simply advent

  



Advent unfolding

Slowly simply 

Plant colours dried and dyed

Gold and silver, mint and rust

Dusty green and watered silk

Scented with eaucalypt 

Light a candle under the wreath

Light a candle in my dark night

Pray for grace

Play for space

Gently unfurl

What is genuine in this moment

Admire and melt into summer colours and 

Breath of wind and starlight kisses

Unadorned and humble 

Feet on the ground

Candlelight in the window

Calls me into myself

Xx

Blessings

Roselinde

 

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Mary’s little Donkey

  
I have been reading Mary’s Little Donkey again this advent to the children. I am living into the characters and their gifts in a new way this time around. It’s very beautiful to have a deeper experience while reading a children’s story.

Today Cedar was adamant we made some window pictures (I had planned tomorrow) however, this very quiet space together, without Lily or Jesse here blossomed into beautiful creating and connecting, and this little donkey transparency was born from my hands. Cedar worked alongside me on his own window picture and proclaimed it finished until he saw mine had a ‘main character’ and then he needed a main character also. His hare  will be wonderful for Easter next year too! 

  
I just LOVE it when I make something I really love.

Xx

Roselinde 

PS materials

Black card

Tissue paper

Scissors

Stanley knife to cut out the window neatly

Glue stick

Patience

Fiddly fingers, the larger you cut the window the easier it is to manage

Tip# 1

Have a layer of white or softest cream tissue paper as your frontest layer and glue your picture layers onto the inside of this. Then a fix the whole lot as one piece into your card.

Bateau Bay Floral Reserve

On the Central Coast of NSW, the Bateau Bay floral reserve is delightful in spring! High above the sea the wildflowers and trees sing.  I walked this track with Cedar, Lily and Jesses mama Jane in the week after our return from Europe. Walking the land and basking in the wildflowers, views, textures and scents helped me reintegrate my arrival. It’s an easy, level path, forest/scrubland walk. We walked from the Rushby street Carpark in the direction of Crack neck lookout. 

  
    
   
   
    
    
    
    
    

 
   
    
    
    
    
    

    
    
    
    
 

How much Can a Koala Bare?

  
A koala is not a bear, but they are absolutely adorable and fascinating marsupials. It seems like this one has claimed the territory around our house and property and we’ve seen (him) a few times in the last weeks. We hear a lot of grunting snorting at night which is more evidence of koala presence. The first night Lily remarked she had heard the weirdest frog on the night! When we spotted Sir Koala in the morning the mystery was solved. It’s so precious for me, as growing up in WA there are no wild koalas about and I had only seen a couple in the wild (Adelaide, Rosebank,) until I moved to NSW 6 years ago. I have only seen about 6 wild koalas since then so it’s excellent to see this plump patchy grey fella just outside. They perch on some thin branches and snooze swaying some 25 metres above ground. When they wake up and stare placidly with their endearing fluffy ears and comical nose I can’t help but be cheered! We did rescue a baby koala after a flood, when Lily was three, which was incredible to nurse the little one on my lap after we paddled home. We had been out boating looking for the lost pieces of our friends bridge when I spotted “a puppy in that tree” my brain could not comprehend immediately what I was seeing. Koala habitats are greatly endangered and I just read our local Koala habitat protection zones where reduced by 40.\’ At least one or two are safe on this land we stay on thankfully!

Broad bean harvest

  
Alongside Parsley, spring onions, silver beet and kale, broad beans are the staple harvest right now. I planted a healthy patch before leaving for Europe in late April and my neighbour planted a whole bunch more, since we returned in September it’s been a steady crop of beans. Such a wonderful self sustaining plant. They are surviving in a dry hot season very well. They all fall over in the wind but shoot up again. I never did get around to tying them up like last year.

Mostly I pod and steam them with a pile of silverbeet or enjoy them in soups. Also delicious is to quickly sauté the beans with garlic olive oil salt and lemon juice. The young pods can be cut into little slivers for this dish. 

 I did try the cream of broad bean soup from The Silver Spoon Italian cookbook last week when a girlfriend visited. Wonderful with a smattering of fresh herbs. 

I am so heartily satisfied to eat from my own garden and be nourished by this green freshness!

What are you harvesting?

Xx Roselinde 

A moment in time. Or balaclavas.

   

   

Baklava in process. Lily can do it all! For the school stall tomorrow (with some for home of course)!

Please remind her of this when she complains about never being allowed to have sweet stuff… Ever….

I have evidence of at least one time!
balaclava / baklava

For the sauce

Dissolve over low heat

1/2 c honey

1/2 c sugar

In 1 cup of water

With

1 stick of cinnamon

Peel of an orange or lemon

Squeeze of citrus juice

Let it simmer for the time you make the rolls then let it cool while you bake them
For the filling

1 1/2 cups of walnuts (I reckon you can mix up the nut blend. Sssh.)

