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

Monday, 16 March 2020

Cleaning & clearing Part 2

Hi everyone,
I hope you are all washing your hands :) It is silly really that people need to be told to do this, but obviously not many people were before, or at least not doing it properly. There's no worries here at the little homestead however, especially considering I'm in the soap business lol !! he he, but seriously, whoever saw all of this coming !!! certainly not me.

As we are now in Autumn here in our little corner of the world, the mornings and evenings are cooler and wouldn't you know it sniffles/colds/virus etc have arrived as well. My husband is currently tucked up in bed with a sore throat. 
I decided to make up another batch of Theives. If you've never heard of it, it's a blend of 5 essential oils: Rosemary, Eucalyptus, Lemon, Clove and Cinnamon. I'll attach a link if your interested in making it. I know companies like 'Young Living' essential oils sell it, as do other companies, maybe under a different name? I had the oils on hand anyway, so chose to just make some for my family. From my research I know it is not effective against Coronavirus, but it is still effective against germs and bacteria. I will be diffusing it to purify the air in our home and also adding drops to my homemade spray cleaner. I also purchased some hospital grade medicated wipes which I'm using to wipe door handles etc with (at the moment), just to be hyper cautious. Every little bit helps in my opinion.
Also I will attach a link to a really informative video regarding hand sanitizers. If you are at all interested in making your own their are certain facts to know regarding what will actually be effective against these virus's like coronavirus.

~ ~ ~ 0 ~  ~ ~

Other News:
I've just been super busy here at home cleaning, clearing and sorting and oh my does it feel good. I am steadily working my way through this house sorting cupboards, wardrobes etc. The last post mentioned my linen cupboard, well last week it was the Pantry. I actually have two. One is smaller and its more of a prepper style pantry where I just store extra canned goods, dry food etc. I am including before and after pantry pics. I havn't properly cleaned this large pantry out for a coupe of years. All I've done is wiped shelves down, but not properly emptied it out o clean as I've been too jolly busy...anyway you can see for yourself: (the big pantry)

 A big jumbled up mess..packets, bottles, cake tins, bags of flour..everything very disorganized. It was hard to know at times where things were and if I even had pinto beans hiding in there? I hate to be wasteful and if I end up having to throw something out because it was shoved to the back of the pantry and then has expired, that makes me upset. Food is something to be very thankful for ! 
I know with some people having to stay home and self quarantine right now, its the perfect opportunity to get stuck in and make that time work for you.  Get cleaning :)

Okay, this is where it got ugly...oh my what have I started !! ?? It took me two and a half days to empty it all out, sort what I wanted to keep, clean and reorganize in new jars. The original jars were preserving jars, so they are just going back into my canning cupboard :)

and then finally ta da...

One side contains the dehydrator, electric frypan, crockpot, cake tins..non food related items etc. and the other side is all food. The white plastic baskets contain things that are not used that often and I don't particularly want to look at all the time. I wanted the pantry to be simple, clean, tidy, and functional. Now I know exactly what's in there and it's so easy to find everything. I also arranged things so the weightier items (like large jars of bottled fruit) are all on the bottom shelf.

 ~ Of course I had to make my own jar labels. I have label paper on hand that I use in my soap business. Its water and grease proof, so will stand up to some handling. I'm pleased with the result and think they look a tad vintage too.

These other labels were made with an electrotag maker..but then it broke half way through..grrr, so that's why I made my own, and I actually like my ones better. (smile)

...then just because I don't know when to stop, I rearranged, cleaned and sorted out my spice drawer !!! That was a big job too. I didn't do a before pic (forgot), but this is the completed look. I colour coded the labels to make it easier for me to see without my glasses :). I had all the wee jars already up in my jar that's another story !!

Our garden is winding down for the year and didn't do as well as other years. Because of that I haven't been able to preserve as many jars of relish/pickle. I normally make tomato salsa every year, but the tomatoes haven't done as well either. It truly has been odd weather. We've made a lot of jam though :) And for the first year we have been able to harvest some figs. They are little, but still delicious and such a treat for me.

