Monday, September 27, 2010


In the garden yesterday, I put up the pea and bean fences and planted the peas. The seeds are three years past their 'plant by' date, but hopefully I will get a few come up. Today I planted yellow and green bush beans. I remembered myself in this garden as a small child, picking the heavy green pods off the vines, and the explosion of flavour in my mouth, and the juicy snap of the pod on my tongue. This morning I imagined children in this garden, playing hide and seek between the rows of beans with their bellies on the cool earth. Looking up at the sunflowers' heavy heads and the clouds beyond. Little fingers stained with strawberry juice.
One of the hardest things to let go of in the loss of my relationship with M is the dream I had of having a family. It is my birthday today, and much as I am a complete kid about birthdays and love them to bits, a part of me now realises that with every year that passes that dream becomes a little harder to attain. I haven't given up hope yet, not by a long shot, but that dream has become almost like a sore tooth - fine if you leave it alone and let it be, but the minute you start probing at it, it causes you pain.
So for now, it is my god-daughters and my friends' kids that will have to join me in this garden and I hope they can enjoy it as much as I do. This afternoon, after a lovely lunch with friend Charlotte, I started planting my summer vegies. These go into seed trays or jiffy pots so they can be transplanted once the danger of frost is past. My nan always planted out her summer vegies on Melbourne Cup Day, but I think I might chance it a little earlier, and keep a close eye on the weather.
I've planted 4 types of pumpkin (Rouge d'Etampes, Turk's Turban, Baby Blue and Grey Crown Imperial), Watermelon (Candy Red), Rockmelon (Hales Best) and 2 types of basil (Dark Opal and Large Sweet Italian). They are in the plastic hothouse with my red and white strawberries (no sign of life yet), chives (no sign of life as well, but to be fair, the seed was 3 years past its plant by date) and Calendulas (Going like a house on fire).
I'm going to make a cup of coffee and take a wander round the garden before what looks like the first thunderstorm of the spring arrives.

The most noteworthy thing about gardeners is that they are always optimistic, always enterprising, and never satisfied. They always look forward to doing better than they have ever done before.
Vita Sackville-West

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Cars, liars and fools

Lessons Learnt:
  • Never buy a second hand car without getting a qualified mechanic to look at it first.
  • Never believe anything the former owner says, eg. "it won't take much to get to roadworthy" (It took $900, including reconnecting the thermostat which had been disconnected so I couldn't see how hot it was running), "it's very reliable" (no, it's not. It blows blue smoke and won't start when it's hot), "You'll have it for a long time" (no, I won't. I've had it less than 6 months, and it needs a new motor - I am going to set it on fire and push it over a cliff)
Ugh, I'm so angry right now. I'm going to go chop some wood so I can imagine the lying SOB's head rolling off the chopping block.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Tired after milking

The day drips down behind the hills
And the dark settles over me

Sandy eyes
Niggling headache
Twitching feet

Sleep calls
Like chocolate
Like warm water on my skin

Roll me up
In the stars
And cover me till morning

Thursday, September 16, 2010

I want...

There is a wind blowing today that feels like it is coming straight off the snow, so I've retreated inside and as a reward for clearing my desk of all my filing, I've been playing my favourite game, 'I want...', where I trawl the internet looking for things to buy with all the spare cash I don't have.
Today two things have come to the top of the list; firstly a new tattoo, something a lot like this gorgeous one:

I love the tree of life motif, especially how the roots are usually equal to the tree - I've always felt very connected to my family, who have lived here for so long, and inspired by their stories. This also represents my love of trees, leaves and the turning of the seasons. I'm visualising it as covering most of my upper back like this one. Long term goal maybe.
The second thing is to renovate my house, starting with combining three small rooms into one. I had a brainstorm with my sister and mum yesterday and I'm very excited about it. At the moment the rooms are the Junk room (can't get into that one), Bead room, and Yarn/fibre room. The yarn room has the only north facing window in the whole house, and in the winter it is the best room in the whole house - lovely and warm and bright.
Next to this room is the bead room, but you can't get to it from the yarn room unless you climb through the window. My best guess is that the bead room and the junk room behind it were originally a verandah on the west side of the house and were turned into rooms. The bead room has a door to the outside on the north side, and the junk room has a door on the south side of the house, and they both have west facing windows.
Confused yet? :)
Anyway, my plan is to join the junk room and the bead room into one, making a long, narrow studio space. Then, have this space join with the (now) yarn room by eliminating the connecting wall/window and replacing it with bi-fold doors, so it can be closed off. So when the doors are open it would be an L-shaped room, and when they are closed the (now) yarn room would be a sitting room.
And I want... it to look like this wonderful craft room I found on flickr. I love the green walls and white cabinetry.
At the moment, the bead room has a bare wooden floor where I ripped up the rapidly disintegrating bile yellow carpet, the yarn room has 70's variegated brown carpet, and the junk room has lino of uncertain colour (could be green, could be grey - hard to tell). BUT, all of the rooms have wooden floorboards underneath which would come up very nicely with a sand and polish.
It's very exciting to plan and imagine like this. My uncle is a builder, so next time he comes to visit I'm going to quiz him on whether my plan is possible structurally (load bearing walls and such) and how much I need to save before it can become a reality.

Monday, September 13, 2010


Come, all you who are not satisfied
as ruler in a lone, wallpapered room
full of mute birds, and flowers that falsely bloom,
and closets choked with dreams that long ago died!

