Little Hill Farm

Jul. 24th, 2017 08:00 pm
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Little Hill Farm


Karen Locke

Little Hill Farm in the NSW Hunter Valley. Photo – Honey Atkinson.

The property is nestled at the foothills of the Watagan Mountains. Photo – Honey Atkinson.

Collecting eggs with daughter Mia, 5. Photo – Honey Atkinson.

The family rears meat chickens and laying hens. Photo – Honey Atkinson.

They supply their goods to the local community. Photo – Honey Atkinson.

Simon Carroll and Kelly Eaton. Photo – Honey Atkinson.

The family has a passion for growing clean, chemical-free produce. Photo – Honey Atkinson.

Simon and Asta, 3, out doing ‘chores’ on their 80-acre property. Photo – Honey Atkinson.

Simon being sun-smart in his wide-brimmed Akubra. Photo – Honey Atkinson.

They made the move from the suburbs four years ago. Photo – Honey Atkinson.

Strolling through the lush green grass on his farm in the Hunter Valley, Simon Carroll cuts an impressive figure. Clad in work gear and a wide-brimmed Akubra, a large brood of chickens follows behind his ankles, ‘Pied-piper’ style, while two Maremma dogs watch on nearby.

His young daughters, five-year-old Mia and three-year-old Asta, skip around in the long grass, trying to pick out their favourite hens, and ‘helping’ their father with his chores.

Simon and his partner Kelly Eaton are one of a growing number of small-scale farmers blazing a new, albeit bumpy trail, rejecting industrial scale agriculture in favour of small, personalised farming practices. The family rears meat chickens and laying hens at their 80-acre property, Little Hill Farm.

They take a multi-faceted approach to farming, selling their pasture-raised meat and eggs directly to local restaurants and stores, and at farmers markets. They also sell raw honey from their hives, and vegetables from their small market garden.

‘Farming is so fickle’, says Simon, ‘if something goes wrong with one batch of chickens, or one crop of vegetables, then that’s your income for weeks and weeks. So it makes sense to have more than one source of income, to not have all your eggs in one basket, so to speak.’

Both Simon and Kelly were raised in the Newcastle-Lake Macquarie region of NSW. Though neither grew up in farming families, the two share an impressive work ethic and a willingness to learn and trial almost anything. Driving them both is a desire to produce ethical food without the use of chemicals, and with great care for the land and the welfare of their animals.

‘I suffer from a lot of allergies to preservatives and artificial flavours, so I’ve always had an interest in eating wholefoods grown free from chemicals,’ says Kelly.  ‘I was a vegetarian for a long time, and when we first met, Simon pretended to be a vegetarian to get on my good side,’ she laughs. Years later, the pair started eating meat again, and began raising their own animals, because they didn’t want to eat meat that hadn’t been ethically raised.

While living in the suburbs and working full-time jobs, the young couple started raising meat birds, pigs and growing their own vegetables, all within their suburban garden – around a third of an acre. When their daughter, Mia, was born, the pair became even more committed to self sufficiency. The dream of producing real food for a living became all consuming.

Almost four years since moving to Little Hill Farm, the family has become well-respected for their quality produce. So much so that their pasture raised chicken was awarded a State Winner title in this year’s Delicious Produce Awards.

‘It took a lot of work to get here’ says Simon, ‘lots of juggling of our finances, and living with my parents for a time to save enough money to buy the property.’

After spending the whole first year researching, building pens, animal shelters and other infrastructure, Simon is proud to have created a family home that is completely off-grid.

‘We’ve really had to learn everything from scratch. It’s hard work, and it can be exhausting, but it’s worth it because I get to spend time with my kids every day, and be heavily involved in their lives – they make great little farm hands too!’

Is This a Whale in a Venice Canal?

Jul. 24th, 2017 07:42 pm
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Posted by Dan Evon

A photograph purportedly showing a large whale swimming through a canal in Venice was digitally manipulated.
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Posted by John Scalzi

It begins thusly:

The new bed:

Which you may think looks quite a lot like the old bed, and you wouldn’t be wrong, in the sense that we did not swap out the headboard or bed frame. But those of you who are sharply observant and/or are creepy creepers might note the mattress is taller than it used to be. That’s because instead of a box spring underneath we now have a frame that raises and lowers the head and foot of the mattress when desired. That’s right, no longer do we have to sit up in bed on our own! Our bed can do it for us! Surely we live in miraculous times.

