Feeling Better Every Day!

 Hi everyone. 

It’s Nurse Bert reporting from Mum’s phone cos we have no power. This bed’s a little crowded! We’d like to be blogging but actually, we all slept in because of the blackout. It was lovely. 

We are here at the farm and today I get to go for a very short walk on my new bionic knee. Mum says my knee being fixed is much better than any silly holiday she would have had. I think so too. 

That’s Harry in the background. He is ready for a cafe visit. But I think I might have a bit more sleep. A big truck just arrived with men to fix the broken power line where a tree fell on it in the big wind last night. That is all my news. 

Oh yeah, plus one new baby calf. I hope it will be friends with me. Bye for now, love Bert xx

Sometimes The Best Way to Honour The Dead is to Celebrate

The last photo I have of Nana, taken with my Dad on my birthday, 6 September, 2012

The last photo I have of Nana, taken with my Dad on my birthday, 6 September, 2012

“We’re all ghosts. We all carry, inside us, people who came before us.”
~ Liam Callanan, The Cloud Atlas

My beloved Nana would have turned one hundred yesterday.

She passed three years ago, and I find myself missing her more as time goes on. We had a very special connection, and I still talk with her and feel her guiding presence in my life.

Yesterday I held a little celebration of her life, in a way that Nana would have appreciated. A cup of tea and a toasted ham, cheese and tomato sandwich (her favourite) followed by a pink cupcake. It wasn’t Nana, but it was the next best thing. The kind of ritual we had followed in life. Her traditional choice of meal if we went out shopping together.

Homemade toasties, just like Nana used to make!

Homemade toasties, just like Nana used to make!

As I age I seem to be gathering so many ghosts to me. It’s like that for all of us, I think. Friends die. Relatives too. Young and old and in-between. So many holes in our hearts, empty places at our tables.

The dead no longer occupy physical space in our lives, but they live on in our hearts. It only takes a song, the smell of cooking on the breeze, a certain place or particular company and they are right here with me. Sometimes, they visit me as ghosts. The veil between me and that other place can be nearly transparent at times.

People have told me that time heals and that memory fades,that eventually I will forget and move on, but I have to disagree. When you truly love someone, that love doesn’t fade if they are no longer here. Hearts are big enough to love many, and keep loving. The nature of the relationship changes, but the heart remembers. I’m glad it does. Why would you want to forget someone so precious?

Yesterday was also a time of reflection for me. Only three years ago I was dying from heart failure. I was on holidays in Thailand when Nana passed in November 2012. I’d had chest pain all day. I was struggling to walk. To breathe. Everything was hard, and I felt so ill and low. I wondered if it was the last holiday I might ever have with my husband.

When I found out about my grandmother’s death I walked down to the beach, and stood in the dark with my feet lapped by the warm caress of the ocean. The sky was lit with stars and as tears rolled down my face I looked up to the heavens and asked my Nana to help me. I told her that I couldn’t keep doing this – living with so much suffering and ill health. I wanted to live, or be done with it. Not this in-between place I’d been in for so long.

Only a few days later, back in Bangkok, a friend suggested that I get my thyroid checked again when I got home to Australia. A bizarre out-of-the-blue comment that led to my lyme diagnosis and subsequent treatment that turned my health around. I truly believe that Nana heard me that night, and helped in a way she’d never been able to while she was alive.

I’ll keep celebrating Nana’s birthday each year. It brings me comfort. It helps me to hold her close. Or maybe she’s holding me. All I know is that acknowledging her birthday seems as natural and right as it did when she was still here to eat that cake with me!

Sometimes the best way to honour our dead is to celebrate their living.

Thinking of you and sending much love, Nicole <3 xx

That's me on my Dad's lap and my little sister on Nana's lap

That’s me on my Dad’s lap and my little sister on Nana’s lap

September 2015 – What To Expect

“And so taking the long way home through the market I slow my pace down. It doesn’t come naturally. My legs are programmed to trot briskly and my arms to pump up and down like pistons, but I force myself to stroll past the stalls and pavement cafes. To enjoy just being somewhere, rather than rushing from somewhere, to somewhere. Inhaling deep lungfuls of air, instead of my usual shallow breaths. I take a moment to just stop and look around me. And smile to myself.
For the first time in a long time, I can, quite literally, smell the coffee.”
~ Alexandra Potter

 

Hello, Lovelies <3

September is here! My birthday month, and in Australia the beginning of Spring! For those of you moving into Autumn enjoy those energies too.

