Cup Day in the sun

Melbourne Cup Day, the first Tuesday in November is a special day for those in the Melbourne metropolitan area as it’s a public holiday. The only one in the second half of the year (nothing between the Queens birthday weekend and Christmas) thanks to Show Day holiday in September being canned. 😦

Many people take the Monday off work to make it a 4 day weekend and that’s what Martin did. We’ve spent the weekend preparing for snake season and clearing away the wood piles and branches littering the front and back gardens. Tuesday however I had the invitation to spend some time visiting a friend and fellow blogger Lynda from Living in the Land of Oz fame. I left home not long before 10, arriving in time for a cuppa and to meet Lynda’s lovely sister and her sisters gorgeous grand kids. They headed out for a tour-de-parks and Lynda and I headed out to the gardens to hear their plans and ideas for transforming more of their garden into a food production paradise. Something new here, more gardens there, and some fun ideas over there too. All I can say is watch her blog space. 🙂

First stop after the patio area was to a small rather large treat saved for me and protected by a punnet placed on top. A strawberry of rather generous proportions, almost glowing in its delicious ripeness, sending out its siren scent of freshness and all with my name on it! I picked it, photographed it and munched it. Mmmmmm 🙂

This is the strawberry that Lynda grew.

This is the strawberry that Lynda grew.

On to the other beds which I admired with nothing feigned. Lynda has great gardens and will have a great crop to harvest over the Summer and into Autumn for sure. 🙂 Lynda’s overall garden space was much smaller than I’d thought based upon the photos I’ve seen which makes it even more impressive to see what produce comes from her garden, what massive veggies and how many self seeded plants (weeds if you like ;)) in her beds too.

Lunch was delicious with chicken meatballs, lamb chops, potato salad and cooked tomatoes, ginger beer to wash it down and great conversation and laughs with which to enjoy it all. It was a delicious lunch and I had a lovely time. 😀

Never give up hope. This is the lesson I've learned in the garden of late. I replanted this rose bush even though I thought it likely to be dead (I did prune it rather hard) and it's done little since... Until now. I can't wait to see flowers.

Never give up hope. This is the lesson I’ve learned in the garden of late. I replanted this rose-bush even though I thought it likely to be dead (I did prune it rather hard) and it’s done little since… Until now. I can’t wait to see flowers.

Sadly I had a bit of a time limit on my visit. I couldn’t leave Martin with a list of jobs a mile long and 3 kids, all with colds, for the entire day. We loaded up all the gifts Lynda had for me. I’d dug out all her weeds (self seeded tomato plants ;)) to plant in my own gardens, loaded in a generously gifted Lemon Balm in a pot, a set of draws with shelves above, spring onion seeds and a huge bag of old towels and sheets for me to upcycle into kids pajamas and reusable “paper” towels and the like. 😀 All I had taken down was a carton of eggs, sadly not even full. 😦 Lousy swap on Lynda’s side of things hey. 😦

A watermelon! I figured none of the seeds would grow but waddaya know! Maybe there are more awaiting optimal conditions. :)

A watermelon! I figured none of the seeds would grow but waddaya know! Maybe there are more awaiting optimal conditions.

So, loaded up I headed off, this time to Melton to visit with Gav and Kim. I had a few things to pick up from them including cheese kit gear (curd nerd-ville here I come :D) and it was a nice day to have a cool drink poolside. Sadly I couldn’t spend the time I would have liked with my friends as I was already later than I had planned getting home, so I bid them farewell and headed off home.

Arriving home I discovered my amazing husband had cleaned the kitchen, washed all the dishes and was working his way through the vacuuming! Well impressed. 😀 And grateful too. 🙂

This is the strawberry that I grew. Divided into 4 (a slice each for the kids and I) it didn't go very far but oh my the taste was divine!

This is the strawberry that I grew. Divided into 4 (a slice each for the kids and I) it didn’t go very far but oh my the taste was divine! Bit smaller than the whopper Lynda grew and saved for me.

We finished off mulching the branches (thanks to our handyman) and Martin spent some more time sawing up the wood pile until a part went missing from the chainsaw (seriously, power tools in our house cause more angst than anything :() and although I wouldn’t say we’re exactly snake proofed I know we’ve put in 4 solid days of attending to and dealing with much of what we needed to around the garden. 🙂

I thought I’d share this idea I’ve had with you all. I’ve been addressing my perceptions of things. Snakes, sharks, carnivorous dinosaurs (Jas is right into dinosaurs at the moment) have an image of being evil but they’re not really. They do what they do because that’s what they do, nothing more. A snake will bite if it feels threatened. Some more so than others (brown snakes are rather aggressive) but they are not evil because of that. It’s taking some time to adjust my thinking on this but we do now live in the country and I guess every area has its risks. Country locations have their snakes, the city has its traffic. Some areas are prone to storms, others to long hot dry summers, others to monsoonal rains and cyclones and many of our beaches are visited by sharks, including those that will eat people. It’s about recognising this and adjusting ones thinking to fit in with Mother Nature, not expecting her to fit in with us. Sure I can do my best to snake proof our property (and I will) but I don’t have the right to expect never to see a snake. 🙂

Does that make sense?


