Thursday, November 7, 2019

Almost there...

Staying on top of the housework and the yard, setting up and stitching designs for my new "Faith in Hand" Club, and battling an incredible string of migraines these past few weeks has left me rather weary.
I'm not complaining and certainly not asking for sympathy, just sharing facts and explaining why blog posts have slowed lately. And I should also mention that the migraines are all weather related (high heat, humidity and plenty of oppressive-to-my-head cloud cover) and because of this there's nothing I can do to prevent them apart from move to a different part of the country and we're not about to do that. I accept them as my regular companion from October to April each year and choose to focus on the good they do (I'm far more creative during a migraine) rather than the bad.
"Praise God for good air conditioning" is an often heard exclamation most days now as it truly takes the edge off my pain.

Sophie is really feeling the heat too, with her thick long fur and love of the outdoors not helping at all. I have had to laugh at her a lot recently because no matter where she is - beside the bed, on the blue couch, across the tiles in our living room or outside in the shade - she's on her back, legs in the air and trying to cool her tummy.

Bobby prefers the indoors where he can languish under ceiling fans until I switch to air conditioning around lunchtime, and then he spreads out on the tiles nearby. Both he and Sophie are drinking lots of water but unlike him she's not so interested in food until after sunset, and then she eats often during the night. Bob will eat anywhere, anytime, in any weather.

The chooks hide for hours during the day underneath the bottle brush trees where they scratch down to make a dust bath and rest until the worst of the heat has passed. They love the early mornings though, foraging everywhere Mr E has been digging and preparing soils, as well as uprooting a few of my new potted plants. At the moment he's encouraging them to dig around this old tree where we just removed twenty large succulents (Torch Gingers) that had sadly become a breeding ground for mosquitoes. In the morning and at night (we eat those meals outside) I had become their no.1 target and as I have a bad reaction to mozzie bites we decided to give the plants away on Gumtree. 

So we're encouraging Daphne-Dorey and Bess to dig deep in that garden bed because it's going to be improved in January with compost, better soil and mulch in preparation for our autumn/winter planting. At the moment the ground is rock hard so they can play to their hearts content and leave lots of manure behind. It all helps in the end.

Our days begin around 5.15 am now. I let the chooks out of their coop to free range for the day and then water the citrus trees, herbs and potted plants in the backyard while it's still in shade before making hubby's lunch and our breakfast. Meanwhile Mr E tends to the rest of the garden. We find in this heat the early morning is crucial for attending to outside chores, but just before sunset we have another opportunity to work outside again. There's this lovely rhythm to our days now, and despite the challenging heat and humidity of this season in the tropics we enjoy our life, our home, our pets and each other. 

I did five loads of washing today and each time I went to hang out a load the previous one was bone dry and ready to bring in and fold. I'm so mindful of getting the washing in as soon as its dry because that fierce sun is God's bleach and everything fades quickly when left out for more than an hour or two.

I was so excited to see my pot of dahlias revive from regular watering. I'd love to put all my potted plants in the ground but they have a better chance of surviving till the wet season arrives in a pot. Of course, they're also saved from being dug up by our chooks who dig and scratch wherever we plant. 

It also uses less water to have them in pots.
Once the school year finishes in another five weeks I'll have my hubby home for six weeks and he'll build a proper chicken run so we can protect what we plant, especially as we prepare for the autumn/winter growing season.

We now have over forty indoor plants and with the weekly feeding of Mr E's worm juice they're thriving. I moved a fern from outside into the bathroom and sat it at the end of the bath next to the parlour palm and it's flourishing. Over the weekend I need to sew curtains for the bathroom though as with the skylight and a large window it's a very bright room at this time of year.

In the kitchen I'm still soaking my flour for muffins and fruit breads. This bowl sat for 24 hours until this morning when I baked 24 orange, honey and date muffins. Some went in the freezer for morning teas or easy breakfasts with fruit salad, but I kept a few aside for supper tonight with a cuppa.

The other night I needed to use up old apples and I remembered an apple & cinnamon tea cake recipe (similar to a sponge) that my kids all loved so as dinner was cooking I whipped it up for dessert. 
Mr E was rather chuffed when I served it later with more stewed apples and custard on the side.

