The little birds...

If you watch little birds you will see they are busy and happy! Using whatever they can find they create the most gorgeous little nest.
I would be the little bird with some glittery thread in her nest!
We can be like this. Happily working away with the things that are available to us to create a beautiful and happy home.
All the while with a little song in our heart.

Banner by Free Pretty Things for You.

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

A Fig at the Gate.

Growing up my Nana B seemed to me to live a beautiful life surrounded by flowers. She had tables covered in flowers as she was arranging huge vases for one thing or another.  Her  home always had giant vases of flowers, greenery and whatever she had found lately. There were misting bottles (which I loved) and then her garden which had chickens and was lovely to play in. Nan had also been a beautiful seamstress and had a very creative eye. She also was a natural gatherer, wherever she went she returned home with armfuls of greenery or something she thought was interesting and could go in an arrangement. She didn't over look dry materials, seed pods, sticks and anything that could be used as an interesting container. Nan was just very creative and adored flowers.

Nan also loved lemon trees and fruit trees in general and cooked up everything she could lay her hands on.

Interestingly I grew up loving lemon trees and know the locality of every lemon tree in a huge radius! It is just my business to KNOW where every lemon tree is! And I come home from everywhere with flowers and interesting things. I guess it is in my blood.

Nan's love of gathering, of cooking, flowers, gardens, chickens... it is all in me and as I do many things I think of her. Recently I posted pictures of bunches of native flowers I gathered at the farm. I said they were not my first choice of flowers but they were WHAT I HAD so I made the most of them. As I played with flowers that day I thought of Nan and her influence on me. I almost always think of her when I am picking flowers or gathering something I have found.

Today I had a letter arrive from my Aunt to say how my flowers on that blog post reminded her of Nan her Mum)  and how I am so like her! I felt this was a compliment as Nan was always busy,  happy, always constructive and could make beautiful things from just about nothing. She saw the beauty in the everyday. It was all art to her. Nan was appreciating Sarah Ban Breathnatch style Simple Abundance long before the book was written. Thats how she lived.

And so it is no surprise that my Aunt is an author and writes about simple joys and observations. The beauty of gardening, of life and seasons. I realised my Aunt was famous when I understood they study her in Australian school classes in English and at University.  But growing up she was my Aunt who always wrote us a poem at Christmas and this was always read out at the dinner table. I was in a poem once too which included me yelling out to the girls when they were coming out of school on a hot afternoon that I have ice blocks! My Aunt was with me that day and it became a poem.

 A couple of years ago my Aunt came to the family Christmas at the farm. Mum and my Aunt had a Christmas morning unlike any other chasing (in their nighties) a fox out of the yard. I missed this spectacle that involved one of them ending up in the pond...  It would have been good though!

The latest book is called The Fig at the Gate (by Kate Llewellyn) It is a book of observations of beauty, gardens and ageing. The end of it contains the story of Christmas day, the chasing of the fox, and Christmas dinner at the farm. I got to read it as sheets of paper from a type writer before it was finished. And at the end I am in it! Yep, I experience a tiny moment immortalised in literature! And better still not for anything dodgy or regrettable but for something really lovely.

Between my Nan and my Aunt I feel there was an artistic side to the family and that many of my loves have come from them. There is no need to prove how much we influence our children and their children, it is undeniable. What we do now affects the generations, I feel and see the proof of this everyday.

And as Nan loved the seasons, the flowers, the produce that came with them, my Aunt puts these things into words through details of gardens and life.  Finding beauty and purpose in the season we are in stops us from wasting it! It might be the season ie the season of spring or a life season ie the time you have small children or the time you have Grand children... but accepting the season you are in and making the most of it is such a key to happiness. Nan knew how to extract every last drop of joy from every season. That is what I want to do. I am coming into a new season now and am blessed beyond words to welcome it.

My new season is that Lucy having a baby! Now everything I learned from my Grand Mothers (and from Laine) I can put into practice!

How lucky I am. This is a Christmas gift for us all. And today I saw my first "photo" and the baby is a thumb sucker. A precious little thumb sucker lol like Lucy was! 

On top of all this it is another season... Christmas!

My Nan's ways and things she loved live on in me and as my Aunt could see them in the bunches of flowers I made up I can see them in her book.

So I am caught up in plans for Christmas, summer, a new baby and so many good things!
I hope you are having a wonderful week! xxx


  1. I have tears of joy and happiness reading your post today Annabel. xoxoxo
    We are coming into this new special season of our lives as grandmothers and feel such connection to our greatly loved and admired grandmothers before us. All of the women in your family are amazing and it's easy to see where your great love for art and beauty come from. The practical outworking of such we read and see here and you continually inspire us. Thank you!

    Congratulations to all on Lucy's great news xoxoxo

    1. Dear Kaye, Thank you so much. I am so glad I have you to share this journey with! I know your Grandmother was wonderful in your life too. And now its our turn! Love,

  2. What a lovely, lovely post Annabel. Congratulations on your news and how lovely to share that journey with Kaye.

    1. Thanks very much Barb. Yes I am thrilled to have a good friend at the same stage! Very helpful... xxx

  3. Annabel my dear, I too have tears of joy at your happiness. Congratulations to you and to Lucy.
    I have mentioned previously that your Aunt is one of my most favourite authors and I have read just about everything she has ever written. I have dropped hints to my DH that I want The Fig at the Gate for my birthday present xxx

    1. Thank you very much Annie. I will pass this onto Kate. I hope you enjoy this book I think you will and you will have a smile when you get the the end! xxx

  4. Such a beautiful post Annabel, and wonderful news, congratulations to you

    1. Thank you! It is very exciting! Thank you for commenting.xx

  5. Wow, you have a famous Aunty, Annabel! Congratulations on becoming a grandma soon. My daughter's third baby is due in 4 weeks time and hopefully he will wait for Nanna's plane to touch down before making his appearance. It is another season in your life that is for sure. Your Nana has obviously been very inspirational.

    1. Dear Nanna Chel, Thank you! You have a real Christmas baby coming, that is only about a fortnight before Christmas! It is so wonderful you can help out. I am really looking forward to this myself I think it makes all the difference in the world. My Mum helping me did. Love

  6. Oh, congratulations! I am THRILLED for you, my dear Annabel! Baby blankets trimmed with love, here they come!

    *mwah* *hug* You made my day!


  7. My Aunt (married to Mom's brother) was a gentle woman that I visited only a few times but the way her home in Kentucky looked greatly influenced me. I still think of her home today. Congratulations! I had no idea how much I would love being a grandmother, even with the kids living far away. You will be blessed.

    1. Your Aunts home in Kentucky sounds so romantic to me and I only know of Kentucky from the movies etc! Thank you, I know I am going to love this baby as I already do. Thank you for commenting Brenda xx


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