Saturday, 31 December 2016

Happy New Year!

My New Year's wish for all of us is that our ships come home full of treasures in their holds. 
Treasures of health, happiness and everything that brings us joy untold. 

Happy 2017 !

Friday, 30 December 2016

Jubilee Park

"The year of the Jubilee has come;
Gather the gifts of Earth with equal hand;
Henceforth ye too may share the birthright soil;
The corn, the wine, and all the harvest-home."
~ Edmund Clarence Stedman.

This photo is looking out from our pergola straight the across the  (brown)
lawn and behind the keyhole garden to Jubilee Park.

As I have mentioned previously, I turned 50 this year. Prior to my birthday my husband asked me what  I would like for my birthday. I didn't want any more jewelry. In fact I didn't want any thing extra in the way of personal possessions. I already have enough to look after, thank you very much. 

However I did want something to mark such a landmark birthday. A big party to celebrate my birthday did not appeal to me. Though nice, I felt that a party was too transitory a thing for my 50th birthday. 

I pondered and I thought. I thought and I pondered. Then I hit upon an idea. A very whimsical idea. For my birthday I wanted a park! No I didn't want to visit a park. I wanted my own park. One with trees and lawn, just like a public park only smaller. 

This photo was taken from the middle section of Jubilee Park looking toward
the east. 

I explained my park idea to my husband. I informed him we already had the perfect spot to turn in to my park. And of course I already had a name for the park. It was to be called Jubilee Park. Yes really, in honour of my Jubilee. Because believe it or not I have worked long and hard to make it this far. 

This photo was taken from the southern side. Yes that is a clothesline.
It was there before we bought the property. Whoever installed it made darn sure
it wasn't going anywhere. I am trying to grow wisteria up and over the structure.

This is a landscaping project that will be a few years in the making. Once finished it will be a cool, relaxing place to sit and connect with nature. 

Thursday, 29 December 2016

Resolutely Set

"In my humble opinion, astrology itself works because enough people believe it works. We create our own reality." ~ Yasmin Boland"

For those amongst us who like to set New Year's resolutions, an auspicious time for doing so is said to be arriving today, the 29th December, during the period of the new moon.  And just in case you are wondering,  I do enjoy reading my horoscope, and in addition to my sun sign I also know my rising sign and moon sign. 

 I also enjoy arranging quiet little ceremonies of personal significance. So I have decided to spend some today conceiving my New Year's resolutions and for visualising how I would like 2017 to roll out for me.

Creating a vision board

Other good ways of setting our intentions can be to use a vision board or by drawing what it is you want to bring into your life in 2017.  If you are really creative you may want to sculpt an image that envisions what you desire

Another method I have used in the past is to write a future story, that is, describe in detail what your life is like when that 'thing' or 'achievement' is present. A future story needs to be written in present tense as if it has already been achieved.

All the cutting and pasting to make a vision board can create a bit of a mess.
However it is an enjoyable, creative activity.

These processes can be very useful in clarifying your intentions. They can also help with  keep your goals/resolutions/intentions  in the foreground while you go about your daily routine.

I will also be searching out a couple of key affirmations that I can use for 2017 to help keep me focused on what it is I want to bring into the New Year.

Are you intending on setting any New Year's resolutions or goals?

Wednesday, 28 December 2016

Zest for Life

Having a zest for life means living with a hearty sense of enjoyment.  Today's Wednesday wisdom is an extract from the poem The Great Lover by Rupert Brooke.

Sweet water's dimpling laugh from tap or spring;
Holes in the ground; and voices that do sing:
Voices in laughter, too; and body's pain,
Soon turned to peace; and the deep-panting train;
Firm sands; the little dulling edge of foam
That browns and dwindles as the wave goes home;
And washen stones, gay for an hour; the cold
Graveness of iron; moist black earthen mould;
Sleep; and high places; footprints in the dew;
And oaks; and brown horse-chestnuts, glossy-new;
And new-peeled sticks; and shining pools on grass;—
All these have been my loves.

