Two Hearts

The Love Hearts Tree.

Photographed in my friends garden in Eudlo Queensland Australia, it seemed that there was such love in that small town. Almost everywhere I looked I could see the love, hearts were everywhere when you began to notice them.

Although known in their house as the Love Heart Tree It’s official Name is the Bleeding Heart Queensland Poplar, (Homalanthus populifolius)

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Infused Dandelion Oil

Infuse Prompts – Infuse

Like many gardeners, I have long thought disdainfully at the Dandelions creeping through gaps in the pavement, through pots of blooms and pretty much anywhere they can get.  There seems to be an endless quest to rid gardens of these bright and cheerful plants and many resort to harsh chemicals to do just that.  But last summer I made a discovery about this wonderful weed. It is amazing, that something which has been considered bothersome is in fact packed with nutrition and healing properties. So I thought in my quest for better natural remedies and health, that I would give it a try. I had nothing to lose.

I made some oil which I thought might help with arthritis pain. It is also good for aching muscles as well I have found out and has a slightly warming sensation on the skin. It is olive oil infused with dandelion and smells rather nice. It is also a pretty good skin conditioner so even if it didn’t work I would still use it. But to my surprise it did. So I made some more and gave them away in bottles as Christmas gifts. As I patiently wait for more dandelions to bloom again this year I’m finding out just how useful they can be. Since the oil has only two ingredients, it would also serve as a dressing oil for salad so is multi purpose.

I rather wish I had the means to store them up on the hill and can only look forward to the day when I will be able to. I fully intend to make use of natures bounty when we spend more time there. Whatever the season there is always something I try to bring back when we return South, it makes me a little less homesick.

Meanwhile I exhausted the southern lawn of dandelions right up until the end of November and gathered a stock of them picking them every other day since the Summer. I was interested to learn that if you dry them, they continue to open and you end up with the pretty seed heads or “clocks” even when they are no longer attached to the plants. This also happens whilst they are in oil. It doesn’t matter, I dried them anyway and now have them in jars. I was also pleased to note that since the winter had been fairly mild, at least up until recently here in the South, they continued to grow and flower.

I am now looking at the many benefits of this herb both topically and it’s culinary uses. Salad leaves are popular and I did incorporate them with spinach but my partner wasn’t keen on the more bitter taste. Using the roots for tea is another use but I have not perfected the knack of drying the roots out properly yet without moisture getting in, I will however work on this again this year having just discovered that I also love the taste of a Dandelion Latte.

So as the new spring Dandelions are poking through the as yet unmown lawn, I have left these as Bee food, as it is their first readily accessible nutrition. But since the lawn is due for a mow any day now, I will have to get out there and start collecting them as it would be a shame for them to go to waste. Meanwhile I have cultivated areas of the garden, where they steadily growing undisturbed in pots for the Bees and I to share so they won’t go hungry.

To make your own Infused Dandelion Oil.

Rinse Dandelion flowers collected  from a safe source (free from pesticides) in water and leave them to dry naturally in a warm place. This can take a couple of days.

Use a Clean Screw Top Jar and put the dried dandelions in, cover with Olive Oil and fill to almost the top of the jar.

Screw the lid firmly, shake gently and leave on a sunny windowsill for minimum of 2 weeks, tipping the jar to rotate daily.  The mixture will be golden in colour.

After 2 weeks, (or more) drain the oil into suitable containers for intended use and discard the preserved flowers, or use them in cooking. It will last for a good six months if kept in a cool dark place.

Since this oil only contains two all natural ingredients it can be used for both topical or culinary uses.

Photos by Unknown artists.

A Day Filled with the Wonder of it All

The Daily Post – Wonder

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As I stood there gazing out in wonder at the beautiful scenery once again, only this time it wasn’t raining and we could see for miles. The views were astounding.  We had arrived at the Maleny Botanic Gardens and Bird World.  A place we had been anticipating for a couple of weeks since I arrived and where my hosts were understandably keen to show me.

I was firstly struck by the greenery which surrounded us all, drinking in its delights. There are sixteen acres there, but before you even get to look at them, you are met by a team of tame birds at the door, who greet you with varying levels of Hello and attempts to play with buttons, hair ties, jewellery.  Some are sitting there saying nothing, others will happily begin a conversation, they all have differing characters.

We walked around the gardens, they are absolutely stunning and carefully planned and thought out with artwork, galleys for watering the numerous species. Spectacular views and areas of garden which encourage you to look further and investigate. Many of the blooms I have never seen, neither do I know the names of them but you cannot deny that these are magnificent gardens and the perfect place to spend the day walking around with the family. We took a picnic and enjoyed momentary escape from the heat of the sun under one of the many gazebo with seating provided.

