Monday, October 27, 2014

It's Been A While.

Yep, quite a while.  Do I have reasons?  Am I excused for such slackful blogging behaviour?  Have I put the right *A while* up there?  Or should it be *Awhile*?  

The gardens are still producing food.  I've been out and about a few times.  I've done a couple of stupid things.  I have a new job and this one could also go under the stupid thing heading...but won't.  What else?   Another out and about thing coming up...and then it's next month already.

So now you know what's been happening here I'll go read about what's been happening in your neck of the woods.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Spring, Blossom and Bees

It is Spring time here and the Washington Navel Oranges are just about finished.   Enough left to carry me over until the Valencias are ripe enough for me though.  The Valencias are usually to my taste around November but others are pinching eating them now.

We have a tree full of Valencias ready to go when the others are completely gone though the son is into these already. 

He says the Washingtons are now passed it, too ripe and not nice.  I disagree and am still eating them off the tree.   We have juiced dozens and I have made a batch or two of Orange cordial at the husbands request but unfortunately too many were wasted. 

I need to get on top of them earlier next year as 5 trees producing at once may be too many and going by the amount of blossom out there now I think we will have an abundance next year too.

To A bee or and not to a bee....

 The Valencia is full of flowers and even if half of these come off there will be enough Oranges next Spring/Summer to keep our Vit C up.
Walking around the front yard is heavenly with the scent of Orange blossom.    There are also lots of bees out there now and their soft buzzing adds to the Springtime ambience.  I love my back front yard.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Planning to Plant.

Finally!  I have cleared out a few garden beds to plant in.  It's taken ages but a day or so of sunshine, hearing and reading about the awesome gardens others have and a husband willing to help me ...and I too am now, finally, ready to get planting.

This is what the big tank garden has looked like for too long.   I started a couple of days ago and had managed to get the South end cleared but still had the full of grass Northern end to do.  It was such a big job that the husband took pity on me and decided to help.  I'm glad he did or I'd still have 2 days work to do.

We went over to Mandurah on Wednesday, called into Bunnings and came out with a boxful of stuff to plant so I now have heaps of plants to plant.    We bought 3 different sorts of Tomatoes, Purple Eggplant,  Peas, Kale, mixed Lettuce, Cucumbers, some other stuff too.

On the way out we saw a reduced section so I bought some more.  This lot were only 50cents a punnet so I even smuggled some flower seedlings into the trolley.

A few of the smaller tank gardens were overgrown too but with husbands help they too are now clear enough to get some food growing in them.  This one had become overgrown with Lemon Balm but because I sometimes have this as a tea during the hot weather I wanted to keep it.  He convinced me to let him pull it *all* up because I do have 2 half drums with it growing.  I am *allowed* to replant some of it elsewhere, just not in a food producing bed.    If I don't keep an eye out though and pull up the small plants as they grow this bed will soon be overgrown again.

I don't know what this plant is, it's pretty though, when the grass isn't growing all through it, and I was/am going to get in potted up to sell at the markets.  I haven't done anything about that yet so that too has to come up.  That will happen over the weekend.  It started out as a small plant in the ground between 2 tanks, it grew and grew and grew.  When we pull it up it too will regrow and become a problem again if I don't keep on top of it.

And this tank can't have anything planted in it because the Chokos have taken off already.    I am trying to get these to grow in other areas of the yard but until then they are staying here.   Cause we gotta have Chokos!

So this weekend will be planting time.   First I have to get rid of a few thousand more Slaters and unfortunately I have had to resort to using poison on them.  There are so many that I cannot even get them down to manageable numbers so poison it is.  That or no food for us at all.    I put some snail pellets down, under leaves and grass and overnight the amount of dead slaters is huge so it is a quick and easy fix but not what I wanted.  I want to grow food though, I gave the non-poison ways a good go over the last couple of years but can no longer keep on top of them.   This way we will get the food and I figure that as long as the pellets are not on the food and we don't actually eat them ourselves...maybe it won't be too bad.  

