While there won’t be any posts (except this one) while we’rhave at, I have been updating the facebook page. I’m having trouble adding the link so please search for The new good life with Barbara Good. Check it out and like if you want to.
Another month has past and it is time for the December Garden Share Collective hosted by Lizzie from Strayed from the Table. Time to tour the veggie patch once more and share the happenings in this part of the veggie growing world.
In happy news we had two warm days – sadly not the day my sister got married! – and it actually started to feel like summer rather than the extended winter we have had recently. Of course it didn’t last and the days that followed were back to low-mid teens and raining. Though I did like that bit, it saved me all the watering.
It has taken me some getting used this new and much colder climate that we’ve moved to, but I’ve realised now that much of what I put in over the last few months was just biding it’s time until the soil warmed up. I had written lots of things off that are only now starting to come through.
The spuds which I had lost all hope of are absolutely flourishing and will need mounding up as soon as I find the time. I thought there was no hope of these coming good considering they were really old spuds I grew at our last place and never got to eating, I put them in the ground too early when it was still really cold and then the dog slept on the bed for a couple of weeks before Mr Good got the cage around them. It just goes to show you can’t keep a good spud down!
My greens bed which has silverbeet, lettuce, pak choy and rocket in it has all started shooting but growth has been very slow. Once these take off a bit more I’ll plant out the gaps that are sure to be there.
The corn has started coming through in the last week or so. Again this was a crop I had written off. I planted about 20 seeds and I’ve only seen about 7 or 8 shoots so I hope a few more come through soon so the harvest is a little bigger. I’m thinking of popping a pumpkin seed in the middle if there is a big gap.
The cucumber is going well but is still really small. I also think he needs a mate and there’s room next to him so I’ll pop in another couple of seeds and see what happens. The radishes at the end of this bed were going really well – one of the few plantings that didn’t keep me in suspense – until the snails found them. I’ve still got a few but will replant between then soon. Along the back of this bed I’ve got a row of sunflowers which have taken an age to come up but now there are plenty of them.
The next bed over I planted out some tomato, capsicum and eggplant seeds straight into the ground and a few of those have come up. But they are so tiny it is still touch and go whether they survive. I’ve also put in a couple of new tomato seedlings (from Skud) mostly cherry tomato varieties.
At the end of this same bed is two zucchinis which are growing nicely and around the corner of the L is a pumpkin, tiny and just hanging on to life – his mate died. More seeds will need to go in there too. In the corner of the L we have an old tree stump which I have planted red runner beans around. These are coming along nicely and I’m hoping to grow them up around the stump. Time will tell if that will work or not.
The little strawberry bed is going really well – except for one plant at the eat end of the bed which is looking dried out and sad. I gave it a big water and some worm wee and will hope it perks up. This bed needs to be netted soon as there are flowers and fruit on most of the plants and I don’t feel like sharing these with the birds!
The final little bed in front of the shed has been replanted with tomato seedlings, after three of the first four died. It also had stringless green beans growing behind the tomatoes. I put in seeds of red runner beans where a few of the green beans dies. There’s also a few lettuces growing between the tomatoes.
In pots I have basil, more lettuce, parsley, mint, bay, blueberries, and hopefully coriander if it ever grows.
Given that this is a very new garden we’re not really harvesting anything yet besides some parsley, mint and spring onions. But I’m dreaming (literally) about sweet strawberries and cherry tomatoes, zucchinis, crunchy cucumbers and all the rest.
And the to do list is long, but foremost on that list is finishing the garden paths so we have better access to the beds without having to kneel in the mud. Also given that we will be away for the first two weeks of December I’m trying to prepare the garden for a lack of watering to come (and I’m praying for a couple of days rain while we’re gone). I’m going to fill the paddling pools with water and put the pots into them. The beds will get a big drink before we head off and will be mulched. And then I guess it’s just hope they all pull through.
When we get back it will be a mad rush to get things looking nice for Christmas as we’re having all of Mr Good’s family at our place. Also a whole lot of planting to fill the gaps and to ensuring we have something to harvest coming into the Autumn.
We’ve had a very busy week but for the most exciting of reasons, my sister’s wedding. We had people staying, people visiting, dinners out, lots of preparations – hair, make up, dresses, shoes (with VERY high heels), jewelry, flowers – the ceremony in a stunning garden on a very wet Saturday afternoon. Then photos, lots of photos, the reception, speeches to give, lots of dancing, late nights. And then an early Sunday morning (thanks girls!), visitors, visitors and more visitors. It’s been busy, but it was wonderful, she was beautiful and everything went smoothly. It was such a fun day!
