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Yup, there's a rash of introspective pondering going on here, isn't there! :-)

But the previous two posts needed publishing in order to move on.  Literally.

You see, we've recently moved house, and started a whole new chapter. 

Since April 2007, we have been living in a security complex.  The first house I moved to ther was bigger than the one-bedroom flat I had left, but had a bricked up yard, and burglar bars everywhere.  To get to it, you went through a security gate, then through another security gate, then through your own gate.  It backed on to a busy main road through the area - a big change from the semi-rurual existance we'd previously had.  There was a lot of traffic noise day and night.  But when I moved in I loved it.  I no longer had neighbours upstairs whose every footfall I could hear.  It was reasonably modern compared to the ancient flat I'd left.  My son had his own room.  I had a lounge and a nice kitchen.  And it was secure.

After a few years our lease ended and we moved - just down the road.  Still in the greater security complex, still in a secondary security complex within it.  This time I had a tiny patch of soil to call my garden.  A small braai / entertainment area.  It didn't front onto a noisy road, and the residents of this complex were so much more quiet and civilized - no more police attending to a stabbing at the front gate, or random robberies by dodgy residents, or drunken teenage parties across on the communal lawn.  We had a bit of extra space too.  A garage, a seperate lounge and home office, and still two bedrooms left.  For the most part we lived quite happily there - other than the landlord threatening to sell every few months.

But now we've made a final big move for the forseeable future.  Away from the security complexes down near the highway.  To a place that more and more feels like home, although I've really only been here for a week.  It's an old house with an addition or two, so comes with its quirks and needs some love.  It has a kitchen twice as big as my previous garden.  Three bedrooms, a double garage, a strange little storage room, two and a half bathrooms, a lounge, a spacious braai / entertainment area, parking for everyone and everything, a total footprint of 1400 square metres of property line, and a pool!  Wow.

It's in a very quiet area.  Although there's a school a block or so away, we're surrounded by established trees that block sound (unless it's sports day, as it was this afternoon), in a road where you don't necessarily have to look for cars when pulling out, as there may only be three or four on any given day that aren't the neighbours.  We have the occasional lonely dog that howls, but no cats (finally!) nearby - and no need to pick up cat poo in my garden anymore.  Without cats, the wildlife is abundant.  The trees ringing my yard are constantly full of birds - weavers, sparrows, a flock of laughing doves, little sugarbirds in the hedge, starlings and hadedas dropping by, and the obligatory pair of pigeons.  At night there are Cape Eagle owls that sit in the road, and a family of stilts with two little babies that hang out under the streetlights.  There are two bunnies that come out to graze the sidewalks in the dark.  And the vegetation has shown up at least three large Huntsman-type spiders.  One of them hung out with eyes glowing in the light while the Kid was affixing trunking to the wall the other night...  There was a squirrel on the wall yesterday morning who will probably be back more regularly now the previous tennant's yappy dogs are gone.  By the way, the postman's also glad the yappy dogs are gone, as apparently they'd nip him through the fence when delivering.

Our main bedroom is upstairs.  We wake with a view of treetops and mountains and birds.  For folk like Favourite Man and I who grew up surrounded by nature in our youth, it's an absolute pleasure.

Back to the kitchen - for some reason it makes me simply want to cook good food.  Maybe it's the "farmhouse" feel, or the promise of a burgeoning kitchen garden one of these days.  Or just that I finally have space to breath and move.  As of yesterday I also have nesting doves right outside the window to watch, and it's become a place I enjoy being.

And yes, this house is going to make me fit.  We lose each other in it, and have quite a distance to walk to find each other again.  It takes me 5 steps from the kitchen sink to the cupboard where the plates are - and 5 back again.  From my home office to Favourite Man's is down a passage - any communication either involves our internal phone system, or - yes - more walking.  The swimming pool is going to see action in summer - and probably this weekend, now that we've sorted out the greenery in it and any floating crickets.  The garden is a work in progress that will keep me digging for years.  When we arrived it took two guys two days and a 4 ton truck-and-a-half to clear the initial garden cut-back.  I now get to plant out my garden-in-pots that has travelled with me from house to house, and maintain what remains.  Seriously good exercise.  There's a LOT of work needed on this garden.  Here's a bit of the "before".  We've since removed a lot of growth. And IVY (blerry everywhere).....






