Thursday, October 30, 2014

showground loveliness

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Did you ever go to a country show when you were a kidlet?

Fairy floss. Dagwood dogs (ugh!). Hot jam donuts. Onions sizzling on hot grills. The smell of horses. The sounds of cattle in their stalls. The whistle of a farmer calling his working dogs into obedience as they demonstrate their herding talents. Fluffy chicks. Ducklings sliding down watery slippery dips. Humongusly overweight pig mothers being devoured by her gazillion hungry bubba piglets. Kids art hanging on old dusty walls. Photos of memorable local moments. Tea cup sized roses. Pumpkins sitting competitively on their hay bale stadium ready for their weighing in. Stalks of corn and sorghum, slowly drying in the summer heat. Cakes baked by famous local CWA members. Scarecrows. Handiwork. Lots of smiling faces.

Ah, the memories of a local country show.

My absolute favourite part of going to a show when I was growing up and even more so, now, is the sticky beaking at all of the old buildings. They are all of a similar era. Built in a time when there seemed to be more time. More tastefulness. More dedication to quality and longevity. More care. More!

Recently we had a homeschooling day at one of our local showgrounds. How could I not sneak a photo or 20 of  these old beauties?

 

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Drinks, chips or sweets anyone?

Kim x

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Friday, October 24, 2014

early morning garden

 

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I love going to bed when it’s raining. Do you?

Listening to the rain on my tin roof is one of my favourite things to do especially at night. This pointy tin roof of ours sometimes isn’t as noisy as I’d like it to be when it rains. I’m not quite sure why, though I think it might have something to do with the high pitch? But if the rain is coming from the right direction I can hear it softly pattering on my verandah roof when I jump into bed. Such a cosy, comforting sound.

 

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I also love to wake up to rain. This morning it didn’t happen to be raining anymore but the air was damp, the ground slooshy and the garden felt alive with life after a night full of beautiful rain.

 

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So a wander about the garden with my cup of tea and camera/phone was definitely a requirement this morning. Here’s what I found….

My favourite crab apples are flowering right now. They are still quite small given their immaturity but they are smothered in flowers and they make me smile when I think of how gorgeous they’ll be in a few years time.

 

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I noticed this morning that the strawberries have really taken off. Lew has caught our little Sunny having a peck at them lately and I also found another nibbling culprit, tiny slugs. I think I might finally have to succumb to planting them into some old wheelbarrows although an old bath tub full of strawberries could be lovely too. Hmmm, now I’m in need of an old claw foot bath or cement laundry tub. I knew I’d miss my old 3 bay one from the purple house.

 

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My sweet peas have finally started to bloom. They have been slow to wake up from their wintery slumber but well worth the wait.

 

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Lettuce continues to grow in my gravel paths, so too rocket and carrots. This may not happen soon when I get some more gravel in to finish off the paths and all around the house.

 

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The Climbing Black Boy roses on the verandah have flowered like wild things. Thy are smothered in large, open red, pretty smelling roses and the thorny tendrils are finally beginning to climb the verandah posts and make their way upwards. These roses spot flowered all through winter and only really lost about half of their leaves. It hasn’t seemed to deter them in any way, though. Thankfully.

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The herb garden is lush. It didn’t lose much growth this past winter either. I had chives all the way through which is a rarity in this little neck of the wintery woods. The lime balm has gone berserko and I’ve now started dividing it up and spreading it around to other garden beds. I love it when the garden starts to get all sharey like that.

 

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This morning as I wandered around the garden, as small and new as it is, I felt happy. Flowers have a way of making me feel like that. Seeing growth and life in the garden refreshes me and gives me the motivation to keep going and growing {only in terms of the garden, definitely no more growing required in this 42 year old body!}.

I have been feeling a little despondent and a bit gardeny low over the last couple of days. I had the absolute pleasure of interviewing a lovely friend at her gorgeous home and garden out of town just recently. You’ll get to see her garden very soon here so stay tuned. There is SO much loveliness to share in that garden. It is exquisite! So where does my garden lowliness come into the picture?

Well, it was inspiring to visit and meander through the garden with it’s clever, creative and lovely owner and another lovely friend of mine. At the time I was in absolute awe {and still am!} and I spent time trying to lift the spirits of my friend who was in as much awe of the garden as I was. She was feeling really low about her own place and wished she could sell up and buy the gorgeous place we were visiting right there and then. While I was there I felt nothing but inspiration….

until I drove into my front gate!

