two years

I couldn’t let our two year mark at harvest moon hill pass by without recognition here. And I’ve been meaning to pop in, for oh you know, six months or so! I know the posts are few and far between these days but here we are again… a new year… a new season… and change in the wild windy air…

As I type this I am watching our sheep mow the grass in our back yard with the three musketeers darting about around them. Despite the foxes and wedge tail eagles these three guinea fowl have thrived all by themselves with no human intervention of care or feed – if you don’t count all the nectarines and plums they ate from our trees! These moments of bliss are hard to describe, yet even harder is to articulate just how much I feel they impact on my wellbeing. Vast open spaces and prolonged periods of silence bring such deep calm and peace, I can only imagine how much more keyed up I would be not living here! I absolutely love it and feel so incredibly lucky we found this place.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not all peace love and mung beans baby, there’s plenty of hard work and head scratching. Just like the three musketeers receive the odd bunting from Ziggy or a stalking from an eagle, there are unwanted nudges, death, sickness and loss on the farm too. We sadly and mysteriously lost our first little lamb born last year, Eileen. Burying her was heartbreaking yet also, in many ways, an inevitable part of farming, I understand that. We also had a sick sheep and had to intervene with medication, but first there was the matter of catching her for the vet. A missed footing and consequent stumble produced two broken ribs for Charlie and a greater appreciation for just how big these girls are. A week later and I am proud to say we managed to round up the whole flock (all six of them – real sheep farmers don’t laugh!) by ourselves and secure them in next doors cattle race where I injected them with their vitamin B12 & selenium shot. Another feather in our farming cap that definitely left us more traumatised than the sheep!

We’ve had more loss than bounty in the veggie garden but have slowly worked toward rectifying that, and now have a rather ugly but cost efficient immediate windbreak to protect the beds from the relentless elements of being high up on an exposed hill. We have to watch out for snakes and the seasonal battle of uninvited critter visitors in the roof. There are days of relentless mooing when our neighbours move their cattle or separate them into different paddocks and the flies in summer are horrendous – thick and sticky! But I wouldn’t change any of it for the world. Well, maybe the flies. And roof critters. And ok maybe the snakes too. I love quintessential country things like driving down our road and stopping to chat to the neighbour passing by in his car, windows down and waving off flies and saying ‘why yes, I’d love some of your excess apples and tomatoes thank you’ . The crystal clear nights when the milky way illuminates the sky and the stars glisten and the moon lights up the fields… The family of magpies who visit most mornings with their wake up songs… The odd wave to someone you know in town and no longer feeling like the stranger… but mostly I guess it’s the peace and watching the hills turn golden, then pink, then disappear into the night sky with only the sounds of the sheep munching nearby, the cows mooing, the birds all settling into bed for the night… it’s profoundly healing and as magic as it sounds.

We’ve enjoyed many apricots, plums and nectarines this summer from the trees the previous owners planted. Jam making days are a favourite and we have apricot jam, peach & apricot jam, nectarine jam, and blood plum jam bursting out of the pantry. The nectarines were so prolific we froze kilos of them (great for smoothies and homemade ice creams) and discovered that the sheep, particularly Lenny and Ziggy love nectarines! Our 18 month old orchard is growing well and we’ve managed to keep all 50 odd trees alive through two summers on very lean water rations, both to encourage deep roots and also because we didn’t want to run out of water. We didn’t, and although we are very low on water now, I’m hoping some decent rain is not far away. I know, even sounding like a farmer!

In other non farmy news my daughter and son in law moved into a beautiful new home in the Dandenong Ranges, and their cute dogs Sai & Kenzo recently provided the modelling for the new Stockman Leathercraft dog lead and collar set. My son made a trip back home at Christmas after travelling through Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and the Philippines. He’s just been through Cambodia on a motorbike and is now riding through Vietnam, soon to start making his way towards India. We’ve been working on Stockman Leathercraft over the summer. We ventured into local markets which were lots of fun and I have just finished setting up a new website. Craft has always been a form of sanity for both of us and we’ve enjoyed focusing heavily on this aspect of our lives over the last few months. I’m even adding plaiting to my list of crafty dabbles after becoming the new apprentice to help keep up with orders. I received a spinning wheel last year and learnt to spin… kind of…. I think it takes many years before you can say you can spin properly, but I can turn fibre into yarn now, even if it is a little wonky and uneven.

