Saturday, November 29, 2014

Fruit, music and brand new babies

Today I finished off a baby quilt I've been working on for a few days now. It's the first baby quilt I've ever made that's not been for a dear friend.
Normally when I'm making a baby quilt I channel a lot of energy and love into imagining the little person whose quilt I'm making, thinking of their parents, the life that's beginning, as I select the fabric and make the stitches. It's a beautiful process and I absolutely love it.
When I was asked recently by our friend Kate if I could make something for a dear friend of hers who's soon to have a baby, I was super-keen to make a quilt for her. And it came together beautifully.

Even though I've never met the soon-to-be parents, or their soon-to-be bubba, I still imagined and channeled love and joy as I stitched, musing on what adventures were in store for the new little family, and imagining how the quilt might figure in their daily lives.
Selecting fabrics and laying it all out, making pockets and tassels and mini-bunting, and then stitching it all together while meditating on life and love and growth and change is such a fun way to spend some hours. I love the process, and I love knowing that my craft is involved in a whole cycle of giving and receiving that's founded in love and a respect for handmade goodness.
Oh, and the quilt is part of a trade: you know how much I love bartering. So in exchange for the love stitched up in the quilt, Kate's providing me with music and fruit. How awesome is that?

Happy life, little bubba. May it be filled with heartfelt music, warm sunshine and sweet fruit.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Autumn Farm Chook School Part 2: 4 days old

In the last little Autumn Farm Chook School video you had a peek inside the brooder house, at the day old chicks.

In this video, you'll see the same chicks at 4 days old, on their first day outside of the brooder house, enjoying the sunshine and grass that makes them the tastiest, healthiest chickens around.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Hello sailor!

As I mentioned in my post about Edie's reading gloves, I've got a bit of thing for sailing. I've never actually been on a sailing ship (or any kind of boat really, other than a ferry... and a kayak), but I seriously dig the romance of all things seafaring. Possibly because of (or maybe the cause of??) my infatuation with Herman Melville. And the Decemberists.

So you can imagine my excitement when my real live seafaring friend Vanessa (she actually lived on a real boat!!!!) announced she was pregnant - nautical-themed-baby-quilt-time!!!

What would a sea-baby quilt be without some ribbon 'seaweed', a pirate ship and a cormorant?

Bryn hanging out on deck. Custom-made 'let's not have overboard babies' netting can be seen in the background.

Little Bryn's baby quilt has a bit of boat applique (including a little tiny anchor on a 'rope'), a map (of the far south coast!), some sea-birds and other oceanic paraphernalia, all in a colour theme of blues and greens, of course. 

I was pretty in love with it when it was done, and pretty miffed that I didn't at least get an encouragement award when I entered it in the Bega show. But, as the kids say, 'whatevs'. Because this quilt got to go sailing.

That's right: Vanessa and Ian took little Bryn on a 3 month sailing trip when he was a few months old and the quilt got to go with them. AWESOME.

Ships ahoy!

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Autumn Farm Chook School

It's been a little over a year now since the first Autumn Farm pasture raised chickens graced the dinner tables of the Bega Valley.

In the last 15 months or so we have learned an INSANE amount, including, but definitely not limited to, 'Dogs are way better than electric mesh fencing' and 'How to run a farm single-handedly while your partner suffers through cancer treatment'. While the learning definitely isn't over (though hopefully we're done with that last lesson), I feel like we've got a good handle on things and we're now pretty comfortable with our operation and all it entails.

A big part of our Autumn Farm vision has been education: educating people about food systems, educating people about sustainable agriculture, educating people about good food and nutrition. It's awesome to be able to share knowledge with people, and to empower people to make positive changes in their relationship with the food they eat. We love love LOVE answering questions and sharing information, hosting farm tours and taking people through the abattoir.
Pearl talking to the group of Making a Buck from a Beetroot course, run by Bega Tafe.

We also get lots of inquiries from people who are interested in our chicken farming methods, which is why we're looking to run some 'chook school' tours from around April next year.

At this stage (we're still planning) chook school will probably consist of a day (6 hours?) at Autumn Farm, where we'll take you through all the components of our chicken system from managing the day old chicks, to growing the chickens, to slaughtering, to legal requirements, and marketing. And a big local lunch to boot!

We're pretty excited,  because we love growing chickens, and we think other people should grow chickens too. It's an awesome way to improve your pasture, make a small income from even a small acreage (we only have 7 acres) and feed your community. 
In the meantime, though, I'm going to be posting some little videos about our system, and about the way we run things.

And here's the first video! This one is called 'Day old chicks in the brooder house', and there will be more coming! So if you're interested in growing chickens, or you know someone who might be interested, please forward this on to them, and/or let them know about chook school.

We're looking forward to seeing some of you at Autumn Farm Chook School next year!