Monthly Archives: November 2013

Market day magic….


Here is Charlie living his dream!

Yes, the favourite day of the year when he gets to have a shop and work hard in it!


This annual event with our homeschool group has become epic for Charlie.  This year he had lemonade, popcorn, three raffles and a  lucky dip!  Amazingly (as the currency was 10c) he made $40!!

There was also a cake competition, enter by both the boys.  Ollie with a chocolate cake, decorated with lavender blooms….IMG_4361




Charlie’s banana cake won first prize!


There were so many gorgeous, handmade and creative things to buy and sample.  The kids had really pulled out all the stops.


Plants, garden ornaments, biscuits, hair ties, seeds, target  practice, toys, cards, body art, nail painting….


Raffles being drawn caused great excitement!


We also have a shared lunch and a huge clothes swap.  IMG_4376


We are so lucky  to have such a close knot group of like minded friends to spent days like this with.
Creating our own mini community while the kids create their own economy and have a ball doing it….


natural learning milestones


Our life seems so normal, so natural.  I have no inclination to label us or it.  I feel as though questions about how our children learn like this are as if someone is asking us how we eat or breathe.

Just unnesscesary.
We just are.

But I remember the  uncertainty when we began.  I do.  The fear that our children would be “left behind” somehow, not know what others their age knew.
I have realised now how there is a whole set of unwritten milestones in our culture for children.

Sleeping through the night, being weaned, learning to talk, walk, ride a bike, swim, read, write….From birth there is, at times,  a competitiveness about keeping up with the pack.

Now I feel such a freedom from not even being in the pack let alone trying to live by it’s code of conduct..

Realising too that our children will set their own pace, reach their own milestones when they are ready. Most parents can cope with a baby not sitting or walking until months after it’s peers, so why not reading  at 4yrs or at 9yrs instead of 5?

I have seen children learn so easily and naturally when they are ready – be it 4 years or 14.
I just relish  seeing how happy children are in themselves and with their lives when they are left to do things at their own pace.
There is plenty said in spiritual literature about going with the flow, not resisting life.  I have felt strongly that from birth my kids knew what they needed and all I had to do was to meet their needs and help them when required. 

And still it goes on.  There is no difference to a 2 year old saying they do not want to wear something/eat something/ do something to a 12 year old knowing their own mind about what they need to do.

Going with the flow, with their flow, the path of least resistance  is always the happier route and naturally the best one to take.
There is still a lingering philosophy in our culture that life is hard, a struggle, nothing is acheived without pain, hard work, sacrifice…

Thankfully the emerging philosophy of many is that life is a joy.
Life should be fun.
That life should be filled doing the things that light your fire, your passions, the things that make you zing.

This is the very basis of what we do.
How do you teach your children to follow their bliss….?  Let them follow it from birth!  Then they don’t have to spend their adult lives trying to find out who they are, what they enjoy and what makes them tick.
The milestones are there still, but they are set by the kids themselves, not imposed by an outside authority.

So here we are following our bliss….at 10.30pm! The boys hard out wrestling for 2 hours, gloves on, martial arts moves discussed and practised.


Wayne playing the guitar while the boys roll around, dicussions of evolution interspersed with full on fighting…..



Gotta love the fact we don’t have to get up and make school lunches at 7am…
(ooops ,sorry Wayne!)

A gift from a lawn liberator

A gift from a lawn liberator

I love the gifts that arrive in my life.

We won a fruit tree in a raffle!
The woman who was delivering it made a time to come and plant it.  I thought that seemed like a lot of work, but she said that is what she does.  So last week Vanessa turned up with mulch, compost, companion plants, newspaper and a Cox’s Orange apple tree.

