Summer sleep ins

Doesn't feel much like summer at the moment because we have had so much rain, but the school holiday sleep ins are bliss.

The river is in flood and from the bridge I can see that our egg has been washed away.

My immune system has been battling bronchitis for a month now, I finally went to the Dr and got some antibiotics but am feeling really wiped out. Thank goodness the kids are really independent and my neighbourhood are really awesome. I've parented on my own for about 355 days this year, but thank GOD that so many wonderful people believe it takes a village to raise a child and when I need a little time out they are there for my children, with all their LOVE, generosity and compassion.
Thank you.


I joined the kiwi Christmas ornament swap this year, lovely ornaments have been arriving and are being added to our tree.
For my ornaments I turned to some felt, buttons, embroidery cotton, sticks, bells and beads to make little moreporks who are all hopefully perched on trees all over the country by now.


Historic places

Last week I got to visit a historic pa site with the kids. This Pa was a place where Maori stored their precious kumara to protect it from raids. I dont think alot of people here are aware of the history of our area, I'm really enjoying learning all I can about it.
The historic vibrations of this place are amazing.


Beautiful warm evenings invite adventrues, which are especially fun with a few extra kids and dogs.

We whizzed down the Mot river to give the dogs a run tonight, the birds overhead were making a horrendous racket! The red head and I looked down and he was about to stand on a nest! We took a quick pic and moved away, hopefully the birds will settle down again. We're not sure what kind of birds they are but we think they are the Black fronted tern.

Stone throwing, splashes, family, friends, barking, laughing, teasing.............
Things all the good memories are made of.


Thinking of the West Coasters

Some of you will be aware that my kids Dad works in a mine in Reefton. Friends and family started texting me on Friday evening to ask if he was alright? News had just surfaced that there had been a big mine explosion on the West Coast. For a few minutes our family was feeling a bit shell shocked as their Dad wasn't answering. A wave of relief swept over everyone though when he did answer his phone, he was in shock too for his fellow miners involved in the explosion at Pike river.
Our families thoughts and prayers are with the miners, all their families and the entire West Coast community.


Garden goes rampant

Ok lets be honest, I haven't spent any time in my garden. God bless nature for doing it's own thing.


Nana's knitting aside

I love living in paradise:
visited the Ngarua caves today:

An easy walk through the beautiful local landscape, I should have listened more carefully to the guide so I could tell you all about it, but I was just drinking it all in.

The water from the cave comes out here at the Riwaka source. Freezing cold, fresh and pure.


Jannelle, he drew out your name.


A fabulous red head will do the draw tomorrow night.
Some other stuff I just need to write is here, it's not for the fainthearted I just need to get it down. Invites only.


Lucky to call this place home

We were lucky enough to go on the Aqua Taxi into our nearby National Park today.

We got up close to our iconic "split apple rock" where the red head was most impressed as the boat driver said they think it has been there since the last ice age.

I loved the wildlife. Getting to view it all up close from the boat was fabulous. It was just the right time of year to see shags nesting and a mother seal feeding her pup on the rocks on the predator free Adele Island.

The water was quite rough today so we didn't spot any of the dolphins we had been hoping for, but that just gives us an excuse to go back again another day.
Perhaps if we had lived here 150 years ago we might have been lucky enough to see some giant moa which were native to New Zealand but are now extinct. The statues at the gallery by the entrance to the National Park were pretty impressive. How lucky are we to have all this at our back doorstep.


shop update

Yesterday I popped some new bags into the shop
Fantastic odds on the giveaway though so don't be shy.


Thank you, a giveaway

A thank you to all who have read, smiled, frowned and reflected at this wee place for almost 4 years. It has been a pleasure to share here. Your comments and emails have meant more than you could possibly know.
You may not know, I love orange (and red heads) so I'm giving away one of my favorite orange and black retro fabric tote bags to celebrate 300 posts. It's a good size for knitting, magazines, market, shopping, etc. It's one of a kind, no one else will have one of these.
If you don't love orange as much as I do I'll send you a mystery package, it will include hand spun wool, patchwork scraps and design samples. Just make a comment or send an email with your preference at the bottom of this post. I'll happily post to the winner anywhere on this fabulous Earth.
Just promise me you'll make one concession for your environment this week and try and make it a priority at least once a week if you aren't already.
Simple ideas to start you off are:
buy local,
buy in season,
teach it to your kids, friends and family,
grow it,
From your friend GILLY BEAN


Quick change of plan

I just passed my 300th post and I've been thinking about a giveaway to celebrate,
but when the fresh caught whitebait arrived for dinner last night sausages went off the menu really quickly and a salad was sourced from the garden. I just had to share the images here for your mouthwatering pleasure.

