Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Little Baby Crowns

We've been going great guns with our preparations for spring planting since my last post. I've sort of just run with the excitement and momentum we'd been feeling. Totally helped by the bizarre mild and sunny weather we've been having. I keep waiting for winter to come back like some bad joke.

I went ahead and ordered 10 asparagus crowns and then quickly put in a bed dedicated to them and got it all ready. Which was great really, since they came way quicker than I expected. In fact they had to live in the crisper in the fridge for 24 hours.

But the bed proved too tempting for local cats or possums (actually our local possums are the size of cats). After an episode or two of the crowns being dug back up again after planting and re-planting, it was off to the local hard ware store to invest in some chicken wire to close it all in. (all pics courtesy of my pint sized helper).

First little baby asparagus head :-)

And I've been rewarded with some growth from said crowns. A totally bad photo but it's the first little asparagus head poking through. Which is now all covered in compost.

Now if I could only get organised about our potatoes. I have the bags and the little seed potatoes are hiding at the bottom of our linen cupboard. I just need to dig out the compost to get it all started (hmm not feeling the urge to dig in the there at the moment LOL). 

I also need said compost to finish off preps on my other beds. They have all been dug over and manured but need some composty love. We are planning on putting in 3 more beds before spring but I want to square off everything else before we move onto those.

Maybe tomorrow...

Monday, August 29, 2011

Sharing the Love

It was a nice surprise this morning to see that Bec from Eat at Dixibelle's has nominated me for the Liebster blog award. And a shame as well because Bec's blog is one I would have liked to nominate!!

This award is given to bloggers with under 200 followers. So I think it's nice when you receive confirmation that people actually read your blog *giggle*.

1. Thank the giver and link back to them. Thank you so much for choosing me Bec from Eat at Dixibelles
2. Reveal your 5 picks and let them know by leaving a comment on their blog.

*  Kate at Foxslane who shares her crafting and life on an organic farm (though currently caravaning around Australia). I have some serious life envy when reading her blog :-)
 * Belinda at Belinda's Place. I love all her advice about gardening and baking and have found her to be so helpful with info about growing locally. 
* Kate at Vegetable Vagabond. I'm inspired by all the sustainable living and gardening going on in and around Cygnet.
* Backyard Farming - the urban homestead - a collection of really useful info about the obvious 
* Meg at Sew Liberated - I love Meg's blog with all its crafty goodness. I also appreciate her honesty on her blog about the ups and downs of life with an ill child.

3. Copy and paste award to your blog.

4. Have faith that your followers will pass the love to other bloggers.

5. And most of all, have fun. Like so many others, I read lots and lots of blogs (hmm its quite addictive really LOL). These are just a few I check on a daily basis.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

What was I thinking!?!?!?

Do you ever have those days where you end up saying "what was I thinking?". We had one of those days on Tuesday. Driving home late from a doctors appointment where we had to wait for over an hour beforehand, we decided to stop at a local pizza shop to grab some dinner.

We dont do this lightly with all the food allergies in the house but this local pizza place knows us and caters to our needs very well. So we got there and....it had changed hands. That should have been my red flag to get the hell out of there. But they assured me they were operating on the same principles as the previous owners and could help us and I had a cranky hungry 4.5 year old in tow.

So we ordered our super allergy friendly pizza for Little B and me (no dairy, pumpkin base etc) and one gluten free for Granny B & Mr B. Went home and ate our dinner - I felt pretty crummy not long after eating but everyone else was fine. Next day - everyone else was not fine. Hmmm we started thinking ok, there must have been gluten or tomato or dairy - it's a food reaction.

But as the day progressed, I would say Little B and my pizza was an allergy problem (we had usual allergy reactions and coped as best we could). Granny B & Mr B's pizza had serious food poisoning issues. Two days later, Little B and I are totally on the mend. I cant say the same for Granny B and Mr B - while not as sick as yesterday they are not much better either. 

But seriously what was were we thinking !?!?!?!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Hello Solar Panels :-)

What better way to celebrate this gorgeous early spring weather than to welcome Granny B's solar panels??

And yes that is Mr B installing them. New legislative changes meant that engineers had to be electricians if they wanted to work hands on with solar installations of any size or kind. So last year Mr B went back to school to become a sparky.