What are the simple things that you enjoy keenly? Why not make a list of those things? I am going to, so I can carry the list into the new year

Friday, 23 December 2016

Wednesday, 21 December 2016

Summer solstice

"There shall be eternal summer in the grateful heart." - Celia Thaxter

Wishing all my Antopodean readers a lovely summer solstice.  

Monday, 19 December 2016

Order and Closure

“It is always important to know when something has reached its end. Closing circles, shutting doors, finishing chapters, it doesn't matter what we call it; what matters is to leave in the past those moments in life that are over.” 

At the end of an old year we start thinking about resolutions for the New Year, new goals, and fresh takes on our dreams and aspirations.  This is all to the good as it helps us to commit to gain the most out of our lives, and establish a framework  for our New Year. I also think it is important to spend some time taking stock, looking back on the year that was and see how we have changed and grown. To spend some time acknowledging the person setting forth on the 2017 leg of the journey may not be exactly the same person that set forth back in January 2016.

What were the lessons learnt about yourself and your world  during the year? What goals did you achieve? Take the time to acknowledge these things now, before rushing headlong into the new year. If it is true that where our attention goes results show, then surely it is befitting  to look for the positive in these areas, even if we have to turn things around in our minds to achieve this.

Looking back over the past year, celebrating the good, and releasing the emotional toll of life's more difficult lessons is something I do most years.

In 2012 I wrote regarding the lesson I learned for that year, "After wearing a splint because of tenosynovitis and then spending weeks exercising and strengthening my right thumb and wrist and enduring incredible pain to heal the problem, I know that I can do whatever it takes - I am up to the challenge. "

Regarding the goals achieved in 2012 I wrote: 
We bought a small tractor and finishing mower. 
I gained my Diploma of Community Development.

If I had not taken the time to acknowledge these things in writing, I would not remember them. (Sad but true.)  If someone were to say to me what were you doing in 2012, I would probably reply, same as usual - going to work during the week and working on the property on the week end. Nothing special. However in just re-reading those few sentences I penned at the end of 2012 I can recall to mind  the pain  I went through; and feel the feelings of achievement at finally having our own tractor; and feeling the feeling of success that went with gaining my Diploma of Community Development. I can acknowledge that 2012 was in fact one whizz bang, action packed year in which I did a lot more than just go to work and pay bills. I know that in 2012 I gained experience, insight, knowledge and equipment that were all stepping stones on my path to today.

So for me closure is another important tool for creating order, as I cannot establish where I am going until I can acknowledge, (even if it is to only myself) where I have been. 

Friday, 16 December 2016

Law and Order

Our lives are made up of the things we do every day ~ Alexandra Stoddard

On days when it feels like chaos is reigning my husband has been heard to say 'Come on let's get some law and order into this place'. So in this post I am going to list some of the areas in our lives where we may want to establish a bit more orderliness, in order to increase the peace and ease in our lives and so we are managing our resources better.
The obvious one of course is our home. Most of us feel there are times when our homes are a bit - ahem- disordered. Other areas that benefit from the introduction of order are:-

Our relationships
Our emotional selves
Our health and wellbeing
Time management
Digital records

These are broad subject areas and we could possibly drill down under each of these categories ad infinitum. Let's keep in mind though this series is about the Ladder of Thrift so we will look at the topic of order in these areas through that lens where possible.

Wednesday, 14 December 2016

Loss and Gain

"I am aware
How many days have been idly spent;
How like an arrow the good intent
Has fallen short or been turned aside.

But who shall dare 
To measure loss and gain in this wise?
Defeat may be victory in disguise
The lowest ebb is the turn of the tide."

~William Wadsworth Longfellow

This speaks to me. I set my good intentions down in lists and goals. I allocate time to work through my lists and on my goals. Today I only achieved one thing from my lists. Loss or gain?

Much of the day I spent with my niece. We went to Spotlight this morning. Later we watched part of Anne of Green Gables on DVD. I made her a necklace while she personalised a new journal with stickers and washi tape. In the late afternoon we went for a walk. This evening we drove around looking at Christmas lights. Loss or gain?

