My Garden ~ a Kiwi's take on life

Life is a lot like a garden

This old house

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When we moved into this old house about nine years ago it hadn’t been lived in for about 18 months.  It’s a house long ago relocated from town and transported onto our rural property. Rats and mice came and went courtesy of either a hole in the pantry ceiling or gaps around drain-pipes under the kitchen bench. The ancient wall-oven cooked at one temperature. The extractor fan above the hob vented illegally into the ceiling. Brown tatty curtains, brown painted skirting and scotia boards, brown aluminium window frames (replacing the original timber frames). The roof leaked. Why buy this place?  Lovely area.  Location of the land. Look out on native trees, not houses. Lots of space for gardening.

Two years ago we painted the upstairs bedrooms and bathroom. Blue was the main colour. Redecorating went into recess while our son and his family took up residence with us for a while. Before that, the kitchen and walk-in pantry make-over had been a major project.  Rats = 0. Humans = 1.

I’ve sewed thermal-drape curtains for all the windows – I don’t sew willingly but it was more economical to do it myself. There’s the lounge to finish. We finally got a new fire-box installed at the end of July. A major storm earlier meant the installer wasn’t able to get to work as planned before the onset of last winter. Himself’s work on filling holes in the roofing iron before having it painted paid dividends during the storm. Only one leak to trace. It may be because the high winds sleeted the rain sideways at our house. The downstairs bathroom needs rejuvenation (so will our bank balance). And then there’s the stairwell. We’re not looking forward to the high ceiling.

But, we simply must complete what we started. Now, the dining area is being transformed from pink to soft yellow. Our intention is to have the same soft yellow on the walls throughout the house.

I must confess on this occasion to vowing, as I perched on the ladder and wielded the paint-brush, it’s the last time I’ll live in an old house. The houses we’ve owned have been progressively older. Himself and I have developed great handy(wo)man skills over the years. We each grew up in big old houses. Our parents in their time worked hard to maintain their homes. New next time. All the work done – by someone else.

Author: Jenny

My garden is where I lose myself, or as Himself likes to tell others, I lose either my coffee mug or wine glass. Well at least I put them on a gatepost so they are easily found. As I see it, we are here on this place to respect and to preserve nature, not to develop the land. I love how the totara trees stand in silent witness to our human activity. They keep me honest. I love to wander along the stream bank. I like being able to grow fruit and vegetables. I enjoy green open space. My son challenged me to write a blog using my garden diaries to start. Writing a blog is quite different to my diary scribblings. It is for a different audience. In every post, I have to make a conscious effort to get free of an academic style of writing. I write about things I know and do in my everyday life. I am not a photographer but the images I use are taken by me. I believe this adds veracity to my voice in each post. Learning to setup and to manage a blog has been a major effort and remains a work in progress. Who knows where this will lead. Himself and I thought we had retired, about to define this older phase of our life together. But family commitments continue. As it happens, I share this place with Himself, son and grandsons and living creatures who live charmed existences. I watch on as they serve as actors weaving their ways across the stage of daily life. Shakespeare wrote in As You Like It: All the world’s a stage, And all the men and women merely players; They have their exits and their entrances; Always, there's something to write about life lived as I know it.

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