Wednesday, May 10, 2023

Birds, sewing, garden, family and a freebie...

I had intended doing a post last week about the garden progress, but to be truthful, I didn't make the extra time. In fact, over the past twelve months I have been less able to blog because this life is full, and as the days or weeks pass I'm not sure what to share with you for time seems to overflow with happenings in and around home or within the family and wondering which bit to capture and share eludes me. There's always something to plant, tend, bake, sew, read...and there's often a loved one or a good friend to spend time with. You know...these are the important things, the ordinary things, which make up the foundation of a simple life well-lived. 


It's usual to write a "catch up" post after an absence, but I think today I'd just like to tell you, and show you, the things which have brought me joy the birds who visit every day, the birds who have very little fear of me and if I just walk slowly by them, they stay right where they are, doing what they're doing. I have been especially cheered to have a new visitor each day, this handsome Kookaburra - and if you know anything about me, you know they are my favourite bird and feature on our front door and in a painting near our entranceway...

Then there are the regulars, like Cockatoos, who mostly visit in the morning...

...and the family of Myna birds who have made their home (and had their babies) just under our carport roof. They strut around the yard all day long, walking beside me as I tend to the garden, and know when I say "get off" that I am telling them to either get off the new raised bed or off the ceiling fans in our undercover area (they LOVE the ceiling fans!), and they promptly obey. Blossom laughs when she hears me talking to them as I don't have to raise my voice, just use a stern tone. ;-)

And of course, the rainbow lorikeets, who gather with all their clan around 4pm every single afternoon. There can be ten or twenty birds at the feeder all at once, and more on the clothesline or in one of our trees waiting their turn. And my oh my, the noise! Yet, it all brings me joy. 

There's also a pair of Catbirds (a variety of bowerbird), Sparrows, Honeyeaters, and a few Ibis which visit through the day. No matter what time I go outdoors, there will be feathered friends to chat with, and they always cause me to thank God for His gracious gift of birdlife in our quarter acre. 


I am still enjoying a couple of hours sewing each afternoon; sometimes a bit of mending (I have a pile of hems to take up later today), sometimes some machine piecing for the quilts I am working on, sometimes preparing applique for the next block of a quilt, and sometimes quiet hand sewing as I listen to an audio book or watch an old episode of Marple or Poirot. 

When each block is completed I hang it over a rail in the sewing room. The blocks hanging at the moment are for two different quilts. 


Well, there's so much growing in the garden now that I need to draw myself a map/layout of all four sections across the quarter acre so I can remember it all! It's still only late autumn (our best growing season in the tropics is winter) and nearly everything is still at the seedling or just sprouting stage, but there's so much promise in this and I get incredibly excited when my seedlings begin to take off, or a tray of seeds have sprouted. The flowers are bright joys sprinkled among everything, too. 

Here's just a little of what is planted so far. In the front yard - my 50-year old ironing board died recently, but we're so sentimentally attached to it that it's been repurposed as a growing frame for a pot of winged beans. Either side of this are raised beds which have snow peas, cucamelons, beetroot, capsicum, rockmelon, and a variety of flowers for the good bugs to visit and the bees to enjoy. I'm also very attached to our ancient Garden Gnome which has travelled all across Australia with us when we moved here and there whilst the kids were growing up (homeschooling all the way).

Down the side of the carport we have seedlings of lettuce, a fresh growth of ginger, curled parsley, sage, and more flowers.

Just outside the back door area is a very large raised bed which is still being filled...

...and near it is a smaller bed with broccoli, rocket, thyme, rosemary, and flowers. Beside it are pots of spring onions (green onions), calendula, and baby beets just sprouting. 

Further along the back of the house is the garden where our bird feeder is. Hubby cleared this and fertilised it after Christmas and then erected two wire screens so that we can grow tomatoes and blackberries across them.
The wire screen below is home to the blackberry bush in the centre, which is flanked by gro-bags of zucchini, rocket seedlings, radish seedlings, coriander (cilantro) seedlings, nasturtium and other flowers. Since I took this photo another gro-bag has been placed between the two wire screens, filled with lovely basil. 

