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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Head colds, croup and crochet

Just a quick apology for being absent of late. It’s head colds for one and all in my family at the moment, and a dose of croup for the littlest last weekend. Not much sleep, a busy schedule and a foggy brain are not working in my favour.

I’d feel guilty if I left you with nothing though. So here’s just a quick little share of a ball of yarn I wasn’t in love with, over dyed and then made a little beanie out of.

Even when the brain is barely functioning, there’s still little projects being churned out. Coherent sentences are a little beyond me though.

Hoping you’re avoiding all the winter germs!

Abby x

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

June Roundup

How on earth are we already half way through this year! Slow down already!

It’s most definitely winter here now.

My lounge room is constantly full of fold up washing lines, as nothing dries outside and I can’t bring myself to use the expensive dryer.

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We’ve had our first few pickings from our veggie garden

vege pickings

and we’ve had some good rain that’s got our creek flowing

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and we survived our first bout of baby illness, with Miss E and I both getting Hand, Foot and Mouth whilst Matt was away.

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I’ve been reading

Save Our Sleep by Tizzie Hall

&

The Gift of Sleep by Elizabeth Sloane & Mia Freedman

Get the feeling we’re not getting much sleep? I’m not entirely sold on everything either of them have to say, but I’m finding some of their suggestions helpful, and I’m now loosely following some of their routines. I like to read widely, then develop my own strategies with a little from Column A, a little from Column B and a little from Column I’ll-just-make-this-up-as-I’m-going. Both books offer an approach for teaching your baby, toddler or child how to self settle at night. They also give routines to follow around nap times, feeds etc, which is the part I’ve found most helpful. If you’re fairly open minded and you’ve got a little one keeping you up at night, they’re worth a read.

I’ve also been listening to audiobooks as mentioned here. I’m reliving my childhood, listening to The Secret Garden and now A Little Princess, both by Frances Hodgson Burnett. I enjoy the stories as much as I enjoy recalling reading them for the first time as a kid. I love a little escapism every now and then.

I’ve been watching

I really don’t watch much TV. I find it far too passive and get bored easily. But, I will always make an exception for Offspring! I’ve loved this show since it first graced our screens, and I never miss an episode. At the moment I’m finding it a little exhausting with all the crying it’s making me do, but I don’t mind. I love Nina’s style and her clumsiness. I love the non-stop awkwardness and the way I’ve fallen in love with all the characters. If you’ve no idea what I’m talking about, it may be because it’s an Australian drama series. If you’re outside of Australia, and can get your hands on it, I’d thoroughly recommend it!

I’ve been making

The crocheted blanket continues! I’m nearing halfway now, and I’ve reached the point where I just want it finished so that I can move on to some of the fifty million other craft projects I’ve mentally started. I really need to just stay away from pinterest… and Instagram… and all the blogs I follow… Far too easily inspired/distracted!

blanket progress

I’ve also made the crocheted face washers mentioned here

and I made a new cover for our boomerang pillow for Miss E

boomerang pillow

It’s nothing special, I just used some cheap end of bolt fabric because anything was going to be better than the old faded black pillowcase that was on it before. I tried my hand at crocheting the edge. I’m not thrilled with the results, but I gave it a go, and it’s serving it’s purpose!boomerang pillow crochet

June hasn’t been very busy, but it was long and challenging. Looking forward to a happy and healthy July!

Abby xx

Welcome Winter

I’m one of those people that spends Winter whinging that I wish it were Summer and then whinges in Summer that I wish it were Winter. I love Spring and Autumn, and those first few weeks of Summer and Winter when the change in weather is still a novelty.

My reasons for being excited about Winter right now:

  • I get to rediscover the winter wardrobe that I didn’t get to wear last winter while pregnant. Hooray for skinny jeans!
  • Cosy scarves and beanies.
  • Snuggling up on the couch with blankets, coffee and a book.
  • I don’t have to water the garden, and it always looks green and lush!
  • No flies, mosquitoes or snakes around, but lots of frogs 🙂
  • Hearty winter meals; stews, roasts and chocolate pudding!
  • Red wine season!

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Yes, all lovey dovey feelings towards Winter just now. Give me a few weeks and I’ll be whining about laundry not drying, endless rain, being too cold and never-ending gas bills again.

Abby xx