Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Ordinary days and changing seasons in life...

Gradually a different routine has begun to form slower rhythms at home now that my beloved is working six days a week. At first I was amazed at how much could be achieved within our home and yard during the eleven hours between his early morning departure and welcome return at days end. 

As with most homemakers, and those of us who also run a small business from home, we can always find something to do, a room to clean, a cake to bake, a garden to tend, pantry shelves to scrub down and reline, or (as in my case) something extra to add to my business plans.

He has been in his new job (selling new cars - yes, very different from teaching) for almost a month now and for the first couple of weeks both of us were all "get up and go" as he was relieved to have new employment in a job he actually enjoys, and I had extra hours to use up my adrenaline and pursue more ideas. In our outside-of-work hours we managed the garden and he did other chores like cleaning the pool and washing the cars. 

But then we both came crashing down with exhaustion. Too much too soon? Well, yes, but in reality there was more to it. We were really missing each other so wanted to do more together when we could...and for my part there was a smidgen of loneliness creeping in which subconsciously I dealt with by 'doing more' than was needed.  

It's also the wrong season to be overdoing things when you live in the hot tropics. Our summers are harsh and there's no 'cool change' between October and April. Every day is hot and humid, every day saps your energy, even in air conditioning. 

We normally work harder in the yard during winter, when the days are a comfortable 25C (77F) and the air is dry and fresh. From late May through September this is the most glorious place to be and you can easily forget the long summer just past and the next one soon to arrive...so lovely it is just to enjoy the cooler months and potter about planting, reaping, preserving and spending as much time outdoors as we can. 

So we have genuinely felt the new busier changes around home of late and have come to the decision that regardless of what should be done, we shall only attend to what needs to be done in the garden until mid-May when the sun retreats a little. And just that one decision freed us up and slowed things down again. 

After the recent weeks of rain the passionfruit and guavas have come along swiftly and we look forward to feasting on them soon. The passionfruit vine is huge now and almost covers one long side of the chicken run - and the hens are very happy about that as they spend much of the day under the shady greenery digging themselves a dust bath and having a nap. 

Princess Sophie loves to lay on wet concrete or in the newly watered garden under the bird feeder. She also loves to stand at the chicken run and watch the hens. They occasionally come right up to her and for a while there's this sense of cat and hen sizing each other up in curiosity. 

Our trees grew many feet during the rainy weeks and both the Murraya and the Bottle Brush completely covered the bird feeder so we saw none of our regular cockatoo or rainbow lorikeet visitors for a while as they need to be able to watch all around for predators when they eat.
Hubby cut away around the feeder last weekend and now we're happily back to watching our feathered friends each morning as we have breakfast at the outside table. 

It's funny, but when a normal daily rhythm is interrupted or changed, you usually don't notice the impact at first, but when you do, the only choice is to go with the flow and keep as much of the routine as is practical whilst also settling into a new flow which works for all involved.
Like seasons, changes in life will come along regularly and it's best to be aware this will happen at some stage and be mentally prepared to adjust to them. I didn't do that with my husband's new job and longer working hours - they genuinely caught us off guard, but now we understand how every season brings change and with some common sense and confidence to face those changes and a willingness to adapt, we shall fall back in step again to traverse the peaceful and gentle path we desire.

In the magazine (here) I wrote about simplifying meals so that food, time and money is not wasted. I'm taking this very seriously and already noticing the drop in our grocery expenditure through January. 
But what I'm enjoying most is how much easier this is on my mind. Have you ever been anxious about what to cook for dinner? I agonised over this when the children were young because they would inevitably begin asking at breakfast "what's for dinner tonight?" - our family truly did run on tastebuds! 

Eventually I made up a rotating 4 or 6 week menu depending on the season and pinned it to the fridge with a magnet. Sure enough, as soon as they brought their breakfast plates to the sink they'd stop by the fridge to see what they could look forward to that evening. Of course, you can't please everyone so there was occasionally a groan about what to expect, but on those nights we had a tradition of allowing the non-impressed child to have vegemite sandwiches or cheese on toast and they were all very happy with that alternative. 

Leftover vegetables last weekend became a Vietnamese rice noodle salad (hubby's favourite) and I made enough that he could take it to work on Monday for lunch as well. 
I make up a big batch of the dressing and it stores well in the fridge for a month so this is becoming a weekly menu item now. THIS is the recipe I use for the sauce but I make up my own bits and pieces to use in the salad.

