Tag Archives: Autumn

Those who don’t jump will never fly – Sky Diving in New England

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I was born a free spirit.

I love being high on life, and I love anything that feels free, that makes me feel alive, and generally it involves nature and kind souls

I am an Air sign after all!

Skydiving for the first time was not what I expected. I mean, I knew I was not afraid of heights or edgy stuff, for I seem to thoroughly enjoy running and throwing myself calmly off the bungy ledge in Queenstown, New Zealand, or scaling up a 3-masted barquentine tall ship to furl sails, or rock climbing jaggered  vertical terrain and taming difficult horses most my life.

Adventure is my friend – my Zen.

So it is really strange to tell you that I found the whole diving the skies experience pretty relaxing, trance like and natural.

Honestly, I am more scared of gravity, it pulls one down, and well with my illness it’s claimed me probably over 100 times over so many years. I am also more scared of not fully living, regardless how hard things may be!

Skydiving has always been something I wanted to do, and I never knew how it would be for me, given I have mobility issues (lack of leg strength and absolutely no balance) due to illness. I needed to feel safe, as in trusting who would look after me on my first jump. I was so blessed that Jumptown in Orange, New England (USA) accommodated me.

I also intuitively knew I had a gift to give my tandem master. I knew it would be for the right person. Everything I do is sacred and regardless that in this day and age, something as simple as a skydiving jump is done so often, does not detract that it is a privilidge and brave thing for any individual to do, even for the person you are doing it with. So the gift I had for the right person, was a carved rose quartz eagle.

The Eagle represents strength and power of moving through the realm of higher consciousness — it is a master of the element of air. As a totem it is used to represent the fearlessness and fluidity of movement between worlds, adept at seeing big picture, being able to reach new heights. The Eagle is an awesome totem for spiritual knowledge, perception, and greater insight.Rose quartz is the stone of universal love. Later it was confirmed that it went to the right person. That was such a blessing to me and them.

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So I went skydiving for the very first time in  October . I cannot tell you how calm I felt the entire time there, waiting, wondering and anticipating the feeling of freedom. It was about 4- 5 hours of waiting for the beautiful sky and weather to afford my greeting with my metal bird. My wonderful tandem master and partner in air, Jack, as well as the other amazing staff, made me feel like I could do this, do anything, regardless of my physical shortcomings. I cannot tell how much that confidence and faith in me meant!

So there I found myself climbing the skies in minutes on a little powerful plane, sitting on a little bench and strapped to my daredevil tandem master. All I felt was serenity as I looked out the window to the amazing earth, full of autumn splendour, to see it from above knowing that I would be flying through it, like a bird. I never once thought about height.

Slowly we winged our way to six thousand feet, and I did a little chat to the camera, awkwardly I may add. Don’t normal people act hyped, nervous etc. Here I was calm as anything like I’d done this all before. We kept on flying, heading for the height of 13,500 feet; pretty high, pretty amazing I may add.

Before I knew it, Jack had carried me over, and my feet were positioned on the edge of the plane door – Then we were out into the elements. All I remember was the rush..free falling for 55 seconds. It was the greatest feeling that I have had – knowing that I was doing something at that moment of time, it didn’t matter whether or not I could walk well, or balance my body– but I could fly! I couldn’t really see anything at that point and my eyes were watering a little from air creeping into the goggles and my breathing was so difficult (like being immersed under water) and I almost felt a panic as I was gasping to breathe. In the rush you can’t hear anything but the wind. But this passed quickly and then as the chutes were employed I could comprehend my position.

There was a great swishing noise and the parachute billowed out above us. There was an almighty tug and we were pulled back up-wards into the sky It was just beautiful seeing the green and gold autumn landscape and river beneath us. When that big chute opens, its like the most surreal thing I have ever felt. 360 degree views, and like I was just existing in time and space.Weightless, suspended, amazingness. There is incredible silence, but you can finally talk and hear each other. What an incredible sight to see earth from above. Jack pointed out different landmarks, including Boston skyline way in the distance.

Gracefully, spiralling down to the earth once again in perhaps 5-6 minutes, gravity beckoning once more. We landed upright, which was quite surprising to me. I landed refreshed and with a blessing. I’d be in trouble if I were well again, this could be addictive! But I vow to go again next time I visit New England.

Everyone should take a leap of faith more than once in life.

