So… maybe I will just be a soap maker :)

Hi all – sorry I have been away in my mind this year!

It has been a stressful year at work but all that has ended now after I didn’t sign a new contract, I am now unemployed. I loved my job, loved our team but the management has been awful and while some staff signed contracts under duress to keep their jobs 2 of us wouldn’t. Roger has no work either, however he has found private building jobs to do and has quite a bit lined up, we are hopeful he will keep getting enough to not have to go back to paid employment – his work kept running out and he decided he needed to source his own so left. Our 3 year plan of working for ourselves just came up and slapped us in the face two years prematurely but…we will survive I am sure :)

Workplace stress has taken up my whole year, through my attachment to my place of work and the people there I have just kept going feeling quite committed to seeing it through, however the last few months has had me wondering WHY? There are some life things that can’t be changed and they are the stuff of real life. My son and daughter-in-law are expecting their first baby together and are 6 months pregnant with my second granddaughter. The wee bub has a serious heart issue and presently unknown brain abnormalities. While we wait to see if she survives pregnancy, birth and subsequent heart ops this is very real life. Workplace stress, even with all the best intentions in the world, is needless drama – I could choose to say no more and walk away, life will go on.

What it means though is I have to make a living from what I can do right now and I have been busy making all sorts, I can’t deny foraging the countryside for flowers is feeling much better for me the last few days :)

Calendula, California Poppy and Violets

Calendula, California Poppy and Violets

Lots of soaps and different balms have been made and my first order went to the Winery. Woohoo!

patchrosepicolive leaf pic

I am already planning my next post on the therapeutic herbs I grow, so that’s a good sign considering how Away I have been :)

The garden is all in and alot more fruit trees were bought this year, Roger is going to try espelier down the whole back driveway. The fruit and berries we froze last season have lasted us all year. We have used 3 different types every day for smoothies and still have alot left, enough to last till the first new berries etc. When you get to have raspberry, fig and peach (or similar) smoothies all year around on what you have grown in summer that’s pretty cool! We still have pumpkins, garlic, frozen vegetables, chutneys and sauce to last so while I didn’t appear to have much to post about last summer in reality we did better than the year before by just freezing everything instead of so much bottling of sweetened fruit we never ended up using because Wendy is not so keen on cooking these days – I think winter puddings are a thing of the past well and truly!

An update on Angus etc – they are all doing great and getting along fine :) This little guy brings us so much pleasure, he is such a happy, joyful wee dude.



Spring is Here ….and Soapy Business!

I haven’t posted for ages and apologise for that, I have had a few emails and messages asking if all is ok. Well, it’s been a stressful year through one thing and another but we are good and still rolling.

Garden: Is mostly planted now for the summer garden and Roger is on the ball this year after having an easier summer of it last year. He has planted early and covering at night from the odd frost that still hits. A large area has been planted with potatoes, these are planted early in the season to fight a pest we get in this area through summer. It destroys potatoes but only comes with the warmer weather. Beetroot, carrots, lettuces, onions, garlic (planted mid winter) broccolli, silverbeet and beans are all in, tomatoes are in the glasshouse and under shelter in the garden, two good compost heaps are ready for pumpkins to go in, corn will be back this year once potatoes come out. All the berries are set to go, all the fruit trees starting to blossom :) Summer’s a coming!!! We gave our chooks away a few weeks back, we had a large area for the four chooks that were left and decided we could do more with that area.  Two chickens were no longer laying but all four were rehomed to a lovely couple to add to their collection of critters.

Freeconomy: There are nearly 1400 members now on our Facebook page and it’s going really well :) I love watching this group at work and though there are occasional dramas it’s nothing that can’t be sorted easily really. We are planning a social event, a clothing swap but this has been in planning mode for some time, life just gets too busy or complicated for all.

Work: Meh! Roger has had periods of not enough work and mine has been stressful but we plod away.

Tumbleweeds Soaps: Some great news here! I have my first wholesale customer and I couldn’t be happier with who it is :) Yealand’s Estate Winery is 5 minutes up the road and they grow organically and the first totally sustainable wine growers in the country, they are big and they are world famous. The guy who owns this is a legend in this area for retaining his humble manner and his ethos.

Yealand's Estate Winery, Awatere Valley, NZ

Yealand’s Estate Winery, Awatere Valley, NZ

They are going to be selling my products in the cellar door shop!

Cellar Door Shop

Cellar Door Shop

We had been planning towards opening a shop here at home but time and money were making that slow going, quite frankly this is a great opportunity and we both feel very lucky! And I am going to be busy…busy!



3 Quote Challenge

Lois, the Eco Grandma invited me to take part in this 3 Quote Challenge where we share 3 quotes we love and then tag 3 others to do the same, thank you Lois :) I am going to change this a little (because life is about breaking all the rules!) and invite anyone else who wants to to share their favourite quotes in the comments.

As a collector of quotes I had a hard time choosing only 3 but I have settled on these 3.


