A quiet time and all that we have achieved

Things have been quiet around here. Not literally in terms of noise. Our house is rarely devoid of noise but in terms of achievements and blogging things have been quiet. I’ve needed the downtime and time off from the blogosphere, both reading and writing, and as I come out the other side of this time I am feeling the better for the time off. And after getting a new RSS feed (thanks Narf7) I feel like I’m getting all my posts and nearly on top of them all too. :)

The time has not been squandered. Well, not entirely. I have spent some time revisiting my past by watching a tv series I loved as a kid (The Young Riders) which I couldn’t entirely say wasn’t squandering time but it’s also been healing to revisit that time and re-look at things from the perspective of nearly 20 years later but it hasn’t exactly been productive either. We have had illnesses through the house too so quiet indoor activities have been necessary. Orik had the dubious pleasure of being the first of our family to need a trip to the Ballan hospital due to croup, we all ended up with a cough and now we have another suspected virus making the rounds so we’ve been home from gymnastics, home from playgroup and off the visits radar too.

We have however, completed and partly planted our first garden out front, a hugelkultur inspired, raised garden bed running along our side fence. It’s destined for louquat and olive trees but is currently home to more broad beans and even a few spuds that sprouted in the compost bin. I highly doubt the frost tolerance of the spuds (nil) will be conducive to their winter survival in an area that is highly prone to frost but hey, there was nothing to lose. :)

Allegra pouring over my Diggers catalogue. I was told in no uncertain terms exactly what she wanted to buy. :)

Allegra pouring over my Diggers catalogue. I was told in no uncertain terms exactly what she wanted to buy.

I’ve also finished off the raised veggie beds in the veggie patch, planting potato onions in the last 2 beds. Potato onions are onions that grow more like daffodil bulbs. If you stick a daffodil in the garden this year, you may have 2 or 3 next year. The year after you will have 6-9 and the year after 18-27 and so on. They divide themselves to multiply. That’s what makes bulbs such a frugal gardening choice. a few this year will mean plenty int he years to come. :) Potato onions are the same but if the stories I’ve read are true then they are even more prolific. If you plant 1 large one, multiple small ones will result. If you plant 1 small one, multiple large ones will be ready for harvest. They appear to have 2 cropping seasons in our area, over winter and over summer but each bulb will only crop once a year. I’ve planted white and brown, sourced from here and I shall let you know how we go. If we get a good harvest then I shall purchase and plant a second crop. :)

Ballan Also held its first Pot luck dinner with the Ballarat Permaculture Guild. The Pot luck dinners are about building community and bringing people together and that’s just what happened. I have met some local people and may have even made some new friends. :D We’re meeting again in a few weeks and although things are just informal at the moment I can feel the potential, the enthusiasm and the excitement. Community is being built, local community, like-minded community and there is such great possibilities for learning together and sharing the load, helping each other out and increasing our ability to live sustainability by coming together. I can’t wait until the next meeting and I’m planning my membership to the Ballarat Permaculture Guild the very second I can get my internet connection up and running again. Yep, it’s crashed out as I type this. *sigh*

The last of the sunny autumn days I suspect. Friends from the UK who've moved to Australia drove up to visit us for lunch. Spag bol and fresh bread went down a treat for lunch.

The last of the sunny autumn days I suspect. Friends from the UK who’ve moved to Australia drove up to visit us for lunch. Spag bol and fresh bread went down a treat for lunch.

I’ve also been learning about fruit trees. Contrary to what I believed there is a lot more to just grabbing a fruit tree and bunging it in the ground. Shoestring Gardening with Wyndham City Council held a workshop on caring for fruit trees to which my friend Lynda from Living in the land of Oz invited me. We learned about espaliered trees and about grafting as well as general care tip and th possibilities available to us. What I learned has once again changed the plans for the front garden edible food forest. Espaliered trees with multi-grafts of a wide variety of different ripening times fruits on each for fencing and summer shade have been planned and I am looking forward to attending a workshop to be held by the Werribee Park Heritage Orchard where I will learn to graft and create a masterpiece of fruit varieties. :) Werribee Park Heritage Orchard also has an annual membership, the money from which goes to helping keep up the care to these wondrous heritage fruit trees. These are not varieties we want to lose.

