Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Aunty's Garden and The Koha

Funny how sometimes the words just don't come until they are ready.
I am being patient, not everything likes to be pushed along.
Stories worth telling take their own sweet time,
like the story of Aunty's Garden & the Koha.
I am presently mindful of the fact that we are, of course, familiar with our own ways; our own knowledge we take for granted. Sometimes we can forget that others don't see the same things that we see, nor see through the same eyes. Our grandson Kaitiaki is part Maori. He has a rich heritage, woven of many colourful strands. His name means "spiritual guardian or caretaker". On his Maori side, he is fully immersed in the family & belongs...glued. He cannot dislodge his belonging even if he flew to the moon.
Last weekend he & all his school mates filled 5 buses & travelled up to the mountains to listen to stories. Stories that belong to them all. Stories not held in books but in the heart & memory of living "whanau". The Maori people know that belonging is essential to living, without it people fail & fall through the cracks & do not thrive. They also have a relationship with the earth that is of the sacred. Respect. And knowledge that I admire.
The rest of us are just sort of "scattered around the community", but if you are Maori you have a "home", a local Marae where the people come to celebrate & connect, feed the crowds & sleep, mourn & bury the dead & sometimes grow food too. There was a time when all Marae had a garden...
like Aunty's Garden just down the road from us & around the corner.
 Aunty's Garden is a lot like the Secret Garden it is open & alive & offering it's bounty in love to the whole world..
 It was planted by fine people who know the old ways & who wanted to encourage their people to eat better & feed their families well.
 In true heart, they then welcomed all.
Anyone can come in the gate & wander around the carefully tended plot & pick from it whatever they like!! Winter, spring, summer or autumn.
 I found Linda here. She'd driven 30 mins to get to the garden...
because it is all organically grown & so good.
 Who would have thought that a cabbage patch would be such a beautiful sight!
 The gardens are laid out in a koru a curled fern frond. It symbolises new life, growth, strength & peace.

 When you are done harvesting, you simply leave your koha in the box right here.
Koha...quite simply, a gift from the heart: what you are able to pay, what you feel that it is worth.
I don't suppose a chicken would fit in the box then?
 I felt so satisfied & enriched with my basket of beautiful fresh, organic "kai"
 All this got me to thinking that this little quote right here solves a whole lot of problems all in one sentence..don't you think?
"I cannot rid the the entire world of noxious problems but I can patiently cultivate the good earth around my own two feet & grow what I wish to see in my own backyard"
Jack Nordby
I think this might deal to a lot of fretting & fussing & help to keep the focus where it can actually make a difference.
With scratchy throats & snuffles around I made a jar of this...
 & it is so good! Fresh tumeric, lemon zest, lemon juice, fresh ginger root & honey.
It actually makes a jolly good dressing & marinade too & keeps for ages in a jar in the fridge.
 Somewhere, without any body catching on, it seems to me, that we lost the art of home nursing/home remedies. Things that once, every good mother could be depended on to know, were traded for the over-the-counter pharmacopia of pills & potions that, sad to say, frequently do more harm than good & soon enough we became a generation that forgot how to help ourselves.
My daughter Anna began a quest a few months back, to create a healing balm using native plants & natural resources. Her Native Bush Balm, I can truly attest, is utterly brilliant. I would never want to be without it again. It soothes all kinds of irritations, wounds & annoyances..including providing instant relief from mosquito bites, cracks under toes, rose prickle injuries, skin rashes such as irritation from the slime in the leaves in agapanthas plants. She sends all around New Zealand. If you'd like a pot & are "local" the cost is $10 + $4 p&p & you can contact me here or Anna here on her Native Bush Balm facebook page
 I was so delighted to have a visit from one of my favourite native birds the kereru (or native wood pigeon) while I was out garden fairying last week. Such beautiful colours aren't they!
Here, down-under, we have just past the winter solstice, the time the Maori call Matariki: the time of new beginnings.
Lots of life is a trade off isn't it. It's hard, sometimes to find the right balance. I think that this quote may well help in days to come. I might just pop it up on the kitchen cupboard where I can see it often. I found it on the back page of the latest Good magazine.
 I have been letting things go.
 Lots & lots of things!
And it's ok, in fact it's marvelous!
I have been busy as a bee on Trade me & sent many interesting items all around the country side.
But then Rob found yet another suitcase of precious bits & bobs. Poof they're a little they are airing. I'm not letting everything go you understand, but perhaps sometime this year we might be able to tidy our house properly last!!
Thank you so much for all your terribly helpful & kind comments (& emails) on my last post.
I treasure our conversations more than you can know!
David is fine & a much better driver by the minute!!

Do you have trouble letting go of things or are you always neat & tidy & organised?

Have a lovely week my friends..a smile & a hug for you all!

Saturday, 15 June 2013

The Land of Discombobulation and The Red Velvet Coat

When I was just seven I got a bad dose of the chicken pox.
I was miserable!
My mother had left & I had to stay home from school in bed for a week.
My aunty Margaret came and cared for me, since she had two small boys of her own, that was very kind of her.
Nobody read to me in those times, but my aunty patiently sat and read me The Magic Faraway Tree.