1/2 cup almonds

Pulse in the blender until in small pieces

Add

1 cup of sugar

1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp of ground clove
Prepare the wrappers

1 box of filo pastry, carefully cut the stack of sheets into thirds, about 12 or so cm wide, keep covered with a slightly damp towel

And the bit that makes it all so crispy and good

Melt 150g unsalted butter
Oven on at 180c and butter an oven tray
Now get ready to brush and roll

Take three sheets aside, brush all over with your butter

Put a couple of tablespoons of filling at one end of the papers

Fold in the sides, butter the sides

Carefully roll the filling up in the filo and then pop on your tray with gaps in between them

Repeat repeat repeat until you have a tray full.

Bake until crispy brown all over

Pour over syrup while still warm

Let cool and enjoy

Lily says they are even better after a day or two as they soak up so much yummy syrup. 

Did I say strain the syrup when you pour it over the baklava rolls?

Xx

  
 Ps I did not artistically put the cumquats, guitar or ukulele there. This was a real cute kitchen counter odd bod moment for all you blog skeptics who think it’s all a setup. Just occasionally it is real life…

I guess you want to see the end result huh? Well if there’s any left by morning…..

Taking Stock

Returning home and taking stock. Thanks to Pip at Meet me at Mikes for the word list.

  Making :

time to stroll around outside before children wake up. counting leaves and flowers and feeling that everything is really happy I’m home

and fantasise about all the gardening I will do… I have some cheeky plants that went ballistic while I was away and still a few gaps to plant in….

Cooking : snow pea, red capsicum and pineapple sage flower salad with lemon and mandarin dressing, also young broad bean and leek sauted in lemon juice. Mmm

Drinking : mango smoothie, mangoes foraged by Jesse. What a man, he brought in about 300 mangoes last season! Now we enjoy the last frozen cheeks…

Reading: our ash grove blog, beautiful and creative and wondering how does life look homeschooling with 5 children?

Pondering: how to grow with the children and stop my default repeats.

Wanting: a massage, a shiatsu or a kahuna therapist to knock on my door right now…

  Looking: at cobwebs. Lots of cobwebs. Overflowing suitcases, washing and general debris of returning home. Flowers! Lots of flowers!  Also looking at some of my favourite things. Is this really my home?

Playing: a game where i am employed by this house for domestic duties and I get paid holidays and good hours… And other perks…

Wasting: time searching for cherry red flannel sheets on the internet. I know winters over right, but  maybe for next year… 

Sewing: lots in my imagination! Like a whole new rack of simple stylin lady fashion. 

Wishing: spring was 6 months of the year, I could teleport and whistle really genuine bird calls. Not at the same time.

  Enjoying: the reward of planting bulbs at Easter and seeing a bed full of freesias bursting with colour and fragrance in spring . No instant gratification involved. Patience. I think I’m growing up!

Waiting: to grow up and be more patient. To get a hold over this overactive mind. To visit  my newly moved mama and papa in Tasmania!

Liking: the morning sun as I meander the gardens and check on the fruit tree buds and seedlings and the caress of the cool breeze and bird song. Spring mornings in Bellingen are delightful. 

Delighting: in the wild creatures, on the night of our arrival home we are greeted by the first cicadas, the fire flies and a python on the verandah. Welcome home!

Wondering: if I will be able to do all I dream of in one day.

Loving: gathering my family for a home cooked garden dinner by candlelight, at home, at our own table for the first time in a long time. Sweet.

Hoping: the children will have a great swathe of warm memories from their time in our care.

Marvelling: that Cedar has just had his first doctor visit! I was a bit out of depth for this cut and am grateful for the medical help when needed and to Jane for holding my hand and standing up to the pushy Dr. And so grateful he has been a well boy thus far. I know dr help is a big part of some families reality and it’s fantastic when you need them and there they are! 

Needing: to practice to say what I think even if it might be uncomfortable. 

  Smelling: something delightful on the air, floral, springy, mystery blossom.

Wearing: daggy old clothes and feeling ok about that. 

Following: my own adventures on my own blog. Now that’s good for perspective!

Noticing: sometimes I write something I’m proud of. Sometimes I take a photograph I’m proud of! 

Knowing: I need to practice believing in my gifts and talents.

Thinking: about the simple gift of a safe home to go back to and all the people who don’t have one right now.

Feeling: a bit helpless to make a difference right now on a global scale and remembering to practice peace at home.

Bookmarking: hmm. Any suggestions?

Opening: an illustrated envelope, with a handwritten card containing old photos of myself and friends from another life, a gift from a dear friend today to make me smile!

Giggling: at the sweetness of being seventeen.

Feeling: incredulous that it’s only 6 years til I have my own sweet seventeen year old child! 

Quoting: family life is like music, some high notes, some low notes, but all together a sweet melody.

  
All photos from my springy garden! I didn’t shoot the crazy bits.

The BlueForest (Blueberries in the BlackForest) or When nothing goes right, go left.

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This fellows shirt said it for me!(apologies I don’t remember your name….if ever you see this post, email me!) 

