Community garden

Sunday, 26 March 2017

A new slab!

We have a new slab poured!  This will be the extension of our little old cottage.  It will contain a lounge, master bedrrom and a small ensuite.  Which will be a girl only bathroom, what a luxury! 

The cost of the slab came in well under what we were expecting and the fellow did a very thorough job of it all.  Working nearly, carefully, quickly and happily around our family situation of children and pets.  He was wonderful to work with, and he was so thorough and particular at every stage. 

Where the old timberframe, lean-to was.

Prepping for the new slab..

And its in!  No more dirt at the back door! 

Much love,
Emma

Friday, 24 March 2017

ponderings and a cement truck.

Here I sit, listening to the rumble of the cement truck outside.  Pondering about life.  The next stage of renovations.  The new slab gets poured today.  The beginning of a new stage for the little old cottage. 
I have learnt alot living in this little cottage of ours.  First when we lived in the outside room, all five of us sharing a tiny room.  Then into the main cottage, all five of us sharing a room again, but a bigger room.  Then the boys shifted into their own little room, once that was fixed up.
It feels like we have been here longer than a year or so.  A lot longer. 
So much has happened.  You know the best part? 
Realizing how little we all need.  Joyfully appreciating the simple things in life, like running hot water, a celling, working lights and heating/cooling.  When you renovate on this scale with a young family, you spend a lot of time essentially camping. 
I have learned to let go even more, to go with the flow.  (There may have been the odd period where I let go of my sanity temporarily also, but let’s not go there....kidding!) To work within the periods of work and rest with the house.  I LOVE clean floors.  Love them.  I’m a shoes off in the house kind of girl.  Renovating does not lend to clean floors.  At all. 
So, we have a deal.  On a Sunday, after a weekend of dusty dirty work, we stop, take the time to tidy our space and vacuum and mop.  Because it keeps me sane.  I appreciate it while it lasts.  We do it at night, when the kids are in bed so I can savour it for a few hours before the chaos starts again.  It might sound strange, but I appreciate that window of time.  Where I can relax, forget about the chaos and things are relatively calm and clean.
It is easy to look at those around us who look to have everything.  But do they?  No one really knows another’s story.  The feeling that person has deep in their heart of hearts. 
There is something that happens when we are challenged.  Like when a fruit tree is pruned.  It sometimes hurts, it sometimes seems rough and brutal.  Sometimes we are left feeling bare and exposed.  But then something changes within the very core of who we are.  It triggers a new growth.  A more resilient growth.  The old and restrictive is stripped away, the light and air is allowed into our hearts and then that....that is when the best fruit appears.
We are entering a new season of renovating here at the little old cottage.  A new extension, a new kind of building.  The demolition is finally finished.  Now we get to the good bit.       
But throughout it all we give thanks.  For the good, for the lessons we have learnt through the challenges.  For the surprising closeness and thankfulness, we have found as a family by choosing less.   
Aggie is growing, so much love for this wee girl.....she looks like she is guilty in this prcture.  She probrbaly was.....little terror!

Giant Jenga we made for church.  $40 of  2"x4", cutting and sanding and we have an awesome game with so many open ended play possibilities.  Grant is going to make Henry a set with ramps for his cars for his 4th birthday next month. 

Puzzles, I love puzzles.  So does Gus in particular.  They suit his need for order.

Henry continues to kick Grant out of bed on a semi-regular basis.  Grant continues to good naturedly tolerate it. 

Still studying.  Always studying.  With a sleeping cat to keep me company usually.  Or two.  Thank goodness for cats!

Much love,
Emma
xx 


Tuesday, 7 March 2017

Simple waste reduction.

Zero waste....What an inspiring movment.  One that, at times, seems miles away from where I currently am.  But whilst I may not be able to identify as zero waste, we ARE strongly on the path of waste reduction.  We are activly making more environmentally/ethically aware choices, and long term changes of our families daily habbits.  Which already has, and will continue to reduce our waste footprint.

Which is awesome.  Small changes matter.   

