Tuesday, 31 July 2007

Herbs and Herb Gardening

Mary, Mary, quite contrary,
How does your garden grow?
With silver bells and cockle shells,
And pretty maids all in a row.


What are herbs?

According to The Herb Society of America's New Encyclopedia of Herbs and Their Uses:

The term "herb" also has more than one definition. Botanists describe an herb as a small, seed bearing plant with fleshy, rather than woody, parts (from which we get the term "herbaceous"). In this book, the term refers to a far wider range of plants. In addition to herbaceous perennials, herbs include trees, shrubs, annuals, vines, and more primitive plants, such as ferns, mosses, algae, lichens, and fungi. They [herbs] are valued for their flavor, fragrance, medicinal and healthful qualities, economic and industrial uses, pesticidal properties, and coloring materials (dyes).




Flowers Vines Shrubs and Mandrakes in a Medieval Herb Garden


Herbs are some of the easiest plants to grow and the most cost effective. I once noticed that fresh bundles of herbs were selling for $2.99 per 25 g at my local supermarket. That's $120 per kilo!

They can be lovely flowering plants; roses, lavender, borage, nasturtiums and flowering sages are all classed as herbs. The scent of herbs growing on a hot day is one of the delights of summer. I also love the sense of self-sufficiency I get from popping out into the garden for a bunch of parsley or a few sprigs of rosemary.

Herbs will often grow in difficult spots. For instance, mints (such as peppermint, spearmint and Vietnamese mint) will grow in dark, damp shady corners, and Mediterranean herbs such as oregano and rosemary will grow in hot, dry, rocky places where other plants merely wilt. Herbs are also a great choice for those who only have space for potted plants. I do not have a designated herb garden; I pop them in wherever there is a suitable gap.

Herbs can be effective companion plants. They can attract beneficial insects and deter unwanted ones. The list of good companion herbs in Roger Mann's A Practical Guide to Organic Gardening (1998) includes:

borage with strawberries

French marigolds with tomatoes, roses, potatoes, daffodils and beans

basil with tomatoes

mint with brassicas and peas

garlic with roses, apples, aprocots and peaches

nasturtiums with cucurbits and apple trees

sage with brassicas

thyme with brassicas

hyssop with cabbages and grapes

horseradish with fruit trees

Flowers Vines Shrubs and Mandrakes in a Medieval Herb Garden
Here is a list of herbs I have growing currently in my temperate-climate suburban garden (during winter).

chives (which have died back over winter but that should come back in the Spring)
parsley
sage
pineapple sage
rosemary
lemon thyme
celeriac (I use the leaves in place of celery.)
oregano
sweet marjoram
lemon balm (died back during the drought but just beginning to reshoot)
several varieties of mint
lavender
bergamot
coriander (cilantro)
rocket (arugula)
nasturtiums (self-seeded and not in flower yet)
tarragon

garlic (I leave the bulbs in the ground and eat the greens)
roses and lavender

I also have a baby bay tree in a pot, for bay leaves.

In the Spring I will plant:

dill
several varieties of basil
chillis
chervil

I would like to plant borage, wormwood and soapwort but do not know where to buy them.



Herb garden with sundial, Cranborne Manor, Dorset, England


I am fascinated by the history of herbs and the mystical lore surrounding them that has been passed down through the ages. This passage about lemon balm from Culpeper's Complete Herbal, c. 1659, for example, combines astrology, a recipe, a method of preservation, and some history.

It is an herb of Jupiter, and under Cancer, and strengthens nature much in all its actions. Let a syrup made with the juice of it and sugar ... be kept in every gentlewoman's house to relieve the weak stomachs and sick bodies of their poor and sickly neighbours; as also the herb kept dry in the house, that so with other convenient simples, you may make it into an electuary with honey ... The Arabian physicians have extolled the virtues thereof to the skies; although the Greeks thought it not worth mentioning.

An 'electuary' is a form of medicine made of conserves and powders, in the consistency of honey.

Some ancient and medieval claims for herbs are now being verified by scientists and even used by the pharmaceutical industry; others have been shown to be literally 'old wives' tales' but are interesting nonetheless.


The herb garden of Altdorf University, Switzerland

Here is a picture of my newest herb, feverfew, which I will plant out today. Feverfew is known as the migraine herb, and is also thought to benefit those suffering from arthritis. I am keen to learn more about the medicinal properties of herbs, especially lesser known varieties.

