Coddled Eggs

Coddled Eggs

Sunday, 22 June 2014

Matariki....and the shortest day.....

In Maori this constellation is known as Matariki  ( Universally it is known as Paliedes or by its whimsical  name The Seven Sisters).
Matariki spells the beginning of a New Year.

It is  also now the time of The shortest day....or  Winter Solstice.

The sun has stopped sinking and rests for 3 days then rises again and for me, the solar panelled one, that bodes well .
During this time of Shortest Day or Solstice I plant my garlic as folklore would have me believe this is the time to do it.
The garlic was some of last years that had sprouted away happily  in the  flower bed.With the annuals cleared away a lovely space remained for this years crop.
I also planted a couple of cloves of elephant garlic (Allium ampeloprasum var. ampeloprasum).

I have long been fascinated in the old ways and if I had the chance would love to create a garden like that of the Abbess or any Monastic, or gothic garden. Simples and culinary delights, fragrant leaves and flowers.

I recently collected up bunches of Sage (Salvia officinalis) Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) Lavender (Lavender angustifolia).
Some rose petals that I had dried,sprigs of Pine ,Eucalypt, Wattle and Cyprus and even the shells of Limes from my Kaffir Lime tree.
I had dried and stored the leaves from these plants for 3 weeks.
Airtight jars help to lock in the fragrance but you must ensure all the plant matter is completely dry or it will get damp and start to compost.
I sometimes use my microwave for rose petals.10 seconds turn petals the 10 more seconds.
This time of year the petals are scant and I use leaves.If you have been following my blog you will know there is never a shortage of leaves.
I have a very good press and place the leaves in pages of an old phone book.
Ironically the phone book I used had an illustration on it of leaves.

It was in the early 1980's when my daughter was just a baby that I joined the Herb Society .
It was the first meeting .
The talk was on Lavender a Culinary Delight.
The venue was an old prevab in Queens park near the museum.
There was a herb garden quickly established in the weeks prior to that meeting and on that first night Six people showed up.
The founder was the speaker, there were no minutes, no subs just 5 very enthusiastic woman ,one quiet Male and Olive Dunn the founder, I quickly became friendly with the founder (Miss Olive Dunn) and her best friend (Mrs Jean M Young).
I didn't stay a member long , maybe a year or two. It moved from that lovely wee prefab and as with most things it became formalised, grew very quickly and took on a more regimented air. 
Jean ,Olive and I remained friends though  and in 1991 when redundancy left me without a full time career job I went to Olives garden for comfort. I will write about that later.
I had already been helping Jean in her garden so saw to it to offer help to Olive.
I volunteered my help and every Friday, because Tuesdays were Jeans days , I worked away in Olives beautiful garden.

(I will write about Jean on another post.I miss her terribly she passed away at the age of 92 so there is lots to tell you) 

Along with Olives brother Bert we gardened for an hour,sometimes two. It was always a "Delight".
Olive  often spoke about her Gardener Barbara. I got to meet her a couple of times and felt that perhaps lurking in the ether was an ancient Monk, some people have that very ethereal way so its not surprising a soul such as that ended up in Olives garden.
Some weekends were spent in her garden too and always there were the Friday night visits to her shop in Dee Street.
Olive and I shared a lot but the big respite that we both got from each other was understanding and living with depression.
 I will also write a post especially for Olive whom now resides in a home for the elderly and infirm and has no memory.
Olive and Jean were in the same home for a time but Olive didn't know us anymore.
I took comfort in the memories and the many letters and cards she had sent me over the years.
Who needs Eckhart Tolle .... 

The Pot Pourri recipe is not one of Olives recipes. Its one I made up and to be honest it is no where near as good as Olives ...I do believe I will be making her batches again instead of my own .
In the meantime the house does smell pleasantly of pine and eucalyptus.
As so often happens with me ...A serendipitous moment......You see just as I was finishing  this blog post  my friend called to say Olive had passed away.
I will pick up the thread of this blog at a later date.
Till then enjoy Matariki and look out into the heavens for those Seven Sisters....

Winter of course is also leaving it mark everywhere.
Frost covers the ground in the mornings and snow gives a great highlight to the mountains.
Its this time of year I take the older grand children skiing .

 Back home and the snow has melted

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