The other screen has three varieties of small tomatoes on one side, with marigolds between them. On the other side there's more marigolds and chrysanthemums. 

We have plenty of sweet potato growing in three different areas of the garden, as well as French carrots (which must be thinned out today), herbs and flowers. 

Right up the back near the pool and behind the shed we have more sweet potatoes, sweetcorn (almost ready to harvest), lettuce, cucumbers, native culinary plants, and two varieties of blueberry.

I've scattered flowers all over the place and even have some pots hanging in trees which have been planted with sweet pea seeds. If there's one thing we know, it's how integral bees and friendly insects are to keeping the garden healthy, as well as keeping the pests to a minimum. 

Flowers are so lovely and I'm very excited to see my roses blooming again (recently pruned) along with the asters, dahlias, and the cosmos, marigolds, zinnias, angelonias and sweet peas!! 

Thrilled that the Dendrobium which Rosie gifted me is flowering for the second year! Oh, it's beautiful. 


A new photo of Blossom's precious trio to share with you...

Thank you for all those wonderful prayers for my husband's ankle. Turns out when he fell the tendon stretched so hard that it broke off a piece of bone from his foot, not the ankle. He did not need a cast or the moonboot after all, but continues to have it strapped whilst attending physio. Another three weeks of light duties at work and all going well he should be almost back to normal again. Bless your kind messages and prayers. xx


Autumn finally arrived in the tropics yesterday morning! It was a cool and inviting 16C (60F) when we awoke and for a couple of hours I got to wear my pretty purple slippers. It was cool again this morning, but apparently our overnight temperature will return to 20C (68F) tonight, and daytime temps a comfortable 29C (84F). 


I have had a number of ladies email recently, asking where they can buy my old "Eye on the Sparrow" pattern. It was never for sale, always a freebie, but when Craftsy closed all their makers shops (mine included) it disappeared. You can't list free patterns on Etsy, but I did share it once when I had it on Google. Then Google updated our drives and many old files were removed from public view, so once again you've not been able to find it. 
I emailed the pattern to those ladies who asked about it, but as that's time consuming, I'm sharing it with all of you again today.

Use the link below to download this FREE pattern -

I often find myself singing this song as I walk the garden or hang the washing, with all my feathered friends around. I marvel at God's hand upon my little life, especially at His kindness in the small things which you'd imagine unimportant in the big scheme of life. Yet, He is God, and there is nothing too small about our lives for Him to care's all important, because we are His children, and we love Him. 

God bless you dear ones!!
Till next time...

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Joanne said...

Hi Jennifer,
I enjoyed "walking" through your garden this morning with a cup of coffee in hand :) Wow ! There will be a lot of delicious meals and pretty flowers along with gorgeous smells to enjoy !
Love the idea of repurposing an ironing board ! That red one of yours will sure be a fun eye catcher once the plants have climbed all over it. I saw one used as an organising space filled with hooks, containers and magnets.
Kookaburra reminds me of a song we sang in Brownies more that 40 years ago!
As the mending pile shrinks so does the wardrobe grow :)
Thanks for sharing all the photos !
We, The Netherlands, have already had the wettest Spring on record and it isn't even the first of June !
Hugs, take care,

Lin said...

My first read this morning Jennifer and such a pleasant start to my day. Soooo much in your garden! And all doing so well. We are past the frost curfew now and so have been planting out summer flowers and veg - courgettes are already forming which is lovely but it will be some while before there is anything else to eat. Your birds are beautiful and I am hopeful that next winter we will attract more to our garden. For now though we have stopped feeding as we would prefer them to forage on insects and larvae in the garden - natural pest control hopefully. Your pile of completed applique blocks is growing so nicely, how satisfying. So glad to hear that your husbands foot is not as badly damaged as thought and hope that it will continue to heal well. xx

Miriam said...

Good bless you Jennifer and best wishes to your husband. Sorry, I didn’t know.

Valerie Dix said...