“..Some birds aren’t meant to be caged. Their feathers are just too bright.”-Shawshank Redemption

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Falling Leaves Time

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In the southern hemisphere, Autumn has arrived, and I love the energy very much…

Song for Autumn by Mary Oliver

In the deep fall
don’t you imagine the leaves think how
comfortable it will be to touch
the earth instead of the
nothingness of air and the endless
freshets of wind? And don’t you think
the trees themselves, especially those with mossy,
warm caves, begin to think

of the birds that will come — six, a dozen — to sleep
inside their bodies? And don’t you hear
the goldenrod whispering goodbye,
the everlasting being crowned with the first
tuffets of snow? The pond
vanishes, and the white field over which
the fox runs so quickly brings out
its blue shadows. And the wind pumps its
bellows. And at evening especially,
the piled firewood shifts a little,
longing to be on its way.

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Tea for Two

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On Sunday, Mother’s Day, mum and I decided to have a little autumn afternoon tea for two outside with a selection of finger food, and premium tea. I’ve included some recipes and tidbits for you also….

Menu

Fruit platter with banana, papaya, watermelon and mint

Scones with Organic Jam & cream

Pecan maple pastries

Mini quiches

Potato rostis

Bagels with philadelphia cream cheese, salmon, avocado and dill

English Breakfast Tea

About Mother’s Day in Australia:

In Australia, and like the US, Mother’s Day is celebrated on the second Sunday in May. The tradition of gift giving to mothers on Mother’s Day in Australia was started by Mrs Janet Heyden, a resident of Leichhardt Sydney, in 1924. She began the tradition during a visit to a patient at the Newington State Home for Women, where she met many lonely and forgotten mothers. To cheer them up, she rounded up support from local school children and businesses to donate and bring gifts to the women. Traditionally, in the past,  the Chrysanthemum was given to mothers for mother’s day as the flower is naturally in season during Autumn and ends in “mum”, a common affectionate shortening of “mother” in Australia.

Mini Rosti Potatoes

Ingredients

2 (550 g)  Potatoes, peeled and coarsely grated, squeezed excess water with kitchen towel
2 Tbsp Regular Butter, melted
¼ tsp Sea Salt & pepper
¼ tsp Chopped Rosemary
1 to 2 Tbsp Olive for greasing

12 Cups Muffin Pan

Method

Preheat the oven to 425˚F. Grease the muffin pan with olive oil.

Mix together the potatoes, melted butter, sea salt, and rosemary. Scoop 1 heap Tbsp (about ¼ Cup) of the potato mixture into the muffin pan, press with the back of a spoon, and bake for about 13 to 14 minutes. Then switch to the top-heating element or turn over the potato patties and bake for another 10 to 12 minutes.

Makes 12 Mini Rosti Potatoes

Easy Peasy Mini Quiches

Ingredients

3 eggs
2 rashers of bacon – diced (grilled first)
1 Tablespoon of chopped avocado
2 Tablespoons of tasty cheese – grated
2 pre-made frozen puff pastry squares
salt & pepper to taste
Dash of thickened cream – Optional
Optionals -Sprinkle of fresh or dried Parsley, Danish or Persian Feta instead of tasty cheese, or Salmon and Avocado (as we did).

12 Cups Muffin Pan

Method

Pre-heat your oven to 180 degrees C.

Lightly grease 2 patty cake pans (12 cup) with cooking spray or butter. In a bowl, mix the eggs, bacon, avocado, cheese, salt & pepper, cream & parsley (optional)with a fork until all mixed together well.Using an egg ring, glass or pastry cutter, cut circles out of the defrosted puff pastry and place into the greased patty cake trays (you can use muffin trays but the patty cake ones fit better). Spoon the mixture into the pastry. Bake in the oven for 15 – 20 minutes or until golden brown.

Makes 12 Mini Quiches

Best Ever Scone Recipe

Ingredients

3 cups self-raising flour
pinch of salt
1 cup cream
1 cup lemonade

Makes 24 light and fluffy scones!

Method

Sift flour and salt into a large bowl. Make a well in the centre. Pour in cream and lemonade. Mix with a knife until mixture comes together. Turn dough onto a lightly-floured surface. Knead gently until smooth and pliable.Cut scones into rounds using a scone cutter or tall glass. Arrange close together on a lightly greased tray.Bake in a very hot oven (220°C) for 10 to 12 minutes or until golden. Serve with jam and cream. Freeze if desired.

The Teas I love the best!!!

              

            Stockholm Blend: Black tea, orange peel, safflowers, calendula blossoms, rose petals, vanilla and apricot.

  

 English Breakfast: Blend of leaves from India and Ceylon with a strong flavour.

