Thursday, June 25, 2020

A warm winter and a sick hen...

This winter is so very warm, brilliant clear skies and so warm in fact that I swim in our pool each afternoon to cool down. Water and swimming have always been my way of unwinding, a way to exert physical energy that also draws out the excess mental overload I too often carry. 

The garden is a mix of hits and misses - very productive with herbs, pumpkins, tomatoes and capsicums, but slow with beans, cucumbers and zucchini. I picked three pumpkins last week and they are out by the back door 'hardening' for a while as I've read they should sit for a week or two before you cut into one. These are Kent (otherwise known as Jap) pumpkins...

...but I also have Butternuts growing out front that won't be ready for another six weeks or so.

I never knew three pumpkin plants to spread so far! I have been pruning them back regularly but still they wander far and away, even now extending to the front window and if left unattended I imagine they'll find a way through the front door! More pruning this week...

It's lovely to enjoy our own tomatoes, spring onions, cucumbers and herbs right now as salads play a big part in the weekly menu. We grow a few different varieties of small tomatoes and just as we did last year they often disappear into our mouths between picking from the vines and arriving at the kitchen bench...fortunately we have three times as many plants this year so a return trip to pick more is not a problem.

This was our first cucumber, ever. Is it silly to be so excited? No, of course not. Though admittedly I made it last three days because even though there are many more on the vine they're not ready to pick yet. 

Hubby has planted a passionfruit vine beside the chook pen fence which we hope will thrive and weave it's wandering arms across the wire. You can also see the beginnings of a bird net which will cover the coop and around the guava tree beside it. This is to keep a family of pigeons out of the enclosure.

Our dear Bess was unwell for seven days, not eating, very lethargic, and generally not interested in anything at all. She had an impacted crop and I found myself learning many new things about raising poultry and how to use natural methods to heal a sick hen. 

From mixing Vegemite and water together and administering into her mouth through a syringe, to massaging her crop numerous times a day, to adding apple cider vinegar to her water (which I do every day now), to something that finally shifted the crop - olive oil across the top of her water. It was miraculous!

Since then she's been eating again, far more sprightly and back to her old self. Her and Daphne still enjoy porridge for breakfast  but now I add a tablespoon of yoghurt to the mix because the probiotics are good for their digestive system.

Daphne's health never waned, she's quite a hardy girl.

With only one hen laying it was such a blessing to visit Rosie last week because we'd not seen each other since last November and her dear husband sent me home with a huge bowl (which he'd made himself and I have borrowed) of duck eggs!

Now I really know what colour 'duck egg blue' is.

Rosie has taught herself macrame and what beautiful plant hangers she's made! I've seen some of the photos she shared on Instagram and couldn't wait to see them for real. They are scattered through her home and add that something extra which only comes from being 'handmade'.
How blessed I was upon arrival to be gifted a small surprise package - my own macrame plant hanger. Of course, a few days later Mr E took me off to the garden section of Bunnings for the right plant, bless him. 
Doesn't it look lovely hanging in our entrance?

I gave my sewing room a spring winter tidy up this week because when things become cluttered in there I lose some creativity and the desire to sew, choosing rather to sit out in the living room with hand embroidery. 

It took two days and I enjoyed every minute, listening to an Agatha Christie book on audio (Sad Cypress) as I decluttered, sorted and reorganised. 

Sure enough, once it was done my sewing mojo went into top gear and I 'finally' made one of my favourite stitcheries (The Stitch Sampler) into a mini quilt and now it's hanging right near my sewing machine and ironing station.

The simple border and binding are beautiful old Tilda prints which were the inspiration behind the thread colours I used in the design. 

My husband is on holidays from Monday for two whole weeks (mid year school break) and I've gotten my Elefantz work caught up so I too can enjoy a break from work. One of the fun things on my list for these coming two weeks is to go through my huge tub of completed original stitcheries and choose four or five favourites to turn into projects which can be displayed here at home. 
Some mini quilts, cushions, table runners, frames...any or all may appear by mid July and I'm so excited to be setting aside this time to 'play'. 

I'm reminded almost daily the words God spoke into my heart back at the end of 2018 - "Use what you already have"...and honest, I have a lot of stitchery blocks and I have enough fabric to make things with those blocks, things that reflect my desire to create a warm, welcoming environment in our home. Like Rosie's home, which overflows with the welcoming beauty of her handmade quilts, pillows, up-cycled furniture, decorations and macrame, my heart's desire is to bring life within the walls of our own abode, life that sings with the essence of what matters to myself and my husband.

For us, lots of greenery (we have plants everywhere) and colour and comfort...that expresses who we are. Sewn items, fresh baked breads, beautiful music, vegetable gardens, trees, hens, wild birds, engines, dirt carts,  (hubby loves to build things that go!)  - these are also expressions of the people who live within these walls. 

I think there's a journey of discovery happening right now, deep down in my heart.
A journey that will discard and embrace, a time to learn new habits and skills, a revisiting of delights long forgotten, and a letting go of what holds no relevance in this season of life. 

"Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?"
Isaiah 43:19

A dear friend emailed me this week to share her heart and on a much deeper level than I she also is letting go and moving forward to a new thing. Reading her words, absorbing her description of how God is setting her world in a slightly different way to what she has previously known, I was encouraged, inspired, and excited for both of us. 

Are there things in your life that are changing? 
How are you approaching this?

Next time I'll give you a better look inside my newly uncluttered sewing space, and see what you think about having a repeat sew-along in July. No stitchery, just sewing. An oldie but a goodie.

