Ignore things for a little… & they explode!

Two of our 5 tomatoes plants are busy making fruit & flowers despite the wettest November in forever. It’s been getting extremely muggy in the past couple of days so I think they’ll be loving that. Though it is also windy, so I worry.

This blog has really become an accidental gardening diary which was not at all what I intended when I started out. Alas, I will see where this thing goes.

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We also now have some Monarch Butterfly caterpillars on the property! December 2018.

We have butterflies on the way, beans zooming up. I planted out the first of our pumpkins and am just waiting a little longer for the celery seedlings to strengthen. Our zucchini’s are taking off, the carrots are up. Lettuces are growing, rescued coriander is trying to bolt, radishes are nearly ready to start being eaten.

Though this all sounds very healthy, I think we have lost some seeds to overheating…. or maybe (but doubtful after all this time) I have sown them too deep! I need to re-sow but one of the biggest hazards in our garden is our dear Cat. He has dug in our onion patch where we’ve lost some plants. Everything is surrounded by rocks to keep him out but with only moderate success…

Here are a few of our garden beds as well as a little progress on the staining of the fence. We need to sort out the bottom grass area, hence not going down to the bottom but I thought I might as well get started on the upper portion. We’ve had storms and rain so the progress is rather slow at this stage. This is just the first coat. Fingers crossed for a fine weekend this week.

And finally on the garden front, here are some radish seedlings and the first staking of a broad bean. So much wind has already broken some leaves off the other plant. 😦

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This week also saw a first trial run of our gluten free, vegan wedding cake. The actual cake will not be pink – that’s from the blueberry juice I put in the icing – and some things were learned and I will keep trying. Seems our choice of timing was not good for caterers who do both gluten free and vegan cakes! The one that I eyed up since I first started looking at wedding cakes can be done, just not in the first week of January! Alas, I am enjoying these processes….

I just had a wee look at my post from last week before I round this off, it feels like it’s been much of the same news but with updated pictures! Gloomy weather…

My job is going well and My Love is closer to starting his new role. We managed to make a large dent in our Christmas shopping & we’ve got a few more things sorted for our wedding. It’s hard to believe it’s only a month away. ❤

My car also died on the motorway the other day…. it was kinda harrowing at the time but we got safely out of the way as it was going in small starts… I’ve had money aside for it’s maintenance and repair for a while now, so that’s not really a problem but I probably should have got it fixed sooner by the looks of things. Good thing I have a mechanic or two in the family!!

After rain comes action!

So, there was a very soggy, sorry scene at our home on Friday night after a solid lot of rain. We had started lifting pavers to let the raised herb garden drain downhill and this inspired some big changes as well as soaking us right through! We were always going to lift these pavers and use them elsewhere, but our process has been expedited. We will lift all of the pavers but the photo on the right is where we have got to so far. The pavers are heavy but the thing that takes the most work is shovelling out the base course and sand (which we are also reusing to fill in raised beds and dips in our lawn) and laying down the bricks in a fashion that is reasonably even (not perfect! it needs character – you get that with recycled bricks.)

You can kind of see that part of our old concrete path got the smash too which is exciting as we start thinking out how to make our back door space look much better.

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New gate! 

My Love and his Father also put this gate together this weekend. Where you can still see a gap will be trellised with a climber growing through it. At least that is the current plan!

Ideas move and change quickly around here. One job we have now committed to is staining the fence. A giant bucket of stain has been acquired in a “Smokey Charcoal” shade. It’s not too dark but should tie in with some of the accents on our house quite nicely indeed. I am actually looking forward to that project a lot as I like painting.

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Cat-Proofed Three Sisters Sowing… With an Oak leaf scarecrow.

I finally got to sowing some seeds in our raised beds. Above is the Three Sisters bed, which is kind of 4 Sisters as I have also put a few sunflowers in there. We are trying out some heirloom corn that looks to be yellow, blue and red from the seeds. We will also grow beans and a variety of squash in here too but the corn and sunflowers need to establish first. Hopefully all those sticks and rocks provide enough deterrent to Mr Cat.

