Monday, 17 September 2012

Suffering Citrus!

Geez! If the plants could talk around here....they would be screaming out for help!
I'm getting better at gardening, but I'm still not very good, still learning, and 'winging it' most of the time. But really, to be honest, you've got to be bold and do something drastic before you really get my attention.
Dropping all your leaves in a slow but deathly downward spiral will surely do it for you!
This is the lime - those spindly stick things are the branches that have been doing the leaf shedding.
The lemon isn't as bad as the lime, but I was reading a book the other day that characterised lemons as having 'glossy dark green leaves'...hmmmm....
Given this display, it was time to move them to a more sheltered position. This has been a bit hard up until now, as we haven't really had any safe 'pockets' to shelter plants that little bit more. But after the lime has up and lost 70% of its leaves (it did do something similar last year and recovered - so fingers crossed it will come around), Hubby and I started scouting around for another position. Interestingly the oranges and mandarins are OK and aren't suffering as much as the lemon and lime are.

The old position. They were too far away from the wattle wind break and were in a quite exposed position.

So we settled on the little garden near the kids play area that is protected a bit more from the severe winds and more protected from frost. This spot will allow us to cover the trees better for frost season as well. Being closer to the house and near the kids play area, I'm hoping the boys of the house may be able to 'tinkle' on the trees a little more regularly than is currently occurring.

After preparing the soil with some of the mushroom compost we picked up at Yass, we re-planted the trees in the area that I am hoping will be a bit kinder to them. I am not entirely sure I have transplanted them at the right time - there is no new spring growth yet, so I think I am OK, heck there might not be any new growth! - although some books have suggested that I move the trees at the end of spring. I'm taking a gamble and hopefully it will work and we will get some more fresh lemons in the near future.

Oh and as an aside, I need to apologise for the quality of my pictures lately. Our kids destroyed our camera with some icky sticky goo that has stuck the lens cover shut and has also seeped its way into the internal mechanisms making it highly unreliable. So we are relying on our phone cameras...which just aren't very good. Hopefully we will rectify the problem shortly :)

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

A time of firsts

First plum blossoms
The first day of spring came around and what a morning it was! Very close to -8C, the coldest morning we have had since moving out here - and the water tank pipes froze! So that meant no water for us. Our youngest daughter came running into our bedroom and flung the curtains back to excitedly exclaim 'SNOW!' at the top of her lungs.  Must admit it looked very close to snow. Hubby braved the cold (OK I pushed him out!) to go over to our other tank to fill up the kettle for a cuppa and he reported back that there were actual icicles coming out of the hose!

Lucky for us we had the fire going and the house was warm and toasty. After so much hassle getting this thing in and approved we were very grateful for the warmth. I fall asleep most nights in front of the fire.
We recently built our first wood shed with very kindly donated tin from our next door neighbour. This also meant that I got my greenhouse back when all the wood could be moved in.
And here is our veggie garden as of this beautiful bright sunshiny day. We recently harvested our first lot of winter veggies from the garden. It has been so cold this winter that nothing really grew much. The broccoli and shallots are from the garden and the potatoes and carrots are from the greenhouse.
In anticipation of spring, and also reviving the garden, I have been planting out some seedlings in the greenhouse.
These are my herbs - Chamomile, Thyme, Mint, Marjoram and Basil. As the Basil was closest to the wall, it actually got hit by the -8C frost we had. It didn't completely die and has started to reshoot green tips so all the work wasn't lost.
These are my pumpkin, rockmelon, watermelon and loofah seedlings, although the loofah seeds haven't come up yet.
Here are my tomato seedlings. This year I am growing Roma, Grosse Lisse, Mortgage Lifter, Money Maker, and Sweetie. *May* have gone a little bit overboard :)
In anticipation of the dream of one day getting sheep, we planted some trees at the front of the house so they will provide some shade for them when the trees get bigger. We planted three manchurian pears (I have always wanted some of these trees and finally got my wish). Although they are not edible, they still have purpose - shade for both the sheep and the front rooms of the house in summer, screening the neighbours across the road, beautiful colour in autumn as well as leaves for mulch and composting in the autumn. After much discussion, we have also planted our new little fig tree out the front as well. Hopefully for shade for the sheep and front rooms of the house and fruit as well.
And finally.....TA DA! My first loaf of bread - raisin bread! tastes yummy too!
Time to cross another off my New Years Resolutions:
Make bread from scratch, even if just once.  DONE!
Other firsts in the household - my youngest daughter turned the big 6, my twin bubbys turned 3 and also started preschool (big boys now *sniff*). We opened our bees for the first time since ANZAC Day and - phew! - they are still alive! I am about to embark on a permaculture design certificate in a couple of weekends time and I have almost completed my first semester back at uni and survived to tell the tale! Well - that is at the end of October and a lot can happen between now and then!

