three years

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a bergamotOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAa fruita garlicOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAa orchard duska orchardOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAa skya strawbsOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

a sky1

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Processed with VSCO with c7 presetOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAgarden peaceOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAloversnightsceneshirine crowdsOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAstreets of tokoyostreetsOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

It’s three years since our move to harvest moon hill yet it feels like a lifetime ago when we lived in the ‘burbs. So much has happened over the past year, yet not a lot has changed. We are still struggling to grow veggies on our very exposed hill. Our crappy cheap ugly wind protection blew away in a storm, and yes I get how ironic that it is. It was probably a blessing as it really was an eyesore… We bit the bullet and planted a tree windbreak around the patch so now wait patiently (or not) for this to grow and provide some reprieve from the relentless wind. In the meantime we’ve found our herbs are going gangbusters, seemingly not bothered by the often unforgiving weather. As has the rhubarb, and we did grow an epic crop of garlic though not without issues. A rust spot developed on many of the garlic leaves and we had a lot of rain when we were due to pick, so some were harvested a little before time. We figured small bulbs were better than rotten ones and the rust only damaged the scapes not the bulbs. Despite this we’ve enough garlic for the year, plus plenty to share and plant for another crop this year. We had our best strawberry season and feel the work we did nourishing the garden bed prior to planting them paid off big time. Lots of luscious juicy flavoursome strawberries made it into our mouths, the freezer, batches of jam and some for friends and family too.

The orchard is growing well despite the tough love and pear slug / cherry slug that spread thanks to the wind. We recently invested in some Biodynamic Peppers and hope this will help combat the slug and its spread. Plenty of apples on the little trees and a few nectarines and apricots, but mostly the trees are still getting themselves established with minimal intervention from us, partly as our philosophy is that nature does things well without interference and partly due to not having time to do otherwise! Our fully grown fruit trees (planted by the previous owners) provided us with a generous crop of apricots, kilos of nectarines, masses of the shiniest cherries you ever did see, with apples and pears still ripening and getting very close to picking.

There has been a couple of snake incidents, one traumatic, one more unnerving than anything else. Well, let’s face it, snake encounters are never fun, but a surprise one on the 2 day old freshly mowed grass, not far from the house, and where mum and I were walking, was quite the trauma! In my head I had built myself a security blanket of short grass, because we all know snakes don’t like short grass, they’re too vulnerable out in the open right? Wrong! Busted that myth! This not so little slitherer decided short grass was the perfect place for a spot of sunbaking. Not sure on the species of this one, but the next encounter, only 2 months later and when I had finally got my confidence back walking around outside, was a Tiger snake. Clearly identifiable with his stripes, I was able to take photos of this one as it hung around for so long. I spotted this one from the safety of my morning mountain pose, gazing out the window feeling totally blessed at the amazing view I get to enjoy whilst doing a little yoga session in the lounge room. It was only meters from the house and had decided to take up residence in the old pool that had been emptied out. Needless to say an excavator operator has been employed to remove said pool and fill in the large hole. Ol’ tiger boy will have to find a new home, and it had better be a long way from home. The most difficult part in adjusting to living in the country has been the snakes, and I’ve yet to ‘adjust’ to this aspect.

