2019 - Gratitude

I realised that my last post sounds really shitty and ungrateful. I wear my heart on my sleeve and tell  it like it is, my ups and downs are frequent.

What I am grateful for today:

I am so lucky my mum and dad are still alive. I get to hang out with my dad and uncle on their farm whenever I choose. All I have to do is drive for ten minutes and I'm in the semi rural location where they spend their days tending to the strawberries and spuds that provide them with the money to pay their rates and sustain their lifestyles.
I got up early today and packed strawberries for dad's wee stall. Usually my daughter PJ does this but she was off to a friends wedding.

The farm is a little slice of heaven. Uncle Robbie has a pond where I can go and watch ducks and eels go about their daily business. I don't get there every week but when I do I feel connected to the changing seasons.


2019 - How time flies

It has been a long time since I reflected here, I'm not really sure what has prompted me to do so today. I miss the simple life I once led.Last week our beautiful neighbour from Brooklyn - the time when I was blogging, passed away from an undiagnosed heart condition. I think it got me reflecting on the time in our life when kids happily roamed the neighbourhood and I loved my chooks and garden.I'm 46 now, ten years since "The Ballard of Lucy Jordan!" I live in a crappy little city house that I despise, but it is close to the job that consumes my life. My (new) husband is quite satisfied with this shitty little city house,  and cos I love him I have blocked out the country life that calls my heart. Today the only thing that fulfills my crafty urges is raranga harakeke - weaving with NZ native flax.


My poor neglected blog.

This blog feels like it was created a lifetime ago in a different reality. I was a stay at home Mum with time to indulge in my hobbies and passions. I wrote about them to connect with others and to have a voice because mine had been stifled and devalued for so long. What a lot I gained from my experience, as I wrote I developed confidence in myself and learned skills that were going to come in handy over the next few years. My life is so different now than when I blogged here. It crossed my mind as I shopped at 5pm for tonight's dinner, I gabbed per-prepared chicken (not organic) and buns made of white bread and covered with sugary sticky stuff for the kids lunches. I realised the commitments I have now and the path I am on have led me to compromise my values. This is probably why I struggle to feel contented with what I am doing at times. I am in the third year of my Bachelor of Teaching and Learning. I'm in the middle of placement with Year 1 and 2 students and I love going to school every day. BUT for the last five weeks I have spent my entire weekends in my room, planning assessing, marking, and evaluating while my kids feed and entertain themselves. I cant help but know that I'm never going to get these years back with my kids. PJ is 12 and the red head is 8, they have grown so much and we are not having any wonderful adventures or experiences like we use to. Skatey is 17 and I hardly ever see him, he's into downhill mountain biking and is really independent. He's at home long enough each day to eat and shower, but when I need him to help out with the younger ones he does. I'm really sad about my "teen" as I use to refer to him. He's 20 now and we parted company last year after disagreeing about the rules and responsibilities in my home. When I say we parted company I mean I kicked him out to get a dose of reality and he hasn't talked to me since. So I thought maybe I should end this blog, archive or delete it. Then as I wrote I started thinking it's ok, I'm changing, evolving and facing different challenges, why shouldn't I continue to keep this record. I don't know if I will write much going forward, but this is my journey and my place to keep sharing.
I thought for today I would share something in the spirit of my old blog and the things that excite and inspire me. Over Christmas I sat with my ankle up recovering from an ankle reconstruction, we did however get to have one adventure before school started again. I was inspired by some guys at Pakawau beach where we stayed who used a homemade kontiki to catch snapper. It was amazingly simple and caught a good feed. You send it off the beach with the wind and 25 baited hooks. A barley sugar lolly acts as a timer and when it melts it drops and anchor and flips the vessel around. After and hour or so you reel it in to reveal your catch. I have no doubt a good handy man like my ex husband could build one of these, it just takes a bit of kiwi ingenuity. Here's an article I found if you are keen to give it a go. Ka kite ano. Gilly


Fermenting again

 Over the summer holiday I have re-familiarised myself with the kitchen and put on weight in the process. I try really hard not to add cream, sour cream, cheese, wine or mayonnaise, but they taste so darn good. I've become quite the expert with crayfish mornay and mussel pies. I  have used the bread maker to make the dough for buns and pizza and we are very lucky that my Dads market garden provides us with  a wide range of fresh vegetables every day. We have also been making weekly trips to pick blueberries just down the road at Fuchsiadale.
So in saying all that a friend introduced me to kumbucha which is supposed to aid digestion and do all sorts of marvelous things for your body. I have to say I haven't noticed any health benefits but you never know it may be working wonders on the inside. I tastes a little like diluted, fizzy, sweet, cider vinegar. I quite like it for a nice cool summer drink. It didn't come with very good instructions but I scoured the net for the technique to grow it and I must be doing something right because it is multiplying fast. I'm not sure I could post a baby but if anyone in Nelson area wanted to pick one up I have one to spare. I also have some spare milk kefir grains which I could post within NZ. Just drop me a line.
Hope all my old gardening friends are enjoying their harvests!


sending love

Our whanau grieves for the children, their teachers, parents and whanau  in America.  If  only the love and compassion the world feels could come close to easing the grief.


A snapshot from Golden bay

 A couple of weeks ago I finished the first year of my three year teaching degree. Whew it has been hard work!
 My class mates and I all agreed out kids were a little bit neglected this year while we spent most of our evenings reading or watching lectures online and weekends writing essays, practicing our ukuleles and te reo and getting our heads around lesson planning and assessment. So to celebrate the end of year and spend a bit of  quality time with the children we booked ourselves a stay at Farewell Gardens holiday park in Golden bay.  Which is just a hop, skip and a jump away from farewell spit and a short drive to the windswept Wharariki beach.