We continue to eat less meat and look for new ways to serve vegetable based meals so the other day I purchased Jamie Oliver's new book, VEG, and I'm impressed. I was shocked at how much Book Depository and Amazon charge for it but found Big W stocking it at almost half price. Yay! I love a bargain and to be honest at the original price I would not have bought it.
There's plenty of recipes inside to tempt us, though Mr E is still averse to cauliflower, broccoli and sweet potato so substitutions will continue to be made.

Next door to Big W was one of those 'pop up' shops where every book was reduced to $5 so I came home with Maggie Beer's "Recipe for Life" cook book, another wonderful source of meal ideas.
For those overseas, Maggie Beer is a brilliant Australian cook and co-host of the Great Australian Bake-Off.

As I mentioned at the beginning of this blog post, there's been much going on behind the scenes with designing, stitching, writing and setting up my new stitchery club.

After much prayer I've chosen to call it "Faith in Hand" because that's what it's about... stitching the Word of God by hand. 
I will launch it on Monday or Tuesday next week and can't express how much joy this pours into my heart. Naturally, as with all new things, I had to clean out my sewing room and re-organise. It's still a work in progress but I'm getting there.

I discovered my little aqua set of shelves fits neatly under the cutting table so I may buy another when I meet Blossom and the little ones at Spotlight tomorrow.

All the new designs (twelve so far!) are neatly stored in zip lock bags awaiting my attention for pattern writing or piecing into a larger project. Storing individual projects like this was something I did when first learning to stitch and I'm finding it just as helpful now. No idea why I stopped doing it.

Even my desk has had a jolly good clean and re-ordering in preparation for this next season of design.

It's been a lovely year so far, despite the floods, and I can see now that the Lord needed me to step back a bit, use what I already had and not design much at all...because I was honestly creatively burned out.

Knowing when to stop, to give yourself time to refresh and perhaps follow different paths, that's a gift. And I thank my sweet Lord for being clear with me about stepping back right when I had a whole new set of plans for 2019...He knew what I did not, and such grace He showed in drawing my heart closer to His in order that through this year I grew more deeply in love with Him and eventually came to a place of being ready to design again - this time to His glory.
I still have patterns ready to go that don't involve Scripture, but most of them do and I hope you'll be as excited about that as I am.

More next week...

Well, my beloved is ready for dinner and the zucchini slice I made earlier has cooled and is waiting to be served with salad... I shall bid you farewell today and thank you for being some of my companions in this gentle domestic life. 

May we all find our peace in the goodness of home, the people we love and who love us, and most importantly in the Saviour who gave His life for us all.



Tracy said...

I love your contented lifestyle and you continue to inspire me to do the same x

Karen said...

It's really time for me to sleep but I so wanted to read your post first. It was lovely Jenny. Yours posts are always a blessing to me. Hannah and I are so looking forward to your new 'faith' club. Arohanui.

Joanne said...

Hi Jenny,
Thought I'd send this link....
this is The Netherlands national weather service web site linking to our recorded heat waves since 1901.
"Een hittegolf is een opeenvolging van in De Bilt minimaal 5 zomerse dagen (maximumtemperatuur 25,0 °C of hoger), waarvan er minimaal drie tropisch (maximumtemperatuur 30,0 °C of hoger) zijn.

basic translation....a (Dutch) heatwave is a minimum of 5 consecutive days being 25 C or more where 3 days must be 30 C or higher.

It's always great starting new projects with a freshly cleaned work area! Love the sun shiny space you have!
Enjoy the veggie meals!

Anonymous said...

Dear Jenny!!

There is nothing like scripture! It is a true investment in people!

Today, I bought, from an op shop, a vintage framed kitchen whiteboard on which the previous owner had handwritten Psalm 121. I wondered at the story behind it, & considered it to be a treasure to be cherished - that someone else in the world so valued the rescuing power of the Almighty in their life! It was two dollars.


Dolores said...

Have you tried baked cauliflower? When I make it, it gets gobbled up quickly. Just a wee bit of oil, salt and pepper - or use a spice. I use one that is sweet potato and garlic. Just sprinkle it on the florets with the oil and pop it into the oven. Oh, but you're in a heat wave so maybe it's not such a good idea to put the oven on. Veggies and dip then. Perhaps there is a dip that your hubby likes?

Unknown said...

I always love reading about what is going on in your life - the garden, designing, your chickens and Bob & Sophie, and your kids and beautiful grand kids. And you are an inspiration to me and many others with your spiritual messages given to us through God working through you. Many times they are exactly what I need to hear. Thank you, Jenny. And hugs to you and Mr. E.