Break in transmission. I heard something bashing outside and looked up to see two rogue cows! They broke down the fence and ran through our paddock, then broke through another section of fence to get out! Luckily our sheep were in the backyard enclosure so I just had to race out there and close the gate to the paddock – or I’d have a crazy rogue cow or two at the back door and by the looks of the way they just pushed down the fences I’m thinking that could get ugly!

Ok back again… it’s a couple of days later but I’m determined to publish. There’s been a few times I’ve sat down and starting writing to you but then if I don’t finish in one go, time passes, I feel it becomes outdated, then I start thinking about my writing, what I’m writing, why I’m writing, and I can’t find a good enough reason to share it. I start second guessing all the words and the stories and think you probably don’t need my ramblings in your life. But you know what, who am I to say what you need or want in your life? Besides I love the process of writing my thoughts down, and I do love to look back and see when we planted the orchard, when I made that sheep beanie, when the lambs were born… etc… I use this blog as a reference for dates as they seem to mush together the older I get! So here goes on another long waffle session from me, and if you made it this far then you are a legend!

May you add some surprising feathers to your cap and be as full of sunshine as our jam cupboard x

PS – Did you wish upon a super blue blood moon too?


icelandic elopement

Exactly one year ago today, in a land far away, steeped in beauty and rugged majesty, my gorgeous daughter married the love of her life, a handsome young man that we are blessed to have in our family. Wildflowers were gathered for the bouquet, and in a field of even more wildflowers, vows were exchanged. Letters were read, laughs were giggled, joy exploded and love ruled. Levi captured sweet moments and managed to convey the scale of the incredible Icelandic landscape, whilst the adorable newly weds walked through mossy fields and rocky canyons and right into their beautiful new future together.

Ain’t love grand…

May you dream big and find true happiness x

ps. You can see some more stunning photographs at Hello May and here on Levi’s website.

2016 the year of the farm

I guess you may have noticed it’s been rather quiet around these parts of late… life gets busy in the lead up to Christmas doesn’t it? For me it was busy not only with Christmas preparations, but also with dreams coming true. You see exactly 5 weeks before Christmas eve we found ‘the one’… that little house on a couple of acres we’ve been dreaming of for years. It was a bit of a surprise to be honest as we weren’t at the serious looking stage yet… still researching for the most part and only checking out properties that really caught our eye. And then, BANG! when you least expect it – you find it. ‘The one’ that ticks all your boxes and then some… boxes that weren’t even on your bonus box list. I think I was there 5 minutes before that overwhelming feeling of destiny swallowed me whole. I was gobsmacked at what we’d found and couldn’t believe our luck. It was perfect!

I still can’t quite believe it’s happened… it all moved so fast. Within two days of first seeing ‘the one’ – we bought it, and 16 days later our house was sold. During those 16 crazy days we jumped for joy, crammed a few years maintenance work into our home, said ‘OMG we bought a farm’ 50 times a day, listed our home and sold her. It was nuts! And wonderful! And exhausting! And easy! It made us feel so incredibly sure that we were on the right path. Which is lucky ‘cos it’s pretty darn scary leaving your home of nearly 20 years and moving to the country to start a whole new life. And then there are the trade offs too, as is only natural. I will no longer be 5 minutes drive from most of my family… this is by far the toughest trade off of them all as I’ve ALWAYS been 5 minutes from my family *sniff*. And I will be commuting a decent trip to and from work for a few years. We’ve got a number of things to do to the farm to achieve our semi self sufficient plan before I can think about not working. I know the 3 hours travel a day will be a struggle at times, but I’m sure it will be worth it… eventually.

As this first day of 2016 unfolds, our excitement for the future is palpable… We’ve plans to start packing things into boxes and sketching out garden designs for the farm, where the collection of existing fruit trees can be expanded, where the chookhouse might go, where the veggie gardens will go, which fields will be sectioned off for animals and which ones for growing, and how we can rotate some of those spaces. We have much to learn… but today I just can’t get my head out of the clouds, imagining us sitting on the verandah and watching the sun go down in the huge big expanse of sky, over the rolling green hills dotted with our neighbours cows and sheep. I know there’ll be back breaking hard working long days too, but for now I am dreaming of the beautiful sweet moments that await us in 2016… the year of the farm… the year of our farm… the year of our dream.

