30 September, 2008

Toiling toward treats

A veggie patch is an enigmatic and emotional thing, to be sure. You feel passion for it when you begin, frustration toward it as it struggles to grow, hatred for it as pulling weeds and methodical watering become your obsession, and finally joy as you harvest something from your own backyard.

Lemme tell ya.. I'm deeply in the frustration mode.

As lush as my yard may appear to passersby, it is very hard to get a lot of things to grow in dusty Australian soil. It requires feats of engineering and somehow training water-loving plants to live without. Ah well, such is life. But boy did we put our effort in this past weekend. Close to ten hours of work combined on the two days. We took last night off, understandably. But I'm very proud of what we both accomplished.

Ryan welded together the tomato scaffold I dreamed up and, with his guidance, I installed our homemade drip-irrigation system. Other tasks for him included hacking, chopping, and clearing a ton of bramble and bougainvillea, burning brushwood, and mowing out the spot where we're putting the chicken run. My other tasks were building/prepping the Three Sisters mound (Native American garden type that co-plants corn, climbing beans, and squash/pumpkin), prepping the broc and cauli patch, and feeding the tomatoes and peppers. Ugh! The two of us planted our new herb garden too!

The bane of my existence, right now, is our lettuce. I just can't get it to sprout! Spinach does beautifully for us, but this is the second time lettuce has failed.. once as seedlings, now as seed.

28 September, 2008

City Mouse Grows Green

This is me, The City Mouse, and my suburban born-and-bred husband of four months. Don't look like your vision of fruit & veg farmers? Well, we're not!

Not so very long ago, I was sitting in a pimped-out office building in the heart of profitable-non-profitville in Washington, D.C. My days were filled with site performance reports, metrics analysis, millions of dollars in advertising accounts, and "doing lunch" with my equally urbane co-workers. Life was good. I had a nice car, a gorgeous suburban apartment, a 90 minute commute, and a healthy bank account.

Then it happened...I fell for a boy. Boy, oh boy!

Skimming past the gory details, suffice it to say that two years of long-distance romance was about two years too many. So on January 29th, I packed my last bag, checked my Visa was securely stamped inside the US Passport, abandoned the ice-cold Maryland winter and boarded a plane, landing two days later in the mid-summer bake of Adelaide, South Australia.

I left "Beautifully appointed, exposed brick 2x2 with parquet floors and a lush, green courtyard view," and became the proud co-owner of "Dilapidated former government house, with shell-pink brick, shifting foundations, and three overgrown gardens crisping nicely in immeasurable drought!"

These days, my time is filled with making meals, washing dishes, folding laundry, and digging in the dirt. I'm a stranger in a very strange land, and together, my husband and I are trying to turn this neglected suburban plot of land into a fruitful and nourishing place to call home.

Crazy, you say? Nah. Visionary.

Stick around and see what we do with this home-and-garden adventure, gone Down Under.