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Here is what happens when you mulch the garden beds and then don’t go outside in daylight for the next three months.
It goes mental.
Here’s what’s happening in this photo. In the foreground are some brassicas – purple brussel sprouts and sprouting broccoli - that started out in a garden bed to the left. This bed gets pretty much zero direct light, so I don’t know why I bothered planting in it – it’s great for lettuce in the summer but that’s about it. Anyway, because it gets no light the brassicas did nothing for three months, then escaped the beds to find some sun. Now they’re actually sprouting and I haven’t the heart to pull them up because they are finally doing something.
There’s a raised garden bed at the back of this photo. Behind all the seeding rocket. Also, three mostly-clear beds which you can’t see because they’re behind weeds.
(Please excuse the horror in the shed, and the drying washing looking for some sun)
In the ongoing battle with the three cornered jacks, if it’s not a three cornered jack, or in a place where I want to plant something else, it gets to stay.
I was going to just mow the weeds this weekend, but I’ve come down with some horrible disease (feeling very sorry for myself at the moment) so the most I managed was this:
Hypothetically that’s a herb bed. There’s still some sage, and a parsley bush going mental – those are big stalks of parsley that I hacked off and used as mulch, at the front. There’s also a tonne of self seeded silverbeet, which is excellent. I’m mostly going to plant tomatoes and leafy stuff this year, since that’s mostly what I eat, and it’s also hard to buy good quality greens etc. I will eat pretty much 100% of all tomatoes and leafy greens I grow, so it’s a lot of bang for the gardening buck.
Tomatoes are stupidly expensive at the moment because of the Queensland shenanigans – I went to a farmer’s market on the weekend where there was a single stall with non-blemished tomatoes. They were $8 a kilo which is actually pretty good (it’s up the $12 in the supermarket near me) and there was an absolute scrum to get to them. I just bought blemished ones at $4 a kilo and they’re very nice, thank you. But not the same as home grown ones.
I’ve given up on curcurbits, even though I’ll eat all the zucchini I can get, because something nearby has powdery mildew – I blame my own and the neighbour’s frangipanis – and I just can’t fight it. Besides, they’re cheap in season and pretty easy to buy good ones. So I’ll concentrate on silverbeet, lettuce and rocket, all of which I’ve grown with great success. See: massive rocket weeds above. The flowers are very pretty, I think. They WERE moderate, bushy plants before I just went inside for winter, so these ones’ll come up but the next lot which are springing up now can stay, and I’ll see how they taste. And I’ll plant more from seed. My problem last year was that I got excited about all the different things I could grow and over committed. If I have leafy greens, a decent herb garden, tomatoes and maybe an eggplant and capsicum bush, I’ve always got dinner. That’s enough commitment while I’m working full time. If I’m sensible about it I might be able to plan it well enough not to need to bed it all down over winter.
I made it slightly further down the bed. Jeez, look at those weeds. Just ridiculous. I wasn’t kidding about not having been outside in daylight for the last three months, you know. In weeding this bed I found THREE secret chicken nests. Sneaky buggers. Who knows where they’re laying now. They’re so small they just look like shadows, and I just can’t see them when they’re hiding. They love the weeds, but were equally pleased with the grubs uncovered and the straw to muck about it.
Jesus, they’ve changed the format of wordpress AGAIN? I can’t keep up. Shows how neglected this poor blog is.
Anyway, I just sort of accidentally signed up for a Make it In May skirt thing at Curlypops. I blame Tanya. Also, my need for more winter skirts. And my desire to go fabric shopping. This weekend is a free weekend, mostly, and I want to do some sewing. I need to take in my craft camp skirts – they’re wearable, just, but big enough that they actually work their way around sideways if I’m doing anything active. I also want to make another couple of the same skirt, maybe in corduroy, because winter is looming and I only have jeans, really. Not too many skirts that work with tights or stockings, and keep me warm. I also need some more footless tights, and the one pair that fits isn’t sold anymore, so I’m thinking of using it as a pattern. Plus, I have searched high and low for a fleece jumper that is thick enough to keep me warm, but not $1 million, so that I can wear it around the house doing things. No go. Nada. Zip. I’m pretty sure I can make one that’s daggy enough to get flour or soil all over it.