There are loads of DIY tutorials online about making your own beeswax cloth to replace glad wrap.  There are loads of tutorials about making your own fruit and veggie bags too. I fully intended to make them.  I'm more then capable of making them. 

But I wasn't doing it. 

My time in this season is precious.  With family, work, study and the renovations on the little old cottage continuing in full swing, my craft game is weak.  Like, non-existant weak.  Eventually I decided the financial cost of out sourcing these things was less then the environmental impact of not doing it.  So I jumped on line and poked about to find a company that could provide me with the things I wanted at a fair price.  A company that was ethical, and supported other small business. 

I came accross an Australian business by the name of spiralgarden.  I have been SO impressed by their customer service I just had to share them here.  This is not a sponsered post, I simply want to show this business some support and appreciation for their desire to go above and beyond. 

A little while ago I put in an order for some things.  Beeswax wraps, mesh bags, large and small fair trade woven baskets and a fair trade "Jenga" style building set for Angus's 6 birthday.  There was a small technical glitch, as sometimes happens and which was no ones fault.  When I emailed to enquire the it was too late for the Jenga set to arrive for Angus's birthday.  They were also a little short on supplies of the large baskets after the big christmas rush.  I completly understood, and as we are also a small, family run business.  I understand all to well how frustrating supply issues can be! 

But what most impressed me was their desire to fix it above and beyond what was necessary.  They kindly offered me a beautiful larger, more expensive basket for the price of the one I enquired about and promised to post me a set of beeswax wraps on them when they arrived.  Which was completly unnecessary.  They also increased my post to express to ensure the birthday present arrived ASAP.  When my goods arrived I was very impressed with the quality, they are just beautiful.  I LOVE my large basket and comes in handy all the time for packing drinks, snacks and bits and bobs for when we are out and about.  This kind of customer service is rare these days.  I will certainly be going back in the future, and highly recommend others checking them out too.  They have a wonderful range of Zero waste producs and information, courses, books, eco-friendly/ethically made childrens toys.  There is a beautiful simplicity in the range of products they stock, and their products are an absoloute pleasure to use. 
This was my order, just so beautiful.  The boys have already mis-placed a wooden block, but at least it is a hit right?!  Im sure it will turn up soon enough!  ;)

Another simple way we reduce waste is to use cotton tote bags as shopping bags, here are just a few of my stash.  When these are worn out, they will be composted.

When cooking alot from scratch, food storage is another simple area where waste can be reduced.  I love these pyrex containers with their plastic lids.  Dishwasher safe, able to go from the fridge to the oven for re-heating and sturdy,  They stack well in the fridge and come in all kinds of shapes and sizes.  They are also affordable and easy to source.  I have a couple of sets of these and the rest are currently in the fridge.  They are in constant use here.   





Cloth napkins is another thing I have mentioned before.  This bundle is all op-shopped.  I love them, we dont iron them of fuss with them and it takes no extra effort but saves on wipes/napkins or other things people often have on hand. 

My waste reduction journey is not contained to one glass jar of rubbish for the year.  Though that movement greatly impresses me.  But these are a few simple changes we have made which significantly reduce the amount of disposable goods that are needed in our day to day lives.  Add recycling and making conscious choices to purchase things with the least packaging.....Well these things all begin to add up to a meaningful shift. 

What simple changes have you made that help reduce your waste footprint? 

Much love,
Emma
xx

Friday, 24 February 2017

A sweet surprise....and a chase!

Just the other day we were having a family debate about who last saw the Red Hen and when.  I could not remember seeing her in a few weeks, neither could Grant.  Will insisted he saw her a few days ago, but I didn't believe him.  He has a habbit of saying the opposite to us, just because he likes to debate I think.  (He gets that from his father...) Grant and I promptly concluded she had been eaten by a fox, or escaped and thought nothing more of it.   

But the other day, when I was unwell with gastro, I found out otherwise.  I have no idea why these things always happen when you least need them....

