at sixes and sevens in the eleventh

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It’s that time of the year. Not quite Christmas. Not quite holidays. Not quite summer.

Life at Chez EllaDee & the G.O. and Sydney’s November weather have been dancing to the same discordant tune, akin to the noise of my recorder playing in second class at school.

Weather-wise it’s been four seasons-plus in one day. Plus being torrential rain, fierce winds, hail and tornadoes. November the month of my birth & my sister’s and associated celebrations has long been infamous for heterogeneous weather.

Likewise, the everyday of this eleventh month has been a mixed bag. It’s been an eye-opener to the comfort I find in being a creature of somewhat boring habit.

The G.O. was finally released from the project that’s been the bane of his existence since Easter the year before last. He was headed for a new project on the South Coast, near Kiama where we like to steal infrequent weekends away, involving an extra couple of hours driving each day on top of his usual 7 am to whenever workdays.

Inclement weather, a project fast heading to disaster and deadline diverted his efforts locally for a couple of weeks although he was working 4 am, 6 am, 7 am to whenever and 6 days.

Meanwhile, it was quiet, sometimes very quiet, on the solo home front unless of course I opened the door to the soundtrack of the train line. But, that was my only respite. My mostly peaceful work days at my desk overlooking the harbour became unexpectedly but not unpleasantly hectic. It’s just the timing wasn’t great; home comforts depend on one of us having capacity to attend to them.

Fortunately earlier in November I devoted a Saturday afternoon to cooking, replenishing the freezer contents we’d depleted during Sustainable September. We had food so long as we desired meatballs, pasta and tomato sauce or variations thereof. And lasagne. Also frozen peas.

As is the way of us and ours, we still hadn’t caught up on family visits, hopefully reassigning them as December festive activities. But catching up with Dad took care of itself, unlike him, when he had a couple of stints in hospital. He’s fine now but he is 70-ish and it’s apparent he needs to keep an eye on his health, at least for a while. The first time, he was home before we could get up there but last weekend he was stuck in a recuperation unit, not fully sick not fully well, so we drove up for a visit… spending a couple of hours even in a sunny verandah hospital ward is vast incentive to look after one’s health.

All the while, I’ve been trying to nurture our shop sustainable philosophies via Saturday farmers markets and shop local quest for the early Christmas gifts we’re delivering next week.

Despite plentiful Christmassy bling and seasonal Big Store offerings, my selected shop local sources weren’t yet in the Santa spirit and I felt stressed, despairing of meeting the deadline and criteria. I can’t blame them really, I feel the same way – it’s November. I haven’t even had my birthday yet.

I’m determined we will have a sustainable food Christmas lunch, and thanks to Flavour Crusader I’ve ordered Burrawong Gaian chicken from Barraganyatti, and ham from Nambucca Valley Meat on the Move at Congarinni South, both local to Taylors Arm.

Michael Pollan has dominated my reading lately. I’ve returned to reading The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals after a hiatus reading Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation. Paraphrasing my review of Cooked… If you eat, ‘Cooked’ deserves a place on your bookshelf.

A rainbow over our shoulders - mine, and Sydney's.
A rainbow over our shoulders – mine, and Sydney’s.

A paragraph from The Omnivore’s Dilemma profoundly moved me… The beauty of the Internet is that it allows like-minded people to find their tribes, and then for the tribes to find their way to usus being in that instance Joe Salatin’s Polyface Farms, but also encompassing other sustainability advocates. Now, that’s what kept me going through November, my tribe, the WordPress bloggers who delight me daily with their inspiration and insight.

On Friday we head north to Taylors Arm. The G.O.’s industry has a no-work long weekend. Regardless, he was predictably asked to work Saturday.

Hopefully the November weather will find its mojo both for our weekend away and for the Nambucca River Festival.

But, no matter the weather or goings-on there’s always a rainbow over my shoulder.

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42 thoughts on “at sixes and sevens in the eleventh

    David Prosser said:
    November 27, 2013 at 8:27 pm

    I’m, sorry to hear your Dad has had a stay in hospital but I’m glad he’s doing better now. At least it gave you chance to catch up with each other. Despite the fact we haven’t hit December- or it hasn’t hit us,I’m almost done with my crowd dodging shopping and have ( with the aid of t’interweb) not been rushed with my choices.
    I wish you Penblwydd Hapus for the great day which must be upon us and hope you and the G.O. can celebrate properly, maybe.at Taylor’s Arms this weekend.I’ll raise a glass to you ( though it may contain a warm drink s it’s freezing here).
    as ever I send Huge Hugs xxx

