In defence of Santa and my epic Christmas tree.

It’s Christmas Eve!! Look at this naughty girl up on the couch like a cat. On the coffee table behind her you can see the book I’m on at the moment. I set myself a Goodreads challenge of reading 80 books this year. I’m on number 73. Can I make it???

There’s also a purple ball of cotton yarn there. I’ve been making washcloths to go with the soap I made for people for Christmas.

In true Frogdancer form, I only got the idea to do this three weeks ago. I’ve been knitting like a maniac since then.

People have been really appreciative of them. God, I love Christmas!

Long-term readers will remember that when I had my huge trip to the UK and Europe, Scott put me onto buying Christmas tree decorations as low-weight, small souvenirs. It didn’t stop me buying enough to have to ship a large box of things home, but it does mean that I have a highly individual tree every year.

 

This year I bought things from North Korea and China. This little doll was bought at the cultural exchange centre in the middle of Pyongyang. I was getting a bit worried that I wouldn’t find anything appropriate from the DPRK to put on the tree, so I was so happy when I saw these!

She’s next to the Santa I bought in the Black Forest in Germany.

Hamlet holding Yorick’s head. “Alas, poor Yorick. I knew him well.” I bought this on the epic challenge day in Stratford-on-Avon. We wanted to see the 5 Shakespeare sites in an afternoon. We made it.

Obviously, when I went to China I needed something to go on the Christmas tree. I bought this at Mao’s tomb. He joins Napoleon’s hat, Richard III’s signature on a key-ring and Henry VIII and his six wives.

And Mary Queen of Scots. This year we put her next to the English telephone booth with robins on it that I bought in Bath. It’s the closest she’s ever likely to get to England.

Here’s my happy Scottish Santa that I bought with my friend Pam in the Georgian house’s gift shop in Edinburgh, next to the grumpy German puppet thing I bought in the Black Forest.

Another China decoration. This time it’s a wooden bookmark from the Forbidden City.

This was going to be a quick post that I put together on Christmas Eve, but it’s taken ages. When I was reading through the posts that I’ve linked to, I was amazed at how much I’d forgotten. Best Decision Ever to blog as I was travelling. I hope you enjoy seeing some of these places with me.

Before I wrote this post, I was on twitter and I saw a tweet from a blogging friend of mine about how they don’t ‘do’ Santa with their little boy. It got me thinking and remembering, so I put a post together on the other blog called “In Defence of Santa – from a Value-ist.”

Please take the time to read it, especially those of you who have watched the boys growing up. 🙂

Merry Christmas everyone! May your days be jolly!

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Posted in balance, Children., holidays, memories, Quality of life | Tagged , , | 5 Comments

Probably the most educational part of my classes.

Today I spent a happy couple of hours trawling the internet looking for fresh Dad jokes for my classes. About 6 months ago I had the brilliant idea of putting a Dad joke up on the board at the beginning of every lesson.

The kids were bewildered at first, but it didn’t take them long to get into it and really look forward to them. If I ever forget to write one up, they’ll ask where the Dad joke is. It’s a bit of fun.

It’s also a good teaching tool. Sometimes these jokes rely on twisting old sayings around, or changing the spelling of a word, or playing with a well-known fact. If some kids don’t get the joke of the day, their friends (or myself) will explain it to them. Teaches them a few bits and bobs that up until now had escaped them.

I needed a couple of hundred new ones for my new classes. I decided this was clearly the best use of my professional time that was earmarked as preparation time for next year.

Here are 10 of the best jokes I found today.

  1. Someone keeps sending me flowers with the heads cut off. I think I’ve got a stalker.
  2. What do you call a priest who sleepwalks? A roaming Catholic.
  3. Why did the hipster burn his mouth drinking coffee? Because he drank it before it was cool.
  4. I was asked to help design the first Monopoly board. I thought, ‘I’ll give it a go…’
  5. You gotta hand it to short people. Because we can’t reach it on our own.
  6. What do you call a herd of sheep tumbling down a hill? A lambslide.
  7. A bloke told me that he was going to attack me with the neck of a guitar. I said, “Is that a fret?”
  8. I just got hit by a rental car. It Hertz.
  9. What do you call a nervous javelin thrower? Shakespeare.
  10. I hate spelling errors. You mix up two letters and your whole sentence is urined.

