Helena Pipehead Bushwalk… Or how NOT to bushwalk with arthritis!

Hello everyone,

Let’s be honest here… Reading about someone’s epic fails is sometimes more fun than spectacular photos that make you feel inadequate πŸ˜‚.

So here’s one I prepared earlier in the week. All dosed up on medication for my autoimmune arthritis and walking better than I had in months… it seemed like a good idea to pack a picnic and take the kids for a bushwalk.

We chose Helena Pipehead Trail in Kalamunda National Park. 13.5km along the Helena river and past the dam on return. On paper it sounded good…

Medium difficulty. Mostly graded tracks. Good boots. Gentle exercise for my joints. Even better for my depression. Get outdoors. Exhaust the kids. Sunshine. Nature. River. All good?

It was great too. Until we took the wrong turn on an old track down to the river.

 

Hubby decided it would be easier to climb up through the bush than to back track.

Our kids took one look at the scrubby bush above and said no way Dad.

And yet… I agreed. I can walk! Woohoo let’s push ourselves and climb up a steep hillside with a 3 and a 4 year old. Hmmmm!

20180623_155203
Note to Arthritis sufferers. Climbing from the river below to up here is incredibly stupid!

The less said the better really. Miss 3 got her ponytail caught up in a particularly challenging climbing vine. My knee gave way and I went sliding down through mud to the kid’s delight.

Native bush plants and my kids were introduced to some truly spectacular curse words. For those not familar with West Australian bushland we have some truly horrible spiky plants. Lovely to look at. An utter pain to trapse and scrabble through.

20180623_153456
Drosera macrantha (climbing sundew). The one and only photo before I slid down in the mud.

When we finally reached the track andΒ  stopped to admire the view we saw a different kind of display… Is that a wrecked white car?!

20180623_155035_HDR
Because every good walk trail requires a random car pushed off a cliff. This has been here for ages we found out.

Nursing bruised knees and covered in mud and scratches, we gave the kids piggyback rides back to the car and decided to try again next week (and stop at the chemist for some painkillers for me).

Trying to find positives I looked inside. No matter how much of a fail the walk was it did help for a little while. Exercise and sunshine does give me a time out from depression. Even a small reprieve is worth seizing.

Thankfully we passed these Hoveas on the way home which made the trip worth it don’t you think?

Some days things just don’t quite go to plan do they?Β If you have a failed nature experience to share I’d love to hear it. Realistics unite 😊.

 

Do you make time to search for treasure?

There are days where hard physical work is a godsend to keep my mind away from difficult thoughts (Don’t you just love depression … And yes that was a bitter sarcastic tone you heard).116

And then there are bad days. Mental illness doesn’t always visit alone. Sometimes it has company. My depression has a companion called autoimmune arthritis. I don’t like either of them very much.

What has this got to do with treasure?

On days where I’m in pain and feeling low I have a choice. Let the hopelessness bury me. Or allow myself be human and be kind to myself. Yes I am faulty. Flawed. Weak. Hurting. Lazy. Uninspired. Self absorbed. But aren’t all people at some point?

So I pamper myself with a treasure hunt. Do you work away in the garden and miss the little things sometimes? I do.

Feeling sick is a wonderful reason to take time to enjoy your garden. Go for a very slow wander and inspect all the plants. Search for flowers and mushrooms and all of the things that on busy days you may miss.

20180620_110754_Burst01
The first of the tiny orchids. This flower is only about 1cm across! I love searching for treasure.

20180620_110612_HDR

On bad days it helps to slow down and make time for yourself. Be gentle and forgiving to yourself as best you can. And focus on tomorrow being a new day to try again.

After all you never know what treasures are waiting in your future…

Today the sun came out for me. My meds began to work ever so slightly. I could breathe. My friend and her kids came with us to our block of land. The joy of a road trip with friends. No rush. Nothing fancy just enjoying a happy moment.

And then we stopped the cars…. What on earth is that? Walked for a closer look…

20180621_120236_HDR
A curious “lump” in the middle of a road. We stopped to check. An Echinda!!

This is only the second Echinda I have seen in 33 years of life. None of the kids had seen one before. I went to scoop him off the road thinking a car had clipped him and off he waddled! I had no idea Echidna could waddle so fast!

How we laughed. The kids peered out the windows and demanded to know why this was not a hedgehog.Β 20180621_120516_hdr.jpg

These moments make it all worthwhile. Treasure. Just waiting for us all to stop a while and look for it.

When is the last time you searched for treasure?

