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,

Kate

xx







23 comments:

  1. Can't wait to have cheese and crackers with TOMATO.

    I feel much like you, my friend. Love those blue socks too x

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    1. Oh my goodness, cheese and crackers and TOMATO sounds like my idea of heaven right now. xx

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  2. Our calendar summer is coming to its end here, but this year we only had, like, 2 weeks of hot and sunny weather, so, the harvest has been mainly sad. We still have those pink Bull's Heart tomatoes, one enough to feed a family. I cut them into irregular chunks, put them on some leafy greens, add mozarella and sprinkle everything with balsamic cream and olive oil. I've been living on that most of the August. I'm waiting for napa cabbage to make a batch of mak-kimchi. My family loves more traditional fermented cabbage, but I adore hot and sour kimchi jjigae during rainy autumn and in freezing winter.

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    1. I can practically taste your August salad and it's DELICIOUS!!!! Sometimes we have summers that feel like they've passed us by but they just come very late, like when the girls go back to school late. I hope yours hits you with a bonus burst of sunshine and heat. x

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  3. Oh Kate...there you are in winter and here we are in summer. I refuse to acknowledge that Autumn will be here in a month or so. Our trees are laden with apples, pears and plums. We have potatoes, courgettes, tomatoes,beans, beetroot and much more. Everything is glorious. I don't want it to end! As your frosts finish, ours here in.the UK will start. Brrrrrr

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    1. Ahhhh your world sounds delicious right now and exactly like all those hours of hard work have paid off bountifully. Yum! x

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  4. I ordered an assortment of deliciously coloured wool roving to play with. I can't wait to get all wet and soapy with it and see what I can create. I am delighting in the bulbs (jonquils and freesias so far) bursting open, and the bees are buzzing all over the ornamental plum trees that look so perfectly pink and smell so sweet!

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    1. Ooh I'm so excited for you and your roving creating. I think it's been about 25 years since I've done any felting and I can smell it when I think about it. So homey and comforting. Enjoy honey. xx

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  5. Hi Kate, still summer in the U.K. but there is the tell tale signs that Autumn is around the corner. The blackberries are heavy on the brambles and the cooking apples have started to drop. The nights are starting to drawn in and are certainly a lot cooler than they were last week. Your photos are stunning even though you're in the hungry gap. Hope your colds are all better soon. Considering buying some sockwunder needles by Addi have heard they are pretty good for socks.

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    1. Isn't it funny how much the season can change in just one week. Last night I noticed that it was still light here at 6.15pm and that I didn't have to put my jacket on for the school run this morning. I hope your Autumn is bountiful and productive. xx

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  6. Lovely words and photos as always.
    Thank you for still sharing in this space.
    Cheers Kate

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    1. Thank you for popping in and for sharing with me and encouraging me Kate, it means the world. xx

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    2. You have no idea how it means to me when you reply to my comment. Sometimes it's all about connection and feeling heard.
      Thank you

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    3. I think we must have been thinking the very same thoughts about connection at the very same time this morning because I just clicked on your name to see if there was a blog attached or a way that I could see what you've been up to. Obviously there wasn't a link but your response back in real time makes this almost feel like a conversation and that makes me smile. xx

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    4. Wow that's freaky. No I thought I might blog years ago but writing isn't my thing. I do sometimes feel a little bad for loving others blogs and peering into their lives. A bit voyeuristic or something.

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  7. Those socks definitely look like keepers to me. Stay with the winter. Do extremely wintry things because you wil miss them all in under a month.

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    1. That sock compliment means A LOT coming from a sock disliker, believe me. And I'm not sure I'll ever miss winter, it hurts me too much. xx

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  8. Here in the North of Germany we are the opposite. Summer this year has been very underwhelming, wet and much cooler than we had hoped. Everyday I see the signs of Autumn around us. The squirrels have started collecting the acorns falling on our garden, the leaves on the huge chestnuts are beginning to turn golden and when we get a gust of wind a gentle blanket of birch leaves fall from our trees. It's a strange feeling here for us as our eldest is starting school for the first time next week. A bit different to the sun hats and fozen water bottle of a first day of school in January in Australia, I'm shopping for ankle boots, thick tights and new headlights for her bike in anticipation of the dark cold morning cycle to an 8am school start. Your photos are stunning, and always evocative. It makes me smile and think of home and long after smelling the Aussie bush as it begins to bloom.

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  9. I am in the upper northwest corner of the states, and longing for cloudy days and cool weather! It feels like we have been in the 90's (fahrenheit) forever, everything seems tired and dry. Just as you are antsy for growth and motion, I am ready to nest :)

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  10. Hi Kate. Here in the sub tropics we have had a very warm winter. Several days have been 28-29 degrees. If the winter is this warm I am so very worried about what summer will bring. I have had to nurse my potted plants through the heat. All my succulents are loving the heat and the long dry we are having. We haven't had any decent rain since Cyclone Debbie. I am waiting for a few cooler days before I plant out my seedlings and I'm hoping that I can keep them going. This is an amazing country where we can have such difference in our local climates.

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  11. I am watching Poldark, and loving it! Knitting heaps (of baby knits!), quilting plans (some for me some for baby) using Quilt as you go Made Modern, definitely recommend. I've been making delicious fruit scones and watching them disappear in moments into hungry boy bellies. We are having the strangest weather here in Queensland. Some days above 30 degrees and then freezing out the fire on nights. No rain in so so long, worried about the tank levels and the bore. I've been enjoying some of the podcasts from Sam Harris "Waking Up"... really challenging some of my long held ideas.

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  12. Hello! I am thinking about seeds too, even though it is just the end of summer. I am away from my little garden and the black cherry tomatoes have created a jungle, but I cannot wait for the harvest. I am also hoping that next year I will get an allotment where we can grow more, I am particularly interested in Hokkaido winter squash. I am also harvesting Calendula seeds for next years, the plants are just lovely and so easy to take care of. plus the tortoise can eat them, so I want to grow LOTS :D Keep hanging on, the hungry gap will pass, just like everything else.

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  13. Beautiful light and pretty things at your place Kate! I have been listening to The Food Podcast. There is a particularly lovely episode about wooden spoons which you may have already discovered. If not, I think you would like it xx

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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 way....so I'll apologise now, just in case.

Kate XX

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