But all this is merely walls and yard.  It's not home, you say.

Home is a feeling.  Home is a place where you're glad to come back to, where you want to hang out and spend time, where you can simply be yourself and relax.

And after a mere week here, this is proving to be home.

Right - enough of the navel-gazing, back to regular programming.

DNA

(Draft post written long before "Legacy" below - but which somehow slots right in there)

The older I get, the more I understand my mother....


Mom succumbed to cancer at the end of 2005, after a battle of around 8 years.  Unlike many mothers and daughters, she and I did not get along very well.  The clash started in my teen years, and attempts to regain a closeness before she died simply didn't work.  By then it was too late and the gap of understanding each other was just too large.

But now, at age 42, I understand a lot of where she was coming from, why she did certain things, and what a very strong legacy of DNA-based behaviour the women in our family have.

From our falling-out, I disdained (usually not openly) what I saw as signs of weakness - and yet I see exactly those traits rearing their head in me now.  I could never understand why she didn't stand up for herself, and why my grandmother didn't either - both were silent in the face of opposition.  Yet I do the same thing, and now I understand why.  Us Burgoyne women do not fight well, we would rather shut up and walk away than throw a hissy-fit screaming match (well, all of us except one of my aunts, who clearly got my gramp's fighting streak).  That often leads to locking ourselves away - not physically, but simply closing off and putting up a wall.  I saw it in my mom, I see it in me - and I'm fighting it daily.

I didn't like how she'd dumped her dreams.  She had always wanted to be a nurse, my grandfather did not allow it and she became a teacher (the other "respectable" option for women in those days).  She was a good teacher at primary school level, she put her soul into the kids, but it wasn't her first choice.  I understand now how hard it was, but also that "dumping" her dreams had led her on a course that gave her pleasure.  I know what I've "dumped" in the past, and that it has led me right to where I need to be.  I think she would have been proud of what I've become - though some aspects of my life would probably not have met with her initial approval.

I was proud of having dark, luxurious eyelashes and unlined skin.  Her eyelashes were barely visible, her cheeks had started to sag.  I'm there now.

I understand why she hid her upper arms and wore what she wore.  Genetics means our female line is pear-shaped, with upper arms that are not firm, no matter what we do.

I understand why she had a hysterectomy.  The females in our family often experience extreme cramps each month.  She lived in the days before readily-available Myprodal or other strong pain killers, and eventually the only option was to remove the source of the debilitating, knock-you-down pain.  I'm convinced the sudden hormone change had something to do with her developing breast cancer when the stress of a trans-continental move kicked in - and I'm treating my hormones with respect as a result.

I get why she needed to talk to a professional when I fell pregnant at 20.  I get the self-blame she piled on that needed relief, telling herself it was her fault for not raising me better.  I do the whole self-blame thing to perfection myself in many different situations, not only as a parent, but also as a partner and businesswoman.

Would we have gotten along better had she still been alive?  Probably not.  We'd still be bumping heads.  But now I understand a lot of what I do and why I did it.  She did it first, and her mother did before her.  DNA can't be changed.

Legacy

That weekend away at my grandpa's farm in October 2013, mentioned in the post below, did me the world of good.  A few months later, the deeper effects have not faded.

There's something about connecting with where you come from, who you come from, and the values that are ingrained in generations that is profoundly grounding and settling.

Although making my way from Lenasia airport to Pretoria East was a whole new adventure (have never driven that road before, and the lack of mountains for orientation makes things difficult as a Capetonian! :-) ), as soon as I hit the dirt road off the N3 to the farm, it was a little bit like coming home.  I know the dips in the road, the hills and valleys.  I know who lives where and what they do/farm with.  I know where to find the huge eucalyptus tree where my dad proposed to my mom.  I know where to slow down and where to speed up to get over the worst of the corrugations.  I don't live there, and I haven't been there in years, but December holidays spent on the farm year on year have ingrained the place in my memory like the ridges of a fingerprint.



