The last of the garlic and spuds

It will be cloudy here today with a minimal chance of rain so I'll be out in the garden planting up geranium Rozanne, a Lillipop Soda Pop gaura and a rosea, the final plants in our newish cottage garden. Before that though I want to write about the last legs of our vegetable garden - a thriving collection of common and not-so-common vegetables and fruits we started growing here in 1998.


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What's growing in the backyard?


I've been working in my garden for a few weeks transitioning from a vegetable to a cottage garden and trying to get everything ready for spring.  Spring is the season that sets our gardens up for the year and if you get good rain in spring, as we did, it's even better. But I have no illusions of a lush floral display throughout summer, I just hope I can help most of it through the prolonged heat that I know is coming.  Our average annual rainfall is about 1800mm and that is one of the reasons we chose to live in this area. However, so far this year we've had 755.4mm, 286mm less than the previous year. This was the first year two of our tanks ran out of water, and the big 10,000 litre tank had only about 2000 litres left. I wouldn't grow vegetables without the safety net of tanks. They're expensive to put in, but like solar panels, they earn their place in most environmentally sound houses.  We saved for our tanks, one went in soon after we arrived here, and the big one was established about ten years ago; again, when we had the cash to pay for it.  When you set yourself up with tanks, you can water liberally most of the time and know that you're producing food with no hidden costs.

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How my books came about - part 2

This is a continuation of this story 

We set off on our first book tour just before Down to Earth was to be published on 22 February, 2012. We had no idea what to expect or if anyone would come along to meet us. There was no need to worry though because at every stop along the way so many lovely people travelled in, often bringing gifts of jams, relish, soap, dish cloths, bread, cake, kombucha and magazines to read on the journey, as well as their good wishes.

What generosity! Just some of the many gifts we received on the road.

Being interviewed by Richard Stubbs in Melbourne. I also had the good fortune to meet Jon Faine and Clare Bowditch on their radio programs too.
Feeding the chooks. I think this was Channel 7.

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How my books came about - part 1

A few new readers have ask about my books, how I got published and how I fit writing into my daily routine, so I thought  there may be others interested in that. I've written three books - Down to Earth, The Simple Life and The Simple Home, all were published by Penguin | Random House.


I used to earn a living as a technical writer/journalist and when we moved to where we live now, in 1997, I transferred my business to the Sunshine Coast. Hanno retired soon after we arrived and bought a shop in Montville. I continued writing technical manuals and travelled up to the mines to gather information and photos and then I'd write the manuals in an office I had close to home. I had a couple of people working for me at the time and life was hectic.  But when I settled in here at home, I started looking at my life with a more critical eye and realised I was far from happy. To make a long story short, I closed my business, started working in my home and that simple decision changed my life completely.

And things started to get better.


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Hello everyone!

Hello friends, I'm back!  I had a few projects in my sights during my blog break. A few of them were a bit airy-fairy and I can't really describe them. They involved mental health, sleep and self-perception and I'm pleased to tell you that I think I sorted out enough so that I have a clear path forward. I also had a number of more practical day-to-day activities I needed to work on - gardening, sewing, reading and genealogy. I have very clear plans for all those areas now but I think I really surpassed my own expectations in the garden.


Here is our garden in full production circa 2006.
And this is some of what we have now.

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