28 May 2013

dreams :: {part two}


This was my grandfather's wheelbarrow. He was a gardener among (many) other things. I remember following him around to many a nursery, many a gardening job... and pottering in the garden with him. Between him and my Mum, if not a green thumb, then certainly an appreciation for time spent outdoors, growing my own food and getting up to my elbows in soil, developed.

When I was in high school, I decided I wanted to be a landscape designer. Not a Landscape Architect, or a Landscape Gardener, but a Designer. I did work experience with a woman working as a designer and planted petunias in some of the poshest gardens in Toorak. And learning so much along the way... I especially liked how she snuck Australian native plants and edibles into English-style cottage gardens, unbeknownst to the owner... That felt like some sort of guerrilla or activist type of gardening. Making the world a better place, one posh garden at a time...

So I decided that was for me. I set about designing garden beds for my school, which were met with quiet, respectful nods and pleasant smiles, then binned filed. I read up on gardens in France and England and Italy, admiring their patterns and making plans to visit someday... My art teacher was married to a prominent Landscape Architect/Gardener and decided that, knowing the reality of it, it probably wasn't for me. My hands were getting shaky and how was I going to draw up perfect plans with hands like that? Despite my protests that my Grandfather's hands shook and it never became a problem for him... My maths teacher told me my maths wasn't good enough to be a Landscape Architect. And, despite that not being the direction I wanted to go, I listened. I suspect Mum and Dad had higher aspirations for me than Horticulture College (that's where used up footy players went), and for some reason, at that time, I was sensitive to that too. My art teacher encouraged me towards other areas, thinking I'd make an excellent Art Teacher, or Art Historian. And although she was incredibly inspiring, and a great teacher in so many ways, I ignored her advice and went a different way (that she also discouraged) and became a Textile Designer.

I loved Textile Design. I still do. It's certainly a process, and part of my brain, that just works and comes naturally for me. It can be slightly messy and colourful and full of patterns... But garden design was still there.

I began collecting gardening magazines and researching correspondence courses I could do at night, after a long, exhausting day pushing pixels on a screen to put socks on supermarket shelves (I was a sock designer). I visited open gardens on the weekend. I gardened in our backyard and one year managed to grow most of the veggies that we needed for a whole season.

I sat in a tent at a festival one weekend and heard David Holmgren (co-originator of Permaculture) talk... Mind. Blown. Huz (not yet Huz), and I started looking into Permaculture and off-grid living... One day we might move to Tasmania and do that...

I came very close to enrolling in a Diploma of Horticulture at a local TAFE, having abandoned uni plans after almost paying off a sizeable HECS debt... Whe Huz found employment, I planned how I'd quit my job, or do the course in the evening... While I pined for days wasted while sitting at a computer, under fluoro lights, for a pittance.

I needed to be outdoors. Out in the real world...

And then a little voice came and chatted in my ear... I had a dream where I walked into a red and yellow tent at a different festival. A little girl, aged about five or six, took my hand and said "I'm Audrey. You're going to be my Mama". And so it was...

I've heard a few little voices since then (including one I'm having stern words with right now). And I kept working with socks as long as I could manage in amongst moving to Tasmania, Grandfather's wheelbarrow and all, and the rest which is documented in this blog...


We have three living owlets and a menagerie of animals living with us and although we've been in our nest for almost six years now, and the natives out the front have come along and look great... we have no established garden. No design. No food forest. We've had not much time or money to devote to it and although we've improved the soil immeasurably in places, you wouldn't know it to look at it. I'd all but given up on me and gardening. And still that other big niggling voice is still there...


Get out in the garden. Learn all about it and how it works. Find a way to make the world better. One garden at a time... starting with ours.

I imagined and dreamed of gardening courses... workshops came and went as I faced facts that I was here, with owlets all day long, loving that, but needing something for me. Something useful. So I decided if the timing was right, the stars would align and it would just work out. It always does.

And then Milkwood Permaculture advertised that they were coming to Tasmania to teach Urban Permaculture Design. And I umm-ed and ahh-ed until the very last minute...

And I made the stars align...


And right now now Tiny is up from her nap, so I'll continue the rest later... But do come back to read all about the course and where to next... I feel like I'm on an exciting new journey and I'd love to have some company along the way. xx

24 May 2013

{this moment}

Rhythm, music... Who could ask for anything more?