Having just reviewed this visit on TripAdvisor, I felt that I could not tell everything about our visit on there as I wanted to save my favourite moments for here.  We went there for the birds, the chance to have beautiful parrots flying around my head was too good to miss, I thought that I might get a few nice photos too. I was pleased with some of the results.

We took the aviary tour. It was well worth it, the first aviary contained small finches in a plethora of colours. They are all too shy to come and sit upon your shoulder.

The second section was a whole different matter, there were three beautiful blue macaws, young cheeky birds with a penchant for clambering and kisses. They were adorable and just so playful and noisy. But I stood in awe feeling like a small child looking up as they flew around my head. An abundance of Budgerigars in most available colours all perched together up one end in a quiet corner.

At one point, just before I left that aviary, there was a cockatoo trying to remove my flip flops (known as thongs in these parts) A rather cute green parrot jumping up and down on my head, whilst a beautiful pink and grey was preening me and trying to remove my camera strap. Then to top it all, two of the young blue macaws came and landed on the same arm fighting over kisses and cuddles and playing with my bracelet and necklace.  I have to say that I was in my element and could happily have stayed there for a while, but my friend took a rather comical photograph with them all for me to remember them by.

The last enclosure contained the larger parrots, some black  and white cockatoos and the grumpiest parrot of them all, he did not want to share his bird seed with anyone , nor did he wish to be given any but he did make us laugh. His only concession was to eye up the Lorikeets with suspicion and give them a piece of his mind as they came to drink from his bowl and fluff up his feathers when they came anywhere near him. There were also a selection of other beautiful macaws and green parrots along with another whose party trick was to follow us around nipping our toes and trying to undo shoelaces.

We were encouraged to take photographs and collect feathers from the enclosure, so came out with a very pretty selection of them. I just hope that I will be able to keep them and take them back with me when I return home. Meanwhile today is a memory that I will cherish for some considerable time and because of all the excitement and fresh air I’m sure that we will all sleep well tonight.

Maleny 121

 

A burst of creativity 

25/6/17 After a week of feeling exhausted with high levels of pain and very little sleep I was met with an inspired moment. So this weekend’s sudden burst of creativity has come about by this….

A small pot of local flowers from my garden which either looked pretty or smelled nice. I thought I might be able to make some pot pourri to send to my friend in Australia as part of her birthday gift and to remind her of home. I miss her even more since she emigrated. Yes I have lots of wild flowers which have grown in the wrong place (otherwise known as weeds) but they are blooming and some of them smell rather lovely too so I’m not afraid to include them.

Unfortunately I then looked it up and found out that you cannot send plant matter to Australia since they have strict laws. So I thought about making her a wildflower bouquet mixed up with the ones from my garden and photographing it for her. Perhaps I would make it onto a notebook so she can write a journal, or get it printed for her and put in a frame. Who knows but on our evening walk we collected more and since it was a rainstorm by the time we arrived home I had to store them in the fridge overnight and so this was made today. 


It adorned my dining table for the day as I wasn’t sure exactly what to do with it next. Send it with blessings to the wind, or make the pot pourri out of it, it does smell rather nice. In the end I have opted for both. 

I was inspired by an artist named Day Schildkret who on his walks collects things and makes beautiful sculptural earth alters from his foraged finds which he photographs. Known as Impermanent Earth Art You can see his work at http://www.morningalters.com I love his work and am perfectly happy when doing my own foraging for beautiful things.

But it somehow set the ball rolling. Last night I wrote up my poems to the pc from the notebooks of my last trip it boosted my morale again finding out that I have almost reached my quota for my second book selection (a further 100 poems) and it seemed to trigger the writing again, suddenly whizzing around my head. This morning I wrote a poem about my friend who has invited me to her wedding next week. I plan to give it to her for a gift and thought that I need to do something else for them too. I am all for a bit of upcycled giftware and have made her a recycled roof slate chalkboard with the wedding couples initials in a logo and the date of their union. The slates were reclaimed from Scotland. I have a few of them I intended to make up for some friends and family or perhaps sell at a later date.


I hope that they like it. 

I also made one for our home which is personal to us. This has become our catchphrase of late since wherever we are as long as we are together it’s home.

It seems that I have been able to write more poetry this week. Not all of it suited to a book, or here but had to be written nevertheless.

Going Native

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The Back Garden…

 

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From the Front Step.

This is our view as we arrived at the cottage. It’s overgrown, more so than last year when we arrived midsummer I think, but it will soon die back again and we won’t have time to clear it all on this short trip.

But we are home.  I wonder how long it will be before we have gone native.  It used to take Kato about 24 hours, before he got used to the sights and sounds around him.  A huge sleep in our house and out to his favourite spot to look at the view, followed by a walk around the perimeter.  Figuring out what had changed whilst he was away.

