Posts tagged garden

Update update

This update is going to be a collection of smaller updates. Are you excited?

 The renos

We heard from the builder today, just checking in, I guess to see if we’re still alive since it’s been so long since he heard from us. He had told us a few weeks back that he give us a recommendation on an engineer since we’ll need some additional certification but he hasn’t come through with that yet. That seems to sum up the renovation process. People tell you they will do things, then they simply don’t.


I think we’re doing sorta okay. Definitely not being strict adherents but not abject failures, either. We haven’t bought much new stuff this year (though we have bought the occasional new thing) but more importantly we haven’t really bought very much ‘stuff’ full stop. We’re definitely spending less time worshipping the god of materialism.

We actually did buy a big armload of (secondhand) clothes at the markets on the weekend but it was all genuinely needed. Hunter’s winter pants from last year are all at least an inch too short, some of them closer to three inches. Even her dresses from the summer just gone are so short we can no longer let her wear them without leggings underneath because they’re just indecent.

So we bought a stack of leggings that will work under her dresses as Autumn outfits and will also work over tights with long sleeve tops and jackets in winter. We also got her some jeans and a denim jacket.

I am planning a brand new purchase, too. I saw on tv the other night this nifty gadget that turns a single flush toilet system into a dual flush. Our two toilets are both single flush and they waste so much water. This thing just screws in and saves nine litres every time you choose the half flush.

We’re also doing better at not buying so much overpackaged food. We’ve always bought potatoes and rice in 10kg bags. Now we’re also buying 1kg tubs of yogurt to spoon into our own smaller containers for lunch boxes, and we buy 5kg bags of flour. There are other things too, but you get the idea.

Meanwhile, I actually can’t remember the last time I bought something from Myer or DJs. I’d love to say I don’t miss it, but it would be a lie. Leigh is far less materialistic than me and I probably would have fallen off the wagon in spectacular fashion by now if she wasn’t along for the ride.

The veggie patch

It’s done much better than we anticipated. We’re still hauling in truckloads of tomatoes and we’ve been eating lots of silverbeet and rainbow chard. The other things are still growing merrily and in due course we expect cucumbers, eggplant, peas, onions, leeks, rhubarb, zucchinis and a LOT of pumpkins. I think I am forgetting a couple of things but they’re the main ones. We also have a stack of herbs outside the back door.

The kids

Hugo went through a very fussy phase last week where he barely wanted to breastfeed at all. He wasn’t eating much either, but that’s usual. I was starting to get worried by the fourth or fifth day of just-wet nappies, then suddenly yesterday they were full again.

Apart from that, the boy’s mostly his usual obliging self. He is starting to be clingy and it gets frustrating when I can’t go two steps without him crying and lunging at me, but he’s generally still pretty easy going.

He’s saying a good handful of words now (‘that’ just started today) but my favourite is “Hunter” (huh-duh). It is just too cute.

And speaking of Hunter…where do I start. We’re having behaviour issues again the past few days. She has realised that I don’t actually have any real control over her and if she chooses not to do as I ask, there’s not much I can do.

If she is being naughty (you know, like 75,000 times a day) I might ask her to go to the naughty chair/clean up the mess/say sorry etc etc. Lately she says no. If I try to institute some alternate discipline she says no to that too. Today I asked her to stay in her room and have a rest. She said no. Then she said “I am going to cough on you”, which she did. I told her to go to the naughty chair. She refused. I carried her there and she immediately got up and ran off. I told her she was going to go outside and she said “Fine, if you send me outside I will ride my bike and play and won’t care”. Which is exactly what she did.

Anyway, it’s not as bad as it was a month or so ago so I am hoping this is just a blip. she’s being pretty good at preschool and has lots of good days at home, too. She just makes me feel completely inept when she wants to.

The study plans

I’ve done a lot more thinking about what I want to do since I first stumbled on the idea of some more study. The more I have thought about it, the more I have realised that what I really want from my career is enough money to pay the bills and a whole shitload of holidays.

So my current plan is to get out of PR and into teaching. I intend to take my time and hopefully be done with study and ready to get a full time teaching job around about the time Hugo starts school.

The prospect of all four of us being on the same timetable is very appealing. I could make more money doing what I am already doing but there’s just no way I’d be getting 11 weeks off a year.

Leigh’s MS

I could sum up this update by just saying that it still sucks. We think she’ll do the injections on a Thursday night rather than Saturday as originally planned. It seems the side effects are not going to be as bad as they might have been (touch wood) so we kind of like the idea of making the injection part of the drudgery of the week, not a low point in the weekend.

The nurse actually suggested Friday night but leigh really looks forward to Friday night because she has a couple of drinks with her colleagues after work and just gets to take a breath and relax. I really think it would spoil it to know she has to come home and inject herself, especially since it’s probably going to continue to be really difficult for a good while yet.