It was indeed a bittersweet homecoming though.  There is much on the farm that has fallen into ruin with my grandpa's age and health not what they used to be.  He's aware of it, and is working on what he can as his strength improves.  There's new stuff too - a new cottage being readied for renters, a new "cat palace" to keep the three felines happy behind a fence where big dogs are not allowed.  This after a rescued addition to the dog herd took to trying to eat them.



There are many tales to tell about those few days - things that my blog readers would not understand.  So I'll stick to the point of this post.

Legacy.

I spent a good deal of time with my grandpa, going over old family photo albums, hearing the stories behind each shot, and getting to know my family history as never before. I spent time with my aunt, who has kept the place going for years, who is a wise and intelligent woman with strong opinions and a career in the natural world.  And what I learnt was this.

First, we are people of the land.  My mother's family has always had a plot or a farm, land to raise beasts and plants.  Gran is of Irish descent - there they worked the land too.  They have built their own houses from scratch with their own hands - often with the stones on their property.  There has always been a kitchen garden, animals around, and strangely enough an aviary or two hundred.  Doesn't matter which branch of the family you go up on mom's side, you'll find the same thing.  And it's trickled down to me.  I struggle to live without a garden, a patch of soil to throw seeds into and watch them grow.  I'm into edible landscaping with a smattering of beauty thrown in.  I'm a dog and a bird person - dogs and birds love me. Recently, having breakfast outdoors by my newly hand-made bird feeder, I had the shyest of turtle doves settle down near me and doze off, completely secure in knowing I would do it no harm.  Dogs seem to sense the same thing - that I'm on their side.  Cats, well, not so much :-)




We value things that last, things that are useful, and we'll modify stuff to serve a completely different purpose if needed.   Take my grandpa's gate-weights for example.



All his life he has crafted things from metal.  These work on a simple pulley system to close the gate after you - and keep it closed.  They're pretty heavy.

This is the gate to the home acre he made years ago:




There's creativity in our blood.  Not only has he produced some fantastic metalwork in his lifetime, but my mother was very artistic with the drawing / painting side of things, my aunt writes musicals in her spare time, my uncle plays guitar and sings, and aunt #2 makes all sorts of amazing crafty and foody things.  Me - well I've let my creativity slip in favour of the to-do list, but it's still there.  Latest thing to be made by me was that new bird feeder.  Unfortunately my bird feeder visitors do not rival theirs!  I counted 15 different varieties in as many minutes once the food was put out.




We're tough, and we're stubborn.  If you'd met my grandmother before her passing, if you've met my gramps, if you've met my aunt, or my mother, you'd get it.  There's a Burgoyne jaw that juts out, and you know that's where we're digging in our heels.  And then there's the "defending the home" thing.  Gran once took out a shrike on the wing with a catty because it attacked one of her canaries.  Mom shot a snake in the aviaries one holiday because she heard it in there after the partridge eggs around midnight (needless to say, she frightened the hell out of the rest of us with the gunshot).  Gramps has taken aim at and winged one of those infamous human farm attackers who tried to get in one Friday night.  The verandah pole still bears the mark of the bullet headed the attacker's way.

We sometimes have fiery tempers - but they're usually well hidden.  There's a famous family story of the day gran threw a bowl of porridge at gramps, which broke against the wall, stuck to it with the contents, and slowly drifted down to floor level.....

We value hard physical work.  If there's a job to be done, we roll up the sleeves and wade in.  Gran and gramps built all their houses, all their outbuildings and roads with their own hands.  Gran used their car to hoist roof beams up on to the walls of this one while Gramps guided them in:




We're in tune with nature.  You need to know how to judge the weather, how to work with the plants, the animals, your surroundings when you live in the middle of it.  Gran could grow African Violets like nobody's business.  Prix has a fantastic kitchen garden and a huge collection of the succulents she has made a living knowing so well.  Gramps has the touch when it comes to grafting in plums and apricots to increase the edibles available.  I can smell rain coming 2 days before it arrives and have a weird sense of weather changes.  We understand instinctively what clouds bring which weather and what a turn of the wind means. 



