Passion? You have to have passion to live life to the fullest! What gets you up each morning? Apart from a bowl of home-made muesli?? I love my job, and I love my garden. The house I live in, could be any house anywhere - 4 walls anywhere are my blank canvas to create a home. But the garden takes time, dedication and a great dose of patience. It's my passion, for sure. Walking along the pathways, checking on the plants, the trees, the insects that inhabit and the birds that are drawn to share our space, I look around and marvel at what we have created. Not alone, but with the help of countless people from all across the globe! That too, creates a sense of wonderment, knowing that this little patch of soil has drawn so many overseas visitors to stop a while, to share in the fruits of our little paradise, and to pitch in to create something to remember them by. A hothouse, a wildflower patch, a kitchen garden, crafty pavers, a chook house, word-art signs, wooden structures, painted spaces, food planted..................... each one reminds us of the person who helped to make it such a special space.
|Our make-shift blueberry enclosure with legs to the right of the photo|
for our rainwater tank due to be installed soon. The unique pavers
each lovingly created by helpxchangers.
|The view we are greeted with when opening the sleeping quarters of|
Liz and Spence, our two currently clucky hens, in their Chook Tractor
built by another creative helpxchanger!
At the moment we are picking brittle-fresh asparagus spears daily (3-4 spears per day), globe artichokes (how come so many people have never ventured to explore the culinary delights of this exotic vegetable??), broad beans (labour of love to prepare), fennel bulbs (sliced, drizzled with lemon juice and baked), lemons, mandarins, red cabbage, brocolli, oranges...... and as of today - strawberries!! Yum! I read that strawberries are actually originally woodland plants that feed on the leaf litter from overhead trees - so although they love sunshine, they can grow in semi-shady spots too. I have two beds, one in full sun, from which we are currently harvesting, the other in shade, which fruit later on, and longer lasting). They are the only fruit to bear their seeds on the outside of the fruit (about 200) but are mostly propagated via the runners they send out.
|Home-grown brocolli -what a treat! No sprays, fresh from garden|
|Our beautiful red cabbages fattening up..........|
|Globe artichokes for the picking........... what a delight to eat...|
picking your way slowly to the heart of the flower!!
Looking back on my third term holiday break just gone by, what a productive and fulfilling time, pottering away in my garden shed, making a bird-house, wooden shelves, a recycled coffee sack bag (mach 2), sowing seeds, planting tomato seedlings with an excitement at the anticipation of succulent, sweet, juicy tomato harvests.............
Store-bought ones just pale in comparison, to the point that we do not buy them at all over winter, choosing instead to opt for sun-dried tomatoes in our winter salads. But truthfully, after summer and well into autumn, we have so pigged out on tomatoes of every size, colour and taste, that it is a welcome break. After all, this is what sustainable is about - eating seasonally! Having a garden gets you back in touch with seasonal foods like never before. BG (Before Gardening) I didn't question buying apples, bananas or tomatoes all year round!
|The up-cycled tote made from old coffee bags|
from Ceres (organic, of course!).
|The decorative bit was off a favourite Bali-bought shoe!|
Mike sourced a whole heap of untreated sawdust from a friend, to line our pathways and reduce the weeding energy output over the summer. Some people counsel against using sawdust due to it's high acidity levels but I think it is fine in pathways, I have been using it for over a year now in this way and it breaks down slowly over many, many months, into earthworm ridden rich "compost".
|Untreated cedar sawdust to suppress weeds|
|Sawdust pathways in the orchard delineates areas of wildflower|
Oh yes, also managed to extract all the files on our old dinosaur computer, and even drop it off for a fire station garage sale!! Yeeha! I had been ringing around, trying desperately to find a home for it but interestingly, most people are just not interested in old technology, even for kids!
During my holidays, I received not one, but two invitations from my doctor and nurse - for a tetanus booster. Now I read this and the first thing I thought was, "Woah! I never even got a tetanus shot from them, so how come they are assuming I need a booster?" Anyway, it's probably the first response they ever received from a "patient" (ever wondered what the meaning of this word is , perhaps because whenever you go to a doctor, you usually end up waiting at least half an hour, so one needs be very patient!) in response to one of their mailouts. It went something like this:
"Dear Doctor and Nurse
Thank you very much for your invitation but I will not be taking you up on your kind offer of a tetanus booster. The reason is that I don't believe in random vaccinations, specially ones that list so many potential side-effects."
I also asked them to clear up the confusing issue for me, that the attached pamphlet listing all the side-effects, stated that the Ministry of Health were providing this vax free of charge. The typed letter stated that the vax cost to me would be $20! Confusing. Perhaps, they may state next time that "administering" the vax will incur a cost of $20.
If you are interested in FACTS, not emotional outbursts on this topic, read http://www.whale.to/v/tetanus.html to open your eyes! Okay, off that soapbox.
The reason for adding that last little piece of info, was because living sustainably can NEVER include shots of chemical poison to the system! The ancients extolled the virtues of berries in boosting the immune system, in fact, blueberries scientific name is Vaccinium corymbosum. This is where the name vaccination is derived from! So want to stay healthy? Eat plenty berries, and we're heading into berry season! Our strawberries are ripening and growing at an incredible rate! An interesting fact: Eating strawberries, which are rich in nitrate, can increase the flow of blood & oxygen to the muscles by 7%. This prevents muscle fatigue, making exercise easier. Perhaps why they were believed to be aphrodisiac in times gone by in France, and thus fed to newlyweds!
|One of the endearingly welcome ring-necked visitors who entertain us with their|
crazy mating antics. They are always at it! Wonder if they eat strawberries??