Category Archives: Uncategorized

Western screen progress

Some time ago we dug up the grass along the western fenceline and planted buddleias as a screen. A little more than a year on, and we have a thriving bushy spot which is just lovely to be in.

The tags on these plants said they were a dwarf variety (which I failed to notice when purchasing), and I was afraid they wouldn’t do the job they were put there to do. No fear, even dwarves grow tall around here!

Tree spiral rethink

Last year we put some “tree spirals” up on the hill. The idea was that a tree grows in the middle, and other plants grow around it in a spiral of decreasing height. Part of the trick is getting the spiral to follow the slope of the hill. Here’s the first one we put in:

First attempt at a tree spiral, back in April 2013

Last year it was assumed that the plants that grew would keep the dirt in place with their roots. A few small rocks we plonked in, but not much was done to try to maintain a level.

Eighteen months on, and the spiral has pretty much degraded:


I think the elm is really suffering from a lack of water and nutrients; it hardly grew at all last year. The dirt is pretty hard and the slope lets the water just run off.

Just on the bottom right of that picture above there’s a rock. It’s next to the stone steps. The rock has suggested what needs to happen here. We need to build a few little rock walls coming away from the steps, and back-fill behind them with good composted soil.

Of course, there is one thing that’s improved. By letting the grass grow on the hill, we’ve allowed the soil to retain a bit more moisture – and we’re no longer having to use the mattock to dig it up.


Good lavender, bad lavender

There’s good lavender and bad lavender. Bad lavender grows out into a spindly mess if you don’t chop it back. Good lavender stays as a nice compact bush all by itself.

For propagating, we’ll use the one on the right. The flowers are a nice colour, too.


New car

It took a month of wrangling with banks and dodgy credit providers, but we finally got that ute we’ve been talking about for years now.

Whole family gets +1 happiness – even Bo-bos.


Dead car

Off to Kallista to visit the market and do some grocery shopping. We’re on foot, because the car really is dead this time. Oh well, we squeezed another six months of life out of it.



Tried to get R to do a sad face. Maybe kick the tyre or something. He seems intent on being happy, though, stubborn child.


We’ve talked about getting rid of piles of bark from the garden, but never shown what we do with it. So here it is. In the winter, we can put a little bundle of twigs and one of these bark bundles in the fire, and it starts first time every time.



That nice big ball of jute twine was particularly difficult to get. The shops only seemed to carry the 50m versions, which wasn’t going to be enough. And they’re charging $3 for it. You can get bigger rolls of twine online, but they all seem to come from these crafting web sites who want to charge an arm and a leg for it. You know, because it’s for craft. We ended up finding a lady on gumtree selling these 600m balls for $6.

We pop the bark on the plastic bag and roll it up like sushi.

M turns 40

The weekend of the 5th and 6th of April was pretty good for M. S disappeared with R on a long mysterious trip to ‘pick something up’.

The time was used productively to make a little fuchsia garden at the top of the meadow stair. Hopefully they’ll grow tall and bushy and the big log behind them will disappear.


The fuchsias came from a guy at Kallista market. We were there Saturday morning, and had a good sit down and coffee-drinking session with Tim and Jodie.

After making the fuchsia garden M lounged on the couch with an organic ginger beer and generally enjoyed the sunny afternoon light coming in the window. But: who should turn up but some mystery guests from Perth!


Even R managed to keep it a complete secret!

S pulled out all the stops and took everyone to Woods in Sherbrooke.

Crazy Sean and Shelley flew home the next morning, but Sean at least promised to come back for a proper holiday. Another long trip to the airport meant that M was home alone again on the Sunday, and more productivity was achieved in the garden with bark and twigs tidied up, hydrangeas planted, and weeds pulled.