I have many more – I needed to find 200. It was a lovely way to spend the third-last day of the school year. Only 2 days to go!!!

Posted in Just for fun., work | Tagged , | 4 Comments

Water crisis!

When the landscaper attached the watering system to the tank at the side of the house, I was rapt. Until I turned the tap and no water came out. It’s been raining all through winter, so I knew the tank was full. We started to talk about repriming the pump, until David25 rapped the side of the tank and said, “I think it’s empty.”

He grabbed a chair and jumped up to take a look at the top.

“Hey, Mum, have you noticed all these plants growing here?” he asked.

“No, how can I? I’m too short,” I replied.

What with all the dust and dirt being thrown up by the house next door being built, the tank was totally blocked and wasn’t being filled. Of course, we find this out just as we’re entering summer.

We still had to check if the pump was working, so we filled the tank about a quarter-full from the mains water.

The only tap nearby is at the other end of the house, so you get to see the new fence and paving.

After a while, I tested it out. Success!

This all happened 5 days ago. This morning I walked into my ensuite and I could hear water gurgling into the tank. Melbourne is forecast to have a month’s worth of rain today, so the tank should be filled very quickly.

I’ve never been so glad to be caught in a deluge.

Fortunate Frogdancer strikes again!

Posted in gardening | 3 Comments

Boring comes before fun. Sad but true.

Proof that my son can use an Allen key! I asked him to send a photo when he put the bed together. 🙂

Work at The Best House in Melbourne has ramped up a notch. The wicking garden beds are trying their best to produce crops, but the soil is so poor that most of the plants are turning yellow, or they’re desperately producing fruit – capsicums, chillies and tomatoes are the main culprits – trying to reproduce before they die.

I’m still bringing home compost materials every workday from school and last weekend I had my first compost bin’s worth of compost ready to spread onto the garden. It was a gardening nerd’s dream! I spread out the compost over a couple of sections that weren’t being used yet, dug them in and covered them with mulch. They’ll percolate away over summer and by next autumn, the soil in those sections should be SO much better.

So I had to decide whether to make my next project a fun one – (ie: build the roof over the lower backyard and thus have my outdoor room) or to finish off the boring part of the paving – (ie: the pebbly sections along each side of the house that weeds grow through.)

Then I had a chat with my new neighbour.

He and his wife have had a nightmare experience with building a house. It was supposed to take a year, but it was 3 years before they were able to move in. They’re taking the builders to court because there are so many issues. The poor things have 4 kids under 4 – they went for baby number 3 and ended up with twins.

They also have 2 staffies who hate small dogs. As you all know, you can’t get much smaller than Scout. She’s about 4 inches tall. Poppy and Jeff have just had a massive amount of tooth extractions, so they’d be useless at defending anybody if it came to a fight. The crumbling, 40-year-old side fence was clearly not up to the task of keeping these animals apart.

Fortunately, we’re all on the same page. I said that I didn’t want to find his dogs coming through the doggie door after my pets, and Dave-Next-Door said, “Yeah. And I don’t want to have my dogs put down.” So this fence will look a bit like Fort Knox.

My landscaper said that it’d be easier to do the side paving once the fence was up, so my decision was made for me. The boring yet practical jobs had to come before the fun one.

This more than brings the money I saved from selling the house to an end, so any further jobs will be cash-flowed from my wage. At least that gives me a reason to go to work with a spring in my step, if I’m working towards projects. 🙂

The paving has started and should be finished by the end of this week. I also got him to install a watering system for the non-wicking beds. He did that in a day, which amazed me until he said that when he installed the paving in the yard he ran a pipe underneath for the watering and another in case I ever wanted to install outdoor lighting.

The fence is a work in progress. It’s nearly finished, so maybe by the weekend everything will be done and I can let the dogs out without having them race over to next door’s place to play with their kids.

