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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.
It was wet and blustery here in Adelaide over the weekend. Trees were down, power was out (not at my place, thankfully!) and my backyard is squelchy and slippery. I have been trying to remember summer and how hot and dry it was, to make myself thankful for the water. I’d feel better about it if my garden beds were all mulched and the water tank was functional. I think the tank really needs to be emptied, because I suspect that the bottom half is full of gunk, and I can’t even turn the tap on. But it’s a fair way down the to do list, I’ll be honest with you.
Last week was pretty wet and wild, too. And every time it rained and my lean to leaked, I thought about the packed spare room, and how my sister had just chucked boxes in there, right up against the leaking wall. Like I’d specifically asked her not to. And there was s sucpicious smell. But the thought of rearranging the crap in the shed so I could rearrange the crap in the spare room was just a bit overwhelming.
My weekend started off slowly. On Friday S came and picked me up from work because we were going to the Adelaide Show on Saturday, and he was getting over a migraine, so we just sat around watching QIand chatting. Lovely. On Saturday, S obliged me by helping me re-ye my hair blue over the bits I’d missed, and then I got a bee in my bonnet and tidied up my bedroom and the loungeroom. Not that that took long, but it felt SO much better. All the ‘too hard’ piles were dealt with and sorted, and even though it’s still about the same state of neatness now, after being used all weekend, it still feels cleaner and more organised. Nicer to be in. I sorted out my WIP system, although it still needs some attention due to all the random almost-finished things I have lying around in baskets. Emma and Osk and Sally came around and Emma pruned my poor neglected rose bushes for me, since she has the know how. And we had a cuppa and a chat, and laughed at the baby for pulling faces. And then we got sorted and went to the show.
It was WET. And it was WINDY. And I had just a lovely time. We looked at none of the sideshows and didn’t even consider the rides. We looked at pigs and cows and sheep and alpacas and goats. And I bought some local natives from Trees for Life which were actually just what I wanted, and they were only 2 for $5. A hardenbergia to grow along the front fence, and a hakea although I’m not sure where that’s going. And we looked at the craft and the flowers and did the Yellow Brick Road. And then it got dark and we thought about the fireworks and went home to sit on the couch instead. Lovely.
Sunday S tootled off and I bummed around for a bit, picking things up and putting them back down again. Then I plugged in my iPod and got stuck into the spare room. It took me about 4 or 5 hours all up, but it’s now clean and clear and lovely. I moved the crap in the garage around enough that my stuff is accessible and my sister’s stuff is at the back. I got all of her stuff out of the spare room (minus the clothes I had to throw out from the boxes against the wall because they had gone mouldy. I TOLD HER SO.) so now my house is SISTER FREE. Then I organised and sorted and threw. My bins are full and so is the op shop box, and I keep thinking of more things that I don’t really need. The spare room now houses the cat litter and some galvanised shelves with the inside-tools on them, like my drill and the screwdrivers, so that if I decide at 10pm that I need to put in a hook, I don’t have to go outside. Everything else got sorted and is in the shed or the pinboards in the garage which I can now GET to. Then I tackled the junk that was accumulating in the laundry. The garden stuff is all still in a pile for sorting, but everything else got sorted and stored, chucked or placed. Then I swapped the desk that was in there for a table. A friend is storing stuff in my shed while he’s interstate, and he said I could use anything I like, and his table is just the right size. So now I have a place to eat! So thrilling. Shoosh, it is thrilling.
Actually, the most thrilling bit was when my laundry was completely empty. I swept it twice. The cat likes to wipe his feet on the edge of his litter tray when he’s done, so there were bits of litter everywhere. And then I mopped it. Twice. It was GROSS. The wall in there isn’t completely weatherproof either. It’s not as bad as the spare room, but if anything touches it, it will leak. And there was crap everywhere, so it was leaking. Then I sorted the shelves and the cupboard under the sink, so that all the buckets and random pieces of cleaning equipment that seem to live on the washing machine now have designated homes. And then I scrubbed the laundry sink, which was covered in paint.
The craft room is a bit of a dumping ground, and I still have too much stuff for my house. But I can get ot it all. I cannot begin to tell you how exciting that is. I can get to it to deal with it. I think I might go through my bookshelf tonight and be ruthless. There are some things there that I am tempted to keep but, lets be honest, I’m never going to read. I bought a bunch of second hand books the other day that I will read, over and over, and I would like to have room for them. I expect I’ll need another op shop box.
Do you think the op shop will take my cat, too?