We're green-fingered.  Gramps has rose bushes that his father planted, brought from property to property, doled out and replanted as needed.  Irises line the road in the home acre (safe behind a porcupine-proof fence).  And in the same line, we have a legacy of "liberating" plants.  I've discovered it's in my genes to snip off or uproot a tiny piece of someone else's stuff (usually with permission), and then make it flourish in my garden (my problem being that I was running out of place to put things! not a problem anymore at our new home though - yay).  Or to grow things passed down from generation to generation.  Years ago I was given a white mulberry seedling, dug out in the half-dark under the big mulberry tree as I was about to drive back to the Cape.  That is now a large tree at a previous address.  A few months ago I stopped there, stripped off 3 twigs, and rooted them out in my garden.  One of them started furiously bearing berries, with only 3 leaves on it. The others took off skywards. Gramps' garden contains a multitude of plants with a history - a chinese elm from a friend, loquats whose seedlings go to aunt #2's house when they come up, the roses that have been in the family forever.  Prix has things she's picked up on field trips, and those irises lining the fence were what a guy in Pretoria was throwing out to put in a pool.  She stopped next to the road, loaded up the little Fiat, and home they came.  Parts of them flew back to the Cape with me and are now in my garden too.



And we're soft-hearted.  We hurt easily, though we won't always voice it when we do.

We can be exceptionally melodramatic when needed.  I watched gramps go from still-strong, still-clear-headed, walking around on his own with only his right arm still giving him problems post-stroke, to becoming a weak old man who couldn't walk on his own at church, and who garnered much sympathy from the congregants :-)

Have I inherited some bad things too?  Yup.

That stubbornness.  Although it gets me places, it also has people irritated with me at times.

Silence.  I do not fight well, I simply shut up.  When I'm hurt I shut up.  When I'm angry I shut up.  And I very seldom let anyone see what I'm feeling, or thinking.  For my part I think it's because voicing an opinion on the past has had me lambasted for it - for the part of my gran and my mother, it's a simple wish to keep the peace instead of making things worse.  Or merely keeping one's self to one's self.  Years ago I inherited a set of porcelain dinosaurs from my Gran - the first items she bought to place in a new display cabinet when they could afford to start furnishing the house.  No-one ever found out why she bought them, what attracted her to them - and with her having passed on a good few years ago, now we never will.  

The women in our family are prone to terrible period pains - to the extent that my mom had a hysterectomy in her early 40s to put a stop to them.  Modern day us simply sluk down the Myprodal if it gets too bad.

That opinionated thing - yup, also has a flip side.  Just ask Favourite Man.

We come with family quirks, family traditions, family ways of seeing the world - things so ingrained in our legacy that we don't even give them a second thought.

And that weekend away emphasized just where my legacy is and grounded me more than I could have anticipated.  It's a legacy I love, one I cherish, one who has made me who I am today.  I may have a crazy, weird, sometimes plain strange family, but I love them.




Family Places


See this patch of earth?


It's not very big, but in our family, that's known as "The Farm".  Situated just to the east of Pretoria, it's a plot of land that has belonged to my mother's dad for decades.  He has bred birds there, a variety of animals, and done a bit of subsistance farming - nothing large-scale, just a home-life to his work-life as a Datsun mechanic in the city.  He has always had a plot of land out of town - this one has been in the family for the longest of them all.

That's the place we would trek to every December holidays from Zimbabwe when I was growing up.  It's the place where some of my fondest holiday memories reside.  This old tractor is (generally) still going strong - and that's me age 2 on it.

 When we were all much younger, gramps had an assortment of horses.  One of them, Rango, was a gentle old soul that we'd all ride at the first opportunity.


Unfortunately the beast occasionally got it into its head that it did not want to be ridden, and would scrape us off under the nearest thorn tree.  Inevitably holidays had their fair share of bumps and bruises, but that was all part of the fun for my brothers and I.


When Rango eventually kicked the bucket, he was buried under a tree on the farm, near where he loved to ditch us.  Later years saw the miniature horse tribe arrive, which gramps bred for a good few years and sold on.  This is my son on one of them.