Speaking of soil, I need to get into the garden. I’ve decided to let it go fallow again over winter – I just don’t get any light during the week, and my weekends are usually too busy. So I’m going to revamp it and mulch it and bed it down. Maybe plant some things that can grow without too much attention – some lettuce and spinach and the like. My zucchinis keep getting terrible, fast onset powdery mildew. One day they’re fine, the next, irrideemable. Which is upsetting because I will eat all the zucchinis I can get. I suspect the Fragnipani tree which has suspicious white leaves. Another reason to pull the damned thing out (I hate it). Maybe when the tamarillo in the front yard is a bit bigger and can provide summer shade – if it doesn’t fall over, it’s leaning dangerously and I have yet to find time to stake it. And I need to prune and stake some other trees. Which I meant to do last winter, and didn’t find time to.
Time is mysteriously thin on the ground around here. There should be heaps of it, really, but there never seems to be.
Dreamt about packing for craft camp last night. Dream me is more organised than real me. On the plus side, it was nice to have decided what fabric to bring without having to take time out of my day.
I realised the other day that Sewjourn is my happy place. Specifically the driveway. Ok, that sounds weird, let me explain. I can picture myself here:
It’s a liminal space – in between, a gateway, a crossroads. There’s not much going on, so I can create it well in my mind’s eye. It’s quiet, and clean, and bright. And whichever way I’m going, I’m on the way both to and from something lovely. I’m heading back from the studio after a morning of making and chatting and laughing, to a delicious meal, or a quiet contemplative bath. Or maybe I’ve been reading in the house and I’m heading back to be with my crafty family. There is joy and love and comfort waiting for me. Probably I am still chuckling about something someone said as a parting shot as I slipped out of the studio, or I have my head down thinking about what I am going to make when I get back there.
If I am in my real life, and I need a breath of fresh air or a moment of calm, that is what I picture. This view:
Or this one:
I’ve needed it this week, too, that dose of calm, that deeper breath. There have been several infuriating meetings and the like. Good thing I’ll be back there soon, to restock my supply of calm.
I also dreamt that I went to the fat fashion swap in Melbourne. When I found out about it, I seriously considered flying in for the day to go to it. I am not going to do that, but maybe some of you would be interested. Here is the facebook page with the information.
In less literal dreams, I finished Abby’s blanket that I was knitting for my bestie’s child.
I did, of course, make an error in the lace. I got off by a few stitches, for a few rows, and didn’t notice for a while. I set my chin and refused to tink back, because I was on a deadline, and my bestie is of the ‘that’s how you know it was handmade with love’ school of thought. I kind of wish I’d fixed it. Or at least taken close ups of a different part of the blanket.
It’s actually quite hard to spot in real life – I’m not fooling myself either. While it was blocking I looked for it so I could fret over it, as you probe a sore tooth. It took me a good minute to locate it.
Blanket ravelry details here.
Said baby was due on Sunday, as I was blocking the blanket. It’s still not here, and I’d appreciate it holding out a little while longer. I finished a matching Puerperium cardigan on the bus this morning. I brought needles and buttons to work and I’m going to finish the finishing at lunch, and then drop the two of them over tonight.
I requested that the baby not come this weekend, while I am away. On reflection, though, that would be fine – the respective families are going to descend and wouldn’t get a chance to smuggle the much awaited brie into the hospital for a while, anyway. So this weekend is fine, just… wait a few more hours, baby. The knitting is not ready yet.
I wrote out this whole post about how I haven’t been around because I’m tired, and then wordpress ate it. (And also this one, which I’d cleverly written in Word, first. It seems it didn’t like photos being included?)
Probably for the best – it got a bit maudlin. Well, it is Monday morning, after all. Only three weeks till holidays, though. I am looking forward to them.
I sort of accidentally volunteered to organise the family Christmas. I’m not hosting, it’s at Grandmas, but I’m doing the running around and
herding cats organising family members. Mostly just telling who to bring what. But it’s good, I’ve been trying to involve myself more with my family. There were a few thing this year that I felt left out of, and while part of it probably was certain family members not thinking of me, a good part of it was that with most of my cousins interstate or overseas, my contact with the general family is limited. So I am trying to rectify that.
I anticipate that family Christmas will be painful but good. We had a big family birthday/reunion type thing a few months ago, after which I was really upset for no particular reason. I think I need to do some more processing – which is good, because it means I am in a place where I can actually do that. Progress, emotional continence, etc. In the mean time, though, it’s leaving me a bit limp and faded. I was just describing it to a friend as it feeling like my emotional bones are aching. I feel physically fine, but keep catching myself walking carefully, and holding myself as if I hurt. Keep having vivid, confusing, emotional dreams, too, that I can’t remember but mean I wake up completely un-rested. Only to be expected, really, as we head in to December. I’m fine, though. Taking it easy on myself, and I could be better, but all in all, totally fine.