After all that cleaning and tidying and sorting, I sat down on the couch and I cast off the blanket that I have been knitting for Sally. I was knitting it at her birth 6 months ago, and I wanted it DONE, but at 500+ stitches a round it was taking me a while. It’s off the needles now, and all I need to do is find the floorspace to block it. Then I think I might go through my WIP baskets and have a bit of a finishing party. I know there are hats with two round left to go, and things that only need the ends woven in. And THEN, I think I might cast on for Get Off My Cloud, without the cloud pocket, I think, like the Storm Cloud version.
This morning as I was getting ready I picked a bunch of tulips and filled up vases. Crisp, dew covered tulips. Lovely! I feel much much better about my house and its contents. Things are moving.
My computer is still broken. I have missed it about once. This is mostly on account of being very busy, I guess. My sister is GONE and while I do miss her, it is so so lovely having my space back. Although I keep finding things of hers. On the saturday she left, I asked ‘are you going to pack up your furniture’ and she said ‘no, is that ok?’. Um, NO, but we have to leave in an hour to catch your plane and you are still packing, so I guess it has to be. When I packed up her bed the next weekend, I found about 10 socks underneath it in a pile. I put them in a box, just like that, attached dustbunnies and all. Because I am a heartless bitch, I guess.
Anyway, I’ve been sorting and cleaning and generally reclaiming my space, in between working and socialising and all the other things I apparently do.
On Saturday, I turned this:
An almost-craftroom, painted in ‘applegate’.
Everything that was hiding under my bed came out from under it, and the spare matress replaced it. And the dust was swept up and Monday morning was the first morning in a fortnight I didn’t have a coughing fit after my shower, so that’s a plus. My fabric stash is in the meatsafe you can see, and my yarn stash is on the wooden shelves next to it, sorted into two big bins of 8ply, one of 12 ply, and one of 5ply. And also my basket of fancy yarn. I have a lot of yarn, it turns out. And fabric, too, for someone who doesn’t really sew. I would really like to use enough of it that I can fit all the extra craft bits (two boxes of paper craft, one of beads, the tatting stuff, you get the idea) into those shelves.
The computer desk is on the right of the photo, with the as yet unfixed computer on it. Gotta do something about that. And the pile of boxes to the left of the shot will be replaced by nice new sewing desk as soon as I get my tax return back.
I also turned this
And then into this
And then I filled it with books. The bookshelf on the right almost fits all my fiction books, and the stripey one would fit all my non fiction, if the craft books and magazines weren’t taking up half of it.
This is what you see if you stand with your back to those shelves and fave the other way, and also if you are me holding a camera.
I really love my house quite a bit. Hmmm, must paint that door, except I’ve burnt through the entire 4 litre can of ‘peplum’ white.
I’ve planted trees and shrubs in the front garden, and bulbs are coming up in the back. No photos of those, apparently. I am going to have to write down what I planted where, and then blog it for when I loose that piece of paper.
And as of last night, I officially have neighbours. Someone has moved into the other half of my semi-detached house. I haven’t met them yet, I got home late from dinner with friends, but their cars were there and I could hear a woman laughing, faintly, through the walls. It made me a little bit sad… my little house isn’t as private an island as before. Hopefully they are nice and not too judgemental of my sower-sob filled front garden.
Then there was a zombie apocalypse of a not very terrfying type. We just had to stay inside until the zombie disease killed all the zombies, but I did have to rescue Janet’s Grace from the zombies by buying her off of them. She cost $170.
I also hung the prints I had framed when we moved (three? months ago) and a bunch of photos. I need to go through more photos and get some printed out in black and white to hang. It looks like a grownup lives in my house! And I tidied and sorted my room and the living room – doesn’t sound like much, but it was getting a bit ridiulous given the lack of storage space.
My sister booked her ticket to Ireland today. She wanted mid June but everything was booked so she managed a cheap ticket for the end of July. I must admit that my first reaciton was disappointment, because – I know this will be a shock to you because it’s not like I keep going on about it – but I am so so looking forward to living by myself. But I’m not-so-subtly encouraging her to pack up some of her stuff that’s in the house, like all her books and DVDs that take up half the living room, which will ease my cranky claustrophobia, I think.
That being the day after we move. Until then, not only do I have very little time to do things I like to do, I also appear unable to go to sleep in under three hours. Instead I lie there, desperately organising things in my head, and stressing out about the fact that I am unable to sleep.
Oooh, oooh, wanna see something gross?
That, my friends, is what was underneath the old stove. It is mouse poo embedded in old, congealed grease. It smelt. It took me a whole escape pod episode and half of a Cast On episode to make it look like this:
Can I just mention that I am glad I bought a new stove?
Did I even mention that I did buy a new stove? Here is a fuzzy picture of it still in its wrapping, sitting next to the new fridge, also still in its wrapping.
