moments of gentleness

The wood pile. Not currently a work of art as it is the remainder of this winter's wood and many pieces have been removed (and reluctantly returned) to make obstacle courses for biking around (over, through). The pea straw will go on the garden soon. On the ground to the left are the flax flower stalks and on top of the wood pile are cabbage tree leaves. I keep bringing these back from our beach walks for kindling for next winter.

Preparation for winter fuel is a serious topic of conversation in Wetville. This leftover wood represents a milestone for us on our goal to be an entire year ahead with our wood. One colleague proudly tells me he has pine which he has aged in his garage for seven years. Burns very nicely, as you'd imagine. Raffles (central to much that moves in our community) which offer a trailer of wood or coal are always popular. We tried out a few different suppliers in our first few years. One guy gave us some venison with the second delivery of wood. His freezer was overflowing with it apparently. The next fellow also sold us some punga logs, and punga trees. The logs are now the walls of the punga raised bed (see the artichokes photo below) and the trees were planted the day Brighid was born. As FH was pressing the soil in on the last tree, I got a contraction which was too big to manage without a servant, and Brighid was born on the lounge floor a few hours later.

The next guy was called Ray and I loved him. He delivered his very last truck load of wood to me before handing the keys over to a new owner a few years ago. Ray's successors are particularly fabulous people, who also run the Tui Festival in their spare time. 'Tui' like somewhere beautiful, not the alcohol brand. Steven told me the other day when I called in (yes indeed I am planning next year's wood already - do you think I should be cleaning the toilet or some other annoying real time job?) that they are planning a new product. He showed me a brick (though much lighter than a brick) made of coal finings, lime and sawdust which is very low in emissions but burns with the heat of good firewood. The ash can be put on the garden as potash fertiliser. Hopefully we are going to be triallers for the new product in autumn.
Calendulas and potatoes. Agria.
Oh how I have waited for you, purple sprouting broccoli. All winter and the spring, and now you finally offer up a small head for my pleasure. I have grown decent broccoli before, but not consistently.
How sumptuous is this? I keep forgetting what it is called, but it has gorgeous scent.
Nasturtiums and jerusalem artichokes.
Red poppies and celery. Weeds on the fringes. When I see these poppies, I wish I had planted them in every possible space in the garden. Actually, if it weren't for the small matter of the short people wanting to ride bikes and play cricket, I would want them all over the lawn as well.
Sunflowers, pumpkins, kale and tomatoes on my new potting table. They should be in already but time is in short supply at the messiest home in Wetville.
This is my dog rose against my red fence (FH painted the fence for me on Christmas Day. What better sign of true, patient, love?). I think I will move the roses elsewhere in winter and leave this garden for the vibrant oranges and yellows of the sunflowers, the dahlias, the red hot pokers and the tropicanna lillies. I wonder if anyone could ID the white flowered weed below the rose please? To the right is tansy, which is fulfilling the prophecy in the herb book of being vigorous.
The artichokes are growing well, but no sign of flower heads yet.
Twirly skirt progress. This is for the seven year old outlaw niece and will be finished when I sew up the elastic band.
Fionn got an invite to K's seventh birthday yesterday. She loved the pink sequinned skirt I made her last year and I thought a red gingham twirly skirt might go down well for birthday #7. It looks a little ridiculous on Brighid as she is only three, but you get the idea.

Trademe bargain today: Kendrick Smithyman's Imperial Vistas Family Fictions for $5. Our local library has a very poor selection of poetry from anywhere (though their New Zealand novel collection is pretty reasonable for a small town library) and I am keen to follow Maps' and Mad Bush Farm's suggestions for reading round the Kaipara Harbour (in the comments section of the post).

(remember remember we are heading north soon? You'd think I'm going for the life the way I go on, but it is a 16 day trip we've been anticipating for literally years)

If all this gives the impression that life in the messiest home in Wetville is a gentle stroll, peppered mostly with roses and poetry, indeed I have enjoyed that illusion as I've put together this post. It is a lovely antidote to the pressing deadlines at work which are driving me nuts, to the solo parenting in the evenings so that FH can meet his pressing deadlines, the extra childcare so we can be at compulsory work functions and extra meetings and fitting in the work for the aforementioned deadlines. I remind myself daily that we are lucky to have jobs we enjoy for the most part and enviable job security. Off to do dishes (no FH = no dishwasher loader and cleaner of the kitchen) and then the work I brought home...


Mad Bush Farm said…
Sandra you can view Jan Mander's book
The Story of a New Zealand River
on line at the NZETC. I have seen it available on occasion in print
Here's the link for the NZETC

Also be mindful that Seven Lives on Salt River has some errors of history in it. Dick Scott is a great writer. I found the book a brilliant read regardless. It got my curiosity going as to the background of some of the characters he wrote about. So I went digging and found some of the stories were a bit different to what Dick had put in his book. If you're over our way drop me a line I'd welcome you guys for a coffee
Take care

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