Monday, July 1, 2019

Becoming self sufficient (and news of a sewalong)...

Mr E is on school holidays for two weeks and quite thrilled he can leave teaching, assessing, reports and parent interviews behind for a while and concentrate on the garden.
A lot has been done the past few weekends to lay the groundwork for our next step forward - making the area around our home self productive. 

Out the front we've added some hedge plants opposite the pots of rosemary and lavender to create a border/walkway to the front door. But in front of that hedge will be a vegetable garden...

Climbers and shrubs have been planted across the front of the brown privacy screen now that area has been cleared, composted and mulched. This week my beloved will plant beans in this garden which will later be broken up and hoed in (after I grab the beans). We're not rushing the front garden bed because it did not start off in good condition and we're working to get it in excellent shape before planting food crops and fruit trees.

This little tomato plant was discovered down the side during the clearing. We're feeding it and hoping it will flourish like the ones we've got growing out back.

There's a lot going on in the backyard right now after some thoughtful planning and a morning spent with a very helpful farmer who makes his own microbial compost and teaches classes in permaculture.

The old compost area simply didn't function well as it has no air flow, sitting on concrete and surrounded by concrete blocks. We have an idea the concrete slab under it was once part of a chicken coop, which is great because after hubby finishes removing the concrete...

...we'll be setting this corner of the garden up to house some chickens. We're already investigating coops.
Mr E has made a new compost area on the opposite side of the back garden. You can see it behind the clothesline...

He's also making a second compost area later this week because if we want to do away with lawn and make every area productive we'll need plenty of compost. 
Becoming as self sufficient as possible has been a long held dream for the two of us and now, with our own home at last, we can work forward to make that possible.

Our backyard tomatoes are incredible! Seven feet tall and literally dripping with produce I get such a kick out of seeing my man walk past and pop a few ripe cherry tomatoes in his mouth for a snack.

Pots of parsley loves hiding under the tomatoes...

Bob-the-dog and Sophie watch in avid amusement as the yard is dissembled and reassembled on a regular basis. Sophie especially does not like being moved from one of her many hiding places when I water the gardens at late afternoon.

Of course I must have colour around so our winter flowers are scattered pots of pansies here and there... the grevilleas are all in bloom which brings little honeyeaters to feast each day.

When I was hanging the washing up the other morning I was surprised that our regular band of finches did not fly away as I approached. They often sit on the clothesline or feast on the grass seeds below, but always I am mindful to not come close or they take to flight in an instant.

But this was a very lovely moment I managed to capture on my camera. They stayed where they were as I hung the clothes and remained while I went inside to fetch the camera...

Aren't they beautiful?
These are 'double barred finches'.

Morning and afternoon teas are taken out back with cool drinks or a cuppa as we chat over what comes next or simply sit in silence and enjoy the view.
I've baked quite a bit recently, choosing to make delights with much less sugar and butter than previously.

Tomorrow Blossom, Cully May and Rafaella are coming by and the little ones will be able to picnic on the new tablecloth quilt I made them last weekend.

It was very quick to make!

Seven 5 1/2" squares cut from seven different fabrics and sewn together, sandwiched with wadding and backing, quilted 1/4" outside the seams and bound in red spots.
I laid them out so that I had diagonal rows of the same fabrics and really love the end result.

Not everything has to take a long time, quite often just jumping in and making a simple project in a couple of days fills your happy tank to overflowing. 

Now, if you need some inspiration on becoming self sufficient in your garden area Mr E and I highly recommend this documentary we watched recently. It's free to watch and honest, it blessed us immensely and answered many prayers and questions.

Click below to watch or go HERE.

THIS MONTH'S FREE PATTERN - turns into a stitchalong…

I've had to think about this one a bit because we're just starting the second half of 2019 and I wondered if it might be nice to make something that takes a few months?
A small quilt perhaps?

Maybe one block every two weeks for a while?
Yes, I like the sound of that.

Drop by on Wednesday and I'll have it all ready for you to begin. 

In the meantime enjoy your home, cherish your loved ones, give thanks to God for all your gifts, and be kind to yourself because often we're the last people we consider in life.


Need something to stitch? I'm always adding patterns to my Etsy Shop so drop by and have a peek.


Beth said...

It's great being able to partake of the produce of your own garden. The other week I pickled some beetroot from our garden. Yesterday we harvested the last of the apples from our apple trees and I'm currently in the middle of a batch of apple jelly. In our garden sometimes what we sow doesn't work out, but the compost brings forth some interesting surprises, so our thought is that whatever God causes to grow is what we are to eat and anything else we'll buy as needed.
My sister has a birdbath in the garden and it is a delight to see which birds show up. The adults bring the young ones to show them where to come for water/bathing. Some days there can be a queue of birds in the big apple tree as they await their turn in the birdbath!

Phil Poggeaux said...

What a wonderful post. Thank you for sharing all the hard work going on outside with us all.

Vickie @Vickie's Kitchen and Garden said...

You are working so hard on your yard. It won't be long and you will be enjoying the fruits of your labor! Stitch along sounds so fun. Have a great day!

Karen said...

The yard is looking so great. Love the pansies for colour. I think Mr E is going to really enjoy his next couple of weeks holiday.

JP said...

I just read and enjoyed your blog for the first time. I will be reading always from now on. So wonderful to see the pics of the gardening projects and of you and yours enjoying nature and the simple things such as hanging out the wash and cherry tomatoes. I can no longer garden in our back yard but enjoy herbs in pots on the porch and 2 tomato plants in pots on the porch one of which is a cherry tomato. They are just going into bloom so it will be a while before I can 'pop' tomatoes in my mouth. I am trying zucchinia plants in a large pot on the bench. We love the zucchinia bread I make. I just love watching things grow and then harvesting the herbs to be used all Winter long. Thank you for sharing . JP in Prnnsylvania, USA

patsi @ a working pantry said...