It was time to get a new mattress in any event. The last time we purchased one for this bed was 11 years ago, and it had gotten to the point where the “memory foam” had lost its memory entirely and both Krissy and I were getting backaches out of it. Once at the store and finding a mattress we liked, we decided to splurge a bit and get the motorized frame. If nothing else it will make everything weird for the cats. Which is its own benefit. Also, if it turns out that elevating the head of the mattress makes it easier to type, I may finally go full Grandpa Joe and never leave the bed at all. Note to self: Check Amazon for bedpans.

(Additional note to self: Really, don’t.)

And I got some saucy tweets out of it! Which, you know. Is its own reward.

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Posted by Garrett Fleming

It's Always Summer in this Bohemian Australian Rental, Design*Sponge

We all have a favorite season. That one moment in time where we feel most alive. For me, it’s fall. The crisp chill in the air, the smell of homemade pie and the anticipation of the upcoming holidays always bring a smile to my face. Interior stylist Eva Loyola is one creative soul whose favorite season is the polar opposite of mine. Hers is full of beaches, bathing suits and ice-cold lemonade. She’s a summer gal through and through. She loves it so much, she even transformed her rental so she could bask in the cheeriness of the season year-round.

The design began, as so many successful looks do, with a blank slate. A two-bedroom, Tweed Valley, Australia blank slate to be exact. Eva admits it wasn’t much to look at when she and her daughter Lucia moved in, but it was cozy and quaint and (more importantly) ripe for rejuvenation. Over time, the pair tirelessly infused pattern, color and greenery into the apartment until it brought as many smiles to their faces as the longest of summer days. And surprisingly, most of the vintage accessories they used to do so barely cost the duo anything at all. Thanks, internet! You read that right. Nearly all of this place’s decorations came from resale sites and online classifieds. Eva would see a listing, snag it and pack up her car so she and Lucia could jet over and get the goodie before it disappeared.

The process could have easily turned irksome, but as time went on, the thrifting trips began to mean more and more to the family. Without realizing it, simple jaunts to snag some chairs and rugs had become road trips full of fond memories and endless laughs. A thrifty find, belly laughs and quality time for a mother and daughter? Now that sounds like the perfect decorating strategy, Eva. Scroll down to see each and every find she and Lucia came across on their many journeys and get ready to feel the summer vibes they’re letting of. Enjoy! —Garrett

Photography by Jye Wilson

Image above: It’s not unusual for this thrifty mother of one to travel far and wide to pick up a deal she’s come across on Craigslist-esque site Gumtree. This rug, for example, took her miles from home but only set her back $50, and this IKEA sofa was free.

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Posted by John Scalzi

First: Which Beatles song was I thinking of? If you want to hear me sing it, here it is:

If you’d rather hear the Beatles sing it (which, to be fair, is probably the better choice) it’s here:

And for those of you who don’t wish to hear either version (or can’t, for whatever reason): It’s “I’ve Just Seen a Face.”

There were three of you who correctly picked the tune I was thinking of, and of the three, my random number generator (“Alexa, pick a number between one and three”) picked “one” and so the winner is Maudie, who was the first to suggest it. Congratulations, Maudie!

Remember that the signed limited hardcover of Don’t Live For Your Obituary is now available for pre-order from Subterranean Press. There will also be an eBook edition, but it’s not available for pre-order yet.

Thank you to everyone who entered! This was a fun one.

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Posted by Associated Press

The couple's lawyer told the High Court of England and Wales: "It's too late for Charlie. The damage has been done."
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Posted by Associated Press

Firearms instructor Marchelle Tigner is among the nation's black women gun owners who say they are picking up firearms for self-protection.
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Posted by Lauren Chorpening

Open floor plans or open-concept homes are common place today. Open-concept is what it sounds like: A child can be doing homework at the dining room table while one parent is in the kitchen and the other is in the living room while they are all within earshot and eyesight. It’s a large layout free from the obstruction of interior walls in the main living space. While it seems like a fairly obvious and desirable spatial plan for modern living, it’s a fairly new one in the history of homes. Up until the late 1800s, most main rooms in homes were closed off and entirely separate from each other.

