Fog and Woodsmoke

web1

“Gee it’s foggy, Ben.

That’s not fog Nic, it’s low cloud.
How can you tell the difference?
I’m just messing with you, babe. Fog and cloud are the same thing. The only difference is their altitude.” ~ Ben Phillips

 

It’s Autumn here at the farm. Perfect burning weather.

The local farmers all build burn piles during the year – mounds of fallen and chainsawed timber and branches, palm fronds and old fence posts. When Autumn comes with its still nights and heavy morning dew the piles are lit in the late afternoon, they burn fiercely and by morning they are rendered into ash and black wet piles of old camphor stumps and logs too heavy to burn completely.

The Byron Bay hinterland is rainforest country. Everything grows prolifically. (Think Day of the Triffids.) So now that it is burning season we wake to the smell of camphor-scented wood smoke and fog most mornings.

We were up early today to add more material to our own burn piles before we light them up this afternoon or tomorrow. Bonfire night is one I always look forward to. We have a few big piles this year, so a few bonfire nights before we go and perhaps even after we return from holidays.

But now? It’s Friday Farmers Markets. So off we head. Perhaps I’ll stop in at the shops too and get a bag of marshmallows. A sensible girl is always prepared. 🙂

bonfire front paddock

Autumn Garden

2016-04-20 16.43.56

“Her pleasure in the walk must arise from the exercise and the day, from the view of the last smiles of the year upon the tawny leaves and withered hedges, and from repeating to herself some few of the thousand poetical descriptions extant of autumn–that season of peculiar and inexhaustible influence on the mind of taste and tenderness–that season which has drawn from every poet worthy of being read some attempt at description, or some lines of feeling.”
~ Jane Austen

 

It’s a cool, damp morning here at the farm.

And oh so pretty!

Come walk with me, in my Autumn garden…

2016-04-23 10.24.09 2016-04-22 09.46.07 2016-04-22 09.44.44 2016-04-20 16.42.18 2016-04-20 16.42.05 2016-04-20 16.41.52 2016-04-20 16.44.32 2016-04-13 07.16.31 2016-04-14 07.49.38

2016-04-20 16.50.26

Watching The Afternoon Fade to Grey

2016-04-07 16.58.38

“On this road
where nobody else travels
autumn nightfall.”
~ Matsuo Bashō

 

Late yesterday afternoon I wandered through the back garden, and then up the hill toward the old orchard behind our house.

My word for the year is ‘home’ and I truly allowed myself to feel into that space yesterday.

2016-04-07 16.55.28

 

Close to the house a basil plant has self-seeded from last year’s bumper crop. It has flourished with neglect while I have been away and then unwell. It made me so happy to see its broad soft leaves and vigorous growth.

The guava is laden too, and perfumes the air with a heady fragrance that reminds me somehow of passionfruit. I’m looking forward to making some jam and perhaps a chutney with the fruit. I ate one straight off the tree, warmed by the sun and perfect. It was a luxury for the senses.

2016-04-07 16.56.19

The sky turned from bright blue to pale, degree by degree.

The air cooled.

Birds called to one another and sang their evening songs.

2016-04-07 17.34.12

Harry and Bert, exhausted from their mad games and running around, sat on the freshly mown lawn waiting to accompany me back to the house.

They were both so happy to have played and to have kept me company. Nurse Bert seems pleased that I am finally out of bed and well enough to venture out again, although he has been incredibly patient with me.

He couldn’t wipe the goofy smile off his face!

2016-04-07 17.35.06

And so the night slid softly across the sky, the sun set behind the hills, and the first stars winked out.

I filled myself up on it all, and it was good.

What a magical place to call home!

2016-04-07 17.33.56

 

Autumn At The Farm

2015-05-31 10.03.55

“There is something incredibly nostalgic and significant about the annual cascade of autumn leaves.”
~ Joe L. Wheeler

 

The last of the summer grass is long and lush and sweet.

The wind by turn blows warm and then cold.

The leaves are tumbling down, making a pretty carpet upon the lawn.

The air is rich with the fragrant smoke of burning camphor and eucalyptus branches as farmers light their burn piles.

The fields are full of new calves, noses wet with milk as they push at their mothers’ full udders.

My basket is full of crisp apples. Soup bubbles on the stove.

I love this time of year!

2015-05-31 10.05.54

2015-05-31 10.05.42

2015-05-15 08.06.19

weeds

pumpkin soup

bonfire front paddock

Sunshine and Apples

2015-05-15 08.05.11

“As the years pass, I am coming more and more to understand that it is the common, everyday blessings of our common everyday lives for which we should be particularly grateful. They are the things that fill our lives with comfort and our hearts with gladness — just the pure air to breathe and the strength to breath it; just warmth and shelter and home folks; just plain food that gives us strength; the bright sunshine on a cold day; and a cool breeze when the day is warm.”
~ Laura Ingalls Wilder

 

It’s Autumn, here at the farm. Yesterday morning we ventured out early for our favourite Friday morning adventure – the Mullumbimby Farmers Markets.

The day was clean and bright, with wide blue skies, crisp cool air and a hint of woodsmoke on the breeze.

We filled up on good coffee and pastries, and then we stocked our baskets with all kinds of fresh delights.

2014-09-19 08.17.44

 

2015-05-15 08.22.18

2012-10-27 08.00.31

2013-10-18 08.08.41

There was a new busker who caught my eye. He’s a local musician and producer called AJ, and you can read more about him here and here. AJ was playing a cut-down upright piano to which he’d attached some sturdy wheels so he could be supremely mobile. His music, and the sound from the old Beale was fantastic!

2015-05-15 08.26.40

 

2015-05-15 08.26.33

Back at home I hung a load of washing on the line to dry. There’s nothing more comforting than clean sheets that smell of sunshine and fresh air.

2013-09-12 16.53.27

While I stood at the clothesline we were greeted by loud moos, and the mums brought their babies up to the fence for our inspection.

The cows are all looking fat and content, and the calves were happy to frolic in the sunshine, chasing each other and splashing in the shallows of the dam.

2015-05-15 10.21.31

2015-05-15 10.22.03The little grey calf in the middle of this picture was born just yesterday. Mum hasn’t let us get close enough yet to find out f it’s a little boy or a little girl. That’s Mum on the right, if you couldn’t tell!

2015-05-15 10.24.41By day’s end it was rainy and cold. That’s okay. I had a pot of soup on the stove, we lit the fire and made the house all cosy, and snuggled up in front of the fireplace with the sleepy pups.

2014-08-11 17.34.10

2014-05-16 13.03.16

A very beautiful ordinary day here at the farm.

Much love to you, Nicole xx

 

 

A Gentle Morning at the Farm

2014-05-23 07.48.37

“Every morning was a cheerful invitation to make my life of equal simplicity, and I may say innocence, with Nature herself.” 
Henry David ThoreauWalden

 

Autumn is a magical time at our farm. Gentle showers soak the ground during the night, and in the morning thick mist wraps itself around the mountains.

As the sun burns the mist away to reveal the wide blue sky, fragile spiderwebs sparkle with dewdrops bright as diamonds.

2014-05-23 07.55.48

Everything feels fresh, and lush with promise.

I fill myself up on the kindness and verdant energy of nature.

2014-05-23 07.56.03

Up in the orchard, I hear a commotion. It’s Eric, the very shy Echidna. Every morning he comes out to nuzzle through the soft soil, and the cattle egrets wait for the worms he disturbs.

echidna too

Today he’s been joined by a girlfriend. Love is in the air…

echidna