Friday, 26 December 2014

Clemmy Helps Dad in the Garden

On Boxing Day (Dec 26 - No idea what boxing has to do with anything) we did a little gardening.  Our garden came with many attractive ornamental plants but we've opted to remove most of them in favor of space for more vegetables.  The soil here is pretty crappy and filled with building rubble but we've planted a summer crop anyway so we'll hope for the best.  

We're doing the usual: beans, tomatoes, bell peppers, cucumbers, zucchini, broccoli, tomatillo, Anaheim chiles and snow peas.  The caterpillars are really bad this year and have cleared out most of the broccoli and peas.  I don't know what to do with them other than go pick them off every morning.  We've planted spinach twice but it kept going to seed before we could eat it.  I plant Anaheims and tomatillos every summer to try and keep my southwest heritage alive but I don't think our summer is long/hot enough to get a really great crop from either plant.  I started out with two tomatillos this year and Clem has removed one already.  She also picked one of two baby green tomatoes yesterday.   

Between Clementine's love of rooting and the pests, our garden is not off to the best start this summer.  We keep on anyway.  Getting fresh veggies is obviously the best payoff of the garden but we really do it because we have so much fun fussing over it together.  When we were out removing the last of the ornamentals yesterday she "helped" by copying everything we did: picking up and throwing bits of brick we dug up, helping Mom move the piles of weeds to the compost, digging with a hand shovel and sweeping.    

Here's the last of the day's chores, potting some basil and cilantro.  I've tried cilantro in every garden we've ever done and it either dies or goes to seed too quickly.  I'm trying it in a pot this summer in hopes that it will stick around a little longer.  

(No idea why there needs to be such a big space between this picture and the ones before it.  I hate autoformatting!!)

Practicing "soft" by touching the basil.

Helping Dad put the soil in the pot.

"I'm helping.  I'll smush my pot into this basil."

Clementine continues to help by picking up handfuls of soil and putting them on top of the plants.  Then she moved on to just throwing her handfuls on the ground.

"I'm bored Dad.  I want that thing over there!"

We have a ton of these plastic pots around and Clementine loves to play with them.

And a little cuddle for Mama.  She doesn't usually have the patience for much cuddling, she'd rather be rummaging or exploring something.

Look at that little tooth!

I'm so pleased Clem loves the garden as much as we do.  She could spend all day out there digging and putting things in her little seedling pots.  We're hoping for many days like this in the years to come.

Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Christmas Eve

Christmas is a strange time for us here in Australia.  I don't think any of us who were raised in the Northern Hemisphere will ever get used to a summery Christmas but we are doing our best to figure out new traditions.  I asked Anders about it and he agreed that it feels kind of like a joke, like the whole world thought up a silly plot in July to convince us that it's actually Christmas.

I can however confirm that I am mostly certain that it is actually Christmas, regardless of the sunshine and the mid-20s (77ish in F) weather.

Most of everything here shuts down for a few weeks around this time.  It takes a few days to slow down and remember.  All morning yesterday I felt like there was something pressing that I was forgetting; I confirmed a few times with Alec that no, we had no plans other than maybe going to the park later.

In an attempt to make sure we didn't spend the whole day on the couch in pajamas, we went to our favorite, Darebin Parklands.  

Clementine is walking 100% of the time when she isn't being carried.  She insisted on walking in the park even though she's still working out how to go over bumps.  (She doesn't usually make this zombie face but it was the only picture I had of her walking).  She's excelling at finding small bits of trash from the ground, even more fun if she can get them into her mouth before a grownup takes it away.

I think there is a close tie for Clementine's 4th and 5th favorite person (3rd is obviously taken up by her Grams) between Anders and Malia.  Clem gives Malia special arm rubs that not even I get.

We walked down to the creek and sat with our feet in the water.  You can't see in this picture but Clementine is already soaked and covered in mud on her butt.


Alec handed Clem rocks which she threw into the water.  Sometimes she crawled back into the water to pick out her favorites and throw them back in again.

Might as well just sit in the water.  After this happened we took all her clothes off and she splashed and played in the sand with only her shoes on.  Occasionally a dog swam past us or splashed on the shore, all of which Clementine found highly entertaining.  She loooooves animals almost as much as she loves playing in the dirt.

Nudit in the pack on the walk back to the car.

