Tuesday, 29 January 2013

random bits and stuff

After a wild and windy night and a blackout, we now sit sticky, steamy and to be honest a bit stinky after a warm day with 99% humidity. With a heaviness in our heart we farewelled our dear friends yesterday so today has been flat, flat as we readjust to not having them so near by, to not being able to hug, grin or kiss them on a whim, to seeing their smiley faces, to having to do all the washing up ourselves (or by Scott's self). Hmmm. But we are supremely lucky to have had them with us for such a delicious chunk of time, more about our adventures in the next post.
Right now, I think I will scatter things here and there with a number of pretty unrelated items of possible interest, or possibly of no interest at all, whichever way you decide, thanks for popping by (especially all those new faces, hello, well not 'faces' exactly, not even remotely, but you get what I mean, I hope).

Here goes. 
Firstly, last week I flippantly mentioned something about embroidering a raspberry, oh yes only those keen eye readers may have picked it up, but I did see, well what I neglected to mention was that this raspberry is a very special raspberry because it is for a wonderful human named Jean who lives in Upper Crystal Creek, which is past Murwillumbah and Jean grows raspberries and is apparently a supremely talented pastry chef, so if you are ever up that way.... Oh, I digress, now, how do I know Jean and why are you crafting her a raspberry (I pretend to hear you ask), well, Jean is a dear, dear friend to another amazing human, someone who I have mentioned more than a few times here and someone whom I have and adore all her cookbooks, Jude, oh yes that Jude. The one and only Jude Blereau, so sweetly requested a raspberry for Jean, needless to say, I was pretty damn excited. The raspberry has been completed and if it hasn't been too delayed by floods and what not, should be making it's way into the home of Jean, very, very soon. I particularly enjoyed going french knot crazy on the berries.
From berries and Jude to the beautiful folk at 5 Church St , yes, well they need your/our help, they are after a new Head Chef, but it can't be any old Head Chef, this unique person needs to be passionate about food and interested in sustainable and ethical food practices, here is a little more:

Looking for a tree change on the mid north coast? This is a great opportunity to make your mark and run your own show.
5 CHURCH STREET is looking for an experienced chef to come join the family!

Applicants must be: 
- passionate about food
- interested in sustainable & ethical food practices
- reliable, motivated and hard working
- experienced leaders/capable of running a busy dynamic kitchen (120 covers)
- highly organised with excellent time management skills
- able to communicate & delegate effectively
- able to work under pressure and maintain a positive attitude

For further information please contact Jason at cometogether@5churchstreet.com

So if you think you know someone or even if you know someone who might know someone, please send this around, it is a wonderful place to work and yes a great place to live and Jason and Steve, who run 5 Church St are really special human beings.
Poe's first day of school, last year 2012
Now just quickly, Jodi is running a little school series on her blog, with some wise words from a few parents with school aged children, such a lovely idea. I contributed a few lines over there, but here is my full spiel about the biggest lesson we learnt from Poe's first year of school:

'Well, after we dried our eyes and the gut wrenching anxiety about sending our precious one into the big wide world abated (and it does), we found that keeping a gentle and quiet rhythm after school was essential for everyone. Five days in a row is a long time to be doing anything but to be navigating countless social situations, learning new and exciting things and having to pay attention to a teacher is positively exhausting. Scott and I would make sure there were connecting cuddles and nourishing snacks as soon as Poe got home from school and we made sure that this after school time was kept as free as possible. 
There is so much going on at school, I found that Poe really loved/craved the downtime, the love and the security that was at home. Having this space also gave him the freedom to discuss any issues he may have been having, often after 'acting out' first and then once he calmed down he would share whatever was bothering him. We would also suggest being mindful that by the end of term/first week of holidays your gorgeous child is probably pretty exhausted and can be quite grumpy or even crazily unreasonable, don't worry this is totally normal, think about all that they have been through during the term and try to give them more understanding, patience, nurturing and nourishment. It is amazing how your little one grows and develops throughout the year, it is just so beautiful and so much fun, enjoy'. 

I always find myself rereading my words and wincing a little, especially compared to the beauty of say, Nikki's words, so I just end up writing as I think and not rereading, well I reread to make sure I haven't made any obvious spelling mistakes or glaring grammatical errors, but even some of them slip by. Just letting you have a sneak peek into the inner workings.
Oh and as I mention Nikki, I realise I can deliciously segue into a lovely post a friend of hers recently wrote all about extending the life of those 'what do i do with all this 'insert name of vegetable here'', some very delicious ideas.