I loved those stories of silly magical much.
And the whimsicalness & the possibilities!
When you got to the top of the tree you would burst out through the clouds and find yourself in a different land with each and every visit. Sometimes it was a very strange land indeed! 
I think I must have climbed out the window by mistake on this particular occasion, as I ventured up through those clouds, as I have found myself trapped in The Land of Discombobulation this past week or two.
This is a very horrid land full of nasty little goblins who keep leading you up the garden path to the wrong place & who have the audacity to give you half of someone else's cold and then, even more rudely, they make you bleed for ten days on end and they give you confusion and sadness for dinner.
They make all the flowers disappointed and Dame Washalot actually lives there and everything is damp and clammy and it makes everybody odd and cranky. The roads have huge ditches, so deep they can swallow a small car whole, as they did with my boy's just bought one. Fortunately he climbed out of the ditch with kind assistance and sirens attending and left the awful land and came home for dinner and comfort, as if nothing had happened at all.

If you don't know The magic Faraway Tree you might like to watch this lovely little video 
And if you do know it you might like to watch it too! 
Late this week, I found some flowers still smiling. 
 I wish you could smell this winter is heaven on earth.

 Raindrops on maidenhair fern.
 This white Sparieshoop has got a little ahead of itself and mistaken the seasons.
 Camelias are always so lovely.
 After gardening I visited my friend Ruth.
Isn't she the kindest friend, she picked me these glorious narcissii.
 By the time I left Ruth's house I swear there was not another tiny space left in my car. I forgot to take a photo...stuffed as it was with primulas & polyanthas, sacks of walnuts, jars of flowers, persimmons, apples from the tree-ripened stall along the way...
Imagine the sight if I had been found in a ditch that day, covered in fruit & dirt & flowers!
I have never had this happen before with a rose, but even after all this time, (well over a month) the roses that Trish had given us at the camping ground for Lucy, are still going! Well one is.
 My lovely neighbour over the road, came over with this sweet tablecloth for Lucy this week..wasn't that so kind!
I stopped here just before the sun went down to get some more tree ripened apples. The people are so kind..they pick just the ripest ones every few days & leave them in wooden bins at a little honesty stall so that we can come & help ourselves.
 My brother took his son to a model show a week or two ago & look what they found to show me!
Oh dear, we sent for some more Cath Kidston recently & thought that the blue spray flowers might be great to have for Lucy..when we need it next. But I am rather cross, after it coming all that way..I think it is very naughty of them to say that this is blue!
Very polite & all that, & have been able to leave a review but no responsibility taken.
I have listed it on Trade me.

 When I was last in The Little Red Book Shop I found this adorable wee book.
 "Once near the Tinkling brook, where the water swirled in to deep pools, a tiny little Sprite sat upon a stone, watching a speckled trout in the water...
...when they came to the home of Bertha Bumblebee, she asked them why they were so happy, and they told her of the new Field Mice Babies. "Their happiness makes me happy!" said Bertha Bumblebee, "so I will hum-m-m-m!"
And she went down the road with Granny Cricket and Thomas Toad and they fiddled and drummed and hummed until they came to the home of Catherine Catbrird and told her why they were so happy".

The stories are so sweet and so are the illustrations.

 And I adore the dedication:

Almost lastly, I finished this book some weeks ago and I am still thinking about the story even now.
It is very deep & intriguing and complex and you may well enjoy it too.
It reminded me a great deal of a richer version of the Secret Garden.
Here is Kate Morton herself to tell you about her story:

The red velvet coat is a little shy & didn't much like being photographed.
In the window of the Hospice shop this drew me in the door where I found many of the staff clustered together behind the counter. I was able to tell them all how much I love their shop & the new fabulous window displays. I tried on the velvet coat just for fun...but it was perfect!
After I remove the pins from the hem & sew it up I shall where it to a winter wedding at the end of June.

Thank you so much for visiting me.
While I was trapped all that time in the nasty place it was a huge comfort to know that you were all still there!!
Hugs & grateful friendship friends & readers.

Thursday, 6 June 2013

The Sock Garden & Other Things

Only last week, while buying some perfectly tree-ripened apples from a road side stall I looked up to see the late afternoon light glowing through this ornamental grape growing on the fence.

 A few days later we were walking past Clive Square in Napier (on our way to retrieve the mended presser foot for my old Bernina sewing machine), when the beauty of the light of winter sun caught my attention near this Victorian fountain.
 They used some unusual "things" the Victorians in their outdoor memorials.
 I guess it would take a very long time for these palms to grow this tall. You'd probably have to actually be Spiderman to do any trimming on them nowadays!
 There's a tiny shop called Caravan down the other end of town.
 It is in  a very slim slice of a building with a set of particularly steep wooden stairs leading to a small mezzanine floor. Such lovely old windows..makes me think of lots of angels being silly, or performing synchronised gymnastics.
 I have made Lucy a new vintage Sanderson cushion ( a fabric that I didn't really imagine that I would ever use).
 The backing is the striped fabric you can see in the bunting that I made over the weekend.
It was Queen's Birthday weekend 
 & we had the most beautiful sparkling days.

