Thursday, February 17, 2022

Quietly living each day...

The daily rituals of homemaking have a way of slowing the mind and building contentment as the tasks we attend to through the hours of our day are accomplished one by one.

My days lately have mostly been a mix of gardening in the early hours before the scorching sun hits the back garden, washing, cooking, stitching, spending time with our grandchildren and Blossom, general repairs, dusting, re-arranging furniture and the weekly vacuum and mop of all rooms.

As I mentioned last week, doing a little gardening each day adds up to quite a bit over time. We've had some good days of rain on and off, which have made things more bearable outside, so I gather cardboard boxes we've saved and lay them over weeded garden areas, before positioning pots and covering everything with sugar cane mulch. 

I'd love to have the energy (and strength) to get it all done in a couple of days, but I cannot, so I simply enjoy the results which accrue after these 30-60 minutes spent weeding, repotting, and laying out board and mulch  most mornings after hubby leaves for work. 

I'm learning to work within my limits, especially as some recent bouts of intense fatigue has slowed me considerably. Fortunately my new doctor was wonderful and did extensive tests to check on a number of different health issues which I was having and discovered my auto-immune disease was flaring up (first time in twenty years) and I needed my medication increased. It will take a couple of months to get the new dosage correct, but how grateful I am to know what the problem is and that in time the new symptoms will lessen. 

I rescued this dahlia from the nursery for 50c about six months ago. My husband was sure it was wasted money because "it looks dead"...but I have nurtured it well and now it's blooming. Surprise bonus, it has also sent up new plants nearby!

Do you remember the tiny Poinciana tree we planted in our yard in August 2019?
At that time it was just 12 inches high...

Well, 2½ years later and it's huge!
In fact we sit outside under it on Sunday evenings with a cool drink, and just smile at each other in complete satisfaction of a dream come true.

My husband calls it the Jennifer Tree because I always dreamed of having a Poinciana to sit under. Creating a pretty area beneath the lush branches will become a task for April, as we move into autumn.

With all the rain these past couple of months, the trees which grow beside the bird feeder have actually 'overgrown' and the feeder was completely invisible so the native birds no longer visited. 
On Sunday I set to work trimming away the branches and making a lovely wide space for our feathered friends once more. It did not take long for them to return, and you know me, I adore the birds, so my heart is very happy.

Last month I bought a cast iron Dutch Oven (from Kmart of all places, and it's excellent) but didn't get around to using it for baking bread until the other day.

The bread was wonderfully crusty and quite delicious, exactly what I'd hoped for when purchasing the Dutch Oven, so that day my afternoon tea was a lovely thick slice with butter and apricot jam.

One day a week I do a bit of homeschooling with Cully May and Rafaella, which allows Blossom some one-on-one time with Charlie. I have genuinely missed homeschooling since my kids grew up but found I quickly slipped back into the familiar rhythm of the Charlotte Mason "living books" based curriculum with my two granddaughters.

After our lessons last Wednesday the girls set the coffee table for afternoon tea and we feasted on lemon iced carrot cakes and Prince of Wales tea with a little milk and sugar. This was so good that the girls had three cups of tea each! They are just like their mumma, who loved our morning and afternoon teas every day during all those years of being homeschooled. Sometimes we would pack everything up in  a hamper and have a picnic tea by the ocean or in the garden, depending on the season or where we lived at the time. When the weather here cools down I'll take Cully May and Rafaella on picnics like that.

My sewing has been a mix of a few projects. I have some very pretty Sara Kay fabrics to work with for the distributor, 2 Green Zebras, and decided to make a gift for Rafaella's 4th birthday in March. I began with 27 large hexagons, but shan't tell you what they will become until the end of the month.

Blossom was given some of the fabrics to work with as well, and her project will also become a gift for Rafaella. Can't wait to show you our completed projects! These fabrics won't be in quilt shops until April, but as you can see they are the cutest little prints.

I'm also stitching a new design for my Faith, Heart & Home pattern club...needle-turn applique this time. At the moment I'm not sure what month this pattern will be available, but hopefully soon.

