26 Jan 2015

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. 

16 Jan 2015

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 cafĂ© 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.

2 Jan 2015

to the year passed

{a tradition... the year that was, under my feet… }

2014
Oh 2014, what a year you have been,
I don't know where to start,
you aren't so easily summed up
you are so full of moments
hard and truly truly glorious

like

the sounds of pigs roaming, happily,
little hands crushing grapes in finger tips,
strong arms building fences, painting a landscape,
my own nervous hands shaking a swarm of honey bees,
fermenting, sun-soaking, seed-raising

plans made, surprises and
unknowns to make sense of,
struggles of beloved friends -

we took our boldest steps yet
to move to the countryside and
join a new community,
learn to farm holistically,
start our own business -
conceive a new life

and in all I keep trusting Him
for direction and soul-soothe
and mystery,

year passed -
for keeping me moving
for the learning and
everything else
thank you.


.
20132012
2011
2010
2009

30 Dec 2014

twenty six weeks

Sweet babe,
I feel so full of you! We've been on holidays in Sydney for a week now, and soaking in the long summer days - playing board games with my siblings, eating so much cheese and ripe mangoes and melon, driving to the oceanside... Oh how wonderful it is to feel cool and light in the water and breathe in salty breeze. Satisfying sleep seems hard to come by at the moment with your brother's unsettled nights, vengeful mosquitos, summer humidity and my ever-increasingly impatient bladder. You are moving so much little one - especially when I'm still. I imagine you're telling me its good to pause, slow down and make room in my heart and body for you. I've been busy sorting through boxes of our belongings to take back home - tiny garments for you to wear, picture books for you to thumb through, artwork by your dada to hang on the walls, fabric for your mama to craft quilts and bibs and booties from. Keep growing little laddie, I am so glad for you...
xx

25 Dec 2014

unto us

unto us a child is born
unto us a child is given
and the government shall be on his shoulder;
and his name shall be called
 wonderful, counsellor, mighty god, 
everlasting father, 
prince of peace

.
.

wishing you a happy christmas
eating well, talking kindly,
making merry, thoughtfully
unwrapping and savouring
the best gifts in life -
love, kinship, peace. 

xx

18 Dec 2014

the season

The last week has passed in a flurry I can barely keep up.

Poor little Reu caught the gastro-bug going round, then just after every soiled sheet and towel was washed (every single item of linen in our house), I fell sick with it... I lost days of preparation for the farmer's markets, but still baked like a mad woman in order to have a stall on Saturday brimming with gluten-free european-style christmas delights, it was a successful experience but draining...

Then on Tuesday afternoon a sudden and serious grass fire swept through our area forcing us to quickly pack belongings and evacuate to town, spend a night at friends, and come home late yesterday afternoon... the image of burning hills in the dark of night (like lava oozing) stays with me. We were so blessed the wind didn't change our way, and that no lives or homes were lost - but we are sobered by the realities of living in rural Australia in the summertime and prompted to be prepared for anything.

And so I pause for a moment, because I must, with first morning's cup of tea to write here and soak in the little Christmas scenes around our home... I feel the wriggling babe more than twenty-four weeks grown, I marvel at the golden sun on the pasture all around us.

Tomorrow we leave for a week or so in Sydney to reconnect with our beloved kin, celebrate the birth of the babe Jesus, swim in the ocean, rest a while before the busyness of the new year is upon us.

Wishing you and yours a special and blessed time of respite, joy and goodwill
xx

3 Dec 2014

settling in

Slowly, ever so slowly we are settling into our new home... escaping the heat inside its thick double brick walls, unpacking boxes, hanging washing out to dry, letting the dusk breeze in, listening to our neighbours moo, swatting a hundred hundred flies, navigate so much busyness, jump on the trampoline, collect sticks for craft, settle our boy to sleep, welcome surprise visits, wake to the sight of a grey gum tree... 

26 Nov 2014

cooking (with little people)

We have done a lot of happy mama + toddler cooking lately... I must confess, up until recently I've found cooking with this little person quite challenging. It is just so much easier to cook alongside him while he does something else like run about wildly or race cars or read books... But when he's pulled a chair up to "help mama" there is sure to be cream splatters, washing up water on the floor, raw egg finger-tested... It's also that I find it difficult to change my pace - to slooow down - and be patient for him to stir and grate! This is not always possible, but in the past few weeks I have made a decided effort to prepare a meal everyday with him. Oh, and let messes happen!

So far we've made banana ice-cream, sushi rolls, salad, orange juice jelly, shortbread, green bean salad, omelette and guacamole. Sushi is especially wonderful and tactile - fingers spreading out rice - cutting fillings - rolling up the seaweed (which the little cook would rather eat just plain by itself). I am amazed that these tiny hands are nimble enough to whisk and even, with careful guidance, slice green beans!

My love of cooking started at a young age - when I was about four or five. I am so glad for the encouragement and opportunity my mum gave me so I would feel comfortable in the kitchen preparing edible (and inedible) meals and learning one of life's great skills - making wholesome food for yourself and others.

Let's be brave and encourage the same in our little ones...

~Real banana ice-cream ~

5 free-range egg yolks
1 litre full-cream milk (we use raw)
1/2 cup cane sugar or honey
2 very ripe bananas
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste

Prepare the custard by heating milk in a saucepan on a low heat until just below boiling. Meanwhile whisk egg yolks and sugar in a jug or bowl. Pour in warm milk and whisk vinously - then tip back into saucepan. Continue to heat and stir custard until set (when the back of a wooden spoon stays coated with mixture). Cool. Stir in mashed banana, spice and vanilla. Freeze in a ice-cream machine or (as we do) pour into popsicle moulds. 


~Gluten-free sushi rice ~

Its funny to put the "gluten-free" in the title but most store-bought sushi is not free from gluten - despite being rice based, the vinegar often contains wheat or grain alcohol and the mayonnaise most certainly does. It is so easy to make your own sushi rice though! 

2 cups short grain sushi rice (will make about 6 rolls)
2 cups water
__________
1 cup white vinegar (rice wine vinegar is perfect)
2 tablespoons cane sugar
1 teaspoon sea salt

Soak rice for a few hours in tepid water and rinse thoroughly. Combine rice and water in a medium-sized saucepan and bring to the boil. Lower heat and simmer with the lid off for 8 minutes. Turn off the heat and cover for 15 minutes. 

Meanwhile in a small saucepan bring vinegar, sugar and salt to the boil. Stir till dissolved and remove from heat to cool.

Spoon rice out into a long baking dish (I like using a ceramic or glass one) - then sprinkle rice with vinegar mixture, turn it over carefully without squishing the rice, fanning the steam as you go. I use the packet of seaweed nori sheets for this - but a real paper fan would be better. You want the rice to look shiny but not "slimy" with vinegar so just add a little at a time. Cover with a damp tea towel while you get your sushi fillings ready. 

Roll sushi rolls by hand or using a mat and fill with whatever you feel like - we love combinations of slices of avocado, cooked egg omelette, cucumber, lettuce, tamari chicken, smoked salmon, tined fish - all delicious with a delicious smear of wasabi and tamari sauce (gluten free soy sauce).