I really enjoyed chatting to her as she liberated a patch of our lawn for our prize.  As a busy owner of a garden centre, mother and initiator of a transition town Vanessa decided last year that she would like to donate 30 fruit trees each year.  It is very simple, you just need to ask and she will come and plant it.  (She is based in Taihape, NZ, so within reason!!)
She has an inspiring vision, a sort of spread-out community garden.  She knows that each year she is planting future food sources around the community.  Plus the tree, 30 people (this year) have had the benefit of Vanessa’s knowledge and gardening wisdom.  So in this way her acts of kindness aren’t random. They are well placed, well intentioned and go  a long way to ensure a future of food production and even act as an introduction to gardening.


Our newly planted apple tree.  Thick wet newspaper was put down first, then thick barley straw, tucked around 5 different herbs that will spread out.
I have since surrounded the mini garden with bricks.

IMG_4271Each tree Vanessa plants has its own painted stone identifying it.
Trees for Homes is the  wonderful movement she has begun and you can find her at

Vanessa calls herself a “Lawn Liberator” and has inspired me to finally mulch around my other apple trees.  I have surrounded them with borage, calendulas, comfrey, nasturtiums and other bits from my garden.  They are mulched heavily and have a new border which affords them the importance they deserve in the garden…….


My two apple trees in the front garden, with their new companion flower bed, the outdoor bath behind and fire circle on the left….

Thank you!

Living the dream


It has been interesting coming home and settling back in to normal life again.  I have been through several different phases.  The best thing has been the perspective it has brought me.
And guess what?  I am living the dream!

You know how sometimes in life it is good to look around and realise that you have everything you have wished for?  Life can be such a revelation when that happens.  I remember years ago as a young teacher doing this.  One day I suddenly realised that I was –

– teaching
– living by the beach in a cottage
-playing Irish music in a band
– very happy doing what I was doing

The very things I had been dreaming about and wishing for!
So it is good to take stock, look around and check out your life sometimes.

Having been home  7 weeks now I am really appreciating all the good things in my life.  I truly live a blessed life and am so very grateful for it.

One of the biggest insights I have had is about my work.
I have been teaching music, at home,  for 5 years now.  It has always just been a part of our weekly rhythm.  Suddenly, this term, I have been innundated with students, old and new and my two teaching days are pretty full.  WOW!!

I realise how fantastic this is.  I work at home, my kids can just be here doing their own things, I am  doing something I love doing and am good at (teaching &  playing music), it is flexible, fun, I get paid in cash each week, every student is a friend and I have  a relationship with each of them.  I get so much satisfaction working one on one, developing a programme to meet their needs and seeing their progress each week.
I have remembered how much I love teaching and surely private tution is the very best.

What a blessing!



Here is Charlie in the music room – our gorgeous red, instrument-filled room I teach in.  This night Charlie and I were boogying away to Old Crow Medicine show, using ribbons on sticks for extra effect!
“Music gives a soul to the universe,
wings to the mind,
flight to the imagination,
and life to everything.”
~ Plato ~



All through Turkey and of course in Switzerland and France I ate bread.  It is pretty hard not to and as I don’t usually eat bread I was dreading the consequences…..but it was fine.  I know so many people that either have intolerances or think they do.  Maybe if you haven’t already  tried sour dough you may be interested in this article?
Can Sourdough Change the Gluten-Free Diet?
Donna Schwenk’s Cultured Food Life

About ten years ago I went to a class on “How to Make Sourdough Bread.” My daughter had gluten intolerance and we found that she could eat sprouted bread without the side effects created by regular bread. I had heard that sourdough bread achieved similar results to the sprouted bread, and I wanted to try it. What I learned shocked me. The man teaching the class explained that the process of making sourdough was an ancient art and one that had many benefits that we are unaware of today. Why do so many of us struggle with gluten today? There are all kinds of books and websites dedicated to gluten-free living, and rightfully so, because the bread we have today is very different from the bread we ate for hundreds of years. But why is gluten intolerance an epidemic in this day and age? What has changed?

