Growing It Ourselves

Last year I bought a packet of tomato seeds on a whim and planted some seeds in some old plastic plant pots and to my astonishment they all grew into robust plants which we then planted in what was euphemistically called a water feature, something we filled into with three tons of stone and topsoil a couple of weeks after we moved in. To increasing astonishment, the plants continued to thrive and even grew some tomatoes. The tomatoes stayed green, I looked up recipes for green tomato pickles and filled some jars with green yumminess.

This year we decided to branch out a little and try a few more seeds. We’ve reused all the pots from last years endeavours and filled more that we found hiding in our shed and under various shrubs in our garden. Along with the veggies, we’re trying some flowers this time. The only big expense has been a new set of metal shelves for our kitchen to keep everything tidy and easily accessible for watering and monitoring purposes.

Tomatoes, mangetout, aubergine and basil are all sprouting. We got lazy and didn’t label the flower seeds but they’re sprouting too. We’re getting hopeful that we might enjoy one full plate of veggies grown by our fair hands, which we could enjoy while admiring our home grown flowers.

Starting a veggie patch was one of our plans for the garden when we bought the house. I’m really glad we’ve decided to do something about it this year, and we’ve already learned a few things from the process. Next year we’ll definitely plan and research a bit more during the cold months and prepare a bit earlier. But this process is definitely better late than never.

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Growing It Ourselves

Tiny Sparks of Joy

Spring finally springing and, therefore, Great Drying Out.

Some of the vegetable and flower seeds we planted sprouting.

More new to me Chalet School books on the way and the delight of giving someone else’s treasured copies a new home.

Planning some reorganisation in our home.

Just over two months until it is holiday time

Tiny Sparks of Joy

Tiny Sparks of Joy

Spring has sprung(ish).

Finishing more new books since January this year than I read during the whole of 2017.

The second half of the last season of Mad Men finally appearing on Netflix.

Completing fun weekend projects together, especially the tortuous process that is replacing a seal on a washing machine.

Using up the last of my Christmas dried fruit. A new recipe for fruit cake worked out well.

Tiny Sparks of Joy

Our House Is Fine

Via Reading My Tea Leaves I found this reassuring article about how there is nothing wrong with most people’s homes. We moved to our current home two years ago and apart from having every wall painted, buying a new double oven and replacing the gross carpets in all of the bedrooms with inexpensive wood laminate flooring, we haven’t done any renovations.

During the months long lull between having our offer accepted and actually getting the keys of our home, we made vague plans to knock down a wall, perhaps to extend into the large garden a bit and replace the kitchen. None of which we’ve ever come to a firm decision on.

I went to the Ikea kitchen planning service some months ago but never followed it up. A couple of friends have done major renovations and I’ve had new kitchen envy but not enough to spur me to action. I’ve read the article on Curbed a few times now and I’ve felt myself nodding along with much of the sentiment.

Our house is fine. It’s warm and cosy and large enough for us. There’s room for everything we have, with space left over. The layout works fine, and there’s nothing wrong with the kitchen or bathrooms. We can live within our means here and the neighbourhood is pleasantly quiet and suburban.

If something major needs replacing, we will deal with that. Right now, though, I think I’d rather know we have enough money in the bank to have a holiday and go out for dinner rather than worrying about paying for a new kitchen. Our house is an orchid on our budget.

Our House Is Fine

Through a chink too wide there comes in no wonder

Not everyone is a fan of the Irish leaving cert system. We have to study a range of subjects, not all of which we’d choose if we had the option, and there’s a lot of pressure during the two and a half weeks of frenzied exams where 17 and 18 year olds cram two years of learning into slots of intense writing.

One of the things I appreciate as an adult, however, was having to study poetry as part of the English curriculum. I’m not a great lover of poetry and never have been, but snatches of poems I studied in school come back to me at odd times. One in particular is a line from “Advent”, a poem by Patrick Kavanagh, which is is the title of this post. I don’t ‘do’ advent and it only struck me that this poem is apposite for the time of year when I looked it up.

It resonates with me whenever I feel the pressure of consumption weighing a little too heavily on me, in particular when I try to organise all the stuff in our house which feels like an ongoing process I’ll be doing forever. No matter how we limit what comes in and get rid of what’s here that shouldn’t be, it never ends.

Limiting our consumption has been really helpful though. Closing the chink of excess has helped me to enjoy a call from our local library telling me a book I requested weeks ago is finally available. I used to just click and buy without thinking whenever a book seemed interesting. Now I’m learning to wait and wonder what it will be like, and I find that process works so much better than getting it immediately.

Through a chink too wide there comes in no wonder

Snow Day Joys

The beast from the east is en route. Work is cancelled. Going outside the house is cancelled as of now. Thankfully we braved the cold for a bracing work this morning. I’m currently feeling very grateful for electricity, internet access, a working heating system and a list of jobs. We’ve decluttered one room and have more jobs for tomorrow, as there’s not a whole lot else we can do.

Fighting the clutter is a constant battle. Another box of stuff which once seemed important is destined for people who might appreciate it more than we do. It’s kind of nice to have a day where you have to stay inside and you’ve time to think about and do things you’ve had on the long finger.

Tomorrow, my books will get a going over, prompted by the discovery of a library book I renewed because I couldn’t find it the last time I went to the local library. I’ve books to finish and old favourites to revisit. I just hope the heating holds out.

Snow Day Joys