Lockdown at le Petit Paradis

no thru rd pp

Lockdown.

I really dislike that term. A great deal. I have much disdain for it.

I am mindful of the words we use to paint our world. This is also not so much of a Lockdown as a very inconvenient thing. I’ve witnessed proper Lockdowns.

The home schooling here continues. And guess what? It’s now school holidays! Shhhhhhh! Little by little we keep the momentum. It has slowed, but it hasn’t stopped.

And despite the current circumstances, with the very, very meagre amount of news media I allow myself to be subject to, our state and our region are doing well in keeping cases low.

Ironically, in some respects, our Little Fellas have never been so free in their little lives. We have instead turned to re-inventing our little paradise as something of a Safe Harbour for our family. After all, this is not a Lockdown. This is a golden opportunity to get outside and exercise. To walk along the near deserted beach or ride a bike along favourite paths or tracks.

While the world is in turmoil and embracing a Lockdown mentality, we are creating a safe harbour for our family to consolidate and regenerate. I prefer this context to the current situation.

This is a time for consolidation and regeneration.

There are so many ways we can do this.
  • We are taking daily walks to some extent. Long or short.
  • Practicing meditation.
  • Spending time hiking and observing nature.
  • Tidying up our living space.
  • Getting paperwork in order.
  • ¬†Tending to the garden.
  • Playing card games.
  • Doing artwork.
  • Music practice.
  • Developing cooking skills and recipes
  • Getting rid of further stuff we really don’t need.
  • Learning new skills.
  • Maintaining tools and equipment.
  • Assisting the neighbours.
  • Bike rides around the park. Or quick jogs.
  • Clearing out cupboards.
  • Preserving foods in various ways.

We are fortunate enough to have spaces we can get out into without too much interference and we are very grateful for this. We realise others do not have such abilities at the moment.

But in my world, this is not a Lockdown. This will be The Great Consolidation.
consolidate [[
panorama pp
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Petit Paradis – Soup de Jour – Miso

miso pp

Well, I guess there are a hundred different versions of miso.

This one was made from a stock of vegetable scraps and some bones from dinner. Carrots and celery chopped finely. Perhaps the last of the celery that we will see for a while given the incredible price hike it has received recently. I have a plant in the garden coming along. We will wait. The planet is in a self-imposed slow food movement anyway.

Some brown rice was cooked really well in the strained broth so that it became swollen and full. A good amount of miso paste and some tamari. Salt and pepper if required.

I served it to the family for breakfast after a jog and sprint around the park with the Little Fellas. We are in training for the Long Distance run for school. But it is good training anyway and makes for a decent bit of activity before school activities.

Half a boiled egg sits aloft the soft vegetable and rice mix surrounded by a moat of rich broth. Speckled with chopped chives from the garden it is a nice start to the autumn day.

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The Last of March

The rains have come and I am grateful.

Mostly because the days are sunny and delightfully warm and those overnight showers or early morning drops are ideal for the young seedlings and newly planted trees. I have also been re-potting some of the trees and they are liking this extra fresh water.

It is also nice to hear the rain shower on the tin roof in the early morning. But not being one to sleep in I was up early anyway and working in the garage, out on the back verandah and under the house. I managed to do many small jobs today – like paint our street number out the front, sand and paint and old table and sow more seeds.

Then it was time for home school. Maths, spelling, music, reading, art,  on-line learning. Some further insights into the workings of young minds. What an experience this is, I think to myself. How frustrating and wonderful. All of it. Intriguing and frustrating and really trying on the patience. But intriguing. And of course, I am learning too.

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We all sat at the kitchen table chatting about home schooling when Gran blurts out at the head of the table “Are they doing swimming?”

“No Mum. There is no swimming anyway. Not at the pool or the beach. Besides, the pools closed.”

We return to our lunch.

“It’s a good thing they’ve canceled swimming then!”

Little Fella Number One looks incredulously at his Gran and shakes his head. We all grin and nod. And eat our lunch.

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Despite early attempts to whinge and whine in rebellion against the morning walk, this morning they were dressed and ready and Mrs PP took them to the beach in the drizzle. They had a great time chasing waves and even took me back in the afternoon with their boards to go in the waves again.

They have been hungry those Little Fellas, and I’ve been making up various dishes to show them what can be done with food and left-overs. Like the rice pudding with sultanas, lemon rind and nutmeg. Autumn, ahhhh. They learn the basics of cooking also. School never really stops at home. But we don’t tell them that to remind them.

rice pudding pp

Bullfrog has been pretty low key recently. He spends his days in and around the pond. He is dark now, like the saturated wood in the pond that he clings to. Soon it will be time for the Moaning Frog to start calling.

