learning the hard way

First I want to thank you for all the gorgeous comments on my last post. I appreciate every one of them. I didn't actually intend to post, or even to be sitting at the computer. At 5.30am this morning when Adam left to go gym training with a buddy, I looked up and a huntsman spider the size of my head was strutting down my bedroom wall towards me. I was suddenly very wide awake. And so I found myself at the computer, wide awake, and there we have it. 

I'd forgotten how much I love this little space. And how much I appreciate you. So thanks. I appreciate it more than you know. 


I think sometimes I learn things the long way round. 

Take this year's garlic. 

It was looking so ready in the garden, I was watching the weather like a hawk, they predicted rain and so at 7.30pm one night last week, as the weather closed in, I pulled out the lot. I'd pulled a few for cooking over the previous month, I knew the cloves were fully formed and the advice was not to let them get wet in the ground for fear of rot. 

I bound them all up and tied them up to dry in our feed shed. Thinking I'd come back and clean them in the morning. It was last week. I didn't get back to them.

So now I have a year's supply of muddy garlic hanging in the shed. 



Note to self for next year: clean it before you hang it to cure. MUCH easier. (Cleans up OK really.)




And oh sourdough. I will not give up on you. 

Even when you repeatedly let me down the way a yeasted loaf never lets me down. 

I feed the mother starter. 

I persist in kneading loaves that just never get that bouncy silky feeling. And the kids turn up their noses at sourdough sarnies (although everyone likes sourdough toast.)

These loaves, proved over 24 hours, both weighed a tonne. Or so.

Am obviously a slow, slow learner.


Will you just look at those wee little Barred Plymouth Rocks? All that egg-turning in the incubator was so worth it. 

But wait, who is that interloper?

Yes I see you there, little black chicken! I'm sure he's this one, the first hatched, a Buena Vista bird, not one of the fertilised-eggs-delivered-by-post birds. He's bound to be a rooster and I'm bound to have to make some kind of call about his future which will be, frankly, contested. He's a funny misfitting little black bird and I think he's awesome. Bound to be trouble.



Oh yes hello pig, wipe your nose on my clean jeans huh? Legs all better, that's great. You bound away over there then. Do not name the pig. Do not name the pig. Do not name the pig.



Adam's bees are looking fantastic, from a distance. I admit to not having much to do with them. Dad's the expert, and opened the hives with Ad the other day and confirmed they're just about ready for a new super on each (another box on top.) One day we'll have honey. That's so super exciting. Man I love honey.




Not to self: don't leave eggs stacked at the front door for delivery. It's not like you don't do this every day. You will inevitably be carrying something: a child, a mobile phone that you're reading, another crate of eggs, and you will fall over the crate you left at the door. Every day. 


See that tiny baby of mine? Where'd she go? Do we really forget, every time, that this year, the two to three, is by turns the hardest and most wonderful? That overnight they get older, and more articulate, and independent and adventurous? See that scar on her forehead? That's my tiny baby running headlong into a brick wall at daycare while playing with her bestie. Learning the hard way. That's my girl.


5 Comments on “learning the hard way

November 20, 2012 at 8:37 am

You make me laugh, thanks. I sometimes wonder if I do actually learn as I make the same mistakes over and over. Hubby keeps telling me to slow down and do one job at a time so I don’t stuff up the multitude of jobs I have on the go. Better go and clean my garlic which has been waiting for me also…

lily boot
November 20, 2012 at 11:02 am

beautiful life Fiona! And oh, I might have mentioned before, I wish we lived up your way so we could have buena vista eggs and chooks and pigs – yum! And my sourdough is a flop too – we could build our future farmhouse with it. Have a lovely day dear girl – hope there’s plenty of springyness up your way 🙂

Merryl Chantrell
November 21, 2012 at 6:11 am

I’m so pleased to hear you sounding more like your normal albeit exceptionally busy self. There is one thing I have learned in my almost 60 years ‘that which does not kill you only makes you stronger’. I figure I’m about the strongest person around but sometimes and always when I least expect it something happens which literally brings me to my knees. In the immortal words of that song “I pick myself up dust myself off and start all over again’ just like you :o)

November 23, 2012 at 4:00 pm

Can I please ask…..what sort of bee hives are they? If possible could you please let me know where they are from. They look really cool

November 27, 2012 at 9:54 am

Hi Sam,

Theyre just plastic hives from Chris at Parker Engineering in Dunmore. We debated the lovely wooden hives but were right on the coast and the sea breeze plays havoc with the wooden frames.

We took Dads long, long beekeeping experience and went with his advice! They seem to be working well so far!



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