Freaks or Future? – Day 8 NaBloPoMo 2015

Late last week, Woolworths Australia released a new advertisement, featuring high profile personal trainer Michelle Bridges. The ad is spruiking a new line of frozen meals the supermarket chain developed with Bridges. During the advertisement, Bridges described people who grow their own food as “freaks” and suggested that precooked frozen food was preferable to fresh fruit and vegetables. As you can probably imagine, the uproar on social media was big enough to make the supermarket pull the ad almost immediately. There’s an article worth reading at the Guardian Australia.

Well, I guess I’ve been called worse in my time.

But it got me thinking about all the ways growing my own food makes me healthier and happier. First and foremost, I get a lot of physical exercise all year round gardening. Some of you might be aware I have a degenerative spinal condition, coupled with body-wide osteoarthritis. Over ten years ago, my then GP told me that I’d most likely be in a wheelchair within a couple of years. Not bloody likely! Occasionally, it lays me low and I need to use a walking stick but fortunately, acute episodes are rare these days. My current GP is convinced that my half an hour minimum in the garden has improved my core strength, muscle mass and general well-being – not to mention raise my normally low vitamin D levels and provide me with food.

And then there’s the food.

I started gardening at this house a week after we moved in, almost six years ago. I have potatoes for eight or nine months of the year and free range eggs about ten months. I grow enough garlic now for almost the whole year. I still buy brown onions and some carrots but stopped buying salad greens and herbs after about three months. The last couple of years I’ve been breeding meat rabbits as an ethical source of protein and I’m researching growing mushrooms and installing a beehive next spring. I’ve tweaked my salad greens into seasonal delights, and now we look forward to winter too because that means sweet, frosted kale, silverbeet, chicory, endives, corn salad and (my favourite) English spinach.

Baby raspberries

Baby raspberries

Fruit begins with rhubarb in September, and progresses through strawberries November and December, raspberries, boysenberries, youngberries, loganberries, silvanberries and (for the first time this year) blueberries from December to April and apricots, nectarines and plums from January to the end of March. I also have a peach and double graft apple I’m espaliering that will probably fruit next summer and a lemon tree that will be planted out in the autumn. And everything is picked fresh the day it’s needed so the nutrient levels are high.  There is excess – I always grow too much – but it’s given to family and friends and I make cider and peri with excess fruit, fruit leather and dried chillies, beans and kale chips as well as freezing.

Blueberries starting to form

Blueberries starting to form

Also there’s a creative aspect of getting my hands in the earth – it makes me feel good about the world and gives me inspiration to write. When I’m in the garden, I lose all track of time and get to think about things I need to. I’ve solved some really big problems over the years out in that garden. I plan and plot and think about the season to come as well as the one I’m living in, it’s a window to the future.

And finally, there’s those wonderful moments when you can sit back, rest, enjoy and just be…………….. ❤

My favourite spot under the Chestnut tree

My favourite spot under the Chestnut tree

The Busy-ness of Spring – Upcoming Shows

Chestnut Tree Spring Oct 2015

Hello friends,

I love spring. The cycle of the seasons visibly turns and every day brings new things in the garden, the chickens are laying more eggs than we can keep up with, and here in Hobart we’re coming out of the hibernation of winter and starting to go out again.

Rhubarb Fool

Rhubarb Fool

Vanilla Ice Cream

Vanilla Ice Cream

Wee Beastie Sourdough

Wee Beastie Sourdough

 

And I’ve been busy! In the kitchen I’ve been making Vanilla Ice Cream and Baked Coffee Cheesecake with the excess eggs, brewing and bottling cider, making Rhubarb Fool from the mass of spring rhubarb and my weekly “Wee Beastie” Sourdough. It’s been absolutely wonderful to eat so well, with so much produce coming directly out of the garden.

The garden is always a work in progress but I’ve started planting out climbing beans this week, there’s basil in the Seeds and Basil Seedlings Oct 2015greenhouse and too many vegetable seedlings coming on to mention.

And there’s music happening too! I’m in the middle of a unit in Creative Writing for my second major through Griffith University. For my final assessment I’m planning to write a portfolio of new pieces that will become new songs. Depending how it goes, perhaps the core of another album.

Meanwhile, there’s gigs coming up too.

This Sunday at The Brunswick Hotel in Hobart, I’m playing a short set out in The Yard (the beer garden) with a bunch of other local musicians, including the incredibly talented Cassie O’Keefe and my friend Matt Dean. Very pleased also that this is a family friendly show, so feel free to bring your young music-lovers 🙂

Thursday 19th November, I’m sharing a night with Cassie at The Homestead in Elizabeth Street, one of my favourite places to go and hang out with friends. No idea what’s going to happen that one – we might even work out some songs to play together!

Friday 20th November, I’ll be doing the early spot at The Globe Hotel in Davey Street. If you haven’t caught this weekly event yet, I really recommend it. It’s organised by Kevin Gleeson who basically loves all kinds of music and is good friends with so many of us. It’s a great excuse to hang out and have a good time with mates.

And there’s more on the horizon! If you want to keep up to date with my shenanigans, hook up with me on Facebook here.

Yep, it’s spring and it’s busy – just how I like it.