As frustrating as this time of year business is, it does mean it has a time limit. Three weeks till holidays, when I can sleep all day. Then trauma week. Then festivities, then one more week of holiday to enjoy the summer. Not so long, really.
Anyway, long story short, I’m around, although some days even logging in to leave a comment just seems like too much effort. I am looking forward to being less tired, so I can sit outside in the twilight, having drinks with friends. And I am grateful for all the company and metaphorical cups of tea and cocktails that you internet people provide me with.
Literally. WordPress keeps eating my posts.
At the risk of jinxing myself, I am going great guns at the moment. The last few after-work evenings have been very productive. I’ve been out in the garden, weeding and sorting. The three cornered jacks are back, but in smaller numbers, and I reckon I’ll have them cleared out by the end of the week – it would have been earlier but I was waiting for them to be big enough to weed easily. I went to Bunnings the other day for miscellaneous supplies (why is it that I always remember something ELSE I needed, as soon as I’ve gotten home form a Bunnings trip…) and they had a whole bunch of sad-looking seedlings selling for $1 a punnet. I whacked up some dodgy temporary fences around extra garden beds, so that the chickens couldn’t maul them, and whacked them in. Now they’ve perked up and I’m sort of hoping some of them won’t make it. Because I have seeds I planted in pots coming in, and if all of the Bunnings seedlings I got thrive, I won’t have anywhere to put them!
Well, maybe I’ll get the front yard mulched and then I can put some out there. It is to laugh, I think I’ve been getting ready to mulch the front yard for about 6 months. I even got halfway through before I ran out of mulch and oomph. Still, I have something like 5 cubic metres sitting in my back yard, and if I do’t get a wriggle on, it’ll all turn to compost.
No photos of all this productivity, I’m afraid. I feel like a post is so boring without photos, but I haven’t cracked my camera out for ages. Might try to do that tonight. I had a peep at my rav projects, too, and decided that some of the photos are inadequate. Don’t you hate it when there are no good project pictures for something, despite 100 people having finished one? So I’ll have to have a photo shoot session, perhaps.
Speaking of knitting, also going great guns. I finished the FBS – barring one seam and the buttons. S was over on Saturday and feeling poorly, so we basically spent the whole day on the couch. I took the opportunity to power through, and I knit all of it from the sleeves down in one day. For some reason I felt like this project took forever, but I only started it on the 2nd, so it took me just under 2 weeks to knit, including time where I didn’t touch it because it was making me feel pouty. I think because the top bit with the yoke and the sleeves took so much mental energy to figure out, I felt like I was over halfway done. So when it PURPOSEFULLY CONTINUED not to be finished, I lost patience. I am feeling quite pleased with it, and it would already be seamed etc except after two hours of weeding an evening I somehow don’t feel like I can come at mattress stitching, even if it is only for an inch. But I think there will be more of these – at a family do on Sunday my grandma gave me some leftover Luxury in a lovely purple. It’s not enough to make an adult sized thing, and I don’t really wear purple, but it’s PERFECT for FBS or other baby things.
I am knitting Riding to Avalon like crazy, too. I’m almost done the increases, almost up to the shaping for the sleeves. Zooming along. I’m sure it will slow down when it’s too big to be bus knitting. I’m also making progress on Phyllo, but it’s a bit slower, because it’s knit back and forth and I am slower purling. Plus, I just don’t like it as much. Purling, that is. I did consider knitting this in the round, and I wish I had. But now I’m 9 inches in, I don’t feel like ripping it. Given that that 9 inches has happened in about 10 days of intermittent bus knitting (only when it has been too hot for wool), I think this will go fast enough that I don’t get too annoyed. But from now on, I think I’m going to knit in the round whenever it’s not too hard to convert. It’s just faster, and funner.