Saturday, 4 August 2012

Frog Pond Stage 1

To quote Dale Kerrigan from the Australian cult movie classic 'The Castle':

"I dug a hole"

Yes, folks that's what we did today. We dug a hole. A hole for our new pond to hopefully entice the frogs out of the swimming pool and not to their untimely death. We are also hoping this little pond will encourage more beneficial insects to our little patch of dirt. And more birds and bees. Preferably those that like aphids and the Cherry/Pear slug.

We chose a site up in our orchard near some existing rocks. I am hoping to incorporate these rocks as well as the ones we picked up on Freecycle to create a little rockery and pond combo.

The chooky girls love a good digging 'cause they get a bellyful of worms.

Gotta love child labour :)

And this is where we got to this afternoon. Next on the agenda is rock placement, overlaps and design. We hope to have some fish living in here as well so will need to make sure they have some hidey holes to dive into. I already have a few water plants sitting in a bucket ready to go.  I hope this little project works!

Thursday, 2 August 2012

Passionfruit vines are deciduous, right? And other dreary winter tales

It's OK...deep down I already know the answer to that question *sigh*

I can probably count on one hand the amount of frost free days we have had in the last couple of months really, so it is understandable that the passionfruit is feeling a little cold. We had a -5 here this morning, the third morning this week at -5 and below.

Maybe this is just a self preservation method, and come spring, new growth and flowers will be revealed.

Maybe the vines were just discarding unwanted leaves.

I think it's time to face facts...its dead.

Other dreary winter tales from the place include:

 - a fireplace that is finished, looks fantastic, but can't be used because of some issues with the builder which means we can't get final council approval. I think I feel colder just by looking at an empty fire. On the up though, its almost spring, warm weather will be here shortly, and we will have no need to use it until next year! Joy!

 - a rat has taken up residence in the greenhouse and has decided that lettuce, peas and rocket are his 'thing'. I hate rats.

 - I have only been half-heartedly doing exercise as it is too cold, even in the house! I am just whingeing!

 - I have been hibernating so bad that I haven't even blogged! Can't believe it has been so long!

Bring on the warmth and new life that comes with spring. We need a little cheering up around here.

Saturday, 26 May 2012

What has been going on in our little world

So much has been happening, so much is being planned, so much has been about daydreaming and plans for the future, so much swirling around in my head. Rather than blog each individually I am going to do a summary of what has been going on in our world.

What has been started...
Our fireplace!! Woo hoo!! Although the near freezing daytime temperatures here at the moment would lean perfectly toward a red in front of a blazing fire...I shall have to wait a little longer...but maybe only about a week!

Here is the base!

Hubby has started home brewing and has done two batches so far - a pale ale and a Kilkenny-style beer. The bottling of the first batch started off horribly (faulty tap, beer all over the floor and walls, and free ranging chickens INSIDE the house with crazy screaming kids while we are trying to clean it all up!). We are bottling the second batch tonight - chicken and child free - fingers crossed. 