      EllaDee responded:
      November 28, 2013 at 5:59 am

      Thank you. You’ve been my Christmas shopping inspiration… it’s coming together and I think we’ll be able to make a successful drop off to Dad’s on Tuesday :)
      Thank you for your birthday (I think) wishes, and yes, please join me for a celebratory drink on Friday. I’ll find something cool and bubbly.

    ardysez said:
    November 27, 2013 at 8:28 pm

    I love Micheal Pollan’s writing. Really good to read what you’ve been up to. I like the idea of our little ‘tribe’ too. Sadly, I just can’t always see local friends as easily as I can socialize online. X

      EllaDee responded:
      November 28, 2013 at 12:17 pm

      Thank you. While I like catching up in person or via phone juggling schedules doesn’t always accommodate it, and if the inter-web has been good for anything it’s information sharing. I can truly say reading Michael Pollan’s books has changed my life, and when I read the word ‘tribe’, it all made sense :)

    roughseasinthemed said:
    November 27, 2013 at 8:29 pm

    I read the links to the Pollen books, sounds like he would be preaching to the converted in my case! I’ve nearly finished up the veg I brought back from Spain, some out of the garden, and the rest local veg from my veg shop in the village. Today is trek to the supermarket day :(

    Glad I don’t have to do Christmas shopping, rather you than me. But a small, inexpensive gift, chosen with care, will always be welcome so I’m sure you will find the right ones.

    And, hope you dad is home soon, and very best wishes to him for better health.

      EllaDee responded:
      November 28, 2013 at 12:26 pm

      The Michael Pollan books were great for me, as I needed to get up to speed with food, as I was lagging behind even despite the knowledge I’ve gained from yours and similar blogs over the almost last 2 years.
      I’ve made some progress over the years with Christmas shopping, now spending carefully and early and avoiding December madness.
      Dad’s home, and sounding much better, thank you :)

    ardysez said:
    November 27, 2013 at 8:30 pm

    Belated wishes for your birthday too! My husband’s birthday is tomorrow, and would you believe our daughter’s partner’s birthday is the same day!

      EllaDee responded:
      November 28, 2013 at 12:30 pm

      Thank you – my birthday will start with our drive to TA tomorrow, and finish with a few glasses of something chilled & white and G.O. bbq’d seafood. I share the date with my cousin and quite a few other people I’ve met over the years. Happy birthday to your husband, a fellow Sagi and Happy Thanksgiving to you both :)

    Glenda said:
    November 28, 2013 at 1:24 am

    Hi Ella, Everywhere I look I see Christmas around the corner. Oh no, not again … Hope your dad is feeling better and happy birthday.

      EllaDee responded:
      November 28, 2013 at 12:35 pm

      Thank you :) There’s no missing Christmas, the city is bedecked, which is an aspect I enjoy while avoiding the rest of it as much as possible.
      Dad is much better, we’ll see him on Tuesday, and I’m looking forward to beginning our long weekend with my birthday tomorrow.

    Kourtney Heintz said:
    November 28, 2013 at 3:22 am

    Aw Ella I knew we shared something special–I’m a November baby too. :) Hope you have a happy birthday! Sorry to hear about the hecticness. Hope your dad is careful with his health. Hospital stays are scary.

      EllaDee responded:
      November 28, 2013 at 12:38 pm

      I don’t know if it’s the same for other months but we Novembers seem to find each other :)
      Thank you, a little bit hectic but more muddled… but tomorrow I’m looking forward to the day off for my birthday and a long weekend with a bit of relaxing in order.
      Dad is a lot better, and even just visiting the hospital was scary.

        Kourtney Heintz said:
        November 30, 2013 at 5:02 am

        LOL. I tend to find Novembers too. And September babies as close friends. ;) Yay–hope you have a fantastic birthday and get to do all the things you want to do even if it’s lay in bed and drink hot cocoa for a few hours. ;)

        EllaDee responded:
        December 6, 2013 at 1:05 pm

        Thank you – a weekend away and a glass of sparkling wine on the verandah was a lovely way to celebrate :)

    Marianne said:
    November 28, 2013 at 5:18 am

    It’s a funny mixed-bag of weather this time of year, isn’t it? :)

      EllaDee responded:
      November 28, 2013 at 12:40 pm

      I don’t remember the crazy November weather as a kid but since my 21st when it was hot hot then so freezing despite Dad’s little drums of fire dotting my backyard party, we all retreated shivering inside… it’s been the same :)

    Celia @ Fig Jam and Lime Cordial said:
    November 28, 2013 at 7:05 am

    You’ve had a funny old month! Hope your dad’s ok, and hope you and your sis had happy birthdays. Bring on December, it looks like being a bit calmer for us too.. xx

      EllaDee responded:
      November 28, 2013 at 12:43 pm

      Good description… but it’s coming together. A walk down King St on the way home yesterday netted me a great kid’s gift from the Flying Penguin and consumable goodies from Fiji Market – good suggestion from you. I just have to collect the TA stuff on the weekend, and I can deliver on Tuesday – yay :)
      Calm is my mantra for December.