Maybe the really wise do not measure life's worth by their achievements and tasks completed. I cannot say for sure as I am not one of their number. 

Tuesday, 13 December 2016

Order and Inundation

Begin to think of order …as a shape - the foundation - for the beautiful new life you are creating. - Sarah Ban Breathnach

Inundation vb
  1.  flood
  2. overwhelm with things to be dealt with
  3. fill beyond capacity

One afternoon recently I arrived home from work and my husband happily shared the highpoint of his day. He had received an unexpected cheque in the mail. My response? Gratitude? Delight? I am sorry to have to write that it was more of a 'That's nice dear', while on the inside I felt relief that it was a cheque and not something I would have to action. That same evening I took out some paperwork to complete and discovered it was due for submission five days earlier. How in the heck? I am usually much more switched on and have things completed on time. That same night I woke up just after 2.00 in the morning, mind racing, trying to sort out all the things I needed to organise and expedite. I remembered to pray. But my thoughts were too chaotic and my prayer became jumbled and rambling.

Relax dear reader. I have not entered the land of the permanently baffled. I have just simply become overwhelmed.

What do I need to do to work my way back to serenity? Re-establish order in my life.  I will share with you more on how I am slowly bringing order back into my life in a future post.

Friday, 9 December 2016

My Perfect Gift Hamper

"It's not how much we give, but how much love we put into the giving." ~ Mother Theresa

I was reading Melissa's post on personalised gift hampers and began to wonder what my perfect hamper would contain.

Here's my list
  • Gardening gloves - several pairs
  • Hand cream - as many as possible
  • Choc-chip cookies (perhaps just one packet - that would never run out?)
  • Good coffee.

That's about it really. Just the essentials. 😀

They could all be nicely arranged in a large plant pot. 

What would your perfect gift hamper be like?

Thursday, 8 December 2016

The Third Industrial Revolution

"Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability, but comes through continuous struggle. And so we must straighten our backs and work for our freedom. A man can't ride you unless your back is bent." ~ Martin Luther King, Jr

What direction to go?

  1. Factories were created in the 18th c.
  2. The age of mass production was ushered in the 20th c.
  3. Now we see manufacturing going digital, this is considered by many to be the third industrial revolution.
I recently read an article in the Courier mail Qweekend November 12-13 2016. that postulated that about half of the jobs that exist today will no longer  be in existence in 20 years due to automation.   Jan Owen, CEO of the Foundation for Young Australians is quoted in the article as saying the question for young people today is no longer 'What do you want to be when you grow up?' but 'What kind of opportunities do you want to create?" Which really sounds like a meme rather than actual guidance for today's youth. But I guess the general idea is that today's workers need to have a more entrepreneurial take on managing their work life. I don't say career as many people in the workforce are not career orientated. They just want a job to pay for the things they need to pay for.

However those of us who are in the work force now and who will continue to need to earn an income for some time to come, might want to take note that the era of automation rolls on and it is changing the face of industry. The taxi industry wasn't prepared for the effect of the entry of Uber drivers into their market. One wonders if the Uber drivers are prepared for the advent of driverless vehicles. Anyway it may be worth all workers today to think about the opportunities we want to create that might provide us with incomes.

If anyone has any ideas on that score, please let me know, I am all ears.

Wednesday, 7 December 2016

Placidity and Peace

Go placidly amid the noise and haste,
And remember what peace there may be in silence.

Max Ehrmann

Monday, 5 December 2016

Thriving Through Thrift ~ Order

"Order is Heavens fist law". Alexander Pope

Order is the first rung on my ladder of Thrift. During the summer (winter if you are reading this from the Northern Hemisphere) I will be taking a closer look at how we can bring more order into our lives and order's relationship to thrift.