Now I have a week to get through the mountain of washing (and only a few fine days to do it in), and getting prepared for a family driving holiday. I feel very much in need of a break so am looking forward to the time away. And as for blogging I’ve decided to start my holiday early on here, so other than one post coming up at the end of the week this will be it until mid-December.
Instead I’m going to spend time with the girls, getting organised and enjoying a quiet cuppa on my front veranda admiring my roses and the rest of my front garden.
Keep an eye on the facebook page though as I will add a few updates and photos.
Mr Good, Miss Four, Miss Two and I are about to embark on a much needed family holiday (well at the end of November). We’re driving all the way to Port Stephens in NSW, staying there for a week then heading back down to the South coast of NSW to stay another week in the family’s cabin near Eden. Further to that Mr Good has until the the end of the first week of January off work. Of course as a mandatory part of the planning process I have been contemplating my holiday reading list. I have an ambitious target – ten more books before the end of the year, which would take my yearly tally up to 30.
So after much contemplation here is my holiday reading list….
There are some pretty hefty tomes among this list and some pretty heavy topics, I perhaps should have considered a few short sharp reads, but nonetheless this is what I’ve settled on. I can only try.
Now it’s time to share what’s on your summer reading list. Have you got a pile sitting beside the bed itching to get opened and poured over? Or perhaps you’ve read something great recently that I can put on my list for next year?
L over at 500m squared in Sydney started a series of posts all about succession planting to motivate herself and others to keep planting each week and avoid gaps in the harvest later in the season. I thought this week I would join in, though some of mine is first time planting, rather than succession planting because I’ve been so disorganised this season.
So this week I’ve planted….
Coriander – once again I’m having a go at this one despite the fact I have NEVER had success. I put it in a pot which went into the greenhouse.
Leeks, leeks and more leeks – three varieties, but all randomly scattered in a seed tray thanks to the help of two little girls. I’ll never know what variety is what, but who cares. Again leeks are something I’ve not had success with before and my first planting this year didn’t come up at all. However, I love leeks and everyone else seems to be able to grow them so I’m determined.
More lettuce – mixed variety.
Beans – Red runner beans, between the green stringless beans already growing in the garden.
Flowers – Marigolds, phlox, assylium, and a few others. Some of these will go into the vegetable garden, but most will find their place out the front.
I’m feeling a little discouraged about my veggie patch at the moment as I haven’t had a great deal of success with anything. Three of the four of my tomato seedlings died (sorry Skud!), only a few sunflowers have come through, the greens and radishes were attacked by snails before I got anything down to get rid of them and the two pumpkins are really struggling since they went in the ground. However, I am enjoying developing my front garden and have had more success out there. So while I would normally focus of edible succession planting, this year flowering plants are also high on my agenda.
Next week I need to think about getting some corn seeds and try those for a third time this year. And of course I need to do something about the tomato situation as well.
So what’s been planted at your place this week? And don’t forget to pop of to 500m2.
And while you’re at it, why not check out my Facebook page.
I try not to give advice on parenting because everyone has their own style, thoughts and ways of doing things and every child is different. I have no idea what the inner workings of another family are, so unless asked I do my best to keep things to myself. That’s not to say that I never say things that might sound like advice, or tell others what it was like for me. Sometimes these things just pop out of my mouth before I can stop them and later I worry that I sounded like a know-it-all. I’ve been particularly aware of this since becoming an aunt, I really need to check myself sometimes.
Having said that I have two pieces of advice that I think all parents should hear and that I don’t think can cause offence. Instead I hope they will just save other parents lots of time and energy and reduce frustrations. I’ve learnt both these things from experience….. over and over again!
1) Never let weetbix dry on the highchair tray. That stuff sets like concrete and you’ll be scrubbing and scraping for ages trying to get it off. Miss Two hasn’t used her high chair since we moved and I can still see weetbix on the side of the tray that I must have missed. I am dreading cleaning that one up when I eventually get to it. I’m sure if there is ever a world shortage of concrete weekbix could be a viable alternative.