Tammy said...

Lovd reading your blog post today... So happy to be able to see your pics of all the things going on in your garden and studio and in your home and with the pets too.... Have a wonderful weekend . I will be praying for those migraines to subside. Enjoy each and every day...

Chris said...

Today we have our first snow of the season and I am putting the snow tires on my car so I can take the long drive to my daughters home. I too enjoy the gentle encouragement you share on your blog. thank you for that.

Jeanne Brown said...

I also have a very hard time with bug bites, I ordered a new thing called Bug Bite Thing . No chemicals and it works great.

barcord said...

A lovely catch-up on all that is going on at your home. God bless you for sharing.

Mercedes Pelegrí Perez said...


Julie said...

Such a lovely post Jenny - all I needed was a cuppa & you sitting opposite me my friend! Your sewing room looks wonderful & so fresh & inviting. I use the worm juice on my houseplants too & they just thrive. I have saved some more empty milk bottles & intend to fill them today. You will be looking forward to Mr E having a nice decent break soon. Happy Friday to you Jenny xx

Farm Quilter said...

I'm with Mr. E with cauliflower - always tastes dusty to me. Broccoli, raw, in coleslaw dressing is the only way I'll eat it - the coleslaw dressing really cuts the strong flavor of broccoli. Sweet potatoes...I only like them in my mom's sweet potato souffle...if you'd like, I can send you the recipe. One recipe makes 3 casseroles and I always put 2 of them in the freezer after cooking, which makes it so much easier. I love the gentle, grounded tempo of your days and I pray you'll get relief from the migraines.

Mandy Currie said...

Hello Jenny, I can't wait to find out about your faith club, it sounds so interesting. You inspire me with your faith and gentle lifestyle. I thoroughly enjoy all your posts. I love how you look after everything, your home and garden, your husband and your pets. Your recipes are so interesting too and your designing a constant inspiration. God bless. Love Mandy xx

Winifred said...

Love your posts Jenny. Always so calm, so practical and very inspiring. Thank you for sharing your life with us.

Hope your migraines improve soon, they are so horrendous. My son has had them since he was 3 years old bless him. He's 49 now & still gets them but they are nowhere near as bad as they were when he was young. God bless.

Dots said...

Hi Jenny, Your apple & cinnamon Tea Cake looks yummy. I love your cooking recipes and pictures of the dishes you make. Many are different than those I have grown up with.
I hope you get better fast from those headaches. I'm wishing you felt better, and that they pass quickly.

Susan said...

Ah, Jenny, just reading from top to bottom, I could feel stress peeling off of me. You bring such calm to life. Thank you. I'm sorry about the migraines, but your progress in spite of them, the rhythm of your life in the summer heat ... it's beautiful to see. I know there are many more blessings in store for you, and am so happy to think about you two and six weeks off to enjoy your life together.

Manchester Lass, Now and Then said...

What a beautiful post♥ Thank you so much Jenny for sharing:) Linda

Martha Roberts said...

Your posts are like a balm for the soul. I look forward to them every week. Your apple cake looks amazing. My daughter also has bad migraines that are weather and stress related. I feel great sympathy for anyone who suffers from horrible headaches. I will pray for you as I pray for my daughter to be rid of those horrible headaches.

KingsailK said...

Jenny thank you so much for this lovely blog!I have been painting,making jewellery,for3 craft fairs.To raise money for another 80children in Nepal from poor homes to help educate them .My friend Margit goes out on 18th Nov to see them ,she set it up .We worked together in Israel many years ago.Aprreciate prayer for her.She goes out for10 days.God just wants us to be Faithful doesn't He?.XX

Lin said...

Lovely long post Jenny and lots of exciting things to come too. xx

Sara en Marie said...

I can recommend Rose Elliot for plain and simple vegetarian recipes (not all low fat, though, but a bit of good fat is good for you!)

Allie said...

Oh what a wonderful, newsy, picturesque post!!! I love seeing all around your home - still so thrilled that it's YOUR HOME! I'd love to make more veggie meals but I love meat, lol....and like my veggies raw. Mostly. Sophie cracks me up. Hermione used to sleep like that, but when it was really hot she would heat-dump like a squirrel. I'm so very excited about your coming club....such a blessing!!!!