Dear Jennifer, I wanted you to know how inspiring your emails are and I look forward to seeing them in my inbox. I came across your wonderful work sometime ago on Craftsy and we all know how all that ended, unfortunately. I lost a lot of wonderful patterns that I had saved, but things do happen. I really just wanted you to know how inspiring your work and emails are to me since I signed up for your email newsletter. I'm hoping to use several of your patterns in my own quilts, hopefully soon. Thank you so much for all you give us, of yourself and your family. I can say that you have a true fan in this lady from Tennessee in the good ole USA. Thank you for all your free patterns and thank you for being you. May God Bless you and yours always!! Valerie Dix

Tammy said...

Jenny thank you for sharing the sparrow pattern again. I really liked your post today. so many wonderful photos of your home, projects, plants , birds, gardens and grand children. The children are growing up so quickly. I am so happy Mr. E is on the mend with his physio therapy and light duties at work. I have sew enjoyed reading your post Dear friend. Be blessed my friend.

Susan said...

You are so right, Jennifer! He is in the details of our lives, and no detail is too small, no happiness excluded. I have always loved that pattern, and am so happy to see it resurface! Thank you for sharing it. It's long been a favorite song, too. I loved seeing your garden growing. We've had only flowers this year, and those are fine with me, though I would like to plant the packet of carrots I found today in a box - at least a few of them should grow! Carrots I can eat! I'd like to find some parsnips, too, as I like those and can eat them, too.

Your birds are amazing. I don't have the colorful ones, but I have plenty of birds, though my owl has left for the summer. I see little rabbits hopping everywhere in the dandelions and buttercups. It's a beautiful time of year, here or there, and so much to be grateful for having. Thank you for always reminding me of that. The children are beautiful! And purple slippers are the best! So glad to hear your DH is doing so well, too. That was a scary event, but it's turned out better than expected.

Julie said...

Another beautiful newsy post dear Jennifer - thank you! I enjoyed it with my cuppa this morning. The birds are so beautiful - I well remember from my many trips to Aussie - the amazing bird life you have over there. Just gorgeous. Your garden is looking wonderful as it comes to life in autumn. We are having cooler temps here now & the fire is on GO! I am so pleased to read Mr E is on the mend at last - I was thinking of him whilst driving back from visiting Mum. And the best of all .... those wee darlings who are growing like crazy - just such blessings. Thank you for this wonderful Post & all that you share. X0x0x0

Mary-Louise Parker said...

Thanks Jennifer lovely blog as alwYs. Glad your husband is making progress. Very painful. I can Imagine. Your birds are fantastic and beautiful!! As is your lovely family. Xx

MY MUSINGS said...

Lovely, beautiful, peaceful, and talented in all areas as usual! So glad hubby will heal up okay! My grandson in law cut his right wrist a couple months ago, with a sickle type knife, and had to have the tendons repaired. Still trying to get movement back in his wrist, fingers, etc. Adam is his name. Hugs

Allie said...

I remember learning the kookaburra song in elementary school - never forgot it! Love those birds. Love the pics of the grandies and your pretty purple slippers! Your garden is gorgeous!

Judith said...

Reading your posts is always uplifting for me - spirituality and mentally.

Unknown said...

So enjoyed this post. It is Mothers day here in Bermuda, warm and sunny.
I meandered through your garden, smiled at the children and birds, and wished
I had one of your yummy looking treats with my morning coffee! My property is half acre, but with two cottages on it, so my actual yard space is like yours.
Iam going to hunt till I find an old ironing board like yours to use as a trellis,
A brilliant idea!!! I grow everything in pots, so this would be perfect for me.
Thank you for the sparrow pattern, looking forward to doing it. Bless you all!
Sue in Bermuda

Carol said...

Loved seeing your birdie friends and strolling through your garden. The ironing board trellis is genius!

Jenny of Elefantz said...

To Sue in Bermuda...

Sue, we bought that ironing board decades ago at the local tip shop. It was old back then, but very sturdy (they do not make them like this anymore, sadly). Do you have a tip shop? In Australia it's a recycle shop next door to the local rubbish tip.
If you have anything like that, go check it out because you may find lots of old things people have thrown away which could be used as trellises.

Bless you!