The sheep have provided us with much joy and pain. We had 4 little lambs born last year but one of the births was an emergency cesarean in the paddock by moonlight. Lucy and her lambs recovered well and are fine and dandy, but I’ll never forgot having a black wet sloppy lifeless lamb placed beside me with the vet directing me to ‘clear its airways’, whilst I also held Lucy’s legs, as in case you didn’t know (and you’d be forgiven for not), sheep are only given a local anesthetic for a cesarean so they must be held lying down to prevent them standing up whilst their side is cut open. Oh my, it was quite the experience and we were fortunate it ended mostly with a good outcome, sadly one lamb was lost so it was twins instead of triplets. Then more recently we lost old Lenny boy, and then the young boy Ziggy. We nearly lost another, Layla as she was viciously attacked by Ziggy. It seems something just went horribly wrong with him and he had to be put down. I won’t go into details as I still find it difficult to talk about, write about, and think about. Things just went from bad to worse within a week or so, and ended in one hell of a traumatic day resulting in Ziggy’s death and Layla’s near miss. It seems sheep farming is way harder than we expected, way more expensive than we anticipated, and so much more stressful and traumatic than I feel I can cope with. As much as it has been an absolute delight to see the flock grow and get to know them, having them has also taken much of our time and resources away from our main goal of growing. It’s been a tough realisation, and a sad one to admit. I’ve shed so many tears over the sheep this past year and I really don’t want to shed anymore, so we are preparing ourselves to say farewell to the flock in the hopes of re homing them as a little starter flock. We’re starting to think about how we are going to use the land and many ideas are brewing. I dare say finances will ensure they brew for quite some time yet, so maybe next year I’ll share what we hope to do with this soon to be available acre and bit of beautiful land.

I have crafted a little, I think I’m coming up to a year working on my confetti blanket. It’s been a comfort project I can pick up at any time and add to, without thinking too much or having to concentrate on the pattern. I always love to have a project like this in the craft basket, like an old friend you can pick up with any time for a cuppa and chat. I’ve spun and made myself some 2ply and 3ply yarn, some of which was knitted in beanies. I knitted and crocheted a few scarves, started knitting some socks – my second pair ever. I got up to the heel and that’s where they’ve stayed for oh you know six months or so. I’ve loved making face serum, perfumes, and creams with my essential oils, there’s something satisfying about standing over a collection of essential oils and intuitively selecting a variety for whatever potions I’m making. Very recently I had a teeny dabble in watercolour painting, the process is meditative and relaxing and draws me into a calm place, I’m keen to learn and dabble more.

My son has continued to travel and is about to leave India for Mozambique. An internship to obtain his diving masters will see him based there for a few months before coming home! Brian is planning for more travels and wants to come back to save up for these next adventures. He covered some ground in 2018, Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos, Myanmar, then a big stint in India and Nepal on an old Enfield motorbike. My daughter and son in law managed quite a few overseas trips last year also, Japan, the Maldives, and France. Kiandra and I even went to Japan together! What a wonderful way to see this beautiful country, through my daughters eyes who has been obsessed with all things Japan for as long as I can remember. We went to Kyoto and Tokyo and enjoyed some of the most amazing experiences together. We arrived just as Autumn was settling in and filled our trip with many moments to treasure. The beautiful deer at Nara, the markets, Kimono photoshoot, Hello Sandwich tour, the ikebana class, the peaceful and incredibly beautiful parks and gardens, shrines and temples, the public transport (yes it’s that good!), the shopping, and most importantly the people. There is such a lot of them, especially in Tokyo and we found them to be so kind and gentle and polite. It was a surprise adventure for the year and one I’ll hold close to my heart.

Work life changed for Charlie and I too and we now find ourselves working locally for lovely people we both respect and admire. How lucky is that! The tricky bit is finding enough time to do all the things around the farm whilst juggling the work hours. And I know most farmers would laugh hysterically at my ‘farm’ description, we’re only on 2.5 acres and let’s face it, we’ll have no animals soon, but it feels like a farm to me. I wished and dreamed of living in the country on a little farm and now we’re here, doing just that everyday. The good, the slithering, and all the inbetweens, and I really don’t want to live anywhere else.

Wishing you joyful laughs, more peace than trauma, and surprise adventures that make your heart sing. x

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woodland blanket












Finally I can show you this crocheted labour of love blanket! It’s been quite tricky making something so big and not being able to show you before now. A long time in the making, this blanket begun life back in June 2015. I knew it was going to be a biggie so I gave myself plenty of time to make it, I just had to finish it for my sister’s 50th birthday in August 2016. Little did I know when I started it, that by the time the wonderful 50th birthday event rolled around, I would have been through a rather big year of change myself.