Only two weeks to go until the school year is finished. My reports and marking are done, so it’s a smooth ride down to the end of the year.

Can’t WAIT for the holidays!

 

Posted in gardening, pets, Quality of life, renovating, vegetables, wicking beds | Tagged , | 2 Comments

Evan22 moves into a REAL student household.

Hooray! I’m back! And this is a picture of The Playboy Mansion. (More of that shortly.)

The last of the marking for the school year has been done, we’re swinging into the last week of formal classes and our glorious 5 weeks of summer holidays are galloping towards us faster than you can say lickety-split. So much has been happening, but I thought I’d catch you all up on Evan22’s latest.

He has been an integral part of this blog right from the beginning, back in September 2007 on my very first blog post. He was so interested in what I was writing about and he’s grown up with the blog being part of his life from then on. Earlier this year you saw how he moved out of home to go and live in Ballarat in the Halls of Residence at Fed Uni when he started his acting course. He had to move out of there in November and he and 3 girls have decided to rent a house together. Hence ‘The Playboy Mansion’.

Last weekend we drove up there with a carload of stuff. We went to IKEA first to buy him another bed. When he left the old house and moved into The Best House in Melbourne with David25, Ryan23 and me, I bought him a double bed from IKEA as a ‘welcome home.’ He was going to take the bed apart and take it up to Ballarat with him, but then I realised that if he did that, I’d just have to get another bed to fill that room. I may as well keep the double bed and buy him a new one. Same/Same.

He looked at me and asked…”Could it please be a Queen-sized bed???” How can I resist those twinkling little eyes? Besides, I have a queen-sized bed and he’s FAR taller than I am. So we swung by IKEA, grabbed a mattress, bed base, mattress protector, some fitted sheets and a few other bits and bobs that he needed, and then we hit the road for Ballarat. It was a beautiful day and I was pleased that I was going to spend some time with my boy, trapped in the car beside me as he was.

Here he is, unpacking the car. I was really pleased to be able to see where he was going to be living so I can picture him in my mind. The girls have the main house, while he has a self-contained sleepout out the back. When he told me about it I was picturing some povvo enclosed verandah with louvres for windows which, given Ballarat’s awful winter climate – it actually SNOWS there sometimes!! – would be awful. However, he’s found himself a pretty sweet pad.

He was telling me that the landlord bought the place when his child was going to Uni there about 10 years ago and he’s rented it out to students ever since. There’s a rolling stock of third years leaving Ballarat and first and second years like Evan22 needing places to rent. Sound like the perfect set-up for a landlord to me!

This couch was one that the previous tenant left behind. It’s comfy enough to sleep on, and given Evan22’s hospitable nature, I’m sure some of his friends will be testing this out after a few parties.

He’s paying the most for his room at $150/week. He’s eligible for Centrelink benefits of being a full-time mature-aged student who is living out of home, but this rent will still stretch his budget. He plans on either working full-time during the long Uni holidays or picking up part-time work through the year.

Evan22 didn’t have a smooth ride to university. During his year 12 studies, he was adamant that he wasn’t going to be funnelled into attending uni – he even made a Media Studies film about how the ATAR turned students into zombies.

Of course, you can imagine how delighted this made me feel – a teacher firmly embedded in the education system! But if there’s one thing being a mother of 4 and a teacher of 4,000 has taught me – you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink. So my little pony took a Gap Year, then another one and another one.

For the first 2 years, he worked in a fruit shop around the corner. Then he got a job in an office with a couple of his school friends and worked full-time. I didn’t know this at the time, but he’d already decided that he wanted to do an acting or writing course somewhere and he knew he’d need to have cash stashed to bankroll it.

Then, last year he auditioned, got into Ballarat and was on his way.

After we finished unpacking, I whisked him off to lunch at the Pancake Kitchen. My little vegetarian needed a full stomach before taking that Allen key and putting his bed together!

