you and I, the blueberry kids

When we visit the blueberry farm I feel the kid in me bursting out; rambling down rows of berry laden bushes, gleefully spying ripe blue globes, and on hands and knees - reaching up between branches to pick and eat and fill our buckets. You, my little lad, are just the same - giddy with the sight of a favourite fruit all around us... the first time we go it's pouring down with rain and we juggle umbrellas and step around muddy puddles, we are cold and crazy but it's worth the two kilograms we bring home. Together we beat overripe bananas with eggs, butter and honey and make two great loaves of sweet bread, studded with the berries you press into the batter. You sit and lick the bowl clean and wait the longest time for them to bake and cool down enough to eat. 

The next week we return for more berries and the sun is shining - the sky a brilliant blue to match our edible gems. After the picking, the farmer takes us to pull up nets of yabbies from his dam and you call them black monsters and spend the next two days fascinated by their nipping and ambling about in plastic tubs filled with water. We try cooking the big ones but only get a finger nail or two of meat each - the rest we release into our nearby dam, goodbye wabbies you say, waving...

Lately I find myself reflecting often about being a mother - about my struggles in learning how to facilitate and teach and enjoy your company, especially as my body tires with the growing of your baby brother. I think about the funny conversations we have, how much I do so love your company day by day - you remind me to stop and observe; move about with passion; express my feelings and wishes (and listen patiently to yours) - you remind me to enjoy the curiosity and tinkering of things, to be flexible in the unexpected, along with the relief of a good routine and thoughtful planning of the day...  I have no idea really what life will be like with you and your brother in it side by side, I don't pretend it will be easy, but then most things in life that are rewarding and wholesome are worked for, worked at, reworked... 

Next week you turn three and your face reminds me daily... you are so much a boy now. But then when I tiptoe into your room at night to pull the covers up, and you're fast asleep I see those full cheeks and gentle face of the freshly born you... always. 

exploring

Alex's parents stayed with us recently and it was wonderful to spend time with them exploring nearby towns... that is one thing I do so love about this area; we live in the countryside but are within an hour's drive of two big cities and countless small towns each with their own interesting shops, cafes and galleries on the high streets, monthly farmer's markets and beautiful gardens.

One day we took a day trip to see the steam train at Castlemaine, followed by a wander, a lovely lunch and an afternoon stop to peruse shops in Daylesford - two wonderfully quaint (and so very alive) former gold-mining towns brimming with colour and character, history, tall stone churches, old lattice-adorned wooden buildings, blooming flowerbeds...

Full of glad

Spring enfolds us in sunlight and blossoms - creamy jonquils and natives I don't know the names of... the farmer's market on saturday morning is brimming with hats and sandals and pots of hellebores and crocuses (remember those lush crocuses that would appear in the grass in France)... We lick frozen juice ice blocks and chat about chickens... We wrap gifts for father's day and prepare a big batch of rocky road (with homemade marshmallows)... Next morning we prepare a special breakfast of buttermilk pancakes with bacon, fried tomatoes, strawberries and maple syrup.  We shower him we love with kisses and our gifts laced with brown string and toddler-painted labels. We church and take our lunch out to the property we plan to grow our farm. In the shade of old old gum trees we eat and rest and talk with friends. We ramble over rocks, we soak in magnificent views of sweeping gorge, running river, rolling hills... We draw with our fingers the outlines of a orchard, vegetable gardens, grazing routes for cows and patches for cutting hay. We dream of a house nestled in the hill and the thought of watching a day of light fall against the rocks. A hawk soars in circles above us... For almost an hour we stand by the water and throw stones - delighting in the bubbles and ripples each splash makes. We walk until we're out of breath and I carry all fifteen kilos of boy up hill till my heart's racing in my chest. We close the weekend with boundary lines on a map and kinship by the fireside. We drive home in the dark, tired and full of glad...

