Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Thirteen months today

The Little Prince decided to finally try walking this afternoon, and I learnt how to use my phone camera! Pretty pleased with himself, eh?

Saturday, October 25, 2008

How does my garden grow

There's been a bit of a blog hiatus, primarily due to the loss of my camera which I'm still hoping is in the house somewhere and will turn up where I least expect it.

But my days have been filled with gardening adventures, and I thought I'd report in.

The back garden is currently sporting a healthy crop of chives, both regular and garlic, which I separated and am pleased to say seem to be doing well and have flavoured many a carbonara dish. The parsley continues to do well, and I've added an Italian parsley which suffered badly from a predator for the first few days, but has recovered after I provided an egg shell moat. My attempts at greek basil and marjoram have failed, but I still have thyme, rosemary and oregano growing strongly.

My single pot of spinach intensively planted in compost has done wonderfully, providing the base for many a poached egg. It is still producing well and has convinced me that good soil is worth finding as the spinach I planted in garden soil with a little mushroom compost and dynamic lifter has not produced nearly as well.

I have some broad beans growing behind the trampoline and noticed flowers today, but as the winter sun has left that garden bed, I'm not hopeful of any actual beans. I also planted some turnips in the hope of getting a quick crop before the end of the sunshine, but I think I'll be disappointed.

My lemon tree in a barrel is absolutely covered in blossoms, and as there has been a smidgeon of bee activity, I'm cautiously hopeful that we might get more than the sole lemon we picked last year! I've mulched around the outside edge of the barrel with mushroom compost, and have planted some coriander and rocket - I'm not sure which have germinated but there seem to be a few.

The front vegetable garden has been a bit of a disappointment, primarily because I didn't know better when it came to sending my dh off to the garden centre for soil. We had a first trailer load of some sort of "compost" that was full of twigs and absolutely no nutrients. The next load of mushroom compost has been better, but really doesn't seem to be enough to grow good vegies.

We are currently eating broccoli, spring onions and silverbeet from the front garden, with potatoes on the way (one self-seeded from last year, and another few from an old organic potato I recycled from the bottom of the potato box). I have some rather miserable tomato seedlings waiting to be planted out, and a very healthy looking shop-bought heirloom tomato plant that has some promising flowers, as does the capsicum plant next to it.

My celery and onions are growing like snails - I think the first batch of soil got them off to an irredeemably poor start, but with any luck they'll be useful at some stage. I tried growing peas from seedlings again this year, but I just don't seem to be a pea-grower as 4 out of 6 seedlings have already withered and died.

I started a new vegetable bed with dwarf beans underneath Possum's bedroom window, and after a first fevered period of growth, they seem to be consolidating. I'm just hoping this doesn't mean I didn't dig the bed deep enough.

Another new vegetable bed contains rockmelon, mini-pumpkin, butternut pumpkin and zucchini plants, all of which seem to be growing respectably.

The Meyer lemon tree I planted in about April has gone through stages of looking very unhappy with curling leaves, but is now showing new leaf growth and a respectable bunch of buds.

So, life in the garden is getting better. Slowly. I do think we'll have more to harvest than last year, but I'm disappointed that I haven't made more progress.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Birthday season

Due to non-stop illnesses in the house, we've ended up with a backlog of birthday cakes! The 4yo birthday was cancelled because she was unwell, then we were overseas. The 1yo birthday was cancelled because he and I were unwell. By the time the 13yo birthday came around, it seemed unfair not to make sure everybody got to share the cake!

As Possum had been very keen for a *bought* cake, I thought I'd take advantage of somebody else doing the icing. I was a bit disappointed they weren't able to fit "Happy Birthday" on top, but at least it wasn't a candidate for Cake Wrecks.

Fortunately, some friends dropped around to share it with us, because it was a very large rich cake in comparison with the usual home made offerings.
When all the other children had disappeared, Briar Rose had her wish and was allowed to discreetly nibble at the birthday cake rose.
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We spent an enjoyable day with friends at Tidbinbilla Nature Park this week. The three big boys scaled all heights in sight, including an unscheduled 2 hour trek up a nearby mountain that resulted in the ruination of clothes and legs when they encountered brambles. The parents were not impressed!
There were plenty of spots for the littlies to enjoy.
Including a very impressive slide.
There would be more photos of the big girls, but they found a secluded rock at the top of a hill and disappeared to "relax" emerging only to eat.
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Spring singing

Less than a week after returning from New Zealand, my niece arrived from NZ to visit for a couple of days. The children's only firm committments were with the school choir and band at Floriade, so we had a very relaxed last week of term.
Cousin S was wonderful with The Little Prince, and sat next to him while we watched the choirs singing.
It was a truly gorgeous day, and we were all very grateful to Grandma E for treating us all to ice creams as we wandered around.
It's hard to get the effects because this year Floriade was planted to double as a night time exhibition, so the flowers are at different levels, and the images are only visible if you're up higher than we were. But you can just see how beautiful the day was...
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Leaning tower of lunchboxes

Is it just me, or does the Ginger Ninja look just a little sheepish? These are the products of the end of term locker check, and go a long way to explain why I was scrabbling for containers by week 10.

Of course, these are the lucky containers that made it home at all...
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