Monday, 25 April 2016

Abundantly Clear

I didn't plan to be away a long time, 
it's just that abundance (and Watties) got in the way.
It's quite strange really that abundance should take up so much room & demand so much time & attention & really very peculiar indeed, that the factory that resides over our back wall, should deal with abundance too; a lot of plain, way-too-much-of-everything sort of abundance! 
Way too much corn, way too many tomatoes, beetroot, beans & steam peeler machines and way, way too much noise!
In the midst of all this excess I have been growing & learning. I find Susun Weed's teaching to be invaluable...she has taught me ever so much about herbs & living real & wisely.
Last week she wrote about abundance just here.
I know these things to be true:

"Abundance is free.
Abundance is a gift.
Abundance is open and flowing.
Abundance can appear unexpectedly.
Feed abundance and it will multiply.
Abundance is demanding.
Abundance is wild.
Abundance is hard work.
Abundance is a gift."

I am not very thrilled to find our lives over-powered by an errant & mechanically bullying factory I, can tell you. To be awash with the old familiar nervous tension & stress is incredibly uncomfortable & echoes back to the years where I was lost in family dissonance & unable to escape or make it stop. 
However, through these months we have become resolutely determined to remain here on our own land, "our own bit of earth" & not be forced out. Since I am a problem-solver not a complainer I have been speaking up for myself, communicating the issues (the many, many issues of new, repetitive, wildly irritating, drive-you-crazy noises). Funny thing is that on "their" side of the wall they barely ever hear a thing, well certainly not to recognise them as a problem. Sound is weird like that. It bounces around & plays tricks on you. 
I get very cross & cranky when it comes & robs us of sleep!
The feelings of powerlessness are very uncomfortable.
We have now armed ourselves with a clever app that Rob put on our phones so that we can record decibel levels to help us keep perspective & we've also researched the local resource management guidelines that the factory is supposed to be operating within.
We've lived here for 27 years & it's never been like this before; until these last couple of years. 

So...I have been using The Emotion Code (you can down load it for free here) a very useful technique that a friend passed on to me last August. Any one can learn it. Dr Bradley Nelson teaches that the traumatic events of life can create trapped emotions that get stuck in our subconscious & go on to cause all manner of emotional, physical or spiritual issues in our lives.
 I have found this to be entirely true. 
It is possible to systematically release these trapped emotions & the patterns of response to life that we have been holding in our bodies, often for years & years. 
So...I have used this experience to take notice of the trapped emotions (& inherited trapped emotions...so many of those!)) that have needed to be identified & released for so long, especially the ones that have been brought up by my factory interactions & overwhelm. Because of my legacy it is a long & tiresome journey but it has given me hope that one day I will be truly free.
Free to be fully me & I know that I have cleared a mountain of "stuff" already. 
I have to add that I have also learnt to listen to my body; listen well & with compassion. This practise is now second nature to me but I realise that to most people this is a strange & uncomfortable concept. 
We are so human & very complex beings so it shouldn't really surprise us that our emotions, re-actions & physical symptoms of discomfort & dis-ease actually seek our attention. The choice we must make is: will we listen? Will we love ourselves enough to enter the conversation that needs to take place? Frequently, when we ignore the chatter, the pain & the bruising & the niggles & we hope like mad that it will all just go away as we grind on through, our "selves" don't take kindly to being ignored, & often have no other choice than to find new & clever ways to get our attention until we are forced to hear. 