The 3 years he spent getting his head together have really paid off. When he left school he was a bit directionless. He knew he wanted to do something creative with his life but he wasn’t sure what. Working in the fruit shop gave him great skills dealing with the General Public – (hate those guys!)- while working in the office confirmed to him that, though he loved his co-workers, this wasn’t the environment for him.

He’s pouring his heart and soul into his course. I’ve never seen him work harder at anything before. Even he’s a bit surprised about how organised and ordered he is about his studies. He has a whiteboard that I used to use for my Thermomix team meetings when I had my business and he uses it to draw up a weekly schedule. He’s reading aloud 20 minutes a day to improve his pitch and timbre. He isn’t carrying on with his ballet classes but he loves tap and has elected to keep tippety-tapping away next year. I asked if he wanted to go to the supermarket with me after lunch so I could stock up his kitchen for him.

“No thanks,” he said cheerily. “I’ve got plenty of food already.”

It’s almost as if an adult has stolen the body of my child…

 

Posted in Children., Quality of life | 3 Comments

More random musings as kids write. Or do grammar. Or read.

  • A couple of days ago I went to the auction of one of the townhouses that were built on my old property. It was a real ‘Sliding Doors’ moment. I was able to see if I’d made the right decision to sell the block with fully approved plans instead of going ahead with the build. Turns out I did. The auction had only one bid – a vendor bid of 1.525 Million, so it was passed in without selling. As I drove away I was so thankful that I’d sold when I did. Imagine the stress if I’d had to pay another 15 months of bridging finance at 3K/month, only to fail to sell at the last minute? Fortunate Frogdancer strikes again! Here’s the link to the post I wrote about it on the other blog, complete with photos of the townhouse. The builders did a really good job and I’m sure it’ll sell soon. I’m just not sure that they’ll get the price they clearly want for it.
  • I’ve let my year 8’s listen to music as they do their grammar. It’s amazing how quieter they are with headphones stuffed into their ears.
  • I received a text from the landscaper yesterday as I was having lunch at a wnery on the Mornington Peninsula. He’s starting work back at the house today, paving with reclaimed bricks around each side of the house, digging drainage underneath so that there’ll be no flooding problems later on. The garden beds in the back that are not wicking beds will have a watering system attached. This will mean that the rest of the money that I saved from the sale of the house will be finished, so the roof over the lower level in the backyard will have to wait until I can cash-flow it.
  • To add to the expenses, the new next-door neighbours want to put in a new side fence. After I heard about their Staffy that hates small dogs, I wanted a sturdy fence put in, too! It’s going to be the tallest we can have, running the entire length of the property. $1,200. The thing that I like about having both jobs done at the same time is that the landscaper will pave directly up to the new fence, meaning that no one will be able to dig in or out. My dogs wouldn’t stand a chance against a staffy.
  • Every now and then I look up from my keyboard and I see a kid grooving to the funky beat in total silence. It’s pretty funny.
  • Two minutes till the bell. Better get ready for the next lesson in the double period – Letters to the Editor.
Posted in work | 2 Comments

Random musings as kids write.

