Thursday, September 22, 2011

Brittle spring

The days of brittle spring have come down to these:
The days of light and grass and fallen flowers.
Leaves unfurling and polished in the sun

I am struggling for words lately. It seems like every time I open my mouth, or open myself up, I am shut up again. So many things have gone wrong lately - there seems barely a day that hasn't contained some new kick in the teeth. I was struck by the vision of a person in a fight. Taking punches, going down and getting back up again, taking kicks, and getting up again slowly, and even more slowly. Today something happened that put me on my knees, and I'm starting to wonder what the hell I keep getting up for. Surely it is an act of insanity.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Tour de Fleece 2011

I am taking part in the Tour de Fleece this year for the first time. Started in 2006, the TdF is a spinning challenge that runs for the length of the Tour de France. You are encouraged to spin every day that the Tour rides, so Saturday July 2nd till Sunday July 24th, with rest days on the 11th and the 18th. My goals for the Tour de Fleece are:
  • To spin for at least 15 minutes every day
  • To start spinning the fleece that I started prepping way back in January here
  • Friday July 22nd is the Tour’s toughest mountain stage for the riders, and in the TdF you are encouraged to spin something challenging. I will be trying to do some spinning from the fold with some silk fibre that I have in the stash.

For part of the TdF I will be away from home, visiting the Bendigo Sheep and Wool show. I'll be spinning on a drop spindle on those days, because my Rosie will be staying home, looking after the cats.
I am massively excited to be going to Bendi. I've been once before, in '09, but I only had time to see the woolcraft vendors and exhibits. This year I've booked a hotel room for 2 nights, and I'll be able to go along to the Ravelry dinner on the Friday night. My friend Rachel, a very accomplished knitter and rookie spinner, is travelling and staying with me, so I will have a fellow knit-nerd to witter away with. I am determined to get around the show a bit more and see all the animals and the 'behind-the-fleece' part of the fibre I spin. Plus, I'm always grateful for the chance to expand my animal husbandry knowledge. I have a secret dream to have some fibrey animals of my own one day, so I will be asking lots of questions.
I've been doing a lot of spinning lately - I think I've spun around 8 skeins of yarn in about 10 days. I took a look at the fibre I have in my stash, so many beautiful braids and bundles of soft, smooth and colourful fibre, and gave myself a good talking to. 'What good is it just sitting here?' I asked myself. So I picked a packet and started spinning. So far, I've done some arty looking thick singles from a mini-batt I won at Bendigo '09, some squishy barberpole merino, and a whole heap of others which I will take a picture of as soon as the weather stops being so dark and dismal. I've had a couple of tries at spinning thick and thin singles, and I'm not 100% happy with the results as yet, but I shall keep trying :-)

Monday, June 20, 2011

End of autumn 2

Recently I wrote how I think of autumn as a time of taking stock, which it definitely has been for me, not only in the garden, but in my life as well.
I have decided to give up on the internet dating thing, actually, to give up on finding a mate at all.
I've invested a lot of myself in this search, which has brought me a dear friend in the shape of D, but little else apart from disillusionment and disappointment. My friends have been well-meaningly upbeat, but I find it increasingly hard to have any faith in the idea that there is someone for everyone. In moments when I am honest with myself, I wonder whether I have the emotional and psychological tools to have a relationship anyway.
All of this has the tendency to sound terribly self-pitying and maudlin, but I am trying to look at it in another way. In lieu of the search for a mate, I am embarking on the search for a good life. It seems a bit like cleaning out an old shed. Pulling things out into the light and examining them - to stay or go? What is broken or decayed? What can be repaired? What needs TLC? What is that eating away at the windowsills?
I'm trying to shift my focus to making my life a place I want to live in, because I'm going to be in it for a long time. If someone comes along to share it, then great, but it is silly to try and build a house on imaginary foundations.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Misty breath morning

I walked through the crunching grass,
And kicked diamonds with my gumboots.

Monday, May 30, 2011

The end of autumn

To me, autumn has always seemed to be a season of renewal. A time to take stock, to finally stop and let the cool air fill you lungs after the hammering heat of summer.
It is a time of literal regeneration too, with autumn rains greening the hills, followed by little red and white calves popping their pink noses above the dry grass.
In the garden, I've been evaluating the successes and failures of the last few months. With a few exceptions, the vegie garden was almost a complete failure. Once the weather kicked into high gear in January, it took all of my energy just to keep myself fed and clothed and work, and the weeds took over. My seedlings died, fruit lay rotting on the ground, and not one corner of my garden was a peaceful haven where I could recharge my batteries. Much as I am ashamed to admit it, there were even blackberry canes climbing on the roof.
So in the past week, I have started making improvements to my front garden. A front garden might seem a strange choice for a peaceful spot, but surrounded by paddocks as I am, it is not so odd. It is on the south side of the house, and in summer, the coolest place in the garden. Between milkings I've been pottering around, doing a little weeding, a little pruning, and a lot of planning. This weekend, a dear friend, D, came to stay and helped me make huge progress. (Although, if I had allowed him to help more I probably wouldn't have such a painful neck and shoulder now, but I digress)
D took up arms against the blackberries which had self-seeded among the hydrangeas and azaleas, clambered up through the rhododendrons and camellia and were heading skyward on the roof of the house. I laid newspaper and straw on the weeded garden beds and spread Dynamic Lifter around. Together we made the most perfect little seat in the world, modelled after a picture I saw on the internet and made out of a plank of wood and some bricks. It is positioned in front of a sasanqua camellia that marks the grave of my family's black labrador, Sooty. She was a loving, gentle soul, and there is a real sense of peace in that spot. D and I also raked up the fallen leaves from the big magnolia tree and put them on the garden to add some organic matter.
Today I pruned the hydrangeas, and I removed two limbs from the smaller, lily-flowered magnolia. It had been pruned badly some years ago by A Person Of Very Little Brain, and this has encouraged long floppy branches. The limbs I removed had become dangerous to anyone mowing, but taking them out has had the lovely side effect of making the hellebores underneath visible, and hopefully they will flower well this year with the extra sunshine.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Slack blogger returns...

I can't believe time has slipped away so fast that I haven't written a post in over a month. It's been a little crazy here on the hillside, a little fraught, a bit tense, and more than a little cold without a working heater. So please be patient while I process it in my brain enough to get it down in words to put here. In the meantime, I hope to bribe you with pictures of kitties. I have six feline overlords at the moment. Two were my grandmother's which I inherited when I came to live here, and four of my own that came along in the past six years. Here are some of them (Bella is the tabby and white, Hector is the ginger and Addie is the tortoiseshell):

And I have some sad news for those who have met my chooks in real life - two were killed and one badly injured this week. I'm not sure by what yet, but I think a feral cat is responsible.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Love is enough - William Morris (and you thought he was just a designer)

Song 1 - Though the world be a-waning

Love is enough: though the World be a-waning
And the woods have no voice but the voice of complaining,
Though the sky be too dark for dim eyes to discover
The gold-cups and daisies fair blooming thereunder,
Though the hills be held shadows, and the sea a dark wonder,
And this day draw a veil over all deeds passed over,
Yet their hands shall not tremble, their feet shall not falter;
The void shall not weary, the fear shall not alter
These lips and these eyes of the loved and the lover.