Saturday, July 30, 2011

early morning start...

It's dawn - and I spy another big frost

I'm packing up the car

with lots of books, a few gadgets, my all purpose arty toolbox,
a couple of making projects, a small case of clothes,
and gifts from the farm and garden

My very old (second hand, first generation) i-pod is loaded with hours of podcasts

I hit the road shortly - heading for the north of Sydney today
(about 450kms - 5ish hours drive)
then onwards to Byron Bay on Sunday
(I believe that's going to be a 10+ hour trip....)

I will only have my phone to connect to the webby world

so if the interweb gods are kind - I'll try mobile blogging over here


its time to kiss and hug the kids 
and check the oil in the car

lets go!

Friday, July 29, 2011


Outside the kitchen door this morning....

frosty frosty frosty

overnight low temperature for Sams Creek = -3C

mmmmm crispy

overnight low for Byron Bay = 10C

oooooo YES! I'll have some of that!

(one more sleep)


Thursday, July 28, 2011

better said...

(ooo my garden is so very neglected right now!)

This morning I read this post by Maddy Harland (editor of  Permaculture mag that is published in the UK and distributed worldwide)

Essentially she shared Duane Elgin's observation of the three main ways ways people are taking on the challenge of sustainable living and how the mainstream media is representing these....

here's the bit that really had my head bobbing up and down in agreement:
"Occasionally presented in the mass media and poorly understood by the general public is a conscious simplicity that represents a deep, graceful, and sophisticated transformation in our ways of living -- the work that we do, the transportation that we use, the homes and neighborhoods in which we live, the food that we eat, the clothes that we wear, and much more. A sophisticated and graceful simplicity seeks to heal our relationship with the earth, with one another, and with the sacred universe. Conscious simplicity is not simple. This life way is growing and flowering with a garden of expressions. Deep simplicity fits aesthetically and sustainably into the real world of the 21st century."

yep that's exactly what I'm interested in accomplishing in a wholistic manner with all our 'doings' ..... and Elgin has expressed things WAAAAY better than I can ever manage!

I think I'd like to read more from Elgin....

I know I want to DO a lot more...

talking of things to do - I have books and bags to pack (only 2 days until I hit the road for Byron Bay.... eeek!) I really should get to it eh?!


Monday, July 25, 2011

and another...

I've just created a special place for all my BBWF stuff..... 

this is where I'll post most of my festival doings

I hope you'll drop by and keep an eye on me!


Sunday, July 24, 2011

and another thing....

Now that I've shared my thoughts about air travel and artyness (as it humbly applies to one small creek girl)... it's time for me to get back to the business of preparing for my time at BBWF...

Three days is a very short stint to be an artist-in-residence, it's really not conducive to making new work FROM the new site or ABOUT the new site... and the combined time/budget/site/available resources is determining exactly what I might be able to undertake. With the festival director's blessing I'm planning to set up a series of ephemeral booky/site works - primarily based on works that I've done in the past (hey - that's the reason I've been invited after all!). Later in the week I'm loading up the wagon with some of my book collection (I'd need at least one semi-trailer to take ALL of my book collection!) - these will be joined by books collected by the lovely peeps at Collins Booksellers in Byron Bay (I can't wait to see what treasures may be lurking in that promised box of discarded books...) All these books will make intermittent changing appearances both onsite at the festival - and in and around town. Most of my ephemeral works will be very much under the radar ... and set up before I hope most people will be up and about in Byron Bay....

While I'm onsite I'm planning to be publicly working on my current booky project (and if I'm really lucky I might be able to sit in on a couple of very enticing sessions on the festival program.... fingers crossed!). I'm also planning to do a spot of mobile blogging (I have to work out how to do that from my phone mind you.... but if my dear ole daddio can do it, surely I can!).

And finally, I'm also hoping to make some ephemeral bits and bobs with young folk (the Thursday before the festival kicks into high gear is devoted to schools - I'm told to expect a few thousand eager little munchkins..... I think I've figured out something that a few thousand little hands can be kept busy with.... fingers crossed!).

Mostly I'm planning to take a range of 'stuff' and to keep my mind and eyes open so that I can change direction mid-stream and go with the flow and theme of the festival.....

(fingers crossed!)

corr I can 'feel the passion' already (although perhaps that's just me contemplating warmer northern weather.... fingers crossed!)


Saturday, July 23, 2011

speckle and sparkle...

FP came home with an early birthday present for moi....

two new chickie-babes
the kidlets have named speckle and sparkle...

ten-weeks old - they still make cute little chickie sounds

our big chickie-babe - steph (the-chook-who-thinks-she's-a-dog)
is NOT impressed

I however think they are very cute!

(thank you family for the lovely early present)


Friday, July 22, 2011


counting down the days until I leave for Byron Bay
(just 8 days until I hit the road....eek!)

So much to do, so little time!

(here's a small 'something' I'm working on to take with me....
it may or may not be used depending on conditions....)

From the first approach I've given this forthcoming A-i-R appointment a LOT of thought....
and not just about WHAT I'll be doing and how, and where, and for how long (and where I'll be staying!) .....