As  Miss 5yo is off to school next year and the twins will be starting preschool, I have decided to head back to study with the aim of maybe becoming a teacher. Ultimately I would like to work with teaching kids how to grow and cook their own food, and maybe even work with the Stephanie Alexander program in the future. Definitely a work in progress with even a permaculture design course or horticulture course thrown in as well. Hmmm...'cause the prospect of free time with the kids at school just seemed downright quiet and boring!

My first attempt at making 'weed tea' fertiliser. Its very smelly so I am not sure I am doing it right. Need to put some fresh weeds in again and do more research on what it is supposed to look like. Have ambitions to spray this across our block to hopefully aid in soil conditioning. I can only try. 

What I have been collecting...
Free Poo! I finally got around to placing a 'Wanted: Free Poo' sign up at the local Murrumbateman noticeboard in the hope that some nice farmer would allow us to come and collect some free sheep/cow poo for our compost and veggie gardens. Someone rang! So last weekend we went around and collected some free alpaca poo and have placed it in the compost to break down.

What is being planned...
Sheep! Although my Dad has warned me away from them as they can be too much work, we are definitely in the process of turning our front area into Paddock 1, and in time when the fruit trees grow a little more, creating Paddock 2 up the back. My plan is to rotate the sheep through the two paddocks as lawn mowers but also to fertilise and condition the soil. They are not going to be named. Which means, yes, our plan is to kill them for meat. A lot of our friends are betting that we can't do it. I think we can. At this stage I would like to try and prepare the soil better (maybe through some liquid weed/compost tea fertiliser), plus plant some shade trees, and obviously build some fences. I have also been mulling over ideas for a movable sheep shelter (similar to a chook tractor concept) to move to whichever paddock the sheep are in. Nothing concrete yet.

I want some with black faces!

A cellar (or root cellar or larder). We have been considering building a 'pool house' (certainly NOT a second dwelling and hence double the rates, Mr Local Council Inspectors), which potentially a cellar underneath to store beer, wine and produce in more climate controlled conditions. We recently received a quote back from a builder - ridiculously expensive - so the planning and alternatives are shelved still being explored.

Collecting fallen leaves to attempt to make some leaf mould. I have been watching the trees at the recreation grounds and their leaves are starting to turn so it won't be long before the kiddies and I are out with the rakes.

What I have been attending...
I attended the monthly Urban Homesteader's Club last weekend, which was a Soup Swap. I love going to these meetings and speaking with like minded, passionate people. I always come away with so many ideas and suggestions and knowledge swirling around in my head. My latest ploy is to send hubby fishing for some carp to plant under my fruit trees.

What I have been reading...
'Folks, this Ain't Normal' by Joel Salatin of Polyface Farm. Been having a lot of 'Yes!' moments and thinking more about applying some principles to our little piece of dirt. About to read 'The Guernsey and Literary Potato Peel Pie Society' by Mary Anne Shaffer for Book Club.

Hubby has been reading about the health benefits and medicinal applications of honey. I hope the kids and I don't cut or graze ourselves too bad in the near future as I think we are definitely going to be lathered in honey!

What I am cooking...
I have sort of got back on my little 'chemicals are bad' bandwagon and I have been trying to cook more things from scratch. A little while ago I blogged about the frozen pastry I used to buy for my quiche and a nice reader called Jess suggested that I try Maggie Beer's sour cream pastry recipe. Well I have and it is really bloody easy!! I switched the white flour for wholemeal flour (kids can't tell the difference hee hee!). I have made it a few times now and I won't be going back to store bought pastry.

I have also been making the Taco Seasoning Recipe from Picklebum's 'Cooking from Scratch' series. Apart from a little heavy handedness with the chilli powder the first time, again really easy, and the kids have adjusted just fine. I have also started to use our own homemade tomato sauce with a few modifications for the taco sauce. Again no complaint from the kiddies.

Although I have yet to make a proper loaf of bread (I have all the ingredients and the loaf pan but just haven't done it), I have been making bread rolls for burgers and accompliments to soups. Miss 7yo actually prefers my rolls (yay! Big internal fist pump!).

After reading 'Sweet Poison' by David Gillespie, I have endeavoured to cut out white flour and as much sugar from our diets as possible. I have been cooking with wholemeal flour and honey and the kids are still happy. Actually they can't even tell the difference. Now I know that honey is a liquid form of sugar, but it is lower in fructose than normal sugar and hopefully we will have an abundance of it that I can use for free!

What I am daydreaming about....
Free ranging pigs on our block. And ducks on a pond that I don't have. Growing an experimental patch of wheat. Where I can fit a big potato patch to grow enough to last us through winter next year. Our first lot of honey from our bees. When it will be warm enough to go for a swim again.  

How cute do they look!

Monday, 21 May 2012

Campfire Cooking

It was a gorgeous weather weekend here in Murrumbateman. On Sunday after Hubby returned from collecting some more firewood (fireplace installation will hopefully start this coming weekend - exciting!!), we decided to light the fire in our yet to be fully utilised firepit that Hubby built last year.

The fire was smouldering beautifully so we decided we might cook lunch out there - sausages and onion in bread - and was cooking beautifully.

For afternoon tea we toasted some marshmallows.

For dinner we decided to cook roast chicken and veggies in the camp oven. Hubby tossed in a bunch of herbs from the garden and let gently cook for a couple of hours. Unfortunately we didn't take any pics but it was cooked to absolute perfection!

It was so nice not to have to rush off and do jobs and just sit with the family next to the fire in the beautiful sunshine. I hope everyone elses Sunday was as perfect as ours :)

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

New Years Resolution - Run 10km Event - CHECK!

Well - I did it!!!

Early Sunday morning, in absolutely FREEZING Canberra weather conditions, I ran the 10km Mothers Day Classic around Lake Burley Griffin - in 58mins and 30 secs - woohoo! under an hour!

It has taken me a couple of days to get over the stiffness - damn ageing body! - but I am so glad a friend convinced me to change from the 5km to 10km.
  • Run in at least one 10km event - looking at either Mothers Day Classic (May) or try again for Canberra Fun Run (September). Anyone up for it? :-)  DONE!
Feels good to achieve something on your New Years resolutions list :)

Monday, 7 May 2012

How the Bees are travelling - Autumn

Not long ago, I blogged about the very exciting addition of bees to our place. A couple of months on and they are doing OK, they have made some honey and have an active queen and the colony has grown. Although the Bees now have a lot of honey in storage, being our first year at this, we are still a little worried that they do not have enough honey to last them over winter. We have decided to help them along a little by feeding them some sugar and pollen cakes. We have tried to plant as many autumn/winter flowering plants as we can but they are still young also.

Here are some pictures from a couple of weekends ago. Hubby had Miss 5yo helping him inspect the hive.

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Projects and Plantings

School holidays are over and we are into Term 2 - and May! - already! The weather is getting decidedly colder here, and Mother Nature kicked it up a notch just around ANZAC Day. We held out until the night before ANZAC Day for the heater (the 'rule' around these parts is the heater doesn't come on until ANZAC Day) but we were pretty close! On the heater issue, I blogged previously about wanting a wood heater - well council approval is in, heater has been ordered and picked up and due to be installed in a couple of weeks! I am so excited at the prospect of sitting in front of the fire on a cold winter day and curling up with a book - I'll keep you all updated.

During the school holidays, Hubby and I decided to tackle a job that's been on our 'To do' list since we moved in - build a fence between the house and shed to block off the kids play area so the little kidlets won't run out into the driveway and garage. Handy hubby did all the work himself and I was the go-fer and sometime painter. We are very impressed with how it turned out :)

Who's that good looking hunk of a spunk :)

OK, only half finished the second coat of paint here but looks good!

Quick paving job

Look at my passionfruit vines! We built a trellis for them as part of the new fence. We have had one frost already this season - so far so good!

Here is the current state of my veggie garden. It looks even more bleak today as its raining. Starting in the bed closet and going clockwise we have one bed of garlic; red onions, celery and some lettuce, pak choi and parsnip seeds that haven't come up yet; a bed full of peas with a row of snow peas and broad beans; last bed in this row is brown onions and shallots filling in some gaps; next bed is empty at this stage as we just moved the chook pen onto the next bed; some old leeks that have started resprouting; and in the final bed is shallots, cabbage, broccoli, Wong bok and cauliflower.

