Project Veggie Garden Week #2

It’s time for an update on Project Veggie Garden. It’s been just over a week now since I planted my garden up, and I was so excited yesterday to see that the seeds are sprouting and they’re looking good!! I planted strawberries as well, even transplanting some from another part of the garden. I wasn’t sure how they would go, but they are doing marvellously in their home, so much so that the fruit on them has ripened and ready for picking…yum!

strawberry plant

I’m often a bit sceptical when sowing straight from seed because my experience hasn’t always been good in the past. The first year that we planted from seed we had some mixed results, so last year we decided to try using a mini-greenhouse seedling tray arrangement and we did very poorly!! We decided to go back to sowing directly into the prepared veggie beds and so far it looks like it’s the best option for us.

I also planted some basil which is great for companion planting with the tomatoes. Previous to having a veggie patch I had tried to grow basil with dismal results. Whether it’s the tomatoes or the great composted and fertilised soil, or perhaps both, I have had a bumper crop of basil over the last few years and I love using it in cooking and to make pesto with it! I didn’t bother with seeds for this, I just went straight to the good old seedlings.

basil seedling

My goal for this week is to get in and weed the beds a bit as we are starting to see the dreaded weeds come up, along with the beginnings of the pumpkin plants. We have chosen not to grow pumpkins due to the space that you need to grow them in…we just don’t have it and would rather try other things in our space instead.

beetroot coming uplettuce

One of the most exciting parts about having your own veggie garden is picking the produce once it’s ready to go. This morning I got our first batch of strawberries – something that I haven’t been able to do for a LONG time because of the birds getting to them first! It was a very exciting moment, let me tell you!!

strawberries

How are you going with your veggie patches this year?! Have you got some tips for natural or organic pest control? I’d love to hear your ideas!

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Mission Impossible

Trying to reason with a 15 month old is mission impossible! I find myself explaining to my son, mid tantrum, why it is that he can’t have my mug full of hot coffee or why he can’t push the metal firewood holder around like a trolley (because serious, it will scratch the tiles), and then follow it up with a comment out loud, to myself, along the lines of “as if you can understand me or care”!! I can’t be alone in this scenario! I’m certain others must have found themselves negotiating with the impossible! And what’s even worse is that I look at this divine little boy, as he’s having said tantrum, and have a little shake of the head and silent laugh as I look at my little self…I can imagine that I was the same when I was that age – strong willed and unwilling to negotiate, or heaven forbid, share!!!!! Everyday I gain a new appreciation for my mother and what she had to contend with…sorry Mum!

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Project Veggie Garden – Week #1

For as long as I can remember, I have always wanted a veggie garden. I remember my mum, an avid gardener, putting together a herb garden when we were younger, and I was disappointed that there weren’t any planned veggies in there. I say no planned veggies because the odd potato or tomato bush appeared care of the compost soil that mum put into the herb garden. I do remember her quickly ripping them out when she realised, but I was quietly devastated that we didn’t grow our own veggies. I am not sure where the fascination came from, perhaps it was hearing of other kids at schools having them (though I don’t remember anyone saying that they did). Or maybe it was that my grandfather grew his own vegetables, and I loved eating the fruits of his labour – most notably the stewed rhubarb he used to give us that we lashed on top of our ice-cream! When my husband and I moved into our first home we set about making up our vegetable patch, starting with one bed and then working our way to the 5 that we have now. The last 2 summers haven’t seen the most amazing crops; last year I was battling the heat with a 5 month old and the year before that I was pregnant and sick most of the time! This year I am determined to make a good go of it and nurture it so that we can have some delicious summer veggies! My husband was ready to give up on the veggie patch as he’s not consistently around over summer so he was starting to feel like he just wasn’t able to commit the time to it. I on the other hand was keen to get the passion back, and have a project for myself to focus on – because, like seriously, I don’t already have enough to do?!!! Anyway, true to form and just like my mum, I can’t sit still for very long, so Project Veggie Patch is happening for the Summer of 2014/2015!!

