wish we were in the future and I could press a button on a page, reach in and grab that gnocchi for my lunch, or that Greens Pie, or....

Note to self - never blog on an empty stomach or you'll spend far too long ogling the beautiful pictures and reading the scrumptious recipes, delighting over Julia's gorgeous wardrobe, her perfect props, her effortless style, not to mention her sweet son Haruki.

Congratulations Julia, Ostro is sublimely delicious from front to back!

Congratulations on Ostro to you too Michelle Mackintosh, designer of all the most beautiful books in the world (including mine) and maker of some of the most gorgeous too.

And that's me and my Friday blog for this week.
I hope it wasn't too sock heavy for you.
I hope you've got a lovely, cozy weekend lined up.
For the first time in months we don't have any plans at all.
It looks like it might snow though which would be fun.

So how about you?
Would you read a life book if the narrator was a pair of hand knit socks? HA!
If you could press a button and reach out and grab any dish to eat in the whole world right now what would it be?
Do you prefer sweet or savoury?
Do you cook from books or do you make it all up?

I think it's time for lunch, you can probably hear my stomach growling from there.

Big toasted sandwich love,



Friday, August 11, 2017

short cut blogging

Hello lovely ones,

How's your week been?

Most Fridays by the time I finally sit down with my laptop I generally know what I'm going to write my blog about. Most Fridays I've been thinking about something, or feeling something, or making something and as soon as I've loaded the photos the words come. Not always the words I expect, not always in one go, not always in order and definitely not always in any sort of readable state. But over time the sentences and themes emerge, I type them, I rearrange them, I delete some and then, mostly, by the time I press publish, I'm happy I have.

But not today. It's been a bit of a messy old week and somehow it's gotten to an hour before I have to go and pick up Pepper from school and I feel rushed, and I haven't had lunch and I'm hungry, and what I really feel like is a cup of tea in Bren's workshop and a few rows of my socks.

So if it's all the same to you I think I'll load the bunch of photos I took this morning which will give you a little glimpse into my right now, I'll write a tiny bit about each one and then we can all go along our merry ways and hopefully have a wonderful weekend.

Here goes:

This is Miss Pepper's cat who until recently was called Popcorn but then somehow during a particularly intense Orange Is The New Black binging session, had a name change to Poussey Washington. It's such a good cat name and it just rolls off the tongue, don't ya think. She doesn't look like she minds anyway.

This is farmer Bren axing a bowl blank out of a piece of apple wood. He has plans to make us all breakfast bowls. I can't wait to see them.

This is of a pile of blankets that I've made on a shelf in our studio. The pile grows and shrinks as girls take blankets to put on their beds and snuggle on the couch and then put them back, but these three seem to remain the constants.

These are my baby cabbages. I tell you what, growing plants from seeds never fails to excite me. Each one of those stems and little leaves feels like a lucky blessing. I love germinating seeds, it seems to make sense even when the rest of the world doesn't.

We have a metal filing cabinet where we store our seeds. Packets and jars of saved and bought seeds all filed by the first letter of their name. These are the seeds I've pulled out over the past few weeks optimistically hoping to get a head start on spring. It's a bit of a mess. We are hoping to get organised and keep really good records this year so when next season rolls around it'll be less of a guessing game and more of a knowing game. Although working under Mother Nature you can never really be sure.

This is the book I'm reading. I love the cover. It's about Trevor Noah, who was born to a white Swiss father and a black Xhosa mother at a time in apartheid South Africa where such a union was punishable by five years imprisonment. It's an easy read but I'm finding it hard to really get stuck into it. I think that's because the last book I read, Idaho painted a picture that was so vivid that I felt like I'd watched a whole movie by the time I'd finished. I could not put it down and then I could not stop thinking about it once I had. What a magnificent book. I hope that this one grabs me soon and takes me on a journey with it like Idaho did.

This is a cup/bowl that Bren carved during the week out of Native Cherry. It's such a beautiful piece and when you hold it up to the light, parts of it glow bright pink. Right now it's drying out slowly in that pile of wood shavings but I cannot wait to see how it dries and how it looks when it's oiled. we're not sure how it'll hold hot coffee, but gosh wouldn't that be a perfect way to honour one of my favourite rituals.

This is an arm warmer I knitted for someone I've never met who asked for one via a local Facebook page. Apparently it fits and is exactly what they were after. Yay!

This is a slipper I knitted for a giant. Oops. Just a gentle reminder to knit a gauge square when you are knitting an old fave pattern but in new to you yarn.

These are the first socks I ever knitted, three years ago almost to the the day. Look at how much they've faded. I still love them and wear them often despite the hole in the sole of one of them.

These are the socks I am currently knitting. Colour work is addictive! I can't wait to grab a chunk of time tonight to knit some more. I've gone up a needle size to 2.5 because the last pair of patterned socks I knitted were too tight. Fingers crossed these ones turn out just right.

This week is musical week for our big girls. This is the puzzle we've been doing with Pepper while they've been busy rehearsing and performing. It's of Santorini in Greece. It's hard to imagine that it's been almost two years since we were there ourselves.

It's raining as I type this and with all the mucking around it's almost three hours since I started.

And by mucking around I mean pestering my youngest sister by text, watering the greenhouse, picking Pep up from school, putting some washing away, making myself a snack, pulling out some weeds, crying to Bren about the state of the world and our country, reading and looking at everything on Facebook and Instagram, feeding the fire and scrolling through Ravelry. But I guess some days are just more straight forward that others.

So that's me and my meant to be quick blog that ended up taking hours.

How about you, what do you like to do to procrastinate?
Are you a good seed organiser? Garden record keeper?
Do you get obsessed and stay up way too late at night looking for just one more puzzle piece?
What are you making/baking/reading/planning?
I'd love to know.

I hope your weekend is exactly what you need it to be.

Love is love,



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