April Theme: Re-organise and Transition

In the Southern Hemisphere, April is in Autumn. 

The days here are still warmish, but there is a sneaking whisper in the wind. That whisper is saying 'winter's on its way'. 

This time of year always makes me think about the transition into winter. I start to prepare things for the cooler months. 

We often reserve spring time for cleaning, but there is a also a cleaning energy that arrives in April. It's more of a 'reorganise and transition' type of energy. 

I find myself packing things away from the summer, decluttering, washing bedding and preparing blankets knowing that I can still wash them and dry them in the warm sun well before winter arrives. 

I often think about herbs, oils, foods, flowers and other things around me with a seasonal view. 

It's a time for harvesting lots of rosemary, adding cinnamon to my coffee on cooler morings, using lavender oil on my pillow for a better sleep, baking apple pies and watching my trees turn from green to shades of yellow and then orange. 

My April summary would be:  

Word or Theme: Re-organise and Transition

Herb: Rosemary

Spice: Cinnamon

Oil: lavender

Fruit: apple

Colour: golden yellow

Seasonal Tasks: preparing bedding

Song: 59th Street Bridge Song (Simon & Garfunkel) 'Slow down'.

Garden tasks: harvest the last of the summer crops, prune back any overgrown plants, burn off the garden and tree lopping for charcoal and ash, prepare the soil and plant the winter crops like peas, broad beans, onion and garlic.

Does April bring a particular feeling for you each year ? What is happening where you live ?

Next year I will look back and see whether the April theme comes again on the wind.


Harnessing Old Wisdom for a Fulfilling Modern Life

If you have been around here for a while, you know that I love to look to the old ways to find wisdom to apply to a modern world.


I have no desire to go back to days that were often peppered with intolerances, hatred and inequality, yet, when I cherry pick through the old ways and old sayings I seem to find so much value.

In our fast-paced, crazy, technology-driven world, it's easy to overlook the timeless wisdom that has been passed down through the ages. Whether it be from our grandparents, or from ancient philosophies and practicesm this sort of wisdom offer insights that can greatly enhance our modern lives, providing a sense of guidance, mindfulness, and balance that's often missing in our digital age.

Mindfulness and Presence:

Incorporating ancient mindfulness practices can be a game-changer in today's hectic lifestyle. Drawing from Eastern traditions, techniques like meditation and deep breathing help us find solace amid chaos. By focusing on the present moment, we alleviate stress, boost mental clarity, and enhance overall well-being.

I love to read about the science behind these concepts. Of course, in days gone by, people didn't need to know that an MRI machine can validate their findings on the benefits of mindfulness or meditation - they just did it!

Stoicism and Resilience:

Stoic philosophy, practiced by figures like Marcus Aurelius, teaches us the art of embracing challenges with grace. Applying Stoic principles—like distinguishing between what's within our control and what's not—fosters emotional resilience. Gratitude and a pragmatic mindset empower us to navigate uncertainties with strength and composure.
The works of Ryan Holliday are such a great source of inspiration in this space.

Simplicity and Minimalism:

In a world driven by consumerism, ancient teachings on simplicity and minimalism resonate more than ever. Embracing a less cluttered lifestyle—both physically and mentally—frees us from distractions. By adopting a minimalist approach, we gain focus, contentment, and room for what truly matters.

It amazes me that one of the growth businesses in recent years is the leasing of storage sheds to hold all our 'stuff'. Gone are the days where your belongs fit into a suitcase.
I really like the work of The Minimalists in this space. I have learned quite a lot from their exploration of what really matters in life.

Community and Connection:

Across cultures, ancient societies thrived on strong communal bonds. Applying these values in our modern lives fosters a sense of belonging and shared experience. Concepts like Ubuntu, rooted in African philosophy, remind us of our interconnectedness. Strengthening our support networks enriches our lives and enhances our well-being.

Balancing Technology and Nature:

Ancient civilisations intuitively balanced technology with nature. Today, we can learn from their example. Carving out time for nature, practicing digital detox, and cultivating a deeper connection with our environment can mitigate the adverse effects of our tech-centric lives, rejuvenating our minds and spirits.

I always surprised to hear myself saying 'I don't have time' or hear someone say 'I'm too busy'. I think it would be an interesting exercise to see how much time we use across different aspects of life to see where we can collect the moments that we need to do some of the things that really matter to us.

Incorporating ancient wisdom into our modern lives offers us a map to navigate the complexities of the present while embracing the timeless truths that have endured through the ages. By practicing mindfulness, resilience, simplicity, community, and connection to nature, we enrich our lives with a sense of purpose, balance, and fulfillment that transcends the challenges of our time.

As you've read about these timeless practices, which one resonates with you the most? I'd love if you could share your thoughts so that we could collectively work out how to incorporate these elements into our modern lives.



Making Tea


When we think about making tea, we immediately think of the brand, the bag, the pot. 

We are so conditioned to associate an item with a brand first and foremost. 

I can still recall jingles about tea bags from my childhood..... and that is frightening. Where is this data stored in my brain for all these decades ? 

Did you know that gresh spices make a lovely tea ? They are the same spices that I often use in cooking and you can buy them in bulk. 

For a refreshing tea, the basis would be coriander, fennel and cumin seeds, however, I like to 'spice mine up a little. 

I like to add some cardamom pods (broken open) and some cinnamon stick. I also add some mulberries from the freezer from last year's surplus. I like to call the tea ' Mulberry Spice'. 

You can make enough for a week or so by putting those ingrediatents into a dry jar. Don't woryy about quanities.... just find your own taste and change it up as you like. 