Do you grow herbs in your garden? Which ones do you grow?


feverfew
images not taken by me come from allposters.com

Sunday, 29 July 2007

Camberwell Sunday Market

old clocks


This morning I visited Camberwell Sunday Market, a Melbourne institution. This weekly market runs until midday most Sundays of the year. Entry is a gold coin donation and the market raises funds for the Balwyn Rotary Club. It has raised over $7 000 000 since 1976. This was my first visit in several years and while I did not buy anything I really enjoyed having a browse.

There is an enormous range of stalls. Although there are fast food vendors it is not a food market. There are specialist sellers of old records, bric-a-brac, books, clocks, hand-made buttons, plants and any number of varieties of second-hand goods.



Felted baby shoes. Adorable.


This lady was selling babies' jumpers hand-knitted out of recycled wool. Some looked felted and so would be very warm. She also sold the felted baby shoes in the picture above. This stall tempted me most; I may well have bought some of her goods had my children been smaller.


Chess sets




Hand-made soaps. Soap-making is on my list of things I would like to try this year.



This gentleman looked so funny manning his stall with his pink, fluffy hat and vintage hexagonal quilt that I asked him if I might take a photo.

Friday, 27 July 2007

Homemade Spray-and-Wipe Cleaner





Here is the recipe for my favourite homemade multi-purpose cleaner. You can buy spray bottles or re-use old, washed spray bottles that have held commercial cleaners. I store my cleaner in 3 litre milk jugs and funnel it into a smaller spray bottle when necessary. The original recipe came from Sydney Pemberton's How to Clean Practically Anything, Choice Books, 1997.

Ingredients

4 L (about 6-7 pints) hot water
2 T cloudy ammonia
125 ml (4 fl. oz) white vinegar
2 T bicarb. soda
2-3 drops essential oil of your choice. I use lavender or orange.
2 T dish detergent

Method

Pour hot water into a bucket and mix in all the ingredients. Allow to cool and store.

Use as an all-purpose cleaner for kitchen and bathroom surfaces.

Happy Cleaning!




image from googleimages

Thursday, 26 July 2007

Winter Decorating

Yesterday and today have been warm, almost Spring-like, and I felt like bringing some of the outdoors in. Unfortunately, there are few flowers in my mid-Winter garden, so I filled a clear, plain crystal vase with magnolia twigs for the table in our entry. The curved table is engraved with roses and I covered it with a cut-out linen cloth also embroidered with flowers. I added a small, clear glass bowl full of seashells to remind me of Summer.

The only shrub flowering at present is one camellia; the Summer drought prevented many plants from setting buds. I cut some blossoms and floated them in a silver bowl on my dining room table. Pretty and very simple.

Wednesday, 25 July 2007

Dessert

Home-baked lemon meringue pie using the second-last lemon from our tree.

Tuesday, 24 July 2007

Something I Found in a Cookbook

Inside the Ladies' Home Journal Cookbook (1960) that I posted on yesterday I was fascinated to find a little flyer for a Nestle's Luncheon Demonstration, dating from the late 60s or early 70s, that my grandmother must have used as a bookmark. I am posting the menu because I find it fascinating. (You can click on the menu to make it larger if the image is unclear.) The menu and all the recipes that follow in the pamphlet use lots of processed Nestle ingredients. Homemakers were being encouraged to move with the times and include the "superior quality and flavour" of processed, packaged foods in their family's diet.

I was raised on Nescafe coffee. When I was a little girl in the late 1970s I remember my mother thinking it strange that a new neighbour from Germany made coffee from ground beans instead of using the easier, instant coffee that everyone else drank. Yet cookbooks I have from the 1950s all show how to make coffee from beans. Now I grind my own beans each morning. How times change! So many people are now shifting back to less-processed and home-grown foods.

I love how little peripheral items such as someone's choice of bookmark can tell us so much about the times in which they lived.
The poster at the top of this post advertises Nestle's infant milk and translates as "Nestle's Milk You Can Recognise a Nestle's Baby, One in a Thousand!" Ironically, Nestle is infamous for its provision of infant milk to third-world mothers, and the starvation that followed. Many people boycott Nestle products because they deem them unethical. I had a look at the Nestle site and was astounded at the range of brands sold in Australia that are owned by Nestle. They include Maggi, Lean Cuisine, Wonka, Carnation, Milo, Allen's lollies, Peter's Ice Cream, Ski Yogurt and Uncle Toby's.

