It's been quite a shock to skip over spring, and have summer arrive three months early, but that's the way of seasons around the world now so I have quickly adjusted my expectations to accept whatever the good Lord sends our way. After all, just waking each morning next to my beloved is a gift which I never fail to thank God for, and that perspective helps me to focus on everything I can give praise for, rather than what I could lament.
THE GARDEN and GROCERIES...
Yesterday I pulled up the remaining tomato plants as the green vegetable bug infestation had become too difficult to control. Jennifer lost and the bugs won. The hot and humid days bring them out 'en masse', each day adding more to their numbers than the one before, and far too many tomatoes were lost. Best idea was to take away their 'dinner' and bring the remaining fruit inside.
Some will ripen on the dining table near the front window, others will be fermented, and still more shall become a fried green tomatoes side dish this week. I may dehydrate the ripening cherry tomatoes, but I'll see how things go. Chutney and pickles are another option.
The last butternut pumpkin, lettuce and bok choy were picked today, but we've still got snow peas growing so we feast on them each night. Spring onions do well here all year round, as does rocket (arugula), plus the 'new to us' beet greens are in abundance for the time being. It's wonderful to still have greens for our daily salads, but I've planted out more radish as we've gone through the last lot already. All the cucumbers, which gave us a bounty this winter, are gone, as is my coriander (cilantro) patch as they do not like the burning heat.
I'm so glad that strawberries are cheap at our supermarkets right now, having arrived very late in the season, so I'm stocking up on them for jam making later in the week. This is the end of the tropical growing season, so I'm gathering locally what I can to preserve, freeze and use immediately. We will very soon be reliant on the spring/summer growing seasons of the cooler southern states (I'm in Australia if you weren't aware) and already we see prices higher than I can ever remember.
Rockmelons (cantaloupes) are already $7 each, so next winter we will grow them.
Our local egg farm just closed because they cannot get workers to collect the eggs...no wonder there's an egg shortage every second week in the supermarket.
As I pondered all this last night, and reflected on the menus of my childhood living with Nana and Pop, I acknowledged that we've really strayed away from the simple fare of those days. Today, with all the cooking programs, social media sites and cookbooks, many people are buying a lot of different ingredients for just one meal...and that can be expensive. Add up the cost of spices (some you may only ever use once or twice in a year), special cuts of meat, vegetables which are out of season locally and so they're flown in from overseas, and any other number of ingredient requirements needed to re-recreate the recipe which caught your eye and made you salivate...it won't be cheap.
Now I don't know about you, perhaps you're quite well off and can afford those luxuries, but as house mortgage rates rise (ours has gone up four times in the past four months, and we feel the pinch, even with a small mortgage) my husband and I have had to sit back and assess all our expenditure - deciding what is necessary and what is not. Considering this, we reminded each other of what it was like growing up with grandparents (he was raised by grandparents too, just like me) and how very wise they were with money, having gone through the Great Depression and WW2. They experienced first hand what it was like to raise a family in those years and and learned what it was to go without. Those lessons were ingrained in their mind, and we want lessons like those to guide our ways in the difficult time ahead.
I've begun making bottles of natural teas every few days. Hibiscus for bringing down blood pressure (and it's working), and a mix of lemon balm/mint/ginger as a night time tonic to help me sleep (also wonderful). I used to have these as hot teas every so often, but now I have them as iced tea straight from the fridge - and neither of them are sweetened, as they're lovely and fresh just the way they are.
I'm currently re-reading The Servant Queen, an inspiring book by the UK Bible Society about the faith of our late Queen, Elizabeth 11, her legacy coming to mind often over the past two weeks. Did you watch the funeral? We did...so full of respect and dignity and love.
Another read, though actually a daily study, my husband, Blossom and I are reading from the Complete Jewish Bible these days, and I cannot recommend this highly enough as it explains so clearly much of Jesus' teachings and what they meant to the 1st Century Jews He was living and ministering among. Brings the Bible, and especially Gospels, alive in quite an unexpected way.
In the evenings before bed I have another re-read. This book by Mrs Sharon White (you'll find her blog HERE) is one a handful of titles by her which I have purchased...
As you can tell, I love to fold over the corners of pages/topics I want to re-read! Her books are mostly blog posts she has written since about 2009, and full of her love for home, family, and more importantly, Jesus. In so many ways, as I read, it's like my own story of life.
MOVING THINGS AROUND...
With every new season I tend to look over our living space and attempt to make it function that little bit better. Last week it occurred to me that when we walk in the back door, from the garden, no matter how much we try to avoid it, we bring in leaves, grass and sometimes muddy water. I've always had either the blue couch or the dining table against the wall of the back door, so dust and debris end up either under that couch or scattered under the table and between the chairs.
My new re-arrangement is probably the most sensible one yet! I made a walkway from the back door into the kitchen at long last.
My desk is now in direct line from the new air conditioner, which really is important as I need to do work each day there and our spring/summer/autumn is ghastly hot.
THE OLD WAYS...
I hope and pray each of you are doing well, in whatever circumstance you are facing. Though a believer for 31 years, the Lord is still stretching me, He is still guiding me, and He is still forgiving me when I fall along the way. You may have that same testimony?
No matter the mortgage increases, the cost of groceries, or the scarcity of eggs, if we can curb our spending, eat and live more simply, be mindful of not using the car more than we need, switching off appliances at the wall when not in use, give thanks for all we have, and above all be content knowing that we are children of a great and mighty God who shall supply all our needs according to His riches in glory (note, the Word says needs, not wants)...then we shall be okay.
The Bible directs us to look to the old ways, and the old ways for me are the examples I saw growing up in Nana and Pop's tiny flat. Simple meals, small delights, contented hearts, creativity, beauty in flowers, there's no garden too small, hard work, staying home each day and not wandering off to socialise because attention to keeping home was most important, cleanliness of self/belongings/home, regular daily rhythms, respect for God, generosity to those in need, and restful evenings together as a family.
What have you learned from the old ways of your childhood? I'd love to hear them.
Bless you heaps,
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