Category Archives: herbs

Memories of a Table

No words today; just memories of the whimsy, the wildlings, the wonders, and the worries which have been at my table this spring.

 

© silkannthreades

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I get by with a little help …from friends, flowers and family

I have been in a rough place since my last post. Almost a month ago, I wrote that I wanted to feast on life, not fear.  And I really meant it. I really did. But Fear, with its fiendish companion Anxiety, decided it was time to make a meal out of me. They set their teeth into me, tore me apart in their jaws, and tried to devour me chunk by chunk. Most unpleasant. ( I hope they got indigestion.)

Friends and family rallied round and helped me prise loose those nasty jaws, and patched me up.  But the struggle has left me tired and short on creativity. Yesterday was the first time in nearly a month that I felt energetic enough to take some photos.

They are not particularly good photos but I am posting them as a way of saying thank you to friends everywhere, and to family, for keeping me steady and upright in recovery.

You are the flowers around me,

The flowers that surround me

The flowers that surround me

you are  perfect companions,

Buckwheat, a perfect companion

Buckwheat, a perfect companion

and help to keep my pathway blooming.

The pathway blooms

The pathway blooms

And, just for fun, let’s lighten the mood with my song of the day

Postscript

The reasons behind my rough patch are multiple; some are earthquake related stresses, and some are family-related. For privacy reasons I am not able to discuss all of the family-related issues.

© silkannthreades

All Good Gifts ~ a balance sheet

Still in the spirit of keeping track of myself ~

ALL GOOD GIFTS  ( Incomings):

from Cynthia, author of A Good Home, a dedicated post, accompanied by flowers;

from Clare, at  A Suffolk Lane, an introduction to the lovely tradition of the Blessing of the Plough on Plough Sunday, and a reminder of the wonderful hymn ” “We Plough the Fields and Scatter”;

from Robbie (and her friend Lori), at Palm Rae Urban Potager,  notification of Save our Soil Blogger Action Day (21st January ).

 

ALL GOOD GIFTS (Outgoings):

for Robbie ( and Lori ), composting my soil in time for Save our Soil Blogger Action Day, and scattering seeds of buckwheat and wildflowers;

International Soil Day 21 January 2015

International Year of Soils 2015 

for Clare, a beautiful rendition of We Plough the Fields and Scatter,

and a glimpse of a harvest to come,

Cape Gooseberry ~ physalis, amour en cage, golden berry....

Cape Gooseberry ~ physalis, amour en cage, golden berry….

fed on the sweetness of summer raindrops;

False Physalis

False Physalis

for Cynthia, an arrangement

Summer arrangement of roses, mint, sage, borage and heartsease

Summer arrangement of roses, mint, sage, borage and heartsease

for a heart’s ease and a heart’s celebration in all things bright and good, no matter how tiny.

Heartsease,  heart's delight, tickle-my-fancy, Jack-jump-up-and-kiss-me, come-and-cuddle-me, three faces in a hood,  love-in-idleness,johnny jump up

Heartsease, heart’s delight, tickle-my-fancy, Jack-jump-up-and-kiss-me, come-and-cuddle-me, three faces in a hood, love-in-idleness, johnny jump up…

© silkannthreades

Ring out the old, ring in the new

This time last week I was in tropical Far North Queensland with my parents and my siblings. We were gathering round the Manger, at my sister’s home,

Old Manger New Setting

Old Manger, New Setting

preparing to celebrate Christmas as of old. There was warmth in the air, in our hearts, and in the prolific poinciana glowing near the front door.

The Christmas spirit in a tree

The Christmas spirit in a tree

This week I am home again, in cooler Christchurch. My house seems too large and too empty, but the quiet stillness gives me time to prepare for the New Year. I fill the vases with the flowers that have bloomed in my absence.

There are flowers for the kitchen window sill,

Cornflowers, lavender and nasturtium for the kitchen

Cornflowers, lavender and nasturtium for the kitchen

 

flowers for the bedroom,

Roses, nasturtium and geranium to ring in the New Year

Roses, nasturtium and geranium to ring in the New Year

and some for the table, too.

 

Around the silence of the blooms, there travels bird song without, and words within…..

Ring out, wild bells, to the wild sky,
The flying cloud, the frosty light
The year is dying in the night;
Ring out, wild bells, and let him die.

Ring out the old, ring in the new,
Ring, happy bells, across the snow:
The year is going, let him go;
Ring out the false, ring in the true.

Ring out the grief that saps the mind,
For those that here we see no more,
Ring out the feud of rich and poor,
Ring in redress to all mankind….