Each room had a singular function and helped staff and servants who were responsible for carrying that function out. Entertaining, for instance, was done with the illusion that every course of a meal simply “appeared” as if by magic. Sequestered in the parlor or dining room, work in the kitchen was done out of view, out of mind. The initial designs for open-concept floor plans came from Greene and Greene out of Pasadena, CA in the 1890s and early 1900s. Post-war modern life changed the family dynamic in America–the use of home staff became less prominent and the role of family members stepped up. Frank Lloyd Wright took the ideas of Greene and Greene and created homes built with an active and loving family in mind–the new layout allowed the household to engage with one another while hosting, working or relaxing.

Not every home built after 1940 has an open floor plan but it’s one of the most sought-after layouts homeowners request when house hunting or renovating. We love the way this layout reflects a shift in the view of the home in the last century. Houses may have been run more like businesses before–built for impressing others by never lifting a finger–but now homes are places to retreat, to spend time with others and to truly make one’s own. 10 of our favorite open-concept layouts in almost every style from Design*Sponge tours can be found below. Enjoy! –Lauren

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Posted by Grace Bonney

There are few things that make me as excited as a new line of textiles. There’s something about seeing a fresh collection of bright colors, patterns and textures that always brightens my day. So when I heard from Erin Dollar at Cotton & Flax about her newest collection, called Arroyo, I was excited.

Erin’s new collection was inspired by the colors of Los Angeles. Bright reds and dusty peaches mingle with deep cobalt blues and some classic neutrals to create a series of fabrics that feel perfect for a trend-conscious design fan that wants to invest in pieces that will last for years to come. Erin’s linen-blend collection retails for $12 per yard and would be the perfect jumping off place for a home DIY project or maybe even a new clothing design.

But before these new fabrics hit your doorstep, Erin is sharing a real treat with us this week: brand new colorful wallpapers from the collection that you can download for your desktop and phone! Today I’m sharing my two favorite pink styles: Poppy Stripe and a Light Pink Double Dash design. You can download them both below and check out Erin’s Instagram feed here! Thanks so much to Erin for sharing these with us! xo, grace 

Happy Birthday to our Tilly

Jul. 24th, 2017 05:01 am
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Posted by Terri Windling

Tilly as a pup

"People seem able to love their dogs with an unabashed acceptance that they rarely demonstrate with family or friends. The dogs do not disappoint them, or if they do, the owners manage to forget about it quickly. I want to learn to love like this, the way we love our dogs, with pride and enthusiasm and a complete amnesia for faults. In short, to love others the way our dogs love us." 

-  Ann Patchett (''This Dog's Life'')

Tilly's birthday is tomorrow, but we'll be away so I'm posting this today. She's eight years old, and continues to be the four-footed heart of our household.

Terri & Tilly Windling

Tilly  2017

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Posted by Australian Plants Society NSW

Swapping jobs in the nation’s capital for a tree change, Fiona and Alex moved to Fitzgerald’s Mount near Bathurst, where they have created a garden that flourishes despite the harsh conditions of the high country. Continue reading
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Posted by David Mikkelson

An anonymous letter took former Senator Alan Simpson to task for referring to Americans as 'the greediest generation.'
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Posted by catmint

The idea for this post started when I received an invitation to an exhibition.

The Living Things Exhibition was held at the the local primary school that my grandsons attend. All the children in Grades 1 and 2 participated. The idea was to choose an animal, bird, fish or insect and create a diorama with information about it. The animal Sam chose was a pig.

Learning facts about the natural world is probably more important than ever in our urbanized world, damaged ecosystems and the extinction, and threatened extinction, of many species. Even more than information, what matters, I think, is to instil a sense of wonder and appreciation of the natural world, so that these children become the eco warriors of the future.

A few children chose Australian native animals but, not surprisingly, many chose large exotic mammals, such as leopards, rhinos, pandas, gorillas and giraffes. Some chose marine animals, such as catfish and sea turtles. Insects weren't featured much, although I did see a couple of butterflies.

The children wrote down some facts about their chosen animal. They described the reproductive process of each species. They noted their status, whether they are threatened or not. In Australia almost 1 in 3 of our endemic mammals are threatened. I hope the children realized that we humans are the worst and most common predators for many species.

 I wonder if any of these 6 and 7 year olds will decide to become vegetarian now.

Myth & Moor update

Jul. 24th, 2017 07:16 am
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Posted by Terri Windling


I'm afraid I'm going to be out of the studio and off-line a little longer. I'd like to be back by the end of the week, if life permits -- but I've been living in a one-day-at-a-time kind of way, at the mercy of things beyond my control. As we all are really, every moment of our lives, but sometimes that fact is starker than others.

