"She seemed to come suddenly upon happiness as if she had surprised a butterfly in the Winter woods"
(edith wharton)

Thursday, 30 April 2009

time to take time away....or is the internet the present day heroin....

yesterday we visited Paul and it really knocked me for a six... he was totally out of it and didn't know us.. in 3 days he has gone down hill fast. After we visited him, we went to visit Tina his wife and she is a mess. Their anniversary was on Monday - 41 yrs together and she stood in the kitchen last night crying, telling me he is her soul mate. what do you say? all the crap of choosing our journey, of God having a reason does not cut it anymore. I am way over this stupid way of thinking, cause life just bloody well sucks. far as I believe right now, we have been dumped here to fend for ourselves, if the angels love us as much as we are told.. surely they can step in and take the pain of this away. yes, I am angry. and over it.

the past week or so, I started to believe that i spend way too much time on the internet... my life is suffering because of it. My spiritual life, my home & sometimes even my ordinary everyday self. Just this morning I decided to step back a little. I am like an addict, I really am. checking constantly to see if I have I need to be strong and walk away. Blogging has taken over my life.. every time i do something, I wonder if I can blog it.. cooking, gardening, walking etc, etc... blogging seeping into my mind as I create or spend time in nature... distracting me always from the present moment...
so I am stopping blogging. I don't have much to say..and I have started to feel a little guilty about not repaying visits...(there may be a post every now and then to journal about my garden... but that will be all...)

however, I am on facebook and am in the process of working out Skype.... my email address is on my profile if you would like to keep in touch ....

I wish you blessings on your journey... and I hope from the bottom of my heart that we stay in touch.... I may be back after winter ...... only time will tell.

Monday, 27 April 2009

playing make believe

life has been different for me the past week... I drift around my home.. playing house but really not getting much done at all. to tell the truth, my home is a little forlorn right now.. I know that I need to give myself a push..but it isn't happening.. and it is not because of what is happening with Paul I am actually coping very well .. it is like I am accepting of death this time and I know that it is an honour to be able to be there with a soul reaching the end of their journey this time round... this drifting is more to do with my stagnating spiritual life.. that is bothering me - alot.

Paul has been shifted to Palliative care near to his home and it is easy for the family to visit and take turns being with him. he gets very agitated when left alone for too long. It is hard on his wife Tina but she is lucky to have 3 adult sons who are taking turns sitting with their dad..

We have been visiting as often as possible, every few days. Not wanting to impinge on their last times together as husband & wife or father & son. we don't know how long he has.. the doctors say a few weeks to months....

His eyes show that he knows and I look into them sometimes.. it is not like looking into human eyes.. it is like looking into a soul - a humbling thing..

.. sometimes he is very lucid, othertimes confused..
in his lucid moments he complains about being in hospital, he talks of childhood, asks us questions.. in a blink of an eye he can change.. he becomes confused.. travelling to another place.
when he is confused we play along with it... sometimes we are in Rotterdam airport and he gets worried that we may miss our plane, sometimes he asks if we are planning on painting our home and asks us not to forget that he needs the work, other times he is getting ready to go back to his current job of driving a school bus.... but we don't mind this make believe.. we think it is an honour to be able to travel to different lives with him as he completes his journey on this earth. So we tell him the plane was delayed and assure him that we won't miss it... we tell him we have just renovated our home and once the windows are in he can repaint them or tell him that our loungeroom is being redecorated and ask his opinion on colours.. or we ask him how he can cope with driving school age children to and from school.. like I said, we don't mind make believe if that is what it takes to keep him calm as he faces one of the biggest journeys a soul can take.

at Inglewood the leaves are starting to turn.. I have painted some old tyres in readiness for blueberry plants and garlic.. I have bagged the persimmons to stop the birds from eating them and I have some herbs to plant out..

Friday, 17 April 2009

Everybody cries. And everybody hurts, sometimes

just to let you know that Paul has taken a turn for the worse. The tumour has begun to grow back and he has been taken off all treatment. Next week he is going to palliative care.. I have no idea how long he has here on earth but I am asking that if you can, could you send some prayers.
also a while back I spoke of Rita.. she died early this week... peacefully but wisdom has gone with her.