I've thought about it in relation to the whole of my arts practice and my convictions regarding environmental sustainability and the arts, place and art-making, and (eeek!) the prospect of being away from home and family for what I know I'll consider an eternity (in all, counting the 4 days on the road up and back, I'll be away from the family and the creek for 11-12 days.... which will be the longest continuous time spent away from the creek since 1995! eek!!!)

Although I'm still getting my head around that (eeek!) I made an early easy decision NOT to accept the offer to be flown in and out... and I suppose I should explain: I've been concerned for some time about air travel... most particularly the air flights that so much of our supermarket foods take (I noticed mangoes from Mexico were in Bega Coles this week... I mean seriously - WTF?) Yes I suppose you can accuse me of getting on my environmental high horse about this - but really folks, I think we need to think about the ramifications of all this food flying around the world (wheeeeee!) and just say NO! I don't want to eat mangoes that qualify for frequent flyer points! Cutting down on unnecessary air travel will go a LONG way to helping reduce carbon emissions.... and it's easy to chop food flights from our lifestyle (buy in-season, local produce instead)

So I have also thought a lot about all the (what I consider) unnecessary air travel that accompanies so much of the business and (because this is my arena) the arty world... How often do you read/see tales of art events where international arteests have been flown into town for a brief spectacular visit... oh it's all totally justifiable of course (such a great opportunity! such amazing work! oooo so good for the economy!)


I'm not pointing fingers at other people (seriously!) - I operate from the position that all I can change in the world is myself, and what I'm most critical of, and keen to correct, is my personal actions.... (I'm aware of a few wonderful artists who clock up a LOT of air hours, but they also manage to juggle the sustainability issue with justifiable aplomb - hats off to you guys! even if I think these artists are definitely in the minority...).  I've decided that in order for me to feel ok about what I'm doing, I need to 'walk the talk' - I don't think air flight is always the right way to go, so I decided that it will only be in exceptional circumstances that you'll see my butt on a plane. This will the first real test of my convictions..... (let's see how I feel after the long haul road trip eh?)

enough of my pontificating - I've got a heap more making to get done before next weekend!


Sunday, July 17, 2011


This afternoon 
quietly engrossed in a FABBO doco
(all about the Hamilton wood type museum and etc.)
on ABC1

'gosh my throat feels all scratchy'
'geez my eyes are stinging'

glance to the ceiling


smoke was pouring out of the front of our combustion heater

(cough cough cough cough)


fiddle door of fire box
(nope - still smoking)
kick flue of heater
(nope - still smoking)
try to find ladder to get on roof to check flue top... and to check ceiling cavity
(none around)
try calling my brother - he's Cobargo Rural Fire Service deputy legend....
and like our daddio - AFSM (Australian Fire Service Medal... life-term legend)
he knows what to do about all manner of FIRE!
(no answer)
called farmer phil

EEEEK! phil.... EEEEK!

called 000
'just tell them it's Rhonda Ayliffe's place - A.Y.L.I.F.F. (as in foxtrot) E
sams creek
trust me - they know where to go'

(cough cough cough cough)

a short time later - FP gets home
(cows left hanging in the dairy... kids left in the dairy with the cows!)
then the cobargo BIG truck turns up 
then brother-in-law (also a volunteer in the cobargo crew) turns up
then another small truck from diggies creek with another two volunteers
then the toyota with Roger
(who scrambled all the way from Yowrie - 16kms west of town in the bush... onya Rog!)

our fire heater flue had blocked over and caught on fire.... 
with some natty handiwork
from ron and tony and fiona and alan and chris and roger (and phil)
all was sorted

no damage done

(expect to my life expectancy!!)

(after the fire crews left for home,
FP conjured a homemade chimney sweep ... from a long pipe and a defunct mop
and gave the flue a solid chimney enema!)

major kisses and love to Cobargo Rural Fire Service
and kudos to all fire volunteers 
(these guys don't get paid to answer the call you know.... and today is Sunday!)

Australia's volunteer fire fighters 
all 200 000 of them
are bloody heroes!


Saturday, July 16, 2011

rotary book fair haul...

Guess what I brought home from the latest Rotary Book Fair?

Yup - its boxes and boxes of BOOKS!

4 sets of encyclopaedias, one box of old science textbooks, one box of law manuals,
one 22 vol set of 'Australia's Heritage' (published 1971)

one box of weird and wonderfuls...

(the mind boggles what I may eventually do with/to this WaW)

(drumroll please)

2 big boxes of 'supermarket' romance paperbacks

(ooo the excitement!)

these little puppies are destined for a bit of...

then they'll get to go on a road trip to Byron Bay
(Writer's Festival here we come!)

watch this space for a sneak peek

(if you dare hee hee hee)


Wednesday, July 13, 2011


Cool winter's day...
Forster's Bay,

 click for monster embiggen!
(just 35kms up the road from Sams Creek.... beautiful wot?)

The kidlets had fresh fish and chips with homemade tartare sauce
and an icecream treat
I had coffee
on the back deck of Taylors at Narooma

From the deck there's a little jetty...