I am considering doing something like that 12 jumpers in a year challenge that some people did last year. I feel like I maybe said something like this last year (or maybe the year before?) and it never happened, (or was that sewing) but… I was thinking that baby stuff would count. Given that I already have one thing off the needles and another one halfway there, I don’t feel that it’s too over ambitious. I’d like to be more deliberate in enhancing my wardrobe, this year. I want to knit to the gaps in my wardrobe, and knit things that make me feel eager to wear them. Or perhaps I could make it a 12-wearable-things. I’m not making any solid resolutions because you know how these things go. But maybe an unofficial challenge to myself? I’d like to have enough FOs to make a lovely mosaic at the end of the year, at least!
So, I talked about my hopes for sewing. I want, in the immediate future, to sew a pair of pj pants for S, and cut out and sew this dress, the pattern for which I bought last year on impulse. I have some heavy black material that I sewed a skirt out of at a past craft camp, which gets alot of wear. I think I have enough left for this dress, and if it works I might try both kinds of skirt. I also want to use the same skirt pattern (which I traced out of one of Janet’s Ottobres) to make a bunch of simple skirts. I’ve given up on pants. Well, jeans can stay. But pants… they are not my friends. I have three pairs of work appropriate pants in my wardrobe, and I don’t think I’ve worn any of them for about a year. I put them on in the morning sometimes, and then I take them off again because they feel so uncomfortable, or fit funny.
Which brings me to my next sewing… goal? Goal sounds to firm really. I bought a pair of undershorts from Allihalla on etsy. They are so nice, but I noticed the other day that they are starting to go at the thigh seam. Well, no wonder, I’ve worn them pretty much every day since I bought them in October. Which, now that I think about it, is kind of gross. Anyway, I want ot make myself a bunch more – it shouldn’t be hard, theoretically. I am also tempted to make myself some underwear. I am really fucking sick of not being able to buy underwear that is either interesting (ie, not beige) and comfortable. I bought some new underwear under duress, over the holidays, and they all dig into my thighs in a most unnecessary way. I noticed that Spotlight had some not-boring jerseys in, so maybe I will buy a few half metres, and sew up a couple of prototypes, using an old comfortable pair as a pattern.
I don’t want to over anticipate myself with the sewing, otherwise I’ll get overwhelmed and not do anything. But those are my immediate plans, and we’ll see how we go. There are a lot of clothes in my wardrobe that I wear because I don’t have anything better, but that I don’t like much or don’t fit me. If I could get my butt into gear and get some momentum with the sewing thing, I could get rid of a bunch of that stuff. I think that would feel good, and I’d end up wearing clothes that feel like me, more often, instead of defaulting to jeans because it’s all too hard and nothing is good enough anyway.
So, that’s sewing. Here is a run down of what is on my knitting needles/to do list.
First up on my needles is Riding to Avalon. I cast this on as consolation for having to rip Cecchetti. Again. I was trying bust darts and they didn’t work out, and when I ripped them out I had a completely wrong number of stitches – significantly fewer than I ought. Which is good, because when I tried it on it had a LOT of negative ease, and that means that it was just because I did it wrong, not that the sizing or the pattern is wrong, or anything. But I just couldn’t work out where I’d gone wrong, so I ripped the whole damn thing. I’m not too fussed since the last time I knit it it only took me something like 2 weeks to finish the entire body. It’s perfect bus knitting and it knits up fast. But I just… can’t look at it right now. So I’m knitting Avalon, and I’m up to the decreased for the waist. I’m knitting it in Shiloh wool in a deep chocolate brown colour that I just realised is exactly the colour my school uniform jumper was. Uh oh. It’s an alpaca wool blend and it is so. Soft. I’m really enjoying it. I am knitting it like crazy because I really want to wear it and, more than that, I really want the satisfaction of an FO after the cecchetti frustration.
I’m also knitting the Phyllo Yoked Pullover. This one has been on my wish list FOREVER. I started knitting it once, in 2007, using bendigo cotton. It just didn’t work out. Norah Gaughan left a comment on my blog post about it, saying that since the original was knit in calmer, which has elastic in it, yarn subs are harder. So when Harmony came back to Bendigo Woolen Mills, I bought a bunch with this in mind. I cast it on in the holidays because it was too HOT for yarn, and I needed an incentive to tidy up the disaster that was my craft room. I decided that if I could uncover the drawers with my stash in, I could cast on. It’s just plain ss knitting at the moment, so no telling how this one is going, although I must say that the Harmony is surprisingly nice to knit. I’m knitting it in the sea mist colourway, and it’s nice and bright. The other colours are so blah, I was a bit worried that it would be insipid, knit up. But good things so far.
