Back in town.

After a few confronting weeks in India and some time to ponder the obvious troubles over there, we are back and attacking the reno with gusto. If only the tradespeople we book would do the same! We locked in to have our hydronic heating system installed before going to India and pressed the need to have a fixed date arranged. With the weather about to change we didn’t want to be left out in the cold and anticipated installation would be as soon as we returned. Turns out we are left in the cold and things are starting get that slightly damp feel to them, we are getting the “we’ll definitely be there next week” story. That’s now been four weeks and I am getting quite peeved. I just wish people would at least ring to say they won’t be there as stated. Luckily we have a nice cosy little open fire to sit in front of on these increasingly chilly nights , not too pleasant when we leave that particular room though!

Cosy Open Fire

Feel like we have done nothing until you think……………………….

Hmmm, let me do a run down of what we have and haven’t achieved so far this year. It has been slowed down by moving, weather too hot, out for a month house-sitting for our daughter, overseas trip followed by two weeks camping. The have achieved are: good supply of tomato passata and tomato sauce in the pantry, new Sproutwell Greenhouse is up (one of those processes when divorce seems good, similar to selecting paint colours!) and nearly fitted out, possibly have found a builder who is going to be good to work with, our neighbour demolished their brick garage so we are now the proud owners of approx 1000 reds which will be used for paving and garden decos. We have come up with a final design for the garden and extension which has been no mean feat. I have ordered our chicken mansion, shed/garage under way with permits and planning lodged could start anytime. Holland roller blinds ordered for every room, front door measured for leadlight design and quotes being sought. Helped our son and his girlfriend with purchase of a house and subsequently moving out (YAY!). Have some beautiful carpets we bought in India on the floor in several rooms. The mantel clock that was a wedding present of my mother in law’s has been put in for restoration. Booked plumber to install heating. We have bought 20 Camellia sasanqua ‘Asakura’ thanks to our friend Mark from ‘Plants R Us’. Many, many years ago we ran a garden design business at Gardenworld in Springvale and Mark was one of the nursery staff who helped us tremendously. These camellia will be planted to form a strong, base structure of planting around the back yard as well as possibly forming an espaliered area outside the master bedroom and bathroom. We also learned how to appreciate and respect this wonderful country we live in.

Greenhouse up and running, beautiful camellia (original) flowering. It is just beautiful!
Camellias side garden
Some structure starting to take shape!
Camellia Planting
More framework.
Strawberry flowers
Strawberries in greenhouse looking very happy.

New kitchen goodies!

Now that the weather has turned to being a bit too cool to be using the BBQ I invested in a new gas range.  A whole $13.80 at Bunnings for a Butane gas camping cooker and I’m off and away! So nice to have somewhere to boil a pot, use a wok or throw on the frying pan.

New gas range.
Looking forward to firing up the combustion stove!

Did a great job of cooking up some Singapore Noodles for dinner tonight!

Singapore Noodles

Day of reflection.

With the high level of energy I have been expending trying to keep 2 houses that are on the market in control, renovating to make the new old house reasonable enough to move into when we do finally sell our home and getting the vegetable garden basics in place ready for this years planting, I felt a little turmoil rolling around in my head.  Today I have done absolutely nothing apart from wander around the garden at our existing home reflecting on how much we have done here over the years both in the garden, in the house and in raising our three delightful now adult children. When we moved into this home 23 years ago it was a big empty square with a lovely acer negundo planted slap bang in the middle of the yard, an old wood shed and lots of ivy and blackberries. Over the years we have gone through 2 dogs, about 20 chooks  (the last died a couple of months ago aged 17!) many lovely meals from the garden, happy times with friends and family and many water pistol fights. Here is a little of springs offerings.



Fence in a bucket!

I am keen to establish a hedge of sasanqua camellias along the laneway fenceline. Unfortunately sasanquas are very slow to establish and it is proving difficult to source the variety I like in anything bigger than tube stock. I had the idea that good old Abelia is an old-fashioned plant that takes easily from cuttings (I hope) and can be easily removed once the camellias are at a height suitable to make an impact. I am endeavouring to establish a stack of  cuttings that I can plant as the temporary fill in and remove at a later time.

I took a few sections off an existing plant. Please excuse the quality of this photo, forgot to put memory card back into camera so had to use my phone.

I then cut a suitable section from the best pieces, dipped the end in hormone powder and planted into a cut off bucket.

I then covered the pot with a plastic bag and placed into my make shift heat bed. This is an old frying pan, filled with sand and I keep the sand moist. Thermostat doesn’t even need get to WARM and its at a suitable temperature. This must cost next to nothing to run, is extremely reliable and a lot cheaper than the specially designed heat pads (of which I do have as well and it is great!)

Now sit back and hope that in  few weeks I will have successfully created another 70 or so plants.

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