I’ve run a little mad.


Last night I felt a bit like this. (This is Daphne on the back of the couch on the Rainbow quilt.) I watched Masterchef and then realised I’d fallen asleep before hearing who the eliminated contestants were. I went to bed and polished off the last in the ‘Girl With The Dragon Tattoo’ books, then slept the sleep of the just.

Why was I so tired? I’d had a very physically and emotionally draining day.


It looks as if Molly did too. She’s discovered this box with some folded washing in it and she loves it. She’s in there now, snoring away.


Here’s Bertie on a cushion on the laundry floor. He’s going to the vets tomorrow to have his ears and teeth cleaned. He’s got a few wobbly ones… the vet actually pulled one out on the table when we were in there getting the pets’ vaccinations…. so his mouth has probably been giving him a lot of pain. Hasn’t put him off his food though! Typical gluttonous Cavalier!

ANYWAY. I had a busy day yesterday.

I got up and went to Bentleigh market to buy some comfrey seedlings. I want to plant them under my fruit trees and along the border of the veggie garden to stop the grass from coming in. The market guy didn’t have any but I bought some other flower and veggie seedlings and started back home. Purple cauliflower! Lettuce! Black pansy!

Hang on! Back story!

On Thursday at work I marked about a million essays. By the time the end of day bell sounded my eyes were bleeding but I was uplifted by a feeling of productivity and virtue. I stood up and grandly announced to the staff room, “I’m going to go and buy a fruit tree. And none of you can stop me!”

“What sort of tree are you going to buy?” someone asked.

“I don’t care!” I said.

Among the cries of, “You go girl!” and “You rebel!” there came a quiet voice from the corner of the room. The New Guy in the maths faculty said, “I’m eating a mandarin that I grew in my backyard. Do you want to try it?”

It was DELICIOUS. It was tiny but oh so tasty, just like mandarins used to taste like in the long ago days of my youth. The boys bring gorgeous looking huge mandarins back from their Dad’s shop sometimes, but they often end up throwing them out because they’re a bit pasty and tasteless, but this was lovely.

So I went to the local nursery in Grange road where last year I bought my apple and cherry trees. They had mandarin trees there for $60.

Now that’s a lot of money for mandarins.

So I bought a lime tree instead. Tom1 loves limes.

End of back story. Back to yesterday.

Bentleigh market. On my way home I decided to pop into Oakleigh market to see if they had any comfrey. I wandered around and saw a stall with seedlings. I looked at the sign and felt (almost) violated.

The seedlings were nearly 50% cheaper here than at Bentleigh. I was outraged!! How many years had I been ripped off? It doesn’t bear thinking about. He had some fruit trees at the back of the stall. there was an Imperial mandarin tree for $20. I snapped it up. He had other trees as well… a medlar, a pomegranate, lots of orange and pear trees…. I thought about the pomegranate but decided against it. I went back to the car and started driving.

I just couldn’t get the pomegranate out of my mind. Those of you who’ve seen ‘The Draughtsman’s Contract’ would know why. I’ve always had a soft spot for pomegranates after seeing that movie. I was nearly home when I turned the car around and went back and bought it. $15 for a collection of twigs. Evan4 calls it ‘The Dead Tree.’


It’s been chook-proofed at the bottom to stop the girls from digging it up.


After putting the pomegranate in next to the chook pen, (I figured it would eventually put its roots under the pen where all of the chook poo is…. lots of lovely nutrients…. plus the label says it has red flowers which I thought would be nice to see from the kitchen window)… I dug a hole for the lime tree in my Citrus Grove.

Yes. There’s a sunny corner of the garden that will be where the citrus will go. So far there’s the tiny lemon tree guarded by a broken chair with the compost bin beside it to help it along; and now there’s a lime.


It was in a very elongated container, so it was quite a lot of digging. I also had to avoid inadvertently chopping chooks’ heads off, because there were an astonishing number of worms in the ground and they got very excited. That’s why it’s also chook proofed at the bottom.

The mandarin is yet to go in.

Then I came indoors, determined to do the job I’ve been dreading for months. I’ve procrastinated like the champion I am, but I’d run out of time. I had to assemble the makings of the block for everyone in the quilting Bee.

I’m a member of the Melbourne branch of the Modern Quilt Guild and I signed up for their first quilting bee. This is my month. I’ve enjoyed doing blocks for other people, but OH! the responsibility of getting things organised for yourself!

I decided that I was going to do something a little bit different and get everyone to do a ‘quilt as you go’ block. This is where you make the block as usual, but you also sew it to the batting as you’re assembling it. No more work, but it gets two steps done at once. I’ve seen them on the internet and was intrigued but I haven’t tried to do it. So I thought that maybe others would be similar, so we could do it together. I chose an ultra simple block. What could be easier to organise?

