We have survived the Christmas season, relatively intact. We avoided shopping in crazy places, & had a great time at Habitat for Humanity, an Op Shop where we spent about $50 & got a load of awesome presents, just perfect for our family & no plastic crap.

The most exciting time was on Saturday 22nd when we were present at the birth of our newest Grandson. What a magic experience, & a timely reminder of birth & renewal. We gaze at this perfect little person & wonder who he is, & try to imagine this time next year when he’ll be all systems go.

Our New GrandsonNapier Beach

Being Grandparents is so much more than either Geoff or I expected, that visceral love for those little people, the revisiting of old stories & games & glimpses of our own childrens’ growing up time. It’s such a gift, & to have time to sit & just hang out together is great, the lack of rush & hurry & stress that parenting often includes.  We do notice that we don’t have the energy we once had, nor the tolerance for noise, luckily we have a choice to take time out, but those loving little cuddles, & funny conversations make it all worth while.

German Chamomile & Calendula FlowersPurple de Jesu ArtichokeDaisy Lawn

Our gardens are an explosion of plants, we’ve never had such rampant growth, the paths are impenetrable, & plants like Valerian officinalis have flowered over 2 metres tall. We have just started to hew our way through the paths, like explorers in a jungle, & bunched various herbs to dry in our garden caravan. This morning I fired up the Alembic Still & made Lemon Balm hydrosol, not sure what to use it for yet, will look it up later.

We’ve dug up all the garlic except the Elephant Garlic & planted some more Courgettes, Galangal & Lemon Grass in the spaces. Geoff & I spend an hour or so each day picking flowers into olive oil, mainly St. John’s Wort, but also Chamomile, Meadowsweet, Calendula & the first few flowers of Arnica & Mullein. These jars will sit in the sun for a month or so before we heat them up, filter & then store in the dark until we are ready to use them. It’s a good feeling to have those jars filling up, as we rely on the seasonal crops for the rest of the year. This process is called maceration.