Friday, November 20, 2009

Playing with literacy

Indi has been showing lots of interest in letters and words lately. Here are some of the things we have been doing together.

The chalkboard has been getting a workout. She likes to draw a picture, then I write the word for her to copy. A few backwards letter in this one!

Again, a few letters around the wrong way, but certainly a good attempt.

This is one we have been doing for a long time ... writing letters in the sand with chopsticks. She has been having trouble with 'e', until we realised it was like a spiral (one of her favourite things to draw).

Other games she likes include wetting a little broom in the pool and painting letters and numbers on the pavers with water, and spraying 'words' on the fence with a water spray bottle.
She has also been playing starfall again. I signed up for the free trial of the Reading Eggs program, but she doesn't seem to be getting into it much. She is more interested in the games they have while loading the next lesson! Having said that, I've noticed a few little things she has done that have come from the lessons, so she is obviously picking something up from it.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Garden log

Just a quick one so I remember when I planted stuff.

This weekend I planted:

more corn and a cucumber out the back
two capsicums and a tomato out the front
parsely and rocket from the nursery 'sick bay' (hey $1 a punnet, I ain't leavin 'em behind!) and the chives out of the pot in the old wheelbarrow.
the philodendron-thingy near the pool filter.

This week we ate:

LOADS of silverbeet
some broccoli
basil, parsely, shallots, and garlic chives

...and the bloody dog dug up the lemongrass! GRRRRR!

I shall return with a wonderful long blog post as soon as the kids remember how to sleep.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Barefeet sandles

I made these for a bare-feet loving friend ...

I wish she'd hurry up and come visit so I can give them to her ... KARISMA! Where are you!
I have to go make a pair for Indi now; she has taken a bit of a fancy to them, which is pretty funny because she can never keep shoes on her feet normally.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

First cherry tomatoes

Yum yum yum.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Blog meltdown!

Dear diary

I officially have a case of brain-dead-blog-meltdown.
Meh. Blah. Sna.
I can't think of anything to write!

Well, that's not entirely true. I can think of lots of thing I'd like to write about.
I'd like to write about co-sleeping and how much it sucks for us at the moment.
I'd like to write about ECing, and how Keanu can actually say when he needs to poop now.
I'd like to write about how much I hate Craig being away from home, and how much more he hates it.
I'd like to write about the tons of books that I've read over the last few months.
I'd like to write about christmas and the usual depression it invokes in me and my struggle to keep my kids as far away from it as possible.

There are lots of things I'd like to get out of my head. I just can't seem to find an exit for them all.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

A little garden update

Peas that sprouted from the mulch.

Little zucchini starting to grow.

Broccoli flowers.

Silverbeet has been a staple in our meals for the last few weeks.

The potato I planted ages ago has finally sprouted.

The 'quick-grab' herbs growing at the front door. The basil grew all through winter.

Indi's cherry tomato. We'll be lucky to get fruit off this one; she keeps 'accidently' pulling of all the little green tomatoes.

Our star jasmine bush near the front door. I can smell it now as I type this ... mmmmm! I love the way it wafts through the house of a night.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

I'm still here!

Ok, so i haven't been blogging lately, and I'm starting to feel it! I do enjoy writing here. It's like a nice comfy little place to come and empty my head.
Time to sit and ponder, however, seems to be disappearing. I have LOTS of stuff in my head that I want to write about, but haven't had the time nor frame of mind to sit down and put it into legible order. I feel like I've had a bit of an intellectual overload lately; studying, reading (like, 2 books a week), homeschooling thoughts coming and going ... It's all been wearing me down so I've spent the last few weeks just 'chillin'; crafting a bit here and there, reading a little bit, dumbing it down with some Facebook (no offence to facebook friends!) but mostly just 'being' and spending time with the kids.
But I want to stay in the habit of writing a little bit every week or so, so I'll start small ...

Last week I finished the blanket I was making.
A perfect fit for the cot, that Keanu now sleeps in (through the day ... sometimes! If I can be bothered to take him out of the sling.)

I had to force myself to put it on the cot; it's so soft and warm and snuggly. It had a nice place on the end of my bed for a few weeks there!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

More babies

Turns out she wasn't just gorging herself on all the spring grass!
Three very cute, very white baby guineas.
I'm curious about their colouring ... seeing how papa guinea is a dark chocolate-brown colour. I'll have to go do some research.
Poor Jazzy; we've been calling her fat for weeks! I thought she was finished having babies, after all she is nearly five years old. I'm glad she had more though, she is a great guinea pig. Not scared of anything, even Indica!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Latest crochet ...

