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We ate this cauliflower “pasta” with peas and ricotta last night. It was excellent, and not only because all I had to do was email the recipe to the Bloke, go to work, come home, sit down, eat. I ate the leftovers cold for morning tea, it was still good. I’m going to go out on a limb and say best thing ever to do with cauliflower.

Did I ever mention we bought and have been using bamboo toothbrushes? Well they’re good too. Buy them online in a box, and then forget about buying any more toothbrushes for months. If there is more than one person in your house you will need to invest in a quality texta though, because they don’t come in different colours.

We’ve eaten the first few peas of the season, the broad beans are twice as big as we’ve ever grown them (it turns out they like rain! Who knew?) and the parsley and coriander are going to seed. There are self-sown tomatoes popping up, the garlic is nearly ready to harvest and I’ve bought replacement Vietnamese mint.

We’ve even eaten a few dinners outside this week.

Snow in Trentham, early October

Of course, a fortnight ago it snowed just down the road, so we’re not quite out of the frosty woods.


It’s been a cold winter. I’ve been working during the week, it’s been dark when I leave home and almost dark when I get back, we’ve had lots of family events that keep us away from home on weekends, and one way and another I’ve seen very little of the garden. This weekend we stayed home, we did a bit of pruning and weeding, surveyed the frost damaged plants and acknowledged that a few probably wont re-sprout this Spring. The camellia I thought had died during the heatwave of 2009 has rewarded patience though – two thirds of it was dead, dead, dead but the other third started flowering last week. I’ve cut out all the dead stuff, I’ve pulled out armfulls of weeds, and I’ve tried to focus on the stuff that is growing well and not a weed. It’s less overwhelming that way.

Broad bean Aquadulce in flower

Raspberry with new shoots

Surrealist curly wurly garlic

So are the snow peas.

What the snow peas and the broad beans have in common is that they have finished all by themselves.

If only I could say the same for my essays.

Flowering is a lovely thing. Flowering leads to all kinds of ideas that Spring Has Sprung, and that fruit will follow.

Except sometimes the fruit doesn’t follow, which leads to gardeners standing outside begging the flowers to turn into beans in a most undignified fashion.

I’m not entirely sure where we’ll be living in late spring or summer. Actually, I’m not even a little bit sure, there are a few vague possibilities in the works. I am sure that we wont be living here for years and years to come, but I don’t know exactly when we’ll be moving. Let alone where. I don’t just mean “which house we’d move to” either, I mean “I can’t narrow it down to less than a 200km radius of our current address”. Which, I think you’ll agree, makes gardening a little tricky.

I do have my Diggers seed catalogue and I have been reading and annotating, but I have been unable to reach any decent conclusions because the various places I might live are in different climatic zones. So I’m dealing with occasional snow and lots of frost in one possible location in winter, and regular high 30s and low 40s type temperatures in summer in another location. I have a stash of seeds in the drawer which I should be starting now-ish. If only I had a seed raising mini-greenhouse type arrangement to do it in. I need to start seeds in seedling trays because the ground is full of broad beans that have barely begun to flower and I would very much like to enjoy the fruits of my broad bean labours. Moving house is probably a couple of months off at least, and I am a bit torn between not wanting to leave the garden and all the work we’ve put into it, and very much looking forward to a new, bigger, sunnier garden not over shadowed by a five storey building (which will be demolished in a few months and I don’t really want to be around for that either). I am also torn between getting seedlings started in trays all ready for our new hypothetical garden, and not wanting to move house with dozens of trays of seedlings because frankly we have more than enough stuff without adding delicate plant life into the mix. I am only considering new homes within my current state, so I don’t have to worry about crossing borders with the plant life and creating legal issues.

I know what you’re thinking, “what the hell is she getting all whiney on the internet for?”, and the answer dear reader is: please offer me a job, then I will know where I have to live.

The rest I can deal with myself.

