Friday, October 19, 2012

Spring On The Land

Spring as always, it seems, has been wet, but this year it has also been cold, and windy to the extreme.
I made us an asparagus bed over winter, and planted crowns a couple of months ago. The have grown, but I didn't get around to putting wind break around the bed (the two times I went to buy some they were out of stock) and so the poor plants have been lain to rest - I don't think they'll be standing up again after today's winds.
I sowed three rows of peas: one has started growing perfectly, the other two have not germinated as well, nor as quickly even though they are right next to each other.
I finally got the strawberry and herb beds weeded
I've pulled borage out of the strawberries; strawberries from the chives, lemon balm and thyme; thyme out of the pineapple sage, sage out of the Cape gooseberries - but I've pulled bloody sorrel out of everything! Some weeds are just plants in the wrong place but sorrel is a weed wherever I find it. And don't tell me to put it in my salads because IT'S A WEED THERE TOO!
The rhubarb is growing well in it's new bed - rhubarb and apple crumble for dessert tomorrow night.
The tree onions and garlic are doing well, and the leeks are finally starting to grow - they just stayed the same size for months.
But now it's time for the big challenge - these four gardens.
There's broad beans by the bucketful if you look carefully. Very yummy when they are young and fresh.
Not just weeds but also miner's lettuce which, amazingly, actually tastes very like lettuce, and is not at all bitter like most of the other alternative salad greens. As I weeded today, a lot the miner's lettuce came out too, so that was our salad green tonight.
The parsley is on the way out, but that okay - it's everywhere in both the garden and the long grass. I'll leave one or two plants in to go to seed to make sure.
The brassicas are done.
But I had to leave this plant in the ground for my bees which were all over the yellow flowers.
The spent plants didn't go to waste though: the chooks were very happy with the feed of brassica leaves, slugs, snails and puha, and we'll get to enjoy nice rich, orange-yolked eggs.

The clucky chook wasn't so happy when I removed her from the nesting box and put her in the cage to cool off.
Back inside, the seedlings are growing nicely in our cheap greenhouse from Bunnings. (The curtains are only pulled for the photo.)

A couple of courgettes seedlings on the kitchen windowsill.
And to finish - a cup of home-grown peppermint tea with a teaspoonful of home-grown honey.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

The Joys of Finger-painting

For the last couple of days I've been spending time playing with what we called finger paint when my kids were little. Now I'm a 'grown up' I've found a fancy name for it - paste paper - and an excuse to play with it. I use it in my book making.

 As well as the cornflour and water, I add glycerine, detergent and a little pva glue. And paint, of course.
This is just paint spread around, another sheet of paper placed on top, pressed down, then gently pulled apart.

First I did a rubbing of the gravel on our driveway, then spread paint over the paper and poked at it with a looped mop painting tool from Playways, in Hamilton East.

Another tool from Playways - a roller stamp with a house on it.

 The tool for this was a grouting tool from when we laid our floor tiles.
 I didn't have the red I wanted, but this is still quite yummy.
 Not a good photo - it's an orangey mix of leftover paint - the red and yellow mixed together scraped on black paper with the grouting tool, and is really lovely
 Pulled red paper. Gorgeous.
 This one was done on a textured brown paper and is nicer than it looks here - I just couldn't get it to photograph well.
But my favourites were with gold paint on black paper - and were just a way of using up the gold paint which I used with the red and yellow, but which isn't even visible there!
 Again, these were made with pre-school tools! small sponges attached to dowel handles, ranging in size from around a 10cent piece, to the top of a shot glass.

 (Sorry about the shadows.)

My favourite - and sadly I don't know how I got that veined effect so it's definitely a one off!
 Next week - having received my new book from the wonderful Book Depository, I'll start playing with new book forms and use some of these papers.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Collecting a Swarm of Bees

This afternoon I got a phone call about collecting a swarm of bees, and rang one of Mac's workmates as she was keen to get some bees. When I got there I discovered that we had to walk a short distance to get them.

  The bees were very conveniently sitting low down on a lime tree

 Aren't they just beautiful?

 But to get to the bees when you have come straight from your office job means you haven't really got the right footwear, so it's barefoot time.

 Ouch! cold water, sharp stones!
 The taker and the giver.
 Ready - then I had to put the camera down to help.
 Love the safety boots - this is seriously upmarket beekeeping gear!
In the box....

 ....and gone.

September Reading

I read a lot.

I'd far rather read a novel than watch tv or a movie. When Game Of Thrones came out as a tv show, I remembered reading the book years ago. I watched just two episodes, then returned to the books and read the whole lot, giving up on the tv series.

I like to watch TED talks but I'm more likely to Google the speaker and go read their books or papers, that watch to the end of the talk.

Comedy is one thing I like best on screen - there are few books I find funny.

Anyway, I periodically try to keep track of books that I enjoy but I forget and I lose the scraps of paper and notebooks that I write in. So I've decided to write a once a month blog about the books I read - and put a reminder in my phone to do just that. So, here goes with some of the reading I did in September that I enjoyed and recommend.


Permaculture published in the UK, this is an inspirational magazine which certainly doesn't hide from the hard issues, but always seems to find positive takes on action people can and are taking in the face of world problems. There is also a wonderful website. #73 - Autumn 2012 is no exception. My favourite articles this time are about Biomatrix Water (transforming polluted waterways), Cultivating Communication Skills, River of Flowers (creating urban wild flower corridors for bees), and Multi-Functional Hedges.  If you go to the website you can download a free copy. The magazine is available in some e-books forms, but I love my paper version, which I can share around.

New Internationalist I buy my copies at Trade Aid shops.
It covers international issues from perspectives very different from the mainstream. The September issue focuses on drugs and asks the question, 'If drugs were legal what would happen.' It made me consider things in ways I'd never thought about before. New Internationalist is also produced in both paper and digital forms, and has a website here.


The Dog Stars by Peter Heller
A post apocalyptic novel that is unusual. It's about the protagonist's personal ways of coping with loss and enormous change. And the ending is neither dreadful, nor unrealistically positive, yet still surprising. I really enjoyed it and finished with a sense of satisfaction.

Goose Girl by Joy Dettman
As a 10 year old, Sally, now nearly 30, survived an horrific car crash in which her father and brothers were killed. Her mother never forgave her for surviving. Sally moves to Melbourne, leaving her steady boyfriend behind, and her crazy mother, and tries to survive alone in the city. Another novel of personal development and growth, it has a happy ending that is surprisingly realistic with no sense of happy-ever-after, but rather one of 'she'll be right.'


Crafting Beautiful Journals & Albums by Anna Morgan
Some interesting ideas and inspiration, along with reasonably clear instructions. I made the following based on one of the projects in the book.

Real Life Journals by Gwen Diehn
This book is so great and so inspiring, that not only have I have renewed the library, but also ordered a copy from The Book Depository - plus another of her books that I haven't seen but know it will be great too. I guess that says it all!

Other Non-Fiction

Wild: from lost to found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed
As a 22 year old, Cheryl's mother died, and afterwards her family drifted away from each other, despite her efforts to keep them close. She tried to escape through numerous sexual encounters and affairs, thus destroying her marriage, and also through drugs. (All this is given in outline, not detail.) Eventually she decides to walk the Pacific Crest Trail, which is a far from easy 'walk'. The book is an interesting mixture of her adventures, her interactions with other people on the trail, and her reflections on her life.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Love is Hard Some Lifetimes

Two people I love:
one, I see but
rarely talk with;
the other talks often
but I rarely see.

Last week
I saw both,
talked to both,
filled my day
with joy.

Today I'm empty.
filled with grey.
Love is hard
some lifetimes.