Monday, 23 July 2007

YOUR KITCHEN and you

This is the title of Chapter 17 of The Ladies' Home Journal Cookbook (1960). The cookbook belonged to my grandmother. I think she bought it when she travelled to the US in the early 1960s. I love this chapter. I love how they talk about technology such as dishwashers and frost-free refrigerators that didn't reach Australia until many years later. And I love the kitchens. They are so incredibly modern yet adorably retro.

Every time I talk to someone who has just renovated their house I ask them about their kitchen. Glass splashback or tiles? Stone, granite or laminate benchtops? Wall oven or range? While I am overall very happy with my life, I do fantasise about one day having a brand new, designed for me kitchen. I spend about 90% of my life there, after all.
"Modern kitchen in the old New England Home of a retired Admiral retains atmosphere while it stresses convenience, with it's center gas cooking and eating area."

Look at that dishwasher with laminate to match the cabinetry. I thought that was a recent idea. Love that curved island bench. I do wonder whether the elderly admiral ever entered the kitchen, or whether it was his wife's domain.

"Daylight flooding through the window of this silvery-tone natural wood kitchen yields at night to harmonious illumination from fixtures plus strategically placed lights at each working area."

Are those benchtops glass? They look fabulous.

"Creative cooking for every occasion in this pink and walnut kitchen with its eye-level twin oven, surface units and charcoal rotisserie."
This one is amazing. A double, pink wall oven. Oh my!

Sunday, 22 July 2007

Things That Lift the Spirits

Blue, after a week of grey.

Washing drying gently outside.

Books to read.

Two small boys I can hear playing dress-ups rowdily and happily.

The welcome we received this morning as new official members of our new church.

Chocolate coconut slice I made for my daughter to take on a play date this afternoon. Grade 5 is learning about Asia at school, so Miss 10 and some friends spent the afternoon watching a Bollywood film belonging to an Indian classmate. This little girl is so proud to be sharing her heritage. The girls are going to learn an Indian dance to perform at school together.

Saturday, 21 July 2007

An Unusually Quiet House

Our house has been strangely and unusually silent nearly all day. The three eldest children are immersed in the latest Harry Potter book and have been reading quietly, only emerging from their chosen corners to ask, "Where are you up to?" or "What do you think about ...?"

Whatever the critics say about the quality of the Harry Potter series, it has done more to encourage young children to attempt big, thick books than any other. My eight year old read The Lord of the Rings trilogy a couple of months ago and enjoyed it, and I think much of his reading confidence comes from having read and re-read the Harry Potter books. I am looking forward to the opportunity to read The Deathly Hallows myself. For years I have been a huge Severus Snape fan and am convinced that he will redeem himself. I have argued this at length at parties, hockey games, any occasion really -- yes, I know, truly tragic -- so I have a lot at stake. I will be bitterly disappointed if he proves to be as evil as he seems.

This afternoon I snuck out to the quilt shop whilst my husband was having a nap with our littlest boy and the other kids were absorbed in their books. I chose batting for my quilt, and this gorgeous paisley Liberty fabric for the back. The binding will be the striped fabric I used for the inner border. I bought my first quilting thread (LOVE that it comes on an old-fashioned wooden reel), and my very first, golden thimble.

Friday, 20 July 2007

Coffee, Bing and Me

I am buzzing from a caffeine overdose, having had three strong cups (one at home, two out) and chocolate this morning. It was my friend Tina's birthday yesterday, so I took her and our two little boys to Koko Black for a celebratory morning tea. Koko Black is a chain of six Melbourne cafes that only sell coffee and chocolate. They have an on-site chocolatier who makes the chocolate. When you order a capuccino it comes with a little cup of couverture chocolate shavings to sprinkle on top. Yum!

Whilst at the shops I continued my search for a Bing Crosby CD, with no success. My father was an enormous Bing fan and I listened to him throughout my childhood. At the time I loathed his music and was embarrassed that my father was so old-fashioned. Since Dad died, every time I hear any Bing it brings tears to my eyes and I would love to get some of his music, but can't find any anywhere. I would love to play it in the background as I potter around the house.

Today I would like to try to get on top of some of the mountains of laundry that are accumulating here. It has been impossible to dry anything outdoors for over a week and the indoor airers can't cope with the quantity of washing generated by our family of six. I may have to use the dryer today so that we can all have clean clothes for the weekend. I am also hoping to start decluttering my pantry. We have a walk-in pantry that also stores lots of non-food items, such as light bulbs and batteries.

