Saturday, March 5, 2011


My, how busy this slow life has been keeping me!  I apologise for the lack of posting of late, I have been saying for at least three weeks that I need to sit down and write!

After a rocky start, our vegie garden is now well and truly established; our tomatoes are almost higher that my head now, and, while not yet ripe, the fruit is growing in gorgeous little bunches that are promising a variety of cherry, roma and big red tomatoes.

The corn is flourishing, although we have only seen one cob developing so far.

Our beautiful little Golden Nugget pumpkins are growing strongly, and they look like they are going to provide us with enough produce to keep us fed over the next four or five months.

We had planted our seeds in December, only a couple of weeks before the huge storms and flooding around Victoria.  Kyneton was not immune, and while we saw only a minor amount of flooding in our garden, many of our other seeds were swept away in the deluge, being shallowly planted.  So we have had a couple of vacant beds, until a few weeks ago when Grant and I, and my sister and brother-in-law, visited the Garden of St. Erth at Blackwood.  The garden is one belonging to the Diggers Club, a seed-saving garden club dedicated to the preservation of heritage varieties of plants.  I have been a member for a couple of years, and love their publications and the access to interesting fruit and vegetable seeds and seedlings.  We enjoyed a delectable Devonshire tea (accompanied by their own homemade berry jam) in the gorgeous gardens, and we picked up a couple of seedlings to fill out the vegie garden.  We now have two lovely Romanesco Broccoli plants, and a bed of russet-coloured Radicchio (a vegetable I have fallen in love with for cooking into a risotto – just a little bitter, balanced by the salty tang of parmesan and the creaminess of butter and the rice starch).

I am now starting to think about the autumn plantings, and preparing the beds accordingly.  We are hoping to head out this afternoon to one of Grant’s colleague’s farms to pick up some horse manure to work into the beds in anticipation for planting in a couple of weeks time.  We are planning two tee-pees of sugar-snap peas, a bed of spinach, a bed of spring onions and we will try our hands again at broccoli and cauliflower despite the seedlings dying in the trays before we could transplant them last time.

Perhaps the biggest challenge over the next little while is going to be balancing my new job with our lifestyle commitment (and the little luxuries I have become used to, like going to the gym in the middle of the day and reading two books a week!).  I am starting tomorrow…feels somewhat like beginning at a new school!  I will be working in Bendigo, which is a 45 minute train ride from here, and should be able to commute by train most days.  It is also only four days per week, so I will have an extra day at home to work in the garden, bake and play with Jessie!

Speaking of the dog, Jessie has been attending obedience training for the last four Sundays and seems to be improving.  She can still be very strong on the lead, particularly when she sees another dog and wants to say hello, but she is becoming more consistent in her behaviour on the lead, and learning to listen to what Mum and Dad are telling her!

While Jessie has been at obedience classes on Sunday mornings, Grant has been mountain-biking with the group out of Castlemaine.  They seem to be pretty serious – most rides lasting around the 2 ½ hour mark – but Grant seems to be improving: he is certainly coming home with fewer injuries!  I have joined the gym a couple of blocks away, and have started running regularly with the ‘morning joggers’ group.  Indeed, I have signed up for the 14.38km Run for the Kids on April 17, so am in training for that with a few others at the gym.

A couple of weeks ago, I attended a week-long workshop on strawbale house building, run by a family who are building their place in Pipers Creek, about 15 minutes from Kyneton.  It was a hands-on workshop, absolutely fascinating and a brilliant experience.  Grant and I are thinking that this is the medium that we would like to build in eventually, as it has amazing thermal properties (stays warm in winter and cool in summer) and it is a really aesthetically beautiful building style.  While we didn’t get through the entire build process in the week, I am keeping in touch with Dean and Sherril and will head back on the occasional day off to learn about another aspect of the building process.  The workshop really inspired me, and convinced me that this is the medium that I want to build our home out of.

(Yes, Mum, that is me sitting on the top plate!)

I think that pretty much wraps it up for now, with a promise to stay on top of this blogging caper in future!