Each morning this week, we have awoken to heavy dews and windows opaque with condensation. When we first venture out onto the porch, the air is crisp and cool, but this autumn sun … the higher it rises, the more golden and warm it becomes. By the time the chores are done, we have shed our jumpers and reached for our hats. The calendar may declare it to be autumn but by golly, it seems the whole continent is holding tight to the warmth of summer and just does not want to let go.
The maples that frame our porch still have ALL their leaves with only a few turning red. Yes, the daisies are abloom but the roses are still putting out fat luscious buds. There may be quinces at the farmgates, but the bulbs and African Flame Trees have decided it’s time to flower! And today, that sun was so strong, the veggies that haven’t been eaten by rats (yay to the worst rats our corner of the valley has seen in years!) were wilting.
Sigh … there’s not much we can do to hustle along proper autumn weather and so we make the most of these glorious golden days and keep our fingers crossed.
Today, Julian set off early for the airport – he has workshops to run in Sydney – and I set up my paints in the veggie garden to keep decorating the guinea pig house. Today – the Moominvalley Horse. According to Noah – who’s read all the novels and big hard covered volumes of cartoons – this wonderfully silly horse has no name. It’s just the horse. But it has a fabulous mane, tail and flowers scattered across it’s body. And almost always, a slightly manic and disdainful look. I love it!
I adore Tove Jansson’s art. So much imagination and whimsy. I wish I could grow her weird and wonderful trees and flowers. I wish there were Moomins and their friends in our forest, complete with gushing streams and little bridges. Her stories and art are full of such a heartwarming eccentricity and so many of her characters seem beset by anxiety! Makes me feel right at home :-)
Next up will be the Mymble’s Daughter lying amongst the flowers with her book – that will go across the front (and one of the images that I would love to have tattooed on my arm – should I ever get a tattoo). And on the last side – well it just has to be Noah’s favourite – Snufkin. With his pipe standing on a wee bridge almost hidden by trees.
However, today there were visitors to prepare for and so the minute the last strokes of navy were added to the horse’s ears, Noah and I quickly set to work. The porch was tidied, swept and washed. Fresh straw was laid in the chicken house and nest – and two of this morning’s eggs returned so the littlest visitor could collect them (unnecessary – turned out those chickens are taking their newly acquired egg laying duties very seriously and had laid a couple more!). The banana lounges were set up under the white cedar for the grown ups and the dear little cane chair that was mine when I was small was pulled out of storage, dusted off and given pride of place. Bathrooms were cleaned. Scones were baked (the recipe I’ve used for the last 15 years – Nigella’s Lily’s Scones from “How to Be a Domestic Goddess”). And all just in time.
We gave our visitors a tour of our wee farm – fed the rabbit and guinea pigs, laughed at the ducks and geese, picked carrots, collected the eggs, chatted with the goats who are always happy to talk, and spent a lot of time keeping track of Fu. “The Fluffy one” was the littlest one’s hottest favourite. Then we had our picnic under the tree.
By the time they left, Noah and I were so tired all we wanted to do was flop on the sofa – but there were parcels waiting for us at the Post Office – Rhonda Hetzel’s new book “The Simple Home”, Tone Finnanger’s new book “Tilda’s Toy Box” (it is utterly divine and I want to make everything), a new honey pot for the kitchen, and a tshirt for Noah. Mail order is definitely one of the perks of living in the country :-)
We are so far from the shops that there’s no regular dropping in as we pass. Instead, even though we shop locally for as much as we can, every couple of months we pop in small orders to some of our favourite online stores – books (I like Booktopia – Australian owned and operated, excellent delivery times), eco homewares (I adore Spiral Garden (they have Taproot at a great price with Australian shipping and a lovely homewares section), Greenharvest (their egg brush is my favourite kitchen tool), Eden Seeds (I will happily just read the catalogue in bed everynight), and Bee Eco Wraps (just amazing! transformed our food storage) Noah’s into tshirts, Julian has a passion for vintage tools, and I confess, special bits of fabric and wool find there way here too (Little Woollie Makes is my favourite for wool – she has everything I love, and I’m addicted to Clair’s Fabrics – really nicely curated collection). Then – as we don’t have a mailman that comes to our gate, our parcels are left at the local postoffice in the nearby village and when we drop in for milk, the lovely owners always know whether something is waiting for us. We love it! It’s just so quaint and old fashioned compared to living on a tram line in a huge city. I’m so glad we’re here.
So a lovely day was perfectly ended with cups of tea and reading. Noah cooked supper. The animals were tucked into bed. The cool night has drawn in.
Maybe tomorrow it will feel like autumn. Whether or not, there will be loveliness for sure.