Thank you for your patience, and your messages of support. I hope your summer has been richly creative.

Field 2

"It is good to love many things, for therein lies the true strength, and whosoever loves much performs much, and can accomplish much, and what is done in love is well done."

  - Vincent Van Gogh (1853-1890)

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Posted by Maria Popova

“In a world whose absurdity appears to be so impenetrable, we simply must reach a greater degree of understanding among men, a greater sincerity.”

Albert Camus on the Three Antidotes to the Absurdity of Life

What an astrophysicist might have the perspective to eulogize as “the incredibly improbable trip that we’re on” the rest of us might, and often do, experience as simply and maddeningly absurd — so uncontrollable and incomprehensible as to barely make sense. What are we to make of, and do with, the absurdity of life that swarms us daily? Oliver Sacks believed that “the most we can do is to write — intelligently, creatively, evocatively — about what it is like living in the world at this time.” And yet parsing the what-it-is-like can itself drive us to despair. Still, parse we must.

More than a decade before Albert Camus (November 7, 1913–January 4, 1960) became the second-youngest laureate of the Nobel Prize in Literature, awarded him for work that “with clear-sighted earnestness illuminates the problems of the human conscience in our times,” he contemplated the relationship between absurdity and redemption in a 1945 interview by the French journalist Jeanine Delpech, included at the end of his Lyrical and Critical Essays (public library) — the superb posthumous collection that gave us Camus on how to strengthen our character in difficult times and happiness, despair, and the love of life.

Albert Camus

Three years before the interview, twenty-eight-year-old Camus had stunned the world with his revolutionary philosophical essay The Myth of Sisyphus, which begins with one of the most powerful opening sentences in all of literature and explores the paradox of the absurd in life. “I draw from the absurd three consequences, which are my revolt, my freedom, and my passion,” he writes — something that prompted his interviewer to ask whether a philosophy predicated on absurdity might incline people to despair.

Camus — who years earlier had asserted that “there is no love of life without despair of life” — answers:

All I can do is reply on my own behalf, realizing that what I say is relative. Accepting the absurdity of everything around us is one step, a necessary experience: it should not become a dead end. It arouses a revolt that can become fruitful. An analysis of the idea of revolt could help us to discover ideas capable of restoring a relative meaning to existence, although a meaning that would always be in danger.

Speaking at the close of the meaningless brutality of World War II, six years before he formulated his ideas on solidarity and what it really means to be a rebel, Camus considers the only act of courage and rebellion worth undertaking:

In a world whose absurdity appears to be so impenetrable, we simply must reach a greater degree of understanding among men, a greater sincerity. We must achieve this or perish. To do so, certain conditions must be fulfilled: men must be frank (falsehood confuses things), free (communication is impossible with slaves). Finally, they must feel a certain justice around them.

I have often wondered whether Camus had read W.H. Auden’s poem “September 1, 1939,” written in 1940, which includes this searing stanza so kindred to Camus’s sentiment:

All I have is a voice
To undo the folded lie,
The romantic lie in the brain
Of the sensual man-in-the-street
And the lie of Authority
Whose buildings grope the sky:
There is no such thing as the State
And no one exists alone;
Hunger allows no choice
To the citizen or the police;
We must love one another or die.

Complement this particular fragment of Camus’s endlessly rewarding Lyrical and Critical Essays with Albert Einstein on our mightiest counterforce against injustice and Naomi Shihab Nye on choosing kindness over fear, then revisit Camus’s abiding ideas on happiness, unhappiness, and our self-imposed prisons, the most important question of existence, the lacuna between truth and meaning, and the touching letter of gratitude he sent to his boyhood teacher shortly after receiving the Nobel Prize.

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Myth & Moor update

Jul. 24th, 2017 07:16 am
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Posted by Terri Windling


"It is good to love many things, for therein lies the true strength, and whosoever loves much performs much, and can accomplish much, and what is done in love is well done."

  - Vincent Van Gogh

Field 2

I'm afraid I'm going to be out of the studio a little longer. I'd like to be back by the end of the week, if life permits -- but I've been living in a one-day-at-a-time kind of way, at the mercy of things beyond my control. As we all are really, every moment of our lives, but sometimes that fact is starker than others.

Thank you for your patience, and your messages of support. I hope your summer has been richly creative.



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July 2017


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