Friday, April 22, 2016

April....

it's Knitting in the paddock,
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and reading books by the campfire,
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and enjoying {most} meals outdoors, cooked on a fire,
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and early morning starts with woollen jumpers, feeding stock and checking waters,
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and extra long cuddles with a very special dog, Sally!
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You see, a couple of months back Sally fell off the back of a motorbike while out mustering. Her back leg got caught up in the spokes of the rear wheel and it was horrific! Sally's very lucky to be alive, with all of her legs! So, this gorgeous dog is now my Millie's pet. They're the best of friends and Sally never has to work another day, ever.

Friday, April 1, 2016

A Shift in the Air...

As my Summer vegetables slowly start dying down, making way for our Winter crops to be planted, I can feel a shift in the air, it's been a long hard Summer and this shift could not come sooner... 
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There's been long, hot days in the schoolroom,  
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a swimming carnival with our bush school friends,
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and dry, dusty days in the sheep yards while our farmer has been away.
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I've had some trying times with my eldest girl of late as her mind (and body) slowly transforms from a small girl to a young woman. As much as I'd like to hide from the obvious and keep my girl a wee little baby forever, the time for growth is important and I'm really trying to embrace this special time in my gorgeous girls life! Can she really be 'double digits' this year, already?
 
When I look back to when I was this age, my parents were newly divorced and conversations with my mother were almost non-existent. I understand now, as a mother and a wife, that this must have been a difficult time for her, but for me, I just remember feeling alone and embarrassed of my body and I'm going to try my hardest to make this time in my girls life one that she remembers fondly!   
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With all of this said, we've had a pretty hard slog this past 3-4 months. We've had 4 really dry years here at 'Darling Downs', and are coming into our 5th as there's no good rain forecast on the horizon. So, for about 6 months now my husband has taken up work mustering on other stations to help bring in some extra money to pay our farm mortgage. This means that he's away for as long as 10 days at a time and I'm left to run the farm, school the kids, keep the home, and tend to the garden.
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All jobs that I truly do love but when it's hot and you're tired and your husband is away and your kids are pushing all the wrong buttons you kinda get a little burnt out! So, a glass of red at the end of the day, just before the sun goes down, seems to be just what I need to put things into perspective!
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And here's my perspective....I'm so lucky to live where I live and do what I do. I have a beautiful family and a loving husband. We're lucky that there is extra work available at the moment and that my husband is capable and able to do it. Although it hasn't rained I'm blessed to still have water to keep my kitchen garden alive and producing for my family. I'm lucky to have a home which is lovely and cool on the hottest of Summer days and toasty and warm on the coldest of Winter nights. And most importantly, I'm lucky that my husband comes home safely!!! He is such a hard working man who often pushes himself more than I sometimes think is even possible. I'm lucky to have 3 children who are kind, loving and caring in their own unique ways and a husband who truly does love us,    
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and who would give almost anything to be with us, yep just us, we're enough and he's enough, and we like it just like that!!!
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So.... Are you feeling a little burnt out after a long dry, hot Summer, too??? Can you feel a shift in the air?

Friday, January 29, 2016

Little Things....

As the school holidays wind up and a new schooling year begins I'm taking a moment to enjoy the little things, and filling my days with simple pleasures like these....
 
Kniting - a new little top, that's just for my girl... (pattern from here)
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Sisters - bickering, as they do! 
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Rockmelons - growing on my vine, finally!
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Zucchini's - I restrained myself and only planted 2 bushes this year. They've been thriving in a neglected part of my garden where not much else grows during the hot Summer months. 
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And.... Yabbies - my most favourite crayfish of all to eat!
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Are you taking the time to enjoy the little things in your day too? xx

Friday, January 15, 2016

My 2016

As I slowly settle into 2016 I'm excited by the promise of a wonderful new year, filled with adventure. By adventure, I'm not talking about the kind that takes you vast distances exploring new places, I'm talking about an adventure of a different kind, an adventure inside my home, around my farm and through familiar places.

