Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Ecology meets glamour.

I keep on seeing a blue tongue lizard in the garden. In fact, it seems to get around so much I am starting to wonder if there is actually more than one of them. Tonight I spotted it loitering under the agapanthus, and whipped inside and grabbed a bottle of 'My Chihuahua Bites,' by O.P.I., and dabbed a wee bit on it's back, so now whenever I see my scaly friend I'll know if there's more than one, or not. I hope it's a girl and it appreciates the colour.

(And I'm also hoping it will wear off eventually and I haven't given the poor bugger a permanent orange-red splodge. It's a very harassed lizard, I accidentally poured half a bucket of recycled laundry water over it tonight, not realising it was sitting in the strawberries).

Not the best photo, I expect she was annoyed and refused to face the camera for me.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

A pocket full of peas.

I picked some peas today. Not having any hands free, I stuffed them in my pockets; the pods squeaked and creaked as they rubbed together: SP tried to take them out of my pockets again.

Meanwhile, some of the masses of seeds I planted are poking their noses out of the warmed earth. The corn seems to be shooting up in front of my eyes, the squash are also growing super quickly, and the carrots have finally appeared (fingers crossed a few survive this time!)

My little apricot tree is putting on a second round of blushing leaves.

And the coriander, which went to seed quite a long time ago, has a pretty crop of rose-pink and minty-green seeds drying to dun-brown.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

My favourite kind of day

There was a change in the weather today: from the hot hot hot, stems drooping, leaves crisping and scorched concrete kind of days we've just had a few of, to a change in the weather: cool, lustrous, air, sweeping in as dark clouds across the Gulf. The garden is refreshed and gleaming; it was a good time to put my lavender hedge in yesterday, although perhaps not at 8:30pm when the light was fast fading.
It's beautiful, is it not?

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Rather nice.

What better way to unwind after work, than to wander around the garden with SP on my hip, watering the plants, and picking armfulls of roses?

And then what better use for armfulls of roses than to make blousey overblown bouquets in big vases?

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Photo update

Yesterday I promised progress shots of the garden, and today here they are.
First up: the extended vegetable garden. Those red frames along the fence are the old front gate which we found behind the shed. D would like to put them back up, but for now they're support for some beans, which I hope will sprout shortly.

And while I'm here, I must show you the roses. Ironically, the best photo I have of them is from my mobile phone, snapped out of the window of the car as we left the driveway the other day!

They're like a sea of white petals. Very pretty.

Though I think the prettiest part is below our bedroom window.

The very decrepit rose by the letterbox, which I cut back hard and hoped for the best, is blooming like a trooper with the most lovely red blooms. Underneath are my nature-strip nasturtiums, and some pink snapdragons.

What's up next? A hedge of Hidcote lavender along the fence. The black weedmat is peeled back, the ground dug over, manure and blood and bone are added, and the plants are bought. All I need to do is get them in the ground.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Busy, busy!

We have done so much in the garden over the last few days. SP has been unwell - her first genuine lurgy - and so she spent a lot of time asleep, which meant that we were able to achieve quite a lot.
I doubled the size of the vegetable garden (and boy, did my body feel it the next day), we extended the irrigation system down to the front of the garden, got my lemon tree planted in the lawn, and the lime trees repotted into bigger pots, not to mention more heritage carrot and tomato seeds planted into pots. And then bok choy and basil seeds, corn and pumpkin seeds, and 'assorted' squash. And then there are the artichoke, capsicum, yellow zucchini, and rhubarb seedlings. And some ancient strawberries, thyme, and miniature roses to be replanted. And I've even started work along the front fence for the lavender hedge (Hidcote). Whew! Out of breath yet?
And do I have pictures of any of it? Nope! SP woke up before I could get organised for that part. Tomorrow's mission is to take photos of all that we've done so far. I do, however, have pictures of my idea for this year's Christmas baking: cookie trees. A rush job, because really I just wanted to try out my new star cutters, but very simple and I think I could work this up into something quite cute.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Restless night.

Yesterday it was hot, and the heat seeped into the house and lay in pockets and corners and bedclothes. At night, it was still hot, and not one of us could sleep easily. The wind stalked around the house, rattling the windowpanes impatiently and tugging at the blinds. Our Small Person woke up at midnight and couldn't get back to sleep, she thrashed and tossed between us in the bed. And who could blame her? When we all finally fell asleep at 2:30am, our dreams came in fits and starts, a series of disjointed and nonesensical images: a red armchair, a bending tree, running and confusion. We woke in the morning exhausted.
Today the weather has changed: cool but not cold, drizzly and beautiful. The air and soil are damp and scented, and white rose petals scatter the front garden like confetti.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

My first harvest.

A momentous day today. I have actually picked real, edible vegetables from my garden. I must be doing something right after all!
I rummaged around in the potato pots and found a dozen potatoes easily. They were blanched whole, then tossed in fried garlic and butter: yum!

We picked the biggest of the broad beans, even though I didn't know how to tell if they were ready or not. Shelling them, I discovered the beans were nestled in a luminous white and velvety fur.

I've also been picking snow peas by the dozen and snacking on them as I wander around the garden.

I've also planted out the tomatoes I've had waiting for me while we were away - a Digger's Club heritage mix - they arrived the day before we left and I didn't have time to plant them then. There's also corn seeds in the soil, and three capsicum plants so far: one yellow, one black, and one chocolate coloured version. Yet more beans - this time purple kings and yellow butter beans - have been scattered all over the place. I have a heritage mix of carrot seeds (also Digger's Club) to put in but have had no luck with carrots yet, my carroty efforts so far not yielding even a single green sprout. I got some raspberry runners and Japanese windflowers from my Mother-in-law's beautiful garden. It's probably not really cold enough here for raspberries to fruit ,but they're still pretty plants. Did I ever mention I wrote my honour's thesis on native raspberries (Rubus parvifolius)? I'd like to source some of them for our house too. They're indigenous to this area but not common anymore. The plants look much like introduced raspberries, but they're smaller and quite dainty. The flowers are pink, and in this area the petals do not fold back to look like a traditional flower, but stay clasped together like hands in prayer. My photos are not on this computer, but I have borrowed this one from Greg's Indigenous Landscapes website.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

A poem

Cold, Cold, go away.
Tired of complaining
every day.

Head hurts
and nose awash.
Why do you torment me,
dreaded Virus?

Immune System,
where have you gone?
Sending me to bad poetry.
Or the dogs.


Clearly other people get a bit illness fixated from time to time.

Interesting. This is soap. (from this Etsy seller)

Or maybe I need this 'friendly antibiotic'? (from these people)

Actually I think I just need some echinacea (from this artist)

Saturday, November 6, 2010


I have come down with a cold. Since I am breastfeeding SP I cannot take anything but Panadol and I am feeling suitably miserable. On Thursday morning, the day we started to make our way home, I had a suspiciously sore throat and by the time we got on the first plane - from Chiang Mai to Bangkok - I was sure I was unwell. My ears were an agony all of their own. I wondered what a burst eardrum would feel like, and if it would bleed. Afterwards, I couldn't hear a thing out of my right ear. Thankfully the next two plane flights - first, Bangkok to Melbourne, and second Melbourne to Adelaide - were nowhere near as intense, but I still cannot hear well out of that ear and it is very annoying indeed. I feel like I'm underwater.
I am to go out tonight, but I don't really want to.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Thaton 3: Walking Market

On Sunday we drove the three hours back to Chiang Mai so that we could go shopping at the Sunday 'Walking Market,' although I think 'Ambling Market' might be a better name as one must not be in a rush to make it from one end to the other. We were out to see what may be found that was new and interesting, but there was not much we hadn't seen before. We couldn't help noticing the price of cotton scaves went from 79THB each at the popular end of the market, to 25THB each at the far end. I suppose they are relying on people getting worn out by the slow and hot walk and giving up before they make it all the way down.

The food was, as ever, very tasty and we started with Khao Soi (yellow noodles with red chicken curry) and followed it up with various Khanom (tidbits? snacks?), little pastries and sticky rice sweets, my green coloured coconut and tapioca wormy drink, mango with sticky rice, and sweet roti which I didn't need at all but thoroughly enjoyed.

We bought a pair of hot pink and black shoes with pompoms for SP, and hummed over some baby fisherman pants but put them back in the end. I was a bit taken by some of the prints being sold by a Chiang Mai artist, Chumpol Taksapornchai, and I bought a limited print of a watercolour entitled 'Calm in Awareness,' which will probably end up on SP's wall eventually.