The other garden bed has two rows each of carrots and beetroot,  and 1 of silverbeet and spinach. I’ve got a makeshift greenhouse going over that one to protect from The Cat and to keep the seed bed warm. So long as it doesn’t rain like it did last week, I think it will perform well! My love also planted some celery and zucchini in egg cartons and toilet rolls and I planted a new batch of basil for the kitchen windowsill as the current plant has started to flower and looks pretty after serving us very well since we came home from Italy.

I need to remember at the end of these long days to take more pictures I have more to share but I might hold that off until I have the visuals. I also got a seed sprouting kit that I might profile once I’ve had a round of using it. Hope your weekends were as productive and happy as mine. Growing seeds and caring for plants gives you such a good feeling and I am so happy to be back into it, and to be able to teach My Love more about it too.

A little life catch-up

Hi anybody reading this! 😀

I’ve been wanting to write a little life catch up post which may not benefit anyone but myself! Alas.

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On a walk between offices the other day. One of our Parliament Buildings “The Beehive”.

I started a new job 3 weeks ago. I am a Team Leader for about the next 5 months, leading a temporary team of 4 core staff and lots of extras I can draw on if needed. This is my first REAL leadership position, after having done some Acting TL stints before. We kicked off as a proper team on the 1st and the two weeks leading into that were about designing the work, doing the training, implementation stuff, which I think I’ve been able to bring a lot of value to. I am also gaining some good experience that I can likely draw on in the future! It’s kind of funny because the work we do is processing Marriage Licences and smack bang in the middle of my stint in this role, I am getting married! Funny life.

My Love and I have been frantically working on our house a lot and are getting quite obsessed with gardening. We’ve built and filled two raised beds now and I have got some seeds in the ground. I cannot wait for them to sprout. I imagine the radishes will show themselves first.

I’ve also been working on a side project which is a blog/website/facebook/instagram (phew) about Gluten Free options and products available in Wellington NZ. I’m not really sure if this will take off and help people but I do hope I can help at least someone. Before visiting Italy I did a lot of research into eating so I want to help those sort of people, as well as locals with new products etc. The address is http://glutenfreewellingtonnz.com if anyone is interested who is reading this.

I’ve really fallen off the wagon with exercising which is annoying since we invested in some equipment but at the same time my job and the garden have both been much more physical lately. I got back on the bike tonight though and it felt good!

Sleeping Cat

In lieu of many relevant photos, here is our adorable Cat, Thor.

Our Wedding planning is also floating around in the background with all of this! We’ve done some invites (a few more to post) & we’ve started getting the catering sorted. We’ve booked both our legal ceremony and family wedding celebration in. We are keeping things very small without sacrificing on creating something memorable, I hope!

So as you can see, there has been a lot going on in our lives, lots of change & it can feel like work, work, work. We’ve managed to let of steam with a glass of wine or 4 now & then though, and I think this is just what life is like when you’re a functioning adult!

Best wishes to all, thank you for reading my self-indulgent, personal record keeping, life overview. Be well.

Privacy is Blooming

Our home got a lot of attention this weekend (as it does most weekends!) and therefore our fence is almost complete!

My Love’s father was back, bright and early, to help more with this project and share his experience. We were worried as rain was predicted but much of the work was completed before that got too bad. That said, we did hammer a lot of nails in the rain! We were just lucky that it was not cold…

Here is the view of the fence from the back. We still have that plumbing issue but should receive the quote today (plumbers are very busy here) so we can’t complete one section of the fence yet. We also need to decide how to do the gate! The bulk of the fence is up though and it really does feel like we have a lot more privacy but that is balanced with not sacrificing too much sunlight that comes into our yard later in the day. For that reason our fence is not really tall and is multiple heights.

Here is the view from “the driveway”… I call it that because the driveway doesn’t really exist anymore…. but that’s a project for much further down the track. The fence looks a bit funny with its incomplete bits. Also we plan to stain it so it is a uniform colour. I have ideas for planting too!

The area in front of the fence is allocated on our title as two car parks. It looks like we’ve given up a bit of land but it’s actually not ours to give up. We have a strange title but that’s the way it is. The expense to change it is not worth it for us when this is likely a short term home.