Friday, September 5, 2014

This Leads To This, Leads To This, Leads To This...

In the bathroom, on the floor under the towel rail, I had a box, a metal toolbox that I stored spare food in.   This somehow became a flat surface that 2 small containers were put on and they in turn had stuff put on top of them.  One reason I raised the towel rail was because this pile was getting so high it was close to touching the rail and getting in the way of getting my towel. The top stuff on the tool box was some clean sheets and towels that wouldn't fit in the cupboard.   

Once the cupboard was cleared out the sheets and towels could fit in and I was able to get to the boxes/containers.  One holds curtain stuff.  Tape, hooks, that stretchy white cord...stuff that I was keeping *handy* because I was/am going to use it for some curtains that I need to make.   But this looked out of place now that the cupboard doors were shut and the vacuum cleaner was put away so I put these containers into the cupboard.  I could do that because there was space in there after the cleanout.   There wasn't much food in the toolbox, a couple of boxes of Taco shells and some cup-a-soups, so I took these and put them with the other food in husbands wardrobe.   Great I could now get rid of this toolbox so I shut the lid, turned the handle and put it outside, ready to take to the shed.

Thinking a bit though I decided that I could put all the spare food that was in husbands cupboard in this toolbox and free up a shelf for him to keep his work gear on and that in turn would free up a shelf in another cupboard where I could store the overalls and gloves and other bee clothing.  See, one thing leads to another but the final thing can't be done until the other things are done first.  Such is my organising. 

And because I had cleared another area in the bathroom there was now a handy place to put this toolbox/food storage container where it would be out of the way.   So I go out to get this toolbox and...swear word.   It was locked. Why would the stupid thing lock itself.  That shouldn't happen should it.  Shouldn't but did.   I had a key though, ummm, where was that key...That's right, I had put it in the toolbox so it wouldn't get lost.  The key to unlock the locked toolbox was safe in the toolbox.   Apparently turning the knob to shut the toolbox so it stays shut locks it.  How stupid is that!!  So I now have a locked toolbox that is no good for anything until I get the key out so I can unlock it...

Son has told me what to try so tomorrow I will get my drill and see how good I am at using it.  He says to drill out the pop rivets that hold the catch on, take it off, open up the lid and get the keys out then pop rivet the catch back on.
That sounds easy enough.  


Thursday, September 4, 2014

Oh Sheet!

I have too many of them too.

This morning I will sort through the sheets, tablecloths, doonas and covers...and all the other crap stuff that is in the bathroom cupboard.  The towels from yesterday still look good but I know there are at least 2 missing.  I should have 3 matching pairs as well as a few odd ones but there is only 1 pair in there so I will need to do some searching.

Today though is sheet day and after pulling them all out yesterday I do wonder how they all fitted in there.  Oh that's right.  They didn't.

So we have 1 bed.   At any 1 time it will have 2 sheets on it.  So really I need 2, maybe 3, sets, yeah?   I have sorted through and now have 5 sets in the cupboard.  And one set on the bed.   But still have a pile sitting on the table to go through.   Arrhhh.   OK, now I have 1 set of Winter sheets to fit back in as well.

More sheets to come out and be sorted.  See the top shelf there, see the pack on the right?   That is a set of unopened sheets and matching pillowcases.  New and unused.  Unwrapped even.   I don't think I need to open them now but not sure that getting rid of them is the way to go either.  One day I will need new sheets and these are good quality.  And expensive!

 The top shelf here...It's supposed to hold swimming towels and I thought I had 4 of them...I know 1 was used by the granddaughter and hasn't been brought back yet, son is using one as a bath towel, there is 1 up there.  The other things are odd towels that will go, some lace curtaining that I use as a food cover during Summer, extra shampoo and conditioner...That has been there for a couple of years, not used since I stopped using shampoo and conditioner...but it is new, never opened...maybe that could go...And there is a box of towels.  New and unused.  I probably don't need them and may sell them.  May not.    I can't really see the point in selling stuff just because it's not being used yet.  Eventually they will be.