I have a little jar that I fill when I am travelling. 

I have a little tea strainer ball that cost me $1.00! I also use an old inside of a tea pot... or if you like, why not make the pot! 

The point is, it's straight from the jar.... sooooooo cost effective, no packaging (after the bulk purchase) and you can change it to suit the season and your taste. 

It is the perfect ritual to start the day with.... to sip slowly.... to be at peace..... THEN, you can dive into the coffee and the crazxy world. 


Looking To The Old Ways in Uncertainty


There is so much that I love about the 'old days' and the 'old ways'. 

I like the  'can do' spirit of the people, particularly those that lived through the Great Depression and World War II. 

I love their ability to 'make do and mend' and work with what they had. 

Of course, this is just a romantic view of the past. A way in which I am cherry picking the good from the bad. I fully recognise the trauma, the oppression, the ineqaulity, the poverty and all the other things that were prevalent in these time. 

In this place I focus on the pearls of wisdwom that I can take from days gone by. I look to the previous generations for their knowledge of running a housegold, keeping the family budget on track, bartering, growing a garden, sharing with their community and finding joy in the little things. 

I have always loved these 'old ways', but as I write these words in 2022 it seems that I am seeking this wisdom now more than ever. It times of uncertainty, looking back to see how our older generations dealt with adversity is a great source of reliable, tried and tested information. 

Here are some of the posts I had written years ago about my love of the old ways.  


Reviving the Wisdom: Cash as a Last Resort


I have  very fond memory of my Grandmother wrapping home gown beans in damp newspaper so she could share them with people. It makes me think that we need to tap into our childhood and community memory because there is so  much wisdom there.  

I think back to the way my grandmother and my godmother ran their homes as friends that lived close by to each other. 

Both of them grew their own produce and baked from scratch. My godmother  had chooks and used to barter the eggs around town. She traded cooking, mending and eggs for people to do jobs at her house. She got egg cartons from another neighbor, swapped another neighbor for the newspaper and even the home brew was bartered. She never owned a car and different people often took her into town when she needed to. 

My Grandmother always had the latest newspapers and magazines on hand, but she never paid for. She always traded pumpkins, zucchinis or anything else that was in season for them. 

 Of course, no-one ever used the term 'bartering' it was just the way things were done.

They were quite enterprising really. A dollar saved here and there would have really added up.

For these ladies cash was really used as a last resort. If you couldn't swap or do a deal for something that you really needed then you would have to use your cash.

In contrast, today we don't share our things around. We are almost like 'hoarders'.  Just look in our houses at all the clutter! We would be better off having something flow into our homes, use it for a period and then have it flow out again for others to benefit from as well.

Rather than using our cash as a last resort, we tend to jump straight to it. If we want something, we buy it. No questions asked. We think of something, we conclude we 'need it' and we jump in the car and go and buy it or order it online straight away. Even if we haven't got the money, we just stick it on the plastic and will worry about it later!

I am therefore going to look at the principle of using my cash as a last resort. I will stop and think of creative ways that I can obtain things without using my cash. My beans will be ready soon I can wrap them in newspaper and trade them for eggs and macadamia nuts.

In order to start the bartering circle happening I will have to think of things that I can GIVE to people, for it is truly IN GIVING THAT WE RECEIVE.

 I am sure that once I start the ball rolling other people will come on board with the concept. I am sure if I asked a friend if they would teach we basic quilting skills they would love to be paid with home made cakes.

This thinking doesn't come naturally to my generation. I will probably subconsciously cruise past many an opportunity to swap instead of spend. I will turn my mind to this more over the coming weeks and keep you updated.

Does anyone have any ideas for reviving the 'swap instead of spend' tradition ? Perhaps you are already doing a lot of it. Please share your ideas so that we all can benefit.


Living with Uncertainty


This is my Grandmother - aged in her late 90s. 

She was born in 1907 and lived a life that was two weeks short of 102 years -living on her own until almost 100 years. 

She saw much uncertainty; The Spanish Flu pandemic, two world wars, a great depression, the early death of her husband..... the list goes on. 

In this photo she is briging in her tomato seedlings for the evening to proect them from the cold. She raised the seeds from last year's crop. 

After living a life of uncertainty, she had learnt to always be prepared. That meant that she always had produce in the garden, preserves in the cupboard and frozen veg and meals in the freezer. 

In these times of uncertainty I am reminded to look after the basics. Keep my house warm, preserve the produce and be prepared for rough economic times - just in case. It worries me to think that these skills of growing, baking, preserving and budgeting are slowly being eroded away by clever marketing. That is why I will also advocate for the simple life and retention of the old fashioned skills. 

Of course, I also know the secret that there is much joy to be had in the simple things in life ! 


Cumquat Marmalade: Winter Sunshine in a Jar


This year's cumquots have made the most delightful marmalade. It's like winter sunshine in a jar! 


About 500g of cumquots 

a cup of sugar

The juice of half a lemon 


Slice the ends of the cumquots and cut them in half. 

Chop the fruit and pulp coarsley 

Mix in the sugar and lemon jouce

Cook on the stovetop sitrring constantly until the mixture thickens 

Bottle in clean jars whilst hot and seal. 

This is one of those experimental recipes. You can try different citrus or blend flavours together. 

All I know, is that when you have a smear on sourdough it is a burst of sunshine in your mouth ! 

April Theme: Re-organise and Transition

In the Southern Hemisphere, April is in Autumn.  The days here are still warmish, but there is a sneaking whisper in the wind. That whisper ...