Thursday, November 10, 2011

Meanwhile, back on the farm...

The Felting Pot will be at the Mount Tamborine Country Markets this Sunday 8-2, at the Tamborine Showgrounds.

This is a good old fashioned market ripe with native flora (fauna to pet and ride!), bottles and bottles of homemade time tested chutneys and cordials, hand poured candles and beautiful soaps and beauty products made from fresh goats milk, the green shed produce barn, honeys, baked goods, candies, and of course a plethora of immensely talented crafters and artists showing their wares.

Bounce houses, mini go karts, pony rides, petting zoo, food carts galore! See you there!!

Our opening weekend went swimmingly by the way, thanks for the support!

Closer to the home-front,  things are so lively around here these days!

Along one side and throughout the back yard of our house is a thriving nature corridor. I sat my phone in the window sill the other morning at about 530am to record the movements and mutterings of many a little songbird. This part of the world is famous for its bird life.

We have King Parrots, Lorikeets, Crimson and Pale Headed Rosella's, Sulfur Crested and the elusive Glossy Black Cockatoos. Minors, Bower Birds, Butcher Birds, Magpies, Kookaburra's, Whip-birds, Tawny Frogmouths, Pheasants, shall I continue?

Lots of birds. All wild, but most of them quite tame, or at least inquisitive and friendly enough to know we have food that they like. Primarily raw meat, and bits of bread leftover in the children's lunchboxes.
So most days a few different varieties visit, and get a nice feed.

We're about to bring another bird breed to the property. This being the faithful domestic chook. We have wanted chickens for a very long time. Forever, even. When we moved in here, we were sweetly surprised to see a relatively strong, secure chicken shed set up at the end of the yard.
We got to work using found materials and erected a second enclosure, a moveable pen the layin' ladies can really get their chicken-ness going, under the sun, out of the shed/run area.

We also fashioned a brooder box for them to live in while they're still very young. Right now they're 2 weeks old.
They'll live in the brooder in the laundry under light another few weeks, then move to a not yet built chicken tractor on the deck.
We will pick them up next week, from down the road where they were laid, hatched, cared for until 3 weeks when their gender will be mostly obvious and we'll know what we're getting. It was all a bit of luck in finding them. We get our eggs currently from the same  retired wife and husband team who run a tight homestead.
They raise a few breeds of duck, and mostly Favorelle chickens, with a few bantams on the side. We buy a couple dozen duck eggs a week, and usually a dozen hen eggs.

I called her up to peck her brain about raising chickens, and she told me about a secret clutch of found fertile eggs she was incubating on the sly in the laundry. Supposed to be downsizing, you see, but fertile eggs in spring are a difficult thing to pass up. She wasn't planning on keeping the chicks once they were hatched but hadn't advertised their availability yet, so how many do we want?!
There were 13 eggs, 10 that hatched, 1 that didn't and 2 that died shortly after hatching. So far, it is thought that 8 of them are female, and that's how many we said we would bring home.
The boys in this breed from a very tender age show a black spot around their wing area, Mother Hen has come to learn through years of raising this old world French breed of chicken.

I'm excited about chickens in general, but extra excited that we happened upon the right phone call, at the right time, and have snagged some really gorgeous Heirloom chicks from a wonderful family farm. The chicks were ready to hatch a mere 5 days later, and it's now about the same before we bring them home.

Here's a pic we took of them on Monday:

Picked up their shell grit, food and bedding today. All we need now is 8 suitable monikers!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Workshop Information and Dates

The Felting Pot Studio is opening tomorrow! Come and have a feel anytime 10ish to 4ish. Children encouraged!

20 Main Western Road,
North Tamborine

0403 493 111

Here are the workshop dates to see us through the rest of 2011. You may sign up by calling, emailing, texting, or in person. A $10 deposit is required upon signing up. The balance payable on the day. I can take mailed check, money order, paypal or bank deposit.

Workshops include all supplies, half-full day tuition and refreshments. You will leave with a finished piece of art, and the skills to make many more.
Children's workshops are perfect for age 10 and up alone (though you're most welcome to stay and watch!), or under 10 with an adult accompany. Only one fee for child/parent.

Class sizes are kept small, so that I may give personal attention to each participant. Sign up now if one of these appeals to you. Ask a friend to sign up with you. It's a great girls day out.
If you don't see a day that suits you, get a small group together and request a custom class or party.

Felting is a form of meditation, exercise, fine art, science and love. You've gotta feel it.

Felt making 101. Beginners class.
We will make one piece of flat felt, embellished for either wall or tabletop display. 
Sunday 4th December

Yuletide Ornaments. Children's class.
We will wet and needle felt ornaments relating to traditional festive icons.
Wednesday 21st December

Nuno Felting. Beginner class.
We will learn the technique of "Nuno" felting, which is bonding the fibre onto a pre-existing fabric, such as silk or cotton. We will make one long piece of nuno to be used as a scarf, table runner, etc.
Saturday 7th January

Frame -able Felt. Children's class.
We will make a felt picture of the artist's choice, frame with found natural objects, and take home ready for hanging.
Monday 16th January

Resist Felting, Making a Bag/Vessel. Intermediate class.
You don't have to have felted in one of our classes before, but it's best if you know a little about how wool reacts during the felting process, as this is a more intensive class than basic flat felting.
We will make a piece of 3d felt using the resist method, which can be sculpted into various bag styles.
Saturday 28th January

More workshops will be announced as these are completed. Of course contact us at any time should you like to organize a custom class or party.  You bring the wine, I've got the wool!

