Two wings lift a person up from earthy concerns: simplicity and purity. Simplicity should be in intention, purity in feelings. Simplicity reaches out after God, purity catches hold and tastes. ~ Thomas A’Kempis

Thursday, 23 January 2020

A Love Song

Psalm 19:1
The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of His hands

Psalm 96: 11 - 12
Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad; let the sea resound and all that is in it. Let the fields be jubilant and all that is in them; let all the trees of the forest sing for joy.


What a joy it is to have a garden. Whenever I'm out there, I feel calmer, more peaceful in my spirit and close to the Lord. I've probably said these words countless times over the years on this blog, but it is so true for me. I also feel this way when I am by the sea, walking along a beach. The beauty and vastness of it all amazes me. The hand of our loving father is so visible.

~ by Abbott Fuller Graves ~

When I was in the garden today, gathering in the bounty from the plum tree, I thought of that plum tree offering up it's gifts so freely, doing so splendidly what it's designed to do and it felt like the garden was singing me a love song. Then I thought about the hand that was behind all this, the hand of God...who causes the sun to shine, who sends the rain and the wind. His plan and perfect design.  I picked some courgettes and then some beans and meditated some more.


I wandered down the back of the property and just smiled so wide to see the fig tree full of green figs which will ripen to a beautiful deep purple. I spent time watering and tying up tomatoes. I weeded and laid the weeds scrunched up as mulch around the base of plants. I walked past the apricot tree and said hello friend. Don't laugh at me, I am so grateful to that marvelous tree and all its wonderful gifts it gave us this year. An apricot is such a nutritious fruit.

~ Eastman Johnson ~

I'm thankful the Lord laid it on my heart to plant this food forest all those years ago; to care for this land and to make the most of what we have. His tender heart, provision and love all speak to me so clearly while walking in my garden. He tells me He will always provide and everything I need is right at hand. I believe Him and trust Him. When I am in the garden cares wash away and for a time life seems very easy.
I took my sandals off and walked around in bare feet. It was wonderful..childlike..and free. As I was down there thinking all these thoughts, smiling to myself in the quietness of the garden...I felt like I had a little glimpse of heaven.


~The Spiders Web - Jessie Wilcox Smith ~

Thank you Lord for a a beautiful day,  a sunny day...some Vitamin D, and time with thee :)

If you have a garden, take time to walk in it.

Blessings to anyone who stops by ~ Linda xox



Monday, 20 January 2020

What Matters Most

Hi friends and quiet visitors,
Today I wanted to share a few thoughts and also some images of our summer thus far. If you've been following this blog for any length of time then you probably know I strive to live a simple, old fashioned, handmade life.
I also love to read/follow other people's blogs with similar ideals and receive inspiration for what I do in this way.  One lady who greatly inspires me is Grandma Donna - gdonna blog. Her posts are quite simple, just talking about her life and what they are doing to live an old fashioned life style. They live their life like it's 1930 (really and truly). Reading her posts is a tonic for me. If I feel burdened down, she seems to lift me up. I also feel encouraged in my role as a homemaker.  She's even encouraged me to have a routine when it comes to deep cleaning my house.


So this year my husband Bruce and I are planning to take things even further and also try to live very frugally (but not stingy) like people did in the past, being very conscious of what we are spending. When I look at cookbooks from earlier era's eg. 1940's, meals were quite basic, with few ingredients being required. Flour, sugar, fat, spices, vegetables, fruit and meat were the basics. Everything was normally handmade and home grown. If you didn't save for it, you wouldn't get it. 
~Miles Birkett Foster 1899 ~

I've started a home management book and am writing down everything we spend money on and also planning out our weekly menu (like I used to do when we were first married). I know many people already do things like this, but I now feel it's something I want to get a lot more serious about.

