Saturday, 23 May 2015

Gypsy Lunches & Teacup Angels

Golly, I've been gone for ages, I know!
I've not disappeared, truly.
It's so kind of you to visit me...
The past weeks have been rather a delightful & fruitful adventure here at an angel in the garden, but have also required copious cups of calming tea.
We have been so very busy with Sunshine Vintage, gathering, sorting, wrapping & posting & it's been such a joy. What lovely, lovely people there are out there in our little nation. As I list, describe & research the seeds & plants that I love to grow & would like to share with others, I have begun to see my garden & the landscape around me with fresh eyes. There are plants that I didn't even know had seeds, until now! 
It's the simple memories that remain with us through the years: the scent of violets from a beloved grandmother's garden, a mother's favourite flower, a father's collection of geraniums that we took no notice of at the time, but the memory remains attached. I find myself to be offering the plants of memory, the "Nanna plants" that line the garden paths of childhood & nostalgic memory; those that people cannot find them in the commercial places...they are only handed on through angel's in gardens & the such-like. 
 My mother kindly gave me a magazine for my birthday back in January & in it what did I find...
Tilda Teaspoon Ladies.
They can be found in the Tilda book Fairytale Wonderland.
Knowing that I simply would never get around to making them myself, I asked my dear & marvellously crafty friend Julie if she would make some teacup ladies for me.
 We managed an exchange of fabrics & teacups & hugs one day in Dannevirke back in January, when we were both traveling in different directions, one heading home from a wedding, the other a funeral, but passing each other by.
 Aren't they adorable!
And very fiddly to make.
You can read about the making of them here.
  I love them to bits! But of course they are in fact teacup angels!
 Nina likes them too.
I always know when she does...she stops quite, quite still & gazes silently, intently with a sparkle in her eyes; for a very long moment...before she speaks.

Along with the "girls" Julie sent this delightful dottie angel card.
 Which was a good reminder to check in & see how the dottie angel dress pattern was coming along.
And, what would you know....this week Tif announced that her pattern will be released by Simplicity in June. Hooray!
Rob had a little time off in early May. So much to do here in autumn, so we worked & we ate together & it was a good break from his nursing work.
I have been reading this book: The Signature of All Things, by Elizabeth Gilbert. It's taken a while...which is a good thing. I have savoured it.
I rather like this review over at Shiny New Books.

One night, sitting up in bed reading together.
  I came across this sentence..."They ate hot buttered toast together every morning, gypsy lunches out in the fields & stayed up late in to the night together...."
And so we did...
In amongst all the goodness & the wonder, the grand friendship & the seed selling there was also sadness & struggle...the tears & the grief, & feelings of worthlessness & not being ever safe that belong to the past; the itchy skin & inflammation in my eyes & sinuses & the really, really fat days! Sometimes I despair that my healing/menopausal process is so slow to move along. But I am encouraged, just now, to note many small things that are transforming & re-shaping before my eyes. Rob has quite brightly stepped in to real ownership of his own nutrition & is taking great pleasure in preparing meals & helping put things together..with care & intelligence.  
Our Gypsy lunches are truly delicious.
And it's not all hot buttered toast.
One morning he decided to make a fruit salad.

With so much abundance in our little back garden fruit forest...
it was easy to gather all that we/he needed (with the exception of the bananas!)
Our little blue friends will have been keeping something naughty at bay.
I love how the persimmon leaves transmute in to gold along with the fruit.
One morning this week as I walked to the gate to serve a fruit customer I realised I had a little visitor on the front lawn.
And then he had a graze in the back garden.
He's been wandering along the guttering on The Pansy (the shed) looking for grubs & things.
I am a little worried about Charlie & Whistle though, our borrowed furry friends.
I phoned Mr Harrison (who knows pigeons) he says he's not from around these parts & he's a racer. He tells me he should fly off on his way soon.
But this afternoon..pop, there he was again, wandering all over.
Meantime the morning glory got a bit carried away so we twined it around the washing line.
I am watching carefully, daily, for the seed to set.
More Gypsy lunches!
And shared excess.
And other small visitors.
Slightly larger ones too!
The light is marvellous in autumn. It brings a touch of magic to the world.
Thank you ever so much for visiting me!!
Much love & blessings of abundance to you all, Catherine x0x0x

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
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