The old rotary washing line also came out after much effort by My Love. I’ve been using some of the old path to continue on with the low maintenance area around the back of the house. As I’m doing a cheat but putting down broken concrete and the a top layer of white chip, this is a bit more labour intensive than the first segment. I have to sort through the rubble but it’s worth it as I’m quite passionate about us re-purpose for as much as possible

Work in progress. Cardboard weedmat, concrete, white chip, bricks from around the property and river rocks to fill in the other gap til the concrete is ripped out here.

We live in an area that was once a riverbed so there are many rocks to be found when we’re working around the yard. The concrete path I’m standing on must go as it is old, poorly done and cracked. The rocks are unlikely to stay but make a good weedmat for now.

I also randomly-ish extended my herb garden to start a beneficial insect patch. There is already a forget-me-not coming through the fence that bees love, I’ve planted a sad aloe vera in the hope it might live and two swanplants to attract monarch butterflies. I got a couple of packets of seeds from a gardening website called “Butterfly Garden” and one of those will go there too. Again, rocks to put the cat off digging, fingers crossed!

It’s Monday so I’m back to work. Today I’m involved in some systems testing and reviewing some policy. These are things in the background before I can really get my new team that I’m heading up and running. I want to be back in the garden though!! Have a great week!

Wedding Planning Progress & DIY!

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Swans & Ducks at our Wedding Celebration Venue.

So we did a pretty exciting thing recently which was confirm where we are going to celebrate our wedding with our families. We also decided that we are going to do the paperwork side of things at the Registry Office and be able to keep our “Wedding Day” (hopefully the next day) to the small, family gathering that we want it to be.

We started looking at celebrants and none of them felt right, so this way we are going to run our own ceremony (MUCH TO DISCUSS) and not have anyone there who we don’t know on the day. I don’t know if this is unusual or not. We are possibly having the smallest wedding party in the world…. less than 20 adults including us! But we are older – 37 & 35 – and we have other priorities to focus on. That said, I want our wedding to be about more than us, about a celebration of our commitment but also of family.

And now, back to the wonderful world of DIY!

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The beginnings of our biggest house project thus far, our fence! October 2018

As you can see, our fence is just beginning really. My Love’s Father helped him to put in the posts after a week of My Love digging holes. Already I can feel the privacy expanding and our new vegetable patches coming to life. As you can see, My Love has also be demo-ing the concrete path which has revealed a wealth of rocky/concrete/brick material that we will try to re-purpose before deciding it is just garbage.

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A pile of our ex-path by more important, it’s our teeny tiny Lemon Tree. Oct 2018

We also planted a Lemon Tree which has a lot of flowers on it but I don’t expect us to be lucky enough to get any lemons any time soon! It is still a mere baby plant.

This corner is super sunny most of the day and will have some garden beds added in the near future. All my recent yard photos are afterthoughts at the end of the day so the light is really low, in fact the sun is setting but look! The lemon-child is still in sun. Well planned us…. 🙂

It’s Wednesday night here which means 2 more days until the weekend and the next step of the fence can begin. This step is the rails and then of course the palings. We had someone look at our damaged pipe today but are still impatiently awaiting the quote for the damage. Alas! I want to get that work done so we can truly move on from the harrowing experience! Hah! It actually has more been a “that’s life” situation but yes, would like to focus on more fun things like having a fence and doing some landscaping!

We managed to tick off a couple of really small DIY projects too, like putting up our new and improved coat rack and get a proper closure on our letterbox. Oh! And a new lock for our shed. My Love was particularly busy this past weekend and I am very grateful for all of his work, as well as that of his Father. And I am also to his Parents for taking us to the venue that we’ve now chosen as the site for our Wedding party.

And with that, I am sleepy. I want to write about my new job at some point, the cause of my tiredness! Another early night may be on the cards!

 

Life in a little place called Home.

I’m not sure if I will ever get to writing up our entire trip to Italy. Maybe instead of thinking that I have to do that before I ever move on, I should just write about it when the mood takes me. I have wanted to write about things happening since we’ve been home more but I’ve told myself I cannot until I finish writing about Italy. This is madness!

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Moving Thor Home. Late September 2018.

Since we came back home from Italy, a lot has happened, even though it has only been a month. Wow! A month!

My Cat is happily living with us now in his senior years. It was an easy shift this time as he has slowed down a lot and seems most content to live the snug life inside, doing lots of sleeping and cuddles.