Wherever you are, be well friends ❤

New Playlist

And because it’s Friday – the best reason for everything – I’ve updated the playlist in the sidebar.

For your listening pleasure, I’ve uploaded three tracks from the digital download version of my solo album, “The Woman on The Edge of The World”.

TWOTEOTW Front Cover

TWOTEOTW Front Cover

It’s recently been remastered for a limited, numbered and signed CD release. More news on that soon – including ordering directly from here.

Meanwhile, have a listen and let me know what you think. I always value your comments.

Debra ❤

ASA Update

ASA July 2015 Poster

ASA July 2015 Poster

Hello friends,
I’m pleased to announce the Australian Songwriters Association Tasmania are returning at a new venue – The Homestead in Elizabeth Street on Tuesday July 21st.
I’m incredibly honored to be the feature artist that night – which also means I’ll be under examination by MC Matt Dean prior to my set. If you want to hear me rabbit on about my craft, performing and mentoring please come along. As with all ASA Wax Lyrical nights, this is a free show.
At the moment, I’m trying to find out if we can film the interview so those of you who are interested but don’t live here can get an opportunity to see and hear what I’m about.
Meanwhile, there’s more gigs to talk about soon!
Take care,
Debra ❤

All at Sea

I’ve been busy this year.

I feel like I’ve lost a couple of months somewhere, it’s been so hectic and now I realise that spring is here and I haven’t done half the things I meant to this calendar year. But I have managed a few that I wasn’t expecting!

The university experience has been wonderful so far although I won’t pretend I’ve enjoyed every unit. At the moment, I’m preparing papers on two of my favourite things – Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds and the personal still camera. And I’ve had to watch classic films such as Rear Window and Citizen Kane. Yes, I’m loving my units this semester!

But today I’ve been distracted from study. Tomorrow night I’m playing at a House Concert in Hobart with wonderful Queensland singer/songwriter Francesca de Valence and Hobart duo Butterscotch Pony in one of their all-too-rare live shows. However, instead of doing a solo set or playing with the wonderful girls in Straddlepuss (more on that next time!) I’m doing a special set with dear friend (and half of Butterscotch Pony), Matt Sertori.

We’ve been friends for a long time and decided early in the year that we wanted to do a music project together that included a documentary about our personal process and the creative world that we inhabit. We’ve done some filming already but will be adding to it at this gig. Meanwhile, our trusty doco guru, Josh Troy put this little gem together to promote this event. I hope it makes you laugh as much as it did all of us!

Please note, there’s some bad language at the end 😉

And we really did decide to call it ‘All at Sea’. The moral of the story is Matt has the attention span of a flea…………  ❤

Seasons Greetings – A Wonderful Christmas Present!

The Gorgeous Jax

The Gorgeous Jax

To begin with, irrespective of what you believe (or don’t believe) I wish you all a peaceful, relaxed holiday season. I’ve been having a great time, taking some time off with family and friends. But I’ve been pretty lax with keeping up with my blog – sorry!

Probably one of the best presents I’ve ever had was dumped in my lap recently. As a mentor and music teacher, you always wish the best for your charges but this is just outstanding 🙂

I’m very proud and pleased that JAX has made it to Number 6 on the Triple J Unearthed Pop charts.

For those of you outside of Australia, this is something to truly celebrate, I really can’t begin to describe how proud I am of this up and coming artist! The song she’s uploaded “Swallow” is a really excellent pop song with quite a mature, dark lyric. This young woman is an inspiration to us all, to stick at it and follow your dreams!

I encourage you all to go to the site and have a listen – “Swallow” is available for free download.

Meanwhile, play nicely, stay safe and have a great end to 2013!

Debra xx

Back to University and Beautiful Friends

Well, today is momentous. I am now officially back at University! I’m a little scared still but very excited about getting back into scan reading mountains of papers and books for references, making coherent arguments in essays and referencing it all correctly – oh dear, what have I done??!!! No, seriously – it’ll be fun once I get back into the swing 😉

Thanks to my beautiful friends Lauren and Patsi, I’ve been able to log on and join in the discussion board and download extra material that Griffith University didn’t post to me. Yes, I still don’t have a dedicated internet connection at home and sadly, I haven’t been able to keep up with my NaBloPoMo committments, but I’m doing my best.

Over the weekend, I also had some great times with other beautiful friends, namely Jax and Malcolm Battersby. Mal and I played a really nice gig at the Richmond Festival. It was the inaugural Songwriters Concert at the festival and we got to work with some great local artists and the organiser – champion of original music, Roger Joseph.

The other truly beautiful thing is I heard a new song Jax’s written (as yet untitled) and it’s just gorgeous. I understand she’s going to debut it live at the ASA December 11th gig and I can’t wait to hear it again! I heard a rough from Belfry Studio but once the mix is finalised, it’ll be up on Jax’s Triple J Unearthed page. It’s so satisfying to see someone with so much raw talent start to blossom into a confident and accomplished writer and recording artist – it’s really inspirational!

All in all, a very satisfying time in my life – despite the lack of home internet.

Take care everyone and have a wonderful day too, wherever you are

Debra 🙂

Mal & Jax 24 Nov 2013

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