 My kids were fascinated with the relics of the old wharf which was used for loading coal onto ships early in the 20th century according to a book we later found in an apartment at the campground.  As we walked out at low tide Phoeb and Gabe speculated about the old rotten posts in the ground and the machine we were heading for. It is just magic, how given the opportunity, kids curiosity and imagination will motivate their own learning. When we got to the amazing old contraption they discussed their theory.

We walked across some hilly farmland to find Wharariki, I wish we could have explored for longer but we had an appointment with a fishing net at low tide and had to get back to Pakawau to help pull it in.  Gabe just loved watching one of my student teacher colleagues gutting and filleting the sharks. In the big one below he found shark eggs to his great excitement as he had just been reading  a book from the library all about sharks and was fascinated by the close up pictures of the eggs.

Needless to say we had shark for dinner that evening.


Almost the end of the first year.

I can't believe I am almost through my first year of primary teacher training! It has just been an amazing whirlwind. I haven't spent the kind of quality time I would have like d to with my kids but they have come through still feeling loved and supported by myself and my extended family. My time has been thoroughly involved with study, even when I take the kids to dancing and sport, I take my books or lectures on my ipod. Exams are over and all the assignments are handed in for this year, I just have three wonderful weeks of placement at a country school left to go, lots of effort has to go into planning for the students learning, but I am looking forward to getting back in the classroom so much! Then I have the summer to make up time with the kids and catch up on all the research. The photos are from my art teaching folio, I loved creating and researching it!


Asparagus how I miss thee.

I popped over to Sandra's blog and read how she was cutting her first asparagus. I immediately missed my walks around my spring garden discovering what had bust forth after the rain. It's not quite the same checking up on my pots of herbs, though the kids and I bought a passion fruit  plant at the Nelson market a few weeks back which we're pretty excited about planting when the weather settles.

My semester is full on! I'm loving working on my art folio. Just between you and I, I wish I could put my entire effort into it, but planning for maths, literacy and music are very important too.  I'm learning the ukulele (did I mention that already?) and discovering lots about traditional and contemporary New Zealand art. I have fallen for the art work and social observations of Robin Kahukiwa who also wrote and illustrated one of my favorite kids books.  I can't believe how quickly the year is going. I've just turned another year older and the teen only has one more year to go before I have to stop referring to him here as the teen. Miss PJ is growing up fast too, nearly 11 already!


Well hello again

It's weird to come back to my comfortable old blog and realise how much of a different direction my life has taken since my days of being a stay at home, busy Mum, dedicated to my children, garden, being healthy, thrifty and considering in every day the impact I am having on my environment and others. These days my core values remain the same but my priorities differ so much. I have little time to appreciate the garden and the phases of the moon, in fact I guess it would be about a year since I accepted my direction was changing. I'm appreciating those values in little moments that are fleeting, like getting out of bed on Saturday morning and seeing the stars of Matariki shining so brightly that I could not help but think it's going to be a good season in the garden. Visiting a new friend in Tapawera and spotting a New Zealand falcon in the sky which scared up the ducks we were hoping to shoot for the freezer. I give my feedback on pruning and planting but spend little time with my hands in the soil. Instead I am thoroughly absorbed in my learning at teachers college. I watch lectures online and have written the first academic essays of my life. I've had brilliant grades so far and done very well with reflective practice and observations which my Playcentre training and few years blogging set me up well for. I have persevered with the technology and completed my first semester after a wonderful placement at a rural school. My favorite part of the course has been learning te reo, I've loved the culture and the language since I was a very little girl exploring the native rivers and bush in Masterton and doing waiata at Fernridge School.
 There have been only a few low lights, my blood pressure skyrocketed with the stress of study and exams and I do miss the authentic feeling of living in touch with my environment, however it is thrilling to be learning and teaching. Next semester starts in a week, I'll be doing music, drama, art, math and literacy. Can't wait. I just have time to sneak in a little bit of sewing and hopefully some adventure this week. Best wishes to all my friends and community.

My children are doing well. I am proud of them all. The teen is finding his path, Skatey is racing mountin bikes and loving it, PJ has made some wonderful friends and is still doing  tap, playing sport and trying very hard with her school work,  the Red head is excelling in maths and playing hockey. They are all benefiting from living so close to their extended whanau (family), multiple generations of relatives are sharing their knowledge and love with us.


The last month for us, has revolved around settling the children into their new schools and routines. It has been a huge change for them to go from a small country school to an urban school with over 600 children! After school pick up is crazy and I find it hard to even find my children amongst the sea of uniforms. They have had their ups and downs settling in, but I'm so happy that they embrace change as an exciting thing and are all pretty sociable and enjoy making new friends. The red head started cricket on the weekend, Miss PJ has been on a school camp and started at a new tap school and Skatey boy is exploring the region on his mountain bike. A few weeks ago we biked 9km around Rabbit Island with Granny and the kid's uncle on a beautiful not too hot summers day. PJ ended up in A and E though with a great big gash in her leg that required 3 stitches, but hey that's adventuring for you.
Last but not least, I have finally started Uni and what a shock to the system that was/is! I'm absorbed in a world of reading, online lectures and tutorials. With a little bit of face book for light relief. I'm really enjoying being a student and have a wonderful group of classmates.
I gave myself a brain break this weekend and made pickled onions and pesto, which reminded me of my former self sufficient bliss.