I agree, what a wonderful post. I am excited to follow along with your journey to become more self-reliant.

Tammy said...

Oh I love watching your home and gardens come to life and to hear the enthusiasm you have for it all...Isn't it amazing....I can;t wait to see it all unfold here. We must see a picture of those adorable lil grand girls on their new picnic quilt....WHich turned out to be very pretty...Love hearing how productive those tomatoes are and that you will have chickens as well.

Angie in SoCal said...

Lots happening in your household. Blessings for the two of you.

TerriSue said...

Dear Jenny, You are doing what I had been wanting to do with our yard for a long time. I still am going to do it but it won't happen this year. This year will be de-cluttering. Now that the trees have been tamed I have some sunshine. Now it will be possible.
Your finches look like the ones I had as pet birds though mine were called owl finches. I had a "flock" of 10 which I kept in a huge flight cage and they were just darling. So very tiny. I thought there call was so sweet, mew, mew. It goes to show you want what you can't have. Here in the U.S. I wanted a breed that was from Australia. Now a days I wouldn't buy a bird though. Now I just do rescues.
At the moment I am making a special swaddling blanket for Winnie. I found a gorgeous cotton fabric that was pre-tucked and had already had cotton lace applied to it. This was all done on the diagonal. Since I just needed enough to make a square it wasn't prohibitive. I have embroidered and crocheted the hem. Now I am working on the corners. In one I have her name and birth date with bullion roses and then in the other corners just bullion roses. Since it will be seen from both sides I am making sure not to carry my thread even the smallest of spaces and start each word or number with a waste knot. I have found out that though my new glasses have worked for the crocheting I still have to take them off to embroider. I am trying to get the blanket done before they have Winnie dedicated. I also found some wonderful vintage Winnie the Pooh Hankies that I am going to use to make a hankie quilt for her.
I will be watching your garden come together with interest. I think it is wonderful what you are doing. You know my feeling on grass. What you are doing is wonderful for you but it is better for ecology also. Love that man of yours!

Su said...

It blows my tiny little brain that you can have tomatoes thriving, in winter! We struggle to grow them outdoors in what passes for our summer.
The sewalong sounds fun, but I'm not sure my quilting skills are up to the mark, maybe I'll just watch from.the sidelines.

gracie said...

Your new home is certainly becoming yours. I love the idea of a stitch along and that picnic quilt! It is perfect.

Mandy Currie said...

Hello Jenny, your garden is coming along, you've certainly put in a lot of work. I hope you both enjoy the holidays. You must be delighting in every detail of your new home. What a lovely experience to share with us. Thank you. Your stitch-a-long sounds like fun, I shall look forward to the post. God bless. Regards Mandy xx

Ondrea said...

You have both worked so hard to make your house into a beautiful home. We both have permaculture certificates after doing a course over 20years ago and our backyard was full of vegies in raised garden beds made from straw and newspapers etc. We had funky chooks ( silky bantams), 6 compost bins and a worm farm. Alas, we don't produce as much these days due to our abilities changing. We have about 20 plus cockatoos in our yard every day now and I think they are desperate for food as they are pecking seeds from the grassed areas. That little quilt is perfect for 2 little girls. So pretty. A stitch a long would be lovely but only if you are not adding too much to your committments. Angel hugs.

Julie said...

Your quilt tablecloth is just gorgeous Jenny - can just imagine those wee girls having a picnic on it! Jenny I have two very large raised veggie gardens here - up to my waist height. The raised gardens can be tricky as they don't draw any nutrients from the ground but I grow wonderful veggies in mine & I find that a mixture of compost, lawn clippings & a bagful of sheep pellets (just from Bunnings) each year in each one does the trick. Every now & then I toss a handful of lime onto them to sweeten the soil as the lawn clippings can be sour. When I used to have the garden groups I used to get asked what "my secret" was all the time but its really quite simple.

Joanne said...

Hi Jenny,
Great photo of the double barred finch!
A project that takes a few months is fun! and just in time for Winter...or Summer!
Love how your garden is changing, growing and you are still discovering new things! Someone once asked if my garden was finished. Finished? Is a garden ever finished? It's a living changing growing piece of work! Love working in mine!

Lin said...

Great plans Jenny. xx

Susan said...

This is so wonderful, Jenny! I had no idea you were heading that direction. It has been something I did off and on again, and now I don't. It's too hard in the hills of Tennessee, and by myself, but I have good friends who grow so much of their produce, have berries and fruit trees, and are happily canning away all summer. You have put a lot of thought and effort into this already, and it will be a wonderful return for your care of the land. I loved the bird pics. They must be getting used to you, trusting you not to hurt them. That's always so wonderful a feeling. You have built such a wonderful sanctuary there. Thank you for thinking about our stitching the rest of the year. I just bought some wonderful fabrics - a layer cake on a tremendous sale - to use for Phyllis May blocks. Prayers here are answered daily.

Anonymous said...

My name is Linda, I enjoyed your post; might I suggest for your blog readers; if you are allergic to nuts of all kinds like my adult daughter use rice or fine fabric stuffing. If you are going to sell your items (please) mark item is filled w/ walnuts. For some people it is very dangerous to be around even if inside an item. Thank you your post blog and sewing items are lovely!