Deep in the forest, high up in the mountains of New Guinea, a huge bird strides confidently through the undergrowth.

Foraging here and there for seeds and fruit and insects, the cassowary is the queen of the forest, the biggest creature in this ecosystem. She doesn’t need to fly — she has size, speed, intelligence, and strong, barbed claws. She is more than a match for any other living creature, including humans.

“To trap cassowaries, one needs to know a very great deal of magic.” Ian Saem Majnep, Birds of My Kalam Country

Cassowary dreaming

A cassowary came to me…

Jim O’Gorman is a New Zealander whose life’s work is aimed at solving some of the big problems of our times: topsoil loss and land degradation.

Jim, who’s been dubbed “the Dirt Doctor”, grows superb vegetables and researches soil care and remediation. His research lab is a tiny 0.57 ha property at Kakanui, a small village on the east coast of New Zealand’s South Island, north of Dunedin.

He’s recognized internationally for his research into the technology of building living soil.

And his produce is sought by top chefs all over Aotearoa-New Zealand.

Jim was invited to speak at the…

Most people think Alice in Wonderland is an amusing story for kids. But it’s never been that for me, thanks to the name my parents gave me.

For many years there was no love lost between me and that other Alice. But I’ve warmed to her.

I’ve been inspired to write about my name by the Jungian writer Thomas Moore, author of Care of the Soul and The Re-enchantment of Everyday Life. Moore writes of the particular resonances of his own name.

Alice is a name with some epic resonances.

Alice in Wonderland is considered one of the cornerstones of children’s literature.

It belongs to a genre called…

This is the story behind my new book, Meet your greens: Enliven your salads with herbal energetics. It’s about how to make amazing salads, but it’s also about a lot more than that.

Meet Your Greens comes out of my lifelong interest in the different flavours of salad greens.

Alice Bulmer photographed by Brooke Baker.

I’ve always loved green salads. My definition of an abundant life includes a garden with an apple tree, a lemon tree — and salad greens and herbs. My absolute essential greens are flat-leaf parsley, curly endive and land cress. …

Once in a lifetime a band comes along that you love so much, they become part of your world.

For me, it’s Sneaky Feelings.

This is the story of how I discovered my favourite New Zealand band. It’s quite possible that you haven’t heard of Sneaky Feelings, even if you live in Aotearoa-New Zealand.

I can’t write authoritatively about this band in their heyday in the 1980s, because I wasn’t there. I didn’t know they existed.

They’re not part of my misspent youth, or my university days.

Sneaky Feelings arrived in my life in my late 20s. Just as they…

“I saw a film today, oh boy…” Richard Curtis and Danny Boyle’s film Yesterday gave me a sense of déjà vu.

Because I can remember living in a world where The Beatles didn’t exist. A world where it felt like I was one of the few people who knew and cared about The Beatles.

It was the 1970s.

I was a musical kid, a geeky student of music. Music mattered a lot to me as a teenager. It was the most important thing in my life. It kept me sane.

My head was full of Beethoven, Mozart, J.S. Bach and Schubert. There wasn’t any…

This story was originally published at

My favourite plant is the nettle. The European stinging nettle, Urtica dioica. There’s a nettle patch at the bottom of my garden.

Nettles aren’t pretty or sculptural, unlike many other plants that are considered weeds. But they are interesting and very useful.

Nettles have culinary, cultural, healing, ecological and gardening purposes. And much more.

People sometimes ask me what nettles taste like. Nettle tea or infusion (see the recipe at the end of this post) tastes “green” to me.

It’s sort of a mineral flavour. Nettles contain a power-pack of minerals and other…

Imagine making music and singing with your family and friends at Christmas.

With ukuleles. (Of course!) I think ukuleles and Christmas go together wonderfully well.

Even if you’re a beginner ukulele player, you can play Christmas carols.

Going to big carol singing events is great. But having live music in your living room or on your porch is wonderful and special. It shifts the energy. It brings Christmas magic into your home.

We haven’t always had music at my family Christmas. Even though my family is full of musicians.

For years, we’d sit around eating and drinking too much and trying to avoid political arguments. Occasionally someone would start singing Good King…

This article was first published on my writer’s blog,, in 2016. My mother, Sue Bulmer, passed away in October 2016.

Every couple of weeks I drive to Auckland to make music with my mother, Sue. It’s fun and joyful for both of us.

My mother has dementia. It has been gradually progressing over the last five years — maybe longer than that.

Early on, it affected her ability to remember words and communicate, as well as scrambling her memories and her ability to recognize people and to carry out basic everyday tasks.

I imagine that for someone like my…

Alice Bulmer

Musician, food activist, ukulele teacher in the heart of New Zealand.

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