I have plated some more veggies in the greenhouse. Now we have some mignonette and cos lettuce, rocket, some silver beet seedlings that haven't come up, carrots (in the long terracotta pots at the front, bit of an experiment), tomatoes in the round pots at the back, some strawberry off cuts growing for the kids school fete in a couple of weeks and some oregano, parsley and zucchini seeds which have yet to come up. I am also attempting to grow ginger for the first time (completely wrong season I know but thought I would give it a go) and I also have some potatoes in bags which are behind me in this picture.

So if all goes well this winter, we should have a good veggie haul to get us through :)

As I write, the rain is bucketing down on our tin roof - love it! - good for the veggies and water tank!

Friday, 20 April 2012

Autumn Hues

Autumn is such a fantastic season in these parts, and one of the main reasons I wanted to move back to the Canberra region.

I went for a lovely extended early morning walk in the fog with my furry child today. The air was crisp and clean, nobody was about, and it was beautifully quiet, peaceful and serene.

I walked up the driveway to this dazzling display of autumn colour from our crab apples. They have been in about 2.5 years, but this year has been their best autumn colour by far (although the photos don't do the colours nearly enough justice)

Life is good :)

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Autumn Harvest - Take 2

Easter has now been and gone, chocolate overload - and associated undesirable behaviour from too much sugar and preservatives - is toning down, and we have had our first frost of the season this morning. Today, I have been watching the last of the summer veggies wilt and die from the frost, and thought I best escape to the garden to see what I could salvage.

I am pretty disappointed with my pumpkin haul this year. Last year we had over 30 butternut pumpkins and this year I only got two butternuts from the vines I purposefully planted, and the rest were self sown. I think it had to do with where I planted them. Although the spot on the hill running down to the tank is perfect as they can spread to their heart's delight, better preparation of the soil over winter is in order to hopefully ensure a better crop next year. From the top I have Queensland Blue, Kent, Butternut and three veggie spaghetti.

Here is what else I managed to salvage from the garden - the last of the tomatoes (although I did get a 10L bucketful the day before), cayenne chillies, two lonely eggplants, quite a few more capsicums than I thought I had, and a motherload of apple cucumbers. Nobody in our house eats them except for hubby, who obviously didn't keep up his end of the bargain! Anyone know of a good pickles recipe?

Here are our lovely loofahs in the greenhouse. I have never seen a vine die so quick from a frost as the loofah vine. I picked all the ones that were a decent size and read somewhere that they are meant to rattle (with their seeds) when they are ready. None of mine did that so I am hoping to dry them out for a couple of days and then it will happen! I am pretty happy with the haul considering only two vines survived and we are in a cool climate area, which also had a cool summer. Oh, and you can probably see the tomatoes hanging in the centre there. I read/was told by someone somewhere that if you hang the unripened tomatoes up in a warm spot they will still ripen. Its an experiment.

I tidied up the greenhouse today too as it had become a bit of a dumping ground over summer. The mice have had a field day in there (I would have thought it was way too hot?), and am a bit worried that their slithery friends higher up the food chain have also made residence in there. But everything is back in order and ready for the cool season ahead. The potting bench has been cleared in anticipation and luckily I already had the cos and mignonette lettuce, tomato seedlings and rocket in there or I would have lost them this morning as well. Over the weekend I managed to finally plant out the garlic, clear some beds for the onions (the seedlings are in the background), and readied the other half of the pea bed for more peas, snow peas and broad beans. I was meant to plant them yesterday, and then today, but it has still yet to happen. Maybe tomorrow :)

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

What on earth do I do all day?

Yesterday I was greeted with a wry smile and a 'So what did you do all day?'
Most would automatically think it would come from my lovely hubby (and most often than not it does - if he is feeling a tad risque and wanting to see how close he can come to his own demise) but today it came from my 7yo daughter.

