Monday, 19 November 2018

Life and garden notes

It feels like the year has only just started, and yet, here we are past the halfway point of November. It's nearly Summer, and in a few weeks my daughter will have finished her first year at school. Where does the time go?!

On the days where I do not work, and it is just my youngest and I alone together, there is still a tangible empty space beside him that is quiet and missing a small person in it. He looks to me to fill the gap, to play with him, to lie with him, to be his childish companion and explore on the same level. Sometimes I can do that. Sometimes I am just so exhausted with the minutiae of life that it's all I can do to make sure he eats something nutritious for lunch and does something stimulating that doesn't involve lying in front of the television for long stretches.

Our days are bookended with school drop off and pickup. The mornings are a whirling dervish of packing lunches, checking that books, folders, hats, and everything necessary for the school day is packed into that overly large bag of hers. Afternoons are spent with a cranky child, tired from a long day of concentrating, yet bursting with so many new things to share with her brother and I.

School day evening meals are quick, where I have done the preparation in advance or meals so familiar I can cook them in my sleep so that I can have dinner on the table early, so she is fed, bathed and in bed with plenty of time to stock up on sleep for the next school day.

Days where I work are even more frantic as we leave earlier; I have the small man to drop at daycare, and we do before and after school care. She quite likes those days as she gets a second breakfast before school, and they feed her "better treats for after school snacks than you do mama". Cough.

This is my new normal. It is frantic, and new and sometimes so shiny that I'm afraid to grasp it with conviction in case it pops the fragile bubble that's working for us right now. The end of the school year is so close I can almost touch it, and is there anything full of more sass and exhaustion that a child near the end of term four? Maybe her mother...

I know in a few weeks we will have another new normal with school holidays starting, and the activity of the festive season. And then, the cycle, in all it busy-ness will start again, but this time it will (hopefully!) be easier and more familiar. In the meantime, I take solace in the garden - it's predictable, slower moving and not so much blink and you'll miss it. Here is my hedge flowering, and the beginning of an agapanthus flower in the background.
My geraniums just do their thing and continue to bloom and spread out happily. They're quite glorious to come home to and admire as I walk up the garden path.
My monstera grows new leaves in a delightful manner: a new stem grows along an existing one, then splits out separately and the leaf gradually uncurls from its tightly rolled light green shape, to form a darker green, more easily recognisable pattern. Now if only my children would allow them to unfurl in peace instead of trying to make it happen faster and ripping the poor fragile things (excuse my very dusty blinds!).
Speaking of gardening, I've talked before about the (free!) Science of Gardening university unit I did awhile back. I did a follow up unit as well which I immensely enjoyed, and I've since learned that the University of Tasmania is again offering the (online) unit starting again in December. You can learn more about it here. Applications close on the 1st December and the course starts on 3rd December.

Since it's online, you can work at your own pace. I don't get anything from mentioning this, but I will say I really enjoyed the two units I studied and had my brain stretching in ways that it hadn't had to in some time! It saw me investigating the role of climate and soil in shaping which plants grow in different regions. I mapped my garden on drafting paper to scale, taking into account soil type analysis and acidity, land slope, sun angles and block positioning, as well as localised predators (e.g. possums), pathogens and friendly garden critters. There is so much that I just never considered when planting my garden out - how it has ever survived my wilful neglect is a wonder! I'd love to hear about it if you do sign up.

Is it just me, or does life seem to be travelling in the fast lane at the moment?

3 comments:

  1. everyone seems so tired at the end of year but especially the little kids of the school - we have had such a dry winter and I hope that summer will not be horribly hot for the gardens - hope it is a bit wetter up your way. BTW I have been thinking about making kombucha - I know I should email but this is quicker and I am on my one day I don't work - do you know of good resources to help find my way - I know you make kombucha but haven't written than much about it!

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    1. I'm a big believer in gardening by neglect. If it can thrive when I can't lavish it with attention, I'm all for planting it! We've been getting a bit of rain but still very hot and dry up here (doesn't help with the tiredness!)

      As for the kombucha, well I started with a fermenting workshop run by my local health food store, where they included a bottle of Buchi kombucha in the welcome pack and I grew my scoby from that bottle. I'm not sure about exact references since we got a printed pack, but it's pretty standard so I imagine google couldn't really steer you wrong. I should write about my experiences as well though now you mention it (adds it to the mental to do list...) :)

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