Whitebait patties:

For 1lb of freshly caught whitebait, have the children beat up two free range eggs, sprinkle in a tablespoon of flour and season with pepper and salt, add whitebait. The kids will enjoy tipping the whitebait in the bowl and giving it a stir. Mine love the eyes and tease each other to eat them raw.

Then easy peasy, put spoonfuls in a pan to fry in butter.

Come back for the giveaway next week.



My plant allies this spring are the perennial herbs.
The strong potent roots revealing and releasing their energy,
Full of promise after the cold and darkness inward,
stored potential,
anchored strongly,
bursting forth into sunshine and warmth.

This spring movement feels very significant to me in this season.


Moon waxing

Gosh look at that moon waxing.
Shall I sacrifice a sleep-in tomorrow for seed sowing?
Cucumbers, tomatoes, gourds, pumpkins, zucchini, capsicum, chilli, basil, early corn and beans in trays, sunflowers, zinnia, buckwheat, orach, cleome...
Ok I'm convinced.
Happy weekending


Where do all the hours in the day go?

Either I'm completely disorganised or it is just a myth that you gain a whole lot of free time once your youngest child goes to school. People keep asking me "What are you doing with all your free time?"
What free time ?
Maybe it's because it's spring and there's so much to do in the garden.
Maybe it's because the kids have each had almost a week off each with flu.
Maybe it's because I've been helping out at school a bit.
Maybe it's because this youngest one seems to be finding it hard to transition to school.
Leak in the hot water cylinder wetting all the sheets and blankets in the linen cupboard.
I don't know?
Roll on school holidays.


Favorite things today

A new vessel for short stems An old one for favorites.A new blanket of old favorites, finished finally for an adorable new baby.


Shaken awake

We're thinking of everyone down in Christchurch this morning, hoping they have enough food, warmth and water to get through the next couple of days.
We had some girls here for a sleepover for PJ's birthday and the shaking woke us all up. Luckily we are far enough away for it not to have any serious effects. After lots of questions and reassurance they went back to sleep.The girls helped Pj to celebrate by decorating cupcakes, making pizzas and playing games.
A very happy birthday girl.


The best fresh food in my garden at the moment is Purple sprouting broccoli, it features in almost every evening meal. It has been really slow to yield, I think I planted it about 8 months ago and wondered if it was ever going to do anything. Early spring is perfect timing though, there are only leeks and salad greens to choose from otherwise.
Everyone I talk to is getting enthusiastic about the coming season, conversations quickly turning to planting, compost, nutrient dense food and calcium. I'm simply looking forward to peas and asparagus rubs hands together and smiles. I'm mulching, weeding, planting radishes, carrots and spring onions. Hand pollinating the apricots because I've only seen about 3 bumble bees and they're amongst the broad beans, I'm not even sure if they do fruit blossoms? It's a bit of concern that there is not a honey bee in sight, last year was the same. Beehives are on my wish list but not until the one with anaphalaxis leaves home. Water chestnuts and Earth Gems have arrived from Koanga today. So I'll be gardening, if you're wondering.
*!Happy birthday to PJ she's 9 today !* My goodness, she has grown up too fast.


I just had my "Lucy Jordan" birthday. You know the one, "at the age of 37 she realised she'd never ride through Paris in a sports car with the warm wind in her hair" I'm not too sure that Paris in a sports car would have done it for me anyway."Skatey" and I stopped to watch this thrush singing the joys of spring in the neighbours trees this morning. When he got home from High school today he spotted her on our lawn, "Mum there's that thrush" "Yeah I know I've been watching her all day" I enthused.
With typical teenage sarcasm he said "well that must have been exciting!"

Visitors stopping by with birthday wishes WAS exciting. So was two beautiful bottles of wine from Christy in exchange for blackboy peach seedlings. Thank you so MUCH Christy, it was a wonderful surprise. I'm not sure the courier was expecting to be answered at the door by someone in pink striped pyjamas though, SIGH. I was so tired from two nights of the "red head" coughing and spewing (in my bed) with swine flu that I hadn't bothered much with daily routines. The washing and showering was done in the middle of the night and he pointed out in the morning that "it's black around your eyes Mum". It also wasn't much help that he left his "special" comfort blanket with his Dad last weekend.

Other treats for me included books, seeds, chocolates, lip balm, face book shout outs, and another gift of wine at the doorstep. Also got an invite for lunch at the Indian restaurant.

Now perhaps I should clean the house for hours, or re-arrange the flowers.


