All posts by Marita

On a gorgeous weekend in Winter

Last week we had abnormally warm weather for a few days – often a sign of impending snowy weather, and sure enough Friday saw snow laying very close by. This was much appreciated by my B&B guests who had arrived from Sydney for some snowboarding! Very appreciative of the heating in the bedrooms, electric blankets on the beds, and a full cooked breakfast at 6.30am before they left for another day on the snow. Yesterday was magnificent for a day in the snow (or at the football, where our team had a great win!), and today looks identical….heavy frost then glorious sunshine. Unfortunately the bird bath is still frozen solid from yesterday though!

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I drove to Beechworth in yesterday’s sunshine for a day practising Qi Gong with Master QiGong teacher Simon Blow from Sydney. A lovely peaceful day with some beautiful people…..meditating, breathing, moving, after driving through the incredibly picturesque mountains and valleys around the North East of Victoria.

Today would be a great day to get into the garden, however I MUST lock myself into my office and do some paperwork 🙁 I do keep getting sidetracked by our plans for our Craft Getaway Weekend instead though….Michelle has now put up some details about the craft side of the venture, and we would love some feedback to help with the planning!

Hope your day is magnificent, no matter what you’re doing 🙂

Exciting New Venture Announcement!

Something else exciting that I’ve been planning is starting to come together, and I’m very excited to give you a sneak peek of what’s coming!

I’m teaming up with my good friend Michelle from One Early Bird to offer Weekend Craft Getaways at Marita’s Place!!

Details will be finalised very soon, but the first opportunity for people to be part of these will be either the second or third weekend in September and include the following:

  • Small groups, with a maximum of 8 guests
  • 9hrs tuition in some amazing and fun craft activities led by the incredibly talented Michelle Collins – suitable for the novice or expert
  • All materials for the craft
  • 2 nights comfortable accommodation, with double, single, twin or dormitory options
  • Fabulous meals from supper on the Friday evening to afternoon tea on the Sunday afternoon….gluten free, dairy free, vegan or any other dietary need catered for, but definitely all delicious!
  • Serenity, spectacular views, and scenic beauty of Marita’s Place
  • Special Introductory All-Inclusive price offers! Only $330 per person, or $280 each if 2 people book together!! (slight extra for single room option)
  • Optional extras can include: walking trails, meditation, Qi Gong, AromaTouch, and more!

So if you think you and/or a friend deserve/s a relaxing weekend break that  brings a sense of achievement and peace then stay tuned! Bookings will open on the 10th of August, but we are now taking questions, suggestions and expressions of interest…..Watch this space for final itinerary!

Catch up

Well I’ve had a break of a few months from writing here, so easy to get sidetracked with life really, and so many lovely things happening….

I went on a wonderful 7,000km road trip with some great girlfriends up to Australia’s Red Centre and back – camping and backpacker lodges mostly.

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Fantastic trip, but no matter how beautiful the country is up there, and so different from where I live, it’s always nice to return home. Even though home over the past few weeks has been quite cold! We are well and truly in Winter.

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Pleased to say that the house and cottage are lovely and warm though, split system heating to all the rooms, plus a gas fire in the lounge to stand in front of when I come in from the cold.

The exciting news that’s keeping me busy is that my eldest son has decided to have his wedding at Marita’s Place! So much gardening needing to be undertaken to have it looking at its best for October!

New flooring has been purchased for the cottage, now I just need to get it laid at a time between visitors, and then I’ll post some photos. 🙂

Bare feet sensations

I feel sorry for people who aren’t able to walk around in bare feet – for whatever reason. Maybe I’m just very tactile, but part of the anticipation of washing the floor today was the thought of how nice it would be when I’d finished and I could walk across the timber floors in my barefeet. As a bonus today there was a strong breeze blowing that made sure the floors dried really quickly. The dust will have settled on them again by tomorrow but in the meantime I can enjoy the soft feel of the smooth wood against my calloused feet.