    Celia @ Fig Jam and Lime Cordial said:
    November 28, 2013 at 7:13 am

    PS. Thanks for the headsup on Beth’s chooks (Burrawang Gaian) – I didn’t realise they stocked in Sydney, and yet they’re available just around the corner in Dulwich Hill. Yaaay!! :)

      EllaDee responded:
      November 28, 2013 at 12:46 pm

      You’re welcome. I had to call Beth as the site didn’t advertise any Nambucca Valley stockists but turns out Macksville Meats where we shopped last time stocks them. If they have any left from the last delivery I’m going get one for Dad for Tuesday.

    The Wanderlust Gene said:
    November 28, 2013 at 9:38 am

    Fingers crossed for the weather, but judging from your recounting, you and the GO will just sink into the bliss of Taylors Arm, no matter what the weather brings! A well-deserved weekend away, EllaDee :)

      EllaDee responded:
      November 28, 2013 at 12:47 pm

      We’d be happy chilling on the verandah listening to rain on the roof but I wouldn’t mind going to the festival, especially to see the lantern boats on Saturday night. But yes, we’ll enjoy the break whatever the weather :)

    metan said:
    November 28, 2013 at 1:48 pm

    I do love the idea of an online tribe. :D
    Happy birthday to you for the weekend and I hope you enjoy the time away with the G.O. Xmas is creeping up on us so quickly it’s frightening!

    I’m impressed that you are sticking to your locavore/sustainable plans even through Xmas, the hardest time of year to do it. I’m still doing my best, last night it was rabbit pie for dinner here. Something I’ve never tried before! Local meat, veg, rosemary from the garden, and, as the recipe called for cider, I managed to find a local one at the supermarket bottlo, a compromise but still, better than an imported one I guess….

      EllaDee responded:
      November 28, 2013 at 2:06 pm

      Thank you – a long weekend away is my favourite birthday gift to me.
      The tribe thing made me very happy. I thought… ooh, yes, that’s exactly what it is :)
      Yum, rabbit pie. I’ve mentioned rabbit to the G.O. but he’s sceptical (of farmed rabbit I think) but maybe if I add the magic ‘p’ word…
      Locavore/sustainable/shop small is as we’ve discussed, a LOT more work. There have been times I’ve despaired, and also gone with more convenient alternatives. Nothing is 100%. But I’m VERY excited about the ham and chooks.

    Gede Prama said:
    November 28, 2013 at 4:02 pm

    Amazing and thank you friend… @ ^_^
    kindness blossoms in your heart

      EllaDee responded:
      November 28, 2013 at 4:08 pm

      Thank you for such a lovely comment. You words are very kind. Bloggers are the tribe of the future, I think – one world :)

        Gede Prama said:
        November 30, 2013 at 1:51 pm

        there are many inspirational articles

        EllaDee responded:
        December 6, 2013 at 12:15 pm

        … and people :)

    dadirri7 said:
    November 28, 2013 at 5:19 pm

    thanks for the tip about Michael Pollan, looks like a suitable gift for someone near and dear to me … so sorry to hear your Dad has been below par, and hospitals are very sobering aren’t they? We are celebrating a family birthday today, so best wishes for yours, which must be very soon, Sagittarians are some of my favourite people :) We are off to Lord Howe again tomorrow, (having just reinstalled the replacement modem this afternoon!) so I hope your weekend will be all bliss and rest too … surely the G.O. is not working Saturday???

      EllaDee responded:
      November 28, 2013 at 6:18 pm

      Thank you :) I bought my own copy of Cooked before I even finished reading the one I borrowed from the library, I was so captivated by it.
      Dad’s much better, which we’re happy about :)
      I’m glad you’re fond of Sagi’s. Happy Birthday to yours :) We do tend to flock together and like each other as well.
      I hope you have a lovely break at Lord Howe, and no, the G.O. isn’t working Saturday, it was ridiculous of them to ask.
      I’m glad you are back online so soon.

