Archive | Daily Life RSS feed for this section

Letting Go

Hydrangeas Eggs and Knitting

Over the last couple of weeks Reubs and I have been working on decluttering the spare bedroom that will soon be our baby’s space. Our house has no storage (just the kitchen cabinets and one small closet in the hall) so when we moved in two years ago, all of the things that had no place to go got dumped in the spare room. In the time that we’ve been here we have acquired more things and many bits and pieces have made their way into that room, mostly just because we had nowhere else to put them or didn’t know what to do with them. For some time now the spare bedroom has been a source of anxiety for me. It reached the point where you could barely walk in there without disturbing a precarious pile of stuff and I had to avert my eyes when I walked past the room, as the mere sight of it stressed me out. We both knew we had to deal with it but had been putting off the inevitable clear out because, quite simply, it’s hard. Letting go is hard. But now that our family is growing and we need the space, we couldn’t put it off any longer. Over Christmas we began the process of simplifying our possessions.

Our clutter mostly fit into two categories; collections and sentimental objects.

The first things to go were the collections. Reuben and I both have bowerbird tendencies and like gathering collections of “special” things. Up until recently, a perfect day off together would always involve visiting a few op-shops or a flea market and bringing home a little haul of treasures. In the last few months however, both of our attitudes toward things have changed. Though I love my piles of vintage linens, stacks of vintage crockery and other odds and end, I’ve started to feel the weight of all the stuff my life and have really felt the urge to reduce my possessions. With this shift, I’ve also felt much less of a desire to acquire anything more. Going through our clutter room I was horrified by the amount of stuff I had picked up at op-shops or markets over the years, but had been sitting boxed up and unused ever since. I have reached the point now where I just want a small selection of items I really, really love, rather than a large collection of things I kind of love. We’ve cut back on our op-shop and flea market visits and, slowly but surely, I’m learning that when we do pop into a charity store or market, I don’t have to bring home every little item that I fall for. It’s ok to let some lovely things go.

The second group of things to sift through was the stuff we’d kept for emotional reasons. Reubs and I are both very sentimental by nature. We tend to imbue objects with too much meaning and find it hard to let go of things, which has resulted in us carting around boxes of sentimental stuff for years. We are realising now that, unless we want our home to become a museum of junk, we cannot keep everything with a memory attached to it. We have to learn to separate our memories from our possessions and only keep the most treasured items. After all, the physical objects are not what matter, the memories attached to them are. As Tricia touched on in a recent post, you have to let go of the things that used to be important in order to make space for the things that matter now. I’ve been concentrating on those words as I sift through our possessions and pack things in boxes to give away.

Since Christmas we’ve donated several boxes full of things and some furniture to a local op-shop, and we’re almost at the point where our baby’s room is cleared out and ready to paint. There is still more to do (especially in our kitchen cabinets and wardrobes!) but with each box that leaves our home, I feel the weight of the clutter lift. Removing all of the excess stuff from our house will make our lives simpler, tidier and easier, and already our home and our hearts feel lighter, freer and more open for it. I know now that in letting go of things that belong to our past we aren’t losing our history or throwing away our memories, we are simply making way for the future.

Katie xx

Comments { 30 }

Summer Harvest

Beetroot

Reuben and I have learnt so much about growing food this year. Our approach to our garden really changed after reading Jackie French’s book, Backyard Self Sufficiency, and seeing Jackie’s talk on the same topic at the Bendigo Writer’s Festival. I touched on Jackie’s ideas in this post but, basically, her philosophy is that the traditional neat rows of vegetables you see in European gardens are not ideal for the brutal Australian climate. Jackie advocates planting in groves, with a variety of plants all mixed together, planted close to each other. This allows the bigger plants to protect the smaller ones from the elements and can reduce the impact of pests.

