Friday, 2 October 2009

Home & Hearth: My 'greening' thumbs

My gardening journey began about ten years ago, although it began primarily indoors. I was one of those people who used to love devouring gardening and design books, but had no idea how to actually transform my own patch, which at the time consisted on a small courtyard.

These days I am addicted. I love everything about the garden, it's colour, texture, scent....and the fact it changes every day.

After stumbling out of bed and attending to the dietary needs of my brood, one of my first daily tasks is to take a stroll around my newly planted and designed front garden and just take a peak at what's doing. Amazingly I can usually see changes happening every day.

I also love the fact that almost everything about this space is it is my own construction. Apart from bringing in two guys to construct my compacted sand pathway, I have planted every plant, a process which has provided immense satisfaction in a kind of meditative way.

This area of the garden was just six months ago a patch of dying lawn with a few exotics (read azaleas and other totally impractical plants).

I've filled it with Australian grasses, kangaroo paws, grevilleas, native hibiscus, mini flowering gums and banksias. When it started to flower this spring I also realised I had planted mostly white and purple flowering plants. I love the crispness of white blooms in a garden and the mix of pale and deep purples work really well with our bluestone fence.

There's a lot to go and a whole backyard to do, but I'm amazed just how much this area already looks like it has been here for years.....

I will post more 'macro' shots soon....

Thursday, 1 October 2009

A return from the wilderness

OK it's been so long between snippets on this site - the urge, time and ability to post was somehow lost amongst all the other daily demands.
So to mark the return to Baysidemama being an active site, here's a pic of another fresh face - our new household member!'

Saturday, 14 February 2009

Neighbourhood: Ways to help the wildlife

I have been at a loss to post anything on this website as I watched the utter devastation of parts of Victoria over the last week. As a wordsmith, words fail me at this point.

Much has been written about the wonderful ways to help the thousands upon thousands of people who have lost loved ones and their homes. This includes the Red Cross Bushfire Appeal.

I thought something useful to post here might be some links to helping wildlife who have somehow survived this inferno. It is estimated that one million animals have perished. There is some amazing work going on, including the work of Wildlife Victoria and its volunteer workers who are now on the ground and in desperate need of supplies. On Wildlife Victoria's website, there is a list of what they need at this point and drop-off points. You can find Wildlife Victoria here.

Also, the always amazing Animal Aid animal shelter at Coldstream - which is itself now on fire alert - is also organising supplies and vets and doing supply runs and work in the field. It too is in need of all sorts of supplies and money and also residents to put their hand up if they are able to foster an animal for a period of time. You can find Aninmal Aid here.

The amazing response of our community during this time has been something uniquely inspiring. The rebuilding of parts of this state is going to be a mammoth task and is going to require every inch of that spirit which has been so in abundance this week.

And if you are an international reader, there are fire report updates here.

Wednesday, 4 February 2009

Style notes: A (Junior) Corner Of One's Own

With a little one just starting school I felt she was ready for a slightly larger work and play space. I had found this amazing old wooden children's desk at a trash and treasure market and took it home - although at the time I had no idea where to put it or use it for. It was just so lovely. It has a pull down top and lots of little words scribbled into the old wood from previous owners.

Anyway, I thought I would find a nice little sunny corner for it and set it up and she absolutely loves it. She has stacked all her paper and pencils and other bits and pieces in it and it has become an active hub of home. The little plastic figures on top are other market finds.

Speaking of school, what an amazing yet strange transition it is - for child and parent alike. With the younger starting kinder, I have returned home to feel quite conflicted about the domestic silence. While it offers a brief few hours of freedom to GET THINGS DONE, I've realized it also signals the end of those long open days where we could just do what we felt like that day - be it a bit of pasting or a walk, with no rules or structures. How quickly that time passes......

Thursday, 29 January 2009

Neighbourhood: Bleak heat

Green and blue reflections, originally uploaded by Baysidemama.

Early this morning the men with their chainsaws were up at dawn across the road, tearing down a magnificent gum tree. When I wandered over to find out why, it appears it is yet another victim of this terrible drought - dried out and ready to fall.

This searing heat - 43 degrees again today - always makes me feel bleak about what we have done to our land. The lack of shade in the suburbs and such poorly designed homes mean we are a country dependent on air con.

Last night, before it was even dark, I found the ringtail possums desperately trying to drink from the pool.

I urge any locals to leave some bowls of water - both low and high - out for our wildlife today and tonight. I figure if we razor their habitat as we have as a people, at least we can offer them a drink.

Tuesday, 27 January 2009

Neighbourhood: Red Hot Heat

Red, originally uploaded by Baysidemama.

Heat is the word.

Summer has kept its full wrath hidden these past few weeks and now it's here with full velocity. Searing heat as red as this flower. It's going to be reaching 40 degrees here all week and talk is all about will our ageing power grid cope with a city hooked on air con?

I can still well remember when the whole city's gas supply went down a few years ago now.

That was during late summer heat and modern civilised life hinged on an electric wok and a plastic solar shower bag.

Let's see how the infrastructure goes this week.

Saturday, 10 January 2009

What mama thinks: The 'housewife' returns....but is she welcome

I recently interviewed Stacey Murray of the Sheeps Clothing blog for a piece I did for the Herald Sun newspaper on the rise in popularity of the domestic crafts among women.

I argued in a related opinion piece in the same paper that this was very much about women proudly reclaiming the personal realm, as opposed to earlier incarnations of feminism which roundly rejected the domestic sphere.

As Stacey points out on her blog, the pieces have incited much debate - such as this piece by Adelaide columnist Clementine Ford and heated reaction. It is intriguing as I believe Ford and many of the online comments have misunderstood my argument - that embracing the domestic realm is a sign of moving forward for women - that they finally have the voice to reclaim this space.

Anyway, take a look at what Stacey has to say over at her blog, and by all means, feel free to add your thoughts.

There are also active discussions on this article going on in Adelaide here, in Brisbane here and in Maryland, USA here, and in Oakland County, California, USA here.

Saturday, 3 January 2009

Home & Hearth: Green tomatoes

Green tomatoes, originally uploaded by Baysidemama.

I am ridiculously proud of these little babies. My first batch in a couple of years and they are growing nicely. So easily in fact that I don't know why I didn't get to planting more this season. However the herb patch is booming, with rosemary, basil, chives and mint in copious supply. These will taste great with some lovely mango chutney that has proved a daily summer staple in our household.