life on the farm… august 2016























Oh my busy bees! Life’s so chock-o-block I really wonder how I would’ve got everything done had I still been working. Since finishing work I’ve spent way more time at the computer than I anticipated I would … there’s always the next stage of our dream that I need to research… lawnmowers, fruit trees, seeds, excavation, mulch, fences, tow bars, trailers etc etc etc … and there is something to learn about all of them. Go on ask me about ride on lawn mowers, I never thought I’d know so much about those things, that’s for sure! We still haven’t taken the leap and committed to purchasing one yet either, which is kinda driving me nuts, the lawns are so long we need to make a call soon before we’re living in a jungle.

The winter brought fog so thick one morning that our view completely disappeared. I watched the fog roll over the hill and down the valley, then back up the hill towards us until all I could see was our back gate about 10 metres from the back door. It was a complete white out and was incredibly eerie… and beautiful… and cold. Thank goodness for the tonnes of firewood we’ve had delivered. Even though it was delivered in the driveway as it was too boggy to drop direct into the shed this time. I am proud to say I moved over a tonne of firewood by myself one day! Talk about farmer material! (Let’s not talk about how I could hardly move the next day shall we?)

Lucy the lamb is quite the gutsy little girl. She’s not really integrated that well with the others, but it doesn’t seem to bother her. No fence holds her in, she’s under, over and through the barbed wire in a blink, and was caught jumping up onto the trailer to reach the tender leaves from the low branches of a tree. Whereas Buttons and Bouncer still stay close to their mums and don’t look like they’re game to try and get through fences let alone jump up on trailers. The cows are so very curious and looking positively radiant at the moment, I don’t know if it’s all the fresh green lush grass or the season or the organic farming, or a combination of all of the above, but the late afternoon sun highlighted just how shiny and glossy and healthy they are one particular day.

Of course with this lovely organically farmed land, and all our waste going back into the land, our choice in cleaners and detergents have never been more important. Have you heard of Soapnuts? My lovely friend introduced them to me the other day (thanks Jill!) and I’ve already done a couple of loads of washing with them. They are a natural nut/seed/berry thing that grows on a tree and you just pop a couple into a little laundry bag (or odd sock!), and no other detergents are needed. My washing came out clean and didn’t have any artificial soapy smell. The bonus is they appear to be very economical to use as well. You can find out more about them here if you’re interested.

I hope to be back again soon with a recipe, some craft and an orchard / veggie patch update.

Wishing you busy bee blessings and great washing days!

Advertisements

sunrise eagle










A wee dose of beauty from Mother Nature to start your Monday, from me and the eagle who were the only mad things out in the crazy wind, just to see this pop of pretty from the suns impressive rise this morning…

May your week be awash in all your favourite colours x

buttons and bouncer












The day they were more inquisitive than timid and walked towards me… they let me get really close… and seemed happy as I took a million a photos and blew them a hundred kisses… in fact I’m pretty sure they were showing off for me as they playfully bunted each other off a favourite patch of mud… they ate so close to each other they might have been eating the same blade grass… and pretended to not look at me whilst eating, when I could clearly their see their beautiful big eyes peering over the top of the grass at me… they bounced and sprung around and around the water tanks… and it was ever so delightful!

Hope you have a spring in your step today too x

my sabbatical


























So don’t hate me or anything, but I’ve just begun a 6 (ish) month long sabbatical. Well, long service leave actually… but then truth be told I’m also officially unemployed after being made redundant due to a recent company merge. So long service leave, redundancy or sabbatical, call it what you will, but I choose sabbatical as it feels like a happy word and brings with it thoughts of retreat, holiday and time out… and that is kinda sorta what I plan to do with this time. Redundant on the other hand, not such a nice word, but in reality it was my choice. A new job or the opportunity to take my long-awaited hard-earned long service leave. It really wasn’t too difficult to decide, in fact I felt a bit like it was fate and the decision was already written in the stars… or sheep or cows or something. I did have plans to leave my job in another year or two anyway, and find something closer to home, rather than continue indefinitely with the 3 hour (at best) daily commute. I’m going to stretch out my long service leave and see if I can make it last double the time, hence the approximate 6 month time frame. Hello budgeting, meal planning and ultra conservative living!

To be totally honest I’m beside myself with a mixture of excitement, exhaustion, joy and overwhelm. It’s been a huge year of change for me, I’ve left my home of 19 years and moved far away (well around 100 odd k’s away) from my friends and family. Now after 14 years at the same job, I’m on a sabbatical and at home full time. It’s a lot to digest. But I’m so happy and have that awesome and rare feeling, that I’m exactly where I’m meant to be in life right now. I’m keen to tackle the ridiculously big list of things that needs starting in order to convert our paddocks into a productive farm. I want to invest some time in Charlie’s Stockman Leathercraft shop. I’m ready to spend some serious time crafting and possibly reopen my poorly neglected and too-long-on-vacation shop. I’m going to dust off my sewing machine and get stitching again. I’m busting to spend some reading time with our wonderful collection of books, full of teachings on practical self-sufficiency and practiculture. I plan to write a little more here, it’s something I enjoy enormously but find it hard to justify the time. In fact, I’m looking to make peace with time, it’s felt like my arch enemy for so long now, but I’m hoping these 6 months will unfold at a gentle pace and we can become friends again.