Henry rushed into my bedroom crying - "Ronnie is going to eat the baby chickens!"
Me - "Is the gate open?"
Henry - "No!  Ronnie is going to eat them!"
Me (with all my motherly wisdom) - "Well if the gates not open he can't get in there."
Henry - "They are getting through the fence, quick!! There is lots of them!!"
Me (patiently explaining) - "Henry, there is only two, they cant get though the fence they are too big."
Henry - "Quick Ronnie is going to eat them, the lots of baby chickens!!"
Me - Gives up on bed rest, haules nauseous self out of bed, cradles bucket and stumbles outside feeling like I was going to die.  (OK, I'm exaggerating a little....)

Where I find that Henry was infact, right.  Ronnie is actually about to eat some baby chickens, LOTS of baby chickens.  But not the big babies, there are a bunch of new tiny day old chicks that are running back and forth through the timber lattice.  Where Ronnies nose is pressed up ready to catch one next time it pops through onto HIS side.  Turns out Will was right, he probrably had seen her.  She had simply been hiding so well that we had failed to find her.

Me - "Oh shit, there are baby chickens.  RONNIE!!!!!"

I quickly sent Henry inside with Aggie.  I then tried to haul Ronnie by the collar away from his tasty snack....instantly realizing he had slipped his collar AGAIN and I had nothing to hold onto....The stubborn dog REFUSED to leave his post despite enthusiastic calling, then scolding.  I briefly considered dragging him away by his fur, but quickly decided that would be cruel.  So I did the only thing left.  I put down my bucket, cursing under my breath and picked him up.  All 20kg of Boarder Collie.  I lugged him to the laundry so I could keep him out of the way.  My head was pounding and my stomach churning.  The second I got him in, he made a mad dash to escape and I fell to my knees trying to force him back through the door.  With one hand pushing on him, the other trying to close the door without shutting it on his nose.  I was, at this stage swearing under my breath, feeling rather seedy. 

Next I called our old Labrador Tess who happliy trotted over and I gently closed her in the bathroom.  Tessa, the good one, is MY dog.  She actually listens.  (Fancy that...)

I returned to the chook yard where tried to capture the little chicks.  They took great delight in popping back and forth through the fence, making the job as difficult as they could.  Lucky they were cute.  Eventually I caught them and popped them in a basket.  I secured them in the chook shed so they were safe.  Then I grabbed an empty milk crate and popped it over a very cranky Mother Hen, slid some mesh under her and safely transported her to be with her babies.  Thank goodness I got them all.  I filled up the chick feeder and water feeder and closed up the shed tight. 

As I brushed myself off I wondered to myself....Why does this stuff always happen when Grant's not home?!  I mean seriously..... *rolls eyes* 

I let the dogs loose and good old Tess wandered out completly un-fussed.  Ronnie ran straight back to the fence, dissapointed his self serve snack was no where to be found. 

Some days, hey?

When I rang Grant to tell him later, he of course thought the entire situation was completly hilarious.  Which in hindsight it may have been.  Though I do wonder if the old neighbours next door were watching through their kitchen window, which has a beautifully clear and un-obstructed view into our yard now the lean-to is down.

Mother hen and her chicks.  Two red, and two yellow.  She is a hyline so the yellow chicks are roosters and the red will be hens. 

Aggie is getting big!  She stole Ronnies bone here, doesn't she look proud?

Ronnie, however looks a little puzzled as to what exaclty happened and how he got pipped from "Top Dog" by this little black bear. 

The back yeard is a mess, though we are lookfing forward to a jumbo bonfire this winter!  I look forward to the new foundation to be layed in a few weeks.

Cloth napkins, a vintage plate, handwoven basket and embroidered linen.  All op-shop finds, bought for next to nothing. 

Well the weather here is glorious, though Grant has been working on a jack hammer bringing up the last of the foundations which has had a bit of an earth shattering effect on my peace and quiet.  He seemes to have finished now and has moved onto a crow bar and shovel which is signifiacantly quieter.  I best pop the kettle on and make us a cuppa and force him to knock off. 