~ A simple lunch for me: Fresh Cox's Orange apples of off our tree, some sliced edam cheese, and a pumpkin muffin with homemade almond butter in the middle = delicious

Other baking:  'Date and Orange Scones'
Our oranges are starting to get a bit dry now, but the zest is still lovely and they do still give
 a little juice, so I made a simple scone recipe: (1/2 wholemeal flour and 1/2 self-raising white) - all up it was 3 cups of flour, 2 teaspoons baking powder, 1 cup or more of milk, I squeezed in some fresh orange juice, and grated the zest of 1 x orange. I added about 1.5 cups of chopped dates and a pinch of salt. 1/3rd  - 1/2 cup brown sugar.  I rub 50 grams of butter into the flour. Then I stir in the zest, sugar, salt, dates, sugar, and pour in the milk and orange juice. Mix to a scone dough consistency. Continue to make as you would a scone recipe. I bake them at 190 Celcius for about 15 - 20 minutes.

~ 'Kale Burgers' ~
I follow a couple of ladies on YouTube. The channel is called Jane Essylstyn. They have some great recipes for plant based eating. Her father is a heart doctor and the recipes are for people who may have a history of heart disease and need to be careful of their diet. I have just purchased their book. Anyway I ramble, I just wanted to say I tried one of their recipes. They are Vegan and it was really good :) We will eat these again !! 

 ~ I served them on English Sourdough Muffins - homemade of course ~

Here is a link to their channel. The recipe for Kale Burgers is on there. It just consists of Kale (obviously), sweet potato, kidney beans, other veges and hot sauce). I added a couple of extra tweaks and may make my own video of me making it in the future.

Well dear friends and quiet followers, that is about all for now. I just wanted to check in with you all and let you know how we are. We haven't managed anymore painting of the house and quite frankly it will probably have to wait until next Spring now...and that's okay :)  We feel we did well this summer.
 If anything I've written here has helped or encouraged you in anyway I would love to hear from you.
Feel free to leave me a wee comment. I love to receive them and will write a reply.

and prayer is for all those in the medical profession who are working so tirelessly to help those who are ill. They themselves could be at risk, yet they faithfully serve in their professions to care for others in need. Oh Lord please protect and bless these people.

Sunday, 8 March 2020

Marching into March..

Well Hello again :)
I'm super excited right now because we've had rain...oh how glorious. When I awoke last week and my husband said it's been raining in the night, I felt like running outside and doing a little dance :) Our property was crunchy, plants were withering and the grass is mostly all brown. We've been under a fire ban for months and only allowed hand held hose watering every second day, early morning or evening. If your not a super early riser and tired in the evening, that made everything garden related a little bit difficult. Anyway a little spot of rain was wonderful. Now a whole lot more of it would be great.

It's officially Autumn now here in New Zealand and we're having cooler mornings and evenings, which I'm very grateful for (not being a hot weather lover).  We're gathering in the last of the harvest..tomatoes, plums and beans etc. We've also come up with a plan to manage our large garden, to make it easier on ourselves as we get older. This mainly involves turning areas of garden we never get around to weeding back into lawn. Initially this idea saddened me, but now I've come around to the realization that this will take away a lot of stress and worry about the property getting out of hand. I know life is all about change and adapting. I remember a wise teacher once saying 'If you keep on doing what you've always done, you'll keep on getting what you've always got...something like that. So..if I want to enjoy the garden and not have it looming over me like an out of control monster, then we just need to make changes, even though I've never been very good with change ...but I'm slowly learning that change is good and necessary. And... the sky hasn't fallen down yet. Thanks Chicken Lickin :)

In the above pictures my husband and myself (the little painting snob) are painting the back (south side of our old house). It's a section that was added on in the 80's or 90' doesn't look like the rest of the house (Villa circa. 1880). It may not look like it in the picture, but it was actually a stinking hot day !!! This was taken about 10.00 am and the day proceeded to become a scorcher. We managed two full days at the painting lark, then took one day off and continued on again for another day. We may do a little bit more before Winter, then the rest will wait until Spring.
Painting our weatherboard house is a huge project for us, but broken up into sections, even if it takes a couple of years, is definitely achievable and cheaper than paying someone (which isn't in the budget :)

