Monday, 9 April 2012

In the Slow Lane

A moment of Reflection.... what next?
"There is more to life than increasing it's speed."  Mahatma Gandhi. I'm sure he came up with this wonderful quote whilst drinking a cup of Indian Chai tea!  A friend gave me this quote on a great big banner which hangs on our living room wall. One of our favourite past-times is Chai!  Mike makes pretty-good chai.  I make a good second-best.  His chai recipe is highly guarded but goes something like this: 1 cup of hot water into which he throws 3-4 slices fresh ginger, half teaspoon dried, ground cinnamon (or stick cinnamon), pinch ajwain (Carom or Bishop's seeds), 3-4 teaspoons sugar and 3-4 crushed cardamom pods.  Once boiled for 3 mins, he adds 3 teaspoons leaf tea.  Boil for 5 mins then add 1 cup milk and boil for further 5 mins.
Mmmmmn, nothing like a cuppa chai at the end of a long day.  It's a little ritual we have adopted to slow the pace down.  We stop and share our day's adventures over a sweet, milky cuppa. 

My daughter loves nature.  She loves anything that crawls, hops, flies or walks.  She discovered that Liz, our chook, was covered in mud from the last rainy spell we had.  So it was decreed that Lil' Liz needed a bath.  She was not too fussed.  I warned my daughter of the impending cold night air which could be potentially disastrous to a chook, so in no time at all, the hairdryer was plugged into our carport plug point and Liz was dried to perfection.  I watched with amusement as the chook seemed to enjoy the warm air blowing up her feathers.  She proceeded to preen and pluck as she was dried, whilst making delighted chook-heaven sounds!  Once she had been re-united with Spence, she proceeded to scratch up a dirt-bath and cover herself with soil!  

Liz is treated to a blow wave.
It's Easter and Everything is coming up Potatoes!  Our little potato-growing in the old kiwifruit bin was a great success this summer.  We have been slowly harvesting these little tubers and turning them into all sorts of culinary delights; leek and potato soup one night, aloo gobi another night and put into soups and stews.  Nothing like a fresh, thin-skinned earth treasure!  I am determined to try to grow some of our own NZ heritage seed potatoes this coming spring.  I like the yellow banana shaped ones and the purple varieties.  We already grow the yam-like urenika for a visual gastronomic delight.  These I have yet to harvest.

Our potato bed covered over to protect the tubers from rain.

Aloo Gobi (Potato Cauliflower curry) with home-
grown potatoes and beans

Small potatoes and Jerusalem artichokes with rosemary and
olive oil before being roasted in the oven.

We have had our flue swept, ready for some toasty roaring fires.  Wood ordered and delivered.  A great big pile - 2 and a half cubic meters of the stuff.  We knew that the weather was going to turn to baby conditions - wet and windy, so we had to work fast and stack it all into the smallest fire store ever built.  Stacked really carefully, it holds 2 cubic metres!  Working together, we managed to get the job done but our backs were feeling the strain after all the bending!  
We first started out buying small boxes of kindling at the supermarket (kinda costly) but for the past 5 years, Mike has been collecting cedar off-cuts from a business who would normally dump them.  He also gets cedar sawdust from them to line our pathways.  It is a win-win situation.  They store it for him and he collects it every week, saving us money on kindling and mulch, and saving them dumping costs.  It's that old adage of "one man's junk is another man's treasure".



A reminder of Helpx friends gone by....... a wooden star
that fits neatly into itself, made by Markus
My little corner of the world brings me much joy.  It is one of life's little pleasures to have a passion.  What better passion to have than lifestyle!  As I sit in the half-sunshine, "logging", my family prepare to head off to the beach to catch some waves and Vitamin D.  I love the solitude of being left home alone!  Such a thrill!  The sound of our water feature filling up the space between Oliver Shanti's sacred chants.  I do not share my families passion for the beach and for swimming.  I think I was a cat in my past life!  I love being home and in my own space!

Another sawdust pathway is laid.
I have 2 whole weeks of being in my own space, and working in my own pace and rhythm. Pure bliss!  We have started to clean up all the summer fallout.  Spent plants have been pulled up, chopped into pieces and laid to rest in the compost bin.  Some Autumn pruning has provided plenty material to mulch in our trusty Masport mulcher, providing a mantle to clothe the bare earth we have exposed in our weeding and clearing frenzy.  I liken the soil to a human body.  It needs a cover to protect it, just as bare flesh will scab over, so too will the earth provide it's own protective cover in the form of weeds, if we do not provide her with a layer to protect her precious little creatures that live in the soil and stop the loss of vital moisture.  I am currently exploring groundcovers to purchase to do the job.  Aceana purpurea sounds like a good bet!  A New Zealand ground cover that matts up to stop weeds from taking over, and gets wonderful masses of purple flowers.  A visual delight and bee fodder.

A favourite beechwood chair picked up at a garage
sale a few years back, for $50.  Our cat loves it too!

Who said light switches can't be main features?  I had lots
of fun painting these golden electrical switch box surrounds

At some point during my 2 week break, I will definitely have to expend some energy to complete the last of my Organic Horticulture assignments.  Why is the final sprint to the finish line always so difficult??  Am waiting for a dull day to complete that one!  So far, we are experiencing better weather in Autumn than all of our summer days!  We haven't had to boost our solar hot water system for a few weeks now, and the strawberry plants are still flowering, providing great big juicy fruits every couple of days!!  Strange but deliciously true!

Bed 6 planted up with peas and beans (leguminous crops)
Not sure if these crops might be too late in the season.  Only
time will tell.

Driveway fence draped in a food crop (passion fruit) and flanked
with olives
Haven't caught sight of any bunnies in the garden but they did leave a few chocolate effigies of themselves at the foot of our teen's beds.  And Mike kindly gave me a handmade chocolate egg to scoff.  I wonder if I could feed our chooks cocoa - would they produce chocolate eggs??  Mmmn, now there's a thought............

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