Thursday, July 11, 2013

Backyards, Bees, Buttons and Having Husbo At Home!

This little creative space of mine has been so neglected lately. There is no very good reason for that, just the days slipping so quickly past us and a dodgy camera cord (blogging without photos seems a little boring!)

I guess the big news for us is that Nath finishes full time work on the 19th of this month, and then only has two weeks of part-time work until he is done for good! This is a hugely exciting change for us, as it will free up so much time for us to work together on our goals and family values, work in the garden, produce more of our food from home and enjoy our children growing up. Nath and I will both be studying - Nath will completing his Masters in Mental Health Science, and I will be commencing a new Bachelor course in Sustainability. We will be living on Austudy and Family Tax benefits and making do with what we have. It will be tough, but we have been doing a lot to prepare and we feel we are up to the challenge!

One of the biggest things we have been working on is transforming our backyard from an expanse of resource-thirsty lawn into a landscape capable of producing much of our own food. We have been dipping our toes into the principles of permaculture (and loving the learning around this!) and have created a series of raised, no dig garden beds around mulched garden paths. Most of the materials we used were 'found materials' - horse manure and used straw from a friend's farm, newspaper and cardboard from our local recycling skips, bricks for garden edging from Freecycle, and compost, leaf litter and chicken manure from our own garden. Nath and a good friend built a fence from recycled copper logs, chicken wire and old timber palings from the property's original boundary fence. This fence will (hopefully) keep our free-ranging chickens out of the food producing section of our garden, allowing them access to the orchard and most other parts of the yard.

Before we began, after killing most of the grass off over summer.

Starting the paths with free mulch from the local tip.

Two of the beds built up and waiting to compost down.

Two gorgeous garden helpers.

One side of the garden, done.

Mum watering in the mulch on the newest bed.

Backyard landscaping complete, ready for planting.

Our new fire pit.

Nath building the fence with some 'helpers'.

So cheap and so rustic!
 Speaking of chickens, our chooks are all co-residing happily in the big pen at the back now, free-ranging during the day, and the temporary pen has been dismantled in readiness for the arrival of our mama goat and her baby. We culled all of the roosters except one, and he has taken to his role of flock caretaker with relish. We are being rewarded for our love of these dear creatures with four to six eggs a day.

We are extending our 'livestock', as I have written about before. This week, I ordered our first swarm of bees and a beehive to house them in. We are all very excited about this, especially Eden, who is now a bee 'expert' after spending a term at kindy learning all about them. Hopefully our buzzy friends will be joining us in November. Our mama goat and her yet-to-be-born baby are due here in September.

In other news, I recently took part in a Button Swap that was held over at lovely Taz's blog Butter and Buntings. My swap partner is not a blogger, so I can't link to her, but she perhaps should be! She is a beautifully creative person, and the sister of a very beautiful friend of mine, and I would like to share with you some of the loveliness she put into my bundle of buttons. (I'm afraid my return parcel wasn't nearly as pretty or creative, so I won't share photos of that!)

So beautifully packaged.

So many buttons! All stitched onto vintage-inspired card.

I absolutely love these wooden buttons! So cute!

My button collection has never looked so pretty!

Thanks, Taz, for the fantastic swap, and thanks, Erin for my beautiful buttons!


  1. Such pretty buttons! I cant wait to see how you use them! Your garden is looking great. Reminds me of our house in south africa. Such a great garden for your kids to grow up in. xx

    1. Thanks, Taz! Yes i was very spoilt by Erin with the button swap!
      We do love our garden, it feels very magical, and reminds me of my grandfather's garden, which was always a very special place for me as a child. I hope our kids look back on this place with fond memories when they are older.

  2. Hooray your back!!! i am loving all the progress pics of your garden, makes me think about doing more in our little patch of earth :) looking forward to hearing about your bees and goats when they arrive. glad you like the buttons, i really enjoyed putting the little bundle together for you, and thank you for my little button stash- all in a very cute and handy little tin. xo

    1. Hi Erin,
      You are very welcome! I'm sure Colleen prob told you that when I saw your gorgeous packaging, I had a little panic attack! It was so beautiful, I was a bit ashamed at mine!
      The fire pit is great, but after a night of using it for a few hours it has become clear it will need some cementing to reinforce it. One of Nath's projects for when he finishes work!

  3. oh, and i am jealous of your fire pit- looks amazing, could just imagine you guys chilling by the fire, brewing tea and cooking damper :)


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