Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Living a life...

 You may have noticed that my blogging is more sporadic these days, not as regular as it once was. It's been interesting, this past year or so, to discover that many changes which were once just ideas invited into my mind to ponder, are now becoming tangible, practiced habits...so living this rather ordinary yet satisfying life, much more than reading about it, or writing about it, is becoming my normal. 

In fact, I don't walk around with my camera just an arm's length away any more either. There are moments every single day where I would like to capture a scene, to share it with you - but then I soon move on from that moment to another, and find my body and mind absorbed in a new task. 

The burn...

About ten days ago I accidentally poured boiling water over my left hand, a distracted painful mistake which caused a different kind of slower life as my hand needed to rest and heal. Everything I did was carefully considered, my left hand protected, and with each passing day thoughts of 'living' an even slower life by choice (rather than injury) continued to grow in my mind. 

I pottered around the garden, watering things, tending to the roses and vegetables, before sitting in my chair under the large Poinciana tree with a book and a cuppa, the birdsongs above me becoming a chorus to serenade my quiet hour.

Meals were simpler, and I was grateful for all those which I'd made up and frozen in the weeks and months earlier. One night my dear husband picked up some Chinese take-out for a change, but overall we have managed on what was already prepared, or things I could make without overusing my injured hand. 

Two days after the accident I returned to (gently) hand stitching a project I'd begun the week before. How wonderful that my right hand was not the burned one. 

The Wildflowers quilt top (wall quilt) had been patiently waiting to be sandwiched and hand quilted, and finally a few days ago I got to work preparing it.

Normally I use spray baste and a few basting pins, but the can was empty so I used a lot more pins this time. 

I'm hand quilting with DMC Perle 12 thread. The centre and outer border are crosshatched, whilst I've just quilted in the ditch around the applique blocks. 

Later today I'll be able to complete quilting the outer border, and tonight I may sew down the binding. It's the first day of winter on Thursday and I'd like to hang it in our living room then as this was the main purpose behind choosing such a wintery palette.

I've done more reading than usual lately, especially the informative kind. I enjoy learning more about gardening, homemaking, natural remedies, sour dough, baking, sewing techniques, and extra Bible study...but now that my hand is healing nicely (the thumb and ring finger still have a little ways to go) it's time to put in to practice what I've learned, rather than read about or 'watching' others doing it on Youtube. 

These are two books I bought recently at KMart, and I have to say they are great for teaching more about the things which matter to me around home- Costa's World (an Aussie gardener who writes about everything connected with home gardens) and The Wellness Cabinet
The other book is one that Blossom surprised me with from the library, a novel I'd mentioned to her might be a nice historical read - though I rarely read fiction anymore, unless it's listening to an Agatha Christie audio book while I cook or clean in the kitchen. All will be enjoyed during my cuppa time in the garden.

The cold...
The weather here cooled suddenly and we found ourselves wrapped in blankets one morning during our Bible study, our socks and slippers no longer enough to keep warm. Of course this seems funny to my husband because I still swim my laps in our pool at 6am each day, and the water is freezing...then I come inside and say "I'm so cold". ;-)
Anyhow, I brought out our few winter items yesterday and washed them all. I also added a second quilt to the bed, bought a nice soft mattress topper, and cooked a nourishing beef and vegetable stew for dinner. The temperature this morning was 11c (52f) and we're aiming for a high of 25c (77f) today. Might be time to buy some long sleeve tops as my two cardigans are quite thin. I also need closed in shoes as I only have sandals. Crazy stuff when you live in the hot humid tropics and then it gets cold. Ha ha! But I do hope we get a nice cool winter...it's good for the body and soul after an eight month summer. 

During those first two days after the accident, I decided to research things which were listed in a "discover more about" notebook. Keeping my mind off the pain and immobilising the two fingers which had taken the brunt of the burn (thank the Lord we have more than twenty aloe vera plants in the garden as it was wonderful for soothing and healing) meant being distracting with things that grabbed my interest. 
I've got Emmer flour to use in breadmaking and wondered how it would go as a sour-dough starter, and how well it would bake in a sour dough loaf, as every grain responds differently when used for bread. Anyhow, I came across two very interesting bakers and I learned a lot.
Firstly, there's this wonderful woman in Germany, named Eva, who bakes SO many different types of bread that you will never run out of ideas. She does sour doughs, gluten free, all grains, flour free...honestly, she's marvellous. Her instructions are very easy to follow and are shown simply. There are subtitles in other languages if you don't speak German - thankfully. :-)

This is her way of creating a sour dough starter and I've decided to give it a go as I have those same Weck jars and prefer this method to the ones where you end up with a large jar of starter that always needs to be discarded or used in discard recipes. 

