DOWN TO EARTH SIMPLE LIVING FORUMS

DOWN TO EARTH SIMPLE LIVING FORUMS
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4 October 2012

Getting ready for summer

Laura and Daniel's baby boy was born yesterday, another tiny baby for our family to love and nurture. Congratulations Laura and Dan, and grandma Tricia, my beautiful sister, who will be a wonderful grandmother.
♥♥♥

We have two long seasons where we live - summer and winter - and two much shorter seasons - spring and autumn. Officially summer starts here on 1 December but really, about half way through November, the humidity sets in and we all feel like taking to the hills. I usually start preparing for summer in October because sometimes the hot weather arrives early and then all hope is lost of doing the heavy work.



I guess the major part of the heavy work is done outside but as I've been helping Hanno with the outside work since he cut his hand, this year, that is on my list too. We generally let the garden go without any new plantings after November. We planted new greens a few days ago, I still have to plant up those tomato plants in pots I told you about, we have sugar cane mulch to go down on the beds, some pruning, I have to attach a steel frame to the fence to let the berry canes grow along them and a quick mow of the lawn and the backyard will be done.



The bush house is tidy. Soon the pink cactus and orchids in there, and the violas in pots, will fade for another year. I need to repot a couple of hanging baskets for the front verandah and set aside some ferns for the wooden basket my nephew Daniel made for me. The front verandah needs to be de-spidered, the furniture spruced up, cushion covers washed and replaced, the ceramic fish pond cleaned out, scrubbed, refilled with rain water and moved back, out of the summer sun.



There are a few late strawberries, cauliflowers and red cabbages to be picked and already radishes are red and ready, tomatoes are ripening and cucumbers starting to climb their trellises. Beetroot is ready for pickling. I have calendula petals to collect for drying as well as mint and oregano to dry as a precaution, just in case a stray grasshopper wipes out the fresh leaves. There are many seasonal tasks here but they're enriching and pleasant and they remind me that I'm part of the natural world where nothing stays the same. 

Inside, the summer sheets will be going on the beds and light quilts will replace winter doonas/duvets. It's usually such a beautiful time of year when I do that, right now the air is still coolish with the slightest touch of warmth. It gives me hope that this summer won't be as harsh as all those memories I have stored away. Soon the bedroom windows will stay open all night, soon a ceiling fan will slowly twirl over our bed.


We'll stop buying barley and lentils, making do with our stockpiled reserves over summer and replace them with the summer sisters - broccoli and radish sprouting seeds. In the freezer, I'll have to go in search of any stray soup bones lurking in the depths. A late soup will be on the menu if I find any but that's not such a bad thing; it will be months before hearty soups and stews grace our table again. Hidden bones mean an extra goodbye, and with people and with soup, that's not such a bad thing. And that reminds me, Hanno has been stockpiling smoked pork knuckles, sausages and kassler for his annual kale and pork fest. It's one of the last winter meals he has and the kale is ready to be picked for that now. Soon cordials will be mixed up, ice cubes will be clinking and salads being prepared for the evening meal will tell everyone within sniffing distance that summer is here again. 

So while many others put away their knitting, I, and Sue in Perth, will be clicking away with our knitting needles when the first test cricket match starts in early November. That is the first real sign. The cricket and the ice cubes and summer sheets with a slowly twirling fan, they are summer to me. It will start soon. I'd better get a wriggle on.

Times marches on.

31 comments:

  1. Oh, congratulations to Tricia on her new grand-baby. Glad to hear that things went well. Your garden is looking well Rhonda. I am curious to know if you have any pests, what they are, and what you do about them. In our (now defunct) garden we dealt with everything from deer to scale, it was neverending. Hope Hanno is feeling better and better. :)

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  2. What a lovely post. A new baby, how wonderful. Congratulations to you all.
    I love the flowers in your photo's, they are so beautiful.
    It's funny reading your post about summer, as it's autumn here and I am just starting my winter digging and collecting in the last of our summer crops before frosts strike.
    So now, I'm sitting here wrapped up in my dressing gown (as it's evening) and I'm dreaming of the spring, as I just love that time of year.