This Year... I'll be focusing on my surroundings, trying to really appreciate how lucky I am to be able to live the quiet, simple life that I do. I'll be taking a break from my small {yarn} business and allocating that time back to the things that have slowly slipped away from my everyday due to 'Shop' commitments over the past 6-7 years...

 My 2016 will be more about afternoon walks with my little people, expanding my vegetable garden, picnicking in the paddocks, late night star gazing, sharing food, revisiting slow(er) crafts, learning something from someone new, listening (often), writing letters, and mastering Sourdough....
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 This Year... I want to learn as much as I can about the gorgeous art of Sourdough. It truly has stolen my heart this past couple of months, and as a family we're enjoying the lessons it is teaching us about 'slowing' down - good things really do take time (and patience) and can't be rushed...  
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This Year.... I'm looking forward to walking in the mud barefoot when my kids ask me too, even if it does dry my feet out and make my heals crack when I'm done.

This Year.....I'm excited for my aviation loving husband as he dreams about something new for himself on the horizon.
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This Year.... I'm going to explore the possibilities of companion planting more in my vegetable garden - marigolds have worked amazingly for us this year in ALL beds!
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So... Are you letting go of something this year? Or maybe your going on an Adventure to find yourself again like me? 

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

A Handmade Xmas....

I love the process of making something special for people that I love for Xmas, be it baked goods, preserves, freshly picked flowers arranged in a pretty bouquet, hand-knit garments, crochet keepsakes, sewn treasures, I love them all...

This year as well as the usual home-grown preserves and baked shortbread, I've been creating a few special things with fabric, fibre, and thread to gift to those that are nearest and dearest to my family and I.

There's this sweet cotton table cloth in the loveliest shade of green.
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I followed this great pattern by the fabulous crochet designer Sonea Delvon - only difference being that I used 8ply yarn and a 3.5mm hook instead of the 5ply and 2.5mm hook that Sonea suggested.
 
My finished table cloth measures approx. 75cm in diameter (before blocking - but to be honest, I won't be blocking this tablecloth as I have designed it to be machine washed and line dried, hence my choice of yarn). I followed this pattern EXACTLY (not like me at all) and it turned out simply beautifully!!!!
My crochet Xmas tablecloth is finished, just in time for gifting.... ♥ (I'll post the pattern, and yarn, details soon for those interested) xx
For the yarn, I used my all time favourite 8ply cotton blend (the same yarn that I used for my rainbow granny blanket back here). This yarn is AMAZING!! It washes so well and wears even better. I love that the more it ages and is washed the softer it gets - my website has crashed but yes, I do still sell this yarn, it's $9.75 per 100g skein and I have a whopping 22 shades avaliable, email me if your interested
A bit of 'colour-therapy' for your Monday arvo..... {I'm planning my next BIG project} ♥
I'm also weaving a special little something for an equally special person. This is my very first weaving project and I must admit, I'm absolutely hooked!!! The pattern I'm following was part of a kit made by the very clever team at Mollie Makes and I simply love it. If you've never heard of Millie Makes before then please go check them out, they seriously are amazing and a huge source of inspiration for me and my crafting.
Another special Xmas project in the making - this {weaving} thing is SO.MUCH.FUN!
I'm also working on a wee little quilt which I'm backing with old fabric bread flour bags. This quilt is to be used as a tablecloth also. The fabrics are from my stash and there's not really a pattern, I'm just sewing 5' squares together in strips in a colour combo that I like. I'm making this quilt light weight and durable - hence the muslin/calico bread bags that I'll be using for the backing fabric.
 
And on the right of the quilt is the makings a flower pillow. I'm only half way through this pillow but am hoping that over the next week it will double in size and be well on its way to being finished in time for Xmas gifting.
 
I'm using the Blooming Flower Cushion pattern by Lucy of Attic 24, a 3.5mm hook and that same gorgeous cotton that I used for the green tablecloth above (just in a different shade, of coarse).
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That's my Xmas crafting so far... There's still so much that I'd love to create but with the days clicking by much faster than I anticipated (as they do every year) I doubt that I'll get to them... But, I'm okay with that, I really am! A sweetly baked cake or some pickles pulled from the back of my pantry will make just as lovely a gift if my time does run out...
 