     

    Chai: A strong base of India teas, blended with rich warm spices; cinnamon, cloves, cardamon and ginger.

French (Fauchon – One of the oldest tea houses and boulangerie’s in Paris): Happiness (Le Bonheur) – black china tea, flavours, saffron, green tea, blueberry and sunflower. An afternoon in Paris (Un Aprèsmidi à Paris) – black china tea, rose petals, orange peel, a balance of vanilla and orange aromas.

How to Make the Perfect Tea (Old Style)

  1. Heat water to appropriate temperature in a kettle.
  2. Add tea to the strainer basket or infuser of your teapot (if your teapots does not have an infuser, just add the tea leaves directly to pot).
  3. Pour the hot water in your teapot and steep (wait) for the recommended steep time.
  4. Once done, remove the strainer basket or infuser from the pot and enjoy your tea. If your teapot does not have a built-in infuser, use a hand-held strainer to remove the leaves as you pour out the tea into your favorite tea cup.
  5. Put the teapot over a teapot warmer to keep the tea warm for hours (optional).


Autumn Musings

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It’s Autumn again, and we wade through chilled air, as blossoms kiss and part, leaves whisper and flit around, descending to ground, to meet the steady heart beat of the earth.

Captive thoughts beg to be released, and so I let them let go, with every breath..and I gather my strength to move forward like farewelling a loved one.I fall into a neverending cocoon of novel fantasies, organic comfort food and resolved spiritual mind.

Waking in the early dawn hours, I feel this wonderous energy, ebullient to my spirit, and I want to sungaze from white shores, lay on grass and divine the cloud shapes wisping by as travellers in the sky, and connect my heart like a rainbow to the skies.

Nature has becomes my muse.

Then gradually my sight will be a wintry gray, lost in darkness, all will fade, to repose, holding on to only what is necessary….

Beautiful artwork by professional artist, Stacey Ann Borg

Beautiful artwork by professional artist, Lily A Seidel.

November Collage

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I love beautiful words, so will, from time to time, share such musings I find with you…

November — with uncanny witchery in its changed trees. With murky red sunsets flaming in smoky crimson behind the westering hills. With dear days when the austere woods were beautiful and gracious in a dignified serenity of folded hands and closed eyes — days full of fine, pale sunshine that sifted through the late, leafless gold of the juniper-trees and glimmered among the grey beeches, lighting up evergreen banks of moss and washing the colonnades of the pines. Days with a high-sprung sky of flawless turquoise. Days when an exquisite melancholy seemed to hang over the landscape and dream about the lake. But days, too, of the wild blackness of great autumn storms, followed by dank, wet, streaming nights when there was witch-laughter in the pines and fitful moans among the mainland trees? –The Blue Castle, L. M. Montgomery

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Sensing the Seasons

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I have always felt very sensitive to my environment and the energies of the seasons and weather. At one stage I created a sensing the seasons journal to observe the energies, cycles and events as the wheel of the year turned in the southern hemisphere (I’m quite certain I must have been a healer or heathen in a previous life ;)). I thought it would be nice to share this, and for me to have record which I can add to and refer to.

There is a notion that we could adapt our lifestyle to earth’s seasons (wherever we may be) in a holistic and harmonising way (within ourselves and the world). Many of us have long forgotten our connection to but also the observations of nature, and the energies that abound. We now live in artificial environments with heating, air-conditioning, we work odd hours, and may sleep during light or stay awake in the dark.

The Chinese culture have always used metaphors in their medical system by observing nature, the seasons and human behaviour in sickness or health – that discord of harmony creates imbalance. As we are apart of everything in nature, it would make sense to find ways to harmonise with nature rather than against her. And when we are connected to Nature, we are connected to the energy (call it Chi, Ki, the Source) that creates and maintains all living things.

Everything in our universe is in perpetual motion, everything has rhythm, and as the saying goes ‘as above, so below’ and ‘as within, so without’. What the self projects out is reflected back, all in harmony and rhythm. Why struggle against the tide, when we can harmonise our efforts with nature, and tune into it’s very power.

What if you created your own Sensing the Seasons journal, to learn to appreciate what is happening in nature during a season or cycle, how animals or people behaviour, what energies you feel. You can then look back like a wheel of life cycle, to see what you have done, and if you found yourself moving in alignment or against the energy of the time.

It’s a great personal development exercise to take some time to contemplate and meditate on the energies of each season on or near the times of seasonal changes (solstices & equinoxes). For myself I have followed the astrological periods, in order to see the subtle changes that occur from month to month. Setting your conscious intention to allow yourself to come into alignment with these energies is all that is needed to begin the processes of being in harmony with the natural rhythms and cycles of nature.

