Showing posts from November, 2009

Soothing my grumpy soul with gardening...

After the thunder storm, the rain abated, just as Favourite Handyman was putting the children to bed. Oh beautiful window of opportunity...

I pulled out some of the huge seeding parsley and potted up tiny parsley seedlings from underneath the umbrella. When you pull out a large parsley plant, you can smell the relationship to carrot - there is a distinctive sweet, earthy smell very similar to carrots.

I planted dahlias (hopefully not too late). All of them are divided tubers from a huge one I dug out in winter. It had not been divided for many years.

I transplanted one tomato into a bigger pot and two chillis into medium pots. The tomatoes have flower buds now.

I pulled out more errant yams and fed some sorrel to the chooks.

I enjoyed my evening session in the garden more than words can express.

Inside, I have finished the knitting for the baby coat and now only have to sew it up (yes there is a little procrastination on the sewing up front). I am nearly finished knitting a doll's skirt…

Once upon a time

I had aspirations as a non-punitive mother. I longed to have a baby and once those periods finally stopped coming and I started vomiting, I spent many a long hour choosing pregnancy and parenting books in earnest London bookshops. It is not hugely surprising that this baby planning thing took place largely in my head, as the physical manifestations had me bent over a loo or a doubled plastic supermarket bag much of every morning and on lucky days in the afternoon as well. Head stuff was comparatively attractive.

Oh how I hated Gina Ford and her baby routines. I also despised the medicalised model of childbirth and enrolled myself in various classes at Janet Balaskas' Active Birth Centre in North London. That involved a fair few trains as we didn't live anywhere remotely as fashionable and potentially unmedicalised as north London. Most incredibly for me now, I even read books and articles about people who raise/d their children without saying 'no'.

Which turns out …

knitting, hand mirror

I am appreciating knitting more and more. Right now as I try and fit in a few rows as many times in the day as I can, hoping to make a lovely parcel up for Lyra as soon as possible, I'm noticing the power of knitting for reflective time.

In some ways knitting takes absolutely ages. In an age where I can pick up a ready made jersey or fleece from the charity shops the Warehouse or many other shops for a few dollars and five minutes of my time, the time involved in making a jersey is e-nor-mous. The number of hours involved in Lyra's wee jacket are the gift I want to give to my friend who is so far away, but they also seem faintly ridiculous at times. I am delighted that when I was cold and in need of practical gardening warmth not long ago, I walked into the Sallies and found what I wanted easily and for just a few bucks. I'm wearing one of the two fleecy finds right now.

In other ways knitting is undemanding and gives a sense of achievement when there are other things I…

Sunday food

On Saturday I only went into the kitchen for glasses of water. Favourite Handyman made eggs for breakfast, fed us sandwiches for lunch and bought fish and chips for dinner.

On Sunday Favourite Handyman made eggs for breakfast and did the dishes afterwards. My rest was now sufficient to contemplate a little cooking. I made pasta with bacon and tumeric and garden greens for lunch and kumara curry (also with bacon and spinach from the garden) for dinner. I made pesto using almost all of our coriander and basil. Coriander pesto is good for detoxing metals, or mercury at least, out of the body. It also tastes great. I didn't have enough of either herb to make a singular pesto.

I made the first part of a sourdough loaf and have it in the fridge for finishing tomorrow. I experimented with a slow rise focaccia and that has come out well. I made hummous because hummous is vital for a week not spent eating cheese.

I have discovered macadamia nuts. As part of my nutritional fight aga…

Sparkly skirts and local literature

I've been busy lately, and feel like I'm fitting in little bits of lots of things and only getting a small number right through to completion so far. I am getting some very long projects at work through to successful completion and I'm satisfied (and a bit exhausted) with that.

Last weekend Fionn went to a sixth birthday party and so I made a pink sequinned sparkly skirt for the effervescent Kate. Brighid wanted one too so I did an unlined one for her. They are both a bit wonky, but nevertheless look great - it's not about the sewing but about the swirly sparkly pinkness.

My treasured friend Marion in London has had a baby girl called Lyra. I still haven't finished the jacket for her but I am knitting as much as possible and loving the way facebook means I can see pictures of this newborn wonder from across the globe, only hours after she was born. I am up to the yoke on the jacket now, and then only have the hood to go. I came across a technique I didn't …

Immoral EPMU

Local mine workers, members of the EPMU, are out on strike in sympathy for their North Island comrades. Though maybe 'comrades' stopped being the appropriate word a long time ago. You or I may or may not sympathise with the actual union demands, but there is something much worse going on and it isn't making the media.

Recently I learnt, directly from an EPMU member, that members working for subcontractors to Solid Energy are on strike and thus losing pay, but as sub contractors, HAVE NOT BEEN GIVEN AN OPPORTUNITY TO VOTE ON THE STRIKE ACTION. In a nutshell, they are paying union fees to EPMU and getting no democratic voice. Totally immoral.


Unions like the EPMU may not like the modern world of subcontracting, but right now they are being the bully guys every bit as much as the capitalist bosses in my view.

Seems like in the past unions have often been slow to embrace female workers, workers of colour, gay and lesbian workers and now the new pariah is the…

Gaylene Preston working class hero

I am currently reading Her Life's Work: Conversations with five New Zealand Women by Deborah Shepherd. It is a totally wonderful book and I am loving every page of it. Thank you Grey District Library. This morning I read the section on Gaylene Preston, a woman who before I only knew a little bit about. I loved her film on Hone Tuwhare and her War Stories. I have lots more of her to see yet.

Anyway Gaylene comes from Greymouth. She is born in the same year as my mother and took a different path. She is in many ways like other women who strode out in that era whose lives inspired me as a young feminist. What I took as inspiration when I chose very willingly to stay home almost all the time with my kids is another matter. Back to Gaylene.

Hard to choose which bits to quote. You really should read the book. All of it. All of you. Here's one bit:

By 1947, when I'm born, this little country was beginning to fast track a
middle class, an educated middle class, and the s…

Livingstone daisies

I love them. Just bought and planted another punnet's worth. Those psychedelic pink ones are particularly appealing. The very cool picture is, of course, not mine, but one I found on a google search. I am making progress on my camera layby though.

Also planted out what I think are marigolds from the Italian stall in the Wood (Nelson). I mounded my maori potatoes and weeded out lots of unwanted yams. Also planted out more lettuce from the garden shop plus repotted some of my own lettuces which I grew from seed. They are not quite ready for the big wide world of the open garden where the blackbirds and slugs love to feast, so they can get a little bigger in bigger pots first. I repotted six sungold tomatoes and planted out another cucurbit. Is that the correct generic name? I sowed zucchini, squash and pumpkin seeds in the same tray and now they are indistinguishable. I would like to be able to know the zucchinis from the pumpkins and next year I will do a little more careful label…