In other news, the two baby lambs are even more adorable than ever. They hang out together and play in the paddocks, running and bouncing and looking like they smile even for the camera. I’ve renamed Big Ears to Bouncer, didn’t want to give her a complex about her ears, and the new littlest lamb is Buttons, you know cute as a button and all. There’s also been another lamb born, sadly her mother didn’t make it so she has been hand reared by our neighbours (the real owners of all these sheep, although you’d think reading this that they’re mine!) with much love and care. To the extent she wore a nappy and slept inside during her early days. I know – just the image of that in my head makes me smile. They have named her Lucy and she is so very sweet and friendly, and actually let me get really close for a photo and pat.

The wrist warmers started out as this pattern, but I got really confused (it’s not hard!) around the thumb bit so I veered off pattern and made up the bit from the thumb up. They are not as nice as the original pattern, but still I’m pleased with the outcome. And in pure baby alpaca yarn they are so light and soft and warm and in time for the chills of winter. (my missing pairs still haven’t turned up)

So tell me, if you have a moment, what’s your best budget-friendly, gluten free, dairy free, recipes… ha, don’t ask for much do I?

May time be on your side x

babyhorns and big ears










One day this week I arrived home from work early and it was still daylight, which was such a treat! As soon as I opened the gate I noticed a sheep near next doors dam, not where they usually are. Then I spotted it. The cutest little newborn lamb. It sprung up, as only lambs can, and walked all wobbly like over to its Muma who was busy staring at me, no doubt wondering if I was a threat. I assured her I wasn’t, like she could understand me, and made kissing noises to the lamb. Oh if only you could see him turn his head and flop those big ears of his around. There’s something about the face proportions of a baby suffolk lamb, long little face with two ears that mostly stick out sideways and are as long as their face. I name him Big Ears, he’s adorable!

Meanwhile our neighbours cows have been busy chomping through our long grass and ‘fertilizing’ all the paddocks. They’ve been so entertaining to watch. The little fluffy calves are my favourite and I had quite the moment with one I’ve named Babyhorns. He, of course, has teeny horns sprouting out of his tufty curly fringe and is a gutsy little one. Mostly they take off as soon as you walk towards them but little Babyhorns held his ground. I approached him super slowly and when I saw him flinch and think about running I stopped. I talked to him the whole time, you know telling him how cute his curly fringe is and how one day those horns on his head are going to be so big. He looked at me for what seemed like ages, then tentatively took one step towards me. Then I took one small step towards him. Our eyes were locked and without blinking, but with some trepidation, Babyhorns took another step towards me. I repeated my last move and we stood there for a minute or so just checking each other out and me doing all the talking. I didn’t want to push my luck so I stepped backwards and then turned and came inside, smiling from ear to ear. I like to think Babyhorns was smiling too.

So after falling in love with the calves and the lambs I am now seriously asking myself if I’ll be able to ever keep animals like that to provide meat for us. I’ve got my doubts. I really want to as I am a meat eater and I like the idea that the meat I eat will come from an animal that’s lived a good stress-free natural-as-possible life. It’s been part of our grand plan for ages but the reality of seeing these animals every day, and not getting attached to them, is hitting home. I’m no fool, I always knew it would really challenge me, but am now considering how possible it will be rather than how hard it may be. And yes I know you’re not supposed to name them, golden rule and all that… but I can’t seem to help myself at the moment. Maybe it’s because they aren’t mine and I’m allowing myself to get attached to them, after all I’m not going to eat Babyhorns and Big Ears. Maybe it will be different when we get some of our own, for the sole purpose of providing meat for us. Maybe I won’t fall in love them.

Is it a bit lame to now tell you how I had this awesome vegetarian curry for dinner tonight? About as lame as naming my neighbours sheep and cows? Yep, thought so.

Wishing you sweet connections with the animals in your life x

life on the farm… may 2016















My perfect Sunday morning is sitting on the back deck in my pj’s, sunnies on and coffee in hand, watching cows, spotting roos, looking for foxes and talking to the birds. The best afternoon is weaving hills and watching cows whilst listening to the birds. A lovely evening is a big deep hot bath with the bathroom window open enough to hear the frogs in the top dam. A chorus of frogs can be really loud – and cheery! A favourite thing to do is take eleventy billion photos of the sunrise and sunset. Wandering the paddocks picking mushrooms for dinner feels almost like cheating as we didn’t do anything to receive this delicious bounty of goodness. Gardening on windy days is a bit like riding a motorbike without putting your long hair in a ponytail – I found out the hard way. Chopping firewood with an axe is harder than it looks, I’m still a bit scared of the axe despite chopping some kindling for the first time in my life and surviving it with all fingers and toes. The lushness of the green grass has to be seen to be believed. The grass in our paddocks is getting really long and we need to get some grass chomping animals roaming it soon before it becomes unmanageable. The wind has to be felt to be believed – all washing on the line must include peg reinforcement. We’ve discovered where a little family of roos live, and love watching them soak up the morning sun. We spotted a beautiful owl on our property for the first time today. Watching a calf run will make you smile every time. The weeks are long and the weekends fly by. It’s a battle to get everything done on the weekends, let alone schedule some down time. We leave for work in the dark and return in the dark, so live for the weekends when we can see our beautiful rolling green hills. But I sense big changes are ahead, so I’m sitting tight and rewriting my lists again and again, and thinking about garden designs. I’m a big list writer and if I happen to do something not on the list, I’ll write in on just so I can cross it off. Cheap thrills.

May your washing never be blown off the line and your list be full of ticks. x