#amonthinthelife- Day 10

Labour Day was spent at the Begonia Festival Parade in the morning, watching the bands march past, as well as local businesses and primary schools. It’s always fun to see people in the parade that you know, though there didn’t seem as many people there this year. I think a few people were away for the long weekend :).

Our front yard is tiny, yet chock full of trees (Japanese maples and a mulberry), roses and agapanthus, with a hedge. I raked, weeded and mulched, and replaced a couple of plants. Roses were deadheaded and ivy yanked out. The maples are beginning to turn, and even on a warm day like today, you begin to feel autumn is here.

My street, Ballarat, Queens’ Birthday Holiday

A long weekend, a skip outside our house, can only mean one thing- the garden!

We hire a skip every few months or so for largely green waste (we don’t have green waste collection- the council have been dithering about this for years),  bits of stuff from the shed, and from the recent garden makeover. Presently we have a lot of leaves (the downside of living in a leafy street), rose prunings and some broken bricks in the skip. I am hoping to add more stuff today, as the sun is out, there is no wind and no rain. With any luck, we’ll crack double figures in the weather!

So far today I have swept, raked, levered, bent, yanked, weeded and pruned. On top of that lunch has been made, laundry has been done and dinner is about to be started.

Not much of a holiday for me, but I had a lovely day off on Friday so I’m not really complaining :).

Sunburn, Bloody Sunburn

So far, we have…

Filled a 3 square metre skip full of weeds, holly, ivy, deadheaded roses and concrete

Stockpiled bricks and pavers for use as edging and paving

Trimmed the hedge, and pulled out heaps of holly and ivy and weeded the front yard

Cleared out the foliage and ivy down the side of the house

Pulled out and dug up weeds, started digging out the soil from the circle, and removed the pathway.

I also got sunburnt on the small of my back (tshirt riding up and jeans falling down, and no, there are NO photos of that!).

The circle is the next to go, once the dirt has been removed. The skip will be hired again  in a couple of weeks time as we remove more foliage and concrete from the circle.

I’m hoping to plant some daisies and ground cover in the front yard soon, and have spoken to our lovely next door neighbour about putting up a trellis on top of the existing fence for a climber such as jasmine or passionfruit. She’s more than happy to split the costs, which is good. Her handyman, Ron, will come around later in the week to put that up, which means a trip to a nursery for plant shopping on Saturday.

Meanwhile the little BGs are having a whale of a time playing in the dirt, and turning their bathwater black with grime 🙂

I garden, therefore I am…

I am…

…amazed at what you can find in an overgrown garden- more bricks and pavers along the left hand side of the garden, which had been previously covered by mulch, dirt and pine fronds. Most of them are intact and will be used for edging the path…

…astounded at the tenacity of ivy, of which I am finding suckers everywhere…

…did not know that blackberries are part of the Rose family– and thanks to my sister inlaw Kerry, now I do 🙂

…glad of my gym workouts, which have seen me in good stead with bending and squatting to pull those tenacious weeds. I just need to remember to have a good stretch later, as well as a hot bath…

…compiling a list of things to get at Bunnings which includes plants, weedkiller,  a spray contraption to spray the weedkiller, a sledgehammer, a hose, and eventually, a lawnmower…

…wishing Santa Claus gave me a gift voucher for Bunnings for Christmas!

Operation Blitzkrieg

Hmmm…so much for blogging the 12 days of Christmas. The spirit was willing, but the internet connection was weak- nonexistent really. My sister in law is a firm believer of maintaining a healthy work-life balance and the presence of the internet would have her bringing work home.

So I took photos, and ate, went to the local falls and ate, drank wine and ate, and went out for coffee and ate. More of the Christmas road trip will be revealed over the next couple of days, when I attempt to catch up with my posts.

In the meantime, I am awaiting the arrival of a skip into which most of the backyard’s weeds, rose clippings and a fair few broken bricks will disappear. The backyard is set to be transformed from an overgrown wilderness to something with a lawn for the kids to play on, a paving of a barbecue area  and the planting of creepers to disguise the fence.

