Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The joy of getting it right with Veggie Gardening

As many of you know, I haven't been that successful lately with my veggie gardening, with my greenhouse blowing over and destroying many of my seedlings.  Well I do believe,,,,,touch wood lol,,,, that my luck has turned.  I replanted seeds and I have had a huge amount of success, I quite honestly can't believe it!  So much success in fact that I now have over 50 tomato seedlings growing, just waiting for their turn to grow a little bigger and to be planted into the garden (I may have to give some away lol, I don't have room for that many!!).  We planted out some cucumbers, pumpkins,  melons, tomatos, and various other seedlings last weekend and they are all doing really well too.  This weekend I have some capsicums and some other melons waiting to go in.  Hubby wants to keep all the tomato seedlings and try growing them in buckets.  His plan is to preserve tomatos, lots of tomatos so that we won't need to buy sauce for pizza, pasta, or for that matter anything for the next year.....I know who he is thinking will do all the preserving lol and I don't think it is him.

Yes I know its not a fruiting plant but I just love my Fuschia!!  This was one I rescued from the sad table at Bunnings,,,it cost me $1.00.  1 year on and just look at the flowers!

When my little greenhouse toppled over, I did as a few of you suggested and I just threw the soil which contained the seeds, onto the veggie patch.  Well we now have nasturtiums, a couple of tomatos, and few other things that have popped up which I'm not sure what they are lol.  It has done quite well considering.

Recent rains have made the weeds go mad but here you can just see the nasturtiums that popped up after our greenhouse incident.  Surrounding the veggie patch are our fruit trees which we have potted up.  They are all doing so well!!!!

This year is the first year that we seem to be succeeding and it is amazing how you feel so inspired when you actually get a few successes under your belt.  I bought a raspberry plant last year and we put that in the ground a few months ago,,,,,I now have a few raspberry plants!  I can't wait to be able to make my own raspberry jam,,,yummy!  Our strawberries are producing, not huge amounts but enough for me to go and pick a few each day and not to have to share them lol (sshhhh don't tell anyone!!)

Just a few months ago our selection of 10 fruit trees arrived from an order we put in with Diggers.  They arrived as little sticks and we planted them out into large pots so that they could form a fence of sorts around our new veggie patch to keep the dogs out.  Well they are all now very healthy looking young trees.  There is only one apple that seems to be lagging behind the rest but that one thankfully is showing signs of growth this week.  We wanted to pot them up also because we are in the limbo land about whether or not to move and I know that if those trees get put in the ground then we will stay here because I won't want to leave them behind lol.  This block isn't really big enough for ten fruit trees, although half of them are dwarf varieties, I must admit.  If we plant them all our yard will truly become just a large vegetable plot, although with the world the way it is, that may not be such a bad thing!!  If we decide to stay here, then they will be planted out and our entire yard will become productive, that is my plan.  I figure if we are staying here then who cares what anyone else thinks lol.  At least we will be feeding our children healthy organic fruit and veggies and saving quite a bit of money in the process.

This is an old clam shell pool that now grows our Rocket and some lettuce.  We just planted a few cherry tomatos in here too.
Sorry for the sideways photo - Some recent purchases - Blueberry, Lemon Myrtle, Spanish Licorice and a couple of flowering plants

Our old veggie patch which has our rhubarb plant and two tomatoes left over from last year which are beginning to fruit again!

Mr14's Peacharine tree - hopefully next year it may get more fruit!!

Strawberries, Tomatoes and Passionfruit waiting to be planted out

Sorry lol,,,,,I just love washing on a Hills Hoist drying in the breeze!  This also shows how mad the grass and weeds have gone,,,,,this was mowed just over a week ago!

Our new veggie patch with Mr9's sunflowers growing bigger each day

My seedling table,,,,,,I just separated many of the seedlings yesterday,,,,as you can see we have many, many, many tomatos lol

Monday, October 24, 2011

My Very First Crochet Reveal Session - My Granny Square Rug is now complete!!!

As you can see it is far from being bed sized but perfect for DVD watching and snuggling on the lounge!
I can't believe it,,,,,it is finally finished.  After teaching myself to Crochet using "The Art of Crochet" series, I have finally finished my very first rug.  As you can see it isn't one for the bed, it is one for those cold nights, snuggled up on the lounge watching DVDs.  My Hubby has claimed it as his own despite the kind of girly colours of pink and purple in it lol (but hey he keeps seeing he is Sensitive New Age Guy lol so it fits).  Hubby's only complaint is that it is now getting warmer weather and he won't get to really use it until next winter,,,,oh well.

