Settling in

Well, we are moved in. We have our beds, most of our clothes, half of the kitchen and little else in the way of furniture but we are now officially residing in Ballan. 😀 We are still lacking things like mail redirection, internet access (pre-paid wireless thingies or over our phones at the moment and I’ve blown my bandwidth allocation in 5 days L ) and we have yet to get a home phone too but hey, these things will come.

I wouldn’t say we are properly moved in yet, not by a long shot, but things are starting slowly to resume normality. Our tiles are nearly complete with 1-2 days more work to finish laying and then grout them and then we can look at bringing up the rest of our furniture. Oh to be able to sit on a couch and put my feet up, even if only for 5 minutes! We now have a completed shower which is making life a lot easier. Baths are very well and good but they do take more time and there is something wasteful about running a bath, hopping in for a quick splash and getting back out again. Baths sort of demand that you soak in them, something I have neither the time nor the inclination to do. Along with the shower screen installation we had the broken windows repaired. The kitchen now has so much more light during the day and more of the wonderful view too. Aside from that, not much else has changed except for Martin just about finished setting up the cubby house and I’ve got a few bits of the greenhouse put together. Now THAT is a fiddly job!

Today was a day of time off for me too. Martin has had a busy few weeks with Christmas parties for work and the afternoons cooped up inside a house with greatly restricted access (can’t walk on the tiles for 12 hours after they’re laid) had taken its toll. I was a cranky Mummy. 😦 I took myself off yesterday morning for some op shopping as there are 2 wonderful op shops in town and I have scored some fantastic bargains. Gumboots for Allegra and Orik, a top for Allegra, shorts and shirts and trousers for each of them, 2 shirts for me, a shirt for Martin, 3 lovely little cups for the kids (matching hot chocolates 😀 ), a few kids books and best of all, a young adults novel I have been wanting for over 20 years as it’s the sequel to a much loved story I have! 😀 STOKED! I came home much happier than I had left.

Waking up on a misty drizzly wet old morning.

Waking up on a misty drizzly wet old morning.

Today’s plans went awry again, thanks to the weather. Yesterday drizzled constantly, with barely a break all day. I noticed this evening that one of my pumpkins has put out a shoot that’s nearly 2 inches since yesterday when I had 5 dry minutes to mulch them. Nothing like rain on the veggie garden! Anyway, today there was a huge band of rain and storms that meant once again our outing to Anakie was postponed. I had planned to head up to the Trentham Farmers Market for a quick shop before we headed off but I ended up having a blissful 4 hour reprieve that included iced chocolate, cherry ripe slice (I know I shouldn’t but YUM) and lots of giggles, chatter and of course, shopping! I hate wandering a shopping centre and all that commercial shopping but given the opportunity to shop at Farmers Markets, well, I love it! I bought a lovely big cauliflower, some potatoes, asparagus, peanut butter (it’s delicious) and some organic white peaches. The best bit though was spending time with my best friend uninterrupted by little people wanting something. It’s a rare thing we get uninterrupted conversation!

This afternoon Martin went to help a friend pull apart a shed he no longer wants and has kindly gifted to us. Looking forward to getting it set up so that Trevor no longer has to cower under a tarp when it rains. Whilst he was out and the kids were playing quietly I had a think about my tomatoes. After seeing pictures of your tomato plants Fran, I decided I would try digging one up and see how the newspaper pots had rotted. They hadn’t! L Explains why my tomatoes were looking very stunted. So, off I set, digging them all up and liberating their roots. They’re all replanted and hopefully, in the compost-rich soil they will get themselves into gear. The good news is that there were a couple of flowers evident so there is hope. 🙂

Happy belated birthday Allegra. Although you had a little party on the day, it took until now to get the cake made. Mind you, 2 parties is always a good thing. :)

Happy belated birthday Allegra. Although you had a little party on the day, it took until now to get the cake made. Mind you, 2 parties is always a good thing. 🙂