I work as a support person for sufferers of mental illness, I once struggled greatly with my own. Sufferers live their lives with judgement, stigma and ridicule for who they are and yet I know through spending many years talking to them they are amongst the most sensitive and humble people on the planet. They are wounded through the actions of others, they have stories wanting telling of abuse, heartache and shattered self image because of mistreatment by others. They are articulate, often very intelligent and they care…about each other, the world and the chaos they see everywhere. To me, they “get it”. We live in a crazy world where the people who see it as crazy are thought to be the crazy and the people who can’t see it are the “normal”. We ARE a profoundly sick society and anything more said about that will appear a rant and purely my own opinion so I shall leave that there, but hell’s bells…our world is a mess!


At the end of my life I would like to have as few regrets as possible over how I treated others, whether it’s family and friends or my fellow man and I would hate for my actions to cause something someone would remember forever. I am nowhere near perfect in this, for all my striving I am as pigheaded and obnoxious as the next person but I do know it’s important to at least always TRY to be kind if I can manage it. We never know where others are at or what they have been through. That is one thing I have noticed on social media, how unkind people can be :( Society has a terrible problem with bullying these days, I just find that awful and wonder where it all comes from, the spite and hatred for someone we barely know or don’t know at all. I guess I am just old enough to remember the days where people were actually nice to each other and to see how things have changed!


:) This speaks to me in a way no other does, because she is my truth. Messy hair, wobbly crown, no, definately not a princess. I don’t need saving because I always have the shit handled – in my own weird & poorly executed fashion I can do anything, if I just knew what it was! It’s always a reminder not to take things too seriously because the Queen of Chaos that is me always survives and that’s the important thing. Life is a merry-go-round and if I happen to be the one not sitting in a safe position but hanging onto the rail screaming as it goes around, well, I guess that’s just who I am and I shall have to be content with that!

Syd and Angus…the best of mates

Just a few photos as a follow up to getting Dot two weeks ago. Syd and he are the best of mates and we love Angus, he’s a naughty but very loveable wee fella.

They love to go for walks down the river togetherIMG_0446[1]They love to wreck the house together when left home alone

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They even conspire to show complete innocence together “Wasn’t Me, I slept through the whole thing…” Angus asleep on what used to be a cushion, Syd feigning sleep next to him.

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And every night they snuggle on Dad.


That’s before the howling at the top of the stairs starts when we go to bed thinking all is quiet and peaceful!

Sometimes, it’s just love at first sight!

The last thing I ever wanted again was a puppy. They are alot of work and we have loved all the pre-loved older dogs we have had so when I went visiting a lady off Freeconomy to innocently drop something off I was not prepared to come away besotted by a tiny animal. 3 wee dogs greeted me at the door, 2 white and 1 black Maltese/Chihuahua. I patted and cuddled them and said how gorgeous they were and she replied with a big grin “Do you want to see the puppies?” “PUPPIES!?? I LOVE puppies!” So I go in the lounge to find 2 of the tiniest dogs I have ever seen, one black Hairy McLairy looking thing with huge blue eyes, jumping here, there and everywhere, cute….trouble :) One little golden one just sitting, watching, head cocked to one side, a little ray of gentle sunshine. Our eyes met and that was that. 18 hours of pleading and begging Roger to let me have him and being told “Oh god, get him then, I can’t be bothered with 3 months of s..t if you don’t” and he was all mine :) :)

image2So this is Angus (the man who didn’t want him had to name him) with my granddaughter Caitlin who came with me to pick him up. I call him Dot. He is a Malchi, a Maltese/Chihuahua.

It turns out he loves gardening too!


More than anything he loves Syd and Syd loves him with all his heart.


Like lots of babies he is at his cutest when he’s asleep :)


Mittens, the cat, does not like Dot…does not like Roger or I right now either and has taken to living downstairs and occasionally sneaking into the lounge to stare at this demon, a thing that smells like a dog but looks like a rabbit, rat….what the hell is that?

The last weeks of autumn

It’s nearly officially winter but we have been experiencing some beautiful weather still. The Awatere Valley is beautiful in all it’s golden autumn spendor, the vineyards will soon be bare, the garden will soon just be bog but for now everything is just lovely. These two photos are of each end of our street.

The view at the end of one end of our street. I don't know if this photo shows very well the old Seddon Flax Mill built during WW2, in anticipation of needing to produce our own fibres. It was used but not for long.