As the weather here is cold (we think it's cold, though you may not) my starter may take a bit of time to ferment well before I can use it...

....but that's fine as after a month or so of pondering and praying, I decided to buy a new breadmaker, one that can be used for sour dough, cake baking, and many other things. It should arrive around the time my sourdough starter is ready to be used. 

I chose this particular Panasonic breadmaker after first reading about it in Chloe's post on Annabel's blog (here) and then researching many reviews. What's wonderful is that Chloe has patiently tried and tested the best way to bake her sourdough loaves in this particular machine with constant success, and I'm so grateful she shared her method with Annabel's readers because it's like being given the answer without having to work out the problem. 

The other bread baker I discovered is Elly from my own state, Queensland, and she was using the Emmer flour I was researching for her loaf of sourdough. Through her I discovered that Emmer grain is actually grown here in our state as well! She also uses the same Mockmill grain mill as I do, but purchased the Emmer already ground. If you don't know about Emmer it is one of the ancient wheat grains which has never been altered. The video below was the one I watched...

So that's what has been happening here, apart from -

Blossom's joyous 29th birthday last Friday and the baking of a dozen cinnamon scrolls because they are her preferred birthday sweet each year; a 750 km round-trip drive to Cairns on Sunday with hubby, where we escaped garden chores for a whole day and reminded ourselves how much we love long road trips with stunning scenery; and hubby's continued excellent healing of the broken bone in his foot. 

In closing...

This morning I read Grandma Donna's latest blog post, always they lift my spirits and draw my heart ever closer to the simpler, humbler life. What surprised me was how eloquently she described exactly the thoughts of my own mind these past couple of weeks...

"I knew that I was feeling pressures from electronics but did not realize how consuming electronics have become and how they have slowed down getting things done in my home and robbed me of mental clarity.

I feel that the internet has cause many of us to be addicted and that is what the electronic industry wants us to be.  We need to relearn how to be present. 

When we do find something of interest on the internet, read it like a book when there is time "after" chores and meals are done.  

Stepping away from the computer and phone is like getting off of a drug and then it feels like going back home to a much better time.

Making a batter feels right and purposeful.  It is doing instead of learning to do and the best way to learn is by doing."

Let me encourage you to visit her blog and read THIS post yourself...there's wisdom there to ponder.

I'll be back with the next Virtuous Wife block on Thursday for you to download, and will share some thoughts about it then as well. Having extra time to sit and study the Word these past couple of weeks is like topping up the fertiliser on my tomato plants. They're doing wonderfully in the prepared soil, but every so often they need a bit of extra fertiliser so they stay strong and healthy, and stand up against some of the bugs which will want to attack as they bear fruit.
We are like that tomato plant. For those of us who love the Lord, study His Word, pray, choose to walk in His ways and turn from worldly influences - there will come seasons when we must immerse ourselves even deeper in our Bible study, examining our heart/choices/attitudes/actions/relationships, so God can uproot those worldly weeds which hinder our spiritual growth and nourish us with the life-giving watering of the Word instead.

God bless you dear ones, 

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Susan said...

I enjoyed the catch up, and am so sorry to hear about the burn - ouch! I don't use my computer on Sundays. I take the day off to keep the Sabbath, and I don't miss the tech. I'm sewing more and teching less all the time.

I love making sour dough things, and find you can make ANY bread-cake-cookie with the Amish Friendship sour dough recipe I use for starter. I've been thinking about a bread maker after being at Edi's and seeing how easy hers was to use. It doesn't heat up the kitchen like the oven, either. I will check the videos you posted and see how it compares to what I've been looking at online.

Thank you for your thoughts about so many things. A lot of them have been rumbling around in my head lately, but you are further along that path than I am. Your thoughts serve as a beacon to pull me onward. =)

Joanne said...

Hi Jennifer,
That's more that Ouch ! Very hot tap water is bad enough but boiling water is another level ! Sounds like your hand is healing day by day :)
I remember seeing photo's of your cinnamon scrolls here over the years :)
Thanks to google maps, Townsville to Cairns , looks like you had a great trip passing through Koombooloomba and Wooroonooran national parks and views of the ocean.
Thanks for posting today ! Those sour dough starters, bread machines, different flours will sure make the house smell delicious this Winter !
Glad you are enjoying your days and keeping positive with such a hand injury:)
So many moments in a day to value and appreciate. The last two weeks we have lost a friend to Cancer. Another friend had a heart attack and is getting better and is back home. We picked up Covid as a souvenir which we haven't lost yet :)
Time to get out in the garden and enjoy a coffee break :)
hugs, take care,

Lin said...

