Saturday, October 31, 2009

New beginnings-from old things.

This rose was on it's last legs last year. We moved it, fed it, mulched it, watered it and leaned the spade up against it. One last chance!!!

Look what happened!

I have an aubergine which was planted late last summer. Didn't produce anything. I decided to see what would happen if I left it over winter, as I had tried on several occasions to grow these without success.

Now I have lots of tiny aubergines!

These are the first flowers on my passionfruit vine.

I have also just started my new job. No pictures of that, but another new beginning.

And I went to a new patchwork class and this is what I have made so far.

I love new beginnings -the hopeful promise of them.

Yet everything here had preparatory work to get this far.

Everything new is in some way dependent upon what went before: tending the garden, designing the quilt, learning the skills, putting in the applications.

Today is All Saints Day and this is a time to remember all those who went before -who did the preparatory work, to give us the start we have had today.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Spring garden shade

Our garden is beginning to adapt to warmer weather at last.

DH did a fantastic job when I was away in Sydney last week, and put up all the shade sails and shadecloth blinds on the north and west of the house. These blinds stay up all summer. They bring lots of light into the rooms -somehow the light seems to bounce around the room, yet they cut out most of the heat that otherwise would make the rooms very hot.

Eventually we will have a grape covered pergola on this northern side, but that will need to be of sturdy construction and DH needs to be on holiday to tackle it -not a weekend job.

There are still lots of spring flowers -pelargoniums are splendid at the moment, as are the daisies and cannas.

The kitchen garden is producing leafy things at the moment. Today we harvested the last of the red cabbages.

We have some lovely lettuce, but I will need to get some more in soon.

There are some great rainbow chard plants in the larger raised garden bed. I am going to put more lettuces in here under the shadecloth sail (picture lower down).

The heirloom tomatoes survived the transplanting process and are now in the smaller of our raised garden bed -the first of the 'wicking' beds. We have them under shade on the northern side. They seem to be very happy in the bed, and the soil seems cools and damp but not wet.

Today is going to be 32 degrees Celcius, according to the forecast. Sunday is one of our twice weekly watering days, and our automatic drip irrigation has been on. The plants gradually adapt to the warmer, drier regime of our Mediterranean type climate, and will adjust.

I am very happy that two of my three roses are in flower. I have struggled to get the feeding and sunlight regime right for these, but what I am doing now seems to be working.

Roses are good in this setting -they keep on flowering through summer when other flowers have finished. I like having some flowers to pick for the house, and of course the flowers are essential to bring the bees. Last summer we were hand pollenating some veggies, so I am trying harder to make sure that there are some flowers among the vegetables out the back .

The next tasks will be to continue the heavy mulching of the garden that we have started, to protect the plants and conserve the water in the soil. We will be doing this for weeks to come.

Soon it will be common for us to take every meal we can outdoors, in the patio out the back, and the menu will be cold collations, salads and sandwiches as staples.

It is something I am very grateful for every day, to live in such a fantastic place and with such a wonderful climate. We had a good wet winter this year, the first for many years, and the street trees are looking strong again and ready to cope with the summer heat.

Monday, October 12, 2009

You have to see this

You have to come and see the wildflowers in Spring in Western Australia.

No, really -just drop everything and come.

You will see so much that is beautiful and rare.

Mass displays of everlastings.

Brilliant blue leschenaultia.

Native hibiscus.

Tiny orchids.

Wattles in their thousands.

Can't come just now?

Enjoy these pictures -we had so much fun on just one day's drive north of Perth.

Next time you must come with us, though!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

I am so stingy that (part 2)

I have some celery plants. They are too bitter to eat raw. So I decided today to make cream of celery soup.

I took the bones of a chicken which made our picnic lunch yesterday. I boiled them for stock.

Then I added the celery and leaves of about 1 whole bunch of celery, an onion, a quarter of pumpkin and two potatoes and boiled them for about two hours..

I tasted the soup . EEEK. It was bitter!

OK time to experiment.

I added a pinch of salt. I added two desertspoons of sugar.
Still bitter.

I added a desertspoon of chicken stock powder. One tspn of curry powder.


Ok now I am desperate. Don't want to throw this out!

Added half a jar of applesauce and one whole can of coconut milk.

Blended it with my lovely bamix.

Served it with home made scones. Vietnamese mint sprinked on top.

The comment from my daughter made it all worth while:

"Strangely this works! I would eat this again! WIN! 8-)

Saturday, October 3, 2009


There were flowers and a beautiful gift of a new Greek icon of Sophia (Wisdom) and her daughters
Faith, Hope and Love.

There was champagne when I got home from work on Friday!


Regular readers may remember a post I made last year here which talked about some promises I had made to myself. One of these talked about getting a new job. Yes I have done it! I announced on Thursday to the Committee that I was leaving my work of 13 years in a not for profit agency, the last 10 of these as Executive Officer.

I am proud of myself for dong this before I had actually received an offer for a new job. It felt like I was jumping out of the aeroplane without a parachute!

However the very next morning I received word that I had been offered a job that I had applied for -one I was describing as my 'dream job".

When I made the decision to leave, I wrote a list of what I wanted in a new job -and this one fitted the bill almost to a T. I wanted to work for another not-for-profit agency, with a strong track record of getting things done. I wanted a project position that would give me back some face-to-face work with clients as I find this most energising. I wanted a training component to the position as I love that part of the work. I wanted a fairly short term position -after so long in one spot I just wanted some freedom and variety. And I wanted a challenge!

And I will start this new position very soon. It is all of the above.

Of course it is a bit scary. There is always grief at leaving some things that were worth having in the other position. But I am very grateful to have got this far. I took some risks, I made some hard decisions. For me-for happier days.

My original post made these promises to myself. Here is the promised update:

1. I will take my long service leave which is so overdue... I will do it for myself, to care for myself. I will take a trip, I will do a retreat, I will organise craft classes and learn new skills.

Action so far:
I took my Annual leave -learned patchwork and quilting -went on a retreat.

Goal Completed!

2. I will try as hard as I can to finish the mortgage payments completely so that I can take the pressure off myself if I need to get out of my present job into something kinder for me-less hours, less money but more life..

We are still making extra mortgage repayments but we are soo close to the end! This job I have taken does not have the 'less hours' that I wanted, but hopefully in the next 2 years this will be a reality. Goal 70% completed.

3. I will learn new ways of tackling conflict so that I don't get so damaged, and that includes learning to put boundaries around hurtful relationships.

. I have been working on this one with my spiritual director, and I am booked in to some workshops too. Pleased with my progress - and the healing which is going on. Goal 60% completed.

4. I will be braver than I was.
I have been taking some risks, doing some things I haven't done before. Mixed results, but I am not stopping yet. Still doing this -see above! Goal 60% completed.

5. I will let the day's troubles be sufficient for the day. No importing tomorrow's worries into today.

: Still working on these, but I think I am getting there. Goal 50% completed.

5. I will put my energies into life giving things and walk away from the places where my gifts are wasted. No regrets, just the wrong place for me.

: Done in one major area of my life -goal 50% completed.

6. I will love more, laugh lots, and grow more fruit!

: Planted passionfruit, cape gooseberries. Need a trellis for the grapes. Taking more time to go off and do things that are fun. Goal 50% completed.

7. I will finish my Diploma of Business. Done! Goal 100% completed.

8. I will practice gratitude-all the time. Goal 80% completed.

That is it for now, but I intend to come back and update it.