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Archive for the ‘Seasons & Cycles’ Category

Lovely to see this blossom down Colombo Street this morning.

It’s cold and the solstice is still five days away, but the message is that spring is coming.

“To see the blossom flowering there
makes me think spring is in the air.”

 

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A winter pleasure is the sight of bare trees outlined against the sky.  This one is on the old St Luke’s site in Manchester Street.

I appreciate the exotic trees that give us these wonderful silhouettes, and I enjoy crunching through all the fallen leaves.

“In winter when the leaves have fell
the bare tree can look very well.”

 

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It’s feijoa time again, and thanks to the generosity of friends I have an abundance of these fruit.  My own tree has produced well this year, but not enough to allow for baking as well as eating.  A couple of years ago I found a great recipe for Feijoa and Ginger Loaf, which I’ve since shared with a number of friends.  Recently I bought some mini loaf tins (or rather silicone moulds), and today I thought I’d try making little loaves.  The recipe suggested it would make eight mini loaves, but my mixture easily filled twelve, and they are superb.

Easier to manage than a large loaf which can be inclined to fall apart and require a cake fork.  It’s possible to freeze and store the mixture for this loaf, but our small freezer doesn’t really have room to do this.  Plus I like to eat things when they’re in season, rather than having everything available all year round.  If Myrtle Rust creeps south, feijoas may become endangered, so we may as well enjoy them while we can.

“Let’s relish our feijoa feast.
Hope they escape the Myrtle beast.”

 

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The year’s first snowdrop appeared today (actually it’s a snowflake).

It has a slightly chewed look, maybe it isn’t quite open yet, but I look forward to soon being able to pick whole bunches.

“I’m pleased to see this first wee gem
and looking forward to more of them.”

 

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At the end of April nature is dying in the Southern Hemisphere.  This is our Halloween, traditionally time to remember our beloved dead.  In Aotearoa the focus is on Anzac Day and those who died in war.  The poppies are gone from my garden, but the naked ladies/amaryllis are about to burst into flower – the first sign of spring-to-come.

Naked ladies bursting forth

Months of cold and darkness lie ahead.  We collect the last of the harvest and store it against the leaner times.  I’m going out to spread some compost, and scatter seeds for the coming year.  Recent sunny autumn days have been a golden indication that the seasons change and all is cyclical.

“The wheel is turning through the year
and right now autumn’s gold is here.’

 

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24 hours after the patio was flooded, we were breakfasting outside in 20 degree sunshine.  Our weather is certainly changeable!  Now that we’ve stepped aside from paid work, every day is a holiday, but we can’t help joining in the general pleasure of a holiday weekend.  For Easter Saturday Stephen made us a special breakfast of Oefs en Cocotte.

Chicken and mushroom, together with a baked egg, make this especially delicious.  We sipped our tea or coffee, leisurely read the “Press’, and thought lazily about how we might spend the rest of the day.  I hope my readers are all enjoying their Easter break.  Great to hear that so many volunteers are helping those in the Bay of Plenty to sort out the aftermath of Cuclone Cook.

“Although each day’s a holiday
today’s a special time to play.”

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Easter is a spring celebration of fertility and rebirth.  In autumnal Aotearoa, beset by the winds and rain of Cyclone Cook, it’s the wrong time for this festival.  Spring for us is months away, despite pots of daffodils being offered in the supermarket.

In the Southern Hemisphere this is a time of dying.  During the last week I’ve spoken at the funeral of a loved friend, and there have been two other deaths in my wider circle.  The demise of John Clarke/Fred Dagg was a poignant reminder of the Easter death of my brother, who also died while bushwalking in the Grampians.

The rich colours of the trees around me are a sure sign that the wheel of the year is turning, and a poem by Nancy Wood is brought to mind:

“You shall ask
What good are dead leaves
And I will tell you
They nourish the sore earth
You shall ask
What reason is there for winter
And I will tell you
To bring about new leaves
You shall ask
Why are the leaves so green
And I will tell you
Because they are rich with life
You shall ask
Why must summer end
And I will tell you
So that the leaves can die.”

 

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