Taking action: I've unsubscribed from a lot of sites that were emailing me updates on their latest sales or bargains. I really don't need anything anyway and I felt like all it is really doing is tempting me. As a matter of fact our home feels stuffed full. We probably have enough bath towels, hand towels, tea towels, linens, shoes and clothing to last several years. I know my kitchen has so many bowls, pots, serving dishes, bake ware etc that theirs hardly room enough for it all. So I felt like STOP !!!  why don't we try just not buying more stuff..for a while..a year perhaps?. Unless we absolutely need it and it can't be repaired.



OTHER THINGS
Home Orchard:
Our fruit trees have been very abundant this year (thank you Lord). I've bottled Peaches & Apricots and soon it will be plums...as they are falling as I type. I've made Strawberry Jam, Strawberry Rhubarb Jam and Apricot Jam so far. It's a blessing to always have something fresh and organic to share with others too. 
~My little preserves cupboard ~
Normally we net the fruit trees quite early, but this year we let the birds tell us when everything was ready. They only start pecking the fruit when they're ripe. So once that happens, we pick almost the whole lot (leaving a few for the birds) and bring it inside to let it slowly continue to ripen. This has worked great. As the fruit ripens I process it into jam, or bottled or frozen.

~ I made some more Courgette relish )~
(I hate when we run out of pickles and I have to buy it from the supermarket

~This year our blackcurrants cropped well :) I picked and froze about 1.5 kilo's.
These will be used for jam later in the year. Freezing actually improves the
texture for blackcurrants. ~



Our Diet:
We've  decided to go a little bit 'Plant Based' with our eating. Yes I know it's hyper trendy right now, but for us it's simply going back to something we did many many years before. I was fully Vegetarian for about three years, around 10 years ago...and then suddenly stopped for a variety of reasons (which I won't bore you with here). 
We don't intend to cut out meat all together, as we will still eat some fish and chicken, but mostly it will be vegetable/grain/pulses/nut based meals. Having said this, my son in law is a hunter and likes to bless us with meat occasionally. We will gratefully say 'thank you' for his offerings. It will all help with the frugal living. I'm also not here as an advocate for any particular style of eating, we are simply having a wee change and trying something new or rather going back to something old :)
Our oldest son who is a vegetarian came to stay with his family for a few nights and I cooked these meals: and made some Hummus.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
~ Homemade Cannelloni with handmade wholewheat pasta ~
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

~Vegetable Curry with paneer ~
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
I picked up a used copy of each of Mollie Katzens early cookbooks online recently: The 'Moosewood Cookbook' and 'The Enchanted Broccoli Forest'. Both of these books are absolute treasures. They are beautifully illustrated by hand and don't contain any photos. Pretty much any vegetarian meal you would ever want to make are contained in these books and also a huge variety of sauces, dressing, salad recipes etc. I used to check them out of the library regularly way back in the 1980's and feel very blessed to now own them both :).  I also have many recipes saved from my earlier vegetarian years, so I don't think it will be so hard for us to find something to cook. And did you know Lentils are super cheap !! nutritious and so versatile. You can pretty much do everything with a Lentil that you would with ground beef, plus it has no fat and is full of fiber. :)


What else ?:
Well I missed you all and I've missed writing :) as this long post shows !!!

Other Things: Going back and moving forward (Part 1):
I used to always (for many many years, most of my adult life), have my quiet time with the Lord in my bedroom. I would get up early, make my husband some breakfast, and his lunch for work, then I would set a tray with whatever I was having for breakfast (lately its a smoothie) and go back to the bedroom. About midway through last year I injured my back and was unable to sit up in bed, it was just too painful and uncomfortable, so I set myself up in the lounge and found the couch worked fine. My husband was having his prayer time up at the table.


Around November last year I had an awful feeling that some of the intimacy I had always known with the Lord had diminished. There seemed to be a distance. I put this down to busyness and being distracted by tasks (which I am still trying to curb). Then I felt the Lord impress upon my heart that I was no longer sitting in my prayer closet. Well... I was surprised !! It was true, I wasn't. My prayers are more intimate when I'm alone...often their may be tears. But prayer changed for me when I moved to the living room..and how strange that such a thing would have an effect...and how simple to rectify this. So now I am back in my prayer closet, which is just my bedroom and things are starting to improve (slowly).