9 thoughts on “Cup Day in the sun

  1. Lynda says:

    It was my total pleasure to spoil you. See you soon…

  2. foodnstuff says:

    Wow! If everyone adjusted their thinking to fit with Mother Nature, we’d have no problems at all. Congrats for being on the right track. We have snakes here and I find them fascinating. I don’t interfere with them, just let them do their thing, while giving them a great deal of respect and a wide berth. But I agree, you are right to do everything you can to protect your kids as well as encourage them to respect that other species have as much right to exist as they do and are part of the ecosystems that support all our lives.

    • That’s the theory at least. In actual fact, snakes scare the pants off me but that’s my issue, not theirs. I also know they’re probably just as scared of me as I am of them but I have far more food security than they so I don’t need to forge into their world for food like they may well need to into ours.
      I know though that we need to reconnect with the good, the bad and the ugly sides of nature once again. We can’t just have sunshine and roses. We need the balance.

  3. Love it, Jess. Snakes don’t really actually scare me, but I worry quite a bit about the kids encountering one. They are well and truly awake here. Our neighbour had a dugite in her yard a couple of weeks ago, I’ve seen a tiger snake on a nearby road and there was a brown in the laneway behind us this week. We are snake proofing but the biggest thing is teaching the kids what to do (walk away backwards slowly and calmly and tell a grown up – bit trickier to teach the two year old that!!) I’m quite used to seeing them from living on cattle stations up north but I didn’t have kids then 😉 They were here first though and we do insist on making nice little habitats for them don’t we??? (wood piles and the like…)

    • Urgh. If they weren’t so poisonous maybe I’d find them less scary. 😦 I just wish we didn’t have 3 indigenous species that are all venomous. I mean couldn’t we have a bit of a balance?
      I too am worried about the kids meeting one. Backing away slowly is just not going to happen. Hell, I’m not sure I wouldn’t just panic either to be honest. 😦 I need to face my fear and I’ve started by trying not to curl up in a ball on the couch when seeing one on screen. It’s a step at least. As you say too, we do create lovely habitats for them. Woodpile plus chickens with a creek and a duck bath is kind of a grandly scripted snake invite hey. Oh and the mice of course are attracted by the chooks, another snake food source. 😦 Still, it is their country and we are the introduced species, not they.

  4. narf77 says:

    We are lucky here in Tassie that our endemic tiger snakes are quite docile and shy and would rather slither away than react to being snorted by large dogs (thank GOODNESS or Bezial wouldn’t be here today!). We completely forgot it was Melbourne cup day and were out in the veggie garden finishing off the netting on the top. Not that we would have put bets on it any way, there are much more pressing things for the Serendipity 2 to spend their hard wrested moolah on than the gentlemans sport of horsiness ;). Serendipity Farm has gone feral of late because we haven’t had the time to get out there and deal with threshing back nature to keep her from overgrowing our lives. Soon nature…just give us a little bit of time! Glad you had a couple of good local visits, always lovely to catch up with friends. Are you growing wild strawberries? They have the most amazing flavour. Much nicer than the cultivated ones. I tried one from the Deviot community gardens and couldn’t believe the flavour difference. I am all for growing some now but will keep my tip find strawberries for jam etc. I think Martin should have the official “Saint” put in front of his name. He is a star for sure and deserves mental hugs from all of us (jealous) permies. I am going to read what you have posted about him out LOUD to Steve…then I might read it even LOUDER again…maybe some of it might sink in ;). Anyone want some forget-me-nots by the way? They are GREAT for covering up snakes 😉

  5. Linne says:

    Well, I understand your feelings about snakes, at least venomous ones when your kids are young. I came across the books of Raymond Ditmars when in school and devoured them. So fascinating and now I can’t find the books anywhere. :-/ He was a famous herpetologist (don’t froogle me; google him. lol ) who designed the reptile areas of the original Bronx zoo. Loved him!

    I was so into it that when I found out the biology teacher didn’t know what species the pickled snakes in the lab were, I begged ’til they let me identify and label them. Lots of fun, especially for my not so inner rebel self. Girls were supposed to be squeamy around snakes. I wanted to keep some live ones at home, but my parents were afraid I’d catch a venomous one by mistake and it would bite one/some of the little ones. Sigh . . .


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