Friday, November 25, 2011

Going Home

Leaving a community is a bit like mopping the kitchen floor, where you walk out of the room backwards mopping up your footsteps as you go until no trace is left that you were there. The house will be repainted and a new family will move in. Life moves on.
One of the things I've enjoyed in the garden is growing great weeds: phacelia and calendula in the glass house below, borage not flowering yet and red poppies in the background.

Here's a closer look at the poppies growing on the path. I'll leave these traces of joy but around the house it's time to erase, to return everything back to woodchips and trees that can be easily managed with a lawnmower and poison spray.

One thing will last a little bit longer: fabulous soil that absorbs moisture instead of repelling the rain and for a few seasons, wild flowers will try and establish themselves. Oh yes and it will take a lot to remove the comfrey. The poppies below are a snag in my timetable because they are just about to flower. These are great big blue ones that a favourite neighbour gave me seed for and this is the first year they are growing in quantity. I will pull them out at the last minute.

I pulled the comfrey out easily in Spring when it was crowding the trees and just threw it down as a nutritious mulch. If you like it, it is very easily dealt to and useful but if you don't like it, well ...
I've been reading a marvellous book Finding the Still Point by Gerald O'Mahony. One of the things he talks about is finding a motto that encapsulates what we want to be. I'm working on mine and I suspect it will have something to do with food. I even like my garden to be well fed.

Now the frost did damage some of the tomatoes and more spectacularly the potatoes; compare plants on left in the warmer mid section of the glasshouse to the end rows. This will reflect in yield and timing too I expect.

I had a little experiment going with the raspberries with pruning and sure enough these will fruit for Summer instead of Autumn this year. I later read that you can prune half your raspberries in Autumn and half in Summer (after fruiting) if you want to stagger the crop but here it is too cold too quickly for Autumn fruiting berries.

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I am endeavouring to delegate some packing and have a couple of unsuspecting neices arriving the week before the moving truck does. I have singled out some of the more exciting jobs for them, collecting pine cones to fill the shed and hosing down the house and windows among others.  The outside of houses, in this climate, need a good scrub down every few years or five,  which was a housekeeping revelation to me that I intend them to act on. On with the rubber gloves then...  

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Unfamiliar Text

NCEA exams are no longer on the horizon. They are coming into shore on a speed boat and boys are busy getting in final assignments, applications and folios.
They didn't do so well in unfamiliar texts for English so we are going to have some practice together over the next week. We all 'see' according to our level of expertise but there must be some broad rules that apply to most things. For the person who covered one of my compost heaps with red hot poker debris, blue gum leaves, rose prunings, couch and what looked like Pyracantha prunings-branches with spiny thorns my advice would be: 'look at the end result or the big picture' or to put it another way, 'What is the purpose?'
In a compost bin you are looking to make compost.

For the person who tipped buckets of food scraps on top of another tarpaulin covered heap I would suggest 'Look for a pattern'. If there is a heap amongst the five that has fresh food debris on top, go for the obvious and follow suit. Like with like.
Compost has been a very gratifying success this year. Thanks to the briars and thorns keeping me out I still had a beautiful stash for the glasshouse come tomato time. It has hitherto missed out and the compost has made a big difference to watering times, about every five days instead of everyother day at this time of year. The compost piles I made on site in the glasshouse in late winter were a cinch to spread out as a thick if rough, mulch. The wheelbarrow can take a holiday; on-site heaps are the way to go.

Now you can see below how the plants are thriving  in this mulch. We had a frost or two recently that has clipped the wings of about half the potatoes in the next glasshouse but tomatoes don't seem to have suffered. I was gifted various trays of seedlings of which I've used about 80. By the time I got them the labels were gone and I know one tray were sweet 100's. So much for my strictly moneymaker and beefsteak. All will be revealed in time.

On the first read through the text we'll be underlining literary devices and any sort of patterning; garden equivalent would be my sorting out the plants from the weeds which is what I'm doing in Dunedin to rescue any treasures that have survived. 

Louis had to create something out of a complete sheet of paper for his design application.
It's a viewing box where you look through the peephole, through a set of bars to see 'Freedom' in the distance. He suggested it was something some fellow students might like to use to get a preview of their future if they didn't make some lifestyle changes. We knew living in the country would give them a different perspective on life... I don't know what we thought it would be. I choose freedom.

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