Sunday, November 27, 2011

Mini vegetable greenhouses

A while ago I started experimenting with growing vegetables from seed. Last winter, fairly unsuccessfully, I attempted broad beans and this winter, with far greater success, runner beans and snow peas. I put the difference down to the miniature "greenhouses" I used on the snow peas and runner beans, which help to retain moisture and keep slugs and snails out until the seedlings are big enough to stand a fighting chance. They are just empty 1.25L soda water bottles with the labels removed and cut in half, but they made a remarkable difference with the snow peas and runner beans.

I'm now attempting to replicate the success with tomato seeds. I ordered three varieties from the "Green Harvest" website:


Our vegetable bed is in hiatus at the moment as I am hoping we will get organised enough this summer to extend the limestone blocks and therefore have the ability to properly improve the soil. So the yellow and red cherry tomatoes seeds have gone into big pots and the romas will follow as soon as I acquire another pot that is large enough.

Tomato and herb corner,
complete with guardian greenhouses and ceramic angel

Tomato greenhouses up close, complete with grubby feet!
Have a pleasant Sunday evening, wherever you are.

Monday, November 21, 2011

The post holiday comedown

It's in full force at our place today. The house is a mess: toys, multiple loads of dirty washing, half unpacked shopping. Little E probably wonders where her in-house entertainment team has gone: she had five days worth of Mumma, Dadda, Granny, Grandad and Aunty Katherine all dancing to her tune and she's now stuck with boring Mumma who started the day by wrestling her around the supermarket and is now attempting to tidy one part of the house whilst E  alternates taking apart another with demanding food.

And E has learnt how to maneouvre the lever door handles that are on all our internal doors and so now takes great delight in letting herself into any room she pleases, including the ones that are stuffed full of things we would prefer she didn't touch ... sewing machine and supplies, CD towers plus 500-odd CDs, a desk covered in papers waiting for the magical 'someday' that I can be bothered filing them ... This is particularly annoying me today because I spent the last week attempting to change the door handles to round, hopefully less easy to open ones, not being able to figure out how to do it, and requesting each evening that D help me ... of course it didn't get done. E's other recent accomplishment is that she has got tall enough to reach the bench top, the last bastion of all things not belonging to her. I discovered this upon coming in from the clothesline to be greated by the kettle and an enoormous puddle of (thank God, cold) water on the kitchen floor.

She also seems to think she no longer needs nappies (or clothes for that matter). I do not think I am psychologically equipped for toilet training. Let's face it, after a few days away from the real world I do not think I am psychologically or in any way equipped for being a full-time parent at all.

Incidentally, the holiday was lovely and I will write about it at some point when my little angel is asleep.

Image from out.jpg

Friday, November 11, 2011

Toddler creamy salmon pasta

Little E pleases me very much by being willing to eat fish. If we have fish and chips she won't touch the chips but will get through quite a bit of fish, either grilled or fried with the batter removed. 

I bought salmon for dinner for D and I, and had planned on giving E what is a staple for her: small pasta shells, a few cubes of cheese sauce from the freezer, frozen peas. Then I decided that it would go well with salmon, and chopped the skinny end off the piece (which would have been annoying anyway as it would have cooked much faster than the rest of the piece) fried it in a little bit of butter, flaked it and, voila! Creamy salmon pasta. Put together in less time than it took for Little E to watch her daily ration of Playschool. I contemplated taking a picture, then decided that the creamy mess in the red plastic Ikea bowl with the googly eyes didn't quite justify it. But E gobbled two bowls of it, then a bowl of strawberry yoghurt for dessert, and I felt like a virtuous Mumma.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Here's to holidays

Through either good luck or silly planning, after not having had a proper holiday in about a year, we have wound up with two down-south holidays scheduled in the space of six weeks. The first was with friends in the CHOGM week, to take advantage of the public holiday and the fact that the courts all closed for the week, so it was a good time for D and lawyer friend S to be away. The second is next week, for a friend's wedding.

Round One was declared a success. We stayed at the beautiful Bunker Bay resort just outside Dunsborough. It is a series of villas that are surrounded by bush and designed to blend with the natural environment. It is also close enough to the beach that you walk through the resort, and through a short bush track, and emerge on sand.

It's not the sort of place we'd ever have stayed pre-E, but with two toddlers it was perfect. Buffet breakfast at the hotel restaurant was included four mornings out of the five, and we all made complete pigs of ourselves. E happily demolished a plate of "eggy," "ham" (bacon), fruit and pancakes each morning. Unlike the rest of us, she usually managed lunch each day too!

The main room of our villa.
There were also two bedrooms and two bathrooms.

E had a fantastic time swimming in the hotel pool with her Dadda. She appears to have forgotten the beach since last summer and was quite scared of the waves, but she loved the pool. The weather was cool enough that I was more a fan of the deck chairs and the view, but D was very devoted and went in with her each time she demanded it.

See what I mean about the view?

And the weather - check out those grey clouds!
Although travelling with E and with another toddler had its challenging moments, on the whole it worked out really well. Each grown-up couple managed a lunch out, plus a dinner at the hotel restaurant. We did two group trips to Simmos ice-creamery where E enjoyed smearing her first ice cream in a cone all over her face, a trip to a local animal farm and a 3km walk from Cape Naturaliste lighthouse to a scenic lookout. Amazingly, E consented to stay in her pram for almost the whole thing and Little Friend T did pretty well in an ergo carrier on his Dad's back.

The reward at the end of the walk
E and I very much enjoyed having five days solid with D. E's language continued to increase in leaps and bounds: memorable additions to her vocabulary included an amazed "Mama! Biiiiiig duck!" when she saw the resident emu at Simmo's, and "go in pool! go in pool!" every time we walked past it.

The only good thing about the holiday being over is that the next one is now only a week away!

More photos on the private blog for those who are interested.

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