Agh! It hit me suddenly.

My garden is so new and so small and still so much to do. I left behind a garden that I’d spent 6 years developing and which had just started to look established and lovely. I began pining for my old place…yet again.

Envy. Regret. Longing. Despondence. Not the best of feelings to feel. Not good things to hold onto for too long either. There’s a lot more to those feelings, for me, a lot more than just garden stuff. It goes deeper, much deeper than that. But I guess that could be for another blog post, another time…probably not, though.

Anyway, back to moving on, moving forward.

I needed to take my own advice, the stuff I gave to my lovely garden-depressed friend the other day. And thanks to a bit of whipper snipping in the late afternoon and the beautiful rain last night I’m feeling all fresh and inspired and ready to get planning again for the next gardeny phase here.

Onwards and upwards….in a gardeny kinda way!

Early mornings in the garden are good like that.

So tell me, how’s your garden growing right now? What’s flowering? What are some of your favourites? Have you ever felt that low feeling after visiting a beautiful garden?

Happy Friday!

Kim x

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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

goaty introductions

 

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So, not only are we the lucky owners of the cutest chookies in the land we now also have the sweetest little goats you’ve ever seen!

OK, we could be a little bit biased in this neck of the woods but really, there is not much cuter than a cuddly bubba goat.

 

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We’ve had these 3 lovelies for a little over a week now and every day we fall more and more in love with them. We bought them off some lovely homeschooling friends of ours {who also kindly delivered them to us as well} and we couldn’t be more grateful.

Every day, multiple times a day, the mumma goat {her name is currently Nellie, briefly named by the daughters of the friends we bought the goats off, but we need to change it as we have a very close friend who is a Nelly}, calls to us. First thing in the morning when I get up out of bed and and tip toe my way to the kitchen to get my morning cuppa she looks up and starts bleating like a wild thing. She’s in the paddock, I’m in the house with the doors and windows closed. How the heck can she hear and see me from there? Too cute. So of course I politely venture outside and say good morning to her and the bubbas.

 

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When we are out in the paddock they follow us around. If we stop to sit they sit with us. They are just like the dogs.

Speaking of which, does anyone know how to train a part border collie to round things up obediently? Leo’s herding instincts are coming out big time with the goats and it’s not all calm and lovely here when he tries to do his work. I end up in a lather of sweat, exhausted, extremely irritated and ever regretful of the swear words that have leached out of my mouth at the high pitch, banshee style level required to get the Goat Scarer’s attention. The peace in this blissfully quiet valley is definitely disturbed at those moments.

 

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Back to lovelier, calmer things.

How cute are these bubbas?

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They are twins for the mumma goat. One boy. One girl. They are snugglers. And they make cute little baby goat noises. So sweet.

That feeder up there was made for us by my lovely Dad. He’s so clever. It works perfectly for the goats though they do like to climb up into it on occasion. Goats are mad for climbing things. I’m thinking they might just need some play equipment. I’m serious!

 

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So that’s our 3 latest little family members. Now to get their names sorted. You know how finicky and OCD I am about the names of animals. Plant names are the go, remember? So if you come up with something cute that we haven’t already used on the chookies let me know:)

One bubba, the girl, will be Clover, that’s the only definite. I have a big long list. Lew won’t agree with any of them. It’s a battle of the wills trying to name our animals. I wish I could always get my own way when it comes to names. Things would be so much easier.

So share your planty, herby, fruity, flowery names here and I’ll run them by Lew. Maybe he’ll like one of your names? And pigs might fly!

 

Kim x

Friday, October 17, 2014

decorating days

 

 

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At the moment, and for quite a long time now, I’ve been working with some friends {the owners who also happen to be the builders as well} on the decorating of a beautiful old heritage building in town. It’s been a humongous labour of love sweat and tears for my friends as they have worked, sometimes around the clock, to get this building ready to be used by prospective tenants.

 

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I’ll be doing a special post about this building a bit later on, when it’s all finished and fully pretty but I just wanted to share a little glimpse of it now, while  it’s still in it’s ‘tired’ phase. A bit of before and after, I suppose.

For the past decade or perhaps more, the old Central Hotel has been a beigey colour with salmon and blue trims. Those colours needed to go. Quickly. But what to replace them with that could really highlight the beauty of this old girl as well as appease the heritage requirements put on her?

