Garden Share Collective ~ Post 1 ~ Confession Time

This is a post written in shame.

Yes, shame.

I could blame it on post-hospital recuperation. I could add the cold weather, the frosty snap, the terrorist chickens. But the upshot is – I just got busy, and time poor, and it’s taken Lizzie’s Garden Share Collective series to guilt me into ‘fessing up and sharing my woeful tale.

This is the tale of what once was a thriving backyard garden, brimming with vegetables, herbs, citrus, spices and more.

Now, as I do the walk of shame, armed with camera, I introduce you to my festering weed plot and get it all out there.

‘Cos it’s pretty woeful.

Some things are not doing too badly.

IMG_2071My lillypilli looks deceptively green, and with fruit. The reality is, there’s about 7 fruits on the old girl, not even enough to add to a dish. The birds are feasting. IMG_2063The mango tree has had a strong Winter prune and is greening up nicely. I may even have a few mangoes come summer.

But the reality is here, in my coastal 1/4 acre, everything else is either woody, dead, bug ridden, chewed, moth eaten, stalky, bolted, shot or ready to be put out of it’s misery. IMG_2069My herbs are in planters. They are usually lush and green and loaded with lavish leaves. Here you can see the truth: Stalky Thai Basil, half dead curly leaf parsley, woody Thyme, sulky Sage. IMG_2058Even the Rosemary, (which does better in the ground, I know, but you’ll understand it’s pottedness in a moment) is forlorn. And I have no idea why there is stalky looking cherry tomato remains in the forefront planter – it used to hold French Tarragon :(

IMG_2070Even the lemongrass has dried out, the once lush stems now probably more suited to kindling.  IMG_2067I can blame these girls for some of it. By the time I have fenced off plots and pots with enough wire to keep out the Walking Dead, I need a lock picker and  wire cutters just to go out and gather some goodness.

But I know that’s not really why they are in such neglected sorrow.

I’ve been lazy. IMG_2056Look at these poor strawberries.

I mean really. What hope do they have of producing decent fruit? IMG_2055

And this Basil. More wood than a forest, more flowers than a florist.

I suck. IMG_2062

My Kaffir lime has bugs in the leaves.  It seems the fruit loves neglect – it fruits constantly – the knobby, nubbly fruit full of tartness. Apparently it’s hard to get a Kaffir to fruit. I have the answer. Ignore it :(

Under the Kaffir grows spring onions, chives and garlic. I didn’t photograph them because the terrorist chickens have been sun bathing in them.

IMG_2061The chickens smell great.

Pre-basted, even.

Given the state of the garden, they may just have to watch their step… IMG_2060

This is an eggplant. It’s in it’s 3rd year. It should have been replaced after it’s second season. My husband was so embarrassed that I was including this photo, it has now mysteriously disappeared and just the empty plot remains. IMG_2057

This is the small plot. It’s current purpose, apparently, is to provide a secondary bathing area for the terrorist chickens, which, as you can see, is proving very successful.   I don’t even know what that is, growing in the forefront. But it’s stubborn enough to withstand chicken bathing and mustn’t taste good, because it’s still there.

You will notice it’s behind the wire fortress.



My Bay tree has bugs.  And scale. And something else, I think. IMG_2053

And the grasshoppers are loving it.

I so have some un-pictured goodies. The curry plant is doing great things,The lemon, orange and lime tree are starting to get ‘legs’ – they are only a year or so old. We planted these citrus trees IN the chook run. There’s irony in there, somewhere. They thrive.

The chickens ate the birds eye chillis. They gobbled the gooseberry bush, and discovered that carrots, peas, corn and rhubarb were all to their palate.

IMG_2052I wanted to leave this post on a up-note.

So – here’s a mandarin.

Wish I could say I grew it.

It comes from over the neighbour’s fence.

This is the first post in a series of ” The Garden Share Collective” — a web hop about the veggies, hers and edibles we grow. On the first Monday of each month I’ll be sharing my  failures and successes in the garden, as part of a community designed to help problem solve and gain motivation to growing clean food organically and sustainably.

Thanks to Lizzie, from Strayed from the Table, who founded this idea.

Check back next month to see how the garden – and the terrorist chickens – have progressed over the first cold Winter month.

My Store? My Argh!