Much love,
Emma
xx

Thursday, 16 February 2017

Down she goes!

We are once again in demolition mode.  Our yard is a discrace.  Piles of things to be taken to the tip, burnt, or to the metal scrap yard for cash. 
The cement being pulled up....

The verandah coming down.

The back porch and 3rd bedroom gone....

And Grant kindly leaving me a tiny corner of cement until the last possible moment for a clean path to the toilet and bathroom.

Look, I finally managed to make a proper loaf of sourdough! 

So good.  Like seariously wonderful.  This weekend I hope to make anough for a few loaves to last us the week.


Aggie is our faithful little follower, full of mischeif and little nippy teeth!  But gosh she brings us lots of joy.  Look, here her ears are nearly standing uptight. 

Much love,
Emma
xx



Saturday, 4 February 2017

A wonderful farm visit!

Well school is well and truly back, and already I ache for the free unstructured days of the holidays! 

This post has been a little while coming.  I have been so enjoying our time off and I have been making a far more conscious effort about being fully present in each beautiful moment that comes our way.  So much so my photography, which has never been my strongest point has slipped!  I completly forgot my good camera so excuse the phone photos.   

In the last week of the school holidays we were so lucky to be able to catch up with Sally from Jembella Farm.  It was one of those mornings I just wanted to saviour.  The boys were in their elemant.  They loved every second, so did I.  As I walked around I dreamed of our "one day" farm.  I may have said a silent prayer or three that our shop would hurry up and sell so we could get on and DO it.


Watering the pigs.  Good looking happy animals, completly able to carry out their natural behaviours. 

When we arrived, Sally has left a few little jobs so the boys were able to help with a few simple morning chores.  There was cows to feed, pigs to water, chickens to check on, bees to examine and the most beautiful mulberries to pick, much to Grant's delight when he came home that night! 

Checking on the geese.

It was a truly beautiful morning.  Wonderful company, and so special for the boys.  A morning they have talked about so much since.  I do believe this is going to be one of those things they remember in life.

Who needs a cup when your thirsty?

They were facinated by the old farm house.  William especially loved it, that kid is going to be a picker I reckon!  He adored Sally's old farmhouse, and all the intereting things on display.  He loves a story that kid, and old things that have a story behind them.   

Meg the farm dog was on patrol, it was a warm morning and so she took a dip in the trough, much to the boys complete delight! 

Picking mulberries, sooo good!  Eating them warm and juicy straight off the tree.

We really did have the most marvelous morning.  This morning gave me hope, and reminded me of all we are working for.  The warmth and contentedness that crept upon my heart, seeing the boys on a farm similar to what we want to do, will sit with me along time.  A beautiful morning. 

Thankyou dear Sally.  I am so very glad this strange blogging world has brought us togeather and we can be come friends through it. 

Much love,
Emma
xx

Monday, 23 January 2017

A picture speaks a thousond words.

Life is good here.  Full of new life and fresh air! We feel deeply blessed.

Sitting on her eggs, what a good Mama!  One baby chick out.


Here they are, only two survived out of three. 

Happy beach days, Will even caught a few crabs with a bucket.  He gave them to local fisherman who were out raking for them. 

Homemade hommus, veggie sicks, crackers and fruit for morning tea. 

Going to the park, the "playground" got ignored after a bit and they found nature to play in.  Mud, sticks, rocks....can you really beat that?

The boys on the "island".
Grant is destined to forever have his bed stolen...by someone....Here he is after Henry kicked him out of his bed.  he has the patience of a saint. 

Getting ready for a new commer!

Meet Aggie, the fearless Scottish Terrier!

But being fearless is also very tiring.....


This little lady has graced our lives after waiting for her for the last 3 months!  Such a delight!  She has full pedigree papers.  Her mother is a champion show dog, her father is a grand champion.  We hope to breed from her and in 12 months will be on the look out for a male. 

We might show her a little, but our aim is to be fully registered breeders and breed good, strong, healthy, true Scottish Terriers.  To continue the breed well. 

Much love from us all,
Emma
xx