The Cup


Your cup is full she said
there’s no space left
for coping,
and the peace for your lips to
gently sip from
(when life ebbs and flows)
is gone -
you’re overflowing,
that overwhelming,
spilling down your chin
and sinking feeling
panicking, reeling,
its not O.K
but its human

can you love yourself just as you are now?
can you cup that cup,
with kindness,
and a tenderness,
like you do your own child
embrace the sad, weary you too?

The year of the chickens


There are three chickens in the yard
I can see them from the kitchen window
scratching in the garden beds,
kicking up bark mulch and dry earth -
they dart at anything that moves
jumps, skips, hops
so efficient are their beaks and claws
for this task of foraging, unearthing

and I think about this year nearly done
perhaps the hardest one for me,
or the most important -
why are important ones the hardest?

I could list the things that gave it shape:
the long days of mothering full time,
of postpartum fatigue, the last breastfeed -
of eggs packed, caneles baked,
story nights with local women,
books read, conflicts had,
farmers markets, chicken sales,
workshops, a school change,
an awful email out of the blue,
the flowers picked with my hands

but really it’s everything in-between
the dreams, the waiting,
curly heads, grubby grins,
shadowy doubts, sorrow stings -
hushed, yelled, wrestled,
wanted, endured, relieved
the yearnings and the forgotten things:
a twelve month unearthing
clawing for something - anything,
holding on and letting go
again and again and again

I could be making resolutions:
you know, those page long aspirations -
goals for what could be,
what I could do better (and not do at all)

But I’d rather stare out the kitchen window
let my fingers become prune-like
in soapy dish water -
and learn from my chicken friends;
to keep scratching at the surface,
feel the sun on my back
make the most of each season -
and choose kindness
again and again and again

Photo of me and the girls / by the wonderful Cat

Birthday fun


Archie’s birthday became a joyous week long affair! We had a simple afternoon tea on his actual birthday - it was a public holiday - and his brothers helped me make a sponge cake with lemon curd and special rainbow on top made from edible flowers: rose, geranium, calendula, dandelion, mint leaves, borage, cornflowers, violas and lavender! He was delighted.

Then my parents came down to stay for the weekend so we had a special family lunch on Sunday with all the grandparents, a roast chicken, balloons, flowers and another cake - this time a number “2” banana cake with honey cream cheese icing.

My main birthday present for him was a big boy bed quilt: a simple herringbone design of arrow shapes - in a rainbow of cotton. I spent many evenings working on it; cutting fabric, piecing together with my sewing machine, playing with the positions of the arrows, ironing, quilting by hand, and thinking about all the dreams he will have snuggled under it…




Between turning one and now,
you have learnt to crawl, walk
jump, climb, hop, balance on one foot,
talk, pour cups of water,
hold eggs (somewhat) carefully,
open and close doors!

You are curious,
curly haired, neck-nuzzling,
with big belly laughs and squawks
of delight and sometimes discontent!
You love to be chased, tickled,
bounced and held close -
You love seeing the rainbows
the cut glass hanging in the window makes
and magpies digging for worms in the yard -

You love vehicles - actually,
pretty much anything with wheels -
but especially rides in Daddy’s trucks,
you move your body to music,
slap your thighs to songs playing in the car
and bang blocks percussively,
your favourite bedtime ditties are:
”I can sing a rainbow”
”Look at me I’m a train on the track”
”Lots and lots of big trains”
”Deep in the sea”
and the hymn “Come thou fount of every blessing”
(which I’ve been singing since you were a newborn)
I think you may be the most musical of my sons yet!

You chatter all the time now,
and love to copy my voice when we’re reading -
you can’t quite say clock, but the enthusiasm is there!

You love your brothers
they are your favourite little people,
your every day companions, and even though
they bump into you, or want you to get “outta the WAY!”
you run with delight to meet Reuben at the gate
when he gets off the school bus
and on seeing Beren emerge from bed
in the morning you shout “Bear bear!” with glee -

Yes there’s so much to love about you:
Our fabulous little one,
our Mister TWO!

