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

IMG_0435 (2)

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.

IMG_0437 (2)

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?

Autumn Harvests

I seem to have gone right through summer with only one or two posts, I apologise for my absence at the busiest time of the year for a garden blog – it’s just been crazy busy here. Most of my computer time is taken up with the Freeconomy Facebook page these days and I feel it’s important to keep up with that.

While the bottom vege garden is being put to sleep for winter the fruit trees and bushes have been giving us a huge amount of fruit – we have peaches, figs and all sorts of berries coming in bucket loads. I am freezing most of this, have made jams but no bottling of fruit this year – though I have made a batch of peach wine (I will post the recipe for this when I find out if it’s ok)


This is what my benches look like every couple of days!


We have harvested around 4 kgs of honey from the hives but have left heaps there for the bees for winter. I found an easy way to extract, covering an oven tray with aluminium mesh, cutting all the honey and comb out of the screen and placing on the mesh, put in the oven on around 50 deg C (barely warm) and the honey melts into the pan leaving the wax behind.

The herb garden is nearly empty and much of it sitting dried in boxes or hanging on two old clothes airers – what the lady of the houses uses when hubby is too busy to make a rack for her!


The green hedges around the front have all grown up now creating the privacy we wanted.

DSC02214What else we have been doing: Roger is enjoying being back building and is doing an adult apprenticeship (did I mention that?) so he has been studying. He has also had some great scores from stuff that has been headed for dumps – a huge amount of school library shelving came home and has been shared out amongst his mates. He has lined his basement workshop with it and it’s now very orderly and tidy! He also got a great pile of insulation that was going to be thrown out and he has put it both underfloor and topped up the attic with it. He has been working on the water feature and finally got it standing, it was too heavy to lift on his own.


With leftover concrete he made this on an old beehive tray I scavenged two years ago. In January we went to a family reunion at the site of the old homestead his mother was raised in and he took an old piece of barbed wire and a piece of chimney rock, they are in the middle here.


Our truck has broken down so I am sort of stranded at home during the weeks, unable to work because I can’t get there. I can’t get to the markets either though my sister kindly offered to sell stuff for me at her market up North. Also all my products are now in our community office which sells local crafts. I have been doing the garden, preserving all the food (we have two large full freezers for winter) making sauces, chutneys and jams. Making a heap of soaps etc and trying to declutter by giving stuff to Freeconomy. All my soaps and creams are generally left downstairs which is a pain so I converted a little desk with it’s drawers and cupboards to a little store of things closer to hand. ???????????????????????????????

We are still intending on having a shop here so are moving in that direction…when all the food stops coming in and only the front garden producing again it gives more time for other things.

So, that’s what we are up to, I haven’t disappeared…still around :) I hope those of you going in to Spring are enjoying the warmer weather and those of you heading towards winter have your firewood at the ready!