Friday, 10 April 2015

Wildly Excessive!

Gather your washing baskets & your wool fadges, your buckets & your aprons....
we are in the time of wild excess!
 Such abundance,
overflow & extravagance!
The time has come to harvest, gather, savour & share the fruit of the land.
What a perfect time to celebrate Easter in the midst of plenty.
I have created a nature/harvest/Easter table on the front porch that is changed & rearranged daily (would someone stop eating all the figs please!) 
The bunnies tails we collected from near the sea. 
 The Myoga ginger is charming us with her ground growing blooms. Finely sliced they were a delicious addition to a recently prepared potato salad. Lightly gingery & nicely crunchy.
Layly is our guardian angel & friend. 
She is carved from African stone & very beautiful.
She was graciously given to us by dear, sweet loving folk.
 At our Farmer's market there is a charming French Chocolatier she is so full of spice & creative vim.
Her name is Anissa & she is a hand maker of organic fair-trade French chocolate. 
These eggs are so clever, filled with hazelnut chocolate; delightful.
 We found these cheery daffodils at the local Garden Centre. Carefully choreographed to enter the stage for our autumnal Easter pleasure...these little lovelies are entirely out of step with the seasons, but now I can plant them in my garden & they'll soon readjust themselves.
Our green friend couldn't quite believe his eyes either.
 Not sure why it's taken quite so long....after all, it's ivy we're talking about, but finally we have a heart connection.
I'm not certain that I remember seeing the seeds from a magnolia tree before. And I sure wouldn't have imagined them to be bright orange. Look at the possibilities...all encapsulated in one seed pod! When I look around our home & our garden that I can never quite bring to order or make tidy, I am now no longer can't go around opening your arms & your hands to hold & gather the proffered abundance of nature without making a mess!
 And so the table evolves daily, washed with gratitude & noted in admiration & awe.

When my gathering companion Ruth dug up box loads of spring bulbs & arm loads of spent hollyhocks I opened a new page & began afresh on Trade Me with my new trade name Sunshine Vintage. Well sunshine it has most surely been. Collaboratively, Ruth & I have been scattering our little nation with seeds, glorious, marvellous seeds..& bulbs & cuttings. We've sold bluebells, grape hyacinths, snowflakes & paper whites, we've dispensed foxgloves, granny bonnets, orlaya, hollyhocks by the cup full & cynoglossum too. Cynoglossum also known as Chinese forget-me-nots...I loved sending a cup full of seed to a bride so that she could give seeds as wedding favours to her guests....forget-me-not indeed! I've added Bishop's flower & orlaya to an order of pink nerines as the dear older lady wanted to grow them for Church flowers. She was delighted. I've posted Apple Blossom geranium cuttings to Waiheke Island & tweedia to Nelson to attract the butterflies.
Gathering, sorting, sifting, labeling packing & posting seeds & plants is very time consuming, but oh so marvellous! Ruth is a wonder...she is sending her share to The Voice of the Martyrs & feels empowered to do so by such vast providence.

Just on Easter we got away for a night.
And along the way we gather!
I adore these rosehips!
I plan on learning how to make rosehip syrup...just what we need for the winter.
I managed to catch an online, half price discount for our favourite hot pools at Wairakei.
And while there, we met the lovely man who looks after the pools....the Kaitiaki or guardian of the steaming, restorative treasure.
Just back up the road the Waikato river cascades in awesome power over the Huka Falls.
I have long been enchanted by the colour of these waters...that blue!
Since we were traveling home on Good Friday we took our time & stopped all along the way to forage. We gathered more rosehips at Tarawera & took the old track down to the hot pool.
There we met an old codger & his dog, happily freedom camping. The old guy said that he'd been coming to the pool for 50 years. On our return we met the Kaitiaki of this pool too & were able to thank him for clearing the track & cleaning the pool. But oh my, it was boiling hot! The pipe comes right out of the mountainside. I almost turned myself in to boy/girl soup!
Back at the car there were so many camper vans & travellers in the car park. This little traveler needed a bit of a breather in the fresh air too.
We found a wild apple tree along the way, on the roadside. These little golden delicious kind of apples are the most delicious apples we have ever tasted.
I so appreciate the wonderful advice & teaching of Susun Weed. I have been learning more about using & harvesting herbs every day. Rob very patiently & graciously stopped, yet again, so that I could harvest mullein (now renamed Marlain by the patient one). This stage, as it comes in to flower, is the perfect time for harvesting. Mullein is the best herb to strengthen & support the lungs. 
Isn't this violet cauliflower so exuberant. If after cooking it you add a squeeze of lemon juice all the glorious colours are enlivened & it tastes delicious. The Italian flat beans are lovely too...grown from seeds my kind mother sent me late last year.
Oh there you are Myoga...just wanting to pop in & show off her plumery she said.
Lucy was pleased to see us home again.
And put on her prettiest Easter bonnets for the occasion.