All the hexagons were crocheted in my old home, Dove Cottage. Then I packed all those little hexys into a big box and there they stayed until almost all of the other unpacking was done. Crocheting the hexys together and the boarder, was done here at Harvest Moon Hill. I guess there’s something comforting about that, with the upheaval of a big move like the one we did, it was like falling back into an old friend being able to pick up this blanket and keep working on it in our new home. Occasionally out on the deck overlooking our lovely hills, and then as winter drew close, in my favourite chair by the fire.

It was a pleasure to make something so special for my sister and I really enjoyed the lengthy process. I loved having this big project at the ready for whenever I had the crafty urge, chipping away at it, little by little over time and watching it grow. And apart from making a few beanies and some wrist warmers, I’ve found it really hard to get stuck into another crafty project. I’ve started plenty, but I’ve unraveled all of them. Oh the hours of making I’ve unraveled, it’s disheartening at times. I seem to keep landing at this point in the project where I’m not happy with it. I keep thinking the next project will be ok, but I’m yet to find it. Do you ever go through creative periods like that? Where you’re just not happy with anything you are making and find yourself back at square one all the time? Of course now I find myself spending so much time ‘researching’ the next project (scrolling pinterest/ravelry/instagram #’s) that I’ve got no time left to actually start something. And by the time I’m ready to start it next time, I’ve changed my mind. Ah well, I’m just trying to go with it at the moment, I guess it’ll pass… eventually.

Wishing you a healthy creative mojo and a happy birthday for whenever it is!

PS. Happy Birthday Sis x

PPS. Pattern details: It’s been so long that I can’t be positive but I’m pretty sure the pattern is the same as my ‘hexy make up wipes’ pattern, but continued for more rounds. I used all 8 ply yarn with a mix of pure wool or pure alpaca or a wool/alpaca blend.

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

a bouncing baby lamb













Yesterday I got home and the wind was ferocious, wild, gusty and fierce. I think it did ‘something’ to Big Ears and as he suddenly started running, really fast, and bouncing and jumping and leaping around the other sheep and his muma, stopping for a brief second to see if I was still looking at him, which I was because I’m the nutter out in that wild wind taking photos of cute lambs until my fingers went numb! I will admit to laughing out loud, possibly ensuring I really did look like a crazy women, but boy it was so funny to watch. He was springing off all fours like a jack-in-a-box and his dear little personality shone through his leaps and spins and bounces. Precious!

I still pinch myself when I look out the back door in the morning. The view takes my breath away and the ever changing weather reveals a slightly different mood so it never really looks the same to me. This morning I awoke to see Big Ears and his muma sleeping by the fence that surrounds our house. Out the back door and through the kitchen window I can keep an eye on him and fall in love with him a little more each glance. Oh and to top it off, another little cute as a button lamb was born this week. What a treat it is to see these cycles out the back door, beats suburbia for me hands down.

There are some things however that are taking a little getting used to. Heating is not as convenient as a switch, nor as fast as a moment or two. Heating now takes some time, building the fire, lighting it, tending it, and then waiting for the heat to start pumping out and working its way around the house. It’s a beautiful heat, and worth the wait for sure, but there have been nights we’ve got home from work and I’ve sat there eating dinner in two alpaca jumpers, a scarf and a beanie. Would have worn my wrist warmers too if I ever found them. These seem to be one of the casualties of the move, all three handmade pairs! Vanished, maybe to be discovered at some time in the future – like how the peeler turned up one day! But for now I am without wrist warmers so I set to work on crocheting another pair, in aqua. As you can see from the photo, this enthusiastic start was closely followed by unpicking. Despite using the correct size hook and yarn, they worked up suitable for a giant. So I’m going to try with another yarn type, same ply, different fibre mix. Fingers crossed. That’s my plan for this afternoon actually after I’ve done a few things on my to do list, I will then ignore the rest of the list and sit by the fire which is now roaring, and crochet whilst it rains sideways down the valley.