I bought this gorgeous wool the other day ... it looks like mossy green dreadlocks.I actually went to get some wool to finish off the rug I've been crocheting, but there was none left, so I guess it will just have to be a bit smaller that I planned. Anyway, this delightful stuff was half price, and as I've been eying it off for a few weeks, I thought I'd spoil myself and grab a few balls. I've used two balls to make this shawl ... I still have three balls left .... hmm what to make?

Monday, August 31, 2009

Playdoh comes here to DIE

10AM ... freshly made playdoh.

Introduce Indi ...Add some kitchen implements, puffed rice, chilli flakes, milk, and a mother with a natural learning philosophy (and obviously lots of free time to clean up mess) ...
And you get this ... playdoh murder. I mean rainbow cake.

Friday, August 21, 2009

We've been busy ...

and that's how a retired dog house becomes a (potential) chook house.

oh, and the vege patch got a bit bigger too.
It's actually been a really busy and productive day, but I'm too fucked to be bothered typing about it right now!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Indi's photography exhibition

I turn my camera on to upload some photos to the computer, and this is an example of what I find ...

Love it!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Just because she's little, doesn't mean she isn't a person

Lately, I have been a shitty parent.
I'm sure I make my kids' lives miserable on several occasions throughout the day.
I've been falling into bad parenting habits, the worst of which is creating power struggles with Indi by trying to 'put it over' her. There are really no excuses. I can say i'm tired, I can say that I'm overloaded because Craig's gone 5 days at a time, I can make a million stupid excuses, but deep down I know that I know better, and this is certainly not the person I want to be, and certainly not the parent I want to be. I know that fighting and screaming at each other acheives nothing. I know that deep down.

But unfortunately, deep down is not where I go searching when I've asked her to do something about 80 billion times and she seems to be ignoring me.
If I did stop and think rationally, I would realise that she is not ignoring me. She can hear me just fine. She just has more important things happening at the moment. I would see that this is a very familiar situation. The only difference is that I'm usually the one 'ignoring' and she is the one asking me to do something. Except when it's me, I don't call it ignoring. I'm doing something that is important to me, and I want her to accept that, and trust that I will give her my full attention when I'm finished whatever task it is. I expect her to wait patiently until I'm finished.

So why the hell do I think that she should to jump to attention when I demand something?
Because I am an idiot! She is like a little mirror of me ... and most of the time, the reflection is not what I want to see. So here I make a conscious decision to return to my respectful parenting ways;
To respect her as a strong minded, beautiful, unique individual capable of kindness, love, respect, and courtesy, not expect things from her that I wouldn't expect from myself, and not repress her ability to know what is important and meaningful to her.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

a step in the right direction

I cleared up a debt today, a Centrelink one.
Not a massive one, but one that has been dragging on for the last 6 or so years. It's the first one to go since we sat down and consciously decided to be debt free.
We still have a way to go, but it feels good.
One teensy step closer to buying some land and/or travelling bus!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

It's been a busy few days for us all. We had a trip to Wagga Wagga to visit my eldest stepson, who is training in the army. It was a nice day down there, suprisingly. Last time we went it was absolutely freezing, but this time it was quite pleasant. In our wanderings about town we discovered a 2nd hand bookshop and spent too much money as usual. But I did manage to score a copy of a Bill Mollison permaculture book. Haven't read it yet though; I've been a bit greedy lately and have bought lots of books, so it's in the queue!
We planted a few more things in the garden ... some zuchinni seed (mmmmm I love zuchinni), and some sugarsnap peas to grow up the fence. I chucked some more silvebeet into an old pot to keep near the door. Hopefully it will grow big and strong, and be easy to pick in a hurry when I don't feel like running own the back for greens.
I planted some eggplant seeds into some little pots to sprout before I put them into the ground.
Indi planted her cherry tomato seedling into a big pot out the front ...
We mulched it wth some straw, and now the cat keeps sleeping on it! I'm sure it will bounce back though. I spread a bit of stinky used bedding from the guinea pigs' cage over the top, hopefully that will keep her off (and won't burn the plant!)
Spring is definately approaching. I've decided that I am a descendant of the bear family. Winter is hibernation time! I never feel like doing anything when it's cold, least of all going outside.
We have had some gorgeous days over the last few weeks, and I feel so much more energetic. Starting to defrost I guess. I love going outside and smelling the jasmine and buddleias.
The horseradish that I planted the other week is starting to pop some little sprouts out of the soil. I've never grown horseradish before so I'm interested to see how it goes.
We have been eating little bits and pieces out of the garden, not a lot; a pumpkin that became a delicious soup, steamed silverbeet, some shallots, chives and basil. Enough to keep us wanting more, and keep us keen to expand the gardens.
Oh yeah, and in my quest for cool green areas around the spa and pool, I planted this tree fern ...Risky, but I'm hoping it will pay off. I planted one the same size six months ago when it got full arvo sun for about 3 hours a day, and it is thriving and double the size now. This one is getting midday sun for about 4 hours or so, but is in crappy soil. It's looking good so far, and it's raining at the moment. If it can just get a hold in the heavy clay, it should be right.

