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1 September 2008

Spring has sprung!

The photos were taken yesterday afternoon. Click on the photos to enlarge them.

It's the first day of Spring today. Rain has been forecast for the next three days but I feel in my bones that we'll get showers today and then it will go back to fine weather. I wonder whose prediction will be right. ;- ) With the weather forecast in mind, Hanno and I worked in the garden yesterday afternoon, planting seedlings and adding mulch. We also got around to netting the nectarine tree. We had a disagreement about how to do it and have decided one tree will be done Hanno's way and one my way. Hanno's tree was done yesterday and we're waiting to see how it goes in the rain, we'll do my tree next week. I took photos and will post them tomorrow, with more information on the trees and what we're doing.

Above and below are plantings of spring onions, beetroot, lettuce, silverbeet, tomatoes, bok choi and leeks.

The garden isn't looking its best at the moment with patches of new seedlings here and there, but it's not a show garden, it's a functional productive garden and shows harvesting, bare patches and new plantings all through the year. The beans are all but finished now and I'm letting them dry on the vines.

The other major development is that Hanno has been digging potatoes for last week's dinners and soon that garden bed will make way for new plantings of zucchini, cucumbers, beetroot and lettuce. Three zucchini have been added in the photo above and more will follow as the potatoes are dug up.

The potato crop this winter has been really grand with a lot of very big potatoes, the biggest we've grown. One potato is enough for both of us at dinner and they have the most delicious creamy nutty flavour. The spuds we're harvesting now are Dutch Creams, we have a crop of Kipflers out in the front garden that will be ready in about a month.

I cooked some fresh snapper fillets on the weekend which we ate with coleslaw made with our homegrown cabbage and capsicums (peppers), the carrots and onions were from the market. We had that with the last of the fresh cucumbers and two heirloom tomato types - my favourites, pink Brandywines, and an orange beauty from the permaculture garden at work.

Further over behind the house, in the new trellis garden, the tomatoes and lettuce planted a few weeks ago we going really well. There are flowers on the tomatoes and I think we'll be eating the lettuce the week after next. It is always a joy to know that fresh food is growing just outside our door and that, if we put the work in, tend, weed and water, that our work will result in organic food on the table.

Above is Bernadette our Barnevelder. If you enlarge the photo you will better see her beautiful feathers. They have a violet tinge to the pencilled edges. Many of the chickens we bought at the beginning of Winter are now old enough to lay. In fact, we sold a dozen to the local worm man on Saturday and I have another dozen eggs to sell at the Centre today. A couple of the women there said they will buy fresh eggs, so today we will see.

I think we have the world's largest chook. Meet Big Bertha, the light Sussex, she's been renamed. She is, without a doubt, the tallest chicken I've ever seen. I thought she might be a rooster but no, she's just a very big girl. I tried to get a photo of her with the other chickens but she kept zigging and zagging and running away. This it the best I can do, but believe me when I tell you she is at least a third taller than our biggest and oldest chook, Cocobelle.

The rest of the weekend was taken up with writing, sewing and knitting. It's a lovely stage of life I'm at with time to do whatever it is I wish to do. There is a perception in the media, that is often reflected in day to day life, that there isn't a lot to look forward to as you grow older. I want to present a different viewpoint. From where I stand older age is comfortable, enriching and wonderful. The angst of the young years is long gone, the hard work of raising a family - as lovely as that is - is over, and we oldsters get to sit back and take it easy. Today and tomorrow I'm hosting a group of elders at our Centre. We're talking about Living Well on Less and then we'll have lunch together. It's just a simple lunch - sandwiches, fruit and cheese with coffee, tea and juice, but I know it will be appreciated as will the opportunity to connect with like minded folk our own age.

Every age has it's pros and cons but when someone tells you it's horrible to grow old, don't believe them. There is joy to be found in old age. You can look back and see the patterns of your life emerge and, if you're lucky, grandbabies come along. That hasn't happened to me yet, it's yet another thing I'm looking forward to but I have to tell you, life's good. :- )

I hope this week is a good one for you. Take care of yourself and enjoy what you're doing.


