My wonderful, productive veg patch is suffering from neglect. I’m alright with that, in fact, I’m so comfortable that I’m putting it out for all to see. I have to laugh really – it has literally “gone to the cats.”
I’m cool with the fact I’m learning to be a parent first, and everything else comes second. I’d have been out there cleaning the place up for the last two days were it not for the fact that as soon as I finished taking some photos, a horrid cold winter drizzle set in, but if you look at it another way, the good soaking rain will make the chore of pulling out the weeds – roots and all – a piece of cake.
On my list is: clearing out the remains of the summer crops, weeding, raking the fallen leaves and adding them onto the compost, saving seed, pruning, tool maintenance, and turning over the vacant beds to sow green manure crops.
Amongst the neglect, some thing seem to be thriving – my broccoli heads are much larger than ever before, and the garlic I planted from bulbs saved from last years harvest have all come up after only two weeks in the ground and are looking very strong and healthy.
… And just as I finish writing this, the baby has gone down for a nap, the weather is lifting and sun is pouring in from the window. I’ll get started then.
Well, it’s been eleven days since Mel and I became new parents to our daughter Millie, and wow, how our lives have been turned on their head. Not that we’ve had any particularly bad experiences, but it’s a shock to the system, that’s for sure. Experienced parents may smile with sympathy at some of the below, but here are a few observations I’ve noted -
- My day (and night) is now broken up into 3 hour segments and time seems to pass remarkably quickly.
- I’ve never felt so constantly tired in my life, and sleep is achieved by snatching it whenever you can.
- Breastfeeding is a hard gig. Really hard. Respect.
- I’ve become dramatically more efficient and motivated at nearly every chore, now that I have a defined time-frame to achieve it.
- I wish I had have chopped more firewood, made more frozen meals, and pushed harder to wrap things up at work earlier.
- I’ve noticed a new perspective on life is developing, and the things that used to matter in my world have started to change.
But you know something? – I need to take only a glance at her and immediately any of my challenges are forgotten. Every day seems to be a little easier than the last, and as a team, Mel and I are just as strong as we’ve ever been before. I am so thankful that I’m not forced back to work next week, as is the reality for many, and I’m able to provide in-person support for my new family. My year of being a stay-at-home dad has begun, and I’m loving it.
Welcome to the world, Millie. You’ve brought so much joy to your parents and our families since we found out we’d be expecting your arrival. Prepare to be overwhelmed with love.
Just wanted to thank a locally based reader – Sally – who reached out to Mel and I, with an offer to claim a whole bunch of pre-loved baby gear that was no longer needed. This amazing gesture has saved us hundreds and hundreds of dollars and we are extremely grateful. Thank you.
We live in Canberra, and in Canberra, it gets cold. I wouldn’t say that the cool weather has really ‘set in’ yet – we’ve only had a few nights below zero so far – but perhaps a couple of times a week we’ve felt cold enough to agree to fire up the wood stove and bask in it’s blissful radiant heat.
I’ve not discovered any need for fire-lighters – seems to me this is another example of a problem that didn’t need solving. Just a few sheets of scrunched up newspaper is more than enough to get the kindling alight. From there, I add just two or three medium sized pieces on full burn for 10-15 mins until the stove top is hot and we’re ready to cook.
Nothing warms my stomach better on a cold morning than porridge. As a child it featured nearly every morning during the colder months, and there’s no better way to start the day, in my opinion. Oats, water, a splash of milk and a pinch of salt – simple and delicious.
I used to get a bit bored stirring porridge on the conventional gas stove-top, but it’s a real pleasure to do so on the wood stove, as my body becomes thoroughly warm after standing so close to the firebox. The chooks love finishing the few spoonfuls of leftovers from the pot too.
I’m just loving the colour in the backyard at the moment… Autumn is just a wonderful time of year in Canberra. The mornings are certainly fresh, but the days are just gorgeous, warming up to low-mid twenties and generally very sunny. Thankfully so, because it has allowed me to really put in a great effort for getting the rest of the baby furniture painted.
Looking out onto the chook run
The last few leaves clinging to the lilac bush
Check out the colour on the strawberries as the plants come to terms with the colder weather
On the productive front… I’ve been a bit neglectful. I really wanted to get a lot more winter veg out, but I’ve mostly missed the boat on that one. The broccoli that I managed to get in on time is flourishing though, and little heads have started to appear only this week. I really must get that garlic in this weekend.
It’s early, about 6:30am on Saturday and I’m at the Farmers Market where all the producers are frantically setting up for the day. We come here often to buy amazing fresh produce from local growers, but today I’m not here to buy, I’m here to sell.
I have a long-standing friendship with a local grower – Owen Pidgeon – from Loriendale Orchard. My first “proper” 9-5 job after leaving school was as a website administrator for a government department, and it was there, eleven years ago, where I struck up conversation with Owen about his organic orchard. I knew nothing about organic growing, or local food at the time, but now I realise, establishing real connections with food, and the people who grow it, is as about as important as it gets.
Today, being well into the harvest season, he’s reached out for some help to man the stall and I’m more than happy to assist.
I love telling people that everything is certified organic. I love telling people that all these apples were grown only 15 minutes drive up the road. I love the look of fascination on peoples faces when confronted by a dozen varieties of apples that they’d never heard of before. This is real food, and I’m ‘real proud’ to be selling it.
I think we’ve tried to get far too clever with our food. We desperately need to re-localise and change starts here, at this place. It was a good morning too – a record sales day – at the markets.