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

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Spring at the Homestead

Hi everyone, I know its been a while since my last post, but there's been all sorts of things going on with the family and the garden and I havn't had enough time to sit and attend to this post...however I was taking pictures in preparation :) I havn't been spending as much time on the internet either, instead spending more time with God, my family, the garden and home.

 Homemaking is a fulltime job in itself, let alone any other work we may do as woman. I always find there's a list of things to be done, and with the onset of warmer weather, the list continues to grow !!
Some tasks I've been doing:
1. Weedeating the property - a much easier way to keep up with the weeds, with a large garden.
2. Removing cobwebs from ceilings and corners - almost a fulltime task in an old villa, with tall ceilings.
3. Sweeping leaves off verandah's and washing them down.
4. Preparing garden beds with compost, manure etc.
5. Sewing seeds: Buttercup Pumpkin, Zucchini, Cherry Tomato, Corn, Cos Lettuce, Basil, Cosmos, Sunflowers, Echinacea, Sweet Pea and Hollyhocks.
6. Still to do - Oil the outdoor furniture. Some years I give it a light sand, and restain it too.

I believe its a worthy task to create a warm welcoming space -  a restfull home and garden for family and friends to enjoy.
Last year, I had a builder build a large new pantry for the kitchen, and when it was complete, he asked if their was any other work needing doing. I said their certainly was, but I didn't have the money to do any more renovations right now. He said 'thats a shame, this is my favourite home to come to, it has a lovely feeling about it, its peaceful'. I took that as a wonderful compliment, because thats exactly what I wanted to create. Things we 'consciously do' and surround with prayer, have a lasting effect and make a differnece to others. Nothing we ever do in love, is wasted.

"There is a magic in that little word 'HOME'; it is a mystic circle that surrounds
and virtues never known beyond its hallowed limites."
Robert Southey - English Poet (1774-1843)

SPRING in New Zealand
I love spring, its just so exciting, the garden wakes up...

...the bareness of winter is replaced by buds, magnolia blooms, daffodils and lambs in the fields.

I've been 'spring cleaning' too, washing linens  and clearing out wardrobes/bookshelves and giving all the excess away to second hand stores.

If you think you need a bigger wardrobe, or a new bookcase, you probably don't, you just need a clean out. The old saying 'one mans waste is another mans treasure is so true'. Where I live, once a year, they have this roadside collection, where you can put all manner of things you don't want out on the footpath, and people can just come by and take it. Let me tell you, nothing stays out there for long  !!, once we even put an old threadbare couch and it was snapped up within minutes..I couldn't believe it. :)

~ Radish seedlings ~
So these past months have seen me busy in the garden, preparing the vegetable boxes, with compost, sheep manure and blood and bone.

I've also dug up a whole new garden, for corn, tomatoes and courgettes, because I found I just needed more garden.

I  aquired some old tyres, which I'm going to plant pumpkins and stake peas in - using the layered lasagna style (Ruth Stout method) of no dig gardening. Here's a link on utube to it:
~ Ruth Stout in her garden (in her younger years ~

Quote: 'Being in the garden gives me a profound feeling
of inner peace' (and I can say Me too!!).

Its probably the one place I connect mostly with God. If I have stress or worries, 10 minutes out there doing a little weeding and I forget what it was that was troubling me. Its truly a great blessing from God to have a garden.

~ Me in the garden ~ 2009

~ A self seeded Foxglove in the garden from previous years, so cottagey and pretty. ~

I think this summer's garden will be the largest ever !!. Big enough for the 2 of us, some to preserve and plenty to share with friends. I've sown more of my own seeds this year, which is exciting, as normally I buy all the plants.

~ Buttercup Pumpkin seedlings ~

I cut up an old yoghurt container to make little stick type labels for the seedlings.

~ Cherry tomato seedlings ~

Seeds are cheaper and theirs always plenty of plants to share with others and some left over to plant later on, or even the following year.

I've been saving seeds too, such as sunflowers, kale, lettuce etc. Last summer I let a butter crunch lettuce get huge and go to seed, its since produced masses of plants..very exciting :)

The berries are planted along this fence line, blackcurrants, raspberries, blueberries and strawberries. I've also transplanted about 50 other strawberry plants and placed them as edging plants around flower gardens.

~ strawberry plants just starting to flower ~

Some Hierloom tomato plants I purchased. I'll plant them out at the start of November.
several differnt varieities, Amish Paste and Bloody Butcher.

