What a weekend! I feel like I'm back in my rhythm, ready again for whatever each new day brings. I had to go to the shop on Saturday morning to buy a soap thermometer because when I came to make soap, mine was missing. I took all my equipment to the neighbourhood centre recently and it didn't return. But a trip to the shop is always a sharp reminder for me to continue along our slow path. I bought the thermometer, had a look in the book shop, then came home; in and out in 20 minutes. The hard core shoppers were just starting to arrive. I feel sad for them. If they knew my story they might well feel sorry for me too and think of me as deprived. I guess history will be our judge, if one is needed.
Saturday morning was cold, with whistling wind, so I was pleased to drive through my gate again and close the door. It was warm inside, morning tea made for Hanno and I and we sat for a while on the front verandah. He'd been working at cutting down a very old and large camphor laurel tree. They're considered a weed around here so it has to go. I held on to it for 13 years because it provided shade and shelter for other delicate plants and ferns. But now, as we're getting older, we have other considerations - soon we won't be able to do this heavier work. A tree just near this one, a tallow wood, cost us $900 to have removed a few years ago and we can't afford that again.
This tall tree is the one he's cutting down. You can see where two branches have been cut, there are three left. He'll need help with those last three so we're waiting for a friend to help with those.
The camphor laurel, as well as being a weed, is too close to the house and a danger during storms. Hanno loves doing this kind of work, so before that ability goes completely and we have to rely on others, he's been cutting pieces off it. Luckily it has five main branches quite close to the ground, so he's cutting one off at a time. Then it's the laborious job of cutting that branch into a size that can be picked up and moved to the trailer. Each branch takes almost a day to cut up, then he packs the greenery into the trailer and it goes to the local dump to be chipped for their compost. We are hoping to give the logs to the local wood carvers.
This is my soap and laundry detergent stockpile.
So while he was outside, with a hot tea and cake in is belly, I started on my soap. I wanted to do a few batches but I only have one set of moulds, so I do one batch a day. I've made two batches so far and want to do one more and a batch of liquid soap. Some of this will be going into my shop that I'll be starting in a couple of weeks, the rest we'll use in the family. This is the best soap for baby's skin so I'm pleased to be able to supply good soap for Jamie and our soon to be born Peanut.
There are two batches of soap here in my tidied laundry. One is drying on a rack, the other batch is still in the moulds and hardening slowly under some blue towels.
Soap only takes a short while to make so while I waited - first for the separate mixtures to get to the same temperature, then for the mixing to be done, I washed up. It felt good plunging my hands into that warm soapy water while I could hear the wind whistling outside. I started thinking about knitting and doing some lovely organic pink washcloths as soon as I finish a scarf. All fine thoughts while I washed up, and then the soap was made and packed warmly in the laundry, I moved on to the next task.
Scones for lunch with tea, washed up again, then I knitted and sewed the afternoon away. We had eye fillet roast for dinner; that was a real treat, part of the hind-quarter bulk meat order from a couple of months back. It was roasted alongside sweet potatoes, pumpkin, onions and carrots. The second half will be had tonight with herb mashed potatoes and kale cooked with bacon and onion. I made a mental note to make walnut biscuits during the week.
Over the weekend, one task blended into the next - when I got sick of doing something I'd go on to something new. I'm not sure in what order I did it now but I also did some gardening, finished the tablecloth cupboard, tidied the laundry, made the bed a few times, swept the floor, cleaned the kitchen window sill, sorted through my stash to find fabric suitable for aprons to sell, made bread and a few pots of tea, organised my diary, researched my cheese making kit and replied to some emails.
I feel like I've returned to my home again and it feels right. Chores can be done or kept waiting, there is plenty of thinking and creating along with more practical tasks like bed making, cleaning and sweeping. There's no routine on weekends like this, just a list of things to be done and one by one they're mentally crossed off. There's no rush to get through it, no guilt if anything goes undone. My aim is to get through my work but to enjoy it too, even the seemingly dull bits. For every large, vital job and every small or dull task we do here is part of it - all part of the ever-changing mosaic that makes up two simple lives being lived next to a rainforest, with a creek running by, at the end of a one lane road.