I went shopping with my mother and her new boyfriend and he convinced me to ask for money off. Oh, didn’t I mention that my mother has a new boyfried? I realise this should be a big deal, but since a) I didn’t exactly approve of the state of my paren’t relationships (personally I think divorce would have been a better option than suicide, but whatever) so it’s not like I feel betrayed on that front b) it makes her far less crazy and also more of someone else’s problem, and c) he’s a nice bloke (apart from his terrible taste in women) omg this is a long sentence. Anyway, what I am saying is, I’m remarkably unfussed. My sister is a bit freaked out and doesn’t like the idea of meeting or doing things with him, but since I dislike doing things with my mother anyhow, I don’t care. His wife is still alive – in a nursing home with alzheimers and doesn’t remember him – and his grown up children apparently are not OK with the new situation. Fair enough, too. Hmm, I guess we count as grown up children. His are ten years older.
ANYWAY. The stove is an Emelia – it was the last one in stock and there’s a new model so I got it for just over a grand when it should have been 2. Except that it’s got an electric oven, which is proving to be a bit of a pain, but it will sort itself out. Well, I’ll sort it out, anyway. The fridge is an upside down Westinghouse. I secretly lust after a side by side fridge, but they are ridiculously large – I could do with one where the fridge was the ize of the feezer, but they’re all massive. But the one I got will work excellently. And did I mention it is BRAND NEW? I am so excited to banish my old fridge. When I got home from shopping for the new one it was groaning away and I just looked it and thought ‘your time is UP buddy!’
I am also excited about the movers. MOVERS. People will come to my house and do all the LIFTING and the packing and the wrangling of things. They won’t say ‘do you really need all this wool?’ or ‘how much baking stuff do you have!’ Well, they might. But whatever. I won’t hear it because I won’t be on the other end of my massive desk, trying to lift it.
Anyway, I was going to misuse work time to write more (I was in early, ok?), but someone has just linked me to a fabulous job. So I am going to misuse work time to apply for that instead. Let me just say in closing: my friends are awesome, and so is my new yellow kitchen..
Two weeks ago we painted the living room and my bedroom. For reference, here is the living room, pre painting.
I probably shouldn’t find this photo so humourous, huh?
And here is the new colour.
Ok, ok. I know what you’re thinking. It’s essentially the same colour. You have some small point, it is very similar (the noisy photo doesn’t help), but it’s quite a lot darker. When we were painting the first coat, it was EXACTLY the same colour. But it dried much deeper and darker – it’s particularly noticeable at night. It’s still clean, without being watery like the old colour was, and it’s EVENLY APPLIED and not faded, which makes so much difference. The colour is ‘Whimsy’ in Dulux. You can see the contrast on the ‘skirting board’. Here it is closer:
SO MUCH NICER. Hmmm, the more I look at the floors, the more I realise how much they need refinishing. Not enough to need immediate attention though, it’ll have to wait… the one in my sister’s room has been drawn on with green pencil.
And here is my bedroom being painted.
OH MY GOD YOU GUYS. When I painted this first bit of blue (‘Lake Placid’, if we’re being exact) over that hideous pink, I almost had a CONNIPTION I was so excited. (How does one have a conniption, btw?)
Here is Emma’s charming husband helping out – he was there ALL DAY and was completely invaluable. Despite getting a bit enthusiastic around the ceiling trim with the blue… He also scrubbed the mould off of my bathroom ceiling the next weekend. I owe him many, many beers.
Lord, all that pink is making me feel a bit dizzy. And not in a fun way.
There would have been more people there, except that I organised it on Valentine’s Day. What can I say? It’s just not on the radar! Other helpers included my cousin Madelaine:
And my sister Maeve, aka the camera whore:
LOOK AT ALL THE BLUE AAAAAAAAAAAAA IT’S SO AWESOME!
Here is a shot of it creeping up the walls, taken from the kitchen.
I was just reading the back issues of Maria Killam’ of colour me happy’s newsletter. In one she’s talking about myths about colour. Apparently there’s one that painting a baby’s room yellow will make it cry. I’d never heard it, before, have you? Maria’s response? ‘If you paint ANYONE’S room a neon, primary yellow? We will all cry in that room!”.
Amen! This shot makes me realise how insipid and, at the same time, invasive the old colours were. I am SUPER excited to see how it looks in a nice, darker yellow (please, please don’t let it be too bright…).
We are painting at least the kitchen (and maybe the hall, but it sort of depends on if the bathroom is done by then, since it will be the same colour – ‘Skyway’ 1/4 strength – as the hall. It’s being tiled as we speak, I believe.) on the weekend, and hopefully the trim in most of the rooms. Do you know how hard it is to choose a white? Very hard, that’s how.