I promised that I would support you in making the most of this year’s opportunities, so here’s my Heads Up about the month ahead, as well as a few suggestions for embracing all that September has to offer.

September is about slowing down, turning inward, and opening up to new ideas and your own heart whispers. It’s an incredible month of astrological phenomena that will fire up your intuitive and psychic abilities and help you to clearly connect into your own inner knowing.

Don’t worry that you’ll lose the momentum you’ve begun to create with all the change of the past few months. Sometimes we need to slow down in order to go further, faster. Crazy I know, but it really does work.

When we go too fast, and get too busy we actually become less productive, and we become disconnected from our intuition and our creative flow.

So in September make time – for yourself, for your special projects, for the ones you love.

 

Card for the Month:

I’ve chosen two cards for September for you: one from the Osho Zen Tarot Deck, and one from Colette Baron-Reid’s The Enchanted Map. Remember that I don’t use these cards in the conventional way, but rather as a stimulus for channelled information.

Here is what I have received from each card:

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“Have you ever heard the wonderful silence just before the dawn? Or the quiet and calm just as a storm ends? Or perhaps you know the silence when you haven’t the answer to a question you’ve been asked, or the hush of a country road at night, or the expectant pause of a room full of people when someone is just about to speak, or, most beautiful of all, the moment after the door closes and you’re alone in the whole house? Each one is different, you know, and all very beautiful if you listen carefully.”
~ Norton Juster

 

The message of  Silence is about coming to that quiet place empty; and then sitting in silence until you are filled up with knowing, and answers and certitude.

We so often fill every moment of our waking with noise and movement and thinking and busy-ness. Information comes at us from every direction. There is email and television. Facebook and tweets. Phone calls and text messages. Youtube. Online courses. Billboards. The radio. Conversation. Books. Relationships. Study. So much to think about and process that even when we lay down to sleep our minds are filled to bursting with the things we haven’t thought about yet, or the things we still need to do.

None of that kind of thinking helps though. It’s all just sorting of information. It’s lists and tasks.

September invites you to step into the quiet. To create some space for silence and non-doing. How do you do that? Meditation. Sitting in a park. Journalling. Playing with your runes or oracle cards. Going for a walk. Running. Swimming. Napping. Making art. Being in nature. Moodling at home. Whatever you do, let it just be you. However can you listen to your own intuition otherwise? How else might you hear God or your Angels and Guides? Let September be restful as much as possible.

September’s gift is clarity, certainty, new ideas and answers to your deeper questions.

 

(Not sure how to get quiet and look within? Join our Journal Challenge!)

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“We’re so busy watching out for what’s just ahead of us that we don’t take time to enjoy where we are.”
~ Bill Watterson

 

The second card, Slow and Steady, echoes the message of Silence. Let go of the crazy, and truly let yourself rest and heal. Stop with the manic deadlines and impossible expectations of yourself. Go slowly through life this month. Simplify. Retreat, if you must.

Let your actions be slow enough that they become a form of meditation. Devotion, even. Let your slowed-down life become a celebration of the ordinary. Dwell in moments.

Nap in the sunshine, dance in the rain, smell the flowers.

As you travel through life at a more subdued pace, magic will happen. You’ll find yourself rediscovering the lovely things about yourself and life that you have been too stressed and exhausted to access.

All sorts of positive thoughts and ideas will rise to the front of your consciousness.

You’ll begin to remember who you really are.

Eat lightly, move more, and rest often. Open yourself to your intuitive wisdom, and to guidance from the Universe. Expect transformation, just by slowing down!

 

 

Need some extra encouragement, support or inspiration?

