Friday, 27 February 2015

A time to rest

Rest and recovery.  These two words have been at the forefront of my mind lately.  I’ve thought about them, saw the need for them, been reminded that these things were important, attempted to bring them into my day, sometimes succeeded, sometimes failed, sometimes had no choice in the matter. 

 
Three weeks ago l had surgery to remove my gallbladder.  And although it was minor surgery and l’ve recovered well, I still needed time to rest. 

It’s interesting when you’re normally a busy and active person, and you have to rest.  Like l’ve written about before, not being busy isn’t something that comes naturally to me. But l realise that we're all work in progress and this is just something currently challenging me. 


So when l did it well, what did my rest and self care look like ?

It included ……

Smoothies for breakfast: packed full of summer fruit and local, wholesome dairy.

Eating up the remains of our first organic fruit and vegetable box from Munch Crunch Organics.  I don’t think l’ve ever eaten as many leafy greens as l did that first week after surgery….and l just felt so healthy for doing so.

Guided meditation and once when l felt adventurous a Beginner Relaxation class on my new Yoga Studio app.  I found the meditations wonderful when l needed to calm my mind.

Drinking plenty of water.

Daytime naps.

Season 2 and 3 of BBC drama Call the Midwife.  Those midwives and nuns from the East End of London kept me company during my two weeks off work.  I loved immersing myself into their world, only problem is that l still find myself saying things like “tickity-boo” and starting my sentences with “perhaps…..”. 

Our recliner near the living room window.

Being honest with my husband about what l could realistically do in that first week.  You know, admitting that the operation did take more out of me than what l thought it would.

Walks around the yard, and as l healed, little jobs that would get me up and active.

Gradually increasing my level activity, and knowing when to stop.

There were times though when l put myself second and forgot that the two weeks l had off work were supposed to be for recovery.  Those times left me spent and tired.  They were a reminder about boundaries.  A reminder that if you’re not ok, you can’t possibly be there for anyone else. 

Self care and taking time to recharge is something l’m interested in exploring further.  I’ve just order Jessica Turner’s new book, The Fringe Hours.  Looks like an interesting read, especially for those of us who struggle to make time for ourselves. 

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Reconnect with Nature - one photograph at a time

{reconnect with nature}

A community of like minded people who see the value in understanding and appreciating the natural world.  Each week we step outside, find some nature, photograph it and learn something about it to share with others.  Just a few sentences about the tree you’ve photographed, or the bird you've seen, or how you’re noticing the seasons change is all you need and together we'll reconnect with nature, one photograph at time. 
 Read more about the Reconnect with Nature - one photograph at a time idea here.

 
Watching the Wilsons

This past weekend was all about the weather.

Early on Wednesday we heard that a Cyclone was heading south and due to cross the coastline about 800km north of where we live.  Associated with the Cyclone was a deepening trough to the south that would bring heavy rain to our part of the world.  

Thankfully Cyclone Marcia headed back out to see before reaching us, and the trough didn't bring as much rain as they were predicting.  But it was still wet.  All up we received 173mm for the weekend, which might seem like a lot but we can get a lot more than that during these events.  We're also at the bottom end of the catchment, so it's really more a case of what they receive upstream than what falls locally.

Really we were lucky.  All the authorities were expecting a lot worse than this.  All schools in our region were closed on Friday, and basically we were told to stay indoors and see what happened.  
 



So we did just that and checked our rain gauge everyday.


And we got ready to watch our river rise.  This was taken Friday morning when the river first started to rise and increase in flow.


And then by Saturday morning it was higher, you can see the rope swing is now well and truly in the water and only the top of the stairs are visible.


By Saturday night it had really jumped up and started to enter into our yard.


And peaking Sunday morning.


And this is what it meant to our yard.  This is Saturday when the river water first entered the lowest lying section of our block.  That corner is where the Sandpaper Fig (from last week's linkup) is located and l'm standing on our verandah. 

 
Then wow, Sunday we woke to this.  Obviously we have a very big yard (it's an acre all up), so having the river come in this far posed no problems what so ever.  But l've got to say, it was a strange experience to have the river slowly take over our space.
 
All part and parcel of life on the river.  As we experience more floods here, we'll get a better idea of what the different flood levels mean to our yard.  This flood reached just over minor level, so when we do eventually get a major flood it will be quite a different situation.  

Hope you've all had a chance to get outside this week and reconnect with nature.  Looking forward to seeing all your photographs.  

Note to readers participating in the link up.