This year I am focusing on my health and working to achieve balance in my life. Maybe it's my age, but I easily become overwhelmed and can become anxious. I run a small business from home (making soap) and at times (leading up to Christmas) it's been a bit too much work...and before I know it I've been working every hour that God sends :( night and day. That's been my life for the last few years +  cooking, cleaning, and gardening here at home and helping my daughter two days a week. I might not have been truly 'working outside the home', but sometimes I felt like a freight train out of control. People suggest I expand the business and take on a person to help, but I have never desired it become 'bigger'. My priority has always been my husband and family and so I work to hard to ensure it doesn't have a negative impact on my role (which I love) of wife and mother. So anyways I realized I was just doing too much and something had to change. It was either give it up altogether or seriously put the brakes on. My health was suffering, I have problems sleeping and I was under a lot of stress.

~Apple Blossom Rose ~
~ Coconut Milk and Calendula ~

So after much prayer, I feel able to let a lot of things go and I feel so much better for it. If products are out of stock..well they just are, and I'm not panicking or busting a gut to get things made quickly. My husbands always telling me 'You started all this and it's up to you whether or not you want to continue' :) I think it's finally sunk in :) It all started as a hobby, then just snow balled. Anyway enough about all that. Maybe if I was a lot younger things would be different, but I'm not.

I'm back into THM (Trim Healthy Mama) style of eating..back on the trim train as I call it. I was noever completely off it, I just got slack and ate too many treats over Christmas :(
In an earlier post I shared about my desire to eat more vegetarian meals like I did when I was younger (which I want to continue including), but to fit into the THM programme, the carb meals need to be very lean. This seems to be the only way my body can tolerate carbs. They also have to be wholegrain. I need to be very careful with how much fruit I eat. Sourdough bread in moderation is fine..but regular old bread from the supermarket is a no go. I just turn into a puffer fish and get bad tummy issues. I guess everyone has different metabolisms/digestive systems. THM worked great for me about two years ago and really helped me to have a healthier gut, corrected my digestive issues and I lost weight. THM does include eating meat and I'm okay with that.  I can regulate it myself. It's all about change...adapting...accepting :)

~ Carb free muffins I use as bread or hamburger buns ~
(Made from egg whites and nut flours, oat fibre - not bran, etc)
~ Here the bun is used ss a little burger, with chicken ~
~ Homemade Almond Butter = delicious, nutritious and easy)

I caught up on some mending.

I rearranged, sorted and cleaned out the linen cupboard. It's an enormous space, with high shelves and things had just been getting stuffed high up in there for yonks. It had really become a dumping ground of sorts :(

It took me 3.5 hours to go from this .... (above), then I took everything !!!! out and spread it around the floor and sorted through it. Some was getting thrown out, some was going to the second hand store and the rest was sorted and tidied.

Now we have a lovely clean and well organised cupboard :) The next project is my pantry !!!
It's such a good feeling to tick something of my to-do list :) and to prioritize the time for these sort of projects.  These sort of jobs have been on the back burner for a long time because I was too busy. full stop.

~ ~ ~

Well friends, I am going to close with this little pic of my sweet granddaughter Poppy and I. We have a lot of fun together in the kitchen. This picture pretty much sums up my heart and life focus. To bring glory to God through the work of my hands and love in my heart for my family first, friends and whoever else God might send my way.  I purpose to leave a legacy of love, and whether or not I achieve that is best judged by those on the receiving end of my work/service. I was sharing with a sister at church on Sunday and she said she felt she hadn't been a good mother :(  Oh how we beat ourselves up as woman. I don't know if this was the case or not, but what I do know is that God will meet us right where we are. He knows our hearts and he knows our sorrows. He knows when we are sorry for our failures and when we ask forgiveness. I believe His loving arms are there to embrace us before the words even leave our lips. His love is wider and deeper than we could ever know.
Oh to LOVE like that !
Be blessed dear friends. I pray this week you embrace His love ~ Linda xo

~ O ~

Tuesday, 25 February 2020

A haven of rest

Home...oh that they would be 'havens of rest for the weary'.

