Hint: I was not the one eating the pea straw.  I was rebuilding the brick path and putting in edging, whilst someone more small and furry was eating the pea straw.

Capsicums, chillies, zucchini on the left.  Eggplant and tomatoes and okra in the middle.  Rhubarb, silverbeet and pak choy on the right and hidden in a bed just behind the camera.  Basil seeds everwhere.  Bean and cucumber seeds on the fence, with a late chance of radishes developing in the afternoon.

It’s been a long time since I posted.  I keep meaning to, and I’ve been taking these wonderful photos, but I haven’t had the time!  And now I have too much to tell you… I’ll try to keep it short.

I won NaNoWriMo, but only because you still ‘win’ if you write 50,000 words of pure drivel.  I wanted to throttle my characters by the time I was done.  So I guess I’ll print it off, stick it in a drawer, and write a different story.  I already have an idea for one.

Hint: the heroine has an allotment 😉

The pup continues well.  He is eating stones, which is a bit of a worry, and chucks a wobbly every time we put him on the lead.  On the bright side, he’s learned his name and ‘sit’, ‘stay’, ‘no’ and ‘come’.  He went to puppy school last night which was great fun — lots of other cute puppies to play with!

CERES  too just gets better and better.  I spent all of Sunday building the path and missed a patch on my back with the sunscreen.  It’s now purple.  Thus, here is a picture of me and the doglet on Monday, to prove to my Mum that I am theoretically capable of dressing for gardening.  I meant to smile in it but I’ve never used the timer function before.  Don’t mean to look blah at you like this… but…

Dan, of course, finds this hat hilarious.  I am very fond of it.  It makes me feel competent at worm-fostering and punnet-wrangling.

One thing that definitely doesn’t make me feel competent is the community of older Greek and Italian men who keep at least 90% of the plots.  I thought I knew about gardens: after all, I kept chooks and grew veg from the time I was knee high to a cornstalk.

I know nothing about gardens!

That’s not to say that they mean to be intimidating – Vince, Vince, George and Tony (the guys I’ve met so far) have gone far out of their way to help me and they’re incredibly generous.   George helped me dig in some tall supports for my tomato plants, and watched me plant a seedling next to one.  Then he pulled it up again, gently, to show me how and why the plant’s base roots would die, despite the watering I’d given the seedling in its pot and in the soil.  Must water the hole first and spread out the roots.  Also, we dug a trench the length of the tomato bed so that when I do water, the good stuff doesn’t just drain away.  There we found a frog — in my garden!  A good sign! — and George pottered away to find a new home for it.  The next morning, there were two tomato plants from Vince waiting for me.  And an invitation to join the Chook Group if I’d like to.

I’d like to.  I think there’s a(nother) waiting list but what the heck.

Here are Tony’s salad leaves and someone else’s strawberries, growing on the PVC system I told you about.

And this is a crested blackbird (that’s not a real bird name, I made it up) who gardened with me all the first day.  I sent the earwigs scuttling, he ate them.  Sometimes he held six or seven in his beak at once: truly one smart bird.

Someone sent me an article today about work-life balance and ‘building a portfolio’ of activities in life that is not all about work and rest at home.  I feel somehow that I’m finally getting it right, and it’s by going back to the things that I loved as a child.  Sun and bikes and gardens and chooks, then work as an enjoyable commitment to be kept before I head back to the real world of the garden.

Strange… and comforting.  But that’s a subject for another post.