...Homemade Rainbows...

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

For a thousand different things....

Our awesome neighbours have provided me with new toys....(along with their grass clippings for my garden...I am a lucky lady.)

I arrived home yesterday afternoon to find these two lying waiting for me beside our driveway.

As Mia and I rolled them around the side street to our back yard gate we pondered as to what we would use them for.... it was too easy to arrive at a thousand great ideas...and of course I had already thought of many myself. A comfortable perch in a shady spot for eating some Spring frozen yoghurt....
A small table for some outdoor drawing, sketching and letter writing.....
A handy spot to place veges for dinner and some cut flowers for our table while distracted by something else to quickly do or look at in the garden. (I have to add that this kale gave a deliciously sweet flavour to our chow mein this evening!)

Left ala naturale (how I usually like things) or with an added lick of paint (which will be the sensible thing to preserve them) they will be a handy and rather funky addition to our yard. I envision them being used quite a bit for cold summer drinks and ice blocks outside this season (and maybe just the odd wine or beer), and I also anticipate them being moved under and around another exciting soon to be built addition.

So thank you lovely neighbours.....not only are they donating these but we are also going to fill our hungry bellies together again tomorrow night.

There are a thousand different reasons why I adore our neighbourliness.....

Saturday, September 27, 2008

All the things...

Spinning by the water in the afternoon light with a streaming rainbow ribbon.....squeals, laughter and running....
Stopping after a tumble to just quietly lie and watch a plane fly overhead, and probably muse for a tiny moment as to just what it is in that vast expanse of sky.....
Sunset skimming over shining ripples.....Ending in dusk falling over our cityscape....
Sizzling sausages under looming rock....the contrast directly from river to cliffs.
Sharing our plenty with someone a little needier than us....the contrast of our bounty and those with less....the similarities of both in the smiles of the exchange. Picnic dinner views and dazzling lights.... making our entertainment from it's display. Good company, family, familiarity.
Wildness, bare feet, sparkles and glittering fire lights in the darkness.....Asleep in the backseat well before turning into home....slipping into pyjama's and weary heads snuggled swiftly into pillows. Deep satisfying childhood slumber.

These things. Places, faces, food and fun. All the things that make up memories of childhood and family....those things reminiscent of my childhood..... all the things that are now for us so easy, pleasurable and natural to provide for our own children.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

A cute spotty spring problem....

I love the new sprouting growth of Spring thanks to it's warmer weather....and a few late afternoon stormy showers. I'm certain if I sat still long enough I could actually see the movement of new leaves popping from dormant winter branches. It's so fast and bright green and...perfectly formed.
But unfortunately that's where the perfection ends....especially in my organic garden. Along with warmth and new growth come opportunistic and hungry bugs. Yes, bugs. All kinds.
My garden is viewed as a veritable free feast in the warmer months. I battle the heat and drought to try and maintain vigour so these tiny voracious beasts do minimal damage. It's a swift and close battle. I'm happy to share if they are happy to share but I think most of the time they fail to understand the concept.
So with Spring and Summer comes a comparable change in myself too from satisfied, plodding, pottering and meek gardener to a militant, hardened and vengeful hunter! I tell you this with a big gulp and a large chunk of slinking guilt.....

Can you see this cute little ladybug? There's another just to the left. It's a 28 spotted ladybug. Unfortunately it's my latest foe. It's cute little mandibles are devouring and destroying my potatoes. It's not the friendly helpful ladybug we all love at all. Look.....
Mia has been my ally in the start of this battle, hunting and collecting as many small round orange bodies as she can find for her study and "care". She has a love of bugs and small animals just like her Mama did at the same age....only she hasn't realised yet that you end up killing them with your kindness. I guess if I have to rid my plants of feeders it's not too bad a way to go is it?..being "loved" to death?

My fig tree is sprouting away beautifully and it's leaves are so fresh and untouched I wondered as I inspected it today how long it would be before I would see my first fig leaf beetle also. Well I did not have to wait long because by the time my eyes gazed to the top of the tree I had found her. These guys spend their days mating and laying eggs on the leaves. The grubs can decimate a tree in no time devouring leaf after leaf. The only way to control them is to pluck and....yes crush.
I'm sorry bug lovers....but the battle has already begun in my backyard this warm season. I'm always working on enriching our soil and now we have easy access to water I can hopefully keep up with maintaining healthy growth in our hot hot summer so I think there may just be fewer invertebrate casualties this year,but if not I just hope you don't think less of me for my pluck/squish methods....