Ring out old shapes of foul disease,
Ring out the narrowing lust of gold;
Ring out the thousand wars of old,
Ring in the thousand years of peace.

Ring in the valiant man and free,
The larger heart the kindlier hand;
Ring out the darkness of the land….

 

“Ring Out, Wild Bells” by Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1850 ).

And with bells ringing, there comes music swelling into the emptiness of the rooms.

 

Let the old go, let the new come. Welcome the year with unburdened, open arms. Greet it with love and warmth and the expectation that it will be good  (but not necessarily easy). Know that with kindness and hugs you will have the fortitude to do your best. As it always has been and always will be.

All hugs welcome here.

All hugs welcome here.

If you would like a gentle blessing to ease out the night, I would suggest  listening with me to Benedictus by Karl Jenkins.

 

© silkannthreades

 

 

T’is the season

T’is the season for giving thanks and, it seems, for giveaways. Wendy at Quarter Acre Lifestyle and Boomdeeadda had sweetly sneaky ones the other day. Despite the quiet surprise element, their giveaways were a  vocal and  gracious thank-you to their followers.  Now, Heather at Lost in Arles is organising a giveaway. It is her first one. It is her way of thanking her supporters, as well as celebrating four wonderful years of blogging. The giveaway is a beautiful book by Ann Mah, Mastering the Art of French Eating.

As a dedicated follower of Wendy, Boomdeeadda and Heather, guess what I am about to do? Yes, you guessed it. I, too, am going to offer a giveaway. What’s my “excuse”?  ( apart from my wish to try out what  inspiring bloggers do? 😉 )

My excuse is twofold:

a) It’s Thanksgiving season. I want to give thanks to my blogging community;

b) It’s spring cleaning season.  I want to declutter….thoughtfully; as in  by sharing the good fortune of my excess goodies.

You may remember that, owing to the shenanigans of the postal services and various book delivery systems, I ended up with two copies of It’s in His Kiss   by Vickie Lester of Beguiling Hollywood.

One for each handhttps://silkannthreades.wordpress.com/2014/06/27/its-in-his-kiss/ It's In His Kiss by Vickie Lester

One for each hand, It’s in His Kiss  by Vickie Lester

A similar situation arose with Sophia Stuart’s (Teamgloria) , How to Stay Sane in a Crazy World.

Both books are splendid additions to my bookshelf but it’s time for the extra copies to be dispatched for the enjoyment of others. Would you like to be that ‘other’?

If so, leave a like or a comment and I will draw out a winner on Thanksgiving Day, Thursday  27th November ( New Zealand time). There will be two giveaways; one for Sophia’s book and one for Vickie’s.

Sophia’s book is a beautiful, restful way to treat yourself, or someone who is in need of calm and healing. It is a pleasure to read, and a pleasure to hold and behold. ( Little secret….I sometimes pick up my copy and simply hold it, and stroke the cover, because it’s feels so exactly right to my hand and to my eye; in other words, it’s aesthetically pleasing. 😉 )

Vickie’s book comes with a warning!  Beware where this Beguiling Hollywood mystery may take you. I hadn’t read anything Hollywood, or mysterious, for years. I wasn’t sure if I liked mystery and/or murder tales anymore……..hmmmm…..

W.E.L.L  …….apparently I do. I devoured It’s in His Kiss; next stop was  Nola Fran Evie  by Britt Skrabenak,  followed by Let Sleeping Gods Lie by  Australian author/blogger  Dianne Gray.   Did my murder/mystery ‘kick’ end there? No, indeed, not.  I am now reading Wolf Pear by Dianne Gray. Ms Lester, look how far you have led me astray from my old, fusty reading paths.  Those darn Hollywood Kisses! They sweep you off your feet.

Sophia, whose Teamgloria posts I miss most dreadfully, has also led me off the beaten track into new and interesting territory. First it was via the process of publishing her book, and now she is introducing me to the world of the mobile episodic drama. Yes, the mobile episodic drama! What next, you may ask!  This is a style of writing that is completely new to me, but probably old hat to a digital pioneer, like Sophia. Her drama launches this week via Pocket Gems’ Episode Platform and is called Mayfair Brooks. Here’s the story.   I am going to pretend I am 17 again and check it out. Join me, if you dare.

In the meantime, please have fun with my giveaway. I may be decluttering but I am truly thankful for all the support and joy you bring to me with your comments and readership. It’s time to return some of the goodness. T’is the season for giving.

“We give Him thanks for our supporters, who had charge of our harvests.” from The Thanksgivings by  Harriet Maxwell Converse.

