Help needed for the people of Vanuatu

I have written several posts in the past talking about our friends from Vanuatu and a couple of my blogging friends have kindly emailed me to ask if they can help them in some way. Yes please, if you can!

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Vanuatu is a group of 80 islands in the Pacific ocean, many of the men from Vanuatu come to NZ to work as seasonal workers in our vineyards and fruit orchards, this is how we came to know a group of them – they worked with Roger in a vineyard and for the past four years we have got to know them and learn more about them.  A post I did for Eco-grandma aka Living Simply Free about the men we know.

The majority of Islanders are unemployed, their jobs are “gardeners” which means they simply grow their food, their homes are dwellings built from what is available on community land. They fished and ate from fruit and coconut trees that grew prolifically on their islands – now destroyed by the cyclone. Their lives are humble, they are humble. Because there is so little employment there there are little taxes paid, their government is poor – education costs nearly $300 a term and that is why the men come here, so their children can be educated and the men are proud of their ability to do this for their children, it’s a huge thing for them. Most of the men are now returning home to help there, to go back (with less money than they hoped to earn) to no homes, no food, no government assistance. Aid has been slow to reach them, made worse by the fact there are so many islands, many communities live quite remotely.

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Seasonal workers await news from Vanuatu

We are unable to get in touch with those men we know however ALL the people’s of Vanuatu need help – these people think as one, their community, their beloved country and they would want help for all not just them – so, I am asking here please donate if you can, even $5 to the Red Cross or Unicef to help them. There has also been a page set up at Givealittle for Marlburians to send a large container of building materials and though I know none of you live here I do know this money is going straight to this cause so adding it here: http://givealittle.co.nz/cause/marlboroughassistsvanuatu/donations

A newspaper article about this fundraising

A 4 minute radio discussion from John Campbell, one of our journalists who is there now.

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Herbal Folklore

quarteracrelifestyle:

As a follow up to yesterdays post I thought I would share this :)

Originally posted on Sanctuary Gardener:

Fantasy forest house via 1ms.net SG

Tuesday evening, I attended my first meeting of the South Carolina Herbal Society here in Charleston. Because I’m very interested in learning about herbs and herbal medicine, I brought my membership form and annual fee with me. After the first meeting, I can already say that it is going to be worth it! The leader of the meeting is an experienced herbalist, and she shared for an hour and a half on herbal folklore. As we know, there is usually a thread of truth underlying “old wives’ tales” or folklore, so it was interesting to learn how people used herbs centuries ago. Although she couldn’t possibly touch on every herb and its folklore in that short period of time, she did speak about the most common herbs. I’d like to now share with you some of what I learned.

I took pages and pages of notes during the meeting, writing furiously to…

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Autumn and the Herb Garden

I cannot believe it’s the first week of Autumn here, summer seems to gone so fast! We have had a very dry summer, officially reaching drought conditions a month ago and there have been fires in our area this summer for the first time in quite a few years. With Autumn comes the dying off of the garden and I have been busy preserving all the herbs as they also reach their end. This year we extended the herb garden with our last ornamental garden pulled out and planted. I LOVE the herb gardens and learning more about their uses – love cooking with them, using them in soaps and herbal creams and skincare….I still have much to learn but I really enjoy it! This year we have had Mint, Soapwort, Parsley, Feverfew, Nasturtiums, Lemon Balm, Chamomile, Peppermint, Comfrey, Basil, Lemon Verbena, Echinacea, Rosemary, Tarragon, Calendula, Thymes, Oregano, Don Quai, Sage and Chives and I have also been collecting wild plants and weeds like Borage, Dandelion, California Poppy, Plantain etc. I don’t grow Lavender yet but I will next year. With a friend down the road with a lavender hedge and a sister with a lavender farm there seems little need right now to grow it.

French Tarragon

French Tarragon

I love using these fresh but need them throughout the year so I have been drying them all, the kitchen herbs are in jars in the pantry, the ones I use for soaps etc stored in many paper bags and boxes.

Chamomile

Chamomile

Last week while out picking Sage and Rosemary I had the great? idea of trying smudge sticks (I am all fingers and thumbs so found these a little fiddly to begin with) A quick look on-line gave me the instructions and these are my first attempts. One thing worth noting if you ever decide to try them – they shrink ALOT. Don’t tie off your ends of string as you will probably need to re-tie them but these are lovely to make and smell gorgeous.

Smudge

Smudge

What can be made from the herb garden excites me and if you have ever thought you would like to grow and experiment with them I urge you to do it – I read about them for years but never really did much about it, they are beautiful to use.

Herbal toner

Herbal toner

 

Dandelion & Calendula

Dandelion & Calendula

I am sorry to see the end of the herb growing season and have been rushing to dry everything….the poor garden is looking rather empty now….tomorrow I will be taking all the basil and making pesto to freeze. I also like to freeze fresh herbs in olive oil in ice cube trays, rosemary, basil and oregano are nice done this way. I had plans to make some seasoned salts too but they are at least dried and I can do this later in the season when not so busy. It’s also a time of seed saving though early days yet.

The front porch seat where things are put to dry

The front porch seat where things are put to dry

Mid January we went away for the weekend and passed through the city where the lovely Gallivanta lives (a fellow blogger) She had told me to drop in if we were down that way as she had a book for me. She had two as it happened and they are lovely ones too :) I very much appreciated them and though I haven’t had time to sit and read too much I know through Autumn and winter I will have my nose stuck in these!