2. If you’re child has a particular security object that they absolutely need to get to sleep, make a rule that it stays in the cot or bed. Both my girls are attached to a teddy bear (the same type, but they have one each), but we didn’t do this and ‘teddy’ get dragged all over the house all day long. Now EVERY night Mr Good and I have to search the house for two bears that have suddenly disappeared and no one can remember where they were last seen. Those two bears have been found in some pretty strange places and Mr Good and I often find ourselves cursing and stomping around in quite rage looking for those damn bears so the children will finally GO TO SLEEP. Okay, that might sound over the top, but I assure you it is most frustrating. Keep those toys in the beds, I beg you, save yourself!
And just so you know that despite this nightly drama, they are pretty great kids and are pretty darn cute, here’s a couple of recent photos.
So what are you best bits of advice or tips for new parents, or old parents who need some help (like me)?
Today was the day that tens of thousands of people all over the country got out, got together and stood up for real action on climate change. I was one of them, Mr Good another and the girls of course came too (as did the dog). After all it’s for them that I worry about all of this for. A friend I’ve known since High School and who also lives in Ballarat joined us too.
What is the future going to look like for my girls? Sometimes I find this a scary thought, optimism for the future of our planet is low when we have a government looking at repealing legislation to prevent cataclysmic climate change… the ONLY country in the world to take such measures.
The crowd was a bit small I thought, but the speakers were inspiring, encouraging and passionate. There were some frightening things discussed like the dismantling of the emissions trading scheme (or carbon tax), the removal of funding for renewable energy, the support from government for the coal industry and the proposed tax on businesses and household who install solar systems (which is one of Abbott’s policies and is supposed to appease power companies for their loss of revenue, but will also make going solar even more difficult and expensive). But it wasn’t all doom and gloom, there were people who have made incredible steps toward zero net emissions, who have attended youth climate conferences and are taking grass roots actions and Councillors wanting to push for real action at the local level.
I makes me realise two things… 1) what I do at home is important but it will never be enough. Action needs to come from towns and communities, states, countries and the entire human population. That means it MUST come from our Federal Government as well if we are to make a real difference. 2) That I want to do more than sign online petitions, email politicians or rant on my blog. Not sure what that will be.
Did anyone else attend a rally near them? How did you find it? What actions have you taken on climate change? Has it climate change changed (pun intended) how you do things? And finally are you an optimist or pessimist on this issue… is it too late?
PS Check out The New Good Life Facebook page
PPS I just checked out this article in our local paper, ‘a huge crown’? Also made the mistake of reading the comments, how can people still seriously think climate change is caused by human actions? I should know better, but I couldn’t help but respond.
I have found buying meat becoming more and more of a dilemma. Without the regular trips to big farmers’ markets – which ironically seem to be more of a city thing than a country thing – and with prices increasing as our food budget decreases, buying meat that is affordable but also ethical and enrivonmentally sound has next to impossible. Lamb is usually my fall back meat, it’s all free-range and having grown up in sheep country I know that farmers look after their animals in a way that I would be more than happy to support. However, the prices have really sky-rocketed to a point where I rarely buy lamb these days.
So a while ago I started researching possible sources of meat (in this case lamb) that I could buy in bulk and get delivered to me door. Box ‘a Lamb ticked all my boxes. They deliver to Ballarat (as well as most Melbourne suburbs, visit a number of farmers’ markets and do a run through lots of central Victorian towns). They’re labs are happy and stress free with no nasties, just good food. I ordered a whole lamb pack and split it with another friend making a couple of alterations (like keeping the shoulder on the bone and swapping the sausages for mince. We each got a rack of lamb, which always seems out of my price range in the butcher, a big leg of lamb and a mini roast, a shoulder roast (one rolled, one on the bone), chump chops and loin chops, marinaded ribs and a shank. The meat looks fantastic and all came cryovac’ed so has good shelf life either in the fridge for a few weeks or in the freezer.
I’ve got big plans for my meat. I’m going to do Jamie Oliver’s Mothership Sunday Roast Lamb, then with the leftovers it’s a toss up between the lamb biryani, lamb noodle salad or the very interesting sweet and savoury Moroccan lamb pastille (all from the Save with Jamie book). The rack will be divided into cutlets and made into Jamie’s lamb lollypops with curry sauce and rice and peas (this is from the 15 minute meals book). The mince will be made into lamb and feta meatballs and koftas. The ribs will be BBQ’d with some other meat and a served with a cous cous salad. The loin chops will also find their way to the BBQ with a salad. The chump chops will go into the slow cooker for a curry (might wait for this one) and the shank will go into a soup (lamb and fennel perhaps). Lastly the little mini roast I think will try with a glaze on the rotisserie and the big leg will be a nice traditional Sunday roast with sides and a shepherd’s pie with the left overs. That’s AT LEAST 13 meals!
