Saturday, 22 February 2014

Grateful and Growing

Aren't naked ladies beautiful..
in their simple,
 fragrant late summer elegance?
Wild & free & growing in a paddock;
 I admire their easy grace.
Mary Oliver writes, "Tell me, what do you plan to do with your one wild & precious life?"
Do you ever feel that maybe you're living too tucked in, too small?
If you could really, really chose..what would you do? 
What would you change?
What would you dare to dream?
We've been busy growing, just like these slender stalks; reaching up to the sun.
Standing with our heads held high.
Settling in to a new sense of self assurance & awareness & the gentle dignity that comes from truly accepting who you are. Rob has two days to go before he walks out the door of his workplace, soul in tact; knowing that it is time...time to move on & expect more, give more, teach more & believe in himself in new ways. He has a new job to go to in a week or so. The first door that he knocked on, they grabbed him with both hands. He'll be fine & so will we.
 Growing fast can sure make you dizzy.

The world is full of harshness
& it is also full of kindness.
Tam sent me this spontaneous gift in the mail last week. She's been a blogging friend for a few years now & makes the coolest stamp can catch up with her & her creations at A Treasured Past on Facebook.  
We were out walking around our neighbourhood one morning recently when we stumbled over these hazelnuts all scattered across the footpath & the verge. So we stuffed our pockets full, before anyone could come along with a lawnmower & crunch them all up.
These late season blueberries are a very pretty colour & have a distinct muscat flavour. They are aptly named "delite"
 It has been oh so hot here this week (my coconut oil is liquid), the cicada chorus coming from the high trees in the park is almost deafening, but the trees are so welcome for their shade & protection as we walk in their morning or evening shelter. I had never noticed before that dwarf maples make helicopters too.
It is the time of full harvest, especially in Hawke's Bay here.
 I love all the vibrant colours of the summer produce.
These golden beets are so sweet & delicious.
I am starting to get the hang of tomatillos..
They are marvelous roasted with capsicums & eggplant.
They look like a giant cape gooseberry but aren't too good to bite in to as is.
Our flamingos have grown in to a flock.
 And have already been off to meet & greet at a birthday party on Napier Hill.
 They are available to hire..a dozen or so.
 They are snazzy old happy things & love to brighten up the garden.
 They're pretty indestructible too, which is always a good thing!
This has not been an easy venture in to a new year for us. In fact, it's been darn hard & gritty, but we are both signed up to learn & grow & release the old self stuff that is no longer needed for the good life we have set our intention towards. Living authentically means signing up for the fear & the trembling & asking the hard questions & letting things open up to the light. It requires being willing to learn new habits & adopt fresh skills. There's a whole lot more in our tool box now & we're so grateful for that.

Recently, I watched a local TV current affairs report on "Sunday" was all about loneliness. The lonely & disconnected souls of this nation of New Zealand. Somehow, they came to the estimate that there were a million Kiwis who suffer from some degree of loneliness, many acutely so. Our souls long for goodness & belonging & meaning & friendship & connection. Connectedness is essential for our health & any sense of well-being. I am so encouraged to see so many of my elderly neighbours coming to the gate for fruit this weekend. I love chatting with them & knowing that for some of them, the fruit is a huge boost to their nutritional intake. The "old bloke" around the corner who is 95, living alone & still driving is one of my favourites.

We were so blessed to come across this wonderful video a few days ago. It may not be your style of music but the images will warm your heart & make you smile. I'd love you to watch it too.

Thank you for popping in to see me & to read my ramblings.

Much love to you all.
Catherine x0x0x

Sunday, 9 February 2014

The Enchanted Garden

I visited Aunty's garden again this week, to gather vegetables.
I loved the people that I met while I was there: an Indian family & a lovely lady called Marion.
I stood gazing at these sunflowers for ages.
Don't they just shout summer!
I picked flowers there too.
These were very kindly given to me for my birthday.
I have so enjoyed them.
 There have been fairies living at the bottom of my garden..
 or perhaps that's a gnome?
 Either way, the two of them have moved on to an Eco Lodge just down the road & are having a marvelous time hanging out with back-packers from all around the world. They start apple picking on Monday.
 They gave me the most truly perfect gift.
"The Enchanted Garden" by Claire O'Rush.
Discovering & Enhancing the Magical Healing Properties of Your Garden.
 And look what's on the very first page!
 "There is an angel in your garden.
If you tend a plot of ground with love & care, no matter how small it may be, you invoke the presence of the Angel of the Garden. It is possible to form a bond of conscious communion with the Angel, a communion which stems from & is received in the heart. Because of this natural unfolding of spiritual perception, it is well to create a corner of privacy in the garden, even if you do no more than to establish one of the rustic bowers which can be purchased nowadays. Such a sequestered nook, however tiny, enables us to open a window on to the sublime sweetness of the angelic worlds with all their peace & wisdom & visionary inspiration informed by the spirit of love."
This is one of my very favourite fairy pictures "Midsummer Eve" by Edward Robert Hughes.
It's in the book too.
There's an angel that lives in my garden.
I know that she & Lucy are very good friends.
When I took that very, oh so huge step & decided to buy Lucy almost a year ago, I could never imagine what she was to come to mean to us.
Who would have thought that she would soon embody the family arms that Rob & I have never had around us. Even as we've had to process this next round of bullying & difficulty (work) Lucy has been our safe place, a sanctuary for our souls to find solace, a place to pray & just be
A place for tea...
And a place for deep wounds to safely rise to the surface spontaneously & be released.
Lucy keeps our secrets.
She's a sure shelter from the rain when your tent leaks.
She's a safe haven to leave a Trade me parcel for a customer passing through at 7.30 in the morning 'cos the letterbox leaks too.
I sure needed my "Dorothy Boots" (that's what it says on the label) to get to her today!
When I put out the fruit this morning I saw a little creature in the driveway. Oh no, I thought, a wee bird fallen out of the nest & into the gutter. But no, it turned out to be none other than Urbit.
 The Keeper of the Tea Pot
The boy hung out the washing one day last week. 
I discovered my newly washed op shop finds safely tucked in the sweet.
After my fruitless attempts to source vintage chic wallpapers locally (or anywhere else for that matter) when we were decorating Lucy, I ended up sending for some of the Cath Kidston designs, which I adore & I soon discovered that a metre & a half of paper sells very well on Trade Me, so I have ordered others. 
Including this fabulous oil cloth. I love it to bits!
Fairy music in the that would be just perfect!
So here are some more hearts for you.
Such treasures you are.
Thank you so much for visiting.
May your week be filled to the brim with caring hearted friendship & love.