What’s more, we’re not letting the fact we’re not gardeners stand in the way of doing this :). I’ll keep you posted…

Just like spring rain

Our house is on a narrow allotment, about 10 metres wide and 50 metres deep, with a slope. From our back deck we can see into a few of our neighbour’s yards. With the advent of summer though, the trees begin to get leafy again which affords a modicum of privacy. The huge trees next door also afford us shade in the back yard in the afternoon. In some ways it feels as if our neighbours are sharing their garden with us.

view of backyard from garden deck

As I have said in a previous post, our garden was landscaped about 15 years ago. Just as houses often hold the personality of their previous inhabitants, so too does a garden.

There are aspects that will be eventually changed- ie would prefer brick paving over gravel- but that can wait for the moment.

We did a really hard prune of all our rose bushes in July and it’s amazing just how they have sprung into life. We haven’t watered them, yet they are thriving with the good spring rain we had.

My favourite part of the garden, would have to be the row of silver birches at the end of the garden.

silver birches in backyardThey make a lovely screen, and are incredibly restful to gaze upon when I come back from work, sink into a deck chair and watch the kids play in the sand pit.

With the warmer weather, most of our evenings are spent here, relaxing and enjoying the serenity 🙂

By the pricking of my thumbs

A full weekend, visiting my parents in Geelong and going to see the latest Harry Potter with Mr Bookgrrl on Saturday. Master and Miss Bookgrrl were suitably spoiled by grandparents with Timtams, lollies and icecream and heaps of attention lavished upon them.

(Harry Potter not so bad, a large book which had to be condensed into a few screen hours. I remember more snogging, and more emphasis on Quidditch in the book. Will have to re-read it just to make sure- I’m a library nerd, of course I’ve read Harry Potter!)

Sunday was the resumption and completion of pruning and garden work- well, as much as one could do to completely fill a skip full of leaves and prunings. This was squeezed in between a visit to the monthly craft market, two loads of washing and cooking two dinners- tonight and tomorrow night.

I am quite thankful it is over for a while; my hands can only take so much scratches and pricks from rose thorns :(.

All in all, a sense of accomplishment about this weekend. And as Scarlett O’Hara says, Tomorrow is another day…

A rose by any other name

A friend of ours who is a landscape gardener was able to look at our garden and tell us when it had been designed- mid 90s? he asked. Seeing as the renovations in the house had taken place around 1994, I’m pretty sure the garden would have been done around the same time. How did he know? All the rose bushes that proliferate, especially the standard iceberg roses arranged around a  circular gravel path.

This time last year we were in the process of getting the interior painted and the floorboards polished prior to moving in, and so the garden received a cursory trim. I am determined next year to to be pruning significantly less roses (yes, free roses available- BYO shovel :)).

Through Twitter, morning tea conversations and a friend’s blog, I have been following the Tour de France by osmosis*. It has almost inspired me to start watching it- almost. My bed is far more seductive than Contador…

*Ask me anything about Neolithic chamber tombs and stone circles- a previous fascination of Mr Bookgrrl’s had us tramping around cowpat-ridden fields in Scotland and Ireland in September 2001.

Some useful knowledge Can always be found

My exam for my Interface Usability subject was this morning- which means I am free to read books other than those that are designated textbooks- hurray! I still find it odd that educational institutions think it appropriate for students to sit an exam for 2-3 hours and regurgitate everything they have memorised in a semester- have I learned anything from the subject? Only that whoever drafted the exam couldn’t spell to save his/her life.

Actually it wasn’t that bad- it pretty much reinforced knowledge I knew already  and introduced me to principles I can apply in my job. The major issue I had with the subject was I was expecting more of the assessment to be based on website usability. Instead I was designing handheld games for young children, and vending machines for soft drink. It didn’t help that the text was concerned with…website usability, which made some aspects of the assignments tricky to say the least.

The rest of the day was spent doing things I neglected on the weekend whilst studying- laundry, grocery shopping and cooking. Tomorrow being a cold and sunny day will see me in the garden with the kids weeding and pruning the roses- all 25 bushes…