Order is necessary for the good management of everyday living.  It helps us to achieve peaceful and harmonious living conditions.  When we achieve a state of order, a state where everything is arranged comprehensively and logically, it allows our days to unfold without chaos and panic. Creating order is in part recognizing the heartbeat of our life that supports us in moving through our days to a rhythm that works for each one as an individual. For those of us who live with others, this rhythm is also affected by the rhythm of those with whom we live.

Discovering methods and systems that help us bring more order our days will help us manage our homes, create a greater sense of ease at home, and assist us in balancing our time and tasks. 

A good first step to bringing more order into our lives is to sit down with a cuppa and evaluate where you are right now. Think about what is working for you at present, what isn't. I touched on this subject recently in my post re-calibrating. 

Thrift has been described as the art of coaxing wealth from scarcity. For me thrift is about building wealth by persistent effort and from the wise management of one's resources. It is precisely here we find the connection between thrift and order  - management of anything requires order. That is why order is the name I gave to the first rung of my 'Ladder of Thrift.'

Thursday, 1 December 2016

In My Garden ~ December 2016

"Although their numbers are falling by the hour, there are still over one million species of plants and animals that breathe the same air and embrace the same earth as we do. To see them is to know them, to know them is to love them." ~Bradley Trevor Grieve

Numbers falling by the hour.
 This is not sobering. This is devastating.

How do we as human beings; sentient, reasoning, beings, go on with our day to day lives knowing that this is happening? And yet, how do we not? We too have to live. To eat. To bear the burden of expenses incurred through the cost of living.

"To see them is to know them, to know them is to love them".  And we do see them, know them and love them. We even try to help them in our own small and insignificant ways. But our small and insignificant ways are not enough to redress the balance.  I have no answers. I should feel more distress, but I lack the time to focus on the issue. So instead, I feel at best, an uncomfortable sense of disquiet. I do what I can but I am not kidding myself. The little that I can do is not enough.


So in my garden this month I continue to make compost in the hopes of improving my soil.

I am turning a blind eye to the birds eating my strawberries and cherry tomatoes.

Don netted one of the apple trees for me in the hopes we shall see some apples grow. (After all the birds have the cherry tomatoes and strawberries.)

We continue to water the garden and fruit trees in the hopes that the wet season will commence soon.

I have harvested what I can from the keyhole garden and I will be turning some of the compost from the middle basket over into the bed itself. The soil drops during the growing season so the compost basket comes in handy as a source of additional growing medium.

The Wisteria sent forth leaves and shoots during November.

We have been spraying the hibiscus with soapy water using lux flakes. This has been working well and whatever mite or bug (mealybug?) that has been attacking the poor thing has been sent packing. However we will keep spraying just to make sure.

I am going to spray the gardenias against magnesium deficiency. My recipe calls for one teaspoon of Epsom salts in 10 litres of water. I am going to half the quantities to make it easier for me to apply.

Check the citrus for aphids. Once again if there is a problem I can spray using soap spray. I will wear my glasses when I am checking though so I have a better chance of seeing if any aphids are parasitised by a micro wasp. If they have been they should look like  tiny brown balloons. In this case there will be no need to spray. I shall also check for hoverflies and ladybeetle larvae and if they are around in good quantities then I will leave the aphids to their tender mercies.

I have noticed a lot of frenetic ant activity lately, mostly because the little suckers keep nipping my ankles. Ant activity can indicate we are going through a scale-hatching period. Once again scale can be treated by home-made oil spray or home-made soap spray.

I will also be doing lots of trimming and pruning. There are lots of sticks, fallen branches and dead palm fronds to pick up.

This hibiscus has been receiving a lot of attention.

 There are banana suckers that need to be removed. If too many suckers are allowed to grow it will affect the size of the bunches of fruit. The old leaves can be removed too and then put through the mulcher.

I still have a lot of mulching to do and I will start adding some coconut fibre to the mulch in order to improve the water holding capacity of the mulch.

The lawn areas could do with an application of blood and bone. Our lawns have greened up a bit since the rain we had on the last Saturday in November.

I also think I might try my hand at making a home-made fruit fly trap.

What are your garden plans for December?