Try these posts:

Guided Meditation for reducing inflammation and promoting healing within your body – a meditation to help you heal, rest and repair

Sometimes You Get There Faster By Going Slow – thoughts on the importance of slowing down and some suggestions on how to do that

Breathing Yourself to Sleep – A gentle meditation technique to help you sleep soundly and deeply

Feather Oracle for Inspired Messages – a fun way to get a little extra clarity and guidance for the month ahead.

Let September be a month of slow-down and soul time. Top your batteries back up. Allow yourself some breathing space. Rest. Be open to magic and miracles. I know that good things are coming your way.

Much love to you,

Nicole <3 xx

Nana’s Delicious Ginger Cake Recipe

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“And I had but one penny in the world. Thou should’st have it to buy gingerbread.” ~ William Shakespeare, Love’s Labours Lost

 

This was my Pa’s favourite cake. It is a heavy, moist old-fashioned ginger cake and it has very good keeping qualities. Teamed with an afternoon cup of tea or an early morning breakfast coffee and you have happiness on a plate. It has that heavenly gingerbread taste. Need I say more?

Pa would often have this cake, un-iced (that’s without frosting, for my American friends) and generously buttered as a pre-breakfast fortification with strong tea before heading out into the yard for early morning chores, or downstairs into his man-cave to paint and tinker and so on, while Nana slept in.

The cake freezes well. I’ve used gluten-free flours very successfully with this recipe, and have also used it to make cupcakes, slab cakes and bar cakes.

Nana’s Ginger Cake is a picnic and mustering favourite because it doesn’t go to crumbs in your basket, saddlebag or rucksack. This is a big cake and it will easily feed a crowd.

Whenever I make it I am taken back to Nana’s kitchen, and my grandparents’ tiny neat war-service home on Marlene Street at Mount Gravatt. How I miss them!

This is my Nana , Pa and Dad just before Pa signed up for World War Two. Pa's mother gave Nana the ginger cake recipe so she would know how to make his favourite cake.

This is my Nana , Pa and Dad in 1940, just before Pa signed up for World War Two. Pa’s mother gave Nana the ginger cake recipe so she would know how to make his favourite cake.

Excuse the mess in my kitchen. I have crystals everywhere, getting ready for my next retreat in just over a week’s time!

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Ingredients:

2 and 1/2 cups self raising flour (self rising), 1 and 1/2 cups plain flour, a generous pinch of salt, 1 generous tablespoon of ground ginger, a heaped teaspoon of ground cinnamon, 1 level teaspoon bicarbonate of soda, 1/2 cup glace ginger – finely chopped, 1 egg, 1 cup of treacle (you can substitute golden syrup but the flavour won’t be as strong), 2 lightly packed cups of brown sugar, 3/4 cup of butter (6oz or 185g), 1 cup of milk.

Note: This bakes well using gluten-free flours

Method:

Line a 23cm round, deep tin with baking paper. Preheat your oven to moderate (160 degree celcius fan-forced or 180 degree oven – 350 degrees fahrenheit).

Place the butter, syrup and sugar over low heat and melt until thick and combined. Allow to cool to lukewarm. Then add the cup of milk, stirring well.

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While the sugar mixture is cooling sift the flours into a large bowl with the ginger, salt, bicarb and cinnamon. Then add the glace ginger and stir so that the pieces become covered in flour, This prevents them sinking to the bottom of the cake! Make a well in the middle of the dry mixture.

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Pour the wet mixture into the dry ingredients. Starting in the middle, stir well with a wooden spoon, slowly incorporating the dry mixture from the edges of the bowl.

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When all the ingredients are combined add the egg and stir thoroughly. Pour into the paper lined tin and bake for one hour.

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Cake should spring back when pressed lightly in the centre, or a skewer inserted in middle of cake will come out clean with no mixture sticking to it. If not quite done cook a little more.

Cool in tin. Remove paper and place on platter.

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Serving Ideas:

You can serve the cake on its own, or with butter or ice-cream. It is also tasty when iced with a lemon icing. Here are a couple of simple recipes for that. Beat butter and sugar together on low speed if using an electric mixer, and then increase speed to medium. Of course if you are doing by hand, then just beat like crazy. Gradually add enough lemon juice to make a thick but fluffy mixture. Spread on top of cooled cake.

