Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Hmm so at the moment I am a Naturalist!

Maybe this relates to the fact that I am loving my gardening at the moment and, yes, I am "caring for, taming and interacting with animals" :) Oh how I love them so. (Most of you will know that we don't own any pets!)

Inspired by Michelle I recently took a little quiz at HelloQuizzy.com. Here are my results:

Your result for Howard Gardner's Eight Types of Intelligence Test...


"This area has to do with nature, nurturing and relating information to one's natural surroundings. Those with it are said to have greater sensitivity to nature and their place within it, the ability to nurture and grow things, and greater ease in caring for, taming and interacting with animals. They may also be able to discern changes in weather or similar fluctuations in their natural surroundings. They are also good at recognizing and classifying different species.

'Naturalists' learn best when the subject involves collecting and analyzing, or is closely related to something prominent in nature; they also don't enjoy learning unfamiliar or seemingly useless subjects with little or no connections to nature. It is advised that naturalistic learners would learn more through being outside or in a kinesthetic way.

Careers which suit those with this intelligence include scientists, naturalists, conservationists, gardeners and farmers." (Wikipedia)

Take Howard Gardner's Eight Types of Intelligence Test at HelloQuizzy

Have some fun with it!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

More Beauty from Clare Valley

Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us or we find it not. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

I have had a couple of requests to see some more of the beauty we enjoyed in Clare Valley.

I hope you enjoy these snippets of another place.

Martindale Hall, Mintaro, Clare Valley

There is a lovely, somewhat sad story that goes with this house which featured in the film "Picnic at Hanging Rock". You can stay here as well which would be simply gorgeous - it is in the middle of nowhere. Explore it is a little further here.

Red Stringybark

These gorgeous trees are yet another striking example of one of the most beautiful things about the state of South Australia. They are, unfortunately, now quite rare as so much land has been cleared by pioneers for grazing and cropping. It is nice to find this little island of woody grassland which has been protected now.

These gorgeous blooms were growing on a very small bush by the Red Stringybark in an island of grassy woodland, south west of Clare. It is a very beautiful drive through the hills, past the wineries due west of Clare and Sevenhill, Watervale and Penwortham. If anyone knows what these blossoms are, please let me know. I have no idea about these.

These gorgeous Arum Lilies were growing by Rosebrae Cottage, Watervale, (where we stayed) near the rainwater tanks. They grow wild here in South Australia. I have never seen them grow so prolifically. They are simply gorgeous along Millbrook Road, Adelaide Hills. We always take a spring drive along there to enjoy their beauty.

This delicate little flower is also unknown to me. I think it is a little wildflower. It looks native to me but I am not sure whether that is true. Can someone fill me in on this one? We saw it while walking briefly along the Riesling Trail near Clare.

We enjoyed a picnic lunch under this gorgeous blossom tree at Timandra Garden, Mintaro before we headed home again.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Gratitude Swap

Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.
~William Arthur Ward

On my return home from our little trip away this is what I found in my mail. A lovely Gratitude Box filled with cards and tea and moisturising hand cream from the lovely Miriam.

Thanks so much Miriam. This is very generous of you. It is hard to describe how one feels when they receive something specially home-made for them from someone who has chosen to give yet does not know you at all.

I am truly grateful and feel privileged to be involved in a lovely community of people.

And this is what I sent to Miriam - a lovely strawberry themed Gratitude Wrap.

I really enjoyed making this having never made anything like it before. I think it might make a lovely Christmas gift.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Rosebrae Cottage, Watervale, Clare Valley

Vacation used to be a luxury, but in today's world it has become a necessity. ~Author Unknown

We recently enjoyed a little getaway to the Clare Valley. Neither of us had been there before so were very pleasantly surprised to find the valley is a very beautiful little pocket of Australia. We expected the area to be much drier, more barren and less hilly. Instead we found a gorgeous little pocket of scenic Australia, an area which we long to return to. The region is famous for its wines yet with young children we were more interested in simply being together in lovely surroundings and this was definitely achieved.

