Garden Update: Wanted - Bean Expert.

Our garden was feeling a little unloved until I got out there a few days ago and pulled out some old plants and got the soil ready for the next growing season. The whole garden was flooded a couple of times over the winter period and we had so much 'time off' with sickness that the soil was quite compacted. We have freshened it up and added some organic fertiliser.

Can someone please tell me what is happening with these broad beans ? This is the first time we have grown them. We have lots of bushes, all about a metre tall with loads of flowers. They seem to be evolving every day, but we are not sure whether we have missed the fruiting stage. Our seasons have been so mixed up lately - we had summer temperatures earlier in the week.
So if you are an experienced broad bean grower - please drop me a line.

My onions are fattening up well. Once again, a first time crop. I was always put off growing onions because of how long they take to grow. These seem to be going okay and I hope they are amounting to something underneath the soil as well.

And of course I can't forget our beautiful girls! We were originally advised to get four because there would be times when each of them would go off the lay. Well....... we have had four eggs a day since they started laying. It doesn't sound like a lot, but believe me it doesn't take long before they are falling out of the fridge and even though you supply the neighbours, your family and their friends, there are still eggs galore. These productive little girls are so spoilt but we are grateful for their contribution.


Yesterday Was That Day

There comes a day every year when you pull out the first pair of shorts after the winter. Yesterday was that day.

When that feeling comes, there is no denying the need to ditch the long track pants and pull on something shorter. Often it means bearing an ankle, perhaps a mid calf as you move into a ¾ length pant. But, yesterday was hot and to my surprise the temperature demanded that I move straight to the short shorts.

As I applied sunscreen and headed out into the garden I wondered whether I would do damage to any low flying aircraft as the glare coming off my beautiful lily white legs was enough to blind anyone within a 200 metre radius. But alas, I pushed on with my gardening feeling half naked as you do when you pull on your first shorts for the season.

The good news was that last year’s shorts can be pulled on without undoing the buttons which means there must have been some body shrinking compared to summer last year, hence the proud baring of flesh in the back yard.

A Simple Reminder

On Wednesday I spent the day with my youngest son on his school excursion to Timbertown. We have been there before, so it was nice to go with his class group.

Apart from spending the day with my son, it was a very healthy day for me. I felt a reconnection.

I walk into the little cottages and there is something spooky about it. I see the small rooms with perfectly laid out furnishings and hand made quilts on beds and hand stitched lacework on vintage wooden chests of drawers. It is spooky yet it really speaks to me. It is spooky because I can sense the pain of a woman who probably had 10 children with no electricity or running water and worse still... no lap top to record her frustrations and joys!

After the spookiness clears I am drawn to the simpleness. I am drawn to the fact that there are limited personal possessions, which meant that what they had was truly treasured. I am drawn to the idea that their life was made up of the ‘job’ of living in itself.

Every day was about living. It was about preparing meals , growing food, washing clothes, making belongings, educating children. These tasks took all day. I see our lives in contrast where we do the ‘business of living’ in a short period of time. We wash our clothes automatically, have our food delivered and outsource the majority of the other tasks. Then we are left with the rest of the day and week wondering what we should do. We have so much time left over that we introduce jobs, hobbies, socialising, children’s activities and recreational shopping.

As I look around the old style room I imagine that life was so busy through the week from sun up to sun down that by the time Sunday came around it was a well earned ‘day of rest’. How lovely it must have been to know that you worked hard and accomplishment so much all week that you were due for a day of relaxation and socialising. I guess the flip side of that is that it all started again with wash day on Monday.

Of course I know that I am totally romanticising the whole thing and the reality would have been quite harsh ( especially the no lap top bit) but isn’t that was nostalgia is all about ? You take the good and leave the bad.

Back to my home in the 21st century where I have my own version of the pioneer cottage. My focus turns to preparing meals, tending to the garden, baking some treats, composting the food scraps, collecting the eggs, washing the clothes, tidying and caring for my home, making some handmade cards and helping the children.

I am just lucky that I have a digital camera and lap top computer so that we can all share the journey.


Weekend Recap

What a lovely relaxing weekend away I have just had. A whole weekend at Camp Elim (near Forster NSW). It is a similar style to a sport and recreation camp, mostly designed for school groups and definitely not five star, but when you have the opportunity to work uninterrupted on your albums all weekend and someone rings a bell and feeds you, then that is quite okay.

