What could be scarier than an abandoned swimming pool? One that is on the other side of the back fence, completely overgrown with noxious weeds and potentially harbouring snakes. All the snakes. All the snakes that are not in the retention pond behind the pool. In spite of the constant fear of snakes, I am very grateful to have the pool and pond behind us. Why? Water. We are down the hill from both, and in spite of the last rainfall being three weeks ago and the weather having been warm since, we still have water being slowly released into our garden so that in places it still feels mushy. I have been trying to plant trees along the slope that receives the most water but I am having a lot of trouble. Concealed 9 inches under the grass are countless tonnes of construction rubble. Because it is a bit hit-and-miss as to whether I will find a clear spot to plant a tree in, the grass looks like it has been attacked by a giant squirrel looking for last Autumn’s nuts. I put in a giant raised bed under the washing line. It is the thing in the photo half-shrouded in net to protect it from brush turkeys, cockatoos, bats, and possums. Unfortunately the soil was not as good as I had hoped so I am digging a new garden (the muddy patch you can see in the foreground) and will use completely different soil. I was feeling really depressed about it (and I did things that I am not proud of–like watching ‘Ancient Aliens’ while processing what went wrong) but now I am looking on the bright side. I can have a giant compost heap and plant some green manures and build up the soil for next year. I have never really had enough garden space to put a bed to work in this way and have always been a bit piecemeal in caring for the soil, but I am delighted to be able to concentrate on caring for a big patch in this way.
In addition to having good chat, my three-year-old has a unique approach to looking after his bike. The rubber caps on his handle bars have worn away to the steel (as the side of our car knows too well) and now he can jam things into the holes. It started with some sticks. For practical reasons, I was not a fan of this early prototype. Then there were the whimsical bushy sprays of eucalyptus. When my neighbour showed him how to use rubber bands, that was a game changer. Now any interesting bits of cardboard get to have their day. Sometimes there are tiny extras, like a little Schleich dog with its legs splayed around the grip, or a pair of raspberry-pink toy tongs rammed onto anything that will take them. This is my favourite iteration. Lord knows where this tiny piece of hosing came from but it is perhaps S.’s most prized possession at the moment and a curse will befall any neighbourhood child who takes off with it. He often puts a silver spoon in the watering can and calls it his bell on account of its faint rattle going over bumps. And I know what you want to ask me–yes, water does flow very well from the can to the orange end of the hose. He sometimes waters the potted plants for me. His next plan, he informs me, is to attach a rope so that he can drag the wheely bins to the road.
It’s school holidays with us. We have not been doing anything aside from holding down our jobs, making compost, eating a lot of eggs on toast, and listening to podcasts. The kids have just started listening to two new (to them) podcasts: What If World and Story Pirates. They still love Sparkle Stories, Circle Round, and (not my favourite) Story Nory, but there is a lot of laughter from us all with the random bonkerness that is What If World and Story Pirates.