We stayed in the lovely Rosebrae Cottage in Watervale.

It was once a methodist manse, now a self-contained bed and breakfast with room enough for a bedroom for each of us, a fully functional kitchen (with supplies included), a sitting room and of course - gardens. A lovely rose garden just about to bloom in the front and behind a lovely little garden hedged with lavender for our girls to play in. We enjoyed numerous games of hide and seek and Monsters! The circular garden was their den, the people were the monster food. Oh yes! lots of fun playing together.

There were many signs of Spring which we enjoyed in our own backyard as well as on our scenic drives through the hills and grassy woodlands.

It was nice to see a few rare pockets of virgin countryside. Most has been cleared for farming and vineyards over the years.

We walked and talked, drove and slept, laughed, played and ate together. We thoroughly enjoyed this pristine pocket of our beautiful country and feel we will be drawn there again very soon.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Living Simply

Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius - and a lot of courage - to move in the opposite direction. ~E.F. Schumacker

Recently Rhonda at down to earth asked "Why are you simplifying?" It is always good to think, reflect, ask why and affirm your decisions in writing so here goes:

  1. Why are you simplifying? For our health primarily, although we have always lived quite simply. We also find it cheaper, more satisfying and beneficial to everyone including our bodies and our land and environment which God has placed us custodians of. We want to be role models for our children and find that living simply encourages the use and seeking of knowledge which is practical and useful for generations to come.

  2. What convinced you that you should change how you live? Ill-health and the cost of living. My Generous Gentleman suffered severe atopic eczema a couple of years ago which meant he was not working for a few months and he endured a short hospital stay to attempt to restore his body to health. It has been a long process of recovery since. It is ongoing and involves lots of alternative ideas. We are also always thinking of new ways to escape what we don't like about our society including consumerism. Living simply matches our philosophies in life.

  3. What was the first major thing you changed? Our food. We now eat very limited packaged food or food containing preservatives and other additives. We eat everything fresh and cooked from scratch.

  4. How do you see yourself changing in the future? We will be growing our own organic fruit and veg on our own land. We'll be learning more in the quest to become as self-sufficient as possible in a life which is as satifying as possible.

Moroccan Tagine and Lemon Cordial

Hospitality, n. The virtue which induces us to feed and lodge certain persons who are not in need of food and lodging. ~Ambrose Bierce, The Devil's Dictionary, 1911

We recently enjoyed a visit from by brother and sister-in-law. They left us with many things including having had a really inspiring time together as well as a lovely recipe which we tried very soon after their departure. It is absolutely delicious!

Moroccan Tagine
You can use any meat for this - chicken, lamb and/or lamb sausage.
  • Brown meat. Add spices but watch for burning (alternatively add spices later).
  • Soften onion and garlic.
  • Add harissa if you like (for heat) and about 2 tablesoons of spices. I use Marrakesh Magic from Screaming Seeds, a beautiful fresh moroccan spice blend. Cook out rawness.
  • Add veges including carrot, zucchini, potato, mushroom, beans etc.
  • Add chopped dried apricots (or paw paw if they're in your cupboard) as well as some fresh apple if it takes your fancy.
  • Add tomatoes or passata and stock perhaps if needed.
  • Stir through some preserved lemons (or use some lemon zest). Also stir in some honey.
  • Stir through chick peas, then parsley and mint fresh from your garden. Add more spices if needed and season lightly with salt and pepper.
  • Serve with kamut couscous, rice and natural yoghurt.

This is absolutely delicious and another wonderful way to make use of your delicious preserved lemons.

As we did not yet have any preserved lemons ready to use I decided to add some grated lemon zest from numerous lemons. I then juiced the lemons to make some fabulous lemon cordial.

Lemon Cordial

Make a sugar syrup with 1 cup water and 1 cup sugar dissovled over low heat. Next time I might try substituting some of the sugar for honey for something different and little healthier.

Mix this syrup with fresh lemon juice. I used 400mL syrup with 6-700mL lemon juice.

Add about 1cm of cordial to your glass with some fresh baby mint leaves, then fill with water.


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