My feet enjoy all sorts of surfaces, if there’s not a valid reason for footwear then I’ll always choose to wear none. There’s one particular patch of the lawn that has soft cool clover with no prickles, it’s particularly nice to stand on during the hot days when it’s in the shade. You can’t get much more connected to nature than standing in bare feet on soft green grass….or in the mud.

When we’re blessed with rain – as we were yesterday for a change – then it’s lovely to walk in the mud and squeeze it between your toes.

I even have a very strong memory as a young girl – maybe 8 years old – visiting a friend on a farm and she introduced me to the feel of fresh green sloppy cow manure oozing between my toes. I don’t think her mother was terribly impressed when we washed it off at the back door of her house though! I’ve been living on a farm now for thirty years and I’ve never felt the need to re-experience that particular sensation 🙂

I’m not much of a beach person, but when I do go to the beach I walk along the edge of the water and often just stand still and let the waves dig  my feet further into the sand. It’s a very peaceful feeling.

Clean floors, soft grass, wet sand and cool mud should all be enjoyed by barefeet as often as possible.

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Family history

150 yrs ago one set of my ancestors eloped from Ireland to become Pioneers at Oxley Victoria (near Wangaratta). I’ve spent countless hours over the past 7 years attempting to trace their story, including visiting Ireland.  This resulted in a mini-family reunion at Oxley  on this past weekend, where we swapped stories, met cousins we didn’t know we had and visited places our grandparents and their parents (and in some cases, their parents and grandparents!) had lived and worked. Needless to say these events don’t just happen, it does help that I’ve felt the need to reconnect this family for years, but it has taken a lot of last minute time also – hence no blog here for the past week 🙂

I feel it’s a symptom of our increased frenetic lifestyle, but for the first 100 years in Australia this family were close. They visited each other, supported each other when sick or aged, knew each other’s children, celebrated their achievements and milestones…..and then over a decade it eased off, until the older generation had passed on. Consequently in the last 40 years there has been absolutely no contact between any of the branches – and this is a family that didn’t have dozens of children. There were 8 children born to the original Irish couple, and 22 grandchildren, but only 20 great-grandchildren.

I saw this as a chance to re-connect all the branches of the original 8 children – although one child died as a 3 yr old, another had no children, and another had no grandchildren, so only 5 branches to track….and I succeeded….except for one….still can’t find the current descendants of brothers Jeffrey and Kevin Martin from Belmore, NSW – born in the 1940s. That bugs me, that there’s still one I haven’t made contact with….but on the bright side we have now shared information between the other 4 families: Tom’s, Annie’s, Kate’s, and Maggie’s.

Annie is my great-great grandmother, I think she’s what would have been termed ‘a handsome woman’, an extremely strong willed and hard working woman that had a very difficult life at times – but I believe it’s wonderful family support that makes the difference to how well we get through life, and Annie had that. I’m glad she passed that on.

Annie Lang

 

Snakes

Snake……It’s that scary word that many people fear and where we live all the snakes are highly venomous so it’s understandable to a degree. We’ve lost half a dozen dogs over the years to snakebite, but the latest dogs have been trained (as best we can) to not attack the snakes. I don’t mind the snakes living around the place, as long as they keep out of the way of people and dogs. The exception is when they start lurking around the house yard and verandah, or in the chook house (chicken coop for the Northern Hemisphere people) – when we had chooks (which I plan to re-establish soon!). In those instances I have to hope that my son is around.  In years gone by it was always assumed that you killed the snake, shot it generally, but I’m not a big fan of killing anything unless necessary and he loves snakes and happily picks them up and puts them in a sack to relocate. A bit scary to watch…..at the time his 6’1″ frame is usually standing  in nothing but a pair of shorts and with bare feet, and he’s wielding a broom handle to pin it with so he can grab it…..but otherwise it’s all good.

I can usually tell when there’s a tiger snake lurking around because the frog population which generally hangs off my windows for most of Summer is notably absent.  Around our place it’s usually a tiger snake or a brown snake,  tigers are more nocturnal so I don’t wander around my garden or lawn after dark in Summer. Haven’t had a brown snake here for a couple of years now….maybe they’re just hiding….and that’s ok.