 

Will you share a nursery with me?

When you feel low do you enjoy a little garden centre therapy? Me too!

There is something about getting out of the house and wandering through a nursery which makes me feel a little more alive.

Being surrounded by people who are doing something they love.

Hearing people talk about their designs for the garden.

Reading the labels. Looking at the planting displays and ideas.

Always leaving with an unexpected purchase and an idea and excited hope.

A lifetime ago I worked at a nursery. I used to enjoy watching people. All sorts of people explore nurseries. Gardens don’t judge you. You can be depressed or unable to hold a conversation and it doesn’t matter. Gardens are a good place to find solace and healing.

It led me to believe a good nursery realises sometimes people have little money to spend or need company and a gentle, happy space. It welcomes everyone regardless. Gives them time and space to wander and touch and dream and hope and talk to others about something they love.

Which brings me to my point… I wanted to share my favourite nursery with you. I was hoping you might feel inspired to write a post in return to share your favourite nursery with me too. If you would like to I’d love a link in the replies. I love seeing new places 😊.

And now….

Welcome to Zanthorrea Nursery!

20180616_135225_HDR
http://www.zanthorrea.com A shameless plug πŸ˜‚

Even the name makes me smile. Named after our Grass trees (Xanthorrea) with a humour that realises and accepts not everyone is a plant nerd and knows how to pronounce or spell that.

It is also an Australian native plant nursery. There are gardens throughout beautifully maintained to show people how our plants can be beautiful too.

20180616_135411_HDR
Yellow Leschenaultia… Stunning

Enough of me waffling… The pictures speak for themselves. Enjoy.

20180616_135428_HDR
The Leschenaultia display. I want them ALL 😊

20180616_135506_HDR20180616_135417_HDR20180616_135338_HDR20180616_135334_HDR

20180616_135641_HDR
Play area for the kids. Everyone is welcome!

This is my favourite place to go when I need a boost.

Will you share yours too? I can’t wait to see nurseries from around the world!

❀ Nat

Slippery Dip Falls

FR Berry Reserve. Just the name makes me smile. Actually being there eases every ache from my heart. This is my depression free place.

Once upon a time a couple found a book in an op shop. Family walks in the Perth Outdoors…

Ok that couple was hubby and I. But in my heart finding this book was the start of my fairytale.

book-family-walks-perth_large
Photo courtesy of DPAW.

Family Walks in Perth Outdoors

We come here multiple times a year. After the winter rains and at the start of spring are the best times to visit.

This is why…20180610_144253_HDR20180610_143838_HDR20180610_141436_HDRMost flowers aren’t out yet but little Miss 3 found a carpet of trigger flowers…20180610_141005_HDRAnd Mr 4 found some ‘rainbow’ sundew which took me right back to my fairytale.

20180610_141440_HDRSee the granite outcrop way up high in the top left of the photo? We trekked up there once with our dog and a backpack with a ‘picnic’. On top of the world hubby went to find me a piece of ‘rainbow’ and came back with the string of sticky flowers and a little box with a ring.

20180610_143735_HDR
The flowers from a sundew… Nicknamed rainbow. It is sticky and as kids we would wrap it into crowns to wear.

Every story needs a twist… This memory has one too. After a picnic of sandwiches and chocolate cake (and lots of champagne!) we got lost in the bush! Two young lovers drunk and happy. In that moment we didn’t care less that we were lost in the bush because we were together.

At my worst, highly depressed and struggling to walk with an autoimmune arthritis I grieved this special place. I didn’t think I’d ever get to come back.

But here we are.

20180610_144206_HDR.jpg

Our kids love it here too. I am reminded no matter how bad I feel there is always a place I can go where every step is a reminder of a happy memory.

Thank you for letting me share my favourite place in the world.

Do you have a place you can trust to make you feel safe and happy?

 

 

 

Six on Saturday… A reminder that things will get better in time.

Hello fellow gardeners, black thumbs and non gardeners are always welcome too 😊.

Saturday to me is becoming the end of the week and the signal of a fresh start.

Why?

Because of The Propagator’s Six on Saturday idea (check it out and join the fun here…)

https://thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com/

There is something that helps me mentally about looking forward to seeing everyone’s posts. All the colour and the plants and the joy and passion. It reminds me when my depression has me in it’s grip that there is joy to be found. I just struggle to see it.

So today my six is about hope. Hope in my garden and in my heart. A reminder that although right now my garden and mind feel dull the plants will grow in time. I just have to give them my time and effort and care. They will survive and grow and one day will be just as lovely as the local specimens that inspired me in the first place.

