Sunday, August 24, 2008

Garden this week

Bought a Jaboticaba (yummy-black berries with bitter skin, but the flesh tastes a lot like a lychee)

Malabar chestnut

Star apple


Black passionfruit

Gotta love the $2.80 plants at the market.

The kids ate one not-quite-ready strawberry today! There's lots more becoming ready, i'm not a great fan by everyone else is.

Repotted the rather ill-looking medlar (oh alright, I stuck it in a juice container) and it's now rewarded me with green shoots. I didn't want it to die, at $24 it's the most expensive things we have! Also planted echinacea, comfrey and borage in a polystyrene box, and planted four zucchinis out in a trench garden. Trench garden=digging a trench, chucking half-rotted compost in, topping up with clover from the lawn, then dirt, then newspaper as weed mat, then lots of mulch raked up from under the mango. We left it to stew for a few days then poked a hole in the newspaper and stuck the seedlings in. I've never done it before, so i'll see how they fare. The Nimbas are doing far better than the Lebanese ATM, the transplant didn't worry them.

I think i'm definitely going to end up with a garden of things people have never heard of! I love odd foods, I want to start getting into Australian bush foods next. It really makes you realise supermarkets are woeful-there's so much more out there, most of it better tasting, more pest-resistant and more plentiful.

Nappy for Shorty

Not that he needs more-but i've had this concept in my head for months. What with sickness and moving it took forever to try it out.
I'm impressed so far-nice and trim but very absorbent, OSFM, easy to use and easy to make (very important to me after making lots of complicated things!) Even the husband likes it, and he's a terrible critic. It's had a few weeks wear now with no issues-I was smart enough this time to make a few mock-ups first!

Friday, August 22, 2008

00 Pants

A quick little pair of pants I made for Johhny 5 (go watch Short Circuit if you don't get it). Just plain red pinwale cord I picked up at an op-shop. Estimated cost about 50c! I drafted up this pattern ages ago to make flongies-it always makes me laugh when the legs are shorter than the rise, stumpy newborns!
And you can just see the bottom of Shorty's red pants I made him yonks ago-1.5 years ago to be exact. My boy is a slow grower!

We've decided that this baby will be our 'homemade baby'-we won't be buying anything new for him, it will all be homemade or secondhand. Being number 5 makes it a bit easier, we have truckloads of stuff. However, my nanna isn't in on the challenge, so sent us this package the other day. There's not really a nice way to ask relatives not to buy you presents, so we won't!


Saturday, August 16, 2008

I sewed!

Clap for me!

Pants for Gabrielle, all of her choice. She realised the other day that she'd outgrown everything i'd made and so had no 'good clothes'. Darling girl.



They're widewale cord with drill pockets. Cord was new, pockets were craps-total cost about $4. I'm pretty happy with them, I realised I have finally gotten to the point where I can make a professional looking pair of pants without having to think about it. Compared to the first pair of cords I made yonks ago with the nap running in different directions on each leg, it's an achievement! It's a four piece pattern, a modification of one I have from the seventies. The waist is fully elasticised but flatter at the front by stitching in the ditch down the side seams.

One small niggle-the top pockets should have been swapped. They're the same part of the print on one leg, with a different part of the print on the other leg. It'll irritate me, but no-one else will ever notice.

I want some for myself-once this baby is out i'm going to make some stuff for ME!

Our 'garden'

Rentals and pot gardening is challenging so far, to say the least. Especially from the POV of wanting to produce as much of our food as we can-I think most people who pot garden are happy to grow a few things, but I want it all! But nowhere near as challenging as heavy frosts from March-November, Tassie was rather discouraging.



Not very inspiring so far-but we've only had a few weeks and very limited cash. The list of things we have is more impressive, here goes. Numbers refer to varieties, not number of plants.

2 potatoes (chitting on the side there)

3 raspberries




strawberry and chilean guavas





apple mint

3 strawberries

4 garlics

2 peas

2 tomatoes








pak choi

2 spring onions

2 bulb onions


3 succhinis

broad beans



2 parsley



mustard spinach


Plus the masses of bulbs we can't seem to identify yet, the happy plant cuttings and the kids' cacti and succulents.