Bless you precious ones.
loving hugs


gracie said...

It is always heart warming to visit with you.

Irene McConnell said...

Hi Jenny
I have started some meditation and, "Win Hof" breathing, as well as ending my shower with a blast of cold for 2 minutes. A few squeals later I feel great. I have some potatoes rhubarb and gooseberries in my garden, I would love to have chicken and Bees. God bless you, enjoy your time off with family Irene

SusyQ said...

You seem to be in fine form at the moment Jenny which is lovely to see.
I wish my sewing room was as neat & tidy as yours, but I can't seem to stop buying more fabric....(eye candy for me)
Your pumpkin vines remind me of Jack & the beanstalk. Beware of giants.
Stay safe & well. God bless.

diana said...

I have my stitch pattern ❤️😊

Joanne said...

Hi Jenny,
Growing a passion fruit for the fruit! Cool ! Here, they are decorative climbers and if the Summers are just right for them you might get a few fruits with nothing in them.
Those really capture their character :) Lots of great things happening at the Elefants home stead!
Fun looking ground cover from those pumpkin plants! Must be an eye catcher!
Sewing in July ! Enjoy the coming Winter weeks!

Farm Quilter said...

Your garden is doing well considering the heat you are dealing with!! Pumpkins do tend to stretch out and consume huge areas of the garden. I'm so glad your chooks are doing well now...I'll have to pass on to my daughter the apple cider vinegar trick! Enjoy the time off with Mr. E!!

Carol in Texas said...

Jenny, I love the fabrics you use. From what designers do you purchase them?

Little Quiltsong said...

You are so creative Jenny - and a wonderful gardener and chicken Keeper :)! Enjoy your two weeks off with Hubby - and puttering around in your lovely, cleaned sewing room.

Mandy Currie said...

Hello Jenny, your sewing room looks gorgeous, I look forward to seeing more. Your garden is really producing now, it's lovely. You sound so much happier. God bless Love Mandy xx

Jacqueline said...

You sound good. I am happy for you. Great post.

MY MUSINGS said...

This post was so beautiful....from the pictures to the healing of your chicken to the words of God moving us on to better things. I was encouraged. Hugs~

Susie said...

So glad your hen is better. Your garden is always amazing. Do you have problems with critters eating the produce? The tropics are usually flush with all kinds of non-humans but your produce looks wonderful.

Jenny of Elefantz said...

I am refreshed, Mandy...the Lord is good. :-)

Jenny of Elefantz said...

I don't follow any particular designers, and most of my fabrics are many years old (Some years I only purchase a few yards) - but when I find a good deal on an old line that caught my eye and my imagination then I will purchase a bit.

Jenny of Elefantz said...

Ha ha!! Yes, if I don't keep cutting them back the vines would climb to the roof!

Jenny of Elefantz said...

I only have cold showers, and swim all through winter as well. I've found it's good for my health. Enjoy!

Águeda said...

You have a wonderful home. It is evident that you love and care for it. I was very curious that the beans and zucchini are slow where the pumpkins nevertheless grow strongly. Here, on the other side of the world, the same thing happened in my grandfather's garden: We had an abundance of potatoes, pumpkins, tomatoes, cucumbers and melons, but the beans never grew well. After many attempts, the bean terraces were replaced by peppers, and they grew well.

Lin said...

Your garden is very productive Jenny. We usually position our butternuts so that they can roam around wherever they like - but we do have plenty of space to allow that! Your stitch sampler looks gorgeous and I love that Tilda fabric. Enjoy your 'holiday' and stay safe. xx

Allie-oops Designs said...

I'm so glad Bess is feeling better!! You are becoming quite a farm hand. Your pumpkins and all are looking spectacular!! I can almost taste the pumpkin soup. Your sewing room is gorgeous. So very glad you got to visit with Rosie - what a pretty gift she made for you!!! I love your stitch sampler. I hope you and Mr. E enjoy your break, you both deserve it!!!!

FlourishingPalms said...

Your life is so interesting, probably because it's very different - not better or worse, just different from mine. I wouldn't have the first clue about taking care of a chicken, and honestly, I don't know what a "crop" is! I'm a dumb city-girl, I know. As nice as it would be to raise my own produce, that's just not possible where we live. In answer to your question, I know of one thing that is changing in my life, and I've taken it to the Lord. I need to know what to do about the disturbing feelings I have for what was once a happy activity. Makes me realize that life isn't about the same 'ole, same 'ole, stagnating in one place, but moving on. I think I'm feeling nudges toward a different creative path.

Susan said...

I'm so glad your hen is back to normal. Those duck eggs are so varied in size, but such pretty additions to the bowl. It's lovely to have your harvest going on, and to think about you swimming in winter. Even in the desert, we couldn't do that in the middle of winter, without a heated pool. One of our favorite RV parks, after we retired and traveled around, did have a heated pool and there is nothing like a swim on a sunny day that isn't also baking hot. =) I'm looking forward to seeing what your 2020 reboot brings in July. Yes, I definitely need to do that, and the more I think about it, the more I know where to start. Thanks, Jenny!

Ondrea said...

Yep, sick hens are a problem but they are lucky they have a caring nurse to bring them back to good health. My SIL had to amputate a foot off one of their chooks. I can't imagine that it is warm enough to swim up there lol. Beautiful abundance of food there to enjoy. I love your sampler stitchery. Sorry I have been slow in blog land... life gets in the way. Xx