In the garden

Two out of four are still sick in our house.

Yes it’s the cold that never ends, it just goes on and on my friends…

So not much is happening inside this little house of ours at the moment, beyond coughing, cuddling, checking temperatures and stoking up the fire again and again. Outside, our garden is slowly changing, showing signs of Spring on it’s way.

We finally had some decent rainfall last week, the first in what seems like months. The creek flowed and all our plants soaked up as much as they could, and now look so much happier for it. We’ve been rewarded with flowering bulbs and endless numbers of weeds!

The winter veggie garden is slow moving, but we’re slowly bringing in more produce.

None of those snow peas made it inside!

And I’m excited for almond blossoms on the horizon.

A few weeks ago a little plant popped up in my front yard, and I asked on instastories if anyone could identify it because I thought it was edible. Last week my four year old spotted it and said ‘look Mummy, it’s Rainbow Chard!’. The kid knows her plants. She walked around the veggie garden yesterday telling her Dad what everything was, while he checked labels to see if she was right. I think I may have a little green thumb on my hands there! No pun intended, haha.

After all the rain, the weeds in our veggie garden were going a little crazy, so we spent some time tidying up yesterday and made some neat little discoveries in the process.

Near the end of every winter, we have a few little tomatoes start popping up around the garden. These tough little self seeders usually go on to be great big tasty tomato plants, and we leave them to grow where they seem happy. This one will probably be a cherry tomato again, they usually are, and along with Tommy Toes I’m planning on planting, will keep us in good supply all summer long!

We also found that some of our pea straw went gangbusters and rewarded us with these pretty little flowers.

Most exciting of all though, was when I accidentally pulled up a baby carrot, which is not great because it could probably do with a bit more time in the ground, but was exciting to me because it marks the end of my lifetime carrot drought! I’ve never successfully grown them before, so I’m all kinds of excited about this little orange root!

The other great thing about all that rain is the excitement it causes when our creek starts flowing. I will never grow tired of coming down here on a rainy day. I’m not sure who loves it more, the parents or the kids!

Spring’s not far away now. On sunny days, I stand in my front yard amongst the flowers, and I can smell it – Spring! I organised my Spring seed order this week, ready to get planting as soon as they chilly days are behind us.

I can’t wait!

Abby x

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The backyard

In a few weeks time we will tick over 6 years in our house. I might have thought we would have completed renovations by now, back then when we first started cleaning, painting and fencing. We didn’t know ourselves as well 6 years ago. We thought we would extend our little 3 bedroom 1 bathroom home, adding more bedrooms, bathrooms and living rooms, because that’s what people seem to do. But we changed and the plans changed and the pace changed. So we’ve ticked off a few to do’s and have a heap more still waiting for attention.

The main drawcard from day dot was the big backyard. We’re on a half acre block with a creek running through the back half. We knew it would be a great backyard for kids one day, and we were right!

And so, while it’s a space that is forever changing and evolving, I thought I’d share a little overview of how it is right now.

We’ve focussed mostly on the veggie garden and fruit trees this year, and expanded the veggie garden into what used to be a lawn area. We’ve always grown a little bit of our own produce, but have recently been working at it a little more seriously, with a goal of growing and producing at least 25% of our own food by 2023. I hope we hit that goal much sooner!

This winter we are growing – snowpeas, broad beans, onions, garlic, cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, spinach, kale, lettuce, celery, potato and carrots as well as all our fruit and nut trees. It’s been so much fun checking on their progress every day, and watching the kids walking around the yard picking and eating snow peas or sampling the coriander.

Outside of the garden progress is a million different other little projects at various stages of completion. The ideas man has been very busy over the years building tank stands, a pizza oven, a cubby house, my potting shed, a straw bale wall and numerous garden beds. Our backyard is a kids paradise. We don’t have much in the way of traditional kids play equipment, but we do have lots of rocks and sticks and dirt which is just as much fun!

The next backyard project that we’re working towards will form a lawn border that raises up to sitting height in the middle, and is filled with wine bottles. This project will take a while as we have to drink enough wine first! Haha!

And I will always always be adding more and more plants. We love our backyard and all it’s interesting quirks. Like sunflowers trying to flower in July…

Looking forward to a few days in my backyard this weekend! I hope you get a little sunshine and dirt under the finger nails too.

Abby x

Is it Spring yet?

I feel as though it’s been a really big week, though I don’t have much to show for it, and my to do list is longer today than it was at the beginning of the week.

