Friday, 12 July 2013

The Useful Art of Medium

I read a little story once. It was a very long time ago, but I have remembered it ever since.
It was a very simple story...about three kids playing in their fort, up in a big old tree. 
They decided to create their own club & made up the rules all by themselves.
Actually, there was only one rule:

No one act too big
No one act too little
Everybody just act medium!

I really like that...everybody just act medium.
It's actually a handy little rule to live by,
I just wish the weather would kinda do the same.
One minute the very first blossom has arrived... 
and all is peaceful & winter serene in our park just around the corner
 then the next minute..there are wild winds & more rain falls in two days than normally arrives in a month & it is icily cold. We've even kept our firing burning all day long for a whole week.
(the birds adore ripe apples & pears on the lawn in winter & they feel quite smug knowing that cats don't like the rain!)

 Dear clever Max, from Blackbird has Spoken (& who lives way down South where they even get snow!) recently sent me these darling little acorn pin cushions. Aren't they adorable!
They look like they would be so awfully fiddly to make. I suppose I will have to find some fairy's pins to put in them now. I wonder where they keep them?
The strangest thing turned up at our local supermarket last bananas!
They taste much the same as the ubiquitous yellow ones but they are a tiny bit different & fun for a change.
After a month, one can be forgiven for getting tired of a "cough" in the house...don't you think?
More annoying for the cougher of course.
I should have done it sooner, but I eventually remembered that violets are very good for coughs.
So I looked up various recipes & decoctions & decided on this one in the end over at The Nerdy Farm Wife.  I decided to use the roots, leaves & violet flowers & followed the directions given. It's a little bit hard to tell, as the cough is probably leaving slowly anyway, but I like to feel that it has been an effective herbal assistance. At least it was taken very happily as it tastes nice & Mr Cough knows where to find it in the fridge.
Winter days are so small it's hard to squeeze enough into them, I always forget it's going to be this way. I recently went to a place that I didn't know existed.
Up in the hills with my Ruth to Blackbarn road & Sharon's kitchen tea (the bride from last week). On the way I wanted to cry "stop!! I have to look at this view", but there was no time for such trivialities & so whizzing past we went.
As soon as I could arrange it, Rob & I went back for a slow drive & an explore.. 
we found the most amazing views!

And a grove of olives with bouncy, shiny grass.

The area is known as Te Mata.
Aren't the bare vines beautiful!

When we got home we ate wonderfully fragrant chicken soup & sourdough bread.
I bought free range chicken bits & simmered them in a big pot all day long with celeriac, celery, carrots, kumara, lots of fresh tumeric & ginger & various other things.
Bone broths & soups are another one of those time honoured nourishment/remedies that everyone needs to know about don't you reckon?
Do you have chicken soup memories or special ingredients that must go in the pot?  
Tamarillos fruit in sheltered places here in the very middle of winter.
 They are friendly red & very tasty...nice cooked with apple.
Now this all brings me to the call from Hettie Brown
to consider:
To share brilliant ideas for saving our planet and our Pennies.....
Getting things for free...
Not spending money
spending less money
Up-cycling your clothes
Growing your own food
Crafty ideas
Home cooking from scratch
Up-cycling and using what we have
 any other ideas you may have

Sound like you?
 Please do join in the happy parade if you'd like to, just pop in here to find out more.

Living these things, to me, is just life practice in the art of being medium..perfect!

My Treading Gently, Being Thrifty, Living Simply ideas this week, have been:

~Exploring right where you already live & notice the beauty that you find.
~Make simple nourishing meals using all the good veges you can grow or get your hands on.
~Have a go at making a few easy remedies..just check that they really are violets first!

Right, I am off to make some more of my rose scented moisturiser. I have run out completely, not a scerek to be found in the bottom of the jar!
But I have found the cutest idea for using up all kinds of odd strips of lace & vintage fabric. It's looking very sweet.
I will give you a peek next week.
Thanks so much for visiting!!
Have a wonderful medium week!


