A selection of our writings from 2009 to the present. If you'd like to keep up to date with our latest posts, please subscribe below.

Artist as Family’s Book of Neopeasantry (second excerpt)


October 18

I’ve been meaning to check on them for ages and after work today I finally do. I take the tea towel off the bucket that’s been sitting under the fermenting table and realise I’ve left it too late. A 20-litre bucket of Jerusalem artichokes with a plate on top to keep them submerged under the brine. There is a thick crust of mould, and all of the pickles have gone soft. I’m so disappointed, and I curse myself for not putting a reminder in the calendar to check it earlier, as I usually do.

I scoop the mould off the top and feel around with my hand all through the bucket and find one big one that may be salvageable. It smells fine, so I give it a quick rinse and take a bite but it’s not as firm as I hope. I put it back in the bucket and carry the soft gloopy mess down off the deck, through the muddy swales and into the chicken coop to the very back corner and dump the whole lot there among 15 years of rotten down mouldy ferments.

When I come back up to the house Patrick asks me where I tipped them and I tell him.

‘Onto my midden of failures.’



October 23

A plunge in the cold water tank, nude tea drinking by the fire, loft steps lovemaking, followed by more tea, reading out to each other the missives from thoughtsmiths and journos we subscribe to on Substack.

Blackwood wakes around nine and we ride our bikes up to the Sunday market. A sign catches my eye as we pass through town, ‘Relaxation Massage – $40 for 30 minutes.’ I’d seen the sign before but never given it a thought. Our usual cohort of body healers are not currently available, and I don’t see Kris for a massage in exchange for gardening, until Friday.

We continue onto the market and I buy a banana passionfruit vine from Florian, one of the organic growers there. Banana passionfruit are the only fruit ripe at this time of year and I’m determined to keep this one frost protected until it grows hardy.

I chat with Florian and later with Edward, another grower who grows without chemicals. Meg and Blackwood wander around the market, yarning with people, looking for old tools and useful things like containers filled with an assortment of nails and screws.

On the way home riding in convoy I notice the massage sign again, and feeling the pain rising in my back I call out to Meg and Blackwood, ‘See you at home, I’ll see if I can get a treatment.’

I cross the road and roll my bike down a little lane and walk into the reception area. The lady says she is available and takes my card and charges me $49. I feel as though I missed something in the exchange. English isn’t her first language and Mandarin isn’t mine. She shows me into the room, and leaves me there to undress. She returns as I’m laying on my stomach with a towel across my body. She asks whether I want my legs and buttocks done. ‘My back is what’s really hurting me,’ I reply.

Before I know it she has removed my underpants. Well, that’s pretty weird. I have the feeling again as though I have missed something. She uses her hands, elbows and forearms to work my tight back muscles. I begin to relax and breathe deeply in and out through my nose.

After about twenty minutes she asks me to turn over and places the towel back over my body. She speaks again, something about a ‘special’ and taps me on my groin. Oh, I realise, it’s this kind of massage parlour. ‘No thanks,’ I say, ‘but thanks for asking.’

She works my legs and arms and I lay there thinking about how unattached and pragmatic she is. My thought drifts to all the lonely men in the district starved of intimacy, starved of touch, where this service would at least be some kind of connection. I feel pangs of grief for all people who don’t have intimacy in their lives, which leads on to a wave of gratitude for the diversity of love and touch I receive each day.

After 30 minutes she thanks me and leaves the room. I put my farming clothes back on my farming body. No one is in the reception. There’s a ghostly feeling as I leave. It’s not exactly what I went in for, but there’s a little relief in my back.

I gently ride home and share my adventure with Meg. ‘Wow,’ she says. ‘I didn’t know such a thing existed in Daylesford.’ We laugh at how naive we are. Blackwood is in the workshop cleaning up rusted steel blades from old hedge trimmers he bought at the market.

‘Were you tempted?’ Meg asks me, grinning.



  1. Amy says:

    Love your honesty Patrick. Thank you for the delightful read of intimacy (not at the message parlour, earlier in the morning), truth and desire for all to experience what they need in life. Much love.

    1. Thanks Amy, thanks for your blessings.

  2. Chelsey says:

    Hi AAF
    I loved reading these fresh, raw life-narratives chocked full of the beauty, pathos and comedy of daily life, especially when experience is savoured in fullness, like eating a fruit whole and spitting out only what is truly indigestible rather than unsavoury. Thank you for sharing your joys and your vulnerability with generousity, wit and heartfullness.

    1. Thanks sister, we so appreciate your lively riffing off this latest excerpt.

  3. Odd to think that those massage therapists are familiar with the cremasteric reflex…

    1. Haha! Thanks Sambodhi

  4. trace says:

    your humanity is nectar for these bumpy times… my mouldy and amazing looking fungi doesn’t seem so shameful now… and yes, we are all creatures that need touch and closeness, and gratitude to recognise the privilege of that when we have it in it’s array of forms in our lives…

    1. Aww, Trace. So beautiful are your craftings, sister. Here’s to collaboration, closeness and mouldiness!

  5. Kate Beveridge says:

    Oh I love this. Makes me feel not so useless when I hear you also have failures, Meg. “midden of failures”, love it. And Patrick, just so funny and profound.

    1. Thank you Kate, glad you found the humour and acceptance in this post resonating with you. Love to the farm and its many families.

  6. Bronwen says:

    I love it. Life has more than enough wonder, doesn’t it. Meg, your stewed artichokes remind me of never planted sweet peas – could never get that timing right. And fancy that, happy endings in Daylesford.

    1. Thanks Brownyn, we hear you on the timing of sweet peas. We grow beautiful beans of many varieties, but we too struggle with peas. Maybe someone here has some tips for us all… and yes, ‘happy endings,’ haha!

  7. Eka says:

    😄😄😄 it’s all in a Sunday morning.

  8. Christiane Rostek says:

    Thank you so much for your refreshing story’s… so good!Wish you a lovely springtime and summer… as we go in the autumn now!

    1. Thanks Christiane, travel well into the dark.

  9. Ruth says:

    Laughing out so loud i woke up Florian!! Love these excerpts you two xo

    1. Haha, thanks Ruth, hope the little fella got back to zzz.

  10. RJ Frost says:

    Meg + Patrick,

    I loved your first book – bought a physical and Audible version so I could donate the physical copy to my local library. Also got my local library here in the Midwestern U.S. to order a copy of Food for Degrowth – which is a great volume! Keep us posted on when your new book is out as I’d love to read it.

    1. Thanks RJ! We’ll def keep ya posted.

  11. Rachel says:

    This economical excerpt is action packed – taking us to so many places literal, philosophical and spirtual, you are such great communicators. You share, with clear honesty and it leads to much beauty and truth. Thanks for caring enough to do it so we can tag along! 🙂 Thanks most of all for the humour and the laughs, it’s a reminder that life should include this important super power we all have.

    1. Thanks Rachel, we so appreciate you sharing this.

  12. Shane says:

    Love how these two journal entries share softness in common, on both the physical & emotional levels. 🙂

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *