Category Archives: Garden

So just how hard is it to get your lawn mowed?

It’s been ages since I blogged.  I had to take it up again just so I could tell this long, twisted tale.  And it ain’t even finished yet!

So a friend of mine started a gardening co-op group on Facebook a few weeks ago. Basically we all go around to each other’s houses and do some gardening work together and get heaps more done in one day than one person could get done over a longer period of time. And I volunteered to have the first one here, because of so many reasons. I’m pregnant again (did I mention that?) so I haven’t been able to do much. And Darrin’s driving a bus all the way at the other end of the city, and away from home for up to 15 hours a day sometimes, for 5 days a week, so he can’t do much either. Things are seriously falling behind here. The grass is up to 40 cm high in some places, and the dandelions – you don’t even want to know. And now the sour sobs are starting up for the winter too. So something seriously needs to be done.

I didn’t think it was fair to have everyone come over and make them mow my jungle of a lawn, so I started looking for lawnmowing services to come do it. On Friday the 8th, I contacted one that slashed the lawn about a year and a half ago and was told that someone would contact me. And several days went past. So I emailed them again on Thursday the 14th, and the guy said that someone would contact me soon, and he did. He left a message on my phone to ring him back. Rang back immediately and got voicemail. Sent an SMS. Next morning I still hadn’t heard anything more from him so I rang again. He said he could come over Saturday just after lunch.

Now here’s the problem. My gardening day was supposed to be Saturday at 11 am. The mowing has to be done before anything else can be. So I postponed the gardening day till Sunday. So far, so good. Sunday actually worked better for some of the people who were planning to come.

Saturday came. I went out in the morning to do some shopping, came home, and we had lunch. And we waited. And waited. And waited.

The guy never turned up. Never even rang or texted to say he couldn’t/wouldn’t be here. I’ve heard NOTHING from him at all. That company has lost my business (and if you’re in Adelaide and ask me nicely, I’ll tell you who they are so you can avoid them too, but I don’t want to post their name here in case they decide to sue me for libel or something).

Anyway. So that evening I looked up a few other local businesses. I contacted three of them and heard from two almost right away. One said he could come to do a quote Sunday afternoon, and I told the other one Monday morning. The Sunday guy texted me early in the afternoon to ask if he could come Monday instead, so I said that was fine, but it would need to be afternoon. No problem – at least he bothered to contact me.

And now it’s Monday morning. About half an hour ago, I was sitting here at my computer, and out of the corner of my eye, I saw someone walk past the window. WHAT THE?! My first thought was that the morning guy forgot/neglected to text me before he came over, because he hadn’t rung the doorbell or knocked or anything first. I went to get my keys and watched him write something on a piece of paper, just outside the lounge room window, then walk down the driveway and stick something in the letterbox before crossing the street back to his vehicle. I waited a couple minutes, then walked out to check what it was.

It was NOT the Monday morning mower guy. It was the third one of the three I’d contacted Saturday evening, the one I never heard anything from. He thought he could just turn up at my house, look at my lawn, leave a note, and it would all be okay. Yeah, because I like random strangers walking past my window and freaking me out.

Not that I’m going to hire him after the lack of contact, but his hourly rate is lower than others I’ve hired in the past. But only by five dollars. And he said to ring him after Wednesday NEXT WEEK. Okay, so he wants his Easter break, fair enough. Doesn’t help me now though.

Now the original Monday morning guy turned up, and sent me a text beforehand! and came to the door! and told me a really low price! and said he could do it this week! Very tempting indeed. I think it’s because he’s just starting up and trying to get known – a general handyman business. I had to tell him I’m waiting for one more quote so I’ll let him know later today. But just between you and me – I think he’s going to get the job.

Knee high by the fourth of…December?!

Yes, we have sweet corn growing in our back yard. And despite the temperatures rising to as high as 44.1, it’s doing really well. A couple of the plants are already knee high.

Also have some capsicum plants and one (out of six planted) bean plant. The cucumber plants all died within a couple days of planting. And there’s a couple new potato plants coming up as well.

And…somehow a peach seed managed to find fertile enough ground within a metre of my compost heap. So I’ve got the one I planted last autumn, and now another much smaller one. Go figure.

Bok bok bok.