Overview of the Seasons

  • Spring – awaken, fertilize, rebirth, express, new beginnings, new life, planting new seeds, initiation. Spring is the best time to establish patterns of new energy, situations and goals in your life
  • Summer – grow, ripen, refine, intend, affirm, manifest. Summer is the time to tend the garden so to speak. Water the seeds of the new and weed out choking stifling energies so that your growing ‘plant’ will yield plentiful fruit in the fall
  • Autumn (fall) – harvest, receive in abundance, celebrate, fullness, give thanks, honor. Fall is the time to reap the rewards of what you’ve sown. Celebrate your successes and prepare for the time of going within during the coming months.
  • Winter – rest, nest, retreat, heal, release. Winter is time to till the soil and prepare the growing field for new seeds planted in the coming months.

March 21st to April 20th “The Balancing Act & Letting Go”
This period is the start of Autumn, a time of seeking balance. The energy is male, assertive, spontaneous, and daring. Time to overcome obstacles, break from influences, experiment and letting go.Its on the verge of light and dark, yin and yang.
Weather is mild and temperate, not yet so windy and some early rain.
Lemons start appearing on the trees, leaves still on plum and nectarine trees, and grass shoots emerge from the summer baked earth.
I’ve noticed that friction abounds, there is dissatisfaction, new homes or short trips away. Also various car malfunctions, also equipment and dramas with things including relationships, endings or disagreements.Cultural issues. Time of training or learning, exercise and travel and high sexual energy. This period of time I am always weary!!
This period relates to Aries – denoting energy, initiative and assertiveness. In the old calendar, this is the autumn equinox, element of earth, and represents sacrifice and separation.
*earth fruits/veges* apples, avocados, limes, grapes, pumpkin, zucchini, tomatoes, broccoli, eggplants,mandarins.

April 21st to May 20th “Expect the Unexpected & Strength and Determination”
Still autumnal, with fine days, morning and nights are clear but chilly.Venus appears in the night sky (the west) and Mars (the east). The earth energy beats like a slow steady drum.
Lots of crows and galahs and honeyeaters hiding. Family and relationships focused on with some unstability and power struggles. Dissatisfaction with many things, and feeling assertive and assured. Lemons are ready on trees and Parsley, Basil and Strawberry grow. The leaves on the plum tree hang downwards – and begin to turn red.
Ants not so prevalent, but millipedes and spiders make their appearance. There is a planning theme, people are in preparation mode, there is anticipation but a sense of not knowing what will happen.’
In the zodiac this is Taurus, representing strength and endurance. The earth energy is slowing down and the days are becoming shorter and nights colder. There is a stillness in nature, yet a stance of groundedness.
*earth fruits/veges* apples, avocados, limes, grapes, pumpkin, zucchini, tomatoes, broccoli, eggplants,mandarins.

May 21st to June 21st “Journeying Time”
This is a transitional time between Autumn and Winter, and a time about learning within, about finding ground, planning for future changes and making connections. Time moves quickly, yet sometimes it feels the pendulum can swing both ways, like a step forward, then step back. Sometimes we feel we struggle not knowing where things will go, energy is anticipative and mercurial like the Gemini influence of this phase, and we try to “figure things out”. Watch your health, sometimes we find ourselves reflecting on our past, this can be a healing time too. We dream, we Quest and urge to travel and be free. Longer nights beckon us, citrus trees become full with lemons, and mandarin. Plum and Nectarines in dormant mode, leaves falling. Jonquils, basil bloom. The energy of the earth is dark, yet stablising, rain falls, weather cocoons us. Colours for this time are Orange, Yellow, Gold.
*earth fruits/veges* beetroot, broccoli, spinach, rocket, carrot, apples,beans, figs, mandarins,pears, passionfruit.

June 22nd  to July 23rd  “Contemplation”
This period is influenced by the sign cancer, and also winter solstice in the southern hemisphere. The shortest day of the year and the sun’s lowest ebb. It’s a time of caring and nurturing. As the sun tranverses through the sign of the crab, he stops in his path and changes direction, like the crab that walk sideways. As the sun returns, the light will increase and days grow longer. The moon represents the mother and ebb and flow of tides, with without nothing would be born, or grown or flourish. With the rebirth of the sun in Cancer we become more aware of other people’s needs. This period is one of reflection and contemplation. I notice few ants and creatures stirring, all are quiet and hibernating. Some conflicts or resolutions being sought within relationships. Very cold mornings, dead branches, and autumn leaves litter the hard compounded ground. Rainy days cocoon us in once in a while. The cat wants to stay in and disappear under covers. Sleep and rest are important as energy levels lull. Fog sits low in mornings, and opening up on fine days to cloudless skies. It’s a time of friends and family. This is also a time of things going missing, loss or endings of things. In turn it’s a growing season for the soul which wants to move forward. It requires change.
Colours for this time are  Silver, white, cream, pale pink and blue.
*earth fruits/veges* apples, avocados,mandarins, oranges, pears, plums, strawberries, beetroot, broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage, beans, parsnips, celery,eggplants, snow peas, garlic.

July 24th to August 23rd  “The Adventurer”
The earth is in recovery stage and some creatures are still in hiberation mode. With the sun fixed in Leo, growth of vegetation is at standstill. While the earth sleeps, we and with the sun in leo we focus awareness on our self, and finding that unique vital spark or motivating force. Weather produces fine days with clear skies and blossoms flowering (apple and almond flowers in hues of baby pink and purple). Feeling active and preparing or thinking of the future. Finding old passions. Shrills coming from new season birds. Lots of grass sprouting up. Taking action by undertaking passions. Confidence grows, making connections, reaching goals, being fearless and feeling advenurous. People re-evaluation themselves and relationships shake and crumble. New doors open. Confidence to break from comfort zones.
Colours for this time are gold, orange, yellow, sunny hues
*earth fruits/veges* apples, avocados,mandarins, oranges, pears, plums, strawberries, beetroot, broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage, beans, parsnips, celery,eggplants, snow peas, garlic.

August 24th to September 24th  “The Awakening”
The earth has fully awakened and magically renewed her energy and fertility. The seeds that have lain dormant throughout winter are waiting to be charged with the lifeforce of spring, but for the most part they still remain hidden. Virgo, the virgin represents the unmanifested potential in all of us. Mercury has much to do with our own potential since he is the messenger that brings our throughts up from the subconscious to the conscious mind, representing the capacity  for clear and intelligent thinking. By now we must surely know, that when the time comes, we must reap what we have sowed. Life is awaking. Plum and nectarine tree are budding flowers and new branches of greenery. Weather produces fine days with clear blue skies or cloudy or clear nights. Morning frost is dissipating. I am fully immersed into plans  I put into action in the last phase, and becoming focussed. Lots of natural disasters around the world. Preparation time for what we know or could be coming. Time to set goals and seeds of the future. Lots of baby ducklings, and furry catepillars and millipedes almost gone.
Colours for this time are fawn, brown, beige, black, earth colours
*earth fruits/veges* lemons, carrot, beetroot, parsnip, silverbeet, cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, lettuce, onion, peas,

September 24th to October 23rd  “Energy of Life”
At the equinox day and night are equal measure. The scales of Libra depict the delicate balance that is crucial in nature. We are ruled by Venus the planet of love, beauty and harmony. In Spring, natures creatures choose their partners for the courtship dances, and abundant new growth thrives and prospers. This is a time of plenty for the times ahead. With the sun in airy Libra starting the seasonal round, this is a good time to weigh up and weed out anything that has been obstructing your path of growth. Fertile plans and ideas come to fruition in due course, but only if we nurture them properly. A sense of proportion and harmonious relationship can be the greatest value at this time. In nature I’ve noticed warm to hot clear days, birds nesting and swooping (honey eaters, ducks and ducklings, magpies, all collecting for their nesting), nectarine and plum trees are nearly all green again, lemons still on trees, the sun is rising early (6am) and setting early (just after 6pm), lots of white butterflies and singing birds, wild flowers and a feeling of spirited free energy vibrating as fast as butterfly wings.
This is a good time to commit to a new path or chapter in your life, start gathering information about what you really want to do or achieve in aspects of your life. Clear your house and your body, create a treasure map collage of your ‘wants’ in life, do things to communicate with your subconscious the things your are seeking to achieve.
Colours for this time are earth colours like green, aquamarine, lilac, coral, fawn, lemon.
*earth fruits/veges* beans, capsicum, carrots, celery, cucumber, melon, lettuce, squash, tomatoes, basil, dill, sweet potatoes, mint, blueberries, broccoli, strawberries, pineapple, snowpeas, sprouts, mandarins, papaya, plums, rosemary and sage.

(to be cont…)

Australian Wheel of the Year (picture from greeting card)