The view at the end of one end of our street. I don’t know if this photo shows very well the old Seddon Flax Mill built during WW2, in anticipation of needing to produce our own fibres. It was used but not for long

Looking down our little street, you can see Roger's dead blue truck parked outside our place

Looking down our little street, you can see Roger’s dead blue truck parked outside our place, it’s next to the cream house on the corner

Roger has been tidying up the garden, pruning back all the fruit trees, berry bushes and boundary trees. I took this last weekend, he is in there somewhere. all of this along with all the others has been stacked into huge heaps, sorted into firewood, long straight branches to use for staking etc, all the finer stuff put onto next seasons garden spaces, it will kill all the weeds and shed its leaves directly onto the soil which he will then dig in. What remains to be burned will be done at the end of winter.DSC02271

I sit on a little step out the front on a nice morning to have my coffee. Everything is dying off but still a nice place to enjoy. This, down the front of the house, is the feeder trough we took out of the old shearing shed that was being pulled down. We grew strawberries in it.DSC02281We have heaps of Chillis growing in the glasshouse and I need to make more Chilli Sauce, I have made two batches so far and not liked either so if anyone has a tried and true recipe for Sweet Chilli sauce they would like to share….?


Feijoas and Figs are still coming thick and fast. Most have been frozen but I have made lots of Feijoa and Walnut cakes, Feijoa and Fig crumbles and a large quantity of Feijoa Wine, which at this stage taste more like a cider than a wine – and a wickedly potent one at that! The Feijoas have been huge this year.DSC02246One of my readers and dear friend Linne (A Random Harvest) recently sent me money to buy stock to raffle for the people of Vanuatu, recovering from their cyclone. It raised $160 which was awesome, thank you so much Linne. Another here, who I feel would rather remain nameless, gave a very generous donation to a fund for them and I thank her on behalf of our friends there xx you lovely ladies.

DSC02222When I do my wrappings I make alot of mistakes and have been frustrated at the waste involved so decided to try and recycle those mistakes. My first effort at handmade paper drying in the sun, it has dried Calendula petals and Lemon Verbena in it. I wanted to experiment with something I have plenty of before I use precious Rose petals etc….I need lots of practice!


Other than that I am still busy making soap etc, seeing to Freeconomy which now has nearly 750 members, still drying herbs and flowers and working a little. We have had another spate of quakes so all our stuff has been taken down and lies around the outsides of the rooms, the house looks a mess but better than risking losing everything again. My heart goes out to the people of Nepal who have lived with such terror and lost so much, I can’t imagine what life is like for them these past few weeks!

I almost forgot to say – tomorrow Syd starts his new job as a rest home visitor, a petting dog. I am hoping we both enjoy it!IMG_3178

The frightening increase of Autism…projections of 1 in 2 children being born with it by year 2025

I read an article a few weeks back and it has just sat in my mind until yesterday when I commented on someone’s blog, it actually scares the hell out of me. This IS REAL and the consequences are mind blowing.

Autism rates have grown hugely over the last 50 years, this chart shows it’s increase since the 70’s, it is now thought to be as common as 1 in 68 children are affected by it.

At the current rate it is projected by researcher Stephanie Seneff half of all American children will be autistic by the year 2025, read here. There is no reason to expect it to be any different in other (particularly) Western countries.

The year 2025 is not some year pulled from a science fiction movie, it is 10 years away. The consequences of this are tragic and it’s happening. These are our next generation of peoples – these are who will care for our elderly, protect our countries, be our next generation of parents IF they become parents, these will be our citizens of the 21st century. I am not being discriminatory here about Autistic children – I met a 13 year old boy a couple of months ago who was extremely intelligent and a very charming boy. The reality for his parents is constant behavioural issues, needing to relocate because they can’t get adequate help for him, he is constantly bullied at school, he has social problems, huge anxiety and obsessions and much as his parents love him dearly and are great parents, they also have 5 other children and it’s a huge stress for them. I work as a mental health support worker and know that the children’s mental health team has grown in size very quickly to cope with the growing numbers of those coming through with Autism and Aspergers – this impacts on lives, a projection of 1 in 2 in ten years time is a huge impact on our society as we have known it.

Much has been said about the vaccination of our children causing the sharp rise in numbers, Seneff discusses the use of glyphosate in our agriculture, even birth control pills are thought to be to blame – there are many views on why but whatever the reason it all comes down to our use of CHEMICALS in many/every area of our lives. I watched a trailer for a movie the other day in which a man stated “of the 30,000 chemicals known to be in use in our world today only 1 % has been tested for safety by independent researchers”. 30,000!!! We make food from chemicals and package it in chemicals – we bathe in chemicals, we feast on them, we inhale them, we smother them on our skin, we are prescribed them when sick, we pollute our natural resources with them, our air is full of them… our lives are being affected in ways we haven’t been willing to acknowledge by our exposure to them, these numbers don’t lie.

And for anyone who trusts that our lifestyle has no bearing on our high and quickly growing incidence of autism there’s this – autism in the Amish is 1 in 10,000,

1 in 2 children is a disturbing reality for me and it needs to be a wake up call for all. These are our children, our grandchildren…this is our projected future of only ten years. We each need to start shopping smart and educating ourselves….we need to push chemicals into extinction by the way we spend, by the choices we make – each of us, all of us. Can you really imagine our world at the end of our own lifetime with increasing statistics like this?