(Thanks to the wonderful Cat for taking the last two photographs)


Grow a garden


Go on, grow a garden

Grow it for yourself
for the pure joy of it,
for the serious plans
and binge weeding,
the failures and the surprise
for the privilege to
watch things live
and thrive and die,
for the seasons

Grow it for the bees
for the creatures seen
and unseen,
for the under the earth
world, the beetles
and the worm -
the foes and the friends
for all living things,

Grow it for the table
for the flowers, and
if you’re able
for eating, steaming,
drying, preserving,
for salad and pizza
and pesto and stews -
the sweetest tomato
and the wonkiest carrot,
the crunchiest lettuce
and the wild rocket

Grow it for your kids
(or someone else’s)
watch those tiny hands
cup the dirt, poke around
for bugs, scatter seeds,
step on seedlings,
mouthful of peas -
marvel at a sunflower unfurling
snail trails, a dragonfly wing

Grow it for the stranger
that may live in your house
one day - or the passerbys,
plant trees you’ll never see
arch over you, the fruit
you’ll never pick, the hedges
tall and firm, and the children
that will swing from branches,
where birds will nest in,
grow it for them too.


A few weeks ago the wonderfully talented Cat (Catherine Elise Photography ) came to visit and take some lifestyle portraits of our family + farm life. I was immediately struck by how lovely, calm and kind-hearted Cat was and how quickly she all made us feel comfortable. As we showed her around our home, the surrounding paddocks (including our wigwams fashioned from fallen logs and sticks) and of course our pastured chickens up the road - we began to forget she was holding a camera at all! Not only did she manage to get us all looking at the camera at the same time - a miracle with small children! - she has captured something far more precious; memories of the journey we are on; something of the joy and love we share as a family. I will treasure them always

10 tips for gluten free baking


When I was diagnosed with coeliac disease five years ago I felt so sad at the thought of giving up gluten for life; the taste of gelatinous oat porridge for breakfast, soft pearl barley in my soups, the silky pull of buttery brioche in my hands, the malty sip of a porter beer - but also how gluten felt against my knuckles when I kneaded it, how elastic and clever and versatile it could be... I often think about my baking life pre-diagnosis, with great fondness. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t miss making and eating certain things - rye and walnut sourdough bread, flaky moroccan style (m’semen) flat bread, Japanese dumplings and egg noodles…

It took me a while after I completely cut gluten from my diet to want to try any gluten-free baking - I knew many people were doing it, and that I could access recipes galore and gluten free grains and flours - but perhaps I needed a break from baking altogether to forget everything I had learned and known - to clear the space in my heart and mind (and belly) for a new adventure!

These are ten “tips” that continue to shape and develop in my gluten free baking, I hope they might be helpful to you too:

1. Acceptance
Accepting that gluten free baking and bread will never taste the same as gluten-ful baking, and that is totally okay! Rather than try to replicate a gluten-free version of everything as closely as you can, enjoy the unique textures and flavours of gluten free grains and flours. It saddens me that a lot of supermarket gluten free baked goods are full of gums, emulsifiers, sugars and additives to make it taste “more” like bread, but in doing so create a product that is less-healthy and less-digestible for it’s eaters! I don't think my gluten free bread tastes much like I remember gluten-ful bread did / but I do think it’s delicious in it’s own right!

2. Experiment
Never stop experimenting with different gluten free grains and flours. Try them all if you can - and then only use the ones you really like the flavour and texture of. Sure, quinoa may be on all the “super-healthy-food” lists, but if you can’t really abide it then don't eat. There are so many different grains you can use in your baking you need not limit yourself to what other’s use. I also like the idea of experimenting with the grains that are grown locally to you; for me in Australia I can buy beautiful organically-grown millet, buckwheat, sorghum and rice so that’s what I use most of in my baking.

3. Balance
My best gluten free baking recipes always have a balance of starch flours (ie. tapioca, arrowroot, potato, cornflour) with grain-grass flours (rice, buckwheat, millet, sorghum, teff, quinoa). Because gluten free grains lack the proteins of gluten they are not as easy to bake with - they need extra starch to help bind them together and keep the texture soft and elastic. In bread I use a ratio of 1:3 starch to grains, and in sweet baking such as cakes and biscuits I use as 1:2 ratio of starch to grain. My favourite all-purpose flour mix is a very simple 1:2 tapioca or arrowroot starch to white rice flour. My favourite bread flour mix is 1/2 tapioca starch to 1/2 cup brown rice flour + 1/2 cup buckwheat flour.

4. Find
Find recipes for something you really love to eat or create your own gluten free version of them. Something I loved (and missed) eating was a french baked custard called “canelé” which I had made before I became coeliac - I used my original recipe and tinkered with until I was happy with it’s taste and texture in gluten free form. I now make these custards for farmers markets and they make a lot of people very happy!

5. Practice
It’s cliche I know, but practice really makes perfect when it comes to success with gluten free baking. The more you make a certain recipe and get a feel for your ingredients, your oven, your enjoyment of it - the better it will get every time you try.

