Saturday, 1 December 2012

Wandering the estate this morning....

A slow amble around our garden today revealed just how well our plants are going.
Our philosophy is simple. If you can't eat it, don't grow it; if you need to mollycoddle it, get rid of it; if it's not prolific; reconsider it.
Here are pics of some of the plants we have growing:

*** I'm doing this on my phone & haven't yet discovered how to either embed or label my photos, so my apologies.

- Sugar snap peas
- Feijoa flower buds -> fruit
- Blackcurrants
- Figs, Black Genoa var.
- Apples
- Pyrethrum, under apples
- Blackcurrant cuttings, Christmas gifts
- Asparagus, 4-5 stalks/day, 6 weeks

- Egyptian walking onions
- Peruvian ground apples
- Oka, New Zealand yams
- Curry bush
- Chilean guava
- Persimmon flowers
- Lemons
- Herbs
- Good ol' Broadies
- Rosemary (I once worked with a lady called Rosemary Lamb, she was a lovely person)
- Jerusalem Artichokes : these shade the wall & grew from 5 corms that Eileen gave me. If the world had more like her it'd be a far better place.

Saturday, 18 August 2012

A message to three young people I love.

I really want you to read the story at the link below and reflect on it. Then make the effort to give older people more time in your days - listen to them & learn from them, everyone has a story to tell about their journey.

Maybe it's because I'm feeling decrepit today, but this blog helped me again realise what amazing things our forbears have done to improve our lives.

This is the legacy you must carry forward: to improve the conditions of the generations which will follow you. I can see you doing it already & I'm proud of the talents and skills you are developing - put them to good use.

Please don't laugh at me, think deeply, act accordingly and make your time here have real meaning. You do not have to become teetotal fun-haters : find something to champion & give it your all; cut loose & mess around but make the world a better place. Listen to the elders and learn from them.


Friday, 15 June 2012

My own Thalassa

My best mate @KateBallarat and I have taken a few days off to be beside the sea.
We're on Port Phillip Bay, with Booboo, who rolls in rotting fish every time our backs are turned.
Watching pelicans bobbing in the water at night, catching squid attracted by the jetty lights.
Finding a divers mask &, after wrenching it free, fleetingly wondering what I'd've done had it still been attached to a nautical noggin.
Feeling salt spray on faces and wind in your hair. Watching a pea green boat to see where the owl & the pussy cat are.
Really needed these three days away.

Sunday, 1 April 2012

So richly rewarded, I'm humbled.

Last week I found a friend.
A guy who I taught in my first school, who was in my 'Homegroup' a pastoral care unit that I looked after for some four years. It was in the far western suburbs of Melbourne and was over 25 years ago.

I found him on FaceBook where I've also a large number of past students who joke with me, ask questions, show me pictures of their kids, family and continue to joust happily even though they're now most around 40yrs old.

We were close. We got through secondary school science, geography and maths together as well as spending time under canvas in the mountains on 'Explorers club' gigs.  He was a reliable, gentle and strong fellow who quietly worked away on his life - a lovely boy. His dad was a merchant seaman and would insist on giving me a 4lt bottle of imported ("No questions, Phil"!) Scotch every Christmas - they were from the same mould, lovely people.

In Yr10 he went on student work experience at a nearby engineering works. I was so pleased when he came back and told me that he'd been offered an apprenticeship, to start the next year.  I asked if his boss had tested him and I was told "He asked me how to work out the length around a circle of steel without measuring it, Mr Morrison". I gasped, 'We're on thin ice here', I thought. "Oh, I told him that two pi R stuff, you know, like we did in maths last term". I was jubilant! What a wonderful thing for this guy who didn't enjoy maths, but really loved building, making, working with his hands and mind.

I've "dined-out" on this story for years, especially when asked "What are the rewards in teaching?" I would cite this case and others. Recently, over the past years, I've also been able to talk about the strong bond formed in our Homegroup and how many of those lovely people, my 'kids', have refound me on social media sites and renewed our friendships. It's been a real boost for me and a buzz for them.

Today I received this message on FB Messenger from 'my boy'. I read it and cried-out, I've been going on about it all day and driven Katie mad. It's wonderful to hear from this man, to hear about his life post-school, his own family, his goings on. I'm chuffed, I feel partly responsible for his success in getting his apprenticeship and feel part ownership in his life. Maybe I'm premature in thinking so - I'll have to ask him. Maybe I think too much of what I did as his teacher. Either way, here's his message which I publish because I'm so proud of him, proud of what he's done and the great experiences he's had.

All I can say is "Well done, lovely big grown-up man!".

From me:
Jason - I've been looking for you!!! Tell me all about what you've done since school - wow, great to find you!!
Phil Morrie Morrison
  • In return:
    Hi Phil, Well where do we start. Married with 2 kids. 13 year old daughter and 10 year old son. Basically when i completed school i went into a Boiler Maker Apprenticeship. After i completed that i worked locally in Melton for 2 companies in the trade. I then went into a company called Liquip International which is located in Sunshine. I started there in the shop floor and within 2 years i was made supervisor of the truck build section. After not quite 2 years i was made Operations Manager of the whole place and was in charge of approx 50 people including 3 supervisors. I have done alot of world travel with the company working with the various oil companies. Ive been with the company now 16 years. The company purchased a USA division some 6 years ago and i was engaged to turn this company around 2 years ago. We all packed up moved to North Carolina and love it here in the USA. Great experience for all. Hope all is well with you. I still stay in touch with some of gang from school.
  • Thursday, 29 March 2012

    Life goes on (for some!)

    While I had a bit of a crappy day today, I was still able to get out into the garden and clean up a bit ready for winter.

    Harvested the last of the aubergines, it was a really prolific little plant and is definitely on the list for next summer. They're not bitter and we just chop them up with some tomato & onion and before frying and serving - couldn't be easier.

    Stripped two of the four tomato vines and ripped them out. The yellow cherry tomato was a bitter disappointment and won"t be gracing out compost again - it was low yielding and tasteless. A waste of water and nurture in our economically rational food system!

    However, some lovely cloves of giant russian garlic were collected and the bulbils replanted along the edge of the petonquary as a little fence like structure. It'll look really good next summer.

    The figs are coming on nicely and the last of the cucumbers came off, with the vine being mulched up and composted.

    Fun find of the day (if you're not a butterfly or bee) was a mantisy thing which had captured a butterfly and was eating it. Sitting on a flower head of garlic chives, it was pretty impressive.

    I called Katie down and she said "Poor bee" to which I retorted "Get your glasses". Kate then pointed out HER bee and there it was, on another flower, being eaten by another mantis! Eggs on me for that. Close inspection found another mantis sitting stick-like next to a flower head awaiting it's dinner.

    So that's my day. Didn't achieve what I wanted to, but there's always tomorrow!!

    Saturday, 25 February 2012

    Golden Queens.

    In the orchard,
    I reach high,
    as far as the sky
    into the tree of yellow suns -
    peaches bigger than my hands.
    Wrench them down,
    and bite in big,
    and the juice drips down my chin.
    I wipe with my sleeve,
    and turn to run,
    my pockets stretched,
    smiling, happy, harmless.
    Another simple pleasure.