So for you precious, when one day I let you have free access to the Internet and you stumble across this blog, I will outline my day for you to hopefully explain why I didn't get around to much housework and why the house pretty much looks the same as when you left for school.

5.20am - Alarm goes off to get my sorry arse out of bed and on the treadmill. I can no longer exercise during the day as your twin brothers do not have a daytime nap. I do not want us to end in a tangled mess against the wall so I have to get up before you are all awake. I hit the snooze button a couple more times and finally get on treadmill 20mins later. I read somewhere that being fitter is supposed to give you more energy. Its three months in and I am still waiting for more energy to arrive.

6.30am - Hot, sweaty and finally awake I enter the kitchen to start making you and your sister's lunch for the day. Your sister and brothers are up and in full swing and I after I turn on your light and wake you up I have to go back in/yell out to get out of bed another five times before you actually grace us with your presence.

7am - All four of you are at the table and eating breakfast when I remember I haven't ironed any uniforms for today and rush off to do that. You are all fighting over something and not eating your breakfast as usual. I have to keep coming back out to break up fights and to hurry you all along.

7.20am - Jump in for a quick shower, only to be constantly interrupted by someone dobbing on someone else for doing something that they shouldn't be. You still haven't got dressed yet and are playing with your Lego. Manage to wrangle your brothers out of their PJ's and into clean clothes for today. Coax/wrestle your sister to the toilet before I can argue with her over what she wants to wear this morning.

7.45am - Tell everyone its time to go and to get into the car only to find out nobody has their hair done or bags packed. Nobody is moving and we are running late. Try to organise the last of the shopping list and all shopping trip paraphernalia. We are running so late!

7.55am - Five people finally ready and everyone is strapped in car when I remember about replacing the chook's water after their worming solution yesterday. Stop car mid way down driveway and sprint to chooks yard only to find they haven't touched it and replace with water. They drink it happily the feathered bitches! Realise dog hasn't got any water either and do that on sprint back to car.

8.20am - Get into Canberra and sit in traffic. Thankfully I remembered to make a tea in the car mug so I get a liquid breakfast today - as I still can't have a shower AND breakfast on the same morning - just doesn't work. Finally get you to school, wish you a good day and sprint back to car to high tail it back to preschool in Murrumbateman to drop your sister off by 9am.

9.15am - Finally make it back to preschool, drop your sister off, go and collect parcel, post some letters and head to Yass to go grocery shopping.

9.45am - Make it to Yass to do jobs with your brothers in tow. Decide to park at supermarket and walk down the street for some fresh air. Change library books and attempt to get everything on your list for your Easter Bonnet parade next week. Try to coax the creative juices into flowing as I can't get half the stuff on your list and I try to come up with another design on the fly. Head back to Supermarket 1 and let boys run as they don't have double toddler trolleys. Takes 5 times longer as I have to constantly put things back on the shelves. Back into car to make it to Supermarket 2 and morning tea for the boys as I forgot that in the rush this morning.

11.40am - Make it back home after stop off to get manual wormer for chooks which the store didn't have. Boys are finally sleep. I leave them in the car while I unpack all the groceries.

12.15pm - OK I admit it - I sat on the couch and put my feet up to read my new library book while the boys were asleep. I am knackered after being on the go all morning. This is the first time I have managed to actually sit down with a book during the day for AT LEAST the last month. I am such a lazy person.

12.45pm- Boys wake up and I make them lunch. Check emails and unpack and repack dishwasher.

2.15pm - Head off to pick up your sister from preschool early so that we can be at your school to pick you up on time. Spend the next hour or so listening to the three of them fight in a small confined space. Radio keeps getting louder.

4pm - Finally home again. I feed you guys afternoon tea, let the chooks

5.20pm - Managed to wrestle you all into the bath while dinner is still cooking. Forgot to put rubbish bins out and madly run around collecting rest of the rubbish from house. Once I get you guys out and physically dress three of you, I run the bin down the front. Come back and continue to help you with your homework and reminders about news group preparation and recorder practice in readiness for the following day whilst still prepping for dinner.

