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

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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

mushrooms, weaving and tasty failures


















We enjoyed our first flourish of mushrooms, they inundated us for a week or so then vanished! Charlie says they’ll pop up again as it’s only early in their season. Hopefully they do as wandering around our very own paddocks (and yes I still pinch myself when I say that!) collecting a basket full of fresh field mushrooms for breakfast with my hubby and my son was one the best Sunday mornings here so far.

What beautiful days Autumn gifts us with, foggy crisp mornings and warm golden afternoons. I just can’t tell you how beautiful the hills look now, my photos really don’t do it justice. They are blanketed in a gorgeous shade of lime green as the fresh new grass grows thanks to the sun-rain-sun autumn weather. If you pick out the bright mid blue in a pack of coloured pencils, you could draw the sky, it’s been picture perfect. The morning sky has been peachy oranges and as the sun drops in the late afternoon it usually turns a soft pastel dusky pink.

The fire has been roaring through the chilly evenings and keeping us toasty warm. The weekends are full but we are making sure to squeeze in our craft/sanity time. This lovely long weekend just gone I finally took my weaving off the loom. It’s been finished and waiting for its freedom hanging, for over a year – maybe even a year and half. So slack! Of course I couldn’t string up (or warp for you weavers) the loom quick enough to have another go. I’ve had this idea floating around my head since we’ve been here, of trying to capture the vibe of our rolling green hills into a weaving. I’ll let you know how I go, could be a year or two! Some craft happens quickly, other craft takes forever.

Just like sometimes things work out perfect, yet other times there’s epic fails. I had a big fail on my first attempt at Crabapple Jelly recently. Admittedly I didn’t use crabapples so there be my first error I suppose. And I’m a bit loose on following recipes to say the least. I won’t bore you with the other stuff ups I made like not measuring how much water I used to cover the apples, therefore ending up with twice as much as liquid as I should have for the weight of apples etc etc. I did enjoy a glorious afternoon of ignorance as I photographed my pretty little jars of blush coloured jelly before I realised they were still very liquidy after many hours and not jelly like at all. They were a little cloudy despite me being super careful not to squash the pulp and allowing it to drain overnight, but I was ok with that as it was my first time making it after all. I lived in hope overnight, thinking maybe by morning they’ll be set. Um no, this soft pink apple syrup would not become jelly no matter how long I waited and how hard I wished. So, with my make lemon curd when life gives you lemons attitude, I dug out the ice-cream maker and turned my flop into a delicious sweet and tart apple sorbet. I even popped some stewed rhubarb in a batch and made an apple and rhubarb sorbet. Quite the tasty failure. Not what I had planned, but then life’s like that isn’t it?

May your kitchen flops reincarnate as something tasty too x

one perfect autumn morning

















A lush fluffy blanket of fog surrounded our home this morning… I raced outside with my camera… boots with no socks… pj’s with my faithful alpaca jumper… the fog is thick and damp.. wet on my face and frizzing my hair… it rolled up the hills… tumbling and vanishing before my eyes… and when the sun rose it illuminated the mist… sunrays met tiny droplets of moisture and reflected light in all directions… breathtaking … flocks of birds soared high the new blue sky… birdsong filled the air and my heart with joy… I was torn between looking up and looking down… checking not to step on the mushrooms that are multiplying faster than we can eat them… oh what a delight to spot their white tops peeking through the dewy grass… where to look… so much prettiness… ‘you’re pure beauty Mother Nature’ I whisper… I breathe it in slowly… a crisp breeze brushes my cheeks… reminding me this is not a dream… it’s just a perfect autumn morning… at Harvest Moon Hill.

May pure beauty find you today x

life on the farm








Heya! How are you? What have you been up to? We’ve been finding our feet and a new routine on the farm after heading back to work, so are now juggling work and the commute into our daily lives again. Each day is a thrill to pull up into the driveway after a long stretch of driving, we sigh and exhale then take a deep breath in of the fresh country air and it fills our lungs and hearts. I find something instantly calming about looking out over grassy hills dotted with wandering cows and sheep.

