three years

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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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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.

my smile inducers… may 2015

It’s smile time! I want to stop and think about the things that make me smile… smile… and maybe… hopefully… make you smile… and get you thinking about the things that bring a happy smile to your face… or heart… or both. #smilefest

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Another beanie finished and another kid obliged with photos. On a roll. Although the best photo from this lot turned out to be the one where I said ‘You can’t roll your eyes in the photo!’. You know how your kids (adult really – he’s nearly 24!) can get all eyeball rolling when you want to take 20 photos of them in your knitted goods, in the cold, outside? Geez, I can’t understand it! This beanie is a roll up or down cuff variety and is thick and cozy and warm with its beautiful New Zealand wool and a mix of a bamboo/alpaca/merino blend. Chunky and solid and quite ‘blokey’ I reckon.  
Bonus smile: He told me that ‘I turned out pretty good’ [as a parent], it came out in conversation quite innocently even though it sounds a bit weird, the kid telling the parent they turned out ok. We had a good laugh about it and I told him I think he turned out pretty good too… and I have this other beanie I need to photograph…

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This beautiful card brought a heartfelt smile to my face. The stunning image was created from a stamp that my clever daughter drew and then carved out. The movement in the petals, the design in the leaves… Oh how her creative talents blow me away!

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It’s no secret I’m a huge fan of Pip Lincoln from Meet me at Mikes, and her latest book ‘Craft for the Soul’ is a smile inducer of the most sincerest kind. There’s so many great ideas in this book to bring some ‘nice times’ into your life, that you’d be hard pressed to feel anything but happy when reading it. Terrific practical ideas to encourage out the creative, spark ideas, and move in the direction you really want to go in. I found myself smirking and giggling quite a bit throughout this book, Pip’s sense of humour is pretty cute! I can see it’s going to be one of those books that I’ll come back to time and time again, and tap into its motivation and positive can do attitude. I don’t even think you need to be crafty to enjoy this book. If you’re on the hunt for a smile then I highly recommend picking yourself up a copy. You’ll be smiling before you know it and maybe even making a pom pom, or crocheting a blanket, or going for a walk everyday, or writing 3 pages every morning.

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We have an arch in the backyard and nearly everyday the same two doves come and sit on top of the arch and snuggle and cuddle and fluff up their feathers and look all cute. My little Dove Cottage has its own little resident love doves. Awww.

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Magical walks under pretty Autumn trees as the leaves gently rain down. Impossible to not smile.

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Walking on fallen crunchy Autumns leaves puts a spring in my step and makes me feel like a kid. If you always stay on the path, then veer off under the tree and take yourself on a crunchy walk and feel the corners of your mouth creep up towards your cheeks!

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The other day I was down and out with one of those dreaded winterish lurgies. My throat was the worst hit, so I took to my trusty old medicine that I purchased in Paris a couple of years ago. Because when I went to live the Paris dream holiday, my tonsils decided it was party time. I fixed them good and proper with a natural medicine bought from the ‘Herboristerie’ down the ‘rue’ (herbalist’s shop). This medicine has a distinct smell and taste (don’t all herbal remedies?) and every time I have it, I am immediately transported back to Paris, wandering the boulevards with my sister, chirping bonjour in a bad accent, and smiling at anybody who looked at me. So, being hit with a sore throat these days has a sweet memory filled smiley french side effect. Nice.

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Toast and Peach Jam made my with homegrown clingstone peaches. Exactly! This is probably just a delicious moment for most people, but for someone deprived of bready goodness for the best part of a decade, it is indescribable joy. I am making my special potato bread on a regular basis and enjoying a bready type breakfast e.v.e.r.y.d.a.y.!.!.!.! It’s such a thrill! Tho’ I might cry when I run out of my Peach Jam.

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I finished this lovely lacey Cashmere blankie. It’s so light and has the softest drape and it made me so very happy to gift it to my mum for Mother’s Day.