I am tired. I haven't alot to say.. I sit wondering what I can blog about and nothing comes... kinda like blogging block.

I am not taking a break at all but I have no idea when I will post again. Maybe when my carrots need thinning or when the broad beans have flower or maybe I will be enthused when I spend the day in the garden tomorrow.... I just feel so drained
(I am going to try visiting blogs but please accept my apology here if I don't make it for a few days.. I am still thinking of my friends out in blog world.. you are like my rope to hang onto xo)

Thursday, 9 April 2009

something I read....very profound thoughts from 4am this morning...

CALENDULA - otherwise known as Pot Marigold, growing in my garden. Used as a companion plant... according to Jekka, these gorgeous yellow flowers are Shakespeare's Merry Buds..

I have quite a collection of 'The Organic Gardener', an Australian magazine that is printed every two months... sometimes I grab an old copy and read at night... last night, something jumped from the page that I was reading, it made alot of sense to me in more ways than one.

written by Paul Bennett, a pioneer of the organic movement in Australia

he talks about organic gardening being an essential 'survival technique' for the human race:

"collectively, the home gardens and small holdings of the world amount to billions of acres. If organically managed, their contributions to the stability of eco-systems and the quality of our food and life could be enormous"

from a backyard garden to those tomatoes & cucumbers grown in pots on our balcony.... if done organically, in our own little way we are helping Earth.. it all adds up to those billions of acres.

this line of thought.. is so relevant to more than organic gardening - it got me thinking of how many of you are praying for or keeping Paul in your thoughts and even lighting candles... each gesture adds up to a huge ball of love... SO my theory is, if each of us concentrates on sending only love, light and positive thoughts out, then it must have a huge effect on the whole of Earth, don't you think? And not just the people on Earth but Earth herself.. seeing we are one with Earth, then She must absorb all thoughts and actions too..... Maybe that has been said before by others, I don't know but at 4am this morning it had a huge impact on me.

I am off on a bike ride this easter weekend, riding with our Harley group down to the Snowy Mountains... so to each of you I wish a blessed weekend, 'whatever you celebrate' xo

and yet another quote that I love: "a vision without a task is but a dream. a task without a vision is drudgery, but a vision with a task is the hope of the world" ~ inscription on a church in Sussex, England. 1730

Wednesday, 8 April 2009

memories, my harvest and a recipe....

yesterday I went to my Wisdom Tree circle...after a lovely connecting & protection meditation we sat in silence answering some questions in our journal. One of those questions was 'where do I come from'.. I have done this exercise a few times and each time I am amazed at the memories that come up.. floating through my mind as if it were a moment ago...yesterday I was whisked back to my grandma's kitchen & grandpa's vegetable garden...I saw pumpkins on a tin roof, ripening in the autumn sun, to be cooked with the Sunday roast, where we all sat around a big cedar table....
I come from.... a brown bread sandwich wrapped up in the recycled wax bread wrapper.

I come from (recycled) brown paper bags & string kept in the box under the sink. I come from tasting a lettuce leaf, freshly picked from the vegie garden by grandfathers strong brown hands... I come from Grandma's old fuel stove, a simmering pot of soup always on the hob, fresh scones and a pot of tea... I come from lace curtains moving gently in the breeze,a big brass bed and a crocheted woollen rug. I come from sixpences in a Christmas pudding....

those memories made me realize once again that my grandparents were recyclers.. but not for the reason that we do.. more for necessity. Those brown bread sandwiches I ate when I was a little girl were the bane of my life.. everyone knew that only the poor kids had brown bread..the rich people ate that lovely white bread... I grew up in an affluent community however my parents struggled, we were from the poor section. brown bread was cheaper and mum wrapped my sandwich in the recycled bread wrappers which was another embarrassment to my little girl self. I cringed whenever I opened my lunch box... a brown bread sandwich, home made slice or cake and fruit... the rich kids had packet biscuits - I felt self conscious of the way my life was.. these days the more brown the bread the more accepted it is.. and to recycle.. well we all do what we can to help reduce waste... how times have changed. Mum made ice-cream, lemon cordial & damper to save money...oh the memories flowed quickly.. Now, I know that I was the rich one. I was lucky to have fresh fruit and home made slice... no chemicals for me back then.. yes, I was rich.