I'm glad I have a willing helper (Marlain's friend) to help me pick up the washing basket of feijoas (on the ground) in the morning, harvest the figs & raspberries & bag the walnuts that dear Ruth delivered this morning. And then there are the cuttings to take & the bulbs to plant & the seeds to sow. What a wonderful time of joy.
I hope that your week is filled with the glorious excesses of nature too.
Thank you for visiting me today dear friends.
Much love Catherine x0x0x

Friday, 13 March 2015

Morning Glory

Hello dear, kind people.
I wonder, are you a fabulous giver of gifts or are you, perhaps, a better receiver?
Some people just love getting presents & surprises, others are so clever at finding just the right thing for someone else. One of my best & most memorable gifts received, was... half a salami wrapped in tin foil from my friend Trish-perhaps 20 years ago! 
I loved it!
 It meant so much to me at the time.
A week or two ago, I left a little fairy stuck down to Nina's bedroom window sill, with the hope that she might open her curtains one morning & catch sight of a sweet little friend peering in.
Soon after that, Nina was grocery shopping with her mum when she spied the perfect gift for Auntry Catherine..
 Entirely delightful!
And the best part was the Nina made fairy wand....just for me!
 Just in case you're wondering...this is where you keep your fairy wand.
 In amongst the dust & the desiccation, there are magical things in the early autumn gardens.
Like quinces' bottoms.
Aren't quinces buttery beautiful.
 And there are ripe-o-clock blackbirds that are devouring the perfect fruit-wholly, one by one.
 I am rather taken with the vibrant presence of summer begonias at the moment. If you find the right spot for them they flower for months & months, right through to the first frosts. I want to try & label the corms this season before they finish flowering so that I will know what colours I have for next year.
Isn't sweetcorn so delicious & these days it's so sweet too.
I found some more of these vintage corn dishes last week- cute & colourful!
 My fabulous gathering friend Ruth & I have been selling her bulbs & my seeds on Trade me over the last month or so. What a joy it is to sell plants & seeds to people! In amidst the selling a lovely lady called Michelle came from just down the road to collect her purchases & we had such a great conversation. She told me how much she loved our parks & most especially Frimley Park & "The Rabbit Tree". It was about now I found this little rabbit book. The bunnies have their tails painted on each morning by mother rabbit.
 Receiving instructions before going out to play.
 So of course we needed to go & find the Rabbit Tree for ourselves-
 And so it goes that if you come along very softly right about dusk & then you wait patiently & very quietly...
 you just might see the rabbits come out to play.
 I love to return to the St Luke's Church Fair each year out in Havelock North.
Stalls like the flower ladies are such a delight.
 I decided to be a little floral all by my self.
 This ensemble (double bass included)
 were just adorable & played the funnest old tunes.
 I was so thrilled to be able to buy this entirely hand worked tablecloth.
 The edging is all bobbin lace & must have taken an extraordinary amount of time to make.
When I pass this delightful signage on my way to work, it always makes me smile.
As my friend Kerry said.."It's like leads to the other!"
Yes, indeed that's true.
We are doing quite well here this week. We're all ok.
Grateful for that.
"What's the story morning glory?"
Aren't they amazing...each flower unfurls like an umbrella each morning & tucks itself away again each dusk.
(click to see the whole picture)
Fresh glory in the morning, tucked in & protected each evening.
That'll do me, today.
Blessings & friendship to you!
Thanks so much for your visit.
Much love, Catherine
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