I've decided to make a new apron before the end of January, spurred on by a blog reader asking for the link to an apron I made back in 2015 - my favourite of all aprons, but one which I gave to Blossom when she was pregnant with Cully May and was never returned. The ultimate compliment. 

Because I do get asked about that apron regularly (people see it on Pinterest) I thought I'd pop the direct link to that blog post in my sidebar with a photo of me wearing it because it's my most favourite photo. Mr E took it and we were laughing and I was posing...such a wonderful memory. 

So I have chosen fabric and doilies to make another one this afternoon. It's Australia Day and hubby is home so we're just chillin' out and pottering around, making the most of our public holiday. We even had breakfast in bed, which we never do, but it was wonderful!

I think a larger print fabric works best for this apron, at least on me, and those beautiful doilies were a mere 30c each at the op shop I visited last week. 

If you'd like to know about this apron, known as the Magic Apron because it's sewn in one piece, the original blog post is HERE or use the link in my sidebar. Perhaps you'll make yourself one too?

I'd best be away now as I still need to wash the breakfast dishes before heading to the sewing room, but I shall leave you with the stunning fireballs which bloomed last week. They always burst forth in January after rain...another lovely thing about following seasons.

Bless each and every one of you sweet friends, and may your day bring a fresh wind of inspiration and creativity at home.


PS - Block One of Simple Days was emailed to all BOM members yesterday. If you haven't received it please check your spam or junk mail folder. I also had two email addresses bounce back to me from att.net and reagan.com - if this is you please email me asap (here) because I have no other way to contact you. Thank you. x


Kathleen said...

Sauce recipe?

Beth said...

Happy Australia Day, Jenny!! I'm heading back to work this week (I'm a school library assistant), so having the reminder to not overdue while I get back into the swing of things is good.

Kaisievic said...

Lovely post, Jenny, and good luck with all the changes in your life.

Kaisievic said...

P.S. I don't think that the link from your original, 2015 blog post to the pdf instructions works anymore 😢

Jenny of Elefantz said...

Added now. It was there originally but when editing I seem to have deleted it. Silly me. :-)

Jenny of Elefantz said...

I just checked, and you're right. Oh dear. :-( I shall try and find it somewhere. If you'd really like it just email me and I'll send you a copy of the pattern.

Joanne said...

Hi Jenny,
Beautiful photos ! Love the passion flower. I really should give it a go and get one for the garden this Summer.
Looking forward to stitching along with Simple Days :)

Lin said...

It always takes time to adjust to a new job/time scale so its good that things are settling down now. Thanks for the magazine Jenny - it's great. xx

Tammy said...

Cant wait to see your new apron. I remember when you did the original one. Goodness gracious its hard to believe that was in 2015. Tome is flying by. Your passion flower is absolutely gorgeous. I miss the days when my husband went to work and had long days. I got lots more accomplished then. My husband has been working from home as he does IT stuff. Ever since March 2020. Due to the pandemic. I get so much less accomplished now. And I have to cook so much more and am constantly cleaning up after him. But boy do I miss my sewing room and I'm sure its missing me too.

Brenda said...

Hello Jenny, I was looking forward to making your apron. One of my (step)daughters was accepted into a Culinary School in Spain starting this fall, if this dreaded Covid does not mess everything up. As a surprise, I am going to sew her up some aprons, dish cloths and even some place mats and cloth napkins. I am so proud of her and just beaming with excitement...as you can tell. I do have other patterns available, but I just liked the way your apron was all one piece. How simple and yet so pretty! I am glad that everything is going well and settling in for your family! Thank you for all that you share, Jenny! God Bless!!

Anonymous said...

I love your blog and your inspiring posts with all your lovely handwork. The apron pattern can be found here:

Jenny of Elefantz said...

Thank you for that. I have updated the links in both blog posts. :-)

Farm Quilter said...

Your garden is beautiful no matter what the season!! I've always lived where snow was the norm for the winter, so anything growing outdoors doesn't happen! Our lawns turn brown, as do the hillsides and mountains (at least those not covered by evergreen trees). It would be quite different for me to experience living somewhere during the winter when anything grew! The apron is so great, but the directions don't make any sense to me...guess it has been too long since I made clothing using any kind of pattern (35 years or so!). I'll just admire from afar.

Susan said...

Thanks for the nice "gab", Jenny. I can see you pottering about your house and watching chickens and birds and Sophie. Whenever we undergo a change, there's always some disruption and adjustment, but it doesn't sound as if yours has taken very long. It's too bad about that apron pattern, but someone enterprising will make their own, I'm sure. Where there's a will, there's a way. Mama said. =)