and my pumpkins sitting on my verandah right now, evoke memories of my grandpa's harvest... pumpkins, on the tin roof, ripening in the sun... my pumpkin vine this year was self sown.. it produced two large pumpkins and another hopefully in a month... I plan to make pumpkin soup and freeze it so that I have something on hand for those nights that I need a quick dinner...
tonight, I am making Pumpkin & rosemary risotto for dinner.
1kg chopped pumpkin
1/4 cup olive oil (i use organic butter)
1 1/2 cups arborio rice
1 clove garlic crushed
1 tblsp. rosemary leaves
4 cups chicken stock
150g baby spinach leaves
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup cream

combine pumpkin and half the oil a a baking dish and cook in a moderate oven 40 mins or until pumpkin is tender
heat remaining oil in a large pan, add the rice, stir for 2 mins, coating the rice in the oil. add garlic and rosemary & cook, stirring until fragrant. add the stock, in batches, stirring constantly over low heat until each addition of stock is absorbed before adding the next. stir in cooked pumpkin, spinach, cheese and cream. stir over heat until hot.

I love this quote: "Be faithful in small things because it is in them that your strength lies." ~ Mother Teresa

Sunday, 5 April 2009

the cost of organic vegies... & who wants to make a cloth bag? sharing my talents.... a step to helping the environment...recycle, reuse

I just took it for granted that everyone had access to the organic produce like I do.. I guess all over the world, the cost of organic produce varies.. after reading comments on my previous post, it seems I am very lucky & blessed to have our Food Co-op here in the Blue Mountains. Blue Mts. Food co-op

for me: to eat organically is a decision that I made awhile ago when I had cancer and I would rather go without than eat chemically treated vegies. .. the most important thing is that we each do the best we can with what we have and follow as much as possible what we believe. And of course any kind of fresh vegie or fruit is so much better than processed food.
every little thing that each of us do adds up and is alot more than if we each did nothing. and I definately don't want to sound like i am preaching..

this week, when I went to the Co-op I kept the receipt and then took it to the locally owned supermarket to do a price see how much more organic produce costs.
this week:
bananas had the biggest price difference with supermarket costing $1.99 a kilo in comparison to organic which were $4.25 kilo - that is a huge difference but I only buy about 6 bananas a week.
broccoli, carrots, sweet potato and onions were all more expensive at the Organic co-op
whereas pumpkin, dates, pears & beans were considerably cheaper than at the supermarket.
it all balances out in the end. of course, if I would like blueberries and they are $9 a punnet, then I put them back onto the shelf and go without.

onto the bag that I would like to share...

I collect old shopping carry bags - much like the bags my Nana use to take shopping to West Ryde on the bus. Nan mostly had string bags, with plastic handles that rolled up into a very small ball and were kept in her handbag.

a few years ago, I started making my own cloth bags, or totes as they are called now, out of vintage fabrics, old tablecloths and gorgeous trims and tassels. Mine look different to the ones my Nan had but used for the same purpose.....

and I would love to share how to make one.. I can share the process here on my blog, hopefully. I just have to sit down and start the process, taking photos as I go, I guess.

so start gathering.. you will need about half a metre of two different fabrics: one for the outside and one for the lining. You can use an old tablecloth, some old tea-towels or old curtains. Hunt the op-shops for some quirky fabric, don't spend lots on new fabric.. that will defeat the whole purpose... some braid or pompom trim to put around the edge and a big button for the clasp. also 4 large wooden beads if you can find them, these will be used to put on the handles, they are optional, the bag will still 'work' if you don't use them. oh and some very thin wadding to put in between the layers. Once I get myself sorted with making it, I will post the method. Next, I hope to work out a bag using knitting and fabric together..but that is down the track a bit yet.