I just checked the mail ... got an assignment back ......................................................
HD! And a letter from my new tutor saying that it was a joy to mark!
I'm very happy with that, because we are all still trying to get into some sort of rhythm with Craig's new job and I have been finding it hard to sit down and get into that 'assignment' frame of mind. This one was actually completed a week late (the college doesn't set completion dates, but I set them for myself), and I was hoping to have the next one completed by yesterday! Oh well, life gets in the way sometimes.
Anyway thats probably enough of my ramblings for now. I'm going to get this next assignment finished ... right after I finish crocheting that rug, clean the kitchen, research what fruit trees i'm going to plant, finish reading that book, start crocheting a new pair of swimmers for summer, look online for some new fire twirling equipment, finish doing the tax returns ...

Saturday, August 1, 2009

And just like that ...

... Kellie got her groove back!
OOOOOOhhhhhhh yeah!
Don't you love the way you feel after being outside in the garden?
As you might have guessed, I did as promised and got started in the garden today. And what a glorious day it was (yep, i'm wearing a singlet top!)

I planted Broccoli, silverbeet, lemongrass, and comfrey.
Then I mulched the gardens.

Granny had a great suggestion re the watering problem. The garden is in a great spot for sunshine, but the hose doesn't reach because it's right down the back. Luckily for us, there is an overflow drain for the pool close to the tap that runs out right near the garden. So we put the hose in the drain, and put a watering can at the other end and voila problem solved!

I feel so much better for being outside this afternoon.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Friends like these

I had a visit from a good friend today, who has inspired me to get outside and start this friggen garden. I've been staring out from the inside thinking about going out but always find a reason not to, and that is very unlike me.
This backyard is so depressing lately, I think because I just keep looking at what I can't change. The pool is in a stupid spot and facing the wrong way. The house throws a monsterous shadow over most of the backyard at this time of year. Anyway you look, you feel like you're spying on neighbours because all the houses are so close. The ground is like rock.
Thankfully Cordi came over with her infectious passion for growing stuff, as well as a bag of plants and strict instuctions to go and plant them! So late this afternoon I took a look with fresh eyes...

The pool is in a stupid spot ... yes but who cares? WE HAVE A POOL! And not a crappy little pool either; it is 10 metres long. It is awesome in summertime and Indi swims like a champion because of it.
The house casts a huge shadow on the yard ... meh i'll plant shade loving things and have a mini rain forest! Tree ferns all round!
Spying on neighbours yards ... hedge fruit trees along the fences.
Heavy clay ... mulch! No dig gardens are the only way to go anyway (in my opinion).

So to my darling friend Cordi ... mwwwaaaaaahhhh! You have re-sparked my Alternative Suburbia dream.

Thursday, July 30, 2009


Human beings in general are just an easily -bored species I reckon. I mean, why else would we be where we are? TV's the size of a living room wall? And dare I say ... the Internet? And WTF is Blu-ray???????
It's not enough to just 'be'. We have to 'do'.
Why do we need to go to work?
We need to go to work to make money for petrol, so that we can drive to work.
Sometimes I feel like we've created this whole world of crap to amuse ourselves. Or distract ourselves.
Birds don't go to work. Neither do wombats. Or kangaroos. They just be.
I think we're ripping ourselves off somehow.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Ahhhh, starting to feel somewhat normal again.
What a couple of weeks it has been. I don't do sickness very well. Luckily for everyone around me, I don't get sick very often. I was thinking today that the last time I felt this bad was about 9 years ago. Thats a pretty good run of healthiness! So here's hoping that this bout has kick-started the immune system again and I won't be out for another ten years.
I can't say the same for Indi though, she is having a really hard time shaking it off the poor bugger. I hate it when kids get sick. Keanu only had it for about 4 days ... gotta love the immune-building powers of breast milk!
SO I've finally made it back to the computer. Lots has happened since I last wrote, and I've been wanting to write everyday but have only made it as far as checking the emails every couple of days and then going back to bed.
Indi turned 4 last week!
My little baby girl is 4 years old. WOW!
Bali, one of our guinea pigs had two gorgeous little babies. It is my strongly-held opinion that baby guinea pigs are the absolute cutest baby anythings in the world.
We haven't named them yet, but I think they are both girls.
Today was a really really nice warm (ish!) day, so I made a 'potato cage'.

We have a huge roll of this wire that was once a fence, and I cut a piece and wired it into a cylinder. Then I chucked some weeds and prunings at the bottom of it.
Sit a sprouting potato on top...

And cover with straw.
Hopefully the sprouts will make it out the top of the straw, then I will keep it mulched up as high as I can to get the maximum number of taters.

