Wednesday, 26 February 2014

the hole

Before you start reading-this isn't a pretty post. At all. This is a post about dirt, and digging, and sweat, and tears, and blisters, and more dirt and more digging. Just letting you know.

We've planned to put a water tank in since we moved in, and now that we have built our vegie garden we figured there is no time like the present. We had a bit of a nothing area at the front of the house, it's under the front verandah, and set down quite a way, nothing much grew there, it's where the hot water system lives. 
Right near the start of digging
Near the start. Sorry about the iphone pictures. There was no good
photography happening...
But we had to dig out some dirt so we could lay a slab, build a retaining wall and sort out some drainage. And by some dirt I mean a whole lot of dirt. And by dirt I mean thick, heavy, often rock hard clay. 

For three days 2 or 3 of us dug. Luckily for us L's brother was staying with us at the time and helped us out. We mostly used a pick and shoveled the clay up into a wheelbarrow. The boys then pushed the barrow along the path, and up the driveway. Eventually we did hire a jack hammer for a few hours when the soil got really hard.
Almost done

We threw the dirt up high into the wheelbarrow on top of the path 
Every muscle in my body ached. I grew callouses and blisters. By part way through day 3 I couldn't do any more. I was so exhausted and sore and just started crying. To be fair L didn't ask me to help, I offered. And he didn't think I would actually stick it out. He was pretty proud and impressed I think. 

But we did it, we got it slab and retaining wall ready. I don't think we will look at a shovel for a long time. I'm now using it as a motivation tool when my brain is telling me that I can't go on when I'm exercising or doing yoga, that I'm too tired or too hot or that I can't do that. Now I can tell my brain that I dug a hole for three days, that I lifted shovels of dirt into a wheelbarrow above my head, if I can do that, I keep going, or have a go at any yoga pose. Your body is so much stronger than your mind gives it credit for!! 

Have you ever started a job that you were determined to finish, even though it was so hard?

Sunday, 23 February 2014

sunday thoughts 23/2

A perfect late afternoon swim at the end of last week
Blogger ate this post from last week, and reverted my draft to an old copy. I didn't realise until mid week (crazy week-and oh so hot up here!) Annoying.... Try again this week :) 

read: the latest Home Beautiful. I found something I loved on every page! Sometimes I can be a bit meh, but there were some beautiful houses that were exactly the style I'm aiming for.

create: Order in some of our closed off areas-behind cupboards and in drawers. 

see: our new (second hand) bedside tables. At last! 

taste:  a delicious salad I've eaten about 3 times this week- chickpeas, cucumber, red onion, goats cheese, and best of all-home grown basil and lettuce-with a olive oil and balsamic dressing. Yum!

hear: the wind roaring through the trees

learn: To do things in the mornings. It's my most productive time of day, and if I spend it on the net, or in front of morning tv my day disappears. If I get up, and get on a roll in the morning, I tick so many things off my list of to dos quickly and easily, and I don't feel guilty about having downtime later in the day.

feel: cool at last

smell: rain, not much, but it smells soooo good!

think: that the year is flying. Trying to slow it down by being more present and in the moment. 

watch: Hart of Dixie-so cute and sweet and light. But I am surprisingly emotionally involved in the characters. I was going to wait and watch all of Season 3 when it finished, but after finally catching up on Season 3 of Game of Thrones last weekend, I needed something happy and fluffy and girly-I was numb.

plan: On making a bed head in the near future. Just nutting it all out.

Monday, 10 February 2014

sunday thoughts

read: And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini. I'll be sad when this one is finished. He writes amazing characters and beautiful descriptions

create: Curtains for the back shelves in my classroom. Braving the sewing machine again

taste: Homemade banana bread-so good. Plus it really is almost healthy-gluten, dairy and refined suger free! I use coconut oil, and add some protein powder too. Plus sometimes some berries!

see: A grey, misty, enveloping day. So calming

touch: Soft doona, comfortable bed

hear: The Olympics in the background, and L chopping vegies for lunch

learn: To take time out for me after I lost my voice this week

feel: Relaxed after a quiet weekend to rest and rejuvenate

smell: A native gardenia in a bud vase beside my bed. Just amazing

think:  Of the week ahead and of watching a movie this afternoon-perfect weather for it

watch: The Block Fans vs Faves. What an amazing building. Looking forward to the first reveal tonight

plan: Our Sri Lanka honeymoon trip at Easter-any tips? Plus a few days in Singapore. Plus 10 week plans at school

Sunday, 9 February 2014

our vegie patch

One of our goals for this year (and last year, but shhhh) was to do 'something with the side garden'. Last year we pulled out the lamandra (leaving us with a big expanse of white rocks) and built a wooden fence and gate, which I just love.

But now....

L had some time off over the holidays and built 3 raised beds for us. We live on the side of the hill with lots of retaining walls, and have come to realise our soil is terrible. It's thick clay, has little drainage and no goodness. So for us raised beds are the way to go so we can add in some goodness and drainage.

Before: Lots of white rocks, a few big rocks that needed busting up, and lots of pots. 

Compare the size of the rocks to the jack hammer and wheel barrow. Yep

First up was a garden bed made out of treated pine. We just used a few plans we already had that were in pots. The pots in front are lily pillys, waiting to be planted on the other side of the fence. 

Then two big, deep vegie gardens. These were made out of hardwood (treated pine not being a great idea for vegie gardens with the leeching of the chemicals). They aren't quite finished yet, there is a narrower plank to sit along the top of the walls so we can place pots, rest vegies, sit down.

This one has a cover to protect things like lettuce and herbs from the sun, especially when they are young. It's just too hot here for most of the year for them. We will also plant some seedlings into pots to establish them, and then replant into the garden. We lots a few zucchini seedlings early on that way-just too hot!

We have planted herbs, lettuce, kale, tomatoes, capsicum, cucumbers, zucchini to start off with. The stuff we eat a lot of, or the stuff that we buy and doesn't last in the fridge more than a few days (herbs and bags of salad I'm looking at you!).

The trellises on this one will be for zucchinis and cucumbers to grow up, rather than out.

We used used lots of good stuff in our soil to retain water and add in goodies-rock minerals, compost, manure, coconut coir, worm castings, lucern, with some seasol, worm tea and molasses mixed in for good measure. 

Now we just need rain! :) It's a big improvement on my pot vegie patch, but it did teach us a lot about what we should and shouldn't do before we went for the more permanent and expensive beds.

How have your vegie patches been going?


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