Wednesday, April 28, 2010


Just look at the island bench in my kitchen this morning. I know it is a bit untidy, but it is full of good things to eat!

Matt has dropped off our weekly box of veges, and the greens are just so amazing – all sorts of wonderful green leafy things, including kale, a range of spinach and chard and silver beet, a bag of salad greens, and a beautiful bunch of basils.

There were also beans, zucchini, red cabbage, cucumber, spring onions, and for the first time, a beautiful huge fennel bulb. And look at those big eggs, from his free range chooks who enjoy all those vegetable leftovers and trimmings from the garden!

You can see some of the last of this year’s persimmon crop – what a beautiful shade of orange! And they have never tasted so good.

We got some avocadoes from the Rectory this week – our own trees seem to be having a rest year this year.

About the only imported thing is the big bag of garlic – because that, plus onions, ginger and potatoes, are the only fresh stuff we are allowed to import!

Just imagine – all our fresh foods are locally grown, and come to us by a truly direct route – no miles of travelling, and they are picked ripe. Food tastes so good here!

There was even a bunch of flowers in the vege delivery this morning! It all felt a bit like a celebration!

Norfolk Island is on the verge of a wonderful revolution, where I believe we are going to show the world how to get it right in caring for our soil and water, and undo all the damage that has been done in the past by overuse of pesticides and fertilisers, and inappropriate land management. We have some intertnational experts on our side, and some enthusiastic young people who are prepared to lead the way, with the support of some oldies. I mean people like Greg, shown here, who at 91 still spends his day in an extensive vegetable garden, and is fit, healthy and active.

Watercress and other delights growing at Matt's "BiggFresh" garden.

Last night Bernie and I were at a function where Major-General Michael Jeffery spoke to us. Since retiring as Australia’s Governor-General, he has taken on a number of causes, but one of the main ones is to steer a movement back to doing things the right way with our precious land and resources. He said we have been focussing too much on our waterways, and have not thought enough about the water that is falling onto our soils – where is that going? If we treat our soils right, they will hold on to that water, so they can continue to produce even in periods of drought.

When I spoke to him afterwards, Major-General Jeffery agreed that we have to “unlearn” so much and return to what our forefathers knew about caring for the land. He said he is keen to point out the success stories and not dwell on the mistakes of the past. And there are plenty of success stories – just look at what our own Matt is doing out at Steele’s Point.

Here is what Matt calls his "Wawaha" vegetables - cut and come again greens that have traditionally been sold to restaurants as garnishes. Now they are popular with everyone, because you get a great variety of colour and flavour and nutrition in one pack. "Wawaha" is a Norfolk word meaning "putting on airs and graces"

Growing organically no longer means putting up with inferior quality and appearance. Look at this giant watermelon grown by Matt out at Simon's Water - in the dry weather! He is saving it for seed.

Matt tells me it is all about succession planting, and variety – gone are the days of mono-culture. Funnily enough. Major-General Jeffery said last night that in Britain, you will not find a Group One Racing horse that has not grazed in pastures where there is a variety of a minimum of eighty different grasses and other pasturage plants!

This morning on television, an expert was being interviewed who claimed that one of the key factors in longevity was eating an extensive variety of foods.

I was brought up on the idea that no meal was complete without the trio of red/orange, green and white on the plate, along with a good protein food. Well, nowadays, I frequently count 7, 8 or 9 vegetables/fruits on our plates at dinner time. And when they are combined in a salad or soup/stew, there may often be more.

We are truly blessed here on Norfolk Island. 

Wednesday, April 21, 2010


Yesterday Tina and I conducted the first of 3 Blogging Workshops. This is an iniative of Norfolk Tourism, to encourage Norfolk Island people to tell our story, and to "put it out there" on the net.
It is not hard to say great things about Norfolk Island - and we can produce beautiful pictures to back it up.

But when you are just a small and remote place, it means you have to try a bit harder to get the message out.

We had seven participants yesterday, and there will be a different group each week. Anyone is welcome to come back again to ask more questions or smooth out any wrinkles. By the end of the 2-2 1/2 hour session, every single one in the group had set up their own blog, and were working on their first posting. There was a wonderful feeling of achievement and anticipation of future opportunities for putting stories and messages out there. Each blog will be quite different, as every person has different interests and skills and agendas. But every posting will enhance Norfolk Island's profile, as well as give satisfaction to the bloggers.

During the session, Tina showed my archives up on the screen, and the fact that I began blogging in January 2006. I have noted that this was 374 posts ago!