There have always been cows, my grandpa's aviaries, and a few open fields to play in.

Or plough...  This pic below tells a bit of a story.  My brothers, who had never driven a tractor before, were stuck on this machine, and taken into the big field below the house to plough it under reasonably remote supervision.  Gramps put the thing in gear, showed them where the accelerator and steering wheel was, and let them at it.  Shortly after this pic was taken, the plough hit a large stone and got stuck.  Not knowing how to stop the tractor, the boys clung on desperately as the nose started heading skywards - until the nearest adult rushed over and killed it just before it tipped over and killed them!

That field saw traditional baseball games on New Year's Day for friends and family, year upon year.  As kids we spent many happy hours at the "big river" (Pienaars) that borders the lower bit of the farm, or the "little river" (a mere stream) that borders one side of it.  There are small waterfalls over slate beds, pools with catchable fish in, crabs to shoot with the pellet gun before they destroy the river banks completely, the occasional legevaan if you're lucky, birds of all varieties, and now and then a snake to spot.  Where the two rivers meet, there grew a gigantic tree that we often camped under at night.  There's a small earth dam near the house with the perfect clay for kleilat - an extremely dangerous family sport reserved for the day after Xmas.. :-)  My uncle Kelly knows how to wield a bendy stick and a ball of clay with perfect aim.

But now we're all grown up and scattered.  There are no more annual family holiday trips to the farm over December.  Us kids have our own lives and family groups, all involved in the day to day work of keeping going.  My parents moved to another continent in the 90s - my mom passed on, severing a direct connection.  My gran followed a few years ago, leaving only my gramps and an aunt on the farm.  Gramps is getting on in years, no longer able to keep up with energetic management of the property, which is rapidly falling to ruin.  He recently had stroke number 2, and has to use my gran's walking frame to get around.  My aunt, who has been keeping the place going for years financially, is at a point where she's not keen to do it for too much longer.  There's talk of them getting the place ready to either sell or rent out.  Pretoria's suburbs are rapidly marching across the fields and will one day swallow this property up with some security village or other tightly-packed housing development.  Every time we go to visit, the city lights are closer...  The jackals no longer howl in the hills at night.  The wildlife is harder to spot.  An era is rapidly drawing a close...

And so, in three weeks from now, I am doing something I have never done before.  I'm flying up to see the farm and the family, hiring a car at the airport, and making my solo way through the wilds of Gauteng to spend 3 days on our family patch of earth while it's still there, while my gramps is still there.

It's going to be a bittersweet trip for me.  My heart has roots in the 50 year old rose bushes, the white mulberry trees, the river-stone walls and the bushveld.  It knows where to find the SodaStream in the kitchen cupboards, it knows where the mongoose hangs out.  It remembers the flash of an emerald kingfisher on the washing line, the call of the loeries, the pack of farm dogs around your legs when you walk the familiar paths.  It twinges in the milkshed at memory of being stood on by a cow during milking, it knows the earthy smell of the feed bins, and crunch of metal filings under your feet around gramp's workbench, and the soft cooing of the doves from a hammock in the aviaries on a summer afternoon.

I plan to immerse myself in all of it, take photos and videos of everything I know and love, before it's too late.  To build what may be one last memory of a family home, to spend time with the people I love in a place as familiar as a fingerprint.  To sit down for a few more meals around the kitchen table, to take my gramps to church and hear him sing hymns, to bask in the sound of cicadas and the smell of dusty roads.

I'm both looking forward to it, and dreading driving away from it for what could be the very last time...

Let's build a high site!

With Oom Bles
video

Flashback

A couple of days ago I picked up a few avocado pears at the grocery shop. There are usually two varieties on sale - one has rough skin that goes nearly black when ripe, the other is elongated with smooth skin and looks like this:


Holding it in my hand, I had an immediate flashback to this place:


This was the last house we lived in before we moved from Zimbabwe to South Africa.  Situated in the leafy suburbs of Harare, it was on (by South African standards) a huge property.  This photo is taken from half-way up the drive at the front.  At the back there was the same size land, which housed a free-standing garage and granny-flat, and enough soil to keep a decent veggie and mealie field going.

