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

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 !

~







Tuesday, 17 September 2019

Making Memories & Cream Sponge



Hi dear readers :)

I just wanted to share something special that happened last week. It was our daughter Katies 30th birthday. She's the mother of four of our beautiful granddaughters (Lily - 9, Kora -5, Poppy - 3, Laura -1), and is currently homeschooling two of them. So that means she's very busy and gets pretty tired too.


I wanted to do something special for her, for her birthday and as she doesn't like big fusses or parties, I decided to simply make a cake the day before and surprise her with it. That day I was looking after one of her girls, our little grandy Poppy May - 3 yrs old, so she helped me with the cake.



After we baked the cake, we went up town and I asked Poppy what she thought Mummy might like for a gift? (I already had a few things for her, but thought it would be fun to ask Poppy too.) She suggested a rainbow pinata (lol), but we settled on a gold tiara and a pretty notebook.  It was a lot of fun preparing the cake together and I made a little video, which I wanted to share. I phoned one of Katies other daughters and asked if she would pick some flowers. She picked 4 lavender spears and one daisy :) just a small bunch lol. Katie enjoyed unwrapping all her gifts and the delicious raspberry cream sponge cake too. We are very blessed to have Katie in our life. 

. . . . . . . . . 

One in a million— once in a lifetime— may do a heroic action;
 but the little things that make up our life come every day and every hour. 
If we make the little events of life beautiful and good, 
then is the whole life full of beauty and goodness.
(The Royal Path of Life)



Blessings to you all ~ Linda






Sunday, 15 September 2019

Taking my time

Hello readers,
Last Friday I got busy with Spring cleaning as I wanted our home to have a fresh start for the season. Even though the house is generally tidy and vacuumed, still every now and then I like to do a really deep clean.


I got down on my hands and knees with a rag and bucket of water filled with disinfectant and a little detergent. I wiped down all the skirting boards and got right into the corners where dust seems to accumulate and the mop might not always get to on our wooden floors. I then vacuumed, polished, cleaned mirrors, dusted and removed cobwebs from ceilings. It took me about two and a half hours to do the whole house. I'd been planning this big clean for a couple of weeks and after it was done I was thoroughly worn out, but so happy I was no longer 'planning it' and had completed it. Everything felt so clean and fresh,loved and cared for.


So what's the big deal you might say, doesn't everyone cleans their house? yes of course they do, but what I feel the Lord teaching me, is that I need to be fully present with whatever it is I'm doing or planning to do and to not procrastinate.  I feel I need to truly focus on the task at hand and to do that job well, in a calm and thorough way and not hurried or with my mind everywhere but here, thinking about other tasks or things I'd rather be doing.


When it comes to home tasks I had these thoughts:
1. Preparing meals:
A. I want to prepare food in an unhurried fashion, having planned what we will eat either that morning or even the night before. I like to think about the meal and make sure it's balanced and healthy. I want to prepare it in a way where I'm grateful that God has provided work for my husband and that we have food on the table. I want to prepare it in a calm joyful manner and not with a spirit that feels burdened by cooking yet another meal. I often batch cook meals, which is simply cooking more than we need. This way I always have extra meals in the freezer for times when I'm especially tired or unwell. I also have food to share with others by doing this.



2.Cleaning the house:
B. I want to go about this task in a planned way. I know I need to vacuum, mop, dust, polish etc on a regular basis, and do some of these tasks daily so that I keep on top of things and it doesn't get out of hand. Cleaning a house properly is not an easy task as we all know. New dust settles every day and that in itself could be depressing, if I let it get to me. I want to clean with an appreciative spirit. Not everyone has a house, it truly is a blessing from God. My husband works hard and I feel it's my job to keep it looking fresh, clean and welcoming for my husband and anyone else who may come to visit. I often watch the 700 club, via the computer and Operation Blessing goes out to help those in need in poor countries. I see the houses these people live in, which are often little more than shacks. There have been many times in my life when things have been out of balance and I've put more attention into other things rather than keeping the house properly clean. I'm thankful God raised my awareness that I need to be a good steward of what we have. So whatever it is I'm doing, be it ironing, mopping, vacuuming - I want to do it thoroughly, and be thankful I have the tools, appliances, electricity and health to even do it at all. 


3. Gardening:
C. We have a huge garden and I never get on top of this and probably never will. It's too big for starters and there are too many invasive weeds. Some years I've been so busy with my soap business. I've put too much energy into that and the house and garden suffered yet again and also my relationships with people. I so easily get out of balance :(. I've blogged about this before. Now my approach is to try and do a little bit in the garden regularly. I keep some gardening tools by the back door: my trowel, gloves, kneeling pad, long handled hoe etc. Whenever the weather is good and I have a bit of time I just go out and pull a few weeds or hoe over the veggie beds to lift up any small weeds before they get established. I still have many areas I may never get too, as they require hefty digging and trimming, but I have to accept this and know we will never have a manicured property as we can't possibly employ a gardener....and that's okay. It is what it is. When I am in the garden I often forget about little problems and chat away to God, thanking Him for the beauty around me. I come inside feeling happier because at least i got a little bit done, and a little Vitamin D from the sun :)


4. Relationships
D. There is a quote I love 'Wherever you are, be all there'. It's so true. There is nothing worse than going out for coffee with someone and they spend most of the time texting someone else. Sometimes I've had people visit me and as I'm sitting with them I'm also mentally thinking of things I need to get done. I don't like that I do this. I don't think God wants me doing this either?  He created us for relationship, to serve others, to be there for them and to help and bear one another's burdens. I believe He wants me to be present, to fully engage, to set aside a portion of time for them, to truly listen, pray for them and be a 'friend'. They are my priority. Other things can wait.


Well friends this was on my heart and I just felt to share it. 
It's something I seem to need to be constantly reminded of. I am slow to learn it seems. 
Maybe someone else out there needs this reminder too?
~
It's a wonderful thing to have a family, friends and a home to care for
and it's equally lovely if we can go about these tasks
 with genuine care, attention and love. 
~ ~ ~ 

(Please leave me a comment if this has encouraged you in some way)
Blessings ~ Linda xo







End of an Era

  Hi friends and quiet followers, My Dad 'Rae' passed away 4th July 2021 aged 81 years. He'd been ill for about two and a half y...