More info at The Australian Museum if you’re interested, just search for tiger snake and eastern brown snake.

tiger snake

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Nan & Pop have put sonic snake deterrent devices around their house and it seems to have worked. When you walk into the yard you can hear a slight buzzing sound, like somebody’s hearing aid is not quite right…or your phone’s on vibrate….so I’m not convinced that it’s good to alter the vibrational frequency of the entire house yard  therefore ‘m not implementing them myself, but they do appear to have kept the snakes away for the past two years….

Personally I think the traffic in the cities is more dangerous than the snakes in the country.

Trees

Trees are an amazing part of nature.  They bend they break they’re lashed by storms, seared by heat, eaten by grazing animals, yet they still push upwards, flourish, and flower…..well, the survivors do. I was looking at the trees around my house today. We’re in the middle of a very hot Summer, and the shade the trees give makes an enormous difference to the temperature around the house. Not that gum trees are renowned for shade, it’s always dappled not solid, but it still stops the constant heat from the sun. I do love gum trees, they are all uniquely shaped, with different personalities – and yes, I have been known to talk to the trees 🙂

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Then there’s the beautiful crepe myrtles that flower when the rest of the garden seems to be getting singed by the heat. The Wagtail family reared their two chicks from a beautifully neat and comfortable looking nest within the crepe myrtle’s branches. The lining of the nest consisted of the bits of wool that the sheep have happily provided via their self-shedding process in the earlier months. Having finished their accommodation duties, the bushes are now a veritable delicatessen for the myriad of bees that have descended on them. Making a soft buzzing noise in the otherwise silent heat. There’s another two bushes either side of the gateway into our property and I love driving through them every time I go into or out of town.

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Harvest

It’s that wonderful time of Summer when you suddenly find you have a glut of some fruits and vegetables – all ripening at once and needing preserving, giving away, or leaving to rot. Obviously I’m not a big fan of leaving anything to rot. I figure by the time I’ve shared the harvest with the birds and insects then I should do all I can to retain the rest for human consumption.

Today it was lemons. I hand juiced over 50 of them, put them into ziplock bags and froze them. I grated some of the rind and did the same thing – pretty sure I’ve done that before and it’s still been ok for muffins etc later on. It was worth a try anyway. The juice is very versatile. I drink the juice of one lemon every morning in warm water, and the juice of two lemons is needed in my very yummy and  popular Raw Vegan Berry ‘Cheesecake’, as well as numerous other recipes!

lemons

Next on the agenda is zucchinis, I have 4 already sitting looking at me on the bench. I love that you can use them in sweet or savoury dishes and both Raw and Paleo (my two ways of eating!).  With the temperature tipping to be over 40C for most of the next month I think my emphasis might be on Raw!

Eyesight

We all take so many things for granted, even those of us that try to be grateful every day for what we have. It’s not until there’s a problem that you realise how much your life revolves around the ‘simple’ things, like eyesight.

I woke up early Saturday with an eye irritation/infection and had to remove my contact lenses until it cleared up. I haven’t needed to use glasses for three years, consequently my old glasses weren’t really up to the job anymore. Although by squinting I was able to use my phone and read emails and facebook, but no computer. So my list of tasks I’d assigned myself for the Australia Day long weekend was drastically altered…..from: write daily blog, finalise a couple of contract websites, transcribe some oral history interviews, and assemble family history info ready for reunion in 2 weeks time….to: sit on the verandah in the most gorgeous weather and read mindless fantasy from my kindle (large print).

Sometimes when we’re not listening to our inner selves about the need to rest something happens to ensure we do…..I had a wonderfully relaxed weekend, if not somewhat frustrating.

It’s a whole different world to look at when everything is fuzzy. I watched birds but couldn’t tell if they were wrens or sparrows, crows or magpies. I watched cars go by on the road but couldn’t identify the police cars from the other 4WD vehicles, it felt a bit like when I was staying in the US and couldn’t identify the birds or stars….in a different world for a while 🙂

In my garden I was still able to notice the sunflowers had started to flower, and could still identify which leaves to pick for my morning omelette!

Now, back to work…..

Sunflowers