The Vegetable Garden - going backwards and moving forward (Part two):
This Spring/Summer our vegetable garden was not good. I was tearing around like a mad thing with the soap business and gave the vegetable garden very little attention. I actually sowed bean and carrot seeds and some vegetable seedlings one day in about 30 minutes. I didn't dig in any new compost, just a little manure for some of the plants and that was about it. I walked away and didn't think much of it. So the seasons rolled on doing what they do, sending rain, sun, wind etc. The carrots slowly emerged. Those that came through were sparse. Out of all the beans I sowed only about four plants grew. The lettuces and silver beet were straggly and lacked vibrancy :(  I was devastated.


There again the Holy Spirit laid it on my heart during my quiet time, that I wasn't really spending any 'real' time in the garden. I was rushing through tasks, such as planting, without much care and very little attention. The garden was a mess. :( So since then, I've made more effort. I am tending the plants with love and care and preparing the soil as it's meant to be. So far I've resurrected one of the raised beds and am pleased with it. We do have a huge problem with oxalis, which is very discouraging, but with some care each morning, weather permitting, I get out there and do a little weeding. The plants in this picture below are about three times the size now and before long we will have enough greens to pick for a salad.


I guess the whole intent of this piece of writing is just to share how easy it is to get away from the things that are most important to us, whether that be people, gardens, time with the Lord or other things. There are so many distractions in each day, so many things that are time wasters...and so many ways to waste money. We are called as Christians to be good stewards and when I get super busy, my head is in a whirl and so is my wallet :(
Each year over the last couple of years I feel I've been trying/striving to simplify my life, and whether or not I am getting any closer to that goal remains to be seen, but there are little glimpses because of the changes I've made which show that things are slowly improving. Our home is in many ways less cluttered (as I donated a whole load of glassware etc to the thrift store) nd is easier to clean because of that. Parts of the garden have improved and we have a plan to tackle the more unmanageable areas. 


Every year brings changes, and as my health is often not the best (asthma) brought on by weather conditions/pollen etc, I never know from week to week how I will be. Often I can't get into the garden at all. Because of this we need to be practical and come up with alternative plans to manage this large property we have. Some people might think, why don't you just move? and we have considered this, but then we also love this home and garden and would rather just make necessary changes for now. Besides property/houses are hugely expensive where we live and we couldn't get a similar property with the privacy we have in our small town.


Other Life News:
My sweet mum is having hip surgery this week. My parents are ageing and require more care and attention. My Dad continues to improve after having his heart operation - defibrillator put in (2 months ago). He still gets very tired and was told it could take up to a year for his energy to be fully restored !!!. Mum and Dad are always on my heart, but sometimes my own health/home business & family commitments prevent me from doing what I would like to and visiting them as often as I probably need to.  I have to be careful not to let this weigh me down or make me feel guilty. That just starts a spiral of negative self-talk which never achieves anything good in me at all. We all have to be content with what we can do and trust that when we do it with love, God will carry that love and do something wonderful with it :).


Well dear friends I have rambled on and on..but these were all things on my heart and I wanted to share them. I pray you are all well and keeping close to the Lord. If you don't know the Lord, He knows and loves You :) and all you need to do is seek Him in prayer. Call out to Him and He will draw near to you and be the best friend you could ever wish for. I truly don't know how I would get through this life without Him.
Blessings to you all ~ Linda



Wednesday, 8 January 2020

January (mini post)

Hi :)
Just popping on quick to let you know I am planning on writing a long post, but as I had to get a new computer, I haven't uploaded any of the pictures yet.  Hopefully I will get to it this weekend. I so miss blogging !! I hope your all well and having a glorious summer (like me) if you live this area of the world, or keeping warm if you live in other countries. Bye for now ~ Linda

Further update: Now theirs no SD card slot !!! on my new computer, so I have to buy an attachment....oh my...well I'll see you sometime lol :)


Sunday, 15 December 2019

December


Hi everyone :) Sorry I didn't get to post anything for November.  Just over two weeks back my Dad who is 79 years had a heart attack. He had been unwell for a while with very little energy, but even so it was a shock to us. He has now had surgery and is home  recovering. During that time, my mum also had to have cataract surgery, so it's been a busy time and emotionally exhausting. There was little time to think, let alone string words together and write a blog...even though I was still writing in my journal during that time. I find journaling really helps me with stress and keeping track of day to day events and big things too.

