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Archive for September, 2012|Monthly archive page

Last June we moved in with Charlie

In Non-Fiction on September 18, 2012 at 12:34 pm

Last June we moved in with Charlie

Our cat, Charlie, has lived in our house longer than us. We don’t know where his life began as he was originally adopted at eighteen months old by the previous owners of our home. From there on he lived with them for four years before we bought the house and his owners moved out!

Charlie basically never left, except for the two days he was making his way back to ‘his home’ and new people (us) whom he’d never met. Traveling across fields; losing his collar a long the way, he sat on the window sill outside of our bedroom and he must have wondered what the heck was going on! When my husband saw him there and opened the window he jumped inside. He picked him up and carried him into the living room where I was sitting and said to me “Look what I’ve found”.

My husband (who is actually allergic to cats) put the small, skinny, black cat on the floor. He then ran down hall, (the cat not my husband!) pushed open the door of the bedroom where our daughter slept and went in.

“He seems to know where he’s going,” I said.

Being animal lovers we decided to let him stay that night.

During the hectic days of settling into our new home; we never thought about the cat much and where he had come from, we were surprised when he came back again. For the first week his visits were sporadic. We couldn’t determine what sex he was as he didn’t like it when we tried to check, so Rebecca convinced herself it was a girl and we named her Chloe. Obviously ‘she’ who is a ‘he’ never responded to the name!

There had been no mention or evidence of a cat when we met the owners—we had met their two dogs, which were actually offered to us to adopt because they were going into rented accommodation (that’s another story) but no mention of a cat. It took no time at all for our daughter to claim the mysterious night time visitor as her own. I contacted the vendor to query the black cat to be told that he was theirs and they revealed his age and real name. They said that we could keep Charlie!

“If your daughter’s become attached,” They said.

Our daughter was relieved she didn’t have to hand him over!

From that day on he became our pet ‘black’ cat who tolerates our pet ‘black’ dog. I always like to say that ‘we moved in with Charlie’. He is now part of our lives and he must have been very unsure what was going on for a while, but his personality came alive after a few months and we wouldn’t want to be without him. My husband would probably disagree if he were asked. He has built up immunity to his ‘cat’ allergy and Charlie likes to sit on his lap. He says he tolerates him, but he often fusses him, talks to him and feeds him!

It’s quite unusual to gain a pet with a house, but nothing about our purchase was ‘usual’ — that’s a long story, which played out for quite some time.


My Veggie Venture – Part 2

In Non-Fiction on September 4, 2012 at 6:30 pm

Sadly, I have run out of lettuce to pick from the garden, but all is not lost as I will have some more to plant very soon! The broccoli and cauliflower are coming on very nicely and they have all had a treat this week— ‘chicken poop from the coop’. Not only do our hens give us (and the neighbouring community) delicious eggs; they also give us fertiliser for the crops and there’s no need to put it in compost bins either, you can add it fresh to the soil. I have an area where the lettuces used to be before we ate them all, therefore I emptied my bag of droppings into the soil, gave it a good mix up using a hoe and then shovelled it around the brassica crops, followed by a good watering and … voila! … Job’s done.

I have now ventured a little further and have done my next seedlings that are suitable to sew for the month of September. In my little put-together, mini-greenhouse, I have: spring onions, spinach, lettuce, basil, coriander and silverbeet (commonly known as chard). I would love to have a greenhouse: one that you can walk into, stand up in and keep all your growing apparel inside of. They are very expensive to buy here, so I will have to save. Until then, I have a table and some cardboard boxes, which I keep in the garage and can pull out on a nice day.

That’s our dog Max. He loves to get in on the picture!


Closely related to the beetroot and spinach, it came from the Mediterranean, where the Greeks and later the Romans valued it greatly for its exceptional medicinal purposes. It’s tall, leafy and comes in many varieties.


Related to the silverbeet, but it’s less vigorous. There is also New Zealand Spinach! Known as Kokihi to Maori and is one of the few Australasian food crops that have made their way to the rest of the world. It was used by Captain Cook to fight off scurvy and is still sometimes called ‘Cook’s cabbage’.

I have already learned from my very small experience in growing veggies, certain things that I should’ve done differently and will do in the future. For example: I have labelled my seedlings yet in the veggie beds, apart from the lettuces being obvious, I did not label the brassicas and therefore I am unaware at the moment of which-is-which, it hasn’t become apparent yet. So when I eagerly called my family over to the veggie garden, to take a look at the tiny sprouting-head on my cauliflower, it could well have been a broccoli head developing!

When I was growing up in the North of England, my granddad had three allotments’ down the road from where he lived. He was a huge garden enthusiast and his allotments were vast indeed. Everything on our dinner plate was grown in his garden except for the meat! He would often tell us to “eat up, that’s straight out of the garden,” although, he would say it slightly different to that in his northern dialect. I don’t honestly remember, not ‘eating-up’ because the potatoes, cauliflower, swede, carrots … all tasted so good! He would also enter competitions with his mammoth leeks and enormous onions; and I remember always refusing to go into the greenhouse when it was full of tomatoes—it was like stepping into a hot, stuffy, prickly forest and I was convinced that the vines were spiders—I was only five years old!

Now that I am learning the sustainability of growing my own veg, it amuses me to think back to that time when I was the most unenthusiastic child when it came to spending time in Grandad’s allotments! He’d eagerly explain to me what it was, how long it had been growing for and  he’d harvest vegetables for dinner and I never heard a word, nor did I help with anything—I wasn’t interested in the slightest—poor Grandad. At least he had my two sisters, whom were much more eager than I.

Me with my Grandad