I wanted to make it nice and bright to add a little pizazz to those cold winter days

This rug has taken me, I think, about 6 months to complete.  When I started I was a complete newbie to granny squares and they would take me a good half hour or so to do.  By the end of this rug though, I was able to whip a granny square out within about 10 minutes,,,huge improvement!  I enjoyed making the granny squares, the bit I really hated was the joining together of them all!  This took me quite a while as I just wanted it over and done with and some weeks I simply couldn't bring myself to do any work on it lol.  Once I got it done though, I found a renewed interest in it as I began my outer edge.

I would like to say a big thank you to Lucy at Attic24 for her great tutorial on Granny Blanket Edging.  It made the rug come together nicely.  If you haven't visited Lucy's blog before, and you enjoy crochet or for that matter just love bright bursts of colourful photographs I urge you to have peek at her blog.  She has inspired me in so many ways.  When I finished this on the weekend, I excitedly said to Hubby "Wow now I can have my Tah-Dah Moment".....he just looked at me and said "Your what???".  I just laughed and said "Nevermind, its a Lucy thing".  As you can guess the conversation went on with the usual, "who is Lucy?" and in the end I showed him her blog.  He didn't quite have the same appreciation for it as I do but hey its a girly kind of thing!

This rug has given me a confidence boost and I have already started on my next project.  My next crochet project is going to be a scarf for Miss12 for next winter.  (Yes, I know lol, I am going from a rug, back to the basicness of a scarf,,,,,,,but I wanted to make a few things that I can get through a little quicker!)

I have decided I am just going to work through my  "Art of Crochet" magazines making each of the things I have flagged (believe me there are many, many items lol, I am only  up to magazine 60, so half way through the collection and I think I must have flagged at least 100 items that I would like to make!).  I love the patterns in these magazines as they are written in simple terms that beginners can understand.  Normally I don't like the weekly collectable magazines as I think they are very expensive for what they are, but I am really enjoying this collection and I know that I will get alot of use out of it so I have made it my little treat each week.

Okay back to the housework,,,,,,this house is a bomb site!!!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Such kindness is shown in Blogland :-)

Recently I was reading Emily's blog Little Farm In The City and she was talking about her loofahs and was offering some seeds to her readers.

Well I have never grown Loofahs before and have never for that matter seen the seeds for the plants.  Since I have become a little bit of seed fanatic this year I emailed her and lucky for me she still had some available.

I was chuffed when I went to the letterbox yesterday afternoon and she had sent me a gorgeous card and a packet of seeds.

I can't wait to plant them, and I have a couple of the little people eager to help me grow some loofahs too (although I think they have other plans for the loofahs,,,,but that is a whole other story lol).

Thank you Emily, your generosity is most appreciated!!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Why is this decision so darn hard????

My Hubby and I have a bit of a dilemma on our hands.  It sure ain't a matter of life and death but I tell you it is just consuming my mind right now.

We have been talking about whether or not we should move house.  We both long for more space, more land on which to grow vegetables and fruit.  More land where we could raise some animals.  We live in the middle of suburbia on a block just under 600 square metres.  We live in the house that my Exhusband and I bought back in 2001.  When my Ex and I bought it, it was our plan to make this our forever house as it had 5 bedrooms, that gave each of the boys a bedroom each, how perfect it was.  We would be mortgage free by the time I turned 42,,,,that is next year.  Well life happens and life changes and we split up in early 2005.  I met my now Hubby at the end of 2005 and he had a house as well.  We moved in together in my house in 2006 and his Ex moved into his house and "rented" it from him (I use that term loosely as she paid rent maybe once a month and Hubby ended up way out of pocket because of her and we were left with a total mess of a house to clean up, but I won't even go there.....).  We eventually cleaned up and sold his house in early 2007 and my Ex got paid out his share of this house.  Hubby and I got married in late 2007 and since then life has thrown many curve balls at us but needless to say we are a long way from paying off the mortgage and my Ex is renting and has very little money to his name, having blown his pay out on a woman he is no longer with.  The whole thing makes me feel sad.

Divorce sucks on so many levels.  It truly destroys your financial life as well as tearing apart the family.  I feel like the last 6.5 years are just a bit of a blur in a lot of ways.  I look back and wonder where the time has gone.  I feel like I blinked and missed important parts of the kids lives as we were all racing around creating our new lives.

Hubby and I feel like this is the house that we didn't buy.  He inherited it in a way, it wasn't his choice.  It isn't truly "our" house if you know what I mean.  Yes we have put in new kitchen, we have moved rooms around, totally changing bedrooms, we have changed the garden (although now it is actually messier than it was originally lol), but still it doesn't feel like "ours".