  • I’m sitting here in front of my docile year 9 class while they’re writing an essay. It’s silent, the only sounds being the noise from the class next door, the click of my nails hitting the keyboard and papers rustling. It’s a fairly hard task that they’re doing and there’s been lots of apprehension. The kids at this school are really diligent and want to do well, so they’ve been stressing over how to do this properly. Even the lazy ones have been asking questions in the week leading up to this.
  • I’ve just finished the most fabulous book by Richard Glover. ‘The Land Before Avocado’ is a look at Australia in the 1960’s and 70’s. As someone who grew up in this time, it brought back so many memories. Things were pretty insane back then – sometimes in a good way (the music) but often in a bad way (the sexism and racism – along with all the smoking and crime.) I highly recommend it – it’s a funny and extremely interesting read.
  • Poppy and Jeff have just come back from a visit to the vet to have their teeth cleaned and quite a few extractions. They’re only 5 years old, yet they’ve had a heap of teeth out already. I’ve been 30 years in this breed and I’ve never seen teeth this bad. The vet said that they’re seeing this more and more in the smaller breeds – the bone under the gums gets eaten away and then abscesses form under the teeth in the gaps that are left. He said that he thinks that in 20 years time they’ll find that this problem is genetic. $1400 later I left the surgery with my two little gummy-mouthed people in tow. Yikes!
  • Do you know how much I like teaching when the kids are deathly silent and I can write what I want?
  • Do you know how much I’ll dislike reading their essays for hours on end once they hand them in?
  • David25 told me that he’ll be moving out soon. In a couple of months, probably. Of all the boys, he’s the only one that hasn’t yet had a stint of independent living. Poverty has prevented him from doing so, but we get along beautifully so it hasn’t been a drag having him around. The thing I’m most excited about – apart from the joy of seeing him finally become an adult, of course- is that when he moves out, I’ll make Ryan23 move across into David25’s room and then I WILL FINALLY HAVE A STUDY OF MY OWN! With a door that leads directly out into the backyard. I’ll be able to leave my sewing machine out and I’ll finally get to finish the quilt I started last year at the retreat. I can clear out all the piles of papers from my room and have actual space in my walk-in-robe once I get all of the craft supplies out from the shelves. I’m so excited.
  • I’ve been adding fertiliser and compost juice to the crappy soil in the wicking beds and this, as well as the warmer weather, seems to be taking effect. Leaves are turning green and plants are starting to actually grow. Maybe I’ll have some things to harvest in the summer holidays, after all.
  • I joined twitter a couple of months ago, @frogdancer3  I didn’t think I’d like it but I’ve really warmed up to the whole thing.
  • The kids are finishing in about 5 minutes, so I’ll press ‘publish’ on this and go and start collecting their papers. Thanks for listening!

 

 

 

Posted in books, pets, reading, work | 3 Comments

Skinflint Sunday: Free compost materials!! Why wouldn’t you?

I’m pretty sure I showed you guys a picture of my sons assembling a tumbling compost bin a few weeks ago. I’ve never owned one of these before. In the old place, I just had a couple of those huge, open-bottomed bins that you place on the ground, take about a year to fill up and then wait for another 2 years before the stuff inside becomes usable.

I wasn’t a fan. I’m not getting any younger and with the soil turning my plants yellow in the wicking beds, I don’t have years to waste.

I did my research and it seems that with the tumbling part of the tumbling bins, compost can be ready in weeks instead of months or years. Imagine how delighted I was when I saw that some genius has invented a tumbling bin with TWO drums!?! You fill up one drum and then continue tumbling it, while filling up the other one with your veggie scraps and old newspapers. When one drum is full of compost, you empty it and then start tumbling the other bin while you’re filling up the first one again.

It’s a never-ending circle. Of life. Of compost. It’s a beautiful concept.

At first, I had the bin in the backyard on the new brick paving, but I didn’t think of the ‘compost tea’ that leaks from the bins. It was going to stain my paving!!! Argh!!! What could I do? The bin was too heavy to move.

Then Ryan23 said, “Why don’t you empty out the bins and then move it?” Sometimes people need to state the obvious to me. I’m not terribly practical.

 

 

 

So I emptied out the stuff in the bins. Not the most pleasant job. Poppy and Scout started stealing things to eat from them as I was moving the bins and in the end, they got into a squabble over an aromatic morsel of banana peel or melon peel. So I locked them both in the garage away from temptation. Stupid dogs.

So I began again. I still had to keep an eye on the worm farm so that I didn’t starve them in my quest to get compost for the garden, but after a couple of weeks, I realised that even filling up one drum was going to take a fair amount of time with just our household scraps. That’s when I had a Brilliant Idea.

At heart, teachers all want to save the planet and be wonderful. You couldn’t be a teacher for more than 5 minutes unless you feel this way. So I introduced the Staffroom 2 compost bin. It sits on the end of my desk, just above the bin, and people drop their banana peels, apple cores and tea bags into it.

Everyone loves it! They get to feel the glow of doing the right thing by Mother Earth, while I get to accelerate the amount of compost I can make. It’s a win/win.

