Down Under Christmas Treats

petitparadis reindeer

What do you get when you make a gingerbread man person DownUnder? Upside Down little folk that you can Mr Squiggle into Christmas Reindeer!

Mrs PP used this gluten free recipe from Evolving Table to put together these biscuits for taking to end of year gatherings.

I thought it was a brilliant idea and they were really popular with the kids – and big kids!

What a great multi-purpose use for a cookie cutter! Simple and effective.

Hollyhock

petitparadis hollyhock

The unfamiliar weed in our garden had a different presence about it. So it was left to develop.

From experience, I’m a true believer in resources and teachers appearing when required. Another real-life example of this is the gradual growth of a plant in our backyard that was a little different to the mallow plants that often pop up. I let it continue to grow as there was not much else growing whilst transitioning over to the new garden site.

Eventually it started to bud up with flowers and I suspected it was a Hollyhock (Alcea rosea). I did have some seeds given to me a year or two ago but none grew successfully. It may well have been a seed that found its way into the garden from a failed pot and managed to grow. Eventually it flowered and dazzled us with its incredibly bright pink flowers.

We began to utilise the flowers for using in our kombucha mixes and as a tea for the Little Fellas to assist with persistent coughs. It’s incredible versatility has assured it a place in the garden at Tillellan. Once it has set its seeds I will propagate plants for further planting. The Hollyhock has proven itself to be hardy in our summer garden as the chickens have scratched away mulch and removed soil from the base of the plant. It has endured and thrived. Not surprising given it is a relation of the Marshmallow plant which is growing quite abundantly at the Tillellan garden.

We have made use of the flowers as mentioned though we have not tried the leaves yet given it is a single plant and I am wishing to save its seeds.

I recall seeing similar plants in my first garden, petty french. I enjoyed those flowers back then too, but little did I realise that Hollyhocks have some very versatile uses.

So, I have found a new plant to carry over to the new garden at Tillellen.

Further Reading:

Five Uses for Hollyhocks

Health Benefits of Hollyhock

Further Health Benefits of Hollyhock

 

Departure from Chaos

Dear Reader,

If you are a practitioner of the gentle and subtle art of ‘reading between the lines’ you may be interested to know – that perhaps you were right – this blog has become a collision. A mish mash of permaculture practices and personal, daily insights and reflections. At least for now. No apologies, please carry on . . . you may learn from this.

Writing is therapy for me. Permaculture is not just gardening remember. And how wonderfully therapeutic it has been to capture just a small part of what our lives are like. It is the tip of the ice-berg. I am after all, a rather private person. Hence the reluctance to post pictures of myself and family. It may come at some point.

Or not.

Now, the rain came today. A reprieve from hand watering the garden for a while. We were all up early, not that unusual, but Mr DIG (our Distinguished International Guest) was departing for home after his stay with us. Leaving the mild mid-twenties (68-70 F) for the possibility of – 10 (14 F). The lulling, bird song laden breezes of November mornings for darkened Northern Hemisphere mornings and scraping ice off the car windscreen. The silky feel of beach sand between the toes for iced concrete paths and central heating.

I suspect for him it was a departure from chaos. Actually, I KNOW it would have been a departure from chaos. But if he felt any of the moments of peace and serenity that I got a glimpse of during our ventures out, then I suspect he had a good stay. We made the best of our current circumstances. But it was still chaos.

petitparadis rosella

Mr DIG’s visit for me was also a re-awakening to the wonders of the natural world that surround us here in the Great Southern and South West corner of the state and Nation. I was filled with moments of quiet, deep reaching gratitude for the beauty around us. These moments have been few and far between the last couple of years as life has pulled me away with distractions and lack of sleep. Piling more complex distractions on top of distractions. Burying creativity and hobbies and ‘consciousness’ underneath the daily pulse of life. Further down. Away. To avoid the disappointment that comes with having to make sacrifices. Alas, it is not sustainable.

And so as one busy, frantic week begins to merge seamlessly with another we also find ourselves entering December and staring down the barrel of the countdown til Christmas and all the obligations and events that it can bring.

But that is almost an aside to the quickly approaching day that we find ourselves suddenly granted with the opportunity to move into The New Tillellan. And then the fun really begins.

Still, we must enjoy the journey, for after nearly fifteen months, that time will be upon us in a heart beat. And somewhere there, out there, is the hope that life will find a comfortable pace for a while. That the complex distractions will fall away in exchange for simple, up-lifting distractions and more of life’s treasured moments will naturally pass by with a brilliance and lucidness, instead of fighting through fatigue for recognition.

It is time for some sleep. And then the bird song . . .

Grazers

petitparadisroos

We don’t need to go too far out of town to be able to see Kangaroos.

They mingle in the fields with cattle and sheep, grazing on the grass and lazing under trees in the heat of the day.

Much the same as our guinea pigs and rabbits. Eat, eat, eat, slumber. Rpt.

Our rabbits and guinea pigs have their work cut out for them. They really are working animals for us, as well as pets. It’s not uncommon for us to arrive home to a bag of green waste from my Dad’s garden or pruning material from friends. As the grass rapidly encroaches on the hillside at the back of Tillellan the day is drawing closer for the g-pigs and rabbits to get into gear and keep things in check.

The grass, though not a favourite element of mine if requiring regular mowing or trimming, is proving useful in keeping the sand down. It is also going to be a solar energy trap for us. As it grows and grows it will be a food source for our animals which will convert it into manure, eggs, meat and such things. All very, very handy stuff.

In maintaining the grass (not to be confused with lawn) I usually trim it down and leave the clippings in situ to fall between and build up the soil. Recently I have also raked up a bit and used this to cover areas of sand to keep it down.

I’m also keen to get the quail onto some grass and dirt. They are doing fine, but I think they will benefit from having some regular, fresh grass to pick at. I’m sure we will notice the change in the quality of the eggs. Much as we do with our own chicken eggs in comparison to other sources we receive eggs from. Free-range, bio-dynamic or organic. For some reason, our own chooks provide us with bright, orange yolks. We love them.

Perhaps that is the secret ingredient.