We had a family birthday to attend last Saturday night, 2 hours drive from our home, so we decided to book a BnB for the night and make a weekend of it. We took the two hour trip over 5 hours, saying Hi to horses, stopping at bakeries and playing in a forest along the way.

It’s a trip I’ve made many many times, but never taken the time to slow it down and explore along the way before. Sometimes the restless kids who cant sit still for 2 hours are a blessing!

We had a lovely weekend in our little BnB, seeing family and eating delicious birthday cake. It was just the right amount of time to freshen up the batteries a little, without creating the inconvenience of having everything looked after at home while we were away.

After the long slow drive up on Saturday, the kids feel asleep in the car during the trip home on Sunday, and we got through the whole two hour drive home before they woke up again.

Once home again it was back into the usual. Gardening, cooking, washing and dealing with a hot water service dying a slow horrible death. A fun issue we’ve been trying to sort out all week, and finally having sorted out today, with plumbers installing the new hot water service as I write this.

The week days have gone by in a blur of school holiday activities, impatiently searching my veggie patch for things to pick, uni work, tradesmen, crocheting and preparing my wardrobe and relief teaching bag for next term.

In preparing for relief teaching again next term I have wasted countless hours scrolling through resource websites, Pinterest and Instagram for lesson ideas, resources, clothing and bag ideas. I’m finding the majority of information coming out of America, and the Instagram accounts of American teachers on summer holidays is leaving me extremely jealous! Not helped by my parents stream of photos on Facebook as they enjoy the sunshine in Northern Australia right now! Haha.

So, I’m just going to go snuggle up a little closer to the fire with my crochet, ignore the to do list for a moment, maybe put on an extra pair of socks, and start counting down the days until Spring arrives.

I hope this post finds you somewhere warm and snuggly!

Abby x

Winter days

If it has to be this cold all winter, I feel like we should at least get some snow for our troubles. We’ve had several frosty mornings in the last week. Scraping ice off the car first thing in the morning takes me back to Canada holidays, just not quite as much fun!

By the time the sun is out on these frosty days, it’s usually warmed up enough that we can get outside and try to soak some of that sunshine up. It’s never quite enough to warm our house up though. Built in the late 70’s, it seems no one was thinking a whole lot about solar passive design when they built this house. The entire Northern side of our house is shaded by a wide verandah and carport, which is perfect for summer, but miserable in winter. Our firewood stock has been dwindling pretty quickly in the last month!

I dream of ripping the whole carport down, putting in extra windows on the Northern side and growing vines, or putting in a greenhouse where the carport now stands. Maybe one day!

And so, with a couple of head colds in the house this past week, it’s been all about staying warm.

We’ve walked to the playground in the sunshine

Collected kindling / marshmallow sticks down in our creek

Sought out all the little pockets of sunshine that peek through our front windows at the end of the day.

And I’ve been keeping my hands warm with lots and lots of wool.

A new wool order and a beanie with a Pom Pom for Mr 3.

He’d been begging me for a beanie with a Pom Pom for a couple of weeks. I finally got around to making it last weekend and he’s completely in love with it.

I listed some new cardigans in my Etsy store, and posted one to a new home.

I love making these cardigans. I have another two in the works at the moment. The pattern is The Kotori Jacket by Shara Lambeth Designs if anyone is interested in making their own.

And the yarn dyeing obsession continues!

Right now I’m tucked up under an old wool blanket I crocheted a few years back, nursing my head cold, staring out the rain spattered window and listening to the sound of my kids playing in the backyard with umbrellas, raincoats and gumboots. I’m hoping they’ll stay out there just that little bit longer so I can get a few more rows of this cardigan done before they burst through the back door and we fall into the pre-dinner routine.

After a very busy weekend last weekend, I’m hoping for a well deserved quiet (and warm!) one this weekend.

Happy weekend all.

Abby x

The simple things

Yesterday was an absolute cracker of a day. We woke up to fog, and it was freezing, but once the day warmed up it was glorious.

The kids and I headed out for babycinos and a wander along our Main Street, walking past one of the big box stores which lured me in with its bare rooted trees in the front window. Two kids in tow I went in to look at the trees and realised that it was day 1 of their giant toy sale. I had a 3 and 4 year old with me. Big mistake.

So we wandered around aimlessly while the kids ‘I want’-ed at everything, past people with multiple trolleys full of toys, cranky kids, and long long lines at the lay-by counter, and then much to my children’s disgust, we walked out without buying a thing.

