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, 13 February 2019

My Summer in photos

Hi again, it must be some sort of miracle, here I sit writing yet another post for February (I am doing well, 2 blogs in 1 week :) I don't think I've written about our latest wee blessing, new grandbaby .. 'Laura Joy'. Born to Katie & John in November. She is warmly welcomed by 3 loving sisters :) who delight in smothering her in kisses..a little too energetically at times. It's always so exciting to me to watch as their little personalities slowly unfold, each one so unique and so different.

..taking a nap at the beach..
~ & so sweet in her wee bonnet ~
I decided to mostly just post a whole lot of photos of different things we've been doing, cooking, planting, harvesting,planning and making over the last couple of months. It's been a joy filled, busy, and very hot season :). I'm very weary of the heat and so is Bruce, so we're planning on getting air conditioning, so next year won't be so unbearable. It will also mean Bruce won't need to spend hours and hours chopping firewood to keep this old house warm in Winter. We feel like it's a worthy investment that will make our lives a lot more comfortable.

O U R   S U M M E R

Growing in the garden...

 We've been picking plenty of small tomatoes for sandwiches and theirs lots of fat ones on vines yet to ripen, which will later be turned into Tomato Relish, Salsa and some will for the freezer. I planted about 2 dozen plant this year (different varieties - yellow, beefsteak, cherry and acid free ones)

Our Fruit Trees: The Cox's Orange Pippins are outdoing themselves this year. My neighbour was amazed and wondered what in the world I would do with so many apples :) We have a Granny Smith, and Sturmer tree as well with lots of apples. We'll give some away, but many people today prefer sweeter apples, where I like the tart ones. They are great in pies and lovely bottled.

Plums..plums..and more plums..we have 4 trees !!! This variety grows as big as small
apples. I bottled a dozen jars from another of the trees..even though I said I wasn't going to :)

Just this week I planted another dozen lettuce plants. I try to be vigilant with the watering, even though we have restrictions (every second day, and hand held hoses is all that's allowed). 

I cut the Lemon Verbena tree back very hard this year and was actually worried I may have been a bit too enthusiastic, but lo and behold it has come back huge !!! The leaves are a lot bigger and the branches longer, so a good pruning has truly done this herb a world of good. I pop a couple of leaves into my bedtime tea every night. Its delicious :)
 Once again we have masses of courgettes/zucchini. A friend shared a recipe for zucchini taco boats, which is wonderful. It's basically a thick-ish beef or chicken chilli, with paprika and kidney beans, stuffed into scooped out zucchini shells. I top them with cheese and olives, cover with foil and bake 40 minutes. Remove foil and continue to cook about 15 - 20 minutes more until browned. I serve them with a salad.
The recipe and pic are from

Our Meyer Lemons growing.

H O M E F R O N T   P R O J E C T S: 
Project No.1
I sewed a curtain to provide a wee bit of privacy by our back door (since it's glass) and not the prettiest of doors. I drew up a little template for some curtain rod brackets and hubby cut them out of wood, sanded and painted them white, and also a piece of dowel to hang the curtain on. I had some vintage brass curtain rings, that I've been carting around for years in an old sewing box, so I was pleased to finally put them to good use. The material isn't truly curtain fabric, it's just a pretty cotton Kath Kidston style of fabric  that was on sale. I lined the curtain with calico. The end result is very sweet and cottagey, which we're very pleased with. It gives us privacy and makes the house feel cozy when its cold.

 Project No.2
We painted 2 wooden benches in pale blue, well my husband painted most of it. I also painted a little round cane table in the same colour. It suits our old period house and provides a burst of colour for the outdoors. Notice how well that basil plant is doing !! in the pot. I've already made a large batch of Pesto from it and froze about 3 jars.

S U M M E R  O U T I N G S:
We had a lovely day at the beach with our grown children and their children, our grandies. The weather was perfect, not too hot and not windy. I didn't go swimming, just sat with Laura Joy and chatted. It was glorious. The sand looks awfully bleak and dark grey in the pictures. We don't have a lot of white sandy beaches in my area.

I N  T H E  K I T C H E N:
I've been tweaking my sourdough English Muffin recipe, to make it into sandwich buns. I just flatten them and make them larger than average muffin sizes. When they are cold, I split, stack and freeze them. I use these for burger buns too. Their not perfect to look at, but they sure are tasty !

Craft projects and Green Living:
I love to follow GDonna's blog (Grandma Donna), thanks to a fellow blogger friend sharing it with me (thanks Laura Lane). In a few of her posts she talked about how she washes her dishes, using natural unscented handmade soap and a soap shaker. The gadget is swished in hot water to produce suds. 
So of course (being a soap maker) I knew this was something I was keen to try. I made a batch of unscented 100% coconut soap to test this out for myself and purchased a soap saver/shaker. 