Cream Cheese Frosting: 250 grams (1 cup) cream cheese, 2 cups of icing sugar (confectioners or powdered sugar), 1/4 to 1/2 cup of fresh lemon juice

Butter Cream Icing: 1/2 cup softened butter, 2 cups of icing sugar, 1/4 to 1/2 cup of fresh lemon juice

However, I think this cake goes best with friends!

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Journal Challenge Week 5 – August 30, 2015

“Wounding and healing are not opposites. They’re part of the same thing. It is our wounds that enable us to be compassionate with the wounds of others. It is our limitations that make us kind to the limitations of other people. It is our loneliness that helps us to find other people or to even know they’re alone with an illness. I think I have served people perfectly with parts of myself I used to be ashamed of. ”
~ Rachel Naomi Remen

 

Welcome to Week Five of our journal challenge. If you missed the start you can go here to catch up on the tools you’ll need, and to find links to previous weeks.

This week, starting on August 30, is supported by the energies of the glorious Supermoon in Pisces. This is the Healer’s Moon. A moon that allows healers to access energies for their own healing. A moon to help all of us find a softer, kinder space in which to relate with ourselves.

The supermoon is a powerful connector for those wanting to work more strongly with their intuition and inner knowing. That intuitive flow can facilitate all kinds of healings, transformations and breakthroughs. If you’re energetically sensitive I’m sure you’ll have been feeling this push for honesty and positive transformation in our lives.

It’s no longer enough just to survive – to keep doing what we’ve always done in ways that keep us numb, or that make us die inside a little more each day.

This week the emphasis is on beginning to honour what we need to truly live a healthy, happy and emotionally satisfying life.

Are you ready to get clearer about what that looks like?

Let’s go!

Image from brainyquote.com

Image from brainyquote.com

Weekly Structure Reminder

Each week of this nine week challenge will follow the same format:

  1. We will begin with the short guided meditation for the week, using your guidance stone. During this meditation you’ll be given a colour to work with for the week, and a word or phrase.
  2. We will choose an oracle card to give us inspiration and direction for the week ahead
  3. We will spend ten minutes (or more if desired!) to complete our weekly journal prompt.
  4. We will spend a few moments at the end of our day in gratitude.

Start Here!

1. Guided Meditation

Take your guidance stone and sit or lie quietly. Then simply follow the sound of my voice. You’ll need seven minutes.

When the meditation is complete, write down your power colour and your power word or phrase in your journal.

  • How can you use your Power Word this week? Write a few ideas, based on your word. Trust whatever comes and write it down. Don’t overthink it.
  • What does your Colour mean to you? What words or ideas does it provoke? Write them down. This week, use this colour to boost your energy. Shut your eyes for thirty seconds and breathe it into your body whenever you feel a bit flat or low. Wear it as clothing. Choose flowers in your colour. Eat food that colour. Be creative with it.

2. Oracle Card

Take your cards, offer up a small prayer that whatever you do be for your Highest Good, and then shuffle the deck. As you’re shuffling, ask the question‘What do I most need to focus on this week?’ Say it out loud or hold it as a thought in your head. Either will work.

Choose one card. How you choose is up to you. Split the deck. Fan them out. Top or bottom. Dive right in. There is no right or wrong.

Now look at your card and hold your guidance stone in your non-writing hand. Really look at the card. Don’t use the book or the ‘proper’ meaning. We are being intuitive here, people! What stands out for you in the picture? What thoughts and ideas do the images provoke? Take a minute or two and write those thoughts down. I know, you might feel like you’re just making it all up. That’s okay. Write anyway. Trust that there is a part of you that is wise and that has been waiting for this chance to speak with your conscious mind.

I love my oracle card this week. The words at the bottom of the card have no bearing on what has come through for me. The images evoke my memories of the Elder Elephant of Chiang Mai, one of my Aboriginal Aunties, and a burgeoning sense of hope and optimism about my future:

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3. Week Five Journal Prompt

Take some small pieces of paper and write the following phrases, one for each paper:

  • My Heart
  • My Body
  • My Spirit
  • My Creativity
  • My Self Image
  • My Relationships
  • My Personal Magic
  • My Future

If there is anything else that you want to add in, go ahead and do that!

