Friday, January 28, 2011

We had 6 adults and 4 kids at home over the weekend - it was wonderful - music, food and laughter - most of it happening in our back garden. Then we went to Somers for three days to stay at a friend's beach house. The kids are in heaven with sand, water and rocks. It all reminded me of my own childhood; being out in the surf until the salt stung my eyes and my body ached from catching waves; going to bed with sand mysteriously in every nook and cranny even after a long shower; people in our house all summer, kids all bunked down on mattresses in one room, parents drinking wine, playing John Denver and sleeping in while we rattled around happily in the morning as long as someone put some food out for us! I remember the blissful awareness that I was still up way past my usual bed time. Summer seemed endless and we were sun kissed, bright eyed and a bit feral.

I enrolled in music school yesterday and met some of my class mates - 17 years olds with strong musical opinion/identity and so happy to share stories. One girl (who plays bass) Said "I know it sounds dumb but I just discovered Stevie Wonder and I've been listening to him non-stop for the last month!" Excellent. I am in good company.

I will leave the land of organic fruit and veg behind - it has been kind to me for the last 7 years. I'm on the hunt for a piano. Maybe electric even. And I dream of learning the fiddle and stepping up at an Irish session and letting it rip, or glide according to the mood.....

Tuesday, January 18, 2011


A bit infatuated with our garden as you can tell from the amount of photos. We utter daily words of gratitude for this place and pray to the gods that we will not be required to leave at least until the children have finished high school! There is already now so much food in our garden - apricots, apples, nectarines, peaches, plums, pears, chestnuts, berries, grapes, figs, olives - not all producing fruit just yet..eggs and honey, tomatoes, lettuce, silver beet, basil, parsley, oregano, chives, thyme, rosemary, kale, potatoes, cucumber, pumpkin, Italian beans, string beans, sunflower seeds..and the plan is to plant more variety - we have a big long fence line on which to espalier and more lawn space to dedicate to vege garden. We plan to save our seeds and some of the flowers have already sprouted again. The californian poppies, cosmos, nasturtiums, calendular, salvia, and sunflowers have provided delicate colour - purples, orange, yellow and so many shades of green, not just for our own visual feast but for our beloved bees who haven't had to go far to forage.

Golden delicious hanging over the neighbour's fence.

Martin's splendid shed. Inside he has propped up the work bench with two stacked Langstrop hives, empty, with no intent to use and then one evening he brought a swarm home that he'd removed from someone's garden. Left them in a bucket over night with the aim to set them free in the bush the next day but they had already moved on in to the shed. So now they fly in and out, we go in and out, everyone respectful of each other...One afternoon I went to fetch a spade from the shed and the door was shut. The bees were hovering in a great cloud, waiting to be let in....

Going to keep all the seeds from these big mamas. Anyone harvested them for eating purposes? How did that go?

Our four new hens appear to be in fact quite old and/or completely traumatised from extended time in cages. So freaked out they were it has taken them a week to venture out of their chateau, into their yard and only today have they worked out that scratching at the ground leads to leisurely snacking. Once they start bathing in the dirt all will be well. They have no idea that they have landed in paradise.


There will be saucing, and perhaps even some sun-drying and most definitely tomato, red onion feta and basil salad.

The spuds are gooood. 14 kg of creamy, sweet nicola, born of 8 sprouted ladies I brought home from work in springtime.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

rouge de marmande

Ode To Tomatoes by Pablo Neruda
The street
filled with tomatoes,
light is
its juice
through the streets.
In December,
the tomato
the kitchen,
it enters at lunchtime,
its ease
on countertops,
among glasses,
butter dishes,
blue saltcellars.
It sheds
its own light,
benign majesty.
Unfortunately, we must
murder it:
the knife
into living flesh,
a cool
populates the salads
of Chile,
happily, it is wed
to the clear onion,
and to celebrate the union
child of the olive,
onto its halved hemispheres,
its fragrance,
salt, its magnetism;
it is the wedding
of the day,
its flag,
bubble vigorously,
the aroma
of the roast
at the door,
it's time!
come on!
and, on
the table, at the midpoint
of summer,
the tomato,
star of earth, recurrent
and fertile
its convolutions,
its canals,
its remarkable amplitude
and abundance,
no pit,
no husk,
no leaves or thorns,
the tomato offers
its gift
of fiery color
and cool completeness.

Four new ladies arrived yesterday, courtesy of our landlord. Handsome five star Rustica accommodation awaiting them.

Monday, January 10, 2011


We were planning to go camping this week, but our plans fell through so we find ourselves camping in our own back yard, which has turned out to be lovely, relaxing and full of visitors. The sunflowers and tomatoes are out, the pool is up, the tent is providing shade and the phone is off the hook as it were.

I'm sitting here reading the course outline for my Bachelor of Music, feeling quite excited at the prospect of immersing myself in it all again. I think it will be a busy year for us all, in a good way. Martin launching his Sustainable beekeeping business, Beau starting feels as though the last year was about finding our feet and now we can start walking. Or skipping as the mood takes us..

My friend passed on these gorgeous photos by a Finnish Mama who created these while her baby daughter slept. What a clever lady!!

Mila's Daydreams

Illustration Friday

Listening to The Black Cab Sessions.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

In all her power and splendor, Bridget birthed her 4th beautiful boy Cruz, on Wednesday morning at home in the early morning, in the warm waters of the birth pool. It was very quiet, relaxed and reverent. What a wonderful thing to behold.

A gift for the wee one.

We spent New Years Eve with dear friends on the Peninsula. Paella, home made chorizo and top shelf bubbly. The latter causing some serious morning woah to its imbibers...

And just a picture of the garden because it's even more magnificent today......

Happy New Year everyone!