take a walk

go on, take a walk -
see your new neighbourhood,
bustle up with woollens and move
briskly - all the way to the playground
take the slide and make a freezing sand castle
wander over the bridges
fumble fallen oak leaves
(and watch them float into the creek)
hear the gentle lull of water moving
gaze through skeleton trees
or bend down excitedly
to smell unfurling daffodils,
dance with feet in boots
quoting Wordsworth
and rubbing ears prickled with cold
blowing red noses, running
and hiding, exclamations
at the birds we see flying,
though there's blossoms about
it's still winter here,
walk all the way home
and make tea.

grey-skied

.
.
on grey-skied days
I marvel at the silhouette
of birds flying,
we take risks
walking, wondering
if we'll be wet when we return,

we rumble inside
bake and blend smoothies
he lines up cars and trains
and I begin cutting linen
for clothes,

we wake in the dark
to the pitter patter 
of rain drops
I imagine the trees
with dry-leaves upturned
sighing with relief -

on grey-skied days
 I seek out all the colours
that I overlooked before
blue tile, umber rust, 
the purple of lavender sprigs.
.
.

steampunks

This morning I took Reu on his first steam-powered train ride on the Heritage Express circa 1928. I could barely contain my excitement for that train-loving toddler of mine as we came into view of it steaming away on the platform! Ahhhs and Ohhhs and look! look mama! BIG TRAIN! We chugged along from Central to Clyde in our leather seats, looking out the window and chatting to the elderly couple sitting across from us.

Reu didn't expect the engine to sound so loud as we boarded the train (which made him wince and cry a little) and I certainly didn't expect to feel so moved by the experience... something about the nostalgia of inventions past, the many smiling onlookers taking photographs as we passed their stations, the dark tunnels filled with steam and woo-wooos...

It was the Queen's birthday holiday and I couldn't think of a better way to spend the day - a ride on a grand old train and home for warm scones with jam and cream. Happy Monday to you! 

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

a'marketing

This week I've been busy getting my sewing groove back on - seaming up aprons, bags, cowboy bibs, foraging satchels,  glasses cases, pin cushions, needle savers, tea cosies and more for a Sunday market.

It does feel so good to spend time with my sewing machine after a seven month hiatus - to fumble needle and thread - to cut through silky linen and repurpose polka dot pillow cases and decades old lace doilies. I think of the farm as I embroider tiny clovers like the ones I so often spied in the green pasture. I am reminded of France in the sturdy blue and white print of children exploring and red and white gingham...

If you are interested and nearby this weekend - I'll be at the Now & Now Markets - May 4th - from 10-3pm at 1 Levey Street, Wolli Creek (beside the Cooks River). It's a special mama's day theme with plenty of fun things for small and big persons to do and eat and peruse. 

Would be lovely to see you...

(Otherwise expect a grand re-opening of the etsy shop early next week)

Bon week-end!

saint earth

to celebrate our anniversary we three drove off to the garden of St. Erth in the not-so-faraway town of Blackwood. we were met with lush green grass, tall arching trees, the smell of eucalyptus and rain and crushed mint leaves underfoot... we savoured a late lunch of roasted vegetables from their garden, sausages and potato salad, flourless chocolate cake and double cream while noticing the rather large and intimating huntsman spider on the ceiling crawl closer to us (who Reu excitedly names, like all insects, "bee"), we wander the cultivated grounds - so many features I dream in a garden of my own - rambling stone pathways and raised beds, flowers intermixed with herbs and vegetables, wooden benches under shady trees for reading or sitting still, enough order and wildness, colour and greenery and space to breathe. Oh and we stockpiled a large array of autumn and winter vegetable seeds, all heirloom and wondrous. let the dreams, gardening and another year of love and adventure between my man and I begin... x

a'marketing

 Hello hello, good saturday to you... here's a little peak at the things I've been busy making and finishing off for the markets tomorrow. if you are in sydney (or nearby) and are looking for fun things to do tomorrow - this would be it! face painting and animal petting for the kiddies, homemade german sausages, locally roasted coffee for the parentals... and lots of vintage and handmade delights too. this is my first time back on the market scene in a few years and its both exciting and nerve wracking. Hmmm better go finish off those labels...