Finch has been perching on the uppermost branches of the neighbours hibiscus tree and calling a little courting call as he holds a long strand of freshly plucked grass in hi beak. He tends to alternate between the hibiscus and another tree further up the slope.

I’ve moved the native iris and geraniums that were pulled from the front garden up to the very back of the block to plant out. I just need to impede the growth of the kikuyu before I get them in the ground.

bananas pp

The bananas have grown remarkably well in the current weather cycle of hot, sunny days and cool, damp nights. I have been in the practice of putting other potted plants around the base of them on the mulch to keep everything easily watered but have limited this practice now as the diameter of the bananas stem is increasing a lot and the mulch is just so deliciously alive and attractive that any potted plant placed on top immediately decides to set roots deep into it. I have instead put in a few slips of sweet potato. I am fond of the leaves in salad, but if we get a small crop of tubers it will be a bonus.

So March departs and there is the promise of those glorious days of April and May. We shall see what they bring. The council workers ‘closed’ the park yesterday. They have removed swings, barricaded play areas and locked up fence areas in an effort to reduce the potential exchange of the virus. The beach is not busy, but that comes with the change of season anyway. So we go there. The fresh air, the cleansing water. People are usually happy there.

I am hoping. That when Moaning Frog begins his woeful, sad call in the weeks to come, that it is a celebration of the winter rains.

 

 

 

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Home Shopping

 

sea pp

The days are blurring together. But this is the kind of stuff I’ve been up to.

Friday morning was the beach walk with the family. It was refreshing, relaxing and resulted in a catch of one dead seagull, two dead shearwater and a dried out blowfish. More on that here.

Saturday I got stuck into the main garden bed and re-arranged it. I was a little reluctant to as after having stored a good variety of plants in the garden there over the summer for ease of watering for the house sitter, they really were looking comfortable. Very lush. But not really ideal for growing winter vegetables. I compromised and left some of the sweet potato in situ for the winter. I have since planted out peas, parsnips, carrots, beans, numerous dark, leafy greens and coriander.

lush pp

Once inside from the garden I made a frittata for the family. They always enjoy a yummy frittata. The Little Fellas get into it with gusto and it’s one of the few meals I can cook without them picking bits out. I’ve made dishes where I’ve finely diced all manner of vegetables and inevitably they still find their favourites to pick out. Not with the frittata. Hooray!

frittata pp

Then there was Sunday’s shopping outing which occurred over the neighbours fence. To make the job easier I used one of the Little Fella’s old fish/butterfly nets. Observing social distancing and all that stuff. Actually, it was really just easier for the neighbour so there wasn’t much reaching involved.

fence pp

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The First Trees are Planted

Yesterday I planted out our first trees.

There was no pomp and ceremony. Not loudly anyway.

I carted up several loads of sandy soil and dumped them on the growing swale at the top of the slope. I filled up several more and left them by the swale. I gathered the soaked cardboard, the composted pig manure, the 3 dead sea birds gathered from the shoreline this morning and the dead puffer fish and lay them out ready next to the loquats and avocadoes.

Three of those lucky trees got a ceremonial burial. Two with Short-tailed Shearwaters, each already a couple of days deceased and one with a Silver gull. Definitely much deader than the shearwaters and smelling the worse for it.

I did it with as much reverence and conscious thought as I could muster. I was hot, tired and couldn’t even be bothered to try to entice the family up to take part. I piled on the sand from the buckets I had standing by and watered them each. On another swale I planted acacia. It will eventually join with the fruit tree swale to become one long swale stretching the top of the block. I just need a passage through at the moment while I work up there.

As I gathered up some pea hay and a jar of assorted seeds I’ve had waiting for years for such an opportunity, the Littlest Little Fella came outside and offered to help. I was so grateful.

“Yes please. You’ve come just at the fun part.”

We walked up the back and scattered pea straw gently like confetti over the newly planted trees. Then I gave him a handful of seeds to scatter in amongst the pea straw so that hopefully they will grow to bind the soil and keep the trees happy. Making a good show of things before the kikuyu inevitably snakes its way in. The resilient grass will also bind the swale soil and the trees are tall enough and sturdy enough that once they take a hold it will be easy enough to keep the grass managed. It’s a very uninspiring photo that one on the bottom there, but as the trees grow it will look a bit more impressive.

The main thing is, in the meantime, they are at least in the soil and growing.

the first trees pp

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