How are you?
It's Friday morning here, the girls are all off at school, Bren is somewhere outside (I think I can hear some kind of power-tool), and I'm sitting up on the green armchair in the corner of our studio, wrapped in a colourful crocheted blanket. The house is quiet except for the howl of the wind outside and I should feel calm and be able to concentrate, but instead I feel scattered and in a hurry.
Most weeks by the time it gets to Friday I pretty much know what I'm going to write about. Most weeks I have a bit of a theme of thoughts, so the writing is just a matter of getting them into some sort of order. I read in Rachael Treasure's book Down The Dirt Roads the other day that 'according to neuroscience expert Dr Joe Dispenza...of the thousands of thoughts we have per day - around 50,000 to 70,000 of them - 90 per cent are the same thoughts from the day before.'
Unusually, this week hasn't felt like that for me. This week I can't really pin point a point of view or a perspective that has dominated, but instead have found myself stuck in the practical world of picking and preserving and putting on a smiley face despite the sudden turn of the season, the house full of emotional girls and the fact that I feel a bit scattered and unsure at the moment.
So this morning over our porridge with honey I asked the family what they thought I should write about.
Over the past few days he's gotten his pole lathe up and running and has a new found fascination with all the possible forms that he can now create. He said he'd like me to find out how they came to be, why they are round and why people use them instead of their spoons.
Indi asked me to ask you guys about your stress management techniques.
There has to be a better way to deal with life in her second last year of school than feeling constantly overwhelmed, teary and not sleeping. Unlike Bren and I at school, she has made a personal commitment to complete everything thrown at her and give it her 100%. It's tricky because she's starting to get a glimpse of the big wide world beyond school, and that excites her and makes her question what it's all about and for, but it doesn't free her from the stress.
Gosh I could write a whole blog post about how much I dislike the way the current senior school system robs our kids of the love of learning, with all the emphasis being placed on assessments and assignments and essays and exams. At 16 and 17 our kids are wide awake and open to the world, shouldn't we be encouraging them to fall in love with subjects, to follow pathways of their own interest, to ask all the hard questions and to challenge what they're taught? Shouldn't learning be about more than preparing for tests?
But in the end it's not about what I think. Indi has five school assessed courseworks (SACs) over the next few weeks and if you have a fave meditation app, herbal tea blend or breathing technique, she'd be ever so grateful.
Jazzy wants me to write about her.
When she saw that Jackie wrote this on my last blog post - 'When did Jazzy grow up? She has become a very attractive, elegant and tall young woman. That smile and those dimples are to die for. I haven't noticed many photos of Jazzy perhaps that's why it hit me so hard this time.' she was thrilled!! And then she proceeded to trawl my blog for mentions and photos and stories that she featured in. She wasn't impressed at the outcome over the past year.
Funnily enough, way back when I wrote my book, Vantastic, in 2013, my designer Michelle Mackintosh, herself a middle child, counted every single photo and made sure there were equal numbers for each of the girls.
But in the present day, in my defence, our early teenage Jazzy has spent most of her home time in her bedroom rather than with us outside on the farm. And if you're not out in the orchard picking apples, then you're not in the photos of picking apple, then you're not on my blog.
Having said all that, since this is her bit of my blog I want to acknowledge how happy we are when she joins us around the farm, how she makes us all laugh like crazy, how much we love her stories, her ukulele playing, her outfits and hairdos and how lucky we feel to have her in our gang.
Pepper suggested I write about the first apples.
She wouldn't elaborate on what specifically she wanted me to write about the first apples, but I guess that living on an apple farm in apple season with fruit hanging from the branches, sitting in crates and baskets and bowls and stewing on the stove, it makes sense.
My mum thought I should write one of those blogs where I tell you what I'm reading, listening to, watching etc.
But honestly I'm really not a fan of the book I'm reading, I don't have any particular podcast I'm loving and I can't think of the last time I sat down to watch anything. Better fix that.
I guess I'd like to mention the fact that even though we're having a pretty crappy fruit season, there's still so much fruit to be picked and preserved. I guess that's the great thing about biodiversity. Apples, pears, hazelnuts, nashis, tomatoes, they're all ready and ripe and filling up space around the place. Not to mention the vegetables.
Next, I'd love to thank you for your messages on my last blog post that came from everyone from mothers who felt like they had found themselves in motherhood and didn't feel the need to search for anything else, through to mothers who had a glimpse of their past selves and made a dash to grab hold of her and continue her journey before they changed their minds, and everyone else in between. I've had women suggest art projects that I might like to take on, books that explore this theme, and many expressions of feeling the same. I've also listened when people have told me that they felt like I do live an artistic life - 'The way you live, the way you raise your children, the way you write and photograph your experiences...' I'm taking this on, thank you!! I love this community in all of our various stages and phases.
And I suppose that over the past week, during the busiest time of the year on our farm, I've had to make do with finding art in the everyday: making small films on my phone of the dancing shadows on my bedroom door in the afternoon light, arranging cucumbers and herbs in the pickle jars and then spending time shaking them up and watching the herbs and spices fly around in the brine and then slowly settle like snow globes, gathering groups of colours of yarn for someday projects, dreaming of botanical themed water colours...
Later on, once I'd finished picking the three rows, the girls and Bren came down to help me carry them home. I snapped some shots of them and lucky I did, because they turned out to be the only photos I took all week.
So the hazelnuts are drying out, the photos are sitting here, and I've found myself going back to 2014 and another series of photos I took in that same orchard but that time under some quite difficult circumstances after I'd just found a lump in my left breast. Coincidentally, or maybe not, I'm booked in for an ultrasound and mammogram this coming Tuesday. Look how much my girls have grown since then. Oh and look Jazzy, there are lots of photos of you in that post too.
Oh gosh, and there I was thinking I had nothing to say this week.
I'd better sign off before I write another few hundred words.
And how about you? Has your week had a recurring theme? A problem to be solved? An idea to be built on?
Lots of love to you, honey bunches!
May you trust the process, and the people, and yourself.
Love Kate xx
PS To save you the work, Jazzy, I counted for you: Indi is in four photos in this post, you are in five, Pepper is in three and Bren in in two. x