6. Substitute
Much of my baking is quick substituting of a gluten-ful recipe; I replace whatever it asks for such as wheat flour with my all-purpose baking mix (1:2 tapioca + white rice flours), with usually an extra egg to help with binding. Sometimes I might use a ground nut flour such as almond or hazelnut instead of the suggested wheat flour and that works wonderfully well in cakes. When it comes to sauces or sponge cakes that ask for “cornflour” I use tapioca starch in exactly the same quantity - I have found it works with success every single time.

7. Buy quality and bulk
Seek out the best quality gluten free grains and flours that you can. Your tummy and your baking will thank you. I have found buying organically-grown grains in bulk quantities (5kg bags for example) ends up being a cheaper than the little packets of conventional gluten free flour found in the supermarket. For those in Australia, I love using Honest to Goodness for buying my flours. When making sourdough bread it’s extremely important to use chemical-free grains (or organically grown) in order to not kill the good bacterias in your sourdough starter. Grains and flours don't store forever - and flours go rancid more quickly than whole grains - it is better to find the flours you like the best and get bulk quanities that you know you can use up over 2-3 months before it goes bad. Otherwise store excess flour, especially nuts flours in the fridge or freezer to keep them from spoiling. 

8. Embrace eggs
Eggs are glorious. Obviously I am a bit biased because I am a farmer of pasture raised eggs and handle some 300 of them every day! Eggs contain almost every mineral and vitamin the human body needs and are full of protein; especially in the whites which will help your baking hold together, rise and be softer/lighter in texture.

9. Explore the garden
Explore your garden (and local farmers markets) for edible weeds, herbs, vegetables, and fruits you can incorporate in your baking throughout the seasons. Got lots of apples? Make pies! A ton of parsley or rosemary? Make biscuits or crackers. Never ending supply of zucchinis or squash? Grate it up and mix into your bread with caraway seeds! My favourite gluten free baked good by far and away is a very simple tarte tatin I make in Autumn with quinces which are so plentiful around here I can pick them from wild trees growing beside the road.

10. Don't apologise
I will never forget the time, a couple of years ago, when I was standing at a local farmers market with my table of gluten-free bread and a random lady came up to me with a frown and said "this stuff is what I hate! gluten free rubbish", I was shocked, but eventually she told me that what gluten free bread had tried she thought was awful and hated how trendy it was to be on a gluten free diet. I was quick to remind her that many people have diseases and intolerances, and that while it isn't "healthier" for all people to be gluten free, for many many people it is, or even their only choice! We have a gluten free household so when I cook for events or parties, it's always free of gluten, and delicious, and I never apologise for it.

I have released an eBook “The Art of Gluten Free Baking” with my recipes for gluten free sourdough, artisanal breads and more. You can buy it here.

mother skin


motherhood is
two scars on my belly
like lightning bolts or wings perhaps
reminders of a body
that's been stretched:
an ancient tale
of one growing another -
it's the nuzzling face
of a newborn,
mouth and eyes rooting
for sweet nourishment -
it's the kisses on my neck
of a two year old
who just climbed into bed
and whispers something softly
about toast or trucks
it's the five year old in the back of the car
that asks:
what is mist made of?
how many sleeps until you die?
it's where I let go of self
and find her again,
with softer skin, a fuller heart
and hands that are always moving -
who cares less about the perfect,
surface of things
and bends into beauty
that's offered in the everyday
in faith, in messes -
to love deeply
and keep on.

(Jan, 2017)


Ode to Winter


Winter wanders
round the paddock -
with sticks and fallen logs and
curving branches we fashion
wigwams, secret places to crawl
into and whisper stories -

Winter wonders
are mundane things made magical:
frosted fenceposts, 
ice crystals on the lawn,
cut glass hanging in the window
catches the late afternoon sun
and makes rainbows dance on the ceiling,
baby blowing farewell kisses,

Winter warmers:
every single ray of sunshine, 
frothy milk with cocoa,
socks on our toes, five
layers against the chest,
conversation in bed
he curled around me
curled around a hot water bottle,
blankets pulled up to our necks -

Winter work
numb hands packing cold eggs,
building blocks and train tracks -
brooding baby chicks,
boxes of belongings opened
and sorted, bon fire blazing
(the broken crib, rocking chair)
earth tilled, turned, 
weeded, mulched, 

Winter woman
lets the season wash over her:
the difficulties and the beauty -
and the more she lets herself
slow down, lie dormant,
the better it feels, 
to be laid bare