I had another go at sourdough chocolate cake earlier in the week and was less than impressed so I decided to try it again, but measuring closely. THIS time it worked! I iced it with chocolate cream-cheese icing (decadence) and I have to say it’s a success. 😀 It is so wonderful being able to have my cake and eat it too with no repercussions! I’ve baked several loaves of bread too so my house is awash in the heavenly aroma of fresh sourdough. J I feel like I’m truly immersing myself into our wonderful new life now. We worked late last night felling trees and cleaning up the branches and I spent a good hour today pruning more branches, chopping up the fallen ones and piling them up. The chooks and ducks chatted to me and the Dorkings follow me along the fence line begging for scraps. We lob bits and pieces in to them and watch the mad scramble. The ducks and Dorkings are in there for young and old then pegging it off across the pen with their spoils. The Pekins just amble up looking fat, fluffy and mean and take what they want after a few vicious pecks at the current owner of the bounty who usually relinquishes it with a squawk! Our cats are still in quarantine in the laundry, although they have been allowed a few forays into the rest of the house. We’re taking it slowly with our furry boys. In revenge they have destroyed the door stops in both the bathroom and the laundry. Lol 😛 As much as I hate keeping them confined, I hate the thought of losing them so much more. They’re out on parole, meowing around my ankles and purring.

Anyway, I am beginning to really ramble. I’m exhausted (surprise surprise) and ready for bed. Hopefully soon I will have something new to report other than just commuting and moving.

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12 thoughts on “Settling in

  1. What a sweetie with her cake! Sounds like an awesome op shopping expedition, always lifts the spirits. I’ve had a great run with op shopping lately, Liv’s wearing a completely op shopped outfit today on her birthday 🙂

  2. narf77 says:

    Having a bit of sideline time from the madding crowd feels a lot like when you stop banging your head on the wall…blissful! 🙂 I DO think that you only feel that heady rush of happiness “because” you have that madding crowd ;). I often return from my op shop trips feeling like I won lotto because I find something amazing, something that you can’t buy any more and things that completely bamboozle me but I just “must have!”…op shops are treasure troves for those clever enough to step into them :). I am chuffed! I got mentioned in someones blog…again! 🙂 I had the same thing happen with the sage and chives that I bought in newspaper pots…I removed mine from the pots before I planted them out as I didn’t want them to be stunted and the newspaper is still laying on top of the soil (albeit shredded) and hasn’t degraded…methinks it’s something in the ink?
    I feel for your kitties…the ferals here are terrified of the chooks and the other day our 40kg Amstaff almost had his nose skewered by a cat protecting its kitten but that self same (incredibly brave/stupid) cat stood back and allowed that same kitten to be pecked by one of our chook ninjas and wasn’t game to get in the way! Are you sleeping better? I hope so because you are certainly going to need all of that energy with Christmas coming up :).

    • Growing up we had chooks and our neighbours cat was scared stiff! Lol
      Yes, op shops are magical places of mysterious items, treasures and occasionally those pieces of perfection (like my book 😀 ) but many of the big smoke ones are getting pricy. Trying to cover rental costs and all that I suppose. 😦 But tiny country town ones are the best! Ballan might not be a tiny town but both its op shops rock!
      As for sleep, last night was our worst night so far with kids and cats not settling but I got a nice sleep in until after 9 so I’m content. 🙂

      • narf77 says:

        I got a sleep in too 🙂 I decided “BOLLOCKS” to getting up at 5am on a sunday to trawl my rss feed read blogs and Steve brought me a cup of tea at 8am… a wonderful sleep in and both the dogs are still confused by it all 🙂

  3. The Eco Mum says:

    Congratulations on the moooooooove! 🙂 How are you feeling? xxoo

    • In desperate need of normality! lol I would simply LOVE to have my fridge and couches here but will have to settle for kitchen containers and the rest of my pantry. When are you coming to stay with us?

  4. Linne says:

    When I had a garden, I used those little peat pots or else egg shells to start plants in. In both cases, when setting the plants our, I would break open the pot/shell so the roots could start growing right away. I started tomato plants in 1 litre milk cartons with a couple inches of dirt in the bottom (I’d use compost today). As the plant grew, it would be spindly and I would add more dirt until it was out the top of the carton. To plant, I would shake it carefully out, break open any root balls (carefully, of course), then plant the roots horizontally in a trench, with the top leaves just poking out of the earth. That way, the plant puts down way more roots, which makes it more stable and helps protect against some predation. Anyway, I’m not sure why the newspaper did not decompose; I would just rip those open a bit, too, splay the roots over a small hillock of dirt in the planting hole, then cover it up to ground level or so. Hope this helps a bit for next time. ~ Linne