The bottom 2 shelves have an assortment of stuff...I will go through and do these 2 shelves sometime after the sheets.

OK, half way through and daughter has come out to help.    Lots is getting done but she laughed when I cried.  How rude!   Why did I cry?  I dunno, maybe I am tired but...I just couldn't bear the thought of her emptying a tube of handcream into a bigger pump bottle and then the empty tube having to be binned.   I know, or maybe I don't...stupid.

She took away a couple of bags, I don't think she trusted me not to go through them and take stuff out...these bags will be taken to the next Really Really Free Market in a few weeks time.

All the perfumes, shampoos and conditioners that I no longer use are gone.   She said I have too many soaps and wanted me to get rid of some but husband, and now the son, use soap so they are something that will eventually be used.  And who is she to say that 37 is too many anyway. lol.

Husband no longer uses powders or aftershave so I will offer these to the son.  I'm sure he will use them and it will save him buy any for awhile.  If he says no then they too will go to the RRFM.  Except the soap, I'll take that back and have 39.

But thanks to T (BIG thanks) the cupboard is sorted, I can see what is in there, the doors shut.   I'm not sure how I feel when I look at it though, it doesn't make me happy.  But it doesn't make me sad either.  It just is the way it is now and not the way it was.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Pillowslips. How Many Is Too Many?

We have 68
24 pairs
20 singles
Plus, yes plus! 3 pairs  and 2  singles I brought home last week because they were rejects from Vinnies but in better condition than some that I have here.    HoHum, no wonder the husband shakes his head in disgust.

So really, not 68 but 76 pillowslips.  Honestly.  I counted 54 at first but found more as I went through the sheets and tablecloths and then the ones on the line from Vinnies.

Two people live in this house.  One queen size bed with 2 pillows. 

So maybe we don't need 76 pillowslips.

Some match the sheet sets.  Some match the doonas.  Some I love.  Some I like.  This is SO HARD!!

Done.  I have culled.  I have gone through them all and have put aside all the singles.  Except a dark blue one that is the other to a pair that husband has for his work pillow.      And a really pretty one that I will take out and use in the caravan at the beach.    And we have a couple of pair on the pillows on the bed.  Yes a couple of pair in there because I use them as pillow protectors too.  Two pair on a pillow at a time.

In the linen cupboard though I now have only 21 pair.   Still too much, maybe.  OK, not maybe, still too many but, yep there be that but...They are packed up in a neat little pile and as I go through and use them more may be taken away.

What will I do with the ones I no longer want?  I will take them down to the next Really Really Free Market.  Along with any sheets that I decide I wont keep.  But that is tomorrows job.

It Wont Fit!!!

I have done some washing and brought some of the dry stuff in to put away.  But...It wont fit!!   The towel shelf has towels and sheets on it so the clean towels wont fit where they are supposed to go. 

The sheet shelf, well that is so crammed even a pillowslip can't be pushed in anymore.

The shelf where I keep tablecloths and quilt covers is so packed with other crap I can't get anything out unless I pull it all out and then I have to cram it back in again. 

Such is my bathroom cupboard.  Linen press.  Cupboard where I keep sheets, towels and crap.

Well, up to a couple of hours ago anyway, the cupboard was full to bursting, the doors couldn't be shut properly, the clean stuff couldn't be put away and I had no idea what was in there.

So I pulled the towels out.  And the flannels, handtowels, floor mats.   The sheets that were on that shelf came out too.   I scooped them all off the floor and put them on the table to sort.  The towels are back in where they go but that shelf is looking a bit bare.  I know I have more towels than what is in there now but I don't know where they are.  Truth be known, I probably shoved them somewhere else when they wouldn't fit anymore.  However, if/when I find them, there is room for them. 

This is the cupboard after I finished the towels and pulled most of the sheets out.  So much stuff.  Too much stuff.
The towel shelf looks OK now but I know there are a couple more towels somewhere.
I am going to work on the sheets this afternoon.  And Pillowcases.  Then the rest of this cupboard.  One shelf at a time.

Friday, August 29, 2014

I have A Drill.