It’s taken me a while to pull this story together because some days are painful and ugly and Who wants to hear about that right?.  Even when I awoke that day  determined to be optimistic and cruisy, my effort does not stand up to the challenges of the day. A story about needing to go left. When the small things in life are not going right! And trying to maintain humour and gentleness amidst trials. The blessing is that all things pass and I’ve learnt to just hang in there, do what I can, drop what I can and tomorrow is new.

Many days ago now, We left Switzerland on another stinking hot day. Paused in Basel to busk (unsuccessfully), parking was very hard to find but we ended up near the river so kids and I could swim, by stalking a shady parking spot . The water was gratefully crisp enough! I heard later that even 15 years ago the Rhine was too polluted to swim, now it’s very popular with people dipping and floating along.

We where right by the historic bridge which is beautiful and in the distance could spot the spires of the cathedral and old city. It was strange to be looking at buildings with barely a gap between, facing the rivers edge. I guess the parks are elsewhere. I really wanted to go to the old Paper Mill museum but it was just too hot to walk around. I felt thwarted in my educational efforts and bizarre to come all this way and not be able to do more than keep sane and do nothing really. Have I mentioned yet my family calls me a grumpy polar bear when it’s hot? Hot hot. Im not averse to a bit of whinging about the heat… Really it’s such middle class western  luxury to have the options we do and I’m very grateful.

We pulled into Freiburg late that evening after a disappointing detour past Bad Bellingen (should’ve realised by the name!) bad means bath in German.  I was hoping for some natural place to bathe but it’s a turquoise pool set up. There’s a lot more happening in the Australian Bellingen! Lovely in winter I guess. 

Anyway, disorganised, tired and hot, past dinner time, we got busted for jumping on the tram without tickets! We didn’t want to miss it and wait longer to get to some dinner! They showed us how to function the in tram ticket machine and let us off thankfully! Ignorant travellers I guess. I get anxious in the face of authority and doing something wrong!

A treat to eat out in the old city. Mexican in Germany? Freiburg has a very pretty inner city and good vibes in the evening, lots of people about and delicious foodie smells.

Back to our hot van late to get some rest. Camping in a hot tin can is so difficult!Especially with tired hot kids in the city which does not cool down til dawn. Jesse saved the day by putting their bed outside under a tree and sleeping with them. We found a mobile home campground for 9euro a night near Bissier strasse park and ride. Cheap but noisy from the railway. Thank goodness for earplugs.  The next night was more pleasant at the Hirzberg Campground. It’s 1.2km from the enchanting old City centre. Also green and shady. It can be really tricky coming to a place you don’t know and looking for a place to stay. I ignored my intuition about going straight to the campground the first night unfortunately. 

The next day we met with friends who guided us to nearby lakes and the day was easier. There are a lot of man made lakes along the autobahns, dug out to make the road beds. Another late hot night in the city. Jesse Was busking and we walked in to meet him for dinner. Some moments I am thinking wow this is crazy! Cosmopolitan culture in Europe, dinner at 9 pm and some crazy gigantic ice cream and berry dessert! strolling old cities (600+ year old buildings) balmy summer nights, wonderful and romantic and different if only my inner mama voice could be quiet! My kids where in bed at a wholesome 7.30pm before we left Australia!  This life has such diverse moments. It’s challenging and reallY good also to let the restrictions drop a bit. ItS so temporary. Soon we will be back in home rhythms. I have little resilience for lack of sleep unfortunately. Blessings come though in the form of kind hearted folks and hilarious storytellers in the dark city streets.

From Freiburg we are invited to go berry picking and then swimming in a forest lake higher in the Black Forest mountains. 
Yes please. My days in the city where hot and bothered and I was stretched to breaking. But I hung in there! Not too many tears! Me, not the kids…. But As lily says, ‘it’s not really a holiday because we are doing everyday life. And why can’t we do more holidayish things anyway?’ Memory making.

 My spirit was so renewed by this afternoon tramping the woods and having the warmth of friends. Being outside is my greatest gift at present. Soaking in the different greens of the broad leafed woods and the unfamiliar bird calls and wind whispers and rock songs. It’s fresh and new still and the foreignness leaves me a little thrilled. I really am far far from home. If you have read Ronja by Astrid Lindgren you would see the grey dwarf holes in this wood and Ronja running about and giving her spring yell. 

this handy little rake catches the  blueberries for you, but be careful you don’t strip the leaves off also.    I loved this moment! The papas with their matching picnic baskets! Beautiful masculinity in motion    Cedar said he could stay here forever, well, until it snowed…   There where few berries left and small this season, despite that, the reward of gathering something deliciously tart and sweet from the woods filled me with happiness. It’s so simple.   Tiny finger staining treasures. A worthy hunt! I hear the wild blueberries in the US are enormous! I would like to experience picking there one day…
The lake water is stained amber by leaves and tannins I guess.  The trees surrounding shade the water green. Be brave it’s very cold below the surface! The skin feels soft and wonderful after swimming here.     I was excited to see this small orchid growing in the ditch as we left the forest. Another tiny wonder. 

And thanks goodness we where off to visit dear friends after this. The last challenge of travelling in the unknown was done and from here on we are sheltered by good friends until we fly home. Phew. We did it.