My Love & I have also begun doing a lot of work around the place and have started building a fence with the kind experience and help of My Love’s Dad. We have had a rather major mishap however and now have a busted pipe in our yard. When digging holes for the fence posts, one was placed incorrectly and the pipe was damaged by spade or crowbar. It’s not an emergency scenario but one that is important to remedy. The financial damages will become apparent this week. Not much you can really do in this situation other than accept it, get it fixed, learn the hard lessons about checking and double checking, and then moving on. All part of the joy and sorrows of being a homeowner!

A minor project we did was some small landscaping with things we already had around the place. We have used cardboard, bricks and white chip rocks to create a low maintenance edging.

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Brick and white chip edging, completed late September 2018

As you can see, this looks a bit rough around the edges. This was the day we finished the main work. Since then we have topped up the lawn with more soil, removed lots of weeds in that area and sown some new grass seed which is starting to come up now that we are more diligent in watering it. We intend to carry the bricks and chip along the full back length of our house and if there is enough white chip (this is currently at the front of our house and we are moving to the back) we might carry this around the other side too.

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Late in the day, 22 October 2018. The grass is a bit patchy now, and some weeds are sneaking in, as well as the ever present oak leaves. Some baby oak trees, potted up for My Love’s Mother are next to the flourishing potted pansies, gifted by my Father.

The above picture really makes me want to get out some white paint and sort out the bottom of the house! The projects are never-ending, really!

I’ve also started planting up my herb garden which I am really excited about!!

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Right after I’d just planted the first few herbs in. L-R – Lovage, Lemon Balm, Italian Parsley, Garlic Chives, Lemon Bergamot (a rescue plant, new to me!) Lemongrass, Oregano, Rosemary and Purple Sage. 7 October 2018

I have since added in a few new herbs, place eggshells around the plants to protect from slugs and naughty bugs and have added cat deterrents against digging. Oh and stuck in some solar lights which look cool at night. The below pic also shows the lavender plant that I just picked up and need to repot.

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Late in the day 22 Oct 2018. You can see the addition of Green Sage, Curry Plant and Tarragon. Sort of. I need to take some better pics!

I do have more to say about the outdoor work we’ve been up to and not to mention other life changes in the realm of work…. but I think that’s enough of a post for this evening!

I wonder what other people are getting up to in their gardens?

Opening New Doors

So tomorrow My Love and I officially become real homeowners. Tomorrow is settlement day. Tomorrow we get the keys and start the several days process of moving in.

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Sunrise today, 31 July 2018 from my local train station….local until next week.

The past month seemed like it would never end and then suddenly did! I spent Sunday afternoon packing up my car with what will be the first load. This included a bit of interior cleaning and learning how the seats work exactly in my car. Learning to be a car person is a very slow and ongoing process for me!

Last night I got to see our house with most of the current owner’s furniture removed. It’s funny what a difference that can make to the feel of a place. It’s going to be so interesting to see how the addition of our furniture will make the place feel. It’s going to be so wonderful making it our home.

We only have a month there before we travel to Italy. Part of me wishes the holiday were a little further away just because planning a house and a holiday simultaneously is tricky but part of me thinks it will be great, all aside from having to be away from my #1 cat for a while. He’s not moving til we’re back from Italy as it will be much kinder to move him once rather than back and forth as he’d come back to my Mother’s while we’re away. I am going to pay him weekly visits, it’s still rough. He’s my almost-14-years-long companion.

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Cuddling on my lap, July 2018

I do hope that he loves the new house. Though he is getting on, he still ranges quite far. I’m hoping we make our garden so lovely he won’t want to wander too far! It will be great having the freedom of a cat door again (after he’s had a while indoors to adapt!) as we’ve had a bit of a routine here of letting him in and out when we’re here too and leaving food when he’s outside when we leave the house. I am sure My Love will enjoy having a cat at home too.

When I started writing this blog, we weren’t even seriously looking at houses right now. It was a goal for this year but we thought it would be something that might happen later in the year. We adjusted our expectations and thought more about the big picture and since then things have fallen quite magically into place for us. Our life has truly started moving in the direction of things that we’ve come to really value. A lot of this comes down to many hours of discussion and effort – and with lots of valuable advice and help along the way – and it really is the beginning of our lives together!