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So that’s my little walk down smiley lane. How about you? What’s been making you smile? What’s made your heart happy lately? Has something put the spring in your step? Share a smiley moment in the comments if you’d like… I love to hear some… smiles are contagious you know…

Sending a happy smile your way, hope you catch it!

autumn country roadtrip

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I wrote a whole other post about this autumn country roadtrip to Beechworth… then deleted it. Sometimes it’s hard to put into words what I want to say. And sometimes I’m not sure what I want to say until I start writing. And sometimes it just comes out all wrong. I guess what I want to say, to you dear reader, is this;
You can learn a lot in an autumn country roadtrip.
Like what it was like to be scared of a vicious Rooster called Sputnik. And that Rooster Sputnik was named after the satellite the Russians launched into space around 1957. That one of my favourite photos of my mum with her dad and an old car, was taken in front of the Tarrawingee Pub (now named Plough Inn). I learned that Nana always had cows, though I only remember Daisy and being a scared of her as a young city kid. That Koalas will run out in front of the car near the main street of town to get to a better tree. And watching a Koala run is pretty funny (thanks for the photo Sis!).That Autumn in the country somehow seems more vibrant, more crisp, deeper and richer. That winter in the country could be bitterly cold and entail walking over icy puddles on the way to school. And that same walk to school entailed a walk by the (then in use) Jail. That the old red brick fire house in town used to put on dances in the 1940’s and that’s where my grandparents met. That owls hooting in the distance whilst you take photos of fog like pea soup and the sun rising, is a good sign. That nothing can compare to spending real, living in the moment, quality time with family. That many family members worked at the tannery, the pine plantation, apple orchards and ‘up top’. That I’m blessed to have a line of strong determined women on both sides of my parents family. That visiting a cemetery can be a beautiful experience. That you can find the best coffee in the most unexpected places. That when you finally stop and take photos of that beautiful old building you pass every visit, swearing you’ll stop and photograph it next time – every time, is incredibly satisfying and can surpass your expectations. That I love autumn in country more than I thought I did.
I’ll let the photos tell you the rest…

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2 sunrise fog
3 sunrise fog
autumn house
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bee hotel
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koala crossing
tarrawingee pub
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May you enjoy beautiful autumn days in the country.

so that was christmas

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Chrissy hellos to you! Did you have a good one? Do you celebrate it even? Some of you don’t I know. Our family does, in a big traditional way. It was decadent and included many sweet treats, like these homemade marshmallows made by my clever Sis.

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And there was this! My lovely Sis made sure there was a delicious sweet after lunch for me seeing I can’t eat all the traditional sweet fare on Chrissy day. Thanks Sis, you’re the best! This little beauty is gluten free, dairy free, refined sugar free (I think) and vegan… and it’s a cheesecake for goodness sake!!! How utterly amazing hey? Best Boxing Day Breakfast ever!

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I had originally thought this would be the first Christmas that I wouldn’t see one of my kids. But my backpacking boy made it home in time… just… long story! Our family had a lovely day, pressies were exchanged, hugs were had, laughs were laughed, Turkey was eaten, Mojitos were drunk, but the biggest gift of all was the time shared after lunch. Tummies were full, hearts were content, and the chatting drifted into the late afternoon. The lead up to christmas can be fraught with stress and pressure, that time after lunch feels like the time when we all exhale and truly relax.

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I even did a bit of Christmas table crochet! You see I didn’t manage to finish Mum’s bag so had to wrap it and give it to her without the handle! Sorry mum, I finished it Boxing Day and will get to you soon!

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The build up to Christmas can be a bit tetchy can’t it? There is just so much to do, and time always gets away. But stressy times for me equals more craft, as it’s the best way I know how to chill and slow myself down. I learned (and it took me a while!) that if I don’t make the time to craft, even when it’s crazy busy, my mental and physical health suffer. So after knitting my Turquoise Baby Alpaca Cardy (and even managing to wear it – thanks Melbourne Summer!), I couldn’t wait to crochet some of the gorgeous baby alpaca yarn. This stitch looks like weaving to me, which I thought was rather appropriate for my Peruvian yarn.

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And then on Boxing Day I decided to cast on a Beanie in the same grey yarn as the scarf. It being summer and all! I don’t know why I do these things, I just like to make what I feel like and I don’t know why I feel like knitting an Alpaca Beanie in the middle of Summer, but I do, so I am!

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So that was Christmas, and now the New Year is just around the corner. If you celebrate Christmas I do hope it was a lovely day for you. If you have family members missing from the Chrissy table I hope there was a moment of sweet remembering amongst the emptiness. If you don’t celebrate Christmas, I hope you enjoyed a couple of days off and managed to do something you love.

May the sun shine on your apple trees and may the New Year hold bright sparkly goodness in store for you.