Please use the following points as a guide: 
  • Share with us something you've noticed in nature.  
  • Only share one post per week, and link to that post rather than your general blog address. 
  • If you can, please include something about your find that allows us all to learn more about the world around us. Just a few sentences about the tree you’ve photographed, or the bird you've seen, or how you’re noticing the seasons change is all you need.
  • Visit as many links as you can, amazing things are shared every week.   
  • And finally, please include a link back to Living a Good North Coast Life in your post. 

Sunday, 22 February 2015

the 52 project - 8/52

{the 52 project}
A portrait of my daughter, once a week, every week, in 2015. 
Linking up with Jodi from Practising Simplicity.  

8/52



A rite of passage up here on the North Coast of NSW - on Friday you had your first 'flood day' off school.  And now that we live on the river, floods have a little extra meaning.  Over the weekend we watched the river slowly consume the bottom of our backyard, but there was plenty of time for playing around.    

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Reconnect with Nature - one photograph at a time

{reconnect with nature}

A community of like minded people who see the value in understanding and appreciating the natural world.  Each week we step outside, find some nature, photograph it and learn something about it to share with others.  Just a few sentences about the tree you’ve photographed, or the bird you've seen, or how you’re noticing the seasons change is all you need and together we'll reconnect with nature, one photograph at time. 
 Read more about the Reconnect with Nature - one photograph at a time idea here.

 
Sandpaper fig (Ficus coronate)

Down in the back corner of our acre block is a tree.  A tree that l have never given any thought to.  I’ve never stopped to look at it closely, or even consider what it was.  It always just seemed overgrown, dark and gnarled.

That was, until a friend came to visit this week. 

As we walked around the yard, looking at the different plants, trees and birds she exclaimed quite loudly, “look at the size of that Sandpaper fig” and started walking over to the tree.  I think l actually said out loud “What that thing?”.


 
 The tree that l had shown complete disregard to, is in fact a native Sandpaper Fig.

And apparently it could be a very old specimen.
 

Sandpaper Figs are native to the east coast of Australia, and are commonly found growing along river banks and gullies in rainforest and open forests.  It’s named after its rough, sandpapery leaves. 


Trees can grow up to 6-12 meters high, although they are generally smaller.  Our tree would be every bit that tall, and l think the real testament to its age is the diameter of its trunk.  Although our fig is multi stemmed, each of its trunks easily reach the suggested maximum size. 
 

I wonder how long it’s been growing here on our riverbank? 

Since making our discovery, l've learnt that Sandpaper Figs are considered quite an important riverine species.  They’re a pioneer species, and help stabilise the banks of watercourses.  They’re also of traditional importance to the Aboriginal people.

Aboriginal people would use the Sandpaper Fig in a number of ways.  The fruit is edible by both wildlife and humans, and the figs are reported to be highly nutritious.  The sap was also used by Aboriginals to heal wounds, and their rough leaves are thought to have been used as sandpaper. 


 
Such an amazing discovery, made right under my nose.  Just goes to show what you don't notice, when you aren't looking.

Hope you've all had a chance to get outside this week and reconnect with nature.  Looking forward to seeing all your photographs.  

Note to readers participating in the link up.

Please use the following points as a guide: 
  • Share with us something you've noticed in nature.  
  • Only share one post per week, and link to that post rather than your general blog address. 
  • If you can, please include something about your find that allows us all to learn more about the world around us. Just a few sentences about the tree you’ve photographed, or the bird you've seen, or how you’re noticing the seasons change is all you need.
  • Visit as many links as you can, amazing things are shared every week.   
  • And finally, please include a link back to Living a Good North Coast Life in your post.  

Sunday, 15 February 2015

the 52 project - 6/52 & 7/52

{the 52 project}
A portrait of my daughter, once a week, every week, in 2015. 
Linking up with Jodi from Practising Simplicity.  

6/52


I think there was an audible gasp when l first saw this image, taken of you at the beach.  Somehow l managed to captured how beautiful you are on both the outside and inside.   My beautiful angel.   

7/52
 
 
I love this image because it shows you strong and determined - I mean look at those arms! Belief in yourself goes such a long way my lovely girl. 
 

Wednesday, 11 February 2015

Reconnect with Nature - one photograph at a time

{reconnect with nature}

A community of like minded people who see the value in understanding and appreciating the natural world.  Each week we step outside, find some nature, photograph it and learn something about it to share with others.  Just a few sentences about the tree you’ve photographed, or the bird you've seen, or how you’re noticing the seasons change is all you need and together we'll reconnect with nature, one photograph at time. 
 Read more about the Reconnect with Nature - one photograph at a time idea here.


