Posts Tagged ‘spring’

What’s going to work?

August 20, 2012

Our freshly-landscaped front garden is starting to look loved.  The bulbs we planted are coming up, and it’s a lovely surprise to find out what they are, because we planted a mixed bag.  There are little drifts of white crocus, some bright pink hyacinths, beautifully scented erlicheers, daffodils starting to open and I’m still hoping for a tulip or two in there somewhere.  Ranunculus are showing plenty of leaves but no flowers yet.

Poppies are starting to look like the buds might open soon.  The nemesia has bushed up nicely and has a sprinkling of purple flowers.  Elsewhere in the garden, the plum blossom is almost all gone and new dark-red leaves are bursting out all over the tree.  Peas are flowering, and the delphinium has sprung back into life with lots of new leaves.

The most exciting development is tiny little green/white baby strawberries starting to appear!  I hope we get to feast on those in a few weeks, not the birds.

Of course, lots of weeds are popping up too, even faster than the new lawn.  A little while ago I took the kids out with me to look at the new flowers, and showed them which ones were weeds.  They all set to with a will, and Babess led them in a sort of spiritual chorus, chanting, “What’s going to work?” and then they’d all sing, “Teeeam-work!”

I think it’s from a TV show they had been watching, but it did feel a little bit like having my very own child-sized chain gang.

© UpsideBackwards 2012.

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A Spring Sunday

October 9, 2011

We all had a much-needed sleep-in this morning, no-one stirring much before about 7:45am.  The Dad got up to feed Fainjin and Babess (Pearl is having a couple of nights with her cousin at their grandparents’ place), and brought me a cup of tea in bed.

Fainjin was well-rested and full of beans.  He finished his breakfast in short order and went to play outside in the sunshine.  It was a gorgeous day today.

A little while later, he appeared next to me, red hair desperately in need of a cut and sticking up through the holes in his bike helmet.  “Mummy, can we scooter ’round the bay?”  He paused uncertainly, looked at me sitting up in bed.  “Um, after you finish your sleep?”

I had to laugh.  Then I felt obliged to get up, of course.  We didn’t scooter around the bay as he wanted to, but we did walk around a different bay and “look for sharks” as well as picking up a scrumptious lunch at the local market.  Hooray for spring!

© UpsideBackwards 2011.

Spring is here!

September 28, 2011

Daylight saving has started.

Tonight when we got home, The Dad hung the washing and mowed the lawns (yes, in that order).  The children rode their bikes, Fainjin hurtling down the driveway at breakneck speeds watching for our reaction rather than looking where he was going.  The late sunshine was glorious.

It’s hard to get up in the morning, but harder to get the kids to bed on time in the evening.  We’re still getting used to the time change.

Soon we will be able to take dinner down to the beach and have a “picnic tea”, just as Pearl has been yearning for.

© UpsideBackwards 2011.

Daffodils

September 12, 2011

For a change of scene and of pace this weekend, we decided to take the children to the Carterton Daffodil Carnival.

Spring is here!

This was a lovely way to spend the day, an old-fashioned country town fair, with lots of stalls selling lemon honey, relishes, home-grown citrus fruit, hand-knits and crafts, as well as the ubiquitous South American knits, finger puppets and pan-flute players.  We bought some lemon honey and fresh-made candy floss (of which Fainjin was deeply suspicious and refused to try), and the kids rode on merry-go-rounds and miniature cars.

Then we drove out to Middlerun and picked 6 dozen daffodils to bring home.  Fainjin initially picked just the tops, but I soon showed him how to follow the stem down to the ground and pick from there.  He carefully stepped over plants to get to one he wanted, then sat down on several surrounding plants to pick his flowers! Oh well… plenty of little kids were doing the same.

Pearl & Babess gather daffodils

On the way there and back there was plenty to do and see – baby lambs and calves indeed, although sadly no baby hippos.  We also saw pigs, horses, donkeys and alpacas, to great excitement.  There were Georgian flags everywhere, a cheery sight no doubt for rugby players a very long way from home.

And in Masterton we had plenty of time for what was pronounced “the best playground in the universe!

It was a good way to welcome Spring.

© UpsideBackwards 2011.

Maybe, if you look really hard…

September 8, 2011

Today on the way to work we were discussing our plans for the weekend – a drive in the country, we said, to see farms and look at spring flowers.

“And we might see some farm aminals!” said Fainjin excitedly.

“Oooh yes, and it’s spring, so there will be baby lambs,” I replied.

“Baby lambs!  And Mummy and Daddy lambs!”

“Sheep,” I corrected.  “And you might see baby calves…”

“And Mummy and Daddy calves?”

“Cows and bulls, yes.  What else, do you think?”

“Pigs!  And ducks and chickens!  Ducks and chickens are my fav’rites!”

Babess’ voice piped up, full of hope.

“And maybe some baby hippos?”

© UpsideBackwards 2011.

Snippets from the day

September 3, 2011

Babess appeared this morning in t-shirt, tights, and boots.  She wanted us to go out to the craft market.  “If we’re going out, you’ll need more clothes on,” I told her.  “Tights are not pants.”

She looked at me, slightly puzzled.  “Is a dress pants?”

Fainjin was rattling around the yard on his scooter, but I couldn’t see the girls.  I went around the side of the house, and they were sitting together playing, deep in conversation.  So sweet.

Fainjin has discovered Fox in Socks.  He brings it to me each evening at story-time, with an evil grin on his face.  He is waiting for me to stumble on “three cheese trees freeze”.