After a week or so, I started to think outside the box of staffroom 2. Just down the hall is the Food Tech room, full of stoves and chopping boards and kids cooking their little hearts out. Maybe they’d like to donate their scraps instead of giving them away?

The Food Tech ladies were into the idea. Such a good teaching tool for the kids. They suggested I bring in a little bin that can sit on the bench and the kids can throw their scraps in. Then, just as I was about to leave, Raeleen uttered the remark that has turned into being a game-changer:

“Why don’t you go down to the canteen and ask them if they’d put a bin in there for you?”

OMG. Genius!

Our school has 2,300 students and around 200 teachers. The canteen services hundreds of people every day. There’s a goodly amount of chips, nuggets and potato cakes that are sold, but there’s also a huge amount of salads, meals, soups and fruit salads that are sold as well. Imagine the scraps???

Fast forward to today. I have a 27Litre bin in the canteen kitchen and twice a week I collect the contents and take them home. I drive on those days… I somehow suspect that I wouldn’t be too popular on the train with a bag of food scraps on my lap…

I’ve had to buy another tumbling compost bin. Can you see the trays underneath? I’ve been harvesting the compost tea, diluting it and using it as fertiliser. I’ve just started filling up the 4th bin in the system, so soon I’ll be using homegrown compost on the garden.

Happy days!

 

Posted in gardening, School, vegetables, wicking beds | 5 Comments

Snippets from schooling.

    • My year 8’s didn’t settle down to work yesterday. We were supposed to be watching little portions of ‘Bend it Like Beckham’ and discussing film techniques, but they were restless and noisy. I cracked it and made them write “I will not be disruptive’ 100 times. Seriously, I don’t think they’ve ever had to write lines before. It kept them quiet, almost shell-shocked, for the rest of the lesson and I got to do some writing. Would it be unprofessional if I made them do this every lesson…?
    • The next lesson after that was my year 7’s. At the start of each English lesson, I allow the kids 10 minutes to either read what they want or write what they want. It’s a silent part of the lesson because they’re not allowed to interfere with anyone else’s private time. Ethan spent the first 6 minutes dancing silently in a corner. He was quiet and didn’t try and disrupt anyone else – he was just dancing, seeing if I’d say anything to him. I just pretended I didn’t see him; I wanted to see if he’d last the full 10 minutes. Made me laugh, though.
    • Evan22 sent me a video of his end of year assessment piece for his acting course. The students had to film someone telling a story, then they had to duplicate the delivery. Evan22 deliberately chose someone very different to himself – a sporty guy telling a story about a brawl on the sidelines of a footy match. I’m so proud of him because his delivery is so completely unlike how he is IRL. I’m feeling relieved… Maybe this acting course IS the right course for him…?
    • It’s the year 12’s last day of classes today. They’ve had their dress-up day, their shirt/uniform signing day and we’ve just come back from their assembly where they show short videos they’ve made, they sing and dance and generally leap around and celebrate their freedom. (Of course, with exams starting in 12 days, freedom is still an illusion…) To celebrate OUR illusory freedom, the year 12 teachers are having a sausage sizzle at the Bowls Club after school today. Can’t wait!
Posted in Children., School | Leave a comment

Skinflint Sunday: Buy yourself hundreds of new friends.

In my last gardening post I think I mentioned that I’m not overly impressed with the soil that the landscaper bought for the garden beds. My plants are yellowing and not growing well. I’m composting like a mad woman (more on that in another post), but another way to improve soil is to get some worm action happening.

So I ordered 6 mini worm feeding stations and a bag of 1,000 worms. The feeding stations also come with a ‘worm bomb’ which is coir and worm eggs. I had them delivered to work, which freaked out a few people – one woman in particular who is scared of worms.

“Are they going to escape?” she asked.

“They’ve come from 2,000 miles away. If they were going to make a break for it they would’ve done it long before now!” I said.