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Mister Blue Bird

Have you fallen in love with this mobile yet?
It's no surprise I have.
I have played with making these little guys before but they just lend themselves so well to that rustic mobile that I had to throw one together myself....and with all the "ber-dt" activity here lately it was the perfect time.
These little pets now live in Bam's bedroom.
You can find the pattern for Mister Blue Bird, which is a delight to make, kindly offered for free over at Spool Sewing.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

::: A Party Dress :::

I squeezed in some time last week to make "big sister Mia" a party dress for Sunday. I used the Jiffy Dress pattern again and went with some contrasting pockets this time.
And another red vintage button.....
Plus a matching hair clip.
Second time around produced a much better fit and some neater sewing skills from the maker.

Sunday afternoon went very well. I will post some photo's at a later date once I have collected and collaborated them all. Being a host leaves little time to remember and get quality photo's of everything which I am a little sad about but between all the guests I am certain I will gather some gems to preserve the occasion. I am still feeling quite sad at my little boy bidding farewell to his first year and now as he is starting to toddle around I am really aware of saying goodbye to my babe. Both my "babes" should be quite satiated with extra snuggles the last few days as their mama tries to inhale some more precious passing moments.

Friday, September 19, 2008

:::For the birds:::

The flock is gathering on Sunday to celebrate that very special little bird lover who has just turned one.

Preparations are being made with just some excitement...though the little guest of honour has little idea.

Birthday crowns....

A special keepsake box to house every guest's written wishes and messages for the future....

Bird mobiles....

Cake planning....


Transforming the "painting wall" into a birthday art wall for everyone,

and.... just returning from a trip to my latest discovery, our local continental delicatessen, with delightful rich and indulgent cheeses for the grown up guests. My goodness that place is a hidden gem! I walked through the door, lined outside with wicker baskets full of pasta and organic tomatoes, and was transferred into a world packed to the rafters with every treat I could dream of...all to the sounds of gorgeous 40's music. I could have plopped myself in the corner of that small dark heaven easily for the day or longer, forgetting the bustle and bitumen outside and just looked and listened.

Rog if you're reading this I think I'm going to have to put aside a little of the blue cheese just for us in a place safe from the other cheese lovers! Is that naughty?

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

:::A piece of my heart:::

One year ago today I met another little piece of my heart.... A tiny downy haired boy.....
A little brother and our new son.....
It's been 12 months of change, smiles, sleepless nights, challenges, joyous achievements and precious moments.....some slow days but mostly just flying time it seems. Though best of all it's been 12 months of knowing Bam.
"A Birthday, a 6am wake up and losing my pants sometime in the night...I'll cry if I want to..."

Happy Birthday my little guy.....there's no one else I would want to give that piece of my heart to.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

A Sweet Bed for some little Sugar Babies...

I thought maybe it was time for a bit of a garden update....
and my most recent project has been to complete the bed for my sugar baby watermelons which are all now nicely sown and "bedded down". After some soil improvement they will hopefully enjoy growing on this bed along the side of our shed...... and behind the banana trees and the tank water tap. I've even hidden a couple more potato cages in there in desperation now.
So in a general garden mish-mash update.... the other most recent raised bed is also completed with a final addition of cow and sheep manure. Apparently it's a good place to sit at the moment and enjoy a homemade ice block while contemplating some of the seedlings to go in there. If I could squeeze in there I just might have done the same. We will be growing some lemon cucumbers (on the trellis) and beetroot here. In the background amidst many things such as lettuce, shallots and other herbs, you may be able to make out some of my mini purplettes, chard and kale on the left, as well as my fig and peach to the right. On the far right out of shot is where the sugar baby bed lies, as well as the rock bed on it's upper side for my blood orange....and one of my avocado trees is again to the right of this.
We are still getting handfuls of french beans like this to eat most nights. It's a fun activity to go and scout them out for dinner. Once my finger eggplant and yellow capsicum seedlings are ready however it should be time for them to sadly go to the compost. They are so delicious and I am certain I will grow them again come next autumn.
Down on the back fence there are quite a few of these little hairy babes appearing. White mulberry. I have roughly espaliered this tree and it recently had a hard prune so is shooting away beautifully now with many little fruit.
My coriander plants are also starting to show their heads in their small triangular bed. I'm very excited about these also....can't wait for some of that delicious flavour in our food.
Our passionfruit vines are yet to give us flowers and fruit. I am tapping my foot despite nature teaching me patience. On the left are some of my lovely french beans and the trellis that supported my snow peas before being moved to the new cucumber bed. The bed on the right has lettuce, wild rocket, more rosemary and a small lemon sapling. It's not a great bed for growing hence throwing in the lemon tree and the bits and pieces scraggling along. It's too dry and depleted in that spot.
This shot I couldn't resist for other reasons. The little man loves romping around the garden but the only thing he seems to love more at the moment are birds....particularly our magpie weather vane. He constantly holds little conversations with it and being in view from the house, every time we wander into the kitchen he points and cries out in his gorgeous way.............."Ber-dt.....Ber-dt"!!!
Yes we are blessed to have ber-dt's in our little garden too!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Sunday afternoon...