Most are seedlings, obviously. I'm getting D to dig a trench for the ramblers as advised by Jackie French in her pumpkin book. We're trying to get polystyrene boxes, but so far can't find anyone who doesn't charge for them-ludicrous! I also have piles more seeds to plant, and a list longer than this one of things to get. Note also that i'm only the brains behind all this-I have a black thumb, i'm too forgetful to be trusted with food production. Luckily D could potter around all day outside so I do the research and he's the grunt, it works extremely well. We're also keeping a detailed garden journal now so we can work out the best times and varieties to plant. The theory is we can get as much garden as possible set up here and do as much learning as possible (neither of us have gardened in sub-tropics before) so then when we do buy land we'll only have to concentrate on the other incidentals-like building ourselves somewhere to live :P

Next on the list-a tip trip to try and find stuff to build another chook tractor and a worm farm. I'm trying to find Australorps now but can only seem to find bantams, I may have to change my mind on the breed I want. Then a hive of native bees-they're stingless so we can get them in suburbia. And hopefully along the way a decent acreage will come up that we can afford-there seems to be a lot available around here so i'm positive.

Woohoo! We've talked about this for over seven years now, and can finally do it!

My Homeschooling Epiphany

Like most people, when first faced with homeschooling I thought eek! Why would you want to do that!? But after a few more years parenting and a lot of reading i'm sold on the idea.

The biggest thing so far has been the mindshift needed-and I think even a lot of homeschoolers don't make that mindshift. Namely, homeschool doesn't have to be anything like school, and that's the beauty of it. I like to be prepared, so even when my eldest was three I was looking around, trying to work out what people were doing with their kids, what curriculum to use, what they 'had' to learn by each age by going to the state education websites.

And one day it clicked-I want to homeschool to provide my children with a different education. I think most schools fall far short of what they could achieve in terms of depth and breadth of education, simply because they are limited by how they are set up. We don't have those limits, so why impose them on ourselves? Why give ourselves the same goals of say, Australian history in Grade 4? Homeschooling allows us the total freedom to introduce whatever concepts and areas we and the kids want at the time we want in the way we want. We don't have to work to a strict schedule, we can take advantage of times of interest and teachable moments and build on it. I can introduce things that schools just don't really-good quality literature is the best example.

We're not restricted to skimming over piles of subjects to give children a 'taste' of everything, with no time to stop and explore more-if they like it, they can immerse themselves in it. If they're loving something, they don't have to stop just because the bell rings, and if they're really hating something, we can put it aside for another day when the mood is better. On a larger scale, they're not limited to a few weeks of one area, the same as they're not forced to do anything they're not ready for. I do think this will avoid the typical 'hates'-'I hate maths' usually translates to 'I had a lot of trouble/needed more help/was behind so i've learnt maths is nothing but a chore'. And education isn't something that you just do at school-it's lifelong and fun.

It's working beautifully so far-we don't push anything but they have such a thirst for knowledge that we don't have to. They want to learn about everything, even at their young ages. Even after only about a year of making a conscious effort to provide a rich environment for them and put lots of educational things in their path for them to take up if they like, ignore if they like, they have learnt so much.

I'm convinced!

Friday, August 8, 2008

And done

After a night on the boat, three days in the car and 16 nights in a tent I am finally back in Queensland. In a highset Queenslander of course-I couldn't live in a soulless brick thing in the Heritage City! The house is mostly unpacked and life is back to a very good normal. The pot garden is rapidly multiplying and actually GROWING here-woohoo, i'll get to eat fully ripened homegrown pumpkins soon! And watermelon, mmm. Ironically, the strawberries grew more in the two weeks they spent in a plastic bag than they did in six months in Tassie.

The mass creation thing? Slack I know, the blog isn't living up to it's byline. But i've been sewing, getting something out of my head that i've been planning and unable to do for months due to sickness and moving. It's been a hectic year. And now I can start making things for this baby-no making any cutesy pink stuff dammit, there was definitely something swinging between the legs there!