So I was saying that I wanted/needed my own drill.  I wanted it to be powered by electricity and not battery.  It needed to gave a chuck-key, not be chuckless.   I wasn't fussed on colour but I didn't want to pay too much and too much for me would be more than $60.

I mentioned to husband about my wanting a drill and as luck would have it that same day the local hardware store had their catalogue delivered to us.  And...they had drills for sale.    Is that luck or some *thing* answering my call for a drill.

He had to go into town, said I should go as well and we could call in and have a look at these drills.  I did, we did...there was 1 on the shelf and after taking it out of the box, having a look and lifting it we put it away in its box again.   Then took it to the counter to pay.    It was pretty cheap at $39 but our hardware gives out points when you buy stuff and husband buys a lot so had points to use.  He used his points to buy my drill so it cost him $0.  That's right, I am now the owner of a decent looking drill that fits my requirements and it cost me nothing.  Cost him nothing too so we were both pleased with the *purchase*.

It weighs 2.4kg which is slightly too heavy for me but most days it will be OK to use.  It comes with a box of 57 assorted drill bits and a handle to make holding it safer and easier. 

This be it, still in it's box but in our house and not the shop.

I have yet to use it but that will happen  next week.   I don't know how good it will be but it will be better than good enough for what I use it for and anything it is not good enough for I couldn't do anyway. 

I've told the husband not to worry, there will still be jobs that I need him and his big tools for.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

DIY. Dodgy but Done.

I am not a very handy person.  I have trouble holding the tools, I haven't much strength for anything, I can't do measurements, I'm short so find it hard to reach things without a step and I'm prone to fall off them...But we live in a tiny hovel of a house that needs lots of stuff done to it to bring it up to most peoples standard.  It needs a fair bit done before it reaches my standards and they are pretty low so that says a lot about how bad it is.  Husband is the handy person but his standards are lower than mine so since we have been living here not much  has been done inside the place.  There is talk of things getting done but nothing is planned for anytime soon.

But there are things that need doing, need fixing.  Like the towel rail in the bathroom.  It is was screwed into a non solid wall and the screws kept falling out and the towels would fall off the loosely hanging rail so I would push them back in and they would come out again so I'd wrap tape around them and push them back in.  At one stage I used blutac to hold it in.   None of that worked for long and finally it was starting to bug me.      I have more than a few handbags and a long time ago I was bothered by the way I stored them by shoving them into the overfilled shoe basket so asked husband to put something up behind the bedroom door so I could hang them up.  He did but he is taller than me and didn't realise how many I had so it never really worked.  The door wouldn't open properly and it hurt me to stretch up to reach the top hooks...

I wanted to make some garden signs, husband started to help me but it ended up that he made way more than me.   He was quicker, could use the tools better, could manage to hold the sander as well as the wood he was sanding...I couldn't even use sandpaper without having to stop too often.   We wanted the job finished so the tools and all my bits of wood could be cleared away but I got side-tracked and he ended up doing what was left...I still need to tidy away the tools and clean up the mess...which I will do sometime this week.  I hope.  

A lot of things that I do, or try to,  make me feel next to useless.  The fiasco with measuring and cutting a backing board for a dartboard showed how useless I am with measurements.   You know the saying *measure twice cut once*  I did that then measured again to make sure and was still 100mm too short.  How could that be!!   And  I haven't tried again since.   Having  the trouble making a few simple signs made me feel useless.  I mean, I know I have my limitations but I really didn't/don't like feeling so useless so often.  

But feeling useless is not being useless so a few days ago I decided to put all that behind me and try and fix/do a few things.  Simple things, things that even I could do.

The first was to put up a little rack near where husband sits when he is home.  Somewhere he could put the remote, his fags, other small things.   I found an old shower rack in the shed, it was dirty and had rusted bits and probably should have been binned long ago but maybe it was waiting for it's new purpose...I was going to cut the hooky bit off but couldn't turn the grinder on so had to use boltcutters instead.  That has left a sharp bit at the top but it's not too bad.  Turns out that the grinder I couldn't turn on was the wrong one anyway and the right one wasn't where it should have been.  Still isn't but next time I will know.  I sanded it, washed it, painted it then found a couple of screws and put it up on the cupboard next to his table and chair.  Dodgy but done, it does the job and husband thinks it's OK.