We've had a weekend full of time in the garden; time at my machine; popping out and about, and two gorgeous gorgeous lingering dinners (outside of course) with good friends.
On Sunday there were some moments of extra peace where Mia and I stole away to the kitchen to make some banana bread we had ripe narnies stashed away in the freezer for.

I do need to get a new loaf tin. I always seem to prepare to bake loaves and remember as I reach for my tin that it has long been discarded, well used and just too rusty. So our banana bread mutated into equally delicious muffin sized "loaves".

They were eaten, again outside, straight from the oven with their heat biting little fingers as the papers were removed.... but no one was bothered....their crunchy sticky tops were just too delicious...

This has to be the easiest banana bread I have ever baked. Of course not the healthiest but what cakes are in all reality? That's why they are "treats" isn't it? So good

Friday, September 12, 2008

Wearable treasures....

While sifting through a particularly large jar of vintage buttons at Mum's (the custodian of old family treasures!) I came across a few large and rather funky, I thought, vintage gems. Immediately I imagined turning them into brooches.

Leaving them behind that day I was to return at a later date to three lovely old buttons now with pins on the back.
My very own wearable vintage treasures.
Seems our Roger is not only good at building things but is somewhat handy in creating pieces for the odd fashionista as well.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Buying Poop

In bulk too.....seems quite wrong doesn't it? Unfortunately necessary in our non rural residence. Is it abnormal to get excited by vast quantities of cow poo from the local produce store?
There has been a lot of replenishing and reducing (in the form of some serious soil improving and pruning) going on here lately in preparation for our warmer growing season. A few refreshing changes outside, well, minus the poo that is.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Ginger Beer

Well remember all those lemons left from my limoncello?
I said they were going to a good cause and would not be wasted, and true to my word, they weren't.About 5 or 6 weeks ago I started a ginger beer "bug" and all their lovely juice went into this finished product.

A naturally brewed Ginger Beer. Just moderately effervescent.....quite nice. And a rather good Father's Day present apparently. I have requests for more.
I was quite chuffed to crack a bottle and watch it fizz up inside.
I used this recipe from the Green Man. This made about 24 stubby sized bottles. It's a favourite treat of the girls now. I think it would become a stronger brew the subsequent times around but seeing as I don't need my home overcome with empty bottles right now I didn't halve the plant and start my next batch. When I do start a second batch, from scratch, I am going to double the amounts of ginger as personally I think it needs a stronger hit...just in time for some sizzling summer cool downs.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

One for the Dad's

It's not the usual but we were lucky to spend the whole weekend together....the four of us. Time in the garden and a visit to our local produce store, nursery, butcher, deli and pet stores (all my favourites)....
It was slow, easy and carefree.
And even more meaningful, it was our Father's Day today. The BBQ was fired up not once but twice this weekend. The house was abandoned for the garden and sunshine.....handstands, swinging and cuddles on the grass.... our spirits were flavoured with good food and togetherness.Appeasing and bountiful....we had a delicious celebratory lunch....to the sound of much "manly" Johnny Cash and the consistent little trills of "Happy Father's Day Daddy" from the girl....our time was effortless but loath to end. We consoled ourselves with Springs arrival and the anticipated return of alfresco dining except much much more often without any reason other than because we can.
For the Papa's....Happy Day and Thank you!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Sheets and Spring Rain

The sewing machine is out again. I've missed it....and I'm aching to do some of my own sewing but today, to the lulling hum of steady Spring rain I am sewing sheet sets for the little one's in next years class at our Community Kindergarten...and mending the very popular wedding dress ups....a most important job.
It's making me smile as I measure and cut (a most brain challenging and messy experience with fabric supplied short due to unfortunate miscalculations...but I will spare you the details). I can't help imagining the small people that will be resting in these sheets next year after my bigger girl heads off for school....it doesn't seem so long ago that she was just starting there with tears and sadness at me having to leave her.....now she is through the gate with eagerness to the calls of her friends, of which she seems to have many and is almost finished her third term.
Time flies....it will be sad to leave our Kindy behind. It's like our other little family.
But for now...it's back to hemming sheets, not quite in preference to me being able to nap between them myself right now in this gorgeous weather, and checking the levels in our water tank which is being nicely refilled, replenishing all that has been used outside on our garden so far.
A pretty good day.....sewing and soaking rain.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

:::Aloha Spring:::

Spring has been with us for a day now....a very welcome circumstance.

Bare feet in the morning.
Early light infused with bird call.
A garden full with the new seasons burgeoning readiness and enthusiasm.

Happy change of season all!