As to the avos, we had three trees of this exact variety, bearing what seemed to be year-round.  The dog you see in the pic is Laddie, and we had so many of the things that he'd eat the ripe ones that fell off the tree as snacks.  You can see one of the trees behind the roofline.  Another was outside the back door, providing easy access to the roof via a long curved branch.  That same branch was thick enough for a low swing support.  I still have a scar on my hand where I sat beneath it's shade, carving a piece of soapstone with my pocket knife - that slipped and ended up embedded in my palm.  The third tree is out of picture to the left, up against the property line on the streetfront in a mini forest of other trees.  The shade you see on the lawn was from a gigantic lucky-bean tree, often visited by purple-crested louries.  I treasured their jewel-hue feathers that on rare occasions made it to ground level.

My room was behind the bouganvilla pictured.  It was the first bedroom I got to decorate myself, and had a Japanese theme.  I painted the globe paper light shade with cherry blossoms to match my duvet cover and curtains.  A long parquet-floor passage led from the lounge at right to the parent's room at left.  We'd "skate" down it in our socks, landing on the flokati rug in the lounge.  The rug that had a horrible habit of hiding lost Lego pieces in its pile and popping them into bare feet undersides at unexpected times. 

The lounge window unfortunately attracted its fair share of doves slamming into it.  One hit with such force that it's crop split open and it's last meal of mealie pits fell out.  We had to put it out of its misery...

At the back of the house, we once had a friend-of-a-friend ask to store a wooden tea crate for a few weeks.  When he returned to collect it, he started taking his car apart - and hiding semi-precious tumbled gemstones in every available panel and floor recess for "export"!  What he didn't get was the handgun my dad had discovered when investigating what exactly we were storing, which was thrown into Lake McIlwain (now Lake Chivero) outside Harare.  Dad was taking no chances.

The granny flat beside the garage housed our house/cook/garden boy, a wonderful old true gentleman with pitch black biltong-dry skin by the name of Tobias.  He was our "grandfather", our wise man when we as kids wanted advice, a much loved part of our household who turned sanction-time rations into fantastic meals.  When we moved to South Africa, Tobias cried as we drove away - as did all of us.

Across the road lived one of those spinsters one sometimes finds in Africa.  A rebel as a young woman, she had hitched a ride with soldiers across the desert in the second World War, been to India, travelled Africa, seen America and the Far East.  She had a house full of curiousities and so many fascinating stories to tell over an afternoon cup of tea with her gangly-legged young neighbour.  I think it was her stories that instilled a hankering for seeing the world and boldly adventuring, which I still bear today.

Next to us was an Afrikaans man who loved his boxing.  Every Friday night we'd hear him yelling at the TV to "vat hom!".  He had a stand of bamboo that bordered our property, and made the most wonderful charred-wood-patterned vases from it, one of which ended up travelling south with us. 

A few years after we left, we heard that a nurse had moved into that house.  She did not like trees.  She thought shade was unhealthy and that germs were best burnt by the harsh African sun into submission.  She had the avo trees felled, the giant lucky-bean tree, the ornamental cherries to the side, the mini forest, and the camel foot flowering trees along the drive.

End of an era....

Voice

3016 posts ago I started this blog (give or take a few lurking drafts yet to make their appearance).

I started it because I was working in an extremely patriarchial work-place where women didn't get much notice, and definitely didn't have a voice.  I was tired of never being heard, of my opinion simply not mattering because of what I had (or didn't have) between my legs.  Blogging was finally a way for me to say what I really thought, what mattered to me - and to my absolute amazement, there were people who thought what I had to say was worthwhile.  After many years of voice-suppression it was as if a light came on.  I may still not have had a voice in the workplace, but I had one in cyberspace, one that fed my inner self-confidence and took me places beyond my wildest imaginations.

That brought me to here.  Now.