Spring trio of natural scent

I LOVE Spring scents!
I was the lucky name drawn for some natural perfume from Johanna. Her blog has some great links for natural perfumes and she's just opened Argot Bazaar with some beautiful looking scented goodies for sale.


for the garden folk

It's feeling quite springy here today. A sort of restlessness for sowing and growing things has come over me. The buds have moved on the plum tree, the broad beans are starting to flower, tiny wee silver beet and mustard are popping up and the pumpkins I neglected to collect are watery and slimy but full of seeds sprouting in the middle. The only thing that slightly dampened my spirits was seeing a STINK bug in the garden.

The soil is magnificent if I do say so myself. I think I'll put the peas in here.
It's only early August I hear you say, don't get too excited.
Well I know there will be more cold snaps but I have the glasshouse and the time to do a bit of mollycoddling.
I pricked out tomatoes into trays today, they're living in the sun room.
I think in my area it's worth putting peas, broad beans, onions and coriander in over the next couple of weeks. I'll do broccoli, lettuces, silver beet and beetroot from seed as soon as the moon starts ascending. If you want to grow tomatoes from seed and have a warm place for them to be potted up until Oct then I'd start them off on top of the hot water cylinder or a heat pad at the same time if I was you. I'll be popping in a few peppers and basil as well, I only need a few of those started early as next months seedlings will probably only lag behind in fruiting by about a week or two. It's the skite factor that makes it worth it -a little competition between Dad and I.
Must do another copper spray of the fruit trees and collect seaweed for liquid brew.
Have I forgotten anything? Oh yes I know, start some more spuds sprouting.

I'd love to hear what everybody else is planting or planning.


Whanau embrace

I get the sense that folk who take the time to stop and read the ramblings here regularly, value their Grandparents, Great Aunts, Uncles and parents as much as I do. I miss my Grandmother so much at every significant stage in my life, for her wisdom and unconditional love. She was so cutely thrifty and always our strongest advocate. She saved EVERYTHING! She made notepads from recycled envelopes and saved every stamp that arrived through her letterbox, she recycled wrapping paper and mended woolen singlets until they resembled only the crosshatching of her mending.
Never touch her sewing scissors.
Put the nail scissors back in her desk.
Borrow books but return them,
don't sniff,
there's no such word as can't,
have a biscuit from the tin and make a cuppa with sucral or half a sugar.

She saved shoes and clothes from the 50's, records, letters and bottled cherries from Unca in Blenheim. Tinker, Taylor, Soldier, Sailor, Rich man, Poor man, Beggar man,Thief.
Grandchildren do dishes,
table is set with side plates. Manners.
I'm not sure her EIGHT children actually know how significant she was to her grandchildren. We grew up like a family of 16, seeing each other almost every holiday and then for many of us living with her in our teenage years. When I had my first baby she settled him to sleep in her antique pram like a pro after I complained and cried that I couldn't settle him. She taught me how to wash woollens and put all his nappies through the wringer and onto the line to dry in the sun.
(She told me she loved to see babies nappies on the line to dry and wished she'd had twins like one of the neighbours did)
Her oldest great grandchild turns 18 in a week or so.
M she absolutely adored you! She thrived on making you mouilied veges and collecting you from kindy when she was caring for you.
My cousin is visiting from the UK at the moment and seeing her reminds me so much of growing up in that secure Whanau embrace. We haven't seen each other for several years but it is like we just talked yesterday.
(So good to see you P. If I win the lotto I'll be at your wedding with bells on!!!!!)
My children too relish in the family embrace.

As we did before them, the 2nd cousins bonded over Grandma's Taipo game and "tag" outside in the dark!!

Yay for a day without the distraction of technology.

Hello Jase, Ryan, Leeanne, Alison, Oli, Sam, Robin, Prue, Dave, Ellie, Rhys, Kate, Steph, Marty and Bruce.



Hazelnut catkins.

I haven't planted my hazels close enough to enjoy prolific crops. They're wind pollinated and the pollen off one variety needs to connect with the tiny little red hairs at the top of the catkins on the other variety to make magic happen.
I've picked a few and waived the pollen around.
The moon looks quite good for taking cuttings.
A "grove" of hazels would be nice.


Sea views

We've built ourselves a place by the sea before

This time we've settled for the beautiful local sandspit.

Seems to be a lovely quiet neighbourhood.
We settled on a "doer upper". Skatey supervised the other kids into a workforce to make his dwelling windproof.
PJ planned future improvements, and collected a bag full of rubbish off the beach.
A beautiful relaxing warm winter day.
The Sand spit is a special place for the amazing migratory Bar- Tailed Godwits and
the Motueka Arts council have organised an event this year to celebrate the godwits return.
We recommend this as a beautiful local spot to visit. Please leave only footprints though.