Here We Go Again – Day 1 NaBloPoMo 2017

Hey everyone,

After so much frantic writing recently for uni and work, I’ve decided that I obviously don’t do enough *facepalm* so I’ve signed up for NaBloPoMo 2017.

For those of you who are new to the concept, NaBloPoMo (National Blog Posting Month) is a US organised event that encourages us to post every day for the month of November. Living in the southern hemisphere, November is one of the busiest months of the year for me, especially from a gardening point of view, so it might seem a little ambitious to do this challenge but I’ve managed to complete it successfully every year I’ve been involved.  I think this is my fourth time and while it looks daunting (and every year immediately makes me feel tired), I always get so much out of it, and trust me, it’s a thoroughly enjoyable experience.

For instance, it’s helped me focus my blog writing and be disciplined about what I do. Some of you might dispute that – I haven’t posted anything for weeks and feel quite bad about that – but life really does get in the way sometimes! Perhaps the most rewarding thing about doing this challenge is how it puts me in contact with other bloggers and the sense of global community that follows. I think this aspect alone is a great reason to try the challenge.

In the meantime, I’m planning to write about my urban farm as it’s spring here in Tasmania, the hens have produced yet another egg glut and everything is booming – especially the weeds! I’ll also be including some posts about what I’m currently doing at university, the music and food gardening programs I’m teaching, the food I’ve been cooking and mix in a movie/book/music review or two, which helps with my degree course.

So hold on, the ride’s about to start!

Sunshine at Last! – Day 16 NaBloPoMo 2016

I’m really tired tonight.

Last night I went out and celebrated Meraki Management’s 1st birthday, had a drink (yes, only one!), listened to some wonderful local, original music and caught up with lots of friends – it was lovely! There’s a fabulous vibe in Hobart at the moment valuing live music, which in many ways is bucking against the global trend. Long may it prosper!

This morning I slogged away at more weeding and prepared another area for tomatoes. It was overcast but very muggy, and as the morning progressed, the cloud burned away and it ended up being a really lovely day. But tomorrow is forecast to be increasingly windy and 29 C (84 F), well above average for this time of year.

I hope all my baby beans survive but this is perfect for the raspberry bed, which is looking like a wonderful (and early) crop this season.

With overnight temperatures only predicted to go down to 11 C (52 F) and no rain likely until next Tuesday, I’ll probably be up early and out watering everything before it gets too hot. Although I live close to central Hobart and have mains water, I like to use rainwater out in the yard. I’ve plumbed a gravity feed line down the the back corner and the greenhouse and I have a small electric pump that provides mains pressure. It’s a good system but I’m continually tweaking it. Over the coming months, I’m planning to set out extra lines off the gravity feed with soaker hoses that I can turn on and off as needed. It’s a big job and quite fiddly, so I’m happy to take it one bed at a time.

Tonight I had the house to myself and being tired, I decided on a very simple dinner. A piece of fresh fish, a little butter and everything else from the garden. I cooked off chopped garlic in the butter, added a sliced mushroom (from the compost bags again!) and once that had softened, I pushed it aside and put the fish in. Once I turned it, I tossed in shredded silverbeet and sliced fresh snow peas. I covered the pan for a minute or two while I got a plate and cutlery ready, serves the veggies first and put the just cooked fish on top. It was delicious!

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Tomorrow after watering, I have to finish off my last assignment for my current unit. I decided to put myself way outside my comfort zone and prepare a draft for a children’s picture book. Maybe that’s what I’ll write about tomorrow for NaBloPoMo.

Sometimes I don’t know why I do this to myself!

Goodnight friends, be well and I’ll see you tomorrow ❤

All the Sadness, All the Joy

 

Hey, I’m back!

I’ve taken some time off blogging for a myriad of reasons. University got pretty intense, the garden demanded my attention, I had some health things to deal with and work was busier than usual – particularly with the amazing Callum playing his debut gig (an absolute blast, that I will write about in coming days). But mostly, I was too sad to write anything for public consumption that made much sense. 2016 has been a tough year to deal with.

Last month, my dear friend Jacqui passed away and it hit me and everyone who knew her very, very hard. It wasn’t unexpected, her health had been failing for a long time and she was having more bad than good days. Her funeral was a bittersweet affair, with equal amounts of laughter and tears, and punctuated by lots of music. And she would’ve loved every bit of it! I performed her favourite song, “Jamaica Farewell” acapella, which we used to sing together most Mondays.

Below is the last photo of the two of us. It was a Friday session with the Superstars back in July and Jac was having a bad day. She didn’t want to join in – but she still wanted to hold my hand and say cheeky things to Chris the photographer, while the others played and sang 😀

Jacqui and me

Jacqui and me

I’m incredibly grateful that I got to know her in the last few years of her life and enjoyed such a friendship. It was joyous, at times raucous and always filled with music and with love. This was proved again today when one of The Superstars played a beautiful little piece of music and announced to us all when she finished “that was for Jacqui”.

She will not be forgotten ❤

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Therapy with the Bees

Since I last updated this blog, Britain voted to leave the European Union, lost its Prime Minister (and most of the Brexit big wigs along the way) and gained a female PM. Australia has seen a painfully protracted election count (to follow the longest campaign I’ve ever seen!) And this week Hobart had snow to sea level, followed by cyclonic level winds and finally, flooding in the south of the state.