On the day that sees most of Victoria glued to a television watching the Melbourne Cup, I got about planning the layout for the veggie patch. I have a notebook dedicated to the task, so I drew up a plan of the veggie patches (I am not an artist so when you see my drawing don’t laugh!!) and where we would put the seeds or seedlings. I also did some research on making my own cover to go over the strawberry plants to keep the birds away! I then set off to the local Bunnings to collect the things that I needed and came back all gung-ho and ready to go! I spent a solid hour with my head down and bum in the air planting the seeds and seedlings, and then laying down the sugar cane mulch to go on top. I was so impressed with my efforts! I particularly love the contraption I have over the strawberries, and I’m looking forward to seeing how it holds up and if it does in fact keep the birds at bay.

Veggie Garden photos Week 1

The Plan      Veggie Garden Planner

So because of my excitement at this little project, and as a sign of my commitment to keep it going throughout the Summer and into the Autumn, I thought that I’d try to regularly blog about it. Feel free to add your comments as I go along, and any advice that you might have for this novice veggie gardener. Any questions are also welcome! I’m not an expert, and I rely on many websites and books to get me through, but I am happy to share to my experience, and even perhaps inspire a few of you to get involved and start your own!! Don’t forget to follow the blog so that you can get the updates. I hope to blog once a week about it, including any photos that I might have – don’t worry, I won’t bother with a photo if I haven’t seen anything sprout!! IF anything exciting happens in between the weekly posts, I might pop something up, but I’ll try not to go over board! I am using this as a means to keep the excitement up and be accountable to making a good go of it this season!

I look forward to sharing the journey with you!

She doesn’t know how to do her washing!

She doesn’t know how to do her washing!

I recently cleaned my windows, which were just revolting!! I am embarrassed at how bad they had got…and I finally did something about it after my son was playing at the front windows and he had gunk under his nails from the yuk on the windows…eeewwwww!!!! Anyway, after I had cleaned them and I could see a clear picture of what outside looked like through the windows, I was reminded of this little story:

A young couple moves into a new neighbourhood. The first morning, while they are eating breakfast, the young woman sees the neighbour hang up the wash outside.

“That laundry is not very clean,” she said, “she doesn’t know how to wash correctly. Perhaps she needs another laundry soap.”

The husband looked on, but remained silent.

Every time her neighbour would hang out the wash, the young woman would make the same comment.

About one month later, the woman was surprised to see nice clean washing on the line and said to her husband,

“Look! She has learned how to wash correctly. I wonder who taught her this?”

Her husband said, “I got up early this morning and washed the windows.”

Now, there is a punch line to this story that I will share shortly, but honestly I felt a connection with this story. Not that I was looking onto anyone else’s washing, just my own front yard, but I seriously think that it makes such a difference to how your perceive what you are viewing depending on how clean your windows are! The plants in my garden bed looked lush and green through clean windows, where before they looked a bit dull!

So, coming to the punch line of the story – And so it is with life: What we see while watching others depends on the purity of the window through which we look through. Now that’s rather deep, so rather than me analysing that and popping it into some very clunky sentences, I’ll let you ponder that one. All I’ll say is that I love looking through clean windows!

See my before and after photos below. Click here to read about the fabulous products that I used to clean them.

Before and After

What kitchen table?!

This is an honest post – I haven’t really posted one of those about life and when things get a bit tough. I thought it was time to get honest because this is where we are at at the moment and I think it’s worth sharing. My husband has a job that takes him away during the summer for days at a time, often without much notice, so my son and I are at home living life together on our own. We get into a good routine and I mostly manage pretty well without my husband. We miss him when he’s not here, and my son is starting to look for him at night and in the morning’s – he’s still too young to understand where Daddy is. We love having him home again, but I can find that it interrupts the routine that my little man and I fall into. My poor husband can feel a bit redundant (which he’s not) and like he gets in the way (well, he kinda does but only because we’ve got this routine thing down pat!). It’s been a bit of a struggle for us as we have stumbled and weaved our way through the life that we have for 6 months of the year where he is away a lot, with the other 6 months of the year where he is around all the time. I don’t think that it’s harder for either one of us, our experiences of this life situation are just very different. My husband misses out on spending time with our son, and I am just plain exhausted!! When my husband is away, I get to the end of the day, after I’ve put my little man to bed and I’ve made and eaten my dinner (cooking for 1 can be a bit of a pain, but I have forced myself to continue making dinner and keeping as healthy as I can), I just collapse on the couch! I don’t think that I even really take in what’s on the TV – I just see the flicker of the image and some words, but my brain has knocked off for the day and couldn’t possibly take in anything more!

