In the Garden #1

Here we are beginning a garden again at the beginning of ‘the growing season’ (generally assumed to be Spring into Summer/Autumn, though in Australia it is only the very attentive gardener who is lucky enough to have plants survive through our Summers!)

And when I say ‘we’ so generously I actually mean Henry and his helpful slaves children (they actually love it!)

gardening (1 of 3) gardening (2 of 3)

Henry’s strength, or should I say ONE of Henry’s MANY strengths is his focus on p.r.e.p.a.r.a.t.i.o.n. and so he spent the money on (composted) manure, seed raising mix and some kind of dirt brick which swelled up into several times its volume and filled a kid sized swimming pool. If preparation is his strength, gadgets are his weakness. He likes to have ‘the right tool for the job’ and so he also found these little hard little pellets (about the size of a tea light candle) which, when watered, swelled up and tripled in height, the now loose dirt is contained in a gauze like sock. The idea is to place one seed into each pellet and once sprouted simply pop the little capsule into the dirt and the roots will break out of the gauze skin as they grow outwards.

Part of Henry’s extensive preparation has been to dig manure into any available plots of dirt and dig down down down to give the plants all important drainage and room for growing roots.

We also, together, discussed appropriate places for our veges to grow (important for me to be involved in as I can defend the need for flowering shrubs and existing ‘useless’ plants to remain where they are and not be chopped down or dug up!) and planned the grouping of various veges.

Seed packets Companion Plantinggardening (3 of 3) So we have established our groupings:

Corn, beans, cucumbers with nasturtium and marigold bordering.

Sunflowers, peas, cucumbers and dwarf tomatoes (Beans do not like sunflowers we are told)

Carrots and radishes in rows of their own on the North end of the patch of corn so as to receive our Southern Hemisphere sunlight.

Tomatoes along a fence.

Beans along another fence

Zucchini in mini-plots (basically their own little patches of turned and composted soil in an unused corner of the yard)

Herbs scattered amongst all and in their own pots too.

My strawberry plants, which I have dutifully transported to several dwellings are currently homeless – I think I will just have to squeeze them in after Henry is done.

As we are renting we are also planning on buying a few big pots to grow more veges in our front yard which is North facing and so prime vege position!



The thing about stuff

So, recently I’ve been on a mission to declutter, clear out, recycle, reuse, produce little waste etc. etc. One day when I was ranting on about this stuff to some new friends one kind soul piped up and said, “my view is that it costs you money to buy it and it costs you nothing to keep it.” This was in the middle of my throwing out everything stage (though, in reality, everything is not everything).

She’s had me thinking though and recently these thoughts have taken some kind of communicable form.

One thing which I have been wondering about has been the ‘why’ of why stuff can tug at our emotions and heart the way it sometimes does.

Some things I now regret tossing. So what’s with that???

There’s that pram I bought in New Zealand, those three mats which I thought weren’t my style any longer (turns out they still are and when we were in a house and needed a bath mat or two I had to go and buy another), that blackboard which was such a find at a monastery fete, which I passed on to a friend and since have a small longing for it which I continually squash, even some of my solid furniture (bookshelves and the like) which I also passed on and could actually use now and have had trouble replacing….even that desk which I loved and never bought and think ‘damn’ if only

What’s with stuff??

And it’s this (I think). We invite stuff into our life and when we do we take responsibility for it. From that point onwards it is our responsibility where that stuff ends up. Landfill, second-hand stalls, even when given to friends there is still that biting responsibility: is that stuff being used to the best of it’s ability? Is it being wasted? Will it go to landfill after several uses simply because the second or third person along the chain can not care for or repair it?

It is strange that even when friends hand stuff over to me there is still that element of: “oh, that is *Jenny’s* chair” even after a number of years. Sometimes I do not emotionally let go of stuff too and I think it’s tied up with this idea of responsibility. It’s a bit like children or puppies.

So I think this kind of approach toward stuff can fill us (or me, at least) with a new kind of trepidation when making something or buying something or taking something into my own life. When I stick my hand up to become an owner I am accepting responsibility for that object’s existence, it’s end, it’s care. Even if I casually pass something on to the second hand store that is not its end (I have heard that much of our second hand clothing ends up in poorer countries where traditional methods of clothing production are suffering because of an inundation of our (tacky, polyester) clothing rejects so…I mean, I don’t want to contribute to that!!). We can use the second-hand dealer as a bit of a cop-out to dealing with our stuff I think.

As the potential owner of stuff I have the responsibility to ensure that my stuff is well made, ethically made, high quality, cared for and when my use for it is over my responsibility is to ensure it’s end is a good one or at least pass it on carefully and conscientiously.

So, this is my thinking currently. Does anyone else have any ideas about this?

The Windhorsts

Julie got off the plane looking a million dollars. After a few weeks on the Gold Coast they returned to Canberra and I grabbed them for a family photoshoot in one of Canberra’s many parks (Canberra is a photographer’s paradise for locations, lucky city!). I’m glad they were so game to get into it. We found some beautiful spots for the children to play where I could photograph them naturally and discovered on old bridge to climb on.

Finding spots like this is a great bonus of having a photoshoot in an unexplored park.

This is a good blog

A new favourite blog of mine, recently discovered and I never regret reading it, is the irrepressible Artist as Family. As far as I can gather they are bike riding around Australia and include a two year old and a Jack Russell (I think?). I mean. How awesome is that!!!

They seem to find a lot of free and often native food along the way (through trees on public land etc.) and photograph and record these.

I love what they are doing, their observations are well worth reading.

Find them here.


The Burley Griffin

The Burley Griffin are one of Canberra’s fine bands. Their latest project is a new EP, their first as a fully formed band. I’ve had the inside angle to a lot of the pre-production, which has been such a privilege.

Seeing as you can’t hear it yet, just feast your eyes on these studio portraits for now. It was good to have my buddy, Keren alongside me as fellow groupie.