Sunday, January 8, 2017

Happy New Year Hiatus

Perhaps the most inconsistent blogger there is anyway, I diverted my attentions to Instagram for a spell to test it's more immediate access. I found, as I did with Facebook, that the novelty has worn off, lovely as it is to follow the gorgeous images posted by friends. 

At the start of a new year which heralds 10 years since this blog began under a different name, I am hoping I may be able to give it new life, exercise my writing skills, experiment with photography albeit from a phone, and inspire my art practice. Most of all I want to document our purchase and cultivation of land - an opportunity for M and I to be jointly creative, to make a beautiful place for our family, to dig in, grow food and inevitably grow old. 

 We have been on many reconnaissance missions to look at land and houses, returning 4 times to one particular plot that we love each time we are there. 10 acres of slightly undulating land, with no power or water; nothing but the promise of a completely clean start. 

The papers are at Council being validated, we have kindly been approved the small sum of money needed to own the land, and now we are wait for the next step. There is no rush. We are happy here in our 'Shit' House, affectionately named by our elderly Greek neighbour in whose opinion only a dwelling fashioned from brick, is worth any sort of consideration. A tenant does not always have a choice and we love our ramshackle rental despite its lack of thermal mass. It is the closest thing to a country house we could find in the suburbs, with a huge yard and 7 years of our love and presence have made it home. 

This is the longest either of us have lived anywhere since leaving our respective family homes 30- 35 years ago. Were we not a blended family needing to stay put for our children's' sake (other parents' homes to go to every other week), who knows where we would be. Probably not this suburb, this city, perhaps not even this country. But one piece of wisdom we have managed to gain over the last (often complicated but very good 9 years)is that sometimes, the most unexpected things bring the most peace and happiness. Sometimes life propels you to a destination or a decision and therein lies the most surprising source of joy. I.e a Shit House in a place far from one's Motherland, from which good things have been achieved and wonderful friendships have been made, and two perspicacious and resilient children are flourishing . 

Whenever I find a blog by tenacious tree-changers, and valiant homesteaders, I am very excited and inspired. If anything I put down here can have that affect on anyone else then that is happy reason enough to crack on. If no one out there is following then it remains my happy place to potter and collect and curate as I wish!

Sunday, September 4, 2016

gold from the road

Blue Highway

Love a road trip. Melbourne to Adelaide always wonderful despite the full day's drive. Love the beautiful big sky, ever-changing colours of paddocks and fields, looming Grampians splendor, sheep at pasture, sweet little towns, time to think, time to chat and knit, visiting the family and friends, and coming home to the kids and the menagerie and spring!!

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

words and music

 This guy has been on my lap every night throughout winter it seems. He is aging and spending less and less time patrolling the neighbourhood, probably more due to age than temperature. That makes three of us!

I just finished my third Donna Tartt novel, having started with her most recent (The Goldfinch, brilliant), followed by her second (The Secret History, almost as brilliant), and now the third (The Little Friend, possibly the most brilliant). Now I am onto Richard Flannigan's The Narrow Road to the Deep North which comes passionately regarded by several friends. 
There are a number of books I have read twice;
Dirt Music- Tim Winton
The Unbearable Lightness of Being- Milan Kundera
Burial Rites- Hannah Kent
Everything is Illuminated - Jonathon Safran Foer
The Buddha of Suburbia - Hanif Kureshi

..and those I have read three times;
The Razor's Edge - W.Somerset Maugham
Cloudstreet -Time Winton
Bliss - Peter Carey
A Year of Wonders - Geraldine Brooks
Cold Mountain - Charles Frazier
Love in the Time of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez 
Most of which, after some time, I could possibly even read again.

There are some I will definitely re-read;
Foal's Bread - Gillian Mears
The Signature of All Things - Elizabeth Gilbert
The Luminaries - Eleanor Catton
The Goldfinch - Donna Tartt
The Old Man and the Sea - Earnest Hemingway
A Little Life - Hanya Yanagihara

I want to love a piece of writing so much that I want to dive into it again and again, re-discover its jewels (a song writing teacher once spoke of Joni Mitchell's lyrics as such. A wonderful analogy). 
I think I am fairly typical in my choice of reading material -if I am looking for books on the shelf without a recommendation, then I am drawn to the ones with beautiful covers. Once that door is open, if I'm not drawn in after the first few pages, it would be rare for me to keep going, unless a trusted source assures me that I won't be disappointed! 

I haven't gone down the kindle path. I accept the practicality of such a device, especially for travel, but the joy of a paper-paged book in my hand is such that I will lug our library of books around into my twilight years. There are so many wonderful books that our kids are yet to discover. And all their beautiful books I will keep for the grand children. 

 I've been hanging out of late with these two fellas, helping them with their harmonies and being a happy guinea pig for their new material which, if you are lucky, you will one day be witness to on the streets or at a festival somewhere. They have that rare and prolific creative relationship that Jennifer Saunders spoke of when she talked about herself and Dawn French - that the minute they sat down to write, their simpatico sense of humour had its own momentum. Nice.

My (not so) little guy went busking for the first time on the weekend. It of course had the miraculous effect of inspiring practice, the results of which were evident. The experience was a pleasure for him; to over come nerves, take initiative for his independence, and see how much people enjoyed hearing him play. 
I'm swapping singing lessons for French lessons - I've been wanting to have lessons for a long time, to rejuvenate the high school French rattling around in my head and to fine tune the French songs I love to sing. Singing in languages other than English is my preferred choice. I love languages and their musical nature - every language has particular rhythm and tone. 

What are you reading, knitting, listening to, taking up, now that Spring is upon us?


Sunday, August 21, 2016

August Dreaming

 The United Nations negotiating food distribution policy.
I am the Queen of Starting a Knitting Project these days. I keep casting on in pink and then pulling it all off, knowing I probably won't wear it. I realise that a big part of my knitting joy is the process, seeing how a pattern unfolds. So eventually this great Madder pattern will be made manifest.

 We went out for another look at the land that we already call 'ours'. Clearly it is at its most lush in winter so we regard it with a realistic eye, imagining the brown and dry version that summer will bring, but also the garden we will plant, the house we will build.

There will be plenty of shade under Redgum trees.
Nooks and crannies for kids to explore and a beautiful view.

 The neighbourhood aint so bad either!


 It was just cold. Bloody cold!

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Catch up from the Rustic Empire.....

So very very busy we have been but now the term has ground to a halt and the arctic wind is driving us in doors so what to do now that the school projects, the extra work hours, the daily routine, and the last music lessons are done, but knit, drink tea and chat?

 A Charlotte cardigan is on the circular needles, for myself; lovely pattern but I'm not sure about all that pink! The wool was generously given me by my sister-in-law, along with much more, so very happy to be using the stash. I love knitting in the round. I'm sill to perfect the pick up and knit precision but it's preferable to sewing up!
Bread baking going well, now a regular part of the week and soon I will buy two more tins because that will save more time. They freeze well and we seem to go through it so fast. I am off gluten sadly for a while to try to iron out some health issues. It may be that my two staple dietary components - diary and wheat - are not my friends after all. Thank goodness for spelt; even though it's not gluten free it might mean I can still eat my own bread!

We have been looking for land to buy, and perhaps we have found it. A plot with big gum trees, undulating land, winter sun and very peaceful...

There have been winter workshops and winter festivals as is expected this solstice time of year. The kids have had a ball, making swords and shields, lanterns and spirals. 
And I found this today courtesy of the Yard where I very much like to visit of a week. This is a sentiment by which I try to live life. There could be so much more simplification. Slowly slowly!

Stay warm Dear Ones add a little bit extra cardamon to your chai....