ode to autumn

 

Autumn, she’s a gift to me
(and always my favourite season)
that soft sun,
slow golden unleaving -

she is the mandarin
I’m peeling with my hands
by the back door
(and all the pips I find
under my boys’ beds)
the sound of bees
about the verbena bush

she’s the morning frost,
the late afternoon walks,
sandpit tunnels, the birds
in the trees:
cockatoos, galahs,
magpies, crows, kookaburras,
goshawks, willy wagtails fanning -
and the two black swans
that appeared one morning
in the dam

she’s the velvet ears
of freshly born calves,
the green spear-tips
of daffodil bulbs
the brownest, driest, heat-bleached earth
soaked with longed-for rain
and the burst of bright bright green -

she’s birthdays and busyness
chickens, eggs, children, dishes -
the dance of wants and needs and jobs
the first boxes packed, virus caught,
windows thrust open, weeds pulled -

she’s the steam of morning, midday,
afternoon, late afternoon and evening tea -

she’s the season of letting
what must fall away, go -
of sitting gently with old shadows,
speaking kind words to fresh fears
but finding beauty there -

and oh, in all those golden leaves…

 

Family

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

Us

 

Alex and I are fortunate enough to both own beautiful digital SLR cameras, and however hard we try we just cannot seem to set up a portrait of all five us. So early one morning this week our sweet neighbour Bek agreed to meet us down by the chickens to take some current family photos for us. She did marvellously! And I feel so thankful for how far we've come in this farming journey and how each one of our boys is perfectly at home among the earth and feathers! And of course the hens adore their chicken man, Alex - one even perched herself on his hat. I mean, how can you blame her... 

 

the natural home

We start moving house in two days - to a perfectly practical 1956 red brick cottage complete with curved kitchen wall and open fire place! It will see us living next to our landlord's happy cows, hilly landscape and most importantly - so much closer to our farming operations on a nearby property. It will be the first house we've lived in alone as a family since France - in about eighteen months - I can't wait to unwrap long-boxed-up belongings and hang art on the freshly painted cream walls... nest a happy space for our growing brood. 

Recently I borrowed a beautiful book from the library compiled by Hans Blomquist "The Natural Home" - the scenes above are from it's pages... so many homely spaces to swoon over; washed walls, earthy tones, natural fibres, recycled timber, found objects, art, ceramics, linen... Ideas to pocket away for the day we plan and build our own farm house. 

Happy weekend friends
xx

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.
.
.

a day in the life

(one ordinary, glorious friday, february 28th - just the babe and I) 
 6.30am. how the landscape greets us
 6.45am. open the nesting boxes and lay fresh hay
 7am. we spy sweetie munching
 7.05am. we tend to the weeks old chicks - fresh wood shavings ,
water troughs cleaned,  hay for foraging and grain for eating.
 7.45am. we breakfast 
 8am. make laundry while the sun is shining
8.30am. bowl of tea accompanied by emails and plan for the day
 9.30am. brrrrrrmmmmmm
9.47am. we plant seeds for carrots, radishes and beetroot,
we tend to growing vegetables, weed and water...
 10am. the harvest: beans, silver beet, zucchinis, 
cucumbers, tomatoes, capsicum and zinnias
10.52am. the master box decorator
 11.15am. apples picked, cleaned and ready to store
11.30. tomato and plum sauce making.
 12.30pm. homestead cleaning while the babe naps
 1.40pm. this and that lunch

3pm. studies in blue.
4.15pm. egg collecting - 263 today
 4.30pm. cleaning and packing for retail
 5.15pm. time for supper mister pigs
 5.17pm. happy happy piglets
 5.30pm. picking sunflowers and tansy to bring inside
 6.05pm. chicken and vegetable soup for dinner
 6.30pm. bum in the tub
 6.55pm. Bus there! favourite books before bed 
 7.15pm. check on older chicks, 
catch (with difficulty) ailing ones for the "sick bay"
 7.30pm. walk before dusk
 7.35pm. my favourite light of summer
 7.37pm. this.
 7.45pm. farm fence nostalgia
8.15pm. bowl of dandelion tea with knitting
 9.30pm. final part of Parade's End,

miss my absent lover (and tell him so)
the end.

a walk in the woods

we take a walk in the farm's beautiful wood - we go with no expectations, only a desire to be lost in trees. we are struck with the eerie beauty of the place - a sea of grey trunked eucalypts... a soft scattering of green grasses growing beneath... so many fallen logs and dried leaves... about our toes wildflowers - lilac violets, white six point stars... and ones I've never seen before that look like miniature orchids and tiny clusters of pale pink cauliflower. Walk too fast and you miss them. I gather up a bunch in my hands for drawing (and savouring by the window sill). My love captures behind lens and finds weathered glass fragments. The little one thumbs bark and gathers sticks... I pick and pause, thanksgiving for quietude, for moments like these.

lately






the last couple of weeks have been trying. poor alex has been knocked around first with a ruptured disc in his back, then a lingering cold, and just lately a gastro-bug (that thankfully left Reuben and I unscathed). It has made the preparing and packing for our internship slower and less straightforward... So little sleep, so many to-do lists! Still, there has been much to savor and rejoice in -  healing, springtime walks, meals with kin, usually warm weather, rediscovering sydney street art and eateries, taking a natural beekeeping course, swaying backyard canopy, freshly-unfolding wisteria...

today we'll commence three days of driving (stopping, resting, sight-seeing) to taranaki farm. I am a little scared though mostly excited about our new adventure... please do hold us in your thoughts and prayers for good health, navigation and a peaceful transition for our dearest, smallest member.

emily xx