Whilst preparing for my doctor's appointment on Monday I thought it wise to take a book along as waiting time can run from 20 to 45 minutes. At first I packed my latest homemaking tome in my bag, but then reconsidered and replaced it with my absolute favourite Jane Austen novel, Persuasion.

Whilst most will wax lyrical about Pride and Prejudice, and I admit it's a wonderful novel, my heart was captured by the story of Anne Elliot and Captain Wentworth many years ago, a story which even today brings me joy to read. So once again, I'm turning the pages and relishing the slowing - because that's something wonderful about Austen's books, they are slow, oh so wonderfully slow.

Morning Bible study is the best start to the day, though.
After preparing my husband's work lunch, I set the table for breakfast, make the coffee, fill tiny bowls with our assortment of vitamins and minerals, and then we eat together and chat about the day ahead.
Once done, we both settle into the couches with our Bibles for a half hour until it's time for him to leave.

This week my study is 2 Peter, and I've been struck by two things...

1.  How important 'these qualities' which are mentioned in chapter 1:5-7 were to him, because he makes numerous mention of practicing them throughout the first chapter. 

2. One of 'these qualities' - steadfastness - means 'cheerful endurance' and really fed my desire to pursue a steadfast nature (along with all of 'these qualities')

For a few years now, when I study my Bible, right beside me is the Strong's Exhaustive Concordance, because I learned it was not enough to just read the words in my English Bible - it's important to understand the full meaning from the original language as this brings the Word alive in a deeper way and opens the eyes of my understanding to the fullness, complexity, pure truth and divine authority of God's holy Bible, especially as we seemingly face end times.

The roses all decided to rest for a couple of weeks, unusual as they tend to take turns in producing a full flush of blooms so that my table is always beautifully displaying a vase or two or three. 

I gave them all a little trim, more soil, mulch and fertiliser, and carefully removed spent leaves...and within ten days they came alive with abundant beauty once more! First, the beautifully fragrant Perfumed Passion rose offered forth her fluffy pink flowers, which delighted my senses as this is my favourite rose. 

Now the blue rose is flush with blooms so they'll be cut for the vase today. The long stemmed reds are almost ready and will be ready to cut at the weekend. I'll prune them right back at the end of April, but for now it's still summer and though they need care not to burn under our tropical sun, I find immense joy in this expanding hobby. Come winter I shall purchase a few more bareroot roses and large pots and continue to 'grow' my new day perhaps my garden will be a rose retreat, for beauty's sake alone.

Before I sign off today, here's some photos of the new designs for the next set of Faith, Heart & Home stitchery club patterns.

It was our 30th wedding anniversary in December, and I designed and stitched this lovely memento to frame and hang in our home. Often I'm asked about patterns for a new marriage or a wedding anniversary, so you may like to stitch this for that purpose?

There's also this appliqued "love begins with home" design...

...which I finished as a cushion for the bedroom.

And there's also a new block for the Heart of Psalms / Heart of Home quilt project.
The text for both versions is included in the pattern sheets.

To find out more about receiving Faith, Heart & Home patterns just pop over HERE

I hope your own week has offered some slow days and quiet times to simply rest in the goodness of home, family and God.
Until next time, God bless you and keep you safe in His care.


Winifred said...

Another lovely post Jennifer. I love your Jennifer tree, it's beautiful and how amazing how quickly it's grown.

Glad you've discovered what's causing your fatigue. Hope the medication changes work quickly for you. I'm amazed how much you achieve despite your medical problems. Take care & God bless.

What a lovely time you are having with the girls. Precious times as they pass so quickly. Can't wait to see your new designs, Blossom's too. Those fabrics are just up my street!

dewdrop said...

Here in northern Minnesota, we are very much in the winter season. Cold weather often blasts down from Canada, with harsh winds & temps far below zero F. At times F & C agree with the temp gets to -40 degrees. When it is so cold or snowy, it is a pleasure to have slower days to stay at home, so appreciate being retired when the worst weather arrives. So enjoyed seeing your garden photos, the lovely roses especially, as here is all gray & white. Fun time to study the seed catalogs & dream of summer & flowers! Diane from Minnesota

Anorina @SameliasMum said...

Your garden is looking lovely and how wonderful that you get to spend quality time with your littlest ladies x

Joanne said...