This time it was just us walking about. We opened the house up and got the luggage in made a cup of coffee and sat out on the step. Looking at his favourite spot.

Suddenly my partner jumped up, come on. It’s time.  He got the ashes we had saved for the purpose and we stood by his favourite spot and said Welcome Home our Darling Boy, you will always have a part of you in Scotland as we scattered them to the wind.  I prayed that he would be happy to be here, that he would now rest wherever he wished to be and that we would still feel his presence whenever we needed to.  We wiped away tears, as we have done every day since then as we spend time here, it hasn’t got any easier for us that he is no longer here.

He is in our thoughts constantly. I guess that we are still in grief for our boy, despite our attempts at carrying on.

So, about going native…

How long did it take? Well we still felt like holiday makers for a couple of days, we got supplies from the shops and funny looks because our accents are so different coming from the south.  But within about 24 hours, a few of the local phrases and the hint of an accent had begun to creep into the vocabulary.

The water up here is different in taste. The air is clearer and the light brighter, but it always feels like home at a slower pace and we settle right back in.

I realised yesterday that I have not looked in the mirror for five days, there is one on the wall, but it’s positioned a little too high for me to see into, so I haven’t bothered.  Normally this would bother me, on trips to the shops etc, but this time it hasn’t.  I only put on Mascara to go and visit one of my friends the other day, other than that, my face has been completely free of make up and it hasn’t bothered me at all. But I do remember to use moisturiser each day and cleanse the soot off at night.

I did look in the mirror yesterday after that thought occurred to me, but only since I had been collecting kisses from puppies at the supermarket and needed to wash it.

I have the wild hair to go with it, but am happier than I have been in months.  It’s so good to be away from the normality, back to basics and thinking about what we use and recycle up here.

I saw a field mouse run through the back of the house the other night in the old croft. It was only out the back but I will have to keep an eye and make sure that our food supplies are kept secure, last night as I sat in the caravan one ran over my foot out from under one of the seats, startled that I was there.  Usually by this time of the year, it would have the caravan to itself and all would be quiet, almost hibernation. I don’t see the point of setting traps when we do not live here all the time, it’s only one or two in different places and as long as I don’t keep food where they can get to it, I see that they have as much right to shelter here as I do.

Meanwhile we are enjoying the peace and serenity of the place with all the wildlife that surrounds us.  As my partner sat enjoying a cup of coffee, a whole family of deer, Stag, Doe and Fawn wandered up to take a look at him and meet him on the path outside our door.

Last night in the twilight, of a beautiful moon we heard the owls as they flew across the garden, over the trees which bend to the wind calling out to each other, life continuing and nature at its best.

This morning, he called me to “Quickly come and look,” there was a beautiful bird of prey swooping down into the field, it was there for a while.  We stood and watched it in the sunshine before the rain came. I always collect the beautiful speckled flyaway feathers that I find, as there are often hawks here, occasionally Eagles fly overhead, but usually the smaller birds. I take the feathers back South to remind me, but it’s good to be back here in the midst of it all.

It is raining again, for the umpteenth time today, we have mist across the fields and the wind blowing the clouds across, it will pass and we will be warm inside.

The Daily Post – Tree

 

 

 

 

 

 

Butterflies & Dragonflies

Butterflies and Dragonflies

A butterfly just flew here
I blew it a small kiss,
As it danced around my face,
Since it’s you now that I miss.
Swept upon the air as off it began to race.
Careless for a moment, there for all to see
Up there in the sky and all, yearning to be free.
Resting on the flowers
Bees and butterfly
Drinking in the nectar,
I’m trying not to cry.
Sitting here with you, it’s easy to be cross,
At how it seems unfair as we struggle with our loss.
Am I being selfish, failing just to see,
That all I ever wanted was to have you here with me.
The one who watched over, snuggled nearby as I sleep,
Resting on his cover, is where I often weep.
But I am not the only one, wrapped up in my grief,
Wonder if it’s time to turn over a new leaf.
So as it prances over and around my head,
You are still here with me, never really dead.

It wasn’t a red admiral, it wasn’t black or white.
It danced around my shoulders, just like a bird in flight.
It skipped in and out the flowers, just as you used to do,
Then sat there smiling at the top, to watch and enjoy the view.
And there just minutes later, scented flowers all around,
I saw the dragonfly toward me, suddenly earthbound.
It flew across my shoulder and looked upon my knee
A message there at last, that I would finally see.
It sent me love and kisses, from you as if to say
But before I got to kiss it back, it skipped off again to play.
I know that you’re here with me, as I try to ease the pain
So if you love them, set them free to return to you again.
So stay here with your Mummy,
Even just for a wee while.
So that I can rub your tummy
And cherish again your smile.
Stroke your furry ears
And gaze into your face
Fighting back the tears,
In our special place.

The Daily Post – Ghostd3