  1. Hello from Oregon,
    LOL...I had to take a second look at the date when you said Spring has Sprung, even though I know where you live...which I do forget at times.
    I truly enjoy your blog and read it quite often, thank you so much for taking the time to blog for us all.
    An avid reader

  2. I agree about the delights of all ages. I trust you will have the joy of grandbabies - there is something absolutely wonderful about little bodies who love you totally - for no other reason than you are you - their Nanny. Then like yesterday - I woke up to two little bodies wanting to crawl into bed with me - what joy!
    Janet McKinney

  3. It never stops being cool to me that as we move into a season here it's the exact opposite season in another part of the world. What an incredible creation our planet is. I also like the way you solved the tree netting situation and I'm looking forward to reading how each method works out. I think the garden still looks great and oh my, I think the name change is apt. Bertha looks like a real big girl.

  4. OK, I'm confused. I am aware that you are on the opposite side of the world from me, but it's NOT the first day of fall here so this is what's confusing. The autumnal equinox isn't until Sept 22nd, so logic would dictate that your vernal equinox would be the same date. So how is it that today is the first day of spring?

  5. Lovely post, as usual, Rhonda! Your garden looks amazing. Fancy that, spring in your world, and late, VERY late summer in mine. Where I live Fall weather doesn't arrive till very late.

    I agree with all you said about aging. It is a wonderful time for us too, we're still young at heart. Greetings from Texas!

  6. Hi RJ,
    I too look forward to spring and autumn they are my too favourite seasons. Your garden looks great and being a productive one is definitely better to me than having one that looks good! I'd rather have one that looks good to eat! Hope you enjoy your lunch today with the like minded souls ;)

  7. tameson, it's more to do with our promimity to the equator rather than the eqinox. September 1 is always considered the first day of Spring here because our weather is changing and plants growing. I wonder if it's the same in NZ. NZ ladies, what happens over there?

  8. Rhonda I thought of you and Hanno yesterday. Tony and I were at the ABC Gardening Expo in Sydney watching the fantastic Peter Cundall give his last talk. He was talking about vegie gardens and crop rotation. When he spoke about beetroot, he stressed the importance of those of us in Australia adding "boron" to the soil. This trace element is not found in any soils on our continent (leached out maybe due to age?) and it can be bought cheaply and you use just a skerrick per crop. It apparently sweetens the beetroot and reduces forking and woodiness.

  9. I too had to think for a moment when you mentioned Spring! The last days of summer are here and it makes me wish I had a home there and here so it could be spring all the time!! Beautiful gardens! :) mary

  10. Wow those potatoes are fantastic!! Sounds like a productive weekend.


  11. Hi Rhonda Jean,
    We are enjoying this season of life also.
    It amazes me, we're coming up on autumn and your spring, this winter you will give us hope for
    Your garden is Beautiful.
    Did ya'll get to eat the fish?Hope so:o)
    I've been very busy decluttering and haven't been visiting like I use to.
    Hope you have a great wk.

  12. I have nominated you for an award. Come by and check it out! Hope you had a wonderful weekend.

  13. Hi Rhonda Jean,I have been reading your blog for quite a while, and I look forward it. Well from a NZer yes we consider Sept 1st the first day of spring as well. It is quite cool today, and at times overcast up here in the North, but we have seen the sun in patches. That in itself warms the heart, particularly after weeks of grey skies and rain.

  14. Yep first day of spring here in NZ too.

    !st September it always is. - Well so I have been told & even the NZ gardener mag says this too.

    And it has been a very springy feeling day - lovely to sit & watch the little lambs dance about.

    Love Leanne NZ

  15. Gosh, I wish it was spring here in West Wales (UK) - autumn's arrived early and we've not even had summer yet! It's not officially autumn, but after such a poor summer we have just slipped into autumnal weather a few weeks early. Never mind, if I can't do things outside because it's raining (and we seem to have had rain every day of August) then I will just HAVE to concentrate on my crafts - what a hardship that will be!

    With just one of my three offspring at home now, I am able to have a bit more much-needed and well-earned "me time".

  16. Wow, Spring!! We're just about entering Fall over here!!

    Enjoy your gardening. It's wonderfully fun, isn't it?



  17. Hi Rhonda
    Mother nature has decreed that Autumn has arrived in our part of the Uk. The leaves are falling and that time of misty fruitfulness has started. I am looking forward to my 'summer' when I visit my two daughters on the Central Coast after Christmas.
    Those potatoes look wonderful, I haven't seen that variety in the UK, will have to do some research.