I really shouldn’t do quilting. Not when my Mathematics are so bad.


I cut out 12 blocks of 20″ x 20″ of batting. There are 12 participants so 3 blocks across and 4 down would make a perfect quilt. They’re large blocks but I like the idea of the whole quilt top being done by the group instead of only some of it. So I happily went on cutting out fabric strips to make log cabin blocks, completely unaware of the magnitude of the problem I’d unwittingly created.

Thankfully, about an hour and a half later, just as I was finishing up, a blinding light hit me. (Not literally.)

This quilt would be HUGE. As in long. As in giant stutus. I lay 4 blocks of batting down on the floor and got Ryan3 to lie down beside them. There was about 3 miles of extra quilt at his feet. Then I had to work out how big the squares should be (17.5″ x 17.5″) and cut all of the batting down to size. The two saving graces are:

1. I realised the error before I sent them all out and not after.

2. I initially cut them too big. If I’d cut them too small then there’d be no saving it.


It took ages to get this all done. By this stage, I don’t know if the colours go together. I don’t know if the quilt-as-you-go thing will work. I don’t know anything except that I wish I’d bought the large envelopes ahead of time. Still, I can’t tell you how glad I was to put the final pile together and know that it was DONE.

The participants will have lots of fabric to put the blocks together, as I allowed for the larger block size. Still, better too much than too little.

The emotional trauma was all too much. I had an early night.


The chickens have nothing to do with this. I just thought I’d let them end the post. šŸ™‚

This entry was posted in chickens, Fruit trees, gardening, quilting and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to I’ve run a little mad.

  1. Bev says:

    Aren’t they lucky they’re chickens and don’t have to worry about fruit trees and quilts!

    $60 is a LOT for a mandarin. Bunnings would have been cheaper, but probably not as cheap as the one you got.

    You will love your pomegranate. Mine flowered for he first time last year (no fruit though). The flowers were a beautiful bright red. And they grow easily from cuttings, which you are going to have a go at one day, aren’t you? šŸ˜‰

    Can’t comment on the quilting, as I’m a gardener not a quilter (given up multi-tasking), but hope it all works out.

  2. river says:

    Pomegranate flowers are lovely. I lived in a house once with a pomegranate tree in the front yard.
    Well done on the quilt packages!

  3. Liesel says:

    Hi there, been following your blog for a while, coming out of lurkdom (briefly) to say that Daleys have the best fruit trees (http://www.daleysfruit.com.au/) they always arrive in beautiful health, very soon after you order, by courier. My garden is only 18 months old (backyard permie garden from scratch) and the Daley’s and Yalca trees are outperforming trees from anywhere else, mailorder or nursery. Yalca (http://www.yalcafruittrees.com.au/) are a little Victorian nursery, I ordered apples, a quince, an almond and a cherry plus some berries from them and all the trees are high quality and establishing well. For comfrey, I ordered root cuttings from GreenHarvest (http://www.greenharvest.com.au/Plants/index_EdiblePlants.html) which have since in under a year been multiplied into a dozen healthy plants. I just keep digging up bits of root from the clump and planting them out around all the new trees, and next to the compost heap.
    Hope that helps (although you may curse me if the websites cost you too much – oh, the temptations!) šŸ™‚

  4. Scott says:

    …a *little* mad…?? My favourite bit was the lemon tree guarded by the broken chair.

  5. Jayne says:

    Don’t forget the Oakleigh Produce store, corner of Warrigal and Kangaroo Roads in Oakleigh, they have a fair variety of fruit trees for reasonable prices, too šŸ˜‰
    My mandarin is glowing with delish fruit right now šŸ™‚

  6. Anna says:

    Hi Frogdancer, just found your blog and am enjoying your stories. Had to tell you after reading this how stressful I found putting together the Bee packages too! Enough fabric? Too much? So much time to cut up a whole quilt’s worth at once, so hard to decide on a design etc. at the start – I find receiving the little envelope all presorted and working on someone else’s block to be much easier! Looking forward to getting into your block this weekend.
    PS Had our first home-grown mandarins this year. The first lemon is looking close to ready, too.

  7. coralie says:

    Hello fellow fruit tree addict! Since we are meeting at FTA (fruit trees anonymous) I have to say I AM A FRUIT TREE ADDICT and it has been14 days since I bought my last tree. Although most of my trees end up dead because of neglect of some variety the romantic lure of the tree ripened fruit still lures me – most of my weekends are spend in meerkat style renovations of the paddock with very little to show of it. Love your innovative chicken proofing. Well done!

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