The return to routine has also heralded the return of my crafty mojo… I actually wondered if it’d permanently vanished but I now realise that I just didn’t have the capacity or energy or motivation, physically or mentally, to invest into crafting when I was preparing for the move. I don’t think I realised just how much of a toll it took. Gosh I found moving house a big deal! I can’t show you any pictures of my latest crafty project as it’s a present for someone who reads this blog (hiya sis!), but rest assured I’ll bombard you with crafty photos again soon.

The other morning I was woken by a strange – not normal sounding – mooing from a cow, only to check out the window and be greeted by a huge kangaroo bouncing in our back yard! And by back yard I mean our little house paddock… he was so close! I think Mr Cow was unimpressed with Mr Roo eating all the green grass and making himself at home! The timing was perfect though, the sun rise was beginning to throw a lovely soft peachy pink glow over the horizon. I wandered outside to hear the birds come life, there were no other sounds but for the gentle breeze through the cypress trees. I mentally pinched myself. Again. A regular thing since we’ve moved in. It still feels incredibly surreal that we live here now, smack bang in the middle of our dream. Granted the full scale of the dream has not blossomed yet, but we are here, we’ve made a solid move into the dream and that feels pretty cool.

The wedge tailed Eagles are regular visitors up the valley, we’ve watched the full moon rise over our home and loved seeing hills become tinged with lime green after a little rain. We’re looking forward to watching the seasons roll by imparting their special qualities on the land. Autumn is my favourite and when we visited the local little community schoolhouse at dusk I was reminded why. The colour on the leaves as the sunlight sparkled through them was beautiful. Such a sweet little old schoolhouse it is too. If I’ve got the story right, apparently a long long time ago the community decided they wanted a school for their kids so a local land owner donated a portion of his land and it was built. Unfortunately the original schoolhouse was burnt down but the community rallied together and rebuilt it with donations, so now it’s totally owned by the community. Sweet hey? It hasn’t been a school since the 1960’s I think but seems to be regularly used by the community which is pretty lovely really. On the way back from the schoolhouse I photographed our house from a distant road as the last of the light was dusting the top of our surrounding hills. Our little home perched on the hill glistening yet subtly blending in to its surrounds. More mental pinching goes on.

I’ve also decided to look at the commute to work as a positive thing. There’s nothing we can do about the situation for the moment so best to embrace it I reckon. We now have 3-4 hours a day sitting down where we can’t do anything else but drive… and listen. I’m choosing to fill my head with the good stuff and have been working my way through a podcast series. Of course I listen to lots of other ones too but this is by far my favourite and so worth a listen if you get a chance. It’s called ‘the one you feed’ and it’s based on the premise of a parable ‘The tale of two wolves’ which goes like this:

A grandfather is talking with his grandson and he says there are two wolves inside of us which are always at war with each other. One of them is a good wolf which represents things like kindness, bravery and love. The other is a bad wolf, which represents things like greed, hatred and fear.
The Grandson stops and thinks about it for a second and then he looks up at his grandfather and says ‘Grandfather, which one wins?’ … the Grandfather quietly replies, ‘the one you feed’.

The series covers a huge range of topics and has a really varied mix of guests from Monks, to Rockstars, to Doctors, to Authors… But the theme running through all of the podcasts is about what these people do to feed their ‘good wolf’ and keep heading in the right direction in life. It’s totally fascinating, interesting, knowledgeable, sad, mood lifting, realistic, enlightening, funny, and entertaining and I would recommend it in a heartbeat! It certainly makes the long commute pleasurable and actually beneficial to my mental health. Win win right? If you want to have a listen to one but have no idea where to start (there is over 100 after all!) may I suggest this one, this one, this one, this one, this one, or this one. Let me know what you think if you do ok?

Hope life is treating you sweet and your ears and hearts are filled with life enriching things! X