So having said all that, my heart truly goes out to anyone else who has a family member that's in hospital or has an ongoing illness. It's a whole new level of exhaustion, emotional, mental and physical which I haven't really had to cope with before. I even find myself at times if I'm out in the garden or something, thinking to myself...I wonder if they're alright and if I need to phone again :(

On top of that I've had my own ongoing health things..Oh my!  life can get difficult at times. I have said it many times and will say it again: I don't know where I would be without the avenue of prayer !


But now we are in December, it is one of my favourite months of the year..and even when exhaustion was stalking me I did not want to go through it feeling stressed or be exhausted at the end of it.


I've made a list of the minimum vital things I need to accomplish. Most of the family will come here this year for Christmas dinner and as so many of you ladies know there is a lot to do to get one's property ready :) Today saw my husband and I out on the front verandah with the hose and brooms, scrubbing the house, sweeping leaves and cobwebs etc and freshening up potted plants. It does look so much better now.


We were able to get a small Christmas tree for free as they were giving them away outside a hall in one of the small towns in my area. We decorated it together today and it's so festive and lovely.


I've made my Christmas cake, and am yet to ice it, but that can wait. I've been making a Christmas cake every year since we were married, so it is very much part of our tradition in this home.


We had a lovely Christmas nativity play at church today too. Our pastor and his wife are moving to a new parish after 10 years, so it will be sad to see them go. It's been a real year of changes for us. 


On top of all this my sweet daughter Katie and her family have moved 45 minutes away from us now and while I'm happy for them that they are settled and have a home, we will miss them greatly, as before they were only about 7 minutes down the road. I still get to go and help out two days a week, and am brushing up on driving truly country roads, but part of the road isn't even sealed. I call the wee cottage the little house on the prairie, since that's what it looks like to me. It's only for a season until they buy their own home and Katie is happy, and that's all that matters to me.


Well dear friends I think I will leave it at that for now. There are presents to be wrapped and more Christmas baking to continue with. I look forward to reading your writings too and
seeing how everyone else is preparing for Christmas. 

So from my little homestead -
 'Merry Christmas', God bless and Happy New Year too. xoxo


 ~







Saturday, 14 December 2019

Hello readers



Tales From The Green Valley - September (part 1 of 12)

I just wanted to share some wonderful BBC TV series we have enjoyed watching via the internet (as we don't have television). If you love history and how things were done by hand in earlier times you will appreciate these.
also:
War Time Farm (with the same people) 8 episodes
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CUsU5s0ofYo&list=PL59GlH-H0rGGl7RUe5T7XzT4_ToqqNL5R

and
Victorian Farm  8 episodes
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4apIM4l0laY&list=PLFt-0pV1FSz7kqOxGPgB2OeAsI-johYeI

I know someone will love these :)
Blessings to you all ~ Linda
Back very shortly with a Christmas post xo

Wednesday, 16 October 2019

October

Hi everyone :)
Sorry I've been gone so long. I thought I would show in pictures all I've been busy with. Life is good, apart from a little Spring fever (literally). Yes I've been under the weather, so I finally tucked myself up in bed today in order to try and finally kick this thing !...plus gobbling down a whole lot of Vitamin C. We are having a mix of weather..some sunny days..and also still cold winds occasionally and rain. I am not complaining about the rain, as every summer lately we have ended up with a drought, so it can rain all it likes for now :)
It's a joy to look out my kitchen windows and see blossom on the Greengage Plum tree and Apple Blossom out back - ever so pretty.
Whats blooming:



What I've been baking: none of it was THM (yikes)


Chocolate Meringue Pie (Hubby Fathers Day treat)


Apple Crumb Top Pie
(I was invited to join in on a collaboration on YouTube :)
and Butterscotch Meringue Pie - to take to friends for dinner.