    ChgoJohn said:
    November 29, 2013 at 7:09 am

    What a month! Sorry to hear that your Dad was in hospital a few times. That can be so frustrating. I hope he’s seen the last of that place for some time. I thought our weather could be unpredictable but yours wins that prize, easily. I’ll remember never to travel to Oz in November. I am glad that you both have a chance to get away for a few days and hope the weather cooperates.
    Have a great weekend!

      EllaDee responded:
      December 6, 2013 at 12:56 pm

      Thank you. Yes, at the moment our weather is prizewinning… it’s now December and the weather is still mad… snowing down south! November visitors would, like me last weekend, need to pack for all seasons. We saw Dad on Tuesday and he’s happy with his progress :)

    philosophermouseofthehedge said:
    November 29, 2013 at 1:21 pm

    Life certainly sounds busy. Hope your dad is doing well. You are right that watching parents age motivates you to take care of yourself.
    The perfect Christmas gifts will cross your path shortly – there’s that rainbow over your shoulder. (Now that’s amazing!)

      EllaDee responded:
      December 6, 2013 at 12:58 pm

      Dad is much better – thank you. Visiting the hospital is certainly incentive to stay well ;)
      I’m happy to say we successfully delivered a batch of shop local Christmas gifts earlier this week. It was more work than shopping at the mall or online but worth it :)

        philosophermouseofthehedge said:
        December 7, 2013 at 3:45 am

        Glad to hear that! My 102 yr old uncle is in a senior assisted center which is nice at that age, but even he “works out” with weights/bike to stay strong as possible. Mental attitude makes a difference – your dad is like that, too
        Shopping local is taking a bit more leg work – but actually more fun as we chat with the owners/workers and everyone seems more in the real Christmas Spirit. If it’s fun, too – yet another reason to go this way. Jingle on!

        EllaDee responded:
        December 7, 2013 at 8:37 am

        Today is my last day gathering local goodies, for delivery on Sunday… I’m feeling a bit festive, far more than the G.O. who has been mostly working but we both especially enjoyed the obligatory wine tasting last weekend when we purchased local TA wines :)

    Vicky said:
    November 30, 2013 at 11:04 am

    I never imagine Australia to have such varied weather, my image is of blue skies and sun.
    I guess the rain was welcomed though after the horrendous fires of late.
    Does the release of the GO from the project mean full time life TA will be getting closer?

      EllaDee responded:
      December 6, 2013 at 1:01 pm

      I don’t think we have the same types of extremes as in the UK, even where it snows but the entire world seems to be experiencing varied weather. I packed for so many eventualities last weekend it was crazy, but mainly it was coolish.
      The G.O. is working on another project but there is light at the end of the full time life at TA tunnel, the date isn’t getting any further away :)

    Bill said:
    December 4, 2013 at 11:19 pm

    I’m a big fan of Michael Pollan’s writing (and of Joel Salatin), but I’d forgotten that quote about the internet. It’s so true.

    We’re hosting monthly gatherings here on our farm now that we call “Piedmont Sustainable Living.” It’s a group of folks who are interested in homesteading/simple living. We share ideas, projects, questions, dreams, etc. At the last meeting we were talking to a couple who are deeply committed to sustainability and the homesteading lifestyle. They’re learning to cook with a wood stove, for example. We’ve all given up television and are trying to live lightly on the earth, minimizing our use of “technology.” But we all laughed and agreed that internet would be the last thing we surrender. It helps us so much. And I love the fact that it helps us “find our tribe.”
    :)

      EllaDee responded:
      December 6, 2013 at 12:28 pm

      It’s sadly amazing the skills that have been lost in only one or two generations and are being re-learned. My Nanna cooked on a woodstove, and so would have Dad and his siblings but it’s something I’d have to re-learn as well although the G.O. would still manage.
      I agree, there’s many things I would happily go without but this immediate connection to the greater world isn’t one of them… although I have an enforced but happy hiatus during holidays at our house at Taylors Arm :)

    sandradan1 said:
    December 6, 2013 at 11:50 pm

    I hadn’t heard of Michael Pollan but have just ordered ‘The omnivore’s dilmena’ for my other half for Christmas, so thanks for that. And also thanks for all the likes on ‘Ignoring Gravity’ only 60 more instalments to go! SD

      EllaDee responded:
      December 7, 2013 at 8:33 am

      Thank you. Michael Pollan and the blogging community have given me valuable insight and information re the back story to what’s happened to our food.
      I’m enjoying Ignoring Gravity, and will comment shortly, as Rose has just begun to engage me.

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