My sweet mother always made our home such a 'haven' when I was a little girl. It was a very clean and tidy home, but more than that, my mum also had, and has a sweet disposition and gentle ways, which created an atmosphere of peace in our home.

You might be surprised to know I wasn't raised in a christian home. I was raised with morals and we did attend a church a handful of times through my growing up years, but I had no proper instruction or any understanding about God, or if He was was even real. God simply wasn't a topic in our house.

I sought the Lord of my own volition when I was in my early 20's.  I did have a childhood friend whose family was christian and I always loved being at there house. Her mum was a stay at home mum too...well the majority of mothers didn't work outside the home at all when I was growing up. That's just how it was in those days and if they did work (some must have :), I wasn't aware of it.

Please don't think I am condemning anyone who is a working mother, as I know many woman do need to work and there households wouldn't make it without an additional income. I just think it's ideal if a woman can be at home with her children. When my children had all grown up and left home I worked in a childcare centre for three years and during that time, my heart would often break when I saw children so very upset at being left there. Yes they were well looked after, there was plenty of toys, other children to play with etc, but still all they really wanted was mum...(always).

Our lives were simple. We wore handmade clothes. Mum cooked basic, nourishing meals from scratch and preserved our harvest each summer. We rarely had birthday parties or anything like that, that may have cost extra money. Christmas was special, but also simple. The big treat of the year in our home, was a summer holiday. This is what my parents saved for. We would go away for at least two weeks, touring around New Zealand, sometimes towing a caravan or in the early days, sleeping in a tent. it was enormous fun !!

But back to my home as a child.....I knew if I was troubled about anything or had a bad day at school I could tell my mum all about it. I'm thankful my mother was always there when I arrived home from school. She did have a part time job for a year or so, just in the mornings, but even that I remember as a child, I didn't really like. I felt safer if I knew mum was at home.
I vividly remembering returning home from school one day and mum wasn't at home and the back door was locked. My sisters and I were all in a panic and could not imagine what might have happened to mum. I can't even remember now what did happen, but it shook my little world at the time. I think the car had broken down ?? :)

Later in life, when I was married and had my own young children, my dear mum did start working full time, because my father had a heart attack and couldn't work. If she hadn't they would have probably had to sell their home. I found it very hard, as a young mum and always missed her not being around for me to visit or ask for her help. But I knew she had no choice.

Why am I rambling on about all this?  Well I just wanted to encourage mum's who may be a stay at home mum, or a homeschooling mum, that what you are doing is very worthy. You are creating a haven of rest, not just for your children but also for your husband. You may not have any children and still choose to be a stay at home wife, and I think that's just beautiful.

I often say to my husband when he returns from his job (which is quite a stressful work environment), that I am so thankful I don't work full time outside the home and that I can be here for him to quietly listen as he tells me all about his day. I see the stress roll of his shoulders as he talks and a quiet peace comes over him. Just having someone who listen is a blessing. We can be pleasing to the Lord in such simple ways, simply by being keepers of our homes and serving our families.

I'm so thankful to be able to be at home - full stop. I love to prepare meals for my husband and so look forward to him arriving home each night. I strive to have our home clean and tidy and to not be a frazzled wreck when I greet him at the door :) But..having said all that, we live a very simple and quite frugal life. We have an older home, built in 1880, that requires quite a bit of work and we do most of that work ourselves. We are currently painting the outside of the house !!! I preserve food that we grow, and make pretty much all our food, baking, bread etc from scratch. My husband cuts his own hair and he cuts mine. I have not been to a hair salon in over 20 years. I have never had my nails done. This just is not part of my reality. But I am still very joyful, content with my lot and feel blessed and thankful. I know many other woman also choose this sort of life. and know the same peace as me. It's a peace that God promises.

I truly hope this lengthy bit of writing will be an encouragement to someone. It was just on my heart and I wanted to share it :) Blessings to you all ~ Linda

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

Cleaning & clearing Part 2

Hi everyone, I hope you are all washing your hands :) It is silly really that people need to be told to do this, but obviously not many pe...