Jennie Augusta Brownscombehttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jennie_Augusta_Brownscombe, The First Thanksgiving at Plymouth, 1914, Pilgrim Hall Museum, Plymouth, Massachusetts

Jenni Augusta Brownscombe, The First Thanksgiving at Plymouth, 1914, Pilgrim Hall Museum, Plymouth, Massachusetts

ps If you read my blog by email only, you are welcome to send me an email and ask to be included in the giveaway.

© silkannthreades

A salad mix from Gallivanta’s Herb Garden

Parsley,

Parsley

Parsley

sage,

Sage

Sage

rosemary,

Rosemary

Rosemary

and thyme,

Thyme

Thyme (which the cat uses for her day bed. 🙂

and, because she asked for it, rocket,

for Cynthia.

Rocket

Rocket

This rampant rocket planted, perchance, by the light of the moon and a solar-powered torch, some seasons ago has taken off, all over my garden.

It’s my most successful crop ever. Grows better than any of my weeds.

Now, to add to the mix, I have something that Cynthia didn’t ask for, but she is getting anyway; a review of her book, A Good Home, which I have just finished reading.  Here it is. ( You may also be able to see the review on Amazon)

‘Love, laughter, tears, grief, family and community form the cornerstone of any good home, and this holds true for Cynthia Reyes’ heart-warming “A Good Home.’ From the moment Cynthia opened the door to her little pink house in Jamaica until the last pages in the old farmhouse in Canada, I felt like an honored family member in every one of her good homes ( and gardens). I laughed, I cried, I rejoiced, I mourned and marveled with Cynthia and her family. And, when Cynthia’s life shattered into sharp and dreadful pieces, I sat with her in her silence and cheered her own; willed her to allow the wisdom of the old house to begin the healing of her wounds. To my great relief, the healing began. Without it I would not have had the privilege of reading Cynthia’s tribute to the power of a good and loving home. Read and enjoy, and I guarantee that, by the time you reach the last page, you will, like me, be asking the author for a sequel. If you want to know more about Cynthia and her lovely, good home of today, I urge you to visit her blog http://cynthiasreyes.com/

In my  haste to share my enjoyment of this book, I forgot to mention, in my review, another lovely aspect of Cynthia’s story; her frank account of  her ‘doubting Thomas’ struggle with her faith. It cheered me  greatly because it echoes my own faith experiences, which, dare I say it,  are somewhat akin to the salad mix in my garden. Sometimes they are over abundant, sometimes they turn up in unlikely places; sometimes they are tattered at the edges or bug-eaten, or don’t grow well at all. But the amazing thing is that there always seems to be enough faith around to nourish me when I most need it.

On Amazon you can read an excerpt from Cynthia’s book, so whilst you all rush off and leaf through that, I’ll prepare us a delicious green salad with herb dressing that we can share when you’re ready. Deal? 🙂

From Gallivanta’s Herb Garden, with love.

With love

With love

© silkannthreades

Such a pretty me…. a true story

So, in her older and, most likely, dowdier years, my great great grandmother was gifted a ketch* . How, I wonder, did she feel about that? Did her spirits expand with the unfurling of the sails?  Did she feel elated, rejuvenated, loved, twirly, joyous,  prettyfull…..?

… And much the same as I did, when in my older and flabbier years, ( as in, right now 😉 ),  I received the gift of a sketch, straight from the kind heart of the lovely Lucy at Visual Fling. Not a randomly selected sketch, but one specifically of me, for me, and carrying my name. Here it is: Gallivanta’s Herb Garden.

Gallivanta's Herb Garden by LucyJartz  http://visualfling.com/2014/08/18/gallivantas-herb-garden/#comments

Gallivanta’s Herb Garden by  LucyJartz

How generous is that?  How beautiful is that?

It’s not often that those of us who belong to the ageing, greying, wrinkling Ordinaries of the world are honoured in graceful works of art, be it in the form of ketch or sketch. When it happens, it’s time to express delight and exuberance; time to celebrate our reimagined looks, like this ~

If, after listening to the gorgeous Julie Andrews, you would like to know about the pretty wonderful boy in my life, take a peek here.  Adorable, and ever so handsome, isn’t he? With eyes that reach  the truth of this story; which is the beauty of the soul.

Artistic Licence:

* Ketch is my linguistic paintbrush at work. Amelia Sims was a topsail schooner.

Although the sketch Gallivanta’s Herb Garden has been gifted to me, the copyright is owned by Lucy at Visual Fling. Please do not copy or reproduce this image without permission from Lucy at http://visualfling.com/about/

© silkannthreades