The First Camellia

16 Jul 2007

The house is quiet, everyone is cosy in bed except me and Louis who is studying in the kitchen. It's a rainy wintery night. The wind is whipping the rain around and it is so comforting to listen to the weather when you are safe and warm inside.

It has been so cold today, it must be snowing somewhere. I rarely listen to the weather report so I can only guess from what I see, hear and feel. What I felt today was COLD. My main job for the day has been keeping the fires going so that my family had a warm home to come back to. I can understand why families where everyone is out through the day prefer to use electric or gas heating as wood fires are not instant and do require regular attention but I would find it very difficult to live through winter without the comfort of the fire.

It's very snug now and my bed will be warm because Stephen is already fast asleep.
We don't have electric blankets although I did as a child and I loved it, the hotter the better. When Stephen decided many years ago to get rid of ours I thought I would die from the shock of a cold bed but really I don't miss it at all.

I used a new soup recipe for tea tonight, I found it in the weekend paper: Leek, barley and bacon soup served with fresh, warm wholemeal bread and followed by the leftovers of last night's dessert, Italian trifle.

Last night's tea was a wonderful meal, yummy marinated lamb and vegies and the trifle but the best thing about it was the company. Just our little family but everyone was in such good spirits and seemed to have so much to say we had a great time. Nobody was overtired or grumpy or impatient and everyone was enjoying the company of their own family.

Anyway the soup was delicious and I will make it again. As usual I didn't strictly have the correct ingredients but they were close enough. While was making tea I also baked some muesli cookies for school lunches and morning tea snacks plus I had a good clean out of any very out of date drygoods in the pantry. I also discovered that it will be a very long time before I need to buy any more cinnamon, cumin or rice flour.

I've read most of "the Good Life" but really I have dipped in and out of it. I found it really interesting. They lived a very disciplined life and I would love to know more about their relationship. I feel as though he may have been quite a difficult person to live with but I may be completely wrong. They certainly set out to prove a point and live the life they had imagined. Now I'm reading "This Organic Life" by Joan Dye Gussow which I'm sure I borrowed from the library before and returned without reading it. I'm only up to page 23 but it seems very readable and has some good recipes.

Any Aussie reader who gets the chance to read "A Year of Slow Food" by Gerta and David Foster I'm sure you will enjoy it. David Foster is an Australian fiction author who lives in Bundanoon in The Southern Highlands of NSW and this is the story of how they live as self sufficiently as possible. Also Jackie French's book " Seasons Of Content" I think it is called is another good one about people who have been living frugally, self sufficiently and contentedly for many years. Jackie and her partner live near Braidwood in NSW.

Well Louis is in bed now so I might read a few more pages of my book perhaps with a hot chocolate to fortify me and then toddle off to bed. Good night.

9 Responses to “The First Camellia”

  1. The camellias are so pretty. I love leek soup. The aroma when it's cooking and the taste are so satisfying. I'll have to try a recipe with bacon.

  2. The soup sounds delicious! What a cozy evening you've described.

  3. I imagine it's morning for you now if you're reading this. I'm just catching up with your blog. The soup sounds lovely and wintery. Oh, and my children would love a tree as large as the one in your previous in our back garden!

  4. I love your descriptions of Tea. We're in the middle of summer here so it is nice to read about cozy fires and soup.

  5. Thankyou! I've been racking my brain for that book title ("A Year of Slow Food"). Now I will seek it out. I really enjoyed "Seasons of Content" too.

  6. Jackie French, particularly with 'Backyard Self Sufficiency' and 'Seasons of Content', changed my life.

    That sounds like a cliche, but it's true.

    (And that soup sounds delicious. Note to self: buy barley).

  7. When I first came to Tas. I lived by myself. I always felt so sad coming home to a dark and empty house. One of the lovely things in my life now is walking up the path and seeing the fire light on the walls and baby faces at the windows... And yes, it was really nice yesterday, which was COLD.

    Also, Slow Food and Seasons are indeed both fabulous.

  8. Beautiful camellia... here we are in sunflower season and zinnias and bee balm and some sad looking hollyhocks. Everything is getting that careworn/hot/dry summer look to it, although a thunderstorm tonight will wash it all off.

  9. Marie, the whole house smelt beautiful for ages with the aroma of the soup. It felt like I was in a restaurant.

    Donna, the soup was delicious and really easy too.

    Natalie,every child who goes into our back garden comes under the spell of the blackwood. It's a good friend to little and big children.

    Love bears all things,thank you.

    Susan, don't you hate it when you can't remember the name of a book. Sometimes it takes me months for it to finally come to me. Drives me crazy.

    Suse, I love reading Jackie French. She is so sensible and so willing to give things a try. I did seriously consider stealing Seasons of Content from the library but in the end I took it back.

    Kris, there is nothing so lonely is there as coming home alone to a cold dark house. I'm glad you have a warm nest to come home to now.

    Willowcaroline. It's hard to imagine that in another six months the garden could well be a dust bowl once again.


Thanks so much for taking the time to chat. I don't always have time to reply but I do read every message you leave.