Phew, I think that's it, no more randomness, well for today anyway. Thanks for staying in even if you bailed out.

*And to add to the randomness even more, for those who read this post last night, might double take at the addition of three new photos, yes, I only downloaded them this morning and thought that this post was the perfect place to put them, the clean up from the floods. Sorry for messing with you even more. 

Monday, 28 January 2013

the river is rising

Yes it's raining, pouring and flooding. We are tucked up inside building massive lounge cubbies, acting out a variety of flood scenarios, soaking up the last few hours with our lovelies (Jen, Rod, Lily and Saul) and eating leftover curry from last night's curry night. We are about to venture out to check Lavenders Bridge in town, but it, like most bridges around here are under, so what we are actually going to see are the rivers flood levels. Yes, the rivers have risen and are continuing to rise. It has only been raining for a day or two but we are getting a lot of water that is heading down from up North. We are not cut off (yet, the road leading into Bellingen sometimes goes under) but we do know many people who are.  If you want to have a peek there is a webcam at Kombu, where you can check out the flood waters in town, minute by minute. Hope you are all keeping dry, well occupied and safe. 

Monday, 21 January 2013

these days

I love school holidays, I love the sleep ins, the lack of urgency, the gentle rhythm of the days and all that kind of stuff, but most of all what I have loved the most is the total love fest that Poe and Ilo slip into (there was a lot of love in that sentence). These two have been such a delight, their whisperings to each other, their beautiful ideas, seeing them lost in their worlds for hours. Countless times throughout the day they profess their love to each other as they walk about arm in arm, oh my heart has just been so full of squishy delight. This love fest obviously flows onto the whole family and right back again, I couldn't imagine a better start to the year. 
Amongst all the lovin, we have been swimming, both at the beach and river, whipping up a whole batch of Kasundi, celebrating birthdays, planning a curry night, embroidering a raspberry and counting the number of sleeps until some very special loved ones come and visit.

The Kasundi (indian tomato relish) that Woo and I made was a new recipe from Simon Bryant's Vegie's, we did tweak it a bit based on what we had available; not enough cumin, we used chilli flakes not chilli powder, rapadura not white sugar, apple cider vinegar not malt and only added 3 jalapenos (we had to double the recipe as we had about 5kgs of tomatoes), we changed quite a bit actually, hmmm. Anyway, I really liked this new recipe, it is a bit sweeter and hotter than usual and is totally addictive,  I have been adding it to everything, but my particular favourite has been a breakfast of a boiled egg, toast, sauerkraut and kasundi, with a drizzle of flaxseed oil, yep, doesn't get much better than that .

Here is Simon's recipe:
makes 600g

2 tbs black mustard seeds
2 cups of malt vinegar 
250g fresh ginger
20 cloves garlic
30ml vegetable oil
30 fresh mild large red chillies
2.5kg fresh ripe tomatoes
2tbs ground tumeric
6tbs ground cumin
2tbs chilli powder
1 1/2cups of sugar
1 1/2tbs salt to taste

Soak mustard seeds overnight in vinegar. Puree in blender. Add ginger and garlic and blend until smooth. Halve chillies and remove seeds. Blanch tomatoes, peel and remove seeds and dice. 
Heat oil until smoking. Remove from heat and cool slightly. Stir in turmeric, cumin,chili powder. Add garlic and ginger/mustard mix, tomatoes, halved chillies and blended sugar and salt mix. 
Simmer for about an hour until a pulp and oil starts to float on the top. 
Pour into sterilized jars and allow to stand at a least a week (yeah, good luck with that one) before using to develop character. This will keep for months, but will probably be eaten in weeks

Oh and yeah I also managed to somehow bump my precious 50mm camera lens, which meant that it decided to stop focusing...yikes. After checking in with a camera shop and hearing numbers like 100, 200, 300 being bounced around, we did some internet checking and realised it is possible, albeit possibly highly stressful to fix ourselves. Scott graciously volunteered, luckily, as he is definitely more meticulous than I am. So off her went armed with the computer and step by step instructions, latex gloves, and screwdrivers, he literally pulled the whole thing apart, put the bent lens ring in a vice, straightened it and put it all back together and woohooo, it worked. My heart dislodged itself from my throat and I did a few leaps for joy, whilst showing a huge amount of appreciation at Scott's awesomeness.