Our main problems with moving, I mean the ones other than the fact that the kids don't want to move schools lol, are Hubby's job and his kids and of course the Ex partners.  My Ex is considering moving to Melbourne in a year's time.  He isn't happy and feels like he needs a new start after his relationship fell apart 12 months ago.  I am scared about what that will do to the kids, they will be totally devastated, especially the youngest two.  Even if the Ex decides not to move, we still have a rather large dilemma on the moving house decision anyway.  We would move to the country, but of course with my eldest two at almost 15 and 17 and working part time or starting to look for part time work it will be a huge upheaval for them.  I still want to be able to give them the opportunity to find the jobs they would like and/or study towards that.  We don't know where in the country we would move but Hubby and I both hate the heat so we were thinking of down towards Mt Gambier or over towards the East coast of Victoria or even possibly NSW.  We would love to move to Tasmania or even more ideally New Zealand (Hubby's Homeland), but that just would be impossible with all the kids and their other parents to consider.

So as you can see we really don't know where our lives are heading.  We recently bought fruit trees and I planted rhubarb seeds which have grown.  Naturally I don't want to put these in the ground, only for us to leave and we never get to eat the fruit from these plants.  We have them in pots at the moment, but I feel like I can't make any decisions until we know what we are doing.  Decorating the house is another dilemma.  I want to make this house into "our home" but I don't want to decorate to our tastes if we are selling it in a year or two.  Our taste is to inject some colour into the house but naturally enough for selling it, it is generally better to tone it down a little.

I know this is a ramble but today I just feel really frustrated at our lack of direction in our lives.  We can't seem to come up with a solution to anything right now.  I just feel like divorce makes life so hard.  Blended families are hard work.  We cannot keep everyone happy but I still try.  I don't want to move the kids away from their other parents and of course I don't want to move away where Hubby can't see his kids regularly either.  The extra expense at getting kids around the country if we do move interstate will be ridiculous and I know that financially we just can't do that either.

AAAGHHHHHHHHH I just don't know!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Port Adelaide Festival Part 2

Last Sunday night saw us take the kids on yet another "UFO" (Mr 14's term for "Unavoidable Family Outings",,,,yes I'm such a mean mother lol).  The boys spent Sunday at their Dad's and returned home at around 8.30pm.  They were a little surprised when the younger two asked if they should get their pyjamas on, only to be told nope you need to stay dressed.  Straight away the "Why, where are we going?" questions started.  Miss12 came running in saying "You didn't tell me we were going out".

Yep she was right we didn't lol.  I wasn't sure whether the kids would enjoy our outing or not, but I really wanted to go and see it so I decided to just do it.

The lights were set to sound and music and projected on to a few of the old buildings in Port Adelaide.  It was truly amazing how well the artists had managed to line everything up so each building fitted perfectly to the image they were portraying.  It was a constant slide show, each building had a segment which lasted about 10 or so minutes before starting again.

Here is a link   to Illuminart at the Port

Below are a few photos that Hubby captured on the his phone to give you some idea at least as to what these amazing artists accomplished.  Overall I think most of the kids enjoyed it.  Miss12 was pretty underwhelmed but that is just standard for her these days.  The boys didn't mind it though so majority rule lol.

This image was so bright and the way the windows stood out was amazing

The corrugated iron building looked so real!

The grey brick building started to collapse....amazing

As the building collapsed the stone one started to crack open revealing a large tree in the centre

This building "caught fire" it looked awesome

The One and All sailing ship was docked at the Port

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Our outing on Saturday - The Port Adelaide Festival

This Saturday saw us actually have all 6 of the kids with us at the same time for the day,,,,,this is a rarity lately since Mr16 is usually working on weekends and the chance for us to go out as a complete family is a real treat (well for me at least lol).  This weekend just happened to be the Port Adelaide Festival and the Maritime, Railway and Aviation Museums, as well as the Lighthouse were all free entry.  This saved us a small fortune!!!  Normally there is no way we would be able to afford to go to all these places in one day and the fact that none of these places are exactly huge sees us a little unwilling to fork out large amounts of money to go there.  (If only I had taken the camera,,,,I still can't believe I left it at home,,,,,thank goodness for cameras on phones!!)  The kids, naturally enough, had varied reactions to each of them.  Mr9 is still young enough to find the fun in most things.  Miss12 and Mr11 are happy if they can keep entertained, which is easy when there are things to climb in and explore.  Mr11 with Autism is tricky at the best of times but we had his MP3 player with us as well as the wheelchair to save him walking (believe me,,,the tantrums when he has to walk for any extended period of time are enormous and see him dropping to the ground screaming and generally carrying on like a pork chop lol so the wheelchair is a definite advantage to having a nice family day!).  Mr16 and Mr14 are a little past most of it but even they put a smile on their face and I think they kind of had a good time at least lol.  All of them naturally enjoyed the Hungry Jacks we had for lunch so that made up for any boring bits they may have experienced.