During my last two weeks of sickness and bed-ness, I read The One Straw Revolution by Masanobu Fukuoka.
WOW. My new favourite book of all time. Awesome stuff.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Ugggghhhhh I'm sick! The kids are sick too. Yuck yuck yuck. I feel awful. I'm so congested, and my throat hurts, and my patience is about 0.000002 seconds long. The house is a chaotic nightmare. Mum got stuck in traffic because of an accident on the freeway so wasn't home until after 10:30. Craig is still away in the truck. Arrrggghhh what a week!
Justin (my brother) came and took Keanu from our bed this morning after he had grizzled for close to 3 hours. Thanks Jussy, you're a legend.
Indi said this morning 'I love you mum, I'll take care of you.' Thanks baby girl, you're a legend too xoxo

I was planning on keeping this blog devoted to all things garden related. Maybe I should start another one for moments like this ... ?!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Hooray! I manged to get a little bit of gardening stuff done last week. Just in time too, because guess what? It's raining again!
We had some really nice (I could almost say warm) days early last week, so I chucked the baby up on my back, tied him on with a piece of sari fabric and headed out to enjoy it. Honestly, I looked like one of those ladies in India who pick the tea leaves! I wonder what the neighbours think when they peek over the fence ... ?!
I weeded the little vege patch. The layers are breaking down down nicely, and the soil is starting to become more friable and black, instead of the clay that I started with. I left the tomato plant in there, sprawling all over the place ... who knows, we might get a little bit of fruit off it. It's the warmest spot in the yard and a couple of homegrown tomatoes are better than nothing at all.

I also managed to turn the compost heap by myself, which is hard work believe me. Not the actual turning, but emptying it all out of the bin. It is very heavy! I made the compost bin from our council green bin ... not sure that the council would be really impressed with the bin-defacement, but i'll be buggered if I'm sending all my garden waste to their depot to sit and turn into beautiful rich compost, that they then sell back to me at an inflated price. And my other 'proper' compost bin is still in storage. I'd prefer to just have a pile on the ground in a corner somewhere, but the dogs take a liking to it and it gets spread everywhere.
The bin works pretty well considering it doesn't have a great deal of air flow. I got some awesome compost out of it in the summer, but it's a little slow in the winter which is to be expected I guess. Plus I haven't put any manure in there to keep it warm (besides the guinea pigs bedding, but thats not really enough to heat it up).
The pile on the right is from the bottom of the bin, and the pile on the left is the fresher stuff off the top, so it's not doing a bad job. It smells a bit sour, so I'll have to get some lime this week or maybe some blood and bone to sprinkle in there.

Anyway, it's coming along slowly, which is better than not at all!
Now I need to make a list of what we eat the most of, so I know what to plant first. I need to start buying a punnet of seedlings a week, or a packet of seeds. I've been saving the milk cartons so I can raise some seedlings ready to plant out as soon as it's warm enough.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Two days of lovely warm sunshine ... and the washing still isn't dry. Add to to-do list - move clothesline!

One of the problems with these mass-produced lego-land houses is that they have a couple of set designs to choose from and they just whack 'em up in a matter of weeks regardless of whether or not they are suited to the block of land. The upstairs of this place offers gorgeous lake views; too bad there are only two windows to view it from, one of them being the step-kids room that only gets used once a fortnight!

This also means that the position of the house causes three-quarters of the backyard to be in shade for three-quarters of the day during the winter months. Not exactly ideal gardening conditions. I've wiled away many an hour dreaming up the perfect house design for this block ... sun drenched winter patios to the north laced with the decorative bare wood of grape vines that become cool green shade houses in the summer ... if only we coud convince the Matriach to bulldoze ... LOL!

So the backyard is still like swamp lands. I did tug on the old faithful gumboots and wander down the back late this morning and was happy to see the lone tomato plant fruiting like mad, despite having absolutely no attention. I even found a couple of pumpkins hiding under a tangle of vine and grass.

This is all I have to call a 'vege garden' at the moment. >>> Pretty sad really. I built it in my second trimester when I was full of energy. It's a no dig garden; I started by chopping up the ground a bit with a mattock to make it easier for the worms to get up, then I put down newspaper to smother all the grass. I covered that with some horse manure, then some semi-rotted compost (hence the self-sown pumpkin and tomato) , and finally a layer of pea straw. Then the heat of summer kicked in and floating around in the pool with a big belly seemed much more appealing than struggling to bend over and plant seedlings and lugging a watering can down to keep it alive.
Now that I can see past my belly button, It's time to get going again.
My aim is to mulch this whole area and make it a big a garden/orchard.
This will be my hard core food production area.
I think I need to start sourcing bulk supplies of garden ingredients.
It gets all day sun, even through winter...

Better make a spot for the clothes line too!