On Saturday evening I walked down to the lake and took some photos as the sun was going down. It really is the most beautiful place to sit and ponder life.

Of course, I had to sneak a photo in of my work table all set up. It didn't look like this for very long.

It was lovely to get away, but it was also lovely to return home. Now I'm off to do some unpacking and sorting and to get out into my garden. It was really warm yesterday and I feel the need to till the soil!


The Smell Of Spring

Have a look at my beautiful sunflower. Boy has it been a long wait! I remember planting the seeds and wondering whether they would come up. Since then the garden has been flooded twice and I had weeks where I didn't even glance at them due to sickness and a series of other unfortunate events.

Add to that the fight with the galahs. Can you blame them for flying in and attacking them - they are like giant lolly pops screaming 'eat me, eat me'.

This afternoon I am heading off on my annual girls weekend away. Each year we go to "scrapmania" a weekend of scrapbooking and crafting. I am looking forward to going through my photos, reconnecting with them and making some great albums for us all to look back on and treasure. I love having the time to sit and think and write.

The camp is held at 'Camp Elim' which is just outside Forster on the banks of the most beautiful lake. I will take some pictures to share with you all.

Most of all, I am looking forward to some relaxation and renewal time. An opportunity to recharge my batteries. I have so many ideas for our garden and I smell spring in the air. I feel that it is almost time to plant. Just need a few more warm days to heat up the earth a little more before I plant the seeds.

I hope you all have a great weekend as well.


Reconnecting With Your Photos.

One of the reasons that I make albums of my photos is that I love to RECONNECT with the memories that the photos provide. I love to record what the photo means to me and the memories that come flooding back as I drift off into each image.

I just had to share this one.

It was eight years ago. After giving birth to a very sick baby I was finally able to bring him home. He was yellow with jaundice. His big brother had already taken ownership of him and as a family we felt a total feeling of completeness.

I have always loved this photo, but today, in preparation for a scrapbooking weekend away I dragged it into photoshop, sharpened it up and took out all the colour. Sometimes a colour image holds a lot of distractions. Turning it greyscale allows you to study the image in depth and see its purity.

When I look at this image I can remember the sense of joy I had. I can also remember that feeling of total exhaustion that only the mother of a new born can understand.

A New Space

I have found myself a new space.

I used to have a creative space in the small office that we have. It used to be one of the boys' bedrooms a few years ago and I loved the bright blue walls.

Since being so sick, I found it really difficult to go and work in that space. It only has a small window and I was having trouble seeing the true colours of papers I was working with. I could match two pieces of paper and then view them in different light and see that they were two completely different shades of the one colour.

When I was so sick I was drawn to the light. Wherever the sun was shining, I had to be - curled up under a blanket. As the sun moved around the house I followed it, starting for a couple of hours in my bedroom and then slowly moving around the house until it started to shine through the lounge room window and I could curl up on the lounge.

I decided that I would take over the front bedroom. It used to be my youngest son's room, but he decided to move in with his big brother a few months ago. They had been using this room as a 'games' room. It had lego and toys and their play station and piano keyboard.

On one of the days when I was feeling better I worked like a little ant to swap the rooms over. I would pick up four or five books from one room and shuffle them into the other room and bring four or five books from there back to this room. It was a very slow process, but like a little ant I just kept shuffling along moving things from one room to the other. It took a long time.

Now I have this fabulous spot to work. It is right at the front of the house. I can look out and see the chooks pecking around in the front yard. I see people walking past with their dogs and kids riding their bikes. If you look at the photo you will notice a little rose - that is where the sun peaks over the horizon every morning. I love to sit here and greet it.

I haven't got the room set up exactly the way I want it yet. I have to sit around in here for a while and do a few projects and get the feel for it. Then I will reorganise it to suit me better. It's all about feeling glorious in your space and not feeling cluttered and overwhelmed. I need it to be functional, yet highly motivating and inspiring.

For now, I am loving sitting here with a hot cup of tea and looking out at the world. I love the light. I am so glad that I found this space. I can't believe it has been here all along.

It just goes to show that changes come from within. Sometimes, the things that we are looking for have been here all along.

April Theme: Re-organise and Transition

In the Southern Hemisphere, April is in Autumn.  The days here are still warmish, but there is a sneaking whisper in the wind. That whisper ...