Oh, and I want to add that I am so thankful for heritage listings. Without them we would most definitely lose every old building in our town. There seems to be a mentality here that likes to get rid of the old and bring in the new. I don’t like it, not one bit! These old buildings were established in an era that had class and knew quality and they were built to be standing for a long, long time. They are a part of our history and our beginnings and without them the heart of the town vanishes. Plus they look so gorgeous!

OK, heritage rant over…for now.

So, back to the decorating.

Most people I talk to who ask me about my job as a decorator give me that patronising little smirk when I tell them I get paid to advise people on what colours to paint their buildings.  Eyes usually roll and I know that in their heads they are thinking: ‘Grab a colour chart, go einy, meiny, miney and paint. How hard can it be.’

Hmmm….it’s really not as easy as you think, especially when you are an aesthetics person.  Add a heritage listing and a passion for highlighting the beautiful old buildings around our area and you get a bit more of a challenge than einy, meiny, miney, mo. And if you’re a worry wart like me you sometimes even get sleepless nights!

 

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So, the old Central Hotel is starting to get a little face lift. We’ve changed the colour scheme a few times since the beginning of this project. It has meant so much to me that I really have had some sleepless nights worrying about choices I’ve made. I’m happy with the outcome so far though and I can’t wait to show you it all when it’s totally finished.

But for now, a glimpse is all I can give, unless of course you live in the Bega Valley!

 

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What do you think of the colour choices so far?

 

Funny, I’ve been thinking about every job I’ve ever had and each one I have found it hard to get others to understand what it is I do all day. Teaching. Parenting. Home Schooling. Writing. Blogging. Decorating.

Hmmmmm…..

So tell me, do you ever feel the need to explain your job to people? Do they get what you do?

Kim x

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

in the garden lately

 

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Flowers would definitely have to be my favourite part of Spring.  I know I tend to rant a little too much this time of year about the weather heating up and how much I loathe hot days. But there are definitely lovely bits about this time of year for me. One of those is the prettiness that starts happening in the garden – even a very new garden like mine.

 

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The cherry – the kind-of-stolen cherry. The one that my two lovely friends dug out on the last day of our lives in the purple house while I was a blubbering, teary heap inside wiping the last of the dust from the kitchen overheads. The cherry that lived, temporarily, in the soil of one of those lovely diggy friends’ places for over 18 months. The cherry that I felt really bad about taking from my lovely diggy friend’s soil because it was looking so perfect at her place. The cherry that I look at everyday and remember my lovely, established garden at the purple house. The cherry that gives me hope that one day this very new, straggly looking garden will end up like that other one. Hopefully.

The, where-there’s-life-there’s-hope, cherry!

 

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The purple leafed crab apples with it’s dark pink blossoms. One day they will give some shade to the north of the house. It’s going to be a patience thing….waiting…for…the…shade. No whingeing!

 

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Another reminder of the purple house – one of 4 purple leafed, flowering peaches that were dug up by one of those lovely diggy friends as an experiment to see if we could get an exact replica from one of the tiny peach seeds that it reproduced.

Success! It even has the same weepy habit as it’s mumma tree. So exciting!

 

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A lone dutch iris that found it’s way here from the purple house. Not sure why I’ve only got one but I’m thankful for it.

 

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The french lavender is doing well, finally. I must plant more of this. I want it all around the citrus and pencil pines in the northern area of the garden. A little bit of Tuscany is required, I feel.

 

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Pentstemons are doing their thing. They are stalwarts and I love them for it.

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The roses are all budding and opening. I’m excited about the growth they’ve had in only one year and can’t wait to see them in full bloom. More roses will be added next winter. Surely you can never have too many roses in a garden?

 

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Oh, and this one is a climbing Black Boy by the way. It actually spot flowered all through winter and never did lose all of it’s leaves.

 

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Hmmm, embarrassingly so, this is the orchard. Not really much of an orchard yet but I’m sure Ill be pleased I put this daggy photo in so that I can reflect on the beginnings of it all in 10 years time! Apples, pears and a lonely, possibly-won’t-survive nectarine. And along the fence line up there are olives.

 

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The beginnings of a silver birch and flowering plum square. This is the first row which sits along the southern side of the house. I plan to continue them in a square, next winter, to pretty up the car parking area.

 

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One of the flowering plums I planted up near the gate in first time ever leaf. Oh, and have I mentioned that we have a new gate? No more riff raffy looking make shift conglomerate of wire and star picket style barrier. Really, it didn’t deserve the title of ‘gate’. My lovely Dad, who continually comes to my rescue, installed our brand new gate. It’s made me feel much less like the riff raff of the estate now and so  much more like ….ummmm…the poor cousin. We are stepping up, slowly but surely. Ha!