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Place the scraps of paper in a bowl or hat, or even in your lap. Breathe in your Power Word. Breathe in your Colour.  Ask for guidance in knowing what most needs healing in your life. Then draw one scrap of paper out.

Now journal about your choice. What do you need to do to help heal this aspect of yourself? Write the wisdom out that is already within you. Trust that you know what is most needed, or what your next step can be.

Write as little or as much as you want.

Do this once, or write a little every day. Whatever works for you. Choose just one, or a new one each time. Hold your guidance stone in your non-writing hand or place it on your lap or beside you while you write.Genuinely seek to connect with what matters to you.

Here’s my beginnings. I decided to draw myself at the centre of the page and then free write whatever came to me about that topic. During the week I will choose again. If a choice comes up more than once I won’t reject it. I will see it as a sign that there is more to explore about that topic:

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Using the Gratitude Rock:

The Gratitude Rock anchors positive energy and gratitude at the end of every day.  You can carry your stone with you, or leave it beside your bed.  At night, before you go to sleep, hold your Gratitude Rock in your hand.

As you hold the stone say to yourself I am richly Blessed. I have an Abundance of Good in my life.  Then hold in your mind one or more image of a thing you have been grateful for today. Swell that positive energy up in your heart like a beautiful golden light, and give a heart-felt Thank You, Thank You, Thank You to the Universe. Visualise a tiny shower of golden light travelling from your heart into your Gratitude Rock.

Now here’s the fun bit – imagine all of the other people who are taking part in this journalling challenge with you. Once again build up a strong positive energy in your heart, and then imagine shooting a stream of golden light out into the Universe to those people.

Image from tumblr18.com

Image from tumblr18.com

Say Thank you.  I Bless You.  I intend for you Love, Miracles and Abundance. Know that as you are saying this for them, they are also saying this for you. Feel that connection and gratitude and know that there is real love and support for you here. Place your rock back beside your bed, and go to sleep, cocooned in this good energy.

Happy exploring through words this week! Let your Power Word and Colour guide you. Think on the wisdom you’ve taken from your oracle card. Use it all! And remember to pop over to facebook and let us know how you’re going. I always love to hear from you.

Much love, Nicole <3 xx

Full Moon Supermoon Ritual – August 29, 2015

“Compassion hurts. When you feel connected to everything, you also feel responsible for everything. And you cannot turn away. Your destiny is bound with the destinies of others. You must either learn to carry the Universe or be crushed by it. You must grow strong enough to love the world, yet empty enough to sit down at the same table with its worst horrors.”
~ Andrew Boyd, Daily Afflictions: The Agony of Being Connected to Everything in the Universe

 

A super moon is a perigree full moon – a full moon that occurs at the moon’s closest approach to earth. The moon will appear brighter and larger in the night sky than usual. The supermoon on August 29 is in Pisces. It’s known as the Healer’s Moon and it has a special significance for spiritual seekers and all forms of healers.

Many sensitive souls will have been feeling increasingly overwhelmed recently by the current circumstances of the earth, and within their personal lives. Healers, empaths and activists may feel that they can never do enough, or be enough, or work fast enough to affect a change. You may be completely emotionally or physically drained and wondering how you can continue to give.

That’s why this supermoon is a blessing. She brings a restorative energy to remind us that we are all one, and that none of us works alone. Through the supermoon we can access the energy of universal oneness and universal healing to replenish and heal ourselves, and to sustain us for the times ahead.

The energy of this supermoon also provides a short energetic window that will heighten our spiritual and psychic perception, enabling us to see and know ourselves more clearly. You may well be feeling this pull already, and it shall last a few more days. This heightened ‘knowing’ helps us to shift our consciousness, so that we become better aligned with our own truth. If we’re open to it, ideas come. Inspiration visits. Past life understanding and cycles of knowledge unfold. Solutions and possible paths of action become visible. Clarity finds us and guides us out of the fog in which we’ve been lost, perhaps for decades. We will be easily able to let go of what no longer serves us. We’ll feel guided to clear our emotional, energetic and physical clutter so that energy can flow better in our lives.