Keeping large families and age gaps all happy is hard work and I guess the older kids are the ones that generally have to put up with things that they may not enjoy, but my boys are pretty good at keeping Mum happy and tag along.  Mr14 started calling these little excursions UFOs....(Unavoidable Family Outings) lol, and he is right they are unavoidable and he will come along, especially when I know that if he doesn't he won't leave his computer or Xbox for the day.  At least coming with us he is out in the fresh air!!

Miss 12 was captivated by the Ghost Lady and was determined to follow the instructions of finding the sailor boy that she was given

Mr 9 grew a little bored with Miss 12's insistence on finding the sailor boy, he already knew where he was lol but wouldn't tell Miss 12

Mr 11 (with Autism) loved the train ride at the Railway Museum

Hubby, Mr16, Miss12, Mr11 and Mr9 all climbed to the top of the Lighthouse

The Lighthouse was loved by those of us who climbed the stairs,,,,,,I chose to stay on the ground with the other Mr11 and Mr14 lol

Miss12, Mr11 and Mr9 enjoyed climbing on and off all the trains at the Railway Museum

You can tell he likes things when he gets vocal lol

Miss12 still enjoys rides like this

Mr9 is still young enough to enjoy these rides too!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Hubby's Birthday Part 3

This post is a little late, have been a little tied up with kids this last week, you know the usual school holiday madness lol.
As I mentioned last week, Hubby's birthday was split into 3 parts this year due to kids comings and goings with the other parents.  Tuesday night saw our party night.  The kids love party night, we have all the usual party type food......you know the really fattening and bad for your pizza, pies, sausage rolls, fairy bread etc etc etc lol.  The best bit is that I don't really have to cook, its all heat and eat and pick up from the shop type stuff lol.  The only thing I can't avoid is the cake.  Me making the birthday cake is just a tradition in this house that has developed since having children.  Hubby was unsure this year what he wanted, previous years has seen him have a Footrot Flats cake, an Alf cake and I can't remember what else lol.  This year he just couldn't decide so he said "make me something with jellybeans and make it tall".  I considered a giraffe lol but settled instead for something a bit easier.  The cake above is a double decker cake.  I made two cakes, cut each one in half to fill with jam and cream and then stuck them together with a little more jam.  The outside is decorated with chocolate biscuit sticks, jellybeans and vanilla cream.  It was pretty yummy.

I think the best bit of this was that each slice of cake I cut more or less fed two people.  They each got half the slice (worked out well when I have a few who don't like jellybeans, they got the bottom half and the jellybean lovers got the top half)!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Hubby's Birthday parts 1 and 2

 This year Hubby's Birthday, October 2, once again fell on the long weekend, (lucky guy he is!).  Due to my ex just having to start a new job of sorts, I couldn't plan anything until the last moment as the new company took over on Sunday and they didn't get their rosters until late last week.  So we had a bit of a mish mash  birthday which is still going even today lol.  On Sunday we had my boys for the day until 6pm when they went to their Dad's.  Yesterday we picked up his kids to have them for the next week of school holidays.

So this year his birthday is being celebrated in 3 parts.  Sunday, his actual birthday we went out for a nice walk to two places he had never been before and Sunday night he chose to go to dinner at the Adelaide Casino and have a little flutter on the pokies.  Monday I took him out for pancakes for brunch at Port Adelaide and last night when all the kids arrived home, we had presents.  Tonight we will have our traditional "party night" which consists of all your usual party type food and the birthday cake (which I need to get moving and make lol). 

Here are some pics of our walk at Waterfall Gully.  This area, just out of Adelaide is beautiful and one day soon we aim to walk the trail which runs from here to Mt Lofty Summit.  This walk is approximately 3.9kms each way and is quite steep in places.  Best make it a day when we are feeling fit lol.

Mr11 at the First Falls Lookout

First Falls Again

And here is Hubby as he undid his presents from each of the kids.....

Hubby's Mr11 (trying to get him to smile is impossible,,,,I tried but in the end they both looked like stunned zombies lol)

My Mr11

Hubby's Miss12 (along with Justin Bieber)

My Mr14

My Mr16

My Mr9