Fainjin ate all his broccoli tonight.  About a teaspoonful.  I have told him that broccoli will help him to run faster, and in particular to run faster than Pearl.  He doesn’t pretend to like the broccoli, but he has started to eat little bits, and tonight – with lots of encouragement – he ate all that I gave him.  And a little (microscopic) bit of carrot.  That, I fibbed, will help him see in the dark.  Like Spiderman.  I have lost all shame when it comes to getting him to eat – and bribes don’t work, so it’s nice to know something will!

Of course, after he ate that broccoli he ran back and forth through the house several times to demonstrate how fast he had become…

© UpsideBackwards 2011.

Nearly summer

November 26, 2010

View from our dinner table (park bench) tonight

We took some time out today.  First, The Dad and I went out for lunch, which was lovely.  Then we collected Fainjin and Babess early and took them to Pearl’s school to watch her in a presentation of their term’s work.

After school, we collected ice-creams, and went down to “our” beach.  We sat in the sun, the kids played in the playground, we looked out over the water (no whales today), and sighed in relief that we will be home again soon and can do this sort of thing more often.

Then we collected fish and chips from our favourite shop, where we were greeted like family.  We drove back to the city, and stopped by a beach to eat.  We saw people swimming, yachts sailing, and fish jumping out of the water.  Still no whales or dolphins, but it was nearly perfect.

The Dad impressed the kids by skipping stones across the water, and they all had fun running across the sand.

Friday night at the beach

© UpsideBackwards 2010.

Make way for…

October 28, 2010

Fainjin and Babess’ daycare had a “teachers-only” day today.  Luckily, it was a sunny and warm day, although a bit windy, so we were able to get out and about.

Our first errand was to an art gallery-bookshop, which is a truly lovely shop but a little scary with two busy preschoolers.  However, they were very well-behaved, right up until they decided to be puppies and lions but it was time to go by then anyway.

We decided to walk back to our apartment through the gardens, keeping a sharp eye out for baby ducks.  And sure enough, there by the fountain, ducklings!  The ones we had seen a couple of weeks ago are gangly-looking teenaged ducks by now, still a bit fluffy but more duck-like than cute.  But there’s a new batch, eight little fluffy balls tumbling after their mother chasing up the breadcrumbs offered by another visiting toddler.

Babess had gathered up some wisteria petals on our walk, and she now dropped some into the pond.  “Look ducks!  Flowers!  Eat my flowers!” she called, and they came rapidly over, to her delight.  Of course, they didn’t eat the flowers, despite her continued entreaties.  I tried to explain that ducks don’t eat flowers, but she still thinks they should.

The second-best thing about the gardens, after the ducklings, is the flower trail – bright flowers painted on the path at intervals of several metres.  Even the most “I need to be carried” toddler can be persuaded to chase her big brother from one flower to the next, for a surprising distance.  They also make a great spot for big brother to be told to wait for Mummy to catch up – “Stop on the next flower and wait for me!” “Ok Mummy!”

It all made for a very pleasant morning indeed.

© UpsideBackwards 2010.

Sunflowers

October 26, 2010

One of Pearl’s birthday presents, from her best friend at school, was a packet of “heirloom” sunflower seeds.  Apparently they have many flower heads on each stem, with colours like red, chocolate, yellow and orange, sometimes all on the same flower.

Quite often we just sow sunflower seeds directly into the ground in our ex-vege patch (now mostly devoted to flowers), but since they’re special seeds and we’re not home to look after them, I got a seed tray and some special mix so we could do things properly.  By the time they’re big enough, we should be home again to transplant them into the garden.

The packet says there are 20 seeds, and I got a seed tray with 20 little pottles.

I sowed 2 seeds per pottle, and I think there are about 35 seeds left in the packet.  I guess the seed company didn’t want anyone to feel shortchanged!  We should have a great crop of lovely sunset-coloured flowers in a couple of months, though.

© UpsideBackwards 2010.

Thanksgiving

October 25, 2010

The Dad and I decided a few years ago that we really like the idea of a Thanksgiving holiday.  No presents, no cards, just a family gathering to give thanks for the good things in life.

We decided to steal the idea.

But, since we don’t have a Thanksgiving holiday in New Zealand, we had to choose when to hold it.  A Thursday in November isn’t really practical.  We eventually settled on the Sunday of Labour Weekend.  Usually we try to invite friends and especially family to our place for a large lunch, I roast a leg of lamb (new Spring lamb!) and everyone brings something to contribute to the meal.  Before we eat, everyone old enough to talk mentions one thing they are grateful for.

This year, we couldn’t do that – there’s just not enough room in this apartment to host that sort of event, even if there were room in the kitchen to prepare it.  So we had a very small Thanksgiving with “just us” instead.  We had a picnic lunch at a park, then the kids had a run and we all rode on the miniature train, so it was little bit special and memorable for them.

Pearl was thankful for “all the presents” she got for her birthday.

Fainjin was thankful for “crackers” (which he was eating at the time, so much for “before we eat”!).

Babess was thankful because “I’m a girl”.  Deep thinking, there, perhaps.

The Dad and I were thankful for some fine weather allowing us to have a picnic, and that our new kitchen and bathroom will be ready before Christmas.  We’re also thankful that we’re all together, healthy, and that all our problems are small ones.

I think next year I’ll be thankful for having a dishwasher!

© UpsideBackwards 2010.


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