 

The following ritual for healing and replenishment can be done at any time around August 29 where the full moon is in the sky above you. Day or night. It does not matter if the moon is obscured by cloud. Her energies will still be available to you.

If you are drained, disheartened or lost, let the Supermoon bring you healing and fill you back up with love, hope and purpose.

Tools:

(These are not necessary but can help to amplify both the moon’s energy, and your connection.)

  1. A crystal. Choose a clear quartz if you are looking for direction and clarity about major decisions or your life path. Choose an amethyst if you seek deeper intuitive and psychic connection. Choose a citrine if you desire greater flow and abundance in your life. Choose a rose quartz if you need emotional support and nurture. Choose an aventurine if you desire a greater connection to the earth and her healing powers. Choose the stone that most resonates for you. If another crystal feels best for you, then happily select that stone. Be guided by your own intuitive wisdom.
  2. A glass of water. Use water only. Tap water is fine. Make sure that the water is in a cup made from glass, china or metal. Avoid plastic.
  3. Your journal and a pen. This will enable you to write down any insights or deeper understanding you may receive during or after the ritual.

Ritual:

Find a quiet place outside. If it is not possible to be outside, position yourself near a window or door. Trust that you will still be able to connect with the moon’s energy.

(Note: if you are bedridden or for any reason cannot perform the physical parts of this ritual know that you can do this with your mind’s eye – seeing yourself as whole and healed and acting out the ritual in your imagination) 

Place your crystal on the ground at your feet. Place your glass of water down where you won’t knock it over. Bring your hands to your heart and place them palm down on your chest.

Image from yoffielife.com

Image from yoffielife.com

Now say, either to yourself or out loud if it feels right, Sister Moon, I am hollow. I am weary and lost. I give and I give and there is not enough of me left. I call upon you to fill me up again, and to flow through me with energy and grace. Take a moment and truly feel the truth of the words. Connect to your own heart. Feel your fatigue, overwhelm, loneliness or whatever else is happening for you.

When you have connected to your emotions, raise your arms up to the sky and close your eyes. Say I call down your energies to replenish me. Be the giver that gives through me.

Image by Youra Peshkin

Image by Youra Peshkin

Stand quietly, and imagine drawing the light of the moon down into your body through your hands and the top of your head. You might see this light as white, silver, blue or gold. Trust whatever colour you get as the perfect one for you right now. Draw that light deep into your body, feeling yourself fill up just like a battery would take a charge. When you feel full, bring your hands back down to your heart again and stand for another minute to let the moon’s energy integrate into your own.

Still standing with your hands over your heart now visualise moonlight entering and charging the crystal and the glass of water. Do this until they feel ‘done’.

When you are ready give thanks to the moon and then open your eyes. Pick up your crystal, and then drink the glass of water.

Take your journal and sit holding your stone. Ask for any insights or wisdom to help you to understand yourself better at this time. Write down whatever comes to you.

When you go to bed, sit for a minute holding your crystal. Ask to be shown through dreams, or in signs that are clear to you, what you most need to know . Place the stone beside your bed or under your pillow before you go to sleep. Do this for up to one week from the full moon, and then journal whatever you are shown.

Image from pinterest.com

Image from pinterest.com

PS: The full moon is also a great energy for recharging any of your crystals and stones. Remember to lay them out in the moonlight overnight.

And if you feel like a little Supermoon dancing, here’s some soulful music by Sophie Hunger, with her song Supermoon

All Things Green In My Garden

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“A garden to walk in and immensity to dream in–what more could he ask? A few flowers at his feet and above him the stars.” 
~ Victor Hugo, Les Misérables

 

Yesterday I arrived home at my farm to find the gardens green and lush, and everything budding or already in flower. The air was sweetly fragranced with magnolia, lemon blossom and jasmine.

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I ate as many snowpeas and fresh peas as I put into my basket, and picked bunches of the delicate flowers from the coriander that has gone to seed.

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Harry kept me company as we wandered down to the front paddock, and over to check on the new calves who are fat and happy.

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Then I made a cup of tea and watched the late afternoon sun slanting through the trees. So good to be home!

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