Monday, 17 December 2018

Holiday Cheer and Tomatoes

Wishing you all a wonderful Holiday Season. 

Tomatoes from our wicking beds are cut in half and placed on baking trays.

Add to this olive oil, home-grown basil and oregano, garlic cloves, salt and pepper. Pop in the oven for about an hour and hey presto. We have whizzed them up in a food processor to make pasta sauce. It also makes a delicious dip to eat with crackers.

The fly season is here so Doug is sporting his fly veil. I think he looks rather handsome.

The garlic continues to dry.

My Garden Fairy guards the front door of my studio.
 I am taking a break from writing until the New Year to catch up with projects around the garden, dedicate time to my art and catch up properly with friends. See you all in 2019!

Sunday, 9 December 2018

Home is where the Art is

"From the stars we came, and to the stars we shall return" - Jack Campbell.

Where are we from? Where are we now? As Summer steps into her full heat on this side of the world, I can feel a deepening of my own inner belonging to this place.

Having lived as a gypsy for most of my life, moving from place to place and changing States, has me pondering at times what really does make a place home. I have a wonderful life here in Northern New South Wales, however I was born down South in Adelaide.

I am seventh generation Australian on my paternal side, however everyone else is from the other side of the globe. My instincts have always drawn me towards the country life, to forests of deciduous trees, to the deep mysteries of the earth and the stars, reminding me of the invisible thread from my Celtic and European ancestors. Over the last several hundred years some of them decided to get on a ship and sail to Australia, so here I am.

This tree lives in Stirling Adelaide, my home town.
Without a doubt it is the people who make a place - our heart-felt connections to those who we have spent a life time with, friends, family. There are always the core people who we have as a touch- stone, reminding us of where we are from and where we belong now. These are people I have always known, and people I have known for decades or years. 

Here are two of my four newly planted Liquid Ambar trees. Directly across the road there is a mature Liquid Ambar so as far as I am concerned this is a grove of five trees.

A big influence on my feeling of inner stability providing me with another kind of touch-stone, are trees. I have always had a 'go to' tree wherever I live. They are a constant presence offering solace and a place to rest the heart. When I lived in Sydney in 2000-2002 there was an Oak Tree at the local park. When the sounds, sights and smells of that city got too much I would visit my friend the Oak. Standing underneath it's embrace of graceful limbs it was always cooler, quieter and completely peaceful. 

These are the spiny seed pods of the Liquid Ambar Tree that I have collected.
I now live on my own property where I have so far planted 88 trees, plus the recent three Ash trees and six White Gums. Together with the four Liquid Ambar trees I am beginning to gather a grove about me!
This makes me feel right at home. I am so blessed to have this place to rest my bones. 

These beauties also live in Stirling South Australia

This sense of place and who I am is influencing my art. There has always been this influence with what I produce in the studio, however it has now altered, changed course to reflect my own inner self at a much deeper level.

Recent scribblings are directing me to what the outcome will be. I am curious to see what eventuates in the studio over the coming months.

I really didn't think I had a blog in me to produce for you this week as I am in a deeply healing place that is taking much of my attention and efforts. However, here it is once again!
"Ha en vakker uke" - "Have a beautiful week" to you in the Norwegian language. 

Saturday, 1 December 2018

Follow the White

It is officially down time around here. We have worked hard to bring in and process the garlic crop so it is that feeling of slowly going around and cleaning up, making everything shiny again. It is terribly hot outside already and it is only the first day of Summer.

I made the decision several years ago to install a small air conditioner into the studio - a decision we rejoice in every Summer!

Except Maggie. Maggie doesn't care.

I have been cleaning out and re-organizing the studio to allow for a quiet corner that is designed specifically for quiet contemplation. From the chair I am looking straight out into the garden and at the distant mountain. 

It is time to clear the decks for my next body of work. Parts of it I have never done before so I expect it will take time to develop. I have decided it can take as long as it needs.  Rushing and stressing are not my favourite states of mind. I have dedicated many years to re-training my mind to welcome all that is slow and relaxed. Rushing and stressing just impedes the creative process anyway.

Last year's Liquid Ambar branches from across the road are leaning in the corner behind the chair. I am eyeing off a pretty foot stool to add to the general comfort of this spot!

If you look carefully you can see Molly photo-bombing next to the apple tree.

When my mum came to visit recently she helped me replenish the flowers on the front verandah. Here is a happy snap of the Begonias. They are going really well to say they get plenty of sun and heat. Mum was right! This is a good spot for them.

Writing this blog serves me in several ways: it helps me to put 'out there' what we are doing in the way of Art and Organic Farming. It also uplifts me by making me highlight to myself all that I am grateful for in my life. It really is the small things!
Have a great weekend whatever you are doing and remember to follow that white rabbit, if you dare!

Monday, 26 November 2018

Done and Dusted

This years crop is done. It has been easier than last year's efforts because we didn't have any significant rain. Last year a lot of time was invested in hosing mud off of hundreds of kilos of garlic before we could even begin processing it.

It has taken a full two weeks from go to whoah to bring this lot in, so now it is time to catch up with everything else on the farm that needs seeing to.

This part of the crop has been suspended from our main shed to dry. Fans are on it all day as circulation of air is critical during the drying process.

What we have here are the ones that we will use for seed next year. These are the ones that are 'un-sellable' because the bulb is already splitting apart.

Art-wise I have been developing new ideas for my mandalas. This will take some time while I work out how to translate what is in my head onto paper or timber.

Right now I am washing Doug's summer pyjamas, which of course will need mending before I can put them back on.

He always looks strangely naked without his rug. I am very happy though with how well conditioned he is after Winter.

So now I have about a thousand things to do - have a brilliant week and chat soon.

Sunday, 18 November 2018

No Vampires On Us

Meet Stan. This garlic is the biggest we have ever grown and I felt he had such a presence that I should name him.

Tipping the scales at .927 grams, just short of a kilo.

I can barely get my hand around it.

This is my work station this year with plenty of air flow as it is quite hot here in the sub-tropics.

Once it has been dug up from the ground Rob brings it in to hang up ready for processing.

Every single piece of garlic has to be trimmed of leaves and root system. We have completed about 200 kilos with about 500 or more to go. 

They all end up a crisp clean white after a layer or two has been peeled off. Molly keeps an eye on things to make sure we are getting it right.

This is my view from the 'office'. 

We had a storm roll in and I couldn't resist taking a photo of the incredible cloud formations.

This is after the storm. You can see it rolling away from us and toward South East Queensland.

That's enough of the chit chat, I have to get back to work. Have a fantastic week!

Holiday Cheer and Tomatoes

Wishing you all a wonderful Holiday Season.   Tomatoes from our wicking beds are cut in half and placed on baking trays. Add to thi...