 We've had our first big frost that crumpled all the impatiens (I love their common name: Busy Lizzies)
& other tender things.
 When I saw that these jonquils had sprung forth in their pot I carried them to the front steps so that we could admire them as much as possible. Their scent is so heady.
 The days are so short in winter, it'sdifficult to get very much achieved before the day closes in again on us. We decided that we would put this pretty oilcloth on to my $10 table on the front porch.
 It was a nice job that didn't take long & made us both smile.
 A while back I came across this little wall posy. I'm not sure I've ever seen one quite like it before.
 It's very cheerful & kind of more three dimensional than a picture.
 I also found these in an op shop in Napier. They are so cute & beautifully crafted. I feel certain that I will find a wee person to give them to in the near future.
 This is the tiniest little book that lives on my dressing table.
Yesterday I picked it up..
 and opened it's dear little, weathered pages..
 Do you feel sweet & pretty when you look in the mirror? I really, really hope so.
 Oh don't we all need friends & hugs & sunshine to flourish.
 I am really enjoying my Kim Jacobs calendar this year.
What a lovely little spot!
Would you like to join me here for a wee picnic? I love the pretty lupins & the box of pastels right beside the chair.
This week when I needed to find a new story to read for our local phone news service for the blind, I came across this sparkler. It's so much fun, I just had to share it with you. This is how life ought to be! Fun & happy & full of generosity of spirit.

The Sock garden
"Some people grow corn.
Some people grow roses.
But whoever heard of growing socks?
I guess you have to be a special kind of gardener-and a special kind of dad!
One day last fall, Dad said, "Go get your oldest, rattiest wool socks!"
My sister, my brother & I thought this sounded weird. But it was better than sitting around until mum got back from the store.
When we all met outside with our socks, I asked, "What are we doing?" We're making a sock garden of course!" Dad said with a smile.
We carried our socks & hiked down the road. I wondered where we were going. But then we stopped at an old field. Dad looked out at the dead, gray weeds. "Remember how this field was full of flowers this summer?" asked Dad?. We all nodded. "Good, he said. "Pull your socks over your shoes & follow me."
So we did, feeling silly.
Dad walked. We walked.
Then my sister Sara hopped. Dad hopped too.
I liked that. So I stomped. We all stomped & giggled.
Dad pulled a seed pod off a plant. It snapped just like a bean. He touched a pod of another. It exploded with a noise-tssk!- & flung out seeds. Soon we were all touching the popping plants.
We found a plant with tiny cups. We tilted them sideways & out poured seeds. They fell with a hiss like cereal pouring from a box.
Then we got really wild. Dad taught us a kooky dance, the Woodchuck Waddle. He said his aunt had taught it to him as a kid. I made up another: the Squirrel Skip. Sara invented the Deer Dance. David twirled around until he was so dizzy he fell over. We danced & laughed some more. By this time we were sagging in our socks. Then, "All done ", said Dad. "All done?" I wondered out loud. Dancing is never all done. Then I realised Dad was looking at our socks, but I was still clueless. On the way out of the field we played follow-the-leader. I was in charge. I pulled the white stuff from some milk pod seeds. "Whoosh!" I yelled as I let it go free. We watched the seeds on downy parachutes, float & fly away in the wind. Then we took off our socks & carried them all the way home. Back at the house Dad plopped down on the ground in the backyard. He held up his socks for us to see. They were covered with dirt & plant bits. But there was more...there were prickly seeds: little ones & big ones in all kinds of shapes. Finally I understood. While we'd been playing with seeds, our socks had been collecting them. Dad told us that animals caught seeds in their fur, just like we caught them in our socks. When the seeds fall off the fur, they grow in a new place. And that's what our seeds would do too. 
That afternoon, we buried our seedy socks in the yard. "Let's make it a secret!"said Sara. We didn't say a word to Mum.  But when the next summer came , we had flowers growing in funny, sock-shaped clumps. The flowers were pretty. Mum bought in jars full of them, & even put some in her hair. "Where did they come from?" she asked Dad. We all stayed quiet. "The rain & the wind must have brought them," said Dad, trying not to grin. David & Sara hid their faces behind pillows but I couldn't keep quiet. I giggled. Soon we were all laughing....& our sock garden secret was out for good.!
Some people grow corn. Some people grow roses but my dad grows socks- & a whole lot of fun!

April Pulley Sayre 

It's freezing & raining & wintery here now, only a week after my pictures were taken. Poor Lucy!
 I've been making lots of chicken soup & Rob says it smells so good you don't even have to drink/eat it to feel all warm & loved.

Thank you so much for visiting.
Have a heart-warming week.
 I hope that you bump into kindness wherever you go...all week long (she's very nice kindness).

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