In between the times of industrial trauma & healing work I have been fully occupied with the abundance of the seasons of summer & harvest...produce & seeds & making the most of the long days & the sunshine. Abundance takes an immense amount of attention & care-taking  & sometimes, is just plain exhausting. I am learning to collect a little less & to prepare just what I need at any one time. I am giving away more at every opportunity & that has been so much fun & very freeing.
We cannot gather it all in just for ourselves, abundance is meant to be shared.
A sharp eye is the quickest way to open the door to abundance...
have you ever met Malva before?
She's ever so much more than a weed. Her name is Malva Neglecta & she belongs to the mallow family. Now that you know that, I bet you'll see her everywhere you go.
There's a wonderful lady Julia who lives in Tauranga she has written a very informative article here about mallows.
We found all this Malva & some dandelions on a vacant section while out walking a week or two ago. I ate the Malva for my dinner (really delicious used just as you would spinach) & popped the dandelion flowers in to some organic apple cider vinegar to make a herbal digestive tonic.
Ok, so you're not too keen on me sharing my Malva with you. I'm sure we can find something else that might have a little more culinary appeal. Perhaps I could tempt you with a hollyhock flower or two, a tropical hibiscus or a Rose of Sharon? All of them "family", edible & beautiful. I have had never seen a Rose of Sharon (Hibiscus Mutabilis, Cotton Rose or Confederate Rose) before until a month ago, when I stumbled on a photo on the internet. So enamoured by Sharon's beauty was I, that I sent to the USA for some seeds. Then last week, while we were on our little road trip in the Bay of Plenty, coming in to the little town of Opotiki I yelled STOP!! & kind man he is, Rob screeched to a halt & backed up for me so I could meet Sharon in "person". I found another two bushes in Whakatane & asked for some cuttings at one house. Golly, I do so hope that they grow.
I think this particular bush must be quite old.
The flowers emerge pure white, slowly turn a pretty pink & then fade out becoming rose pink as they finish, hence the Mutabilis bit after Hibiscus.
Bambi loves Malva though, he told me on the way home from Coco & Co.
 He was made in Poppa's Shed.
I think he's lovely but he does so often give me a fright as I walk past heading down the garden path. I keep waiting for him to hop up & follow me.
Lucy had a steady stream of nice visitors through the summer months. The pink windflowers stretching out their hands to greet them as they arrived.
We began a visitors book at last...
A little girl called Willow came for afternoon tea with her mum on Good Friday. They had just finished reading The Secret Garden.
So I left Willow some seeds & bulbs out for her to take home & plant in her own "bit of earth".
I showed her how to find the seeds in the centre of the cornflower heads. They are quite a business to prise out with your finger nails.
Fiddly, but worth it. This particular bush flowered for four or five months this season.

We collected Neptune's Necklace seaweed at Waipatiki Beach through the summer & I pickled some using Alison Holst's bread & butter pickle recipe. The end result was just delicious & a great way to enjoy a free & highly nourishing resource. 
An abundance of red peppers went in to this yummy frittata, a useful meal for a grand beach picnic.

I also learnt that a particular lichen that grows in the Bush, called Usnea can be made in to a tincture that is a powerful medicine that helps to fight infection. I then discovered that this same Usnea is growing right outside the back door on our Melia tree.


The Maori call it Angi Angi, also known as Old Man's Beard. You know you have the right lichen when you can see the white cord running through the centre. The tincture itself turns deep orange. Now almost ready to bottle up, label & have on hand for the winter.

Clyde's (Farmer's Market) magnificent radicchio are just perfect for autumn salads with their crisp texture, glorious colours & that little bit of bitterness that supports the liver in this season.
We were amazed, while out walking, to find wild mushrooms on peoples lawns & even in the middle of Cornwall Park a week or two ago.
Yet more free abundance.


I have loved growing peans on the washing line. I’m leaving the last of them to set seed now. They are not really a cross of peas & beans, just a bean that fancy’s itself to be a pea when it matures a little.
Coco & Co is a vibrant little craft shop in town. The creations are very well made & very clever. I also found this colourful summer dress in the window recently, crafted by Susan at Fresh Vintage.


My favourite, most vibrant flower of all, came to stay with us in early April. My dear & treasured friend Gina came to visit us on her way back up north. What an absolute delight to spend time together. Gina was the friend who I'd never actually met in person but who remarkably (through this blog) recognised me in an Op shop in Palmerston North last year.
A friendship characterised by abundance, depth, sparkle & authenticity.
Precious.
Thank you to all of you who stop by to read my ramblings & thoughts & to those of you who have made contact in the last few months, either in person or via messages. I am very humbled that some of what I have shared has touched you & that many of you have shared your hearts with me, that takes courage & I honour you & wish you all well in your journey of healing, growing & flourishing.
Abundantly yours,
Catherine x0x

Sunday, 14 February 2016

How to be a wild flower...

