Catching up

Oh, it has been so long since I was here! It feels like the time has flown by but somehow taken so long. My days have been busy with work and catching up around the home. Though, I don’t quite see evidence of that effort! We celebrated Easter. Still with less aplomb and sincerity than usual. I felt the previous year’s Easter was lacking in its spirit, no longer embodying that sense of reflection, renewal and hope I long for each year. I am not blaming that sacred holiday mind. It was I who failed to feel its joyousness. I am not sure how or why this is. All I know is my soul has not been fed for some time. It is feeling shrivelled and exhausted. A universal lethargy has taken us all down a barren path, denuded of passion, compassion, and enthusiasm for life. I don’t want to lose my grip on the world I love and remember, but the ground I tread is no longer firm.

I am not losing my mind. But life has lost zest and meaning. I am struggling to find the answers or see them as they may very well be right before my eyes.

But I have been doing stuff! I don’t like being idle, and I think there is plenty of time to think and ponder in our everyday doings. I have been baking, sewing and harvesting what meagre offerings our sunless summer had to offer. I have managed to store away a plentiful supply of cucumber pickles, eggplant slices and artichoke hearts, herbed jellies, my favourite roasted tomato relish, marmalade, apple butter, rhubarb cordial and jam, quince paste and jelly, and jams made with fruits from the markets. I had hoped for jars of passata to see us through until next season but had to be content with just the relish, and most of those tomatoes came from a local grower who knows how to manufacture sun! I have some lovely, round Queensland blue pumpkins stored in the kitchen. I planted more seedlings than usual in response to last year’s disappointing yields and several different varieties. But aside from 1 decent-sized butternut and an armful of kent that I had planted too late in the season and did not have time to cure before the frosts, I mostly have Queensland blue. Oh well, they are at least good keepers.

Not knowing whether we will have the fortune of staying on here or will be forced on by rising rent prices, I haven’t put as much effort into planting the winter garden. I did not get broccoli and cauliflower into the ground in time, which is a shame as they are at their best in winter. But I have Asian greens, radicchio (a popular bitter Italian vegetable in our household), the ubiquitous silverbeet, cabbages, swedes, turnips and radishes. The carrots, beetroot and winter herbs are coming on slowly, certainly slow enough for the slugs to eat them to ground level. I ought to have gotten garlic into the ground. No doubt I will rue that decision this time next year.

All of a sudden, I have felt this irresistible drive to sew my own clothes. Whether spurred on by my recent desire to dress with more care (although I am wearing a ludicrous arrangement of clothes this morning!) or to fulfil a creative need, I have been planning, buying patterns and fabrics, and actually sewing clothes! I have been keeping it simple so far. Pyjamas for my youngest that had me scratching my head over the collar arrangement, a nightie for my daughter, and plans and fabric to make a nightie for me (in matching fabric, I might add – never too late to be one of ‘those’ mothers!) Hinterland dress, some vintage pants with side buttons, a few button-up shirts, and a vintage summer shirt to wear to my school reunion in Spring. And I still have a pair of Lander pants to make up in black linen. I think that should keep me busy for some time.

But there are always fun things to make, like this embroidered clutch bag I made for my niece’s birthday a few months back. The embroidery pattern is by the talented @ourhomeonthehill. I didn’t have space on the fabric for the entire design, so I only chose the elements that fit. It was my first attempt at embroidering, and it was quite a messy affair when viewed up close! The fabric was a linen/cotton blend for the outer and a sweet floral poplin for the inside.

There are still kilos of my sheep wool to scour, card and spin, and so many knitting patterns that I keep purchasing but without much headway in actual knitting. I never thought I would ever be the creative type. It has been an unexpected evolution and an immense blessing.

But I still long to write out the thoughts and stories, the revelations, whether profound or ordinary, that appear in my mind on paper. To be able to communicate is the thing that enriches our lives as people and connects us to our family and community. Without it, we are very much alone. I have so much reading to catch up on as well. I miss the words of my favourite bloggers, and, having taken a long break from Instagram, I have missed the images and heartfelt ponderings of some lovely people there. It is good to take a break from connecting. Necessary even. But it is important not to tap out for too long.

The kitchen has seen me busy. It is perhaps still my favourite place when all is said and done. A whole summer and autumn passed without making some of my warmer months staples. I made no ice cream, no strawberry focaccia. Nothing with berries as they were prohibitively expensive and not particularly flavoursome this year. But I have become quite fond of making doughnuts. Plump yeasted rings redolent of nutmeg and sweetened only with a touch of maple syrup, which are then fried and dipped in sugar and cinnamon! What could be more glorious?! The recipe I got from the delightful Wander and Woven.

Well, some lawnmowing and baking beckons. It has been so good to touch base again! Until next time, take care xx

6 thoughts on “Catching up

  1. There is so much going on in your life that is positive and creative, Paula. It’s always a pleasure to catch up with what you are doing – and your blog space will always wait for you! I think throwing yourself into so much creativity will bring much healing and a renewed zest for life. I love that clutch bag, what a beautiful gift to treasure and making things like that with love is in itself a sort of food for the soul. I’ve spent the last couple of weeks furiously knitting colourful boot socks to give to our son and his wife on a trip to stay with them in Norway, a visit that was cancelled two years ago due to Covid. We have been waiting patiently ever since . . . and now I’m writing this in their home in Stavanger (socks finished and delivered!), a brief pause between so much shared laughter, wonderful food and exploration of this beautiful country they now call home. I feel so refreshed, so welcomed and so loved. It was worth the wait! Keep smiling and busy – and enjoy those doughnuts! 😊

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    1. Thankyou Lis! How wonderful your trip to Norway finally happened – a very treasured reunion that must have been! I hope your stay there is an extended one to make up for lost time. But then I guess your summer garden beckons and things do become quite unruly when left alone for any amount of time! Norway is on my destinations list – such a wild landscape. I have so many of your posts to catch up on yet again. Will touch base as soon as I do!

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    1. That is true! As for the doughnuts, I had no idea how easy or delicious they were homemade. I haven’t found the best way to store them though – not that I expect them to keep for days, but by the second day the sugar coating has gotten a bit wet and the doughnuts shrivelled. I guess I should probably store them unsugared?

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