Yet sometimes, lately, it feels as if my voice has been stilled again.  This blog does not get updated very regularly.  I often fear judgement so keep my thoughts to myself in case they offend.  Encountering people and businesses that refuse to listen to a mere woman drives me back into that quiet corner again.  Trying to voice an opinion or lead a business - having the opinion shot down or shut up and my gut feel questioned - it's shadows of that past come back to haunt me, to tempt me into my silent shell once more.  Where it's safe, but very very quiet.

My logical self says I'm making a success of where I am now (mostly), that I've made huge strides forward in life and I'm not done yet.  My brain-voice says I'm constantly failing, and not to make it worse by putting forth what's going on inside.  The lost little girl type in me still fears rejection by those who mean the world to me, and strives to do everything just right, to not be a disappointment.  And those whispering thoughts clamour to sway me into thinking my voice, after all, really does not matter one tiny little bit.

My voice has had it rough recently.  I'm struggling to maintain a clear, level-headed, practical and confident attitude that can carry me through a very rough inner patch.  There are days (like today) where it all seems to crumble again.  Days where I'm tired, and emotionally beaten up, and longing for a break in the routine, a get-away-from-it-all holiday, less ongoing crap, more of what I dream about, much more of what and who I want to really be....

Perhaps it's times like this where I need to once again find my cybervoice, and not be too concerned if my everyday voice is routinely ignored.

Abundance

The trouble with Random Gardening* is this:

Granadilla plant taking over the washing line and heading toward the neighbours.



Watermelon growing in the middle of the ground cover under the washing line.




Tomatoes producing furiously under the lavender.  Best tasting tomatoes I've had in years.



Avo tree growing mid-ornamentals (not shown - second avo tree struggling along under tomato monster).


And the "official" rosemary bush in a pot trying to outdo them all!  While a pineapple top tries to break through on one side with a peppadew plant on the other.



After a few weeks of heat we've had some awesome rain today - the plants are loving it.


Not shown (yet) is the piece of sprouting ginger due to come up next to the avo, the 3 sprouting potatoes behind the fern that have probably started a new sprouting crop when not harvested, and the masses of Chinese Garlic Chives whose seeds have spread from pot to pot and pot to ground.  Yes, there are a couple of weeds that need my attention, but right now my little patch of soil is abundance personified.  Love it.

*Random Gardening:  the practice of throwing leftover salad, peelings, old potatoes, apple/avo/green pepper etc seeds, fruit offcuts and the scrapings off the veggie chopping board into the garden as "compost".  If it's meant to grow there, it will grow - and how!  If it doesn't germinate, or gets attacked by insect invaders, it wasn't meant to be there / grow near the other thing growing there as a companion plant.



Inspiration

For many years I've had an "Eyecandy and Ideas" photos folder stashed away on my computer.  When I see something I like in the home / garden / lifestyle line, I save it there.

This morning, with a little time on my hands, I opened up that folder and started scrolling.

I've come to two conclusions:

1.  My taste has not changed over the years - the basics are still there, all natural neutral colours and tactile textures.

2.  Nearly every single photo has wood or stone or some other natural material in it, along with a healthy sprinkling of light and greenery.



(credit unknown on this image)

I guess I know where I should be headed this year as I rework our living space! :-)

Reworking both our living space and our quality of life is high-priority this year for me.  I've been doing a lot of thinking, plotting and scheming over the past month - my brain turning over many stones that have been of the stumbling variety in 2012, to see what I can make of them in 2013.  Some of them have bugs crawling under them that I've had to face down and squash - those niggling fears that I can't achieve what I want to, the way I want to, and in the timeframe I've set myself.

But now I'm building things out of the stones, and using inspiration from images I've gathered over the years to kick-start it.  I'm facing down 2013 with a lot of determination to get it right.  I've spent the past few years surviving as we got two businesses off the ground.  Finances have been extremely tight.  This year that changes, I'm determined to make it happen.

However, if you want change you need to know where you're headed - you have to have a definitive goal in mind or you'll never reach it.  And that's where this morning's exercise in inspiration applies.  Still seeking serenity, surrounding myself with an environment conducive to it, one that allows me to not get bogged down but to fly - that's where I'm headed this year.