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AND, though I really didn’t need the extra work and had to think long and hard about it I started another blog two days ago to be added to my shop site when I can figure out how to do that. On this blog I have always kept to more frugal ideas and recipes but this new one has the recipes for what I sell. Two reasons for doing this…they are nice! and they also show the work and expense that goes into making nice products for sale. Though not exactly cheap to make many use flowers, herbs, weeds and wildflowers so if you are interested in making your own skincare and home products I invite you to follow me here https://www.tumbleweedsnaturals.wordpress.com/  – It is VERY new and you will recognise a couple of recipes I have shared here at quarteracre.

 

 

Summer lovin’

Hi, I am back :) Working on a new laptop that I hate, Windows 8 sucks by the way, for anybody thinking of buying a new computer! And for anybody waiting on an email reply from me please let me know because some of my emails are disappearing out into the net world never to be seen again I am discovering – I have replied to all! This has been an expensive month after having to replace a laptop, vacuum cleaner, cell phone and repairs to the truck – how glad I am now that I worked all those hours!

We are harvesting from the garden with some great successes this year but also disappointments. We lost all our tomatoes this year, I think my husband was to blame for that one though he is keeping quiet about what he possibly did to them. I have a feeling that the “foliage feed” he used was something else entirely that he knows I wouldn’t have liked him using but he did in error. Our self sewn beetroot that we transplanted out in great rows all failed, a terminator gene maybe? Our strawberries have not done well. But after a few years of failed potato crops because of a bug problem here this year we harvested over 70 kg of beautiful potatoes. The raspberries went crazy and we got over 40 kg with autumns berries already on their way, the beans and zucchini are always great cropping, the blackberries, cranberries, peaches, peppers and chilli will have very good harvests, silverbeet (chard) lettuce and broccoli have all self sewn everywhere for regular picking. The pumpkins are spreading out everywhere again with plenty on. We got heaps of onions, garlic and carrots and have stared replanting empty spaces for autumn. The herb garden is wonderful with another rock garden dug up and planted in herbs (another post!)

After saying I wouldn’t be freezing vegetables this year, I am :) Old habits die hard and it seems stupid not to when you have it lol. Jams and chutneys and being made at the moment, last year I made around 35 jars of our favourite Zucchini Chutney and just used the last of it two weeks ago so will make the same this year. We still have heaps of bottled fruit left from last year and 14 jars of other chutneys Roger wont try so I will be sticking to just the one in future. We ran out of tomato sauce a month ago and the commercial stuff is disappointing in comparison so I will have to buy a mountain of tomatoes to make more.

I have made no liqueurs or wine so far this year, I just haven’t felt motivated to. I have gone back to work doing strictly one day a week plus m on-call shifts which are simply by phone if any issues and occasionally going in to help with something. Roger is still doing 5 days a week but the work is far less demanding physically – I have to say I didn’t realise how exhausted he was and how hard he pushed himself on the farm. He had little desire for the garden but now is back to his old self and out there for hours….it’s tidy again! :)

Me, most of what computer time I spend is on the Freeconomy page – we have grown from 130 at the beginning of December to nearly 500. It is working fabulously but there are occasional issues of greed, grabbing, rudeness, a couple of people selling stuff they got free on other pages! People are people and there are all sorts out there, after banning a few we are going great.

I am back to making my soaps and hope to do a market this weekend. I have been busy drying herbs and local weeds/wildflowers for use during the year. How to package them at reasonable cost is always a consideration but I have settled on this, brown paper with a band. Printing whole sheets for wrapping was too expensive.

Anyway, I think this is about as long as it needs to be. I hope others are enjoying their summer, or keeping warm through their winter.

My computer has died….

My laptop has gone bung and I am using Roger’s old desktop that is as slow as a wet week and quite frustrating to use so I am not going to be around WordPress much at all, I thought I had better let everyone know why!

A most painful thing is I have lost all my soap labels, papers etc! I am not sure yet when I will be getting another….maybe another few weeks or so, not sure at this stage.

Wendy

Permaculture Works…A Ten Year Transformation!

quarteracrelifestyle:

I had to share this from the lovely Beltaine Cottage, 1 woman’s work over 10 years

Originally posted on Bealtaine Cottage:

Just over ten years ago I bought a derelict cottage standing on three acres of wet, rush-infested, north-facing land.

This is how I transformed it, using only Permaculture and my own labour.

See for yourself and share the magic!

Bealtaine Cottage

Bealtaine Cottage Feb 2012

Windchimes at Bealtaine Cottage

Bealtaine Cottage before permaculture

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Bealtaine Cottage wheelbarrow to compost heap

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Bealtaine Cottage sign

Manifesting the Divine Feminine

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www.bealtainecottage.com

www.bealtainecottage.com

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Year One…the pond and stream beds were dug and the water has flowed ever since!

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www.bealtainecottage.com

www.bealtainecottage.com

Looking out on a May evening... Looking out on a May evening…

For the past fifteen or so years, Mother Earth has been communicating with us in a powerful and energetic way.

She wants us to plant her, nurture her and most of all recognise her for the Great Mother she is.

I heard her over ten years ago.

I write about her and photograph her magical ways every day, uploading to bealtainecottage.com several times a week, to be her voice and advocate.

The energy is quickening.

We live in wonderful times.

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