"Every gardener knows that under the cloak of winter lies a miracle,  a seed waiting to sprout, a bulb opening to the light, a bud straining to unfurl. And the anticipation nurtures our dream."

-Barbara Winkler

~ Our grapevine - pic taken last summer.~

 A friend advised I prune some of the bunches of grapes off, to encourage bigger bunches in those that remain and a faster ripening time. I'll try that this year...buds are only now appearing on the vines :)
Bruce helps in the garden with the more heavy duty jobs and last weekend saw him doing a lot of clearing. This property was a bit of an overgrown jungle when we purchsed it almost 5 years ago, but now its looking completely tranformed. He removed some old unwanted trees and split all the wood and then dug large holes to plant the fruit trees.

(split wood in the background and this lovely newly planted 'Winter Nellis' Pear Tree)
So far we've planted 2 Pear trees, a Fruiting Cherry,

a Peach tree last year, a Plum tree (yellow sweet flesh and dark red skin) and I've ordered 2 apple trees (1 x Cox's orange pippin - a nice crunchy sweet eating apple and Granny Smith, a wonderful apple for pies and preserving. I can't wait for the day the trees are laden :)

 I've also ordered an Apricot tree, but that won't be ready until August next year. Its a good variety for preserving, which is what I wanted.There was a lemon tree and a Feijoa when we arrived here, and I planted a small orange tree. I'd still like to remove one very large tree, and that will make room for 2 avocado's, more citrus - another orange and a mandarin tree, and maybe a nut tree..

A few weeks ago I made some Sweet Orange Marmalade, because oranges were cheap at the time and plentifull. Its so delicious. I hadn't made any in quite a few years and I'd forgotten how lovely it was. I don't like to use grapefruit in my marmalade, as I find it too bitter.

Family Things:

Our middle son Louis moved home for about 6 weeks (just while he was in between houses and moving to a new town), and what a wonderful time that was. I went into full mother hen mode and baked my little socks off , think I gained a few pounds  lol, but it was worth it. :) Then we had Katie and our little grandbaby Lily come and stay for a week. Lily is walking now and very inquisitive about everything !!, I forgot how busy little ones are :)

I bought a new rocking chair a while back and she loved it...made my heart sing.

Here's a pic of Melissa and little Flint, our grandson :)

Here's a few foodie things I've been making lately. I try to be quite economical with cooking, and normally make most things from scratch, bread, baking, pastry etc. I do buy things like hummus sometimes, but homemade is generally nicer and doesn't have any preservatives, so that makes it superior in my books. You can cook the chickpeas from scratch, all they need is soaking overnight in cold water and then boiling the next day for about 45 minutes. Just freeze excess beans. Latley Ive been using a can of chickpeas, mainly because this quanitity makes just enough to last a while. Its a wonderful thing to be able to pick Lemons of your own tree and one I never take for granted. I grew up in the South Island, way down, in Dunedin/Mosgiel and we couldn't grow lemons there, as it was too cold.

~ Homemade Hummus ~

1 can of chickpeas (drained)
2 cloves of garlic
Soya sauce
1 Tablespoon dark tahini paste
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
Pinch of ground chili
Juice of 1 lemon
1 T olive oil
Salt to taste

Drain the chickpeas, but don't rinse. Add all ingredients to the blender 

and whizz until smooth. Place in a bowl or jar, cover and store in the refrigerator.
Variation: Add a little chopped sun dried tomato.

A beautifull Magnolia bloom from my garden. I love these flowers so much and plan on painting some of them. I ahve my easel set up in my little Amish room, and painted over 2 pictures I no longer wanted with a base coat, but havn't had the chance to do anything more for now...

a beautifull Camelia ...I took this pic when I was out walking one day.
sweet 'Honesty' - self seeded and growing wild all over the garden around by the trees
Clematis flowering along the verandah..beautifull every year.

Bruce and I went to St Mary's gala. I loved seeing the little shetland Ponies. They had free rides for children in a little wagon, the ponies were towing.

Another dip I make fairly often is my 'Asparagus and Parmesan Dip' This one is probably best eaten on the day its made, but will keep for up to 5 days.

1 can of asparagus pieces (not tips)
1 x ripe avocado/2 cup finely grated parmesan cheese
1 T Olive oil
1 Tablesoon lemon juice
season with salt

Add all ingredients to the blender and process until smooth.

 Store in the refrigerator.

 Nice with sliced cusumbers and carrot or celery sticks. Light and refreshing.

and now for a couple of sweet things. I used to make this chocolate rough slice a lot when my children were at school, it was a good one for the lunch boxes. 

