Saturday, December 31, 2011

New Years Goals

 The final frontier - part of a very unloved garden at the new house - currently last on a very long list of renovating projects

As the year draws too a close, I sit here munching leftover cake from Little B's birthday this week, and reflect on the year that has been. It's been so much better than the year before, and really how could it not be. We've faced the challenges thrown at us, we've grown closer as family. We've sold a house, bought a house, embarked on a renovation.  Did I mention I'm in love with my new house and we're not even living there yet :-)

And so I reflect on last years goals. We only expanded our vegie beds by one (yummy asparagus) but we did put in 3 new fruit trees (cherry, plum and almond). I've focused more on preserving the foods that we could (but not as much as I've liked) and amazingly improved my health ten fold. I'm still not where I'd like to be but I'm sure intent on getting there.

So here is my list for 2012:
* start and expand the vegetable garden at the new house
* to keep our electricity usage at the new house to a minimum (it has a smart meter but solar will go in asap)
* to spend more time crafting and gaining more skills in this area
* to find alternatives to the products we currently still buy at stupidmarkets and shop more often at farmers markets
My word for this year is "Embrace"...

* I'm going to embrace my last year as a stay at home mum
* I'm going to embrace the opportunity to start a new veggie garden from almost scratch
* I'm going to embrace being a renovation queen for quite a long time to come (we think)
* I'm going to embrace what life brings my way

I've decided that again this year I am going to be kinder to myself and generate less internal stress, enjoy more simple pleasures, I want to find more time to craft, to garden, to live sustainably and enjoyably.
I like the look of Tricia's skipping supermarkets challenge and will watching this with avid interest. We're investigating as many opportunities as we can to use viable technology alternatives to run a mainstream type of house. 
Bring on 2012!!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Happy Holidays

I love looking at life through the eyes of an almost 5 year old and the lead up to this Christmas has been a fun filled joyful one. My family makes me feel truly blessed this year and I could just eat them all up :-)

So I would like to wish all you lovely people a truly magnificent holiday season. May it be full of fun, sparkles, love and laughter.  xx

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Where does the time go?

Due to a small technical glitch, we've been without internet for the last week. Funnily enough it actually feels like weeks have gone by?? Crazy - especially at this time of year. So in my solitude, we have been

* making piles of metal and wood :-)
* painting chairs
* baking and icing gingerbread biscuits (to eat and to give...hmm a lot have been eaten LOL)
* making crunchy cereal toppers as christmas gifts
* trawling a few secondhand shops for last minute goodies for me and Mr B
* making jam
* playing in parks with friends

And what can I say we have been having great fun. The stress of settling on the house is abating even in the face of our ongoing renovations. The sun is shining, christmas is coming and I'm happy :-)

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Thriving on Neglect

Our garden has been a bit neglected of late. The most exciting thing to me that I've done has been to pick, dry and plait our first harvest of garlic. It's currently hanging on our back porch and smells delicious everytime we walk past.

Even with neglect the garden continues to thrive. We've harvested a few zucchini with plenty more growing. Our first little lebanese cucumbers are growing as well, and we have baby tomatoes everywhere. The beans have climbed over the trellis and onto next doors rogue jasmine. No beans yet but lots of little white fluffy bugs. Anyone know what they could be?? They are on everything in the garden and food and flowers alike.

All bar one of our watermelon seedlings gave up and died and I have no idea why. Lots of sun, water and love...but maybe something else was missing??

Speaking of something missing, cutting through the jungle at our new place we found an old vegie garden. Needs lots of work but it's in the perfect spot and has the potential for extension. We've also discovered an established almond tree (full of almonds), 2 apple trees, a nectarine, a lemon and one very sad sick looking lime tree.

There's also an old chicken coop, which is in surprisingly good condition since it's lain abandoned for at least the last 3 years. It just needs a good clean out and some work on the roof and door. We had no idea of the garden's promise as you just could not get in and look due to a massive dog, debris and a serious case of out of control undergrowth.

But this house is starting to feel like a really good fit. It has lovely bones and so does it's garden.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Countdown to Christmas

In amongst our renovating madness, we are also getting ready for Christmas. This year Little B's advent calendar is part home-made, part craft, part cooking and part experiences.

We went to the local carols by candelight weekend before last because the advent calendar promised Little B fireworks. Didnt hurt that it was free, that Jay Laga'aia was the kids entertainment, that it was close to home and that we bumped into friends and shared our picnic rug. Little B adored the firework display even more snuggled up with his bestfriends.

I pop a little note in each day with a drawing of what we will do that day. Today we painted pine cones we collected at Phillip Island to look like Christmas trees.

We've also donated a gift under a local gift tree for disadvantaged children, bought a goat for kindy, and had hand made dominoes. This weekend past we made clay gift tags to go with our fabric gift bags (Little B just loves any excuse to work with clay). I have to say I'm really enjoying Little B's excitement and enthusiasm as well as this little snippets of family time away from the new house.

For me the importance of his advent calendar is threefold: he gets to countdown to Christmas; he gets to create, take part in and enjoy family traditions; and finally he learns that Christmas is about giving and being kind rather than about getting and wanting goodies only.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Cleaning is a dirty job

Yay settlement occurred last Thursday and we are now the proud new owners of our house :-) Hmmm but we have been cleaning the place ever since. Family have been helping us to scrub this house for the last 4 days and it's not finished just yet. We can honestly say that this house has not been cleaned for many many years. It's currently taking between 4-6 buckets of a borax / water solution to clean the walls alone (and they all look as black or blacker than the water above).

You know a house is dirty when you clean a room and it looks like it has been repainted!!

We thought this room's walls were coffee coloured - guess what they're white!!

I've hand scrubbed the beautiful wooden floors 3 times so far and we have done a great job of lifting off the surface muck. Granny B spent a day cleaning the inside of the windows and vacuuming out the window frames and found the original paint colour for outside.

As much as I detest yet another renovation, the underlying beauty of this house keeps me motivated and with the sun shining in this afternoon, I was even heard to sigh in my appreciation.

I spent part of Saturday pruning back bits of the garden (which is a monstrous mess) and found some lovely surprises (which I'll save for a later post).

My endless lists and getting quotes prior to settlement means we have hit the ground running on settlement. Restumping started Friday, plumbers have been through and start replumbing a lot of the house on Wednesday, locksmiths have changed all the locks and next week the roof is being fixed and the possum problem sorted. We mean to have the basic structure ready for Mr B to rip out the bathroom immediately after Christmas.

Then the rest of the renovation will be a long project that we fix over time. With the bathroom done and some plastering we can live here and do bits as and when we can afford them. But we are so happy to have our own place again. We wont move in until Feb approx, but it's ours and we love it and it feels like closing a very solid door on our moldy house experience. This house gives us hope and lays a path of potential for this new part of our future.