Monday, November 19, 2012

ruminating and gestating

happiness is a pile of library books. especially the latter two which were especially bought at my request by my local library. go you ace library! both are by exceptionally ace and intensely inspiring Australia bloggers (Rohan of Whole Larder Love, and Rhonda from the Down to Earth blog). especially when lots of them refer to raising chooks, necessary when your hubby is going to build you a chook house. YES! AT LAST! we have access to a range of chooks as the husbands uncle, Gavin Greenwood, is a champion breeder of all manner of birds, and so i'm enjoying researching the different breeds to decide which fancy-named, fancy-feathered egg popping fowls  we will have clucking round the garden come christmas.

but happiness is only a pile of library books when it is raining, for when it is fine happiness is my garden. i'm trying for an aubergine as my pet vegetable project this year (in the tunnel house). if it works then i may try a melon next year (we're a bit far south for either of these to be easily grown). i've raised everything from seed this year for the first time, and everything that did grow is now in-capsicums, cucumbers, tomato  courgettes, pumpkins, lettuce, coriander, endless seedlings of all sorts, so many they've filled out the beds and have spilled out into the shrubs and the flower beds. in fact the shasta daisies are coming out this very weekend in favour of a cranberry patch. the basil re-sowing is tomorrows project, i put them in wayyyy to early and nothing came of them.  the celery and red onions seeds have been a total fail, twice. i'm trying to decide whether to buy new seed (these were rare forays away from my ever reliable and largely organic Kings Seeds) and try again or just give up and buy seedlings. we've claud has had our first strawberries, but despite our best efforts to be early i don't think were going to get new potatoes, the pea-tee-pee or a tomato for christmas dinner, unless the soil warms and they have a massive growth spurt between now and then.

after 2 1/2 years in pots my buxus are finally, just, ready for a trim. still a long way (years) off from their final intended pyramidal shape, topiary really is the art of patience personified. its so hard keeping things in pots alive never mind flourishing in general, especially sans the seasonal gratification of something edible sprouting from it. this spring though, my improved nurturing skills-I seem to remember for a change that plants in pots need food and a drink now and then (it must be the preggy hormones) have seen them grown more more over 2 months than they had over the whole previous 2.something years...

the pregnancy hormones are perhaps also at the root of my current fascination with the history of things, with roots. for example i'm trying to identify the ancient apple tree in our garden, which the in-laws (farmer-gardeners) seems to think was probably planted contemporaneously with the house being built (1929). i'm hoping it's some heirloom type, mainly for a cool name, a peasgood nonsuch or a belle de booskoop. its probably just hedge-flung-core raised, which is a nice little mouthful itself! whichever, its clauds favourite climbing tree (she first climbed it aged 18 months believe it or not, i've never been so frightened in my life)  in case you know a thing or two about apple trees it produces a large knobbly cooking apple with a uniformly burgundy-red skin and yellowish flesh. at the same time as harbouring a deep desire to know it more, i couldn't tell you why i need to know. i. just. do.

i'm also uncommonly enthused with writing/researching a whakapapa (genealogy) chart for Claud. i've love the maori concept of genealogy, which traces each individual human being right down from space dust, through the 'earth mother and sky father', to the 'the rope of mankind' (te here tangata) that reminds us how were are all, every one of us, literally related. i'd like to represent this somehow pictorially on the chart, but i'm not sure how to without making it look like some twee scrapbooky thing so i'm just sitting on it, gestating it if you will, a bit longer.
in an interesting contrast whilst the Bennett's have a small library of books about their genealogy, i've read 4 so far, full of dates, places, deaths,  i have been unable to even find a birth or marriage record for my maternal grandfather, though i do have a heap of amusing stories about my whole hedge-flung-core raised disreputable lot! and when Terry gets swanky about being related to Mary Queens of Scots I can now say that technically i am too (and so are you!). one of the several things i liked about taking my husbands surname on marriage, as an Austen fan, was becoming a fellow Ms Bennett, so i was quite thrilled to discover the original spelling around was in fact Bennet a la the Bennet's. but i've yet to persuade the bloke of the merits of spelling it properly!