Anyway, here is the painted bedroom. We had juust enough paint in our 4 litre can to finish the room – I will need to do touch ups where the pink shines through, and there will probably be a tiny amount left in the can and the sample pot. I hope it’s enough!
Aaaah. It makes me so happy just looking at it! Except not the trim. It’s actually making me a bit ill, seeing that pink in there. I realise there are people who would hate this as much as I hate the pink, and shudder to think of sleeping in that room. Thankfully, they don’t have to. It is, as my sister says, like being underwater. I love it to pieces.
On Tuesday I booted up the internet on my home computer and a bunch of tabs popped up. I often do that, so I can continue reading a new blog I’ve found, or to remind me to do something. I peered at them and realised… I hadn’t been on the internet for ALMOST A WEEK.
This never happens.
Except, I guess, if you are trying to pack and also renovate, and also it’s Fringe season – why does that always sneak up on me? And people keeping having life events like birthdays and farewells and other inconvenient things that I am obliged to attend. OH WOE IS ME I HAVE A LIFE FULL OF THINGS I LIKE TO DO.
So there’s some catching up to do.
My sister got a flat tire (on her car. Hahaha, see what I did there? Shut up I am very tired). We think it was one of these bastards:
She has been taking her revenge.
LOOK HOW BIG THAT IS THAT IS ONE PLANT. MAEVE SMAAASH!
There are still heaps in there, but all the big ones are gone, and it’s actually possible to walk across the garden and only have to pick three or four out of your shoes after. HUGE progress. I anticipate future battles, of course, but we’ve at least got it in retreat for now.
This is what my sister and I think of YOU, three cornered jacks! Or, maybe what she thinks of me taking photos of her in her cleaning clothes. It’s anyone’s guess which one…
Also, do you see the walls behind her? How they’re blue but look almost white? And also is kind of splotchy and weird (although I guess you can’t really see that in the photo but trust me, it IS)? Hold that thought.
The neighbour’s yard has been cleaned up. I wonder if someone will be moving in any time soon?
This is what it looked like before, from the bit of our fence that wasn’t overgrown with trees and vines. Piles of old wardrobes and bedframes out of frame to the right. Very nice backyard over the other fence, complete with gazebo, jasmine, and wind chimes.
Wait, first, we CLEANED.
Ok, so I cleaned.
Ew ew ew. This is the kitchen. I went back last night and gave it another scrub and it did essentially the same thing. So. Gross. And the colour is so DEPRESSING – now that it’s clean it’s not too bad during the day (when it sort of looks like the above photo with flash – a yellowy beige), but under artificial light it looks like someone coloured it in with a yellow highlighter. It’s a dark space being right in the middle of the house, so I can see why they painted it a light colours, but I have three answers to that.
The window to the laundry area. It’s pretty gross and dirty.
Yes, that really truly is an accurate representation of the yellow on the walls. The towel rails on the back of the door are plastic, and wobble when you touch them. The hot and cold taps are backwards. The trim is all cream, and the cabinets are baby poo brown. Notice the pink toilet, though. I secretly love it.
One is, once I take the ugly air con out of the loungeroom window (and clean the windows both in the lounge and the kitchen) and cut down the frangipani in the front yard which is planted waaaay too close to the house, a lot more light will be able to struggle through. And by ‘me’ doing these things, I probably mean ‘someone manly’.
The air con in the lounge room. With fans in every room, and a second hand portable air con, I don’t need it. I don’t even know if it works, but I’m positive that it’s not worth the electricity and year-round loss of light in the whole house, even if it does. So it goes.
Second reason that the kitchen doesn’t need to look like an aneamic canary is LIGHTS. I am going to try for multiple sources of light in every room, it makes any space immediately nicer to be in, and FAR less gloomy and cave like at night. Fairy lights, lamps, lighting under the cabinets so I can see what I’m doing and don’t lose a finger – whatever I can get in there. And this article from Colour Me Happy is the third. I just hope the yellow isn’t too bright. The previous painters probably thought they were getting a nice soothing butter – I know, because one of the colours I swatched was lovely on the chip but almost IDENTICAL to the current wall colour on a bigger sample. And yes, I know swatching is not the actual word. Shoosh.
While I cleaned the revolting revolting kitchen, with grease and I don’t want to know what else (no, really. I DO NOT WANT TO KNOW. DO NOT SPEAK OF IT.) soaked into the walls, my sister sorted the bins out.
All the ex-neighbour’s rubbish has now been taken away. Even these.
That’s about 30% of the alcohol bottles that were there.
She also did this:
Can you just see her legs poking out the bottom? She found these in there:
I don’t know if you can really see, but they’re pruning shears. Stuck into the tree. Overgrown. Someone clearly gave up….
Phew. Now I don’t feel so bad for being buggered. I think I’ll leave the painting for another post.