Come, let us sweep the old streets--like a bride;
sweep out dead leaves with a relentless broom;
prepare for Spring, as though he were our groom
for whose light footstep eagerly we bide.

We'll sweep out shadows, where the rats long fed;
sweep out our shame--and in its place we'll make
a bower for love, a splendid marriage-bed
fragrant with flowers aquiver for the Spring.
And when he comes, our murdered dreams shall wake;
and when he comes, all the mute birds shall sing.

Aaron Kramer

Woman vs. snail

There is a war for the possession of the vegie garden. At stake are dozens of small defenseless seedlings. Every night, I venture forth with torch in hand and kill all that I find of these vicious slimy creatures. I laugh an evil laugh at every squishy crunch under my boot.
As they would say in The Lord of the Rings, there will be no dawn for snails...

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Gin and tonic cures everything

Today was my first day back at work after my 'holiday', and I only just stopped myself from throwing the alarm clock at the wall when it went off at 4.30 this morning. I argued with myself for a quarter of an hour, then got out of bed, and tried out some energising balm that I got from The Body Shop while I was away. I think it helped, but at least I smelt nice anyway. (For a little while!)
In among the general household faffing about between milkings, I laid one of the paths in the vegie garden. It may not be the most even or professional looking piece of paving, but it is done, and that's the main thing. I wore knee pads, but even so, I don't think I'll be doing the other path for a few days. My body feels like an old tractor that's being held together with baling twine and tie wire at the moment. The first thing I did when I got home from work tonight was wash down two ibuprofen with a gin and tonic. I feel much better now.
While I was away, I found myself thinking about the vegie garden almost like it was a living breathing being. I would think about the cats, wonder if they'd got into any fights with roaming ferals, wonder how Mavis and Madge were laying and whether the bower birds were eating their food, and then I'd think of the garden - had the spinach got any new leaves, was the first asparagus up yet, were the new roses okay, was the peach tree flowering yet.
My life seems to have shifted slightly. I feel somehow more myself than I have in a long time.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Wild weather

Well, it was a wild night last night. Along with all the rain (over 4 inches at last count) the wind kicked in. Before I went to bed, I went to feed the outside cats and I could hear the wind roaring in the trees at the top of the hill, and along the river. The garage roof developed an alarming banging noise, which I'll have to check on when the weather isn't so feral.
It's stopped raining for the most part, and this morning I went for a drive around the valley to see what the damage was. The river must have reached its peak during the night, because you could see where the high water mark had been. There are a lot of trees and rock slides on the road, but the road is open and driveable.The picture above is Big Snowy Creek (as opposed to Little Snowy Creek), and somewhere under all that water is a quiet little swimming hole. Yeah, somehow I think all that rain might have melted some of the snow off the mountains.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Gumboots day

It is definitely a gumboots day today. It has been raining solidly since the early hours of this morning, and everywhere I look there is water. My chook feedhouse has an ankle deep moat around it and poor Mavis and Madge are looking decidedly bedraggled.
I started ten days off work on Wednesday, and got stuck into the vegie garden in a big way. I now have my leafy vegetable bed mulched, and some seedlings planted. I am dividing one of the larger beds up into three with recycled brick paths to make it easier to work, and for crop rotation. I have dug out where the paths are to go so they are level with the existing paths, and now I just have to wait till it dries out enough so I can put them in.
Here's a photo of the garden in progress - forgive the wobbly pic please :)

Not that long ago, the whole garden looked like those two far beds (the ones behind the cat) - full of weeds - so I am pretty chuffed with myself. It's really brought me a huge sense of accomplishment even to get this far, and to grow things is something that makes me smile.
Yesterday I went into town and went to Bunnings to get some weed mat to put under the paths. Yes, of course that is all I got! Jeez, no trust....
Ok, maybe I got a few more things than that...
Here's what I got at Bunnings:
- Weed mat
- Large bag of seed raising mix
- Large bag of pet and bird friendly snail bait
- 3 standard roses (on sale for $10 each)
- 9 bare rooted strawberry plants
- 2 kg of seed potatoes
- A butane stove for cheese making
- A seedling tray
- Three packets of seeds (Chives, bronze shades sunflowers, and red and white strawberries)
I'm very excited about the strawberries - I think they might be alpine strawberries, but I'm not sure. The sunflowers will be planted on the west end of my root crop bed to shade the vegies from the worst of the afternoon sun. And the chives are going under the roses.
I went for a walk in my gumboots and rain gear earlier, and it is crazy the amount of water that is everywhere. Back in the days before the dams, the river would have covered the floor of the valley by now, and everyone would be bracing themselves for the worst to come when the snow melted off the mountains. Even now, the water sits in every hollow, ghosts of the billabongs that would have dominated the landscape at this time of year.
One of the bulls stands in solitary splendor on his own little island in the bull paddock. He has some trees to stand under, some cows to talk to over the fence, and the corner of a shed to scratch on, so he is happy.
In spinning news, I have put a Majacraft Rose spinning wheel on layby from Ewe Give Me The Knits at Tongala, and after Monday, I will be almost a third of the way to paying it off! I have been wanting one of these wheels since I tried it at Bendigo '09, and I decided to treat myself to one as a birthday/Christmas/getting-through-the-breakup-without-knifing-anyone present. I have a picture of the Rose stuck up next to my computer so I can look at it often.
My friend Sue suggested I post some pictures of where I work, so I'll finish off this post with a picture from each of my two 'offices'.