Blog - Jillian Sullivan
ida valley sunset

Ida Valley Musings – The Coming Day

In a blue sky, there’s a ragged thickness of cloud above the valley, maybe grey, maybe rain-filled, but now, before the sun rises, light from beneath the horizon colours the underbelly of the cloud with pink then gold. The deepness of the colour intensifies by the second, as birds call from each side of the […]

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Ida Valley Musings – Dystopian adventures

Wind and cold, the yellow leaves flying off the willow trees at the same angle and velocity as the snowflakes. Looking across the paddock its hard to define what the sky or trees release. The Hawkduns and Mt Ida are blanked out, Blackstone Hill hidden, and on Rough Ridge snow cloud is whitening the peaks […]

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mullein plant

Ida Valley Musings – Witches Taper

Witches taper – I liked the sound of that name, and my first attraction to the plant woolly mullein during lockdown was to try lighting a dead seedhead and see if it worked. Outside in the wind, no. Inside, lit by the fire, a quick blaze up and the smoke alarm set off. As a […]

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The art of seeing what’s there – and what to do with it.

In autumn, there’s a red flush on the hills here – the briar rose and hawthorn offering their bounty of scarlet and orange-red berries. It’s taken seven years for it to sink in that these freely available flowerings can offer us health and the enjoyment that comes from rambling around and picking. And now that […]

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save the future

Ida Valley Musings – Thirty seconds without blinking – 5 April

In the east, Rough Ridge golden as ever, the tors slanting against a blue sky. On Blackstone Hill, to the west, shreds of cloud murky over the ridges and gullies. Beyond the willows, in their first flush of yellowing, and deep into the southwest, grey clouds mass. The breeze is buffetty from the southwest too. […]

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Ida Valley Musings – Song About the Earth – 3rd April

“Look at this world/spinning for us/even in the dark/ look at this world/spinning for us/ giving us hope and sun…” (Sartori and Quarantotto) On the road to Ranfurly, I play Andrea Bocelli singing Canto della Terra – Song about the Earth. The road climbs past the fields of matagouri and hawthorn, swoops over the Ida […]

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Ida Valley Musings – While we Falter – 2nd April

This morning the mountains are a dusky blue, their curves accentuated by shadows. A low cap of softness, like smoke, hovers over the ridgeline of the Hawkduns, some of it wisps into the gullies. On Mt Ida the cloud hugs tight, hiding the peaks. The cloud grey-blue underneath and on top the newly risen sun […]

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ida valley jillian

Ida Valley Musings – Learning it for Yourself – 1st April

It’s still again today, the toi tois upright. That’s saying something in a valley that’s the hottest, coldest, driest and windiest valley in the country. So the legend is. A few winters back it was minus 21 degrees here for three days in a row. And wind enough to send the neighbour’s henhouse with hens […]

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rag rug for brian

Ida Valley Musings – Creatively Self Soothing – 31st March

Early evening, and the grey cloud has lifted from the flanks of the Hawkduns and the sun lies weakly there, faint shadows and stipples on lightened ridges. On Rough Ridge too, the tors in subdued light. It seems so long since I took it for granted I could climb up there, even in a snow […]

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ida valley musings

Ida Valley Musings – Single File – 29 March

A bright morning yesterday, so bright we had to sit with our backs to the sun to read the paper and drink tea. What did the day hold? Planting cabbages for sure. Also, marigolds from my friend Mary in Nelson. She’d sent a box of comfrey roots, lettuces and marigolds home with me, in a […]

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