So here we go.

1. My cutting grown coral trees (Erythrina sykesii). Only about 50cm high.

The park in Woodbridge that made me fall in love with these trees in the first place.

2. My purchased Cassia Fistula

20180601_134127_HDR

We had one in the front yard up north in Wickham, WA as a teenager. One grows over the grave of a beloved k9 at Mum and Dad’s home. Youthful and hopeful. This one gets knocked back by the frost and then just grows back.

3. My seed grown Flame trees (Brachychiton acerifolius).

20180609_154102_HDR
So little, but there are about 10 of them

This is one down the road from our rental. I pass it on the school run most days. I love red gardens. One day we will have red everywhere. An explosion of colour and heat.

4. My cutting grown Poinsettias.

20180601_133743_HDR.jpg

Another local treasure in a neighbour’s front garden. I planted ours next to the sea container to radiate some warmth. They’re an experiment but seem to be surviving the winter so far.

5. Seed grown Sweet Gums (Liquidambar sp.)

20180609_154419_Burst01
My little sweet gums 😒. Hubby burnt the grass trees nearby and knocked them right back.

No red garden is complete without a few of these. I love the spiky seed balls and the carpet of leaves of all sorts of warm colours. Just got a new lot of seed from these trees in the old Midland Railway garden.

6. Proof some things are beautiful right now. Two and half years old and finally my Grevillea olivacea flower!

Thanks for joining me in daydreaming 🌸.

A project to keep the ‘black dog’ at bay.

What is a home without a frog pond?

Well the frogs may not be here yet but the pond is waiting for them.

20180602_162535_HDRWe don’t use garden chemicals often (hubby will sometimes use White Oil) so in our old house we had frogs galore.

There is nothing like sitting outside in the evening and hearing the frogs calling.

Plus frogs eat a lot of garden pests so it is a win for the garden too.

We may not have a house yet but we decided making a pond was a necessity.

20180603_153218_HDR

Inexperience meant I’ve put the overflow pipe too low at one end, so on the opposite side the pond liner shows when the pond is filled. Arrgh.

20180602_162945_HDR
The water drains from the overflow pipe before it fills enough. Ah well. Needs more plants 😊

I dug the pond and lined with chicken wire to act as a support to hold the concrete in place. Hubby mixed and I poured and smoothed. Paper mache at it’s finest.

Once cured we lined the concrete with white sand and then a pond liner sheet. People said this was overkill but we thought we may as well go all out the first time.

Then we began rock patrol. It took three small trailer loads of coffee rock to hold the liner down and in place (I folded it under on the edges). Plus a few wheelbarrows full of gravel to fill in the gaps in the rocks.

And finally some reeds in pots and submerged rocks to give the tadpoles (hope hope) somewhere to hide.

And now…. We wait.Β   🐸

My ‘Escape to the Country’ is no longer just a dream!

I must admit one show guaranteed to make me feel good regardless of how rough my mental state is “Escape to the Country”.

The plot is always the same… Busy stressed city dwellers search for a change and connection to the environment and community lacking in the ‘big smoke’ (city).

It feels like a lifetime I’ve been waiting for our turn to come. We have the block. 5 acres of rocky hillside in the Wheatbelt.

The community.

The gorgeous little school Mr 4 adores and Miss 3 is itching to begin next year.

20180525_145045_HDR

20180601_150001_HDR
You know a good school when it encourages kids to get their hands dirty

And now it is finally starting. We got our fire assessment. BAL 19 woooohooooooo! No more clearing required thank goodness. So in a week or so we begin the long process of new home building.

20180510_190506_HDR
The plan for our little house. A 3×1 with a huge patio.

Today at the gate chatting to some Jehovah’s Witnesses I realised I’ve had more locals stop for a chat here than in the many many lonely years I’ve lived in the city.

One current thought doing the rounds about depression is a lack of connection being a factor. I find myself agreeing.

One of the biggest connections I have been missing is a sense of place. A piece of earth that is mine to set my roots. The more our block takes shape the more calm I feel.

20180601_133344_HDR
The first and only rose. A climber called “Tiffany” hubby gave me for Valentine’s Day.

Something as simple as stacking rocks for a dry retaining wall makes me feel relaxed in a way my medication doesn’t. Every bit of work gives me a sense of building a home. Somewhere safe.

20180601_133246_HDR
Start of a dry stack retaining wall

A connection to the land is something I’m sure other garden lovers relate to.

Do you ever think without your garden you would feel lost?