    I wish you a good Spring.

    Pippa x

  18. Here in the Netherlands it's autumn too. All those yellow leaves on the trees and as some of the british writes wroted, in Northern Europe we didn't have summer this year. In 2007 the summer was also bad. Luckily we went to Spain then for holiday.

    I don't mind if it's not hot in the summer but all that rain. Almost no dry day this summer and when you will paint your house (as we) you can only do little bits and peaces and hoping that it's dry for a few hours :(

    But it's lovely to read that you have spring now. I think your winters are better then our summers ;)

    Annikka from the Netherlands

  19. I love spring, but here in NE Oklahoma we are heading into fall. It's still the end of the summer but it's much cooler than it has been.
    Your comment about ageing was interesting. I'm in my mid-40's and raising a teenager, but I am enjoying my life. I enjoyed my younger years and I am looking forward to the next stage. Life is a gift and I treasure it.

  20. Rhonda,

    The pictures are wonderful! We just came back from a county fair and we saw so many rabbits, chickens, and roosters. We had so much fun! Your chicken is a very big girl:)

    We are getting excited about building our coop:) We seem to be busy all the time. We just need to slow down a bit:)

    I am so glad you are adding zucchini this year. I didn't think I really liked it until this year and yum! I already miss it. I might just have to buy one at the store:)

    I hope we can plant some eggplant this next coming year. I have never really like it but maybe I am just not cooking it right?

    I could just write all day:) Have I told you you lately I just Love your Blog:) Well I DO!!

    Have a great Day,


  21. Rhonda, wow - you can grow potatoes in the winter?! When do you put them in? Do you have frosts in the winter?

    Annikka, we are the same way here in the northwestern US: never had summer! The crops have not done well, both in backyards and local farms. It has been tough.

  22. Hi Melinda, yes, we grow potatoes all year here. These were planted at the beginning of Winter and 12 weeks later, here they are. We usually don't get frost here.

  23. It is lovely to hear how you feel about old age, as I am approaching that fast. I find now I do have more time to do the things that I like to do like drawing and sewing. I am still to fall in love with my garden though as I would like to grow our own food.I hope that your two days with the older members of the community go well.

  24. I have three Barnevelders, they do have the prettiest feathers. And their eggs are delicious.

  25. Rhonda,

    I have been enjoying your posts for the last few weeks after I stumbled across your blog. I yearn to have a garden like you one of these days and I truly enjoy living the simple life.

    Oh, to be in Sydney - I traveled there many years ago and absolutely fell in love with the city.

    I'm still in the years of raising a family, but I too look forward to the lazy days of just my husband and I and being able to do all my crafts whenever and for as long as I'd like. I'll enjoy sewing beautiful dresses for my grandbabies someday too!

  26. a beautiful post as always, rhonda, and newly inspiring each time.

    i think it's also a beautiful thing to remember that life is a circle: here we are in the states, gearing up for fall and the settling down of things towards winter, and there you are entering spring! it's just beautiful on so many levels, simply put.

    thanks for the hope for old age ... i often worry about those further points of my life closing in like wildfire, yet i'm only 28! i wonder how much continuing to walk this simple life path will change that, as we tune out others' messages of how we "should" be at each age and what we "should" be doing ... ugh.

  27. Hello from Indiana!
    I think its wonderful watching your gardens with the seasonal differences. I'm just replanting lettice for fall, harvesting tomatoes, cucumber & beans. Melons were battling the deer for!
    I love to do a fall cleaning, same process preparing for winter. thank for the bathroom reminder, I always forget those cabinets....
    we are on 2 acres, and have just started seriously gardening again. Now, its a joy...not the chore it was whn we had all the children at home. Thanks again for all the tips!

  28. I know this YEARS past your posting but your BIG Light Sussex caught my eye. I just started with chickens/chooks a year and a half ago. I got my young ones in December. One of the Light Sussex was getting VERY bit and VERY loud and her wattles and comb were much larger as well... I sent a picture to the guy I got the chickens from and he said "Yep, likely a Roo." So he brought me a swap out (a gorgeous grey girl, mixed breed). When he and his son got here they were both exclaiming about the beauty of this Roo and wanted to keep him for breeding... Then he texted me just 3 days later to say that Roo laid an egg! She was just BIG.


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