Without all the shiny coloured plastic in front of their faces, the moment we were home all the new toys they desperately wanted were forgotten, and they amused themselves in the backyard with some PVC pipe and an old tennis ball for over an hour.

The lesson was mostly lost on them, but I’m glad I paid attention.

The shiny, glitzy, magic stuff is all well and good, but it comes at a cost, and quickly becomes old. Happiness is made in the simple everyday things. Those shiny expensive dopamine hits sure are fun for a while there, but they don’t last.

And so, after a week of making myself miserable, looking at Facebook memories of our trip to New Zealand at this time last year, and Disneyworld the year before, I had to adjust my lens a little. Yes, those shiny exciting holidays were amazing, but it’s not realistic to lead that kind of life every day of the year. It may not be the ‘making your dreams come true’ kind of magic, but there’s little patches of magic in even the most ordinary of weeks.

Everyday magic moments this week:

1. I went to Bookclub on Sunday, feeling guilty because I had not made any attempt to read this months book. As everyone slowly rolled in we quickly discovered that in fact, none of us had read the book this month! So we ate cake, drank coffee and talked about what we had been reading instead. It was one of my favourite bookclub catch up’s to date.

2. After talking about dyeing yarn last week, I had another attempt over the weekend and managed to create one I love. Now I need to find a project I love just as much to work it in to!

3. I found our first little broccoli emerging in the veggie garden, and then after pretty much giving up on my cauliflowers, I spotted my first purple cauliflower popping out.

4. Penny left the Cinderella shoes on just long enough for us to get a photo.

5. The master baker of the house (read: not me) baked tiny loaves of bread, so we could have tiny pieces of toast, that made my avocado look giant and my breakfast taste delicious.

6. and miraculously, I got a mid week post in this week! If you missed it, check out my crocheted scarf pattern post here.

So whilst it wasn’t ‘Milford Sound’ or ‘taking the kids to Disneyworld for the first time’ levels of magic, there were sparks of magic in the everyday. I just needed a 3 and 4 year old to point it out for me.

Wishing you all magic everyday moments this weekend.

Abby x

Sydney

It’s been a big week.

The kids and I had colds, I was solo parenting for most of the week, my uni semester winds up today and I had a final assessment to complete before we flew to Sydney on Wednesday. None of those things on their own seem like a big deal, but when you add them all up you need a lot of coffee.

So the week that was…

There’s bulbs popping up all over our yard, and I can’t for the life of me remember what they are, so I’m looking forward to when they flower.

The kids were Where’s Wally obsessed for most of the week.

Miss 4 has been carrying a container of rocks around with her all week and they’ve been arranged in all kinds of interesting ways all over the place. A little container of rocks even made it to Sydney with us!

Miss 4 packed her own suitcase for Sydney

It may not look much, but she has two different types of wand in there, so as my Mum pointed out, she should be able to conjure up anything else she may require!

We flew to Sydney on Wednesday, and though I wouldn’t say the two hour flight with a 3 and 4 year old was ‘easy’, it was definitely much easier than a couple of 16 hour flights I once did with a 1 and 2 year old!

It’s been all puppy cuddles and Sydney things since then…

There’s lots of coffee, no assignments and the adult to child ratio has gone from 1:2 to 4:2. The week ends much better than it started.

How has your week been? Have you measured your days in cups of coffee?

Wishing you all relaxing weekends.

Abby x

A new path!

This week we (well not so much me) have been working on the path between our house and the sandpit.

This has been on the to do list for at least a year, but due to the labour intensive work, has been put off and put off time and time again.

Here’s how it all came together:

The path and sandpit border are made from recycled old red bricks, that Matt painstakingly removed old paint, mortar and concrete from, before laying them.

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IMG_5529I had the very important job of wetting the bricks and handing them to him!

The rock on the inside is also recycled. It was advertised as a giveaway by a landscaper, making over a garden.

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The process of finding the perfect placement for each rock was almost another painful process.

Once placement decisions were made, Matt tried taking some panorama shots of the layout, before removing them.

All the panorama shots were hilarious!

IMG_5561Thankfully he had a chalk reference system as well.

After a weeks work, the path is done, and I was finally able to make a garden bed.

IMG_5570Now there’s only another 23 metres of path to go on the other side of the sandpit…

Slow and steady wins the race!

Abby xx

 

A Picnic Rug

I’m very pleased with this little project.

I’ve spent a long time lusting over pretty picnic rugs, and finally decided to make my own for this Spring and Summer.

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It’s made from a vinyl topped table cloth (for waterproofing the back) and patchworked duck cloth.

