Thursday, March 29, 2012

Improvising a Garden

The thing I really miss at the new house is a vegie garden. There’s something so peaceful and enjoyable about getting out for a potter or planning what to plant. I just like being outside and fruitful!!

This is the current vegie garden at the new house, after we dug it out of the overgrown vegetation that was masquerading as a yard. As you can see it is vastly overgrown, with soil that is as hard as rocks. Over Easter I will dig in lots of manure and compost and smother it in pea straw. Then I will leave it to rot down so that I can plant in spring. I also have my fingers crossed that we can add a few more beds before spring too.

I’m lucky in that I obviously still have access to the garden I built at Granny B’s. And so far we have planted there pak choy, peas, snow peas and carrots. Not a variety but I’m not there to hand pick off caterpillars and such on a daily basis so that rules out a lot. I’ve also learnt that you need to plant brussel sprouts in January to be successful so we sooo missed that window LOL.

But it’s not the same as stepping out your back door. Little B also misses being able to watch things grow close at hand, so I have been improvising a temporary vegie garden. Last weekend I fossicked through Granny B’s looking for our stash of pots. Then along with some home grown compost, we planted a mini garden.

Little B got to pick what we planted…so we have planted some peas, spinach, swedes and carrots in these pots. They are in the most perfect sunny position next to our almond tree and will hopefully satisfy our garden urges as we work on our garden during the rest of autumn and winter :-)

Monday, March 26, 2012

Hard Rubbish Drive Goodies

It’s hard rubbish collection time around here and for the last two weeks people have been putting a plethora of things out on the kerb. It’s a time of year that fills Mr B with glee and after many years together, I’m not adverse to having a good look around either. Granny B is in on the act as well.

The thing I find most surprising is how many people throw out perfectly usable things. Brand new things in some cases and I am so thankful that people trawl this “rubbish” because for it to go straight to landfill is really such a disgrace.

This year we were on the search for a bicycle for me. Little B loves to ride and we want to get out on the local bike paths to ride to preschool and Granny B’s house for starters. Well we had a smorgasbord of choice…we ended up with the 3 bikes above. One is for parts and the other two are for Mr B and I…one is an almost brand new Mongoose missing its chain and the other is a Huffy  that has obviously been used minimally and been left outside.

Our other score was an almost new Victa mower.  Mr B cant resist a good mower on the rubbish drive. He either scavenges them for parts or puts them together to make things like our uber mowing tractor (not so useful at the new house). The only thing wrong with it – its decompression valve was dirty. One wash later, its good as new. The sad thing is it’s original owner probably though broken, threw it on the rubbish drive and headed for Bunnings. I wish more repair skills were around these days which could save so many of these things from the rubbish pile.

They say another man’s trash is another man’s treasure and judging from the throng of people cruising the rubbish piles in the street, it looks like more and more people are reusing “trash”. And I applaud them!!

Friday, March 23, 2012

I, Robot

Robots abound in our house at the moment. Little B loves them!!

We have home-made robots

Hand-made paper robots.

 Then there’s this little guy (a gift from Little B's physiotherapist)

A patch for some holey pants (Little B decided he didn’t want to waste paper, so he cut his pants. Ahem…all I can say is at least it wasn’t his hair…something his mama did as a little girl)

Last years preschool bag, which has now become his library bag

A calendar to keep track of our yearly pursuits (which also has the paper robot templates :-)

 A book or two (or three)

Other interests come and go but this one seems to stick around. Little B seems to be a bit mechanically minded, just like his daddy :-)

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Local vs Organic

I had a really interesting conversation the other day regarding organic food. I was speaking to some lovely people at a bbq who believed that local food was more important than organic food. In their eyes, they would rather support our local community and economy by buying from farmers that live and grow their produce locally and those csa groups that source locally. It also meant that they went to local markets (not primarily food based) and supported these producers with their custom and as a by product the market itself.

I found their take on it all quite fascinating. I personally have been more interested in organic food but with a focus on local as well. But there is a lot of food that I cannot get from local producers organically. However, if I chose I could get this food locally but not organic.

And so which is best? Local or organic….now I know in ideal world it would be both. But what if that’s not possible? Do you pick the food that is grown a long way away (though still Australian) or the food that is grown virtually on your doorstep. And what if finances are a constraint? Finances are a constraint I think for a lot of people these days, but you still want to make the best and healthiest choices that you can.

