Friday, January 11, 2019

Organic NZ Magazine's summer issue

I had the pleasure of meeting Niva and Yotam of Pakaraka Permaculture recently. (I wrote about that here.) The result is this feature article in the summer issue of Organic NZ Magazine. I've seen many small market gardens in many countries and none as productive as Pakaraka's. Loved my visit. And a big thank you to the girls for the gift of the sweetest strawberries, still warmed by the sun.

I used to work for Soil & Health, and can vouch for the organisation. They're doing great work. And editor Philippa Jamieson is a national treasure IMHO! The magazine is always a good read if you're into gardening/health/sustainability.

A subscription to Organic NZ magazine is $45 for the year and you become a member of the NZ Soil & Health Association into the bargain. Or you can grab a copy from any newsagent and some supermarkets.

Friday, January 4, 2019

Thinking out loud: about life, death and summer

Evening walk on our nearest beach - extra points for spotting the dog doing a meerkat impersonation

After a long rainy spell, we’re suddenly in summer. Even the overcast days are warm. Evening walks and picnic dinners as the sun goes down. Long holiday afternoons at the beach with friends, sun hats and sea swims, flotillas of kids riding waves in on their boogie boards. All between the flags with the surf lifesavers on patrol of course. This is the wild west coast and we all keep a healthy respect for the ocean.

My heart goes out to the family of the teenager who got swept out to sea a few days ago. Every tragedy like this hits all of us locals hard. We know the surf lifesavers who were on duty and know what it cost them too. He is still missing and his family are holding vigil on the shore. As you would. 

Water safety aside, it's a reminder of the impermanence of life. I have a friend who is dying. She is all kinds of wonderful and has boys the same age as mine. Like we count our babies firsts at the beginning of life, she is experiencing her lasts. This one was her last Christmas. She is trying to find the balance between tidying up her life, leaving a legacy for her children and doing the work of orchestrating a beautiful death. She is being really honest about her journey and what support she needs and I appreciate her so much for that. Even in her dying, she is an inspiration to me. Her facebook posts remind me to live in the moment. A reminder that life itself is a privilege.

Eat the cake people. Do the things! Sink into the magical moments we tend to take for granted and find the magic. It's the little things in life, gratitude and connection. Surround yourself with people who feed you. And kindness always, for you never know what is going on in people's lives. I lost three wonderful friends in 2018. All incredible people in their own unique ways and all my age. Their passing has had me thinking about my own mortality and given me a kick up the butt to get on with some projects I have been wanting to do for years. I am grateful for that. 

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Going gently into 2019...

This is my favourite photo from this holiday season. Sometimes its not the perfectly framed in-focus photos that top my list. 
Bodicea has had so much fun with the tree. Jed insists on a cut pine from our traditional source every year. I am trying to persuade him to go with a potted one but I have to agree there is something restorative about breathing in that beautiful pine scent. Not for the tree obviously but selfishly, I do like it. 
When Bodicea isn't in the tree hunting ornaments, she's sleeping under it. The tree has become her HQ. Not sure how she’s going to take it when it comes down. She wasn't impressed when the ornaments were packed away, she kept trying to get into the box with them. 

It's not an easy time of year for many and I hope you have navigated family and expectations and seasonal pressures in ways that take care of you and your people. 
Let's go gently into 2019, create some world changing beautiful things and step into the life we're meant to be living. Happy New Year dear ones.

Saturday, December 22, 2018

Kitten therapy

Kittens have invaded our music room. It's the very best of invasions. A friend found the little tortoiseshell kittie in their garden three weeks ago, all scrawny and hungry. Then the tabby one all hissing and spitting just a week ago. 
Hard to believe now, they're currently tearing around the music room, occasionally taking a leap over my laptop and stopping for cuddles and a purr from time to time. They've rehabilitated beautifully. Clean bill of health from the vet and one of them has a home to go to on Christmas day.
The little tabby male still needs a forever home, in case anyone is looking. I'm quite smitten. 
Hilarious and cute and just what the doctor ordered. There is nothing like kitten antics and snuggles to brighten up your world.
We get to hang out with them while our dear friends are away. Phoenix the dog has been helping. He sits quietly in the corner with his head down, being as non-threatening as possible as the little ones were super afraid at first. They are now playing with him in the room and venturing up to check him out. Another day and they'll be chasing his tail I reckon. Bless him. 