Stay warm, may cute things make you laugh out loud x

icelandic wool, peruvian alpaca and love











Sheesh, October came and went in a blaze of glory didn’t it? Lots of hazy days, stressy days, sick days, detailed days, planning days, crafty days, gardening days and emotional days all steamrolled me through to here, and today I can finally draw a breath and share some happenings and makings.

I finished my “Craft for the Soul” blankie. I kinda followed the pattern in the book (thanks Pip!) with a big stash of the soft baby alpaca yarn I brought back from Peru last year. It has the most delicious drape being all made with alpaca and is surprisingly light considering its decent size. One day I will actually get around to updating my shop with some new makes, its been terribly neglected for quite some time now, but hopefully you’ll see it in the shop before too long… unless I decide to keep it… I mean it is pink and aqua alpaca!

The wilds of spring brought with it fruit feasts and cakes and birthdays and parties and peonies too. I find those delicate petal pom poms are such a delightful greeting after a stressy day in the office and can be found burying my head in one upon arriving home from work. That and a little watering of the veggie patch is my detox from the computer screen filled days at work, it’s grounding and I feel like a new person when I walk back into the house.

The gorgeous textural grey wool came all the way from Iceland, my newlywed daughter and son-in-law brought it back for me during their elopement trip there in July. A bit like the Icelandic sheep, this is a rough and rugged wool and I thought a cushion would make the perfect gift for them, you know a little bit of their Icelandic trip on the couch with them every night. Last night they hosted a lovely party for friends and family to celebrate their marriage. I hope to share with you some of the gorgeous photos of their wedding ceremony soon, but in the meantime I thought I’d share a picture from last night. It’s almost a bit ridiculous how cute they are isn’t it? They are pretty darn perfect together, and it’s really nice to be able to just take a moment to exhale and think about how lucky I am. Ahhh life is sweet.

May you bury your face in a peony one day too x

craft, cuties and a refreshed vibe










It’s been a while since I’ve shown you any of my crocheted or knitted goodies but I am still crafting almost every day, even if it’s just a few stitches or darning in a few ends. I have made lots of things… scarfs, beanies, blankies… some are for pressies that I can’t show you as the recipient may be a reader (hello!)… some are half finished, just ends to darn and motivation to track down… Some are finished and gifted without photos taken prior. So I thought I’d share a couple of crafty projects anyway. Disclaimer: they may or may not be pressies.

The last few weeks has seen kittycat visits, cute godson visits, and experimental learning with my new camera (reads: press this button and see what happens). After a little 45 minute run through with an Olympus professional on what some of the buttons do, I feel like pandoras box opened and I saw the bottomless depth and breadth of her beauty… so so much to learn! I’ve also been blogging over at Stockman Leathercraft and taking photos of the Quiver and key rings and belts that Charlie has made.

We are in the process of getting new wardrobes built at the moment so the place looks like a cyclone’s been through… there’s basically shit everywhere. It’s a mess and there’s no way around it and no amount of tidying will help. Well… actually maybe a bit would. But it’s all so overwhelming when there’s no where to put anything and nothing is in its right home or place. Vaguely organized chaos, emphasis on vague and chaos.

There’s also been some tweaking going on with the website (looks like nothing but takes ages!). Bigger photos, less fluffy stuff down the side, new menus and a new version of the logo. It’s a nice little refreshed vibe which I’m loving… so far… today… every time I look at it I see something else that I’d like to tweak. But for now that’s it… I think. I’ve started a new page called listen where I’m going to share some of my favourite things to listen to… new songs, old songs, fave albums, fave artists and interviews. I’ve only popped a couple of interviews in there for now, but there’ll be more to come I promise.

Wishing you restful Sundays and may your favourite songs be playing on the radio today.