Saturday, 1 February 2014

Coming Up Roses

 Isn't it funny how one little thing,
can so often lead to another..
in life?
A few weeks ago, I had enquiry on one of my Cath Kidston wallpaper auctions on Trade Me..."That's it!! That's what I'm after said the enquiree..I've seen it in the Six Sisters Cafe on The Marine Parade in Napier & I'd love 4 rolls to do a feature wall. Where did you get it from?" Well I could only send her in the right direction on that one: to the UK, but meantime, I was able to seek out the cafe with Cath Kidston wallpaper, that she mentioned.
Six Sisters Coffee House.
 Why Six Sisters you may ask? (I did). Apparently a certain Dutch Port Master arrived to live in Napier in the late 1800's & with him came six sisters, his daughters. In time, he gave them each a house of their own. Six identical houses all in a row!
An interesting combination of sweet, 
 funky & contemporary. The Cath Kidston Antique Rose paper is on one wall down the other end.
Tili jars on the mantelpiece you'll notice Julie.
Really great coffee.
 Nice customers too.
 Some of whom, have upsticks & come to live in our garden.
 Well just for a while.
 We've been making plenty of summer salads. These "Indigo Rose" tomatoes have been fascinating. Apparently the worlds first commercially available tomatoes containing high levels of anthocyanin..which just means that they are really good for you.
 There's been so much going on for us through January. I am starting to figure that a little pruning seems to have been required in order to stimulate the blooming process. But one things for sure, being pruned is not comfy. There are those changes in life that make things interesting & keep you growing & then there are others, that just seem to chop off your bits & pulverise you.
The challenges have been thoroughly destabilizing & overwhelming, yet I am encouraged to find that my intuition is a real ally & highly functional. I was so pleased that we decided one night to keep the bones from chicken (even though it's summer) & make a large pot of chicken broth.
  I don't think that Rob & I ate much else for days & days as we journeyed the hard stuff of upheaval with Rob's work.  Dear boy, even said.."right I want to learn how to make this stuff" and he did.
 When the big (really big) waves come they bring with them new opportunities to see where our wounds are & where we still need to be healed; revise what really matters to us & determine whether we have gathered around us enough tools & skills to work it all through. And then we have a choice...will we really, really be there for each other? YES!
I am working with a lot of fear & anxiety & knowing that it stems from early childhood & on going life long family disruption. I am choosing every day to heal from the traumatic wounds of narcissistic's going to be a very long journey, but one I must make. I am so grateful to the "girls" who have been brave enough to leave comments on my page here. I wasn't sure that I should write about it (at all) but now I know that I had to.
In stressy times simple food is important. I have been making these simple fruit sauces a lot lately. This one was made to use up the apricots that were starting to go off. A little honey & a little lemon juice & a zap with the whizz stick & viola apricots redeemed.
 I am intrigued to find that any fruit puree made like this will last for days & days in the fridge. The strawberry one (with a little honey & a drop of rosewater) made a great dipping sauce for rockmelon & Coconut Ice peaches.
 I have been drying some summer herbs to make Julie's wonderful sachets to keep the moths at bay in the linen cupboard. The top leaves are marshmallow..great for adding to bath bags along with oatmeal.
 You can find the recipe just here. I've added these star anise into the mix. Aren't they beautiful things!
We accidentally found a large elder bush hanging over the footpath recently, so we gathered as many ripe elderberries as we could & I found a really nice, simple recipe for an elderberry mother immune elixir just here
I added these ground rosehips & some ginger to the tonic mixture.
It's tasting delicious, I must say. I will strain out the berries in a month or so & bottle it up in readiness for any feeling-a-little-under-the-weather days to come.
The other tonic that I would not want to be with out is our funky, kombucha tea.
"Kombucha is an antioxidant rich immune boosting beverage coined the “Immortal Health Elixir”. It's a rich source of antioxidants, B vitamins, glucaric acids and probiotics which aid in digestion, gut health, joint care and detoxification. Like all fermented foods, it is extraordinarily rich in enzymes and beneficial bacteria and therefore a dream come true for your gastrointestinal function. It re-establishes the natural ecology of the intestinal flora, which in turn boosts immunity and allows the body to absorb nutrients and eliminate waste with ease."
You can read more (& how to make it) here at Petite Kitchen
If you live in New Zealand & you'd fancy having your own "scoby" I'd be very happy to post you one..just let me know.
 I'm really enjoying this pink hebe just now. It's great for picking too.
 Wednesday was a birthday day..don't know about that goose on the left but isn't Sarah just the sweetest girl. Not fair to catch them out first thing in the morning eh.
 Rob & I spent a little time in Napier, walking near the beach & heading back to Six Sisters for a coffee.
This month is the month of that sounds like a great idea.
And a really good focus, don't you agree?!
Have a gentle week dear friends.
Thanks so much for your visit.
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