Yesterday I was lucky enough to have my 3rd outing this week (a Norwex party on Tuesday evening, Ballan Pot Luck dinner on Friday and then almost all day Saturday) where I, along with my friend, attended a sourdough course through Prickleberry Sourdough in Ballarat. As much as I bake using sourdough starters and have experimented quite a lot with sourdough I felt that the course would still have plenty to offer. And since my friend found on one of those deals pages for $60 rather than the usual $150, it was well worth it for a day out with my friend and 6 hours learning about and making sourdough. :D I shall share the details in another post but suffice to say, chocolate sourdough bread is just too good! :D

The three cheeky monkeys all feeling much better (before the virus struck).

The three cheeky monkeys all feeling much better (before the virus struck).

Finally, I’ve spent a lot of time with the knitting needles in hand too, knitting a jumper, scarf and gauntlet gloves for Allegra and I stayed up until stupid o’clock last night to finish knitting a pair of gauntlets for Jasper too. I’ll put the details and photos into a separate post though. This one is getting long enough already. :)

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12 thoughts on “A quiet time and all that we have achieved

  1. narf77 says:

    Good to see you back and glad you are re-enthused with your recent outtings. Steve is off collecting wood in uppercumbuckance after and impromptu invite out so I have the house to myself and 2 sulking dogs (no walk = Earl on patrol…). It actually IS too quiet here! I have Bowie’s latest album which I love on the PC and am just about to make some date paste and then I might even read, knit, lay on the floor looking at the ceiling…one of those rare days when no-one needs me, my time is my own and my RSS Feed Reader is finally empty (your’s was the last post to read :) ). What a lucky narf7 I am! :)

  2. LyndaD says:

    Also glad you are back but appreciate the need to stop and regroup. You all needed some R&R to get better. Kudos to Martin for all this free time you are getting to attend courses. You are already like a walking encyclopedia so i think you will soon burst :) I am also looking forward to the grafting workshop and have started preparing the ground for my apple. Thanks for the sourdough recipe, i have borrowed a bread oven. If i find im getting use out of it Ill be in the the market – Im sure cash converters have a few from impulsive buyers. Feeling good today, i have new undies. How good do they make you feel. LOL.

    • New undies do make the world go round hey. :) And clean sheets, freshly baked bread and an afternoon completely alone. They are all such feel-good things.
      Why are you after a bread oven? Do you have a normal oven? As for a bread making machine, hand making bread is so very satisfying. I learned to free-form loaves yesterday which is awesome and handy as the bread tin I have needs lining as it’s so old and hacked and the new ones are all lined in teflon or aluminium, both of which are just nasty! So, lined tins or free form are the way to go for me. :)
      Yes, Martin has been stupendous. He’s taken on all 3 kids, sometimes without the use of a car and he’s even helped out with things like dishes and washing so he’s earned his brownie points this week. ;)

  3. Linne says:

    Glad to see you back, too. It’s not always easy to find balance in daily life, especially when you have a young family; even more so when they are under the weather. Hope you are all feeling great now, though.

    I’ve been knitting, too. Pictures sometime later on . . . first a post with a link to more ‘consciousness-raising’ stuff, or should I say ‘awareness-raising’? I love my knitting and other creative pursuits; they are what help me stay balanced (or at least feel that I am!). ~ Linne

  4. Down time is good – I can get very involved with things like this then all of a sudden just have enough and take time out, does you good :) Your courses sound really interesting. I want to try sour dough myself, never have but bought rye flour and need to do something with it.

  5. The Life of Clare says:

    Sounds lie you needed your down time! I know that feeling. It’s great to have you back.

  6. […] blogged before (here, here, here, here, here, here, and here) about our ongoing hugelkultur experiments. Hugelkultur literally means “hill […]

  7. Sue says:

    Looking forward to reading more about your journey! I am also in Ballarat, have 3 kids and grow our own food/chook the orchard – love it, have a squiz at my blog http://www.asustainablejourney.blogspot.com.au

    • Hi Sue, I’ve been having a look through your blog and it’s great to find someone else who values resuing and gardening ike we do. :) 3 kids are a lot of fun hey. And a few challenges in there too. ;) How awesome that your eldest wants to garden. Wonder if he’d respond to a challenge to see who can grow the most of something. ;) Also, if he is/you are interested, would you like some purple sprouting broccoli seeds for your veggie patch? They’re great for a winter crop and the broccoli are the most delectable violent violet colour. :)

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