Haha - 20 degrees here and everyone is stripping off! I had never heard of Emmer. I use spelt a lot for bread and find that it is a more 'modern' version of Emmer. Enjoy your new bread machine. Lovely quilting and such gorgeous colours. This is the second place that I have seen The Bookbinder recently - I must look out for a copy as it has good reviews. Glad both hand and foot are continuing to heal well. Stay safe and well. xx

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for your blog and patterns. This Alabama girl has followed you quite a while. I found you on Etsy and used some of your patterns to make tea towels. So sorry to hear about your burn! Glad you could still stitch and do some light gardening. I love handwork, quilting and machine quilting. I’ve recently become a new grandma for the first time so I’m sewing lots of baby things!! I’ve always loved finding ways to get God’s word in my home and in other people’s homes- so thank you for your patterns.

Julie said...

Hello dear Jennifer. I had been thinking of your burn & hoped it was healing. Boiling water burns can be so nasty. You have reminded me to get an aloe vera cutting from my daughter in law as I am often burning myself on our fire when putting on wood & not being careful. Your wall quilt is just so beautiful - I love everything about it. I am also so pleased to read you are having some cooler temps over there at last. Wouldn't it be wonderful if you got a proper winter. Take care my dear friend x0x0

Susan said...

So sorry to hear about you burning your hand. I could feel the pain. I am also glad to know it is healing. We are having a week of 90F temps which is unusual for May. We don't usually get them before July & August. Plus no rain is in the forecast again this week. The only things growing are the weeds. Will pray for continued and complete healing for your hand.

Lori said...

Greetings, Jennifer! So glad to hear your hand is healing! Fresh aloe is so very good. Your quilt is beautiful! I hope to make one someday. Right now I am working on a little stitchery that says: "It is well." I love the story in scripture about the Shunimite woman whose beloved son dies suddenly. But when asked, she persists in her faithful answer, "It is well." So encouraging and now I will have a daily reminder in my embroidery project.
I understand about slowing down and being present. We just graduated our youngest of 6, which concluded our 30 years of homeschooling. It has me thinking about the next steps in my life, and I have had to draw ever closer to the Lord. A good thing! Life's twists and turns can be good for the soul.
Many blessings to you and your continued healing, loving, baking!

Anorina @SameliasMum said...

I'm glad to read that you're hand is healing after the nasty burn. Having aloe in the garden is very handy.
Thanks for the bread links. You've sent me down a bit of a YouTube rabbit-hole (in a good way) and I'm thinking of trying some different bread recipes.

ButterZ said...

So how is your hand doing now. It sounds painful.

Kay said...

I have really enjoyed your catch up. I am so sorry about your hand and hope that you continue to heal well. Sending love. X

Annabel said...

I am so sorry about your hand Jennifer. Burns are so painful. And poor Raphaela... that is also a big fright. And your husband too! I hope each of you are better day by day. I am so thrilled with how Chloe has tackled sour dough and a list of homesteading goals so I am proud that her post was helpful to you and I hope that the bread maker and your sour dough are a big success! If you need a started I can easily dehydrate some for you, if you have any trouble. I converted mine to GF but Chloe has regular. It takes only a day to dehydrate to post and another day to rehydrate and then off you go. xxx

Mary-Louise said...

Hi Jennifer, poor you very nasty, horrible burn! Hope it's well healed by now! Thank you so much! For such a lovely blog, beautiful photos, and ideas as always. I am going to check that new book out! I am reading Last supper on the Moon! Really enjoying it! Along with a Donna Leon book her 30 th. They are set I Venice. We are having beautiful sunny weather atm here. I am saved 40 years on the 17 th June by His Grace! I am going to do something! Don't know what yet! XXMary-Lou

Ingrid said...

Hola Jennifer.
Por aquí decimos: "Hay que darle al cuerpo lo que pida". Si lo que te pide es más calma para poder observar (y disfrutar) la vida con más detenimiento, adelante. La quemada en la mano no es casualidad. fue una señal adicional de que necesitas pausar tu día a día y disfrutar todos los procesos. Yo sí entiendo el frío del que hablas porque también vivo en el trópico jajajaja. Te deseo pronta mejoría. Principalmente que pase rapidito el dolor. Recibe un fuerte abrazo desde Maracaibo, Venezuela ❤️❤️❤️

Anonymous said...

Oh Wow Aunty Jennifer, I have missed a lot around here! Your burn, hubbies broken foot and Blossoms birthday. Its all been happening. I hope you are both recovering well and getting the rest you need.
Praying for you all.
Love Emily x