Autumn Draws to a Close and the Cooler Weather Arrives

As autumn draws to a close we have been in and out, travelling to the National Folk Festival, listening to some very good music. Then, recently I was speaking at the National Ceramics Triennial Conference, where I delivered a paper on sustainability. In between, as always, we were in the pottery making and firing our pots, both before, in between and after these events. Making pots and growing food are the two constants in our life.

 

We were also in the garden planting more veggies for the cool weather. The tomatoes are still hanging on with just a few tiny fruits ripening every few days, so that we can have salad sandwiches for lunch with our lettuce from the garden. The garlic that I planted in March is up and doing well. I planted 5 small beds of about 50 cloves each. A smaller crop this year. I was busy and didn’t find the time to get more in. I have planted another 100 cloves today. Maybe a bit too late to do well, but this is real life.

  

Tonight we will have baked vegetables, yesterday it was minestrone, with everything from the garden. Our gardening efforts feed us well.

I planted a couple of new avocados a few days ago. One more type A and another type B for our collection. We now have 6 different varieties. When these trees mature in a few years time, we will have a much longer cropping season and bigger harvests. The chickens love to get involved in any event that involves fresh dirt. They hop in and excavate the hole a little more, but then hop out and start to fill it in again. The don’t get it! but they have fun doing it and their eggs have super, deep, rich, yellow yokes.

 

The latest young avocado tree freshly planted with its with mesh guard to keep the kangaroos from eating the top out. As they most surely will, with any new tree that we plant in the orchard. They can’t resist having a taste of what ever is new. You can see the original 40 year old avocado tree behind the this new one. and the bare branches of the leafless cherry tree to the right.

The peaches are loosing their leaves, the cherries have finished and are barren, the apples and pears are turning yellow in preparation for the fall.

 

In the evenings it is cold enough now to start to light the fire every night. We sit by the fire and shell our dried beans. We shell them and then dry them out fully in the oven after we have finished cooking dinner. This extra heat ensures that they are fully dry and won’t go mouldy in the jars in the pantry. It also kills any little bugs and critters that may have bored their way in to the shells hoping to hatch out and consume the lot over winter. They are ideal for minestrone.  We will make many lovely wholesome meals out of them over the winter.

Autumn Activities

Here we are in the first few weeks of Autumn and all the usual jobs raise their heads for attention.

First, we spent a couple of weeks in Adelaide for the Writers Week where we finally managed to make good our promise to our selves to buy less than one book per day. A difficult ask when you consider that there are 2 tents to choose from with a new set of authors each hour all day and this goes on for 6 days, that’s 72 sessions and at least half of them are very interesting to me.

We sit under the shade sales and let the ideas and philosophies drift over us and through us.

In the evenings we frequent the Fringe festival, for a meal and a small show. We don’t often buy tickets to the main Festival events, as they are very expensive, but this year we went to see Tim Minchin and the was very good.

WOMAD follows right on from Writers Week and we have been doing here for this combination of events for the past 15 years. It’s alway good. We never know what is going to happen or who we are going to see. Whatever turns up is always good, and with 7 stages, 12 hours day over 4 days, there are over 300 combinations of performances to catch our attention.

I will mention just a few.

5 Angry men, The manic bell ringers, they put on a high energy, entertaining show. Fatoumata Daiwara was excellent, as was Mambali, an aboriginal band from the gulf of Carpentaria. They were really good. Each evening there was a troupe from India throwing coloured dust around. I kept well out-of-the-way of that one, well up wind. I’m sure that breathing in that coloured dust can’t be good for your lungs.

As soon as we are home, it’s time to get stuck into the ‘Clean-up Australia’ Weekend. This  has been organised for the past few years by our neighbour Elizabeth. We get stuck in and drag a couple of ruined tyres from the road side gutters, along with a mass of fast food wrappers and cartons, mostly from MacDonalds. We end up filling a few sacks with rubbish, and that is just from one small section of one road.

Welcome home.

Colour, Sound , Movement, – then Stillness

We have recently been in Adelaide for the Adelaide Arts Festival, the Fringe, Writers Week and finally WOMAD. It’s our annual holiday, Art pilgrimage and music fest binge. A really engaging, thoughtful and enjoyable couple of weeks. Womad was the best that it has ever been. There was a really captivating event staged each evening over the stage 1 area involving ‘angles’ working on high-wires high above the crowd, dropping feathers as they went about their angelic business. First, a single angel with white umbrella casting a few feathers to the crowd.

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Appearing one at a time, the ‘angels’ floated across the dark sky, initially dropping hands-full of feathers, then more of them, one with a suitcase dropping fists-full. As the performance progressed, there were several angels some with huge barrels full of feathers that they set free in the spot light and the breeze.

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The performance progressed, with a giant inflatable ‘Putti’ angel dancing with them in the sky. More and more angels appeared on multiple high wires and distributed ever more feathers to the audience below, so that by the time the one-hour performance was coming to an end, the entire sky was filled with angels, beautifully performing their ‘angelus’, distributing their feathery messages to us on the ground in our eathly domain. Their delicate messages slowly fluttering effortlessly to the ground.

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On the ground, the ‘angels’ danced and cavorted amongst the crowd in a haze of floating feathers while the putti hovered above.

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Finally as the music slowed, the angels stood up on some elevated platforms and each took a bow.

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It was a really delightful surprise, totally engaging and truly spectacular, as I had no idea what was going to happen, I just went with it. I think that it was the best one-hour performance that I have experienced there. Funnily, It wasn’t as surprising or spectacular the 2nd time around, but I still enjoyed it.

I did wonder who was going to clean up the many cubic metres of feathers from the park.