  1. Your photos of the beautiful New Zealand countryside are just stunning. Thank you for sharing.

    1. Hello Anne, thank you for visiting..I am always so glad to see you. Good job on the rain on the farm, perhaps your brother would like some of ours too...we have some to spare! Much love Catherine x0x0x

  2. Cathrine! What stunning photos! I especially love the one with the house nestled, and the poplars one, and i like that i can now imagine te mata when i drink the wine.
    I've signed up for the hettie project after seeing it here-the funny little hatted creature drew me in and i'm glad it did.
    I need something for a cough too, i'd never heard of a violet folk remedy before i just dont think i can bear to dig the lovely little things up though!
    Get well soon lovely x

    1. Hi Max,
      Always so nice to see you. Even Kaitiaki loves your wee acorn creations & he’s a boy & 7!
      He thought they were cool : ) Thanks to Julie I’ll be looking in the fairy draw for the pins.
      I know what you mean about sacrificing the violets. You can just use the leaves & a few flowers of course.
      Mind you, have you ever seen violet seeds? They are very prolific seeders & they use runners to make new plants too.
      Goodness coughs are annoying aren’t they! Worst when they go to chests.
      So glad you’re joining in the thrifty pressure, just as you go along.
      Glad that you can picture parts of our countryside a little better now..thanks for your lovely comments.
      Much love Catherine x0x0x

  3. Hello there Catherine, I think being "medium" sounds just perfect, there are too many out there acting too big :-) I too still have my cough so I shall be trying out your violet recipe & hoping for the best. My sympathies to Rob, it is no fun after a month as well I know. Your photos of Te Mata are just breathtaking ... I have memories as a child of being taken to Te Mata Peak - is that the same?? I too have joined up with Hettie Brown, it is really how I live my life anyway so no great huge changes, but just little things every day. Do you have a sourdough starter to make your sourdough bread?? I seem to have been reading alot about them lately. Thankyou for cheering up my weekend with your lovely post dear friend. Love Julie x0x p.s the acorn pincushions are just beautiful, perhaps the fairy pins will be in the drawer of the fairy cupboard??

    1. Hello dear, I hope the violet mixture works for you. I am quite certain that it's helpful. It may, of course depend on quite what kind of cough you have!
      Golly, are you as sodden as we are?
      Yes, Te Mata, where I took the photos is at the bottom end of the range, at the giants feet : ) the other end is the Peak part where you would have driven up..still is a magnificent view.
      I saw that you had joined up with Hettie Brown & I was so's so nice, isn't it puddling along with people with similar values & lifestyles (ooh I don't like that word: lifestyles) just sharing what we already do is grand.
      I used to make a lot of bread in days gone by, just don't find the time anymore so I buy a really nice Kapiti bread on occasions. Our Matthew is a sourdough master his recipe for a starter & bread are just here:
      I made a starter sometime last year actually,'s still in the back fridge waiting ...& waiting!
      Of course the draw of the fairy cupboard..I'll scurry off & have a look.
      Much love Catherine x0x0x

  4. Can't wait to see what you're working on!
    I also love seeing the foods you're eating, the fruit makes me want to see what new ones are in our stores.

    Chicken soup always makes us feel better when we're not well. Also, a teaspoon of honey at bedtime really does help with a cough. I think it's better than cough syrup & has helped me sleep many times. One other thing we do is take zinc. It helps meal overcome colds so much faster.

    I'm reading 'The Forgotten Garden' & have made it to pg. 146. Still a lot to go but I can't wait to see how it all turns out.

    1. Hello Jenny, how's your week going?
      Yes there's a world of difference between chicken soup & any other too, I think. Thank you for the honey reminder..the simplest of things eh! Actually the violet syrup has a good bit of honey in it. I've tried zinc but I can never say that it categorically made that much difference.
      Glad that you've got in to the book. I have just finished The House at Riverton (same author) not nearly as good. Felt like I was reading Downton Abbey.
      Thanks for visiting again!
      Much love Catherine x0x0x

  5. What a lovely post, so many good things to look at and think about!
    Make do and mend was the motto of the day when I was a little girl, then we went through chuck out and spend (and what a mistake that was!) and now it’s gone full circle. Hurray I say!

    1. Hello Barbara, thank you for your lovely comments.
      You know I don't think that I've ever heard that one before "chuck out & spend" what a hoot! but totally sums it up doesn't it! Yes the full circle is grand especially as we now have a choice (mostly) these days which makes it a LOT more fun & not just a necessity. Hope you're having a good week. How do you do in the heat? Looks like you're having a real summer : ) Much love Catherine x0x0x


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