Pretty handy if you ask me :-)

Saturday, August 20, 2011

this saturday i'm grateful for small pleasures

We've been a bit confined to the house this week with bucket loads of rain. But the first non rainy day we were out and about riding bikes, so this Saturday I'm grateful for:

* small pleasures - I love that Little B is just as happy decorating his slide with flowers and empty snail shells as playing with his toys

* where we live - seriously where else could you go for a walk at your local nature reserve and see a man walking his dog and his pig LOL

* old fashioned toys/games - Little B's current faves are quoits and frisbee and we are spending rainy days inside with quoits and sunny days outside at the park playing frisbee

Check out Maxabella loves for more grateful goodies...

Friday, August 19, 2011

Multi-Chopper / Mouli

Just for interest, Aldi is selling stainless steel multi-choppers this week for $20. Similar to a Mouli food mill and great for manual food processing :-)

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Spring Planting

After seeing posts recently about spring gardens by Bec at Eat at Dixibelle's, ecoMILF and Rhonda at Down to Earth, I thought I better plan in earnest what we will be planting this spring. I'd already jotted down a few notes in my garden notebook and had a whole bunch of ideas in my head LOL.

Recently we ordered asparagus crowns for the first time and now we need to get the beds in pronto before they arrive. We are also putting in 2 more veggie beds this year to get better rotation and so I dont feel like I need to tear out winter crops to put spring crops in.

So far my plan for our beds are:

* mary washington asparagus
* snake climbing beans
* scarlet runner beans
* rainbow carrots
* beefsteak tomatoes
* san marzano roma tomatoes
* black beauty eggplants
* black beauty zucchini
* yellow crookneck squash
* muncher lebanese cucumbers
* pumpkins - butternut, queensland blue, jap
* spinach
* lettuce

Little B has been asking to grow some watermelon (but more out of curiosity than an urge to eat them). And I'm also trying potatoes again but this time we are trying potato bags from Green Harvest, since ours have either gotten water logged in the ground or burnt by hot summers in the past. This way I hope we can move them around a bit.

We are expecting lovely sunny weather this weekend, so we will be moving our last apple tree and setting up space for some more blueberry plants and raspberry canes. Hmm fingers crossed my brain and intent arent bigger than my green thumbs :-)

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Community Solar Farm

Pic courtesy of here

As passionate as Mr B is about solar, it was only a matter of time before he began to look at ways of involving the community in solar projects. About 12 months ago, Mr B began talks with our local council regarding the opportunity of developing a community solar farm locally. These talks were a) really helpful and b) fairly successful in that the local council was very open to the idea and in theory could provide the land for such a project.

Mr B was also lucky enough to meet and brainstorm with some of the directors of Hepburn Wind (a community wind farm in Daylesford). Simon Holmes a Court was a great sounding board as Mr B worked with sustainability members of our local council area to develop a plan for a similar solar farm.

In May, the actual community group began to assemble and meeting to discuss how such a project would work within the community. The local renewable energy association is heavily involved as are many passionate people within the community who have joined into the collaborative process.

The exciting news is that this community solar farm group is launching next week. Mr B is scheduled to give a talk along with others. We are both so excited that a project which feels like we have been talking about forever has actually grown roots and looks like getting off the ground :-)

In the meantime, Mr B has begun working on other local community projects in rural areas such as Wangaratta. The benefit of his current job is that it is part time, and as such allows him the ability to work on other renewable energy projects in solar around Victoria. But life feels very positive and exciting right now as he gets to combine his love of solar with his need to contribute back to society and building communities.

Monday, August 15, 2011

The House of Blues

Granny B and I have been working on a quilt for Mr B & my bed. I had great fun picking the fabric and then on we started. Granny B is an expert quilter having made quite a few before now. It's been fun working on a project together (albeit very slowly with us both working plus a novice thrown in to the mix).

The colour doesnt show up quite so well in the photos but I adore the red and blue floral fabric. It gives the quilt a really vintage feel (which I love) and the red is more of a rust colour. We are currently in the process of trying to pick another fabric to add into the mix - either with a bit more brown or more rust. We've done 7 squares so far and have another 5 or so to go before we can piece it together into the top.