It has been raining here at Inglewood for a week, drenching rain and I haven't been in the garden all week.

This morning when the sun was shining, I raced out and constructed a primitive looking net contraption around my cabbages & broccoli.. to keep those damn white cabbage moths out.. they look so innocent flitting around the garden, but if they get a chance to lay an egg on my plants they would be destroyed overnight by the green caterpillars.. the plants are growing quite well although they could do with some sunshine. These plants are the beginning of my plan to grow as much as I can. I picked two large pumpkins which are on my verandah in a warm sheltered spot and I know there are two more apples on my tree. They taste absolutely exquisite. Just like apples should.

oh, and Paul is home for the weekend.. he starts his radiation & chemo tomorrow, which I believe is for about 4 weeks. He will be in a Sydney hospital while he undergoes his treatment.

Wednesday, 1 April 2009

organic, slow foods, fair trade, boycotting supermarket conglomerates.. the list goes on but you can only do what you can do..

the other day, i went to the obstetrician with my daughter who is expecting her 2nd baby in September.. she is pretty much totally organic and has been since she decided to have children.. on our way, we got to talking about trying to live simply & sustainably and I mentioned how I drive myself nuts when I shop. for groceries.

trying to buy fair-trade organic food

trying to boycott Coles supermarkets when they are the only one who stock the water soluble lavender oil that i use in the cleaning of my home and their organic butter is $2 cheaper than the locally owned supermarket.

oh and don't mention Genetically modified foods - sheesh, what a disaster that is.

slow foods. foods with little packaging. foods that are produced in Australia from Australian products so that I can help our country in this economic crisis.

Add all this to being gluten free.. and it becomes a problem trying to find food. I wouldn't eat if I had to shop in the way I think. trying to cover all ethical beliefs that I have. It is impossible... and as well, I must stick within a budget as we all have to do.

so where do I start? I have to decide what is most important for me.. is it organic? or fair-trade?..... I think i have to just do what I can. For me, organic comes first... we don't know what chemicals are used in producing our food. And that scares me.

I shop at our local food co-op.. where I can buy most staples in bulk. They sell organic produce, most of it produced in Australia and if not, then at a least i know it is ethically farmed. I can trust that whatever I buy there has not been treated with a toxic chemical cocktail.

I am in the process of making my vegetable garden bigger. In time for next spring, the dutch husband has started building a cage around one part my vegie garden - to protect it from birds who delight in stealing my tomatoes or beans.. wouldn't mind that at all but they are destructive in doing it. The plan is to grow as much as I possibly can for we build a cage to keep the birds out. I plan to double my crop of potatoes and plant many more tomato plants next year so that I can make my own tomato sauce for pastas.

My chickens are moulting at the moment so not many eggs, it is time to start feeding them the winter mix of porridge and garlic.. along with some apple cider vinegar.. helps to keep them warm inside during the cold winter months. over the past few months some of our chooks have died... so I will need to replace them next spring. I even talked to dutch husband about maybe farming some chickens for meat but I don't think I could bring myself to kill one of my girls, let alone eat her... my chook tribe ends up becoming a home for old lady chooks,without the threat of off with their heads when their egg laying days are over. They live the rest of their life pecking happily at my comfrey..being allowed to be cranky old women, who get annoyed with the younger flock for no reason. Just like we do as we get older. They become the matriarchs of the flock.

this morning as I was doing my little daily ritual of greeting the day.. I heard in my head a voice.. which asked me if I loved my life. and the answer was yes. I do. and then I 'heard': that is all that is needed - to love your life with a passion, whatever it brings. ~I am in love with my life, I know that.. oh yes there are days that I could cry but I have this absolute love for the life I have. It has taken a few years to get here.. and many of you have travelled with me as I struggled.. but here I am. in a good place.

over the past weeks, I have been reading alot about the simple life..I have been knitting dishcloths like a woman possessed. I have been playing house. It's been fun.

(photos in this post were taken at my local co-op in Katoomba.. I love it!)