Food Forest

As Jackie says “Most Australian gardeners plant too far apart. This is a relic from another culture: in European gardens you had to grab every available ray of sun. Our gardens need more shelter. Lots of leaf cover means the soil is insulated from the heat and cold, and the plants get more protection against frost.” Jackie also says “Don’t plant straight, neat rows: they allow pests to start at one end and march down the row munching, like guests at a smorgasbord. Break up plantings so that there is no large groups of any one plant.” We followed these guidelines while planting our veggies in spring and it has a resulted in wild, rambling jungle of healthy plants. While our garden isn’t the neatest or prettiest this way, it is the most productive it’s ever been. We call it our food forest, and we love it!

Raspberries

We’ve had great success with tomatoes, zucchinis, cucumbers and corn this year, but for some reason our eggplants, capsicums and chillies never came to anything. We’ve got pumpkins and melons growing happily under our fruit trees, and have been picking spring onions, silverbeet and herbs as we use them. Our basil is thriving and will soon be ready for making pesto with. Before Christmas we had lots of delcious home grown raspberries, and now that they’ve finished, we’ve started getting blackberries. Our tomato plants have gone especially crazy and are taking over the veggie beds. Though the tomatoes are still green right now, there are so many of them, soon enough we’re going to be eating tomatoes for breakfast, lunch and dinner!

Zucchinis Cucumbers and Corn

Tomatoes

This summer we really wanted to have a go at preserving some of our harvest for the first time. Our zucchinis went wild in December and in the space of a just few days, our little zukes became giant monsters, so we figured a zucchini relish was a good place to start. We also had too many cucumbers to eat in salads, so thought we’d have a go at making bread and butter pickles. And so it came to be that we spent our new year’s day in the kitchen, listening to records, chatting, chopping and stirring bubbling pots over the hot stove. Aside from one incident involving a very large quantity of spilt sticky pickle juice, it was a lovely way to ring in the beginning of a new year. I’d quite like to make preserving our harvest at new year an annual event. (We used this recipe for the relish and this one for the pickles.)

Relish and Pickles

We haven’t tried our pickles yet, as we are giving them time to mature, but we cracked open our first jar of relish a few days ago. We ate it with zucchini and corn fritters (from our garden, naturally!) and it is oh so delicious. We polished off that first jar in the space of just two days!

Mega Beetroot

And it seems now I’ve got the preserving bug! I’m hoping that once the fruit on our little peach and plum trees is ripe, there will be enough for me to attempt jam making with, and I am planning to plant lots more beetroot in the future, so that we can pickle some.

Blackberries

We still have so much to learn when it comes to feeding our family from our garden and larder, but I can see we are making real progress now. It makes me so happy to think that our children will grow up knowing where their food has come from and being involved in the process of growing and preparing it, understanding the seasons and (hopefully) being grateful for all that the earth provides. A few years ago I never could have imagined how satisfying I would find growing and preserving my own fruit and veggies, but today, as I look at the little row of jars stacked neatly in our pantry, nothing could make me prouder.

Katie xx

Comments { 26 }

A New Year

Mantle

It’s a brand new year! I can’t quite believe it, but the date on the calendar, the January-ish hot weather and the tomatoes ripening in our garden tell me it is so.

I’m sorry that it has been such a long time between posts. Since returning from overseas I’ve been feeling very introverted. I’ve been craving solitude and time spent sequestered in our little nest more than usual, and I’ve found myself withdrawing a bit from the outside world, including blog land. So much of my heart and mind has been consumed with thoughts and feelings for the little person growing in my belly, and I’ve been so very tired, I’ve had little left over for anything else. Many times I have told myself I need to write a blog update, but the words just wouldn’t come. It has only been in the last week or so that my fingers have begun to itch for the keyboard once more. I noticed today that my instagram captions have been getting longer and longer, and I realised that the words were (finally!) returning to me and I was missing this space. So here I am!

Presents

Katie Reuben and Baby

I’m 26 and a half weeks pregnant now, and each week seems to pass faster than the last. We discovered at our 20 week scan that I am carrying a happy, healthy little boy and, naturally, we are absolutely thrilled! As the weeks go by I am feeling him wiggle and kick more and more. Reubs felt his first kick the evening before his 30th birthday on December 11. I think he decided it was the best present ever.