This was an easy little project. The most time consuming part was hand stitching the binding. At a fairly slow pace, I knocked this project over in a week.

I bought this ‘beautiful’ tablecloth on ebay for $8. I figured it didn’t matter too much what it looked like, as you wouldn’t see it when the rug’s laid out anyway.

table clothOnce I’d quilted the patchwork top to the backing, I trimmed off the excess table cloth, and then added the binding. I made the binding myself, because I’m too cheap and fussy to buy bias tape.

Here’s a glimpse at how the back ended up looking.

IMG_5508Penny was insistent on helping me take photos.

IMG_5505I’ve been toying with the idea of adding some hand embroidery to my quilts lately, so I thought I’d try it out first on this rug.

IMG_5502It’s not perfect, but practice makes perfect!

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As per usual, I made far too much bias tape, so I sewed around the edges of the left overs, and then sewed the strip to the back of my picnic rug, to hold the rug together when it’s rolled up.

and here’s the finished product.

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IMG_5512I’m so happy with it, and can’t wait to have our first picnic with it!

Abby xx

 

 

 

 

 

A Busy Week

It’s been a busy week for us!

We started out with picking Matt up from the airport after a work trip on Saturday night, just in time for Father’s day the next day.

Miss E and I made this cute little card for Daddy. Idea found here.

fathers day card 1

fathers day card 2

 

(Daddy’s version doesn’t have the heart over the face!)

We spent our Father’s day visiting our Dad’s, having a picnic lunch, watching the footy (Australian rules football)  and then moving all the furniture in the house when I decided I wanted a change at 8:30pm on a Sunday night. Haha, he’s a super daddy and a very patient husband!

On Monday we took Miss E to the Royal Adelaide Show.

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I think we had more fun than Miss E did, but she really enjoyed seeing and patting the animals.

IMG_5181This might have been a nicer photo without my double chin. Ha!

She wasn’t too sure about the clowns, but was pretty happy with the pink fairy wand she won as a prize!

It feels like I’ve spent half my days saying ‘No’ on repeat. She may not be crawling yet, but she rolls EVERYWHERE and is in to EVERYTHING. We had a 20 minute argument about not touching the speaker here.

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As you can see in the picture above, with the cords hanging about, we’re still in the process of sorting out new homes for everything after I insisted on moving all the furniture around.

I worked Thursday, and Matt spent the day with Miss E, managing to slip in an IKEA trip to buy some shelves for our new play area.

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There’s a lot more work to be done in here, but we’ll get there eventually.

In the moments in-between, we’ve been enjoying all that Spring brings to our garden.

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The creek is greening up, and looking like a bit of a jungle.

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and our apricot tree is starting to blossom. I can’t wait to see all the flowers out.

and now it’s the weekend, and I’m looking forward to some couch time, reading a book, and finishing off the quilt I’m working on.

I hope you’ve all had a fabulous week too!

Abby xx

Welcome Spring

The first week of Spring feels very much like Spring in my little part of the world. The weather’s warmed up, and we’re spending all our spare moments outside in the sunshine.

Our garden is showing signs of Spring, and I can’t wait for it all to be a mass of flowers. Though I feel sorry for Matt and his terrible hay fever, when they all appear 😦

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We’ve got our first few blossoms on the almond tree.

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and the apricot tree is showing signs of life. I’m expecting a good season out of this tree after I accidentally left the hose running on it from our rain water tanks, and gave it a good 10,000 litre soak. Oops! So now we’re waiting for a bit more rain to replenish our stocks.

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There’s flowers popping out everywhere in the creek.

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We’ve got more strawberries.

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and I’m finally able to hang washing outside, in the sun, on my brand new washing line! Now to get some lawn or pavers under that line!

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We’re spending more days out on the back lawn or in parks, on our picnic blanket, and every time I pull it out I think that I should really make a pretty one to use this Spring and Summer.

I’ve just ordered some summer hats for Miss E, so we can spend even more time out in the glorious sunshine.

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T-Rex and I are patiently waiting for our expensive stick (Maple Tree) to sprout some leaves.

I’ve bought new bathers and I’m starting to look seriously at the state of my summer wardrobe. I think that the short shorts and singlets that made up the majority of my wardrobe the last few summers may need to be retired and replaced by some more mum-appropriate outfits this spring and summer.

It won’t be long and we’ll be having BBQs’s and salads most nights, my feet will remain firmly in my havianas and I’ll have to deforest my legs! Haha!

Spring, I love you!

Abby xx