I’m also knitting the February Baby Sweater. I’ve been knitting some surprise baby garments, but I’m waiting for some more yarn to get here. So in between, I thought I’d knit some for a gift stash, because I think my peer group is heading into that phase of life. And while I like gifting knits, I dislike deadlines. It’s a bit slow going – I’m knitting it in Luxury which I have found plenty soft before but for some reason I’m finding it a bit… not scratchy, but… hard? I don’t know if it’s the gauge I’m knitting at, or whether the red dye process is harsher than the others, or what, but it’s not exactly slipping joyfully through my fingers. And also, EZ kind of makes me want to poke my eyes out with my needles. I acknowledge her greatness, but if ONE MORE PERSON tells me that her writing is ‘intuitive’ when they CLEARLY mean that the KNITTER has the be intuitive, because EZ leaves out things like button holes and doesn’t make it clear if it’s supposed to be 4″ of pattern and then 1″ garter, or 4″ total, with 3″ pattern and 1″ garter… *deep breath*
Anyway, let us say that this is not the most relaxing of knits. Although, I’m now past the arms and so it’s just knit knit knit for another 5″ – which shouldn’t take that long, given how small it is, but I am dragging my heels a bit.
I am also knitting secret baby stuff, as I mentioned. Hopefully it’ll be off to the recipient in the not-too-distant future (these babies and their time lines) so I can show off here.
This year, I would like to add to my jumper pile. I would like to decide the fate of some of my jumpers that I don’t wear now. For example, I love my Rogue, but the sleeves are just too short. And I love the yarn I used for my grey jumper, but it’s too boxy and short and I really should rip it and reknit it. And I still have a few random WIPS around the place, like a half finished hat, and my Henley Perfected that I last knit on in 2008 and clearly was not meant to be. I should rip it and use the yarn for something else. Parhaps a blanket? I love the alpaca yarn but it is just too slouchy drapey, and also so WARM.
I would also like to knit through my stash. It currently fits perfectly into the storage I have for it, and I would like to keep it that way. I want to buy some more Bennet and Gregor wool (I have some particular projects in mind) but I already have several jumper’s worth of yarn. So I would like to knit through that first. And then, maybe, I could splash out. I have been fixated on the Camilla pullover lately, and I think it’s because of the lovely yarn. (I can’t decide if the jumper would look ridiculous on my frame). But I think, if I knit up a significant amount of my current stash, I would feel ok about spending $70 on yarn for a jumper. Because I would have saved that in random yarn purchases that I never get around to knitting. And it looks so SOFT.
I am also having a bewildering urge to knit socks. I don’t understand it, but if it’s still around once i’ve finished one of the jumpers on my needles, I might just give in to it.
Gosh, I hope you skimmed all that. It’s a bit tedious, isn’t it? But talking about my craft hopes and dreams was why I started this blog in the first place. S listens nicely and, more impressively is actually interested, but I have to stop and explain things which is not the same. At least this is text so you don’t HAVE to listen to me rabbit on.
In short, I am burning to finish Avalon and Phyllo and Cecchetti,
Last week I came down with the black lung. I spent Thursday and Friday in bed, coughing and achey, completely unable to do anything. Even reading was too hard. By mid friday, I was bored out of my mind and VERY whingey about it all.
Luckily, entertainments had been booked! S’s kids are in Scouts, and they were performing in this year’s Scout Shouts.
Guys, a word of advice. Never, ever go to see a pantomime performed by young children when you have a fever. Especially not if it’s Peter Pan and appears to have random things thrown in just because they had extra people and costumes. Like adolescent girls in lycra catsuits. Just wrong. They were led onstage by an adorable 5 year old and then BAM! My involuntary reaction was ‘woah! That’s confronting!’ and the lady next to me turned around and agreed. It also involved an Indian scene rife with cringe-worthily inappropriate racist puns (although I did enjoy the scene that went: Hook:where’s my redskin? *first mate hands hook a lolly* Hook:no, where’s my REDSKIN? First mate: OH, you mean your nativeamericanprincess!)
And the second half of the show was a series of sketches themed ‘the human body’ and was apparently written by the young performers themselves which makes me feel a bit better about the amount and quality of the puns. Sample sketch: two adorable young blonde girls run on stage in nurses uniforms (no, I don’t know why). Someone chucks a bunch of plastic ears on stage. The two adorable girls chorus ‘WELL THAT WAS EERIE!’ and scurry off stage in delight.