Now there is such a thing as "blogger's block" - you have times when you are not sure of what to write about, but you also realise that people who follow your blog may lose interest if you do not update fairly regularly.

It helps to have a grandson. Especially if I use my blog to keep his other grandparents in New Zealand fuelled up with love and pride in a little boy they see less frequently than Bernie and I do.
On Saturday, we went to "arter on" while William was having his riding lesson. "Arter on" is a Norfolk Island dialect expression meaning "to gaze on with love and pride". And that is just what all the parents and grandparents were doing during this class. with a group of mainly 3 year olds experiencing enjoyment and building up confidence riding the ponies!

At this stage the little ones are just being led around, but they are being encouraged to get to know their horses, to feel comfortable on them, experience "balance", step over small obstacles,and they even get to do a bit of trotting.

There are adult helpers, and older pupils all helping out with leading the little ones, so they all have one - on - one guidance and instruction.

Look Mum - no hands!

Colleen, who owns and manages this lovely little riding school, is fulfilling a lifetime dream.

She has been riding herself since she was tiny, and now her small grandchildren are among her pupils. In recent times, she has been able to purchase a property adjacent to a block of family land. This gives her a lovely big area for lessons and events. The new property has a big shed on it, which serves as a great clubhouse for the students, as well as a wet-weather learning area and storage facility. There is even a kitchen and toilet, and when the shower is hooked up, Colleen is planning camps for the kids.

Alongside the shed, a number of stables have been constructed. The ponies are so gentle and well-behaved. Perfect for an equestrian beginner!

Colleen is just one of many people here on Norfolk Island who put an enormous amount of time, skill and personal resources into making life richer and better for those around them. I know the kids will agree with that!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

I once again need to apologise for infrequent postings. I seem to have been  trying to meet a number of deadlines lately. I am getting too old for that sort of stress!!
But I have been working on a few creative projects, and some of these have had to meet deadlines, so it is not all negative.
This is the first page I have done for our 2010 Round Robin. This one will end up back with me, because it is done for my "Time" theme. It is called  "Time and Place." I got hold of an old atlas that I was able to deconstruct for this piece. It also gave me the opportunity to use some old watch parts that I have been hoarding for years. I wonder if I can persuade friends to part with some defunct old analog watches to get some more little cogs and such - or would they have become valuable antiques??

This is one of the Artist Trading cards that I made for each of the girls participating in the group.

Meanwhile, here is the page that I made for Amelia in New Zealand. Amelia chose as her theme "Korus and Curls." I started thinking about all sorts of curls that occur in nature and in everyday things, but settled on the curl of a wave - the sort that surfers love.
I used silk fusion to create this piece, with some beading. The hardest part was choosing the right background. I eventually settled on this piece of really dark blue shot silk.
Finally, here is another Artist Trading Card (ATC) that I made for a little competition organised by Maria in Tasmania for members of the online Crazyquiltingfriends group.
Maria was able to get Ken Smith, a well-known textile artist, to help her judge this mini-competition, and believe it or not, they chose me as the winner!
The picture, unfortunately, is not really clear, but it also has been done with a silk fibre background and beading, embroidery and tatting. The jellyfish is an old glass button, with various threads and fibres trailing from it.

Monday, April 05, 2010

Internet problems, plus a preoccupation with preparing for the Cruise ships, has been interfering with my blogging lately. I thought I should record William's 3rd birthday party before he turns 4!
As usual, Kim and Chales went to a great deal of trouble to create a day of fun and enjoyment for kids as well as family and friends.
When the guests were about to arrive, there were a few spots of rain, but a verse or two of "Rain, rain, go away" did the trick!
It was a Pirate party. Some of the grown ups looked a lot scarier than the kids!
Digging for buried treasure in the specially built sandpit, shaped like a pirate ship!
And plenty of pirate food.
There was a paddling pool in the shape of a pirate ship, complete with water cannons!
This was the first time many of the guests had met Jasper, just six weeks old.
He was smothered with love, especially by William, who is looking forward to having his own baby brother in July.
All the kids played really well together

And as the afternoon went on they got wetter and wetter

But some hot sausages quickly warmed up anyone who felt cold and wet!

Nothing attracts the kids more than a colourful birthday cake!

And William has decided he is old enough to cut it himself!

Present opening!
When the water bombs came out, the party got a little wild!
Meanwhile the grown ups and older kids were having a wonderful afternoon too!

At the end of a big day, what better than a cuddle with Aunty Rae?
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