Sunday, 27 May 2012

Fruit Lady Tales

It was my Nan's birthday yesterday.
She would have been 97.
I have been thinking such a lot about my grandparents recently.
Apparently, being flooded with memories is quite common through the menopausal years.
I guess some memories are challenging & others are grounding & reassuring.
Nan & Pa's house was fruit trees & huge vege garden,
 crisp white cotton sheets, eiderdowns & pots of tea.
 Punctual meals; morning & afternoon tea.
 A piano in the front room.
One inch of water in the old claw foot bath.
Jelly dripping, hanging in an old pillowcase over the same bath.
Sand saucers & fairy gardens..moss, emerald green.
Roasts & puddings & the BBC news on the wireless.
 I think I am about 7 in this photo.
My grandmothers name is Estelle & she wore this fur stole on special occasions.
By a circuitous route, the stole made it's way to me.
I found two padded coat hangers in an op shop this week so I covered them with prettiness.
 I have been having a huge clean out of lots of spaces..I feel sure that that's a positive sign.
I have taken bags & bags to the op shop & sold almost 40 bits & pieces on Trade me in the last couple of weeks. In my rummaging I came across this little pinefore. I cut a pattern from one of the teachers at Manaia school, back when I was a school dental nurse there. I was probably about 19 at the time & loved all the same things as I do now.
I'm really pleased with my coat hangers.
 It comes so naturally for me to be a gatherer & a "fruit person".
Yesterday a lady stopped to buy feijoas at our little community stall at the gate. She was having a Chinese sous chef come to stay & she was sure that he would like feijoas..inevitably the taste of lychees came up in our conversation & then I thought oh yes!! Feijoas, a can of lychees, a drizzle of honey & a splash of rosewater, sprinkle with friendly violets & leave to macerate for half an hour...utter heaven!!
After gathering walnuts with Ruth, they have dried quite nicely, so I have sold a bag or two, but for special customers like Audrey & Margaret...two darlings in their 80's I have offered to shell their walnuts for them. Having further conversations about walnuts & feijoas I was given a recipe last week & this is the topping. So simple & so delicious. I have used equal quantities of lightly toasted walnuts, chopped dates (check really carefully for stones) & sunflower seeds, add a tiny pinch of salt & pulse in the food processor until it makes fine crumbs. Wonderful on stewed apple.
 My Pa had a shaving brush just like this.
I don't think his shaving mug had flowers on it though.
 I loved watching him shave in the mornings with a cut throat razor.
I don't think I ever saw him unshaven.
 Nan always wore glasses.
I found these a few years ago in the little antique shop that I worked in for a while.
 I'm glad that I don't need to wear them (yet) as I don't think they suit me very well.
Have you any idea how hard it is to take a photo of yourself??!!
 Now that David has headed off & gone way up north to pick for the mandarin season, Rob has been able to get back in to the larder & finish off the shelves & put back the little green formica table...nearly done.
These Pacific Beauty apples are truly tree ripened & so crunchy.
They like living in the larder.
 I have been doing lots in the garden too & planted these polyanthus into the basket on the old bike in the garden.
 I planted these roses precisely because they flower right on through & in to the winter.
 Duchess de Brabant is such a pretty shell pink.
Scraggly bushes but precious fragrant blooms.
Just did these pots at the front door yesterday.
It's not often that you come across poly's in such a pretty pale pink.
Now that the mandarins have started I have been putting out the box of free fruit for the after school kids again. I saw them coming on Friday & rushed out with any box I could find..later I looked & hoped they didn't think I was trying to play a trick on them.
A scraggly group of neighbourhood boys scuffled past yesterday morning. "Hey, one of them called out to me...could we have some fruit?...your nice, you're the Fruit Lady!"
They looked just like these kids here hanging out the washing.
 The picture's from a school reader printed in 1971.
 Some things never really change.
 Another customer returned yesterday afternoon with a jar of quince paste. I had given her some quinces to take to her daughter in Wellington. Her daughter happened to work in a cafe & was very pleased to have the back came a pot of paste for us.
The quinces on the scales are apparently Hong Kong quince...or so they informed me at the SPCA shop where I bought them.
 Standing out on the foot path Jan (quince paste lady) & I couldn't quite believe our eyes at the sight that was coming towards us...3 girls all in blue boiler suits each with heavy yellow rope tied around their waists, all linked to each other & wearing tie on cat hats (yes feline) & odd shoes..carrying a bag..they'd been shopping!

Thanks to Jenny last week I was able to clear up a little confusion. My friend Ruth told me that the rough green things in the trug were osage-oranges but I thought she was being silly & had said ostrich (because they were large & round). They are indeed osage-oranges or hedge-apples, are not edible but if placed under the bed may deter spiders!
 You are so kind to me.
 I cannot tell you how grateful I am for your care & love & support.
 Kindness really does matter!
 I have had a much better week this week....thank you!

I came across this little video via Pinterest this week called "Green Beans in the Garden"
Maybe not your style but it's a darling wholesome video..go on have a peek...
& a wonderful week!

Green Beans in the Garden is my family's first music video. My Mom and Sisters all live out in Amish Country in Tennessee, and live a simple, plain life. I'm very proud of them.