It’s a very simple idea. The feeding stations are just plastic bins with a flip-top roof, with 9 holes drilled in the bottom. You place the feeders on the soil, put the worm bombs and worms in, water them and put some food in. Then leave them to it. The worms are able to leave the feeding station through the holes in the bottom. They roam around the garden bed, doing whatever it is that worms do, then they return to the feeding station when they’re hungry. If the weather is too hot or cold, they retreat to the soil for comfort, so they don’t boil themselves alive.

The idea I have is that every 6 months or so I can move them to another section so that over 18 months the whole bed will have worm castings through it. The entire wicking beds are one big container – the dividing timbers that split them into 3 are only along the top to strengthen the walls. So the worms would easily be able to find their food when I move them.

The worm company said that these feeding stations can also be used for dog droppings, so I’ve decided to give it a go. I’ve put the bin in one of the original garden beds at the back of the yard, where (hopefully) the poor unfortunate worms will learn to feast on poo. So far, after a month or so, it doesn’t look like they are that desperate, but I’ll leave it go a little while longer and see what happens.

At first things went along swimmingly. The worms were eating the food and appeared to be multiplying, the plants were yellowing but surviving and the days grew warmer.

But in the last week, we’ve had a few days of mid 20’s and the black feeding stations are cooking up. What will they be like when temperatures reach the 30’s or 40’s? I decided to make an experiment.

 

After I recorded a podcast, (which was exciting. It’s my first podcast interview), I grabbed my bean seeds and some bamboo stakes and I headed outside. My ‘halpers’ positioned themselves strategically, so that I couldn’t try and sneak past them without them knowing, and I built my first ever tripods.

 

My thinking is that as the beans grow, they’ll shield the feeding stations from the sun and make the environment within seem slightly less steamy than a Turkish sauna. There are no strings across the front because that’s where the lid flips open.

The first one has Lazy Housewife beans planted. These never did well for me in the old house but I’m going to give them another try. Blogless Sandy always had good crops from them.

The other 4 feeding stations have Berlotti beans planted. Hopefully, we’ll have some dried beans to eat over winter that we grew ourselves! (I say ‘we’. Remember my ‘halpers’? It’s not as if the boys ever do anything out here!)

It was about this time that I realised I had mismatched shoes.

Have I ever mentioned how much I like podcasts? A world of information and entertainment for free. I started off listening to UK FI Pod’s interview with Ken from The Humble Penny, which I enjoyed, then moved on to finishing up Casefile’s ‘The Toy Box’, which was horrific, then finished with the latest from ‘My Dad Wrote a Porno’. Financial independence to true crime to comedy. Lovely way to spend a Sunday afternoon.

Then I got wildly excited. See this fake cabbage moth thing? Cabbage moths are very territorial. They are supposed to see these things and fly away, thinking that the garden bed is already taken.

OMG. As I stood not 2 feet away, a cabbage moth fluttered over, hovered near the fake one and then flew off, over the back fence and over the church, away to wreak havoc somewhere else. I truly didn’t think this would work, but maybe it does. I don’t have chooks to feed the caterpillars to anymore, so I really hope this does the trick.

Snow peas! These were from some of the very old seeds that I planted last month as an experiment.

Two weeks ago, when my friends and I went to Heronswood nursery in Dromana, I bought a few seedlings. These are the Tromboncino zucchini seedlings. This garden bed will be planted with shade-loving plants when the roof over the lower level goes up, so I thought I’d make the most of the opportunity and plant some veggies down there for this year. The plastic container is grabbing the water from the outlet from the wicking bed above.

Here’s why it was dripping. I was watering in the cucumber and beans I planted. Bev from Foodnstuff gave me some Purple King bean seeds years ago. I kept sowing them and saving seed. These ones are 6 years old, but I’ll bet some of them germinate.

All up, I planted 4 cucumber, 4 chillies, 4 capsicum and about a million beans. The last few photos have been for Angela, who likes gardening too.

By the time I came in, Jeff was out cold. I’ve just finished a refreshing chardonnay before I go out and water. He’ll probably still be there, blissfully ignorant that he’s been on his own.

 

Posted in gardening, Quality of life, Skinflint, vegetables, wicking beds | 4 Comments