The Land of Milk and Honey

We live on this mountain, 1800ft above sea level. When you drive down the mountain you're pretty much in the sea. You can smell it at least. We share the mountain, or the mountain allows us to share her with about 7000 other residents.

The majority of the residents here are artists - in the traditional sense - but also in the DIY-creative-self-sufficient sense. People who have built their amazing homes, or amazing homes for their chickens and ducks, their alpacas, goats, their one pretty bedroom-eyed Jersey cow, their immaculately groomed pooch, mini replica's of the real thing for their kids, spoiled as they are just to be living in a place like this.

There is a large established community garden with shade houses, open plots, chicken shed, tools, machines, and marketplace out front on the weekends from which to procure fresh produce plucked from the fertile volcanic soil.

The entire of the mountain area feels a bit like one colossal community garden, There are fruiting trees dotting the area. Mulberries, wild raspberries, strawberries growing in the grass on the roadside, citrus galore (my favourite are the blood oranges), figs, passion fruit, of course the omnipotent avocado, which is the very roots of the agricultural economy up here.Stone fruits are starting to push out furry little buds that will one day in the coming months hang heavy with fruit, at the perfect level for small hands to gather and devour.

Most people are proud of their gardens up here. It makes for a magnificent Sunday drive, anytime of the year as there's always something going on, usually relating to the natural attractions of the area. Springtime on the Mountain just happened which is an open gardens trail. Magnolia, Peonies, Roses, Jacaranda, among literally hundreds of other flowering trees, shrubs, vines. All in show for you and I to gasp and fawn over.

If you don't have a prize winning rose garden, and possibly even if you do, you probably have a wonderfully producing life sustaining veggie patch. Chards of every colour, cabbages and kale, roots like radish, beets, turnip, parsnip, potato, yacon, corn, peas of many variety, gourmet lettuces from all over the globe, ginger and garlic and onion and herbs, oh the scented herb gardens, as you brush past on a cool morning walk and the air around you rises up in a glorious fresh aroma, sparking your imagination and your appetite.

We have a darling little herb garden out the front, under our huge magnolia tree, where you're directly transported to Scarborough Fair when you allow your bare feet to touch the yielding loamy mulch.

Parsley, Sage, Rosemary, Thyme, Basil, Oregano, Pennyroyal, Marjoram, Peppermint, Dill, Lemon Balm, and an Eggplant. Soon I'll transplant some pumpkin from the back yard that's going crazy. And down the back we also have the makings of a salsa garden where we intend on putting a handful of different tomatoes and capsicum (bell peppers for you yanks), coriander (cilantro), chili peppers and maybe some amazing garlic. Have you tried fresh garlic, right out of the ground? It is juicy and sweet and bursting of bold garlic flavor. Amazing. Makes you cringe when you have to buy those bags of dried up shriveled old imported garlic at the grocery store. Yuck.

We co-maintain another very large garden plot on my parent's land. We're currently extending it to be double the size it currently is. So far we have a variety of herbs, Bay tree, Galangal, Turmeric, Giant Rosemary bush. Rainbow chard, silverbeet (Swiss chard), lettuce a-plenty, corn, kale, broccoli, snow peas, Brussels sprouts, lemon grass, chives, mint, capsicum, cabbage, pumpkin, whatever I have forgotten which is bound to be one or four things. Elsewhere on the property there are lime, ginger, kaffir lime, mandarin, lemon, a couple dozen avocado trees, and a row of coffee trees.

We harvested the coffee trees a few weeks back. I'll post about that with accompanying pictures next time!

A vast portion of our vegetable intake comes from the food we plant from seed, grow and harvest out of the same virile red dirt our children dig in every day.

The rest, on good weeks, comes from the people living around and among us, doing the same thing. Striving for the same end goal.

This place is a foodie mecca. Every Sunday you can visit "The Green Shed" which is the local producers market, open from 7-noon. If you grow your own gorgeous local organic fruit and veg, or make preserves, fermented dairy products, specialty baked goods, you can become a member and sell your products to other residents here for very little, and bring home quite a nice profit.  Or you can just visit, shop, chat to locals, make friends, get good growing tips on anything you could imagine.

The mountain boasts a world-class cheese factory, brewery, too many to count award winning wineries, a distillery that takes you into another time and place (one of my favourite spots on Tamborine), coffee plantation, restaurants, cafes and delis oh my!

 I invite you to come to our mountain and see for yourself. This Saturday November 5th would be the perfect day, but really any day of the year you will find yourself right in the center of delicious.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The Felting Pot Gallery opens!

Saturday November 5th Is the day our Gallery/Studio opens! If you live in the Southern Hemisphere, pay us a visit! Family friendly, tell your siblings, your friends, their friends, your parents, your parent's parents, your teachers, the guy next to you on the bus, come on. 20 Main Western Road, North Tamborine. Lots of parking out front. Tons to do on the mountain! Share the news please!