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  3. Rhonda, I have been trying to catch up on some missed blog posts and I just wanted to let you know that your post about breakfast had me in hysterics! I can just imagine the waiter and what he/she would have been thinking. I myself am a fan of breakfasts out in cafes but I understand your point. Very funny reading, thank you!

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  4. Rhonda I have been reading through some older posts trying to catch up and had to tell you that your post about breakfast in the cafe had me in hysterics! I can just imagine the waiter and what he/she would have been thinking! I myself am a fan of breakfasts out and about, but I do see your point - it can get quite ridiculous. Very funny writing. As an aside, there is a cafe here in Hobart that serves hard boiled eggs with toast solders and also sardines on toast! :-)

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  5. The top Photo is really lovely Rhonda,and comforting to see you also have calendula in your garden. We are all linked by these common threads.
    What different seasons we experience. Here in Armidale we still have to watch for the last frost which can destroy tender seedlings. I do have quite a bit on the go - onions,beetroots,cabbages,bok choy,lettuce,etc...but have to hold off with things like tomatoes.
    Have a wonderful day, Madeleine

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  6. Your writing is truly radiant today =)
    Love this post.

    Vicki
    Trinidad & Tobago

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  7. 'better get a wriggle on'
    LOL!!!
    Just love it!

    smiling ear to ear,
    vicki
    Trinidad & Tobago

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  8. The wonderful thing about homesteading and living simply and sustainably and growing your own is that you are really part of the seasons rather than them fitting in with you. You have to be aware of all of the signs that a change is coming and go with the flow. I love your photos and here in Tasmania my dump find strawberries are all producing like mad. Thank you for another wonderful post and congratulations on your new family addition :)

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  9. I wonder if you could do a post on drying herbs. I have some in my garden and I just don't know how.

    Thanks.
    jules

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  10. Congratulations on the new baby in your family Rhonda. I was really interested in how you are preparing your garden for the summer heat as I live in Brisbane and will experience similar weather. My zucchini seeds are just germinating but so much of my allotment will go under sugar cane mulch as I find it so hard to garden in the heat and humidity. One thing that did particularly interest me is how you managed to grow red cabbage without sharing them completely with the caterpillars. I cannot see any netting.

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  11. Congratulations on the new addition to your family. How is Hanno's hand progressing.... is he able to use it much now or is it still in a brace? We're in two minds as to what to do in our garden at the moment. We are not too far from you so our growing climate is similar. The winter veges are on their last legs, some stil harvestable & some for the chooks. We'd normally be starting to get the summer veges under way but we are going overseas in 2 weeks time for a couple of weeks, so planting our seedlings now they would most likely perish through lack of care whilst we are away (although Don has recently put in an automated sprinkler system). By the time we get back it will be getting on to mid November & by then we might be fighting an uphill battle with the heat, as you said. Still, we love our fresh veges & salads, so we'll give it a go when we get back. Mid November will probably see us suffer working in the heat, as much as the seedlings we'll be trying to nurture. In summer we are usually out in the garden by 7.30am, back inside by 1030am, then back out again from about 4pm until 6pm. The heat is very limiting!

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  12. Hi Ann, Hanno's wound has completely healed now. He is continuing with the OT for the tendon damage and will see the surgeon tomorrow. Hopefully the cast will come off then. We hate the heat as much as the vegetables do, but it's really the summer bugs that stop us gardening then. We now see it as our holiday and while we continue to harvest up until January, and sometimes beyond, our next seedlings will go in the ground in early March next year. I hope you and Don enjoy your holiday.

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  13. Congratulations on the new little life in your extended family Rhonda. What fun those three little boys will have when they get together over the years!

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  14. Good morning Rhonda, and thank you for this lovely post. I really started feeling excited about the months ahead, as your description was so enticing. We are a little inland at Boonah so, not quite as advanced with our summer plantings, but catching up quickly I think. We are going to adopt your regime of leaving things go from Christmas until late February this season, since the outlook is for a hot dry summer. Our blacksoil goes very hard and cracks even with mulch, so I will be delighted to join you in spirit with a lemon or raspberry cordial on our back deck enjoying the cool breezes. Happy days to you and Hanno.