Sunday, 20 May 2012

The Best of Friends

Hello best of friends!
It is so nice to see you!
Thank you for being my saving grace.
 I am really struggling with my health again at the moment, but knowing that you are there & that I can visit with you makes all the difference to my getting through the week in tact, just now.
I am working closely with a lovely homeopath & continuing all my "nourishing traditions" & trying hard to believe that I will come through this strange time (eventually) enriched, empowered, humbled, more compassionate & knowing a lot more stuff! I am reading that menopause can be a transformational time for many woman. I think, that for some of us, it is the time to take stock of many things, including the impact of the past on our emotional & physical health & to find new ways of moving beyond the dumb legacies. I am going to become a wise woman called "Katie the Gatherer" ; ) instead. The biggest challenge for me, just now is anxiety, depression & ridiculously sore teeth..that almost never let up. So weird!
 I am, however, a gatherer (in case you hadn't noticed) & I am so glad to have a pile of choko to eat through these chilly autumn evenings. Sometimes I don't feel like eating much but these yummy vegetables that my friend Ruth has grown, are just delicious. The name seems to be a bit of a stumbling block for many people. Chayote, another of their handles, doesn't overly improve the situation much. They taste like a firm kamo kamo or very tasty zucchini. I used my peeler to make strips & cooked them with a little butter & leeks the other night & that was yummy.
The textured green things are another gatherer find..unnamed, probably best not eaten!
 Kaitiaki is coming to visit on Mondays for a while after school while his mother is busy.
That's good 'cos Pop has a day off on Mondays & he can help Kai with his favourite subject..maths!
This week the help was aided by an abacus & a brussel sprout.
 For $2 from the Farmer's Market & with a double life & purpose that seems pretty good value to me.
Luckily Pop adores brussel sprouts...& so do I.
 Isn't this the sweetest idea.
I found it in the first few pages of my April Country Living magazine.
Could easily be made as a brooch too don't you think?
 Rob immediately spotted our new colanders cousin, a page or two over..
 What's the story with the handle on the inside do you reckon?
I am loving our sweet persimmons. Very yummy for lunch.
 Aren't they nice & bright & happy?
 Aren't pears just huggable!
I found some Taylor's Gold this week.
Sometimes I admire them too long & forget to eat them in time.
 My best tree of all is my guava.
Such a great small evergreen tree & the birds even leave the fruit alone.
 I have other friends though.
But then my other favourite autumn fruit is the feijoa.
I am always so sad when the season is over.
I wander round & round under the tree for weeks afterwards hoping for one last little fruit to fall out of the tree.
 They really are moreish.
I shouldn't have wandered off & left this lot alone!
 They are delicious with figs too..especially with a drizzle of honey & a splash of rosewater & then leave to macerate for half an hour or so (hidden if necessary).
 One of the funnest, most useful things I have found in ages are these vintage enamel egg poachers.
 I just love them & they make a fabulous job of my eggs.
Yes, a bit watery on the plate I know, but it was delicious.
 This vintage Sanderson made it's way to my house this week. I adore the richness of the colours.
I just need to get over myself & get on & make some cushions with it now...after I wash out the old musty smell.
 We walked down at Pakowhai Country Park again this morning.
 Everyone else seems to have a dog or two in tow..
they sure come in all shapes & sizes.
The sausage dog was too far away for a photo ; )
It was a very crisp
  but beautiful morning.
 Well, best of friends...aren't these little ones so sweet?
The book was a discard at the library.
I was so delighted to find it...& for 50c.
I felt as if I had been given a special gift, just for me.
That I can also share with you : )

I'll show you some more of the pictures another time.
Thanks so much for dropping by to see me.
Hope you have a lovely week.

Sunday, 13 May 2012

Motheringly, Sunday

Happy, happy day all my sweet mother friends!!
You are precious & wonderful!
I serenade you with birdsong!
I feel so blessed every time a Tui visits my garden..
and even more delighted when I find that he has brought a Bellbird friend along to sing his little heart out with him!
I have made delicious figs in your honour,
They are gently simmered in the juice of an orange, two tablespoons of honey & a vanilla pod for around 45 mins (lid on for first half hour). Then pop them in the oven as low as it will go (or around 75 degrees C) for the day, or overnight.
The result is a little bit different each time..sometimes the figs are very juicy so there is more "sauce"...that becomes sticky & so delicious! There are lots of other variations you could make up like adding cardomom or ginger. These will last for a couple of weeks in the fridge if you hide them well enough! I think I might try putting some figs in the freezer so that we don't have to eat them all now.
Autumn colours take my breath away.
Oh look..the Bellbird returned to the front garden. I have never seen one in town before.
When I popped into The Greendoor, garden centre last week I was greeted at the door by this glorious display.
Isn't that honour of mothers!
This cheery little face has been lovingly handpainted. It must have taken ages!
I love Kate Greenaway...isn't this sweet?
Look at the cat. 
A rose for you sweetly scented.
 I found this rose elixir tutorial yesterday.
 I've made a tiny jar as I only have a few scented roses left.
Of all my 4392 pins on Pinterest the pictures most commented on are of here's a bunch for you. It's especially French. I hope you can smell it.
This is the sweetest little video of a mother & her daughter..a song
 by Claire Holley called Another Day.
Alisa this song is most especially for you..the bravest Mumma I know.
 I hope those kiddos spoil you & hug you to bits today.

I appreciate you all so much.
 Hugs, kisses & much beauty to you all.
Have a wonderful day!
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