It didn’t take me too long to plan out all our meals with this gorgeous meat, looks like I’ll have to order another one so I can experiment some more. And while I have yet to taste test the product I can attest to the excellent customer service. Prompt, convenient and very responsive to what I wanted. I will be sure to share the recipes and photos of our meals as we have them.
Now what would you do with a Box ‘a Lamb. What are you’re favourite lamb recipes?
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I have long been a fan of the British TV series The Darling Buds of May with a very young Catherine Zeta Jones. I love the vibrancy of the characters, the obsession with food and the easy pace of life in the English country side. It seems idyllic, peaceful and full of fun and good humour…. if perhaps a little on the sexist side, it is set in post WWII England so I guess that’s how things were. I’ve always taken note of the “based on books by H.E. Bates” acknowledgement at the start and thought I must get around to reading these someday.
Well that someday was this week. I read two of them, the first of the series, The Darling Buds of May, and the third, A Breath of French Air. It doesn’t matter that one was missing in between them, they pretty much stand alone, though starting with the first would help establish the characters and background before moving on to the rest. The books a very short (about 120 pages) and can easily be read in a couple of days. But I must say, the show was better…. by a long way!
It was kind of like reading a script of the show (which was obviously very closely based on the books, especially the first one) with most of what’s said on screen being word for word the same as the book. And because I know them so well I could skim read a lot of these books and not lose anything. What was missing from the books was any sort of character development or scene description for the most part. Or if it was there it was scant and uninspiring. The show on the other hand is rich and full with perfect (or should I say perfeck) casting and vibrant settings. Without having this already in my head the books would have been as dull as ditchwater (or is it dishwater, I never know?).
I read a bit about H. E. Bates too. Apparently up until the late 1950s he wrote non-fiction war stories and then suddenly made the somewhat dramatic change to fiction with these light and breezy little stories. I think he should have stuck to writing about the war, except then the TV show would not have been made either and that really would be a shame. I’m so glad someone saw the potential in these stories for the makings of a great on screen series. So on that note, I would recommend getting yourself a copy of the show and not bothering with the books. Enjoy them on the couch on a cold and wet day (like we’re having here this week), but don’t blame me if you feel like a roast dinner or breakfast fry up afterwards!
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I think like most parents I’ve struggled with various behaviours or stages with both my children and I know for sure that I have many more struggles to come…. argh teenagers! However I have come across one challenge recently that I’m not at all sure how to deal with or overcome and that is how to teach your child to be a good loser.
Miss Four has only recently started playing games in competition with other players where one person wins and the other…. well loses. It’s not something I’ve purposely shielded her from, more that she’s really only know reaching an age where she understands the concepts and rules of such games. So far we have two that are played on a semi regular basis. One is Hungry Hungry Hippos and the other is a shopping list memory-type game.
Now because she usually plays with Miss Two or with an accommodating adult Miss Four has gotten used to always winning. So on the odd occasion when Miss Two manages a win or if the adult playing with her doesn’t naturally let her win and she actually loses there is a mega-meltdown tantrum to follow, complete with throwing of said game. I’ve tried talking to her about why it’s important to be a ‘good loser’, and that the fun is in playing the game not in the winning but has made little difference. Even when I said, rather harshly, that no one wants to play with people to aren’t good losers (obviously explaining that term first), she continues in her ways. Eventually I started putting her in time out, something I rarely do, when she behaves in this manner and now we just don’t play the games at all.
I’m not the type of mother who goes in for this everyone wins all the time theory or who thinks awards for doing what you should be doing anyway actually teaches kids anything worthwhile. I don’t believe everyone should have a turn of being student of the week or some such accolade. I think it should be merit based and awards should be rare and precious not everyday or even every week. And I want my children to learn that sometimes you lose and that’s okay, you play and have fun anyway.
So do you think I’m expecting too much of a four and a half year old, is this just typical age appropriate behaviour that I have to ride out. Or should I persevere with this lesson? And if so what tactic would you use?
Oh and don’t forget to drop over to the new Facebook page as well.