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!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

A small beginning

Still raining. I'm not complaining though. Rain is good. Just kind of dampening my plans to get things started!
Mum bought home a passionfruit vine today from a friends house. Hurrah! I said. We have our first plant for our alternative suburbia!

Hopefully tomorrow will bring enough sunshine to plant it in
the ground.

I think I will plant it in the garden near the pool fence so it can weave its way along the top and hang its yummy purple fruit within Indi's reach. She loves passionfruit. >>>>>>>>>>>>>

When we lived at Evans Head, our washing machine died and we had to go to the local laundromat. The fence at the boundary of the carpark had a huge passionfruit vine growing through it, and Indi used to love picking them and bringing them in to me to open for her while I was doing the washing.
*Sigh* if I don't get out in the garden soon, I'll just have to start writing about other things in my life.
Next post coming soon ... 'Things I do when it rains a lot' LOL!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

So what is Alternative Suburbia?

Perhaps I should write a bit about my purpose for this blog. I know, I know, intro's are supposed to come at the START of something, not three posts in but I was just keen to get blogging (everyone else is doing it!)

So. Alternative Suburbia. How to describe it ..? Maybe do the best you can with what you have.
I am not a people person. I am doubly not a five-bedroom-brick veneer-double-garage-nuclear family-2.4-children kind of person! Yet that seems to be where I find myself. Well, not the nuclear family and 2.4 children bit; eight people encompassing three generations living as what I like to think of as a tribe in a house owned by my mum, plus two stepkids on the weekends and two older stepkids who have joined the armed forces and visit when they can is hardly a normal nuclear setup! What can I say? I'm drawn to big families.
We live this way for many reasons which vary according to my mood. Mostly, I tell myself, it's because we are pooling our resources, reducing our 'carbon footprint' and saving money. Sometimes I tell myself it's because we are failures at life and are too useless to get our own house. LOL! But not very often.

Anyway, i'm procrastinating. The point is, I generally hate suburbia. I hate lawns where the blades of grass all face the same way. I hate English Privet pruned into the shape of a box around the letterbox. And I hate the fact that we have 700 square metres of land and still have to go to a shop to buy fruit and vegetables.

So I'm going to change it.

I want a rich green canopy of fruit trees, and heavy vines weaving in and out of the fence. I want lawns that smell sweet when you walk on them. I want big fat hens wandering around scratching up the fertile black soil. I want to be shoving boxes of excess food on to my friends. I want grubby kids that are in tune with the natural cycles of the earth.

I want to create my Alternative Suburbia ... and I want to share it! Enjoy!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Still Raining

I was again woken by the most glorious golden sunshine this morning and proceeded to do the usual thing I do on a sunny morning; eight billion loads of washing.
Then the sun did it's usual thing; pissed off behind big rain clouds.

So again, instead of getting out the backyard, I spent most of the day finding interesting places to hang washing in the house. The laundry is like a clothing maze. Seriously you could get lost in there.

So while the yard gets boggier and soggier and my plans get pushed a few days further away, I pass the time by crocheting. Idleness is the glove into which the devil slips his hand, they say!

Some hats for my little man, gawd look at that smile. Melts my heart!

Not sure what this thing is. I started making them a few weeks ago (in the last big downpour of rain) and the kids love them. They are quick and easy anyway, and a good way to use up bits and pieces of wool.
I did manage to get out in the backyard in my gumboots and take some pics; 'Before' pics, i'll post them later. It is so easy to stand out there and visualise this jungle-like forest of edible delights. Not so easy if I try and put a shovel in the ground and turn the soil. It's very very clayey.
Nevertheless, it shall be done! It looks like we are stuck here for another two years or so, so i've got plenty of time to do it.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

It's a slow start to my Alternative Suburbia!

I've had this blog sitting here for months now and haven't done much with it. Yesterday I said we would go out and get that garden tidy this afternoon. Of course, it is pouring rain today. And it is supposed to continue for the rest of the week.

This is the longest I have lived in one spot without a vegetable garden! I mean I've pulled a few pumpkins and a bit of silverbeet, but they've just grown with no input from me (my favourite type of garden!) I also noticed some potatoes popping up out there. Oh, and that weedy looking tomato plant down the back has a bit of fruit on it too ... I guess it's not all bad then.

OK, so to inspire myself to get into it, here is a list of things to do when the rain stops:

1) Turn the compost (from my uber-cool compost bin made from the council green bin ... hey, I didn't call it alternative suburbia for nothin'!)

2) Pull the grass up and plant something in that little garden down the back.

3) Build a chook pen. Ok, well at least pick a site for it and draw a rough design.

4) Dig a hole at the other end of the new pool garden ready to put something in (not sure what yet ... )

5) Extend garden near patio. And dig a hole ready for a soft green mossy tree fern (I love tree ferns!)

Now if only the weather would warm up I'd drag my sorry arse outside and do it!