If you’ve got a dark corner, or a spot in full sun, and you’re looking for something you can stick in the ground and neglect, pineapple sage is the plant you’re after. This one has doubled in the month since this photo was taken, it’s produced tiny red trumpety flowers, it smells nice, and it’s providing some competition for the weeds.

The last surviving snow pea. Something ate the others. It took some bites out of this one too, but I know this one, it’s a fighter.

More broad beans. Actually, the same broad bean 20 seconds apart. Broad beans everywhere will now start talking Before Toddler and After Toddler. They’ll be talking about that one day when everything changed forever. They’ll sit around having a few beers in years to come and remember what they were doing when they heard about the Toddler.

Hopefully they’ll remember the Gardener who bravely shooed the Toddler away, and propped the broad beans back up.

Commander David Simmons said police had been asking health authorities for three years to appoint a qualified sexual assault nurse to Walgett District Hospital. “Taking a victim to Dubbo can involve a 10- or 12-hour turnaround and that is totally unacceptable for victims of serious crime,” he said.

Meanwhile, an exhibition can’t open because a few people (none of whom, as far as I can tell, are related to the artist’s past or present models) don’t like topless photography. Yes the issue is very complicated, but it pales in comparison to all the indigenous women and children in Walgett who have been seriously assaulted and then have to keep living in the same community as their attacker. I don’t like arguments that begin with “we can’t even talk about the ethics of that because we should all focus on this bigger thing”, but in this case it is (partly) a matter of NSW Police resourcing. It is also about media attention, and the way politicians answer questions, and a lot of knee-jerking.

I had promised myself not to write about art here, because I do enough of that elsewhere, so to get back to gardening:

Teenage broad beans. Growing, developing, getting ready to flower. Occasionally trampled by a passing toddler.

I’d be providing you with gorgeous photos of my little one playing on the floor this morning with my Mum (his Nanna). Or footage of him enthusiastically scarfing a bowl of his Grandma’s lasagne this evening on what would have been his great grandmother’s 100th birthday.

I would also show you photos of him eating cake and drawing at Shula’s house, and the broad beans that have finally sprouted in the backyard, and the snow peas that are making progress towards the climbing frame. But I am not a very good blogger, so I forgot the camera. It could have been worse.

I might have forgotten the nappies.

Tuesday-itis is what happens when you look at your Monday list and only cross off one thing.

I planted the broad beans. The rest of it will have to wait a bit longer. Does anyone have any tips for getting more hours in the day on the cheap?

We went away on the weekend, the lad played and played and played and saw animals and was entertained by his cousins while we were in the Yarra Valley for a vineyard wedding. The wedding was late afternoon, the sun was getting low and pink behind the grape vines, there was food and wine and lovely company, all followed by a sleep in and kid-free breakfast. We collected the kid, had a good lunch and visited a relative who plied us with more good wine and cheese before I put the roast on for us and another friend.

But then we had to come home. Back to work and study and childcare. None of us were really excited about it. Blergh.

So when feeling rather uninspired (maybe it’s the effect of the drizzly grey sky) I think it’s good to make a list:

* Sort out the worm farm – take everything out, wash the sludge from the bottom layer, put a new layer of newspaper bedding and stick the worms back in with food and the covering layer of newspaper to keep them warm.

* Plant the rest of the broccoli seedlings

* Plant a few more of the snow peas

* Plant some broad beans in the spot where we had the tomatoes over summer

* Mix up a new compost pile with the food scraps that have been Bokashi-ed the remains of the tomato vines and old mulch

* Buy new straw to keep the ground warm

* Get the balcony hanging things for the window box type pot, so it will hang from the railing by the back steps. We’re looking around to find more and more places we can plant, preferably spots that have some sun and are easy to water (emptying the teapot, washing the veggies and so forth, which I tend to do after dark and it’s best if I can stay as close as possible to the house)

After two weekends taken up with weddings, I think we’re overdue for a few days at home, and it looks like we’ll have plenty to do.

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