6pm - Four kiddies seated at the table, and silly me, I thought you would all eat the spaghetti bolognaise I made for dinner. You ate it, but your brothers didn't, and I spend the next half an hour trying to get them to eat a mouthful and stay at the table whilst finishing my own meal. We finish, I pack up the dinner plates and go out to feed the chooks and water plants in the greenhouse. Notice that the sky is a bit grey so head back to house to get harvest basket, head back to veggie garden and gather all the ripe tomatoes I could find to put towards the passata I will hopefully make tomorrow.

7.15pm - Gather you all into bathroom to clean your teeth, then off to bed to read books to the three younger ones. Finally get them in bed and come into listen to you do your home reader for the night.

8pm - Think I have finally got you all off to sleep. Deep breath. Kitchen and house in general is a mess so I give it a quick clean but honestly couldn't be stuffed so I put the kettle on instead for a cuppa. Sit down with said cuppa only to realise your PE shirt is still in the wash. Get up hang it out and call a friend to ask the name of what manual worming solution is. Tea goes cold.

10pm - Finally crawl into bed after feeding dog, putting a load of washing on delay to start the following morning, making jelly for lunches tomorrow, sorting through today's mail and giving the floor a quick sweep. I try to read some more of my library book but am nodding off after two pages. Book down, lights out, sleep.

So my dear girl, that is what Mummy did all day today.

And today was a relatively quiet day.

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

World Down Syndrome Day

Cover Photo
Today is World Down Syndrome Day, and for the first time, is now officially recognised by the United Nations. You can read more about it here.

The 21st of the 3rd was chosen because it represents 3 copies of the 21st chromosome which is unique to people with Down Syndrome. It is a time when we can all raise awareness of people with Down Syndrome and their families and advocate for their rights, inclusion and well being in society.


My youngest daughter, who is now 5, was diagnosed at birth with Down Syndrome. It was a massive shock for us as we were young parents (28 and 29 respectively), and had had the tests which indicated we were not in a high risk group. But our little cherub decided to grace our family with her presence, and I could ramble on here and say how every day has been wonderful, which it generally has been, but it is also bloody hard work. She has endured eight operations in her five short years here, and continues to have allied health specialists assist her to achieve tasks that most kids achieve without the blink of an eye. BUT...she still achieves albeit a little slower than her peers. And she is a very valued member and willing participant of her preschool and school communities. She is starting Kindergarten next year, and although Miss Independent is ready and raring to go, mummy is not :)

I am a very, very proud mummy of my little girl. Despite the medical setbacks she has had, she has taught us more about life, love, patience and each other than I possibly could have imagined. She has enhanced and brightened our lives and I am so thankful that she has chosen us to be her family.

So lets celebrate World Down Syndrome Day and the beautiful diversity people with Down Syndrome bring to our community. If you don't know someone with Down Syndrome, get out there and get involved! You will be glad that you did!

For those of you in the Canberra region, The ACT Down Syndrome Association is holding a T4321 get together this Sunday 25th March, 9-12pm at Glebe Park stage area in Civic. There will be activities and cup cake decorating on the day. Come along and have a wonderful picnic in the autumn sunshine!

Friday, 16 March 2012

Autumn Harvest

Today we finally managed to get out into the garden. It was a beautiful warm sunny autumn morning and our crab apples and claret ash are starting to change into those awesome autumn hues. We harvested the now meagre crop of almonds (no thanks to the cockatoos and mother nature), removed most of the fruit tree netting and managed to pull up and shred all the old corn stalks for the compost.

In the garden we harvested some eggplants, our first red capsicums of the season, some of the of last remaining zucchinis, a couple of straggly beans and some cayenne chillies. And after scouring through all the rogue tomato bushes across our block, look how many tomatoes I came up with! Better late than never I guess :)

Guess who is going to be cooking up a storm in the kitchen over the weekend?