In total contrast to this spectacular and very loud musical event. We also went to see Kirsten Coelho’s show at the Jam Factory, as part of the 2018 Adelaide Biennial of Australian Art. In almost total darkness and absolute quiet we arrived early in an empty room to view this very beautiful installation. From furious activity to quiet contemplation.

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Beautiful.

Lucie Thorne House Concert

We held another of our house concerts again on Saturday night. This time with Lucie Thorne. We have a couple of attempts to get her here in the past year, and this time all the stars were in alignment.

It was a very enjoyable afternoon/evening/night. Lucie is a very talented singer songwriter. We have all of her CD’s and enjoy listening to them a lot. So it is really nice to be able to have her here in our house for a few hours.

We particularly enjoyed our private performance when Lucie did her sound check.

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and everybody else enjoyed the full performance, later that night.

Lucie has developed her own individual style, a soft breathy vocal style and such a gentle lyrical guitar sound that she has developed from her hollow body electric guitar, but turned down to the lowest possible level, so that the sound just gently washes over you with a soft reverb effect. She doesn’t really strum the strings, but emotes through her fingers in keeping with the vocal line of the songs. It so individual and idiosyncratic. She is a totally engaging performer.  The music critic from the age described her music as “some of the most simple and beautiful songs you will hear” The Age.

We consider ourselves so lucky to be able to host her here in our house.

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We have already invited her to come back again next year.

Check out her links below for more information on Lucie and her music.

http://www.facebook.com/lucie.thorne

http://www.luciethorne.com

Roasted capsicums and home made pizza for the musicians

We have hosted the local musicians in our home after the monthly ‘session’ in the village hall. I decide to make pizzas.

I roast a few red capsicums and peel them after sweating them off in a plastic bag for 20 mins. Then peel them and dress them with a little oil and vinegar.

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As the weather continues to be very hot. We are invited to our neighbours home for the afternoon/evening for a swim in the pool and a BBQ. Such is summer. We are very lucky to have such generous neighbours.

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After all this fun and good times, it’s back to work in the kiln factory. I still have to finish one order from last year and then I have 10 kilns ordered for this new year. I’m actually trying to cut down and retire from so much kiln work but these are orders and they mean guaranteed income.

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This is kiln number 301 and hopefully my last of the big heavy ones. My amazing and highly skilled friend Warren and I pose for a final photo in this last kiln. From now on I will be concentrating on the small light-weight portable dual fuel wood fired kilns.

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Heath Cullen House Concert

We hosted a house concert last week for Heath Cullen. A great favourite of ours. He is a lovely person and a very good musician. Every one seems pleased with the concert. We had our lounge room in the Old School Building packed to chockers with 38 people in the house. We were very pleased with the turn-up. Everyone brought a plate to share and there was, as there often is, way too much food to eat on the night and we had to ask our friends to take much of the left-overs back with them, as we have all the food that we need in our vegetable garden. We want for little.

Live music is such a pleasure. Especially with someone like Heath, who has so much talent and has so much to offer. We asked everyone to arrive by 6.30 for a 7.oopm start. Heath was here at 5 to set up and we ended up re-arranging the chairs to suit his personal choice of performance space, We had an early dinner with him and a few friends who helped us to clean out the house and set up the chairs.

We had two 45 min sets of songs with a half hour break in-between, which got a bit stretched with everyone eating , drinking and talking animatedly with each other. After the show, half of our guests stayed on the chat and the night ended going on till quite late, with Heath leaving about 11.00pm.

A thoroughly enjoyable event and night. We will be doing it again in a few months with another musician that we like. I’m keen to have Lucie Thorne here some time. Check out her web site. <luciethorne.com>. ‘The Age’ newspaper reviewer, had this to say about Lucie.

“Thorne writes some of the most simple and beautiful songs you will hear” **** The Age.

Heath is keen to come back again next year. And we’re keen to have him here.

His three  CD’s have been on regular play all this week.

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Check out Heath’s web site;  <heathcullen.com>

A realy nice person, a great performer, lovely music, good company, intimate space and our solid brick, old class room, has excellent acoustics. What more could you want ?

House Concert – New Heath Cullen CD

We have just been to a local house concert to see Heath Cullen again. He’s particularly good. I like his music a lot. We already had both of his earlier CDs and they get quite a lot of amplification around the house and pottery workshop. Heath has a new CD about to be released. it’s been coming for some time now, like a slow train.

We spent the afternoon yesterday letting his music wash over us and I am particularly grateful for the opportunity to be able to sit and listen and take it all in at such close quarters in such an intimate location. Now we will have the new CD playing on high rotation for the coming week until we get ‘inside’ the music.

This new CD was recorded with Elvis Costello’s band, The Attractions, when they were in Australia last year.

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I wrote about Heath Cullen on this blog about 18 months ago;
At that time I described his music as;
He’s like the love child of Nick Cave and Paul Kelly – if that were possible? With the breathiness, but sans the basso profondo, of the gentler side of Tom Waits. That sounds like a very strange description, but I think that it is kind of right”.
I think that this is still as good a description as I can come up with. Words aren’t the best medium to describe music, but it’s all I have. You’ll just have to google him and make up your own mind.
I reviewed one of the songs from his second CD in a post on this blog about a year ago.
‘Silver Wings’ is still my favourite song of his. That hasn’t changed over the year. On his web site you can preview songs from the albums, or even buy just single tracks or the whole album. Check out silver wings.
On the bottom of his web page, I see that he has the tags; alternative avant-garde blues country-alt rock rural Australia
So that is how Heath describes his own music. I still prefer my description.
Best wishes
Steve