tree, family, and local history. we've discovered that our house was built on the site of the original Rangiora town square and that the builder was an ancestor of our excellent current mayor David Ayres. i'm itching to find a picture of the house (especially the apparently meticulously planned garden, which even now has a mature range of trees and shrubs which flower consecutively from earliest spring to early winter). i had no joy until i realised that the subdivision of the land and building of the neighbouring houses meant a shift in access to our property, so when the house was built in 1929 it was technically on a different street. so i shall be back to the museum this week for further sleuthing.

what's your favourite book-by-a-blogger? 

what would your book be about? 

mine would be about preggy hormones induced activities clearly! such as tree sniffing. i keep getting brief periods of intensified smell sensitivity, which rather than making me feel sick at everything is allowing me to discern the difference in smell between individual trees (even out of flower/fruit). it's amazing, like having a superpower for a few minutes here and there, you have to immediately dash off and do something good with it (sniff tress and marvel) before it wears off!


  1. This was is a very entertaining read! I just bought 'Whole Larder Love' online so thanks for the suggestion! Im still learning about bloggers and which ones have books. I bought myself Dotti Angels book, which is very good. Its got craft and family life thrown in. If I were to write a book, it would be about food and craft and my life in south africa and bringing up my little boy as a south african even though we live in melbourne!
    Love your blog.

  2. I do love the inside of your head Max there is always so much going on in there it makes me feel rather boring and ignorant to say the least!! :o)
    My favourite book by blogger are the Jane Brockett ones (The Gentle Art of Domesticity and the Gentle Art of Quilt Making) she is an excellent writer.
    As an aside the font on your blog is suddenly rather small and I find myself squinting a little.... Am I aging?? x

  3. Oooo, a pile of books never fails to get me frisky!!
    I know nothing, pretty much, about my family! I'd love to be downwind of the Queen of Scots or some such royalty!!!
    Did I see that you're into tree sniffing?! Bahaha! There's some weird stuff that happens with preggy hormones, apparently. I'll always remember Nellie on Littel House on the Prairie licking coal.A friend of mine was into the smell of petrol, and found it really hard to not get down and sniff it!UGH.

  4. Your going to adore having your own hens Max. Once you start you'll never look back. Aubergines have mostly alluded me, but there are a few tricks you need to do to get a few going. They have a very long growing season, you need to start them at the very very beginning of the season. They also appreciate help in pollination, so as soon as you have a few flowers give them a tickle with a paintbrush. Lastly, they like humid conditions so if you have a little sprayer/spritzer handy and give them a squirt when ever you think of it.

    My pregnancy hormones encouraged me to do no more than eat copious amounts of chocolate, but even unpregnant i can manage to do that!

    Max, I hope you don't mind me saying, but I find your font size really tricky to read, is it your settings or mine? That might be totally against blogger etiquette, and of course perhaps i just need new reading glasses :)

  5. So interesting! Go you with all the reading and research!

  6. Oh I did love this post - always keen to have new books recommended to me
    And I LOVE our hens and am sure you will love yours xxx
    My pregnancy hormone had me eating chalk!!!

  7. Pregancy hormones are weird aren't they? I was just always hungry and used to take round a tupperware box with snacks just in case I was caught short and far from a shop! Lots of my friends went off coffee but I went off mint tea and drank loads of coffee. I'm looking forward to Dottie Angel's book too - it's on my Xmas list. xx

  8. Great blog, Max! I love hearing about your beautiful, adopted country and your creative successes. I haven't given much attention to blogger books, but I would definitely buy one that you write, which I am sure you will (when you have a moment!). One of my favorite protagonists, however, Captain Lacey, a sad, weary and lonely veteran of the Napoleonic wars who solves mysteries , was created by Ashley Gardner/Jennifer Ashley who has a miniature's blogs.
    At any rate, your blog is super, I am sure Lizzie Bennett would be a fan!

  9. Too long since I've visited your blog, Max! Congratulations on your pregnancy xx


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