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    Replies
    1. Hi Barb, I know that black soil country out near Boonah. A wise decision to give yourselves and the soil a break during the harshest period. Good luck with your plantings. I raise my cordial glass to you and Peter.

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  15. Congratulations on the new BOY! Love reading your blog. Although my strawberries have only just started to flower. So maybe yours will last longer.

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  16. Your post has a real tone of CELEBRATION!!! Not just of course Tricia's first grandchild but a celebration of the natural flow of life and nature. Unlike many people today you have learnt to truly EMBRACE life. Thank for such a lovely post.

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  17. "So while many others put away their knitting, I, and Sue in Perth" and Rose. Ah summer -- ice cubes clinking in the glass, the sound of the cricket or tennis and salad for tea.

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    Replies
    1. Ah Rose, I didn't know you were a summer knitter too. Well, put your feet up, start clicking and clinking with Sue and I and we'll be all set to enjoy summer.

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  18. Congratulations on the new addition to your family! Our first grandbaby arrived 2 weeks ago and we are loving our new role as grandparents! Here in Nebraska, USA, we are preparing for winter, putting gardens to bed, canning up the last of the garden pickings, doing some deep cleaning, putting the flannel linens on the beds, and enjoying the last of the warm days. Enjoy the warmer weather coming your way!

    Kristina

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  19. Congratulations on the new family member.
    I hope Hanno is gets back to his old self really fast.
    I'm just getting the summer garden going tomatoes are in but after last night I think I jumped the gun a bit 2°C.

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  20. OMG look at that Kale! Mmmmmm :-)

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  21. Your gardens always look so beautiful to me. Congratulations on the new little blessing in your family. What a joy. Here in the US we are tending to fall chores enjoying the break from the extreme heat we had this summer and preparing ourselves for the eventual fall of snow and the winter freeze. Hugs :)

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  22. Hi summer will not start unti the end of November here but I am looking forward to the tomato's they taste so much better.


    Linda xx

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  23. a great post as usual rhonda, your gardens & green house look amazing!

    thanx

    selina from kilkivan qld

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  24. Hi Rhonda
    How lovely, a new baby to love - enjoy every moment.

    Your post was really nice to read and to imagine while you are starting your preps for your summer heat, we (in Old Blighty) are clearing away, sweeping up leaves, putting the thicker sheets and duvets on the beds and digging out recipies for warming, filling meals. Its a wonderful life and so amazing to think families all over the world are preparing for different seasons. Enjoy your summer and thanks for such a lovely post

    Bev x

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  25. Congrats on the new bubba! Completely off topic Rhonda, but do you think knitting is expensive? I have been knitting but with arcylic wool not the good stuff as its just so expensive! Or is that just me? Is there cheaper suppliers ? I find it hard to justify spending that much on wool for my knitting (a jumper size item) when I'm on a budget! It's tempting to duck into Kmart and buy a Chinese machine made $20 jumper - I know unethical . But what's others thoughts on this? Or would you argue money well spent.

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  26. A new baby and summer's fast arrival...you've got plenty to look forward to in the weeks ahead :) These periods of change between the major seasons are my favourite as well, there's such a sense of anticipation and you can really feel the change in the air.

    I hope you're not putting too much strain on yourself with both the indoor and outdoor work though. Hopefully Hanno will be able to help out with more things shortly, poor thing.

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  27. Congratulations Great Aunt Rhonda and Great Uncle Hanno!

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  28. Congratulations on the arrival of the new baby in your family!

    It is good to hear that Hanno`s wound is healing so well.

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  29. Hi Rhonda,
    Down in Tassie I am just putting my summer/autumn vegies in, my husband and I spent a wonderful day in the garden together today, beautiful weather and planting beautiful chemical free food while the chooks & ducks mulled about.....I am also not looking forward to our 'hot'(high 20's, low 30's but still too hot for me) dry summer, Spring & Autumn are definitely my favorites. Congratulations on your new great nephew :-)
    Di
    Mowbray

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