Bad weather is a good opportunity to get some of these indoor chores done. I feel much more relaxed in an uncluttered environment.

Something not to do: Drop the vacuum cleaner on your sock-covered foot when you have chilblains from the cold. How do I know this? Let's just say that I am still limping. Ouch!

I hope you all have a great weekend!

Thursday, 19 July 2007

My Morning

This morning I had a mammogram and breast ultrasound. I had them not because I can feel a lump, but because my mother and grandmother both had breast cancer, so I am at an increased risk.

I would encourage every woman to learn to perform a breast self-examination. A tutorial can be found here, or you can google 'breast self examination'. If you are still unsure, have your doctor teach you the next time you go for a checkup. Any suspicious lumps are worth having checked with a scan; you are never foolish for being over-careful in this matter.

I am passionate about encouraging women to be vigilant in checking their breasts and having scans when necessary. Why? In Australia, breast scans are free for women over 50. My mother could not feel her tumour, which was about the size of a pea, but thanks to early diagnosis at a free scan she is alive now, 12 years later. After her experience of cancer, Mum encouraged all her friends to have mammograms also. One of them was only in her forties. Despite no symptoms, she discovered she had breast cancer too. Her cancer was more aggressive than my mother's and she was sick for a long time, but she too is alive today. Her husband told me recently that he credits my mother with saving her life.

So please, my dear readers, give yourself a breast examination today. Do it for yourself, for your husbands, and for your children.

Thank you for reading. I'll step off my soapbox now.

Oh, I should tell you, my scans today were clear. And I am very thankful.

image from allposters.com

Wednesday, 18 July 2007

The Cupboard Under the Stairs

Warning: The following post contains no pictures of home-baked goods, colourful quilt blocks, or vintage art works. Sensitive, houseproud viewers may wish to avert their eyes.

Today I did it. Something that I have been avoiding for a long time. Yes, I cleaned out the cupboard under the stairs.

Many people have a junk room; in this house we have the cupboard under the stairs, graveyard for appliance boxes, sporting equipment, extension cords, backpacks, sleeping bags out of their covers since someone's last sleepover, miscellaneous other camping equipment, old heaters, wrapping paper, my wedding dress in a box ... and lots more. I avoid cleaning this cupboard because it has a low ceiling and I inevitably bang my head a few times going in and out.

Today was raining again so I said a quick prayer, set my timer for 15 minutes, and started cleaning. Funnily enough, once I removed all the boxes, re-covered the sleeping bags and sorted out all the wrapping paper the task was not too onerous. I probably only spent about 45 minutes cleaning and tidying. Isn't it amazing how most jobs we procrastinate over actually take less time than expected?

I told my Harry Potter-mad 8 year old that now the cupboard is clean he can have his own bedroom at last, just like Harry's. He was quite pleased until he realised I was kidding.

Before

After

Tuesday, 17 July 2007

I've Finished My Quilt Top!


It is a cold, wet day: great quilting weather! This morning I finished my quilt top, the first major sewing project I have ever attempted. I am so excited to have done this and have learnt a lot from the process.
The finished quilt will measure about 4 ft by 5 ft. The next step is to choose binding and backing fabrics and buy cotton batting for the filling.


corner detail

Monday, 16 July 2007

Afternoon Tea Picnic

Today my daughter had netball training after school and I was the parent on duty. The girls are trained by teenagers and are required to have an attending adult. I packed a picnic afternoon tea for my two youngest boys to eat while we watched.


I love the play of winter light on the rough, dimpled bark of this old, old gum tree at the school.

I was well prepared with food, knitting, my library book and water bottles.
We found a bench in the sun, but it was too cold to knit. The wind felt as if it blew straight from the Antarctic. The boys played on the school climbing equipment and I read, glancing up occasionally to observe the training session.
A relaxing afternoon, but we are glad to be home in our warm house.

Sunday, 15 July 2007

School Tomorrow

School resumes tomorrow, so tonight we are getting ready.

Baking. Today I am making fruit balls, cheese, corn and bacon muffins, and an apricot muesli slice, for the week's lunchboxes.

Ironing: uniforms, work shirts, and everything else that needs it. I don't iron stretch fabrics or sheets, but I do like to iron tea towels and my white cotton pillowcases.


