Sunday, May 31, 2015

Tales from the city fringe

On a grey, wet and wintery Sunday morning I sit at my dining room table eating a big bowl of steaming hot porridge and contemplate what I can do with my garden to inject some life back into it. Everything is dying or dead, and all the new seedlings I've planted do not look happy at all. Even the blackberries that I thought were sure winners are looking droopy and weathered. Now I remember why I didn't start planting out the garden last year when we moved in!

Here's what it looks like outside right now.

Less than a month ago I thought I had it in hand. I thought my marigolds would continue to display their rich and fabulous colour all winter long if I kept dead heading them. Here's what the garden looked like at the end of April.

Then the storms came.

I'm rearing seedlings which are ready to go into the garden, but they are all going to die as soon as they get out there, so I'm in a bit of a pickle about how I'm going to manage this.

A punnet of coriander waiting to be planted out.

I did get a good harvest of purple Russian kale - I've planted enough that we've had a steady supply for the last couple of months.

My potatoes however a growing very well in their pot. These started as supermarket potatoes that I left in the sunlight to green up and sprout, and then I chopped them up into cubes and planted them.

Meanwhile, in other news, we reared the last of this season's caterpillars and they've all flown away. This was the very last one.

I waited for 2 days to get a time lapse of her emergence, but alas it was not meant to be. I dropped Kien off to school while she was still a chrysalis, I came back and did a few dishes and looked over to see she had just popped out! So here's a time lapse of the remaining process - transferring fluid from the abdomen to the wings.

Yes, we know we've got an infestation of aphids - it happens every year around this time. They'll be gone by the time summer comes around again and the swan plants have recovered from being stripped bare by the caterpillars.

Right, I've got to get out of my PJs and we all need to get out of the house now that the sun has come out. Kien has just finished his painting, and now its sitting in the the sun drying.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Our non vacation vacation

I recently took a trip to LA over the school holidays at the beginning of April (so that's not really recent after all!). This trip wasn't meant to be a "holiday" as such. I went because my friend was in need, and if I'm in the position to be able to provide help and support then I will always be there. Jef had a full schedule at work so couldn't make the trip with us. So instead he stayed at home and worked on the front courtyard while Kien and I went to the southern California sunshine. Despite the circumstances it was really nice to over there. LA always feels like my second home.

It seems like ages since I've blogged - probably because it has been ages since I posted anything here. I have been crazy busy living, you know? Living is taking a lot of time! But Jef reminded me last night that it would be nice to provide an update to this here living diary once in a while so at least we can refer back to it once in a while to know what we did with our lives. I guess he has a point.

The new terminal at LAX is so much better than the old one! Since we've still got valid visas we were able to do self service at the kiosk. Hehe, I like this picture of Kien's waiver which was taken at the kiosk.

I didn't take a lot of pictures on this last trip, and all the ones that were taken were with my iPhone. We spent a lot of time at home, and some time at the hospital, but most of the time at home.

I helped out with digging out the patio area and setting up the playground. I did a lot of slave labour to earn my keep.

The kids did a whole lot of zombie impersonations in front of the box.

Kien was so excited to make pumpkin soup. But did he eat it?

We did however manage to get for both Saturdays for the kids to build stuff at the hardware store. The first build was a chalk board for a plant holder.

The second was a mini planter box. I love how they give the kids their own safety goggles and aprons.

We also went to the library a few times.

We also went to the trampoline park and had a good workout jumping for an hour.

Maybe we didn't jump for the whole hour...

One and a half weeks zoomed by rather rapidly, and then we were taking our last group photo and saying good-bye.

Driving to the airport we did not encounter a lot of traffic (which is unheard of in LA) so decided to stop by beach first.

We were dropped off at the terminal and crossed our fingers and toes we were able to make the flight.

We had a great flight home, and the Air NZ cabin crew were so good to us. They brought Kien a whole lot of delicious food which he did not touch. Instead he over-endulged on the inflight entertainment.

Touched down in the wee hours of the morning and went quickly through customs. The non vacation vacation had officially come to an end.


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