I wish I could say that this has left me addicted to quilting but it's too fiddly for me. I'm not really a hand stitcher I think. Next time I will try something a bit more patchworky and not as detailed. But it has fed the crafty bug inside me and got me started on a few different projects which I'll post another day.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Setting limits

I had the most interesting time helping out at kindy yesterday. For a few weeks now, I had been watching how the teachers worked with the kids, primarily at their conflict management skills.

The thing I have been curious about is why a teacher never says "no" or even "dont do that". And to me it seemed there were dramatic situations where it was called for - bullying, physical fighting, a child out of control...well it turns out that the teachers have actually been instructed that they cannot say no to any child (unless they are about to injure themselves or another child in that instance in time).

But that started me thinking - where do our children learn about limits?? How can they understand what behaviour is acceptable or unacceptable if they dont hear the word no? Obviously it should begin at home but what if they dont get that information at home?? What if there are no boundaries at home?? Or if the behaviour they see modelled at home is not quite friend inducing or agreeable to most in the big wide world??

I love this article about the gift of no.... 

"This gift of “no” teaches children they cannot have everything they want, when they want it. It says,” you must consider the environment and other people before you act.” It implies that many decisions are not up to children, and that sometimes children must do things they do not wish to do. “No” helps to keep children safe. And, most humbly, this gift gives children a realistic view of life by saying “you are not in charge of, or the center of, the world.” - The Wonder of Childhood

What about teaching a child refusal skills so that they feel confident and strong enough to make their own decisions as they get older...so they dont feel the need bend to peer pressure or bullying...so that they can feel confiding walking their own path.

What about the importance in understanding that sometimes there are boundaries or things that we cannot have or do and open up the experience of choosing alternatives in life. 

I think no has its place and treated respectively and usefully can be a powerful teaching tool for children. As Nora Beane says here, "When children are taught how to respectfully say "no" to some options they learn the power of the word but also the right way to use it". I think is is important to speak intentionally with Little  B and to show with as much love and care that my role is to be his parent and guide, first and foremost and then his friend. 

It is my job to show him the boundaries, how to have manners and care for other people, to understand and care for the environment that we live in and share with others. That no is just as an important part of life as yes is!!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

this saturday i'm grateful for confidence

I've had one of those weeks that just feel great for no particular reason :-) so this Saturday I'm grateful for:

* the power of confidence - after a very long time, Little B has mastered putting his face under the water at swimming lessons (and subsequently now tries to swim under water). The boost to his self confidence in the pool has breached out into all aspects of his life and to watch it is awe inspiring.

*  imagination - Little B has next to no idea what they are but this is what transformers look like in our house :-)

* the sun - this week was mild and sunny...all week. And I loved every minute of it!! Gosh I cant wait for spring.

Check out more grateful bloggies at Maxabella loves...

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Kate Moment

I love Kate's blog, Foxs Lane. And I am especially enjoying her snippets from her caravan adventure around Australia with her family.

The other day I realised I was having a Kate moment. I love her posts on her fun and twirly skirts and yesterday with the sun shining and the weather surprisingly mild and dare I say warmish, I was wearing one of my favourite skirts.

I had a wee twirl and giggle with some of the kids from kindy at drop off. Talked patterns and fabrics with a friend I met in the street. Then as I was enjoying the sunshine in our backyard, I looked down and realised I was having a twirly girly moment.

Thanks Kate :-)

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Balancing Act...

Do you love balance bikes?? We do....

Little B was a little late to a balance bike. Santa brought him a big boy training wheel bike for Christmas past which he absolutely adores. But recently we discovered Little B has some balance and coordination issues and voila the balance bike was introduced to the House of B.

He spends ages on this hooning around the backyard and up and down some of the bike paths near home. Yesterday much to hilarity of the library staff & great hoots of laughter from Little B, I was hooning up and down the path on a tiny wooden balance bike :-) It took him a little while to get the concept of balancing but now he's taken to it like a duck to water.

I knew the benefits of these bikes but was very surprised to learn that in Europe kids more often than not move straight from balance bikes to normal bikes without the need for training wheels. This is because the children have already developed their sense of balance and stability. Fingers crossed it works that way for us.

But for now it's a fun way to spend the day (and is very easy for mum to carry when said child gets side tracked at the playground LOL).