When my husband is home, he is normally home in time to bath our son, which gives me half an hour to get our dinner organised and pop washing and ‘stuff’ away. It’s only half an hour but I must manage to get heaps done, because in my husbands absence the house looks like a bomb has hit it and the recovery team haven’t been in to clean up, ever! Washing piles up and the kitchen table…well, what kitchen table?! If I didn’t have photos of my table I wouldn’t believe that I actually had one – I can’t see it for all the ‘stuff’ on it and around the base of it! I am very lucky that my husband doesn’t return from these trips away and ask me what on earth I’ve been doing whilst he’s been gone!! He probably wonders it, but he’s smart enough to know not to ask! I appreciate everything my husband does to enable me to be a mostly stay at home mum. Things get tight, as all families like ours would know, but I am loving being able to watch our son grow up, but am also blessed to have family support that enables me to return to work one day a week (along with a work environment that also supports that). So for now we will continue to fumble our way through routines that run smoothly and get interrupted, a house that looks very, very lived in, and I’ll still spend my days wondering “What kitchen table?!”

FYI – my kitchen table when my house is under control and my husband is home! It was a very tired St Vinnie’s purchased table that I re-did last summer. I am very happy with how it turned out (although a lot of thanks goes to my mum who is handy with an electric sander!!!)

My revamped kitchen table

My revamped kitchen table

Does anyone else find themselves in similar situations to this?! Do you have strategies to help manage the chaos in your home? I’d love to hear from you!

Chuckles & Tantrums

We have a 1 year old, and it would also seem that coinciding with that we have a toddler. We have begun to navigate around the unfamiliar territory of tantrums from a child who can’t yet speak. It’s like a game of charades, however the other player isn’t very good at expressing their thoughts in any other way than tears and whinging. I think that we’re doing a pretty good job of playing the game, but we do lose every so often…sometimes we all come a drawer! The consolation at the moment is that Mr One is not walking un-aided. I know that as soon as he’s on the trot then we’ll be well and truly left behind!

Whilst that’s all going on we have a child who is so giggly and happy. He loves us chasing after him as he madly crawls away whilst laughing his divine throaty chuckle! He plays independently with his millions of toys, trying to stick his spoons into every hidy hole he can find. He loves to flick through the pages in his books, and tears out the odd page when he’s on a whim. He particularly loves my cook books, so I’m a hopeful mummy that he’ll one day possess some culinary skills. Our child loves to play peek-a-boo with anyone who will play, even with some unsuspecting participants. Again, he throws back the head and gives out that amazing chuckle.

These two children are actually the same child…we’ve got a Jekyll and Hyde! But the thing I realise is that we’re not alone! Most parents who have a one year old, and/or older, will have one of these children too! It’s the fun and games of parenthood and if you didn’t have the you times you wouldn’t then really be able to appreciate the good times. I wouldn’t change my little man for anything, even when he’s having an almighty tantrum!

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Sunday dreaming

I love Sunday mornings when I get a blog post in my email inbox from Katrina at http://www.katrinaleechambers.com. On Sunday’s she posts a new home that’s for sale somewhere around Australia. She has posted some absolutely gorgeous homes, this one in SA being my particular favourite! She calls this blog segment Stunning Sunday, and I must admit she’s spot on with stunning when it comes to these homes. It makes me dream about all of the things that I’d put into my new home, and I have to say that this new home I might one day have is going to be enormous in order to fit all of these wish list items into!! But then after this period of dreaming, I come back to reality and immediately tell myself that there is so much to be thankful about the house that we actually have…we have worked really hard for what we have now. We don’t have the biggest, newest house, but we definitely have a comfortable, warm and inviting home that we have spent many hours (and dollars) painting, decorating and renovating to make it our own. It’s an awesome home to bring up a family in, and we are happy here. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with dreaming though, so I’ll continue to create my wish list and enjoy reading Katrina’s Stunning Sunday blog every weekend! Have a great Sunday everyone!