A long time ago we bought some hooks to put on the doors so they wouldn't blow shut when I wanted them open.   I put the first one on the back door.  I couldn't put a hook on the wall as it was panelling and there was nothing to screw to so I just cut a hole in the wall for the hook to hook into.  Dodgy but done and it keeps the door open. 

Next was the towel rail.  I needed a drill and I used to have one but have no idea where it is now so have to use husbands.  It is cordless and doesn't have a chuck key, I don't like it but it is what I had.   I took the rail down, the 2 screws that were in the wall were in properly and it took a bit to get them out.   I wanted to put the rail higher and it needed to be put into a stud so it was secure, that was the problem before.  Screwed to panelling not something solid.   I drilled a hole for the screws but it was too big and thicker screws wouldn't fit through the ending holes and I couldn't change the bit because it's a chuckless drill and I can't do it.  Called out to son, he changed it for me and I put some holes in.  Into jarrah studs so that was harder anyway but here's a tip...If it seems hard and you see smoke coming from the hole as you try to's not because it's jarrah it's because the drill is in reverse.  Change it over, it's much easier and there is no smoke!
The rail endings were finally up but the rail was 8 inches too short.  What to use to lengthen it...Hmmm, maybe an aluminium can cut and rolled...It worked but wasn't strong enough once the towels were hanging so I went searching and found an old rail in the trailer so I cut that down and used that as the extension.  Standing back to admire my handywork I notice the slant.  No matter, it's staying like it is.  Dodgy but it works.

My next fix was going to be the hooks for my bags.  I have too many bags and have removed a few but what is left I like, I use, they are staying.  Husband screwed on 1 length of timber, from top to bottom and put hooks in that and hooks across the top of the door.  It kinda worked but the top hooks were too high and bags were overlapping and the door wouldn't open all the way.  A bummer when it was crashed into in the night darkness...
I removed his very well screwed in screws and took the wood down, measured, cut then cut another 1/2 inch off so the door opened, HoHum...screwed them on and this time I remembered to check the level but the good spirit level was too long and the one that fitted is a bit dodgy so the levels aren't completely right.  BUT!  The door now opens right up and I put a hook on this one too so it doesn't blow shut with the Easterlies. 

This is the hole in the bedroom wall, not as neat as the other one and because I started to pull the panelling off in the bathroom it is now like a peak hole.   Definitely dodgy this one but it works.

And why did I pull the panelling off?  Because I had the grand idea of building a coat-rack into the wall behind the bathroom door but couldn't work out how to do it.  One day though I will.

It's a bit like the wall in the living room that I pulled off.  I want a wall of bookshelves here.   He said he needed to know what the wall was like inside to see if it could be done so I pulled the panels off.   We did measure up and have even bought the wood but it's been a long time since and I am still waiting.   He says he needs space in the shed so one day I will get all my stuff cleared and he will have room to work and I will have books to read.  

In all of the Dodgy DIY moments I am learning.  Learning what not to do, learning what I should have done, learning what tools work and what doesn't...I have learned that I want need my own drill and set of screwdrivers.  And a shorter spirit level that works.
My drill be a proper power one not a cordless battery operated one.  It will have a chuck key so I can change the bit myself.    It wont be as chunky as his are.  It will be mine and kept in my own little box of tools.   I used to have all this, many, many years ago when I was single, I didn't seem to be so useless, I knew I had to do the job so I did.  Over the years I have come to rely on, and expect, the husband doing things for me but now as I get older again I am reverting to wanting to be able to do them myself again.  And some things may turn out a bit dodgy but I'm sure that as I do more, learn more, practice more they will become less so.  
How about you?  Are you a dodgy do it yourselfer or are you one of the capable women people that I aspire to be?

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Wooden Garden Signs.

