23 May 2018

Simple pleasures

I had a wonderful week away from the blog. Hanno and I were going to work on a project but he had a sore back and I had a sore knee so instead we both slowed right down and tended to each other and ourselves. Late in the week, Hanno started on the project and prepared the area and tomorrow, it will be finished with the help of a tradesman. I'll post photos when I have them.  I'm so excited to see it finished - this final big job in our two years of on and off home renovations/tidy-ups/improvements/.

 Turnips and daikon.

Life is full here. We're harvesting deep purple-red turnips, daikons, herbs, chillies and green leaves from the garden. The first tomatoes look like they'll be ready next week, 50 garlics are tall and green and the potatoes and sweet potatoes are growing well. One disappointment has been our orange tree. It looks like we'll get half our normal harvest this year. I think that's come from a combination of dry weather and last year's pruning. But we'll get through it and look forward to next year's crop.

 This is where I'll be working today.

There are quite a few large passionfruits on the vine and if I tie the Youngberries to the lattice frame they should grow a good crop for us later in the year. We'll put in some more bok choi and kale next week and today I'll be sowing French radishes and pak choi. A few days ago I transplanted a big patch of ginger - they went from a polystyrene box to my enamel baby bath and I noticed the roots are strong and very healthy. Just the smell of them transported me to the fermented ginger beer I'll make and the sauces and stir fries I'll cook.

The chooks have been off the lay for ages - a combination of the summer's heat and the stress of introducing six younger girls to the flock but they've settled down now and the first of the eggs are starting to come in. Our two younger grandchildren were here on Sunday and they were excited to bring in an egg each. Simple pleasures.

Sunny and I have picked hundreds of chillies this season. I still have a couple of kilos in the freezer for the chilli jam I'll make soon.

I've been asked to write for Mother Earth Living so I'll start that in the coming week. I hope to find new readers there and hopefully sell a few books. They have a readership of 2.5 million so it might open up a few opportunities for me. And that reminds me, Amazon is selling my books now and currently the prices are The Simple Home - $21.73 and Down to Earth - $27.80. You might like to start your Christmas shopping early and get some gifts at a really good price.

When I finish writing here, I'll be in the garden for most of the day. The mornings are cool here, it was 8C overnight, but as soon as the sun hits the garden, the warmth creeps in and with a cup of tea and shade from the umbrella, I'll be set.  I'm repotting plants in the bush house, cutting back herbs and roses, weeding, sowing seeds and tying up the tomatoes - already heavy with fruit.

Below is the tomato bush that is growing these tomatoes. They're cocktail tomatoes which are slightly bigger than cherry tomatoes. Most of the tomatoes are perfectly round, but this clump have ridges in the top. These are the ones I'll use to collect seeds for follow up crops.
It is the most wonderful workplace out there. Working in the garden relaxes me and improves my mental health and as I watch migrating birds and clouds, I hear the chooks low clucking as they talk to each other and squabble over a caterpillar on a plant. I feel the importance of sharing our garden with those of you who don't have one. We all need a place where we can throw off our concerns and just relax into the surroundings. If you don't have a garden I really hope you are enjoying ours or you have found a place where you can relax and be your true self. Having such a space encourages us think about the balance we need and often helps us think about ways to organise our busy lives.

Turnip tops on the compost heap. You can also see our comfrey growing right next to the compost.

Every day we make choices. We might not consciously think about them, but they are made anyway. Every morning I choose between blogging or not, about whether I'll make bread, or whether I'll make preserves or do the ironing, and along with those choices, I also choose, everyday, to live simply. Having a space where I relax, in a spot where I can punctuate the work with sitting and thinking, gives me a much clearer understanding of what my options and responsibilities are. Like collecting fresh eggs, it's another simple pleasure that is there for the taking. xx
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