eight years a windhover (and farewell)

Oh friends, isn't the wattle flowering along all the roads around here beautiful? That distinct smell and yellow fluff reminds me Spring is not far away...

This August marks eight years since I started this here blog - how strange to think when I started it - in my first year of university, just eighteen years old, that I would keep it up all these years later. It has been an enormous blessing - a place at once to feel familiar, comfortable, thankful and vulnerable - when I moved house, lived overseas, missed my kin, had children, worked, convalesced, meditated. So many friends made, dialogues started, I have felt so much encouragement and validation as an artist, cook, writer, mama in being able to share here. Truly, looking back I realise how much I needed it. It's been eight years and now it's time to go...

I have always had an agreement with myself that when it seemed time to move on from here, I would. I've been mulling over this for months now - a sense of distance from this space, and a deep right feeling that it's time to close this chapter.

And as you know, in the last year Alex and I have really taken a huge leap of faith - in starting a smallholding farm business, Hand to Ground - since it's inception I've felt the need to pour more time and energy it's vital, young years - my days are overflowing with what we are trying to create, grow, sell, establish - the very full occupation of caring for my young boys, tending to a garden, selling produce and making local connections... and as much as I love reading blogs and keeping up with friends on Facebook and instagram swooning, I really do need time to carve out and call sacred -  time to slow down, be mindful, nourished - offline. Not to mention the inevitable weaning that comes with such limited internet connect here in the countryside!

And so, from time to time, or as often as I can - I will document my days of learning to homestead and build a nourishing life on my instagram and on our farm blog...
Oh, blog - there are so many posts half written in my drafts, things I wanted to say and didn't, or couldn't find the time to put exactly how they needed to be said, or soon became too outdated and no longer relevant to the narrative of life as it moved along. Still, you've been so good to me. I not do not leave empty handed... in fact, I look forward in the next year or two to compiling a series of printed photo books with my favourite posts, odes, poems, photos, reflections, recipes...

Finally readers, it's you I owe a great thanks -
for joining me here, going away and returning,
leaving comments, emails, or unspoken well-wishes,
supporting my crafty or poetic or wordy pursuits -
delighting in the seasons, in my loves,
thank you 

and for the last time let me ask you to please comment, if you can, and tell me:

where are you reading this?
what is your favourite season?
what is your beverage of choice?
what do you like to read?
what have you liked best here?

fare thee well and adieu,
eight years ago...

my happy place

 Oh! Our kitchen is such a happy place for me... it is probably the most frequented room in the house, and is by far the roomiest kitchen we've ever had to ourselves. I love it's high ceiling, wooden floorboards and original 50s curved wall and wooden cupboards. We are tempering all the cream with hints of colour - enamel and ceramics and vintage linen I've collected over the years.

The table is a recent find at a market and the chairs were spied at the back of a local café which seem to accompany the table perfectly. My favourite spot perhaps is by the sink - where I spend many moments throughout the day washing up dirty dishes - I love that I can see out into the yard and welcome in the morning light... and sometimes spy my little boy splashing in puddles, or the pots of geraniums flowering, or the herd of cows grazing in the paddock surround us. Bliss indeed.

a june giveaway

 Hello dear friends, can you believe the month of June ends in just five short days? And with it commences the second half of the year...

To think in the past six months I have become a mama to a two-year-old, lived on a farm collecting hundreds of eggs most days, feeding chickens, miking and tending garden beds, taken full breaths of country clean air, submitted a manuscript for a children's book, soaked in summer sun, made new kindred friends, turned twenty-five, packed our belongings, crunched autumn leaves, reconnected with family and kin, prepared for (and attended) four handmade markets, read books in bed, planned for our next venture... and other things less notable, or more so, the not-so-oftens and the everydays. It has been a good year so far - hard and unknown and satisfying. So in celebration of what's been and what's to come I am offering a giveaway of recent makes -

One French style purple pleated handbag, fabric bunting card, purple cowboy toddler bib, dainty quilted pin cushion and linen bunting pin...

All you need to do is leave a comment here telling me what you loved most about the first half of 2014, and what you look forward to in the second.

I will draw a winner on the eve of June 30th.


And I'm happy to announce the winner is Jodie:

Please email me emilyclaresims[at]gmail[dot]com with your postal address - thanks! 

time for tea series - part one

this is a new series on celebrating, cherishing, making time for - afternoon tea. Usually between the hours of three and four, I now make a concerted effort to stop everything and enjoy a light meal and a pot of steaming hot tea with my toddler (he doesn't yet partake in the tea part of course). There is something completely unique to tea that causes the drinker to feel both alert and calm - I have truly found this to be the case... Our afternoon tea some days is simple - slices of cheese and apple, an orange peeled at the park - and other days we bake something especially (I bake, he licks the bowl). It need not stretch on for hours, it can be 15 minutes or 5 or 30  - when we decide to stop doing chores or work or rushing about and just sit for a moment or two to savour a whole warm cup of tea. Something I will say about motherfolk (and artists, and perhaps anyone) is the ability to make numerous cups of warm beverages in the day and proceed to let them become half-drunk and lukewarm....

I like my black tea with milk... how about you - what is your favourite tea? do you stop for afternoon tea?

eaten: spiced buckwheat cake + honey cream
drunk: pu'er aged black tea + full cream cows milk
read: life is a miracle by wendell berry
listened: toddler splashing, palm trees wavering, cars passing

- spiced buckwheat tea cake with honey cream -
this makes a mildly sweet tea cake - an everyday sort of cake you could have toasted for breakfast with butter or with a generous clump of freshly whipped cream in the afternoon. It is sweetened with honey and apples - a perfect treat for little ones. 

1/2 cup runny honey 
1/2 cup un-sweeteneed applesauce
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 eggs
1 cup of milk
2 tsp ginger
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp cloves, nutmeg each
1/2 cup almond meal
1 1/4 cups cups buckwheat
1 tsp baking powder
pinch salt
1 cup pure cream
1 tablespoon honey

Preheat oven to 180'c. In a blender or mixer combine all cake ingredients. Blend till smooth. Pour into a paper linen baking tin and bake for 45-50 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cool and un-mould. Meanwhile whip pure cream until soft peaks form - fold in a tablespoon of runny honey. Spoon onto cold cake and dust with ground cinnamon.

a monet dress

Oh! This is my newly hand sewn dress - I've named her "Monet" as she reminds me so well of his shimmering waterlilies at the Museé L'Orangerie - those purple, blue, green, cream and dusky pink hues... It seems like forever ago I took my babe there in my arms.

The fabric is the softest double gauze cotton by Japanese fabric designer Nani Iro - when I bought it last year I hoped to make a garment for myself but had no pattern in mind. Then a few weeks ago I found Rae's elegant washi dress...  I finished it just in time for my Aunt Cynthia's 50th birthday lunch yesterday - and did feel uncommonly luminous and flowery...

to the seaside

we're back from a few days at the seaside... it was so good to stay with our friends, visit my dad's family, picnic on the sand, build tall sandcastles - then jump on top of them, drink banana and yoghurt milkshakes, soak up warm autumn sun, bob in the salty waves, breathe the sea breeze in... times like these I remember why I love this country of ours - her land and sea... x