Before the 1950’s, most bread bakeries ran two shifts of workers because the dough was fermented throughout the night with a long and slow process using a culture that contained the lactobacillus bacteria. This slow process was necessary for bread to be properly digested. In the process of making sourdough bread, the bran in the flour is broken down during the long rising time, releasing nutrients into the dough. Only when wheat gluten is properly fermented or sprouted (to learn more about sprouted breads click here) is it healthy for human consumption. When not, it is potentially one of the most highly allergenic foods we eat. The phytic acid in grain needs to be 90% neutralized in order for the minerals to be absorbed by the human body. When you naturally ferment or sprout bread, you eliminate all phytic acid. About 90% of the phytic acid remains in breads made with instant yeasts, unless it is sprouted bread.

In their efforts to increase profits and speed up the the bread making process, bakers began using new techniques that took only three hours to make a loaf of bread – and now can even take only one hour. They used the new instant yeasts, which made the old way of making bread (using cultures and fermentation that not only help to preserve food, but also increase the nutrients available for our bodies) unnecessary.

During the making of sourdough bread, complex carbohydrates are broken down into more digestible simple sugars, and protein is broken down into amino acids. Enzymes develop during rising. These enzymes are not lost while baking since the center of the loaf remains at a lower temperature than the crust. This fermentation, partly from lactobacillus, also allows for a bread that is lower on the glycemic index, thus making it better for those with blood sugar issues. The fermentation also helps restore the functioning of the digestive tract, resulting in proper assimilation and elimination.

These changes in our bread have had devastating effects on our gut. I believe that along with the overly processed foods, soil depletion, and the loss of fermentation and probiotic foods that heal and protect our bodies, our diets are wreaking havoc on our guts. This, in turn, is causing the rise in all kinds of food allergies. Our diets are a dim reflection of the nutrient-dense whole foods we used to eat years ago. Someone at a recent class asked why we are living longer if our diets are so bad. But this is actually not the case any more; we are not living longer, this trend has stopped. Not only that, the quality of our lives is in sad shape. How often do you see someone living vibrantly and without sickness or ailments? It is increasingly becoming the exception and not the norm. Pharmaceuticals are the norm and not the exception, and food allergies and gut issues are rampant along with a host of other health issues. The average consumer is unaware of these changes in our food supply and then labels gluten and breads as the enemy, when they don’t realize the culprit is the dramatic changes in the actual process of making bread today.

A study done experimenting with sourdough fermentation as a means for making wheat bread safe for people with celiac disease had great results. While the study was small, it did show that individuals with celiac disease who ate specially prepared sourdough wheat bread over the course of 60 days experienced no ill effects.

It was my daughter Maci’s inability to digest wheat that started me on a journey learning about foods that were transformed when they were sprouted or made with sourdough. People who came to my classes and website were experiencing the same results when eating bread that was made with sourdough cultures or sprouted. Even some with Celiac disease seemed to do really well. Now, not everybody who is gluten intolerant can handle it right away. They need to heal their guts first with cultured foods on a regular basis. After this occurs, I have seen so many people thrive when eating breads as long as these breads were fermented or sprouted.

Sourdough bread, fermented for at least 7 hours or longer, is the time it takes to transform the bread. Then it not only easily digested, but often can be handled by those who are gluten intolerant. Here is a recipe to make my sourdough bread. It is the best one for beginners and the one I think tastes the best. Well… that’s not entirely true. I love so many, but this one has a great flavor and is easy. I have devised a slower, longer fermentation method that is even more effective for those who have severe gluten problems. This is my refrigerator method of making sourdough bread. My Refrigerated Sourdough Bread video can be found on my Biotic Pro membership site. It is the method I use regularly because not only is it easy, but it allows the bread to slowly ferment in the fridge for a longer period. This makes the bread even more delicious, and more digestible, than just fermenting it on the counter. It also seems to be the method that most people with severe gluten issues tolerate the best.

I hope I can shed some light on this problem that is facing so many. As always, I want to share with you what has changed my life and so many others.

Can Sourdough Change the Gluten-Free Diet?

Only when wheat gluten is properly fermented or sprouted, is it healthy for human consumption. When not, it is potentially one of the most highly allergenic foods