Tag Archives: giving

Getting better with gifts

Today I delivered my first home-made Christmas gift; to the staff at the  veterinary practice who take care of Jack (and me) throughout the year, and have done so for all six years of Jack’s little  life.

So what, you may ask? Well, the ‘so what’ is that this is the first time, since the earthquakes, that I have had the energy, and the inclination, to make Christmas gifts for some of the many people in the  community who take good care of us throughout the year.

Although I had ‘ energy and inclination’ the baking process didn’t go as smoothly as I thought it would, because I foolishly chose to make a pre-earthquake Christmas favourite, raspberry and blueberry friands. It’s an  easy recipe, in normal circumstances,  but I didn’t expect that, half way through the mixing of the ingredients, I would burst in to tears, overwhelmed by memories of happier times   associated with these rich buttery delights. Never the less, I persevered and I was very pleased with the results and very pleased, too, that, after 3 years of non-friand-making,  I hadn’t lost my friand skills 🙂

What say you? Take a look….

Raspberry Friands

Raspberry and Blueberry Friands

The recipe I used (slightly modified by the addition of blueberries)

Raspberry Friands

Raspberry Friands

comes from Jo Seagar Cooks, published in 2006 by Random House.

Jo Seagar Cooks

Jo Seagar Cooks

Jo Seagar  is a New Zealand cooking personality who has a cookery school and cafe not far from Christchurch, in  Oxford , Canterbury. She is well known for her ‘easy peasy’ recipes and her  cooking motto, ‘ minimum effort for maximum effect’.  I like her style 🙂 !

And I particularly like these bright, forthright  words of hers from the introduction to her recipe book : ” I want you to put the flowers back on the table, think of the hen that laid your egg, and remember your mother and put on your apron – it’s not demeaning, it’s there to keep your clothes clean.”

I don’t think she is the sort to cry in to her friand batter ( I actually didn’t let tears drop in to the mixture, in case you are worrying about hygiene 😉 ) but one never knows; we all have our moments.

Here are a few more of mine; my better moments.

© silkannthreades

Giving thanks for the RAIN

I am in the middle of writing another post but the rain, which began yesterday, continued all night and is still with us, is so exciting that I have to stop and acknowledge its wonderful presence. I don’t know if this rain is enough to break the drought conditions throughout the country but we, my garden and I, are  thankful for every precious drop of it.

The birds will be grateful too; their bird bath has gone from nil to full overnight. Nearly to the brim

Whilst we humans must collect water in containers if we want to hold on to it, plants are much more inventive. This native New Zealand plant shimmersDroplet Mirror with the thousands of rain drops it captures on its bird nest like structure, interwoven with helpful rain catching cobwebs.PreciousDroppingYou can see how much we needed the rain from this photo taken outside my property last week. DryGrey skies have never been more welcome.Grey is good

Foot note: When a person is granted New Zealand citizenship, and attends the citizenship ceremony, he/she is given a native New Zealand tree/shrub to take home and plant.  In this way, a  new citizen can acknowledge the roots they are putting down in their adopted country. The bushy  plant in my photograph  was given to my daughter when she was granted citizenship. It is drought tolerant but it appreciates, and makes the most of, rain when it comes.

© silkannthreades

The Lavender Lady

Near the airport, on the side of one of the busiest roads in Christchurch, is an oasis of calm and loveliness. It is the Avice Hill Reserve, so called because the area was bequeathed to the city by Avice Hill, the Lavender Lady. It is also  home to the Avice Hill Crafts Centre, the Canterbury Potters Association and the Canterbury Herb Society.  We visited today and had the entire Reserve to ourselves; except for the birds.

The birds, many and varied, were concentrated in the plum trees. One of trees was over laden with small, yellow, sweet and ultra delicious, plums. Some went in my mouth and some in to my pocket, and they were so good I need to collect some more.

Are they Mirabelle plums?Plums a plenty

Free fall plums and mind where you tread!Over flow

The herb garden was full and flourishingTo the Herb Garden

and here, for a moment, you could catch up with timeThe Herb Garden

for it was very still.On Time

Once rested, there were treasures to find like this pot in the herb garden (oh dear!),Pot amongst the Herbs

and trees to loveTrees of the Reserve

Willow

and benches to rest upon ( in comfort?)Bench

and then information to read. Notice, I am on a wayward path again because the information board is at the entrance to the Reserve and I am reading it on my way out!

This is Avice Hill. She was born in 1906 and died in 2001.

Avice Hill

Here is part of her story.The Story of Avice

She worked as an entomologist in the 1930s and 40s. She was one of only a few female science graduates at that time.

More of the story

She bequeathed the land to Christchurch City in 1989 to provide an art and crafts facility, a potters’ room and a herb garden and to protect the mature trees on the property.

Lavender was Avice Hill’s great love and the Lavandula angustifolia “Avice Hill” was named after her. It is, apparently, a very fine lavender. Strangely, there was very little lavender to be seen in the Reserve and none was labelled,as far as I could tell. Perhaps, one is just supposed to know one’s lavender.  Whatever is the case, I am thankful to Avice Hill for her gift to our city.Lavender for Avice

© silkannthreades

On a Mission

This afternoon we delivered our small Christmas offering to the Christchurch City Mission.  Each year the City Mission offers a sit down Christmas lunch to at least 700 guests. Each day, the Mission provides about 35 food parcels to people in need.  ( The City Mission provides only one of the city’s foodbanks). The Mission’s service to the community began in 1898 and, sad to say, all these years later, their services are in greater demand than ever.

Happily, with such a great demand, the City Mission is now operating from efficient and safe, new premises.The facilities were officially opened last month. The planning and preparation for the new City Mission were well underway before the earthquakes, so, as a result, it is one of the first  buildings to open in the central city, post earthquakes.New MissionSculpture

The last photo is representative of the Christmas food we took to the City Mission. The Christmas Fruit MInce Tarts are made by Ernest Adams, a company that was established  in Christchurch in the 1920s.  Ernest Adams, himself, was, I believe, a generous benefactor to various communities in the city and surrounding areas. In front of the Christmas food, I have placed a wonderful book Everyday Kindness by New Zealand born Stephanie Dowrick.  This is to remind me that kindness and giving are for everday, not just for Christmas. Everyday Giving