So I’ve been thinking about getting some chickens, but thought it was probably going to be too hard to comply with all the council regulations about keeping them. But the stuff online says (basically) that you follow these conditions and you don’t have to contact the council, OR you can contact them & get approval for something that doesn’t fit the conditions. Then on the weekend we were visiting Darrin’s mum & brother, and Craig said something about chicken shed kits. So a couple days ago I Googled for ‘chicken tractor’ and I found these. They’re made not far from here so we could just order & pick it up on our way to/from a family visit sometime. But that left the council dealings, so I sent them an email the other night asking if these would be suitable and how I’d go about getting council approval.

And yesterday got an email back saying this type don’t even need council approval, and basically as long as they don’t cause a noise/smell problem for the neighbours, it’s not a problem for the council either. Woo! So now all that’s left is to decide whether to get the smaller one, which would house 2-3 chickens (we’d only use eggs from that many at this time anyway), or get the bigger one for a whole $50 more to give them more space and leave room for expanding the flock in a few years when Caleb (and eventual other child(ren)) eat more eggs.

But I’m going to get some chickens! Yay!

Yeah, I’m prolific this week.

Because I haven’t been able to post for so long, I’m catching up. So here’s a few more things to tell you all.

Darrin’s gotten the second week in September off work, for a big roadtrip to & from Canberra. We may even hit Melbourne on our way back & do Caleb’s American citizenship stuff if it’ll all work.

Little Para Pants has also been WordPressed. And it’s got a nice little online shop plugin, so somebody go buy something! Still keeping the Etsy shop open as well, because it’s cheap advertising. I’ve got new nappies on display in both shops, and have more fabric on order, and waiting on a couple nappy samples from someone who sells them & wants me to design a new nappy with features from both of those. So I’ve got plenty to do.

And I don’t think I mentioned that I’m a sponsor of next month’s Great Down Under Nappy Hunt, so now I have.

For those of you who haven’t seen them yet, here are photos of Ian. In the next couple days I’ll try to get new photos of Caleb up there too.

How are we doing…well, that’s the million dollar question, isn’t it? And you’ll get a million different answers, at least from me, depending on when you ask. Overall though, it’s sort of a rollercoaster – sometimes up, sometimes down, and you never know how long the up is going to last before something gets triggered. Physically though, I was feeling as good at two weeks post-Ian as I was at three MONTHS post-Caleb. And it seemed almost wrong in a way, what with everything else spinning out of control.

There are apparently people out there (though I haven’t run into any of them yet) who would say to just get over it & move on, but you know what? You don’t get over something like this. Sure, it heals over time, but just like with a broken leg that heals, a change in the weather or a bump in the wrong way will make it ache again.

The garden. In the last couple weeks I’ve done a lot. I was going to just give up on the stuff I planted before Ian was born, but then I saw new leaves forming, so I thought I’d mulch around them & see how they go. And now I’ve planted potatoes, and strawberry plants, and an apple tree & an almond tree. This morning I started off some seeds in egg cartons again – capsicum, lettuce, and celery. And peas in a planter box. And in a few days (when I find some room in the garden) I’ll put some carrots in too. Or, hmm, I’ve got a big plant pot that would be deep enough for good sized carrots. Might do them in there.

What’s up with Caleb? Full sentences. Empathy. Trains. Thomas. More Thomas. Still more Thomas. Warning: cute kid story ahead!

A couple weeks ago Caleb & I were out shopping. I’d bought some donuts, and gave him one (which he only ate a little of), and I had one, and I dropped the last bit of it on the ground. So I picked it up, put it in a bin nearby, and came back to Caleb in the shopping trolley. And right away he lifts his arms up to hug me, and goes “Aw poor Mum, sorry Mum, Mum ok?”

Every time we go into a shop now, he’s on the lookout for Thomas. When he first got into it, he’d spy something halfway down an aisle and say “Thomaaaaaas!” excitedly. Now, of course, he just remembers where ALL the Thomas things are, ALL over the store, and tells me how to get to them.

Okay, it’s bedtime. Gotta put my iced tea in the fridge before I go off though.

Big fat update

{mosimage}So Darrin’s mostly finished up at SEHS. He’s done two Saturdays there and may do a little more as needed. He’s liking the new job – the only downside is leaving the house at 7:45 every morning and not getting home till just after 6 most nights. But it’s working out well for the most part.

I have a zillion sewing projects I want to get finished before this baby arrives, including some maternity clothes. Really should get those going, shouldn’t I? And my chiropractor has ordered five nappies from me, and she’s due 4 days before me. But two are already finished, so I really only need to do three more. I got some fabric to make Caleb another pair of pajamas, and I’m also doing a set of curtains/drapes for a friend (as soon as I have the measurements).