~ Raspberry Slice ~
(the easiest slice in the world)

Ingredients:
2 sheets of  sweet shortcrust pastry
Good quality Raspberry Jam

Icing:
Icing Sugar - 1.5 cups
Butter - 2 Tablespoons
Vanilla - 1 teaspoon
 Pink Food Colouring - a few drops (otherwise it will be flourescent like mine)
Raspberry Flavour - about 1 teaspoon

Method:
1. Line a square tin with baking paper (parchment).
2. Turn the oven onto 180 C 
3. Lay one sheet of pastry over the base of the tin - prick with a fork.
4. Spread with jam (as much as you want) - within reason
5. Prick the second layer of pastry and lay carefully over the jam.
6. Bake in the centre of the oven for about 35 - 40 minutes or until the pastry
is cooked, but not too browned.
7. Remove from the oven and allow to cool. I cool it in the tin. Ice the slice :) and enjoy


Been baking sourdough bread as per usual - loaves and English muffins,
 at home and with the grandies :)

Kora buttering her sourdough bread stick - snakes she likes to make.
Poppy ate most of her dough :)
Kora's snakes - thickly spread with peanut butter and butter :)

~ Sourdough Pizza ~
Current 'Me' in my favourite home dress :) I got this dress and cardigan for about $2.00
each at the thrift store - and I'm very happy about that.

~Out and About ~

I live in a very very small town - population around 1800 people.
We went to an even smaller town 'Ongaonga'- about 8 minutes from where I live - population  about 50, but probably more in the surrounding farm areas :)
They held a Historic Village Fair and Market day - the 1st and it was a roaring success. 
Many of the locals dressed in historical costumes and all the free events
for children had an old world theme to them. It was such a joy to attend this. I think
around 4,000 people attended :) 
There were two lemonade stands, one was run by children - plastic cups (takeaway)
and the other one was run by some elderly ladies in costume with home made lemonade (in actual glasses) and homemade Ginger biscuits it was delicious :) 
Here are some photo's of the day.









Spiritual life: Soul Food
We watched a lovely movie on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=THFIt87fu6w This is the title onYouTube: The Courageous Mr Penn ~ True Story! ~ Very Rare Film (1942) It's the story of how William Penn founded Pliladelphia and Pennsylvania is named after him. I know Americans will know this. He was a Quaker. We enjoyed it.


During my quiet time I am reading through the bible again. I am currently in Genesis and read today the account of Hagar when she had to leave Abraham's household. It's strange that I can read a section of scripture often, but one day something pops out that I didn't see before. I had always thought God acted because of Hagar's sorrow, but it was the crying of her son that got God's attention. I found this  reading very encouraging. No matter how alone one may feel with a struggle, a hurt or a dissapointment, God hears all cries. He alone sees the sorrow and He is our great comforter. If we but cleave to Him, He will make a way out of the despondency. I have witnessed this in my own life, and I know it's true. 

And finally..just because I am a soapmaker after all :)
I wanted to share a picture of this bar of soap. I made a batch of Castile soap (only Olive Oil)
 about 1.5 years ago. This is the final bar. The lather is divine. I use this in my kitchen for my hands, but it could also be used for dishes. I also used other bars of it to wash my face as it's so
beautiful and gentle. I live the pure simplicity of it. Castile soap ages beautifully.
And..my little vintage soap dish holder is so sweet too.


 This is the view out my kitchen window :)

Bye for now sweet friends. I pray God's blessings over you all.
Enjoy whatever season your in :)
Linda xoxo
Please leave me a sweet comment, it brings me so much joy 
when you hang out with me here !

~







A Love Song

Psalm 19:1 The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of His hands Psalm 96: 11 - 12 Let the heavens rejoice, ...