May 2016 be the year of your dreams… and filled with peace, love & harmony x

paris, crochet and a cute kitten

Bonjour…. Parlez vous anglais? I said this quite a bit during my amazing holiday in Paris recently…. and loved it. What a beautiful language French is… even if I mainly stuck to the above with a little Merci and Au Revoir thrown in! What a beautiful city Paris is! I fell in love with it only a couple of days into my holiday, and it just kept getting better the longer I stayed. I won’t bore you with slide night, but will share a couple of pictures from my trip that I hope don’t bore you.

The Eiffel Tower, taken from the top of the Arc de Triomphe.

The Arc de Triomphe, taken from the top of the Eiffel Tower.

There’s a pot of gold at the end of the Champs Elysees!

The beginnings of Autumn in the Luxembourg Gardens

The early morning mist rising over Monet’s Garden. This place was really amazing – so beautiful and peaceful.

When Mr Monet walked out his front door, this is the spectacular garden path that greeted him. So pretty.

The Louvre at night… incredibly beautiful.

Just one of the spectacular leadlight windows in the Notre Dame. OMG – between the Notre Dame and Sainte-Chapelle I was in leadlight heaven. In Sainte-Chappelle my first glimpse of the incredible leadlight literally took my breath away. Exquisite!

You’re never too old for a ride on a beautiful old Merry Go Round… Especially when it’s in front of the Eiffel Tower. Yep, I went on that Merry Go Round with my sister after we photographed the random Bride & Groom. There was a lot of giggling involved!

Parisian Noro Scarf. I crocheted this silky baby all over the world… really! It was my flight friend and kept me sane (sort of) during those long uncomfortable hours on the plane, all the while Paris was in my heart. Either on the way there dreaming about the amazing places we would visit, or on the way back home remembering the surreal moments of being in Paris. Standing in the most spectacular palace, or walking in the most beautiful garden, or packing myself going up and up and up and up in the lift to the summit of the Eiffel Tower. So many surreal-pinch-yourself moments. This scarf will always remind me of Paris. I’m not sure if I can part with… but if I can I’ll pop in the Etsy shop soon.

I have been flat out since I got back from holidays but last week I finally squeezed in some time to take a breath, and do some of my favourite things. I wandered around my garden and picked a basket full of flowers. I could seriously spend all day picking flowers, photographing them and arranging them in vases. It feels like time just disappears when I do this and it seriously fills my heart with happiness. It’s the kind of thing that nourishes my spirit, it calms me, slows me down and makes me feel peaceful. It’s such a lovely thing to do, I don’t know why I don’t do it more often!

Speaking of flowers, I saw the most wonderful idea on a favourite blog of mine yesterday. Pip from Meet me at Mikes has shared a link and put up a cute little video about “Pay it Flowered”. It’s such a sweet idea, I think I’m going to do it with a bunch of flowers out of my garden. Check it out, maybe you might want to give it a go too?

Meet Nara. Isn’t she the cutest little kitten? A.dor.a.ble!!! She’s a little Bengal and a playmate for Koya, the other Bengal kitten you’ve seen pop in here from time to time. They live with my daughter and her fella in their lovely new home. Yep, that time came and now we are back down to one kid living at home. But only for the next couple of months before he heads off on his South American adventure. The times they are a changin’…

So that’s me for the last month or so. I got to live a dream come true. How lucky am I? Paris has been on my dream list since I was in year 7 and first started learning French. I’m so thrilled I got to go… and that it surpassed my dreams and was a total delight! And I got to share this experience with my sister. We travel so well together, enjoy each others company, understand the need for a billion photos, shopping stops, garden stops, toilet stops, coffee stops, croissant stops (not for me obviously!). We stayed in a gorgeous apartment in Saint-Germain-des-Prés with the quintessential wrought iron balcony, and loved pretending we were locals for a while, going to our friendly fruit & veg man, the Boulangerie and Charcuterie. There was also a stop in Hong Kong for a few days on the way, and a few days on London at the end. Pretty wonderful really! For someone who has only had their passport for 3 years (yep!), I feel like I’m catching up a bit and finally seeing a bit of the big beautiful world out there. Feeling very lucky, blessed and happy… How about you? Have you travelled much? Have you ticked a dream off that you’ve dreaming for a long time? Or are you in the dreaming phase right now? Wishing you dream filled days and dreams come true.