    • I’d come across the idea of the newspaper pots on Pinterest and to be fair they were beginning t break down. I think the tomato roots just aren’t obnoxious enough to poke through. The pumpkins, zucchinis and corn haven’t had any issues whatsoever with the pots and are all going great guns but they all had roots sticking out the bottom and heading off into the garden bed. I tried growing things in cut down 2L milk cartons (that opaque white plastic) and have had all sorts of problems. I wouldn’t bother doing it again next year to be honest, but I know there are others who’ve had success with them.
      I too have heard that burying some of the stem of a tomato helps it put out more roots but I had never heard of mounding them up like that. It’s the same technique I use with my spuds. I’ll hopefully remember it for next year and give it a try. 🙂

      • Linne says:

        I forgot to mention that I take the seedlings out of the milk cartons before planting. I don’t cut the cartons down; I put about an inch or two of soil in the bottom and plant in that; the stems reach for the light, so are thin and spindly. by adding more soil as they grow, the stems are longer, but now have side roots. Then, when they are laid into the shallow trenches, they are quickly stronger and have more chance of survival. Another planting method that’s especially good in more temperate climates (and extends the harvest in any case) is to plant in an old tire filled with good dirt. I put in several plants. As the stems grow up, I add another tire and more dirt. The plus here is that the tires grow warm/hot in the sun, which tomatoes love. I use tire piles for potatoes, too. Same thing; plant into one tire full of good dirt; add another tire as the plant reaches high enough to be taller than a second tire. Add more dirt; repeat several times. This makes harvesting easier, too; just remove a tire and pick out the potatoes, remove the next tire, etc., etc. This is a good way to get more out of a limited garden area.
        I love seeing how much I can get out of even a small space! I used to grow sugar peas, beans, climbing nasturtiums (yummy and beautiful in salads, if you haven’t tried them; slightly peppery and remind me of watercress or land cress. I slice the leaves and throw in the flowers whole). I have also grown English cucumbers, squash and pumpkins on sturdy fencing. Squash and pumpkins need to be supported by a flexible sling or the weight can pull them off the vine. I like to use pantyhose for slings (hate them myself, so usually get old ones from friends).
        Guess that’s enough for now. Hope some of this is useful to you and your friends.. I keep forgetting to put things in the past tense. I am currently liviing with my mother in a ‘condo’ that she rents, in Edmonton. So there is no garden space. If we were on the East side, I would have pots outside, but we are on the West, overlooking a very busy street, too noisy to talk out there and very dirty all the time. Oh, well; I hope to have a garden again some day, though. In the meantime, I thank you for the trip down memory lane! I love to share what I have learned.

        • Thanks for sharing all the tips Linne. I’ve read many of them myself and plan to try many of them. Please be super careful of growing spuds in tyres though. Spuds will absorb heavy metals and tyres are full of heavy metals like lead and cadmium so they aren’t safe to eat. We’ve got our tyres growing herbs and sunflowers which I’m hoping are safe.
          My tomatoes still aren’t doing anything exciting. My neighbour says its probably nutrient drawdown as the Lucerne in the garden beds is still rotting down. He’s advised copious amounts of blood and bone which I plan to spread out generously today. It will feed the garden bed and the plants if that makes sense. I sure hope it works or I’m looking at no tomatoes. 😦

          • Linne says:

            Thanks for the caution about the tires and potatoes. Never really thought of that when I was doing it. Good point, I think.

            If you are into natural feeding and healing for animals, I can highly recommend two books, “Herbal Handbook for the Dog” and “Herbal Handbook for Farm and Stable”. Both are by Juliette de Bairacli Levy, who died not long ago. She studied with gypsies, aboriginal peoples, etc. all over the world. I never had money for a vet when I had horses, goats, dogs and cats. I used several of her remedies with very good results. I was unable to feed as well as she recommended, but would have if we could have afforded it. We never owned a place, usually were allowed free rent in return for caretaking. The problem with that is never being able to plant, build, etc. for the future. It was the best we could do at the time, though, and I have many good memories of it all.
            I think your neighbour may be right about the mulch taking nutrients from your tomatoes. I didn’t use mulch often (except once we got two huge dump trucks of lakeweed for $10 CDN each!); mostly I composted, then used that after it had broken down. I think adding bone and blood meal should help. Have to go. Have a wonderful New Year!

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