When the time comes that a woman gets down to only one bra that fits, something has to be done. Take matters in hand, buck up the courage and visit a corsetiere.
Tell me, am I alone in my detest of going bra shopping? Really, I loathe all the prodding and poking, the lifting and shoving, the strap snapping and critical eyes aimed at my breasts. (Or the region where my breasts ought to be, before gravity won). I am not against nudity, I can strip for doctors without an eyelash bat. Rip off my clothes for a clothes change. But there is just something about being fitted for le brassiere that I am not comfortable with.
I am not a small, dainty lady. None of me has seen a size 12 since I was first pregnant. (Nor, might I add, am I morbidly obese. I am an oompaloompa. Short and round.) I am just a real person. I have real boobs. Bosoms. Bazookas. Big tits. My nick name in high school was boom-boom. You get the idea. So in to a specific department store (recently touted by Trinny and Susannah as the best place in Australia to be fitted for over the shoulder boulder holders) and ask someone who looks older than me, if I could have a specialised fitting, please.
I don’t know why I do this. Maybe it is in hope of experience, after all, she should have seen thousands of titillating sights in her years, there fore having greater experience, yes? She cast an eye over my body, lingers on the chest region. “Oh you will be a 12 C for sure” And ushers me into the change room.
A 12 C????
She has got to be joking. Anyone who knows me, or seen my image knows that I am not a 12 anything. Anywhere. Anytime. And as for a C cup, well, I was a DD last fitting which was quite a few years back, so I don’t like her chances. She brings me in quite a few pretty little numbers. They are nice, too. Lacy and pretty and small. Barbie bras. I raise my eyebrows and look dubiously. She is kidding, right? One of those shop assistants that have a warped sense of humour and enjoy making someone of generous proportions feel more like a beached whale than ever. No? Really? Really. She wants me to try it on, while she goes to fetch more band aids bras.
Have you ever tried to stuff a marshmallow into a thimble? It’s not easy. Bits puff out everywhere and the thimble runs away. Trust me on this. I have tried. Imagine trying to put your pillow in the glovebox of a VW. The straps were so tight they grooved my shoulders. And so short, the under wire did not even reach the base of my breast tissue, but across the middle giving me 4 breasts. I could not even do the back strap up. In vain, I do the circle dance trying to reach the back and hook the clips together, and the blancmange me dances back, reflected so elegantly in the 3 full length mirrors seductively angled so I can see all my wobbly bits at the same time. Ohhh, sexy me. In she comes, and attempts (and succeeds) in doing up the back strap. I now have 8 boobs. 2 under my shoulders, 2 each side of the under wire, and 2 on my back under my bra strap. I can’t breathe.
“Hmm, a little tight” she mused.
Ya think?
 She leaves me to get out of the life jacket harness by myself and goes to find a size bigger. The aimed result is to be upwards and outwards. Not flat. I can get a mammogram to do that, and get a rebate on my health insurance. I wonder if she even knows what a tape measure is. Dare I ask? Are you not supposed to measure me for a fitting? Being fitted in this fashion is like being fitted by braille but with more hands on experience. She brings me a size up. Then a cup up. Another size up. Another cup up. Every single one is tried on, me hoisting my boosies manually into the cup – innnnn and uppp! – followed by her twanging, tweaking and twiddling hooks and straps and bits and all. It’s hot in the change room. My mammaries are melting. (That would explain the flatness, then). I am sweaty and red and blotchy and have scratch marks on my body from wrong sized under wires, straps and hooks. The mirror shows someone who is now looking very middle aged, and slightly harassed, hair askew. I hate these trick mirrors. Who stole my body?
Eventually, we get to a size 16 EE. This gives you some idea about the training and experience of the fitter, who started me at a 12 C. By now, she is getting as frustrated as me and I feel like I am supposed to apologise for having milk ducts.
“Well”, she says in an accusatory tone, “We are just about out of bras. Unless we put you in the matronly section. You know, ones that Grannies wear”. Like that’s my fault? I mutter something about grannies being treated with care, and get back into my (own) bra, which fits like a glove.
When I leave the change room, 3 other sales people turn, look at me and (I swear) giggle. I have an overwhelming desire to blow raspberries at them. I pay for my purchase – 2 bras, one respectable work type bra resembling a piece of Roman Armour, and the other, a lacy number which cost more than it would to feed a small country.
I never did see a measuring tape.

Hives and Stacks

The Bristile Kilns in Belmont (W.A.) are the largest cluster of beehive kilns and associated stacks in Australia. Built to a standard design for c.1920s to 1950s, the kilns are becoming an increasingly rare industrial structure in Australia. The place is a landmark feature and the eight brick beehive kilns are an unusual and unique form. Those, and the five tall brick chimneys dominate the local landscape.
The City of Belmont wish to demolish these structures for a road widening that is part of a current subdivision and urban renewal project. The National Trust of Australia (WA) has offered to negotiate with the different parties and to take the vesting of the place if all the structures are conserved.
I remember always being intrigued by the shapes of the kilns and the height of the stacks when we had to drive over that way for whatever reason. I always wanted to stop and have a look.
Opening in 1910, the pottery works ceased to operate in August 1982. Now I can look all I want, but from the wrong side of a barbed wire fence.
Local government remains accountable in fulfilling responsibilities towards such a significant heritage place in public ownership. Save the stacks, I say.