Caleb…just gets better every day. He just put one of his bears on the potty to do a poo. 😉 And he’s very talkative. He’ll try any word except his name. It’s amazing how much he picks up without us even trying (i.e. he’s saying ‘no thanks’ and ‘thank you’ now of his own accord, even though we’ve never prompted him to do so – he’s just picked it up from us saying it to him).

Baby’s still in there. I was getting a little worried at one point that I hadn’t felt any movement for a while, but Lisa came over & checked with her doppler and worked out that baby just decided to hide behind the placenta for a bit. He/she has shifted again in the last week and I’m feeling a lot more kicks, hiccups, etc. again. Oh, and I’m at the point where I wouldn’t mind my very own live-in chiropractor and/or massage therapist. I’ve been visiting the chiro every two weeks, but I’m thinking I might have to increase it to every week soon. Now that my regular one has gone on maternity leave, I’m seeing one of her colleagues – who incidentally sounds like an American. Haven’t yet asked her where she’s from (I’ve only seen her once so far and it didn’t really seem like the right time).

Garden stuff now. I’ve got cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, lettuce, and celery in the veggie patch. I also had two pea plants, but I didn’t water them when I transplanted them, so they died. This week (assuming my body cooperates, and the nursery gets them in) I’m planning to plant some seed potatoes. And last week, I bought a peach sapling and two small blueberry bushes and planted them. So I’m working on the orchard now as well. I have so many plans (including a chicken shed), but I don’t think most of them are going to happen till a few months after this baby comes. I was really hoping to get a lot of it done before, but it wasn’t to be.

And I actually turned the heater on this morning for the first time this year. It was a whopping 16C (62F) in the lounge when we woke up.

And now…away to the post office!
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This is the place where I put the title, right?

{mosimage}Ooh, two posts in as many days. I’m really prolific this week.

Point one: Patty has arrived! Her flight was only an hour late leaving Melbourne and 40 minutes late arriving in Adelaide, but she’s here. None of us got to bed till midnight last night. Caleb’s having a ball showing off & being cute. He’s very good at it. 🙂

Point two: we have a new photo gallery here. Some of the photos aren’t cooperating with getting added, but we’re slowly getting there. All recent Caleb pictures are in though, so those of you who need a cute kid fix can get it. 🙂

Point three: Yesterday was Darrin’s official last day at SEHS. And there was much rejoicing (yay). Since he’s kinda made himself indispensable there over the last 11 years, he’ll still be going back occasionally to work on things that need attention, but for that we’ll be billing them through his consulting business.

Point four: still pregnant. Three-ish months to go, give or take. Have baby clothes already set up in a drawer ready to go. Second babies are a lot easier to prepare for – just grab all the stuff you used for the first one and you’re ready to go. The only thing we’re buying new is another car seat.

Point five: I’m trying to get my garden ready for winter with some winter veggies. But I doubt I’ll be getting much done with it for the next couple weeks. The only things left in there are two watermelon vines (pruned down to the bare minimum in the hopes that the biggest two melons actually ripen before it gets too cold) and my capsicum plant, which has ripened its one and only capsicum already, even though it’s only the size of a ping pong ball, if that. I’m wondering if it’s a mini variety, but I couldn’t find anything about it through Google. Also, I’ve got plans to buy some more fruit trees and plant them around. My list: 2 apple trees of different varieties (because all but MacIntosh need another tree nearby to pollinate), another orange tree that fruits in the summer (so we can have oranges year round, yay!), a new peach tree (because ours died), some blueberry bushes (because Caleb LOVES them), an avocado tree (I don’t use them THAT much, but I’d probably use them more if we had a tree, plus I know plenty of people who’d be in for some free avocados), and an almond tree. Maybe another apricot tree as well, since ours tends to have a branch die off every few months and I’m not entirely sure it’s going to be here next summer. I was also thinking about a banana tree, but what I’ve read of them, they take a LOT of maintenance. So not now. Maybe sometime in the future, once I’m comfortable with the rest of my orchard.
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Three months?!?!

{mosimage}My last garden blog was the end of November. Yeesh. So here we go again.