I’m not sure I have an answer for this at the moment. For now, I’m supporting our local biodynamic grocer and trying to buy locally grown organic foods, but also trying a hybrid of the two for foods on the clean 15 lists (and hope to grow my own veggies again soon).

So which is more important to you?

Monday, March 19, 2012

Finding a New Rhythm

Today is the first day since we moved that I really feel like me. After 2 months renovating and then finally moving in, I surprisingly found the move that we were so looking forward to, to be a really tumultuous upheaval. And I actually found it hard to adjust (perhaps because of lingering emotions from the old house?? Who knows??). New budgets, new house…even little things like cooking seemed insurmountable and I felt all out of kilter.

But what was the turning point for today?? Well, don’t you find it funny how some things just seem to occur at a particular time? For example, you get a new car and suddenly you see that make of car everywhere or when you become pregnant, pregnant women come out of the woodwork.

I read this article that Bec had on her Eat at Dixibelle’s blog about “escaping the cult of busyness” and at the same time reading here and here about rhythm within the household. I totally related to feeling unfocussed, struggling and feeling out of sorts and overwhelmed by the simple bits of day to day life. I recognized that I needed some sort of plan for us, to make peace or make sense of our new house and give our final goodbyes figuratively to old times (and old veggie gardens LOL). So, I floundered around for a bit and then wrote down a loose household plan for us. And the dots just all seemed to connect.

Little B has adapted well to the house (ie happy, sleeps well, no nightmares) but we have started seeing a more feisty side to him. Perhaps it’s just the feistiness of being 5, or perhaps he too wasn’t adjusting as well as we thought. Mr B and I thought a nice daily plan would give him some security and the ability to relax a bit.

Today I followed this plan loosely for us and for the first time we’ve found peace and had a happy day together. Sure it helps that it was sunny but we have found a rhythm to work with and we have both been relaxed and happy and energised.

I’ve made a large batch of pear jam, stocked the freezer with banana peach muffins, dried loads of washing out in the sun, and in between we went swimming and jumped ourselves silly on the trampoline. It’s been lovely, productive and feels like we’ve finally come home :-)

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Long Weekend

We had some gorgeous weather here over the long weekend. So Mr B and I took full advantage of it.

Mr B began putting together our solar panels on the roof. This is a two-part process for us. We are putting up a 1kw array to start with as we have those panels on hand. But we also have some other panels in a display in South Australia. As soon as that is finished, they will join our current ones to expand this J

I began digging out some of the garden so that we could bring Little B’s outside playthings over from Granny B’s house. After much fiddling around, we managed to get his trampoline down and then back up again at the new house.

Landscaping our yard will be an ongoing process so we’ve adopted some secondhand clamshells to become Little B’s sandpit as they will need to be mobile, to cope with the changes as they occur. But I’ve decided to make the 2nd clamshell a mudpit. Little B adored our mudpit at the old house and is oh so very excited to have another one.

We’ve placed it near a shed and a tap and I aim to put together a little mudpie kitchen for him with leftover building supplies and pavers we found left in the yard.  My latest inspiration have come from these: I love this one and this one and this one. I also love this article about mud play (aka mudpies as an art medium)

I also managed to hem two sets of curtains in two rooms. Less spaces for our naughty kitties to hide and jump out at us. They’ve loved the excess material bunching on the floor.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Getting into the groove

After so much busyness, I cant seem to get back into the groove of regular blogging. Probably because I'm trying to sort out the house to make it more liveable. Up until now it's felt a bit like really bad camping but in a house LOL.

So I've been:

* hanging pictures / mirrors / artwork
* catching up on old episodes of Grand Designs
* driving back and forth to Granny B's to do my washing (please hurry up laundry, I need you!!)
* dreaming of getting out into the garden (though I have managed to dig out an old peach tree- roots and all - just some light exercise *giggle*)
* checking out tents - camping is looking like our holiday of choice this year - frugal, fun and with friends

* admiring the view out the bathroom window (by standing in the bath)

* admiring the view of our new screen door (whoops forgot to paint those door arch's ;-)

I'm hoping life will slow down a little for us now. Being on the kindy committee is taking up a little more time than I expected but then again it's all seemed to occur simultaneously with the move and settling in period. In the meantime, I'm just enjoying being!!