Our Christmas was quiet and lovely. We gave up the traditional Christmas tree in favour of a homemade creation, put together with sticks gathered from my mum’s farm. We loved it so much, I think we might make the stick tree a tradition. Over the holidays Reuben’s sister came down from Queensland and spent a week with us, and on Christmas day I cooked a feast for the three of us, as well as my mum and dad. The whole day I couldn’t help but think about the fact that next Christmas, there will be another little person at our table.

Christmas Tree

Sadly we didn’t do anything for new year’s eve this year as, thanks to my pregnancy fatigue, I was fast asleep by the time the clock struck 12! But we spent our new year’s day making preserves from some of our garden harvest, which was really nice. I’ll write more about that another day.

This year promises to be a big one for our little family. I am so excited for all that lies ahead of us, but trying not to get too far ahead of myself and reminding myself to savour the good in the here and now too. With our trip to Europe, discovering we were expecting a baby, and other assorted goodness, 2014 was one of the biggest and best years of my life to date, but I suspect the best is still yet to come.

I hope you are happy, all is well in your corner of the world, and that your holidays were merry and bright. Wishing you a very, very happy new year!! (I promise I’ll be back again very soon!)

Katie xx

Comments { 20 }

Ten Good Things Right Now

Artichoke

Eggs

Clover

Bread

Seedlings

Poppy

Kale

Mango

Daisy

Broad Beans

Our first home grown artichoke.

The sound of Poppy snoring from the stack of linens on the shelves in my craft room.

The first mangoes of the season.

Spending time with people we love.

Home grown kale and broad beans.

Long, summery evenings.

Our gorgeous chookies providing us with four perfect eggs, almost every day.

Homemade zucchini bread.

Clean sheets, fresh off the line.

Feeling teeny, tiny taps in my tummy!!

What good things are happening in your world right now?

Katie x

Comments { 23 }

Fear and Surrender

Florence

Thank you all so much for your comments here, on facebook and instagram over the last week! We are absolutely over the moon, and it is incredibly touching to have this beautiful community behind us.

The last few months have been a roller coaster. I’m 18 weeks pregnant tomorrow and in some ways it seems like those weeks have flown by, but in the same breath, it feels like the last couple of months have inched by impossibly slowly. After losing our first baby, I have been extremely anxious this time around. When we found out I was pregnant and realised I’d be nine weeks along when we left for Europe, I was so stressed that something would go wrong while we were stranded on the other side of the world. Each day that passed uneventfully while we were away, I said a silent thank you to the universe. Up until a week or two ago I had quite a lot of morning sickness and fatigue, and as ridiculous as it may sound, I was so grateful for every moment of feeling ill or tired (even though it made for some interesting times while we travelled!) I had virtually no symptoms during my first pregnancy, so feeling unwell was strangely reassuring, especially while we were so far home.

Even since coming home and having a great scan, the anxiety hasn’t left me. I was so hesitant to share our news here, and even with our friends and family in real life, for fear of something going wrong. But I know from experience that if the worst were to happen, keeping it to ourselves would not make the pain any less. It also occurred to me the other day that no matter how scared I might be, I do not want to waste this fleeting, precious time feeling sad and worried. I want to start embracing this experience and celebrating this tiny life. I am so happy and so grateful to be carrying this little one. Such happiness deserves to be shared and cherished! I mustn’t let past hurts overshadow the joy of the present.

So, I’m trying to let go of fear and to surrender to the fact that so much of this experience is completely out of my hands. As a person with slightly control-freakish tendencies and a predisposition to worry, this has been a difficult lesson for me, but I’m working on it. I still don’t have complete faith that everything will be ok, but I accept that this is out of my control and my worrying won’t change anything. I trust that what is meant to be, will be, and I am full of hope.

So full of hope.

Thanks again for reading, friends. We are so grateful to have your support as we embark on this next part of our journey.

Katie x

Comments { 21 }