Chocolate Rough Slice

80 grams butter (3/4 of a stick)
1 cup coconut
1/2 cup sugar
1 Cup plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 Tablespoon Cocoa powder

1 Cup Icing Sugar
1 Tablespoon Cocoa Powder
2 Tablesoons butter
 1Cup coconut

Cream the butter and suag, add flour, coconut and cocoa. Mix well and press into a medium size tin. The base should be about 1 centimetre thick. bake in a  moderate oven for 20 minutes (not on fan bake).
Prepare the topping once the base is just out of the oven.
Put all the topping ingredients in a saucepan and melt over a gentle heat, stirring often. Add up to 2 Tablespoons of milk to ensure its a spreading consistency. Beat well. Spread over the warm base and clice when cold.

My Double Chocolate Chip Cookies
(Katie requested this recipe)


125g butter (1 stick)
1 cup brown sugar
1./2 cup white sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vailla essence
2  Cups plain flour
1/2 cup rolled oats
2 Teablespoons good quality cocoa
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups of chocolate chips
1 cup chopped nuts - optional

 Preheat oven to 170 C. Line trays with baking paper.
Cream the butter and sugars. Add vanilla, and eggs one at a time, beat until fluffy between each egg.
Add sifted flour, salt and soda. Sprinkle over the oats. Set the mixer to low and beat gebntly until combined. Place dessertspoon fulls on trays, leaving a good gap for spreading. Bake for 10-12 minutes, depending on whether you like them crisper or fudgy :)

..and now for something savoury.....a little recipe I created the other week :)

Quick and Easy Slow Cooker Pork Chops

6 good size Pork Chops
1 x Can of Pineapple Rings in their own juice
2 Tablesoons Kikoman Soy Sauce
1 Tablespoon Brown Sugar
Salt and Black pepper
1/4 Cup white wine (optional)
Fresh Thyme
2 Onions - sliced
Olive oil

Turn the slow cooker on to Low.
Heat some olive oil and brown the pork chops on both sides. Set aside.
Fry the onions in the same pan, until lightly browned. Place in the base of the slow cooker. put the pork chops on top of them.
Deglaze the pan with the wine and scape up any bits from the pan. pour over the chops.
Add all remaining ingredients. Place the lid on the cooker, and cook for about 6 hours.
I served this with steamed pumpkin, and greens. Enjoy.

Here's some favourite music I've been enjoying listening to lately: 'The Peasall Sisters' They have quite a few songs on utube: The song 'Home to you'
Here's a link to their site.
and I love Misty Edwards:
and I also love the West Girls:

and a little clip of their home:
They are woman after my own heart. I love the same things they do,living a simple organic life, gardening, homemaking, dressing feminine, loving my family and serving God.

Her's a link to a little intro clip from their 'Homestead Blessings Series '

of The West Girls talking about healing plants: I grow a lot of herbs, and use them in cooking and also for medicinal purposes.

Another lady I really like is Tasha Tudor. What a legacy she left, of a peaceful life, an enjoyment of simple things and beautfull childrens books.

~ “There is no peace that cannot be found in the present moment.” ~
(Tasha Tudor)   
Here's a link to a documentary about her life and garden. Its in Japenese, but you can still see her and her lovely garden and home :)

Well thats all from me for now. The next blog will be about some of my favourite things, purchases etc from second hand/antique stores and what I'm working on in the sewing department...God Bless you all - Linda :)


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Love this blog !! Your garden is such an oasis of beauty, flower's, plant's, tree's and on top of that you have such yummy fruits and veggies! :) A little piece of paradise on earth, You truly are blessed my sister ! much love & blessing's to you my precious sister and frend xoxox

    ps I must try out that yummy chocolate recipe also!! :D

  3. I am trying to figure out how to finf GOD, but still use my lifestyle. I drink, and I have a hard time forgiving those who have *breathe* done my family wrong. Linda..

  4. I'll write you a wee note xo

  5. Thank you so much for these recipes... I can't wait to try... fall & soon winter will keep me busy! Lots of love & (((hugs))) to you, Sweet Linda!!! God bless you!!!

  6. Great blog Linda! You have a beautiful garden, family, home and a wonderful way of writing that makes me feel like I am right there with you! The recipes looked great and I think I will try that pork chop recipe of yours! Luv ya!

  7. Thanks girls for the lovely comments :)

  8. Your pictures are lovely. Your garden looks so inviting. And I enjoy the West Girls' music so much!

  9. Thankyou for stopping by Joanne :)

  10. This comment has been removed by the author.


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