Then I switched on the television news a few days ago and saw what had happened in France and (at that stage) 50 or more people dead. I immediately switched the TV off. Yesterday, it was a failed coup in Istanbul, another 250 plus people dead and I wondered, not for the first time, what happened that the world got to be such a mad and angry place. My response was, as it is to most traumatic things, is to hide in the garden, pull weeds and talk to the animals – they seem far more sensible than a lot of people at the moment.

The wind did some reasonable damage to parts of the garden and I had to spend some time Friday morning making sure the baby bunnies were safe and secure after their hutch was damaged in the gales. Apart from being pretty skittish, they were ravenous as ever and settled back to normal once food appeared. I think the greenhouse roof is going to be okay after tightening roof bolts but I really hope it’s solid for September and October, the traditional months for high winds here.

All in all, we got off fairly lightly compared to many homes and gardens but I’ve been stitching up bird netting today and there’ll be a lot more of that over the coming weeks. Some of it ripped branches of fruit trees and they’ll need attention too.

Over the weekend I finished weeding and pruning the raspberry bed, moved some escapee canes from the path back into the bed, top dressed it with straw from the rabbit hutches and repaired the netting to keep the blackbirds out. I think it looks pretty good and hopefully we’ll get another bumper crop this coming summer.

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I finally got around to liberating the cabbages and some of the kale from the mass of weeds that sprung up during the mild, wet weather. This winters’ crop are an Italian purple savoy type I haven’t grown before and I’m really impressed with the colour and the growth they’ve put on for this time of year.

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All in all, this weekend’s been gloriously sunny and despite the damage that had to be dealt with, it’s been a joy to be out in the yard and away from the madness of the world. Also, I met a lovely young woman who came around to do a plant trade and found we had a lot more in common than a love of growing things. I hope that’s a friendship that develops.

Sometimes I feel quite overwhelmed with sadness about where we’re heading globally, and I tend to retreat into things I have some modicum of control over, such as the yard and tending the animals, providing clean food for my family. And then I meet people like Kate and things start to make a little more sense again. Perhaps that’s where the real revolution is waiting – one yard at a time 😀

Finally, both my rosemary plants are in flower despite the time of year, and they’ve been literally covered in bees the last few weeks. It’s been lovely to take a break and just sit and watch them 🙂

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Take care of yourselves people, be kind to one another and when you have the opportunity, plant more seeds and take time to watch the bees ❤

In Print!

A very quick note to any of you who might be interested – my copy of Tasmania + arrived this afternoon, which includes an article I wrote on the jazz scene in Tasmania. (Huge thanks to Kaye Payne for letting me interview you – I learnt heaps!)

Tasmania + is available through most larger newsagents throughout the state and is a large-format, glossy magazine. If you can’t find it, try contacting Focal Printing in North Hobart.

It’s always nice to be in print 😀

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Assignments, Goodbye and Hello – Day 26 NaBloPoMo 2015

Hurrah! I submitted my last assignment for my current university unit this afternoon 😀

I nearly always find this part of units rather bittersweet – I’m a step closer to a Bachelor of Communication but I have to say goodbye to some wonderful people I’ve been studying with. Part of the deal with online study are the discussion boards, which act like a virtual tutorial group, and often these are assessed. In this unit, (Creative Writing, Forms and Structures) I’ve had the pleasure of exercising my brain cells with some really lovely people, and I will miss them.

On the other hand, next week I start a new unit, (Writing the Short Story) and I’ll be saying hello to a new group of people to discuss and share work with for the next 13 weeks. This unit will take me up to March next year, which is the start of Study Period One of the academic year. I decided on my units for 2016 a while ago and enrolled in them today – the last of my second year subjects.

I also realised this afternoon that I’ve been studying online continuously now for two years. It’s quite an achievement for me to stay that motivated and engaged, particularly without any campus interaction, but I’m interested in the work and the teaching through Griffith has been excellent. I’m majoring in Creative Writing and Screen Studies, two subjects close to my heart, but I wish there were more screen units – I really loved them with a passion!

And this is my 100th post on this blog – I’m astonished! As I’m coming to the end of the NaBloPoMo challenge and starting a new unit, I’ll be pulling back from blogging a little. My goal from December 1st is to post once a week rather than every day.

Meanwhile, I’m taking the evening off and chilling out – I’ve got a few days solid gardening to do before Study Period Four starts!

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Sleepy baby

The Blog Challenge – NaBloPoMo 2015

Hi everyone,

It’s coming towards the end of the year (where did the last twelve months go?) and that means we’re getting close to National Blog Posting Month – NaBloPoMo.

The challenge is to write a blog post every day for the month of November and it’s really quite challenging to keep it fresh and interesting – from a writing perspective as much as for the audience. I’ve done it once before, two years ago. I had no home internet connection and did the whole thing from my mobile phone. If I can do that, this year is going to be easy 😉

If you’re inclined to challenge yourself writing-wise, click on the badge in the sidebar and get involved. It’s really a lot of fun and I personally found it a great learning experience.

Take care wherever you are ❤

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