A long time ago I saved some old trellis from going to the tip.  I wanted it because I had/have grand plans to make a wooden bucket to go with the wishing well I was/am going to build.  Eventually, after 6-8 months husband got sick of asking me to do something with it and pulled it apart and stored what he thought I might need in the back of the shed.  The bits he thought I wouldn't need he put in the bin.  But!  I saw them there and pulled them out.  After-all, they were good for something.  Surely.

I hid put them away in the shed until I could think of a use.  'Cause they had a use.  Surely.  

Eventually, after another month or so, I thought I'd make some signs for the garden out of them.  I'd just cut them to length, cut a pointy bit on one end of the longer piece, nail the short bit to the long bit and write the name of the plant on it.  Easy. 

I cut them easy enough.  The third saw I tried worked best and I soon had 4 bits of wood cut and ready to put together.  But it was rough and I was concerned about splinters so went to get sandpaper.  Couldn't find it, inside to ask husband where it might be, back out for another look...Why stuff can't be put away after use I'll never know.  So rub rub rub, give up because it was hurting my hands and then a break of a couple of days because I forgot I was doing it.

Eventually get back into it and I soon have 3 signs ready to write on.   Ummm, with what do I write with dear Henry...I had a doctors appointment over in Pinjarra so afterwards went to Mitre 10 to buy *something*   I didn't know what I wanted but knew I wanted to burn the words into the wood and after explaining myself not too clearly they decided that I needed a wood engraver and they didn't sell them.  Swearword!   I needed something though or they would never get finished.  I spied a thing that looked interesting, it carved wood and glass and ceramics...I could have fun with that.  But it was over $100 and I decided not to spend that much.   Home and more thinking.

Yesterday husband is home, just for 1 day before he goes back to work and with nothing planned he is at a bit of a loose end.   He asks about my signs and I tell him about how I can't do much before I give up, how I didn't know what to use to write on them with now that I didn't have anything that would burn the letters in.  He says they used to use wire, bend it over and heat it up and write.  Heat, write, heat, write...He finds a pointy ended tool and shows me what he means.  We make a GARLIC sign.    The board is light timber and the burnt in letters are thin and black.  It looks OK.

But he had to go into town so he would go to the hardware shop and see if they had what I think I wanted as it would be quicker.

He comes home, I am busy with other things but soon I go into the shed where he is and he is working on my signs.  He is carving into the wood with the thing that I didn't buy because I thought it was too expensive.  He didn't think it was too expensive even though the one he bought in our town cost more than the one I didn't buy in Pinjarra.   Hmmm.   I should just buy things because at least I give some thought to how much they cost and look in bigger shops that are lower priced than our town ones.  This is the tool that he bought.  It did the job and will be used for other projects so I wont whinge too much about how much he paid.

Here he is showing me how to hold it, we have to write freehand and his letters are much neater than mine so I let him do most of the writing.  He ends up going over the GARLIC sign. makes the letters thicker and deeper in the wood.

We make a few more, trying different things to see which way I like best.  Some are just carved, some are carved then burned.  I decide that I like the letters lighter and the wood burned so we change the ones that aren't that way.

I have a few out there now, a couple still need to be finished and I do still need to make more.   Not this week though.

And despite my whinging about husbands buying expensive tools him doing that and his teaching allowed me to make the sign to put up with the tree I planted for the granddaughter.  You can see that it isn't very neat and all the words I wanted on there couldn't fit due to my sizing but I like the rusticness of it.  I may have to seal it, and the others, but I think they look OK.  I like them.

So I now have the skills to make as many signs as I want.   When I want.  It wont happen this week but when I'm ready, there could be a sign for everything.  Eventually they may look good enough to sell on our market stall.  That in itself is a good reason to make lots more as I'm sure the more I make the better I will get at it.  And faster too, at the moment it takes me a long time to make one but with more signs being made I am sure to get quicker, neater, faster, stronger...

Do you have signs in your garden?  Tell me why.  Is it to identify the plants?  Point the way to somewhere?  Housename?