 
So, how about you, do you love a 'handmade' Xmas?
Are you crafting up a storm, so to speak... Creating lots of lovely things for your loved ones this year too?
Do you have a 'back-up' plan if you run out of time and don't quite get that special something finished?
Or maybe you're taking it easy, not worrying about the material objects this year, focussing on spending 'quality time' with loved ones instead?
 
I'd love to know! xx

Friday, November 6, 2015

warm days

There is so much goodness to be found in my garden this time of year, the warm days of our mottled Spring/Summer have truly settled in and my garden is overflowing with fragrant blossoms and delicious fresh produce....

Onions..... This week has seen me pulling up onions, sweet white onions, hundreds of them! I'm drying them out, hoping that once dry they'll store for (at least) 3 months in my pantry - by then it will be time to plant, and enjoy, my next years crop....
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I'm excited to have finally planted just the right amount of onions in my garden this year - just enough to have my family and I eating them fresh from the ground months before our 'final' harvest and just enough (I hope) to have us eating them, dried, for months to come.

Tomatoes.... I can never plant enough tomatoes!!! Can you??

This year, so far, I have 24 tomato plants growing - all at different stages and many different varieties. For my bigger, taller growing varieties I'm having a go at 'stringing' and so far it's working a real treat!
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Have you ever tried 'stringing' before? Here's the video I watched to learn how....


Cucumbers.... I love fresh cucumber, sliced thick and smeared with Danish feta, especially on a hot Summer day... This year I'm growing my vines overhead (instead of overflowing onto the ground), as a way of providing shade in Summer to a bed that will be filled with delicate leafy greens.

How do you like to grow your vines?
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Bread.... It's something that I seem to be writing about in every post lately! I truly have fallen in love with the Sourdough baking process and was so excited last week when my Farmer baked a loaf for me in my absence.

It was perfect, this guy of mine is a natural!
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Having been baking Sourdough EVERYDAY, for about 5 weeks now, I'm itching to start trying something new and when I saw this post by the gorgeous Glenda I knew that 'Sourdough Baguettes' were the next thing that I MUST try!!!!!

Crochet.... It's something that I love to do everyday too. It winds me down and lifts my mood after what can sometimes be a 'crazy' day in the schoolroom with my 3 kids.

Mandala's are my latest favourite thing to create and this sweet one has been made as a special gift for a dear friend. The pattern was from this issue of Mollie Makes Magazine - so simple and so pretty and so much fun to make. 
Mandala to gift a friend - pattern from Mollie Makes magazine #54.... ♥
Happy Friday Friends!

Jodie xxx

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

pre-loved chairs

I'm not an overly wealthy person and must admit, most of my home has been furnished with 2nd hand and preloved furniture over the years... In the beginning it was pure necessity as I purchased furniture from op-shops and clearing sales to fill my home as my budget couldn't afford new shiny pieces... But now, some 16 years down the tract (since I left home that is), my needs have changed and my family has grown. I am still a very budget conscious person and my love of recycled tressures has grown more than words could purely explain. I love the eclectic collection of furniture that I am able to give a new lease of life to and the warm home-y feel that it gives my rustic county home.... I am proud to know that most of the pieces in my home had another story to tell before they came to tell a story in mine. I celebrate these stories and share them with family and friends as often as I can.
 
The latest pieces to bring a new chapter to the story in my home are 5 pre-loved chairs. I was lucky enough to purchase these chairs from a clearing sale for $5 just over 2 weeks ago - yes that's right, $5 for the lot!!! 2 older style high-chairs and 3 turned timber stools.
 
Each chair has been tested by each of my little people...
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But, it's my littlest person of all who has claimed this vintage high-chair, and it fits him just right - don't you think?
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Now, onto the bread - it truly is a wonderful thing, is it not?

My love of its delicious, chewy, home baked, goodness has grown even stronger this past 5 weeks as I dive deeper and deeper into the world of Sourdough Baking.