We are well and truly into the silly season. Stress is at an all-time high for many. We're keeping it simple and heartfelt and focussing on gratitude and being with those we love. Love to you whatever you're up to and whether you celebrate Christmas or not.
If you don't have kittens, find whatever it is that helps get you through and do all those things. On repeat. 
Pip Lincolne from Meet me at Mikes has a great series called 'Feeling a bit shit?' - you might like to have a look through. Reach out if you need to and I'll see you on the other side. Love to you xxxx


Wednesday, December 19, 2018

'Tis the season of giving. Have you?

One in five people in NZ live in poverty. This is a hard time of year for lots of reasons, economic disparity being just one. I know we want less consumerism and plastic in the world but we also don’t want kids feeling sad and left out on Christmas day.  If Christmas is their thing, we want them to be able to celebrate it.
One in five children will wake up to just another day, listening to the shouts of joy from next door neighbours unwrapping presents. Imagine the stress a parent living in poverty feels right now. Things are hard enough throughout the year, but Christmas just takes the stress to another level.

We have the power to make a change here. Instead of the last-minute Christmas gift splurging, stop a minute, look around your community and think about who might need a hand. Think about single mums and dads, people living alone, those supporting multi-generational families, folks on low incomes or trying to make ends meet on benefits. Think about those who will be missing a loved one, are dealing with chronic illness, whether it be mental or physical. 

What can you do?

Buy supermarket gift cards and pop them in letterboxes of people you think need support.

Buy extra items when you do your big Christmas grocery shop and deliver a box to someone in your community who needs it. 

If there is a homeless person near you, arrange to deliver them Christmas dinner or deliver a care package. Ask what they need. Socks are often in high demand.

Put together some care packages to deliver to folks in your community you’d like to support.

Do extra Christmas baking to thank the volunteers and support workers going the extra mile these holidays.

Have an orphans Christmas. Boxing Day is a great time for this. Throw an open invite to those in your circle who don’t have family around them or are struggling or are just in need of a darn good gathering. Everyone brings food to share and bean bags/picnic blankets. Food doesn’t need to cost the earth, it’s the being together and the love that counts. You can always head to the beach or put the hose on for the kids later in the afternoon.

Domestic violence escalates around Christmas and New Year, you might like to make a donation to SHINE, The Aunties or your local women’s refuge.

If there’s a single parent in your community drop off a gift for them. Something special that they wouldn’t buy for themselves, wrap it beautifully and tell them it’s for under the tree. Gifts will be under the tree for the kids (if they’re lucky) but its rare for the single parent to have one for them. It’s good for the kids to see their parent appreciated. If you know the family well, you could offer to take the kids Christmas shopping and they could choose their own gift/s for their mum/dad.

If you know a family who would like to celebrate, but cannot, turn up with a Christmas tree, lights and decorations, box of chocolates, Christmas crackers and a food parcel. Instant Christmas deliveries are super fun and let me tell you, the sparkles in those children’s eyes and their joy will be something that stays with you forever.

Auckland City Mission have handed out 5000 care packages already. Today people lined up for hours in torrential rain and 400 of them went home emptyhanded as they’d run out. Donations to the Auckland City Mission will be gratefully received I am sure. Or whatever your local mission is.

We’re not wealthy (er, by any definition) but each year part of our Christmas preparations is being of service in some way. I am a single mama who has wept on opening the letterbox to find a supermarket gift card, a box of groceries on the front porch, a gift or the offer of a bach, so I could give my kid a holiday. I know what it feels like. 

Your gift can be anonymous, or freely given in person. Just give. Let's lift those up who need us.
Take your kid/s along for the ride. It's no big deal, we give because we can and because it's the right thing to do. Join us?