 EJ mmmm toasty warm - in second-hand ski-gear op-shop find


Sass and EJ and my niece Annelise
(try saying that three times fast!)
rush to see...

three seals frolicking by the seashore....

what a magic way to spend a winter's school holiday


Saturday, July 9, 2011

slow growing...

my slow book is slowly growing...

in the evening,
the fire is glowing,
our kidlins have started dreaming their dreams
(we are early-to-bed, early-to-rise farm folk, so kidlins are usually fast asleep by 8pm)

I get out my booky bundles and start stitching... 

the book creature spills from my lap and along the lounge chair
it's almost 2m 'long' already (how did that happen?)

often one of the beastie cats curls itself inside the book coils...
careful not to tread on the pages - good cats!

I pat the cat and the book 
and go back to stitching

With hands engaged, my mind can wander
I am thinking about my forthcoming BIG road trip to Byron Bay Writers Festival
for my stint as the Festival's first ever artist-in-residence


 I've decided to take this emerging book creature with me
(I'm sure it would appreciate a good road trip -
just as I would appreciate the comforting presence
of a book to stitch...)

so keep a look out for us both at the festival 
(august 5-7)


Monday, July 4, 2011

second skin...

another new book...

(I've had this on preorder.....  waiting... not-so-patiently for the release date)

 'Second Skin' by India Flint is a revelation

oh its full of inspiring pics and advice (which I fully anticipated - india's first book - 'eco colour' is an absolutely brilliant reference book on eco-dying and thinking about cloth and clothing) and 'second skin' builds on that foundation while offering a window into an alternative way of thinking about how we clothe ourselves..... But its much more than simply a pretty picture book.

This is a little bit from the first chapter that resonates and sets the tone for the tome...

"By making do with having a bit less as well as making that 'less' last longer, each person can do something useful, simply by moderating their impact on the planet. In this book I'd like to take the reader on a journey that encompasses the growing, harvesting and making of fibre and cloth as well as maintenance and mending, embellishment, repurposing and dyeing. I think that bringing back grandmother's philosophies - of valuing beauty, practising thrift, being mindful, consuming and making less but doing it more slowly and better, being content with enough - can not only help to make the world a better place, but are principles with the potential to enrich our lives."

 (mmmmm yummy piccies)

I'm sure most of you are familiar with the Buddhist proverb: 'When the student is ready, the teacher will appear'..... well I think the same applies to books.... (and everything else really when I stop to think about it!) I'm now ready to read and think and experiment and think and read and apply and think and read and grow in my understanding of how the clothing choices I make for myself and the family ARE and important piece in the puzzle of living an authentic, low impact, creative, ecologically and socially responsible manner.

(I love how 'second skin' sits so beautifully next to 'eco colour' -
the two books are the same size and basic format...
so I imagine them having a family conversation side by side on the shelf)

This book has appeared when I am critically examining my arts practice (and by extension the art world at large) and finding a lot to be concerned about..... from environmentally suspect art materials and processes to icky art world economics.... I'm finding it increasingly harder to reconcile my participation in an 'industry' that is so often complicit in environmental destruction, that supports the wealth/ class divide,  and that is built upon a consumerist/capitalist model (buy low, sell high.... greed is good... unlimited growth is the go)


nope - that's not me

Although 'second skin' focuses on fibre and clothing... I'm reading it with my arts practice in mind... And finding lots to inspire a positive way forward in my art making.... (sending interwebby vibes of gratitude and congratulations to India..... what a lovely book)


Friday, July 1, 2011

little birdie...

Last night

returning from town
a flurry of feathers on my right.. then a sickening

(oh no - I've hit a bird!)

U-turn.... I seek out the spot ....
I see a bundle of unpromising feathers and my heart sinks
I wait for one car, then another to pass
(please don't hit the bird, please don't hit the bird, please don't hit the bird...)

then two more cars from the other direction
(please don't hit the bird, please don't hit the bird, please don't hit the bird...)

I rush to the centre of the highway to gently scoop up the disheveled lump.
Its head lolls sideways, its eyes are closed, 
and my heart sinks further
but my hands feel a movement, a flutter of trying wings,
and through my fingers I feel a heartbeat


quickly, I open the car back, with one hand unload a cardboard book box
and lay the little creature inside

Up the hill we go - home

In the dim shed light I peek into the box
and one eye peeks back at me

we had a moment that bird and I...

(inside the house to a dark calm room, a towel in the box, a towel under the box,
a call to WIRES, a nervous night waiting and hoping...)

This morning we rose and so did the bird.
I think it is a Southern Boobook (a small native owlet)

I have taken it to the vet, and arranged for WIRES to collect and care for the dear one. I hope that it hasn't sustained anything too serious (its eye is the only injury I could detect - but I didn't want to manhandle the bird, and risk it developing shock... )

I hope I get to see it fly overhead at our place again one day very soon

(fingers crossed for you little bird)

unfortunately this story doesn't have a magical happy ending...
after vet inspection the little boobook's injuries
were found to be more extensive than initially hoped
so it was humanely euthanised by the vet

goodbye little birdie

I'm sorry