She thinks this week she wants to go off by herself and do the injection in her own time. I have no issue with giving her the space she needs but I am a little bit worried about coming in to find her passed out. I guess we’ll see what feels right at the time.

Meanwhile, people are coming out of the woodworks with their own stories about their friend’s friend’s friend with MS and the miracle cure that worked for them. Some guy that did prac at leigh’s school gave her some dumb book that purported to have the cure for, well, everything. We didn’t even glance at a single page. We figure if there’s some actual scientific evidence favouring any of these theories then the MS Society will clue us in.

(I just want to add here that I know two people whose partners have MS and while I have been generally unhappy with everyone else sticking their oars in with assvice, I have been very grateful to them for sharing their firsthand experiences)

Right – I’ve been typing for ages and Hunter’s been occupying herself by doing a big poo. She’s just come in with her dress bunched around her waist and an invitation for me to do some wiping. Who could resist?

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Happy vegetables

Our new little veggie patch is starting to hold its own. We’ve had lots of rain lately and the plants have been loving it.

Leigh said pretty much everything we planted has started to look good – even one of the cucumber plants has made a comeback. So we now have zucchini, peas, chard, silverbeet, onions, leeks, rhubarb, cucumber and another tomato plant growing nicely. The additional tomato plant was self-sown from some seeds in the compost.

You know that old saying – you can’t have too many tomatoes. Ahem.

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Shopping for the Planet

We’ve been talking for a while about Compacting. You know, trying not to buy stuff. Getting secondhand stuff if we really must buy anything.

Late last year we decided to give it a go in the new year. So far we’re doing…not that great.

Leigh went out a few days before new year and had a big buy up of new clothes, which seems kind of contrary to the spirit of compacting. I was even worse, going on a “well if she can, I can” buy up. In my defence, I bought a hair straightener with a gift voucher I received for christmas. The voucher was for David Jones, and there is not exactly a secondhand department at DJs. So it’s not my fault.

We’ve also since bought a new birthday gift for the girl next door. Oh. And a new purse and camera. We had some things stolen from our car over christmas and I felt like it was unfair to have to have used things to replace our nice things that some little gobshite took. They also got the brand new in-car dvd player the kids got for christmas, and we’ll replace that with a new product before our next trip.

It’s not as bad as it sounds. We have managed to reduce the volume of imported food products we’ve been buying – focussing instead on local product and home grown food. We also bought Hunter two pairs of shoes from St Vinnie’s. She needed them, they were in great condition and they were cheap.

We also went trawling through some of the secondhand shops in the more expensive suburbs. I confess that while leigh was looking for things she liked, I was checking tags for brand names. I bought a skirt and three tops. They were all secondhand, so I get a tick on that front. But really, I don’t especially need clothes at all. So, a cross there.

Meanwhile, the veggie garden is coming along okay (or so leigh tells me. I haven’t actually ventured back out there).

The chard seems happy, there are some onions and leeks coming along. We lost some of the spinach on the hot day and it’s still too early to judge how the rest is going.

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The veggie patch

Leigh’s always had something growing, as long as I have known her. In the flat we rented together, it wasn’t much more than a potted bougainvillea. At our townhouse I think there might have been some tomatoes along with the masses of flowers along the back fenceline.

When we bought our first house, there were various phases of veggie-patching and over the time we were there I recall there being tomatoes, zucchinis, pumpkins and the odd potato or two growing. Some of them were intentionally planted, some were self-sown things that popped up after we threw out the veggie scraps.

At this house, Leigh’s established a pretty sizeable tomato patch that is currently gifting us with romas, cherry and grape tomatoes, all of which began as scraps from the kitchen. We have masses of them, and I would have loved to have snapped some pics of them ripening on the kitchen window sill or overflowing in bowls as leigh collected them, but our camera was stolen over the holidays, so no can do.

Now leigh’s keen to raise the (tomato) stakes. This week she re-located the compost bin and set out a nicely sized new patch next to the tomatoes. Today we – mostly leigh – planted chard, silverbeet, onions, leeks, rhubarb, zucchini and Lebanese cucumbers. My contribution was mainly to freak ut about the possibility of finding slugs or worms, and complaining that it was really hard to separate the seedlings.

I did manage to plant out a punnet of onions and the chard but leigh pretty much did the rest, and followed it up by staking up the laden tomato plants which were all being dragged to the ground by their load.

Hunter had a great time watering them in with her little watering can and Hugo enjoyed eating sticks and grass while he watched. Actually, he wasn’t that keen on the great outdoors so he didn’t last long but leigh will convert him, I am sure.

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Welcome to our blog!

We’ll try to keep it updated, because we know you’re all just gagging to know about the latest vegetable leigh has planted, the latest tantrum hunter has thrown, the latest tooth hugo has popped and the latest article about tractors kendi has written!

 Stay tuned…

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