Today is Christmas and we have a full day ahead.  We'll have lunch at Alec's Uncle Alistair's house with other Slomans and depending on how Clem's nap does, we'll go to a barbecue at a friends house after that.  Alec has two and a half more weeks off and my next market isn't til Jan 11 so we have plenty of relaxing family time ahead.

Monday, 1 December 2014

Morning Times

I haven't been writing lately because I've been a little occupied with work!  You may have heard, I started a second-hand clothing company called Mutual Muse (  I've been at it for a few months and it's finally to a point where people are responding and I'm feeling like I might really have something there.  It's a lot of hard work and emotional growth but it's so worth it.  There are many exciting milestones on the horizon and I can't wait to see what the future brings.

Now that things are ever so slightly more established, I hope I'll have more creative energy to keep up with the blog.  Mom sent me a text message this morning that said "I need a blog post!" so I decided to take pictures of what was immediately around me and start there.

I recently weaned Clementine so our mornings are much smoother without her demanding for the boob.  I used to have to hide in my room all morning because if she saw me, she wouldn't let Alec tend to her anymore.  Now we've worked past that and I'm able to enjoy the mornings out of bed once again.

We spent our morning relaxing on the porch.  We are headed into summer so it's finally nice enough outside to sit and enjoy the weather in t-shirts or diapers.

Clemmy is walking 75% of the time, which means she is also getting into trouble about 75% of the time too.  

The back porch/ garden are her favorite places to hang out especially because she can do her favorite things, playing in the dirt and terrorizing the plants.  I gave her a tiny pot as a compromise to not knock the plants off the shelf.  

Rooting for rocks to put in her tiny pot.

Off to do more rooting.  Clementine loves to play by herself outside.  I'll make sure there's nothing dangerous and let her do her thing.  I leave the backdoors open so I can hear if she gets into trouble but so far she's been fine.  She occasionally takes a tumble off the back stoop (it's only one step off the ground) but when she's alone she always recovers quickly.

So far the only casualty has been one of my prized tomatillo plants :(

And then Alec got home from his run.  Things really slow down around here during Christmastime so we anticipate many more of these relaxing sunny mornings together as a family.

Monday, 27 October 2014

Sunday Afternoon

It's springtime, which means we can spend our lazy weekend time hanging outside on the porch and playing in the garden.  We do have a really great porch.  

Clementine is trying to get around the barrier we tried to create so she can get in the garden and play with the dirt.  She needs a bath every night these days because she is always dirty from playing outside.  My kind of girl.

We bought these seedlings at a garage sale: broccoli, rocket, cucumber, and snow peas.

A few of our own seedlings just poking their heads out.  We found two fully functioning grow lights in someone's hard rubbish pile and they make such a big difference with these little guys.  Our heirloom tomatoes, beans, and carrots were all up in under a week.  I've never had good luck growing tomatoes from seed but I think this year will be the winner. 

(Hard Rubbish is the time of year when the council drives around and picks up everyone's big crap to take to the dump-best time of year to find neat free things like grow lights!)

One of Clementine's favorite things to do is pull all the clothespins out of this planter and throw them on the ground.  So helpful!

I turned around to talk to Alec for really 5 seconds and she is halfway around the house.

Hanging with Dad.

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Darebin Parklands

This one's pretty photo heavy but I don't feel like doing a separate post for all my nature pics, and there were many good ones on this trip.  There've been a few posts from this park, it's just down the road from our house.

"I love and hate the dog park because I just want to play with all the dogs, and they just want to play with each other." - Anders.  We all got to pat this cute little black pug.

I have another picture of these two standing under this same tree.  Clemmy is a little bigger now!

It's springtime so there are interesting little flowers everywhere.  When I breathe deeply they are easy to smell on the air.


I managed to get shots of parrots!  So exciting!  They are never low enough in the trees or I am too slow or many other reasons contribute to not getting pictures of them.  But this time.. victory!  I'm pretty sure these are Rainbow Lorakeets and they are pretty common around us.  That doesn't stop me from being totally excited every time I see one.

One difference I always notice between places I have lived is how the nature sounds, especially the birds.  There are all kinds of parrots around us and I love listening for them.

Riding back on Mom!

This is a Magpie, they are everywhere and also make a lot of noise.  I thought they live in the US as well but Anders had never seen one, so I'm including it in case you haven't too.

And that commences our walk at the dog park!