Bringing nature inside to heal
In these posts l normally share with you the discoveries made from purposely stepping outside to reconnect with nature.  This week, something a little different.
My time in nature for the past week has been quite limited.  Last Friday l had surgery to remove my gallbladder and have been recovering firstly at hospital and now at home.  I'm very grateful that my surgery went without complication and l'm recovering quickly.
When contemplating what l would include in this week's link up, l thought about how nature is still part of our day...even when resting and recovering inside. 
It's the view from my kitchen window of our backyard.  The trees and the different birds that have visited us.
It's the koala who was seen in the eucalyptus trees closest to the house.
And it's the flowers that have graced my house.  Simple gifts of nature to brighten my day, to let me know l am loved and missed, and to welcome me home.
It's the bright sunflowers from a dear friend.



It's the roses picked by my husband and placed on my bedside table my first night home from hospital.



 
The most simplest moments of beauty and peace, provided by nature.

Hope you've all had a chance to get outside this week and reconnect with nature.  Looking forward to seeing all your photographs.  

Note to readers participating in the link up.

Please use the following points as a guide: 
  • Share with us something you've noticed in nature.  
  • Only share one post per week, and link to that post rather than your general blog address. 
  • If you can, please include something about your find that allows us all to learn more about the world around us. Just a few sentences about the tree you’ve photographed, or the bird you've seen, or how you’re noticing the seasons change is all you need.
  • Visit as many links as you can, amazing things are shared every week.   
  • And finally, please include a link back to Living a Good North Coast Life in your post.  


 

Friday, 6 February 2015

Savouring Summer - acknowledging the season

I’ve been thinking about seasons lately.

Probably because Amanda Soule's book The Rhythm of Family (Discovering a sense of wonder through the seasons) is on my bedside table, but also after watching North American friends and bloggers slow down and adapt to their cold winter.

l’ve been lamenting the fact that here in the sub-tropics of Australia our seasons aren’t as marked.  Sometimes it feels like the only difference between our seasons is the addition of a jumper in Winter.

But that’s not really the truth.  Whilst the difference in temperature between our Summer and Winter isn’t as great , and it will never snow here, there are many differences between our seasons. 

At the moment, Summer is just starting to wind down.  It’s now February, and we've just survived the hot and humid month of January. 



During January, days hover in the low to mid 30’s (that’s degrees Celsius) and it’s humid, like really humid. We seem to get runs of this type of weather, for a few days or even a week, until it is broken by a change in the weather pattern and some relief is forthcoming.

And during those hot and humid days, l’ve noticed that we adapt.  We change our days and how we do things, because of the heat.

Apart from being uncomfortable the heat can also make you pretty sick.  I’ve suffered with heat stress since l was child, which means when l get too hot l can’t cool down and get sick as a result.  It’s taken me many years to learn to just go with it, and stop fighting it.

The main thing l do is to rearrange our days.  In Summer we’re up early (because the sun is rising really early anyway) to make the most of the first few hours of coolness.  This is the perfect time to get through any household chores or work outside.  Then by about 11am, it’s time to pull up stumps.  

From then to mid-late afternoon, it’s time to rest and stay cool.  All the ceiling fans are on high, all windows and doors are open and we do things that require very little physical effort. 

By about 4 or 5pm, it’s safe to start moving again.  To finish off the laundry or water the garden and make dinner. 

Making the most of any water is another thing we do, be that the beach or our river.  But there, we’re also timing everything around the heat of the day.  It gets so hot here, and the sun is so strong, that it would be foolish to head to the beach at lunchtime.  You literally fry and cook on the sand, and sunscreen isn’t really enough to fight off the bite of the sun.  Early morning swims, or ones in the afternoon are best.  We especially like saving our swims till later in the day, because it coincides with things cooling down for the evening. 



We also eat differently.
 
The hot weather makes it too uncomfortable to sit down to a large cooked dinner.  Roasts, or anything cooked in the oven is completely out of the question.  Everything that can be, is cooked outside on the BBQ, and our dinners are light.  We eat a lot of salads in Summer, light and airy food with lots of herbs and fruit. 

 
And the fruit. 
 
Summer is really about the fruit, and especially the mangos.  I use them in my morning fruit smoothies, and then a lot in our evening meal….stir fries, and salads, even on kebabs.  Can’t get enough of them. 


 
 
Days at the beach, copious amount time in the water, different foods, purposely built time for rest…..It’s been a real eye opener to acknowledge all the ways we adapt during summer. 

That's something l hope to do more of this year.  To be more aware of the seasons and how they shape our days.  To be more connected to the natural world and its rhythm.