Friday, 18 January 2013

in this home

The other day we were invited over for a band dinner at John (mandolin/fiddle player) and Laurel's home. As soon as I walked in, I stopped, my eyes were darting everywhere, I quickly (and warmly) got the usual niceties out of the way and then I got busy with my camera, what a visual feast. I was mostly filming but managed to sneak a few snaps in as well. It was such a delightful, interesting and lived in home, just gorgeous, exuding love and a wonderful and full life. Once I felt sated, we sat and chatted about John and Laurel's homeschooling adventures with their four (now adult) children, we made a lovely and surprising connection; Laurel's midwife for two of her children also delivered my sister and the midwife who delivered me (my sister, brother and I were all home births) delivered a good friend of theirs children, funnily enough these are the second people we have met up here who have shared our midwife, oh I love that.
It was a warm and delicious (can you ever have too many curries in your life, uh, I say no) evening. The kids, eight in total, were kept enthralled by Isaac, Banjo Bill's thirteen year old, who was so awesome, they were creating and looking for treasure maps, fossicking in the garden and rolling about in peals of laughter.

After dinner the band got together and started on their first 'O'Brother Where Art Thou' rehearsal, they are sounding really great, despite it being their first run through. We watched the movie again the other night, it is so brilliant, Scott, Cath and I got very excited about costumes and set design, it is going to be a great evening. Oh and unfortunately for those who may have dilly dallied a bit on offer to come and visit, well our home is full, every room, sleeping surface and studio has been booked but for the adventurous there is plenty of green space if you want to pitch a tent. Woohooo. 

Sunday, 13 January 2013

the old, the new

Over here we are in full laze about mode and it is wonderful. Yes, like the rest of the country we have been bound by the heat and have wonderfully been spending our days lazing under fans with books in our hands, fruit in bowls, an occasional sneaky movie and lots of ice and icy drinks. I love this enforced laziness. Poe and Ilo's swimming intensives for one hour each day, has been the only thing we have 'had' to do and it is brilliant, their confidence is growing and they/we are having so much fun. Peppered around the intensives have been eyerollingly delicious meals with friends (did somebody say curry night extravaganza), a smattering of op shopping and a very intimate Mid North gig at The Lodge and that's about it, ah happy days. I feel like I am in a really lovely holding pattern, waiting for the year to begin, but I would love to carry this through to the year. Looking ahead we already have a very busy year with Scott being pretty much booked out for the year as he works on three exciting new programs, so it will hold us in good stead to remember this calm and to take advantage of any downtime.

Here are the remaining photos from our Sydney trip, which includes a short but fun stopover with Gary, Sarah, Stella and Mira and then a few precious days with Jen, Rod, Lily and Saul, where we welcomed the New Year and farewelled the old year in a space full of love, understanding, delightful laughter and an amazing Thai inspired feast, thanks to Rod. It was perfect and yes a little emotional, but cleansing, affirming and safe.

 And to be extra sneaky, I am hurling you back to the deep, deep past, sorry to do this, you know especially as we have been sending our good riddance to 2012, but I had to include them, they were some pretty wonderful moments. So please forgive me and just think back. 
You may remember me mentioning that  Nadine and Sammy from the Foghorn Stringband were staying with us for a couple of nights and here they are, they were amazing, their voices, their skill as musicians, they were amazingly entertaining and a bit awe inspiring and to top it off they were really lovely. They are from Portland, Oregon (and yes for those readers out there that may be interested they do know The Decemberists, and as you would guess, they said they are really lovely) they spend most of their year touring around the world but we are hoping they come back for the Dorrigo Bluegrass Festival and so are they. Nadine's voice in particular is fantastic, she is from Quebec and has this raw, strong and passionate voice, she often sings in french and she just sounds so full on but so brilliant.
We have been really lucky to have had quite a few traveling musicians stay with us in 2012, we are definitely looking forward to more of the same in 2013.

The day after Nadine and Sammy I had my last market for 2012, which was great, I stayed with the white theme, which worked well but my highlight for the day was having the huge pleasure of sharing my stall with the very beautiful and extremely talented Nick Warfield. You can see each bird a bit closer here or you could even buy one, his pieces sell so quickly but I am sure he is open for commissions, he is so amazingly talented he makes me stare in wonder.

Thanks for sticking with me for this one, I promise from now on it's all about looking to the future or being in the now, or at least 2013.