Actually, I kind of enjoyed it, and the small children were incredibly adorable (especially the ones that popped out while they were changing scenes and sang ‘never smile at a crocodile’ over and over, complete with hand actions. That song will not. Get. Out. Of. My. HEad) but it was very, very surreal. And ended quite late – about 11ish, I think, which was WAY past my poor invalid bedtime.
Then we had to get up early to vote (and wasn’t that all very exciting! I am not commenting until it is all over because while i am not particularly sorry that Australia has registered its displeasure, the Mad Monk still scares the shit out of me) and collect my chickens.
YES I HAVE CHICKENS.
They are Bantam Langshans and they are adorable, as are the teeny tiny eggs I am getting from them. I have photos on my camera, and I will get them to the internet eventually. They are black and shiny green, like beetles.
I spent the rest of the weekend doing not much, pottering around and coughing. And this week I have had zero energy for anything, and the house is trashed. It’s highly irritating.
I realise that I have no time because I am spending it bundled up on a couch with a snuggle buddy, and as such I am not complaining. But given the amount of sorting and organising there still is to do of my sister’s stuff, it’s a bit irritating. The spare room and laundry is literally just heaped with stuff. I am hoping to get time this weekend to clear that out and get all of my sister’s stuff that’s left into boxes and in the shed. And then I can start on my OWN stuff.
When I semi set up my craft room I sorted my wool stash and pulled out some rejects. Mostly murky greeny brown colours that I will never use. There’s more in there that I am determined to use before buying more yarn. Well, except that I just did, but that was for specific things – white for my semi-abandoned hexagon blanket and some yarn to knit S something for his birthday which I was thinking was nicely away in October but guys. August is almost over. And I only just remembered to turn my calendars over, so I’ve been missing out on Janet’s lovely photo of her sewing machine, all that time! HOW is August almost over? I nearly missed my sister’s birthday (luckily she’s already had her present). So anyway, considering what a tardy knitter I am I probably should get going. So I ordered more yarn.
I haven’t been doing much crafting, to be honest. I am still knitting away on a couple of WIPs, ones that don’t require much thought or input. Thing is, I can’t really GET to anything – my stash is now accessable, but all those bits and pieces you might need – notions, scissors, measuring tapes – have no home. That is also part of the projected tasks for the weekend. Locating and amalgamating craft stuff. Even if it WILL still be on the floor of the craft room for a while before I can get a new desk, at least it will all be in one area. Things need amalgamating, Like needs to be with like, WIPs need to be sorted and assessed.
While thinking about but not doing all of this, I’ve decided that, as well as having too much of my sister’s STUFF, I myself have far, far too much STUFF. I have too many plates and glasses and bowls, too many knick knacks (not that many, but definitely too many) JUST enough books, so please stop buying them unless you plan to finally read all those ones that you never got around to and then maybe pass them on. Some things can be gotten rid of altogether, some, like the excess crockery, can be put in the shed in case I suddenly decide to entertain 30 people (ahaha). Problem is, by the time I get home, it’s cold and dark and I’m tired and lazy and just wish to sit by the fire with the cat. And I get a little bit done on the weekend, but I really need a good two hours at LEAST with no distractions. S would be perfectly happy to sit and read while I putter – last Sunday he sat in the sun while I pottered around weeding and watering and the like. But I feel guilty and, more to the point, would rather join him in the sun reading, or on the couch talking, or whatever other activity is in the offing. But I am DETERMINED to get at least the spare room and maybe the laundry sorted this weekend. That would mean I could have a table to eat at, and the other organising can be done in half hour lots.
I am trying to curb the wanties, too. I want new, more, better. My life would be shinier if I had this shelving system or that single use tool. Mostly this is a symptom of inaction (buying feels like doing something, and if I don’t have time to make something I am more likely to buy it ) and of feeling poor. Which I am not. But I have a backlog of largish purchases to make, like more mulch for the front yard and a new desk, and bird wire for the rabbit run, and I really need new glasses but I’m putting it off. I got my tax return, and the same week I got a water bill, a gas bill, an overdue phone bill (the post office has been losing our mail) and council fees. Bye bye, tax return. Which, you know, is fine. At least it meant I wasn’t stressed. And hopefully bills will be lower now my sister isn’t taking two showers a day and sitting in front of the heater all night. I mean, there’s no one living there most of the week, since I am at work. That should cut down the $$, one would think. And I’ve downgraded the internet plan and decided to eat less meat (mostly because all that stodgy winter food was making me feel a bit icky), so hopefully the pennies will start to add up. It would be nice to be able to buy those large things I want, and then maybe start paying more off the mortgage. Well, there will always be something else that I ‘need’, I guess, but I’m trying to keep the wanties to a minimum.