Joining in with SouleMama tonight while Tiny has a moment with the music... Slipper (there is only one) optional.

Happy weekend, peeps. xx

22 May 2013

seasonal delight :: rocking our world right now...


Apples... As a treat, or breakfast, or a snack... Anytime... Fresh from the Huon Valley.
Peeled and cored on the "spinny thing"...


Sauteed with butter...


Lots of butter...


Served with farm fresh milk. Delivered to our door, by the farmer himself...


Candlelight. Time spent together. Snuggling by the fire. Sunlight through windows...


And lashings of fresh cream...

Remembering quiet days as winter approaches and finding space for each other, within our nest... That gentle in-breath, settling into a rhythm after a long, wild Summer and early Autumn. Finding abundance and luxury in small things, simple things.

What's rocking your world right now?
How do you find simple abundance in your nest?


17 May 2013

The Tooth Faerie :: marketing and magic

Shiny bright big girl #firsttooth #littleowlet #wheredidmybabygo #superexcited

There's been a bit of excitement in our house... Wobbly teeth all over and Little Owlet has finally been visited for the first time. The owlets have decided that instead of just one universal tooth faerie, each of them has their own dedicated personal tooth faerie, who happens to be a millionaire (or at least have enough money for a gold coin for each tooth - gosh!). You'll be pleased to know that Little Owlet's tooth faerie is named Marigold and she wears a dress spun from spider's silk. There's much talk of silvery moons, dew drops and faerie magic!

Just as we're watching Little Owlet's teeth with anticipation, we're watching Tiny's with a degree of trepidation and making sure the products we use for her and for her teeth are of the purest and gentlest, most nurturing form. Regular fluoride toothpaste bit the dust long ago. We look for products that support and truly clean her teeth with their antibacterial qualities, and we don't mind that we are ingesting them because they are so pure.

With little changes have come some occasional resistance from the owlets. Switching to homemade toothpaste brought doubts from all of us, but I decided it was all in the magic and the marketing...

Trialling a new home made toothpaste... It's all in the marketing #homemade #toothpaste #specialfairyrecipe #theycantwaittouseit

So I whipped this up:

2 x heaped tablespoons organic coconut oil
1 teaspoon bi-carb soda
10 drops peppermint oil

Mix it around in a small bowl, then pop in a jar and label appropriately. Use as you would regular toothpaste...

They loved it. At first the saltiness of the bi-carb shone through. You could tweak that if you fancied, adding as much coconut oil and peppermint as suits, and I believe you could add a natural sweetener like stevia, if sweetness was your thing. It doesn't bother us now.

Our teeth are cleaner than they've ever been before. And we're quietly surprised and pleased that we're saving money on expensive fluoride-free toothpastes that owlets eat like lollies.

There's also a buzz about having super shiny teeth ready for the tooth faerie's next visit. Yep. It's all in the marketing and in the magic. xx

6 May 2013

dreams :: {part one}


When I was growing up, just a little older than Big Owlet is now, I'd visit Jeffrey's Bookshop with my pocket money and I'd look at art supplies. I'd walk past the shelves full of books to the dark back corner full of little shelves and glass display cases. I'd pore over all the paint boxes, tools, pencils and paintbrushes... I'd wonder at what things might be used for. I'd delegate a portion towards buying something small and some to save for a tin of Derwent pencils. I loved the smells and the colours. All that wood and pigment just waiting to be put to paper... The potential. The colour. I decided that one day I'd learn to use those tools. And one day I'd have my own art supplies shop.

About a year ago Huz and I sat down after a long day and we decided to make that tiny glimmer of a far-off dream a reality. The dream looks a tiny bit different now, but the chest of drawers in my hallway is home to a growing range of beautiful, colourful art supplies. Childhood fantasy realised.

I'm a bit of a dreamer, as my year 10 maths teacher can attest... "You're very vague and dreamy, aren't you...?" She sighed in exasperation over what, I don't remember, although the words have stuck. Vague perhaps, but dreamy indeed, and unashamedly so. Dreams are what propel us along and I've got lots of dreams to work my way through. Part two is a doozie. Stay tuned...

Do you have any childhood dreams that have been realised?
Are you a dreamer? 
Are art shops your favourite thing too? xx