Therapy with the Bees

Since I last updated this blog, Britain voted to leave the European Union, lost its Prime Minister (and most of the Brexit big wigs along the way) and gained a female PM. Australia has seen a painfully protracted election count (to follow the longest campaign I’ve ever seen!) And this week Hobart had snow to sea level, followed by cyclonic level winds and finally, flooding in the south of the state.

Then I switched on the television news a few days ago and saw what had happened in France and (at that stage) 50 or more people dead. I immediately switched the TV off. Yesterday, it was a failed coup in Istanbul, another 250 plus people dead and I wondered, not for the first time, what happened that the world got to be such a mad and angry place. My response was, as it is to most traumatic things, is to hide in the garden, pull weeds and talk to the animals – they seem far more sensible than a lot of people at the moment.

The wind did some reasonable damage to parts of the garden and I had to spend some time Friday morning making sure the baby bunnies were safe and secure after their hutch was damaged in the gales. Apart from being pretty skittish, they were ravenous as ever and settled back to normal once food appeared. I think the greenhouse roof is going to be okay after tightening roof bolts but I really hope it’s solid for September and October, the traditional months for high winds here.

All in all, we got off fairly lightly compared to many homes and gardens but I’ve been stitching up bird netting today and there’ll be a lot more of that over the coming weeks. Some of it ripped branches of fruit trees and they’ll need attention too.

Over the weekend I finished weeding and pruning the raspberry bed, moved some escapee canes from the path back into the bed, top dressed it with straw from the rabbit hutches and repaired the netting to keep the blackbirds out. I think it looks pretty good and hopefully we’ll get another bumper crop this coming summer.

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I finally got around to liberating the cabbages and some of the kale from the mass of weeds that sprung up during the mild, wet weather. This winters’ crop are an Italian purple savoy type I haven’t grown before and I’m really impressed with the colour and the growth they’ve put on for this time of year.

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All in all, this weekend’s been gloriously sunny and despite the damage that had to be dealt with, it’s been a joy to be out in the yard and away from the madness of the world. Also, I met a lovely young woman who came around to do a plant trade and found we had a lot more in common than a love of growing things. I hope that’s a friendship that develops.

Sometimes I feel quite overwhelmed with sadness about where we’re heading globally, and I tend to retreat into things I have some modicum of control over, such as the yard and tending the animals, providing clean food for my family. And then I meet people like Kate and things start to make a little more sense again. Perhaps that’s where the real revolution is waiting – one yard at a time 😀

Finally, both my rosemary plants are in flower despite the time of year, and they’ve been literally covered in bees the last few weeks. It’s been lovely to take a break and just sit and watch them 🙂

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Take care of yourselves people, be kind to one another and when you have the opportunity, plant more seeds and take time to watch the bees ❤

The Last Gig of 2015

Hi everyone, it’s been lovely to have a break from blogging but I’m itching to write again – there’s been so much going on!

It’s the busiest time of year for me in the garden – I’m planting out heat-hardy salad vegetables like mad to take advantage of our brief but often vicious summer. There’s been several kilos of fruit off the raspberry canes already and several more to come, basil is being cropped, cucumbers, tomatoes, zucchinis and chillies are starting to ripen. On top of all this, I’m making some small wicking boxes this week for the front balcony, which gets all the morning sun and is great for tender salad greens.

A couple of weeks ago, local musician and friend George Begbie won the Rudy Brandsma Award at the ASA national awards in Sydney. Many of us who knew George when he first started performing were thrilled but not really surprised – he’s always been that good!

And my wonderful singing group at Oak Tasmania are playing at the in-house end of year BBQ this Friday. Rehearsals are getting tighter and more intense, we’re all getting excited about showing off some new skills. I hope there’ll be some photos I can share with you all from that too.

But tonight is my last public gig for 2015.

I’m playing a short set at The Homestead in support of my dear friend Matt Sertori. I’ve known Matt for many years and despite his seemingly irreverent lyrics, he is one of the most thoughtful, intense and inspiring performers around.

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There is a misconception that Matt playing solo is just a comedy act but I think it’s important to understand there are two distinct sides to this demanding performer. Listen to his (often scathing) lyrics and look behind the laughter, there are some deep and incredibly serious subjects being dealt with. Here, there is a depth to the writing and an intensity in performance that can be downright confronting.

I am honoured to be playing support tonight for many reasons. Matt is also the man who drew me into the ASA over a decade ago and instigated the supportive, mentoring attitude that prevailed until quite recently. If you’re in or around Hobart I urge you to come and listen to this most fascinating and complex songwriter. And say hello – I love catching up with you all.

Take care wherever you are ❤

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 ❤

The Green Album – Where All Things are ‘Pozible’

Hi everyone,

It’s been way too long since I posted anything, but life habitually gets in the way of blogging!

Meanwhile, a quick post to hopefully make you all think about supporting something really worthwhile…….

A musician friend and fellow singing teacher, Rachel Taylor has put up a Pozible crowd funing campaign for her project, The Green Album 

The incredibly talented Rachel Taylor

The incredibly talented Rachel Taylor

In itself, this is a pretty big deal, as Rachel is a performer and writer I’ve known and admired for many years and this is her first solo recording. But I think the really big deal here is that she wants to make a sustainable album. I’ve known Rachel since she was a young girl, I actually met her through her parents. Her father Alan is also a fabulous musician and gifted poet – in fact her whole family are pretty wonderful!

Rachel performing with her father Alan

Rachel performing with her father Alan

Wherever you are on the planet have a look at her proposal and if you like the idea as much as I do, please get behind it. There’s a Facebook event page ‘Make “The Green” Album Pozible‘ with news and updates.  Also, I highly recommend having a listen to her previous work on SoundCloud. She is a very talented performer worthy of notice – Tasmania has so many – and I’m so pleased she’s doing this!

Meanwhile, take care and I’ll be back soon!!

🙂

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

Upcoming Gigs for the End of the 2013

Now that I’ve finished recording The Lucky Six, it’s time to spend a little attention on two live shows I’ve got in the immediate future.

Firstly, this Sunday 24th November, my partner in mayhem and music – Malcolm Battersby – is joining me for The Richmond Festival. We’re performing as The Fringe Dwellers at the Songwriters’ Concert and we’re both looking forward to it immensely! There’s some great Tasmanian songwriters on the bill with us, Marc Smith, Peter Hicks and the wonderful Wolf Arrow Rain.

If you’re in southern Tasmania, it’s worth the trip out to Richmond. It’s a lovely little hamlet and I have it on good authority that the weather should be fine after a damp morning…….

In December, it will be ten years since the Australian Songwriters Association (Tasmania) reignited at The Telegraph Hotel. Apart from making me feel really old, it’s fabulous to see how many performers from those days are still playing in venues here in Tasmania as well as interstate and overseas. In honour of the occasion, a very special ASA night is planned for Wednesday 11th December at The Night Owl Cafe in Liverpool Street, Hobart. The best part for me is that students of mine, Cassie O’Keefe, Kirsty Leaf and the fabulous Jax will all be performing, along with myself and Mal.

I couldn’t be prouder!

ASA 11th Dec poster

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