Well, that was a tad whingey. But I feel like that. It’s friday, and I’ve been mildly sick and listless all week, and work has been irritating while I do bitsy work and wait for people to get content back to me, and I feel scratchy and bound down. I bleached and dyed my hair last night – I had massive regrowth and the blue was fading, and I was SICK of it. But it takes about 5 hours all up, so I had to stay up late to do it and now I’m tired, and I’ll have to top it up later because I missed some bits and didn’t leave it on as long as I’d like. But I couldn’t see a free weekend when I was going to be ok walking aorund with gladwrap on my head for 5 hours, so I just went for it. On top of that, I’ve been dragging up my mother issues this week, which has made me generally a bit glum and a bit churned up. But that’s a blog post in itself. If I ever get around to it.
But, on the other hand, it’s friday! Tonight I am heading up to S’s place in the hills, so I will get a good dose of lounging around guilt free on Saturday (while at the same time meeting one of his best friends, no pressure or anything) and then Sunday I might achieve things. I’m hoping to use my pent up purging urge while it’s around. What are you all up to this weekend?
This is the view you get if you walk to the edge of the covered part of the verandah. That pile of dirt is potting mix over mulch. I got it delivered, and I got halfway through it before it got dark by the time I got home, and I ran out of steam. Need to clear the potting mix off and find how much mulch I have left, and order more. Need to finish mulching the front yard, and I also want to use it as path material for the beds you can see in the front, since they flood when it rains. I also have to think about what ot do about the driveway, which the pile is on. I was going to order more gravel, but if I do that, I have to KEEP doing it. Thoughts, anyone? The ground gets pretty muushy in winter, so it does need attention. On the other hand, I don’t have a car, or indeed a license, so it’s hardly urgent. I’m also plotting a washing line out here. I have one, under the verandah, which is great for winter. But it means I won’t get sun warmed sheets, and I like to air my quilt in the sun. It’s also over the bit where people woudl sit in the summer, which is less than ideal.
You can see the New, Improved, Dodgiest Chicken Dome Ever™ right at the front. And this morning I moved the guinea pig over those weeds – he can earn his keep. That’s the tahitian lime in the potful of pansies, next to the raised bed of bulbs which you can’t see, because the weeds are too high. I noticed this morning that some of the tulips have flowerbuds, I reckon I might even get a flower or two this week. Thrilling! Up the back there’s my exciting new compost bin. Here it is being built:
As you can see, I was very helpful in the building of this. My job mostly consisted of handing tools and also saying ‘it just has to be good enough, no, I think four ties per side is plenty, can I put these weeds in it now?’ Seriously. Never get a perfectionist to help you. Or, you know, always do.
I finally was allowed to put the weeds in it. Speaking of, anyone know what this is?
It’s everywhere, as it was at our last house. It’s not very deep rooted so I’ve been digging it up for the compost, and planting wildflower seeds instead (no idea if they’ll grow or not). But I would like to know what I am digging. I wonder if I should leave some for the catterpillars that appear to be eating it. I’m not a fan of catterpillars, but I do quite like butterflies, and I understand that a lot of native butterflies really struggle because of lack of the food and breeding plants.
I think I shall move my propagating table to this area between the shed and the fence. Where it is at the moment, around the side of the house, it doesn’t get enough sun. I might need to bring trays of seedlings out beside the front door too, though, to make sure I walk past them and give them a check and a water every day. I think this area up the back would be a nice place to sit of a summer evening, and eventually I woudln’t mind putting in some sort of pond effort – maybe sink an old bath in? Near the compost is good for frogs.
And this photo is taken standing in the same spot as the top photo, but turning to my right. The bit up the back where the straw and poles are is the ‘carport’, and joins up with where the ladders are in the top pic.
Oh dear, taking photos does make you see all the abandoned buckets and feed sacks, not to mention the weeds! Oh, well. You can see the edge of the F*&king ivy in this photo. For reference, this is what it used to look like, with my sister’s legs poking out from under it:
You can see the edge of the ‘carport’ (the green bit of fence on the left) for direct comparison. Oh, and all the F(*&king three cornered jacks at the bottom of the photo.