Hi Jennifer,
So much beauty and colour fills your days :) Thanks for sharing all these beautiful photos !
Wow ! That Jennifer tree! Have fun creating a lovey spot to sit and relax, enjoying the shade of your tree :)
Hugs, take care,

diana said...

Oh I was so happy to find your post this morning. I had been a bit concerned. Your words are so enjoyable and peaceful . Praying your medicine helps quickly 🙏

Tammy said...

Good Morning/ night Dearest Jennifer. Your roses are so beautiful . I love that gorgeous Jennifer tree also. It has taken off and grown so very much over the past few years. The girls enjoying themselves at your tea is a beautiful picture. Cully's smile is just radiant.....They are such beautiful little girls. I am sure the birds are very thankful you have cleaned around their perch so they can dine on the bird food feast daily. My mother adores birds and has many feeders in her yards and gardens. And birds always make me think of her. Have a blessed weekend ahead Jennifer.

Unknown said...

Sounds so lovely. Been reading your love letters for at least 4 years now and just never left a hello. Sorry. Prince of Wales tea has the orange oils in it so be careful with yourself. Love seeing your native birds. So different than the winter birds of North East US.
Thank you for reminding us over and over again about what is really important.

Allie said...

OH MY - your poinciana tree is just gorgeous!!!! It always amazes me how busy we can stay around the house, and I don't even cultivate a garden. Just a thousand tiny jobs to do....and sometimes big ones.
What a blessing you are to those children - they will remember these days with Nana. Such joy in their little faces!!! Love all the designs, your designs always have a feeling of coming home to beautiful.

Susan said...

I totally agree with Allie. I was also hoping to see a picture of the blue roses. I had one blue rose in my wedding bouquet as I fell in love with them the first time I saw them. They are hard to find around here and are expensive.

Jenny of Elefantz said...

Only the Earl Grey and Lady Grey teas have orange...(they are part of the Prince of Wales teas).
The traditional black Prince of Wales pure tea has no flavourings, which is why I use it.
Ellen, thank you so much for caring!! I can't tolerate orange in any form due to allergies and must be very mindful when choosing ingredients and teas. xxx

Jerseygirl said...

Your posts are so peaceful. Thank you

Ondrea said...

Your garden is beautiful due to all your love and attention. I can't believe how quickly that tree has grown! I love the sweet fabrics you are using for the hexie quilt and am eager to see it grow. The girls are so blessed to have their nanna home schooling them. They are both so cheekily cute! You must be feeling so proud of them. Can you believe how time has flown? Your new stitcheries are beautiful, as always. Such a talented gal coming up with so many new ideas. Soooo glad that you are pleased with your new doctor . It is such a comfort knowing what is wrong and how to treat it. I hope your health improves soon. Hugs xx

Pink Rose said...

Hi Jenny lovely post , your garden looks wonderful and I love the tree and what fu spending time with your grand daughters,xx

Christine M said...

Another lovely post Jennifer. Your little tree has grown so much in 2 1/2 years. That is such a lovely photo of the girls enjoying their afternoon tea. Beautiful stitching as always too. I hope the medicine starts doing it's thing and you're feeling better soon. xxx

Unknown said...

Oh good. I must have read the wrong information when I looked it up. Ordered some on your recommendation. My favorite is a dessert tea (not really tea of course). Stash company's Christmas in Paris. Thank you for sharing. I can hear the Father saying,"Well done Jennifer. Well done."

Glimpses of My Heart said...

Persuasion is also my favorite novel of Jane Austen. When they are in the drawing room and he leaves, then comes back, slides out the paper and seems to will her to accept him this time with his eyes…..*sigh*. My favorite!
Your rose is very beautiful! Like one of the women who commented above, I am also in the northern portion of the United States and covered with a good amount of snow and frigid weather. I love seeing your gardens and imagining I can smell the roses…..which reminds me… you still have your chickens?
Have a blessed day!

Jenny of Elefantz said...

Sadly, no we don't Michelle, because I developed a severe allergy to chicken feathers (I wrote about this in the May/June 2021 issue of The Homemakers Heart ezine - ).