I searched online and was amazed to find someone in New Zealand was actually making these. Metal soap shakers or Savers - maybe they have different names in other countries. I was a little surprised at the cost - $50, but agree, as the caption said, that it would indeed last a life time and I would not need to buy another one I did a little online checking before my purchase to see if I could find a cheaper one, or even something second hand, to no avail. I've never seen one of these in any second hand stores here in N Z, so knew it was pointless to even go looking. 

My Method: I have a plastic basin I set into my sink, and while it's filling hold the shaker under the water, swishing the shaker around. It makes quite a lot of suds, and gets the dishes clean. I then rinse them in a separate bowl and either dry to a squeaky clean straight away or leave them to air dry. 
So far so good. It's a lovely waste free, non toxic way to wash dishes and economical too.

Craft project no.2
I plan to make some homemade Beeswax wraps. New Zealand is Big Time anti-plastic. Supermarkets and large stores no longer put groceries in plastic bags. Supermarkets either use paper bags (like the old days) or one can purchase cloth bags from the store, which are quite inexpensive, about $1 - $2.00. String bags are also sold to use  for vegetables and fruit. 
As I'm trying to eliminate single use plastic in our home too and create an alternative to Gladwrap, I've been researching the making of Beeswax wraps. The best most effective ones seem to be made with a mixture of Beeswax, Jojoba Oil and Pine Rosin. So far I've gathered all the things needed to make them and also purchased Pinking Shears (not cheap) and some 100% cotton fabric. I'll do a little post when I make them. All I need now is some time :)

photographer: Lia Griffith

W H A T  I'M   R E A D I N G:
I've read a lot of books over summer, but can't off hand remember them all. One I've just finished is:
Beneath the Summer Sun ~ by Kelly Irvin. I love her writing. All her Amish stories are my favourites. She has a very descriptive style of writing and truly weaves a wonderful picture of each of her characters, making them very memorable. Some of them I miss greatly after finishing one of her  book, as I'm sure other readers would agree with. I also loved her Bee County Amish books series.

..and next...a very quirky little book, which is delightful. 'The Hen who wanted to fly ~ by Sun - Mi  Hwang The illustrations are also wonderful. I got the book out of the library, Apparently in Korea where the author is from, this book was a huge success. It was even made into a movie.

O T H E R  T H I N G S:
After Christmas, I always find it a bit sad to take down the decorations, and the house feels a bit plain. So I set about doing a lot of cleaning, clearing and rearranging. I went with a navy and white theme for much of the house and removed a lot of excess clutter.
 I love these Ceramic t-lite houses Katie gave me for Christmas xox

 ~ My Amish corner ~

I then went through kitchen drawers and shelves and donated a whole ton of things we didn't need, such as excess coffee mugs, plates and glasses. Next I cleaned out my spices drawer and my pantry. 

There's nothing more satisfying for me than having a good clean out. I purchased some new glassware and a few coffee mugs, but only what we needed. I have my 'good' dinner set for when we have company and a few plates for every day use, and that's enough. 

~ o ~

Well friends, this post has taken me about 3 evenings to complete, and I've enjoyed every bit of it. I know I get so much pleasure out of reading and seeing what other blogger friends are doing, so I hope whoever stops by here will also be inspired or encouraged in some way.
Blessings to you all, whatever season your in. ~ Linda


  1. ~ Your garden looks marvelous! I remember making plum jelly with my mom as a young teen. I'd love to have fruit trees again someday.
    ~ I love the cottage look of the curtain.
    ~ Your basil makes my mouth water. I like a grilled mozzarella, tomato and basil sandwich!
    ~ You're welcome for GDonna!
    ~ I did a search and cannot find soap shakers in the U.S. only in N.Z. I am going to keep an eye open when I go to second hand stores. You never know.
    ~ I'll be interested in how you make your wraps, how you use them, and how you like them.
    ~ It was a joy to me to read this post. I am inspired to get busy and do some things like cleaning out and figuring out how I can reuse some things.

    It's been awhile since I've come by. I am so glad I did. Be blessed!
    Your friend abroad,
    Laura of Harvest Lane Cottage

  2. Thank you for your sweet comment Laura. It made my day to read these words :) I still haven't made the Beeswax wraps, but we are almost into Autumn and 'soapy' things start to slow down a bit, so hopefully I'll have more time :) I'll probably write a wee blog about it when it happens. Blessings to you ~ Linda


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