And finally, we clean the shoes ready to go.

Saturday, 14 July 2007

Bloggers for Positive Global Change

Yesterday I was tagged by Jenny for a Bloggers for Positive Global Change Award. Here are 5 bloggers whom I believe are changing the world for the better. I am sure there are many others.

1. I know Jenny picked her, but I would also like to recommend Natalie from Isabella in the 21st Century. She blends home-making tips and recipes with a conviction that home-making itself can be a subversive act.

2. Rhonda Jean, from Down to Earth, has long been an inspiration for me. I first came across her at the Aussies Living Simply web forum she hosts under the name of Forest. She is incredibly generous in sharing her wisdom and ideas.

3. Anna at Pleasant View Schoolhouse always inspires with her beautiful photographs of her life as a home-schooling mother of five in America. Her skill as a seamstress is amazing.

4. Sara, from Walk Slowly Live Wildly is a mother of one who has chosen to downsize, first from a house to a tiny flat, then from the flat to a van in which she, her husband and her daughter, will travel the US promoting her environmental and Christian message.

5. Lastly, for several years I have followed Linda Cockburn as, first, she and her family tried to live totally self-sufficiently on their 1/2 acre in Queensland, then later, moved to a larger block in Tasmania to be even more self-sufficient.

Friday, 13 July 2007

A Trip to the Library and an Award

So far today I have made one quilt block in colours chosen by my daughter and her friend, done one load of laundry (which is still in the machine because the day is showery), fed miscellaneous hungry children, and taken my four plus one extra to the library. They are all content temporarily with their library books and DVDs, so I have a few moments to blog.

I love the library. Today I borrowed George Eliot's Daniel Deronda, Philippa Gregory's The Queen's Fool, Jennifer Chiaverini's The Master Quilter, and a couple of quilting/patchwork magazines. I have lots of lovely hours of reading and musing ahead of me.

I arrived home to discover that Jenny of little jenny wren has nominated me for a Bloggers for Positive Global Change Award, which involves naming 5 blogs I recommend that are making a difference. I feel honoured but terribly unworthy. I mean, read yesterday's post for an example of non-positive global activity. What's worse, my 13 year old son's aims in life are to become a billionaire and own a new luxury car with leather seats and a leather-covered steering wheel. I hang my head in shame. I think my husband may be edging towards buying a flat-screen TV next year. Sob, sob.

On the other hand, if I can make small positive changes in my suburban home, so can anyone. By consuming less and making more, by sharing our excess, we can all make a difference. I believe strongly, along with Jenny, that we are not merely the sum of our earning and consuming capacities and that all lives are a gift. A lot of small changes do add up. As the saying goes, the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. I also believe that the greatest pleasure is found in simple activities and in loving human relationships.

We can create beauty and in so doing bless those around us in many ways; by preparing a meal from scratch and sharing it with friends and family; by growing some of our own food and letting a child assist; by making things for our homes that may be imperfect but are an expression of our personalities; by telling someone that we value them; by creating rituals and traditions that enhance our lives and the lives of those around us.
The children need me now so I must end this post. I'll have a think overnight and present my five chosen blogs tomorrow.

Thursday, 12 July 2007

A Tired Mother

I am feeling particularly tired and delicate today. A bout of end-of-school-holidayitis?

This morning we went to the movies with another family at one of those stress-inducing mega-shopping/cinema/bowling/everything-else-under-the-sun complexes. Some of us saw Harry Potter and some saw Nancy Drew. The other mother had brought snacks for her children, so, feeling guilty for not having done the same (I don't usually buy snacks at the movies; we just have water-bottles), I made a last-minute dash into the supermarket and bought some violently-coloured iced doughnuts and a six-pack of flavoured milk to smuggle into the cinema for my own kids. I have since decided that all that artificial colouring was not a good thing. Everyone, including me, has been ratty this afternoon, and I didn't even eat the doughnuts.

Talking about snacks, I suspect if I had been a really good, thrifty, health-conscious mother I would have made some wonderfully healthy treats last night and not needed to buy anything at all whilst out. Here is a recipe for healthy fruit balls that is popular at our house.

Fruit Balls or Slice

1/2 C chopped dried apricots
1/2 C chopped dates
1 C currants or raisins
1/2 C water
1 C skim milk powder
1 C almond kernels, skin on or off is fine
1/2 C desiccated coconut
1C rolled oats or natural muesli

desiccated coconut, extra

Combine dried fruit with water in a small saucepan; bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer gently for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Cool.