First a little ramble, as usual. All my pumpkins died during the heat wave. As did my strawberry plant. And a little helper yanked out most of my cucumber plants, so I only had one left in the hanging basket. I thought that one died in the heat too, but it’s come good again. And when we got new tyres on the back of our car, I kept the old ones and made a zucchini pot. Filled it up with compost, then potting soil, and it looks great. And then the day after our birthday barbecue, Darrin’s brother brought over two bales of straw for us. A few days ago I pulled one apart and spread only about half of it on the garden. I’ve still got the other bale & a half sitting next to the fence waiting to get used for who knows what. I’m planning to eventually get some raised beds built, so it’ll be useful then as filler. And I also had to rip out three of my four cauliflowers because it looked like they had something called black rot. The fourth was smaller & looked okay except for some of the leaves, so I just ripped off those leaves & it’s still looking pretty good.

Anyway, on with the pictures!

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Cucumber

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One! One zucchini! Ah ah ah ah….

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This is my biggest watermelon. Next year I’ll have to remember to transplant them into the ground earlier so they fruit earlier.

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And two more growing watermelons.

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One tiny green bell capsicum.

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My lone remaining cauliflower.

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And my broccoli plants. There’s 5 there, and I was going to harvest them all & freeze them this weekend but I haven’t gotten around to it yet.
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Think cold thoughts…

{mosimage}We’re still baking. But there’s an end in sight now. The BOM is forecasting 30 for Saturday, and it’s slowly getting cooler (well, less hot) over the week up till then. We were supposed to be having a birthday BBQ today, but because of the weather, we decided to postpone it a week. So next Sunday hopefully it’ll be a lot cooler and we can hang around outside. Highest temperature this week: 45.6C (114.1F).

We’ve had another poo and a wee on the potty in the last couple days. Slowly getting there.

My pumpkins are all dead. My strawberry plant isn’t looking good either. And the cucumber plant is partially wilted & dried out. Everything else is still looking okay though, probably because it’s all (except the capsicum) planted in the ground. If the strawberry plant dies, I think I’ll be transplanting the capsicum into its spot. Oh, and it has one tiny capsicum growing on it! Yay.

Oh, and this is the THIRD keyboard I’ve used this week. The first one that I’d been using for months with no issues decided the other day that it didn’t want me to have working number keys, including a couple keys I had in my password, so Darrin found a spare in his piles of computer stuff. This was actually one I’d had a couple years ago and always worked well for me. And then yesterday that one started working funny with all the directional keys – arrows, page up/down, home/end, etc. And a couple hours later the space bar and two adjoining keys stopped working as well. I suspect this had something to do with a naked toddler standing on my chair, playing with my keyboard, and a mysterious puddle under my chair…. So once again, I couldn’t type my password. I had to get Darrin to kill my screen saver remotely so I could get back into my machine, and then turn off screen locking. So this morning as soon as the shops opened, I went to Big W and bought a brand spanking new USB keyboard, and it works beautifully. But do you think I can remember any of the stuff I wanted to post on message boards now that I have a properly working keyboard again? Of course not.

Baby’s movements are getting a lot stronger, and I think I can almost feel them from the outside. He/she was awake & pretty active this morning after I went to the toilet at 6 am. Should be soon anyway and I’ll be able to put Caleb’s hand on my belly and tell him “that’s the baby kicking.” No bladder dancing yet though, for which I’m thankful. But it’ll happen eventually.

Okay, we’ve all had our lunch, now it’s time to get the ice cream out of the freezer. Mmmmmm….
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A little of everything here.

{mosimage}It feels good to be able to keep on top of the housework again, AND do some stuff I enjoy doing. Still having the occasional nauseous day, but they’re getting fewer & further between.

I made a purple t-shirt for Caleb out of one of my old shirts. He loves purple, and the holes in the armpits weren’t worth fixing anymore. He loves it.

Thanks to my little garden helper, I now only have one cucumber plant left – the one in the hanging basket. I have five broccoli plants still making broccoli. This morning I ripped out a couple of the ones I’d cut down too far, so they weren’t getting the side shoots they’re supposed to get after the main head is cut off.

We’re getting new tyres put on the back of our car tomorrow. I’m planning to keep the old ones and use them for my zucchini.

One of the dead branches on our apricot tree fell off this afternoon – right onto Caleb’s sandpit. Lucky he wasn’t playing in it at the time.

And…uh…I think that’s everything. Now I need to go have a shower so I don’t have to do it in the morning.
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