The day I came home to my true, authentic self was the day that I found peace.
-When I realised that I was here
 to be
 a wildflower....
To wander, to ponder, to gather, to savour....the wonder of life & nature.
Have a little look at Katie Daisy's book trailer & you'll understand what I'm talking about.


How to be a Wildflower Book Trailer from Gabriel James on Vimeo.

The wild flowers are the enduring ones, the unfussy & unpretentious blooms that flourish where-ever they find themselves & merrily, freely share their seeds around in wild places or treasured gardens. They etch themselves into the stories & the memories of the gardens of childhood & mother's love; attracting beneficial insects & gracing the bouquets of both brides & of children alike.
 Chocolate Lace Flower is a niece of Bishops's Flower also known as Lady's Lace & Lace Flower or even Bullworth & White Fennel.
 Charming & frequently medicinal too, there is a resilience amongst the wildflowers that is unmatched in the cultivated garden world.
 They are the ones that have stood the test of time yet are no longer available in the garden centres & commercial places. Still they remain the flowers that cottage gardener's still love to grow.
It is the time for collecting the seeds of these treasures & what a mess they so generously create...paper bags & baskets filled with stems & pods can be found on almost every surface inside & out of our little house.
 So, fortunately I recently found an old painter or paperer's box at the Salys...
 & I rummaged around for the exquisite seed packet pictures that I had tucked away from an old calendar.
 I used up some old paint that Rob had poured for me another time & that was now so lumpy as to be unusable but once I added a little water I had a good mix to wash the well-worn wood with.
A coat to two or modge podge to seal the pictures & I am now a good deal more in order.
Being a wildflower means that you are always learning & observing & looking out for stuff & wondering. And then, of course, you are amazed at every new find...like this Gum Emperor moth that I spied on the tarseal in the supermarket carpark as we were one day wandering through.
 I gently scooped him up & popped him in my bag with my foraged elderberries
 to take him home for care..
 admiration
 & revival.
 Astonishing it is, that such a brown moth emerges from this colourful caterpillar body. We used to find them in the pepper trees when I was child, but I've not seen one since.
I am enchanted by the colours of the summer hydrangeas.
 Bashing their stems with my little hammer has meant that they have lasted a week in a vase, in heat, undaunted.
Summer can be a little overwhelming at it's zenith & there is always much to do, but we managed to plan a picnic a week or so ago & just went...to the sea
 with rock pools
 and ancient native bush,
 where it is cool & primal & fascinating things grow out of trees.
 Wildflowers wind themselves along fences.
 The earth is moist...
& gifts are to be found on the sacred pathways. This lichen: usnea, the Maori call angiangi. It can be made into a tincture that will help fight bacterial infection anywhere in the body.
It grows very slowly & is precious.
There is a peaceful brook..
that is a perfect spot for a celebration picnic. We frightened a family of fern birds out of the long grass at the riverside. They are very rare & precious too & not very good at flying.  
 There are still times in my days when I notice that I feel quite shut in, shut down or sad.
And then one morning I read these words (you may have to click on the picture to see all the words):
And so that's exactly what I did.
And quite soon we had made friends, several actually.
I intend to invite them for tea more often.
After this little session things became quite clear on the matter & I realised that I could choose to no longer be bullied by another's refusal to allow discussion or honesty.
I recalled how precious I am & the tea soothed away the gloom. 
I admire this wonderful creation often, just now. It was a sweet gift from my dear nephew. I have blue-tacked it to my my kitchen cupboards so that I can see it a lot.
That's me with golden hair & Rob is driving. Lucy in the sky with diamonds!
It is a tree of life, I just know it.
Just as Katie Daisy's tree...of life.
I feel filled with life & wonder when I see these pictures.
Must be because I am a wildflower.
who wanders, gathers, ponders & savours.... the wonders of life & nature.

Much love to you all, dear friends & readers....how amazed I am that you come to visit me here. I treasure, always, the lovely things that you reflect & share.....& your kindness.
 You are marvellous! Thank you x0x0x

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