 

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And last but not least, the veggie garden. It’s had a bit of a spruce up since this photo was taken and is looking forward to the final sprinklings of gravel to be added to it’s paths. I’m so over those weeds and stray carrots, rocket, lettuce, spinach and beetroot doing their random-style thing outside of the beds. They are riff raff.

Well, I think that’s about it from me in the garden department. I’d love to hear how your garden is coming along. Is it spring where you are too? Or are you one of those lucky duck northern people who are in the beautiful throes of autumn?

Have I mentioned how much I love autumn?

Kim x

Sunday, October 12, 2014

chooky capers: the girls are broody!

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Right, well, so ….they win!

I was determined not to have any more chicks around this little neck of the woods due to the disasters of the last little batch. That dreaded chicken poxy thing that took 5 of our 7 bubbas:(

The other thing that was niggling at me was the inter-breeding thingy that I mentioned here.

 

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But despite all of my worries  the girls had their own little agenda and trying to sway them from it ended up becoming a battle I knew I couldn’t win. Plus, they are such sweeties when it comes to mothering, how could I possibly thwart their lovely, nurturing intentions?

 

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Sweet Pea was the first to go broody. Followed by Myrtle. Then little Primrose thought she’d join in on the party. So we had three pretty little pekin hens sitting on the same eggs all squished up together in one nesting box in the main chook pen.

 

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This time around has been a little bit unorganised and mayhem-y. I noted the date that Sweet Pea first began her broody thing but then it all got a bit out of hand and all of a sudden I found 3 hens sitting on 15 eggs! And it’s not like I wasn’t warned that this sort of caper could happen. A lovely friend of mine mentioned that she’d had that happen a lot in her little hen house and that it was really stressful. She mentioned this before Myrtle and Primrose joined in. I had definitely been warned. But of course, being one of those extremely annoying people who like to experience things first hand for myself before learning any sort of valuable warning-type lesson from a trusted friend, I ignored her concerns and left well alone in Sweet Pea-Myrtle-Primrose land.

So serves me right, I say!

Anyway, along comes friend number 2, who I did actual listen to. I have been known to occassionally take advice. She suggested I mark the eggs as 15 was a heck of a lot to be left to one or maybe two little golden girls. So I marked all of those with a black texta and started taking away any other eggs that happened to appear under them. Man, chooks like to all squash in together and do the cosy thing when it comes to brooding and egg laying, don’t they?

 

Then along comes friend number 3. She mentioned that having 3 hens sitting on 15 eggs is going to get quite chaotic. I hadn’t thought that through too well, yet again. So I decided to put Sweet Pea and Myrtle in the mothering pen (hehehe…new name for the chook tractor that’s just come to me now!) and poor little Primrose would have to go back to being her Lewi-harassing little self and not be broody anymore. She had, after all, come to the mumma party a little late – first in best dressed as they say! Although Primrose had only been sitting in there for a couple of days I have felt really mean for scooting her off the eggs. She’s obviously still broody because now she’s intent to sit in her nesting box most days with nothing underneath her. I feel like such a bad chooky owner but the chook tractor can only fit so many hens and babies.

Oh the dilemmas of of an inexperienced chook owner and her son!

 

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So, now we have, in a freshly made up nesting box safe and cosy in the chook tractor aka mothering pen, two sweet little mumma and daughter hens sharing the motherly love with 15 tiny pekin eggs between them. None looking like hatching anytime soon, although 21 days from the date I marked has long gone.

What to do now? Last night I did  the checking the eggs in the dark with a torch thing. It’s called candling just to show you that I do have a little bit of chooky knowledge up my sleeve. All of them have a big air sac but I can’t see any formed chickens in there. The last two lots of chicks we had I candled in the last week of the gestation phase, or whatever you call it in chooky language. I could see veins and a dark mass then. This time it all looks very different. So I’m not sure if the eggs are infertile or they are much younger than I’d initially thought. I guess it’s now a bit of a waiting game to see what eventuates.

Fun and games in the hen house. Who would’ve ever thought that at the age of 42 I would be losing sleep over some pretty little fluffy golden chookies and their capers? Not me that’s for sure!

 

So what about you? What have you been up to this last week or so? Have you noticed how quickly time seems to be going by? Let’s hope for a slow and steady week coming up!

Happy Sunday!

 

Kim x