Thanks to a cast iron pot, a super hot over, and a thriving starter I am producing artisan bread    E V E R Y D A Y!
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And everyday it's new and different and exciting....
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But the most exciting thing of all is the crumb - it's airy and chewy and tangy and simply delicious.
A 'crumb' shot of todays Sourdough.... #sourdoughbread #cantstopbaking
So, are you buying pre-loved furniture out of necessity for your family or you do it for the passion?

Or, have you started a Sourdough journey, like me? For so many years I was too scared to start and then one day (5 weeks ago to be exact) I simply dove in, gave it all I had, and haven't looked back!!!

Happy Tuesday Friends...... xxx

Thursday, October 22, 2015

everyday

It feels so great to be back in the 'blogging world' again and all of your gorgeous comments on my last post really concreted that for me, thank you!
 
Since I last posted life has been slow, steady, and simple for us here on the farm - as it always is...
 
Spring is in full swing and I love that we are picking wild flowers from our paddocks EVERYDAY... These paper daisies are my all-time favourite and always remind me of my gorgeous friend Suzy's birthday.
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We were lucky enough to squeeze a trip down south to Melbourne, to visit dear friends, last weekend. The long car trip saw me knitting on a sweet little project for my kids, tube socks. These were such a great knit and I love that they fit my littlest guy just right, even though they were meant to be for my littlest girl. I used Jane Richmond's fantastic 'Tube Sock' pattern, 2.75mm circular needles, and malabrigo sock yarn - not the best yarn for socks as it wears fairly quickly but gorgeous all the same...
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This past 4 weeks has seen me dive into the art of Sourdough Bread Making. After growing my starter, Stan, for 10 days back on the 20th of September, I haven't looked back, I'm baking Sourdough bread EVERYDAY and loving that with every loaf I am learning something new. I'm definitely no expert and have a lot to learn and a long journey ahead of me but, at the moment, it's exciting and invigorating and so VERY rewarding....
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For instance, this mini loaf sat on the top shelf of my fridge 'proving' for 2 days because I simply 'forgot' about baking it - 2 days is WAY TOO LONG - normally (or so I've read anyway). And when I did finally bake it - for 15mins longer than I should have,
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it still turned out incredibly delicious!!! I love that I am yet to have a flop with Sourdough baking regardless of the mistakes that I make. Although the process of making this type of bread is much longer than with the dried yeast that I used to use I must admit, it is so much more satisfying and EVERYBODY loves it, even the kids... It's chewy and crunchy and earthy and DELICIOUS!
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This time of year brings with it a 'glut' of fresh produce, something that I truly love, and this week I'm picking more fresh radish then my family can eat so I'm trying something new and exciting and preserving them - pickled radishes, who would have thought!
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They're crispy and crunchy and spicy and sweet and tangy and salty and simply delicious - all at once!!!
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And to make them, I simply sliced my freshly picked(pulled) radishes and popped them in a sterilised jar with a few cloves of garlic, some peppercorns, a teaspoon of salt, and some chopped parsley. I then boiled 1 cup of white vinegar with 3/4 cups of white sugar, poured it over the top of my radishes, screwed on the lid and left it to cool.
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The next day for lunch, I cracked the jar and spooned some onto my salad - they are AMAZING!!!! My new favourite summer pickle, hands down....
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My lettuce is currently in the category of 'out-of-control'. I have about 100 plants at the moment and we are loving eating this delicious leafy green EVERYDAY, but... I'm wondering, 'what else can I possibly make with it' - any suggestions?
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In another garden bed, not too far away, I'm eagerly watching as our pumpkins are finally getting some legs. These pumpkins are very special as they are seeds from a dear friends delicious harvest from last year.
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And, after many weeks of watching we finally have zucchini, lots of zucchini in fact, and before we know it there's sure to be a glut of these also. Zucchini relish is a favourite in my home and I'm really looking forward to filling up our stores for another year, very soon... 
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After the flowers, knitting, bread baking, pickles, and vegetable growing there's always a little time for kittens, right? We have the cutest new additions this Spring, 'little-one'
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and 'sooty'.....
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Are you knitting, baking, preserving, gardening, or simply enjoying the company of new little additions this week where you are?

Jodie xoxo