I am actually quite pleased with all the weeds, given that the bed is covered with ivy leaves, which are allopathic. The weeds mean that the effect is fading and I might be able to grow things there myself. I think this week when the bins are emptied I can clear that off finally, and mulch it with straw.
Here is my rough plan of the back yard, to match the photos. It is totally not to scale, I just made it up completely.
The photos are taken from the top of the plan, where the verandah meets the concrete. Anything with a dotted line is planned but not planted/setup yet.
The chook dome beds (which I now see is misspelled. Grrr) were originally a proper mandala – six circles around the central one, which was to be a pond. But that bit where the kiwis are is so damp and dark in winter, as it’s shaded by the house. I have abandoned it to shade liking things. And I am dubious about how the kiwis will go – the female will get a decent amount of sun in summer, as the sun is higher and will make it around the side of the house. Well, we’ll see anyway. I’m going to try a tamarillo in there, and some violets, and I’m going to get that old blue sink I have lying around, stop up the drain, and set it in the ground as a teeny pond. Hopefully to attract some frogs. I like frogs.
Because of the change of plans, this setup only gets me four chook beds. I worked out this morning that I could do this (only thing different is the imaginary chook beds):
I can’t fit the dome on most of the left hand beds, as it’s too narrow, but at the end between the apple trees it widens out and I could squeeze it in. This way I could have five or six beds, but I’m waiting to see how much walking space I need between the beds and the raised bed. I intend to have some herbs in one of those wine barrel pots on the concrete, and the bit where I’ve written ‘still covered in ivy’ there will be a passionfruit vine along the fence, and I think I will plant some things like silverbeet and lettuce and celery there. Things that I can pick the outer leaves of continiuosly. It’s close to the back door, so I can just nip out for some for a salad or stif fry, which is nice.
The hypothetical rabbit run is under the car port. They dig, so I can’t have them on dirt, and that bit is concreted so it’s perfect. My plan is to build a walk-in height (for my convenience and also because they like to sit on the roof of their hutch) pvc structure, large enough to put their hutch in and still leave them room to run around it. The guinea pig might even be able to go live with them. That means that under the vernadah will be free for human seating. And it will also be less damp, because the verandah is not water tight and when it rains heavily they get flooded. Which they don’t mind too much (they have above-ground sleeping areas) but having the hutch there makes everything STAY damp, which is gross and annoying. I’ve just got my tax return back (woohoo!) so I shall have to plan a trip to get the materials soon – I want to use bird wire, because the sparrows get in their food at the moment which is MOST annoying.
I’ve been reading Jackie French again, and I reckon I can get another tree in the back yard. Maybe an orange tree? Near the raised bed. Maybe I’ll leave out that extra chook bed and make that a space for oranges. Mmmmm nom. I also reckon I can fit another tree out the front (quince? Persimon? everything ever?). Oh, here’s the front:
The weird rectangle the roses are in is the ‘driveway’. I put it in inverted commas because, although it is a standard driveway, there only a little gate at the front and there is a stobey pole in front of that. So really, it’s just a double path. The roses are in the middle bit, and where one had died off I planted a natal plum, which is a shrub. I have another one too but I haven’t figured out where ot put it, and it’s looking a bit sad in its tube.
I still have a blueberry and a blackcurrant to plant out the front, under the trees, and will probably order some more berries like strawberries and whatever else takes my fancy, and also some rhubarb. I WAS going to have the nectarine in the same hole as the peach and the apricot, but diggers can’t find their own arse, so they ran out of stock before they filled my order. I am never ordering anything larger than tubestock from them again, they were absolutely hopeless, and every time I tried to check up on it, no one knew what was happening. ANYWAY. Now I’m going to have a dwarf nectarine in front of the window somewhere – they only grow about 1.5m high, so it won’t block the sun.
I have the avocadoes, but it’s still too cold to plant them. I am going to use them as a hedge, but they’ll need some wind protection there. I figure I’ll just whip up some shade cloth screens for now, and I might end up putting up a trellis and haivng a passionfruit on there as well. Or maybe a jasmine, since I LOVE them (it’s not summer without that smell) and that way people can’t just walk past my house and steal my avocadoes. Or, if the kiwis don’t do very well out the back, I could have a kiwi there. Lots to consider.
And, for making it this far, I give you a picture of my cat, all tired out from crocheting: