Monday, 28 April 2014

Checkout what we've done this fortnight

Mark and I aren't really what you would call "doers", we have grand plans and think things out for ages, and rarely ever get anywhere because our plans are too optimistic. But lately we have been getting this under control, and I must confess that I'm rather chuffed with what we have achieved...yes, there is a collective we there even though Mark has done most of the hard work-don't tell him I said that.

The new chicken gate and feeding station.

The two life changing things Mark has made for me in the last two weeks are a new gateway and feeding station for the chickens, and a new clothesline. The new chicken run set up means that I can give the girls fresh food and water in a matter of seconds and give them the freedom to free-range around the garden without having to worry about them struggling to get back in to their coop at night as their last escape root involved them jumping on top of their coop. Whilst Mark was installing the new gate frame he added a gas strop to the lid of the coop which means that Lara and I can gather the eggs together without worrying about the roof falling on our heads-this wouldn't be a problem if Holly wasn't such a bird brain and laid her eggs in the nesting box. The new clothesline is such genius that I'm joking with Mark that he should patent the design. Basically I now have a clothesline under cover that is on a pulley system so I can easily put washing on the line at shoulder level and then pull the line up nice and high for drying under the pergola, and it is on a clip so it is easy to take down when we are entertaining. Genius. Not to mention that I can now do three loads of washing in one day, so I feel ready to take on winter.

What, doesn't your clothesline have a pulley system?

Surely every clothesline has a cleat right?

We have also made one existing garden bed look more respectable, which makes me proud when I stand at our kitchen sink doing the dishes and look at it. We have also added a new garden bed to the front yard in order to give our bedroom some privacy from the street...but it is going to take some commitment from me to fertilise the trees on a regular basis for them to achieve that goal any time soon.

Canna Lillies, Hibiscus, varigated Cordylines and  a Philodendron
have completed this once empty corner in the backyard.

Viburnum and Canna Lillies create a new garden bed in the front yard
that will hopefully give us privacy soon-read blinds open and naked.

My solo achievements in the last fortnight have included knitting Lara some mittens, chicken proofing the veggie patch, sorting out compost, raising seedlings and baking, all whilst being a sleep deprived Mum with a baby that has had a cold, is teething and is getting rid of her lunch time nap. I seem to very easily forget all of this when at the end of the day I look at the state of the house and feel bad, but you just can't do everything all the time. I'm either proud of my gardening and craft achievements, or proud of the state of my house, and honestly, watching my garden grow, and creating things brings me much more joy than not having a layer of dust on my TV unit for forty eight hours until it builds up again. I digress, I made Lara's mittens to match the beanie that I made her before she was born. That project felt really good because I didn't make the mittens because I felt like knitting, I made them because Lara gets cold hands (just like her Mum). She likes them, and I'm biased but I think she does look rather cute in her matching accessories-even though they are obviously hand made by a novice.

Lara's handmade beanie and mittens-she is just too cute.

Only parts of my veggie patch are chicken proofed at the moment, partly because I want them to air rate the soil and get rid of the bad bugs, and partly because I don't have enough materials to completely shut them out, and that would make my veggie garden look ugly. That said, I am now using the pet pen (that I got to harden off my young chicks outside before introducing them to the old girls) to fence in my eggplant, snow peas and string beans, and I've dug in chicken wire to protect my bok choy seedlings. Once they have outgrown the recycled piece of chicken wire that I threw over them in two minutes flat I will probably protect two thirds of the crop with some other DIY structure and see how the remaining plants stand up to the chickens. Why am I so keen to protect these plants? Because they give us delicious veggies like the beans below.

Just a little bean harvest from the veggie garden.
The purple bean looks great in the garden but loses its colour when cooked. Bean salad anyone?

It feels good to be doing things around the place that make day to day living so much easier and the next few days are set aside for tidying and cleaning, which is obviously something that makes life easier but there is no joy for me in those jobs. Oh, to be one of those people who enjoys the process of cleaning, I just want to click my fingers and everything be done. What's the bet I lose myself out in the garden and turn in to a crazy lady on Sunday desperately trying to prepare for my guests on Monday?

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