Saturday, October 30, 2010

Honey days

Some days are like swimming in a clear stream - things just flow. Other days are like trying to wade through thigh-high honey. And the honey days lately are getting me down.
So, to combat that, I've decided to count my blessings:
  • I have only two more payments on my Rose and then I can pick it up and bring it home.
  • My dad mowed all my grass and even mowed the chook yards for me so the snakes don't get my girls.
  • All my animals are healthy.
  • I have my computer back.
  • It is raining and not too cold so the vegies are growing.
  • Soon I will have a new car to replace the shitheap I am driving now.
  • I don't have to work in an office and be polite to small-minded people with not enough to do.
  • I have a rare weekend off that I can use however I want.
  • For the first time I have a vague and amorphous idea of what I want to do in the future.
And a quote from Eleanor Roosevelt that has been in the front of my mind lately:
'The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams'

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

More new neighbours

More new neighbours at Chez Hillside arrived on Monday:

Three Isa Browns from a friend who didn't need them any more, and as you can see they are already hard at work - head down, bum up. They've already been proving their worth in the laying department too:

(4 eggs from 5 hens!) The chook on the left has spurs on her legs, like a rooster, which is something I've never seen before. I'm thinking of calling her Boadicea or Hippolyte, or something similarly martial. The others don't have names yet.

I've finally got my camera to play nice, and I've added photos to some of my earlier posts. I haven't planted anything new in the past couple of days, but there has been a lot of activity in the hothouse. The vegetable spaghetti seeds have exploded into life, and the heirloom tomatoes have started to shoot. The grey crown prince pumpkins are up as well, but none of the other pumpkins or the melons have shown themselves yet.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

When night falls

It's so much easier to be positive in the daytime. When the sun is up, you can distract yourself with Things To Do, and potter around, getting a sense of achievement from little things like putting clean clothes away, pulling up a few weeds, or washing the dishes. At night, you are trapped, the empty half of the bed beside you snickering derisively as you try to slow your brain down enough to get hold of the reins and think clearly again.
Last night the past couple of days of food poisoning, exhaustion and pain caught up with me. The probing of all the half-healed mental scars, and then the tears, began. I tried to avoid it by turning the light back on and reading until I finished the book, then I stared out the window at the stars until they started to flicker and dive and then I must have fallen asleep.
The moon last night was the faintest little sliver of white, like a fingernail cutting. It hung just above the hills on twilight, and it looked about as worn out as I felt.
I slept through my alarm this morning, so I was late for work, but I got an extra 2 1/2 hours sleep, which I can feel the difference in my mind today. I've tackled the Mt Kosciusko of dishes in my kitchen, as well as making up some white oil and spraying my newly pruned citrus. I've given them some citrus food and a good soaking, so hopefully they will go ahead now. I'm not sure how old the lemon (Meyer) and grapefruit trees are - the lemon is between 50 and 60 years old, and I assume the grapefruit is a similar vintage. The orange tree I planted 2 years ago - it is a valencia, but hasn't had many fruit yet - fingers crossed that with a bit of TLC this year may be the year. The lemon tree has been a martyr to sooty mould for as long as I can remember, but this year I hope to see healthy green leaves instead of black dusty ones.
In the last week I've planted some carrot (Manchester Table) and beetroot (Boltardy) seed, and red odourless onion seedlings in the root crop bed, and in the hothouse, planted some gherkin cucumber and some more chive seed. The basil, and red and white strawberry seed has come up in the hothouse, and the peas and beans are coming up in the garden.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Spring has sprung

Well, spring has certainly arrived in the valley. The days have been sunny, the earth is warming up, and Mavis has gone clucky.
There has been more planting this week in the garden. After 4 weeks, the plants that I ordered from Garden Express arrived. I was not happy. We shall see whether the plants grow or not. The rhubarb (Giant Victoria) was slimy and looked like it had been in the plastic bag for some time. The asparagus crowns (Mary Washington) were in a net bag and looked very dry. The lavender (Hidcote) was leggy, and the growing tips were yellow. After a few days in the sun they are starting to look better, but yeah. I don't think I'll be spending any more of my money with that company.
On a happier note, my fantastic sister gave me membership of the Digger's club for my birthday, which I'm very excited about, and I've spent a lot of time poring over the catalogues. I got 2 free packets of seeds with my bundle of goodies - some sunflowers, which will get added to the collection, and a five colour heirloom tomato mix. It includes these varieties; 'Burnley sure crop' (Red), 'Black prince' (Black, obviously), 'Banana legs' (Yellow), Aunt Ruby's German (Green) and 'Tigerella' (Orange). The tomato seeds got planted the day they arrived, so they should be poking their leafy heads above the surface in about a week hopefully. The red and white strawberry seeds are coming up, and the calendulas continue to power along.
Yesterday I hit the road with friend Sue to go to the Bogie Spinners open day and spin-in at Euroa. I haven't done any spinning in a long time. There was even dust on my spinning wheel when I came to pack it in the car on Saturday night! I gave myself a stern talking to before I left on the subject of fibre impulse purchasing, and I even went through all the fibre I have that I haven't spun yet. At this rate, I will be spinning till I'm 106. So, by my standards at least, I was very good. I spent $20 and got 200g of 21 micron merino roving and 50g of tussah silk in a beautiful colourway called 'Seagreens'. I'm planning to make something for my mum with the yarn I spin from this - I don't know what yet though :)

I was mightily taken with some 60/40 merino silk blended top from First Edition fibres. It was an exquisite blend of green, yellow, orange and white - it looked like a bowl of citrus sorbet. But I had already spent over my budget, so I left it on the stall. 'What would I make with it?' I said to myself. 'I don't wear yellow and orange'.
But salvation came in the form of Sue, who insisted on buying it for me. What a friend, hey? So now I have 200g of this gorgeous fluff, and I've been wracking my brains trying to think of something to make with it. My best idea so far is a throw for my bed. I might save it for when I get my Rose, and it can be my summer spinning. My camera has thrown a hissy fit and it is well past my bedtime, so photos will have to wait till tomorrow.