Meanwhile, grind all dry ingredients in a food processor or hand grinder until well combined and finely chopped. Combine in a large bowl with fruit mixture and mix well -- I usually use my hands to do this as the mixture is quite stiff.

Roll mixture into balls, then roll in extra coconut. Refrigerate 30 minutes until set.

Alternatively, roll into logs, then roll whole logs in coconut. Refrigerate then slice.

image from allposters.com

Wednesday, 11 July 2007

Simple Pleasures

This past day has been lovely. A long phone conversation last night with a friend from long ago in another city. A visit this morning from a newer friend.

Sunshine and wind for outside drying of clothes.

A little more patchwork.

And tonight my daughter will play her clarinet in a concert for the first time.

Tuesday, 10 July 2007

Quilt Blocks

















Here are the five blocks I have made so far for my quilt. I made lots of mistakes with the first couple of blocks (the top two), especially as I didn't even know how to use my sewing machine properly. The stitch unpicker was my best friend. I am, however, getting more efficient now, and better at lining everything up when I sew the blocks together. I can see that this hobby could get quite addictive!

The two 'picture' blocks will be in the middle of the quilt with the other ten around them, separated by blocks of another fabric (which I haven't chosen yet). The blocks will be on the diagonal on the finished quilt. There will be a narrow spotty border then a wider floral border.
Postscript: I bought most of the fabric for this quilt new, simply because, being a new sewer, I don't have an existing fabric stash. I am looking forward to finding second-hand fabric sources (such as some of my kids' worn out clothes, old sheets, op./thrift shops, etc.) as time goes by. If you have any tips for sourcing secondhand and inexpensive new fabric/sewing supplies could you let me know? Thanks in advance.

Monday, 9 July 2007

8 Things Meme

Kris has tagged me for this 8 things meme. I have to write 8 things about myself.


1. I have dark red hair and greenish hazel eyes. When I was in my late teens I was frequently told I looked like Anne of Green Gables. One day, when I was at work in a bakery, a Canadian customer began raving about how much I looked like Anne, in front of my boss and several other customers. She said she wanted to take me back to Canada to show me to all her friends. Megan of Bag End Hobbits used to say that B, whom I later married, was my Gil.

2. Like Anne, I loathed being told I had 'orange' or carroty hair. I was also rather proud of my nose.

3. I have a brother who is just on 11 months younger than me. We had never heard of any siblings as close in age to us until we read the Trixie Belden books and discovered that Trixie and Martin (I think) Belden were 11 months apart too.

4. When we were 9 or 10 years old my brother and I desperately wanted to have a real-life adventure. We were immersed in Enid Blyton, Trixie Belden, Nancy Drew, The Three Investigators -- you name it, we read it. We looked for clues everywhere. One day we saw a boy from down the street get into a car we didn't recognise. We raced home to tell our mother, convinced he had been kidnapped. He hadn't, of course.

5. I got married at 21, whilst still an undergraduate. B was 26. My uni friends thought I was crazy getting married so young but I don't regret it one bit.

6. My favourite colour is green, and I like to have little bits of it everywhere. I go by nature's rule that green goes with everything.

7. My favourite dessert as a child was lemon meringue pie. My mother made it occasionally for very special guests. Lemon meringue pie is also my daughter's favourite dessert. I can't tell you what my favourite dessert is now because I have tasted too many good desserts in my lifetime.

8. I refuse to do duty recreational reading now. There is no 'must read' for me anymore. I no longer set myself reading lists of important or worthy fictional books, unless I think I will like them. Life is too short, and too full of books I will love, to be spent on novels I don't like. I won't even finish books for my book group if I don't like them. I hardly ever buy books anymore; I just get them from the library or sometimes from an op shop. Books have to earn their place on my shelves. I am going to buy a book later this month, however. If I mention the initials 'HP' you can guess what it will be.

Any readers of this blog are welcome to consider themselves as tagged for this meme.

Sunday, 8 July 2007

Winter Garden After Rain: July

lemon

magnolia buds


a happy hen



bird of paradise
After the terrible drought of the past few years, the rain we are now experiencing makes my heart sing. We have still not managed to reach an 'average' month's total this year, but July has begun well. Everything is turning green again and I am eagerly anticipating a Spring where deeply damp soil means lush growth.